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Author Topic: Elliquiy Staff Selection Process  (Read 3124 times)

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Online VekseidTopic starter

Elliquiy Staff Selection Process
« on: June 09, 2019, 10:08:08 PM »
I've always been a fan of Frank Herbert/David Brin belief that 'power attracts the corruptible'. Accordingly, I liked to keep the process a bit opaque. Since nearly E's founding staff selection on this site has been out of the blue; we find someone we think is suitable and ask them if they wish to be staff. Current staff understands that authority means responsibility, it is not a reward. Several members have had quiet tenures where they decided it was not something they could personally handle.

For a time, the Mentor teams were a great way to find people who enjoyed volunteering for the site, but did not necessarily do so out of a desire to attain staffhood.

Reluctance aside, here is a brief rundown of how it works and what we look for.



Currently, the process starts off with a list of active members.

This is an insanely complicated SQL query that determines how available and active you are on the site. We can check intro activity, etc. as well, creating a 'short' (top 100) list of potential candidates who are provably regulars.

Members who get and maintain the Muse tag will certainly have priority. That is, greeting new members, and making them feel welcome before and after their approval.

Of the members on this list, we try to look for the following:

How they interact with people. Are they generally friendly, approachable, and welcoming? Someone who is aloof, cold, or rude does not make for good staff, especially as we've been trying to make them more approachable lately.

How they handle tense situations. Level-headedness. Something that really draws our notice is if a member can resolve a situation sans authority to do so. This never means throwing rules at people. Quite the opposite, often. It's about being the sort of person who can command respect with nothing but the quality of their word choice. This is a writing forum, after all.

Being outside current staff circles. While not a dealbreaker (outside of significant others), given someone who is a close friend of current G-level and someone who isn't, we're going to go with the not-currently-friend. There are a few reasons for this:

  • It is an attempt to avoid nepotism and clique-building in staff. We are proactively aware of the close friendships staff members have formed and try to make sure those influences get dampened.
  • Bringing in outside perspectives helps immensely, and I've learned the hard way to bring in as outside a view as possible because staff gets used to my thought disorder.
  • Most importantly, bringing in members with their completely separate friend-circles means their friends are more likely to approach staff, because they now have a friend as a staff member.

Currently the most notable example of doing this is Valerian, who continues to provide a more outside view of things. No staff at the time had any interaction with her prior to us asking her. Most recent Oracle promotions have been influenced by this to at least some degree, but this has been a loose policy for a very long time now.

Empathy for others. We expect you to understand and appreciate the concerns of others. This is especially necessary in a text medium, as it is very easy to separate the words from the human behind them.

Spotting and handling manipulation. An important life skill in its own right. Members who are proactive in handling this (reporting creepy behavior, etc.) are looked on more positively.

Stability. Everyone who is anyone has mental issues. However, if these issues appear to be clouding your judgment or your ability to interact with others, then it becomes a problem.

Respect for women, sexuality, and trans*. Over half my site consist of groups who need to be concerned for their safety, for one reason or another. Several members here would be murdered in their home countries for participating in this site. Some for being trans*, some for being gay, some for being women.

A healthy approach to D/s relations. 'Not participating' is a perfectly healthy such relation. For those who are dominant and/or submissive, however, we expect healthy and clear behavior. Much of this gets discussed in our rules, policies, and stickies in various ways. Extremely unhealthy people may find themselves banned.

Taking up leadership elements proactively. Running contests of your own, coordinating things between members, and so on. This shows you value your time here and the people you spend it with.



After we choose a few suitable people, we ask them directly.

A fair percentage do end up turning staff roles down, either initially or after their shadowing period. Perhaps a third or so.

If they say yes, new Oracles are given a brief shadow-period where they have the powers of Oracles, and access to the staff forums for Oracles, but don't have the tag quite yet. They get used to things, and occasionally get overwhelmed.  It is not an easy job and I love you all >_>

Assuming things go smoothly, however, eventually the tag gets switched and they become full oracles.



