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  1. #1
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    Staff Changes & Other

    Every couple of years we undergo some pretty big changes, it is what makes this community dynamic and is what allows us to remain as popular as we have been. We have been overdue for such changes for quite some time however, and as a result, some of our traffic (and interest from our current member base) has waned. But, better late than never, and today I'm announcing a few changes that should dramatically ramp up the traffic, quality, and interest in ODN once again.

    Staff Changes

    Effective immediately, we have new 2 new admins: Sigfried and Squatch347. Both have been moderators here for a very long time. Both have remained consistently active as both debate participants and staff members.

    Sigfried, may be wrong in just about every debate I've had with him (often times however, I let him think he's won as I don't want to bruise his ego every debate).....or could it be the other way around?...anyway...despite our differences in the debate forums, he's been correct in almost every single staff decision he's made (including those which were not in agreement with my own at the time).

    I've not debated against Squatch347 too many times (if ever), probably because we agree a lot of the time...or maybe because I'm hesitant to disagree with anyone with numbers in their name...could that be the # of followers willing to sacrifice their lives for his bidding? Could it be his IQ? Could it be how much he can curl with one arm? I don't know, but both his picture and that number make me nervous so I tend to just stay out of his way.

    For those who do not know, admins are the ultimate authority here at ODN. What they say is golden. They have the authority (and responsibility) to not only create policy and changes for the better of the community, but to enforce and train others (mods) who would enforce these new policies.


    My Change

    Having these 2 step up as admins means that I can semi-retire. Over the last year or so I've grown particularly grumpy and it's shown in my debates (I won't pretend otherwise). My posts have grown more abrasive, and as the founder and senior admin of this community that is expected to lead by example, I've just not done a very good job being a "shining light" that is reminiscent of our own community rules. I've become increasingly ornery and unpleasant to debate with. I've lost a lot of the patience I once possessed, and I think it's just because I've been doing this for so long and because my interests have changed. Knowing that if I continue as-is, it will only result in driving certain members away, I've decided to drastically decrease my participation in debate threads and every day decision making in the community.

    Personally, I am at a place where I no longer wish to try to "score points" in a debate (for the longest time, that was definitely the case). I realize that this is a draw for many debaters and I may consider implementing a tally system in the near future to accommodate But for me, I'm no longer drawn to debates that follow in this vein, and instead, am more interested exploration and discovery of ideas and potential truths (and I may create new features that allow this sort of discussion in the near future, again, to cater to those of like minds).

    Ultimately what both changes mean are that I'll be stepping down, and Sig and Squatch will be stepping up. While I'll always be the financier, founder, owner of the community, they, like admins before them (LadyPhoenix, Dio, and myself of course), will take control of the community, test the waters, and take the community in the direction they see fit with little to no interference or even influence, by myself. I do reserve the right to veto any change that dramatically opposes the spirit of the community. We won't be turned into a "My Little Pony" forum (*ahem* Sig) nor will we be an outlet for selling "pain relievers" aka pot via e-commerce (*cough* Squatch). We'll remain a debate community that focuses on the argument instead of the argument maker, refraining from personal attacks as much as possible and encouraging not just argumentation, but sound argumentation as much as possible. Other than that, ODN is now theirs to ruin...er I mean, run.


    Other Staff Changes

    Aspoestertjie, a mod, has stepped down due to a lack of activity (she's become extremely busy in rl, as many of our mods do and need to take a break). She, like all of our staff in good standing, are welcome back any time.

    Allocutus, like Aspo, is no longer a staff member due to rl commitments and lack of availability.

    Eliotitus, sp? I can never spell that name, likewise, is no longer active and is now a regular member.



    So, here is the current ODN Staff Line-Up:

    Apok - snr admin / soon to be inactive
    Sigfried - admin
    Squatch - admin
    Talthas - super moderator (has access to all forums and moderation abilities)

    As you can see, we are spread pretty thin. Which brings us to the next topic...

    Recruitment

    ODN is currently recruiting staff members! We are currently throwing around a few names that we believe would make good mods (in our staff forum), and invites to apply will be sent out in the next week or two. However, no member in good standing needs to wait to be contacted by our staff. If you enjoy ODN, want to take ownership in the community, want to actually be responsible for change in the community (as well as police the forums of course), you should let the staff members above know (either in this thread or via pm).

    We'll probably design an application and have a formal process as we've always had in the past, but that shouldn't stop anyone from expressing interest and putting their name in the hat until then.

    Also, because we prefer to have as much of a diverse staff as possible, we prefer to have a few more liberal and non-Christian members step up for the positions. I've always valued diversity of worldviews in the staff, and lately we've been swinging a bit more to the conservative/Christian side. So if you liberal atheist/agnostics want a chance to have your voice and ideas heard in a way that it affects policy and forum culture, now is the time to do it. But this is not to say that we are only looking for non-Christians and liberals. We'd like to hear from anyone who is interested regardless of worldview.

