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Voting Completed: Motion Failed - Flyertalk Ambassador Proposal

Voting Completed: Motion Failed - Flyertalk Ambassador Proposal

 
Old May 24, 08, 7:14 am
  #1  
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Voting Completed: Motion Failed - Flyertalk Ambassador Proposal

Moved by Punki and seconded by lucky9876coins:

Proposal to establish Flyer Talk Ambassadors

Description of the program:

The Flyer Talk Ambassador program is an effort to develop knowledgeable and friendly FlyerTalk members who will volunteer to serve as Ambassadors for specific forums. They will bear the title "X Forum Ambassador" under their handle and agree to do their best to make sure that all members, especially new FlyerTalkers, understand the ins and outs of that forum as well as the overall FlyerTalk culture. They will work to make posters feel welcome to participate in FlyerTalk.

The title Ambassador is bestowed upon FlyerTalkers by the TalkBoard in recognition of the efforts made by a FlyerTalker to make FlyerTalk a better and more welcoming place as well as their ongoing commitment to continue to do so.

Program Goals:

The primary goals of this program are to encourage more sign-ups to become active members of the FlyerTalk Community, improve member retention, and provide more currently active members an opportunity to volunteer to contribute to the day-to-day operation of FlyerTalk.

Ambassador Responsibilities:

Make people feel comfortable and really good about participating on FlyerTalk.

Be a positive and welcoming influence for FlyerTalk.

Be available to answer specific questions in and about a forum in a positive and welcoming manner.

New and existing posters may be educated and encouraged to seek out forum Ambassadors for assistance and guidance on how to make the most of the FlyerTalk experience so Ambassadors must be open to helping with this responsibility on an ongoing basis.

Ambassador Qualifications:

Any active FlyerTalk member can volunteer to serve as an Ambassador.

Persons with a gregarious, friendly nature and a good understanding of a specific forum or program are especially encouraged to volunteer.

Volunteers must express a willingness to receive questions from members via FT e-mail or PM and commit to answering the same question in a positive, friendly manner, even after the 100th time the same question has been asked.

To earn the Ambassador title, a poster should be a positive influence on a forumís community by regularly welcoming new members, keeping discussion positive and, by their example, encouraging other posters to do the same.

Ambassador Identification:

Any FlyerTalk member can nominate themselves to be a forum Ambassador. All FlyerTalkers are encouraged to recommend that people who they have noticed do a great job of welcoming and helping others in the forums they frequent and providing a positive influence for that forum nominate themselves to become an Ambassador for that forum.

Nominations can be made via PM to any TalkBoard member. The PM should include the forum for which one hopes to serve as an Ambassador, a statement of commitment to adhere to the Ambassador Guidelines as well as links to several threads where a posterís Ambassador Qualifications are evident.

Nominated Ambassadors will be reviewed by the TalkBoard, which may consult with nominees as well as forum moderators in determining whether an individual meets the Ambassador Qualifications.

Since one of the goals of the program is to provide more opportunities for involvement, FlyerTalkers will be limited to serving as Ambassador for one forum only.

Since TalkBoard members and Moderators are expected to act as Ambassadors for all of FlyerTalk and also since one of the goals of the program is to provide more opportunities for involvement, TalkBoard members and Moderators will not be made Ambassadors.

Once a nominee has been identified and vetted, the TalkBoard will hold a secret, vote as to whether the title Ambassador is granted to a nominated FlyerTalker or not. If 2/3 of TalkBoard members vote to bestow the title then that FlyerTalker is created ĎX Forum Ambassador.í

Ambassador Guidelines:

The title Ambassador is bestowed by the TalkBoard upon FlyerTalkers who, by their attitude and posts, have demonstrated a commitment to making FlyerTalk a positive and welcoming place. Ambassadors are expected to continue to demonstrate that commitment and continue to meet all of the qualifications criteria set forth for Ambassadors while they hold that title.

