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SOCVR RO nomination for Makyen, 2017-11

I'm nominating myself for SOCVR RO.

Being an RO is both a responsibility and a commitment. It's important to be a role model for how people should participate in the room, while also moderating the participation of the other users. It also means making a commitment to sustaining and growing the room for the foreseeable future.

As a user, I already help by answering questions about procedure, and pointing out to others where something might be done better or where I see there are issues which need to be resolved, both in the room and in our interactions with other users (when it's something that reflects upon the room). As an RO, I will continue to do so.

Why me? This question really has two parts: Why do I want to be an RO? and Why should I be an RO? At the highest level of abstraction both of those questions have similar answers: A) I care about the room, both that we're doing something beneficial and how we're perceived on SO; and B) I'll do a good job. Saying "I'll do a good job" may sound a bit flippant. It's not intended to be. It reflects both my confidence that I can be even more helpful to the room by being an RO and a commitment to working with the RO team to do a good job coordinating/moderating the room over time.

I think SOCVR already has a good group of ROs. I'd be honored to work more closely with all of you.

@Aralun

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commented Nov 4, 2017

Have you ever disagreed strongly with a specific RO action or guideline? Which one?

@Aralun

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commented Nov 4, 2017

Please pick an example of an action or behaviour you find unacceptable and explain how the way the room currently works succeeds or fails dealing with it.

@rschrieken

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commented Nov 4, 2017

Now and then the room sees casual chatter on a wide range of topics. How is that best moderated, if at all?

@makyen

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commented Nov 4, 2017

Have you ever disagreed strongly with a specific RO action or guideline? Which one?

@Aralun, I don't recall strongly disagreeing with an RO action during the time I've been in the room.

There have been times where I've disagreed with the inaction of "the ROs". However, such impressions are difficult to separate between any times when ROs have chosen to not take action (if such exist) and times when ROs have just not been present or not been in a position to see the issue.

There have been a few times where I've felt that an RO should have provided a gentle reminder to users to not stray into discussing the user rather than the post. However, those times have been few and generally when there hasn't been an RO in the room. On the occasions where such discussion has continued, ROs have stepped in and reminded people to focus on the post/content, not the user. However, there have been times when I've felt a reminder to not discuss the user would be desirable, so that the frequency of such comments is reduced.

Prior to choosing to nominate myself, I did look at some times in the past where there have been situations which have blown up into larger meta issues. While my view of those is certainly imperfect, at a minimum due to some messages being deleted and me not being in-the-moment (hindsight is much easier), I have felt that within those times there were instances where ROs have not been sufficiently proactive. I'm hesitant to be specific because I don't want to dredge up old, closed issues where, from what I've seen, appropriate lessons have already been learned from the ensuing discussion.

I don't recall strongly disagreeing with any guidelines.

A significant part of my agreement with the ROs/guidelines is that who I am strongly aligns with the existing policies, which are largely an extension of Be Nice combined with what's necessary to maintain that, and to both in reality be, and to engender a perception in the SO community, that what's done by the people in the room does not go beyond what's acceptable (e.g. that the group does not step over the line from being a collection of individuals into being a mob).

@makyen

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commented Nov 4, 2017

Please pick an example of an action or behaviour you find unacceptable and explain how the way the room currently works succeeds or fails dealing with it.

@Aralun, The example that stands out most to me begins here (this associated cv-pls). In that instance, several of our room members participated in a discussion on a question and answer which could result in the impression by both the person on the other side, and others in the community, that the room members were ganging up on that individual. While we have a policy in place that there should be one point person involved in such discussions, the policy is, inherently, difficult to enforce due to involving actions outside the room, which must be seen, and recognized, by someone (which generally means someone that visits the post later in the process in order to be able to see what the actions were). While I can understand that there is often a desire to chip in with a comment, we should try to raise the bar which people use to gauge if a comment should be made when there is already someone interacting with the post (i.e. leaving comments, including those which are close reasons). This bar should be increasingly higher as more people interact with the post.

To remedy this, I think we should be reminding people more often when it does happen that we should be trying to let the person already involved on a question or answer be the one primarily interacting with a post. I don't think that it's possible for us to enforce that there should never be more than one person commenting on a post (at a minimum, there are CV actions which force comments to be made), but the number of people should be limited and the benefit to the OP should be of a higher concern.

I don't think that this type of situation is one where people are intending it to be, or for it to be perceived to be, a group against an individual. However, I do believe it's something we should be more proactive about curtailing in order to help our room members keep it as something they think about when participating in interaction on a post.

@makyen

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commented Nov 4, 2017

Now and then the room sees casual chatter on a wide range of topics. How is that best moderated, if at all?

@rschrieken, There's a nebulous line between a reasonable amount of casual chatter and where it becomes a distraction from what the room's about. Where that line is, is something which should be discussed among the ROs, a consensus reached, and the room informed of any change prior to beginning to moderate it more aggressively. Some amount of off-topic chatter is good for the room. It helps build relationships and increases bonding between room members.

My personal opinion is that there are times when off-topic conversation does go beyond what we should have in the room, not because the conversation steps over the line of what's acceptable, but because it effectively changes the topic of the room (at least for a time). However, my desire to be an RO isn't to impose my own view. Thus, I'm interested in participating in forming the consensus on this issue (or any other issue), rather than "it must be 'this' way".

If it's the consensus among the ROs that the current level of off-topic conversation is too high, then it would be desirable to have a general announcement that the FAQ on this will be more strongly enforced, as people will see this as a change and should be informed rather than have the first indication of the change be an RO asking them to take the conversation elsewhere. This could be something along the lines of "Hey folks, the ROs feel there have been times where the level of off-topic conversation has exceeded what we find to be desirable. While we don't want to curtail all off-topic conversation, we are going to be a bit more proactive in asking people to move off-topic conversations elsewhere."

In addition to something like the above, perhaps we can suggest that people use a pattern similar to: "Hey, I've got a question about [general off-topic issue]. If anyone has a comment or opinion, I'd appreciate you joining in [over here](some other room)."

I would say that the first step in moderating such, at the time it's happening, would be a reminder to the people participating that The Ministry of Silly Hats is available for off-topic discussion or that the topic might be appropriate for a different room, and requesting that the conversation be moved there. If such a reminder/request was not sufficient, then stronger measures could be taken.

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