8/31/2004

Your mission, should you choose to accept...

I found a few useful definitions of mission statement on Google.

A few that I liked:

"A philosophical or value statement that seeks to respond to the "why" of the organization's existence, its basic reason for being. Mission statement is not defined in expressions of goals or objectives, rather it reflects a realistic but farsighted determination of who the organization is, who it serves, what it does, and what it can accomplish."

"A general statement of a vision in word form. It is important to have a rich representation of the vision in all the senses. Then the mission statement can be written in language which allows all parties to it to derive meaning from it, yet be precise enough to guide them towards achieving it."

"A statement of the role, or purpose, by which an organization intends to serve its stakeholders. Describes what the organization does (current capabilities), who it serves (stakeholders), and what makes the organization unique (justification for existence)."

8/30/2004

In the presence of many counselors...

I love it when people listen to me.
I love it when people listen to those who know more than they do about a particular subject, even it's not me at that given moment.
I love it when people not only listen and do what they're told, but go the extra mile and do us all one better.

Recall my entry from a few days ago about over moderation. This was actually happening at my favorite web community. I logged in this morning to check up on events. The discussion was locked, but some very good things had been decided. Among them were that the moderating community would enforce rules as they were defined in the Terms of Service, just as they always had, decisions would be made to benefit the community as much as possible, and a Mission Statement would be forth coming. This Mission Statement, when combined with the Terms of Service will become the driving force in community policy.

"But isn't that over-moderation?"

Not at all.
Mission Statements tend to be positive documents. They focus on beliefs, desires and over-reaching goals for a particular organization. A poorly written one is vague, meaningless. A well written one beautifully says what everyone is already thinking.

I am very anxious to see the effect this will have on the community.
I foresee good things.

8/27/2004

Creating a knowlege base

Did you ever wonder: "If I write these tips, will the intended customers read them?"

I am wondering that now. If you have any tips for encouraging people to read instructions, I would be happy to hear them.

Community Government

If I could give web community developers a piece of most-neglected advice, it would be this:

Do not over-govern your community.

Time and again I have seen it happen. Community administrators and moderators perceive what they feel is a bad vibe within the community and try to "fix" it. Everyone should be able to "get along," after all, we are all adults, we should be tolerant, etc.

If you are a community moderator and see your "beloved community going down the tubes," I would caution you to take a step back before you take any action. If there has been no direct violation of your rules, if there is no flame war, if nothing illegal is going on, then perhaps things aren't as bad as you think.
Most community leaders are in place because they are keenly interested in the community, its focus, the people, and so on. Because of this, most moderators also do their job on a volunteer basis, have an emotional attachment to the community and often feel a sense of entitlement as a result of their work. Community moderation is, after all, hard work.
However, emotional attachments to a community should not be the driving force in policy development. What you "feel" is best or what you "feel" is wrong may not necessarily be so. Has there been an increase in undesirable debate or insulting behaviour within your community? Are you certain? What is the margin of increase? If you compare current behaviour with that of, say, a year ago, is it actually different?
Just as you would if you were running a business, do not allow mood to drive your decisions. Use facts. Do not make grandiose statements on what you think is happening within the community: state what actually has happened and give examples. If you do not, community members (especially those who were not involved or view themselves as innocent) will not react favourably.

8/25/2004

Email signatures

One of my email signatures reads thusly:

To trudge...
The slow, weary, depressing yet determined walk of a man who has nothing left in his life except the impulse to simply soldier on.


I received yet another question about it and, because people are so unoriginal, it was the same question I always get. "Why trudge? Is life really that bad?"

Now, before I give you the canned answer that no, life isn't bad at all and that this line is from "A Knight's Tale," let me ask you a question.
Does this look like a serious line?
Honestly, when you read this, do you immediately think "Wow! This girl's life must be horrible. Look at her signature." Please, do not give me the excuse that "well, one really can't determine sarcasm over the web." If you have ever read a book in your life, then you know perfectly well that printed words can be and often are sarcastic. This fact does not change just because the words are now printed on a screen instead of a page.
And even if you still don't believe me and do think my life must be horrible in order to warrant the signature above, I have email. How bad can my life possibly be? Obviously I'm not starving to death. I'm not walking down a random road naked because I've compulsively gambled away every last thing that I own, including my clothing.

And now for the boring, pre-fabbed answer.

This line is from the movie "A Knight's Tale." It's only ok as movies go, but it has some rather ingenius moments, All of said moments involve Paul Bettany, who brilliantly plays Geoffrey Chaucer the medieval author. The character has, among other faults, a compulsive gambling problem, and in this scene (unbeknownst to first time viewers) he is walking down the road naked because he has gambled away all of his clothes. Knight and Co. have no idea who Chaucer is, adding to the wit of the momet. When asked what he is doing, he replies that he is trudging and then, because no one knows what he's talking about, defines the word as above. I have always liked it.

Now, didn't that long explanation sap the humour out of it?

8/20/2004

8/04/2004

My System

Today is my last day of work until after my honeymoon.
I won't be back until the 18th, so I have to get organized before I go.

I wouldn't say I'm a sloppy person. I like, rather need, a clean bathroom and kitchen. But I would say I'm cluttered.
If I file my papers away, I will never see them again.
I have papers sitting in my black mesh tray that, at one time, were vitally important. That's why I haven't thrown them away.
But looking over at my tray, I have no idea what they are.
Every time I try to systematically organize my work, I lose it.
My own system beats me, each and every time.

Organized chaos is much better. It has no power.
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