Announcing the JC Focus Group

Discussion in 'Communications' started by KnightWriter, Oct 17, 2003.

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  1. droideka27 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2002
    star 7
    Ok, I thought initially that this sounded like a great idea... at the very least it's a vast improvement over the AC.

    But what i don't understand is the "people will be more comfortable stating their minds in a private forum" thing.

    I think that it would be better just to create a forum entitled "Focus Goup Discussions" and let it be open to everyone, and have "themed" discussions.

    All you would need to do is put a sticky at the top and have very very strict rules for the forum.

    Unless the FOcus Group would be discussing private stuff like certain users (which I can't imagine), I don't see why it can't just be public.


    EDIT: And if it's going to be a read-only forum, that just reiterates my point.
  2. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    I think that it would be better just to create a forum entitled "Focus Goup Discussions" and let it be open to everyone, and have "themed" discussions.


    That could be done in Communications as it is now.

    This is an as-needed thing, not something that will happen regardless of whether someone is using it or not.

    The mod connected to the discussion will be in charge of picking the users for the debate correct? The users will not get to decide who gets to take part? The mod squad in general will not be able veto a person?


    It's not yet certain or decided just who's going to be doing the choosing. It could be an overall moderator in charge, and/or could be a moderator who's bringing in some members to discuss an issue relevant to a particular forum.

    It may depend on who does the initiating for the group (whether members approach the administrators, or vice versa).

    Will users be limited to one focus group topic or can the mods relating to two different topics invite the same user to discuss both topics simultaniously?

    If they're legitimately part of the discussion and the rest of the group is okay with it, I believe that's possible.
  3. droideka27 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2002
    star 7
    Could you provide an example of something that can't be discussed in COmms that needs a small private discussion outside the mod squad?
  4. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Did we somehow give the impression that the FGs are for issues that cannot be discussed in Communications?
  5. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Could you provide an example of something that can't be discussed in COmms that needs a small private discussion outside the mod squad?

    There are some issues that only apply to one or two forums. Bringing them to Comms can sometimes be a bit of a distraction, more than anything. For example, a few months ago, we revised the rules for the Senate Floor. As part of that, we had a thread in the AC to help fine-tune the rules before releasing them to the public.

    In that case, the AC served as a focus group to help clarify and improve the rules. The rules themselves didn't really change, but they helped make them clearer.

    Now, instead of going to a set body (like the AC), we would set up a focus group of users from the Senate to discuss methods to clarify the rules. It would serve as a tool to help us run the boards better.

    Kimball Kinnison
  6. droideka27 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2002
    star 7
    Did we somehow give the impression that the FGs are for issues that cannot be discussed in Communications?

    Not really, but if there aren't, then doesn't that make the FG unneccessary?

    There are some issues that only apply to one or two forums.

    Now, when we had the "JC Reform" we had a thread IN JCC for that discussion, for a set amount of time. Wouldn't that work? Then all the forum regulars could provide input, and not just those who visit comms.


  7. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Not really, but if there aren't, then doesn't that make the FG unneccessary?


    Focus Groups aren't necessary. Neither is Communications or a number of other forums. They're just here to help make things better.

    The idea is to have focused discussion on specific issues for a limited amount of time. It will be constructive, and also will not be a free-for-all type thread, where rapid-fire posting and antagonism can break down discussions in Communications or elsewhere.

    Communications definitely has its place, and it should be used more in the future. However, the FGs will allow for focused discussion that isn't so easy to get here.
  8. Porkins in a Speedo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 6, 1999
    star 5
    But what i don't understand is the "people will be more comfortable stating their minds in a private forum" thing.

    well, it's a principle of psychology/sociology that applies to people/society in general. people are more likely to be more open and focused in smaller, private groups. i'm really not sure how else to explain it.

