User Guidelines doc?

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Postby Tiara » Wed Dec 17, 2003 11:06 am

To bring things back to the general/theoretical level. . .

My interpretation of what I've read in several forums is that consensus is favoring a "rules" document as well as a statement of community guidelines and principles. The former would attempt to describe the things that are specifically not ok, and the penalties for engaging in those things. The latter would be more proactive, giving advice on the nature of the community and how to interact, netiquette tips, a reminder to look for answers on the general site before asking questions, etc.

Is that generally in line with what you all are thinking?

I think that the guidelines/principles document should also address the various top level folders, and the types of queries and discussions each is designed to host, with a notation that anything else can go to General Discussion.

I also think it might prevent problems down the road if one or both of those documents discusses the issue of commerce. As the event gets closer, I'm sure we'll see more commercial type spam from people selling things of real or imagined use to the Burn community. It was an issue on the old board, and I'm sure it will be an issue again. One potential solution would be to confine such posts to the I Need/I Have section.
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Postby Chai Guy » Wed Dec 17, 2003 2:42 pm

I also think it might prevent problems down the road if one or both of those documents discusses the issue of commerce.


I agree that some sort of consesus should be held here. Is providing a link to a product vendor considered spam or commerce? It would be nice to know what the community felt was appropriate and then have that posted somewhere so people knew where we stand and could act accordingly.
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Postby precipitate » Wed Dec 17, 2003 3:00 pm

> Is providing a link to a product vendor considered spam or commerce?

Or neither. Someone asks about showering on the playa, I post a link to
the propane shower I adore. Is that spam? No. Is it commerce? No.

Is it spam if I start a showering thread in Tips & Tricks and recommend
the same shower? I don't think so.

While it's probably obvious, making a distinction between mentioning a
product you've used or heard about and commercial promotions is useful.

I do think that having a single place where people hocking their wares can
go is good. Some people sell EL wire cheap, some people are making
things that might be useful as personal fundraisers, and the LLC has
never said you can't do that off-playa. Giving it a forum nips a lot of
problems in the bud.
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Postby Chai Guy » Wed Dec 17, 2003 4:19 pm

Right, I wasn't trying to imply that it was and either-or situation.


Some people have come on in the past trying to sell things like Art Cars, or cars that could be made into art cars. I've seen some people get flamed and others seem to be ignored or embraced. I just like giving people the rules up front, instead of trashing them for violating some invisible policy.
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Postby technopatra » Fri Dec 19, 2003 3:39 am

Tiara wrote:To bring things back to the general/theoretical level. . .

My interpretation of what I've read in several forums is that consensus is favoring a "rules" document as well as a statement of community guidelines and principles. The former would attempt to describe the things that are specifically not ok, and the penalties for engaging in those things. The latter would be more proactive, giving advice on the nature of the community and how to interact, netiquette tips, a reminder to look for answers on the general site before asking questions, etc.

Is that generally in line with what you all are thinking?


Yes. We are working on 3 docs: Rules (explains what is acceptable/unacceptable, penalties, and help protocol/contact info), Guidelines (as you described), and FAQ (Netiquette 101 for newbies)

Tiara wrote:I think that the guidelines/principles document should also address the various top level folders, and the types of queries and discussions each is designed to host, with a notation that anything else can go to General Discussion.


That's a really good idea.

Tiara wrote:I also think it might prevent problems down the road if one or both of those documents discusses the issue of commerce. As the event gets closer, I'm sure we'll see more commercial type spam from people selling things of real or imagined use to the Burn community. It was an issue on the old board, and I'm sure it will be an issue again. One potential solution would be to confine such posts to the I Need/I Have section.


Another really good suggestion.

SYK- I'm making this entire folder required reading for the folks helping out in the writing of these docs.
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Postby technopatra » Fri Dec 19, 2003 3:42 am

Chai Guy wrote:Right, I wasn't trying to imply that it was and either-or situation.


Some people have come on in the past trying to sell things like Art Cars, or cars that could be made into art cars. I've seen some people get flamed and others seem to be ignored or embraced. I just like giving people the rules up front, instead of trashing them for violating some invisible policy.


Can I get a witness? I think we also need to address how folks respond to infractions in etiquette/rules. I'd like to reform vigilantism as a cultural norm - it'll be so much more effective for folks to have rules/guidlines to cut'n'paste or point to instead.
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Postby Bob » Sun Dec 21, 2003 10:02 am

User guidelines -- one screenful, or less. I would edit what III posted down to two sentences.
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Postby Chai Guy » Tue Dec 23, 2003 11:04 am

Will the user guidelines doc include anything about sock puppets?

