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Observations about Admins

Mike Bobbitt

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As usual, I'm a bit late to the party, but I believe this is an important discussion to have. Tone is still our biggest problem here, hands down. We are making progress, but there is still work to be done.

I'm going to try really hard not to be long-winded here as it's largely covering ground I have already covered, in threads already cross-linked here. I think we all (users and staff) need to follow some simple rules:

[list type=decimal]
[*]Be professional in your posts. That doesn't necessarily equate to "nice" but it does mean no name calling or ALL CAPS YELLING.
[*]Keep on walkin'. If you are having trouble complying with rule #1, there is another option: Don't post. Someone else can handle it. And if nobody handles it, then it probably wasn't a critical request. The poster may take "no response" as a hint to search, without being lambasted or coddled. If you do reply, try not to exacerbate the situation or get emotionally riled up in your response. The idea is to de-escalate, not to provoke.
[*]Give feedback. The MilPoints system is here for a reason. It allows users and staff to make their impressions of a post or user known. Please adhere to rule #1 when giving feedback.
[/list]

I know we have had issues, including recently with tone. I will say though that any issues that have been brought to my attention have been dealt with. (That doesn't mean all parties were happy with the result, but I reviewed, made a call and took action.) If you see someone, staff or user, being unnecessarily rude, let me know and I will step in.

Bang: I'm a big fan of the StackExchange model, I use it regularly. Some of the code/architecture of this site is a result of StackExchange learning. I'm looking into options there, it seems like there is a paid/hosted Enterprise version available, but those are two terms I try hard to stay away from if I can.


Cheers
Mike
 

Pikache

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putz said:
So I've been a member on here for years.  I mostly stick the shadows and creep posts.  Recently I have noticed something that I think should be brought up.  It is 2016 and younger generations rely more and more on computers, message boards etc to get information.  With that being said I don't understand the need for admins to be condescending, ignorant or in some cases just pain assholes to people looking for information.  It's 2016 most people now a days will readily post a questions instead of searching.  In some matters DS are telling people to use the search function on topics that may not have been updated in a year or more.  I can understand directing people to use the search function or Google.  But being condescending and providing "walk through instructions" (one example) on how to use Google is far from professional or acceptable. The search function on this page is not the most user friendly around.  I'd like to think that we haven't driven away some future generations by having some retired or currently serving CAF member being the ******* that is the first contact that these people have with the CAF.
MasterInstructor said:
I totally agree with the OP. This is not a welcoming environment. I joined about 7 years ago and learned my lesson very quickly not to post here unless I really needed to. I kept my activity to a minimum. Sometimes it is a good source of information but mostly I hear admins, moderators or other old users giving crap to people. If you are going to take time to respond, either respond with some information or do not respond. Do not waste your time and add a reply that does not contribute anything.
Thanks for your posts. They identify some of the key issues that this forum and DS try to find the right solutions to pretty much everyday.

I don't have my DS hat on right now, but I will use some of my experience as an user and DS of this forum. Nor do I speak for Mike Bobbitt or fellow DS. Just my 2 cents.

Army.ca is the most credible forum based open source site on the Internet for CAF and CAF related discussions. The user base varies from privates to RSMs, from junior lieutenants to generals. Reservists to regs to special forces. Current serving members to retired. Of all trades and varied lengths of service. And a mix bag of civilians of various walks of life. The collective knowledge and the experience of the user base is what gives this site credibility.
This is why the DS operates the way we do, is to protect that credibility and integrity of the site.

This site is not a typical Internet forum. While we are open to everyone, our audience tends to be current or ex CAF members. While this forum is meant to be an informal place for people to talk, there is always that bit of military atmosphere here. And for a lot of civvies, they don't understand this.

The way I imagine this site is that it's like a mess where everyone can mingle, be informal, share a few stories and drinks. But there is still a hierarchy and military etiquette still exists. If you're a junior sgt and you want to talk to the RSM in the mess, you don't have to come to attention, but you better not be wasting the RSM's time. If you're a junior lieutenant and you want to talk to the CO, you better not be wasting his time.

