2023 OTW Board Election

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Event: 2023 OTW Board Election
Participants: Organization for Transformative Works (OTW)
Date(s): June-August 2023, voting 11th-14th August
Type: Election
Fandom: panfandom
URL: OTW Elections site, FAQ, Main OTW site
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The 2023 Organization for Transformative Works Board of Directors election will take place between June 19th and August 14th, 2023.

On June 19th, 2023, the candidates for the 2023 OTW Board Election were publicly announced. Initially seven candidates contested four available seats.[1] Later, 2 candidates withdrew, and a sitting Board member resigned with an incomplete term, resulting in five candidates running for five available seats, an uncontested election for 3 full terms and 2 partial terms.[2] In alphabetical order by given name, the candidates were:

The 2023 election continued the practice, begun in 2022, of not revealing the full legal names of candidates running for the Board of Directors, except in emails sent to OTW members. [5]

On August 15, 2023, the Elections Committee announced the 2023 Elections Results. In alphabetical order, Anh, Kathryn and Qiao were elected to serve full terms (3 years) on the Board of Directors. Jennifer and Zixin, were elected to serve partial (2 year) terms on the Board of Directors.[6]


Key dates for the 2023 OTW Board Election are as follows:

  • June 16th: Candidacy deadline
  • June 19th: Candidates publicly announced
  • June 25th: Deadline to submit Q&A questions for candidates
  • June 30th: OTW membership deadline for prospective voters
  • July 27th: Final Q&A answers from candidates are posted on the OTW Elections site
  • July 29th - 30th: Four multi-candidate chats on Discord (various times UTC)
  • August 11th: Voting begins at 12:01am UTC
  • August 14th: Voting closes at 11:59pm UTC
  • August 15th: Election results announced
  • October: Board turnover begins. [7]

For a more detailed timeline of events for the OTW 2023 Election, refer to the 2023 Election Timeline.

Candidates' Platforms

Members of the public were able to submit questions for the candidates via the Elections Committee.

Election Statistics

The 2023 Election had a total of 15274 eligible voters, of whom 4247 cast a ballot, representing 27.8% of potential voters. The number of ballots cast decreased 7.1%, from 4574 ballots in 2022, and the percentage of members voting decreased, from 39.3% in 2022.[8]

Fans discussed the cause of the decrease, with some pointing out that it was an uncontested election, so there was less incentive to vote.



Audrey R.

A controversy regarding one of the candidates went viral on social media after it was discovered that she had run in a Republican primary election in the U.S. in 2022. It was the second year in a row that people feared a candidate was a sleeper agent or otherwise had pro-censorship views that would hurt the archive: see 2022 OTW Board Election. It was also revealed that she is the Policy Coordinator at Children and Screens, a research institute which advocates for, amongst many things, the elimination of access to pornographic material by children[9], a policy widely opposed by human rights groups and LGBTQ advocates on the grounds that it will threaten the privacy, safety, and access to information rights of young people[10].

Some have pointed out that she ran as an independent before, and she might have only chosen to run as a Republican to have a chance of winning in her district, and that she does not have the typical conservative opinions of an average Republican.

Combining her locale, statements, and platform, she's at worst a centrist who's running with the Republicans for a chance to win and actually try to change things within the system in which she's contained. There's no evidence of her being pro-censorship. There are legitimate concerns about the effects of social media, screens, and the internet on youths, especially because they're so relatively recent in our history. People saw her party, her organization, other people's reactions, and assumed the worst.

Anonymous ask on Tumblr

Others reject this attitude, with some drawing comparisons with Nazis:

[u/EchoEkhi, in a Reddit post summarizing the controversy]
it's important to remember that the republican party is huge and different people inside it have widely different beliefs and political views.
[u/Writefuck, replying to the post in the comments]
If a Nazi is welcome at a table of three, then there are four Nazis at that table.
Im european and i think the republican party is nut. Any "not all republicans" are by extension necessarily nuts. Im not here to discuss nuances with people that willingly affiliate with actual fascists.

