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Feedback for Staff Elections/Volunteering

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Iam9man
2 hours ago, Puck said:

Could part of the draw be that AVEN so rarely bans people that people can basically act as they wish and know that the site will always welcome them back and let them do it all again? Could AVEN give enough people the feeling that they have some control over this little society when they feel they have so little power in the one outside?

Being very new to staff and relatively new to AVEN I do not share most of @Puck’s observations. These two, however, are ones that I had wondered too. I’ve seen a lot of bad behaviour go apparently unpunished, which did not inspire me to join the staff. Reading already declassed threads made me realise there’s a lot more activity behind the scenes than I had appreciated. That being said, I do think there is a fair bit of truth in the above and I hope this discussion is cathartic and helps us grow and improve as a community.

 

Personal opinions:

 

1. I thought the election process I went through was good, but would support tweaking it a bit as suggested by @Cheshire-Cat.

 

2. I think AVEN is absolutely fulfilling its mission to provide visibility and education. Without it in more or less it’s current form I would not have worked out my orientation. That being said, I think bad behaviour by a very small very vocal minority is making AVEN less welcoming than it should be.

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Una Salus Victus
7 hours ago, Cheshire-Cat said:

I wonder whether a standard set of questions could be used in elections rather than a Q&A period. That way you could have a nomination period, the member then does a bio and answers the set questions which is posted for the voting period. It would be a lot less stressful. 

This part I, personally think may make the elections a bit more bland. A standard selection of questions may not cover everything someone may want to know, and also can take the fun out of it for those who may make it that more colourful.

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Chihiro
16 hours ago, FaerieFate said:

I won't talk about what happened in your election, because I obviously wasn't around at the time (I think I was running against you?) Anyways. I will talk on this point for now. A lot of staff members leave for personal reasons. I've had to leave because of my own health. Now, I won't be like, "I'm the best mod, and everyone admires me! Aren't I great!" I wouldn't assume that I'm a mod that people admire that leaves. However, when I had to leave for health reasons, I wasn't going to be telling people that. So... I guess you can't always assume there's a "why" that occurred in admods. Sometimes they have personal problems in their life so they can't give that time to AVEN anymore (I've seen it a few times)

 

13 hours ago, Cheshire-Cat said:

Admod resignation threads are unmovable unless the admod gives permission as they can include quite personal reasons, however, if they want to tell the forum why they're stepping down they can do.

I am already regretting making a suggestion regarding this. What I expected was "Feedback noted. Will encourage admods resigning to consider making a good bye post if they feel like it". Instead I am seeing defensiveness. You know how you are taught to say 'hello' and 'goodbye', because its a 'nice thing to do' 'makes you the recipient feel friendly'.... the suggestion was along those lines. It didn't need this sort of explanation. This is why I dont even like talking about admod team.... always get the feeling 'Us vs them' and I never get the feeling of 'We are in this together and its for our good'.

 

I, obviously, know that this is personal decision. And I said it shouldn't be made mandatory. I am also aware that many people do not feel like discussing their personal reasons. I give up.... guess you all haven't worked in the kind of environment I have. No matter what the personal reasons, people have written a goodbye email when they quit their jobs. It has made them view these employees as human not a robot that abruptly stopped working due to malfunction.

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Chihiro
16 hours ago, FaerieFate said:

I think I looked at what happened after I was modded. Feel free to PM me if you have questions. Now, obviously I wasn't around when it happened, but I can at least answer some questions.

I appreciate you doing that, but I have already discussed offline with former admods.... not to mention the fact that the said violation happened while I was talking to former admods (who would have told me to shut up if it indeed was something against AVEN rules). I have understood that some people are completely immune to AVEN rules and knowing that, its pointless talking about this. Another reason why I don't even feel like being a mod. As @Kimmie. said, I don't like having the kind of power that comes with this position. This power will only punish certain people while others will walk away with no consequence.

Oh btw, you are doing a good job modding site comments like I would have wanted to if I had gotten that role. Keep up!

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Chihiro
13 hours ago, Mysterywriter221 said:

Helping new members shouldn't be used against those who want to take a more active role in our community. 

