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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> About The Site Council
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12/17/2005 12:23:07 PM · #1
Some recent threads have made it clear that we've shared remarkably little information about how Site Council functions, and that this lack of information has resulted in some confusion and misinformation about or purpose, goals and procedures, and generally about who we are any why we exist.

As a first step to remedy that, we'd like to open this up as a Q&A session. If there's something you've always wondered about Site Council works, but never got around to asking, we invite you to do so here. We'll do our best to provide clear, honest and understandable answers. If we fall short, please feel free to ask us to clarify.

In the interest of framing this discussion, we intend this to be toward understanding Site Council in general. As always, we invite you to share suggestions for improving the site, but to help keep this thread manageable we ask that you post those suggestions as their own thread (or add to existing ones) in the Website Suggestions folder. Likewise, questions about specific actions (DQ of a particular photo, locking of a particular thread, etc.) should be addressed outside this thread as well, either in their own thread or directly to Site Council via the Contact Page. Questions on how we handle suggestions in general, or how we handle DQ's or forum moderation in general, are, of course, welcome.

Likewise, if any topic spawns significant discussion we may break it off into a separate thread to help keep this one manageable. If that happens, we'll edit this post to include a link to the new thread.
12/17/2005 12:29:07 PM · #2
Terry, first thanks for opening this thread. I don't much subscribe to the conspiracy theories that often float around, but it's refreshing to see such openness and transparency from a "governance."

I'll kick it off with a simple one... I haven't been around very long, and haven't observed any changes to the makeup of the SC. How is the SC selected, do people serve on the SC indefinitely, and is there a minimum/maximum number of people at a given time? Finally, is there a process for adding people to the SC?
12/17/2005 12:32:31 PM · #3
Good idea :)

What specific duties does the Site Counsil do?
12/17/2005 12:34:23 PM · #4
thanks for kicking this off, terry.

1) how do ya'll communicate? via pm?
2) do you have your own special forum area where you can post images, comment, debate, etc
3) do ALL the sc participate most of the time? if not, how do ya'll deal with slackers?
4) can ya'll see the images, their scores, and who they belong to while a challenge is running?
12/17/2005 12:36:57 PM · #5
Congrats on a great thread... :)
12/17/2005 12:36:58 PM · #6
Great Questions Andrew!
There is no set "term" for SC members, so I guess you could say we serve indefinitely. There is always some attrition as people's lives change course, for example Heida just left the SC a couple weeks ago... so occasionally we have to bring in new members. When we need to do that, we publicly ask for volunteers. Each volunteer is asked to submit a written description of why they'd like to serve on SC. The "applications" are then reviewed by the admins and current SC, and a vote is taken to select the mew member(s).
We're currently trying to hold the number of SC members in the mid-teens, that seems to be about the right number of folks to "get the work done."

12/17/2005 12:38:52 PM · #7
Is anyone in CHARGE of SC? In other words, is there a "president" of SC? And is there any mechanism in place to evaluate performance within SC? What do you do if an SC member goes off the reservation, so to speak?

R.
12/17/2005 12:42:38 PM · #8
Originally posted by skiprow:

thanks for kicking this off, terry.

[quote=skiprow] 1) how do ya'll communicate? via pm?


Occasionally via PM, mostly using the SC forum

Originally posted by skiprow:

2) do you have your own special forum area where you can post images, comment, debate, etc


Yes, we do have a forum for SC discussion, as well as a couple other ways of sharing thoughts on specific images. There is also the relativley new "ticket" system for addressing user requests for information without cluttering the forums.

Originally posted by skiprow:

3) do ALL the sc participate most of the time? if not, how do ya'll deal with slackers?


There are more-active and less-active members of the SC. We all go through periods where we have little time for on-line activities, that's understood. Occasionally, someone realizes that they cannot afford the timre required, and will "resign" from the SC. We've never had to deal with a slacker!

Originally posted by skiprow:

4) can ya'll see the images, their scores, and who they belong to while a challenge is running?


We cannot see either the scores nor to whom the image belongs, unless there is a DQ request during the challenge. Even in the case of a DQ request, we cannot see scores.

12/17/2005 12:43:26 PM · #9
The Site Council does change from time to time. EddyG, JMSetzler, and others have been on SC at one time, and "retired" to take care of other obligations. Heida and Magnetic999 recently resigned for similar reasons. Even among the existing SC, not everyone is active. I've rarely seen TimJ351 or Justine in a discussion, but they do help out in close votes and tough decisions.