    Could you provide an example of something that can't be discussed in COmms that needs a small private discussion outside the mod squad?

    well, from the 'member approaches mods' aspect, a lot of it depends on the person and the issue. i would rather talk about my feelings on the profanity issue in private because i won't have to worry about everyone and their mother commenting on what i say. every comms thread has posts where the discussion is stalled by people who aren't being constructive, people who don't fully understand what people are saying and what the discussion involves, unintentional changes in direction of the discussion caused by people going off on tangents.

    small private discussions are much more efficient. you don't have distractions from people who aren't sticking to the central issu. you don't have (for the most part) people criticizing the speaker rather than what they're saying. and i could go on and on.

    small group discussions are more organized, efficient, productive, etc.

    the privacy aspect isn't for the purpose of 'security', it's for the purpose of maximizing the potential of the discussion in the ways i've explained in my last few posts.

    hope that helps. :)

    EDIT: as far as the issue of whether the Fg is necessary: of course it's not necessary. neither is comms. the only things that are ultimately necessary for a message board are: 1. rules 2. people to enforce those rules.
    the FG is a beneficial tool for people to use. it's a 'feature', so to speak, rather than a necessity.
  9. Katya Jade Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2002
    star 7
    I guess I can just reiterate what some others have said. The Focus Group is designed to be more of a "group PM" (to use Pie's example) which will utilize people with expertise in a particular forum to discuss issues that either they or a moderator would like to discuss. Part of the thought behind the private forum was to encourage open and honest discussion within the group. Yes, that can happen to an extent in Comms, but as I've seen with the AC, it does give a measure of latitude where people feel more inclinded to chime in. When you're being watched, you tend to "mind your P's and Q's" rather than just letting what's on your mind come out. Another option is to start it private and see if it's really needed. It could always be changed to a public forum later if the mods and FG participants felt okay about it.

    The mod connected to the discussion will be in charge of picking the users for the debate correct?

    For the most part, since the mod who wishes to start the discussion may have people in mind who s/he feels would contribute to the discussion.

    The users will not get to decide who gets to take part?

    If, say, 5 users are asked to participate, they could certainly request that others join in the discussion. The moderator will have the "final say" in who participates, though.

    The mod squad in general will not be able veto a person?

    Right. The MS really doesn't have "jurisdiction" over the Focus Group's individual discussions, per say. Really, it's up to the individual moderator to lead the discussion and who's involved so it's up to that moderator to invite who s/he feels will contribute to the discussion.

    Will users be limited to one focus group topic or can the mods relating to two different topics invite the same user to discuss both topics simultaniously?

    That's certainly an option. Although it won't be encouraged that if a user is asked in to one FG, that they start participating in all open discussions. That was more of an AC thing, this is more focused on individual topics.

    I'd also like to suggest the mods include the topics of dicussion currently under discusison by focus groups in the MS updates to give people the chance to express their desire to join to the mod in charge.

    Great idea.
  10. droideka27 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2002
    star 7
    Ok, what i should have said is I dont understand WHY a lot of people dont feel comfortableraising views in comms, not that i didn't know what it meant, because I obviously do, it's sort of self-explanitory.

    How is one supposed to "voulenteer" for this? Is there goign to be a forum announcement?
  11. Darth Ludicrous Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 25, 2000
    star 5
    well, it would be all exploratory anyway until it is found out if it works or not.
  12. Porkins in a Speedo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 6, 1999
    star 5
    well, it would be all exploratory anyway until it is found out if it works or not.

    very true. changes can and will be made somewhere down the road if it improves the system.


    How is one supposed to "voulenteer" for this? Is there goign to be a forum announcement?

    trace, think of it this way. there are 2 ways a FG can be started- 1. a member 'petitions', or requests, for an FG. 2. the mods form one on their own. in the member initiated one, that member can ask for certain other members to be involved and the mods can pick people also. now, this isn't gonna be unreasonable in that if you have a serious problem with a certain person then i'm sure the FG leader (or whatever) will listen. in the mod initiated one, i imagine they will invite who they want.

    people, please keep in mind that the process of 'selecting' (for lack of a better word) people for an FG is still being ironed out.
  13. droideka27 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2002
    star 7
    Alrighty, so it's not necessary.... but is it redundant? ;)

    I mean, in theory, this sounds like it could be very beneficial, but since i am a person who has no problems stating my views in comms, I have difficulty understanding. I will conceed that a lot of people are more comfortable in that atmosphere. But if that's true, I doubt having it readable would be a positive thing. As a matter of fact, I'd be against having it be readable.

