Suggested sticky/announcement to help keep MAIL on track.
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Joined: April 15, 2002
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Location: Calgary, AB. Canada.

Suggested sticky/announcement to help keep MAIL on track.
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Posted on Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:45 am
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So, lately again there's been some issues raised about MAIL, and the BOD ignoring members, and the BOD being evil, and people in the community being cruel when they leave feedback, and so on.

Most of these have been addressed in actual discussions recently or in the past, and for the most part, my take is that they are completely unfounded and were just people ranting about how they felt and wanting to denigrate others, never actually pointing out any examples or wanting to work for a solution. It's usually phrased as something like "this always happens", like it's so frequent it must be obvious.

But, *shrug*, a few people keep trying to convince others that it's true.

There's really no point in discussing *if* it is happening, as it seems some people believe what they want to regardless, and those discussions never end reasonably anyway.

So, I figured, why not take things people have been saying, especially things about why people say they do not want to participate here, and ignore whether they're happening or not, and just say what to do when they do happen. To outline how members do have a voice and what they can do to make MAIL the kind of place they want.

Anyway, here are the issues that've come out over the years, and what members can do to influence it rather than just be disgruntled. I figured a locked sticky in the Knitting Circle would be appropriate:

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How You Can Ensure M.A.I.L. Remains Friendly, Educational, and Encouraging

There have been some recent issues raised, on several sides, that could probably use addressing. Rather than explore or debate them, I thought it best to just outline what to do if/when they are an issue, and continue as always, to pursue a better M.A.I.L..

M.A.I.L. exists as a grand central library and school for the art of chainmaille, created by the users and artists. It archives weaves, hosts pictures, discussion forums, articles, chat, and other educational resources. In a perfect world, every answer to every question a person had about chainmaille could be found here, every bit of inspiration is here to inspire, every way an artist can improve or challenge themselves is here at their fingertips, and the community easily facilitates new innovation in the art. That's the big picture goal, and the way M.A.I.L. goes about its business should always pursue that end.

Here are some concerns about M.A.I.L. straying from that path, and what you can do about them, or to help make sure M.A.I.L. heads in a good direction:

1 - If you think someone has been attacked or threatened, or you see something against the content policy like nudity or spam.
2 - If you feel a moderator has made a poor decision.
3 - If you feel you or someone else has been attacked, threatened, or mistreated by a moderator or administrator.
4 - If you feel any member has been overly critical of your work or words, or acted in a way that makes you feel unwelcome, but in a way has not broken any official rules of conduct. (For example, if someone said they thought your necklace was ugly and this upset you).
5 - If you feel that there is no acceptable type of feedback to leave other than saying it is pretty, or that disagreement of any topic is frowned upon, or if you do not get any useful feedback when you post your own work.
6 - If you are concerned with, or do not approve of the direction the website is headed in design, or how your submitted content will be used, or how a particular area works.


What to do:

1 - If you think someone has been attacked or threatened, or you see something against the content policy like nudity or spam.

Chances are it's obvious and the next moderator that notices it will take action. However, mods are volunteers and there are times when things slip through the cracks and they need your help.

The easiest way to get an administrator's attention quickly, is via the live Chat. In the top menu, it's under Community --> Chat. There are usually 2-10 administrators there (anyone with a "@" in front of their name), 24/7. If people are not currently talking, usually within a few minutes someone will see your message. Just pop in and let someone know.

The next easiest is to send a PM to a moderator.

The types of behavior outlined do not require much if any debate or interpretation, and are not acceptable under our content policy and will usually be addressed swiftly.

Don't presume it was not addressed because moderators thought it was okay or no one cared. Let someone know.


2 - If you feel a moderator has made a poor decision.

First, re-read the situation to be sure you have your facts straight. Moderators are there to help you and minimize problems. Most moderating actions should be stamped. For example "[Edited by Cynake - Removed picture because of nudity]". Simply send a PM to that moderator asking for an explanation.

If you are not satisfied with the explanation and you think the decision was bad enough that it needs to be overturned, ask for an appeal and explain your point of view. At this point, that moderator will bring your statements to the Board of Directors for review. BOD members on M.A.I.L. welcome any criticism of their duties, or any time they acted in a way that made the community poorer.

All moderators and active administrators are accountable for their actions.
All moderators and active administrators are approachable.
All moderators and active administrators are able to explain their decisions calmly and reasonably.
No moderators or administrators will treat you poorly for addressing your concerns with them.


3 - If you feel you or someone else has been attacked, threatened, or mistreated by a moderator or administrator.

This is different than a disagreement, this is if a BOD member has engaged in the type of behavior forbidden by our content policy, or otherwise not up to standards you expect from a BOD member (in your own definition).

First, re-read the situation. BOD members are nominated out of volunteers in the community. They differ from regular members in that their character has already been reviewed in order to join the management. They volunteer their time to help run the community in an official manner. This does not excuse their actions, but it might be helpful in determining their intentions.

Next, contact the offending moderator or administrator directly, and privately, and calmly explain yourself. BOD members cannot solve problems they do not know exist. If you are not satisfied with the explanation, you can ask them for an appeal and that BOD member will take your concerns to the rest of the BOD for review. If that BOD member does not show your statements or ignores you, that member fails in their duties and you can contact another administrator you trust, to bring it up for review, (and please tell them that the BOD member who's actions you want reviewed ignored your appeal).

As far as I know this second step has never been necessary, but, it is important that there be a way for people in the community to address it if it does happen.


4 - If you feel any member has been overly critical of your work or words, or acted in a way that makes you feel unwelcome, but in a way has not broken any official rules of conduct. (For example, if someone said they thought your necklace was ugly and this upset you).

