So. It turns out that I do
have a vote in the upcoming OTW election. I failed to pay my membership dues in time this
year, but last year I paid them late enough to be within the window of opportunity for a vote in this year's election. With that vote comes responsibility.
I have to admit -- and maybe some of you have felt similarly -- that I was actually a little relieved not
to have a vote. This is all such a shit show in so many ways, and there was a certain peace of mind I could retain in avoidance, in knowing that whatever happened was not
my responsibility, that I didn't have to pick a side in a battle that feels increasingly and damagingly polarized, that it wasn't my problem
. I haven't really had the time for it to be my problem; I haven't had the time, recently, to give much time to fandom at all. I've been okay with that, because I can love fandom from a distance just as well as I can love it on the ground.
But I am
a voting member of the Organization for Transformative Works, and I paid those membership dues for a reason, a year ago -- just as I would have paid them this year if I had been able to scrape together the money in time, and if my other responsibilities had not kept me offline during the critical week of membership drive. I am a voting member of the Organization for Transformative Works because --- come hell or high water or my own inability to be online for months at a time -- I love fandom. I am a voting member of the Organization for Transformative Works because I believe that the OTW is a critical and necessary part of a wide and varied and incredibly disparate community of extraordinary people who love things with the same kind of furious intensity that I do, in extraordinarily different and varied and disparate ways, from all parts of the world, and in all ways of life. I believe in the OTW because I believe that it exists to help bring us together, to give us a place to stand that belongs to us -- all
of us. And as a voting member of the Organization for Transformative Works, I have a responsibility, even in the most basic (most fundamental) way, to support the OTW that I believe in. I don't get to get out of this one by not voting, and I don't get to get out of it by holding my peace.
If you read one post about the election, it should be bookshop
's post: OTW Elections! Now with less confusion! bookshop
does a really excellent job of discussing the importance of this election and the issues at stake, and she does so with a remarkable lack of bias and a great deal of wisdom.
This morning I read akamine_chan
's gorgeous post, i am angry
. This post is really what prompted me to make my own, and akamine_chan
says what I would like to say better than I think I ever could.
The current OTW board president, the wonderful and extraordinary Allison Morris, is stepping down and leaving the organization: look it's not a chat transcript
. Allison is really, really amazing -- and, not incidentally, was my mentor for my extremely short-lived stint as an OTW volunteer. I was a volunteer for approximately five minutes, and my own experience is not a good example of the sort of things that people have gone through, because it was great. It was great because Allison was great, and I left because I did not have the time to give as much to the organization as I wanted to give. Allison has given so, so much to the OTW, and it breaks my heart that it has reached a point where she feels she has to leave. I want to add my voice to her philosophy:
and finally: my philosophy (some of it): (1) ymmv, more voices more better, there is no such thing as one true pov, and you cannot generalize the specific onto the other specific; (2) you cannot have responsibility without authority *or* authority without responsibility, both are toxic.
I have also been listening to starlady
, but I can't link to just one of her posts, because they are all right on the money: starlady
's OTW tag
says that there is only one call we have to make in this election, when it comes right down to it: whether or not to vote Naomi Novik back onto the board; this is the line down which this voting community is splintering, and I want to say a few things, very briefly, on this point:
I cannot overstate how much I respect and value Naomi Novik and her contributions to this community. I think it's easy, in a debate like this, to start pointing fingers and blaming individuals, and I don't want to do that (I don't think any of us want to do that, but it does happen). But this is exactly my point: the OTW is an organization that represents a community, and organizations are not actually about individuals. Naomi Novik is a visionary, and I think we owe her an enormous debt of gratitude for everything she has done and will continue to do for the OTW and the AO3 and the community at large. But the thing about organizations is that they grow and change. They grow up, and you have to let them, because that is the way things are supposed to go
. I am not convinced that Naomi Novik is interested in seeing those changes through, and I am not convinced that she would be the right person to do so even if she were
interested. Founders, rockstars, visionaries -- they are incredibly important, but sometimes they shouldn't be the people on the ground. Sometimes, you have to step back and let the thing you started become bigger and stranger, become something different than you imagined. Delegating isn't about stepping back in to take charge, and organizational leadership is not about control; it's about empowering people, and then it's about trusting them to do their jobs. That's how organizations -- good organizations -- work, and that's the only
way they get better. Not to overstate the point, but ultimately? We change or we die.
The OTW does not have to represent All Of Fandom -- I don't think it could even if it wanted to, and there's a level on which any overarching organization goes entirely counter to the incredibly chaotic, democratic, ground-up way that fandom fundamentally works. But the OTW is
a platform, regardless of whether or not Naomi Novik and Francesca Coppa wanted it to be a platform in the first place, and it's a platform for Fandom-with-a-capital-F. As a platform, it cannot be just about the Archive, or just about history and preservation (although those things matter very much). It also
has to be about this moment, right now. It has to be about letting everyone in, because that is what fandom does
, and it has to be about making those doors accessible to everyone who might want to come through them. It has to be about listening to the community at large, in all of its glorious, contradictory, impossible differences. And more than anything else, it has to be about acknowledging problems and working to make them better.
Because really, what is
fandom if it isn't seeing the worst and the best in the things that we love, and transforming them into even better things?
I can't tell you who to vote for; I wouldn't even if I could. But I encourage you to vote, if you are eligible to do so, and I encourage you to make your decisions carefully and intentionally, and with all of the information.Originally posted at oliviacirce @ dreamwidth. If you'd like, comment there using OpenID.