skaredykat: (fikshun cat)
skaredykat ([personal profile] skaredykat) wrote2012-05-02 02:28 pm

OTW - love and frustration

I continue to love the Organization for Transformative Works.

The AO3 keeps providing me with entertaining things to read. I keep wanting to draw sparkly hearts around various parts of Fanlore and Fanlore editors.

Despite my feeling that if an author purposely and consciously tries to remove a fanwork from the interwebs -- though I wish they wouldn't and would orphan it (AO3 love!) instead -- it is uncool to make it obvious and centralized that you're still passing it around, I love the Open Doors project and recentish OTW news about working on saving and incorporating at-risk online archives.

(I consider that posting a fanwork on an archive you don't manage yourself gives implicit permission for re-archiving your work on a successor archive designated by the original archive's controller(s) for continuity purposes, as long as that successor archive does not drastically change ToS such as from non-commercial to commercial, does allow a way for individual authors to maintain or reacquire editing status for their works (up to and including deletion though again I wish they wouldn't), and does not permit multiple re-archivings to non-specifically designated successor archives. But this is a tangent, so back to OTW.)

I enjoy some of the TWC symposium posts. I deeply approve of the lobbying and advocating for fanworks, their legitimacy, and related topics by the Legal Committee and org spokespersons, and like the Vidding project.

I believe in the core goals of the org, stated as "established by fans to serve the interests of fans by providing access to and preserving the history of fanworks and fan culture in its myriad forms. We believe that fanworks are transformative and that transformative works are legitimate" at the What We Believe page.

However.

It's a bit more than four months into the new board's term. One third of the organization's fiscal year has passed.


  • Strategic Plan. The roadmap for making a strategic plan was announced only a week ago.

    Not the actual strategic plan (admittedly, going from not apparently having one to finishing the actual plan in four months would have been rather fast), the announcement that the OTW is planning to work on one and how. Without an associated timeline.

    Because who'd want to know within what timeframe we (lovers, invested critics, and members of the OTW) could expect to see or read about various steps and when they'll be happening in making this strategic plan?

    The roadmap plan also looks... a bit academic.

    Much writing and assembling of reports and talking to already invested stakeholders of certain types, not enough "interviewing users" or "reaching out to desirable future stakeholders and users-who-aren't-volunteers."

    Where are the "work closely with Outreach on incorporating the results of regular OTW-general and project-specific surveys into the strategic plan" parts of the roadmap, or "reach out, using all of OTW's communications channels, to assemble diverse focus groups, and incorporate their feedback as users and potential users into the strategic plan" and similar steps?

    It seems a screaming oversight from Phase I of creating the Roadmap ("I. Create a list of every committee, workgroup, and volunteer pool in the OTW.") with unfortunate consequences for every subsequent step, that the first step isn't "Identify the audience, users, and potential audience and users for the organization's projects and activities."

    The second step would then be "Identify tactics for reaching them, and do so to solicit their feedback on what the organization is currently doing and what it should be doing." The current steps I and II would become sub-points of the new second step, which would no longer be limited to current committees, workgroups, and volunteers, but would include non-volunteer users and additional OTW audience groups.

    Why? A couple of reasons:

    The org is de facto working on representing fandom to the outside world. So the org's audience is not limited to people who work on and users of its projects. That's a not insignificant omission in the group of identified stakeholders.

    The org is also doing things with as intended beneficiaries fandom as a whole, not only its volunteers, committees and workgroups, and even not only current users of its projects.

    Who the OTW is doing the things it does for needs to be taken into account in every step of creating its Strategic Plan.

    Making life easier for the volunteers and making the org's internal processes more efficient is great and necessary! But the Strategic Plan won't be very useful as a strategy document if most of its findings focus on those and similar areas, and if all the constituents the org is aiming to reach and/or benefit aren't considered throughout the creation of the Strategic Plan.

    The risk: if limited to the steps/phases as currently described, the resulting Plan may become too much of an echo chamber document. One that would strongly take into account the people already invested in the org, but not take into sufficient account the desires and needs of people who could or ought to become invested in the org in the not-far future.

    I'm sure it would include plenty of ideas for Tactical Improvements, but it would fail at offering Longer-term Strategic Assessments to act on.


  • Yuletide. I would still very much like to see an announcement about there being (and who's on it) a Yuletide (Sub)Committee.

