Newest Review: ... I hasten to add this before some kind soul points it out. As of right now, I have earned just shy of £150 since I joined dooyoo three y... more
A Guide's Guide To Guiding!
The dooyoo guide system
Member Name: Mauri
The dooyoo guide system
Date: 01/12/05, updated on 01/12/05 (197 review reads)
Advantages: Everyone loves you (not)
Disadvantages: Everyone hates you (sometimes)
Why have any guides at all?
Well I think lack of people paid by Dooyoo to look after the site make guides a good way of ensuring the site runs properly. Ideally guiding, monitoring for abuse and nominations should be carried out by Dooyoo employees but at the moment that is not possible so guides are here and here to stay.
THE ROLE OF A GUIDE.
I’ve been the co-books and magazines guide with Sarah (Calypte) for a few years now and as far as I’m concerned…
1) The guide is there to make it possible for Dooyoo to run more smoothly for the benefit of Dooyoo management, members and users.
2) To this end guides should read and rate the review in their category and nominate the ‘best’ reviews for crown awards. They should be on the look out for abuse and report this when spotted.
3) They should be there to help members when required but should not take a condescending or patronising tone with people.
4) They should have a visible presence on the site and make themselves available for advice and comment but they should avoid any confrontation with members as this while sometimes justified just serves to put many other members off the site.
5) They should when possible be active in their respective categories and the site as a whole and lead by example in writing well, rating fairly and acting firmly with abuse.
Ever since I started on dooyoo I’ve heard people moaning about the way crowns are awarded. People feel particularly strongly that guides have an advantage over other people in getting crowns and if you look at the stats it does seem that guides do get quite a lot of crowns. However there are some things to bear in mind. By definition the guides are picked from a pool of experienced writers who BEFORE they become guides have achieved a fair amount of success in getting crowns for their work…simply put they tend to be fairly good writers, so if the guides are picked from this group it doesn’t seem surprising that they should get plenty of crowns.
The other flaw in the conspiracy theory argument probably stems from a misunderstanding of how the crowns are awarded. The guides nominate the reviews they feel are crownworthy (any member can and should also do this) these nominated reviews then go to Dooyoo and the crowns are picked based on what Dooyoo think not simply on what the guides have said. The second point to remember is that guides CAN’T nominate their own reviews and they only get a crown if they have at least one NON-GUIDE nomination. Thus in theory it is slightly more difficult for guides to get crowns.
The flip side to this is that I think guides should be treated the same as any other members and that a bias against the guides is unfair in principle, it could also be counter productive since it could suggest to others that guides can't be 'trusted' to nominate fairly and extra controls have to be set up for them.
IDEAS FOR THE FUTURE
Ok we've had a few days since this category went up and so far a few reviews have been submitted. The suggestions that seem to have surfaced up to now relate to a rotation system, rating and the crown awards for guides.
Two heads are better than one! Yes I think ideally this is true. I’ve been co-guiding with Sarah and it works well however we do guide separately in two-week stints so that we share the workload rather than getting together and discussing nominations. We do on occasion consult each other over particular issues and this has been helpful and sometimes we will ask each other to have a look at a review that might be difficult to rate nominate etc. So for us it works and works well it also makes things easier when one of us is away, the other takes over.
Now of course this is only one way of doing it and it is only partial co-guiding. Another way would be for each co guide to read/rate/nominate separately in the category concurrently, again this might work but care has to be taken to avoid disputes between what is considered as a good review or one that deserves nomination. The co-guides idea of what they think makes a good op/abuse or right advice must tally to a great extent to avoid confusion for members. A third way of co guiding is to literally co- rate and co-nominate so that at the end of the week the two guides get together and discuss the reviews posted in their category before nominations are made. This might be interesting but it might also be time consuming and possibly divisive. I think a certain compatibility between co-guides would be essential.
Of course any form of co-guiding relies on having a big enough pool of potential guides to choose from.
