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( Stargate: SG-1 )
( Star Wars )
( Stargate: Atlantis )
( Babylon 5 )
( Battlestar Galactica )
( Batman )
( Superman Movieverse )
( Terminator )
( Doctor Who/Torchwood )
( Buffy: the Vampire Slayer )
( Star Trek )
( Vorkosiverse )
( Marvel )
( Miscellaneous Fandoms--Teen Wolf, Pacific Rim, Outlaws of Sherwood, Enchanted Forrest Chronicles, Starfire Series, Rio Bravo, Big Fish, the Bible, Honor Harrington, Pride and Prejudice, and Chalionverse )
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But the thing is, I know enough about history to be able to see what they're doing. And the way they tell the story, Hamilton absolutely comes off like he is what we would today call a progressive or a liberal. They don't actually say that, but with the multiracial cast and an emphasis on him coming up from the bottom of the heap (except not quite the bottom, because he was still an educated able-bodied white guy, you know) it's implied. And they make a big deal about Hamilton being opposed to slavery and Jefferson the slaveowner and all of that.
It's a very pretty story. But the thing is, none of the founding fathers were anything close to what we today would consider a liberal or a progressive. They weren't much like today's conservatives, either. Things were very different. But even outright abolitionists weren't out to free slaves because they believed in racial equality; nobody was advocating for anything like gender or sexual equality; and very few were arguing for economic equality.
Vox explains Cabinet Battle #1 and gives all the background to show you just how misleading the show is. Because if nobody was arguing about racial, gender, disability, or sexual equality, there were a few people trying to make things at least a little more equal for poor white men. Trying to reign in the power of speculators, bankers, and other rich people from profiting on the backs of the working class. And in the debate that Cabinet Battle #1 depicts, the guy trying to protect poor whites from rapacious rich guys? That was Jefferson. Hamilton's plan got American business off to a good start and set the stage for the economic expansion of the 19th Century. It also royally screwed a lot of poor people.
Hamilton was not the community activist working for his peeps and keeping it real. He was the brilliant guy from the wrong side of the tracks who got a scholarship, got out, never looked back, and was happy to join the system with no qualms about enforcing and strengthening it. Because anybody who was smart like him could make it out the way he did, and if you weren't smart and dedicated enough, you deserved your lot in life.
I love the musical. But it's a perfect example of how the way you tell the story--even if technically all the major details are accurate--can drastically change the meaning.
I also prefer to avoid big-box retail stores if possible.
Do you guys have recs for where to shop for such a thing?
It was really interesting and good! You should go read it. It's insightful, and a reminder that different people have different strengths and just because someone is good in one area doesn't mean they're good at others ... and that just because you like someone on a personal level doesn't mean they're right for a particular job. (Context: somebody on FFA started saying we should bring Naomi Novik back to get things going right like they did back in the Good Old Days.)
What Naomi seems to be good at is creating and initially running smaller projects that can effectively serve a larger audience with just one or two people making all the decisions/creating all the necessary structure. Whenever things grow beyond that we see her flaws as a leader emergeAll right, my current thoughts re: Naomi Novik as someone who runs/ran the OTW
She gets stuff done, yes. Because she is always the one getting stuff done, and if the situation actively calls for delegation beyond her circle, stuff goes haywire. That sort of tight control doesn't work here and yet the org has persisted in having the Board try to employ it since its founding days.
Other interesting stuff: a former board member who was on the Finance committee gives a bit of historical background and perspective on recent events that I thought was very helpful.
The board members-elect wrote an official post on what their priorities are going forward, and what they're going to try to do to get things on a better footing.
Failfandomanonwiki has an excellent post on the whole election-and-finances issue, as does Fanlore. Both had points and events that I had missed. And here's another good summary from plaidadder.
It was ALL ABOUT women's relationships. Like, ALL about them. Even the monster in the fight at the beginning who was just there for Kara to pound for 30 seconds was female. There were probably 5 minutes, total, of men talking in the whole episode ... and none of them were plot-critical.
Doctor Danvers: shown to have been a less-than-perfect mother whose decisions left some emotional wounds in her daughter Alex, but not demonized for it, and at the same time not blaming Alex for feeling the way she does.
