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Ao: Putting the shop front back on!



Hi and welcome to the Ref Team Coffee house!
What can I get for you today? Today's special is strawberry mint herbal tea!
Talk about anything! Enjoy your stay!

This is a continuation of Meg's Coffee House Chat series =D now you ref people will have your very own coffee house!

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Meg's Original Post Below
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Seriously though, we're all working on things so just hang in there with us. We brought you on before we finalized the details partly because we wanted everyone's input on things. But yeah, be prepared for a lot of talking.
 

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You guys don't know it yet but you've signed up for reference school. You will be given projects to complete, homework to turn in and 20 page research papers to do. Each of you will be given a subject to research. You will have 24 hours to complete each assignment. Jess will collect the research papers and Meg will be in charge of the homework assignments. ROFL Just kidding!!
 

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I'm sorry, but I don't think I'm right for this team or it for me. I thank all the mods though for thinking enough of me to think that I would be an asset. Best of luck to you all.
 

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LOL! Now you sound like Pop! He always wants a picture!

. . . It's a good point, though. Some people are very visual learners - it wouldn't hurt to have. Good idea!

And I agree! This IS going to be fun!!! I'm happy to have you all here, and looking forward to a lot of good things on TFK!
 

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I'm sorry, but I don't think I'm right for this team or it for me. I thank all the mods though for thinking enough of me to think that I would be an asset. Best of luck to you all.
I hope you'll forgive my delay in responding to this. Had to collect thoughts on this one. We do think you would be an amazing asset to this team, and will all be very sad to see you go - especially before we have even started! But if you feel that you'd be more comfortable remaining a member, we liked you just fine that way, too! We'd rather you stayed(!) . . .but appreciate all that you have always brought to TFK - so promise to keep posting, please! (and let us know if you change your mind?!) *hugsCory*
 

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Early organization is challenging, especially the kind of horizontal, almost leaderless structure appropriate for this gathering. Sort of like the Occupy movement, but much quieter. We have a few members, who by virtue of seniority and chutzpah will eventually be recognized as prime organizers. The rest of the team will eventually settle in and contribute and take direction according to some ephemeral acknowledgment of hierarchy, however informal. But consensus and feedback are central to this system, as well as a willingness to be loose and flexible about things. (I hope Cory comes to understand this. He'd be a valuable team member.) This has been he basis of tribal organization for millennia. It just seems a little messy and wheel-spinny if you're not used to it.

To the topic at hand: First of all, I had assumed I could make some small contribution to certain areas, specifically cycling and ancillary procedures. Not that I know more about it than anyone else here---it isn't, after all, rocket science. Fortunately, it's the kind of procedure that lends itself to step-by-step, if that's what will get the job done. It's also interesting enough to appeal to someone who would like a deeper more complex understanding. It's trying to combine the two approaches that calls for some thought and management.

I also agree that good information is so scattered around this site that sometimes finding tidbits to pass along is frustrating. Thus we wind up doing a lot of typing. This personal touch has it's a advantages when pitched to an individual at her level. But then, a lot of others reading a post are either left behind or bored.

This is the first hobby forum with which I've dealt that did not have a FAQ. FAQs have the capability of being simple in the outset, yet flexible enough to include information as deep and thorough as we can make it (complete with URLs to articles and reference material on and off TFK). Cycling, as a procedure, is cut-and-dried enough to be encapsulated in a well-structured FAQ--- unlike plant lore and disease acumen which is more hands-on and indeterminate— or at least more complicated.

Bert's explanation to his cousin sets about the right tone and level of knowledge to be a good intro to a cycling FAQ. But it can then (in answer #356) go on to address pH effects or filtration styles. Even an expanded version on water chemistry, addressing TDS or GH/KH and other considerations

A FAQ can address both sides of dichotomy or controversy, as an example: There is a difference between cycling for a community or sorority and cycling for one fish. It took a long time for OFL (Brenda?) to beat this into my head. This led to the realization that whether to cycle fishless or fish-in has more to do with the use of the tank and availability of resources, and less to do with preference. New Betta-keepers often wind up with a fish in a tank....now what? Keep it in a bowl for a month til its tank is cycled? This is something that we can and should address as a team.

Perhaps there is some incentive we might give a non-RefTeam member for helping us find information and/or offering advice and experience. E.G.: there is the whole area of bottled bacteria that we need to investigate further. We should eschew old-school, hide-bound, conservative advice and attitudes. It should reflect the most modern, up-to-date science. A worthy goal would be to have this cycling FAQ near the top of the list on Google.

There are other areas for which a consensus can and should be reached. And there are areas so well-established that good, uncontroversial information is tacit. A FAQ can address both these approaches and is flexible enough ---and easy enough--- to change.

If you'd like, I can set-up the structure for a FAQ thread on cycling. I would have to solicit advice and questions from the Ref Team. I can't remember all the questions ---silly and profound--- that I get from members. If you can, send them along to me. The popularity of any given inquiry would help prioritize its importance. I would attempt to answer them in clear concise language, or ask for answers from keepers with more experience and knowledge.

