The staff team is once again seeking to recruit new staffers.
We will be accepting applications for the next two weeks (fourteen days). Soon after this point, we will move into the test phase. The staff application test will consist of at least two phases. The first phase involves critiquing demo applications. The second involves answering questions and performing miscellaneous tasks.
The aim is to conclude staff hirings towards the latter half of V6, where we would begin discussions on V7 pregame.
Please keep in mind that being on the staff team is a serious commitment and will require a non-trivial investment of your time and effort. Please be sure that you're both committed and have such time available before applying.
In order to be eligible for consideration, a handler must:
a. Have been a member of SOTF for at least three months
b. Have handled a character in an actual version or have handled a character actively in V6 pregame for at least three months.
Your applications should be submitted to SOTF_Help via PM. The application template follows:
Please do bold the headings. Code may be found here:wrote:Handler Name:
Contact Methods: (AIM, MSN, Skype, etc.)
How often do you check the site?
Why do you want to be a moderator?
What do you feel like you could contribute to the forum that others couldn't?
What is one quality, attribute, or obstacle that you feel may hinder you as a moderator? How do you propose to work around, eliminate, or improve said hindrance?
How good are you with deadlines?
Do you consider yourself a prompt person?
Do you consider yourself a fair, unbiased person?
Are you able to handle sometimes stressful situations?
Generally speaking, how well-versed are you in the world of SotF? Which versions are you familiar with? How well do you know older games, characters, or plot devices from v1 through v6? Be as specific as possible.
Can you commit to reading at least one fifth of v6?
Do you have any prior experience, forum, school related or otherwise, that you feel is relevant to your application for a position as moderator?
If you could recommend one other person for the job of moderator, who would it be and why?
Often, staff may find a particular handler likely unsuited for a staff position. Historically, we have not sent them the test, as it entails a truly great amount of work and it seems unfair to ask a handler to put in so much time if the odds of hiring them are low. However, handlers have expressed displeasure over this, so we will be allowing them the choice, as we are always open to being pleasantly surprised. Assuming staff does not think you are currently a likely candidate for a mod position, would you rather take the test anyways, or be notified and removed from consideration without putting in the work?
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Code: Select all
[b]Handler Name:[/b] [b]Contact Methods: (AIM, MSN, Skype, etc.)[/b] [b]How often do you check the site?[/b] [b]Why do you want to be a moderator?[/b] [b]What do you feel like you could contribute to the forum that others couldn't?[/b] [b]What is one quality, attribute, or obstacle that you feel may hinder you as a moderator? How do you propose to work around, eliminate, or improve said hindrance?[/b] [b]How good are you with deadlines?[/b] [b]Do you consider yourself a prompt person?[/b] [b]Do you consider yourself a fair, unbiased person?[/b] [b]Are you able to handle sometimes stressful situations?[/b] [b]Generally speaking, how well-versed are you in the world of SotF? Which versions are you familiar with? How well do you know older games, characters, or plot devices from v1 through v6? Be as specific as possible.[/b] [b]Can you commit to reading at least one fifth of v6?[/b] [b]Do you have any prior experience, forum, school related or otherwise, that you feel is relevant to your application for a position as moderator?[/b] [b]If you could recommend one other person for the job of moderator, who would it be and why?[/b] [b]Often, staff may find a particular handler likely unsuited for a staff position. Historically, we have not sent them the test, as it entails a truly great amount of work and it seems unfair to ask a handler to put in so much time if the odds of hiring them are low. However, handlers have expressed displeasure over this, so we will be allowing them the choice, as we are always open to being pleasantly surprised. Assuming staff does not think you are currently a likely candidate for a mod position, would you rather take the test anyways, or be notified and removed from consideration without putting in the work?[/b]
Staff applications are based on many things. We do take into account, among other things, general activity level, attitude, and history on the site. That said, the tests are the most important part of staff applications.
We will be hiring however many mods we think we need, on a sort of bell curve system; that is to say, we'll take the best applicants until our need is full. If we do not have enough qualified applicants, we will cap hiring rather than hire someone we do not find fully qualified to hold staff powers.
