Advisory Council-Needed or Unnecessary

Discussion in 'Communications' started by Master Salty, Jan 28, 2003.

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  1. Master Salty Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 1999
    star 6
    With the permission of Vertical, I decided to start this thread. There seems to be differing opinions concerning the effectiveness and usefulness of the Advisory Council. Please keep this thread civil and ontrack. Please try to keep your points clear and concise and don't get upset if you're not responded to immediately. The constant throwing out of points isn't very useful because people won't have time to respond to your points.

    As a current AC member, I'm interested in what people HONESTLY think of the AC, it's structure, purpose, effictiveness, usefulness, and necessity.
  2. YodaJeff Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2001
    star 7
    If everything was perfect, the AC wouldn't be needed. However, everything isn't perfect, nor will it ever be. Therefore, I think the AC is a great help.
  3. Master Salty Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 1999
    star 6
    This was posted in the AC4 introduction thread. I omitted the list of members from this post. The list of members can be found in AC4 introduction thread. I want this thread to focus on the issues I raised in the first post.
    I. What is the purpose of the AC?
    The Advisory Council serves as a bridge between the Administration and the Membership. A selected group of dedicated Jedi Council members gather together to discuss pertinent JC issues alongside the Administration.

    The AC is meant to provide personal insight and a membership's point of view into various subjects, and to give the Administration a better idea as to what the membership thinks of a certain proposed policy issue.

    The AC isn't meant for grievance or technical issues, which are topics better suited for the Administration. However if you do see a problem in how the JC is run or have a question or concern, feel free to privately contact the ACer(s) of your choice and that issue will be brought up for discussion.

    Expect to see weekly updates compiled by the AC that, in addition to providing a summary of what has been accomplished during the week, will describe in detail what issues are currently being discussed. Other relevant issues and "topics for discussion" -- pre-selected topics about which the AC will solicit opinions and encourage discussion -- will also be included in the update.


    II. Who are the current members?
    The AC membership is currently broken up into two groups, permanent members, and rotating members. The three permanent members are just that, members for life. The eight rotating members stay on for a term of three months, at which point they nominate their replacements.


    IV. Why is the AC important to you?
    The AC was devised and exists to serve you, and only with your participation can the AC reach its full potential. By letting the AC members know your ideas for improving the JC or communicating problems with the way things are done at the JC, you are affecting the JC for the better.

    If you have any issues to discuss, concern, we encourage you to contact any AC members, as we are more than willing to bring these views to discussion with the administration.
    />/>
  4. Vertical Former Head Admin

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 1999
    star 6
    I have personally found the AC to be helpful. Topics which would easily degenerate into 'drama' in Communications can be discussed with Mods and Members in relative mature harmony, and are extremely productive, in most cases. This doesn't always result in new policy, so there's not always something to show for it, but having seen it and used it myself, I can vouch for the validity of this function.

    Ideally, I would like to see the AC unecessary - meaning, I'd like to have a Communications forum where folks don't feel the need to grand-stand, posture, and play politics. I'd like to have a place where people can discuss matters maturely, without trying to jockey for 'attention' in the threads.

    The Advisory Council fills this role by eliminating the whole "public" aspect of the discussions - there is no 'posturing'. There's no 'mass respect' to be won by grand-standing. There's just discussion.

    I find the AC to be somewhat sadly necessary for some discussions. Some. Not all.

    Vertical
  5. RidingMyCarousel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 20, 2002
    star 6
    From my experience with the AC, the Advisory Council is a great group to work with. They bring in opinions from an outside view on different matters - such as titles, VIP colors, forum rules and regulations, ideas with fixing new forums up, ideas for the creation of new forums and more. They were also more than happy to help out with ideas to help spice up forums.

    I'd only worked with the third AC, so I can't speak for the second, first or fourth groups, but from my experience with the one group, they would call everything as it is. When I was promoted and started working on the Amphitheatre rules and regulations, the AC members gave me plenty of input, advice and support. They were always there to help toss in whatever they could. They certainly seemed more involved at times than my fellow moderators. Whether that is because they didn't know what to add or that they just had nothing to say, I don't know -- but without the AC, the rules for the forum would have taken a lot longer to forge together and put in place. They were also more than helpful in their thoughts towards the Star Wars Music forum. They helped advise (heh, get that.. :p) myself and the other moderators on the issues pertaining those two forums.

