Today, I’ve started with Internet Integrity, especially as a focus for my KeČaTa Community. Before I expand on integrity, I must explain the break in journals. If you want to skip this explanation, please continue straight to my Internet Integrity Introduction.
I started daily journals here, to document significant work and life events. I felt this helped me organise my thoughts better – directing myself to focus on actually publishing content, rather than dreaming of new schemes and planning future priorities. It’s been almost 3 months since my last journal. I’ve published much less than I should have in that time. Mostly depressed, and often overwhelmed by my uncontrolled todo list. The joy of writing deserted me. On my most successful online project (GoutPal), I’ve been particularly overwhelmed by the volume of questions, most of which have far too little information to allow me to help effectively.
My front-facing, daily content publishing days of January left me. I slipped back to not working purposefully, or limited admin reorganisation and review. I stumbled across an early explanation of my reasons for running GoutPal. I stated the primary purpose was to improve my websites as a general health resource. Personal help, I described as my secondary purpose. I was about to rewrite this putting personal help first. Then I realised – the best way to provide personal help is to focus my responses towards general guidelines. That’s the only way I can cope with the volume of questions. I need to do this without dismissive responses like “read the FAQ,” which I hate. However, if I respond as if I had the same problem, I can search or browse my sites for answers. I can, and should, place my self in the position of the questioner. Just how clear are my guidelines? Can my forum members help me make them more meaningful?
I’m committing today and tomorrow to tackle this head on. I will ensure all my forums feed into Slack, then get on with responding. I also need to clear my Helpdesk backlogs. My priority has to be getting content into the forums as quickly as possible. I think I should review all open posts, in chronological sequence. I should close old discussions, with links to either or both of:
- Appropriate guidelines.
- Forum blogs about how to ask similar questions better (i.e. back to ‘what I’ve tried, and why it didn’t work’).
I’ll review progress in my next journal. Now, it’s back to Internet Integrity
Internet Integrity Introduction
I realised that active forums are the lifeblood of my online community. I have to encourage active members. Yet, I cannot commit hours of personal effort to casual users. Many never respond to posts that take me hours to research and present.
As I thought about ways to make better forum guidelines, one word surfaced: Integrity.
That’s the cornerstone of my life. I’m never fault-free, but I always seek to improve my own integrity. My purpose in life is to improve Internet Integrity.
Internet Integrity Research
Out of habit, I looked for other people’s thoughts on Internet Integrity. I was pleasantly surprised. The top result wasn’t Wrongipedia or some boring definition. It was an interesting article from 2006. 10 years of integrity from a BlogSpot article is more than I could ever wish for! 🙂
Integrity on the Internet is an excellent summary of key values. It isn’t the in-depth guide that I’d like to produce. But, it’s an excellent starting point.
There are many sites on the Internet which have the qualities of integrity within them. However, there are many sites which do not.
I’d take Dennis’s second sentence further. Most sites have few qualities of integrity. This is especially true for lucrative keyword searches that produce reams of “a thousand ways to exploit this market” articles. Dennis explains the key qualities that characterise a website of integrity:
- Making Contact
- I agree:
It is important to provide visitors with a way of communicating.
However, this needs to be balanced with the ability to process large numbers of messages. At the moment, I’ve failed to get the balance right. I need to streamline Helpdesk processing. This means turning helpdesk messages into quick content as discussions, FAQs, or page reviews. Exceptional messages only require personal response (kudos can just be posted as comments, then acknowledged).
- Proper Credit
- Attribution to source material is vital. My policy is to attribute all reference information and media correctly. I also link to sources, so this implies I should run regular link checking. Wherever possible, I like to inform sources, and invite them to improve my attribution if they wish. As Dennis says:
Giving credit to the source is not enough. There should be a method of contacting them for whatever reason a visitor may need. When I post articles of other writers, I provide the source and a link to contact them for additional information or questions.
- Dennis refers to:
where data is collected by the webmaster or owner for tracking visitors and their information. A site should have this identified upfront so any visitor knows the extent of the information collected and how it is used.
I need to include this on all sites, with annual review. For the sake of integrity, privacy policies must be in layman’s terms. They must explain how visitors can opt out, and clearly distinguish between policies for visitors, for members, and any other group that has personal data held about them.
Dennis points out that these are indications rather than a prescriptive list. Rather than focus on lists of principles, I prefer to adopt an “open management” approach. Integrity needs to underpin all website content and every management process. I will strive to improve policy pages in the ‘About’ section of all my sites. I emphasize readable, meaningful, community policies over rigid legalese. I will use my KeČaTa Community website to discuss and improve these policies, and all other aspects of Internet Integrity.
Reciprocal Internet Integrity
I thought about a need to explain in general terms how to get more from forums. General principles apply to all forums, and I should encourage members to help build better sense of community. This is best done in KeČaTa. I think I should encourage members to post to their profiles more, as a way to get started for intricate problems. I also need to triage quick answers. I should answer with general, relevant facts, and encourage profile responses for potential personal projects. No personal projects before 5 Tollars – they just take too much effort to apply to casual users. More importantly, I should encourage regular contributors of any forum to join the KeČaTa Community. This would make the Leaderboard more meaningful, and slowly create a team of people genuinely committed to the community.
Internet Integrity References
- Integrity on the Internet from Integrity