A "veterans" board -- why?

Ok so I just created this board and it's only accessible to Full Forum members -- post count being >100 posts.  Why the elitist move?

Well, the truth is that I'm just not capable of managing this forum by myself.  Between email management (fielding questions), submissions management (blog posts), and just getting the site to keep working, I find I'm left with little time to manage the forums.  Thankfully, you all (and others) are great members and doing a ton already.

That said, I need help in a more formalized way, so I wanted to create this board to talk about that with you all.  Essentially, there are two things I'd like to implement on this forum:

1 - a "constitution" -- basically ground rules that cover forum behaviors.  I want to have a document we can point to when we need to make decisions that a member may find disagreeable.  In other words, if someone steps out of line and needs to be banned, I want to be able to say "look you broke this rule -- and that's that."  I think this is a good way to stay impartial about abuses -- and thankfully we don't really have bad members, but it can happen and I want to be prepared in advance.  Additionally, I think the doc could cover some ground rules about trolling, taking out negativity on the forums, flaming, etc.  We want to keep this a postive place.

2 - moderators.  We've talked about this a bit before, but I think it would be helpful to have some other members moderators, and you guys being the veterans either know who to tap (and they don't *have* to be a Sr. Member) or may want to take on the job.  

2 should follow 1 -- as in, let's nail down 1 first and then we can tackle 2.

So let me open the floor: what rules do you think should be in our Forum Constitution?

- Engage other forum members with respect.  This means tolerating different viewpoints from your own and as a general rule of thumb, engaging others as you would if you were talking to them face to face.  If you'd not say what you're posting to their face, don't say it at all.

- Avoid overly sarcastic remarks.  Electronic, written communication is frequently misunderstood, and sarcasm is one of the biggest culprits.  This isn't a ban on sarcasm, but if you are being sarcastic, make it obvious -- wrap your sarcasm with <sarcasm></sarcasm> or use a lot of smilie faces to denote you're kidding.  You have to over-emote on forums or risk miscommunication, which can lead to unnecessary offense or arguments.

- Don't post just to post.  Post counts are just that: counts of how many times you post.  If you posted one-liners 1,000 times, you'll have a high post count and also have added a huge amount of noise to the forums.  Forum posting is about quality and not quantity.  Focus on posting quality comments and you'll quickly build a reputation as a quality forum member.

- Post topics in the appropriate forums.

- Avoid negativity.  Sometimes we just want to vent.  That's fine, but if it becomes a habit and you are venting all the time on the forums, you bring down the tone of entire community.  If you have a gripe, make it known but do not beat a dead horse.  

- If you are taking issue with another forum member, elevate it to the attention of the moderators.  DO NOT TAKE MATTERS INTO YOUR OWN HANDS.  Moderators are here to mediate discussion when things get heated.  If someone is doing something offensive, let the mods know!  That's what we are here for.




Ok that's what I got off the top of my head.  Thoughts?  Additions?  Clarifications?

Justin
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Comments

  • Forum rules are a great idea. More moderators would be nice as the forum gets bigger. Apart from the jamwalker incident, the only other offensive post has been the "11th" finger post, which was immediately taken down.

    I think a FAQ post or something to that effect would be good since a lot of the posts are question asked by newbies, who haven't perused the forum, that have been answered before.

    Also maybe a fit questionaire/form answered beforehand about fit like foot measurements, width etc. are needed to answer questions of "Are my vffs the wrong size?"

    That's all I can think about currently.

    P.S. When did I become a superstar?  8)

    P.P.S. Not related, but why does the forum link on the blog page keep getting shifted over to the right?
  • Definitely agree on the FAQ. Also possibly a sticky post titled "Post Your Excitement About Your First Pair Here" as that seems to be a frequent topic. Otherwise, I don't have any immediate suggestions for rules. All the bases seemed to get covered.
  • I have less then 250 posts but can access this board.  Might want to double check your settings.

    As for rules, you should probably spell out what kind of promotions are allowed, personal blogs probably ok, but shoe store owners hyping the brooks beast, not so much.
  • Ah you know, when I originally created it, it was the same 17 people who were full members and senior members, so I originally clicked "full" and then thought I switched to "senior" -- anyway, full is ok too -- it's only 19 people!

    Re: FAQ post - that's a good idea and probably something that should be "locked" to editing for a set number of people -- so it would only contain Q&A and not discussion.

