autumnus: photomanip that looks like a monster with tendrils coming out of face and yellow eyes (anger)
Its been a busy week, I have 10-12 paintings that needs to be done and at least 5 books to be read, so this post was supposed to not happen. I am not comfortable making this post: I am not a good writer and I fear that I am too frustrated to be coherent. I don't write this to put out new ideas anyway. Posts linked below pretty much summarizes already what I mean to say. I am writing to support: to underline that this isn't few outsiders trying to cause wank. There more of us. There IS a problem here.

Links:

[personal profile] renay in OTW, or, I am exhausted.
In my opinion, when the majority of people departing feel not only negative about the organization, but hostile, hopeless, bullied, exhausted, afraid to speak for fear of reprisals or all of the above, there's something wrong. I am not leaving, but I'm out of energy for politics and cruising the political avenues of Not Pissing Off the Wrong People. I am used up and burnt out and I feel feeble.

This post is has a lot in parallel with how I felt in the org for the last 2 years as testing lead and later as a staffer, it is an eye opener.

[personal profile] starlady in More on the OTW 2011 Board Election

Secondly, while I can and do applaud Novik for the yeoman's work that she in particular has put in on the AO3 project, the OTW needs to move away from the model of individual "heroes" towards a model of "teamwork." Rather than there being only one Slayer, to borrow a fannish metaphor, on whom an entire project relies, the OTW needs teams of Slayers on its projects who are all equally capable of, and supported in, taking on the tasks of their committees.

Finally, the amorphous but incredibly harmful assumption that only people who exude sunshine and daisies, metaphorically speaking, can and should have a part in the OTW or on the Board is something that I particularly want to deny categorically. The tone argument in general is a poisonous tactic too frequently used to try to silence people and fans of color (such as [personal profile] sanders), and it's totally inappropriate for the OTW in particular. People have a right to be angry about the OTW. Quite frankly, I wish more people who haven't already left the OTW were angry.

2 points made I fully agree with. There are more points in the post.

[personal profile] ira_gladkovain The value of constructive negativity

It's hurtful for those who have legitimate issues with the org and how it's run to be told they're "encouraging dissention and unhappiness" or that they're being "divisive and negative" when they try to share their legitimate hurt or take steps to make the org a better place by pointing out problems while letting their hurt show. It feels a whole lot like silencing.

ties to starlady's second point there.

About "anger", server naming fail and "negativity"

After the second chat I did have some concerns about professionalism where Sanders was concerned. Not because expression of dissent and passion in it is something wrong, but because I know how the org works and frankly I want to vote for somebody who will not get themselves put on collective ignore due to talking back too much too bluntly (like I and several others did). Since then, my concerns are mostly laid to rest. Especially her answer to the followup question about need for specific committee members in board was spot on, well formulated while being very specific and not pulling punches. That is exactly what we need in board.

On the other hand I am both amused and appalled by some of the opinions going around. Everything from how the org apparently doesn't have a volunteer burnout problem, to Ms. Novik's comment that she would like to fix the rift caused by the server fail by a project like making otw t-shirts, to likening of arguments within OTW to israeli-palestinian conflict, and to people deciding declaring they will vote against change in the org because things are working the way they are now. It is very hard not to get insulted by the patronizing and dismissive tone of some of these posts/comments. Lets all pretend everything is okay, and shut up about problems so that we can all be happy. (except if these problems go on, there will be only few people left in the org left to their own happy world of denial.Considering how many people I've been talking to and reading the journals of are on the brink of burning out if they didn't already leave the org, it is not far from the truth)


The reason I dropped from my staffer role in 2011

I don't think I ever talked about this, because hey: must not cause wank. Plus, I am used to the mindset of: make it work or find something else to play with unless it is critical. For me volunteering for the org wasn't critical so I was happy to silently bow out assuming I was in minority.

My experience as a staffer for the last 2 years was one of having to argue very loudly and put a lot of effort into writing long emails or chats in a foreign language, as somebody already not comfortable with writing in her own. Often the effort only resulted in being ignored or the discussion just being frozen until somebody just fixed the issue the way their liking once everyone else was looking the other way. Toward the end it almost felt like I was spending all of the time I can afford to the org arguing and stressing about having to watch my English and phrasing, wondering if I will be called out again for being talking too much or being wrong. I was called out at least once, in a public venue: very rudely. This was the subtext I kept feeling: be quiet and do the work we tell you to so that you earn the right to be listened on decisions through coding or approval. I did try working with it, see if I could muster time and energy to put in expected time commitment to do all three (arguing, work I want to do and coding), failed at it repeatedly (it probably doesn't help that I'd rather not do coding work in archive due anxiety issues I have with programming in general that has nothing to do with the org.) I burnt out from my testing lead position and later liaison position because it didn't make a dent and it was demoralizing. Finally I decided to drop out because I felt the time I spent working on the org was a waste and better used elsewhere.

Where did this TLDR came from and how does it relate? My goal is not the single out a single committee but just give a concrete example of how the culture of "no dissension" ends up working. 

Elections and who I vote for

I vote for Jenny Scott-Thompson: This decision was made when I heard she was running for the board. I admire her work in the training for AD&T. I have seen her advocate and follow up on several issues. I know she can make changes happen, she did so, in several places even as a staffer.

I vote for Julia Beck: She chaired IO and a lot of her answers to the chat questions clearly indicate a good understanding of why the org is failing in internationalization and fandom outreach.

I vote for Lucy Pearson: I was less satisfied with some of Lucy's answers to the candidate questions but to me there is 3 main reasons to vote for her based on my own experience with her as my former chair and from what I saw happen during the election campaign. She listens. She knows how to mediate and resolve conflict without silencing. She is extremely good at making sure communication and transparency happens.

I vote for Nikisha Sanders: I explained my decision before but in addition, I think she has a lot of good ideas, and I think her previous experience in non-profits is huge asset to the org.

I do not vote for Betsy Rosenblatt: This one was tough one to decide, between her and Pearson and Sanders. In the end while I think that she has quite a few good ideas, she is too focused on one committee (Legal) which makes her a weaker candidate than the 4 I chose to vote for. I think through that her argument for having a lawyer on board is a good one, one that can be realized by an adviser on Board who attends meetings but doesn't have a vote. (Credit goes to Naomi Novik for this idea, unless somebody else voiced it before and I missed it?)

I do not vote for Naomi Novik: She is an amazing coder, founded the org, she has a lot of creative ideas, and I respect her a lot for those things. However based on her answers to some questions I do not think she respects us. For me the biggest alarming point was her answers to how she handles conflict which is basically shutting up conversation that goes too long and discussing something else that is less controversial. What she describes is an effective way of silencing different opinions. Good way to resolve a conflict goes through listening to other side and trying to understand them, then find a way that works for everyone. It doesn't go through saying "oh well. Lets not discuss this anymore, here have a cookie"



The short version (for those who don't want to go through the cut)

You should read More on the OTW 2011 Board Election by [personal profile] starlady, OTW, or, I am exhausted by
[personal profile] renay and The value of constructive negativity by [personal profile] ira_gladkova

I am frustrated with what is going on concerning tone arguments flying around, and org culture of silence in favor of the illusion of everything going fine.

I'll be voting (assuming my membership payment went through in time) for Jenny Scott-Thompson, Julia Beck, Lucy Pearson and Nikisha Sanders.

Date: 2011-11-07 04:21 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] onceamy
onceamy: Nothing special; just a pixelated rainbow. (Default)
I enjoyed working with you, when I was involved in AD&T. Your approach was really refreshing, after Testing had been so neglected.

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