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dScouter15

Scouting FAQs?

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I've been reading the Scouter.com forums for a few years now, and actively participate off and on. I notice that there are a handful of topics that come up again and again - for example,

 

- converting a troop from "adult run" to "youth run"

- making good use of the patrol method

- discipline issues (appropriateness of, suspension/expulsion, etc)

- how to handle misbehaving adults

 

A long time hobby of mine has been computer programming, and I also frequent numerous computer-related message boards, often to seek help on some computer programming problem or question. An approach that most of these forums take is to maintain a collection of "frequently asked questions" documents, targeted at new users. Using this system, a new user can quickly find a collection of resources on common questions and problems without needing to invest time in typing in a post on a message board and waiting for responses. At the same time, redundant traffic on the message board is reduced, which makes browsing and searching easier.

 

I am wondering if scouter.com would benefit from such a system - perhaps in a Wiki format, so that a number of the forum's more knowledgeable members can collaborate and contribute. Like I said, I have a background in computer programming and web hosting, and would be willing to provide the hosting and setup the initial software to create such a service. Before I do that, I'm just wondering what kind of interest/feedback/advice the community has to offer.

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I am not sure that would work for topics like you mention as there are as many opinions as there are posters. I doubt we would all come to a consensus on any of those topics.

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Neal - I think you're right - but the same could be said for any topic, right? Clearly there must be some common ground between all possible opinions.

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Perhaps the posting could include the major theories behind each? Most of the discussions I've seen on each topic tends to sort into a few different camps. I'm sure we're all mature enough to handle sorting out what the main viewpoints are, and let the main proponents of each write their answer. Then whoever comes searching the FAQs can look at the options, and pick the one that seems to be the best fit, and perhaps even report back.

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It's certainly something I've noticed over time, too - there are quite a number of recurring questions. The ones you list are like essay questions, but there are also a number of recurring policy questions.

 

I don't know if an FAQ would be heavily used or not - people can currently search the forum but it's clear that many do not. Perhaps if it were well-organized, it might cut down on some of the repetition. Even if the FAQ just pointed to threads on the topic that had a variety of good answers, that might be useful.

 

I think the bigger question is whether Scouter.com wants to add this feature.

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IMHO

When a question is about, rules, policy, uniform and that sort of thing the place to go is the official BSA web site.

I have never looked on the stuff I post here as being anything other than my take on a subject.

While I like to think that I'm not wrong!

There is no way I would want anything that I've posted as seen as being official.

A lot of the discussions that come up here are to do with adults who can't play well with other adults.

 

There is another site where the guy in charge of the site does make it seem what he is saying is not only the right way, but the only way.

Sadly there is a lot of stuff that is on the site which is just his opinion and stuff that is just plain wrong. I find this upsetting.

 

I know at times I get an idea stuck in my head which I think is right and it may at one time have been right? But when I check it out on the BSA site I find that I'm wrong.

This happened a little while back on a discussion about the SM's role in merit badges.

Someone posted something which I thought was kinda off the wall and a lot different than the way I had and was managing these badges.

They were right and I was wrong.

I feel much the same way when I'm presenting BSA training's. I make every effort to ensure I have the most up to date copy of the syllabus and present it as is. When there are questions that might need my opinion, I either make it very clear that what I'm now saying is my opinion or deal with the question one on one with the person when we have a break.

Bottom line is that I don't think this is the place for anything that might be seen by others as official.

Eamonn.

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dScouter15,

The topics you cite as examples do come up frequently, but often each time they occur they have their own distinctive flavor. Different circumstances, personalities, etc....

It would be hard to find consensus for these topics.

Often all the circumstances of a situation don't come up in the original post and emerge after some of our "veterans" ask the right kind of questions.

I think these type of discussions are way too fluid to format into a FAQ.

 

Definitive policy topics have their answers in scouting's official sources.

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I think an area an FAQ would be most helpful in would be a listing of "Scouting Myths" or "Urban Legends". A thread on the topic has popped up every now and then, usually with the same general questions (sheath knives, patrol camping, "blue card" issuances, etc.)

 

Another option is to create "sticky posts" that always show up at the top of dicussion lists, containing either information for new list members, or previously closed discussions that the moderators / members have found the most helpful.

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