Verboten? Frowned Upon? Ok if used sparingly or with disclaimers? Just curious.


Also, I'm not sure if this is the place for this, but I just want to go on record as saying that I think pulling user accounts and posts may contribute to people acting in a manner that reflects their ability to "hit and run". It also makes reading and using the board much more difficult when a portion of the posts (or the words contained within) are now missing.

Just my thoughts.
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Postby III » Tue Dec 23, 2003 1:10 pm

>Will the user guidelines doc include anything about sock puppets?

nope.

but if it did, how would you define "sock puppet"?

(i'll second the notion that admin actions on user requests seem to validate that hit and run behavior, though)
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Postby Chai Guy » Tue Dec 23, 2003 1:44 pm

sock puppet säk 'p&-p&t (noun)


A separate login account created by a user for the purposes of, but not limited to; lending credence to one's own posts through corroboration or other tactics, acting as a cheerleader or nemesis for the primary user, lashing out at other users (with out fear of being identified), being a voice for your second, third and fourth personalities, etc.
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Postby III » Tue Dec 30, 2003 10:28 pm

i would like to offer my appolgies to the community (sort of).

in an effort to get *something* going, i wrote up the above guidelines, and submitted them to the etf list, in the hope that they would provide an appropriate starting point.

it does indeed seem to have spurred a responnse, though it bears little resemblance to anything that has been discussed here. the end product being proposed at this point hasd intentionally excluded community input, including what i've presented above.

i apologize for presenting the appearance that feedback might mean something.

i trust, however, that the results will nevertheless be exemplary.
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Postby Bob » Thu Jan 01, 2004 7:54 pm

I anticipated that "ePlaya Feedback" might include feedback from the eplaya community on such things, and others, but... whatever.
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Postby III » Mon Jan 05, 2004 2:15 am

me too. (and, i expect, did the people who set up the feedback section).

but you know that commitees within the llc are veritable hydras of control and responsibility, and the people who do the work aren't always the people who get to decide how it actually gets done.
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Postby Chai Guy » Mon Jan 05, 2004 2:17 pm

but you know that commitees within the llc are veritable hydras of control and responsibility, and the people who do the work aren't always the people who get to decide how it actually gets done.



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Postby technopatra » Mon Jan 05, 2004 3:17 pm

III wrote:i would like to offer my appolgies to the community (sort of).

in an effort to get *something* going, i wrote up the above guidelines, and submitted them to the etf list, in the hope that they would provide an appropriate starting point.

it does indeed seem to have spurred a responnse, though it bears little resemblance to anything that has been discussed here. the end product being proposed at this point hasd intentionally excluded community input, including what i've presented above.

i apologize for presenting the appearance that feedback might mean something..


Totally untrue, and I'm unclear as to how you came to this conclusion. Community feedback is not being ignored, nor were your efforts. I haven't heard a peep put of you on the ETF list addressing these concerns at all.

Ron Meiners, who is my most committed and most experienced community management resource, offered up a set of guidelines and rules, based on some of his previous work, for discussion. Discussion has ensued.

That discussion neither supercedes, nor precludes, what is being discussed here.

While it's true that we will have to run the final docs by someone higher in the LLC than myself, plus some lawyers, no one is twisting our arms or forcing policy down our throats.

I need this area to be, if not a positive, then at least non-dismissive discussion area. That means that I consider everything you say. That also means that you all DO NOT waste our time with musings about the evil influence of the LLC.

Seriously, if you need to vent like this, and won't talk to me directly, then do it in General Discussion.
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Postby technopatra » Mon Jan 05, 2004 5:02 pm

Chai Guy wrote:sock puppet säk 'p&-p&t (noun)


A separate login account created by a user for the purposes of, but not limited to; lending credence to one's own posts through corroboration or other tactics, acting as a cheerleader or nemesis for the primary user, lashing out at other users (with out fear of being identified), being a voice for your second, third and fourth personalities, etc.


Thanks for the clear and comprehensive definition, Chai Guy. I don't think we can effectively codify against the use of sock puppets. While this definition is clear, proving it is difficult. For every over-the-top-no-way-this-isn't-a-damned-sock-puppet guy, there are 5 or 10 folks who just use a different account to express different parts of their personality. It's grey area - alter-egos only become sock puppets when they start to annoy, right?