A note on G-Level.

I decide these individuals personally, with input from other staff. What I look for is an exceptional sense of level-headedness.

For example, there are members I have a less than stellar relationship with. This site has been around for awhile, and all. My history with or perception of anyone is completely separate from my role as administrator here, however. I have even advocated for some of them behind the scenes.

Everyone currently at G-level knows I expect this of them, and most of them have actively demonstrated it at one point or another. This does tend to result in the staff getting promoted to being G-level tending to be more aloof than the rest... it is definitely a balancing act.



Hopefully this provides some insight. Some concepts may seem vague, but either they require a series of essays to properly explain, or otherwise may require examples that would call people out. Others probably seem quite obvious.

Feel free to reply with questions, but understand some pruning may get done. Some topics might need a blog entry for a response.

Thank you for reading.  : )

Offline Oniya

Re: Elliquiy Staff Selection Process
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2019, 11:59:08 PM »
Y'know, I'm Staff in two wonderful communities.  I'm an Oracle here, and I'm a Minecraft server mod for a streamer's sub-server.  In both cases, the invitation to become Staff came as a complete surprise to me.  While I had had pleasant enough interactions with the existing Staff, I wouldn't have considered myself part of 'their crowd' when I was asked in.

In both cases, my pre-Staff life was even 'mostly keep to myself'.  Not in an 'isolation' sort of way, as I would poke into numerous places with random (on-topic and sometimes helpful) comments, but basically living, letting live, and not causing headaches for anyone.

Online Sain

Re: Elliquiy Staff Selection Process
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2019, 02:49:28 AM »
That bit about "Being outside current staff circles" sure explains some things. Personally was surprised for getting asked to Oracle as well since I had pretty much minded my own business in mentoring period and just kept writing and interacting with my regular E crowds. Still mostly do.

Offline ZephyrInk

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Re: Elliquiy Staff Selection Process
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2019, 02:53:11 AM »
I was humbled when I was asked to be part of the staff team and quite surprised too. I actually didn't know any of the staff members at the time that I was approached but everyone since has been very supportive and welcoming (staff and members alike) and I appreciate that alot.

I'm hoping to do my best for both the team and everyone here at E.

Offline Britwitch

Re: Elliquiy Staff Selection Process
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2019, 03:10:54 AM »
I knew/recognised most of the staff by name but that was as far as it went, purely because we write and socialise in different places. A couple of of them I'd gotten to know a little from my short time as a Mentor but not overly much.

It was an honour, a totally unexpected one at that, to be asked and I definitely enjoy being able to 'give back' to E as a result. I was sure the reasons for my joining the Oracles were not linked to connections or friends which is just as it should be. Personally I would hate to think I'd been asked for anything other than my suitability for the position.

When I got my purple tag the rest of the staff and members were very encouraging and supportive which is one of the parts of E's community that I love the most, just how many people are willing to be motivators and advocates for others. <3

Online Nymphadora

Re: Elliquiy Staff Selection Process
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2019, 06:36:06 AM »
Thank you so much for sharing this!

I've been curious to a certain extent for a long time.  :-)

The staff I've interacted with from top to bottom and those I only see doing their thing around the site have all seemed lovely, fair and well chosen in my opinion.

Elliquiy is the first forum site I felt comfortable enough to openly interact on and it is largely to the way the site is led.

Thanks for everything you all do!

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Re: Elliquiy Staff Selection Process
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2019, 06:55:42 AM »
Sorry, can I ask for some clarification? I noticed that you said 'we' a few times. Does this mean you, along with the rest of the G team?

Also, I'm just wondering, is there a voting process at any point?

Online AmberStarfire

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Re: Elliquiy Staff Selection Process
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2019, 08:45:59 AM »
It's interesting reading the selection process. I've staffed before offsite and my impression is staffing anywhere comes down to work at the end of the day. I know I had to be a bit careful with my words, and there's a certain freedom that comes with just being able to say what you want, be outspoken at times if it suits you to, and not worry that it's going to reflect badly on a site (because to staff is essentially be its representative). 