    Now (or better yet in Q1, but water under the bridge) is the time to announce "We acknowledge that as has been mentioned in multiple places Yuletide takes a lot of OTW/AO3 resources during certain times of the year. So although it had not officially been recognized as an OTW project before, we are pro-actively addressing that it does use significant OTW and AO3 resources and attention by 9-6 months ahead forming an official committee which has the mandate to plan and to communicate those plans and anticipated needs and ideas for making the stress on systems and people smaller throughout the months leading up to and during Yuletide challenge season! \o/"


  • User Survey(s). I love that the OTW held a community survey recently. The survey had some issues, but that it happened was a great first step.

    I really want the org to hold many more surveys, quite regularly, specifically asking for feedback on the OTW's various projects. Even the amount of participation in surveys can be useful data. I'd say an org-wide community survey once or twice a year, and surveys for each major OTW project once a year, increasing in frequency for any specific projects if they become particular hotspots of attention/user feedback/questioning.

    I would particularly like to see a survey focused on AO3 -- with lots of attention paid to sections on Tagging, How You Use The Archive As A Reader, How You Use The Archive As A Writer, What Do You Like Best About The Archive, and Which Changes Would Improve Your Use Of The Archive Most -- ideally posted before the end of June.


  • Communications. The OTW's organs of propaganda within and with fandom are a little sad.

    • I think it's important to make it obvious on every OTW (and subproject) post everywhere that post has been crossposted and where there are comments on it and how many. Letting people immediately see on which version of the post there might be conversation happening (that they might, you know, join!) is a very basic thing that is not being done enough. A bit embarrassing, given that the OTW does to a large extent come out of journal-based fandom where crossposting and letting people see where the commenting is happening have become standard.

      Coding in a "show all crossposts & number of comments there" footer into every official OTW communication that's crossposted on the OTW blog, AO3 admin posts, Fanlore news updates, the otw_news journals, etc., is or should become automatic.


    • I also wonder why something like the OTW community survey wasn't announced more widely at once.

      This is the kind of thing you want a simple communications campaign plan for along lines of:
      1. "Announce survey in/through all OTW(-related) communications channels within an hour of each other so no one who ought to see it feels left out or like less desired respondents"

      2. "Follow up with short not-too-spammy messages in selected channels reminding potential survey-takers about survey x days from survey closing and y days from survey closing" -- maybe combined with:

      3. "Post few 'yay, survey response!' messages in selected channels during and right after the survey runs and in final one indicate when survey results will be announced"

      4. "Follow up with survey-managing group to get survey results before survey result announcement date"

      5. "Announce survey results in/through relevant OTW(-related) channels (near-) simultaneously"

      6. "Assign volunteers A, B, and C to implement, D to oversee and communicate campaign tactics and adjustments with Comms Committee/Board/survey-managing group. (Volunteer B to be backup for D.)"


      Maybe the Communications Committee did have such a plan, but the first part (the coordinated, cross-channel announcement everywhere around the same time) didn't get implemented.


  • Volunteering. (includes personal grousing) I'm a bit frustrated by my attempt to become a volunteer, about which I first contacted the OTW last November.

    No, I don't have three to five hours a week I can commit to volunteering, but I have an hour most weeks, sometimes two or more, and there seem to be some obvious ways in which an hour a week might help the Communications Committee (even if it's just a final check to make sure that all OTW organs of propaganda posts show crossposting code). Or Outreach, or Volunteers and Recruiting, or some other committees.

    Yes, I might do tag wrangling for an hour a week, but I strongly suspect that volunteering as a tag wrangler without seeing lots of evidence clearly communicated that the AO3 search, filtering, and tagging system is actively being fixed from its currently not wholly functional state would make me an all too cranky wrangler.

    With something like communications or outreach I think to myself "I see something that isn't quite working as well as it could, and as someone who's done similar things before I suspect that even with limited time I could help with trying to make them a little more effective."

    While looking into tag-wrangling, I think, "Oh dear, I'm not a coder but it looks like to make AO3 tags -- which aren't working quite as well as they could be according to lots of people -- work better what's needed is a CODE OVERHAUL." (Or overhauling the file structure or other technical things beyond my ken, about which I know just enough to be frustrated when there's sort of obvious-looking problems with them that I know have been and can be resolved somewhat better in other open source projects, without being able to help fix them myself.)

  • Volunteering. (more systemic) I'd really like for the org to make it easier to volunteer in small amounts of time. Making it hard for people who don't have "enough" time to give to volunteer is counterproductive.