I got removed from election because I did exactly that. I asked if it was possible for new members to vote if they had fewer posts. There is no rule on AVEN that says asking that question is a violation, but I got removed because I tried to help. Anyway, since you have ambition to run for election here is my tip. Dont ever contact admods in PM. Ask your questions publicly. Else you will get mysteriously removed citing mysterious violations.

 

8 hours ago, .Lia said:

i'd like to see fun campaigning. posting on topic in threads with colorful banners in your signature. chatting up the election in chat. posting status updates. dedicated threads for each individual candidate in a specific forum (elections or announcements) where people could chat with the candidate, ask questions, or generally just shit post to get to know the candidate better. why is this not a thing? elections are so damn tedious.

This. Chatting up election in chat has always been a thing (while chat was functioning). This was why most of the admods were active members on chat once upon a time. I voted in past elections because whoever was running for election announced in chat that the voting was open and that they were running. Anyway, according to the new made up AVEN rules, thats not allowed anymore.

In the end, the election is a popularity contest. It doesn't matter what you say or do. Popular members get voted. You should either be popular on AVEN or popular with admods or a newbie. Easiest way to win with no controversy.

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Cheshire-Cat

@Chihiro Its not defensive at all. Just explaining for members who may not be aware why resignation threads aren't declassed. I agree that telling members when an admod is stepping down is a good idea. Even if it may only be something like 'xyz has stepped down as admod for personal reasons.' Of that admod decides they want to elaborate more than that should always be their personal choice.

 

You're also obviously still hurting from what happened in the election you ran in and I understand that. Sometimes communication may not always be as clear as would be liked, and I know sometimes admods can be a bit defensive when responding to queries about why certain actions have been taken. This can leave members discouraged from trying things again due to simple mistakes. I also know things like ToS can be quite difficult to read (though we have tried to improve that recently with a new layout) so it can be hard to find what was actually wrong.

 

 

Through declass I've seen the goings on of various admod teams. Some work together well, some not so much. I'd say the current team is pretty good. Doing declass or PT also gives a good insight into how the team works together, and what sort of workload an admod has. I do sometimes wonder though whether the bundling of forums puts some people off running. If I ever were to consider it when I had more time in the future I'd rather start on one quieter forum, and then potentially take on another. Yet the quieter forums are always bundled with another so you don't get that option. This probably also puts people off who aren't really sure what the workload will be like, and whether they can manage it. I think having a few admods who only have one quieter forum would also give them more time to be involved in report and policy discussion, so hopefully these wouldn't go stale as quickly and things would move faster.

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Road

Thank you for the feedback so far, everyone!

 

I agree with those saying that elections are more work than they are really worth. I found my election to be overwhelming and, if I had lost it I doubt I would have run again and go through all that again. Elections seem to provide more drawbacks than benefits - they seem to intimidate people off running and have a huge potential for causing conflict. I would be in favour of not having elections at all - at least for a trial period - to see if that causes any sort of improvement.

 

I would also like to see the prerequisites for becoming a mod dropped quite significantly - maybe to 2 months and 50 posts anywhere. If someone hasn't been around long enough or doesn't post substantially enough, they'll be vetted out by the community. I would give them a shot to prove themselves in the election/selection process rather than dismissing them outright.

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Una Salus Victus

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Janus DarkFox

As I read things here, should Elections stop and Nominations be enough to gauge staff skill?

 

should Elections and Nominations stop, gauging interest from the encouragement threads?

 

Or if somebody is interested, should that be enough, a PM to an admin, Admods discuss, considers and adds a member as Mod as and when required, this list could be maintained in a similar manner other Admods lists on members are maintained.  
 

There’s no requirements, only the PM that states interest or any experience elsewhere, an example would be like my say... experience managing people, land and voice channels in a Virtual space for 4 years or reddit moderation.  Such as which most of this experience is sensitive information when verifying and not able to be aired publicly. 

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Kimmie.
15 minutes ago, Janus DarkFox said:

Or if somebody is interested, should that be enough, a PM to an admin, Admods discuss, considers and adds a member as Mod as and when required, this list could be maintained in a similar manner other Admods lists on members are maintained.  

Something like that maybe,but that the team posts that a positions are open 

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Iam9man
51 minutes ago, Janus DarkFox said:

As I read things here, should Elections stop and Nominations be enough to gauge staff skill?