An Ambassador may resign their title at any time.

Ambassador is a revocable title that the TalkBoard may, by 2/3 vote, revoke from a FlyerTalker for conduct unbecoming an Ambassador."

be approved as written.

This poll will close on Jun 7, 08 at 7:56 am (EDT)
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Old May 24, 08, 9:37 am
  #2  
 
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Why don't ambassadors have to live by the same set of requirements for eligibility as mods?
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Old May 24, 08, 10:16 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by ClueByFour View Post
Why don't ambassadors have to live by the same set of requirements for eligibility as mods?
IMHO only, for three reasons:

1) Ambassadors have a different task and require a different skill set than moderators. There is no reason to look at them identically. Unlike moderators, ambassadors have no administrative power nor the ability to look at a private forum, the private moderator guidelines nor the secret moderator discipline database. It is less a position of trust and more an acknowledgment of the contributions and positive attitude of particular posters.

2) As an acknowledgment of a FTer's body of contributions and attitude, I see no reason to base granting the title on whether or not the poster has had moderator action taken against them or, indeed, has moderator action taken against them during their tenure as an ambassador. I think that whether a person has earned the title should have to do with their entire body of FT work, not on their moderator database record (although, as acknowledged in the proposed guidelines, such record certainly will be taken into account as part of that entire body of FT work).

3) Moderation is outside the TB's purview. We cannot tell Randy/the moderators that one punishment for a suspended ambassador is the stripping of the ambassador title. That said, the TB can at any time strip the title for conduct unbecoming. If the TB is to bestow the title, it should be the TB (or the poster him/her self) that denies or removes it, not a mandatory minimum sentence, particularly one imposed ex post facto.

FWIW, I've made these same arguments several times during development discussion of these guidelines in the private TB forum over the past week or so.


The entire concept here is to get more folks involved and acknowledge and encourage people who are a positive influence on a particular forum. I really, really, really hope we can keep the ambassador program entirely separate from moderation issues and focus on recruiting, rewarding and encouraging positivity rather than on law-and-order punishment issues. And am a little sad that they are the first thing that someone thought of in response to the proposed guidelines.

But that's just me, and other Flyertalkers and TB members may feel differently.

Last edited by kokonutz; May 24, 08 at 10:21 am
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Old May 24, 08, 10:39 am
  #4  
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Originally Posted by ClueByFour View Post
Why don't ambassadors have to live by the same set of requirements for eligibility as mods?
That's one of two reasons i'm very unlikely to vote for this proposal as it is currently written.

If we're going to create a position where someone is the "welcoming face" of a forum, then that person should be familiar enough with the rules not to violate the TOS and earn a suspension. In my opinion, someone who violates the TOS blatantly and/or frequently to the point where they earn a suspension should automatically lose their ambassador position. If the suspendee has a successful appeal, the the ambassador position would be restored.

I also don't agree with excluding anyone from being an ambassador. A moderator or TalkBoard member may be a good fit for a forum that they frequent but don't moderate or otherwise volunteer in.
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Old May 24, 08, 12:08 pm
  #5  
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In theory, this program is a good idea. As to the layers upon layers of implementation, please don't take this the wrong way

I think Talk Board has plenty to do without spending time vetting people to become Ambassadors.

Talk Board needs to consider their time, before adding constraints to it.

Is there a way to make someone an Ambassador, without making it a federal production?
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Old May 24, 08, 12:40 pm
  #6  
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There are several folks across the boards who have already made themselves de facto "ambassadors" with their welcoming spirit, their hospitality, and their enthusiasm for new members and their sometimes oft-answered questions.

These folks know who they are, are a real asset to FT, and may or may not be the same ones that an "Ambassador" program would choose.

In any case, I expect those folks that I refer to will continue exhibiting the best of FlyerTalk whether they get a title and a long application and vetting process.

