Visitors and Members

05/14/2009 - 04:28

I've been trying to figure out what the best names (and categories they represent) for different roles within the community could be - and the information gathered from members registering so far has helped a lot to help me decide.Essentially - to start with - there seem to be two type of people joining. Information Seekers - looking for a specific answer to a specific question (with no indication about whether they are going to participate further or are actually trying to create links with other people)Information sharers / socialisers - these ones may be looking for specific info but also with a view of give and take - or they are looking to create connectionsAlso - I should say that I was not happy with the "new community member" designation. People could remain in that role for a long time so new doesn't really work.Therefore, here are the roles I think we will be taking forward:Visitors - visitors will be able to see a lot of the information available and post in the most basic form (as well as comment)Community Members - full blow members will be able to use much much more of the functionality - will be able to rate content, and create more complex types of content (galleries, reviews, etc) as well as participate in more types of groups.Hope this makes sense!


I think that you are right in the basic classification of the members according to the use they are going to make of the community; however, I am trying to think at more exciting or interesting designations. Perhaps the Community Members could be called "Guild Members" as in the government of Renaissance Florence? The old classification was very good, perfect for a Forum, but not for the present "piazza". Perhaps there could also be an intermediary classification before becoming "Guild Members", where the person has to prove that he/she can fall into this category? With old members of the Forum, to make that classification should be easy, but for new members after the 15th of June this may prove more complicated. As for visitors.... I haven't been able to come up with an alternative, perhaps someone will have more imagination....

The ideal situation would be something that indicates whether someone is indeed a 'real newbie' who literally needs/seeks help and information about everything. Or are they half way throgh a project and might need help but can equall offer some sound advice and sensible anecdotes on the 'do and don't' front. And (maybe) last but not least, interspersed with native Italian members you will have those who have 'been here (for ages), done that' and have a cupboard full of T shirts and experience to prove it!Difficult to stick labels on people, so why not think about a system similar to military or naval 'stripes' or - as you've used the little 'Cubs' - some stars with numbers in them showing an individual's years of experience? Oh dear - where is that IMAGE icon? I really need it now this is really taxing my inventiveness with words (LOL)!

Why "rank" members? Even a passing "Information seeker" might have something useful to all, so would they have to be upgraded before they could do that?I think that all men (and women) are created equal yada-yada.I guess that visitors won't be able to contribute, that seems like the most straight-forward filter.....

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I agree with you, David, and an "information seeker" may come up with lots of knowledge and good advice; however, I think that data such as joining date and number of posts was important. The "grazzie" button was also a good idea , but it was wrongly used as a weapon. The old ranking also gave you a rough idea of the member's involvement and commitment to the Forum.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Quite agree tuscanhills - although ranking may appeal to some, I really favour Ronald's suggestion of titles that describe what it is the member is seeking from the community or to put into the community. Seems to me that ranking systems frequently reward quantity and not quality or worse those seeking status, it becomes quite clear from the answers posted to questions who has experience and might know what they are talking about [and that could apply to a complete newbie just as much as a contributor of long standing], those who are trying to be helpful, and those who just want to make a contrbution. My vote is for designations that don't imply status, how much noise someone has made, how long they have been around, but rather what they are seeking from, or to contribute to the community. Exceptions to this to my mind would be anyone with an offical role in the community eg Ronald, administrators, moderators or whatever is needed.

Keep it Simple Stupid is the way I would like to go as well - the minimum number of member roles possible, etc.While currently there is the facility to rate content (with a five star system) I am not sure whether to keep it or not - on the one hand when there are a lot of posts it is useful to find the best ones. Perhaps we could do it only on content types that makes sense like pictures or guides, and the like... and not on normal posts which are not really about being good or bad quality.

In reply to by Ronald

My concern is that it becomes used in a way that is meaningless, or unhelpful [or contentious].Unless the content is rated against specific criteria [and who is qualified to do that?] the score becomes another piece of information for the reader to have to form their own judgement about. It seems to me at the end of the day any rating would not avoid the reader/searcher for information, having to scan all replies to see which were helpful to them and which were not.

I don't know, even content ratings have become a bone of contention. It's not always possible to prevent conflict though, so one must weigh risk versus benefit, whether the benefits of content ratings outweigh the risk of squabbles.

Like anything the star system is open to silliness/abuse. As I mentioned on the old forum it is quickly obvious which threads are really good and which are just for fun etc.Would prefer a system whereby Admin popped a symbol onto any thread ie Informative - Fun - Techy - Renovations etc etc... and no member access these symbols? Is this possible?

