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David
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As Hazel noted yesterday, the evolution of the board has produced an anomaly.  We have the Subscribers group, but there are no longer any subscriptions.

 

One of the things I'm happiest about with the new situation is the fact we can pay our way each year on Amazon income alone.  Money used to be a real problem for BGO, but so long as people use the Amazon links we're going to be just fine on that front and don't need to ask anyone for money.

 

As a community, we're also not out to make profits, and I think that's a good thing.  If we reach a point where having built up a contingency fund we have income above and beyond that level then we could spend it on prizes, etc.  Even make charitable donations!  But let's not get ahead of ourselves...

 

The fact remains we have the Subscribers group, which no longer makes any sense.  By default everyone can upload avatars now - we no longer need incentives (they can be a bit bigger now, BTW).  But, I would like to see us offering things to members in the future.  As the new board becomes established I want to see if we can set up a relationship with a publisher such as we used to have with Canongate, where subscribers were given free books in return for a review.  From time to time we also had individual offers of books or even tickets and it would be great to carry that kind of bonus in the future.

 

But I wouldn't be keen on having those kinds of benefits available for everyone, otherwise we become open to 'smash-and-grab' members who never contribute to the community but take advantage of it instead.

 

I don't want to limit these things to Partners - that's too small a group and I'm very conscious that some people won't have helped out because it wouldn't have been easy for them financially.  That's absolutely fine and I don't think it's fair to discriminate on those grounds.

 

So, since money is no longer a differentiating factor it would come down to re-tasking the Subscribers group.  Logically it would make sense to make this group for people who've reached a certain number of posts (though any existing subscribers who haven't reached that limit would still be in the group).  To be honest, the system only allows automatic promotion to a new group through two routes - number of posts and length of time since joining.  The latter doesn't seem appropriate.

 

So, the questions are:

  1. How many posts should a member have to reach before joining this group?
  2. What should we call it?

Over to you.

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I agree that number of posts does seem to be the best option. I don't think it has to be that many.

If there is a way of demoting someone if they subsequently don't post for a period of time (6 months or so) we could also restrict the group to active members.

 

Hmmmm.  That's a fair point, though it could get complicated and indeed controversial - we have quite a few members who've been valuable in their time but for one reason or another have lapsed and then returned.  It could feel wrong to exclude someone like that.  But if we set it out as a clear rule then everyone would know where they stood in terms of remaining active.

 

Such a demotion would have to be done manually - the system doesn't have anything which could do that automatically.

 

What do we think?

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Golly, that's a hard one David. 100 posts? Permanent Resident? Something like that?

 

Even the most active non-mod members don't post more than 2-3 times a day so this would represent about a month's worth of regular activity. Would 50 posts be more reasonable?

 

As someone whose contributions have been sporadic for the past few months, I'm uncomfortable with the idea of demotion. Sometimes real life just takes over.     

 

I like the idea of people being able to select their own titles, as Mr HG and Hazel have done - I want to play too, but as a member of staff feel that I shouldn't. 

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Even the most active non-mod members don't post more than 2-3 times a day so this would represent about a month's worth of regular activity. Would 50 posts be more reasonable?

 

 

Is a month's activity too much to ask of people who want to be part of a forum and not just score freebies? I don't think so.

 

At least in a month, they'll have given BGO a fair chance and know if they want to be a member.

Edited by Hazel
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I want to play too, but as a member of staff feel that I shouldn't. 

 

Of course you should.

 

Actually I was a bit concerned when Hazel mentioned the idea of the mods being a clique.  I suppose of necessity it can feel a bit like that, but in reality it really isn't.  We're all just members, but we've taken on some responsibilities to keep the board running well.  I think it's important not to set up any sort of barriers like that.  I try to have a laugh around the board and hope I avoid being po-faced most of the time at least!

 

If at times we have to get 'official' then that's part of the role, but mostly everyone should be themselves!  Be a bit irreverent; have some fun - I want the board to be lively and if anything mods can help lead the way there.  We have lost just a little of that spirit over the years, so let's bring it back.

 

I'll play too - but I'll have a think!

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Actually I was a bit concerned when Hazel mentioned the idea of the mods being a clique.  I suppose of necessity it can feel a bit like that, but in reality it really isn't. 

 

In reality, it probably isn't, but to other members it is a sort of clique - it is a group of selected members who look after the board and while we all appreciate and understand the work done (and we do, honest!) - it is still a select group that is outwith the normal membership. The partners would create another group like that. Which is off-putting.

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A) Numbers of Posts - My view is that at least 100 is not unreasonable, however long that takes.  I agree Hazel, that a new member probably knows within a month whether BGO is for them or not, but there is perhaps another factor to be considered.   If we are able to get publishers to  provide books that require reviews, then we need to know that members who take up the offer are members who review and contribute to the site in that way.  It might take some new members a while before they feel confident enough to review, or comment on reviews.

 

As for Demotions, I can see that this might be necessary should a member cease to contribute for a period of time.  Although it adds yet another task on the shoulders of Admin/Mods if it is possible to PM those concerned, then I think it might be the way to go. 

 

B) What should we call it - I would love to think of something really clever, or criptic, or comic but I don't think I can.  I did find the word PUFFERY, which I quite liked - The Puffery Group does have a certain ring to it I think, but as the OED gives a meaning of 'exaggerated or false praise' perhaps Publishers would take a dim view of that. But you did say you didn't want us to be too serious didn't you David?

Edited by Barblue
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In reality, it probably isn't, but to other members it is a sort of clique - it is a group of selected members who look after the board and while we all appreciate and understand the work done (and we do, honest!) - it is still a select group that is outwith the normal membership. The partners would create another group like that. Which is off-putting.