    And that's just from my personal experience with them. They've helped bring matters to attention that might not have been seen otherwise. Their input has been invaluable to myself and other moderators.

    I don't see why the AC should go anywhere.
    If anything, I think the AC for the 5th term ought to have a set guidelines of boards to pick from.. because at times, it feels like some boards get little to no representation while others get too much.

    But that's all.

  6. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
    I like the concept of the AC. I'm not necessarily sold on the implementation of the AC as it is now, but then again, I'm not sure the AC was meant for "people like me" in the first place as I rarely have issue with asking Mods questions or posting my opinions in Comms.

    I think that the majority of my thinking is that, well, a majority of the JC doesn't seem to know what the AC can DO in relation to everyday life at the JC. We know who you ARE (if we read the thread ;)) but it's unclear what the position entails. We know normal users get to post and whatnot and we know the Mods are the grease in the wheels, making the place run relatively smoothly.

    Where does that leave the AC?

    Are they "public advocates" keeping the Mods honest?
    Are they a sounding board for Mods for ideas that they don't want to float publicly yet?
    Can the AC advise punishment for Mods or normal users whom they feel are disruptive to JC life?
    If the Mods float an idea and the AC emphatically votes "nay," what happens if the Mods do it anyways?

    I think many of the issues relate to how people get along with Mods in the Forums they frequent. I have zero problem PMing any single one of the Mods in Lit, and no real problems PMing any of the other Mods or Admins (Josh included) if I have a relevant question, comment or gripe. However, there ARE some people that don't feel comfortable doing that. Should the AC be that intermediary group that people who are unwilling to contact Mods -- be it out of fear, loathing or confusion -- could contact?

    One of the things brought up in the other thread was farraday's plan of rotating vacancies with a 12 member AC. I like that plan, but I'd like to see 6 month terms with 6 vacancies every 3 months. Representation from ALL major Forums (EU Lit, JCC, 3SA, 3NS, etc.) so that if there WAS someone who never left a particular Forum they'd have someone to PM if they didn't feel they could go to a Mod.

    So, basically I like the idea of the AC. I'd like to see a clearer definition of WHAT the AC is doing or CAN do in relation to the JC and the Administration as well as increasing the representation across the boards.

    And, no, I don't think it matters if every member of the AC comes from any particular group. Unless they're Cthulu worshippers...

    ... then I'm all for it! :D
  7. Genghis12 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 1999
    star 6
    The AC has merit for no other reason than as an outlet for those who perceive there is no other alternative for what they wish to do.

    I've heard there may actually exist users who don't wish to PM mods about certain issues for whatever reason.

    I've also heard that there's users who don't like the whole idea of Comms for whatever reason, which given its nature, I certainly don't blame them for.

    Now, as most Comms issues cannot fit really well into any forum other than Modsquad and not all users have access to Modsquad, such people would generally be out of luck.

    What they could do is PM people to discuss their concern/issue with other users. But, anyone who's tried to carry on a PM conversation involving more than two people knows that's an unwieldy way to do this.

    In effect, the AC has institutionalized this third option. And recognizing it as a viable option (which it is), the administration has supported it with a more efficient manner of communication. As a trade-off, there is a limited, but rotating group of people with access, which I also think is reasonable.
  8. xie Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2002
    star 5
    Really, can anyone name anything that the AC has done? They sound very nice, look nice (Even Dusan), and make a very good show of doing things, but I've never seen anything actually done by the AC.

    They make updates, that usually just concur with the Mod Squad updates, or talk of ideas that are so ridiculous (sports forum?) that every single member votes them down, as well as the Mod Squad.

    If someone could post a list of things actually done (not taking a vote, "Discussing", or blindly agreeing with the mods) by the AC, I would be very grateful.
  9. Master Salty Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 1999
    star 6
    It's great that you feel you can go to the MS if you have problems, but some people aren't very comfortable bringing issues to the MS or posting a thread in Comms. I can see a use for us in that capacity.

    The AC never claimed to have power over the MS. We can bitch and gripe and do our best to keep bad policy from being made, but in the end we have as much sway as non-AC users on the JC.

