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astolat

August 2018

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astolat

more about org transparency

While doing the chat followup questions, I got so caught up in writing the tl;dr team collaboration answer that when the "one hour warning!" note came through I realized I hadn't answered the others and I hastily dashed off fairly shorthand answers, so let me clarify a little bit more on the transparency question.

The point I was trying to make is, we can't improve transparency and avoid surprising people just by pumping out more information, because the vast majority of the people who use our tools on a regular basis just aren't looking at that information.

There are 2500 people or so subscribed to otw_news on dreamwidth and lj. The last AO3 news post got 85 page views the day it went up. By comparison, the archive as a whole gets 600,000 page views a *day*. And of those 600,000 pageviews, about half are by guests, so we can't even send out AO3 user notification emails and expect to reach everyone. There is a banner for the archive in the works, but that's obviously a very abbreviated communication method and intended more for "Please Support!" during the drives.

Therefore I think it's critical to approach our work with a mindset where we're prepared that if something goes wrong, we listen with an open mind and address, instead of relying that a news post reached everyone and being frustrated when people object to something after the fact.


That said, what I think *would* improve transparency is instead to open up our inner workings some more.

The internal wiki is where a lot of the teams including the Board and ADT keep all their meeting minutes. ADT for one also keeps the agenda for future meetings, details on projects in progress. Tutorials, step-by-step procedures, and all sorts of other super-useful information in there.

Currently this wiki is only accessible to volunteers. I think making it public would go a long way towards improving the org's transparency, because you could browse at your convenience instead of having to keep up with a stream of info, and because you could read in depth about any particular area you were interested in. Newsletter posts could link to the wiki areas for different projects to provide a useful entry path.

It would also be great for new coding and testing volunteers particularly, because they could check out the tutorials and noodle away on impulse. And while the archive software isn't yet designed for people to use for their own archives and setup is still a very technical beast, at least having our internal instructions would make it much easier for someone who wants to try setting up their own archive with it.

Plus this also wouldn't be causing extra work for anyone, because the committees are already using it. I don't think anyone in the org objects to putting out more info -- when we fall short on the communications front, it's generally because we don't have enough people with enough time to write up and post everything that people might be interested in. The internal wiki is full of stuff we're already producing, so we'd be able to provide lots more material at no extra effort.

So, that's the main idea I've got on improving transparency.

(I do also think that the upcoming Support board for the archive will really help not just with transparency but with engagement as well, because people will get to see what others are asking and help one another.)


If you disagree that we do put out good information, then I'm totally ready to hear what other information you would like to have, and I would love to hear other ideas for improving our flow of information out of the org, either from other candidates or anyone interested, btw. It's not that I think this is the one and only thing to do, it's just, this is the idea I have to share at the moment. :)

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The last AO3 news post got 85 page views the day it went up. By comparison, the archive as a whole gets 600,000 page views a *day*. And of those 600,000 pageviews, about half are by guests, so we can't even send out AO3 user notification emails and expect to reach everyone.

That's exactly how I understood your answer. It was interesting to see the different interpretations and reactions to it though. I don't know if making the internal wiki public is a good solution or not. I know I was curious about that wiki because everyone was praising it so highly! Having access to such a central tool would certainly give an impression of the kind of information that's available to staffers and what the processes look like.