Cat was humanized; we saw a bit behind the mask. But at the same time, she wasn't softened or "feminized," there was no great sobbing heart-to-heart, she remained truly herself without being demonized.
It was the dad who was fringed, whose death gives his daughters a reason to fight and investigate. Male pain for female character and plot development!
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And, yay, the two spots that were up for election this year, we got two very great candidates (new blood not swept up in the disfunctionality! with experience in nonprofits!).
What we were not told was that there were more than two slots open on the board. And so you know what the board did? Before the new members took office? They filled one of the other open spots by appointing one of their dear friends, Andrea H., whose time on the board was just up, who was up for reelection, and came in last place out of six. It was unanimous (including Andrea's own vote)--there was one abstention (but zie wasn't against, zie said with a smiley face!).
This all took place in an open board meeting, an online chat with non-board-members watching. When several of them vocally protested this move, for numerous reasons including the obvious conflict of interest of Andrea voting for zirself, and also asking why zie was appointed instead of the people who came in third and fourth on the vote, they were shut down.
Now, they board certainly had the right to appoint someone to fill a vacancy in their midst. However, for various reasons, it was a very shitty thing to do--it was such obvious cronyism that it boggles the mind. The Board's powers to appoint replacement board members is in place so that if someone resigns halfway through their term you don't have to hold a special election just to fill that seat. But holding an election to fill open slots, not filling all of them on purpose, and then appointing your friend who stood for election and lost to one of the slots you purposefully did not fill ... wow. It's such a breathtaking abuse of the bylaws that I can't remember having seen it's like.
Quoth M. J. MacRae (who is, by the way, the one who trolled the chats): "We appreciate that you have questions, however, if we can't deal with our business in open because of people speaking out of turn then we will have to move to closed. As we said, please hold questions to the end... I will start a queue [for questions] if we have time." (Translation: We're fine doing our business in the open as long as nobody speaks up, but if you don't like anything we do that gives us an excuse to shut everyone out and go behind closed doors so nobody will see our shenanigans.)
When people refused to be shut up, MacRae then declared that they were moving to a closed session because people were being inappropriate (hah!) and got up on zir high horse about how the observers in chat didn't understand the ethics of the situation. (Excuse me while I fall over laughing about MacRae, who sockpuppeted and trolled the elections process, lecturing anyone about ethics. For any reason.)
All in all, they took my (already low) expectations and went way under them. Like, this is lower than I thought they could go! Wow!
Screencaps of the travesty are available here.
Reactions: Someone started putting together a google group to keep an eye on the board and discuss what could be done about them. Someone else formally requested the board hold a vote of no confidence (i.e. a vote of all members to ask if they wanted to remove anyone from the board). Various other people got mad on tumblr about it.
But, there was a good result in the end!
Andrea Horbinski, Soledad Griffin, Jessica Steiner, Eylul Dogruel, Cat Meier, and M.J. MacRae tendered their resignations from the Board effective 15 December 2015. This is the ENTIRE board besides the two newly-elected people, Atiya Hakeem and Matty Bowers, whose terms begin December 1.
Guys, this is a really good thing. Because the committees and the rest of the organization--i.e. the functional, sane part of it--is still there. The archive and all its volunteers? Still there. The people doing legal advocacy? Still there. Fanlore and all its volunteers? Still there. The only thing that's gone are the people up top who were so incompetent at running a non-profit that they couldn't even come up with a budget, and so defensive and cronyist about it that they trolled their own elections process. Atiya and Matty both have actual experience at running non-profits, they're both committed to changing the responsiveness of the board and getting things done according to best-practices, and now they have a clean slate to work with instead of being two people out of eight, with the other six committed more to covering their own asses than doing what's best for the organization. They can actually focus on getting stuff done, instead of having to battle the existing board.
Were it me, I would see what the procedure is for getting the rest of the people who were running (except Andrea, obvs.) to fill some of the remaining slots. They were all good, enthusiastic, experienced people.
I'll be watching, closely, but I've got more hope now than I think I've ever had that things will be done right.