Once you have begun the application, all communications relating to it should be channeled through SOTF_Help. Any communications addressed to individual staffers will be grounds for mandatory immediate rejection of your application. Any communications with individual staffers which are not reported by the staffers will result in consequences for the staffer in question upon discovery. We have had way too many instances of this in the past, and it puts staffers in an uncomfortable position, therefore it will be a zero-tolerance issue from here out.
Furthermore, PMs to Help should only be questions regarding the content of the current test section or notifications regarding your availability so that test sections can be rescheduled. In the past, we've had many applicants provide updates or commentary as they worked, and while this is generally innocuous it has occasionally led to slower responses. Staff log and discuss every communication with Help related to the test, so for the sake of brevity and ease of response we want to keep it completely business related. As such, PMs outside these guidelines will be counted against you.
Please remember that mod applications should remain secret until new staff are chosen. This is a part of the test. Staffers must be good at keeping secrets, and this lets us test you on that front. If you mention having applied, directly or through insinuations, this will be held against you during consideration.
Given how serious staff applications are to the future of the site, please be aware that we consider information from all sources when determining staffer eligibility. Normally, we wouldn't care if you admitted to, say, lying about reading people's characters to mess with them in a side chat or Skype conversation. This sort of thing is absolutely relevant to staff hirings, though, and will be counted for or against you as applicable.
Finally, deadlines in the test are absolute. If you will be absent during a part of the testing period, please notify staff right away, and they will reschedule your personal test for later, giving you the same total time as everyone else. This ensures that everyone receives the same amount of time, and also avoids delaying the entire test waiting for one person.
To help you wtih your application, please have a look at our guide below.
- [+] Spoiler
- The staff test is something we use to best serve the site. Right off the bat, a few things to clear up: staff hire the people we think will do the best job. We do not hire people to reward them for writing well, or for doing nice things for the community, or for being our friends.
We hire new staff to make the job easier on current staff and to make sure that there will always be a functional team. We aim for people who have the potential to do the most good and for people who will require the least effort to get in shape. We absolutely will spend time to get promising applicants up to snuff, but we're not going to hire someone who's going to be more work to manage than they will save by doing staff work.
In short: you are not owed a staff position. A staff position is not a reward. It's a big responsibility and a service to the site with minimal personal benefits, and it means a lot of work with meager personal payoff. Please take this into account when choosing to apply.
That out of the way, what follows is a section by section breakdown of the test.
A lot more goes into this than most people tend to realize. Below is the template, annotated with what we are looking for and what we take away from it:
Handler Name: This is just for organizational purposes and to make sure you don't misspell it or something.
Contact Methods: (AIM, MSN, Skype, etc.) This lets us know how you can be reached. We do not need the addresses until you're hired, just what you have. If hired, you will need to get AIM. Everything else is optional and has no bearing on whether or not you're hired.
How often do you check the site? We want people who are on frequently and who will be aware of and quickly respond to staff issues. If the answer is anything less than every other day, please consider very carefully whether you are able to commit to a staff position. Do not lie here; we can track these things, and if you get caught lying it will hurt you way more than a suboptimal response ever would.
Why do you want to be a moderator? This helps us get to know you. Tell the truth. We don't mark you off unless you say something vague, dodge the question, or have a really bad reason ("So I can get Admin CP access and delete every post Ruggahissy ever made!") This is, on that note, a good time to address humor in staff apps. You do not get counted off for humor by default. If, however, humor replaces content or seems to be backhanded or insulting, it hurts you massively. Joking is fine, but if you're unsure if you can land the jokes, be aware that it's a big risk.
What do you feel like you could contribute to the forum that others couldn't? The key here is the second part. We want to know what you, uniquely, bring to the table. Being dedicated is not unique. Having free time is not unique. Being able to crack the whip is not unique. This is in part a test of creativity as well as a legitimate question; can you come up with something that you're uniquely suited for? Give it your best shot, because "Nothing" is one of the worst answers you can give.
