Interview with Arca about the AVENwiki

Arca is the newest member of the AVEN PT.  They are helping maintain the AVENwiki. They kindly granted me an interview.  If you want to help with the AVENwiki, this thread is the first place to go!

Siggy: First, could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Arca: That question is trickier to answer than it should be! I’m not really one to brag about myself, even though there’s quite a lot that could be said. I wouldn’t know where to start really, I’ve always preferred to gradually reveal myself when appropriate. I guess I could list out the basics; I’m 20, I’m usually vague with my location for various reasons but it’s currently Manchester England, I’m usually vague about my gender too but I’ve identifed as genderfluid for a while, yet many continue to see me as female. Compared to the other communities I frequent, I’m unusually quiet with my details on AVEN. I tend to keep everything separate and avoid connecting any personal details with AVEN mostly due to some bad history on the forums. It seems that I hit some sort of controversy periodically, for entirely different reasons…

Siggy: The reason we’re interviewing you is because you’re on the AVEN PT.  Could you tell me what the PT is?  What’s its purpose?

Arca: Ahh, the exact interpretation of its purpose seems to vary slightly I’ve noticed. The AVENwiki itself states that it’s “a group of members dedicated to overseeing AVEN’s many efforts to bring education and visibility to the outside world”, that’s the core purpose. Alongside that, there’s a specific role for each PT member, these roles are usually what’s focused on day to day. Occasionally they serve a purpose within the AdMod (Administrators and Moderators) team too.

Siggy: And what’s your role in the PT?

Arca: Wikimaster (though the term “Wikimaster” is sort of archaic, it’s now defined as “Wiki coordinator”), which pretty much involves handling the Wiki and the Wikiteam (currently involves the PT, Tea (admin), RobinL and Fae). I handle the Answering Team stuff too. This pretty much involves responding to questions that are sent to AVEN’s Q&A email. We’re still in the process of building a functioning team for this one.

Siggy: Interesting, I didn’t know about these teams.

Arca: Oh yeah, the team is supposed to be listed here.

Siggy: So, about the AVENwiki.  Many of our readers aren’t familiar with it.  Could you explain why it’s important?

Arca: There’s actually a lot of useful asexual info contributed by AVEN’s memberbase on the Wiki, it’s just a mess really. Compared to other asexual-specific sources it’s not the greatest source at the moment, especially when we consider the horribly outdated software. Though the AVENwiki has a great advantage, articles can be edited by anyone with a registered account, and we welcome these edits! One of the issues with the AVENwiki is that it’s a little too specific to AVEN in some cases (and can even lack at that), though I guess that should be expected. At the moment it’s effectively hidden, there was a link on the front page prior to AVEN’s update, but we’ve since lost that link sadly, personally I would say this is the most damaging issue to face the Wiki, it’ll lose a lot of traffic and visibility this way.

Siggy: Do you think they’ll fix it to reappear on the front page in the near future?

Arca: I don’t really know what I can say, I don’t know what’s known to the public boards at the moment. As far as I know there’s an issue with the front page’s account right now, it’s something that the tech admin would need to fix.  Hopefully, I’d say yes.

Siggy: What would you say is the advantage of the AVENwiki over other resources, such as the Asexuality Archive?  Is it that anyone can edit it?

Arca: That’s definitely it’s greatest advantage I would say, we may be lacking in software, design and order right now but everyone’s welcome to edit our articles, which can easily be done with registered account.

Siggy: You said that sometimes it’s too specific to AVEN.  Could you provide an example of that?

Arca: That’s the situation right now, pretty much every article cites the forums as a source, pulling out a random article as an example. Admittedly in most cases the forums are the only source that can be referenced.  Still it’d be nice to see some external sources cited in future when possible.

Siggy: We have many readers who are not on AVEN, so I was wondering if they could help it be less AVEN-specific.  If someone wants to help fix the AVENwiki, how can they help you?  Where do they start?

Arca: If they’ve got some relevant info, they’re welcome to add that, ideally it’d be great to see citations but it’s not a requirement. Unfortunately, registered members are still unable to create new pages right now (spam prevention), the current proceedure is to request a new page from the Wikiteam, we’re always happy to comply when we can. Though as I’ve mentioned, anyone with a registered account can edit the Wiki (no unregistered edits, another spam prevention thing) unless the page is “protected”. Personally I’d love to see the Wiki become less AVEN-specific, but there’s no specific place to start (we’ve no complete public list of articles that need to be fixed).

Siggy: If the condition of the AVENwiki was improved, what do you think it could be used for?  For example, could it be useful to your Q&A team?

Arca: Hopefully it will serve its purpose as a complete and useful information source, we’re sort of half way there right now but it’s relatively messy. In regards to the Q&A team, we do use it as a source occasionally though we tend to reference the forums more often than not, but that’s mostly because the questions and answers can be specific and personal. The questions tend to discuss more personal matters, in these cases it’s more appropriate to point them towards the forums.  It makes more sense to reference the AVENwiki for terminology-related questions.

Siggy: I heard that there was some drama related to your recent election to the PT.  Do you wish to make any comment about that?

Arca: I’ve never really discussed it in length publicly or properly, I guess that’s really fed the issue and perception a lot thus far. The story’s a little sad really, it’s best to start out with the personal stuff… over the past year I’ve become a little flippant with personalities so to say, there’s been some issues with balance and moodswings. A few of my friends recommended that I should “vent it out” away from AVEN, or somewhere more private, which I did. This is where Avalanche’s forums come in, this is essentially where I let it all out, eventually someone was caught in the crossfire. It was a low point, but I was attacking AVEN’s mod candidates on Avalanche and one of them found out and stepped out of the election. There are many other things but I’ll keep it short! The AdMods clearly felt this was inappropriate, so they planned on revealing this stuff in the PT election’s Q&A, but someone breached their plans to do this… Yeah it was a bigger deal that it should’ve been.

Siggy: Sounds like it might have been a hard experience for you.  I hope it hasn’t discouraged you too much.  So, last question.  Do you consider yourself an asexual activist?

Arca: I’m not entirely sure what would qualify as asexual activism, I can’t say that I’ve contributed anything noteworthy to the community. Compared to the rest of the PT I’ve pretty much contributed nothing significant outside of the community thus far. Apart from that, I do discuss and explain asexuality when I can. Fortunately I’m not as negative offline as I may appear online.

Siggy: Very well.  Perhaps you’ll feel that you’ve contributed more once you’ve been on the PT for longer.

Arca: Hopefully!

Siggy: Any last words?

Arca: Oh I can seem isolative and quiet, sometimes totally unresponsive. I can seem like an entirely different person depending on the situation… it certainly feels that way, I don’t know how it appears to others. Not really ideal considering, but I get things done eventually. It relates to those earlier issues… other than that, there ain’t much more I can add!

About Siggy

Siggy is a physics grad student in the U.S. He is gay gray-A, and makes amateur attempts at asexual activism. His interests include godlessness, scientific skepticism, and math. While not working or blogging, he plays video and board games with his boyfriend, and folds colored squares.
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