Let's discuss all the things together.
I've had some sneak peeks at preliminary 2011 PKMNcollectors census results, to get a feel for what sort of changes I ought to prepare the community for based on everyone's feedback. And wow there is a LOT of really positive, helpful, constructive criticisms from all of you so far, and I thank you all truely for thinking so critically about the community and some of its more difficult issues!
Some key points before we begin:
A handful of folks suggest we should move to a forum. I have thought about this issue a lot this year, but we are, at the end of the day, a LiveJournal Community. Although a forum style PKMNcollectors would have so many benefits -- including sticky posts at the top, specific mods for specific locations, and less downtime thanks to DDOS attacks, the intense drama a move would cause would be unprecedented. A solid majority of folks do not want to move at all, versus a handful who suggest we do, and as much as I agree with the benefits of a forum, we are built as an LJ community, we work as one and a move would cause a huge rift. Not to mention the costs -- I am NOT quite sure the folks suggesting a forum move are prepared to pay for the expensive hosting ;) -- right now the community is free and we don't have to beg with donations buttons or fundraisers.
As much as I've considered it and discussed it with scores of people, we ARE an LJ community, and we are NOT moving. However I might put something together in the event of some emergency where we have no choice but to gather elsewhere :)
Now let me break down some issues we can work on together.
EASILY FIXABLE ISSUES
-MORE MODS: Many folks think we need more mods, either because the ones we have are overworked, or that we miss too many rule breakers. Both are probably true. It's difficult for me to add mods on a whim as I usually watch people for a very VERY long time before deciding to mod them. But I agree -- we need a few more, especially those given specific tasks, such as...
-ORGANIZATION: We're not organized very well in some places!! Our layout and sidebar are always outdated. Links in the rules, tag lists, banned member lists, posts needing tagging, and even the rules themselves taking me a while to update -- all of this stuff is super easily fixable especially if we have one person focused solely on it along with myself and the other mods.
So what do you think of having a mod who's main job is the layout and sidebar (amongst the usual cleaning up off topic posts and broken LJ cuts)? I am just no good with LJ layouts or keeping the dang sidebar updated XD And my other mods are hard at work handling GA problems and sales permission. Stuff like rules needing updated and links being fixed -- that is my job, but I miss stuff sometimes, I am very scatterbrained.
IF YOU NOTICE SOMETHING NEEDS UPDATING, FIXING OR PROOFREADING, PLEASE TELL ME AT DENKIMOUSE (AT) GMAIL.COM!! You won't get in trouble -- and I am MUCH better at replying to all of my emails since my final move to this gmail address -- I promise! Hardly anything goes to spam either!
I would probably make an application form for the basic organization/layout job, and have folks send it in. Any other suggestions?
Stuff like The guide to PKMN Collecting which never was completed and is hard to keep updated by myself. There is a wiki in the works which could surely use more staff to help it out.
Some folks also complained of too much mini modding and still seeing people getting ganged up on for breaking a tiny rule. I am not sure if this is an outdated complaint or not, as I have not seen it personally, but our "mini modding" rules are clear: if you see someone has broken a rule, you may tell them by copying/pasting the rule to them to KINDLY and POLITELY let them know. Only ONE member need do this. If someone already said "cut your images please", ten others do not have to say it also. PLEASE do not gang up on ANYBODY no matter how serious the transgression. There is no excuse for being rude to new members who don't quite know the ropes yet (our rules ARE long and confusing if you are new) so be gentle and NO DOG PILES!
And again MODS CAN'T SEE EVERYTHING -- if you notice a rule being broken and no punishment being dished out, please please PLEASE tell us! Don't just say "huh, mods are letting this person slide!" or assume it's favouritism or something else -- give us the benefit of the doubt that we simply didn't see it. If you notice someone broke a rule without being corrected and tell nobody, that's your bad. Please let us know so we can help deal with the situation.
Along that line, some people complained mods don't reply -- but we find a LOT of folks send the same complaints to all three of us. What happens then is we don't know if someone replied to it already or not, and until we get to talk about it, we don't know what exactly is going on, and it's such a hassle to have to contact one another to see if someone replied or not to all the messages a member keeps sending all three of us at the same time -- aaaah!!! Just send your problem to one mod who is probably most fitted to solving it for you. Not all three at once, please! It will get you a reply more slowly, believe it or not.
Playing mommy and daddy is also a bad idea. Just because one of us gave you a reply you didn't like, doesn't mean you go ask a second mod hoping for a different reply. We mods actually DO communicate believe it or not and eventually will figure out who is playing mommy and daddy with us!
DIFFICULT TO FIX ISSUES...
-THE FEEDBACK SYSTEM: It's super flawed... and we have to keep starting new posts every few years when the comments reach their limit. Some folks solve this by having feedback in their own journals, but people worry any feedback that wasn't A++ would be deleted, and it truthfully easily could be.
Problem is, as we ARE LJ-based, what do we do to fix this? Could anybody have the skills to PROGRAM a feedback system we could host off-LJ? I sure don't... but it is all I can think of right now! Luckily this would also allow for a final change to a "positive/neutral/negative" rating system rather than 5/5... which is all anyone ever leaves! 5/5! XD
...to us when we beg and beg for posts to be tagged properly and for you to LEAVE FEEDBACK when asked.
It's simply shameful how many messages I still get per week that say "I've asked # of sellers for feedback and only 1 left any, what do I do?". Then I have to go to the person and ask they leave feedback. Why should I have to be the one to ask -- why can't you guys take one second to leave feedback for your buyers and sellers, especially if they provided a link (which is required if you ask for feedback)?
People depend on that feedback to start their good reputations and gain trust. If you simply ignore them or refuse, you are the one who looks like a jerk, to that person and any mod who has to step in and ask you ourselves. LEAVE FEEDBACK...PLEASE!!
On that note, probably the NUMBER ONE ISSUE KEEPING THIS COMMUNITY FROM BEING ORGANIZED IS LACK OF TAGGING. If you can't be bothered to list every single Pokemon in your post, that's fine -- heck, I have such trouble with Gen5 names I have been very bad at it myself -- but certain tags are simply necessary for people to find posts they NEED to find.
sales (for your sales!)
shipping status (for posts informing folks about any shipping status updates for your sales)
auction (for anything to do with an auction - group auctions included)
info (for news and generally informative posts!)
modpost (use this tag to search for posts by mods!)
We also have tons and tons and tons of tags to help keep posts organized listed on the rules page.
You CAN edit tags of other people's posts! There is a little button that looks like a tag where the edit button would be for a post of your own. You can help everyone out by making sure tags are observed!
Why are these under difficult to fix issues? Because the only real way I can see fixing them being easy is by implementing the same systems some other communities have, which is dishing out official warnings to people refusing to leave feedback and threatening to delete any post that is not properly tagged. Do you want this? Do I want this? NO!!!
Tag your posts and leave feedback. Help other people tag their posts. Don't make mods step in when it's time to leave feedback. Help everyone out!
There were many many other good comments and criticisms I plan to use to aid in my own betterment of community and administrator self, but these were some of the most important issues. If you have any questions, complaints, or anything else, PLEASE come along and comment! If you are concerned about arguments or being shot down by other members, you can always email me at denkimouse (AT) gmail.com, or IM me at "eelektross". Issues will be kept between us there.
I am only a regular person and wish I could please every single one of you here, but I can only hope to please a majority. I'll work hard as possible to keep the community and its members safe, happy and enjoying this incredibly fun hobby.
Again feel free to log into the good ol' "pkmncollectors" chatroom on AIM to talk to folks in real time ... if anyone comes along :)
Thanks so much to all who've read up to this point. :D