    So, no one's really voulenteering at all, then, unless they start it. The aim would be to select a "diverse" team, correct?

    EDIT: I am not a "person ho" :p
  14. GRANDADMIRALAXLROSE Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 8, 2002
    star 7
    there are 2 ways a FG can be started- 1. a member 'petitions', or requests, for an FG. 2. the mods form one on their own. in the member initiated one, that member can ask for certain other members to be involved and the mods can pick people also. now, this isn't gonna be unreasonable in that if you have a serious problem with a certain person then i'm sure the FG leader (or whatever) will listen. in the mod initiated one, i imagine they will invite who they want.

    I think that this could work well if even in the mod started ones not all the members are picked by the mods. A moderator could pick a certain number of people (a small precentage of the full focus groups potential population) and those people can nominate members they think should join the discusion.
  15. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    A lot of it comes down to how the moderator(s) who start the group decide to do it. As DLM said, they could start a thread and ask for volunteers, or they could all be nominated by the person who proposes the group, or they could be selected by the moderator, or a mixture of the three.

    One other thing that I should point out is that each focus group would have a member (mod or normal user) selected as the leader of the group. This would be the person who helps direct the discussion. Often, this person would be the same person who proposed the group in the first place.

    Kimball Kinnison
  16. droideka27 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2002
    star 7
    This could be an extremely helpful tool, if it is used adequadely and properly.

    I wonder if that fact that the mod would have to put some thought into a diverse team will be a discouragement to starting discussions.

  17. Porkins in a Speedo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 6, 1999
    star 5
    I wonder if that fact that the mod would have to put some thought into a diverse team will be a discouragement to starting discussions.

    well, even if that were the case it wouldn't freeze the use of focus groups because regular members still have the ability to ask for a focus group. and if the person who asked for a FG and was granted one leads the discussion then the only thing a mod is needed for is to give access to the participants. and then you'd just hope that mods would participate in the discussion once it gets going. so, the system isn't necessary completely reliant on mods putting in a lot of work. though i don't think that mods not wanting to put the work into forming FG's will be an issue. and i'm sure there will be plenty of mods who regularly participate in focus groups.
  18. _Derisa_Ollamhin_ Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2000
    star 4
    I think it is important to have the topics that are under discussion or about to be under discussion posted somewhere public (even as a ist in the MSUpdates as was already suggested). I have an interest in a lot of different forums, and a lot of ideas on how things could be made better, not just in specific forums, but on the JC as a whole, and I'd like to be a part of those discussions that interest me. If a section were to be added to the MS Update: for example:

    KnightWriter wants to convene a Focus Group to discuss the blah de blah: PM him if you want to be invited.
    It was requested of the Lit mods to do something about yaddayadda: please PM one of them if you want to be included in a focus group about that issue...


    That way anyone who had something to say on one of those topics could talk to the mod in charge of that FG. If the issue was raised by a non-mod, it would be up to the forum mod where the issue was a concern to inform the MS of the need for a FG on that topic: so there'd be a thread on the MS where mods would post that info, and the MSUpdate writer would have to refer to it in order to include the details in the Update.

    I do think alot more could be done if the conversations were semi-private: I've seen a lot of good discussion buried under crippety-crap, even here on the Comms forum.


    *Derisa*
  19. flying_fishi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2002
    star 6
  20. DarthAttorney Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2000
    star 6
    Sounds like a step in the right direction but to avoid this Focus Group thing from being the AC with a more regular turnaround of members and a different buzz word title, any seperate boards should be read-only to the average member (except participants) and there should be as little incentive aside from a direct pow-wow with the administration as possible. No extra incentives mean you'll have people who actually care about an issue volunteering their time and effort, so no colours/titles/private boards etc.