I'm inclined to think many of the staff might be site members whose general behaviours pretty much align with what would be needed of them to be staff. I mean that almost goes without saying, but for those who don't, there would be an increasing level of necessity to rein themselves in. I believe that might make the site less enjoyable for them, so it's an additional reason against it.

But it also makes it clear to me that staff really are putting in the work, and perhaps even making a sacrifice to do the job, though it's of course cool too.

Online Nowherewoman

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Re: Elliquiy Staff Selection Process
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2019, 08:49:22 AM »
Thanks for sharing this, Veks. Wondering if a redacted version might be good for general release re.: cliquebait issues?
« Last Edit: June 10, 2019, 09:40:47 AM by Nowherewoman »

Online VekseidTopic starter

Re: Elliquiy Staff Selection Process
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2019, 09:17:25 AM »
Sorry, can I ask for some clarification? I noticed that you said 'we' a few times. Does this mean you, along with the rest of the G team?

Also, I'm just wondering, is there a voting process at any point?

I'm actually less involved in selecting oracles than other G-levels. There are a few staffers, current and former, who knew me at one level or another before becoming staff, but I had no input in those decisions.

There is no voting process. G-level is small enough that we can form consensus.

Offline Dallas

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Re: Elliquiy Staff Selection Process
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2019, 09:20:47 AM »
-snipped-

Actually, I think it is better that I talk about how I feel in the thread where this belongs. Ignore this. Carry on. :-)
« Last Edit: June 10, 2019, 09:44:08 AM by Dallas »

Offline Oreo

Re: Elliquiy Staff Selection Process
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2019, 10:30:30 AM »
Joining the others. When I became a Mentor, I turned the position down when I was first asked. I loved chatting in the intros, but really didn't want responsibility. After some continued nudging I acquiesced.

Uuuuuuh, shocked was I when asked to be Staff after a mentor break leave taking /Yoda voice

I didn't start off as friends with staff, but friendships do develop, it's inevitable. There are more than a few Staff that I never interacted with.

That said, I have always felt myself to be a bit of an outsider in my life. I am an introverted hermit, but being online allows me to get out of my own fears to a large degree. I love being there to help when needed, and consider being part of E's moderation team a privilege that still boggles my mind.

Offline Tolvo

Re: Elliquiy Staff Selection Process
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2019, 10:53:38 AM »
I'm a little curious though for how you choose based on one part since the change. Since you mention welcoming new members in introductions, but I was told by staff that members weren't supposed to try to help new members anymore and to just let staff do it. So how does that aspect get decided now?

Offline RedPhoenix

Re: Elliquiy Staff Selection Process
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2019, 11:00:30 AM »
Being outside current staff circles. While not a dealbreaker (outside of significant others), given someone who is a close friend of current G-level and someone who isn't, we're going to go with the not-currently-friend. There are a few reasons for this:

  • It is an attempt to avoid nepotism and clique-building in staff. We are proactively aware of the close friendships staff members have formed and try to make sure those influences get dampened.
  • Bringing in outside perspectives helps immensely, and I've learned the hard way to bring in as outside a view as possible because staff gets used to my thought disorder.
  • Most importantly, bringing in members with their completely separate friend-circles means their friends are more likely to approach staff, because they now have a friend as a staff member.

Currently the most notable example of doing this is Valerian, who continues to provide a more outside view of things. No staff at the time had any interaction with her prior to us asking her. Most recent Oracle promotions have been influenced by this to at least some degree, but this has been a loose policy for a very long time now.

Hopefully seeing this spelled out will go some way to dispelling the notion of staff cliqueishness. It also helps explain why people seemingly "come out of nowhere" to become staff, they aren't coming out of nowhere, they're coming out of the space that some of us aren't in a lot. This is a good thing. Thank you for telling us! :)

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<3

It's so easy to forget when most of your online time is on E how very much this sets E apart. Sadly. But very appreciated.

