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Things to think about

edited December 2017 in General
In no particular order:

  • Do we want to do this?
  • A name
  • Format and structure - (similar software to MWC would be my preference for familiarity to most users)
  • Guidlines
  • Moderators
  • Topics
  • General desires from a community like this

«13

Comments

  • If we can get these nailed down and the answer to the first bullet is "yes", I can start building something hidden from the rest of the world that we can work on until we think it's ready to go. It'll mean one more round of registrations for everyone, but hell we'll all still get first crack at user names :)
  • Marc said:
    In no particular order:

    • Do we want to do this?
    • A name
    • Format and structure - (similar software to MWC would be my preference for familiarity to most users)
    • Guidlines
    • Moderators
    • Topics
    • General desires from a community like this

    #1 If it's viable I'm sure we all want this.
    #2 Island Poetry. Lifeboat Poets. Cast Adrift Poetry. Global Poets. 
         Yeah, that's what the world needs now...another fucking poetry site.
         Bad Bastard Poets. Exodus Poetry. Scratch the itch. Small but Dangerous Poetry.
    #3 MWC similar software is ok with me.
    #4 Guidelines. Limited initially. Let them evolve as the site membership (hopefully)               increases. 
    #5 I'm happy to have my hand slapped by other poet Mods. But there should be a                 system where any poet can ask all members to vote as a jury...and not accept a               Mod/s decision.
    #6 Topics. Let's see what other members would like.
    #7 I suppose, to slowly increase membership, create a site that will eventually be                   regarded/rated as being an arena for serious poets. Maybe have two levels; one for         newbies who have to demonstrate enough ability, an arena where they post and               critique each other (with limited assistance/effort from the senior members) and are       eventually 'plucked' up to the 'gods' level  :)   
  • edited January 1
    drab said:
    Marc said:
    In no particular order:

    • Do we want to do this?
    • A name
    • Format and structure - (similar software to MWC would be my preference for familiarity to most users)
    • Guidlines
    • Moderators
    • Topics
    • General desires from a community like this

    #1 If it's viable I'm sure we all want this.
    #2 Island Poetry. Lifeboat Poets. Cast Adrift Poetry. Global Poets. 
         Yeah, that's what the world needs now...another fucking poetry site.
         Bad Bastard Poets. Exodus Poetry. Scratch the itch. Small but Dangerous Poetry.
    #3 MWC similar software is ok with me.
    #4 Guidelines. Limited initially. Let them evolve as the site membership (hopefully)               increases. 
    #5 I'm happy to have my hand slapped by other poet Mods. But there should be a                 system where any poet can ask all members to vote as a jury...and not accept a               Mod/s decision.
    #6 Topics. Let's see what other members would like.
    #7 I suppose, to slowly increase membership, create a site that will eventually be                   regarded/rated as being an arena for serious poets. Maybe have two levels; one for         newbies who have to demonstrate enough ability, an arena where they post and               critique each other (with limited assistance/effort from the senior members) and are       eventually 'plucked' up to the 'gods' level  :)   
    I'm agreed on all points.

    • I'll begin setting up a "workspace" that will ultimately be the site. It can be a work in progress until we like it. I'll work out the logistics and post them here. Figure it may take few days to get it right. (securing these things is a pain)
    • I'll create a private "Founders" forum where we can continue the discussions that begin here. The longer we're split between two homes the bigger the pain.
    • The name will be a trick as not only do we need to select one, but we'll need to find one with a domain name that hasn't been snatched up. I'll start a "Pick a name" forum in a minute. Let's try and settle on that fast. It's about a two day process from registering a domain to making it public.
    • I'm hoping that the mod role is limited to mundane task like helping spot and ban the spammers the software doesn't pick up and redirecting newbies to the right place. This should be easy at the start as we'll likely only have a few boards to begin with. Personal preference as this be lightheaded and more a ministerial role and not a dictatorial one.
    • I think some of the guidelines from MWC we're good and maybe we can start there and then edit them to fit the consensus.
    • One personal desire I had from MWC and would like to see here is at least one board that talks about poetry as poetry; where we can quote at least public domain and famous poems and discuss them. I alway thought the restriction to only original work denied us a wealth of useful discussion about what exists in the wild and what came before. Again, just a person wish, I'm good with what ever the group decides.
  • Sounds good to me Marc. What say the other poets?
  •  

    I am glad that we are [digitally] assembled, and I hope this isn’t too much of a ramble.  I love the discussion so far but have yet to reach conclusions.

