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Streamlining Administrative work

Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 2:07 pm
by cheapo
I have only been a member for a few days, and I love this community. I have gained previously thought "impossible" volumes here to fill the gaps in my library. Thank you so very much one and all!

Even in the few short days I have been a member, I have been struck by the amount of time and effort that the Administrators (particularly poor sniksnak) expend pointing out to people that they need to list the correct book name, correct series, need to wait for books to actually be published, etc. Being a new member, I myself made a few of those mistakes and was graciously notified of my mistakes, and (I fervently hope) will not repeat them again. My thought is that many of these request mistakes could be nipped in the bud by requiring (as in changing the Board Rules for everyone) that for each and every ebook request, a link to either the Goodreads or Amazon page for the book be provided in the request post. I am fairly sure that if not all, then at least the very vast majority of people have access to either Goodreads or Amazon. This requirement would have 3 positive results that I can see right off the bat: 1. It forces the requester to actually look up the book, know its correct name and series, and whether or not it was already published, and to document that in their request post so that the Administrators don't have to ever search around to see if it is correct or not. 2. In this way the majority of the mistakes are identified and corrected before even being posted and therefore markedly decreasing the Administrative burden to sift through all of them. 3. Cleans up the Fullfilled ebook Request forum, not having it cluttered with "no response" or "failed to correct error" entries that anyone interested in the posted search book title needs to stumble through. Considering that the burden falls on the requestor, I think it is a small price for them to pay for a chance at acquiring the ebook that they seek. The only potential downside I see would be unintentionally excluding a requestor who does not have access to either Goodreads or Amazon. There might be a "exclusion" for them put in the rules if warranted.

Just my thoughts. I welcome all comments.

Re: Streamlining Administrative work

Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 6:29 pm
by sniksnak
What a thoughtful, well articulated post, cheapo. I truly appreciate your suggestions. I'll pass them along to Smasher. There are a couple of your thoughts I will address now, though.

Pinned to the top of the Request forum are the links to the board rules and the "please read" thread. The problem is, for a board full of folk who supposedly like to read, nobody bothers to read them before (and sometimes after) slapping out a request post. Revising a word or three within those threads will make nary a difference, IMO.

Speaking of not reading, this is a prime example. Recently, I had missed moving a request from days previously, so it had sat on the board for two and a half days before I realized that he/she never corrected the subject line. So I posted my usual little comment and moved it on down. The next afternoon when I got back from cardiac rehab, I'd received a nasty, nasty PM from a member who blasted me for half a page for not contacting him/her when I moved the request thread to the closed forum. I wrote back and explained that all he/she had to do, was to check off the little Notify me when a reply is posted box beneath the reply area or, better yet, go into his/her profile, click on Board preferences, then Edit notification options, and lastly, check off any of the little radio buttons of his/her choice under Posting Notifications. Of course, I never heard back ... ah, but courtesy has gone with the wind these days.

There is a reason that threads with errors are moved to the Fulfilled forum - to keep better track of repeat offenders. I may bring this to Smash's attention, but then I may not, because if he creates an "invisible" forum to place them in, our wonderful active hunters won't be able to check for said offenders. Only Adm/Mods will be able to see that forum. Let me give more thought to this one before I address Smash. I'll be more off than on during the day for the next couple days, so it may be Wednesday before I can discuss anything with him.

But then, all members should be using the search feature to see if a title has already been requested. Say you're wanting to know if a certain book by Stuart Woods has already been requested. When you use the search feature, it's always best to put in the author's name instead of the title because the system ignores most common words. Search will pull up all the threads with Stuart Woods' name (and those with just Stuart and those with just Woods, but they will be at the bottom of the search list, thank goodness). One doesn't have to open each thread up - you can see the link and/or comments beneath the subject line on each. As I said, let me think some more about this one before approaching Smash.

