A Test for Co-head Positions

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Madius
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A Test for Co-head Positions

Hey folks,

With all the walkthroughs going up, I had a thought, and I wanted to pitch it to the site to see how y'all felt about it.

The SH course preps new SHs for how to handle a variety of situations around sessions and content evaluation, but we don't have anything to help advise folks on handling administration of a department, and I've discovered plenty of times that being a co-head is a whole different role from just being an SH. I also don't think it's anything any one of us couldn't do, but it might help to have a way to prep yourself for what to really expect, so that folks don't get discouraged from even going up for candidacy in the first place.

So, I wanted to suggest putting together a short co-heads test to help fill the gap :) Just like the other tests, the point isn't a pass/fail situation so much as an opportunity to expose a new co-head to the sort of situations they might not have experienced yet and get them thinking about how to handle the reality of helping run a department on the site.

I figure maybe 3 questions apiece, Academy, World and People, and then two or three spare that just cover general administration.

If that sounds like something y'all would like to have, I'm happy to take first crack at putting content and questions together from my experience. I recommend getting more input than mine, definitely, so that we don't end up with accidental one-track-minding going on, but it might at least give us some guidance for folks who aren't sure whether they'd be comfortable serving as a co-head to get a peek at what it's actually like so they can make an informed decision.

Thanks for your input!

Bastlynn
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If I recall department / lead

If I recall department / lead training is one of the things we've been looking at in the governance and the amendments - so sounds good to me. The walkthroughs / test systems seem to be pretty good at doing basic training - so cool :)

LadyKirsten
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3 weeks 1 day ago
definitely!

I think that's a very good idea. All the tests and walkthroughs so far have been really good. You're really the only person who's active right now who knows what wearing an extra department hat feels like. So I completely believe you when you say it's different than just being an SH. :) A test to show people that would be a great idea.

I think it'll be a good way for people to test their knowledge and see that while they might like the idea in theory, the reality might be something that they don't like. I think it'll be really wonderful to have.

You guys are unstoppable good idea machines! :)

Tanya
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Test away!!

I like the idea

Zxehenia
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What bast said.

What bast said.

Yeah it was in the document about the dept leads maintaining a training document, which could also include a 'quiz' like the other walkthroughs to help expose the incoming leads etc to the duties and the such, Basically a little on the job training before they get to work.

ChordOrgan
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I can confirm that this makes

I can confirm that this makes good sense. :)

Madius
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Cool!

I'll start working up the content and probably post it here in batches, then :)

Bastlynn
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While we're setting up

While we're setting up training programs for heads, can we also do one for storyhost mentoring? I've got the basic ideas for how to teach someone but I wanna make sure i - you know - do it right? I don't wanna leave that totally on you and at the same time i don't wanna screw up a new ASH as they come into the program. ;)

Tanya
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Mentoring tests?

If we do that, then we're going to have only certain SH's that can do the mentoring. So right now, I don't think that's a good idea, but perhaps when we have more SH's that could be a good idea.

Madius
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More guide than gateway

I'm okay setting one up on the condition that, as Tanya pointed out, it not be used as a pre-req for an SH to mentor. But! I love the idea of a test that doesn't count for anything just so would-be mentors can practice in a safe environment before overseeing an ASH :) So yeah - with that condition, I love the idea and would be happy to set it up, since it's kind of in System's wheelhouse to begin with.

Boblet
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.

Hmmm I apparently never responded to this. Sorry bout that. A subjective/awareness of the position for Co-Leads works for me. So long as it remains 'ungraded' and more like a personality 'test'.

SH Mentor, yeah, bit skimpy on SH's at the moment still. Hate to run them more ragged. Something for future, otherwise, gives a good basis of who's good to teach/mentor and who's a good SH but sucks at teaching. (heh, I'm blunt, deal with it.)

Madius
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General Guidance

So, nearly four months later, finally getting back to this and hoping to get it done. Again, this is for a walkthrough for potential Leads. I'm going to post the content pages here for review - I'd love your input on what to include, what to change, what to leave out, etc. I'm not going to post the questions because, well, having questions and answers on the forums for what is at least partially a test seems a little silly :)

This is the non-departmental portion. I'll get the System portion posted once I have it done. Thanks for your input!

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Site Governance
Before you become a department lead on the site, it’s important to remember that all a Lead’s authority ultimately comes from the players.

The players at one time wrote and voted in our current Site Governance principles - principles you’ll want to be familiar with before becoming a lead, as they will guide the decisions you make and the way you act and react to difficult situations as they come up.

Take a moment to review our governance principles and amendments, linked below. It’s a lot to read through, but it’s well worth it.