    Marc’s offer of a turn-key poetry site is both generous and amazing.  It is without doubt the largest and prettiest gem in the bag.   

    We would have our own home!!

    MWC has been my writing home for five years, but it’s always been in the “poet’s corner” of a prose/games site.  And, present company excepted, MWC has traditionally had difficulty retaining talented poets, in large part because of the way poets/poetry is treated on the site. 

    With Marc’s help, we would have total control over site content, and control over public assess to site content.  We could do the MidSummer PoetryFest right.  The NaPo celebrations would not be relegated to one thread in the Coffee Shop, and poetry showcasing would be more prominent.  Moreover, crappy poems and haiku and splob threads can stay in the poetry area.  And presumably this would all be presided over by poetry-friendly Moderators.

    Moreover, the expertise of Marc in all technical matters - construction, security, social media presence, etc. – this puts us a step up from whatever MWC ever was and I dare say miles ahead of BWF.  The existence of our site would be assured into the indefinite future. 

    That said, Marc correctly identifies the formidable tasks of making a successful site.  I quote him: “[The technical work of site set up] is the easy part. Creating guidelines, providing fair and active moderators, and fostering a welcoming community are the real challenges.” 

    I have thought long and hard about moderating, and I am honestly not interested in being a Moderator.   My poetry priorities are reading, writing and critiquing.  And I am not prepared or willing to commit to the daily responsibilities of being a Moderator.  I wonder who might do it.  I don’t know.  If it came to it, would we try to recruit??  That seems bizarre.

    Writing the rules/guidelines, procedures, etc. will be a major commitment as well.  A thought is to just steal procedure and organizational ideas from existing sites.  I have no problem with that.   But it still will take a lot of time, commitment, and effort which does not involve reading, writing or critiquing poetry.  

    You can see my ambivalence with jumping on this wonderful offer.
    - - - -   

    All administrative and moderating hassles would be avoided by jumping to an existing site.  Of those, I personally view BWF as an unattractive option.  I have registered there, and have looked around.  As of this writing, there are 45 posts pertaining to prose / prose critique, 27 posts pertaining to poetry /poetry critique, 558 posts in the Bar, and a whopping 1,146 posts in ‘word play’.  I see the same Moderators doing the same shit, and the same frustrations, annoyances and problems for the would-be poetry community.

    - - - - -

    I have limited experience with other poetry sites.  But I appreciate poetry sites, and not games/prose sites with a 'poets corner'.  I have participated to some degree at Poetry Free-For-All, PoetryCircle, and PigPen/Poetry Forum. 

    Poetry Free-For-All (PFFA) has a number of talented poets, and the site is designed for serious workshopping.  For NaPo the site attracts 40-50 talented poets.  There is a heavy emphasis on in-depth critiquing. 

    PoetryCircle had been a one-owner operation until it recently changed hands.  The site has collected an admirable number of quality writers.  The new owners have made changes displeasing/outraging most of the regulars, although it is still unclear how many will not remain.  There are several efforts by PC regulars to start a new site or sites, but my knowledge of that is limited.  I intend to follow up.

    PigPen/Poetry Forum is a small site with a tight group of regulars, good poets all, who value serious crits, but are not the meat-grinder that PFFA is.  They do a fun NaPo which I have done there the last 2 years.  We could do worse that to plop down there.

    The last couple of days I have been touring other poetry sites.  At the smaller poetry sites I see a small group of committed folks who have a love of poetry and who have tightly coalesced.  These sites have their own unique cultures, no doubt based on the personalities of the regulars/moderators.  The quality of the postings and critiques are generally good.

    Then there are the larger, Wallmart-style sites – lots of posts, wildly varying quality with high percentage woe-is-me-s/he-ripped-out-my-heart jags.  It doesn’t look like comments/critiques are designed to improve the writing.

    Matty mentioned a couple of sites I am checking out as well.