I'm with you in feeling annoyed with them, but I get annoyed with all anonymity. I would like to add something in the guidelines to encourage people openly sharing their real/playa identities, and acting in a manner that will protect their reputations. This ties in with the decision to not allow username changes (except in certain circumstances, like someone signed up with their real name and didn't realize it would be out there for all to see) .

It think the best we can do is to encourage folks to be as real here as they are on the playa, and promote a culture of respect. You are compelled to presetn your self as a raggedy ann doll, a dwarf mud wrestler, and a nebulous blob? Get on down with your bad self. But if you use your powers of self-fragmentation for evil, we will respond.

Of course, I'm open to other ideas, and would love to hear about others' experiences with sock puppetry, both from within and without the wool.
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Postby Booker » Tue Jan 06, 2004 12:38 pm

Ron Meiners, who is my most committed and most experienced community management resource, offered up a set of guidelines and rules, based on some of his previous work, for discussion. Discussion has ensued.


So could we get a look at Ron's suggestions? Discussion ensued on an email list, but why not here? This is where the suggestions would be implemented, where the people who would live under those guidelines are to be found. I welcome input from someone with experience in online communities, but the results for THIS community should come from its members, no? Or at least factor in the comments of its members?

In a way, this divide is a symptom of the transition from the old, controlled-distribution model of email lists versus the newer, more open model of web-based collaboration. (Compare systems for emailing files versus extranet systems.) I'm confused why development of the new tools would take place using the old tools. And I'm not comfortable with a set of boundaries coming from an unknown (to us) source via a process that's less accessible to all stakeholders than it easily might be.
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Postby technopatra » Tue Jan 06, 2004 1:06 pm

A few key points in Ron's docs are not applicable, and I think that posting them here would garner a hysterical reaction - this is evidenced by the reaction of those on the etf list.

There is an unfortunate by-product of opening things up for discussion - folks take it as law, and freak out. I'm trying to manage freak outs and expectations.

I reserve the right to review and revise anything that comes up in the ETF team discussion before posting it here for everyone to comment upon. If you want to get in on the discussion before that, then please join the team list.
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Postby Chai Guy » Tue Jan 06, 2004 2:55 pm

The first year we had our theme camp we didn't have any guidelines or rules (except to follow the rules laid out by Burning Man, Leave no Trace, etc.) We we numbered only 10 or so people and it was easy to get along.

As our numbers grew, we began to realizet that not everyone had the same idea about what was considered appopriate behavior in our camp and what was not. Some of the original people got mad that the newbies were not playing by the "rules" but in all honesty those rules were never written down or communicated.

We then developed a short list of Do's and Don'ts for our camp, wrote them down and verbally communicated them to every new camper (and even veteran campers) as they arrived on site and in emails and other communications before the event.

Now when somebody in my camp fires up a generator at 4:00am I don't feel bad for sticking a banana in their tail pipe. In fact situations requiring my attention as camp leader almost never happen since everyone in our camp has agreed to follow our guidlines and everyone is aware of them.

But then, I don't think there is a disagreement about creating a user guidline is there?

I think the problem is when are we going to be able to see it, who is going to be able to have input on it, and when will it be implemented?
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Postby Guest » Wed Jan 07, 2004 8:47 am

when are we going to be able to see it, who is going to be able to have input on it, and when will it be implemented?


Second that. And looking at the traffic that's been happening here (or not happening) the much-discussed changes ought to come along in pretty short order, if it's not already too late. Or maybe the new year will bring enough of an influx of new people to make up a new community.

I can live with tp moderating the cross-over from the email list to this board, I guess. I feel mature enough to look at proposed guidelines and respond without going all hysterical, so I don't feel the need for protection from potentially disruptive information. Those who might get frantic would then move on to get frantic about something else soon enough, so that reaction wouldn't be especially important long-term. But whatever. I do hope something surfaces soon, and in a provisional enough form that it can change in response to user input.
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Postby Booker » Wed Jan 07, 2004 8:48 am

Shit. That was me.