Offline RedPhoenix

Re: Elliquiy Staff Selection Process
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2019, 11:01:15 AM »
I'm a little curious though for how you choose based on one part since the change. Since you mention welcoming new members in introductions, but I was told by staff that members weren't supposed to try to help new members anymore and to just let staff do it. So how does that aspect get decided now?

Oh and I asked about this recently and was told all that was scrapped so go talk to newbies all you like was the response I got! :D

Offline Tolvo

Re: Elliquiy Staff Selection Process
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2019, 11:02:47 AM »
Oh that's good to hear, that was very confusing to me and I love helping people(Though I'm not going to just jump right in. Going to slowly readjust to it and probably recheck various on site resources to make sure I remember them right or to check if they've changed).

Online Kye

Re: Elliquiy Staff Selection Process
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2019, 11:06:17 AM »
Greeting them and talking to them is very much encouraged.  Please say hello to the applicants.  What we don't want is members answering questions meant for staff, because we see incorrect answers given too often and it becomes confusing to the applicants.  Do the fun stuff and leave the rest to staff. 

Offline Oniya

Re: Elliquiy Staff Selection Process
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2019, 11:34:25 AM »
There's going to be some more clarification on the 'Muse' tag, including answers on how to interact with intros coming up, as well - so there will be something for easy reference.  Having questions will let us know what would be useful to answer.  :D

Offline Britwitch

Re: Elliquiy Staff Selection Process
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2019, 11:46:03 AM »

Offline Thesunmaid

Re: Elliquiy Staff Selection Process
« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2019, 02:34:50 PM »
Well I have to say this place...is probably the best staff I have ever dealt with on of the websites I have rp'ed or chatted on. But then the first time I tried to go into the chat I had some guy being pretty mean to me because I was new and then I had at least 4 people telling him to go away and offering to help me with anything I might need. I was like wow...ok..And I remember something that one of the people in the chat rooms said."Be nice to your newbies. They could be some of the best partners in time."

So I have run rp's and chats and I always kind of tried to keep that in mind. Be nice to the newbies always be welcoming to them I never really thought of anything anyone asked me in the chats as stupid. I had to deal with my fair share of drama queens but...you will get that anywhere.

But Elliquiy I recommend to anyone who is interested because its just such a nice welcoming place.I always tell them the application can be a bit intimidating but it is soooo worth it. I was sort of nervous when I had to report someone for harassment because I was always so used to the clique things that so many chats and rp's have. I was like oh no what if this person is friends with someone on staff...its going to get me booted out or asked to leave...and I was armed to the teeth with screen shots and chat logs and pm's (working in call centres..#1 rule log eeeeeeeevrything. Note everything.)..and I was honestly amazed that the person I spoke to was so nice and understanding. They..well made me feel safe to talk about what happened I was like wow...OK..thank you. There was no ok he said she said...we believe them over you..blah blah blah..


So thank you all for doing all you do and to everyone who keeps this lovely place going for us.

Online Bly

Re: Elliquiy Staff Selection Process
« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2019, 02:36:28 PM »
I am probably a bit of an outlier in that I did know a few folks before my selection as Staff--not all, not even a majority of Staff at the time of my selection, but a few. In fairness...I was hyper-social with everyone back in the summer of 2014 when I first became Staff, not just with Staff. I was one of those that was discovered for Staffing because I Mentored between July of 2013 and June of 2014. Though several Staff whom I am currently friendly with are actually people I didn't even really meet until after I worked with them as Staff--like FoxWriter, Lexandria, & Nowherewoman. Some Staff I've worked with for years without developing close friendships with them & then for some random reason becoming friends more recently (like Kye. I worked with Kye since 2014 and did not really become friends with them until...honestly, this year.) I am probably still one of the more outgoing Staff, but this is somewhat counterbalanced by the fact that of all the Staff, I take the most frequent breaks. Usually at least two months of every year like clockwork now that I think on it.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2019, 02:40:53 PM by Bly »

