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Old 04-30-2007, 01:51 PM   #1
Taeric
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Lexington, KY
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Default Important message for all DogForum.org members

The purpose of this site is to provide a friendly, helpful environment in which members can seek advice and suggestions about anything and everything related to their dog(s). My primary purpose on the site is to ensure that this positive environment is maintained and enhanced. There have been several instances recently which I feel go against the guiding principles of the site. I hope to resolve this issues quickly and get the site back on track as painlessly as possible.

There are a lot of choices for online forums for nearly any subject, however, there are few true online communities, especially for a given subject. Communities have advantages and disadvantages, though I personally feel the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Such communities are populated by people passionate about the subject and help others for the sheer joy of bettering the community one question/issue at a time. In turn, they know they can always ask questions and receive thoughtful answers in return without fear of being ridiculed for asking for assistance. Communities tend to be smaller than plain old forums because not everyone fits into such an environment. The members that do tend to be of a very high quality, and the site is stronger overall even if that comes at the cost of having fewer total members.

I don't spent my limited free time working on this site because of the six figure salary, houses, cars, girls, fame, fortune etc.; I do it because I truly believe in the type of community that our admin wishes to have here. I was the seventh member to sign up on this site back on the first day it went public. I started working on the site about a month later. I have had the privilege of watching the community grow from a handful of members to the thousands of members that we have today. In that time, the staff has grown from just myself to two and now to four members who spent countless hours trying to uphold and enhance the principles of the community. For those who have never worked on such a site, it's often a frustrating, thankless position, but it is rewarding to see all of your hard work come together when the community is at its best. Please keep that in mind next time you might have a bone to pick with one of the Forum Directors; everything they do is with the best interest of the community in mind.

A few specific issues I want to address -

Drama - There is no room on this site for drama among the members or between the members and the staff. If you have an issue with a member, please discuss it in private (via the private messaging system) with one of the Forum Directors. If you have an issue with a Forum Directors, discuss it with the Community Director via PM. Threads involving public drama will be deleted, and the poster will receive an infraction for not having the courtesy of using the proper channel to air their grievance.

Reputation - The reputation system has been extensively tested and is fair and even when members use it properly. Many members have not been using the rep system as it was intended however. Reputation should be given (and not given) according to this thread. Members who do not follow the guidelines in that thread will receive infractions for abusing the reputation system. In general, rep should be given when a member contributes something to the community (for example, providing a detailed, well written, informative post or FAQ) and for no other reason (for example, because they gave you a rep, because you like their avatar, or "just because"). When the system works properly, a member's rep score indicates their relative level of helpfulness, i.e. a member with a high rep score has spent a lot of time providing assistance to other members. A member with a high number of reps does not necessarily mean that they are more knowledgeable than a member with a lower number of reps, but they have put in more time being helpful to our members. Giving reps for any reason other than those listed above eroded the value of the reps that have been rightfully earned. Expect to see corrections made to rep scores that have been artificially inflated in the near future. Forum Directors do not have the ability to remove rep points; that can only be done at the administrative level, so please do not blame them for removing any rep since that tool is not at their disposal.

Moderation - Threads are moderated to keep them in compliance with the forum rules and the standards of the community. If you have an issue with how a thread was moderated, follow the contact procedure that was outlined above. In general, the buck stops with the Community Director in terms of moderation. It's is very common for the Forum Directors to ask the Community Director for guidance on how to handle a given issue.

Lead by example - This is directed primarily to our senior members. You all have invested the most in the site and have a major influence with conveying our sense of community to our newer members. I expect each of you to provide leadership and guidance to our junior members through your daily, routine actions on the site. If you all continue to live up to the high standards that have developed the community to where it is now the next group of members will gain experience under your guidance, the group after that under your collective guidance, etc., perpetuating the sense of community over the lifespan of the site.

Respect ALL members and staff - There will often be a wide range of opinions on any given topic. While there are often wrong answers (e.g. beat a dog to get it to stop barking), there is rarely a single right answer. You are not expected to agree with every suggestion offered on the site, but you are expected to respect the opinions of other members. Intelligent, courteous discourse is welcome and encouraged; pointless bickering is not permitted. If you disagree with posted information, post your alternative suggestion and let the matter drop. Members who cannot adhere to this will be given infractions. Multiple offenses will result in vacations (temporary bans). It doesn't take a whole lot of effort to be civil, and we expect that out of each and every member of the site. If someone tries to goad you into an argument, be the bigger person and find another thread to read and/or contribute to.

To conclude, thousands of hours of work by staff and members have gotten the site to the point it is in today, and everyone who has made a contribution, large or small, is to be commended for their efforts. Please keep up the good work and keep your contributions to the highest standards to keep this community going strong.
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Last edited by skunkstripe; 12-07-2008 at 05:21 PM.. Reason: updated

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