Why does this board allow posts without a user account attached?
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Postby III » Wed Jan 07, 2004 11:15 am

> I haven't heard a peep put of you on the ETF list addressing these concerns at all.


i addressed them to ron, and was dismissed with a "we can'[t let *those* people decide, it's up to us to tell them how we want it to be" response.

he hadn't participated in any of the previous discussion, has from what i can tell not once parrticipated on this board, and came up with his set of guidelines out of whole cloth, based on, as he said, a community that didn't work very well. the combination of ignoring previous input, and expressing a desire for no feedback from the ocmmunity at large left me with with a very bad taste in my mouth.
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Postby technopatra » Wed Jan 07, 2004 2:06 pm

III wrote:> I haven't heard a peep put of you on the ETF list addressing these concerns at all.


i addressed them to ron, and was dismissed with a "we can'[t let *those* people decide, it's up to us to tell them how we want it to be" response.

he hadn't participated in any of the previous discussion, has from what i can tell not once parrticipated on this board, and came up with his set of guidelines out of whole cloth, based on, as he said, a community that didn't work very well. the combination of ignoring previous input, and expressing a desire for no feedback from the ocmmunity at large left me with with a very bad taste in my mouth.


That's all news to me. Not good. This is why we are supposed to be discussing things on-list - so that everyone knows what everyone else is communicating.

Ron & I have been speaking about various community endeavors for several months - but his participation on the eplaya team is new. I expressed to him, as I expressed to you, my frustration at the lack of movement, and asked for his help.

I'm going to see him at the webteam meeting tonight, and will ask him what is up with his response to you, Trey.
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Postby technopatra » Wed Jan 07, 2004 2:13 pm

Anonymous wrote:
when are we going to be able to see it, who is going to be able to have input on it, and when will it be implemented?


Second that. And looking at the traffic that's been happening here (or not happening) the much-discussed changes ought to come along in pretty short order, if it's not already too late. Or maybe the new year will bring enough of an influx of new people to make up a new community.




We are having a working session next week - Wed Jan 14th, 7pm. The goal of that meeting is to hammer out a draft that will be ready for posting here if I have to bludgeon everyone in the room.

Y'all are welcome to attend via phone, or in person if you are near SF. Let me know and I'll post the deets (am at day job, don't have them here).
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Postby III » Wed Jan 07, 2004 5:06 pm

btw - i should note that the beef is not with the product, but with the process.

i started things going, and solicited input here (and presented the initial steps) with the assumption that close user feedback would be welcomed. upon realizing that this would not be the exact case, i felt like i'd set up false expectations with what i had presented.

i had no reason to expect those expectations would be not met, and all the lessons from the webxing->phpbb transition seemed to point that it would not be a good idea to keep the actual commmunity out of the loop. the main reason i'm upset is because something i had set up (in good faith, though i clearly didn't have the authority to do so) is now obvioulsy a false promise, and as a result i feel that i've deceived the community.
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Last words on the inclusion of community feedback

Postby technopatra » Mon Jan 12, 2004 12:26 pm

This is where I think your issue lies:

III wrote:i started things going, and solicited input here (and presented the initial steps) with the assumption that close user feedback would be welcomed. upon realizing that this would not be the exact case, i felt like i'd set up false expectations with what i had presented.


We have not stopped welcoming "close user feedback", and in the interest of time, this is the last time I'm going to revisit this issue on this thread.

1- Everyone is invited to participate in discussions, both here and on the etf team. Always. You, and only you, are responsibile for your level of involvement and influence. Want more decision-making power? Participate more. It really is that simple.

2- It is impossible to get concensus from a large group of people, and folks become more engaged when they feel accountable to their peers, ergo the ETF team. It's purpose was clearly stated at the first meeting, and in the subsequent report from me.

It is supposed to be a safe place to toss out ideas without descending into the morass of reactionary crapola that has littered this board for the past 2 years (mebbe longer, but that's when I first looked at it and ran screaming). You and Booker and most of the others who have commented here have been cool, and I appreciate that.

I don't think you guys in particular need spoon-feeding. But others do, and I need to filter what they see for my own sanity.

3- No policies have been put into place yet, so the statement that the community feedback is not being, and will not be, counted upon as an important part of our decision-making is both false and undeservedly negative.

I invite you to consider that this reaction is you expressing fear that you will be cut out of the process, and that fear is based on a conversation you had with someone who lacks the authority to define the process, as well as a lack of tangible progress on our side to restore your confidence.

I've already addressed this with you and need you to let go of that fear. You in particular, Trey, are consistently praised both here on the eplaya and behind your back in our informal-in-the-office-chats for what you are bringing to this party, and what you help us think about.