Hmmm... 'Community Visitor' is indicative somewhat of a mental healthcare official and 'Community Member' is almost as grim (Sorry Ronald!) I agree that there must be some way of differentiating but something classier like Gala's suggestion would be appreciated.

to try and avoid the problems of the past by negating good ideas to my mind is not the right way forward... the system was not wrong... it was other problems and if you out it all down to people being allowed to abuse that system or genuinely wanting to then you have the answer to a lot of what went wrong...hopefully this place will allow a tighter element of control... already by making it more difficult to join... and less size... most importantly everyone that has joined has made a commitment... this goes beyond moderator control or other excuses as to why things get out of hand...we are all moderators... this is a fresh place and its up to us to keep it that way.. free of self destruction as regards the options i think reputation is important ... however a person posting something useful once out of a hundred posts say... will have to be compared to someone posting five useful/good posts out of five... a simple alogorithym should take care of it.. it would then make a poster more aware maybe that their count will go down if they write drivel continuouslyi also think that to maybe get on top of the simple grazie/star merit award system it should have to have a comment attached.. making it more of an effort..rather than a simple clickpost count as a form of promotion seems to be a bit silly... merit count as a form of promotion seems to me to be something that would be a point of reference when checking on a poster...however i see problems... say for those that prefer chat rather than info postings... so that merit does not get lost say... because two chattier members want to post socially and or joke... then maybe a section of the community could be set up without any post count being active... so that when the chat is finished and maybe they happen to be a genius as regards bridge building they can get onto that part of the community to help people in need of the latest bridge... maybe one day Ronald you might be able to drive to Italyhowever i am happy to go with the flow... its just such a relief to be talking normally again... its like a weight off my shoulders

Most of what you say makes perfect sense adriatica, however I for one wouldn't want to be concerned that every post I made (be it informative or otherwise) was being judged for merit worthiness.For me a good post can be one that is full of solid useful information but equally one that makes me laugh. Who is to say that the latter is less valuable?Who on earth would be willing to judge the posts for merit marks? My own opinion of a good useful post may differ wildly from your own for example - this wouldn't make either of us wrong, just different. The awarding of merit marks I feel would in itself instigate squabbles.As an example would you consider this a good useful post? I would give it top marks =o)This great new place will hopefully be filled with a rich variety of characters and each and everyone will arrive with something to offer forum life.

In reply to by Moxie

Hi Moxie,Yes I am inclined to agree with you, I have just been a member of the original forum for approx 9mths and while I have sent posts etc., I wouldn't say they were very informative or of great value generally but I really reading all topics including "the funnies" and have gained some much more knowledge about Italy.I would hate to be omited from reading some posts because of my limited posting.

In reply to by Moxie

moxiei agree its difficult to arrive at a balanced solution... however i also think that because things did not happen in the right way in the past that there should be able to be a system in place that suggests a recognition of participation... my suggestion of drivel pertains to the fact that often serious questions were asked and replied to and then bickering started...often malicious... and that's what i refer to as drivel... it often put anyone off ever posting again... i do not regard humorous, non essential postings or any other sort of conversational interaction without malice as drivel...i guess i wasn't clear

The merit system itself was my main concern adriatica - sorry maybe my title was misleading. I understood absolutely what you meant by drivel, you were perfectly clear.To be able to quantify the worth of any given post satisfactorily in everybody's eyes would be impossible.

Just have Member and Visitor status.Just because you've been a member of a forum for ages - doesn't necessarily mean that you have more to give than a new member and from my experience some longer serving members could be quite brutal with newbies (not all but some) I never really understood the old forum naming - when I became an equestrian - I got a PM from someone new asking if I was into horseriding ? I've only just noticed the star thing due to some people's obsession with them!I "grazie'd" a post when I though they werea) Sensible and gave good adviceb) Were amusing and made me laughc) Were InterestingMaybe we could have a "Member Thread of the Month" ? Instead? or not now I've read Moxie's post : OJ

I never really got to grips with star ratings and the like before. I read posts that were: - on a topic that interested me or- by someone whose postings I'd enjoyed in the past or- came up when I searched for a particular subject or- that I'd contributed to and wanted to see what responses there'd beenThere were discussions about building a bank of knowledge on certain perennial subjects - is that a possibility here - so newbies in particular can be directed to it?As to ranking ourselves depenent on number posts, length of service etc, I never really liked that. Maybe we could pick from a range of "characters" one which best describes our involvement??

Perhaps one of the problems that we have when it comes to suggesting the way we should go is that we all tend to compare this community with the old forum. As many unpleasant things happened there, we do not see the positive things in it. The sub-forums were great and they were very helpful when you tried to find information on a specific subject. Normally, most members will look at all the posts on any thread and judge their value not on the ranking of the member but on the content of the particular post. Certainly, some names became very familiar because of the number of posts and their content. Some people were interested in some particular members and this was reflected by the number of visitors to their profiles; however, some "newbies" were also appreciated by all.I think that some of the structures of the old forum were excellent and they could be effectively recycled.