Author Topic: The Mentor Program - Background and Guidelines  (Read 5449 times)

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Offline Mike Bobbitt

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The Mentor Program - Background and Guidelines
« on: September 11, 2009, 14:49:27 »
As many of you already know, we've been trying hard lately to foster a more accepting attitude here. Some of you may have noticed a slight shift in the way the Staff have been handling themselves, or a wisecrack post that simply disappears for example.

Today we announce Mentors, which takes us one more step in the right direction. Simply put, Mentors are volunteers who are willing to lead this charge by example.

Who can be a Mentor?

Anyone who wants to help. There is an approval process in place, but this is largely to prevent spammers or other malcontents from abusing the system.

How do I become a Mentor?

It's simple, just go to the Group Membership section of your profile, and file a request to join the Mentor group.

As a Mentor, what am I expected to do?

There are no strict requirements for being a Mentor. Your job is simply to assist others when and where you can. Lead by example and set the tone for others.

How will people know I am a Mentor?

Your name will appear in orange on the Who's Online list, and if you'd prefer, you can have Mentor as your group title.


As with many new ideas here, this is a trial. If it doesn't gain sufficient traction - or flames out magnificently - then it may be abandoned down the road.

I know for a fact we have many helpful, positive folks here - for some this will be nothing more than official recognition of what they're already quietly doing behind the scenes. For others, this may be the gentle nudge they need to start actively espousing our new approach.


Thanks all!
« Last Edit: November 29, 2009, 12:19:26 by muskrat89 »

Offline Mike Bobbitt

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Re: Become a Mentor
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2009, 16:41:53 »
The response has been immediate, overwhelming and positive!

At one member's suggestion, I've created a new board which only Mentors and Staff will have access to. This board can be used to discuss strategy, share information between Staff and Mentors, seek advice on how to handle a particular situation or suggest ideas.

Thanks to all who have elected to participate!


Cheers
Mike

Offline Mike Bobbitt

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Re: Become a Mentor
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2009, 10:20:35 »
Mentor Guidelines

Just as all there are Staff and general Conduct Guidelines, it's important to lay out the expectations and requirements for Mentors as well. The Mentor program has in my opinion been working very well with little guidance, so I'm hoping that with a bit of a framework around it, we'll see a further boost in positive mentoring.

  • Be helpful. This is the "Hippocratic oath" of Mentors. If you see someone struggling, lend a hand if you can. If you can't lend a hand, don't add to the dogpile. A Mentor's focus should be developing new users so they can become independent, positive and productive members of the site.
  • Mentors do not need to be Subject Matter Experts. A Mentor's job is more about showing a user how to get the help need than it is about just giving them the answer. Sure, it helps to be knowledgeable about a particular subject, but being courteous and helpful does not require any specific experience or skills.
  • Mentors are not gophers for new users. As noted above, being helpful is great, but you don't need to do someone else's work for them. Explaining to a new user how to get the most out of the site search or providing specific search terms that will get them some starting results is perfect. Performing that search for them and spoon feeding them the results is not required. If it's a quick question and answer, sure jump in, but don't feel the need to be doing someone else's legwork.
  • Lead by example. As a Mentor, you must set the standard for acceptable behaviour on the site. Users will look to you as an example, and will follow your lead. Ensure you're setting the right tone in your posts.
  • Mentoring does not have to be a spectacle. Everyone knows that a public dressing down is not always required. Turns out, neither is a public helping hand, at least not in every case. If your assistance may help others, by all means add it to the public post. However if it becomes personal in nature, or if you think a discreet nudge in the right direction is required, by all means, take it to PMs. If you need assistance after the fact, don't hesitate to contact any of the Staff, they would be happy to help.
  • Mentors are not enforcers. It's critical that Mentors leave the maintenance of discipline to the Staff. Mentors are here to help and guide, not to rebuke. If you see something that needs Staff attention, please use the "Report to moderator" link just as regular users do.
  • Mentors are users, too. Just as Staff mark their posts with a Milnet.ca Staff footer when speaking as Staff, I recommend that Mentors do the same. Adding a Milnet.ca Mentor footer to your message lets everyone know that in this case, you are acting in official Mentor capacity. For other posts, you are simply posting as a user here. This is certainly not required; you can be helpful without the footer, or without being a Mentor at all, however it may help clarify your perspective to have it.
  • Mentoring is a responsibility. If Mentors fail to live up to the Guidelines listed above, they may be excused from the program. I'm strongly against turning away willing volunteers, however if a Mentor turns into an administrative burden or generates conflict with the Staff, they may be asked to resign their Mentor status.

That's it! Thanks to all those who have volunteered to date. I can honestly say the Staff have noticed positive results since the Mentor program started. If anyone has any further questions or concerns, please let me know.


Cheers
Mike
« Last Edit: October 20, 2009, 10:36:18 by Mike Bobbitt »

Offline garb811

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Re: The Mentor Program - Background and Guidelines
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2019, 18:48:00 »
We'd like to take the opportunity to remind everyone that the invitation to apply as a Mentor is a standing offer and you can apply at anytime.

Having said that, we are looking to add a few more Mentors to the program so please take a minute to review the thread and if you're interested, let us know via the method Mike has outlined!

Offline Mike Bobbitt

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Re: The Mentor Program - Background and Guidelines
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2019, 20:27:28 »
Agreed! It's a low commitment way to help out. If you found useful info here, consider being part of the solution.

Thanks!