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Post Posted:: March 12th, 2007, 9:23 am 

Joined: September 15th, 2006, 3:22 pm
Posts: 137
Location: Wisconsin
I totally don't intend this as a criticism at all, so please don't be mad! I love Librivox, and I love the people here. I also don't know how feasible the things I am suggesting are, I just wanted to throw some ideas out there and start a conversation.

Anyway, maybe it's all in my mind, but it seems to me like we have a lot of people sign up for their first chapter and then disappear. I know that some of that will always happen, but I have a theory that if we get people over the first chapter or two hump, that they will stick around.

My own feeling on what people are expecting is a little more contact and encouragement. It's my experience that people volunteer for anything largely for the good feelings volunteer work generates, from being thanked or praised and also from general socializing.

I wonder if we might implement a mentoring system of some kind, where a steady member could adopt new members and check up on how things are going with set-up, questions, recording, etc, for the first recording or two? They could also then get feedback/reassurance on their first recording right away ("You sound great! Congratulations on your first Librivox recording! What are you working on next?"), which might help boost confidence and enthusiasm. It may be more management than the site can accomodate, I'm just trying to think of ways for new members to get a little more personal attention when they first join in, and help them quickly integrate into the community.

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I’ll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be. -Issac Asimov


Last edited by Ponyfeathers on March 16th, 2007, 8:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Posted:: March 12th, 2007, 9:34 am 
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hi pony, just a quick comment: you are absolutely right. the *hope* is that the BC takes on this role...the problem is that, like animals, some BCs are more equal than others.

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Post Posted:: March 12th, 2007, 10:36 am 

Joined: January 3rd, 2006, 8:34 pm
Posts: 5471
Location: Keene NH
I must admitt that I'm one of those BCs that isn't quite as encouraging and visible as I could be. That's partly to do with the fact that I'm now BCing 5 projects (4 were originally mine, and I think all started before becoming MC). However, once those projects are done I don't plan to BC for a long while, and if I do it'll only be for one project.

Anyways, Pony this is a great idea. The only problem, if it is actually a problem (and you already mentioned it), is the administrative nightmare such a system might be. However, it's only a nightmare to those that don't want to manage it. What I'm hinting at is that if there are enough people who want to take part in such a program, and someone(s) who want to manage it, then it could work. *hint* *hint*

I think that perhaps the best way to handle this is to keep an eye on the introduction thread, and offer up one on one help to those that haven't recorded yet (and have expressed an interest). You cold also peruse the Readers Wanted sections for people claiming chapters on their first post, and send them a message with the same offer.

Whatever happens, this is one of those things that doesn't require an admin to set it up, or even approval to get it done! If anyone wants to take this on themselves, or organize a group of people to do so, I say more power to them! Just try to be sensitive to BCs and not make them feel like you're taking over.

Oh, and you might be interested in this wiki page: Hands on Help. This is something along the lines of what you're talking about, but a bit different. It's a list of people willing to talk with new volunteers or volunteers that need help by messaging service (with a link to it in the New Here forum).

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Post Posted:: March 16th, 2007, 8:08 am 

Joined: September 15th, 2006, 3:22 pm
Posts: 137
Location: Wisconsin
While it sure would be nice for all the BCs to take on that job, I don't know if BCs necessarily think of that as part of their role, and I'm not sure that they should have to, since it's already so much work on their part just to coordinate everything.

But, like kri mentioned, you don't want to feel that you are stepping on anyone's toes. One of the reasons I thought it might be nice to have something "official" was that it would relieve anxiety on the part of BCs who suddenly have someone in their thread saying, "If you have any questions, feel free to PM me!" I don't want to say anyone is doing a bad job; I just want to provide a new service. A welcoming committee. :)

I also don't want to come across as that one creepy person PMing everyone. If everyone expects to get a little attention from a welcomer, than it wouldn't seen weird to:
-Welcome new members verbally, and thank them for their help, wherever they show up
-PM them with an offer to listen to their first recording or answer any questions/problems they are having
-Congratulate them when they finish, and ask what they plan to do next.

I would be happy to organize people to do something like this, but judging from the raging conversation in the this thread, interest in the subject may be pretty low. I'll try editing the title.

I had other thoughts on some things that have helped create a feeling of community on another internet forum I belong to. One thing has been games, something like March Madness, that give people a feeling they are all doing something together, and encourage them to look at areas of the forum they may not have checked out before. I've seen scavenger hunts from quotes or information from different threads, raffles, contests, etc...I know some of this may seem kind of plebian for Librivox, with all the rarified intellectuals here ;), but it might help relax things a bit for newcomers, as well.

What is the administrative structure here, anyway?