    At least, I've always understood that the idea would be to say "In that case, until you have time for the other thing you'd like to do, how about this other small task? or this other one? or stuffing envelopes/checking links/knitting cozies/addressing thank-you notes? Here's a binder that explains how; if you spend your first 30-60 minutes volunteering with us reading the relevant chapter you can be up and running with that particular one of these dozen Small Tasks!" instead of saying "if you can't commit 10 hours this month to training on Bigger Project, there are only very few options that take less time and if you don't like those, well, then we don't know what to do with the positive energy and intent you wanted to spend on our organization."

    Not that that works perfectly for every non-profit, and in whatever volunteer organization some volunteers do require a lot of handholding to be functional, but sometimes the volunteers who start out very small or require a lot of help initially turn into volunteering mainstays over time, and you wouldn't have gotten them in that incredibly useful position eventually if they hadn't been able to start out small.

    So. Especially in an org that works or tries to work like an open source project, very distributed, in many timezones, and without on-site formal trainings, it ought to be easier rather than harder to volunteer in small increments. Certainly for projects that do not or ought not require large or global amounts of knowledge about org-specific processes that are not immediately related to the specific tasks they might be able to help with.

    Faster ways to get volunteers on board including more of certain kinds of online documentation might make it easier to say:

    "So you want to volunteer. Great! Please work your way through the 'How to volunteer as an X' online documentation that's at location Y when you have time, and when you're done with it (or if you realize this volunteering opportunity isn't right for you and want to be pointed to the overview of different volunteering opportunities) tell us and/or ask any questions, and we'll set you up with the access codes/chat info you need to do the actual volunteering task. Yay!

    We do have chats every week, but as long as you attend one a month we'll send you the one-page summary of the other three so you'll still know about important changes and can keep doing your volunteer work even if you don't have time to attend all of the meetings!

    Also, if you ever need a break, there's a button on your volunteering dashboard that says 'click here to let your team/committee know you won't be able to volunteer for a while (if possible with 'from future date x to future date y' info)' and if at some point you want to quit altogether, we'd really like it if you filled out the 5-10 minute volunteer exit survey on what we did well and not so well to keep you interested in volunteering. Thanks!"



  • There are more things I love and more frustrations, but that's my OTW tl;dr for today.
ruric: (Default)

[personal profile] ruric 2012-05-03 08:48 am (UTC)(link)
Yes to all of this.

Particularly the observations about Strategic Planning & Volunteering. At my ex-org we'd always done really good surveys of internal stakeholders, the one I finally got them to agree to do with external stakeholders and potential stakeholders was such a revelation particularly with regard to the "what do you think we do, what should we do, what do we do well, what could we do better" questions!

I'm a little concerned about the volunteering process. The OTW seem to have made many post last year about volunteer burn out and the need for new recruits and then don't seem to be very good at handling communicating and responding to the many people who jumped into the breach.

I appreciate that discovering what your volunteers skills & availability are and getting them trained up is a time consuming task but keeping them in the loop with a short monthly briefing until you can find them a space is surely not beyond the realms of possibility? (Pulling together an "All potential volunteers mailing list and regular updates from the "we're really excited to have you on board" to the "this is what we're doing now and here's a timetable to give you some indication of when we'll get you involved".

Also slightly bemused as to how, in my personal situation, I heard that the Comms Committee was struggling, filled out the volunteer post with "Hi I have 20 years of internal/external comms & PR experience with non-profits" and heard nothing from Comms nad have been steered towards DevMem instead. Uh...OK? That kind of re-inforced the idea that people have individual fiefdoms and are not welcoming of help.

Glad to see the survey appear and organisational communications and transparency are definitely improving but there still seems to be a very long way to go.

I do think they're onto a good thing with the Stratgic Plan in terms of listing all committees and working groups (though surely that's a operational sub-group issue rather than a strategic one?) because as a outsider I'm still not convinced I understand the structure of the org and they seem to spend a horrendous amount of time in meetings (a common time suck in so many different organisations)!
jennyst: Jenny on a photo of space (Default)

[personal profile] jennyst 2012-05-03 08:00 pm (UTC)(link)
The most desperate need right now, just as it was back in October, is not for new volunteers, but to keep more of the volunteers we have. Recruiting more newbies doesn't solve a burnout problem, it just perpetuates the problem onto fresh targets. We're working on that as much as we can, while trying not to burn out ourselves.