[Username omitted upon request]

Unlike the first year, when the org did not officially comment on the viral speculation and conspiracy theories until after the election, and only in the Board meeting minutes, the Elections committee put out a public statement condemning harassment against the candidate: Elections Committee Statement on Harassment. The candidate withdrew her candidacy and resigned from the OTW.

Many fans criticized the OTW for failing to protect the 2022 candidate and accused the organization of racist double standards (the 2022 candidate was Chinese[citation needed] and the 2023 candidate was a white U.S. citizen[11]). Meanwhile, one current OTW volunteer said that the public statement was made in part due to his insistence: "but one of the reasons they said something is that I voiced my very unhappy position [in] the Org chat tool that they're setting up a wonderful pattern of leaving candidates hanging ... and that at this rate, they'd not get candidates in future terms."[12]

Fans questioned whether the 2023 candidate had truly been harassed, suggesting that she was too sensitive to any criticism of her political views, although both the Elections Committee Statement on Harassment and Audrey R's later account of the events[13] mentioned harassment against her employers to try to get her fired.

Audrey R. accused the Elections Committee Statement on Harassment of being overly vague and not effective enough to curb the harassment. In a later Tumblr comment[13], she stated "The org would not help me at all. The eventual statement made things worse." The additional information was then discussed on fail_fandomanon.[14]

Emyn a.

Emyn a. withdrew his candidacy on June 23, 2023, with no reason cited.

On July 28th, Emyn a. spoke out about his reason for the withdrawal and resignation from the OTW, citing Dhobi ki Kutti's incendiary behavior, a culture of disrespecting confidentiality, and the incompetence of the current Board of Directors.

dhobi ki kutti began posting her questions a few weeks before i left. these were questions we were already asking - progress on the 2020 pledge, the treatment of azarias, PAC, POCvols and cvols, etc. however, this also included posts that were deliberately inflammatory, where she would refer to actions she disagreed with with provocative descriptors such as 'disgusting', and was deliberately antagonizing and intimidating to others in the internal chat, particularly when she felt other vols weren't engaging with what she was posting. dhobi ki kutti mocked those who were stressed and uncomfortable by how she was posting in her ccap responsa, but i cannot stress enough how aggressively she was posting about what was happening compared to everyone else, both other POC vols and otherwise

in addition to this, a number of volunteers had begun leaking internal discussions to FFA. I'm not talking about personal stories, but often copy-pastes from other volunteer discussions and internal messages. dhobi ki kutti herself had began posting internal information to her personal dreamwidth and sending this information to other DW users without considering if the people she was posting about were identifiable. it was becoming very clear to me that a significant subset of the otw volunteer base no longer cared about the privacy of other volunteers. dhobi ki kutti has made it clear that she does not care about the privacy of other volunteers so long as she can use statements to discuss structural racism in the org.

at the time of leaving, i felt like i couldn’t trust anyone. i did not feel heard by the board, and i felt like the concerns of vols were being completely ignored. i felt i couldn’t post anything in the chat for fear someone would post it contextlessly in a DW community that has often been hostile. i didn’t even know if private messages to my friends in the org were safe. this was as a direct result of the behaviour of dhobi ki kutti, the silence of the board and the actions of other volunteers who kept leaking information to FFA and DW.

Partial quote of the Tumblr post by Emyn a.

A Tumblr user who claims to be an OTW volunteer also spoke out against the behaviour of Dhobi ki Kutti:

#fwiw kutti also made me uncomfortable#i agreed with the content of her messages#but her tone was so combative i did not feel comfortable even emoji-ing her messages#i am a poc volunteer too -- im chinese but not from china so i didnt experience as much racism#but like. ive been intentionally keeping quiet about being chinese in the org the entire time#bc i was always worried about potential racism#its bs isn't it#this has been an insane week for the otw...

Tumblr Reblog by laisai

Some others, who aren't OTW volunteers, disagree with Emyn a.'s judgement of Dhobi ki Kutti's behaviour.

You have advanced the argument that because a volunteer made you feel uncomfortable, you feel it’s appropriate to make a post complaining about her behavior and blaming her for your exit from the org. Even as you acknowledge that OTW leadership has utterly failed its membership and volunteers, you insist that Kutti’s behavior is singularly awful, such that it justifies you blaming her for your exit. That is ridiculous, it’s callous, and it’s racist.

