Announcing the JC Focus Group

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

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  1. Genghis12 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 1999
    star 6
    farraday...
    "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...[i/]"

    We've been discussing various ways to "advertise" what these various topics are. There's a bunch of ways to do it.

    1. The natural choice is give the people participating in a specific group an informational title - "AC Member: Swearing FG" or something like that. Like deltron's point with VIP-ship, the more people realize that titles have no other purpose than passing along information free from drama caused by 1 or 2 people concerned about e-status, then they become useful to the members-at-large. When people see the title, they'll be like "Hey, I'm interested in discussing the swearing rules!" and then go petition to be included.

    2. Topic Update List - Posted to Comms weekly. Includes all active topics and whose maintaining the discussion. That way, any interested parties can read it and petition to be included or keep up with it. The beauty of keeping it seperate is that regular users can be involved if they so choose.

    3. ModSquad Updates - Certainly can include some information about active discussions.
  2. epic Ex Mod / RSA

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 1999
    star 7
    AC Member: Swearing FG

    i don't think anyone involved in discussions needs to have a title. they're just giving an opinion, it's not a position of any kind.
  3. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    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.

    Actually, most moderators agreed that we needed to keep the AC in some form. The only real question was how to rework it. While the AC may be gone in its old form, the FG will fill the same purpose. Namely, it will be a tool to help moderators gain multiple perspectives on problems facing the boards in general, and specifically their forums.

    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.

    If it is inactive for a long time, there should be no reason for people to question why it exists. It is simply a tool in the toolbox that we have for improving the boards. Let me provide an analogy.

    My dad and I are woodworkers. We have a shop in our basement, with quite a selection of power tools. One of the tools we have is a planer (used to smooth out boards to a uniform thickness). We hardly every use the planer. Most of the time is sits in its cart (upside down, since the top of the cart flips to where our stationary sander is located). However, it is there when we need it. We never question why we have it there.

    I don't see why it should be any different with the FG.

    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.

    Remember, the FGs will not be setting policy. They will be used as a resource to help determine some of the best courses of action, or to resolve specific propblems.

    This is an old technique, used in marketing for quite some time. Before you release your ad campaign to the public, you want to know how people are going to react. This helps you identify the major problems and allows you to either scrap the idea completely or rework it before releasing it to the public. That's essentially what we did in the AC with the Senate rules, and it helped fix many problems with the first draft.

    It can work as a first line of investigation, but not as the only one. It is not in replacement of bringing things in front of the general public, but in addition to it.

    Kimball Kinnison
  4. Kyp Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2003
    star 4
    Get a better name?
  5. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    i don't think anyone involved in discussions needs to have a title. they're just giving an opinion, it's not a position of any kind.


    There will be no titles used for the Focus Groups. That is official.
  6. DarthAttorney Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2000
    star 6
    "....the more people realize that titles have no other purpose than passing along information free from drama caused by 1 or 2 people concerned about e-status, then they become useful to the members-at-large."

    Have them update their own sigs.

    Problem solved, drama-labelling mods or otherwise.
  7. Sara_Kenobi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2000
    star 7
    This way seems that it will be much more informitive and beneficial with a smaller group trying to resolve concerns and issues in the forums. Especially with having a new selection of members with each dicussion.

    Will this be for all the forums though?
  8. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Will this be for all the forums though?

    Anywhere on the JC :).
  9. deltron_zero Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 1, 2002
    star 6
    To be honest, this thing (like the AC) strikes me as being a little silly and self-important. This is the internet, we are on a Star Wars messageboard, and when it comes down to it we're really just a bunch of dorks. Yet often it seems we take ourselves way to seriously. I wish people could just lighten up a bit, but at the same time it's nice to be organized and enforce some sort of rule and all that, so there's a bit of a line to walk there.

    But with all that said, I don't think these Focus Groups are a horrible idea. The main reason I don't think so is that this sort of organizing in small groups, discussing and debating issues, and problem solving could actually provide valuable experience for the young people who would presumably be taking part in these focus groups. This experience could actually come in handy in the "real world", both in college and possibly in whatever career they end up in. But this is precisely why I don't think it should be done behind closed doors. Why not let everyone profit from the experience by observing how these focus groups work, and why they fail when they do? Let's face it, a lot (not all) of our younger members, who could profit most from the experience, won't be invited to these groups because they simply aren't articulate enough.