Thanks so much for your suggestions, che. They are really great ones. It's so refreshing to know that there are terrific, caring folk participating here. 😍

Re: Streamlining Administrative work

Posted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:20 am
by cheapo
Thank you for your extended response! Other thoughts I had:

What if every initial ebook request post button led to a form to fill out (or even just have a form separate from the forum)(similar to the Edit Profile page in settings) that had separate REQUIRED boxes to fill out : Title, Author, Series, Reference link from Amazon or Goodreads to requested ebook, ebook Format (could be a drop down of formats to choose), Additional Comments (optional), and possibly (again optional) checkmark box "notify me if I get a response" or something to that effect. The form itself would have a small statement at the top indicating that all boxes are required to submit, an additional brief restatement of rules -- do not request unpublished books, no blanket series requests, etc, and a statement that what they post in the link will be what everyone will look for. Links to the complete Board rules and Please read sections would be provided. The user has no choice but to view at a minimum the brief set of rules and input the requested data to proceed. Unless all 5 of the first boxes are filled out (additional comments and notify being optional), the new request submission does not submit / enter into the system. It should be very simple to have a completed form translate to a standard post Subject line which populates with a concatenation of Title by Author (Series), and the link and any optional comments (hopefully including a thank you) appear in the body of the post so that anyone looking at the completed post will see the entry in the same format that they are used to. All subsequent posts and replies would then be freeform as they are now, allowing additional info or communication, as well as posting of the link to the found ebook and Administrator communication. People who don't fill out the form instantly are aware that they don't have a valid request because they can not proceed, and the incomplete requests won't make it into the system to start with.

Second thought: even if the person making the request has a typo, or gets the name or the series wrong (where there is an idiot there is a way), the provided link would be the actual request, and would be what the hunters would look for and provide. That would make it easier for the Hunters to confirm and identify the requested ebook.

If you wanted to get really fancy, at completion of the initial request posting form, the Author box could force a search in the new and completed requests with a "These are the currently existing searches for this Author, are you sure you wish to continue placing this new request?" with a yes / no box choice to continue, but that might take a slightly higher level of programming and hassle than anyone wants to mess with.

One can hope that this would make everyone's life easier, but as the saying goes: "There is no such thing as idiot proof because idiots are the smartest people in the world".

While these new suggestions now place a small work burden on the Administrators instead of the ebook requesters, it is a one shot, upfront amount of work that will save much additional work and frustration down the line.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Re: Streamlining Administrative work

Posted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 6:40 am
by sniksnak
All those are wonderful suggestions, but ppBB isn't developed by the owner of this board. It's the same platform/software that Craig and I used for our non-profit cat rescue sanctuary for many years. Owners of the message boards they maintain using ppBB are not able to add their own programming which would be implementing custom forms and the like.

Thanks again for all the thought you've put into this, che. 😊

Re: Streamlining Administrative work

Posted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:11 am
by Booklover
And what if you used a Google Form like this? (or Word, if more convenient)- as you can't implement it directly?

The requester can fill it in and upload it via zippy or something?
Yes, a little bit more work for the requester, but hey, you'll get a book for free that you would have to buy otherwise.

I'm just thinking...

It's not ideal, but at least everyone has to check the board before making a request.

(I have to confess that I don't always double-check Goodreads when fulfilling a request, I expect that the requester has read the board rules).

Re: Streamlining Administrative work

Posted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:05 am
by sniksnak
Sorry, Kiddo, I get enough PMs asking me how to download a book from zippy or any of the other uploading sites we use. 😲 My fear is that if it's not directly on the board, it won't be done since links don't seem to get read and directions followed. Between the spammers and PMs I receive I average 3 hours a day just on those two items. I'm running out of hours in a 24 hour period to keep up with this board, my other two boards, yard work, book club, volunteer work ... well, you get the gist.

Edited to say that I failed to thank you for your suggestion, BL. I do appreciate it and certainly didn't mean to be rude. You have done so much on this board. Thanks. 😍

Re: Streamlining Administrative work

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 3:59 pm
by sniksnak
Locking due to our spammer who has nothing to say except to post the same tiresome posts over and over and over ....

Knows nothing except how to copy and paste.