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This is MetaGroupies, a group blog where Group Founders and Administrators meet to discuss issues of group management, share tips, policies, organizational choices and the like.

Hi everyone - I'm tmo (god I wish I'd come up with a catchier username but this was back in 2004 when I wasn't thinking it would last this damn long). The groups I've founded are "Livelihood Chronicles", which is for providing resources and support and advice for unemployed or underemployed or unhappily employed Kossacks, and "Oakland Community Blog", for gathering all the Oaklanders on DK.

I was thinking that it might be useful to discuss us coming up with a set of recommended "best practices" for group admins and editors that we can publish regularly and/or post somewhere accessible. This would just be some guidance for new admins and editors, to give them a place to start so people aren't constantly having to re-invent the wheel.

For instance, I think Limelite's idea of strongly encouraging all the new members to write an introductory diary is very cool and really forces you to jump into the pool. :)

I think to help build your group's name as one that can be trusted, it's a good idea for every diary published directly to the group to include your group's name in each diary title, if you can make it all fit. Or you can use an acronym in each diary title like the "WYFP" (What's Your F**** Problem?) and "GUS" (Giving Up Smoking) groups use. The point is to use something that's consistent and memorable so that people have a good idea of what they're getting when they see the diary title.

I would recommend that each diary writer put the same brief description of the group in the intro to each diary so you give new readers a context of what this group is about. Yeah, the group page has a description, but I think it's more enjoyable for new readers to get a sense of context right up front.

Group leaders can also recommend to their writers as Limelite has the tags they should apply to their diaries so they're the most relevant. I think I have read that Markos at some point in the future will let groups have tags, which would let groups be found more easily and would ideally would then propagate automatically to each diary published to the group.

I think it's nice when the blog founder sends out a nice welcoming message or diary describing themselves, what they intend the purpose for the group to be, long-term plans if there are any for the group's purpose.

There were some great ideas in a previous diary in this series: Reprise: On Being a Group Editor. I want to make sure these don't get lost for consideration as best practices:
- DaNang65 had a good comment about working with Contributors, who because they are not allowed to schedule diaries have no control over when they will get published and may not be available for replying when they're published. The suggestion was that Contributors send a group message specifying when they would like the diary to be published so it creates a public record; editors and admins are "honor bound" to check the messages before scheduling or publishing anything.
- another good idea from DaNang65 was to create a draft diary where you stash a welcome message for new admins; since there's no apparent requirement that drafts ever be published by a certain date, it seems like a good place to keep any kind of content that you might publish often. You could even use a dummy draft diary to keep the standard intro you want everyone to use and the standard tags.

Many of you have much more successful groups than I do :) - so what would you recommend us little guys do to create consistent group-themed diaries and to create a more successful group? And where can we post a list of recommended best practices so new group admins can see it?

Originally posted to Meta Groupies on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 12:05 PM PDT.

Also republished by Emerging Technology and Activism.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    The goal is not to bring your adversaries to their knees but to their senses. -- Mahatma Gandhi

    by tmo on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 12:05:01 PM PDT

    •  Group neglect (0+ / 0-)

      I wrote a diary two days ago about a group that was created back in February -- Youth Kos -- that has been neglected by it's administrator.

      Much of the discussion and comments in my diary were about Youth, but there was some discussion about dealing with the situation when the admin has disappeared. Especially if it's a group that is vital to Daily Kos.

      Group admins and editors should be aware of their audience and check in at least every other day.

      Shop Liberally this holiday season at Kos Katalog

      by JamieG from Md on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 07:13:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I disagree (6+ / 0-)

    I disagree about putting the Group Name in a diary title.  It might be the right thing in some cases.  IGTNT, for example.

    But there's lots of things that cross boundaries and are relevant to more than one group.  I do a lot of republishing, and in the History for Kossacks group there's lots of cross-published/republished content.

    I think it's one of the beauties of DK4 that it's easy to blur boundaries.  I like it a lot.

    exmearden: Grab every minute of joy you can. 8/30/09

    by Land of Enchantment on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 01:03:34 PM PDT

    •  Me too. Until today I had no clue what RKBA (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Limelite, Gabriel D, tmo, Larsstephens

      was. And while I am vaguely aware from post context what the IGTNT acronym deals with I couldn't spell it out. The idea that putting abbreviated forms of Group names somehow adds value to new readers/followers sounds pretty iffy indeed.

      For example every comment I put up has an invite to the Social Security Defenders Group "Please visit, follow or join--" But when in my own thread and in a comment referencing joining I self-id'd as 'SSD Admin' somebody accused me of having claimed to be the Administrator of the Social Security Disability Insurance Program.