    - - - -     

    There is one other idea rolling around in my head.  A clubhouse.  I don’t know how feasible it is, or whether it would draw any interest from others.  It would be a closed-access site.  I imagine each of us would be on whatever sites we want, but have a place to do NaPo right, a place to gather for a whopping/whooping MidSummerFest.  And it would be a place to workshop serios poems without the world deeming them “published”.  And without exposing them to any thieving people or bots that may be out there.  As an aside, I don’t know how you folks feel when you click over MWC Who’s Online and see ‘guests’ downloading your poems.  Bots? Who knows.

    The other thing, is if we have a clubhouse, or whatever, I won’t much care if the Mods at this site or that site get in the way of NaPo or PoetryFest - we have a place to go!  

    These are my thoughts at this point.  As you can see, I can be persuaded in most any direction, but am moving toward a clearer vision.

    So.  

    That's where I am at as of 2:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, January 1, 2018.

  • I'm reading all your posts. I was not aware of the issues with Mods, hadn't really thought about their role. I assumed they just checked posts were non-aggressive, non-racist, non-insulting and so on. I realize they have more power and I think this power has to be under control. Someone proposed to vote when a decision is controversial, which is probably the best thing to do (as long as controverses remain rare)
    It seems to be hard work, and a time-consuming one, to run a site. Is it not possible to use an existing site and create a sub-group if necessary, or melt into the existing group?
    Long life to NaPo and PoetryFest, wherever their home is :-)

  • edited January 1
    Just to muddy things up a bit more...

    This is along the line of Tracy's Clubhouse Idea. There are great options for collaboration out there: Things like Slack ( https://slack.com ) & Flock (Flock.com) These thing are traditionally used for business, but having used them for a time, I can easily see how well the would serve a community, or circle of writers. The features are amazing. They are far more advanced than any forum available: native apps for all platforms, document collaboration, the works. That said, what we would have is a member's only, invitation based club. 

    This a completely different animal than a site. A site is bright lights near the largest exit on the freeway. This is more like Speakeasy, or Masonic lodge at the end of an unmarked street.

    I, like Tracy, really have no desire to be a moderator. (Hell, I was hoping he was going to take up that mantle ) As he reiterated, the techie stuff is easy. Building a destination and then a community is a major task.

    I've been to the other sites out there, the Walmarts and specialty shops, none have drawn me in for long. I intended to use email, but found that without a place to stop every day or so, my writing suffered and my natural inclination to procrastinate thrived. 

    My desire is to be a part of this community. I kind of came to terms with being away from it for a bit always thinking the door would be open should I find my way back. I was, and am, terrified of the idea that there would be no door to enter.

    So I'm in for whatever keeps this circle of talented folks together and thriving in whatever form.
  • Here's, a screenshot of Slack in action. Ignore the content: 


  • Here's an overview of Flock: 

    These are basically designed for business, but it doesn't take a ton of imagination to see how the same tools could be used for team of poets. 
  • Here's one more that might be a good fit. It allows for Forums and posts which may make it easier to get into seeing that we are all familiar with the forum format.


  • Note: I hope it doesn't appear that I'm advocating this direction too much. I'll admit it appeals to me. Primarily because once the initial setup is done, it's pretty much an organic playground and moderation becomes irrelevant. 

    The downside is we would have to actively recruit outside of its walls.

    The upside is the possibility it allows for deep dives into a particular topic or poem are huge and the fluid nature of delivery means that things don't just drop off after something new pushes it from the top.
  • 'The downside is we would have to actively recruit outside of its walls.'                             I suppose that's the main problem; it's difficult enough attracting new members on open sites like MWC. So I'd imagine it would be nearly impossible to externally recruit sufficient numbers to make it viable? 
    Could we use the BWF format and just remove all the irrelevant sections, steal the MWC guidelines (for the moment), have all founder members (spread the load) as Mods, choose a name, and just hit the floor running? 
    We're all committed to the cause, and if it doesn't work the way we'd like...we address the problem, make the necessary changes and see how it goes. 
    What have we got to lose?
  • I'm open to anything. Let's wait on some other voices.
  • Tracy's 'There is one other idea rolling around in my head.  A clubhouse.  I don’t know how feasible it is, or whether it would draw any interest from others.  It would be a closed-access site.  I imagine each of us would be on whatever sites we want, but have a place to do NaPo right, a place to gather for a whopping/whooping MidSummerFest.  And it would be a place to workshop serios poems without the world deeming them “published”.  And without exposing them to any thieving people or bots that may be out there.  As an aside, I don’t know how you folks feel when you click over MWC Who’s Online and see ‘guests’ downloading your poems.  Bots? Who knows.'