    So you think half of the AC should rotate every 3 months? That doesn't seem unreasonable to me at all.

    In summary, the best we can do is try to bring as many issues to the MS as possible and do our best to keep the MS from doing unreasonable things. The success of the AC ultimately rests on members bringing issues to us, AC members bringing issues to the MS, and the hope that our discussions will be productive. The AC was never meant to drown out everyone's voice. Everyone has just as much a voice in matters as we do. All you have to do is speak up.
  10. Vertical Former Head Admin

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 1999
    star 6
    The Advisory Council doesn't "do" anything, xie. Not in a tangible sense, anyway. They "advise". And I can assure you, they've done plenty of that.

    Vertical
  11. Night4554 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 9, 2000
    star 5
    If someone could post a list of things actually done (not taking a vote, "Discussing", or blindly agreeing with the mods) by the AC, I would be very grateful.

    Well, no, we can't. The AC can't decide policy. I may be off base, but I don't beleive that it's ever done that.

    The closest we would come, I beleive would be:
    Moderator Evaluations
    Giving our views on various issues.

    We've certainly influenced decisions, but to point at somehting and say "We did that", it would be hard.

    spelling

    ¤Night
  12. xie Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2002
    star 5
    Isn't that why we have the Mod Squad updates, and Communications?

    I was never around for the original creating of the AC, so I never got to speak, but if they don't serve any purpose except to represent members who have no say in who it is, then what's the point?

    I'm sure quite a few people wouldn't have chosen, or "elected" some of the people on the AC now, so how can they effectively speak for them, and voice their opinions?

    Also, the AC doesn't really even ask for our opinions, via polls, or threads (except one issue every week or so, which usually isn't even a big issue. Also, I've never seen public opinion sway the AC in any way).

    Moderator Evaluations - Where are these? Maybe AC 1 and AC 2 did some, but I've seen nothing tangible.
  13. Night4554 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 9, 2000
    star 5
    Also, I've never seen public opinion sway the AC in any way).

    Public Opinion. We consider that when discussing things, but we're represenative of you, we don't represent you. That's a nice way of saying "No, public opinion doesn't sway of from our views. It's not supposed to. But we do take it into account."

    Moderator Evaluations - Where are these? Maybe AC 1 and AC 2 did some, but I've seen nothing tangible.

    I do not know if they were ever made public, but I've read through a few. If the mods don't have a problem with them being public, we'll post them as we do them.

    ¤Night
  14. Master Salty Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 1999
    star 6
    Yes, MS Updates and Comms serve as a place for people to voice their opinions. The AC serves as another outlet for people to voice their opinions. It doesn't matter where you voice your opinion. If people don't want to listen, they're not going to listen.

    Elections may be a good idea in theory but it would be a disaster to try and maintain any accuracy.

    If you have an issue that's important to you, nobody is stopping you from voicing it. Why would you wait to be asked if it's that important?
  15. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
    I do not know if they were ever made public, but I've read through a few. If the mods don't have a problem with them being public, we'll post them.

    Wait... so we had Moderator Reviews but they were never made public?

    What was the purpose then? What happens if a Mod gets a bad review? Is there any accountability by non-AC and non-Mod users?

    This was one of the reasons I started the Moderator Review thread -- because if they're being done and no one hears about them... isn't that like a tree falling in the woods when no one's around? :)
  16. YodaJeff Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2001
    star 7
    I think the original purpose of the moderator reviews (which is something that I think AC2 did, but AC3 didn't continue to do for various reasons) was to give the moderator feedback on how they are doing, including their strengths and weaknesses. They came from the AC to show that what was being said was to be taken seriously, and wasn't meant as some sort of drama attack. I think the main purpose was to let the moderator know what areas he or she could improve on, and not necessarily as a "moderator report card", where you needed certain "grades" to pass.
  17. Night4554 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 9, 2000
    star 5
    The moderator reviews were not so much Reviews for a movie, where people can read them and form opinions on whether or not they like it (them) or not, but more of a "Here's what we think you're doing right, wrong, mediocre. Here's where you can improve. We suggest doing this, not that, and watching out for this." deal.