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Re: Elliquiy Staff Selection Process
« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2019, 03:49:26 PM »
It's always nice to know the process that goes on for things like this. I haven't had a whole lot of interaction with staff members, but what I have had has been pleasant. Everyone's doing a great job, thank you all so much for all your hard work in keeping E a great place to come and just be. I've made so many friends through writing with others, I don't know where I'd be without it. <3

Offline King Serperior

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Re: Elliquiy Staff Selection Process
« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2019, 05:57:55 PM »
Honestly, when I first joined E, I was impressed by the Mentors and Staff.  I aimed to be someone who welcomed others, not really expecting to be invited as a Mentor.  A few years later and I got the biggest surprise of my time here:  Being invited as a member of Staff.  Most of Staff, before I joined the team, I knew in passing.  I only had two or three or so that I really considered as a good friend.  Honestly, being Staff was something I'd never aimed for.  Heck, being a Mentor wasn't something I'd aimed for.  This site welcome my oddball-ness with open arms and I wanted to share the love to other new people.   :-)

In a way, I am similar to Bly in that I am pretty outgoing and interact with many people throughout the site.  Though, I am very close to my family, so I often have to take breaks, particularly when the school years are out and everyone has time to cram all the family events and outings all at once.  >.>;

I have a few Staff who I consider myself close friends with, Oreo, Amaris, Bly, Sain, Kye, Lexandria, and Mirrah being the main standouts.  But, then again, I am kind of hermit-ish in some ways despite my love of interacting with people~

Offline Jag

Re: Elliquiy Staff Selection Process
« Reply #23 on: June 10, 2019, 08:14:51 PM »
I was in a similar boat as Bly. I was an on and off mentor on E since 2009, not too long after I joined E (probably about six months) and there are members of staff that I welcomed to E when they first joined, gamed with, and talked with on a daily basis. I never really felt like that went into my being asked to Oracle when I was in my last mentoring stint, mostly because I had mentored for a number of years and got a small look behind the scenes (not into the staffing board, but the the mentoring side of it) and always assumed that staff choosing was at least somewhat similar to mentor choosing, but with some other criteria added in. Despite that there were many that I didn't get to start knowing until I was on staff and a few that I still don't really interact with.

My experience with staffing was a good one. Not that it was easy, but it was pleasant to work with other staff and nice to see how the site works on a different level. Just choosing friends wouldn't be a workable process with everything staff does, which is a lot more than we ever see on the public side of the site.

I've been staff on other sites and I really must say that E's Staff are stellar at handling situations that arise. It can be hard to think about reporting something if you know that person chats publicly with a staff member a lot, but I'd like to remind those people to always report when they feel it's needed. E's staff is a set of very responsible people who understand that sometimes you have to be unbiased no matter the situation. A certain level of sympathy and empathy are always needed, but I would rather have someone who knows how to control personal vs professional managing a site. I think our staff has the right balance of empathy with professional control.

*all the love for Staff and the process that goes into selecting new staffers and all the work they do* <3

Offline Daeva

Re: Elliquiy Staff Selection Process
« Reply #24 on: June 10, 2019, 08:31:31 PM »
Before I was asked to join the mentoring team, I quite honestly never gave the mentors or staff any thought at all. I didn't think about the tens of thousands of members that they helped to find their way through this vast site, I didn't think about issues that members had with one another that had to be mediated and I didn't think about the many small behind the scenes details that they did to keep this place running and make it a safe environment for everyone here.

I was never active on the social boards so when I was approached to become a mentor, my first reaction was to think they had messaged the wrong person. When the mentoring program was closed and I was asked to join the staff, again I wondered if they were talking to the right person. I was not friends with any of staff at that time, I had not written with any of staff at that time so I know that had nothing to do with why I was asked.

I love this site. I love the people I've met here and the wonderful writers that I've both had the privilege of writing with and the enjoyment of reading other writings. I have considered it an honor to work alongside the other staff members and I admire all the work that has been put into making E what it is and its a privilege to be able to give something back to a site that has given so much to me.