    I'd also wonder about who's choosing which potential topics are going to be discussed. For example, say someone has a severe problem with one of the mods, it wouldn't do to have that mod picking and choosing issues for this Focus Group, they could potentially ignore a valid issue for as long as possible in hopes of it being forgotten over time. Whoever organises the agenda for the forum needs to be above reproach...but best wishes in finding that person ;)

    I was one of the AC's staunchest critics but I think something like this, where division and hierarchies are actively discouraged, could prove beneficial.
  21. lexu Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2002
    star 6
    As for posting FG-type topics in Comms instead:

    For certain topics, posting them in Comms will only get them drowned out by users that aren't involved, your typical baiting, ect. Or, if it's a delicate issue (like a problem with someone or a group of people in particular, for instance), discretion may be more appropriate. Putting them in a private place with just a dozen or so genuinely interested people to work things over would be a more suitable atmosphere, from my perspective.
  22. Porkins in a Speedo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 6, 1999
    star 5
    one of the main focuses in creating this FG type thing was to try and avoid a lot of the things that people didn't like about the AC, such as the exclusiveness, the perceived 'status' associated with it, and the misconception about what it's purpose was. the FG is what i personally believe (with all due respect to the creators of the AC and those who served on the AC) the AC should have been from the day it was created. the more people that get to use the system and have the opportunity to participate the better. the AC was inherently flawed because of the environment it was used in, not because it was a bad system.

    it is essential that people do not perceive and think of the FG along the same lines as the AC, because they are not the same. once people can get the AC out of their heads the easier it will be to see just how different the FG is. that's why earlier i said forget the AC, because critiquing the FG as if it were still the AC (but with a new name and other little changes) is a fallacy because they are 2 different things. and once you (generally) realize how much the 2 differ you will realize that a lot of the problems that a lot of people had with the AC are not applicable to the FG. (that=good ;) )
  23. epic Ex Mod

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 1999
    star 7
    firstly it's about time the AC is gone, even if it is about a year too late. funny how people criticed some of us for continuing to speak against it, when, evidently, the mods ended up agreeing.

    i wonder how some of the mods who were so adamently behind the AC concept reacted to the changes. if they went along with it without hassle, then does that show how much respect for non-moderator opinion they have?

    anyway.

    i was only against the AC after it was around for long enough to see whether or not it worked. it didn't. so while i admit i'm skeptical about whether this focus group will be a raging success or not, i'll also wait and see how it goes before i start bashing it.

    however, i'll raise some points:

    like someone else said, to encourage diverse opinion, i think the topics being discussed should definately be made public and available for anyone to view. then everyone can decide whether they want to be involved in a discussion or not.

    my issue is just whether there's going to be enough demand for this. i mean, how many JC changing policy discussions can you have? i think that was another problem of the AC, that COULD effect this new idea. and while i know it's something that can be used when necessary, not necessarily all the time, if it is inactive for any length of time, people are again going to question the point of it.

    also, i still think people are still inflating the problems with the Comms forum as evidence for the need for smaller, private discussion. i'm still not convinced of the magnitude of problem in this forum. while i agree discussion between less people in a private setting will make the people more free and open and discussions will be easier -- i'm not sure whether that is enough of a benefit to outweigh the fact that - obviously - there will be less people to offer opinion. my main argument against the AC was the numbers game: why limit oneself to 5 opinions when you could have 25? despite the pleas to seperate the AC and FG, this point remains the same.

    and is a private setting going to make members more open? it's not as if we're discussing the first time we had sex. i mean, it's jc policy stuff. if people are involved in discussion just because it's private, then how much do they really believe in what they have to say?

    having said all that, however, i'll await to see how things pan out.

    appreciative that people are looking at ways to improve things though.
  24. HawkNC Former RSA: Oceania

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2001
    star 6
    At least if the forum is visible to everyone, we wouldn't have to wait for "regular" FG updates. ;)

    The only major problem I have with this idea is the selection criteria of those who will be part of it (I might have missed this being detailed earlier). From my understanding, only one mod is choosing the people to discuss a certain issue. What mods decide the members for what issues? How is it ensured that an even division of opinions will be taken, rather than "stacking" the participants by choosing people who are all on one side of the discussion? I'm aware that decisions on JC policy aren't necessarily going to be made through the FG, but regardless of what the topic of discussion is, ensuring that a fair representation of both sides of the issue would be paramount in my opinion.
  25. Darth Mischievous Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 1999
    star 6
    This sounds like a good idea in my opinion.
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