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Resignation from Help Responsibilities

To all helpers,

Today is my last day as a main owner at the Help chat. I will be transferring all responsibilities to Muffins. He will be the sole main owner of the Help chat. Starting on January 26, 2018, please direct all questions, concerns, or suggestions to Muffins.

In 2014, when I was a moderator at Help, I maintained a three-page detailed document about the things that I would change if I ever became a main owner. Yes, I was that weird. At that time, I was extremely ambitious and was determined to become a main owner at Help. In 2015, I was promoted to main owner and immediately made many changes. I completely revised the rules to make uncertain policies clearer, and I gave more direction on how to handle certain tricky situations. I was also very receptive to feedback and implemented many other small changes based on feedback.

I no longer have this same ambition and am no longer up to the task of helping operate this chat. Since Muffins became a main owner here, I remained involved in decisions and management by communicating with him privately, but I was not seen on the chat. I recognize that I cannot dedicate more time to this chat, and at this time the community needs to see solid leadership, where possible. The staff also deserve a more visible main owner, which is something I can’t provide right now.

You can still find me around xat once in a while, including the forum. I will also still be a volunteer. With fewer responsibilities, I will be able to focus more on improving the ticket system. Perhaps in the future I will return to Help.

It really has been a great experience to manage this chat. Thank you to all the members, moderators, and owners who worked with me.

— Brandon

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.