The facts and myths of becoming a staff member- an unofficial guide
by, 10th April 2011 at 09:37 PM (2418 Views)
Let me first preface this blog with the statement that these are my own opinions and do not reflect those of Bulbagarden or its staff as a whole. Everything I write is based on my experiences and observations.
How to become a mod
First off, let's just drop the whole mod bit. There's far more duties on the staff then just moderating the forums. For now, I'm just going to refer to all positions as Staff Positions.
Now, I have seen many people over the last year make it known that they would like to be staff members. In each case, I have seen them receive plenty of misinformation regarding just how to achieve that goal. What I intend to do here is give all of you who read this an idea of what it actually means to be a staff member and how to reach it. This guide is not perfect because there are dozens of factors involved in getting the job. I'll simply address the big ones here.
1. "I want to be a mod"
This is arguably the most important aspect of getting membership in the staff forums. Making your intentions known. Now, I'm sure many of you have been told that the best way to get the job is to not ask for it. For the most part, that is true. Consider this: If you were already a staff member and you saw a bunch of people posting in their blogs that they wanted to be staff just like you, how would you feel? What would you think? More often than not you would ask, "Okay, so?" But more on that in a sec.
There is an element of this a lot of people don't particularly understand. Making it known you wish to be staff is fine so long as it is done the right way. Posting in your blog that you want to be a mod is probably not the way to do that. My personal opinion is that you make it private or at least pseudo-private. If you are interested in being staff, talk to the head of the section you're most interested in being a staff member in. HOWEVER, this does not give everyone the right to spam our inboxes with staff applications and requests. Not at all. Talking to the section head is in fact one of the last steps. Before you even consider that, here's some more things that must be considered.
Let me also make perfectly clear that you should never be pushy or obnoxious when making your intentions known. Pushy and obnoxious people are not what we need.
(Alternatively, you could just wait for an all forum staff drive and submit an application then. But more on that later)
This is the biggest question of all in regards to getting a staff job. Why do you want it? If you are only interested in getting that promotion because you want the power, the attention, and the italicized name... then leave this blog and don't come back. We don't want glory seekers. We want contributors. We want fresh new ideas. We want people who want the job so they can make a difference.
This is one of the things I don't see very often. People never make it known why they want the job. They just say or hint that they want it. However, before I see blogs from people saying why they want the job, let me emphasize that that's probably best kept between you and the existing staff member you would talk to later on. Whenever you do feel ready to talk to them, then you'd better be ready to give a good reason why or they won't listen.
This is another problem I see with many of the people who say they want a staff job. I have no idea who they are. They haven't made a name for themselves nor have they contributed anything worthwhile to the forums or the wiki or the news. If you want us to give you the time of day, then you need to make us want to. Post intelligently, offer help, volunteer when given the option. Make it so we know who you are and remember your name the next day.
Please note that this does not mean you need an ungodly high post count like mine. Not at all. Even if you post a hundred times, make them all stand out and mean something.
Now, remember that your contributions are not rated by you, they are rated by us. We are the ones who should see the value in it. You may think your latest post was pure genius, but that's up for everyone else to decide.
I want to give you all a unique perspective on an example of contributing. I have asked Kayi-chan, head of the writer's workshop, for her permission to write this following segment.
Kayi joined us here on Bulbagarden a year ago. She was already a gifted writer and very creative. She posted in the writer's workshop and was active. Before long, the staff there knew who she was and rather liked her. Not only did she contribute her own works of literature, but she helped others as well. She was an ideal candidate to help run the workshop and so she was invited to do so. Her contributions only got bigger after becoming a staff member. She was incredibly dedicated to the workshop and did her best to keep it in order and running smoothly. When the time came to decide who was to head it, she was the unanimous choice. Why? Because she had something to offer. Now, after only one year here, she is a super moderator and section head of the writer's workshop. She's living proof that giving and giving brings great rewards.
Please note that she never asked for the job in the first place.
To sum up, contributing is one of the key factors of being a staff member. We don't sit around all day and just hand out infractions. We talk about what would make the site better. We plan. We brainstorm. We remain active And we always look for new ideas that will make the experience better for all.
First impressions can go a long way. If you show up here and the first thing you do is start trolling someone, that says a lot about you. If you show up here and the first thing you do is start a discussion that goes deep and makes people think, or you answer a question in the help thread, it tends to be received better and makes you look better.
It's no secret that we on the staff talk to each other often. We regularly get together on Skype and just chat for hours at a time. We enjoy being together and working together because we find our other staff members to be rather likable. We are, in essence, a really strange family.
If you ever want to have any chance at being a staff member, you have to have a positive personality. There has to be something likable about you. After all, we are the people you will be working with. If we don't like you, we won't work with you.
Also, it does help if you like us.
This isn't to say that you have to be a perfect angel or anything. A lot of us have egos, especially me. That's just cause we're human. But we still manage to get along and work together. If you're not the kind of person who can work well with a large group of people who are all very close, then the Bulbagarden Staff is not for you.
Let me give you another example, using TM2-Megatron as an example.
