facetofcathy: four equal blocks of purple and orange shades with a rusty orange block centred on top (Default)
[personal profile] facetofcathy
but I couldn't bring myself to see if I even knew my password there.

(and hello to anyone still tuned to this frequency, I know it's been a while)


Organization for Transformative Works Strategic Planning Committee Report on the Wiki Committee and Fanlore team(direct link to the PDF)

is a dreadful document. And maybe one of the saddest things I've ever read in Fandom. Sad for me, anyway, because I used to care about Fanlore.

This document is a map of disillusionment and dysfunction. It's a horror story about wasted dreams and lost hope and futility.

And it isn't even exciting or disquieting like a horror story should be. It's banal. Death is slow and bureaucratic in this story. You get crushed by indifference, and no one gets a blaze of glory.

It also has a really long title. Why not just change it to


Here's an excerpt that sets the tone nicely.

At the time of our surveys, the Wiki Committee had very few active staff members, leading to a low number of respondents for the staff survey. When we followed up this term with the current Wiki Committee chair, the situation had not changed, with only two "generalist" staff members (including the chair), two "technical experts" and one "consultant"; the chair described the committee as effectively only consisting of two people.

~emphasis mine

That number 2 comes up again. (And since the bloody report is a bloody PDF I'll not try to copy anything else.)

2 is the lonely number of current to the survey period, non-chair, committee members who answered the survey.


Out of 20 former committee members invited to take the survey, 4 people took part.


2 is also the number of current or recent chairs who participated via email interview.

Eight people. Out of 7 years of committee members.

You wanna know how many editors and gardeners (editors with limited admin privileges) filled out the version of the survey they were offered?




That's why there even is a Fanlore. Those 42 people who, with the rest of 7 years worth of volunteers have made 27,745 content pages.

So, they're the redemption storyline here, right? The brave and stout of heart who edit on, undaunted by the vastness of the organizational not giving a shit they are surrounded by.

Have all of us who made Fanlore proved that you don't need an infrastructure? That crowd sourced chaos works? Is this the secret moral of the story?

Yeah, I don't thinks so. I'm sure you're all sufficiently imaginative to think up a scenario or two where disaster could strike Fanlore and there'd be no one willing or able to do anything about it. Or, you know, notice.

Is it hopeless?

Damned if I know.

The only thing I know is that those 42 editors and all who came before deserve a hell of a lot more than having this report land silently on the OTW website on a Saturday.

They deserve to have the board step up to the plate and--you know what, I can't even listen to myself say that shit anymore.

Go read the report. It's full of long lists of goals and suggestions and ideas on how all this can be fixed. See if you can spot what isn't on those lists. (SPOILER: it's who and how)

Just for fun try appending the phrase, "with 2 active committee members and no documentation" to each one. It makes the narrative come alive.


Drowning, not swimming. Because no1curr.

Date: 2014-02-09 02:22 am (UTC)
anatsuno: a cartoon fork with a sad mouth (with the text: forked again) (argh)
From: [personal profile] anatsuno
I'm one of the ex-Wiki committee members from years ago (from the founding period) who could have answered the survey but didn't. It's not because I don't care; it's because years later I'm still traumatized enough that I didn't want to dredge it up and suffer the months-long consequences on my energy levels and general mental health.

Date: 2014-02-09 03:55 pm (UTC)
anatsuno: Rose Tyler in the crosshairs of the last Dalek (caught)
From: [personal profile] anatsuno
To be honest I never had the impression that there was any serious institutional interest in Fanlore to begin with. The painful stuff I buried pretty much all revolves around the enormous communication & support issues between the committee and the board from day one onwards (until I left, anyway; ofc I can't speak to what happened after).

Date: 2014-02-09 01:02 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] alexbayleaf
Yow :(

Date: 2014-02-09 01:43 pm (UTC)
havocthecat: the lady of shalott (Default)
From: [personal profile] havocthecat
Oh, wow. That is...something else. I'm not even sure what else it is.

Date: 2014-02-09 05:06 pm (UTC)
vamp_ress: (Default)
From: [personal profile] vamp_ress
It's sad in and of itself that it makes me happy to have stopped caring about Fanlore years ago, saving me a lot of mental stress.

Date: 2014-02-09 08:52 pm (UTC)
tiyire: (Default)
From: [personal profile] tiyire
I can never say enough about how amazing the gardeners are. We'd be lost without them.

Date: 2014-02-10 02:17 am (UTC)
samjohnsson: It's just another mask (Default)
From: [personal profile] samjohnsson
For what it's worth, as brutal as the Wiki report is, the Grants report is...worse.

So very worse.

Date: 2014-02-12 05:01 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
another interpretation is that many people think surveys are a waste of time and decided to skip it. Skewing the results towards the chronically disaffected and those who love ticky boxes.
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