quinara: Spike drinking from a blood bag. (Spike blood bag)
So, the OTW has found itself in its semi-annual clusterfuck. Or, not really, but it's currently having its autumnal donation drive which seems to be interacting in an odd way with its election process (namely, no one who becomes a member during the current drive will be able to vote). The more interesting point is that despite now asking fandom for $175,000, the organisation does not seem to have realised that at some point it might need to produce an annual budget. It has raised $90,000 in less than a week (ETA: and $10,000 TODAY), but has no agreed aims about how it intends to spend the money. Servers, one assumes from communications, but as the donation page says that the money is going to the OTW as a whole, it could be spent on anything: it could be decided that it has to be spent on something in the next six months, even if there is no current need. People point this out, but there is not really any decent response provided.

Certain commentators (though not part of the organisation's running staff) seem to be of the impression that this is not important, and if people don't trust the OTW they should just not get involved. Actual staff seem to be under the impression that a full budget would require the disclosure of bank account details or some nonsense I can't quite make sense of. I made a comment on AO3 and a different comment on tumblr - but what I thought it was worth journalling about is how this affects all of us who produce fannish stuff, including fic and comments on fic. Because as far as the OTW is marketing this donation drive as being about the AO3, we are all assets of the OTW. In financial terms, we are what allow the organisation to make a case to bring in more money, whether we are full members or not. The organisation by constitution is non-profit and makes no money, but as its members, staff and board derive satisfaction from its existence, all of us that contribute to the AO3's success contribute to that satisfaction. And I think it should be embarrassing for the organisation to have its finances in such disorder that it cannot satisfy its assets/asset-providers, let alone its donors.

I don't really know what the point of this post is, but I wanted to document this clusterfuckery in something that is more substantial than a tumblr post. Also make a note that assets of an organisation should not be treated as its cash cows without any respect for the labour which makes fandom a viably organisable thing in the first place. OK, the sysadmins are volunteers, but so are the writers and reviewers. Even if fic were banned from everywhere on the interwebs besides the AO3 we would go on, and any charitable institution disrespects its constituents at its peril.


quinara: Sheep on a hillside with a smiley face. (Default)

December 2015

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