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Discussion Recruiting more Advocates

Discussion in 'Forum News and Staff Communication' started by Guilop, Dec 10, 2016.

  1. Guilop

    Guilop I'm happy Advocate

    As there currently is only one advocate left with @BeaconHill, even though more might be coming going by what others said in the last staff changes thread, I wanted to start a discusssion about possible solutions for this problem and ways to make the position more attractive. I know that the implementation of any ideas is ultimately up to the directors, but I think advocates fill a very important role in the appeals process, so having to suspend this service due to insufficient manpower would be unfortunate.

    One thing I find problematic is that there's very little actual information about the usual workload of an advocate as normal forum members can only see the select few cases, in which advocates are handling the appeal that actually made it to the tribunal. What goes on behind the scenes and what advocates actually contribute remains unseen. There's no real indication of what advocates actually have to deal with and what the workload looks like. This uncertainty about what the job actually entails might contribute to the problem.

    While non-staff members also don't really know about the true workload required of the other staff positions, there are additional benefits, aside from the, admittedly, shiny banner, so there's more incentive to apply for these positions when compared to advocates.

    Adding more information to this section of the explanantion of the appeal process might also help.

    IIRC @BeaconHill mentioned that some people write one or two senetnce requests for appeals without giving any relevant information, so adding sentence on information that should be sent to the advocates, could possibly help to at least lessen the workload in these cases.
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  2. The Oldman

    The Oldman Giantdad Slayer Advocate

    I kind of want to be an Advocate, but I don't understand the politks of SV enough to be good at it in any capacity.

    What I get is that Advocates are basically Defense Lawyers; if the staff takes action against you, you give a call to the Advocates within 3 days time, explain the situation and then they'll try to defend your case and prove that you're not guilty of whatever thing you were accused of.

    Other than that, I'm in the dark.
    Maybe I should read up on all that stuff for a good while and try my luck?
  3. E73S

    E73S I've updated my journal.

    You just described being an advocate.
    EDIT: Like, in total. You're not in the dark on anything.
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  4. Hykal94

    Hykal94 The Kitteh Knight of Islam

    People are unwilling to be an advocate for similar reasons people are unwilling to be a mod: it's intimidating, but different.

    Mods? People understand what they do. Not many want to be mods, but they understand what the job entails in general. Infractions, thread bans, etc. You don't need a degree to be a mod.

    Advocates? That's like, lawyering man. Many users already complain about the legalese in SV rules (which really isn't legalese at all). Many users are somewhat aware of the background of this forum and its owners. And because of that, people are hesitant to apply for Advocate because people assume you need lawyer-ish skills.

    I recall talking to a buddy about SV who isn't a user here, and when I mention the Advocates the first thing they ask, "so like, do you need to know law and stuff?"

    That alone gives the impression of a high barrier of entry, and that's the reason why SV's Advocates are never many in the first place.
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  5. Turing Decidable

    Turing Decidable Strength moves moutains; blade cuts water

    I move that the role of 'Advocate' be renamed to 'Protector of the People'.
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  6. The Oldman

    The Oldman Giantdad Slayer Advocate

    Guess I'll read up on how the infraction process works and about the perks and requirements.
    I might as well, since it interests me and I might apply for the job.

    Last edited: Dec 10, 2016
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  7. grommile

    grommile nasty-minded old cynic

    That's a fancy way of saying "public defender" :)
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  8. Hykal94

    Hykal94 The Kitteh Knight of Islam

    The Lawyer Knight of Islam just doesn't have the same ring to it, y'know?
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  9. Guilop

    Guilop I'm happy Advocate

    I agree.

    There's also that @BeaconHill does such a good job with her defenses, that people may think they're required to reach that same standard, which scares them off even further. There used to be four advocates, but IIRC only @bidoof and @BeaconHill actually got appeals visible to the public. So we don't know what the appeals of the other Advocates looked like.
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  10. Ford Prefect

    Ford Prefect What is Project Zohar? Director

    They were all roughly around the same skill level.

    We actually did have the bar for entry set pretty high, because we wanted to ensure that people were getting the best possible representation - because that makes everyone's life easier.
  11. bidoof


    N.B. this is all my personal opinion.

    There are two separate issues, recruiting people and retaining them.

    The problem with recruiting advocates is that you don't gain anything in exchange for your work. If you don't do it, someone else will (probably) do it instead. On the other hand, attaching any incentives to it would attract mostly people who want the incentive but don't actually want to be an advocate (consider how popular the position is now). Making incentives performance-based would probably be too hard.