What is one quality, attribute, or obstacle that you feel may hinder you as a moderator? How do you propose to work around, eliminate, or improve said hindrance? The old advice for job interviews is to, when asked for your greatest weakness, spin it so it's actually a strength. Never do that here. Similarly, don't list a problem you used to have but no longer do. Dodging this question is really bad news because it shows a lack of awareness. Remember, the current staff probably knows you. We have a pretty solid idea of your weaknesses. We want to see that you do, too, and that you can come up with ways to work on them.
How good are you with deadlines? Tell the truth. If you are constantly inactive or are late on every death, we know. Not being the fastest gun on the site does not get you DQed. Everyone knows staff runs behind on stuff as often as anyone else. We just want to see some honest self-assessment, as well as to prompt you towards some self-reflection. Staff is a big commitment. Are you actually going to have lasting time/interest for it?
Do you consider yourself a fair, unbiased person? Where bias does crop up, how aware of it are you and how do you deal with it? Here we want to know a bit about your processes. Don't say you're totally objective if everyone on staff knows that's not true. Take some time, do some soul-searching, and let us know.
How do you deal with stressful situations? Staff is a chain of extremely stressful situations because it's a position of authority over a community of friends and equals. Staff tend to be thrown into the middle of fights, forced to work on deadline, and tossed into the line of fire of whatever horrible issue is going on at any moment. That's not even touching conflicts within staff. We want to know how you'll cope, because you will be stressed out by staff at some point, probably in very shot order.
Generally speaking, how well-versed are you in the world of SOTF? What elements of the metaplot are you familiar with? How well do you know older games, NPCs, or plot devices from v1-6? Be as specific as possible. Do be specific here. Tell us what you've read to the point you can discuss it competently. "I've skimmed X..." is usually a big warning sign because it looks like you're trying to puff up your résumé; skimming is not the same as reading, or you wouldn't have to qualify it with a different word. There's not a right answer, but it's a plus for sure if you've got a solid grounding; knowing what versions look like is a huge boon in running them. We also want you to be passingly familiar with the overall plot, because you'll have a hand in shaping it. If you're not there yet, that's fine; we're mostly looking to know what your grounding is. If you want to do a little reading here, the most recent stuff is most important.
Can you commit to reading at least one fifth of V6? The answer to this question has to be yes. If it's not, to be blunt, you are not the right fit for staff.
Do you have any prior experienceforum-related, school-related, or otherwisethat you feel is relevant to your application for a position as moderator? What is it, and how is it relevant? What have you learned? Please think carefully about your answer here. If you, for example, ran an off-site RP and it tanked, and we know that, then don't just throw it in here without further explanation. We want to know your background and how it can be applied to staff. Be honest, but help us see the applicability of whatever you list. Padding here is a huge no-no; better not to list things than to stretch inapplicable stuff. Also, a quick note on Mini: Being a mod on Mini is absolutely a good thing to note here. Mini staff is not a fast-track to staffdom on Main, though. If you haven't totally mucked stuff up, it's a factor in your favor, but nothing more.
If you could recommend one other person for the job of moderator, who would it be and why? This is a tricky one. Be specific as to why. People tend to assume this only reflects on who you recommend, which is not true at all. Getting mentioned here by people is certainly a plus, but we're actually more judging you based on who you recommend. If you obviously traded with your buddy/are nominating friends just because they're friends, that hurts you a lot. We want to see some serious thought put into who'd be a good fit for staff. As a bonus, the better your recommendation, the more it does for them if they've applied too.
Assuming staff does not think you are currently a likely candidate for a mod position, would you rather take the test anyways, or be notified and removed from consideration without putting in the work? This is pretty much covered above. If you think you're a good candidate and will rock the test, tell us to test you no matter what. If you're gonna be crushed by spending a ton of effort when you never had a good chance, say no. Be aware that the staff test is a lot of workthe only ones having less fun than you the week you're writing your responses will be the current staff, who have to mark up and comment on all of them.
That's the general set of guidelines for the template. As you can see, we get a lot out of it; it's actually one of the first make/break points of the application process.