Site Governance principles: http://vaxia.org/proposals/site-governance
Site Governance amendments: http://vaxia.org/proposals/amendments

Transparency
"Transparency is operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed."

This means for the most part: In public. In writing. Openly.

Why? Because this keeps us honest, it increases the trust of our player base and storyhost base, and generally it keeps us on our toes. A bad idea will get punctured more quickly. A good idea will get support more quickly. Transparency isn't meant to be used as a weapon, it's meant to be used as a sanitizer - sunlight to make it clear and obvious that all those acting are doing so in good faith.

Which isn't to say every single little thing needs to be handled in the open. Personal disputes, SH saga negotiations, inter-player resolution - all of these things can be handled privately as needed. The concerned parties are already in the room after all.

Where things need to be transparent is when the concerned parties are the entire site. Criticism of leadership is a public concern (as is praise!). New rule handling, or modifications of site policy - all are public concerns. While the initial germination of an idea can be handled privately, at some point the work needs to go public, for both public review and public accountability of the decision makers involved.

Public review means: Not on AIM, not on email, not on PM. In Discussion room isn't a public enough location, and chat scroll could effectively erase the conversation from view. Public means, in the forums.

Cold vs. Hot Decisions
We all have friends here on the site. And often, Vaxia can feel like a big family. We care about each other, and that's why it's very hard to remain neutral when it comes to each other. It's also a double edged sword. Sometimes we may be in conflict with another player and so nothing they say will ever be a good idea to our ears. Both ways of behaving are equally harmful. Agreeing because you like someone, or disagreeing because you don't doesn't help anyone.

We need to try to keep clear heads when it comes to votes and decisions. Think of the good of the site. Not just while you're here, but imagine how it will be someday in the future. Perhaps even long after you are gone. Did you make your decision based on logic? Or on emotion? Ask yourself this when it comes down to your choices here.

If you think you're basing your decision on emotion, try the following:

- Step away from the topic. Take at least an hour (perhaps far longer if feasible) to think about the cold hard facts of what you're saying. During this time take note about what you're feeling. If you are feeling stressed or upset you might have to step away for even longer until you can calm down.

- Consider the source. Do you have a preexisting relationship with the person? Good or bad feelings toward another player can color your judgement. There's nothing wrong with having those feelings, but make sure that they don't affect your decision.

- Try to put yourself in the shoes of people who disagree with you if there are any speaking up at the time of your decision. If they make a genuinely good point that you hadn't considered don't immediately dismiss it. Looking at the problem from both sides helps prevent issues down the line.

- Remember that we're all human. We get mad and fired up and passionate about things we believe in. If you find yourself wanting to say something hurtful out of frustration, say absolutely nothing. It benefits no one to turn a conversation into something personal, cruel, and hurtful. So don't do it. It hurts you and it hurts the person you direct it toward.

Saying No
One of the most important, and most difficult, aspects of being a department Lead is being able to tell someone ‘no’ when they have an idea or request that they really want to pursue.

Saying ‘no’ (and dealing with the reactions people have to being told ‘no’) is rarely fun or easy, but it is critical to keeping the site fair and fun for all. It’s the difference between being nice, and being good. Saying ‘no’ may not feel nice, but it is good for the site overall.

That said, just because no one likes to hear ‘no’ doesn’t mean we can’t try to be nice in how we say it. The key elements of turning down an idea when it’s clear it isn’t going to work are:

  • Be firm
  • Be considerate
  • Be clear
  • Be helpful

Those sound nicely generic, but they’re all important.

Being firm means making it clear that your ruling on the matter is the authoritative answer, and that it isn’t simply a polite suggestion that can be brushed aside or ignored in favor of what the player wanted to do in the first place.

Being considerate means keeping in mind that many requests that go over a line somewhere are not a case of malicious intent by the player, but rather a hopeful request or innocent oversight of the boundaries of our rules and policies. Keep your focus on the original request, not the player who made it. Make sure you don’t attack or dismiss the idea. If it’s being turned down, there’s a reason for it, and “it’s stupid” doesn’t qualify.

Being clear means taking the time to make sure the reasoning behind your decision is understood. Ask the player if they understand at various points in the process to make sure you’re on the same page, and clear up any confusion you have about their request before making a formal ruling.

Being helpful just means offering new suggestions and solutions so that ‘no’ is less of a door slamming shut and more of a change in direction. If their exact request isn’t viable, you may still be able to guide them to a similar but more reasonable solution within the current rules and policies.

Bastlynn
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I'll add a page for the

I'll add a page for the governances where it'll list all proposals that are amendment types so that you'll have an "always up to date" link for it. :)