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2012-08-04 05:24 pm (UTC)
This is a thoughtful and well-intentioned post. And I continue to love the OTW, of which I'm now a proud member. (Something for the board to consider implementing asap would be to have DevMem or Finance send a very short e-mail confirming their donation/voting membership to everyone who's joined as soon as their payment has been received.) There have been several things I've really liked recently.
I'm only going to address the parts of your post that deal with communicating with the OTW/AO3, as I am not a tag wrangler nor a volunteer.
- When I use the support form to send e-mail to the AO3 or OTW, I usually hear nothing back except a "We received your message." Black-box syndrome, which is not encouraging to open discourse or positive feelings.
- When I post a comment on an AO3 or OTW post at the site or one of the org's official LJs or DWs, I occasionally get a response from a staffer. Usually not very timely, and it is impossible to easily see on which other versions of that post others might be trying to engage the OTW or AO3 in constructive discussion. The latter is counterproductive.
- When I post concrit of the OTW or AO3 at my journal, I have several times gotten in-depth responses including from staffers and board members fairly fast.
- When I post a comment at someone else's LJ or DW post about AO3 or the OTW, it often leads to interesting conversation.
- When I comment in someone else's thread or more rarely one I start about concerns about the OTW or AO3 on ffa, the response is usually broad, fast, and engaged, and it almost always feels like there are not just volunteers but staffers in the thread.
- When I tried to volunteer late last year and earlier this year, I was brushed off. (Talk about counterproductive. One main tenet of communications strategy is to try to co-opt your critics, and I was actually trying to join your communications team. Putting me to work for 1-3 hours a week on even low-level communications implementation rather than strategy would have meant 1-3 hours a week of my time/energy focused on internal work at the org, instead of having that time to look at it from a loving but critical outsider's perspective. But I digress.)
Oh, I lied -- I do have something to say about the Tag Wrangling letter and the results from it: Thinking of Communications, how come that letter was not run by Communications for tone- and length adjustment before it went out? I think the increasing number of blog posts from staffers and board members about serving with the OTW have been great and, in aggregate, quite valuable from a PR perspective, and those posts are clearly not seen by Comms before posting (and mostly shouldn't be). But an official communication from chairs of a committee to their mailing list with that much obviously-potentially-controversial-
content really should be run by the Communications team before it goes out, also so your Comms team (your internal+external PR agency, which technically could also be broadly advising org-wide on topics like "there will be criticism, and here are ways to deal with it more and less constructively") can help prepare for and deal with the fallout.
One of your (the org and its projects) fondest critics
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