New Co-Main Owner

Muffins has been promoted to co-main owner. He will be working alongside me to help with day-to-day operations. He is limited primarily in his ability to create or modify guidelines, but for the most part he has the same responsibilities and abilities as I do.

For the most part, his power will not be limited, and owners and other staff members can report issues, concerns, questions, or suggestions to him if desired.

Clarification on Staff Activity Policy

It was recently suggested that I do something about a fraction of the staff who are mostly inactive. I thought this would be a good time to review my stance on dealing with staff activity.

I have said this before in informal settings, but I will say it again that I do not particularly mind too much when a staff member is mostly inactive. If they are able to come online even a few times a week and help while they’re there, I find that to be acceptable. If we trust someone to be a moderator, then it is beneficial to the chat to have them online at the chat as a moderator, even if it’s for a very short amount of time per week. As the saying goes: The more the merrier. Keeping them as a moderator does not really hurt the chat in any way. I do not believe it devalues the efforts of other people working to become a moderator. For members, I am a little less lenient since members should be trying to prove themselves to some degree.

This policy does not adversely affect the efforts of people who wish to become a member or moderator. We are always looking for new staff. If someone is able to earn it, they will get it. There is no cap on the amount of staff members.

Going forward I will monitor activity levels better and will demote people if necessary.

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.

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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.

Click here to go to the contest page.

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).

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.