And all this time, he's apparently been handling the revelation that he's on the autism spectrum a lot worse than I knew. My baby brother was diagnosed when I was in college, and I figured out right away from the list of symptoms that I was, too, and I struggled with it for a long time. I figured out that Dad was autistic then, but he didn't until a couple of years later when baby brother was in school and he asked the teacher if he thought Dad might possibly be autistic, and the teacher kind of boggled that he was only just then figuring it out. Anyway, when I've talked with him about it in the decade since, it's been mostly focusing on the "it's nice to know why I am the way I am." So I thought he was handling it okay. But apparently, he wants to be positive for his daughter; Mom gets to see more, and apparently there's a lot of "autism is horrible, I'll never be able to have friends or do anything." (And, yeah, in his life he has only had ONE close male friend, who committed suicide like a year before baby brother was diagnosed. But they have a decent social circle; he may have only had one "best friend," but he's got friends who genuinely like him and care for him.) And I don't doubt there's a lot of midlife crisis in there, too.
I feel guilty, because Mom asked me for advice on therapy and stuff a year or two ago, and I didn't really brush her off but I didn't pay much attention because from what I could see, he was doing okay. But, like, they didn't even know that ASAN exists, and there are two ASAN chapters within two hours of their home. If nothing else, they'll know if there are any good therapists who aren't a dick about autism in the area, and if we're really lucky there will be a middle-aged man or two that Dad could maybe strike up a friendship with. And I've known about ASAN myself for a while now, I could have hooked them up.
Failing that, I could be working on my yuletide fic.
What did I write 1000 words of tonight? A new Vorkosigan fic, the prequel to The Offer, my fic about what if Aral's unnamed sister had survived instead of Aral.
I mean, I'm enjoying it, and if I can keep up the momentum I can finish and post it in a couple of days (assuming it doesn't grow legs and get a lot bigger than I expect), which the WIPs would all be slower gratification. But still, it's not reducing my WIP list.
Here's the first bit:
( Yuletide wittering )
Account Created: December 4 2009
Link to AO3: Beatrice_Otter
Total Works: 154--but one of those is just all the crossover drabbles I wrote for tth100 strung together.
Total Wordcount: 575,102
Average Wordcount: 3,734
Longest Story: Consequences, a 46k word SG-1 AU I wrote in 2005 because I was annoyed at all the Broca-AUs and thought I could do it better. Turns out, this is not the greatest reason to write a story, and by the end of it I hated it. And the sequel shows it, because it ends WAY too abruptly and I still occasionally get people wanting to know if I'm going to actually FINISH it and my response is, I know this is a crappy ending, but it's the best you're getting. (For those of you too young to know SG-1 or who were never in the fandom, The Broca Divide was like the third ep of the first season, and the SGC gets a virus that turns people into cave-men and Sam tries to seduce Jack before she gets carted off to the infirmary. There were a lot of really bad fics that used this as a jumping point for really OOC floof.)
Shortest Story: Well, I have a lot of drabbles as mentioned earlier, but AO3 thinks they're all part of one story because that's how I posted them. The two monofannish drabbles are posted each as their own story, so those are what AO3 thinks are the shortest. "In Another Life" and "Blood Will Tell." And when I say "drabble," I mean a REAL drabble, 100 words exactly. None of this newfangled "any really short story" nonsense, goldern kids get off my lawn ...
Total Kudos: 4,397
Average Kudos: 28
Story With the Most Kudos: Lieutenant Bennet's Visit, with 405.
Total Comment Threads: 634
Average Comment Threads: 4
Story With the Most Comment Threads: Lieutenant Bennet's Visit, with 73.
Total Author Subscriptions: 54
Total Story Subscriptions: 35
Story With the Most Subscriptions: Darcy's Surprise (the sequel to Lieutenant Bennet's Visit) with 5.
Total Bookmarks: 776.
Story With the Most Bookmarks: Lieutenant Bennet's Visit, with 87.
Stories With No Comments or Kudos: All of them at least have kudos, but holy crap I had no idea I had so many with no comments at all (or at least, none here). Most of them are from the pre-AO3 days, so they at least had comments other places, but still. 'Tis a little disheartening to see it all laid out like that.