Good point Hazel. And thanks for clarifying 'cos it worried me as well. But your point is well made.  :yup:

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 I did find the word PUFFERY, which I quite liked - The Puffery Group does have a certain ring to it I think, but as the OED gives a meaning of 'exaggerated or false praise' perhaps Publishers would take a dim view of that. But you did say you didn't want us to be too serious didn't you David?

 

:lmao:

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As an ordinary member in the now defunct subscribers group (a contribution that I was under the impression helped to keep the Classic Board alive) I don't see the mods as a clique at all and never have.  Given that the Partners saved the Board I don't think of them as a clique either and am glad that they are recognised in the opening posts, not to mention mor than grateful.  As for further differentiation, I like the words Resident and Permanent Resident but have no suggestions as to the rule to adhere to for that.  I've seen people post who joined in, say, 2005 but who 'only' have 250 posts or some such.

 

I quite like being known as a subscriber, it feels like a link to the previous Board and it's history with some form of financial contribution from me.

Edited by lunababymoonchild
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I quite like being known as a subscriber, it feels like a link to the previous Board and it's history with some form of financial contribution from me.

 

That's an aspect I've been conscious of in this change.  Subscribers did donate money and that is hugely appreciated!  So perhaps we could think of a title such as Supporter, which would apply to both those who donated money and those who keep the board alive through contributions, which as Mr HG observes is also vital for the board's survival.

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As an ordinary member in the now defunct subscribers group (a contribution that I was under the impression helped to keep the Classic Board alive) I don't see the mods as a clique at all and never have.  Given that the Partners saved the Board I don't think of them as a clique either and am glad that they are recognised in the opening posts

 

They are not a clique luna but they do interact with each other in a way that normal members don't - which actually makes them a clique without the frequency or intensity of a traditional clique. It's not the 'cliqueness' of them that I am raising - more that having Partners as well as Staff sets apart too many of the membership as outwith the normal members and that just doesn't feel right.

 

Anyway, that's neither here nor there. I just think if we single out everyone and put them into little groups then it just serves to alienate rather than bring together.

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We seem to think that recognising the contributors (however they contribute) is worthwhile but we don't want any exclusivity.

 

I've been a member of number of sites where general member can feel like lower class citizens.

 

So... I'm just throwing this out there, please feel free to knock it down.

We introduce or purely voluntary annual subscription or re-introduce the one-off subscription (and acknowledge it in a status) and the money they provide, plus any excess generated by Amazon, allows us to offer book group reads to the whole membership. I know that Penguin, for example, offers bulk discounts to book groups.

 

I'm thinking Book Group Online here.

 

These are just ideas....

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"Supporters" sounds o.k. to me.  I'm don't care for the 'demoted' notion because people can have illnesses, life events which may temporarily cause them to lose interest or to not have the time to post, etc.  If people haven't posted for a while it would be nice to send them a message that they are missed though.  Just a thought.  :hmm:

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We introduce or purely voluntary annual subscription or re-introduce the one-off subscription (and acknowledge it in a status) and the money they provide, plus any excess generated by Amazon, allows us to offer book group reads to the whole membership. I know that Penguin, for example, offers bulk discounts to book groups.

 

I wouldn't like the idea of using money from people who've paid to provide books for someone who's just joined.  Whilst it might be an incentive for people to join I think we'd risk having carpet-bagger types.  And to be honest I don't think it would be very fair.  Personally I'd feel a bit miffed watching NewBoy53 walking off with a book I've paid for, never to be seen again.

 

Whilst I know what you mean about second-class citizens I don't think it hurts to have some sort of aspirational goal in terms of membership.

 

However, I suppose an option could be to reintroduce the one-off subscription.  Adding a subscription plugin to the site is both free and easy.  And I guess that would actually provide the most straightforward solution. 

 

I've just felt wary of asking for money which, strictly speaking, we don't need any more.  And I think there's something positive about a quality forum which is completely free.

 

But maybe that's not a sensible way of looking at it.

 

What do others think?

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I am not overly keen on the idea of people paying more. I was a subscriber, and not a one off but monthly dd, now a Partner, and now I pay again? While others could sign up for books for zilch. We have enough money to ensure the future now and it'll be a great one. Getting our knickers in a twist about how we define or pigeonhole our members seems a bit...elitist?

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I was a subscriber, and not a one off but monthly dd, now a Partner, and now I pay again?

 

Well, existing Partners/Subscribers wouldn't pay again, no.  Just the entry fee for the group which will have added benefits from time to time.

 

But, it's not my preferred option all the same.  Happy to be persuaded, though.

 

I suppose another thing we have to consider is that in taking that one-off subscription it would be necessary to deliver something.  I can't guarantee a publisher will do anything with us at all and I can't guarantee promoters will want to give us anything either.  The promoters who used to give us things went a bit cold when their gifts got bad reviews.  Now I 100% want honest reviews rather than sops to get us more things - that ties in with very long-running BGO debates - but it does also mean we can't assume we'll get anything.

 

So in a sense the non-payment route is safer.

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That's an aspect I've been conscious of in this change.  Subscribers did donate money and that is hugely appreciated!  So perhaps we could think of a title such as Supporter, which would apply to both those who donated money and those who keep the board alive through contributions, which as Mr HG observes is also vital for the board's survival.

 

 

Sounds good to me.

 

 

They are not a clique luna but they do interact with each other in a way that normal members don't - which actually makes them a clique without the frequency or intensity of a traditional clique. It's not the 'cliqueness' of them that I am raising - more that having Partners as well as Staff sets apart too many of the membership as outwith the normal members and that just doesn't feel right.

 

Anyway, that's neither here nor there. I just think if we single out everyone and put them into little groups then it just serves to alienate rather than bring together.

 

 

See what you mean now, I wasn't getting that originally.  I think you're right, multiple little groups would alienate.

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