    I felt the same way about the AC.

    I can see the logic behind the arguments for keeping it private, but to me keeping it private just makes the whole thing seem even more self-important, and actually selfish.
  10. jedi_master_ousley Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2002
    star 8
    This is definitely intriguing.
  11. epic Ex Mod / RSA

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 1999
    star 7
    i agree with deltron. like the AC should have been, the forum should be read-only, IMO. i can't see any real positives in having it secret. i can't see anyone acting differently because it's private. and the discussions within are important for everyone concerned.
  12. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Well, on one level, we have different perspectives on the merits of private vs. public and how people interact within each environment. I tend more toward PiaS's view, but I also think some people don't really mind one way or the other. We could also release transcripts or some other form of info that shows what went on after the fact.

    On the other level, we have some technical limitations. If we made the FG forum read-only, we'd have to promote anyone who wanted to post there. It might be meaningless in many (even most) people's eyes. However, there's no way around the fact that we'd have to do more technical work and that there would be VIPship involved.
  13. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 1999
    star 7
    We could also release transcripts or some other form of info that shows what went on after the fact.

    This was my feeling also, and it ties in with the answer to your question, farrie. We could have a thread in Comms listing all the active focus groups, so anyone who wanted to join could ask, and we could also regularly post transcripts from the discussions so parallel or related discussions could be started in Comms, if anyone desired. Maybe we could post a sticky for each week, "Active Focus Groups for the Week of XXXXXX" detailing what was going on in each.
  14. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
    I fail to see how minimising the sample of participants and moving it to a private forum will help the discussion.

    Some things are best handled with a smaller focus group.

    While getting a general feel for the state of a Forum WITHIN the Forum is likely the best course of action, there may be the occasional tactical/narrower question which is best handled by a few individuals.
  15. farraday Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 7
    The discussion over private vs. rea donly here is really a matter of technical capabilitiy and not really one of secrecy. If you consider that it is easily concievable 30+ members other then mods will have acess it's too be understood there is no real secrecy.

    A read only forum would have the same effect however it would open the problem of VIP'd users with the possibility for problems that might bring.

    It might also limit the mods in charge of individual discussions to manager level or higher, although this may already be a problem with the neccesity of granting a user access.

    I would also speculate on the chances non-mod VIPs could post in the read only forum even if they weren't part of the group.

    As long as it is understood discussion there is transparent and can be reposted privately or publically at will, I see no problem with a private forum.

    It should be, in effect, a read only forum without the technical difficulties required to make that happen.


    Besides, I dare say any individual worried about the difference between a read only forum and a transparent private forum is involved enough here to merit inclusion in atleast one of the ongoing topics.
  16. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 1999
    star 7
    Besides, I dare say any individual worried about the difference between a read only forum and a transparent private forum is involved enough here to merit inclusion in atleast one of the ongoing topics.

    Exactly! I think there's confusion about the FG being "elitist" or "exclusive", and the whole point of the idea is we don't want it to be that way at all. We want to invite in anyone who's interested in discussing the topics, and by posting transcripts from discussions, we can make sure anyone with even a passing interest can see what's going on and ask to be included. We're not creating the FG so we can amuse ourselves with another private board. We're doing it so we can create a turbo-charged version of Comms that will be more effective because it'll be made up of people who are going to put forward constructive ideas (like all of you have in this thread).

    This is why I love you so much, farrie. [face_love]
  17. Porkins in a Speedo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 6, 1999
    star 5
    epic,

    my issue is just whether there's going to be enough demand for this.

    but it doesn't require demand. if there's no demand then it won't be used, it will just idle.

    as for people questioning it's existence if it stays inactive for a while- so what? //shrug it's not like anyone will have a special title or perceived 'status' at all times as was the case with the AC. if it's not being used then there's really no harm it can possibly do

    i mean, how many JC changing policy discussions can you have? .

    policy discussions are just one of many things that could take place though. another great use for the FG is for when someone has a really swell idea they wanna pitch.:D

    and is a private setting going to make members more open?

    it will more than a public setting will. and you've already agreed with that previously, no?

    if people are involved in discussion just because it's private, then how much do they really believe in what they have to say?

    no one is gonna want to use the FG only because it's private. and i would think they'd be saying MORE of the things they really believe in if it's in private.

    i can't see any real positives in having it secret.