    I like this idea; could this be a 'closed' level on an open site for 'trusted' members? 
    It would be so much more convenient to 'do all our business' in one shop  :) 
  • Marc - your options are breathtaking.  I feel like a toad stool in a library.  
  • edited January 2
    drab said:

    I like this idea; could this be a 'closed' level on an open site for 'trusted' members? 
    It would be so much more convenient to 'do all our business' in one shop  :) 
    Sure - We'd be looking at a public site with a private area for "trusted members". We'd still need moderators, etc I don't think we'd have to go nuts, but we'd need most of the time zones covered. Open registration would be playing whack-a-mole. So I think we would need Mods to approve applicants similar to what we've done here.

    You're dead on regarding topics, guidelines, etc. we can take what we liked from MWC as a base.

    It really depends on what we want. My experience on MWC and trolling the other forums is that on the good ones there is a real active core and a bunch of passersby. That said some of those passersby stay and become valued parts of the community, but its a numbers game. The bad sites are just loaded with angsty tripe and lacking in the kind of constructive and respectful feedback we're used to.

    The alternate approach would be a closed community where membership grows as we find folks out in the wild and invite them. There are also ways to socialize the existence of the community, twitter, reddit, Qura, etc.

    If we were to decide on this route, I lean toward one of the packages above primarily for their features and the limited need for administration and moderation.

    I'm willing to set up both, but am afraid that folks may suffer fatigue test driving the options. That said, I'm happy to do it. I could have option two set up by tomorrow. A site will take a few days, primarily to setup the initial boards and secure it from spam. 

    The software we're using now is very tight, but as you've probably noticed, it's too limited for a full blown site. Had I been thinking, I likely would have set up one of the 'clubhouse' options for us to use for this sorting out phase.

    We need to hear from more folks. I'm open to either and willing to set up both if it's not too trying on everyone's patience to kick a few tires.

  • Good discussion. I will go away and put down some thoughts. Here's one regarding the moderation issue. What if we begin with all the founder members being the Moderator on duty - Mod - for, say, a week at a time? There could be a roster, the load would be divided evenly, there would be no perceived inequality or elitism, and anyone with conflicting outside commitments could swap duty with another founder member. As membership increases, the Mod pool could be increased.The moderator on duty could maybe also be responsible for promoting the site during his tour. What do you think? We don't want the mod issue to become like hosting the old poetry challenge - something to be shied away from, and hindering site activity. Or we could just kidnap Jewel.




  • I never had a problem hosting the poetry challenge - I liked doing it.  I generally didn't mind taking a few minutes to welcome a newbie who was being ignored by the Moderators.  But I think Marc and Sio are the only ones of us who have actually been moderators. 

    When you get a chance, Marc, fill us in what all would be involved with the job at our hypothetical wonderland.


  • How about joining something like Flock's or Slack's for sharing, critics, hosting challenges and so on, AND in lieu of a "clubhouse", a closed FB group (membership only type of group) to announce new publications / challenges / festivals etc ran on that other site. + an easy way to communicate, share infos etc... FB private group would need no Mods,  no technicians, no extra work.
    Just an idea.
  • Some loose thoughts. 


    Membership levels:

    Pioneer Member

    Senior Member

    Member

    Newbie

    The structure of the site can be arranged approximating the membership levels.

    The Pioneer Members (us) have their own private forum to discuss things, (like the MWC Mod Shack,) put up Member on Duty rosters, consider competitions and events, promoting the site, forum rules and practices, etc etc. Call it say the Clubhouse or the Pioneer Club.

    Then another level extending down to Member, which can extend across a couple of boards; roughly along the lines of RMP, Poetry Workshop and The Gallery, CPT etc.

    Newbie level is a sort of boot camp with restricted access to the rest of the site. Maybe we can have a showcase board that they (and the online public) can view without interference, as an incentive to join. And perhaps a mission statement.

    The newbies would have to offer say, two comments and one crit before being able to post. And then promotion to member isn’t about 50 quick posts but on some kind of merit, social as well as talent. There should be a rule against heartbreak poems for newbies’ first posts, ha.

    We can figure out what it takes to go from newbie to member to senior member.