The flipside is that your continuing statements denigrating our view of the community are tantamount to false accusations about what we are doing. As my cat-herding skills are stretched to their limit at the moment, I simply don't have another lasso to help you wrangle in this misperception any more, which sucks because if someone is going to come here to get involved, read your posts and fell it's not worth it, there is little I can do about engaging that person. We miss a great opportunity to throw another perspective into the mix.

4- Your docs were a great start to the guidelines discussions, but as the owner of those docs, you did nothing to maintain the conversation. There is a culture of "do-ocracy" (sound familiar?) that I am trying to change (I think help-ocracy" is a more feasible and successful tact), but the fact is that for now, if you start something, it's still up to you to finish it, or to officially hand it off. Neither of those things happened. If you were unasatisfied with the reaction, it's up to you to put in a little more time and stir things up. I'm not saying you did anything wrong - my expectations of feedback from the community to your docs were just as disappointing to me. We are learning as we go and we have to keep turning when we hit walls.

OK now I need to get back to work putting together the packet of feedback/questions/examples that we will be reviewing for the ETF meeting this week.

Meeting details to follow.
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Rock'em Sock'em Guidelines meeting

Postby technopatra » Mon Jan 12, 2004 12:34 pm

<edited to correct date error>

OK we're going to hash out the rules and guidelines and some other stuff at the ETF meeting this Thursday. All are welcome to attend:

Thursday, 1/15/03
6:30pm - 9:30pm at BMHQ.
1900 - 3rd Street, SF
Call-in number for teleconference: 1-800-416-8128
Participant code: 246294

Agenda
-notes, LNT (2 min)
-intros (5 min)
-New skin review - Britton (15 min)
-Mods update - Spanky (20 min)
-Rules & Guidelines revisions/crafting - All (until we're done, dammit! read the packet first so you can be prepared)
1- sock puppets and usernames
2- age requirements
3- illegal activities
4- commerce
5- who owns content? property rights

Chinese food's on me. Please PM me with your email address if you want to participate so I can send you the discussion packet. Or if you just want the packet anyway (it's too big to post here).
Last edited by technopatra on Tue Jan 13, 2004 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Booker » Tue Jan 13, 2004 12:10 pm

I have a class Thursday evenings, and sitting for hours with a phone pressed to my head doesn't appeal all that much, anyway. I suppose I'll have to break down and sub this etf list to see what sort of play the issues we're discussing get. Curious that changes to improve communication here need to be discussed in an unrelated communication medium. Something about this is just not computing.
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Postby Chai Guy » Tue Jan 13, 2004 8:52 pm

Curious that changes to improve communication here need to be discussed in an unrelated communication medium.


I agree with Booker on this one. Unfortunately I encounter this kind of thing all the time. I work in a community technology center where everyone seems to be afraid of utilizing or implementing technology. I think a Wiki page or even a group IM chat would be better than a teleconference. Of course I would love to see the discussion take place here, which seems like a reasonable place for all of our other discussions.

No matter, such is the case- I'll be there!
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Postby technopatra » Wed Jan 14, 2004 4:23 pm

Chai Guy wrote:
Curious that changes to improve communication here need to be discussed in an unrelated communication medium.


I agree with Booker on this one. Unfortunately I encounter this kind of thing all the time. I work in a community technology center where everyone seems to be afraid of utilizing or implementing technology. I think a Wiki page or even a group IM chat would be better than a teleconference. Of course I would love to see the discussion take place here, which seems like a reasonable place for all of our other discussions.

No matter, such is the case- I'll be there!


Very good points, Chai Guy. To address the first: it isn't fear, it's the fact that we can't run a live meeting and type into a discussion boards at the same time. The physical conversation happens fast, really, really fast, and we haven't come up with a satisfactory way to keep them going, or to have additional people help us run the concurrent tech-based discussion. I think teleconferencing sucks some stinky ass, but haven't got a better solution.

That said, if anyone can set up and maintain either of CG's alternative options above, I say go for it. We'd just need one person in SF to be our point person with one foot in the real & virtual worlds.

To the second..hmm. I have not personally had good experiences with real-time chatting, but that's because I type very, very badly, and I talk with my hands. I am still waiting with bated breath for videoconferencing that works. I am wide, wide open to suggestions, and would appreciate any help/advice y'all have to give.
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