Some thoughts on returning to the editorial fold
"Whack! Yer an Editor!"
--dannye to me, all those years ago.
I'm happy to be back as a Content Editor, having fallen away to apostasy (partly through depression and partly for personal reasons). I've been back for a while, writing. A week ago I was once again handed the Editorial Broom, and have since been getting up to speed with what's changed and what still needs to change.
I was on the admin team for many years before my collapse off the site. I'd spent an awful lot of time doing my best to improve things here, not just the janitorial stuff of cleaning up messes, nor the task of keeping the community safe and happy, but trying to improve how things worked. I wanted the place to thrive, not just as a collection of bits of writing, but as a connected whole, with people giving support to one another.
In particular, I had a piece of advice on my homenode from before I was kicked up to editorhood:
Feedback is intended to help you to improve both in your writing and in understanding E2. Behaviour breeds behaviour - if you respond to feedback with hostility you will [likely] be met with hostility, but if you respond with appreciation, you will get a better response in the future.
That sentence is still there, has been for probably almost twenty years. I believed in feedback to the community then, and I believe in it now. I think it's everyone's responsibility to provide it, whether it's a response to the content, the style or behaviours.
Conversations with many here, both community and staff suggest that we do need some new things. One of the new things is a Code of Conduct that clearly sets out the responsibilities we all share, and what should happen when things go wrong. There has been some back-end discussion about this for a while, but we need to actually write it, get it out there and make certain that everyone understands that bad behaviour has consequences on this site. (I'm assured that work is in serious progress on the CoC.)
There's been a lot of discussion amongst the staff about what to do. It's clear that the time for discussion is over and it's time for action. We need to adhere to our standards of content and we need to address some of the behavioural issues. We need a clear and transparent process to follow If Things Go Wrong.
Something else that still needs addressing is the state of site documentation and help. There is a lot of fragmented stuff scattered across the site. Some of it is out of date, some of it is needlessly complex. Some of it is seemingly written for established users, not newcomers to the site. I take some responsibility for this (I headed up E2Docs when I had 'god' status and then left).
There has been talk of reintroducing the mentorship program. I've suggested having each new user receive a message (or messages) with links to help. I believe there's a need for more transparency and accountability from the staff.
There's much, much more we could all do as an entire community. I believe in us, and I think we've a bright future.
Addendum: The Everything2 Code of Conduct is now live.
Let's go to work.