M.A.I.L. exists to facilitate sharing, creating, learning, and innovating. No one wants that hampered with people being reclusive for fear of bad feedback.

First, re-read the situation, tone and intention are not well conveyed in text. Second, if you disagree, simply reply to it in the thread and say why. Third, contact the offending party and calmly tell them how you feel. Maybe you will find out you missed something, or maybe they will change how they comment in the future. People cannot fix a problem they do not know about.

If things remain unresolved, consider how you can avoid the problem in the future. If you for example would only like commentary on your color choices, and no criticism, from now on say that. It does not ensure you will get what you ask for, but it helps.

If at any time this becomes a personal attack, that is much more serious. Take the measures outlined in situation #1 above.

M.A.I.L. is unique among all other chainmailling communities in that we do not censor people who disagree with each other, or delete people's posts because they disagree with a moderator, or lock topics to shut out or smother dissenting opinions. We are open and transparent. People will disagree and that is fine, as long as they do it without attacking each other.

However, if a situation has left you with a bad taste in your mouth and reduced how much you feel like participating in the community, you can do two things:

A - Participate *more* in the community. The community is made up of the people who participate. If you think there should be more people like you, encourage that by your good actions. Show the value of your contributions. The discussion community attracts people similar to it. Or, if you don't feel like doing that...

B - Let a moderator know privately. There is no rule to "be nice" or "always agree", but while we'd hope no one would be mean, it happens. This lets us keep an eye out for repeat offenders, and, if trends continue, do something to address it. Even though we may not change the rules or do anything punitive, a stern request from the BOD to the offending member to consider amending their behavior usually holds some weight. Do this right when it happens, and be specific. Don't let it build up. If it happens every day, tell someone every day. Again, the BOD is here to make M.A.I.L. better but it cannot fix problems it is not aware of.


5 - If you feel that there is no acceptable type of feedback to leave other than saying it is pretty, or that disagreement of any topic is frowned upon, or if you do not get any useful feedback when you post your own work.

M.A.I.L. exists to facilitate sharing, creating, learning, and innovating. No one wants that hampered with people being reclusive for fear of being ostracized regardless of how they say things, or because people give a pat on the back instead of feedback.

First, if it is specific, re-read the situation. Second, any time you see the type of behavior you dislike, behavior that would make your comments or sharing feel unwelcome, message that person and calmly let them know how you feel. Maybe you will find out you missed something, maybe they will change their behavior.

Demonstrate what constructive criticism is. Post more often that way you would like to. When others see it is common, and safe, they will join you. Show the value of your contributions. A community attracts people similar to it.

If you want critical feedback of a certain type, say so. This will let others who are usually too timid to post feedback know it is safe to do so and welcomed.

Or, if you just don't want to bother because you feel it's too heavily ingrained, PM a moderator and let them know. It will influence how decisions get made in the future. Again, the BOD cannot fix problems it is not aware of.


6 - If you are concerned with, or do not approve of the direction the website is headed in design, or how your submitted content will be used, or how a particular area works.

First, ignore second hand information, it may be wrong or out of date. There is a lot of misunderstanding and bad info floating around, get your information from the right sources.

Just ask. The BOD has nothing to hide, our actions are transparent, and someone will explain things to you.

You can show up in Chat and ask there, you can PM the appropriate admin, or if you think it's something many people could be interested in, just start a thread.

Appropriate admins to contact for future improvements are myself (my role is planning and development), or Daemon_Lotos (who's is actually doing the technical work and has a hand in design). Much is not finalized or set in stone and much is not agreed on yet, but either of us can give you the most up-to-date info, whatever it is. Appropriate admins to contact for current policies, are the appropriate admins from that area. You can read about the BOD and who does what by going to "Community" in the top menu, and selecting "Board of Directors". It's sometimes out of date, so try to contact an admin you recognize and have seen recently.

Once you have the correct information, if you do not like it, feel free to bring it up for discussion in a thread. M.A.I.L. is constantly being improved to better suit the community, not any one person's agenda, or even the BOD's agenda.


----

That's it for now. If new issues pop up that people struggle to know how to deal with, this will be added to. This does not supersede any of the official actions in the Charter (to read it, go to "Community --> Charter"), they're just suggestions. Hopefully those that felt they did not have a venue to make changes, or a way for their voice to be heard, know how to do so now.

Hopefully, everyone can use these methods to continue make M.A.I.L. a better place.




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Suggestions for altering it, supplementing it, trimming it.. and if you think it's a good idea or not?

Joined: April 15, 2002
Posts: 1819
Submissions: 1
Location: Calgary, AB. Canada.

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Posted on Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:41 pm
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*cough*

Bump.

Yea, ney, suggestions for improvement?

Joined: April 29, 2002
Posts: 3212
Submissions: 93
Location: Albany, New York

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Posted on Sun Jan 10, 2010 12:37 am
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I love the content of this, but I'd also love to see it pared down a bit before being posted as a policy. Anyone want to volunteer?


"The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one."

George Bernard Shaw
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Joined: March 3, 2002
Posts: 4372
Submissions: 79
Location: tres piedras, new mexico

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Posted on Sun Jan 10, 2010 11:13 pm
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i recently heard rumor of a member being displeased with how we were approaching 3.0... in that the membership was too far out of the loop. i would like to see members be able to be more involved with ideas and discussion if they are interested..

i'll contact the specific member that was brough to my attention and see if i understand the issues they have accurately.

i'll look back over this whole post again in the next day or two. what i read on the first time through i liked..

kim


PSA: remember to stretch.
3.o is fixing everything.

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