    'secret' isn't the best word to use. that word tends to lean more towards feelings of exclusion, distrust, and suspicion. and i think that's one of the reasons why someone may not like the idea. 'private' is the appropriate word to use.

    i can't see anyone acting differently because it's private.

    but you've already agreed with that previously, no?

    and the discussions within are important for everyone concerned.

    right, and the people concerned are the people who are involved in the discussion, not the crowd banging on the door. there's no harm that will come from the fact that people will not know everything that's said in FG discussions because they're not gonna be in there setting policy, making changes, representing anyone but themselves, etc. when i have a private discussion with people i do not feel any obligation to let the whole world know everything thing i say and all the details of my thoughts. if something profound or important to the community is said by anyone in any FG then it will be repeated in comms. again, the FG's purpose is not the same as the AC's purpose.




    deltron,

    To be honest, this thing (like the AC) strikes me as being a little silly and self-important. This is the internet, we are on a Star Wars messageboard, and when it comes down to it we're really just a bunch of dorks. Yet often it seems we take ourselves way to seriously. I wish people could just lighten up a bit, but at the same time it's nice to be organized and enforce some sort of rule and all that, so there's a bit of a line to walk there.

    well for one thing, you don't spend very much time here these days, so i think that has a lot to do with your views. (i'm not suggesting there's anything wrong with those views) i'm not sure i understand what is so 'self-important' about this. how is having a tool that helps people get their input across self-important? it doesn't make sense to me, and i think it's a very erroneous label.

    I can see the logic behind the arguments for keeping it private, but to me keeping it private just makes the whole thing seem even more self-important, and actually selfish.

    you'll have to forgive me if i'm a little put off by that because of how wrong and judgemental i think that is. selfish and self-important? dude, come on. the FG isn't intended to be a stage show for an audience or a tutorial in critical thinking. it's for the purpose of maximizing quality discussion, which can't be done in public forums. and we've busted our balls to try and make this thing as pleasing to everyone as possible. and as for the privacy issue, the privacy is going to be a strong motivator for people to use the FG to it's full potential. how you people can't understand that is beyond me. everyone is so worried about knowing every single little detail
  18. -_-_-_-_-_- Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2002
    star 6
  19. Punisher Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 20, 1998
    star 4
    Considering I've been posting on this site for a long time (If not very much) and lurking on it more than I post, let me add my 2 cents... It may help... Excuse me if it's redundant.
    Still, it may clear things up...

    The only "focus group" I was chosen at random (walking through a mall)and asked if I would take part in a "study", I was taken to a room with strangers and there we found out, this "study" dealt with marketing DVD players and DVDs.
    We were presented with a demonstration of the product, it's features and it's capabilities for the future.
    Then we were asked certain questions, given a questionnaire and were given a opportunity to ask questions about what we had seen.
    That was it.

    The point is that the group was random and we didn't know what we were going to discuss, my friend didn't say "Hey! we've got DVD's wanna check them out and see if they could make money?"
    It wasn't informal at all.

    I think if, for example, I feel "Swearing rules" should be discussed in a focus group, then I shouldn't be on the group.
    Also, I'd feel that the group should remain random and they wouldn't KNOW what would be discussed beforehand.

    For example:
    It would be best if the issue dealt with the YJCC and "Swearing rules", then the focus group should be drawn from people that AREN'T regulars there. (In fact, I'd get people that post in Collecting regularly, for example.)
    They wouldn't know WHY they are there, just that they are needed in a Focus group.

    I mean, if you are just throwing out an idea and wanting an opinion, it shouldn't matter who is involved, right?
    By being random and by having anonymous topics, you would get a better idea of how all users may feel about an issue, whether they care about or are affected by the issue being discussed or not.

    If you pick and choose who you would think is best to discuss these issues and they have a certain affiliation (pro or con), then I don't get the point to saying it's a "focus group", why not take this issue to whoever is head of the JC Administration and just ask them for a decision.
    Why create a "middleman system" that gives the pretense that these rules are due to a "By the users, for the users" focus group?