 

should Elections and Nominations stop, gauging interest from the encouragement threads?

 

Or if somebody is interested, should that be enough, a PM to an admin, Admods discuss, considers and adds a member as Mod as and when required, this list could be maintained in a similar manner other Admods lists on members are maintained.  
 

There’s no requirements, only the PM that states interest or any experience elsewhere, an example would be like my say... experience managing people, land and voice channels in a Virtual space for 4 years or reddit moderation.  Such as which most of this experience is sensitive information when verifying and not able to be aired publicly. 

I think there is some value in allowing members & staff to gauge potential staff, as they will potentially have access to sensitive information. Some form of bio/introduction/Q&A has value. So has a confidence vote of some sort, but the exact format of the vote could perhaps be looked at if we don’t feel it works (maybe at a minimum a “speak now if you have any objections or forever hold your peace”).

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Janus DarkFox
13 minutes ago, Iam9man said:

I think there is some value in allowing members & staff to gauge potential staff, as they will potentially have access to sensitive information. Some form of bio/introduction/Q&A has value. So has a confidence vote of some sort, but the exact format of the vote could perhaps be looked at if we don’t feel it works (maybe at a minimum a “speak now if you have any objections or forever hold your peace”).

A PM can contain relevant bio/introduction and Admods can have their pressing questions if any, more relevant questions privately. Yeah this can be a step after a candidate has passed the stage the Admod team has discussed eligibility, though instead of a vote of confidence, it be an Announcement for objections.  This allows Admods to look again at what if anything has been missed about a candidate, this could be the same timeframe at 1 week, no voting necessary.  I think even voting is on the down lately as well.

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Cheshire-Cat

The problem I see with saying it's admods decision is it will lead to massive claims of bias because the membership didn't get a say. So if someone decides to run, and decides someone in the current admod team has something against them, then they'll say they didn't get it because admods don't like them. By letting the membership vote the admods can't get that blame.

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daveb

Just wanted to say I am reading everyone's posts and trying to take it all in without getting defensive or taking anything personally. I hear a lot of disgruntlement, and won't argue that there is no cause for it since obviously there is. I am also interested to hear constructive criticism and suggestions for things we might be able to do to improve things, generic is fine, but specific ideas/steps would be even better. I know some of you have mentioned a few and I hope one outcome of this thread will be a list of the suggestions. We can always try to do better, even if perfection is unlikely/impossible.

 

Please keep the input coming. And thank you to everyone who contributes here (and everywhere on AVEN for that matter)!

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Road
1 hour ago, Cheshire-Cat said:

The problem I see with saying it's admods decision is it will lead to massive claims of bias because the membership didn't get a say. So if someone decides to run, and decides someone in the current admod team has something against them, then they'll say they didn't get it because admods don't like them. By letting the membership vote the admods can't get that blame.

Unfortunately, I think claims of bias are inevitable no matter what. While having elections certainly mitigates some of that, I'm not sure it does to the point of it being worth it.

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Janus DarkFox
1 hour ago, Cheshire-Cat said:

The problem I see with saying it's admods decision is it will lead to massive claims of bias because the membership didn't get a say. So if someone decides to run, and decides someone in the current admod team has something against them, then they'll say they didn't get it because admods don't like them. By letting the membership vote the admods can't get that blame.

An Announcement thread for Objections against a candidate can cover exactly this, if there's an overwhelming objection from the public, then its the teams prerogative to cancel the candidacy, admods will not fave the final say without the say of the membership.  It's difficult to gauge bias if there's no candidates running through the current system. 

 

With this system, it's up to the member to approach staff privately, removing the requirements entirely, they make bios/introductions, stating who and what they are, what the like to do, detailing actual off AVEN verifiable experience that can contain content that cannot be suitable for public eyes, then if the staff approve, then it's for the membership or put on a list for candidates later on and announced for objections.

 

Approved or not, a member can have the thread Declassed as usual DT rules and procedures.

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Road
3 hours ago, Janus DarkFox said:

An Announcement thread for Objections against a candidate can cover exactly this, if there's an overwhelming objection from the public, then its the teams prerogative to cancel the candidacy, admods will not fave the final say without the say of the membership.  It's difficult to gauge bias if there's no candidates running through the current system. 