The number of SC members changes based on need (and it's probably up to D&L). Every once in a while, there's a call for nominations/volunteers to fill SC vacancies. Candidates must have been around long enough to have demonstrated a good understanding of the rules and site policies and a record of handling themselves with civility in forum discussions. SC members tend to be distributed around the world so that at least one of us is usually online.
12/17/2005 12:47:56 PM · #10
Originally posted by kirbic:

Originally posted by skiprow:

4) can ya'll see the images, their scores, and who they belong to while a challenge is running?


We cannot see either the scores nor to whom the image belongs, unless there is a DQ request during the challenge. Even in the case of a DQ request, we cannot see scores.


FWIW, we could if we wanted to. We can also see comments (given and received) during challenges, and have access to non-PM email addresses.
12/17/2005 12:48:39 PM · #11
Originally posted by livitup:

Terry, first thanks for opening this thread. I don't much subscribe to the conspiracy theories that often float around, but it's refreshing to see such openness and transparency from a "governance."

I'll kick it off with a simple one... I haven't been around very long, and haven't observed any changes to the makeup of the SC. How is the SC selected, do people serve on the SC indefinitely, and is there a minimum/maximum number of people at a given time? Finally, is there a process for adding people to the SC?


The first round of Site Council members (then called moderators) were hand-selected by Drew and Langdon in April of 2002 (the site was founded in January of this year). Since then, each additional group was selected by a vote of Site Council as a whole. The second group was chosen internally and invited.

Beginning with the third group, we opened it up to public application. When we decide we need to add members, we post a thread calling for applications. Once the applications are received, a discussion is held internally by Site Council, and we vote in the number of members we feel we need. Before the new members are added, the relevant discussion thread is deleted. This is so the existing SC can feel free to voice any concerns they may have about a candidate, without fear that it may be seen later. Incidentally, this is the only time a thread is ever deleted (as opposed to hidden) on DPC.

Once chosen for Site Council, a member may serve for as long as he or she is willing to commit the time. Drew and Langdon or course can remove any member of Site Council for any reason or for no reason if they so choose. Fortunately they've never needed to do that. The longest-serving members of Site Council are currently GeneralE and myself. Both of us came on in the 2nd round, in June of 2002.

While there is no hard minimum or maximum number of Site Council members, currently there are 18 serving. The most we have ever had is 20, but two members (magnetic9999 and Heida) left earlier this month due to time commitments. This number has generally trended upward as the site has grown. The last time members were added to Site Council was earlier this year.

~Terry
12/17/2005 12:54:35 PM · #12
Originally posted by megatherian:

Good idea :)

What specific duties does the Site Counsil do?


Our "prime directive" is to keep Drew and Langdon aware of the needs of the community. Generally this means responding to user questions, collecting filtering and prioritizing suggestions, and otherwise making ourselves visible and available to the community.

Other day-to-day responsibilities include addressing DQ requests and moderating the forums. As part of this occasionaly vote on and exact suspensions (fortunately we only have to do this rarely, thanks guys for being such a great community!).

We also maintain the camera and lens databases, help to populate the challenge topic database (based on user suggestions), and more recently have taken on the responsibility of responding to Contact Page inquiries.

~Terry

Message edited by author 2005-12-17 12:57:55.
12/17/2005 12:56:42 PM · #13
Originally posted by scalvert:

Originally posted by kirbic:

Originally posted by skiprow:

4) can ya'll see the images, their scores, and who they belong to while a challenge is running?


We cannot see either the scores nor to whom the image belongs, unless there is a DQ request during the challenge. Even in the case of a DQ request, we cannot see scores.


FWIW, we could if we wanted to. We can also see comments (given and received) during challenges, and have access to non-PM email addresses.


We can see who owns an image, but not its score. This is necessary when evaluating certain types of DQ requests (for example, a photo that looks out of season but was taken in the southern hemisphere) and for investigating complaints about comments.

~Terry
12/17/2005 01:02:55 PM · #14
Originally posted by megatherian:

What specific duties does the Site Counsil do?


To elaborate on CJ's post... most of our time is spent moderating forums (answering questions, renaming/moving/hiding threads, etc.) and handling validations. The majority of DQ requests do not require discussion or originals, so that task actually doesn't take up much time (we still get a LOT of requests for DQ for things like not meeting the challenge or desaturating color channels in Basic Editing). We also spend a LOT of time behind the scenes discussing forum issues, changes to the rules and user suggestions. Even if we don't appear to support (or even acknowledge) a particular suggestion in a forum thread, it'll still be discusssed and evaluated.
12/17/2005 01:03:14 PM · #15
Originally posted by bear_music:

Is anyone in CHARGE of SC? In other words, is there a "president" of SC? And is there any mechanism in place to evaluate performance within SC? What do you do if an SC member goes off the reservation, so to speak?

R.


From a practical standpoint, there's really nobody in charge of Site Council per sé. Of course, Drew and Langdon are in charge of the entire site (and, by extension, Site Council), but for most issues, even Drew and Langdon consider themselves just one vote.

