What a fascinating perspective on those of us who have attempted over the years to offer individualized assistance to those who seem unable/unwilling to read the New Mystery Shopper section that was produced simply so we would not need to waste our time and forum space answering those same questions over and over.
OK - I had one post that did not go through so I tried again. It worked so I will add my message.
I think I may be seeing exactly what ColoKate is seeing. When I first joined the forum - in 2008 - it was a very welcoming place. Everything was geared toward welcome and offering help. As the forum has grown, there has been a massive influx of new posters. Some are very high-volume posters who quickly reach 1,000+ posts. Many of those who have entered 2013 and later have a different viewpoint on welcoming and helping new members. Having been here 1-2 years, they are considered seasoned forum members, and many are very vocal with newbies. There are snarky remarks, even in the Introductions area. There are off-topic comments about the introductions the newbies offer us. There are sometimes harsh questions. I am seeing exactly the issues ColoKate describes, and probably more. Most of that does appear to be coming from posters who have 1,000-3,000, sometimes more, posts, and who have been here since 2013, or sometimes more recent. I would like to see newbies greeted by experienced, seasoned shoppers/posters. Perhaps the answer is to have an agreed method of greeting newbies and limit the greeting to those who are in agreement.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/24/2014 01:13AM by AustinMom.
Kate, my posts are in the thousands. My time here is often limited. Yet, I have belonged for years, and still feel relevant. Regardless, as such, I feel responsibility to other members, new, middle aged, or old. I hear you about nitpicking.
I am speaking to the members of the Old Guard, to those who appear to feel proprietary on this forum...
.... just because you have been here since 2007 or 2008, you don't own the forum. Ten thousand posts here does not equal ten thousand successful mystery shops completed, or a hundred happy MSCs and schedulers in your history. It just means that you've got time on your hands to post and post and post.
I travel extensively and meet all kinds of people in hotel lobbies, on airplanes, in Airbnbs. I sometimes give advice on how to get started as a novice mystery shopper. I have a form letter of sorts that I can email to them with good advice on how not to get scammed, good beginning MSCs, etc.
Number two on that list used to be signing up here.
I sent two novices here, both single mothers who really could've used a few hundred extra dollars a month. Their grammar was critiqued, their questions derided and they gave up on the forum. The nitpickers were all members of the Old Guard.
I don't suggest this forum anymore. Nope.
It has become a place for inflated egos to assuage their lack of self-esteem by pointing out slight errors and generally creating a toxic environment for new shoppers.
If I could suggest one major improvement here, it would be for a limit of maybe a dozen or so posts per week for the members. Seriously, what you consider to be valuable pearls of wisdom..... isn't. Life here would go on just fine, people would still get good advice, and it would be a lot more lighthearted and fun without the heavy-handed criticism that is par for the course.
Edited to add: Oh - and for the nitpickers who will (*sigh*) undoubtably point out the discrepancy in two versus three novices sent here with bad experiences... Number Three is still here. She doesn't post, but she reads the good stuff and has completed over a thousand shops since January. She might have a post count of 17 or so.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/24/2014 01:55AM by ColoKate63.
Oh, I misunderstood, I'm sorry. I didn't realize you were referring to a specific group. Could you define Old Guard. Is it determined by the date one registered with the forum, the number of posts one has, or some other determinant?
I agree with the part about limiting posts. A major problem I have noticed is posters who come in and immediately post massively. Limiting posts could be a good thing. It concerns me to have posters come in a log 1,000 posts in a month. And we have a couple who have done that.
I'm less concerned with a poster who has been here since 2006 and has 4,000 posts than with a poster who has been here 12 months and has 3,000.
I've logged 1000 posts in a month and a half of being here. I've probably come across this site plenty of times in searches over the years, and brushed it off thinking it'd be like Volition...Rigid, boring, stuck-up. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across a fun thread detailing the same absurdity in some of the shop guidelines that I also laugh over. I thought to myself "Finally, people that get it!" and joined.
Right now I'm like a kid with a new toy, very excited and playing with it a lot.... Getting to know other mystery shoppers, finally being able to talk shop with someone other than my husband. I promise, I'll peter off extensively as the newness wears off, but right now, I'm in love with the thought of finally being able to connect with others like me, and in love with the fact that the forum exists as more than a professional platform.
Plan the work. Work the plan.
> Oh, I misunderstood, I'm sorry. I didn't realize
> you were referring to a specific group. Could you
> define Old Guard. Is it determined by the date
> one registered with the forum, the number of posts
> one has, or some other determinant?
Defining Old Guard? Easy.
1. A poster who frequently refers to their number of posts, general infalliability, and longevity - but who is evasive about how much actual work they have performed.
2. One who has a martyr complex with respect to the energy, time and keystrokes they've spent on the forum when challenged.
3. A frequent poster who is continually nitpicking and nattering about tiny details while engaged with a novice shopper.
4. One who appears to believe that this forum would slowly spin into a black hole of No Information without their advice.