    Ideally, we'd have close to 4-6 additional staff members, bringing us in the range of 7-10 total.

    You need not worry if you have never moderated before, or if you are not completely comfortable with the forum system. We have plenty of training threads and tutorials in the staff forum. Learning "how" is the easy part. It's being rational, remaining calm under pressure, being creative, and having a desire to improve the community and make a difference that really matters here.

    I expect that a new announcement thread about recruitment specifically, will be created by the new admins. Look for in the coming weeks for more info, but again, don't hesitate to ask or express interest.


    Other Changes

    XenForo - This was to be our new forum system, but due to an ongoing legal battle with Internet Brands (the new owner of vBulletin, the software we use), all development was put on hold. Well, XF won the lawsuit and and continued in their progress. We couldn't migrate over to XF until I was certain that XF would not be killed or taken over by IB. Updates and new features are being worked on by the developers, and once they have a couple more updates, we may be ready to migrate officially, over to XF.

    Site overhaul - Not feeling compelled to participate in debate nor deal with the day to day activities of an admin here at ODN (thanks to our 2 new admins who have stepped up) allows me to work on the backend of the community. This includes the eventual migration to XF of course, but updating the site with modern features and content. Some of you may know that website development is what I do for a living (I've created websites for 3 of our members here at ODN). I own and operate HarmonyWebworks (still under development but we are getting there) and I will be turning most of my attention (when it comes to ODN) on developing the website and let the staff develop the community.

    Content - A part of the focus will be adding actual content to the site, and of course, this means a new site layout (see above). Official ODN Fallacy Definitions will be used and policy will reflect its use. We already have approval to use much of the content from 2 of the most popular fallacy websites today (Nizkor and FallacyFiles). Additional content that I have in mind can be found below.

    Language - Often times we get tied up with language issues, and a significant portion of our time is spend trying to define certain terminology. We'll be implementing policy and content that can speak directly to that. A part of this approach is creating our own official fallacy section, another will be using terms found in both debate and critical thinking courses (of which I'm a huge advocate of). The goal here is to minimize the time and frustration of dealing with equivocation and instead, lay a framework for agreed upon, accurate language that allows argumentation to be properly forwarded and evaluated.

    Tutorials - Video tutorials! How many new members have you seen asking what seem to be simple questions? "How do you post?" "How can I link a photo?" Well, I'll be creating video tutorials on how the features of the site work, which may come in handy more than you think since almost everyone will be new to the XenForo system. But in addition to these sort of tutorials, we'll be able to host YOUR video tutorials on particular subjects or topics (assuming you are able to provide a brief explanation or presentation in a matter of a few minutes or less). Getting tired of having to explain what evolution actually means to a Young Earth Creationist? Frustrated at having to copy/paste a post explaining why certain OT Laws are no longer practiced by modern day Christians? Well, create a presentation specifically catering to your argument or a particular demographic, and we'll publish it, put an official ODN Media "stamp" on it, then host it in our content area (all the while, giving you the credit for it of course).

    Movie Club / Book Club - I really want to bring this back. And once we make some of the changes above, which should drive in some more traffic, we'll be in a better position to do so. Specifically, each club will be run by 1-2 leaders (not necessarily staff members, but they could be if needed). The group decides on a video/book to review, create a calendar by which to keep on time, then discuss more formally the chapters or film in their respective private forums. Yes, we are a debate forum, but a part of debate is also exploring ideas and values, and many of each can be found in a variety of media. I think this will be a big hit once we get the traffic and I implement some of the features that will make it fun.

    Chess Club - I'm on the fence on this one. We used to have one, we've not had it for a very long time. However, every now and again I get someone expressing interest. It may be a fun thing to do while taking a break from debating, while playing those you debate with. If this happens, I'd need to take a survey to find out how much actual interest exists as well as wait until some of the above changes are underway (since it's not a priority right now).


    In Closing

    So, I hope you are excited about some of the changes mentioned above, I know I am. I'm looking forward to having new staff members, increased traffic, policy changes, site makeover, and many new features. I'm also excited about being able to focus more on the behind-the-scenes operations here at ODN instead of being on the front all the time (as I'm sure some of those who have had a less than pleasant experience with my "shortness" in recent debates). I'm confident that with Sig and Squatch at the helm, and me doing all the grunt work behind the scenes, ODN will be once again, a very unique community that draws only the highest caliber of debaters and truth seekers.

