Nov. 12th, 2011

julia_beck: Rectangular cake with white frosting and yellow inscription "AO3= <3" (Default)
(That's right, Filter. Fwiw, my OTW theme song atm is "We're in this together now" by NIN. Heh.)

There's some great conversation about strategic planning going around.

"Strategic planning" is another one of those buzzwords, but it has very practical implications (I've been running up against some personally).

It means: How do we want to move forward, as an organization? What are our priorities? Are we fulfilling our mission? Where are we falling short? And what is our mission, anyway? (You'd be surprised -- many people would argue it's to build an archive, period. ...Uhm, not quite.)

I think it's time we stop for a second and consider where we're heading, and where we want to head in the first place. I'm not seeing that sort of conversation inside OTW, even though we're far from unified on that issue. I believe it's long overdue to consolidate the myriad viewpoints insid ethe organization into an actual strategy, and this needs to be initiated on the Board level. I've felt for a while as if we're flying partially blind, and that's one reason why I initiated the survey projects. There are a lot of assumptions about our target groups, but we need to base our conversation based on facts instead of assumptions.

Who are we serving? And how can we best serve those people and communities? How can we communicate with them (Communications strategy!) and gather feedback?

Some people argue that the OTW was meant to build an archive, and so any protests that it should not be the sole priority are misguided. But the thing is -- the OTW has evolved, and we are a long way from the founding days. The OTW is what people make of it. We had a roadmap then; where are we on that roadmap? How do we want to continue?

On a tangent, because it's an argument that often comes up against outreach: "but we simply can't cater to everyone". Well, yeah. That's a fundamental misunderstanding of outreach, though.

To quote my thoughts from the 2nd chat follow-up batch No. 1:)

I don't believe we have a moral duty to serve any and all fans in the abstract. It's perfectly fine if a fandom doesn't have need of the OTW or its projects, so there's a difference between "collect ALL the fandoms under the OTW umbrella" vs. "be welcoming to all fans that WANT under the OTW umbrella". For anime/manga fandom the latter is absolutely true as witnessed by the fact that fans have repeatedly said that they *want* to use and like the OTW's products, but they can't fully do so at the moment. (The same is true for non-English language fans.) So, while I think we need to work on making fans from all corners more aware of the OTW and its opportunities, this doesn't translate into trying to be representative of fandom. We're not, we will never be, and that's okay. It's a tricky balance to get right, though, because it can translate into complacency and lack of outreach: we're certainly not in danger of overextending ourselves right now, quite the contrary!

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julia_beck: Rectangular cake with white frosting and yellow inscription "AO3= <3" (Default)
Julia Beck

February 2013

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