You [Emyn a.] have no standing here. You are being a racist bully and exposing your own disqualifying ignorance of basic managerial skills.

Partial quote of a Tumblr Reblog by stopthatimp

Candidate Chat Questions

An anonymous person submitted "malevolent questions" for the Board candidate Q&A directed at a mainland Chinese candidate, and the Elections committee decided to share the questions with the candidate in advance.[15]

The questions were then shared and answered during the live chats on Discord on July 29-30.[16] Another volunteer shared on dreamwidth an additional redacted question along with the candidate's response (with permission)[17]. The questions falsely insinuated misbehavior on the part of the candidate, and the redacted question claimed that the candidate had committed a crime. The questions involved incidents that only OTW upper management would know about, making the questions themselves, intended to defame and endanger the candidate, yet another example of the OTW management's racism. Spectators of the live chats spoke out against the racism of the questions, though unlike the official chat channel, the "open chat" was later purged and no transcript was published. (This policy was announced in advance.) The anons on fail_fandomanon also thought that the Elections Committee had exercised poor judgment in approving and sharing the questions, even redacted. Some even suggested that the questions had cost the candidate the election.

Azarias commented on fail_fandomanon that this was the "SECOND time I know of a volunteer trying or threatening to get mainland Chinese volunteers arrested and the Org responding with 'Meh.'" Azarias described another incident in which a volunteer joked about using their access to user data to report mainlanders to the Chinese government; Chinese volunteers had reported the incident to OTW, but the reports were ignored until Azarias, who is white, made the same report.[18]

The tumblr account fandomantiracism posted an essay connecting the poor treatment of the candidate to a larger pattern of discrimination. "The Chinese volunteers at the OTW have been continually ignored, dismissed, mocked, or threatened for voicing concerns when OTW activities stumble into sensitive political, cultural, or legal issues. They have also faced retaliation for speaking up against the racist behavior of OTW leadership."[19]


  1. ^ 2023 Elections Candidates Announcement, Organization for Transformative Works, published June 19th 2023 (Accessed June 26th, 2023)
  2. ^ Resignation of OTW Directors, Organization for Transformative Works, published July 27th 2023 (Accessed July 27th, 2023)
  3. ^ Withdrawal of Candidate Audrey R., Organization for Transformative Works, posted July 26, 2023. (Accessed July 26, 2023).
  4. ^ Withdrawal of Candidate Emyn a., Organization for Transformative Works, posted June 26, 2023. (Accessed June 26, 2023).
  5. ^ 2023 OTW Elections Candidates Announcement, Comment Thread including official answer from the Elections Committee on their current legal name policy, 20 June 2023. Access 6 August 2023.
  6. ^ 2023 OTW Election Results published August 15 2023. (Accessed August 15 2023)
  7. ^ 2023 OTW Election Timeline & Membership Deadline, Organization for Transformative Works, posted May 3rd, 2023. (Accessed June 26 2023).
  8. ^ OTW Election Statistics for 2023, Archived version, Organization for Transformative Works, posted August 23, 2023. (Accessed 9 September 2023.)
  9. ^ Children and Screens Policy Brief, Archived version , 2023-08-21.
  10. ^ Letter: 90+ LGBTQ and human rights organizations oppose KOSA, Fight For The Future, published 2022-11-28 (Accessed 2023-08-21)
  11. ^ Photo of Audrey R., Children and Screens Institute. (Accessed 2023-08-07)
  12. ^ comment on petra's dreamwidth post, Archived version by samjohnsson, 2023-07-26.
  13. ^ a b Tumblr comment, Archived version, 3 August 2023.
  14. ^ fail_fandomanon thread, Archived version, 2023-08-05.
  15. ^ fail_fandomanon thread, Archived version, 2023-07-26.
  16. ^ Chat Transcript – July 29 1:00 UTC, Archived version, 2023-07-31.
  17. ^ Racism within the OTW, dreamwidth post by dhobikikutti
  18. ^ fail_fandomanon thread, Archived version, 2023-07-29.
  19. ^ A pattern of dismissal and retaliation, Archived version by fandomantiracism, 30 July 2023.
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