Volcom are often able to explain why people have been steered towards particular committees, e.g. if they are aware that one committee is even more in need of help than another. But equally, I imagine if you replied that you were really much more interested in Comms than Devmem, they could reconsider. I do think your skills could be more useful in Devmem than an outsider would assume, though. For example, the recent drive was run and organised by Devmem and most of the posts were written by Devmem - Comms co-ordinate external communication, but that doesn't mean they do it all themselves.
jennyst: Jenny on a photo of space (Default)

[personal profile] jennyst 2012-05-04 12:10 pm (UTC)(link)
Yes, better tools and systems are being worked on, and have been for a while. But it's not a quick or easy problem to solve.

Methods of communication - each committee uses whatever works best for them, and are free to change it. For some of them, a meeting is easier for brainstorming, whereas others make more use of email or shared documents. It depends on the work they're doing.

We are currently in the process of making a big push to document and automate more. Some areas of the org have been doing so for nearly 2 years, and other areas are just getting started. Momentum is building, but it's not a quick or easy thing to do, as you say.

I suspect you're getting a lot of the comments here from the people who already agree with you, though - we're defensive when we know how hard we're already working to do the things you suggest, while we also need encouragement from people who understand. But what we really need is to convince those who don't agree, and to balance these hugely important long-term projects with the day-to-day crises.

I said a similar thing to the strategic planning group at the start, actually: Some of the things that you see as a screaming need, others in the org have seen as a desperate need for years, and have been screaming for internally for years. If you turn to the wrong person and ask them why it hasn't happened yet, they'll either cry or get angry as well as hurt, because most of us been working hard to try and improve things for a long time, against a lot of opposition and inertia. In some cases, I've already fought that battle and lost. I am so very keen for someone else to take over and win, but it won't happen if a new person just comes along and repeats the same mistakes I made - we'll just end up with another person burned out. We can't afford for more people to get burned out on the same mistakes we already made - we need to help you jump-start over them.

Improving the org is a marathon, not something that can be sorted quickly with a no-brainer solution. But I do appreciate the people continuing to discuss it.
ext_3626: (Default)

[identity profile] frogspace.livejournal.com 2012-05-03 10:05 am (UTC)(link)
Most of those points are a matter of practicality.

For example, holding many surveys, regularly... I have no idea how that would work. As far as I know there were more than 5,800 people who took the recent survey (according to the public chat last week) and that one had a lot of questions where you could write quite a lot of text in answer to the questions. Someone has to read all of these and evaluate the responses. My guess is that will be hugely time consuming and there are plans how to deal with that, but it's still something that requires resources and many volunteer hours.

This is not a job. All people involved are volunteers of the fannish kind and that often means limited time, different levels of engagement and people default. Not everyone who signs up for a fic exchange completes their story and not everyone who signs up for a volunteer position does the work required for that kind of position. That's normal in fandom and has all kinds of reasons.

However, that also means that sometimes people volunteer and when you try to reach them you never hear from them again and its next to impossible to get them to tell you what kind of experiences they have, to respond to mail, to show up for a chat, or to complete a task assigned to them. Sometimes you can't even assign a task because you lack the required information. (For example, someone volunteers for the Fanlore committee and you don't know if they have ever edited a wiki before and they never respond to mail send via the committee mailing list, etc.) That's the hazard of a completely virtual environment and part of the working conditions in any committee. You have to accommodate for that kind of thing and that often means things go slow. In the end, the work gets done and you move forward, and you and your fellow volunteers do all kinds of great stuff and have fun together (much of my fannish interaction these days happen inside the OTW :), but there is a bit of a disconnect between what people would like the org to do and what the members of the org as individual people actually can do.
julia_beck: Rectangular cake with white frosting and yellow inscription "AO3= <3" (Default)

[personal profile] julia_beck 2012-05-04 09:34 am (UTC)(link)
Actually, that's a "mini jobs" project that I suggested last term. So, it's been on our radar a while. But. Someone needs to implement that, and our volunteers committee is up to their nose in work. (More volunteers = more work short-term, so not a short-term solution.) They can't take on high-level projects like that now. We'll get to it -- but we need to get out of crisis mode first. (I mean, basically, this wohle term is us trying to figure out how to get out of crisis mode while also dealing with constant crises. Heh. But we're getting there.) I recommend [personal profile] renay's posts on the subject -- she's chair of Volunteers & Recruiting and knows what she's doing.
scribblesinink: OTW logo (otw)

[personal profile] scribblesinink 2012-05-09 03:02 pm (UTC)(link)
us trying to figure out how to get out of crisis mode while also dealing with constant crises

Quick tip (and easier said than done, of course): split responsibilities between volunteers responsible for every day tasks and "firefighting", and those working on long-term strategic planning. Do this at every level, including Board. Cause the crises will never stop happening, and Urgent will always take precedence over Important.