    ...also, ignore all spelling and grammatical mistakes. This was one verbose post and I'm sure I didn't catch everything.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
    Senior Administrator
    -------------------------

    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




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  3. #2
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    Re: Staff Changes & Other

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    So, I hope you are excited about some of the changes mentioned above, I know I am.
    Yes, I'm excited but I'm generally always excited because there's so much to be excited (joyous) about. Anyway, I will probably miss your eloquent philosophical style of debate and thanks for maintaining the forum. It is appreciated.
    "The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual.” --"The Mental Universe” | Nature
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  4. #3
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    Re: Staff Changes & Other

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    Yes, I'm excited but I'm generally always excited because there's so much to be excited (joyous) about. Anyway, I will probably miss your eloquent philosophical style of debate and thanks for maintaining the forum. It is appreciated.
    Well, I'll still be around, but posting just a few posts a month I imagine. I may however, be more active in a "Critical Thinking" forum or "Socrates Cafe" forum here at ODN if we get those rolling.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
    Senior Administrator
    -------------------------

    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




  5. #4
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    Re: Staff Changes & Other

    Was LadyPhoenix part of those staff changes? I dont see that she was removed, nor that she was retained,.
    I will no longer be replying to any post from a Liberal going forward. I will continue, as normal, to discuss topics and engage in intellectual exchanges with non-leftist

  6. #5
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    Re: Staff Changes & Other

    Quote Originally Posted by OP
    .or maybe because I'm hesitant to disagree with anyone with numbers in their name...could that be the # of followers willing to sacrifice their lives for his bidding? Could it be his IQ? Could it be how much he can curl with one arm?
    The answer is yes.
    My cult only has 28 members, but as the zero indicates I'm looking to expand. I am currently accepting declarations of personal willingness to sacrifice ones life for my bidding.
    As for the IQ, that also stands but I am a bit dyslexic so I got the numbers in reverse, it should be understood at 820. (I do a lot of holding back on ODN so as not to embarrass anyone).
    The curl number is correct as stated, but I can do a lot of reps... I didn't want to bulk up to much. Unlike Squatch apparently.


    -----
    As to the chess thing, I'm still game for it. I haven't played in a very long time and would love to get back into it.
    To serve man.

  7. #6
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    Re: Staff Changes & Other

    Quote Originally Posted by Someguy View Post
    Was LadyPhoenix part of those staff changes? I dont see that she was removed, nor that she was retained,.
    LP hasn't been admin for a very long time. She stepped down around a year ago or so, officially. I just never took her off the roster until recently (as I have for all inactive staff members).
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
    Senior Administrator
    -------------------------

    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




  8. #7
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    Re: Staff Changes & Other

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Well, I'll still be around, but posting just a few posts a month I imagine. I may however, be more active in a "Critical Thinking" forum or "Socrates Cafe" forum here at ODN if we get those rolling.
    Sacrates Cafe....? Now that sounds mind bending and fascinating.

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    "The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual.” --"The Mental Universe” | Nature
    [Eye4magic]
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  9. #8
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    Re: Staff Changes & Other

    Well I for one welcome our new overlords and....

    Oh wait that's me...

    I'm very honored Apok would place such trust in me and I will do my best to live up to it. I see my role as one of service to the fine people that provide me and others with so much excitement and entertainment by challenging my ideas.

    In addition to duties needed to keep the lights on and clear of trouble makers I have 3 progressive objectives...
    1. Help with the recruiting of new staff members
    2. Improving the community rules, mostly to make them clear and easy to learn, but also a little reform here and there
    3. Expand ODN into the realm of video with some tutorials, and perhaps some online debates
    Feed me some debate pellets!

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  11. #9
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    Re: Staff Changes & Other

    Congrats and thanks for your service, Sig and Squatch!
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan

  12. #10
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    Re: Staff Changes & Other

    Sig and Squatch are two of my favorite debaters, so it is very heartening to see them get chosen to helm the ship.

    I would also be interested in getting the Socrates Cafe going again. I think that kind of style of discussion is more closely aligned with what I am looking for these days.

  13. #11
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    Re: Staff Changes & Other

    I would really like it if the chess club was brought back as I am a keen chess player!
    “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.”
    -Plato
    “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.”
    -Albert Einstein
    “If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.” -Mark Twain

  14. #12
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    Re: Staff Changes & Other

    So it has happened, excellent. All shall love us and despair!

    I think this will be a great opportunity, I've worked now with Sig here for quite a while and while we often disagree, I think we have a good working relationship and vision for ODN.

    I think Sig is spot on with his top 3. I would add perhaps increasing/tweaking the feedback mechanisms we give debaters so that threads don't necessarily turn into back and forth disagreements.

    I'm also interested in the chess forum, so we'll see what we can put together.

    That said, I think we are both open to suggestions and thoughts. I am certainly not adverse to seeing what ideas the community has or things that you felt worked well on other sites (even though they are clearly inferior, after all you're here). Please feel to ping us or post something in "Ask the Staff." I've worked with several startup companies and I've always found that the best results come from the emergent properties arising from the members. I'm excited to see what we'll all produce and pleased to be working with such a great team.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


 

 

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