"When you consider the latest highly annoying changes to Tumblr, never forget that they aren’t meant for you. Yahoo, Tumblr’s owner, is under a lot of pressure to make some money. That means that Tumblr has to either pull its weight or be shut down. In the Web-ancient adage, “If you aren’t the customer, you’re the product.” That is, if you aren’t directly paying for any Website, then the Website is selling you, in the form of advertising. Tumblr desperately needs to monetize you. To monetize you, they need to know your personal demographics, so that they can sell groups of similar users to advertisers."
“If you aren’t the customer, you’re the product.”
Let me repeat that again: “If you aren’t the customer, you’re the product.”
This is why I really, really don’t like websites where advertising is part of the revenue stream. I would rather pay up front–in donations or user fees–and be the CUSTOMER who is catered to instead of the PRODUCT that the website is SELLING to its advertisers.
What Tumblr is doing now? That’s what LJ used to do, back when LJ was the fandom hub. The great advantage of DW over LJ is that DW’s users are its CUSTOMER base, because DW organized their finances from the very beginning so that they didn’t need ads. User revenues–paid accounts, merchandise from the store, extra icons, etc–pay the bills. DW is never going to be a huge goliath of money-making, but it doesn’t have to be because it is financially self-sustaining and makes a decent income for the owners. (And they manage it on a freemium basis, where basic accounts are free, and you get more features if you pay but you don’t have to to use the site.) DW has other issues, but we are not the commodity we are the customers.
AO3 is similar. The whole POINT of AO3 was that a big enough segment of fans got fed up with being the commodity and not the customers, and wanted to own the servers that fannish work was on. AO3 has problems–huge problems–but at that they are quite successful. We own the servers. Our donations fund a service designed by, for, and about US.
Pinboard is also user-supported. That fee you pay? That means that we are the customer, not the commodity. Which means that while Pinboard may eventually close down, it won’t do like Delicious did and make itself unusable for us while making itself more attractive to its advertisers.I know tumblr has a lot of great features. But maybe that shouldn’t be the number one thing we as fandom look for in a website. Because what do the features matter if they get yanked out from under us every time they’re not profitable enough?
Fandom: Battlestar Galactica (2003), Star Trek: The Next Generation
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Characters: Felix Gaeta, Kara "Starbuck" Thrace, Lee "Apollo" Adama, Anastasia "Dee" Dualla, William Adama, Laura Roslin, Jean-Luc Picard, Saul Tigh, William Riker, Beverly Crusher, Worf (Star Trek:TNG/DS9), Reginald Barclay
Additional Tags: Crossover, Fix-It
Summary: What do you do when you're a lost Starfleet officer in the Beta Quadrant? You blend in and hope for the best.
I followed this fic avidly when it was first posted to LJ years ago. I'm so glad it's up on AO3 now, which makes it much easier to both read and rec.
The screwed-up-ness of the board is, by the way, almost certainly why they keep bleating about confidentiality in ways that prove they either don't actually know how it applies to the OTW or know but are lying to cover their asses. See, the thing about non-profits is that they are supposed to be transparent. Public financial records and minutes. The only things things that should be confidential are hiring/firing/promotion/other personnel issues. The default for a non-profit is that EVERYTHING is a public record unless it falls into one of a few very narrow categories (like personnel records). For the OTW, I would imagine that certain aspects of ongoing legal cases might also be confidential for the duration of the case, but that's specifically the legal/advocacy committee, not the work of the board itself. But as long as they can keep things in-house--as long as they can keep people from seeing, for example, board meeting minutes and chat transcripts--they can do whatever they dang well please without having to worry about being professional or getting called on petty bullshit maneuverings.
I am pleased with the quality of candidates for the current election. Given what we know of the OTW board's inner workings, here's what I'm looking for in a candidate:
1) Never been on the board before (because even board members who started out with good intentions have, by this point, gotten sucked into the dysfunctional system).
2) Experience with other non-profits (because dear God, do they need it).
3) Experience taking a dysfunctional part of the OTW system and getting it working (because they'll need the experience).