 

With this system, it's up to the member to approach staff privately, removing the requirements entirely, they make bios/introductions, stating who and what they are, what the like to do, detailing actual off AVEN verifiable experience that can contain content that cannot be suitable for public eyes, then if the staff approve, then it's for the membership or put on a list for candidates later on and announced for objections.

 

Approved or not, a member can have the thread Declassed as usual DT rules and procedures.

I don't think I would agree with having a public thread for objections. I can imagine a lot of people being put off by the prospect of a public lynching.

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Kimmie.

What you could do is keep going as it is now but remove the Q and A week because that one is basically meaningless because the majority have already decide before that anyway. Especially when it is just one running. And then maybe push everything to just one week. So it will not take that up that much time.

 

Another thing i tthought of is having like a "work experience day" where members that are interested in the job could try something out so they know what it is like before they run for real. But as i got told that would not work out of member safety.

 

 

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Chihiro
9 hours ago, Cheshire-Cat said:

The problem I see with saying it's admods decision is it will lead to massive claims of bias because the membership didn't get a say. So if someone decides to run, and decides someone in the current admod team has something against them, then they'll say they didn't get it because admods don't like them. By letting the membership vote the admods can't get that blame.

This^^. I already see plenty of admod bias..... I have seen the whole admod team vote against candidates and months after found out the ridiculous reason for their bias against this candidate.

 

7 hours ago, Road said:

Unfortunately, I think claims of bias are inevitable no matter what. While having elections certainly mitigates some of that, I'm not sure it does to the point of it being worth it.

Yes, but that doesn't mean admods should do something to remove the 'claims of bias'. I don't like the way admods work, and I know that admods probably think that I am a 'headache', 'a problem candidate' because I have been vocal against them (everyone knows that admods prefer mellow members on their team). Despite all that, I am still here because there is some transparency and attempt to not be biased. This is the reason I am even posting in this thread, and this sort of dismissiveness again removes the trust.

 

1 hour ago, Kimmie. said:

What you could do is keep going as it is now but remove the Q and A week because that one is basically meaningless because the majority have already decide before that anyway. Especially when it is just one running. And then maybe push everything to just one week. So it will not take that up that much time.

 

Another thing i tthought of is having like a "work experience day" where members that are interested in the job could try something out so they know what it is like before they run for real. But as i got told that would not work out of member safety.

The Q&A is important. Many have said its tedious, but have you seen the number of times the same questions gets asked again and again and again? Yet, we the public, answer them again and again, so why can't admods do that? It also shows how an admod handles various questions. Even if it is only one candidate running. When people ask questions about their nudges, warns etc, it will be tedious or difficult to explain, and the admod should be able to answer them.

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Cheshire-Cat

If the nominations hadn't been as they are now I would never have run. When the election post came out I didn't know a out declass and it was o ly through talking about it on the nomination thread, and seeing noone else was running, that I decided to run for it in the first place. 

 

 

I've also never known all the admods vote against a candidate in an election. They get to make their own opinion on a candidate just like everyone else that's a member. However, if a candidate doesn't meet the requirements, or breaks the rules, then yes they may be removed from running for that election. 

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Kimmie.

If people are worried that the team has to much to say when it comes to voting, and who that can be a team member. Could you maybe not give it a try where the team doesn't vote themselves? 

I personally don't know if that would work and how ethical it is but it could make worried users feel like they have more of a say in the process. 

And a team member should not be allowed to speak for a certain candidate more than another, because of the trustworth a team member has. 

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Custard Cream

I haven't volunteered for anything. Not that I have any worries about what happens behind the scenes, more that I work long hours and don't have time for modding - but if I did, I wouldn't put myself under the pressure of the elections, answering questions which are either silly and meaningless, or sensible but unanswerable until you know how things work behind the scenes.

 

If the vote was based simply on public AVEN profiles with a trial period for the winner you might get more volunteers - let's face it, you already know a lot about members from their posts by the time they have been a member for 6 months.

 

Having said that, I'm quite interested in volunteering for AVENues - I write and draw, badly but enthusiastically in both cases - but I don't know what is required and haven't had time to root around for information.