On the other hand, I suspect of the folks who will sign up to be considered as "Ambassadors" through the TalkBoard Vetting Program, more than a few will be folks who in fact do not display the kind of spirit that our "natural ambassadors" display, and will be signing up instead to make some sort of alleged political point.

As to the whole proposal, then: remind me what it is that is broke that needs fixing?

As to your question: Sure, the easiest and best way to have "Ambassadors" should Randy think that such a title is helpful/necessary, is for Randy to appoint them with counsel from the moderators -- they know who are the genuinely helpful folks and who are the snarky ones.
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Old May 24, 08, 1:29 pm
  #7  
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We conceived and discussed the Ambassador Program during our recent meeting with Randy in Phoenix. The concept was universally, and enthusiastically, accepted by everyone in attendance at the meeting.

This is a fabulous opportunity to get more members actively involved in helping to make FlyerTalk a friendlier, more welcoming place, and to encourage a higher percentage of sign-ups to become active, lifetime members, junkies if you will. Let's face it, FlyerTalk is the wonderful success that it is today because, right from the start there has always been a cadre of frequent flyer devotees, ready, willing and able to share their vast knowledge.

You are absolutely right, cblaisd, in that there are already some wonderful natural ambassadors on FlyerTalk, and I hope that, if they don't nominate themselves, others who recognize their contributions will do so. I suspect that you, together will all individual forum moderators, will be extremely helpful in nominating the people who they see as natural ambassadors within the forum they moderate.

I am confident, dhammer53, that TB can manage to vett Ambssadors without making it a federal production. I suspect, for instance, that when I nominate dhammer53 as a Community Ambassador, which I (TB member hat off and member hat on) thoroughly intend to do, that it will pass immediately and unanimously.

IMHO, this program is one of the best things that could happen for the long-term good of FlyerTalk. What's not to like?
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Old May 24, 08, 1:41 pm
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Originally Posted by Punki View Post
Let's face it, FlyerTalk is the wonderful success that it is today because, right from the start there has always been a cadre of frequent flyer devotees, ready, willing and able to share their vast knowledge.
And astoundingly, they've done it without a title.

I am confident, dhammer53, that TB can manage to vett Ambssadors without making it a federal production.
IMHO, this program is one of the best things that could happen for the long-term good of FlyerTalk. What's not to like?
Here is the problem: The talkboard is unwilling to police itself, much less a Ambassador program. Talkboard members missed scores of votes. Suspended for months. And nary a vote to remove. One Talkboard member was suspended at the beginning of this term, and yet suddenly the various votes to elect a President, for instance, draaaaaaged out (almost as if the holdout members were hoping to delay things until the suspended member got back). And so forth.

As the Talkboard is a political beast that won't police itself, it stands to reason that it won't police it's ambassador corps either.

I challenge any Talkboard member to tell me why, for instance, there would not be a simple rule that anyone who has had a 30 day suspension (upheld by Randy) should continue as an Ambassador. And not to pull the logical fallacy of debate employed by my friend from the Commonwealth of Virginia (eg, "how can anyone be against something so good?!" when the question is really "why are not striving to only have the best?").

One would think that we'd want people who can stay within the TOS (even given a bit of latitude as above) as Ambassadors--of course, that would tie the hands of any Talkboard member wanting to "do a favor" for a friend.
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Old May 24, 08, 1:44 pm
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Originally Posted by kokonutz View Post
IMHO only, for three reasons:
The entire concept here is to get more folks involved and acknowledge and encourage people who are a positive influence on a particular forum. I really, really, really hope we can keep the ambassador program entirely separate from moderation issues and focus on recruiting, rewarding and encouraging positivity rather than on law-and-order punishment issues. And am a little sad that they are the first thing that someone thought of in response to the proposed guidelines.
I'm more wondering why some minimum standard of decorum was not included. It's got nothing to do (outside of an example) with moderation.

What I want to avoid is the traditional Talkboard croynism. Of course, by having guidelines, it might turn into more than a "who do you know on the Talkboard?" process.