Do you fit the criteria? Look at your posting history.
Based on your description, I would say I am not Old Guard. But I find your comments and your definitions to be counter-productive to a good work relationship. I find your definitions snarky and very non-descriptive, so it's difficult for me to identify exactly who you might be talking about.
I think we need direction from Jacob in order for our discussions to be productive.
> Jacob provided some direction in his link to
> [meta.discourse.org] if
> anybody bothered themselves to look at it. And I
> see nothing in the selection list that this thread
> would relate to.
Hmmm, interesting.... since Jacob himself moved my post here, created a thread for it, and added the title, "Welcoming New Members" to the thread. Guess he thought that this discussion - on how novices are treated here - had merit.
Edited to add:
From the second paragraph of the Web page linked, a direct quote:
•What are our standards for community behavior, beyond what is defined in the FAQ?
•How can we welcome new members of our community and encourage them?
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/24/2014 03:10AM by ColoKate63.
kate, I am not here to fight, and not all will agree with your definitions. I have been a member for years, and have thousands of posts, but I never advertise that. It is not relevant, nor a reason to thump my chest. When new members pop in, with no clue, some of us welcome and try to guide. When new members post with poor grammar, or with text speak, I ignore. I don't think the forum is the place to teach the three R's, so I make no attempt. I don't know if this is what you're referencing, but if it is, maybe you approach it differently.
As has been pointed out, whether a member completes 10 or 100 shops per month, it is irrelevant. What is relevant is content and intent.
It would be helpful to me if you could provide specific links for examples rather than generalizations about groups of people on the forum. I started shopping in late 2012 and my posts are limited to under 200. When I found the forum, I read and read and read before I ever dared to introduce myself. When I finally decided I had something significant to say or ask, I began to post on occasion. Sometimes I felt like I was treated somewhat harshly when people responded to me. But, after I thought about the comments, I was able to get past my own needs for affirmation and could honestly say that the responders were right in their message, and I learned from it and moved on.
I read a lot of posts on this forum, and occasionally I hear people being tough on newbies. But I think I read more negative, attacking posts from people claiming we should all hold hands and sing Kumbaya. This is a tough business to be in, and I would venture to say that anyone who takes offense at comments from forum posters to the point that they walk away from participating on a forum that has a wealth of free information on how to be successful, isn't cut out to do this to begin with.
And would someone please edit that sentence for me? Cause I'm too tired to try to correct it myself.
Edited for date correction.
"We are all worms. But I believe that I am a glow-worm."
- Winston Churchill
“Don't tell me the sky's the limit when there are footprints on the moon.”
- Paul Brandt
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/25/2014 01:54AM by rovergirl529.
I agree with the part about limiting posts. A
> major problem I have noticed is posters who come
> in and immediately post massively. Limiting posts
> could be a good thing. It concerns me to have
> posters come in a log 1,000 posts in a month. And
> we have a couple who have done that.
Why is that a major problem? So long as they contribute to the forum positively, what does it matter whether they have 1 post or 1000 in a month?
> I'm less concerned with a poster who has been here
> since 2006 and has 4,000 posts than with a poster
> who has been here 12 months and has 3,000.
Again, why is that a concern? If you took Flash's 18,000 posts and divided them over the six-year life of the forum, she averages 3000 posts in 12 months. Her posts are, by and large, overwhelmingly either a) positive, b) knowledgeable about the specific question, or c) contain a wealth of common sense or general insight. Do her posts concern you?
Plan the work. Work the plan.
I think one of the problems is that while there are amazing new members who join all the time, there are also a lot who join to ask a single (and often repeated) question, bash a company or the trolls.
While I hate the thought of a heavily moderated forum, I think a light level of moderation combined with some actual mentoring about the culture of the forum may be beneficial. If for a person's first five or so post they did not get post until someone had a chance to look them over and potentially guide the person to an already existing answer may help a lot. Some friendly reminders during this early time may help to avoid some of the repetition that bugs so many people nuts.
regardless, we should always look to treat all members with kindness and respect if at all possible.
And specifically to the question of "ownership" of the forum you sense from more active members. To a great extent the tone, tenor and content of the forum is attributable to the folks who are in the trenches, whether they are acting as moderators, magazine editors or just posters. The more active you have been over time, the more you will have influenced that tone and tenor. If you are here because you find this forum is user friendly, thank the folks who have worked over time to make it so. If you look around you will find there have been many forums, not just those about mystery shopping, that have fallen by the wayside in fairly short periods of time because they did not have folks willing and able to stand up for them and help them grow, develop a following and maintain a tone that members found productive.
Bashing posters who decline to engage in the threads about how much they earn each month or year or how many shops they do per month is, to me, a sign of complete disrespect for the right of privacy. This is not a contest to see how many miles you can travel or how many nights you spend away from home. This is about mutual support, education and sharing the fun and strange parts of the work that we do.