Part One: Profiles
For a long time, this was the only part of the staff test after the initial application template. In this section, you will be given three to five profiles to critique. All applicants receive the same profiles. This is very much judged on the quality of the critiques, but what constitutes a quality critique can be a bit variable.
The profiles will range in quality, from legitimately good to disastrously, irredeemably bad. What we do varies test by test. Sometimes there are profiles which should be subject to only minimal revisions or can even be approved, in which case we are making sure that applicants are not overly harshor that, if they are harsh, they can at least justify it well. Sometimes, profiles are bad enough that they have hardly anything salvageable about them.
There will be traps in this section. Past tests often included not-even-disguised celebrity inserts and plagiarized profiles from past versions with the names changed (usually endgamers). If a profile looks familiar, you are supposed to catch that it is plagiarized. Google all names used. Familiarize yourself with the applicable rules.
A key thing to keep in mind when critiquing is tone. We want members to stay on the site, and we want to encourage them to fix characters, even iffy ones. We love it when staffers are approachable, but professional comes first. If you can't be funny and professional, then just be professional. It is totally fine to come down hard on elements of profiles, as long as you do so in a detailed and fair-handed way. Don't mock. A possible exception is a trollfile-quality profile. If you feel that something should be treated as trolling, you can respond appropriately, but this is a place you should be very sure before going. You won't be counted off for giving an irredeemable profile a thorough critique. You will be counted off heavily for mockingly shredding the wrong thing. Finally, keep your tone consistent throughout each critique (changing it up between them is fine and possibly situationally optimal). Don't be buddy-buddy one minute and icily annoyed the next. If you're being stern, don't suddenly lighten the mood. Tonal shifts tend to be confusing at best and mean-spirited or condescending at worst.
We want critiques to be detailed. Prioritize the big issues, though. We often see applicants who will spend ages breaking down why a character can't have broken his hand in football practice the week before the trip because it's the wrong season for the sport, while at the same time ignoring that the character's name is, say, Jose Chimichanga. Nitpicking is a double-edged sword. If you get the big stuff, fine detail gets you major bonus points. Some level of fine detail is pretty much required, especially on bad profiles. If you're getting caught up in minutiae to the exclusion of major-deal problems, though, that reflects very poorly on you.
You should critique as closely to how you would if hired as possible, with one exception: don't kick things back on format with a one-liner. Format is a tool for staff to use to save time and incentivize care and editing, but it's bad for analyzing your style. Note any formatting lapses within the critique.
You should take a good look at recent critiques to get an idea what we're looking for. This section has the biggest range of answers. You will not catch everything. The staff test as a whole is SOTF's Kobayashi Maru. Do your best, and mess up with grace and style, and you'll be in decent shape.
Oh, a few final notes for both this and Part Two:
Speed: We love fast replies. We love good replies a thousand times more. Getting the test turned around quickly gets you bonus points, but nowhere near enough to compensate for doing a half-baked job. A candidate who turns something great in one minute before deadline will still beat a candidate who turned something mediocre in the first day.
Proofreading: Proofread everything. Check your grammar and spelling. You will have to do some grammar corrections in profiles. Make very sure you're correct when you do so; nothing loses credibility faster than an incorrect grammar request. We do not care if something is in British English or American English, but ideally it should be consistent within the profile.
Code: Put your reply in code. Seriously. Do this. It is ridiculously inconvenient to deal with manually fixing formatting, and it's not our job, so we don't bother. Send your thing not-in-code, and we copy/paste it straight, lose all the formatting, gripe about it forever, and mark you down over it. It won't kill your app flat out, but it hurts a lot, and someone does it every application cycle. That said, do check your formatting in preview in something besides code mode, or you won't catch broken tags. Broken tags also get you marked down and also make your test a huge nuisance to read.
Part Two: Miscellaneous
Part One is how you critique. Part Two is how you perform every other staff function. It takes the form of tasks and questions, which makes a guide slightly less relevant. Here we test your attitudes, competency, and grace under pressure. Part Two takes either a lot of work or a very deft hand at faking to do well at. We don't care which, but if you suck at faking you will get caught and counted off for it.