    In terms of retaining advocates, the workload itself is not particularly heavy or difficult. After doing 20 appeals or so, you should have a good idea of what you're doing and an appeal might take half an hour to write up. Often you go for a while without anything, and only rarely do they actually pile up. The main problem with the work is that the system feels like it discourages what you're doing - you don't have access to any information apart from the little the appellant tells you (and because of comparative advantage, it's often faster to work it out yourself than asking), and usually one line from the moderator which is often "this is disruptive". You can't see any of the (apparently in-depth) moderator discussion behind why the infraction was issued or anything about the appellant's past history (which every other person involved can and does read). You just take a shot in the dark and submit the appeal into the magic box, which spits out a response a week later. A tribunal appeal is similar, plus a minor degree of herding a dozen cats. At the very least, it would be good if advocates could read other magistrate appeals to see what does or doesn't work.

    You eventually feel like you're repeating the same thing over and over again, and you take a step back and realise you're still arguing on the Internet about whether a word is "really bad" (50 points), or merely "bad" (25 points), and by this point this was practically the only thing I was doing on SV.

    EDIT: Perhaps a couple of the staff could be periodically rotated into advocate positions. They'd be well placed to defend people (already being insiders), they can already see the appellant's previous records, and they'd gain the valuable experience of being on the other side.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
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  12. Guilop

    Guilop I'm happy Advocate

    I didn't necessarily mean argumentation skill level. It would already be helpful to have more examples of the different approaches advocates take, when it comes to their appeals. Just seeing more examples from different advocates could show people what works and allow them to better judge if the're capable of it.

    The information gap between advocates and the other appeal/tribunal participants has come up before in other threads and I think it can cause serious issues, when it comes to interpretating the actual reasoning behind the infraction and judging repeat offenders.
  13. Vyslanté

    Vyslanté Putting the "late" back in "translate"

    Hum. You know what, I kind of share your feelings on that. Such a job would indeed interest me, but I'm not sure I have the... qualifications.
  14. Skyllian Blitz

    Skyllian Blitz Shadow Cabal Member Moderator

    Just give it a shot. There's no penalty for trying and no penalty for deciding it's not for you in the end. :)

    At the very least, we'll get feedback on how to improve the system so it's more effective and less stressful or less work needed.
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  15. I've been pretty interested in tackling the Advocate role recently. Where does one apply?
  16. Well if this is really a situation them we have a real problem here being the defendant of someone, because if the accuser has all the arms and the advocate none we are violating the rules of a fair trial. Yep, i know this isn't a formal tribunal of right, but if we want to maintain a system similar to that, we need to obey a few rules of fair trial, one of them being the Principle of Equality of Arms. It's a simple rule, truly, were the advocates have the right to demand information that's is necessary to the defense of the accused, and withholding information from a defendant is a serious infraction, that could nullify all the trial.

    So if bidoof says that exists, we have a serious situation here for the advocates and the system, because it turns into a ad hoc tribunal,
  17. Ford Prefect

    Ford Prefect What is Project Zohar? Director

    Drop an application in the Ask a Private Question forum. We have a thread label fro applications.
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  18. LordSquishy

    LordSquishy Probably Not A Producer

    There is no right to a fair trial. This is a webforum.
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  19. I said rules, not right XD
  20. LordSquishy

    LordSquishy Probably Not A Producer

    I realize that. The rules of a fair trial do not apply. You are not entitled to a fair trial.
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  21. okay mighty overlord, i will take my leave
  22. DreamerGhost


    I remember seeing an example appeal in appeal rules. Maybe making an appeal form that is easily accessible/required would help? Something like:

    I was infracted for {Infraction} on {Date} by {Mod}, who cited rule {Rule number+quoted part} on post {Quoted post}

    A)I disagree with the infraction because when I wrote {Quote} I actually meant {Explanation}
    B)I disagree with the infraction because rule says {Rule number and quote} and I did none of those things. What I did was {Elaboration}
    C)I disagree with the infraction because I saw other people doing it just fine and suspect bias want a second opinion/better explanation.
    D)I disagree with this infraction because {Writein}

    Obviously, this is not a very good form as I don't have much experience with forum justice system. I even got infracted for what amounted to bad phrasing :V before, so it would be a really good idea to treat this as an idea and not a legitimate example.

    ADDIT: Also, is there really any need for a lawyer when appealing warnings?
  23. So, I did notice some more people with the Advocate banner today, but I can't remember seeing any announcements.
    Did I miss it, or was they just now added silently?

    Anyway congratulations to at least @Cadis, @Guilop and @The Oldman.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2016
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  24. Cadis

    Cadis Proud Capoeria Angola Quintal Capoerista Advocate

    United States
    We were added silently. There are now five advocates.
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  25. Guilop

    Guilop I'm happy Advocate

    We've been here for a week.

    @Ford Prefect said something about an announcement in the near future after they finish checking the other applications. So it might still happen sometime soon.
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