|As to the waiting times though, I'm afraid I don't agree. I think that people SHOULD have to wait a decent period of time between applying for membership and getting it. In fact, i'd rather that they had to apply twice over a one-month period to get through the door. I want people to feel that joining the board means something and takes effort and isn't disposable. I don't want people joining on a whim and posting immediately without being familiar with the culture.|
Well, I don't think they're exactly going to be spending several months reading up on Barbelith culture, to be honest. I'd bet that quite a few have forgotten they applied at all by now. I got Grey Area's email list on June 6, and as far as I'm aware my contribution was to be pretty much the end stage - and he mentioned that this was the backlog.
I sent out an apology email earlier on, but I don't have access to any of the application emails that were sent or the checking procedures that were made, so apart from (a) emailing everybody AGAIN and saying "uh, can you resend your application email to me please?" or (b) just automatically approving them all, I can't do a lot. Thinking about it I reckon I'll just do (a).
I quite like the idea of an extended, personalised joining process, where a real person sends you an email rather than a PHP function - it does indeed make it feel a bit special and meaningful. And I think people would appreciate that that would take a bit more time than usual. But months is silly. The impression it gives is one or more of:
- we're a bunch of arrogant so-and-sos who like making people wait because we're so much better than they are, and they should be damn grateful we even think about letting them into our secret clubhouse
- we're a bunch of lazy so-and-sos who don't really give a shit about their own board
- we're a bunch of useless disorganised so-and-sos who can't get their act together to complete a simple email-response-check-check-email process
I'm annoyed with myself that it took Dupre's post above to remind me that all this was actually still pending. A delay is one thing, but this is just being rude to people and making us look crap. I don't want new posters to be self-selecting on the basis of immense patience, forgetfulness or arse-licking devotion to a board they don't even belong to.
Okay. Here's a few thoughts about how to progress on this in the short term, keeping the "application and two checks" thing going. It seems to me that the basic problem is that there are bottlenecks and if somebody becomes unavailable there's bugger all that anyone else can do. In addition to this, nobody really knows what's going on elsewhere in the process.
I'm proposing something pretty simple like a Yahoo group for checkers, with restricted access. This can have a table in it where all the applications can be logged with their current status, and every time an email is sent out or received it can be BCCed to the list so there is a permanent record. The process would go something like:
1. X sends application email
2. This is distributed to the group automatically
3. Somebody says "I'll check that one", sends a response to it BCCed to the rest of the group and enters that person's name on the central table as "pending". All further correspondance e.g. confirming web presence is BCCed to the group as well.
4. If the original checker is satisfied, they post to the group asking for somebody else to review the correspondence and give it a second stamp of approval. Anyone can do this.
5. That's it, the address gets sent off to Tom and the person is marked as "complete".
It wouldn't be hard and more importantly anyone could pick up an application at any point and see what had been going on in the past. At the moment it's distributed across various random people's mailboxes.
I can set this up in about ten minutes.