 

 

 

 

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Cheshire-Cat
4 minutes ago, Custard Scream said:

Having said that, I'm quite interested in volunteering for AVENues - I write and draw, badly but enthusiastically in both cases - but I don't know what is required and haven't had time to root around for information.

This makes me think it could be a good idea to have a post in site comments which lists all the different voluntary roles within AVEN, and how members can apply for them. At the moment I'm sure there's roles I don't even know about as a staff member.

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Kimmie.

Yeah a lot of this seems to be because lack of information and when there is information it is not clear where it can be find.

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Janus DarkFox
1 hour ago, Cheshire-Cat said:

This makes me think it could be a good idea to have a post in site comments which lists all the different voluntary roles within AVEN, and how members can apply for them. At the moment I'm sure there's roles I don't even know about as a staff member.

There are already a list what roles mods and admins, possibly PT do, I’m all for expanding that for all else on AVEN, it’s in Site Info Centre - Mod and Admin Roles

 

Back to topic: - Requirements may not need to be a thing or dynamically change with demand

 

Nominations are still important.

 

Theres Heavier balance for removing the election questions or keeping just serious questions about the actual job, a minimum basic interview like question to gauge competence.

 

People are going to hold biases, though it’s important to lift those biases, what’s important is job competency not any other reason I’d see.  People are going to bias vote regardless, not having that vote but important questions about the tasks at hand are the minimum standard I see currently.

 

people coming forward at any time rather than when demand needs requires it, having a list of eligible members and messaging the member if they are still available or interested when times are needed.  This is often in line with other forum communities.

 

Another question though is co-mod-ship is still necessary at the moment, current staff could spread if we see further staffing losses.

41 minutes ago, Kimmie. said:

Yeah a lot of this seems to be because lack of information and when there is information it is not clear where it can be find.

Site Info Centre - Mod and Admin Roles

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Road
5 hours ago, Chihiro said:

Yes, but that doesn't mean admods should do something to remove the 'claims of bias'. I don't like the way admods work, and I know that admods probably think that I am a 'headache', 'a problem candidate' because I have been vocal against them (everyone knows that admods prefer mellow members on their team). Despite all that, I am still here because there is some transparency and attempt to not be biased. This is the reason I am even posting in this thread, and this sort of dismissiveness again removes the trust.

I agree that we should take steps to reduce claims of bias. I don't think the bias reduction you potentially get from having public elections is worth it if those elections makes it so that you can't actually get anyone interested in becoming a volunteer in the first place. I'll take a full team that people perceive as more biased over a skeleton crew that is overworked and can barely run AVEN. My fear is if things continue on the path we are on, we'll end up with the latter.

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Kimmie.

Another thing i just realize is that when we vote for a new mod we are voting for them to be a mod at a certain forum, and not for them to 1 month later move to another one. I know that this is a most and can't be stopped.  But that is maybe something that should be told when a job is announced that they are first for forum A but can be moved to forum B.

 

And @Janus DarkFox there are more jobs then mod and admin. 

My place in AVENues i just got by knowing the right people and that is not right. There should be a way for people to apply if they are interested without having to know the right people. 

God the elections really brings out the worst in me.

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Chihiro
1 hour ago, Janus DarkFox said:

Theres Heavier balance for removing the election questions or keeping just serious questions about the actual job, a minimum basic interview like question to gauge competence.

I like how the election questions are asked, silly and serious questions included. Candidates are free to "not answer" anyway, so why change this? If someone thinks its a pain in the ass to answer certain questions, they can ignore it.

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Cheshire-Cat
2 hours ago, Kimmie. said:

Another thing i just realize is that when we vote for a new mod we are voting for them to be a mod at a certain forum, and not for them to 1 month later move to another one. I know that this is a most and can't be stopped.  But that is maybe something that should be told when a job is announced that they are first for forum A but can be moved to forum B.

It's not that's mods can be moved but that can chose to move or swap forms if someone wants to swap out or someone leaves.

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Kimmie.
2 minutes ago, Cheshire-Cat said:

It's not that's mods can be moved but that can chose to move or swap forms if someone wants to swap out or someone leaves.

So basically when we vote we are voting for someone to be a mod in general and not to a specific forum if they can move if they want? 

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