As to performance evaluations, we don't really have a formal process in place for it. Generally speaking if any of us is problematic in a particular area, we'll just call each other on it within the Site Council forums. We have enough respect for each other that if any of us thinks another is seriously out of line on something, we'll just flat out call each other on it. It's pretty much a job requirement to have a thick skin and not take such things personally.

As to a SC member going seriously "off the reservation," that's an issue for Drew and Langdon to handle. I can only think of one time that it ever happened, and the SC member in question ended up resigning.

~Terry

[edited because I forgot to answer the other questions]

Message edited by author 2005-12-17 13:10:46.
12/17/2005 01:07:57 PM · #16
Originally posted by ClubJuggle:

Drew and Langdon or course can remove any member of Site Council for any reason or for no reason if they so choose. Fortunately they've never needed to do that.

FWIW, this has actually happened before. You must have forgotten that Lisae was asked to leave the SC after having a public argument with Drew on one of the forum threads waaaaay back... However, this is the only time that this has happened to my knowledge.

Message edited by author 2005-12-17 13:08:32.
12/17/2005 01:11:25 PM · #17
Originally posted by Manic:

Originally posted by ClubJuggle:

Drew and Langdon or course can remove any member of Site Council for any reason or for no reason if they so choose. Fortunately they've never needed to do that.

FWIW, this has actually happened before. You must have forgotten that Lisae was asked to leave the SC after having a public argument with Drew on one of the forum threads waaaaay back... However, this is the only time that this has happened to my knowledge.


I assumed she resigned. My bad.

~Terry
12/17/2005 01:17:09 PM · #18
Originally posted by scalvert:

The majority of DQ requests do not require discussion or originals, so that task actually doesn't take up much time (we still get a LOT of requests for DQ for things like not meeting the challenge or desaturating color channels in Basic Editing).


Then why have both of my DQ requests taken a whole or most of a week to deliberate? Is this a conspiracy? ;-)
12/17/2005 01:20:33 PM · #19
Originally posted by TooCool:

Then why have both of my DQ requests taken a whole or most of a week to deliberate? Is this a conspiracy? ;-)

We allow 48hrs for the user to provide their original, then 48hrs for SC voting. However, should the voting not be unanimous, it can take a while longer for the issues to be discussed and a majority vote reached. This is to make sure that each image & photographer gets fair and equal treatment.
12/17/2005 01:25:09 PM · #20
Originally posted by TooCool:

Then why have both of my DQ requests taken a whole or most of a week to deliberate? Is this a conspiracy? ;-)


Some of my own validations have taken that long. In addition to what Manic said, sometimes we'll be almost done voting and then somebody will spot an issue that requires us to re-evaluate the image. I've seen 6-0 and 0-6 votes turn around and go the other way when new info is presented or a problem solved.
12/17/2005 01:35:12 PM · #21
1) what exactly happens when i push the [report post] button? does that put something in the sc forum, or what?

2) has the sc established any policy to prevent sc members from acting on their own accord on things like the setzler image fiasco?
12/17/2005 01:42:28 PM · #22
Originally posted by skiprow:

1) what exactly happens when i push the [report post] button? does that put something in the sc forum, or what?


It shows up in a box on the home page "Reported Posts: 2" (or whatever). Clicking it brings up your message and a link to the offending post.

Originally posted by skiprow:

2) has the sc established any policy to prevent sc members from acting on their own accord on things like the setzler image fiasco?


In that case, site policy was clear and there was no reason a single SC member couldn't act. If there's any doubt, then we put it before the group for discussion.

Message edited by author 2005-12-17 13:42:55.
12/17/2005 01:45:30 PM · #23
Originally posted by scalvert:

Originally posted by skiprow:

2) has the sc established any policy to prevent sc members from acting on their own accord on things like the setzler image fiasco?


In that case, site policy was clear and there was no reason a single SC member couldn't act. If there's any doubt, then we put it before the group for discussion.

i can't remember, but was the image deleted or hidden? it seems to me that no one single sc member should be able to delete images.
12/17/2005 01:48:09 PM · #24
Originally posted by skiprow:

Originally posted by scalvert:

Originally posted by skiprow:

2) has the sc established any policy to prevent sc members from acting on their own accord on things like the setzler image fiasco?


In that case, site policy was clear and there was no reason a single SC member couldn't act. If there's any doubt, then we put it before the group for discussion.

i can't remember, but was the image deleted or hidden? it seems to me that no one single sc member should be able to delete images.


Hidden, definitely.
12/17/2005 01:49:11 PM · #25
you are "insider" speaking. I have no idea what the "setzler image fiasco" means.

drake
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