    I wonder how to streamline your fit questionnaire thing ... not sure if I can set up a board where you have to fill in certain things before posting.  Good idea ... just not sure how to do it.

    Re: Superstar - glad you're paying attention ;) But then again, you're a superstar!

    Re: Forum link ... just been playing around with the look of those links ... just kinda liked the aesthetic layout of putting the VFF stuff together and then the hubs together (wiki/forums/photo index)
  • on 1267643311:

    I have less then 250 posts but can access this board.  Might want to double check your settings.

    As for rules, you should probably spell out what kind of promotions are allowed, personal blogs probably ok, but shoe store owners hyping the brooks beast, not so much.


    yeah, sometimes promos get out of hand especially when posted more than once through out the boards.
  • on 1267643878:

    I wonder how to streamline your fit questionnaire thing ... not sure if I can set up a board where you have to fill in certain things before posting.  Good idea ... just not sure how to do it.


    Maybe have a notice post or read before asking post that lets the person know to post foot measurements before asking fit questions and also include what vff model, color, and size they're having problems with.
  • Justin, what you're suggesting makes sense, given the development of the Birthday Shoes forums. And an easily-viewed constitution or set of guidelines would be a big help to newcomers. You might be able to configure things so that newcomers would have to view and agree to the guidelines before registering.

    If you need a moderator for the VFF/Barefoot Running forum, I'd be happy to help.

    Alan
  • on 1267644209:

    on 1267643878:

    I wonder how to streamline your fit questionnaire thing ... not sure if I can set up a board where you have to fill in certain things before posting.  Good idea ... just not sure how to do it.


    Maybe have a notice post or read before asking post that lets the person know to post foot measurements before asking fit questions and also include what vff model, color, and size they're having problems with.


    yeah a READ FIRST stickied at the top of the sizing/fit discussion.  Good idea and I'll do that now.

    Re: Promos ...

    - Store owners are not allowed to post to numerous threads their store promotions.  Any store promotions are limited to the Buy/Sell/Trade board and store owners must actively engage in the forum community *outside* the buy/sell/trade forum.  This forum is not a place to openly solicit business!  If you are interested in advertising on birthdayshoes, contact Justin via the "CONTACT" link.
  • I think the store owners have been good about not spamming the forum. I was actually more bothered about the barefoot running workshop posts being multi-posted.

    I'd like to be considered as a moderator too.  ;D

    I also second AlanT  :)
  • its nice that these forums are among the most polite i have participated in - i cant remember ever seeing any hostility etc since i joined - i hope that all keeps up - all the ideas from justin and members sound great - let me know if i can be of help
  • Yeah, we've been pretty lucky. I like it when everyone knows everyone else. I really don't join forums unless I feel like I can work my way onto the regulars list.

    But in preparation, a mod or two might be a good idea.
  • I would say that over the 600+ memebers we might have around 100 "active" members and a ton of lurkers.
  • I think even 100 might be generous, but there's a level somewhere between active and lurker I suppose.
  • Justin

    As a suggestion, one of the most rounded sets of rules/guidelines I have come across can be found here.

    http://www.autounity.net/index.php?s=676f53e830faaf005776f4ac4c82f9a2&app=forums&module=extras&section=boardrules

    From memory, think this comes up/have to agree to before registering.

    Jaosn
  • Looks good to me.

    Though I'm blushing a bit at the "don't post to post" part.  :-[

    (Unsure if my "Welcome! :) " greetings to newbies is out of line.)
  • A FAQ of some sort seems a good idea, should it be related to the wiki in some way? And do folks think the wiki needs more work on it?
  • I will second Hawkeye and AlanT as moderator's :)
  • on 1267658434:

    Looks good to me.

    Though I'm blushing a bit at the "don't post to post" part.   :-[

    (Unsure if my "Welcome! :) " greetings to newbies is out of line.)


    I thought about that to, but I consider Rana the welcome wagon.  ;D We also know you're not trying to increase your post count, you're just friendly and contribute much to the forum. Now you can blush. ;)
  • on 1267660535:

    A FAQ of some sort seems a good idea, should it be related to the wiki in some way? And do folks think the wiki needs more work on it?


    I really haven't spent that much time looking at the wiki. Mostly because I don't like wikis in general, but maybe I haven't had enough time with one, who knows.
  • on 1267651507:

    I think even 100 might be generous, but there's a level somewhere between active and lurker I suppose.