This is why we keep harping things like do a search before you ask a question or think before you speak. And we lay the ban hammer on serial offenders. Heavy handed perhaps, but we frankly don't have the time to waste and we only want people who will add to the site. IIRC, all of DS are current or ex CAF members, some SNCOs and senior offers, with long time as DS on this forum.

We had a period where jtfnintendosnipers and university kids went unchecked and it was a serious headache that took a while to get rid of. We had complaints from current and ex serving members that felt that the site was losing credibility and integrity with too many users shooting their lips off and adding just white noise to the site. (And I still hear from some members that this site is too lax sometimes and the reputation of the site suffered) Plus some legal issues that came up and such that forced Mike to adopt certain SOPs.

In the end, our primary target audience is current and ex CAF members, and the 90% solution SOPs that the DS came up with won't satisfy everyone. But as far as the DS is concerned, this is the best solution we can work with. (And this is the guideline Mike mandates us to work under)

So, this site is not for everyone. It's not reddit or other forums, but this site will always be CAF oriented with certain military atmosphere. (IE, we don't use the term 'Moderator', but 'Directing Staff' with similar responsibilities, but different tone) Most of the topics discussed on this board is CAF or CAF related. We want to be open to everyone, but we know that the way this site operates is not to everyone's satisfaction. It is a bit of acquired tastes.

Having said that, if you have done your due diligence and need an answer or help, we will get it to you or direct you to someone who can. Full stop. Example, if a civilian interested in joining CAF uses this site, gets his/her questions answered, joins CAF and later turns around and helps out another civilian looking to join CAF, that's a big win.

This is my informal guide to posting in Army.ca
1. Be professional. If you're a current or ex serving member, how you present yourself, even only on the Internet, adds or subtracts from CAF reputation. If you're a civilian looking to join the CAF, some of members posting here may be your peers, superiors or subordinates. Make a good impression. You'd be surprised how small the Canadian military is.
2. Think before you speak. If you're going to post something, make sure it's logical, reasoned well and be prepared to back it up.
3. Stick to your lanes. Talk about what you know about or experienced. Because otherwise, you will get called out if you're wrong and get hammered.
4. Do your research before asking a question. People will likely be more willing to help if you try to find the answers on your own prior to. And it's a skill encouraged in CAF.
5. Listen more than you speak. While we encourage active participation, I find that I learn more on this board by listening more than I talk.
5. Have fun! In the end, this board is meant to be enjoyable. I have made friends through this board that I would have not otherwise had the chance to, and I am very glad for this board.

Personally, I want to thank all the users that participate on this board. Your feedback is critical to solve any issues or improve this forum. Please do not hesitate to contact the DS (report to moderator button or PM function) if you see anything that requires a DS's attention.

My 2 cents :)
 

mariomike

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PikaChe said:
The user base varies from privates to RSMs, from junior lieutenants to generals. Reservists to regs to special forces. Current serving members to retired. Of all trades and varied lengths of service. And a mix bag of civilians of various walks of life.

1) Profile: Nothing says anyone has to, and I understand the concern for PERSEC, but personally I appreciate it when posters fill them in,

Gender, age, location, military experience, trade, rank, unit and notes about themselves.

2) User Name Changes: "Please announce all name changes here".

Reference:
So some of you think its funny(rant)
http://forums.army.ca/forums/threads/54579.0.html
2 pages.

3) And this, from a successful applicant,

Scarlett said:
< snip >  my tip to you is to use the search function on this forum. I have been able to find an answer on here to every question I've had.




 

the 48th regulator

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Sometimes paying off the DS, makes them a little less grumpier towards you and your posts.

:-X

I accept paypal, and Interact transfers.

