Nov. 13th, 2011

deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
I've been involved with a lot of non-profits over the years, and as I watch the current round of drama around the OTW elections and code rollout, I can only think how normal, even minor, this drama seems as non-profit drama goes. I know that's cold comfort to the people who are miserable, piled upon, abused, or what-have-you, but it comforts me, because I know there's nothing unusually wrong.

Some observations from the peanut gallery )

I do wish I had participated in one of the candidate chats, because I would have asked whether all roles are expected to be volunteer indefinitely. I don't know of any organizations who have managed to do systems administration in a completely volunteer way. Naomi, I think, understands the difficulties of why systems is so difficult to do as volunteer, and I'd like to know what she and the other candidates think about possible solutions to that problem.

In any case, everyone I've worked with at the OTW has been great: the angry people and the placid people, the burnt out people and driven people, the people who focus on the Archive as the flagship of the organization and the people who think the Archive already draws too many resources away from other projects. Like many nonprofits, the organization's biggest source of friction is that there are too many bright people who care passionately. I'm not going to downplay how very real a problem that is for sustainability. But on the other hand... Well. I think I've absorbed too much business-ese lately, because I'm thinking that if I were going to do a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats analysis of the OTW, the "too many bright people who care passionately" would be both Opportunity and Threat.




As a side note: The AO3, from the inside, does a better job of automated tests (in that it has them) and QA than most other software projects I know, and yes, Dreamwidth is nowhere near as good at the OTW at these, I saw you people over there claiming that DW does it better. I've seen inside both sausage factories. Software development is hard, yo, Anyone who thinks crappy releases never see the public has never used Windows Vista.
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