    ¤Night
  18. xie Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2002
    star 5
    I'm not suggesting elections for the AC. But nothing seems to have changed with or without Moderator Reviews. The public members are still ignored in most cases (sometimes for a good reason, other times inexplicably), and by self admittance, the AC doesn't particularly serve any purpose other to advise on behalf of people they don't know, and sometimes don't even listen to.
  19. Master Salty Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 1999
    star 6
    Considering it's called the "Advisory" Council, advising is the main focus. As to whether or not it's needed, is debatable. That's the whole point of this thread.
  20. Spike_Spiegal Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 11, 2002
    star 5
    A few things...

    1. I think the AC for the reasons given above. Communications cannot meet the needs that the AC is designed to fill. I think the AC in general makes the boards better.

    2. I find the idea that the AC is a "paper tiger" invalid, considering I don't think it was supposed to be a "tiger" in the first place. It's Advisory after all...

    3. HOWEVER this does not mean that the AC is in anyway perfect or crystallized as an idea. I think better representation is needed across the forums, maybe more members are needed, and that the AC's purposes need to be outlined better and its role with relation to the MS also better defined.

    For example, a month or two ago a decision was made on these boards that many found outrageous (it was quickly overtturned). Alot of Mods stated that in the future they would consult the AC on matters of
    that kind to avoid the kind of situation that resulted. A few questions...

    A) Has this been done?
    B) If so, has it been done enough?
  21. xie Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2002
    star 5
    Fine. And I'm saying they aren't needed. They advise people who they don't know, who don't know them, and people who they ignore.

    If there is any sensitive issues that CANNOT leak to the rest of the JC, then what's the point of having input from supposed regular members? If they want the opinion of the general populace, or a specific forum, post threads there (a la D_L_E's thread about JCC reform). In fact, anything based off of the opinions of the AC is a fallacy, since it forces a hasty generalization to be made about the entire JC. Fine if they were elected (I'm not asking for this, again.), but they're just random people from supposedly random forums (though it does work out to be many more JCC posters than not). If I asked 10 people on the street if they think flossing is a good idea, and all 10 say yes, they doesn't mean that every person in the world thinks that flossing is a good idea.
  22. Vertical Former Head Admin

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 1999
    star 6
    Fair enough, xie. You don't feel it's necessary. This thread can and should accomodate those of that opinion.

    Vertical
  23. Genghis12 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 1999
    star 6
    IMO, xie's request is rather fair.

    Some examples of the more "major" or "serious" things that the AC has helped Genghis12 with (by no means anywhere near complete)...

    As a User
  24. Facilitated some action on how to handle EU-related discussion of AotC spoilers. Primarily affected three forums - AotCNS, AotCSA and Lit. I believe for the better.


  25. As an AC Member
  26. Facilitated some recognition of culturally/racially-sensitive words with respect to "moderator abuse."

  27. Synergized the combined power of users and moderators in promulgating effective guidelines on the title feature.

  28. Discussed something that I would not have posted to Comms, nor should have posted to Comms. I discovered it and wanted to know how other regular users and mods felt about it. I could have PM'ed a whole bunch of people, but then the leak would be my responsibility. With the AC, I could simply shift blame to the "AC" in principle.

  29. Discussed the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the exit of a noted Lit. forum VIP and what could be changed so that no one else ever had to leave under the same circumstances. Still something I think about to this day as a moderator of the Lit. forum.

  30. Created a program of Moderator evaluations, and evaluated several moderators. IMO, they helped. And the recent resurgence of the idea validates it to some degree.

  31. Discussed several game ideas which benefitted the forums.


  32. As a Moderator
  33. Discussed merits of using the AC to try and defuse feuds. I already have the "moderator" POV. It was not something which was appropriate to discuss in Comms by nature of my standing as moderator of the Lit. forum and the time my concerns were raised. Someone who was a regular of Lit. forums would/could easily decipher who I was talking about which wasn't at all germaine to my core issues and therefore not conducive to a Comms environment.


  34. While a number of the above could have been handled in some other, less effective or less efficient manner via Comms, PM's, etc. The fact is that in my experiences - at all levels as user, AC member and Mod - the format of the AC allowed discussion of the issue better than other available formats.
  35. Amidala Starkiller Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 11, 1999
    star 6
    To me it's pretty unnecessary.

  36. Gandalf the Grey Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2000
    star 6
    Genghis, how much to get you to write my resumes? :D ;)
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