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I’ll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be. -Issac Asimov


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Post Posted:: March 16th, 2007, 8:24 am 

Joined: January 13th, 2006, 8:44 am
Posts: 1568
Location: Cambridge UK
I think one way to implement some of the things you say in a small way would be if there were a group of people who would volunteer to do hand holding and for BC's to refer newcomers to the hand-holders (there's got to be a better name).
If you try recruiting volunteers maybe in this thread then I would be happy to refer newcomers to my BC projects to the volunteers for hand-holding.
Most hand-holding is done in the weekly poetry thread but another layer could be useful.

This wouldn't solve the problem of BC's that don't parent their projects perhaps as close as they could do but I think once a structure evolves then it will grow and become more visible as time progresses.

You asked what the admin structure is:

It mainly consists of people volunteering to do stuff that needs to be done.

Remember tho'

Only volunteer for stuff you can comfortably do - otherwise it may become a chore and really I reckon it should be fun.

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Post Posted:: March 16th, 2007, 8:27 am 
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Joined: November 22nd, 2005, 10:22 am
Posts: 11698
Location: Great Britain
[Edited to add: Jim slipped by me!]

Administrative structure..? In what sense..?

I do like the idea of some welcoming, though I'd be just a little bit wary of taking anything away from the "New here?" forum, which is an excellent place to get people into forum posting, direct them around a bit, and provides a straightforward location for initial questions. Encouraging a post there would be good, as is giving a 'private' way to ask questions (some folks are too shy to start their own thread just to ask what the difference is between ID3v1 and v2 -- from my voice of newbie experience!)

The community here is quite a bit different to other places I've been online, in that the focus is strongly offline, as each person records, edits, listens, etc. The community evolves as we share the fruits of our labour, or plot to do Yet More. For me, games or community-building that acknowledges that somehow, would be best (I have this weird feeling about people hanging out here just for the forum chat, and while I know it's up to them and all ... it's not the focus here.)

The community is no different to the others I know in terms of being welcoming and friendly (yes, there are some vile places out there, but I've not hung there, and it's my contention that given the chance, most people are very nice indeed!) Anything which can improve that without being overpowering or underwhelming sounds good to me!

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Post Posted:: March 16th, 2007, 8:31 am 
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Joined: September 26th, 2005, 4:14 am
Posts: 7990
Location: Montreal, QC
interest is high, time is low! admin structure, for making audio books:

TOP: readers
middle: book coordinators
bottom: meta coordinators & moderators
very bottom: admin

the structure for everything else, is, in theory totally open. if anyone wants to do something, it is encouraged. tho we seem to be finding, as the project gets bigger, that we are getting more static. t

but still, in general, proposals are encouraged as long as someone (usually the proposer) wants to do the work to make it happen.

now, good BCs who want to get their projects finished tend to be very good on this... more hands off BCs are less interested, and their projects tend to languish. (i have become am an example of a not good BC)

The problem again is time - generally moderators, MCs & admin has hands full on LV stuff, part of which is greeting as you suggest etc.

by the way, the criteria for being a moderator/MC are:
1. proven LibriVox addiction over a period of time
2. proven record of diplomatic evenness, level-headedness, and niceness
3. a good sense of contientious organization

So, to summarize: in general your idea is great, the problem is finding the time/personpower to do such a thing.

Let's keep discussing it here.

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Post Posted:: March 16th, 2007, 9:42 am 

Joined: September 15th, 2006, 3:22 pm
Posts: 137
Location: Wisconsin
Thanks, hugh, that's basically what I wanted to know about admin structure. Do you have mods that aren't MCs--just forum moderators?

Quote:
I do like the idea of some welcoming, though I'd be just a little bit wary of taking anything away from the "New here?" forum,


And I definately don't intend to take away from that forum, just as I don't want to encroach on territory of the BCs. I see the difference as pro-activity, and also personal connection: the "New Here" forum is essentially reactive in the sense that it requires new people to ask for attention, instead of someone just showing up to give it to them. Along the same line, I definately haven't found anyone here unfriendly, at all.

I honestly had my idea orginally modeled after my boarding school's handling of freshmen, where all "new girls" had an "old girl" assigned to them: an upperclassman that gave them a token welcoming gift, checked up to see how things were going, encourage them to participate in social activities, etc. They didn't even do anything as useful as sheparding you from class to class--they were pretty much there just so you would have one built in "friend" as soon as you arrived.

This might sound a little mercenary, but, honestly, I'm not just trying to be nice. I'm interested in expanding the pool of committed volunteers so that there is more recording done. (Specifically recordings of what I want to hear, of course. ;) ) Seriously, though, I'm a pragmatist; I'm married to a fundraiser. I know it could feel shady to feel like focus is going to socializing and forum chatter, but if that is what brings people back and they continue to record because they can't help checking the site again and again, well...