After we split our comms department at work a few years ago in a section made up of spokespeople dealing with daily media contacts, press releases and other suddenly erupting stuff that needs to be dealt with NAO, and a section working on comms policies and strategies, we've (finally!) made some progress in designing and implementing the latter. It's made a big difference.

In other words: those who work in "Operations" shouldn't also be tasked with "Strategy".
sanders: (Default)

[personal profile] sanders 2012-05-03 07:35 pm (UTC)(link)
In retrospect, the strat plan workgroup could have/should have been more explicit that the roadmap introduced is a very high level document outlining the very basic steps they're taking. You aren't the first to criticize us for not outlining how we will reach everyone. I say we because I'm one of the two board liaisons working closely with the group. One of the thoughts on analyzing the org through our existing (and former) structures is that each of those will include a given set of users, members, and potential users, members, staff, etc. It's very easy to say "let's examine all the OTW members" but, as we learned with the survey, likely to result in a flood of information without clear methods of organizing it and a high likelihood of being simply overwhelming. The approach for the strategic plan is to, instead, look at something like our Development and Membership committee and ask---along with procedural questions---who are the immediate actors among staff, who are the volunteer pool, who are our donors and members, and who has potential to join all of these groups? The next question is how does OTW reach them? That will clearly have some overlap of audience with AO3 users, Fanlore editors, and random fangirl group X, but it allows for slightly more tailored questions.

At the moment, no, there is no timeline, either internally to the workgroup or on the public-facing side. What there is, is a steep learning curve to how the org is structured, who the players are, and what documentation already exists. There is also a workgroup that took a bit of time to get on their feet. You write as if they've had an extended amount of time to work together, and the reality is, they have not; they came together for the first time in March and meet two hours a week. In between they were initially engaged in evaluating various methods of strategic planning in order to make recommendations (the roadmap published is the result of that) for how the org might go about carrying out this process. If you remember the election conversations, there was a lot of confusion about why the org even needed a strategic plan, who would be allowed to lay out a plan for getting to the plan, etc. That took time to resolve, and has also meant taking baby steps to get where we are, which is the workgroup diving into a bible's worth of documentation for one of our committees to understand how that committee works. There is no way at this point to predict how long that process is going take, the process of getting a firm (or at least less murky) understanding of what structures we already have.

I would think, given the mass of critiques about the opacity of the org and confusion from staff, volunteers, users, donors, etc, about the internal structures, it would be a bit of a relief to know there is a dedicated group documenting that and trying to produce information to make the org more accessible.

Regarding time, I also have to say this; our term was officially slated to start in mid-January. The reality, because of scheduling conflicts, expected staff turnover, and a mass of outside life issues for a large number of our people, is that we really began getting into gear in mid to late February. On the board level, and I've posted about this, the fundamental thing we've had to do was not worry about Yuletide, not write a strategic plan, not press Volcom into reform, but learn to communicate with each other. Again, I'm sure you remember the elections and the clusterfuck it became apparent the 2011 board was, and the high tensions between staff and board members in a number of places from the issue of strategic planning to AD&T to volunteer burnout. You know that Julia, Jenny, and I started on the board with very different visions for the direction of the board than Naomi and Francesca had articulated, and all four of came onto a board that had some deep, deep healing to do. It's taken time to build a foundation of trust from which we can address some of the thornier issues in the org. Yuletide, to me, remains one of the thorniest, and frankly it's just something we have not been prepared to discuss nor to prioritize. Assuring adequate staffing of committees, reparing fractured relationships between board and committees, those things have been more pressing and immediate to keep the org functioning on a day to day basis.

I guess what I'm asking you to understand is that the crisis mode many of us were operating in last fall? That's still very much an active reality we're working to resolve. We know there are parts of the org that are severely broken, and that there are places where we do not have clear lines of communication or articulated plans for the future. We know there are many places---too many---from which we are working just to get through from day to day.

Volunteering is one of those places for a few reasons. Some committees don't have or maintain a volunteer pool; they operate solely with staff (volunteers who have committed to given number of hours, for at least a year, with more direct responsibility for carrying out and supervising work). Communications and Volunteering and Recruiting are two of those. Finance is another, and the reasons for each committee differ. The challenge for those committees---which I came up against with Fincom for the first time this year---is we only have capacity to coordinate so many staff. That number is at the discretion of the chairs, but it is an issue of practicality. How many people can one (or two in some cases) volunteer committee chair provide supervision, mentoring, and resources for without losing track of the work that must be done is the core issue, and one we are looking at critically this year. Yes, it's clear there are places where overhaul and redefinition are needed, but it's also a matter of juggling the immediate needs of the org against looking forward.

