How to Better Look After Newcomers?
I was saddened recently to learn that we're doing a pretty poor job of helping out newcomers and making them feel welcome . And so I'm looking for advice on how we can improve this.
Currently when a new member joins, somebody from the Welcoming Party will send them a little PM saying 'Welcome/check out the FAQ/post an introduction' within the first few days (ideally the first 24 hours) of them joining the site.
After that, there doesn't really seem to be much in terms of interaction with newcomers besides the generic 'Welcome to the Temple!' responses to their introduction thread.
I realise that, assuming the individual begins the IP, they should get a PM form the IP team at the very least, and ideally a sponsor.
But all of these are pretty generic. I mean, the welcome messages have to be, in the last three weeks alone I've personally issued 121 Welcome Messages to new members thats A LOT of new people to keep track of, most of whom never even log back in.
Unless newcomers are very active in the forums, or I bump into them in chat, its very easy to assume that they're just another one of those people that don't come back.
So has anyone got any ideas on how to be more engaged with newcomers?
And what kinds of things would you newcomers out there like to see us doing to make you feel more welcome? Because I can assure you that you are all very much welcome here
NB: We're currently looking for more sponsors for the IP team, if anyone is interested please contact Leah, in the absence of a IP Team Lead at present. Also, as the newest member of the IP Team I still have a number of spaces to take on a couple more Journals, so if any Novices want me to review their journals so far and discuss with them, please send me a PM and I'll try my best to accommodate you.
I'm just gonna copy and paste
Original post can be found here
Asakura Shoji wrote:
Bingo. Look at who has replied to my intro post from 17 days ago: 6 people on the day I posted, 2 others in the past day. Special note no one from the IP team replied to the thread (noting that Brick replied via PM) except for Kobos, who posted today, and I'd think that they in particular might want to be looking at new members and following up to see if we wanted to do IPs or were confused about starting, etc.
To be clear, this is just an observation--I'm not having any kind of dramatic emotional response to any of this, because I'm not deeply emotionally invested here...yet. I'm not trying to file complaints. I just think that there has probably been more outreach in the past which may be why people are confused about why the more recent newbies are confused. Therefore, I'm just listing the facts of what happened to me as a relative newcomer so people can see where stuff broke down. I'm not sure how it's supposed to work--I only know my own experience.
To the point that some people have made as to what any new person really needs to know about the stuff happening above our pay grade: it is really helpful to know that there is a skeleton crew and that there are some distractions right now and that's why newcomer outreach is worse than usual (I mean, I hope this isn't usual ). That the issues may be administrative on paper, but when major changes are being made people are going to get stressed out (because we're human) so sorry if some of that is spilling over. Don't panic--this, too, shall pass. That it's worth it for us to keep doing my IP (I mean, right now some of us are legitimately unsure because some of the rumors make it sound like shutdown is imminent in 3, 2, 1...) and that guidance is there for us if we need it.
@Brick, I'm not sure the IP team is functioning beyond you, or if it is who's doing what may need to be updated on the IP part of the website? I got absolutely no reply to my initial "Hey, I've started my journal" PM, and I haven't sent out others to other people because I'm assuming you all are busy because of stuff going on. I just kind of put that all on hold for the moment until things blew over. I'm listening to/reading the materials and writing, but am not polishing and posting because I don't have the foggiest if we even have an entirely functional IP team right now or, as I said above, if it's worth it because will TOTJO continue to exist (and will the people who made me want to be here still be here?). I see Kit stepped down today and so I'm sure more reshuffling of duties will happen. It's cool, I'm waiting it out, but I'm just observing it doesn't necessarily appear to be functioning as normal.
Not having a working application for a while also left newcomers in limbo. Again, I understand stuff breaks and needs to be fixed, and that it appears to be working again now, but it's one more thing that leads to not-the-smoothest introduction for newcomers at the moment.
Perhaps people can see where this combination of things makes it looks a little more chaotic and unwelcoming for new people right now than it may have been when you joined, and why we might therefore kind of want to know what's going on.
Original post can be found here
I hear a lot of questions about paying attention to new members, offering tips on the IP, and ensuring Knights/Apprentices are helping out in these areas more.
What if some of that burden were shifted more towards the Novice ranks?
Like, sure, interacting with Apprentices and Knights is certainly still important. But if I am struggling in the IP, it is often more useful to talk to others currently working through it together, at the same time. I for one generally understand new material better if I have to immediately turn around and explain it to someone else. When you grasp a concept well enough to teach that concept, it sticks with you better?
Now I do not do too well welcoming new members, and perhaps the inexperience of "not having completed the training" is undesirable by some, but if it were approached more as a "study group" mentality, where guests, new members, those working through the IP, were more responsible for "policing their own", it would probably help us grow faster in anticipation of an apprenticeship, free up a lot of that inherent responsibility of the knights and apprentices, and allow us to build a little more direct camaraderie with those in our general era of future knighthood.
Put the onus on us Novice types to work together more directly, help new members get started on the IP, and work through it more as a team...I could benefit a lot from that sort of approach to it myself, and suppose as such, should simply start moving in that direction whether or not my lil idea here gains traction anyway...
Any of y'all ever think through something outloud?
EDIT: With Kit stepping away for a bit...maybe the IP team could use a little collection of Novice types to help supplement their efforts anyway...? Make us pick up some slack...even make it "part" of the IP itself?
- Asakura Shoji
SamThift wrote: Maybe have some sort or "primer" for what people should/need to cover in an intro post so we can get a tad more to relate to in breaking up the monotony of "Hi I'm new here" -- "Welcome, hope you find what you are looking for" type of come-and-goes...
Good idea Sam! At present the Welcome Party message just says 'be sure to post an introduction in the forum', I could maybe add something in there to elaborate a little more on what we had in mind.
It doesn't have to be invasive...I get that a lot of people might not feel comfortable opening up about their personal life, location, whatever might be identifiable...but some weird "ice-breaker" questions..."What was the last book you read?" "If you had to be an animal, what would you be and why?" "Jar-Jar Binks, pathetic life form or best character ever?"
Anything to provide a tiny way for people to share some meaningful unique things about themselves without feeling like they are opening the doors of their soul to an unknown online community...but still giving us something to play off of...
I just read the "Lakota Way" by Joseph M. Marshall III, and am now reading a revised version of "Black Elk Speaks" by John G. Neihardt
I would be a penguin so I could swim in icy cold water, eat tons of fish, and walk funny.
Jar-Jar was annoying...but I feel like he offered us an opportunity to evaluate our own prejudices.
Cross-posting just in case it is more useful here than in that other thread...
People are complicated.
and then I just jumped into the forums (that's a lie, I was inactive for 6 months) but as soon as I DID start getting involved, I ended up getting into convos with Jester or others and it was all tea and biscuits from there.
The welcome team does a great job making sure introduction posts don't go unnoticed, and any time I've seen a newcomer in the Chat they've been a rough "breakdown" of what we do here and what we "believe" (filtered through whoever they happen to bump into in the chat! I feel sorry for the ones who meet me, but usually Kit or another responsible Knight or Apprentice is there to keep me honest, and keep the message "on brand" )
ANYWAY - My point is - A bit of exploration and proactiveness from any new member will serve them well from there. You can't spoon feed everything, and you'll burn yourself out extending too much to new members (who lets me honest, we get a lot more sign-ups that we do long term students)
If people need more cuddles, then they're free to ask for them
Sometimes it can take a while, because of timezones and life getting in the way. But I think most people respond to things eventually.
I'm sorry if this hasn't been your experience here