I feel I am very approachable. I’m a friendly guy, willing to help whoever I can. But I am also the guy who runs the site and often people apologize for contacting me and “asking stupid” questions etc. That makes me feel bad. Contrary to popular belief, there are actually stupid questions, but it’s better to ask them than stay ignorant.
It seems that new members feel that shouldn’t bother me or interrupt me if I am on Steam Friend and the opposite is true. I love to hear from and chat with RTSL members – at the right time of course, but if I am on Steam Friends then that’s fine.
It occurred to me recently that plenty of other members help other members if they see a question or comment before I do. Often this is due to timezone issues but other times it’s because I am doing other things.
The site has got quite a few new members recently, but unless they make an approved comment with 3 days of joining their membership is deleted. This is to stop spammers and keep the database lean and mean. In addition, there’s no reason to be a member unless you want to sue the recommendation system, so at some point members will HAVE to have a comment approved.
So I would like to propose the following idea for your consideration.
I will ask for volunteers from existing members to become a new member buddy. This means allocated new members will be given their email address and encouraged to contact them with doubts or questions about the site.
When a new member joins and after they make their first approved comment, they will be allocated to a volunteer member for up to 6 months. During that time they will be encouraged to contact them with doubts or questions about the site.
The thinking behind is it that new members will feel more comfortable contacting other members than me.
A volunteer can have up to, say, 5 new members at one time.
I don’t expect new members will contact their “buddy” very often but even one or two emails that might not get sent would be good. Anything to help ease the transition from lurker to commenting member.
Of course, you could argue that a forum would be the solution and you might be right but I feel this goes deeper.
I don’t have any particular rewards in mind for the volunteer buddies but I would hope they could benefit somehow.
Please let me have your thoughts and we can decide together.
If you are curious, the featured image is The Astronomer by Johannes Vermeer.