:salute:

Just saying.
 

bang

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Mike Bobbitt said:
Bang: I'm a big fan of the StackExchange model, I use it regularly. Some of the code/architecture of this site is a result of StackExchange learning. I'm looking into options there, it seems like there is a paid/hosted Enterprise version available, but those are two terms I try hard to stay away from if I can.

I feel for you. Enterprise is a scary, slow-moving beast that's not fun to work with. While there's still a lot of questions on whether integrating a StackExchange Q+A model would be worth it, I'd suggest Question2Answer over the others just because it's PHP and while the explicit solutions aren't up there, it appears that a couple people have figured out how to integrate it with Simple Machines Forums, like this site! The last thing anyone needs is another logon...

I won't push this any further, as any sufficiently large technical problem becomes a political problem and this place has a good thing going as it is.  Best wishes!
 

George Wallace

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Bang said:
I won't push this any further, .....

I don't think you have much to worry about on that front.  Knowledgeable, well thought out, suggestions only help us improve the site.   
 

PuckChaser

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DAA said:
Try volunteering for and being a DS and then you will see why they do, what they do and they're not getting paid for it.  It's voluntary time on their part, whether they have a job or not, they just seem to enjoy providing information and taking S&A whilst doing it.

When you see the same question, over and over again, it get's pretty old and frustrating.  If you want to complain about the site, treat it like your current job and come with not just the complaint but also a solution to what you see as a possible resolution to the problem.  Just maybe, the site owners will see some benefit to what you suggest.    :salute:

The problem is that being a volunteer shouldn't give you carte blanche to be a dick to people. There is distinctly 2 different classes of admins that lurk around, ones that go out of their way to either politely or humourously point out the forum rules, and the other minority that gives this place a bad reputation.

Mike Bobbitt said:
[list type=decimal]
[*]Give feedback. The MilPoints system is here for a reason. It allows users and staff to make their impressions of a post or user known. Please adhere to rule #1 when giving feedback.
[/list]

Unfortunately the MilPoints system can't be used fully because there are those admins who believe they are beyond criticism and will complain directly to you if they're peer reviewed in any way that doesn't conform to how they see themselves.

That being said, this is still a large source of credible information and discussion demonstrated by CAF recruiting wanting to take an active role here, not in the reddit page. Its unfortunate, but for every 100 great, helpful posts by DS, the 1 crap post by a DS member ends up representing the whole forum.
 

mariomike

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PuckChaser said:
The problem is that being a volunteer shouldn't give you carte blanche to be a dick to people. There is distinctly 2 different classes of admins that lurk around, ones that go out of their way to either politely or humourously point out the forum rules, and the other minority that gives this place a bad reputation.

Unfortunately the MilPoints system can't be used fully because there are those admins who believe they are beyond criticism and will complain directly to you if they're peer reviewed in any way that doesn't conform to how they see themselves.

That being said, this is still a large source of credible information and discussion demonstrated by CAF recruiting wanting to take an active role here, not in the reddit page. Its unfortunate, but for every 100 great, helpful posts by DS, the 1 crap post by a DS member ends up representing the whole forum.
 

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McG

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There are other options available if you feel a moderator's behavior has crossed lines with abrasiveness.  You can use the report to moderator feature in the bottom right of every post, or you can PM the site owner with your complaint and a link to the offending thread.

My preference for how we should discuss has always been as defined in this thread:  http://army.ca/forums/threads/51970.0.html
 

mariomike

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I don't see a shortage volunteers willing to handle Enforcement on here.

The Moderators I respect are the ones who perform the thankless task of merging threads.
No scolding. No lecturing. No talking down to people. I've never understood the need for that.
They just do it without comment. They are Milnet.ca's unsung heroes!
 

McG

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mariomike said:
The Moderators I respect are the ones who perform the thankless task of merging threads.
No scolding. No lecturing. No talking down to people. ...
They just do it without comment. They are Milnet.ca's unsung heroes!
Often the approach that goes unnoticed by the majority is the approach that sets a thread right the fastest.
 
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