TM2 has only been here a year as well but was modded only a few months after joining. Why so soon? Because not only did he contribute often, he also had a good attitude. Ever since I've met him TM2 has been calm, level-headed, positive, and hard working. These are great characteristics to have. On the staff you have to deal with a lot of people, not all of them pleasant. Being able to be calm and cool at all times is an invaluable skill.
TM2's commitment and attitude impressed me so much that I knew he'd be a super moderator before long. He's a great guy I'm proud to work with and proud to call my friend.
Let's talk about commitment. To be a staff member you have to be dedicated. You have to spend time here and you have to be available. If availability is a problem for you or you're just not here that often, then this job is not for you.
The commitment has to be continuous. You can't spend long periods of time being idle and not doing anything. We have to actually know you're still breathing. This ties in with making yourself known but if you post often and well then we get the idea that you at least have some level of commitment for the garden.
However, we do get vacation time. The admins understand that we're all human and we like to have time to ourselves. So don't get the idea we're always always online and working. We all do have lives.
6. Work Ethic
Tied in with commitment, you have to be willing to work. As I said, we don't just sit around and hand out infractions. We do plenty of other things, mostly consisting of running forum events or working on ways to improve the site. It's not a lot of work, but it can get busy at times, especially around Christmas. If you want to be a staff member, be willing to put in a few hours a day.
Trust me when I say this. Minimodding is annoying. We do not like it when people try to do our jobs for us. If you really want to help solve a problem, REPORT IT. Make sure it is a genuine problem and report it. Don't try to take it into your own hands. It'll only cause you trouble.
8. Staff Drives
Sometimes we need more people and we ask for applications. This can be a golden opportunity for some. It's how I got the job. If you can wait that long, wait for a staff drive to come around. Patience is a valuable tool as a staff member. You may find that it's more rewarding to wait to be asked then to offer.
9: Be a leader
Staff members are the leaders of the site and if you want any chance at joining our ranks, you need to have some leadership quality about you. Leaders don't always just tell people what they do. They help, they guide, they respect, they contribute, they work hard, they're active. Leadership is a tough thing to describe because how a person leads is up to them. Just show us that you're a leader and more often than not you'll be met with approval.
There are few myths surrounding the staff that I want to address. These have all originated from biased dislike, misinformation, or some other random thought that made sense at the time.
1. The staff get paid
We do not. Being on the staff is a volunteer position. There is nothing we are given for it but that good feeling of being a part of something big and contributing to it. It's not much but I like it. It would be nice to be paid but oh well. I love it here and am more than willing to work for free.
2. The staff are perfect
This is far from true. We're humans. We make mistakes. We get on each others nerves. We do stupid things. We have bad days. We're no different from anyone else here. The good news is that because we're such a close group we usually support each other. We do our best to keep each other up, and we don't let our moods interfere with our duties.
3. To get on the staff, you must not have any infractions
So so wrong. I'm a living example. I've been banned twice. I once got a 50 point infraction for mouthing off to a staff member. And I'm not the only one who has had a troubled past.
So why am I on the staff? Because I learned from my mistakes. I used them to grow as a person. I tried not to make those mistakes again.
I want to share with you some of my feelings about infractions because I think a lot of people don't quite understand them.
First of all, a warning is not something to get worked up about. It's a reminder to follow the rules and not cause trouble. They're nothing bad. An infraction usually results from doing something repeatedly or doing something outrageously bad. If you get an infraction, you usually deserved it.
Second of all, if you get a warning or infraction, thank the staff member for pointing it out to you and apologize. You have no idea how much we like it when members do that.
Third of all, don't debate an infraction unless you have a solid argument against it. Again, we're not perfect and we do make mistakes. The trick is getting us to realize that. If you respond to an infraction saying we have no lives, then it won't be reversed. That will probably net you another infraction. Reply and giving solid facts and statement to say why you don't believe it is fair or to point out a flaw to us is generally better (if marginally) received. We are honest and will reverse a warning or infraction if we feel that it's been misgiven. HOWEVER! this does not happen often. I do not recommend you argue an infraction unless you are 100% certain you are in the right. You will only serve to annoy the staff you wish to work with later on in life.
Please note though that having a clean record speaks volumes about you and is favorable. It's just not always needed.
4. The staff are above the law.
We are not. We can still be infracted. We still have to follow the rules.
5. The staff are nazis or dictators or just plain mean
We are not. Yes, we run the site but we try to be fair and lawful. If we tell you that you are in the wrong, you're probably in the wrong. Don't whine about it. Don't flame us. Don't make an idiot out of yourself by publicly yelling at us. It won't help your case any.
I hope that this guide has given you all some insight on what it takes to be a staff member and what being on the staff is actually like. It's not always what you think it is. It can be fun, it can be frustrating, it can be the most rewarding experience ever. But at the bottom of it all, it's a responsibility. You have to be able to handle that responsibility.
We are the judges. We decide who is right for being on the staff. We are the ones you need to impress. Impress us with who you are, not who you pretend to be. We don't hire just anyone. When a member is made a provisional moderator, we operate under the belief they will prove themselves and will be around for a long time.
And yes, you can be fired as a staff member if it comes down to that. Or you could spend forever as a provisional moderator. If anyone here does ever get accepted, my best advice for you is: Don't screw it up.
If anyone has any questions or comments, feel free. I may have missed something (it's always possible).
Thank you for reading