    I agree that 100 seems inflated. Maybe more like 50 "active" and 10-20 regulars who are on the board all the time ;)
  • 50 "active" and 10 - 20 "addicts."  :D

    Alan
  • addicts probably would be a good word for it. I was addicted when I had a crap job and before I moved to New Orleans.
  • I've decided to withdraw my previous offer to be a moderator.

    Alan
  • Hmm, I'm not sure where I'd fit in.  I certainly visit regularly and consider myself a member of the community, but I usually only post when I think I have something to contribute.

    The community is very friendly and I only recall one incident where I think Justin actually had to ban someone - I believe the tread was about making VFF business cards.  Unfortunately, one of the reasons birthdayshoes.com might be so friendly is the relatively few active members on the boards.  Good moderators are key and the line they have to walk is tough - you have to find a balance between over censoring and complete anarchy.  Anyways, I think Hawkeye would be good, I also think Rana would be good.

    One of the forums I occasionally visit has a board called Marketplace set up specifically for vendors to pitch promos and other announcements.  I know many of those vendors actively participate on the other boards as well. http://www.home-barista.com/marketplace/

    Another thing I have see is Vendor specific boards (I believe I saw this on the MacWorld forums).  I'd love to see something like this were Vibram and TerraPlana discuss forum member questions, comments, suggestions, etc.  Or how about getting someone like Barefoot Ted to run a board on barefoot running for a week - anything like that.

    Posting the Forum Rules is always a good idea - but I think they are rarely actually read.  So I think a kind of quick-start summation of the rules linking to the full rules listed at the time of registration is a good idea.  I think the rules should include a procedure that will be followed before a member is banned, such as number of offenses (strikes) and how they well be related (email, DM, phone call for example), how and when I member in question can respond to a possible strike, how a strike will be determined (ie vote among moderators), possible probationary times, and perhaps a mechanism to allow members to resolve their differences through a mod.  These are just ideas.

    I recall Justin posting the actions he took to try to fairly resolve the member he had ban (mentioned above), he was very generous.  The member in question said something like 'he didn't know he had to extend common courtesy to other members'.  Rules may have helped here, or may not have, but having a procedure in place gives the member a chance and also provides moderators a set of guidelines to follow before banning someone.



  • Here are those autounity rules for review:
    he Rules of autoUNITY


    General Behaviour

    Be polite and courteous at all times. Consider how the written word comes across. There's no excuse for rudeness, if you can't say it nicely, don't say it

    Personal attacks, rudeness, flaming, baiting, insults to others, or arguments will not be tolerated. Open debate and the challenging of others' points of view and opinions are part and parcel of forums, but members will be required to conduct themselves respectfully and thoughtfully. Should the autoUNITY Management elect to intervene, appropriate action will be employed and Members who are deemed to have crossed the line handled accordingly

    A suitable level of decency is encouraged on autoUNITY. Members are required to use appropriate judgement when choosing user names, avatars, or images to post. Swearing / bad language should be limited to ‘The Auto Union Inn’ forum section. Any thread with questionable content should be labelled as such with the topic title also carrying *NSFW* (not safe for work). If the post is not deemed appropriate, suitably marked or reported, a member of the autoUNITY Management may change, edit or delete your post accordingly

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    With the exception of Official autoUNITY Gold and Silver Level Sponsors, no business, personal or private advertising, or selling of any kind, is permitted anywhere other than in the For Sale section. Specific guidelines pertaining to the For Sale section are outlined in the appropriate paragraph below

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    There is no ban on mentioning other forums, but clear advertising or repeated bumping of threads containing a web address linked to a product or service will not be accepted

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    Advertising with links to any business, service or product (other than Official autoUNITY Gold & Silver Level Sponsors) can be deleted at the discretion of The Admin Team


    @RANA -- welcome is totally ok.  I hadn't even thought about that when I said don't post to post -- what else can ya say to new people?  HI! WELCOME! I suppose I could always turn off the "count" for that forum.

    @kaio -- I think a procedure is a good idea.  The rules are important to have simply to be able to point to them and say "this is what you did wrong, and this is why we are taking action" -- so that it's not personal and not the mod's thing.  Rules are also important to keep mods in line, too -- nothing worse than having a mod who breaks rules and comes off as being powertripping!  I've seen it happen too many times ...

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