      It is difficult enough finding Diary Titles that fit the character limit while still having enough 'curb appeal' to attract eye-balls, attaching labeling requirements seems kind of over-kill. And mission statements in the Intro even more so. Frankly as an older liberal-lefty I have seen the danger of too much self-identification and adherence to 'party lines' in the past and more subscribe to Will Rogers: "I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat".

      There is one requirement to participate in my/our Social Security Group. Your post needs to be reasonably factually accurate and has to take a stance that a third party observer would agree falls within the category of 'defender' of traditional FDR SSl. And both the blandish title of the Group and its description reflect that.

      Please visit, follow or join our Group: Social Security Defenders

      by Bruce Webb on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 02:51:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If it's already been published (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bronte17, Limelite, DaNang65

    and you (as a blog editor / admin but not the author) are republishing, you can't change the title, can you?

  •  I have a problem with presenting (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bruce Webb, Limelite, Gabriel D, DaNang65

    this as "best practices". That implies that these actions should be followed by all groups all the time. The whole point of groups is to give people the opportunity to experiment with starting their own blog with the support of a large site. Some of these things could be useful suggestions for some people, but trying to establish them as standards is a really bad idea.

    There is a traditional Daily Kos mentality that still thinks that the entire site has to march in lock step to the beat of the same drummer. That attitude is seriously out of date.


    •  Plus getting Pooties to march to any beat (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Limelite, Gabriel D, DaNang65

      is harder than some of those dancing pictures would have you think.

      Garretts diary today shows what Groups really need, which is not best practices but instead finding aids. With that we can just allow Groups to emerge, evolve, develop and die.

      Public policy Groups may shake out into some sort of standard practices over time, and Admins can help each other out along the way, but it is a little early in the process to shut down the Wild West and call in the Federal Marshals.

      Please visit, follow or join our Group: Social Security Defenders

      by Bruce Webb on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 02:57:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Regarding Standardization of Practices (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cfk, Gabriel D, Bruce Webb, tmo, DaNang65

    within groups, I can comment on one point in this diary.

    Labeling all diaries with the Group's Name is cumbersome for larger groups, I think, especially those that publish diary series on a regular or semi-regular basis and that have a multitude of Editors and Contributors providing considerable content.

    It's possible that your purpose is achievable by -- as you also point out -- using the Group Name as a minimum tag requirement of all original and re-published diaries that appear within the Group.

    That's something I ask of all diarists in both my groups to do.

    Additionally, series Editors in R&BLers are asked to tag all the installments that appear in their series with the Series Name as well.  

    Tagging is the soul of Daily Kos and it's important that as Group Founders and Admins that we do our utmost to make sure that we make clear in our Group Policies statement what the minimum tag requirements are; then it's up to us to prowl all content and check for those tags; finally, we have to make the continuous effort of publicizing our tagging policies to all Contributors.

    Basically, it's tagging that make accessing the content you want to access possible with ease for any User.  And assuring "easy-ness" makes DK a friendlier more inviting place for everyone.

    Are any of you running into problems regarding appropriate tagging and tagging consistency in your Groups?

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 03:16:10 PM PDT

  •  Best Practices Begin with Clear Group Policies (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cfk, Gabriel D, tmo, DaNang65

    You cited an issue that surrounds scheduling practices within a Group.

    I realized early on  that if I was ever going to be free of constantly babysitting my Group(s) that I needed a clear and fair policy regarding scheduling diaries.

    How any Founder or Admin goes about formulating that policy probably depends on the purpose and organization of the Group.  For instance, I have two different policies for my two groups, because they are organized in utterly different ways.

    In Groups where a lot of content is generated but it's all casual or one-off material (like here in Meta Groupies), the best practice is to make everyone an Editor and make the only policy to respect a 1-hr. buffer around scheduling your diary with any others in the queue or currently first on the FP.  That gives everyone equal stage time.

    When there is a multitude of regularly scheduled content (series) and scheduling becomes a question of "crowd control," frequently publishing a Weekly  Schedule may be necessary, so that everyone is aware of what time slots are filled and which are available for casual diaries.

    You can see an example of this in my R&BLers Newsletter that will be published tonight at 8PM EDT.  In addition, a clear policy statement detailing the courtesy practices of scheduling needs to be issued.  [You cited a diary I wrote on precisely that issue.]

    I hope that no one feels that having and holding to clear policies restricts diarists from publishing, or anyone from republishing content.  I'd argue that it does the opposite.  By having fair policies, everyone feels that they have autonomy over their work -- from content to including the publishing process.  No one need be afraid that some tyrannical Founder or Admin is trying to control them.

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 03:32:06 PM PDT

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