Most of the candidates meet all three of those, yay! Lots of good choice. We get two people like that on the board, they've got a chance of getting things turned around.
But that's not a guarantee that they can. I've talked about this before, but the thing is, any organization or group that operates for a while settles into a system. A pattern of behavior. It may be a great system, it may be a terrible system, but the point is that everyone participates in it. Everyone has their place. When someone leaves the system and someone new comes in, everyone in the system generally works to try and fit the new person in to the system and shove them into the spot left behind even if they don't like the system. I mean, even the people working to maintain the system may think it's a horrible system and they hate it, and they will still find all sorts of justifications to try and keep it from changing. Why? Because it's comfortable, and they know their place. Change is hard and scary and uncertain. People will often choose a bad system that they hate over the possibility of changing to a better system, because they value predictability. (When psychologists and sociologists study this, it's usually on a family level, which is why it's called "family systems theory" but it also applies to other sorts of groups-churches, businesses, non-profits of all kinds, etc.)
This is why the last kerfluffle over OTW board elections, in 2011, didn't change much--one or two new people on the board isn't going to magically change the system. And if the rest of the board is really determined to keep things going the way they have been, well, they can. Even now, we get two awesome new people with lots of talent, drive, and skills elected ... and it's quite possible for the rest of the board to stonewall them and generally make their lives very unpleasant until they either give up, go away, or get sucked into the madness themselves.
So how do we change things? Electing good people is a start, but not the end. We have to make sure that the board is accountable and STAYS accountable. This means OTW members (anyone who donates $10 or more in a year is a member) have to keep the pressure up. Keep asking questions. Keep wanting to see the financials. Keep asking about what's going on inside the organization. Make sure they know that we are watching, and that we want things run responsibly and according to the best practices of non-profit organizations.
And the next time seats are up for elections, we need to AGAIN make sure that we are electing people with experience in non-profits who are willing to work towards openness, accountability, and best practices.
It's going to take a while, but it's possible. IF we don't do what we did back in 2011 and assume that getting someone elected means we won and everything will magically be fine now.
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Characters: Stiles Stilinski, Derek Hale
Word Count: 7,190
Summary: Stiles had heard it all before. This was not his first go-round on the Scott-and-Derek-pack/alpha debate.
Or, The One About Werewolf Insurance.
( Stiles had heard it all before. This was not his first go-round on the Scott-and-Derek-pack/alpha debate. It could be summarized like this: )
Fandom: Hockey RPF
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin
Characters: Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Mario Lemieux, Sergei Gonchar
Additional Tags: Ensemble Cast, Kid Fic, Original Character(s), Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, St. Louis Blues, New York Rangers, Columbus Blue Jackets, 2018 Winter Olympics, Homophobia, Xenophobia, Child Neglect, Implied/Referenced Child Abuse, Mutual Pining
Summary: Amidst rising political tensions between Russia and NATO countries, the KHL and NHL failed to renew their labor agreement this summer. Due to the failed agreement and intense political pressure at home, the Russian NHL players do not return to the NHL.
By March, Geno has played almost a season in Russia, and accepts this is his new reality, no matter how much he misses Sid – until he finds the first child. This sets him and everyone he involves down a dangerous path of international intrigue.
All I can say is, I hope there's a sequel! I want to know more! This is an awesome and gripping story, an AU that is in some ways scarily plausible. Go, read it now!
The last several months have been getting steadily worse.
( Cut for menstrual TMI )
My periods have been getting worse. I think it’s time to see a doctor about this. It’s not just one occasional bad month any more.
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe
Music: Us by Regina Spektor
Content notes: blood, medical equipment
Spoilers for: Captain America: The Winter Soldier; Agent Carter; Agents of SHIELD (Season one)
Summary: Steve Rogers has a complicated relationship with the legacy of Captain America
Alternative Summary: It is Supersoldiers all the way down.
This is a very long letter with lots of stuff, but DO NOT PANIC. I'm actually fairly easy to please; I am very rarely disappointed with a ficathon story. I write long and detailed Dear Author letters because I find such things helpful when I'm writing for other people; if you are like me, here you go! If your style is different and a detailed letter makes you feel hemmed-in, feel free to do what works for you.