We could then all edit the resulting FAQ for accuracy, verisimilitude, depth and clarity. I could then recompile it and release it for whatever purpose you decide. I might be amenable to maintaining it, as well.

As to how it would fit into a new reference/ information/ sticky/ article/ structure, that's above my pay-grade. But I think the "article" section ought to be filled out, with only a few important-to- new-members stickies topping the sections. These might include links to the articles for those wanting more info.

(Btw, someone with cred should ask Mo where he'd like his compendium of URLs. It would be good both places. Don't lose it.)

Well, that’s enough typing for now. My shoulders have limited endurance these days. Let’s hash this around for a while and see where it leads.

Hal
 

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There is an FAQ section here

I do think that what you have said is very valid.

Perhaps we can amend the current cycling article which people us (iambatmans) one and make it so there is a simple explanation with pictures leading onto a more advanced section, going into greater detail.

As has been mentioned, we are a bit unorganized in getting the Reference Team up and running. The point of adding you before we finalized anything was to have your inputs on certain aspects of the site.

We as moderators, see the site differently than general users so to speak. Two areas that for certain need looking at are the Reference Material, this needs sorting and new profiles added, it has been a bit of a mess since Byron left. The other thing which we need to slim line is the amount of stickies on Bettafish.

The aim of the Reference Team is so we have a "go to" group of well standing, knowledgeable members who can contribute a lot to this forum above and beyond what is already going. To be able to liase with us as Moderators should items need addressing, this is not a moderator position for you guys and should not be seen as such.

Perhaps we should organize the FAQ section to be inclusive of such items as cycling both beginner and advanced, a go to place after registration that new members see before being allowed on the general forum.

We are trying to improve the overall user experience on TFK and BF and we really do value any input you guys have which can improve this. It makes life a lot easier if Moderators moderate and our Reference Team along with us aids the forum population to actually stay here and be active.

At the time of writing this, there are 22 members online and 1,093 guests, aim overall is to make those numbers reverse and have this site be at the top of the fishkeeping lists on google and a fantastic forum.

On closing, please bare with us and we will get things sorted, this is all new to us as well. Any input you guys have, ie how you feel things should operate then please speak out.
 

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What Hal and Neil said! Thanks for clarifying all of those thoughts, guys! I'm terrible with words, sometimes! *luffs*
 

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That's the theory, of course. But we all know that, all to often, the depth and perspective of the questions indicates that the person has not read the sticky. Sometimes it seems that the member answering the question hasn't either.

Just to contradict myself, I have noticed that lately, like this year, the level of answers reflects a rising competence among our members. At least among those taking the time to coach the new kids.
 

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Early organization is challenging, especially the kind of horizontal, almost leaderless structure appropriate for this gathering. Sort of like the Occupy movement, but much quieter. We have a few members, who by virtue of seniority and chutzpah will eventually be recognized as prime organizers. The rest of the team will eventually settle in and contribute and take direction according to some ephemeral acknowledgment of hierarchy, however informal. But consensus and feedback are central to this system, as well as a willingness to be loose and flexible about things. (I hope Cory comes to understand this. He'd be a valuable team member.) This has been he basis of tribal organization for millennia. It just seems a little messy and wheel-spinny if you're not used to it.
There is a bit of a hierarchy though, mods over ref team members. As it should be. My fear though, which I want to state so someone can say if it seems founded or not, is the lack of consensus among the bosses. I understand that things are still in the planning stage, but that has been partially the case for a while before now. I just don't want to have one mod ask me to do something, spend a ton of my free time trying to get it perfect, and then having another mod say it is not what they want and having the whole thing end up in the trash. Changes and revisions are one thing, but I worry about totally wasting my time. I love this site, I'm here everyday, and would be happy to help try and improve it to the best of my ability. I just would like to know that something like that wouldn't happen.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I think Cory has a very valid concern and I believe the mod team should and will take steps to address this expediently. I believe that perhaps there should be one or two mods who are liasions to the ref team. Other mods relay their wishes to the liasion and the liasion talks to the ref team. That way, the ref team is not being bombarded by requests from everyone.

This isn't to say that only those two mods or however many can ever participate in ref team discussions. I think we all can and should share our thoughts. But when it comes to actual decisions and requests, that needs to come from one central location only.
 

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I also understand Cory's thoughts on this. It might help if the Mods had a more goal-oreinted perspective. I don't need goal-lists or mission statements. But some agreed upon direction, preferably written down for reference and consistency, would help us in pulling together.

Delegation of responsibility is a hallmark of tribal and organizational structure. It might be nice to know who exactly is on the RT, and for which area each is putatively responsible. This will minimize duplication of effort and allow some authority when asking for help or resources.

Back to you, Mod-folks.
 
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