I could be wrong about retention, anyway--it could just be that I happened to see a streak of uncommitted folks. Is there any info on how many people sign up to read and then disappear without handing in anything?

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I’ll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be. -Issac Asimov


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Post Posted:: March 16th, 2007, 9:53 am 
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Joined: September 26th, 2005, 9:10 am
Posts: 11733
Location: Union City, California
From the very beginning there have been plenty of folks who sign up, lose interest, and drift away. It actually seems to me that we have less and less of that as time goes on, but it could just be that I don't have a finger in every pie anymore now that we're so big :)

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Post Posted:: March 16th, 2007, 11:11 am 

Joined: January 3rd, 2006, 8:34 pm
Posts: 5471
Location: Keene NH
There are administrators that don't MC, quite a few actually. Most admins don't MC if I'm thinking of the numbers properly. MCs are hard to come by as it's a time committment for sure.

I think the community centered activities are a great idea, and we have some of that going a little bit already. It's just a matter of making sure they continue. Also, I don't think you should be worried about having chat centered community around here, as there already is. We still have a purpose - to record audiobooks - and I don't think we'll lose that focus.

So, here are my suggestions, which I will not be implementing as goodness knows I've got plenty on my plate. However, if this excites anyone please feel free to jump right into it.

1. Jamboree - We used to do this every month, on the same weekend of the month. We would create a thread in Suggestions and Discussion announcing the jamboree. The whole point was to encourage everyone to get some recording done, finish long sitting chapters, bring up the energy level a bit. Those that wanted to would post goals in the jamboree thread, and discuss their progress, and encourage eachother. This is very similar to the March Madness thing we're doing, but on a slightly smaller scale.

2. Community Podcast - This gets done every week, and it seems activity over there is pretty steady (thankfully, 'cause man I love listening to it). Perhaps someone could try to make it a habit to encourage new people to listen to the podcast, make it more visible. If you're interested in producing a show, perhaps create a new volunteer-centered show.

3. Games? - Sure, why not?! I'm not sure how this would be implemented, but we've got some creative people here. I know that some have used the community podcast and created a scavenger hunt. They played a few short clips of recordings, and charged everyone with figuring out the names to the voices.

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Post Posted:: March 16th, 2007, 11:45 am 
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Hey we could give every newbie a link to the podcast page at archive.org! Y'know, if they introduce themselves and we're all saying "welcome", someone could post the link and say, listening to our podcast will give you a good idea of how friendly and fun our community is, and we hope you'll have as much fun as we do... or something..

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http://kayray.org/
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"Mary wished to say something very sensible into her Zoom H2 Handy Recorder, but knew not how." -- Jane Austen (& Kara)


Last edited by kayray on March 16th, 2007, 11:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Posted:: March 16th, 2007, 11:45 am 

Joined: September 15th, 2006, 3:22 pm
Posts: 137
Location: Wisconsin
Oh yeah, the podcast! I meant to mention that, too, because I only started listening to it a couple of weeks ago, and I think that it really helps give you a sense of community and the fun of the project. I would love to see new people encouraged to listen to the podcast. :)

There is a ton of stuff in wikis and generally "organized" information on Librivox, which is great for me, because I'm definately one of those people that reads all the instructions before I take anything else out of the box, but I do know that not everyone works this way. It can be helpful to continue plugging things more informally in threads, etc.

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I’ll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be. -Issac Asimov


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Post Posted:: March 16th, 2007, 1:02 pm 

Joined: December 23rd, 2006, 2:06 pm
Posts: 224
As a recent newbie, I thought it worth mentioning...
Although I applaud Ponyfeathers post, I must say that I have yet to come across an online community that was so accepting, welcoming, and friendly as this one.
As a non-reader (although that is about to change - yikes) and late arriver, I have nonetheless always been treated with great friendliness and kindness. My dumb posts have always been smiled upon, and my less dumb ones considered.
I quickly became addicted to this forum as a result, and only after several months did I do any proof listening, and only now am I about to make my first recording.
So, although anything can be improved, and it is good that we wish to do so, I would pay tribute to the generous, kind and considerate spirit of this community, which has no doubt contributed to the 'stickyness' of the members.

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Post Posted:: March 16th, 2007, 1:43 pm 
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ChrisHughes wrote:
...I must say that I have yet to come across an online community that was so accepting, welcoming, and friendly as this one..

This makes me feel so good! We try so hard to keep the forum pleasant, happy, and welcoming, and I guess we're doing a good job of it :)

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Post Posted:: March 16th, 2007, 2:39 pm 

Joined: April 8th, 2006, 2:26 pm
Posts: 6647
Location: London, England
ChrisHughes

Very nicely put, sir, very nicely put.

Does that mean we have to pretend to like your recording, when it eventually materialises? :lol:

(Ouch! Stop hitting me!)


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