The most important thing for me in a fic is that the characters are well-written and recognizably themselves. Even when I don't like a character, I don't go in for character-bashing. If nothing else, if the rest of this letter is too much or my kinks just don't fit yours, just concentrate on writing a good story with everyone in character and good spelling and grammar and I will almost certainly love what you come up with.
One thing: I do have an embarrassment squick, which makes humor kind of hit-or-miss sometimes. The kind of humor where someone does something embarrassing and the audience is laughing at them makes me uncomfortable because I identify too much with the person getting laughed at, so instead of being funny it is squicky. On the other hand, the kind of humor where the audience is laughing with the characters I really enjoy.
If you want to make me the happiest recipient ever, here are some other things to keep in mind (not all of which will apply to all fandoms):( General Preferences )
( Donovan's Reef )
( Caprica )
( Metropolis: The Chase Suite )
( Bride & Prejudice )
( Thrawn Trilogy )
1. "Hey, do you guys have any idea why the Air Force might be poking around this case?" she asked.
Derek and Rossi traded looks. "The Air Force?" Rossi said, skeptically.
Adams shrugged. "That's what they say. Guy says his name is Davis, and he's in civvies but he says he's a colonel and he's asking for information. Got a doctor with him, blonde woman, pretty, hasn't said much. Captain sent me to ask what you know."
2. She had timed her journey well, and reached a small plateau just as the sun came into view over the mountain. T'Lar dropped her pack from her shoulders, lifted her face to the mountain and her hands to the sun, and sang the morning blessing. It took her a few notes to settle in to the melody; she had never sung it alone before, and had sung harmony for the last several years. But Seleya would not care.
When the blessing was done, she put her flashlight in the pack, slung it over her shoulders, and continued on her journey—faster, now that she had the sun's light to see by.
By noon she had walked off the mountain and caught the train from the base of Seleya across the Forge to the city of Shi'Kahr, and been escorted from there to the main House of the clan of Surak to prepare for the arrival of her hostess and soon-to-be-student, Lady Amanda.
3. “What can joining your pack give Scott that he can't get hanging out on the fringes?" Stiles asked.
"Insurance," Derek said gruffly, pulling out a thick—very thick, holy cow—stack of papers.Stiles fell out of his chair. "Ow," he said, more out of surprise than anything else. He sprang to his feet and dove for the papers. "Werewolf insurance?" he snickered. "You are not seriously saying there is werewolf insurance!" Except that's what it said, right up top. No, it said 'Paranormal Insurance.' So not just werewolves, everything that went bump (or aaargh, or growl) in the night. That was even better. Stiles had visions of the most boring insurance office ever, except with zombies and vampires and werewolves (oh my!) hanging out in the waiting room reading boring magazines. (Stiles had never been in an insurance office—this being the age of the internet—so it looked a lot like his doctor's office.)
Most recent start:
Star Wars AU where Jocasta Nu (the Jedi Archivist) was Anakin’s Master instead of Obi-Wan.
Stargate/Criminal Minds fic with NID shenanigans that are an excuse to write Derek baby!fic. (yes. solely caused by that one scene in season 4 where he held Henry and looked SO SUPER CUTE doing it and also like he LOVED HOLDING THE BABY.)
A sequel to The Mountain Rose Before Me, about the High Priestess who put Spock’s katra back in his body in Star Trek III
BSG/Star Trek remix of rapfic’s Going Native, wherein Felix Gaeta is actually a Starfleet officer who fell through a wormhole to the colonies a couple of years before the Cylon attacks.
Star Trek TOS--how Carol Marcus and Jim Kirk ended up having a baby together.
Star Trek AOS--sequel to my fic The Desert Between, a Spock/Uhura fic about Vulcan culture, biology, and the reality of being an endangered species. The sequel is about what it’s like to be a hybrid living on New Vulcan.
A Teen Wolf fic about supernatural insurance, based solely off my fic reading and an article about weird things people get insured for.
BSG/SG-1--A sequel to my fic Unreal Things, exploring what it means that Daniel Jackson is a Cylon.
