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1 g2boojum 1.1 GLEP: 38
2     Title: Status of forum moderators in the Gentoo project
3     Version: $Revision: $
4     Last-Modified: $Date: $
5     Author: Christian Hartmann <christian.hartmann at email.de>,
6     Wernfried Haas <w.haas at xover.htu.tuwien.ac.at>.
7     Status: Draft
8     Type: Informational
9     Content-Type: text/x-rst
10     Created: 06-May-2005
11     Post-History: 17-Jun-2005
12    
13    
14     Abstract
15     ========
16    
17     Global moderators and site admins should also go through the mentoring process
18     and become official Gentoo staff.
19    
20     Motivation
21     ==========
22    
23     At the time of writing the forums are apart from the recruiting process and
24     people helping out there are not made an official part of Gentoo. This GLEP
25     aims on creating and establishing a recruitment and mentoring process for
26     moderators and site admins of forums.gentoo.org. By doing this we hopefully
27     achieve a (even) better moderation quality and stop the complaints about
28     moderators not being staff. Moderators and site admins do not need cvs
29     access.
30    
31     Moderators and site admins are doing a hard job for the community as well as all
32     the other projects do but they get no voice in the gentoo internals. Recent events
33     such as the election of trustees or the new metastructure poll are effectively
34     affecting the forums, so the wish to be part of the decision as an equal member
35     is present among the moderators.
36    
37     Moderators are often a contact person between users and developers, so we
38     should try to improve the communication between these two groups of people. As
39     moderators are pretty much exposed to the public (forums users, but also used
40     as contact person for requests that should go to the PR department or the
41     trustees) they need to have some knowledge about Gentoo's internal structure
42     as well as contact to the other developers.
43    
44     The current training process for new moderators works pretty well even though
45     there are no official guidelines how to do it. As part of this proposal a more
46     detailed procedure for the training process will be established to make it
47     more reproducable. It also gives us the possibility to document the things
48     happening already today in the current training process.
49    
50     The status of the Gentoo Forums has been undefined for quite some time. Since
51     it is using the gentoo.org domain it should be considered an official project.
52     People working on an official project should be developers or staff following Gentoo's
53     general policy. At the moment the persons with direct access to the database
54     are developers. Being moderator could be considered an improved forums rank
55     that does not have impact on Gentoo's infrastructure, but since moderators and
56     administrators are able to delete, move and edit posts on the forum willingly,
57     their level of access should be considered developer like. Many users may not
58     be aware of the difference between moderators and developers, so the actions of a
59     moderator may represent Gentoo Linux to them anyway.
60    
61     Specification
62     =============
63    
64     To obtain a certain kind of quality assurance and to (create and) ensure that
65     upcoming moderators know about the forums guidelines a document and processes
66     will have to be created and established that the recruits need to follow.
67     This document (called `Moderators handbook/FAQ`_) will include the moderation guidelines
68     as they are currently available in the moderators forum plus a FAQ that was created as
69     a possible candidate for a forums-quiz. The guidelines and the FAQ should help the
70     moderator to get some general information about how to moderate the forums.
71    
72     Suggested procedure for becoming global moderator:
73     Existing moderators can suggest a user to become a moderator. The ability of the new
74     moderator to deal with people in a kind way and to detect misplaced posts, etc usually
75     also has been reviewed by the other moderators already since they can read his
76     previous posts and suggestions in the forums feedback threads.
77     If he accepts, he will become moderator on the forums. A bug will be filed on b.g.o
78     containing information about the new moderator. Afterwards he must answer the staff
79     quiz that will be revisited by devrel. The quiz then will be send to recruiters@g.o for
80     revision.
81    
82     The first month is supposed to be a test period, if the moderator
83     does not do anything in that time or messes up in another way, he will be
84     restored to his old user status. The mentor(s) and everyone of the forums team
85     are encouraged to help the new moderator if he is unsure how to deal with a
86     situation.
87    
88     Rationale
89     =========
90    
91     The process of aquiring new developers seems to work for the rest of Gentoo
92     Linux quite well. A mentoring system has been chosen since new moderators were
93     mentored unofficially by the other moderators anyway. This means more or less
94     writing down things that have been done already.
95     It was discussed to add a forums-specific quiz to the process of aquiring new
96     moderators.
97     Devrel's standing on that is that it is up to the moderators how a new moderator is
98     chosen. Since the old process worked fine so far and some people among the moderators
99     didn't exactly like the idea of a quiz, we chose not to make one. A document containing the
100     questions collected for the quiz in form of a FAQ together with the moderation
101     guidelines seems to be a more feasible approach. The new moderators are supposed to
102     read the FAQ as well as they had to take a quiz, so they will learn the information
103     given in this document.
104    
105     Backwards Compatibility
106     =======================
107    
108     Most moderators are currently not staff members. Becoming a staff member is not mandatory
109     for existing moderators. If they want to become a staff member they need to take the
110     staff quiz. If they don't they just stay in their position as moderator without
111     becoming a staff member.
112    
113     Moderators who are currently inactive (Bodhisattva status) should be
114     considered as old moderators in case they come back. New moderators should
115     have to go through the mentoring process in any case as stated above.
116    
117     Moderators in national forums: In our internal discussion it turned out that not
118     all moderators in the national forums are able to speak english well, which
119     would be a requirement to become a staff member. We decided that it would
120     counter productive to make it mandatory for them. Becoming a staff member is
121     optional for these moderators.
122    
123     As a side effect of the discussion about the glep among the moderators
124     as well as in discussions with other developers and devrel, it turned
125     out that the forums have never been assigned to a toplevel project in the
126     general organization of the Gentoo project. Forums don't really seem to fit
127     into one of the current categories as they are related to the infrastructure
128     and the documentation project. We suggest putting it in the other category
129     or making a separate one for the forums.
130    
131     Reference Implementation
132     ========================
133    
134     - `Moderators handbook/FAQ`_
135     - `Becoming a developer`_
136     - `Staff quiz`_
137     - `Thread on gentoo-dev`_
138    
139     .. _Moderators handbook/FAQ: http://curtis119.no-ip.org/forum-guide.xml
140     .. _Becoming a developer: http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/devrel/handbook/handbook.xml?part=1&chap=2
141     .. _Staff quiz: http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/devrel/quiz/staff-quiz.txt
142     .. _Thread on gentoo-dev: http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.linux.gentoo.devel/28985
143    
144     Copyright
145     =========
146    
147     This document has been placed in the public domain.

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