Posters who question the credentials of those who are willing to share their experience with others, just because they won't play some ratings game about earnings, is a sort of snobism that is not conducive to forwarding any of the goals set out by Jacob. In the past, some posters have even carried such comments to such levels of attack and accusation that Jacob has had to step in and suspend or place conditions on their posting rights.
While personal and PM interactions to encourage shoppers and would-be shoppers are a good thing, the needs of the community for information and positive reenforcement are really not being served when some posters almost never show up to try to answer requests posted in open forum.
Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel
> Bashing posters who decline to engage in the
> threads about how much they earn each month or
> year or how many shops they do per month is, to
> me, a sign of complete disrespect for the right of
This isn't "bashing," it is attempting to change the culture around this forum, where a cadre of Old Guard frequent posters - many of whom have limited experience in the subjects they are going on about - are continually nitpicking, harassing and bullying new members in their first few posts. Look at the title of this thread. Your post is way way off-topic.
I like reading success stories here of shoppers who earn significant amounts of money. I am encouraged and inspired when I read that someone had a $600 day with three video shops, or that another highly experienced shopper averages $2,000 net on his weekly routes. There are frequent posts here with people detailing their bargaining skills, work ethic and the payoff that results. They inspired and energized me as a novice shopper. They are much more of a positive contribution to this forum than the constant corrections of grammar, syntax and slight mistakes that some specialize in.
> While personal and PM interactions to encourage
> shoppers and would-be shoppers are a good thing,
> the needs of the community for information and
> positive reenforcement are really not being served
> when some posters almost never show up to try to
> answer requests posted in open forum.
Here's a wild thought: perhaps if the Old Guard dialed it back a bit, became a lot less territorial and let some new voices and ideas post here without jumping down their throats, the shoppers who, in your words, "almost never show up" would fill in. Just my opinion here, but 10-20 experienced shoppers giving advice to new members is going to create a healthier, more diverse forum than 4-5 territorial Old Guardsmen posting the same old same old on every thread.
This thread is about "Welcoming New Shoppers." I'd like to keep it there, thankyouverymuch.
Here is another wild thought. If you are unhappy with the 'culture' developed on this forum by the members who have nurtured it over time and evidently DO have information of interest and assistance to a large number of members, why not start your own forum to develop what you think is important, which may or may not be important to a large number of the members here? Free forum space is available at informe.com last I looked, and that comes with forum software.
I have no objection whatsoever to shoppers who post about how well they are doing in terms of money. What I object to is the inference that those who do not post specific dollar amounts are dismissed as having limited experience.
Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel
It also has to do with the experience of the shopper. Most of us who have been around a while recognize that while video shopping pays better it also is more expensive to do in terms of travel and equipment. It is not realistic for most shoppers to have a $600 day unless they happen into a string of well bonused shops. I would hate to think that new shoppers jump into this business because they 'can make $600 per day!!!' You may find it inspirational, but I seriously doubt that you anticipate you will earn $600 per day 365 days a year.
I even cringe when someone asks if they can make $1000 per month because though I often do that in fees, it does take most shoppers building some reputation with the companies they work with before they reach that stage. And a whole lot of us find more value in reimbursements than in actual fees.
If mystery shoppers are to be respected professionals in this field, we need to have shoppers with a realistic perspective of what this work can provide, what it demands and be willing and able to work within those parameters.
> > This thread is about "Welcoming New Shoppers."
> > I'd like to keep it there, thankyouverymuch.
> What part of this thread - the title, this
> statement, - is so difficult to understand?
There are a lot more chops in your original and subsequent posts than "Welcoming New Shoppers". If you will not continue those parts of the conversation elsewhere then we need to bring the conversation to you.
> Here's a wild thought: perhaps if the Old Guard
> dialed it back a bit, became a lot less
> territorial and let some new voices and ideas post
> here without jumping down their throats, the
> shoppers who, in your words, "almost never show
> up" would fill in. Just my opinion here, but
> 10-20 experienced shoppers giving advice to new
> members is going to create a healthier, more
> diverse forum than 4-5 territorial Old Guardsmen
> posting the same old same old on every thread.
> This thread is about "Welcoming New Shoppers."
> I'd like to keep it there, thankyouverymuch.
It seems like this is saying that it isn't so much about how new shoppers are welcomed, as it is about how some of the more experienced shoppers are treated when they reply to the new shoppers questions.
I was welcomed when I came here and posted in Introductions. I think it was just a generic "Welcome to the forum." thing though.
The Scheduler Contest brought in a lot of new members and some have stayed. I'm meeting one of them this weekend. I don't believe they were made to feel as welcome as they could have been, initially. She told me that she almost didn't come back after the unexpected backlash she saw about the contest, but then a long-term member PMed her and told her that the forum could be a positive place and that she could make a positive contribution, so she stayed. Had that OG not done that, she'd have left and I'd have never made a new friend.
Maybe all of the welcoming doesn't always happen openly, but more privately. IDK.
Plan the work. Work the plan.