elz: ao3 logo with pirate hat and sword (ao3 yarr!)
You may or may not know this, but in addition to founding OTW, Naomi Novik is also one of the most prolific coders behind the Archive of Our Own - she's been responsible for (among other things) the importing code, which allows you to migrate works over from other sites, the downloading code (omnomnom, delicious mobi files!), and the collections and gift exchange features, she's helped speed up the performance of the site by integrating new technologies, and over the last few months, she's put an enormous amount of time into a new tag set and nominations system, which should improve our internal processes by taking a lot of burdens off our tag wrangling team and which will also offer challenge runners a wider array of options. She's currently working with one of our front-end coders to revamp the site structure and appearance to make it more flexible and more accessible (this is coming soon!).

I've been working with Naomi for almost four years now, and she's been incredibly dedicated to the organization, especially given her other responsibilities - she checked into the coders' chatroom from the hospital while IN LABOR. She has a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm for fandom, and she's extremely effective at getting things done. She's also been on the OTW board previously, from 2007 to 2010, before taking a year off after having a baby, so she's familiar with the challenges and the workload - a lot of new board members get burned out, so having a couple of veterans in the mix is definitely a good thing. We currently have one board member who's been on since the beginning, two who started this year, and four open slots; five of the six candidates would be new to the board, and three of the six have experience as OTW committee chairs (Julia, Lucy and Naomi).

On a more personal note, I think that there were a lot of challenges this year that came out of not having any of our senior technical staff on the board: you're left with a game of telephone between board members and the organization's biggest project, which leaves a lot of room for miscommunication. And even when communication is flowing smoothly, I think it's as useful to have someone on the board who can speak authoritatively about the technical options and challenges associated with hosting/preserving fanworks and video as it is to have board members with legal and financial expertise. I also value the fact that she'll tell me when bad code or a bad idea could be better - that's not always an enviable task, but it's essential when we're trying to make the best tools for users. And she's been incredibly encouraging to me, as someone who didn't know anyone when I initially volunteered and who has come a long way with coding.

Basically, Naomi gets a lot done, I really enjoy working with her, and without her, none of the rest of us would be here. So that's my first recommendation. :)


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June 2017

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