    I'm sure if the focus group says that * is an "okay" curse word to use in YJCC, ** isn't and the owners of the site disagree with EITHER being used, then the focus group and that issue was a waste of time in the first place.
  20. Porkins in a Speedo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 6, 1999
    star 5
    me thinks you've misunderstood the purpose of this system.
  21. droideka27 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2002
    star 7
    Well... if the FG was read only (ignoring the fuss people would make over the VIP-ship), one main benefit is that people would easily be able to voulenteer to particiapte in threads/discussions that they were interested in.

    But seriously? That will be a huge hassle, with VIp-ships and permissions and all that crap, and if you just made a FG forum, where you had a few strict rules, and maybe made it so that only mods/admins can post topics (like census), then any users who had an issue could bring it up to a mod, and have it approved for discussion.

    discussions could be limited, say, only three active discussions at a time, and have a set time period for the discussion to take place, after which it will be locked (with changes possible, of course). In the initial post of the thread, the mod could post the time limit (say, 5 days) and warn everyone ahead of time.

    Post a sticky clearly stating a zero tolerance policy for sapmming or flaming or trolling, and see what happens.

    I think that could work very well, if not better than how you are proposing the FG should work now.

    It may not be a small community, but there will be a certain amount of protection for posts, since the discussions will have to stay on topic. having only 3 or less threads open at a time will drastically cut down on the volume of posts, and only those truly interested in board policies will read and stay involved.
  22. Punisher Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 20, 1998
    star 4
    Considering I was involved in a focus group, then a different system than I was involved is being proposed.
    (I'm not going to say I read every post here, because I didn't, I don't read most posts in this forum usually due to redundancy and off-topic derailments.)

    Nevertheless, why make things so complicated?
    Actually, why make the system so easy to be abused?

    If you want a opinion that's not colored by bias, then it would be best to be random users from non-affected forums (IF the issue is specifically for a certain forum), going in to discuss issues that they had no prior knowledge of.

    What's so wrong with that?

    Sure there is work involved, the Administration may have to set up a "Focus Group council" or some such that works in a technical fashion, but it seems that people here are into councils and titles anyway, I'm sure you'd get lots of volunteers wanting to boost their board "political status". ;)

    EDIT:
    Why not just use a polling system?
    Make a poll for the required issue, an explanation for it, then have the focus group vote. The result would then be passed onto the Administration.
    No fuss at all! No misinterpretation of the issue or the posters' comments.
  23. droideka27 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2002
    star 7
    first, i dont think bias is really the problem. they need well informed people for a good discussion. You just need to make sure you have a diverse, representative group. Which is hard to accomplish with a static group


    Sure there is work involved, the Administration may have to set up a "Focus Group council" or some such that works in a technical fashion, but it seems that people here are into councils and titles anyway, I'm sure you'd get lots of volunteers wanting to boost their board "political status".


    Uh, yeah it was called the AC, and now they are getting rid of it.

    EDIT: to respond to your edit.... polls that actually do things are too hard to monitor because people can mess them up very easily with socks.
  24. Porkins in a Speedo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 6, 1999
    star 5
    Punisher- dude, seriously, have you even read this thread? (i mean all the posts, not just the last few) ?[face_plain]

    EDIT: (I'm not going to say I read every post here, because I didn't,

    which is why you obviously don't understand (at all) what this system is all about. it helps if you read the thread.

    I don't read most posts in this forum usually due to redundancy and off-topic derailments.)

    you know what the number one cause of redundancy, off-topic posts, and unintentional derailing is? PEOPLE NOT READING THE WHOLE THREAD.
  25. Punisher Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 20, 1998
    star 4
    No, the "focus group council" would have NO say, they would just set up the board, the topics, the opening introductions, that's it.

    The Mods then fill their role as was stated, but they wouldn't pick and choose who was in the actual focus groups, that would be random.

    Personally, I think the "focus poll" I added to my last post would be better, if you want commentary explaining the vote, then that's fine.
    Still, the final vote would come first and the commentary would follow it.

    EDIT: I read the opening post.

    Look you guys want to deal with issues that occur as this Boards grow then make things simple as possible.

    Forget the commitees and councils, forget the VIP stuff, give your "FG" a topic, select 12 random users, give them a topic, a "Pro/Con" explantion of it and have them vote, NOT EVERYONE VOTES, JUST THE "FG".
    They can explain their vote afterwards.

    To me, it's no different than picking a political leader or settling a resolution.
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