It took four years for the organization to hit this point of struggle and for the questions at hand to arise. It's not all going to be undone in four months. The best we can do, and what we are doing every day, is take steps toward remedying the most immediate needs while keeping conversations open about the larger systemic problems.
julia_beck: GIF with Sackboy and captions "cute. capable. determined!" + "OTW translationmasters!!" + "now with added jetpacks" (translation_masters)

[personal profile] julia_beck 2012-05-04 09:14 am (UTC)(link)
This is a fascinating conversation, and I raise you a glass on those criticism. (I'm always amused at the idea that being part of the OTW is like...being a cheery brainwashed slave to the machine. Uh. Why did [general you] think anyone decided to run for Board -- because they thought everything was fine and dandy and all they wanted was access to Martinis and pool boys? Heh.)

Still, I won't deny that I'm warring between exasperation and agreement -- it's really both! In general, I always come down on the fact that it's a high form of flattery that [general you] are holding us to such a high standard; but that still doesn't mean we can always live up to it, or rather, live up to it in the expected time frame. Like with the survey? We had exactly (0) people with survey experience (the expert we had recruited flaked out on us, as it happens so often). This was all us learning by doing; and I remember we had an exchange on why there wasn't a media blitz to publicize it. *wry grin* We're not that well-oiled a machine; the simple fact was that people were still asleep across three continents, I was in arrears anyway because I had had surprise house guests that weekend (and anyway, I do think that spreading it out wasn't detrimental, either. More on that soon).

So this isn't to detract from your points at all; I'm glad we're being challenged, as we should, and I hope I'm not coming across as too defensive. I just feel the need to point out that it's not from lack of trying, ignorance or bad faith (the most common reasons I see around) that we're not living up to expectations. [I know the ignorance part can be debated, but even that isn't true to the assumed degree. Hi, we have the mod of FF_exchange on the Board.] It's just emotionally exhausting, and tedious, and sometimes I just want to, like, sleep, or finally beat that FF9 boss battle instead of arguing about bylaws. That's a reality, and I think it's okay -- I'd rather work on systemic issues at my own pace rather than burn myself out on this trying to ~fix everything NOW~.

*sips Martini*

...not really, I'll stop procrastinating and get back to work now >_>;
disorderofthephoenix: (SGA:I love this town!)

[personal profile] disorderofthephoenix 2012-05-03 09:02 pm (UTC)(link)
Greetings on behalf of the SP workgroup! We see your love and frustration and raise you ours. :)

These are all really good points and I just wanted to let you (all) know that we've been working on a follow-up post that we hope will clarify a lot of our intentions re: the purpose of/our goals for the roadmap, our current process, our internal and "external" communications plans, and on the eventual planning process itself.

We'd also like to encourage people with questions or comments or both to contact us directly in addition to posting on your individual spaces!* Ultimately, this exercise is all about improving the OTW's functioning and all the stakeholders' experiences. We're honestly looking forward to creating a transparent process that reflects multiple views and this kind of input and questioning is totally valuable to us.

~ Megan

* I know direct feedback will be easier when we get our official OTW e-mail address up and running (and I'll update this comment when it happens), but for the moment please feel free to reach me at megcwalsh@gmail.com and I can share comments with the group.
tiyire: (Default)

[personal profile] tiyire 2012-05-03 09:33 pm (UTC)(link)
Some very interesting thoughts!
I don't agree with all of your points (for example I don't think a Yuletide subcommittee is necessary and very frequent surveys would be way too much work), but communications and volunteer management could definitely be improved. Yes, please show me where the comments are, there never are enough! (That can't be too hard to do, right?)

I think an issue many committees have right now is a lack of documentation. In the beginning maybe they didn't think of it or it was too complicated, then everyone knew what was happening anyway, and suddenly there are a lot of newbies who don't know and it's a lot of work to write down the procedures and what has to be done. I know that several committees are working on that right now, and I hope it will make it easier for new people to start with small tasks without being overwhelmed in the beginning.
A "break button" would be great. It's frustrating if people just stop responding to emails and you never know what happened to them, and an easier way to say "I have exams and will not be available the next three days" would be very convenient.