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!
julia_beck: GIF with Sackboy and captions "cute. capable. determined!" + "OTW translationmasters!!" + "now with added jetpacks" (translation_masters)
Following recent examples by [personal profile] via_ostiense and [personal profile] jennyst, here's what I'm doing right now as part of my OTW work, in broad strokes.

Translation: I think I finally mastered context rules. GO ME. What's context rules? Simply put, they're an integral part of the translation interface for the Archive of our Own that the inimitable rebecca is building for us. (It's beautiful. It's for translating the interface only, though, not for stories.)

In more detail, it's grammar nerdery*: How many potential versions of a phrase/word are there in language_x, depending on context? We have to determine that to teach it to the archive so that it produces as many versions as we need.
(*Actually, it's information science slash grammar which makes for a slightly brain-breaking combination -- hence the taking a bit to wrap my mind around it...)

An example: in Polish, the possessive form varies depending on whether the subject is male of female. Now...this means we need a way to tell the gender of a name. Now imagine pseudonyms in their infinite variety. It's not possible. So what do we do? Add a "gender" setting? Uuuh...You see this is getting into volatile territory. There are a couple of other possibilities, thankfully, but this is the kind of eventuality we have to consider.

So we've been gauging the limitations of the system for a while by testing for as many languages as we could get our hands on. If we don't make context rules flexible enough for just about *any* language and script system, we'll get into real trouble once it's implemented on the live site and it turns out that, say, new language_x makes a distinction between animate/inanimate objects that we hadn't considered.

We've already tested to varying degrees for Finnish, Italian, German, Korean, Spanish, Dutch, Norwegian, Romanian, and Polish; we're hoping to test Chinese and Hindi soon, because as you can see, we have tons of Indoeuropean languages that are relatively similar, and desperately need other script systems and language families. And yes, we totally want you for this! We'll make an open call for testers soon, I'll signal-boost once it's up.

Other than that, I signed up two Italian translators last night, one an old friend. I always enjoy these introductory chats because of the high energy and (often) wacky cheer that inevitably develops! :> So now I'm dropping website texts for translation into Gdocs and assigning them via GQueues (our new to-do-list tool). Go go Italian team! *\o/*

For Internationalization & Outreach (eh, I&O), meeting up with Claudia from my committee later to work on Internal Survey. Lots of food for thought from the recent discussions, thinking about how to integrate that meaningfully into the survey. Later this week, I need to work on our term evaluation (what have we done, what are the loose ends in need of following up?) and a collaboration with the Archive peeps. Oh, and do some wiki gardening because of the rename. >_>;


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

February 2013

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