Stargate AU--the next episode in my “Determination” series, wherein Daniel was the one taken by Apophis, and Sha’re the one who came to earth to search for her spouse.
Star Wars AU--the one where, instead of turning to the Dark Side, Anakin and Padme get couples therapy.
Star Trek AU--the one where Cyd Charisse (the 50s movie star) was a Vulcan stranded on Earth.
But what has happened, courtesy of this combined with the board elections, is that it is causing people to look deeper at OTW and the way it handles its money.
And what they found is scary. Apparently, the OTW hasn't ever had a budget. There's been no planning, no forecasting, no "let's figure out what reasonable costs are and stick to them," just pay bills whenever they come in. madecunningly did the research to pull this together:
The new treasurer, MJ MacRae, decided that 2015’s budget was somewhat a moot point, coming in as she did so late into 2015, and is currently focusing on finalizing a budget for 2016. This is fine, and makes total sense, as MacRae and the Board are waiting to see the final numbers from the October 2015 drive. MacRae went on to tell me that when she has a finalized budget, a public version will be shared on the OTW’s website, and announced on the @OTW_news twitter. Excellent, I thought, exactly the kind of announcements that the OTW_news twitter is for.madecunningly does an excellent job of pointing out why that's a problem in the rest of the post.
Except, it’s odd that they wouldn’t have a period of time for members to bring questions/concerns about a proposed budget. Why present a finalized version? It’s a pretty normal move, in my experience with non-profits, to present a proposed budget to your members and take questions/concerns about where funds are being allocated for the upcoming year. While I asked about this, I never received a response.
The problem I have is that this is revealing a lot of instability and lack of process around the OTW’s finances. Neither has the OTW acknowledged this kind of on-going issue or announced changes in how they plan to manage their finances. You don’t have to have a budget to be a non-profit–but you do have to be able to prove exactly where your money went on demand, and part of accepted best practices for that is a budget. It’s also not very good stewardship; how can the Board make plans and predictions for the next year if they don’t know how much money they have committed, how much isn’t committed, etc.? I don’t have faith, based on this information, that the OTW will effectively use my money for the purpose for which I donated it, or, honestly, for any purpose at all. This doesn’t scream “fraudulent!” to me, but it doesn’t seem like a good idea either.
--Clarification on the OTW's Budgeting Process for Would-Be Donors
The threat to AO3′s existence is not–and never has been!–financial. Fans are REALLY REALLY GENEROUS PEOPLE, overall. Both with volunteer time and money. Sure, not everyone can or wants to, but there are MORE than enough to cover the costs and volunteer needs.
The problem is managerial. It’s how to organize what they have. And this is something the OTW has always struggled with. Don’t believe me? Check out the OTW’s 2011 election and the arguments over that. (Fanlore is a good place to start.) The bone of contention in that election was that there were serious flaws in the internal structure of the OTW and its daughter organizations such as AO3. Everything from communications to coding to volunteer management to cronyism. And this was resulting in volunteer burnout, a climate of fear, and coding problems. (Not being a programmer myself, I don’t know much about this, but I know that a lot of people who are programmers were mildly horrified by the workflow and underlying structure of how coding was done at the time.)
There haven’t been any major problems that made it outside the organization since 2011, but that doesn’t mean that there’s been a major shift in how things run, only that there hasn’t been a crisis big enough to rock a boat this big hard enough to be seen from the outside. And there still isn’t a major crisis!
Problem is, crises come eventually. And you can get by on bad/no planning, inefficient practices, poor communication, and general bad management most of the time. It won’t work as well as it could, but it’ll work. In a crisis, however, all of that will come back to bite you in the ass and that’s when the AO3 could really be in trouble. Not because of money, but because of bad management.And that’s what needs to be fixed now. Before it turns into a crisis.
So please, please, please, if you are eligible to vote in the OTW election (if you donated $10+ prior to October 6th), be thoughtful in your voting choices. If you're a volunteer or board member, take the time to study best practices for non-profits and try to implement them.
ETA: Thoughts on the OTW and its current fundraising by kalloway