We almost invariably have applicants write an announcement. This will include deaths from every version to date. The deaths are typically chosen to be some combination of the following: extremely lengthy characters, characters with difficult to spell names, characters who die in complicated scenes, and trap deaths (that is, deaths that for some reason or other require special treatment in the announcement). Your job is to understand each scene well enough to do a good job with the zingers. Attention to detail is key here. We specifically grab stuff that's difficult to just look up on the wiki. It's a really big pain in the neck and requires a lot of work and reading and you'll probably still get something wrong. That's basically the point. Do your best.
Do write pre-announcement fluff. This often gets forgotten. Pay close attention to the version and announcer we've asked you to emulate (spoiler: it will probably be Victor Danya circa V4 as he has the most challenging voice to reproduce). Pay very good attention to spelling and grammar here. This is doubly true of kids' names. The announcement is the last hurrah for many kids, from a certain point of view, so having the facts wrong or their names misspelled is pretty inexcusable.
We will also have you write an inactive death. This will be a one-post thing. It will probably feature a staff character along with a handful of characters from V4 through V6 for the most part. This is so that there's someone on staff who is in good touch with the character's voice.
We want these to hit these notes, in order of importance:
- Not totally stupid: We laugh at random rock deaths for a reason. You may have to go the accident route, but sell it. Respect physics. Justify the death instead of throwing it out randomly. Basically, make it a scene that's not totally cringe-worthy.
- Respectful: We try to treat inactives decently. Just because a handler left or went terminal or got banned, that doesn't mean they didn't put a lot of work into a character. It doesn't have to be a magnum opus; we understand that writing other people's kids is a pain in the neck. You should just make sure that your death isn't taking shots at the character/handler. Similarly, don't introduce elements that are offensive or upsetting to the community at large in an inactive death. If a character has problematic elements, steer clear of dealing with them unless you are certain you can do so tastefully.
- True to the character: This is tough. We know that. Try to keep to at least hints of the character's voice and/or established personality, development, and story, though. Wrapping loose ends (or at least acknowledging them) is a really nice touch.
- Original: If you can pull out something creative and different, sweet. We want that. That wows us. It's way less major than the other three, though, and we often see all three sacrificed in favor of this. Don't do that.
Beyond that, we'll have questions about how you'd handle situations as a staffer. These are a mix of attitude test and cunning trap. We try to catch you out throughout the test. Here, that will often take the shape of letting you overstep. Try to think about what's best for the site and is in line with current policies. If a question does not specify that you're the only staffer on duty, you can note that you would consult other staff, but be sure to propose your own solution as well.
A very common mistake here is for applicants to try to hedge their bets by presenting multiple solutions. Do not do this. This is awful and gets you marked down harder than a bad answer in most cases. We know there are a bunch of ways these things can be dealt with; that's why they're questions on the staff test. We want to know what you think is the best way to take things, as well as why. Detail and explanations are very good here. Almost everything we ask here is based on stuff staff has actually dealt with, or on problems we've seen nearly arise. Sometimes you'll be able to find precedent on the boards, but please be aware that there is often a big difference between how stuff was handled in past versions and how it would be treated now, especially with anything prior to V4 proper. Let precedent inform you, and note if you're taking it into account, but don't let it fully dictate or replace your own judgement.
We will almost definitely ask you for a suggestion to improve the site. Start thinking about it now. Go for something good. We actually use some of these, if we agree with them. This is to get a feel for your understanding of the site and its issues, your problem-solving capabilities, and your initiative. If you have made suggestions that staff actually enacted in the past, you can note these here for bonus points, but make a new suggestion anyways.
It is extremely important that you spend time on this and break down the ramifications of your proposal in depth. If your proposed change adds a ton of staff work, or removes beloved subsystems, we want to see that you've thought through the implications and have weighed the reward as greater than the risk and/or come up with a way to mitigate the problems. More detail here is almost always your friend, unless your idea is something that's actively destructive to the site in some fashion or you're avoiding an elephant in the room, and both of these situations are problems in their own rights.
This concludes the guide to staff applications.