One other aspect to be considered is having one person guiding in more than one category. In the past this has happened because there was a lack of people willing to guide certain categories and thus some kindly offered to step in. I think this should only happen in an emergency and should only be short term. Guides should take care of their category and only their category otherwise the perceived influence they have over the site will become a problem.
Rotation Of Guides
On the face of it this would seem like a good idea, guides should not be seen as having a ‘job for life ‘ and it seems desirable for the site to have a few new faces once in while. However there are difficulties as well. The first and most obvious is that there isn’t a huge pool of members that have the commitment experience or are simply willing to guide so having a rotation might not be that easy. It also depends on how such a rotation system in implemented…
You could ask all the guides to swap categories every so often, this wouldn’t require a big influx of new guides but it would mean that a guide who has performed well in one category say Food and Drink will find themselves in charge of Motors and might not be as effective. I think there is a lot to be said for having people guide in categories that they know something about and feel comfortable with.
You could give a guide a fixed term in the job, say six months. This would mean that a guide does the job for this period and then ‘retires’ for a time at least and would not be eligible to take that category again until a few other people have had their turn. This probably appeals more to me than the first proposal but again it requires a large pool of potential guides to choose from.
Of course you could argue that many guides don’t stay in the role for very long anyway, there does seem to be quite a turnover of guides on site and maybe the system doesn’t need changing. It seems to work well on the whole the way it is so why change?
Appointment Of Guides
At the moment this is carried out by Dooyoo, it has been suggested that members should be able to nominate who they would like to see as a guide and that member should have some say in the process even to the extent of voting. I can see problems with this; certainly we don’t want to turn the whole process of picking guides into a popularity contest. The system at the moment means that anyone can put themselves forward as a guide or nominate anyone informally to Dooyoo. Dooyoo (Seb) then makes the decision based on what he knows of the person record for reading/rating/writing on site and may ask informal advice from the other guides and other experience members, I think this is a sensible approach and on the whole it does seem to produce good guides.
Another point of contention is the way guides rate and the inconsistency over rating. We all know that rating however many guidelines you have is going to be to some extent subjective and so a VU to one might be a U (or even SU!) to others and there is nothing wrong with this however when it comes to review that are ‘clearly’ off topic or lacking in some aspect then you would expect the guides to show a united front and rate accordingly. This was the case in the DVD category where reviews of films only without DVD extra details where being submitted in the DVD and getting VU from some, while others where rating them down because they were incomplete for the category in which they were posted. This cause a lot of grief on site and produced some quite entrenched positions, so finally Dooyoo acted by providing clear guidelines as to how such reviews should be rated…SU! It seems that now all the guides will rate in this way and consistency at least will be achieved. On the basis of this example some have argued that similar rules should be introduced for other or all the categories. While I think it would be a good idea to have clear rules on some things I wouldn’t like to feel that guides or members in general have little or no flexibility on how they feel they should rate. We don’t all want to be come clones of each other.
Crown Awards Again
One further suggestion that many would dismiss outright (I did initially) is that guides should NOT be eligible for crowns. This might seem very restrictive and it may limit the number of people that put themselves forward for guiding BUT many of the guides have said that they don’t guide to get crowns or more reads so this shouldn’t matter… You might also attract people to guiding who do have this attitude and obviously the accusations of bias in the awarding or crowns would stop! I can see that it would be inherently unfair to exclude the reviews that guides might write from crown nomination and they would not be highlighted as ‘Good Ops’ either but they could still be crowned without payment as the discussion reviews do.
One final thought would be to combine the fixed term rotation system of say three months with the guides not receiving payment for crowns…since the period of guiding would only be short the lack of payment for the crown would not be enough to put many off and the system would address people’s concerns over the bias of crown awards to guides.
I think the crown system on Dooyoo works fairly well and compared to some other sites like Epinions it seems fairer and less autocratic. I don’t think many changes are needed but it’s always good to debate things and not to get too complacent. The main thing I would say to any guide is
Be patient with members
Be fair with members (even the ones you don’t like!)
And don’t get bigheaded! You’re guiding to help people and the site not to impose your ideas on others!
Please feel free to comment!
Summary: Guiding- some ideas on how to do it.