    Some features I would like to see would be a different approach to archiving and display. It feels different, dynamically, when composing something in the Post box as opposed to in Word, offline. It would be nice if we could save online work-in-progress in a personal scratchpad sort of temporary file. Then when ready the poem can be posted on a board for critting and comment and the process we’re familiar with. However, it would perhaps also be nice if a posted poem and it’s thread that we’re not satisfied with can somehow then be lifted and put into some personal or WIP archive for later revision. Or if satisfied it can stay on its board or the poem can go to the public showcase on the Homepage. Hmm… not too sure about all of that last bit.  

    It seems to me that a certain level of gatekeeping is to be preferred, in whatever final form it may take. The downside is of course that it will hinder growth and new blood, which is desirable/necessary. The counter to that is some sort of incentive, such as getting published in an annual anthology or winning a cash prize or both. This in turn implies some form of fundraising or monetization and so it all becomes a policy decision. But no harm in thinking big is there? Why not aim to create a prestigious poetry site?

    Over.   

     




  • Here's a very good link to an article about forum moderation:

    https://bubbajuju.com/forum-moderating/
  • The above gives a good indication of what is involved. Mark, I like your ideas for more poet friendly features, private workspace etc. I can look into this. 

    What you describe is indeed the type of site I'd want. That said, I want to be a member, not a site admin, or a mod. The technical administration is not a problem. I believe I can build in the type of features you describe. Committing to more than that is something I'm not comfortable doing. I just don't have the bandwidth. 

    I would use a different username when fulfilling that role. On the site, I would just want to be a poet and would be pleased as punch that no one outside of this group knows I was the same person. 

    I am attracted to building this. My primary concern is the day-to-day moderation. The article gives a good sense of what is involved.  Only so much, even in the area of spam control can be reliably automated. Some level of daily 'policing' will be necessary.

    I don't want to sound like I'm against it. I'm all for it. But we need to go in eyes open, and we need mods.

    We will by nature start small (not in features, but in the administrative needs)

    If we believe we can fill the initial moderator needs, I'll start building now. 




  • For what it's worth, I'm available to spend a few hours on occasional/random days each week as a Mod. I still believe that all founder members should be Mods. In a perfect world we could have just a few, and each would be assigned a time slot. But I, and I assume most of you, couldn't guarantee you'd be there to monitor the site?
    If we all agreed to give this a try, with no obligation...just a commitment to do the best we can, I think it'll work; and eventually, when we settle into the new routine, we'll find out who can commit to being more active, then we can reduce the number of Mods. 

  • Sounds good to me. I'd like to get something going before we lose momentum. I'll have some time tomorrow to get working on a shell. Maybe we can nail down a name. In the meantime I can put it in a subdomain of one of my sites as we flesh it out.

    I think if we have something in front of us as a work in progress it'll be easier than discussing it in abstract. 
  • There are too few engaging with the process! Have we lost momentum already Marc?

  • Island Poetry?
  • I like the name. "Build it and they will come" ?
  • I read and saved the linked article. Interesting and useful. Thank you, Marc.

    What I take away is that a lot of discussion and writing is needed to establish rules and guidelines, kind of like a constitution. I've always felt a rule is just a decision in advance.
    I think we could do worse than to base things on MWC mod policies, with our own twists. 
    It would be nice if we all as moderators could have alter ego mod handles (for example like Hitler, Stalin, Attila, Genghis and Donald) and a bunch of stock phrases to copy-paste into a thread as necessary - I for one would like to keep any mod activity sort of apart from my forum persona.

    I do think that whether he likes it or not, Tracy should be the, er, God Mod (as in godfather) as he is wise and sensible etc. The God Mod would need to make unusual policy decisions on the fly, deal with referred issues from regular mods, settle disagreements between mods and so on.
    Marc might need three personas - Administrator, Moderator, and Member. But perhaps Marc can be recused as a mod due to his admin inputs and activities.

    We can start using this hierarchy straight away as we formulate things - I'll be happy to abide by any policy decisions made by Ty if we are dithering or asleep. Can you all indicate your position on Ty being the God Mod?

    And my deeply heartfelt thanks again to Marc, showing up as a white knight in time of need. Amazing.
  • I'm happy for Tracy to be Top Mod.
  • I triple the motion
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