At first glance, I liked the sound of a venue like Ask Our Mentors where members can pose critical questions and mentors can respond. However, now I wonder whether the group of mentors might now become somewhat "sticky", and fixed - at most - to its current membership.
This isn't a criticism so much as a curiosity. That said, I'm making the following assumptions:
Most posts that get a peer review are for specific responses to questions as opposed to simple back-and-forth banter.
Individuals who want specific answers to a question will now tend to only use the Ask Our Mentors forum.
If these assumptions are true (and they might not be), then I would think that:
Anybody who isn't a mentor today might have a hard time becoming one.
The universe of mentors will only get smaller over time (due to negative karma earned within here) - not bigger.
So in the spirit of the Ask Our Mentors forum, I guess my question is this: do I have a reason to be concerned?
Edited:The decision to move this original post from the Ask Our Mentors forum to the General Discussion forum rendered references like "this forum" confusing, so I clarified them.
Edited by - shauntwomey on 01/19/2009 3:15 PM
These Administrators provided these Answers to the Question
James R. Davis
Posted - 01/19/2009 : 2:01 PM
If your assumptions were correct, then you are probably right, but it is my experience (and desire) that Peer Review votes are made for exceptional posts, good or bad, whether they are responses to posted questions or not.
When a member posts a particularly thoughtful observation, even if there are no replies to it, that original post may well receive Peer Review votes.
It only takes ten more positive votes than negative votes to become a Mentor on this board.
In other words, I think your concern is valid, but unwarranted.
An additional thought or two ... existing mentors are, by far, the leading set of members who use the Peer Review feature. That is, if you receive a Peer Review vote for a message you posted, it is far more likely that it was cast by an existing Mentor than not.
Furthermore, it is entirely possible for a single member to cause another member to become a Mentor all by himself by simply casting enough positive Peer Review votes for that member. So far there has been no indication such corrupting of the feature has occurred, but it is possible. I watch for such behavior, by the way.
Finally, there are more ways to lose 'Mentor' status than you apparently appreciate. For example, if, as has been the case three times already, a 'Mentor' gets banned, he loses 'Mentor' status. But on an entirely less severe basis, all it takes is for a Mentor to turn off the ability for other members to use the Peer Review feature to vote for or against his messages (via his profile) and he loses the 'Mentor' designations (so long as that option remains enabled).
Edited: Finally, in order to assure that your concern is better met I have just created additional 'Ask Our ...' forums, one of which is for Members-at-large to respond to. These new forums are now gathered into a category of 'Questions & Answers' and all have the same new format for displaying the original post and responses.
Posted - 01/26/2009 : 10:25 AM
The Universe of Mentors here has in fact become larger over time, whatever you want to call them or whatever they were called in the past.
I think this site as a whole encourages that growth to continue. From its inception, it was just Jim working alone (with me looking over his shoulder), and now it has a great group of Moderators and members who contribute valuable time and information every day.
They were all new members here once, as well as new riders.
If new members/riders absorb what is offered here and stay lucky, they will become experienced riders and have their own "learning opportunities" to relate.
As they step up and respond to the next generation with helpful ideas, clear answers, interesting observations, and intelligent suggestions; foster an attitude of safety; and hang around long enough by being polite, any member may attract the positive attention of his Peers and be thus "nominated" to be a Mentor.
So I think that one of your assumptions is wrong. I wouldn't worry about it if I were you.
James R. Davis
Posted - 01/26/2009 : 10:31 AM
Thanks, Cash. Well said.
As a further move to diminish any possibility that this concern might be valid, I have opened up all forums to Q&A topics (for Mentors or Members). Q&A topics for Moderators and Administrators remains in the Questions & Answers forum.
The logic I've used is that I would expect Administration questions to be asked of Administrators and Forum moderation questions to be asked of Moderators, while topical questions should be located in the theme-specific forums. So that, for example, if a member wants to ask a physics question to the membership at large, it would go into a Q&A topic located within the physics forum.