Analysis of Survey Results

The survey results are in, and as I promised, I will be reporting the findings. In this post I will outline areas that need improvement and areas where we’re currently doing well.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My Performance as Main Owner

Areas where I’m performing well:

  • Staff are able to comfortably report issues to me.
  • Reports are usually spread on a need-to-know basis.
  • I have an apparent interest in solving reported issues.
  • Changes to the chat are well-communicated.
  • Issues with staff drama are well-handled.

Areas where I need improvement:

  • Although the results leaned toward “perfect amount of leniency” when dealing with other staff members who violate rules or need some sort of intervention, the results indicate that some improvement could be made in this area (average rating: 3.53; 5 is best).
  • I am not active enough (average rating: 2.65; 5 is best).

Performance of Owners

Areas where owners are performing well:

  • Owners appear to effectively handle reports that need to be passed to the main owner.

Areas where owners need improvement:

  • Although responses varied, owners could do a little better in solving issues reported to them (average rating: 3.76; 5 is best).
  • In general, owners get a low C for professionalism (average rating: 7.06/10). While this may not be an effective method for determining professionalism (some critics may say it’s best to evaluate it on an individual level), it’s important that the team of owners is considered professional.
    • In general, I expect owners to act a little more professional. I shouldn’t need to explain what this entails, so I won’t. If I see issues with it, I’ll correct it. If issues with professionalism are reported to me, I’ll deal with it then too.

Points of Interest

  • With an average rating of 3.76 (5 is best), some work needs to be done with the promotion of guests. Perhaps there are people helping as guests who do not get noticed, or they do get noticed and it takes too long for them to get promoted.
    • Although all members have to be approved by me personally, it only takes one owner to suggest someone to become a member. I am actually open to moderators suggesting new members too. I have a general disliking for situations where guests become temporary moderators, only to be demoted back to guest once their time as moderator has expired. For this reason, I prefer to make someone a member if they are trusted with the powers that a moderator has.
  • It is the average perception that members are promoted to moderator in a timely fashion. However, there have been some complaints about the time that it takes to become a moderator. For example, there was recently some frustration involving a member who had been a member for a long time but had not yet been promoted to moderator. In this instance, it was not brought to my attention.
    • I feel that a little work needs to be done in this area: (a) If an owner feels that someone should be promoted, they should tell me about it; (b) I will start keeping track of the dates when people become member and will use this list in addition to the member’s activity level to determine if a promotion to moderator is necessary.
  • We need to make helping the number one priority.
    • If you are having a general conversation with others while someone needs help, focus on sending fewer messages until all users have been helped. You may encounter situations in which one staff member is helping an individual and users are having a general conversation. The messages from the general, off-topic conversation may “flood” the chat in some sense, causing the important messages (meant to help the user) to be missed by the person who needs help. This means that it’s not always appropriate to carry on a conversation even if someone is being helped. We need to make sure that people are being helped, and that they are seeing the messages meant to help them.
  • I will continue to not make blog posts about people who are promoted.
  • I will try to make more blog posts to keep everyone in the loop.

The Big Background Contest of 2017

It has been a while since Help had a background contest that was worth participating in. In the coming days I will be collecting donations and preparing for a background contest which will be hosted on the xat forum.

The prize pool continues to grow! So far, we have collected: 15500 xats.

There is no upper limit on the prize amount, and I will continue to collect donations until the prize is ready to be given to the winner(s). If you are interested in donating, please contact me. I will accept xats, days, and powers worth at least 100 xats (trade value).

In an effort to encourage participation in the contest, the contest duration will be long. I will also try to get designers from non-English communities to participate, as these designers are often unaware of contests conducted by Help.

This post will be edited when updates are available.

Ticket System Problems

A few issues have been identified with the ticket system.

  • The ability to view your tickets by logging in seems to be entirely broken.
    • Solution: The link to the ticket will be posted in the email that is sent when a reply is sent.
  • After clearing cookies/cache or while using incognito, ticket creation seems to be broken. This has not been fully tested.
    • Solution: Request help from a volunteer on the forum or contact a volunteer at Help.
  • Users who are logged in and paid will get an infinite security check error in certain identified circumstances under these help topics: Account block, account hold, location update, domain unblock, shortnames & groups.
    • Solution: Request help from a volunteer on the forum or contact a volunteer at Help.

Minor Bot Changes

Some minor changes have been made to the bot.

  1. You can now say the literal text “rule x” where x is a valid rule number to get the bot to say the rule that corresponds with the number you entered. The bot doesn’t explain the rule, but it can be helpful when you want to quickly show a rule to a user. You’ll have to tell the user to view the rules below the chat for more details.
  2. The minimum rank for the !shortname command has been set to guest.

A Note on Temporary Moderators

When I was made the main owner of Help, I decided to change how we handle temporary moderators and members. I’ve noticed we have strayed from that original idea or path, so I’d like to correct it and offer some information about this.

I generally do not like the idea of making a guest a temporary moderator, only for them to return to being a guest. If we trust them to have the power to temporarily moderate the chat in the absence of other staff, then we should trust them to be a member. For this reason, I always envisioned that it would be much easier to become a member.

However, I recognize that there is a need to allow guests to become temporary moderators once in a while. From now on, it’s acceptable to make a guest a temporary moderator, but only for one hour at a time.

I also encourage any current member or above to suggest new members. The person doesn’t have to be extremely active. They just need to: a) come on a few times a week at least, b) show that they are a good helper, and c) demonstrate a level of maturity required of moderators.

October 2016 Update

Since we have not had a formal meeting in quite a while (six months), I decided to plan one. Most staff were there, but if you weren’t, this is for you!

  • Only volunteers active at the Help chat will be able to retain their rank. In order for a volunteer to become an owner, they have to show interest and be there regularly, but they are excluded from the process of going from member, to moderator, to owner. As long as I deem them active, they can become an owner.
  • Focus less on kicking users for minor infractions. It seems confrontational. Instead, you can give a “verbal” warning if it’s a minor incident.
  • The bot no longer detects inappropriate nicknames or statuses. This avoids clogging up the chat with banning users who keep unbanning themselves and setting an inappropriate name. This means moderators should largely let unregistered users with inappropriate nicknames stay, or an owner should mute them. If an owner isn’t available and the problem is bad, you can turn on protect mode.
  • I’d like to reinforce the idea that I care very little about how many events you have when it comes to determining your activity.