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A Captain's Duties


Schizo Kaita

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Come in, come in. Entry be granted, but wipe yer mucky boots b'fore stepping into me quarters.

 

As this is my first entry, I'll just start by saying that I've never been much of a blogger. I used to update my DeviantArt blog from time to time (say, every six months or so), so it's not a new thing. However, this is the first time I'll be blogging for the BZPower community, and that's a first. It's different because I generally express myself solely through posts and PMs on internet communities. It's different because I can now express myself on subjects I generally wouldn't address in a forum post, or at least delve into these subjects more deeply. It's also different because I'm not one to talk much about myself or what goes on inside my head online, and when I do, I only do so with a few people.

So why change that? Why crawl out of the rabbit hole?

Well, yesterday I watched the Metallica 'documentary' Some Kind of Monster, and I realized that, by having been given insight into how the band dealt with bassist Jason Newstedt leaving and their own, reordered group dynamics, into how they came to create the St. Anger album, I found new meanings when listening to the record, different layers, different emotions.

So I figured: if opening up to a wider group of people can bring that about, why don't I apply it myself? If anything, I can only hope to increase mutual understanding within this community in which I've now spent nearly four years. Which brings me and you both to this blog, or BioLog as I'll be calling it from now on. (Just because I don't like the sound of 'blog'. When hearing the word, I always get a mental image of finding a snail in my mug of coffee. With some luck, you will too from now on. ;) )

 

So what will I be talking about? I've got my final exams, final final exams. I've got art I want to put on paper and from there onto your screen. I've got MOCs I've been waiting to build for ages. I've got many other interests beside Bionicle, interests I feel just as passionate about. Perhaps I'll even cross the bridge of talking about my real life experiences, who knows. But right now, step one for me is to talk about my duties as a Forum Leader.

 

Now, this is by no means a justification. I don't feel the need to justify myself, because I'm doing a job, and word has it I'm doing it well enough. Consider this a clarification.

 

Over the years, I've had quite a few conversations with members who've suddenly found themselves confronted with a proto energy drain.

I don't think I need to explain that the reactions to this are many and varied, from all-out cursing to endless whining, sometimes even messages from parents (both fake and genuine).

No matter what the reaction, my explanations usually boil down to the same. I thought it would be a good idea to start off my BioLog by creating a public version of them.

 

 

Proto deductions are always a result of one breaking this site's guidelines. For a lot of people, the first reaction goes somewhat along these lines: "I didn't know that rule, so it's not really my fault for breaking it." Not always that exact phrase, but it usually boils down to it.

BZPower is a Bionicle fan site, and thus caters to a young and constantly renewing demographic. Children and young teenagers sign on, hang around and in most cases, lose interest somewhere along the line, even when they stated a year before to never lose interest, ever. That's just the way things go, and there's no need to worry about it when it happens or even feel guilty about it.

But that does mean that the larger part of our community has a high influx and exit rate. Every day, kids sign on who are new to the forum experience, and every day we lose experience members wise in the ways of the forum. Not only that, but there are many of us as well.

This creates an extremely active and laden atmosphere, in which one post can trigger an avalanche of reactions that bring chaos to BZPower's order. An atmosphere, sadly, in which it's increasingly difficult to look at each case individually. Coaching each and every new member is simply impossible.

The result is an increased workload for the BZPower staff. We need to draw the line and inforce the rules. And inforce them strictly, because the larger the member base, the greater the need for sending a clear message.

Now, of course we try to be lenient towards new members. We were all new ourselves, and despite our age at the join date, we can all remember at least one occasion where we broke a rule, simply because we were new. Chances are, the younger you are, the less attention you'll pay to the "boring" rules. So we give new members a few chances, tell them how things work around here, and hope they'll catch on, which in most cases, they do.

 

Sadly enough, in some cases, they don't. That's usually the point where PE is taken. Even then, there are those who wise up and improve their posting behaviour or general attitude. Others, sadly, go about it the wrong way. Sending in two or three reports, hoping to earn back the lost point that way. Pleading for days on end or even swearing to the point where the disciplining staff member has no other option but to block the offender from PMing them. Or just plain rushing ahead, regardless of rules or merely giving them a quick glance. It's a sad occasion when we realize our attempts are in vain. We realize the weight of this on a younger member's experience of the site, each and every time, but we cannot allow it to burden us to the point where we can no longer function as staff members because of guilt.