I understand the raison d'Ítre pour la strawman, however.
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Old May 24, 08, 1:58 pm
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What's up, ClueByFour?

Here we are trying to do something really wonderful and good for FlyerTalk, presenting a really thorough and comprehensive proposal to involve more people and turn more sign-ups into active, lifetime, members, and you come back with all of this suspicion and negativity.

Plesae help me understand, what precisely is your ultimate goal?
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Old May 24, 08, 2:13 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by ClueByFour View Post
I'm more wondering why some minimum standard of decorum was not included. It's got nothing to do (outside of an example) with moderation.

What I want to avoid is the traditional Talkboard croynism. Of course, by having guidelines, it might turn into more than a "who do you know on the Talkboard?" process.

I understand the raison d'être pour la strawman, however.
IMHO only, because I want to be able to identify, 'reward' (lets face it, we are status junkies and hopefully the title ambassador and therefore the conduct that is attendant to it will be coveted) and encourage the types of posters that cblaisd talks about above. And if those types of posters happen to have or have had a suspension? So what? We're not looking for boy scouts, necessarily. Rather we're looking for folks with a welcoming spirit, hospitality, and enthusiasm for new members and their sometimes oft-answered questions. So I will ask you (and spiffy ): Why tie our hands and eliminate potentially excellent ambassadors based on a single mistake or bad day (or even week) rather than judging people on their overall merits as a potential ambassador?
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Old May 24, 08, 2:39 pm
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Originally Posted by ClueByFour View Post
Why don't ambassadors have to live by the same set of requirements for eligibility as mods?
Because they're not mods. Next question?
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Old May 24, 08, 2:39 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by ClueByFour View Post
And astoundingly, they've done it without a title.
And will continue to do so.

And the best ones won't want to go through a rigmarole process for titling themselves. They'll continue to do what they've always done which is work informally and collegially with forum moderators to make newbies welcome.

And, to address the suspension argument, I'd ask the proponents of this: Is there at least some level of disciplinary action that would rule someone out from being an "ambassador"? One suspension, three years ago; is that okay? What about seven warnings, two seven day suspensions, and two 30 days suspensions in the past 18 months? Is that too much? Is there some point at which putative "ambassadors" have demonstrated they don't respect the rules that govern our common life?
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Old May 24, 08, 2:59 pm
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There will be no rigmarole process. Someone will nominate an Ambassador, or they will nominate themself, most likely those exact same wonderful people to whom you refer, the TB will vett the nominee, and the title will or will not appear.

cblaisd queries:

Is there at least some level of disciplinary action that would rule someone out from being an "ambassador"? One suspension, three years ago; is that okay? What about seven warnings, two seven day suspensions, and two 30 days suspensions in the past 18 months? Is that too much? Is there some point at which putative "ambassadors" have demonstrated they don't respect the rules that govern our common life?
Since TalkBoard does not have access to the secret moderator suspension log, we would have no way of knowing who was suspended, when, how often or why. My understanding of the progressive nature of susensions as set forth in the TOS, however, would indicate that in the scenario you lay out as an example, most of those theoretical suspensions were found capricious and overruled.

In answer to your question, if someone is permanently banned, they would not be able to serve as an Ambassador during their lifetime ban.

This thread, however, is not about the TOS, nor is it about suspensions. It is about providing new and exciting opportunities for more members to become actively involved in making FlyerTalk an even better, friendlier and more welcoming place.
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Old May 24, 08, 3:33 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by Punki View Post
This thread, however, is not about the TOS, nor is it about suspensions. It is about providing new and exciting opportunities for more members to become actively involved in making FlyerTalk an even better, friendlier and more welcoming place.
It is my belief that if FlyerTalk is to become "an even better, friendlier and more welcoming place" then those for whom these new opportunities might be created should abide by the TOS or lose those opportunities.

Last edited by Spiff; May 24, 08 at 3:46 pm
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