 

As I've said, BZPower's demographic is young, very young compared to other message boards out there.

We know children will start their BZPower carreer by posting: "Cool! That rocks!" When you've been here for a while, this sets your spam sense a-tingling Spiderman-style, but for most kids, this is no different from how they express themselves in real life. At that age, any achievement above the usual is greeted with such exclamations, and that's okay, because you're among age peers.

On a site like ours, despite LEGO targeting 8-12-year-olds, we get Bionicle fans as young as 6 and as old as 40 (or older, don't quote me on that). With such a mixed audience, we try to raise the bar a little, so everyone can enjoy BZPower, feel at home and get in nice.

And after all, that is what BZPower is about: news, reference and discussion. Not news, reference and praise. Not news, reference and one-word messages. News, reference and discussion. We all learn how to have discussions during our youth. We don't expect young members to join us and go from spam to intelligent, in-depth, well-argumented contributions in one week. Heck, not even in one month or even one year. But we do expect an effort, because learning is simply a part of life, and you can learn online as well as anywhere else.

 

Sadly enough, there are those who do not feel that a decent effort is needed. Sadly enough, there are those who do not apply common sense when posting. It's normal, and nothing new to us. But we must still step forward and react, or we will lose what we've strived for these (almost) past five years. And that is to provide a disciplined, child-friendly service paired with quality discussion. Sometimes the former will affect the latter, sometimes the latter will influence the former. Yet we must always retain that balance, because otherwise... it just wouldn't be BZPower anymore.

 

I realize this entry is quite serious for the likes of me, but I hope that I've been able to bring my point across based on my own experiences (both as a staff member and the child I once was - and sometimes still am) and insights.

 

For now, I must bid you guys to step lively and get out of here. The Captain has other things to attend to, and will see you on the forums. Arr, see ya very well, indeed. :pirate:

6 Comments


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Why do I get the feeling you like pirates, ships and stuff? :P Very well, but I am from the English Navy, Cap'tn. (Yes I like that stuff to)

 

Just wanted to stop by (exploring around) And just wave. Also to thank you for replying in my Zahktan topic, your advise was helpful.

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I found your entry very interesting. It gives me some insight as to the things many mods go through in maintaining order throughout the forums. May I suggest posting this (or a modified version) in the Reference Desk. It could be very helpful there.

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Okay. Let me guess, you're going to see Pirates 2 on July 7th? :P Interesting commentary... though kinda random to the before paragraph... whatever. I'd hate to be a stff member, I'd have to blog about stuff like that. :P
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You know, you staff should really have a forum for you to put this stuff and make it always available. I mean, Tufi's lecture was great, your Proto Review was nice, and I'm working on reading Toaraga's (got linked to here in the process).

 

And man I must agree, I got sooo tired the night I read the Reference Desk and pinned topic in the NMQ&A (hey, my eyes were tired, so I didnt' read the unpinned). And I've had my experience with revival. It gets me off when there are 31-day months, or I remember just after I post that that particular forum has a twenty-day revival rather than 30. I've revived three times now, so I've given up on posting in topics that are almost dead. I used to think I was being nice to those members, but it turns out I was just getting Pohuaki a larger workload and greater confusing me.

 

Anyway, nice one there Schiz. I'll try to remember to be nice if my proto's dropped, though it'll probably be from reviving a topic some topic or other for the fourth time. :rolleyes: :lol:

 

:pirate:

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Wow! That rocks!!!

 

 

 

Sorry, couldn't resist. I had no idea how much potential guilt the staff goes through. Wow. You just spilled everything right there. It must have been a long day and you were in a serious mood. I know how that is. It's a rarity for me to be serious myself.

 

However, in the words of George Bush,

"I like what's-her-face 'cause she's a west texas girl just like me!"

 

Oop, sorry, wrong clip. Here we go.

"The children are our future"

And he's right.

 

~Giganuva "Too Tired for Detail" Upsilon

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