Applying for a Job at Open Salon.....Really

Cranky Cuss came across a post on Craiglist  from Salon.com seeking someone to become their spam-killer.

I applied for the position.  

I figured that it would be better for one of us to have that j0b than someone who doesn't understand the whys and wherefores of open salon. 

In my cover letter, below, I questioned why they would post a job listing on Craigslist rather than posting it on Open Salon.  It would seem to me that the only reason would be that they don't want anyone from Open Salon applying for the position. 

So, I did.

Here's my cover letter:

I've been on OS for a couple of years now, and I have a following there for my political writing and my poetry.  I also have a background in software development - if that matters - and, more importantly, I have many years of experience in community organization and community development work.  
I only heard about this advertisement by accident.  It was posted on Orphans of Open Salon by another OS member who saw it on Craigslist, which triggers the question of why you didn't post this job opening ON Open Salon itself....or maybe you did, and we all missed it. 
The truth of the matter is that there are a lot of OS members far more well-qualified for this position than I am.....but the fact remains that this job is really too big for any one person.   
Open Salon is open for business 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Having run a 24-hour crisis intervention hotline, I know that, in order to staff up an editorial function of this nature, you would need a staff of four, each working a six-hour shift, to cover a five-day, 24 hour schedule, and a respite staff of three, who would cover the weekend shifts and fill in for full-time staff members when they are unable to work.
Of course, you could make do with a single person working a regular 9-5 shift, but  then you end up with  a spasmatically applied and ineffective implementation of the spam policy,  which would result in a backlog of spam periodically clogging your system during the off-hours and on weekends, causing the peaks and valleys of service denial that are driving OS members crazy.
Rather than this kind of piecemeal approach, you might want to employ a team approach, with a moderator charged with the responsibility of supervising a team of stipended OS members who would perform that actual filtering functions, forwarding the denied items to the moderator for final adjudication.  
This is especially important when it come filtering posts and comments for content.  Filtering spam is easy enough.  Filtering legitimate posts and comments for hate speech is quite another matter because one person's hate speech is another person's reasonable discourse and, therefore, this is a job that requires more than one person to review those comments that have been identified as offensive as well as a clear set of guidelines and a clear-thinking person to apply them.
If nothing else, I think I have a reputation on Open Salon for clear thinking, for being able to dissect issues to reduce them to clearly defined positions.  That will be essential for this position.   However, some kind of appeal process might be in order for those occasions when hate speech bumps up against free speech in order to keep both Salon and Open Salon free from the taint of censorship.
 
Knowing that this issue exists is the first step in circumventing it. 
 
Attached, please find two resumes, one covering my first career in human services and one covering my subsequent business career. 
Admittedly, I have been one of the "ring leaders" in efforts to create an alternative web site for Open Salon members who are disgruntled by the uneven quality of Open Salon's services to its members....but those efforts have been aimed at holding the OS membership together as a viable community....and I would be the first to admit that I am still deeply attached to the Open Salon format and to its membership.
There's nothing else out there that matches the satisfaction one gets from an editor's pick on Open Salon, unless is the quality of the comments we get in response to our posts.
As an OS member, I understand the volume of material that would have to be reviewed on a daily basis.  As a editor, I know how to make the kinds of snap decisions that are required in order to meet deadlines.  As an organizer, I know how to pull groups together to perform complex tasks.  As a businessman, I know how difficult this decision is going to be. 
Open Salon members are an ornery lot.  You might want to put one of the foxes in charge of the hen house because one fox will keep the others away.

Raise hands if you think I will get a response from them.

Views: 2596

Comment by JMac1949 Today on November 24, 2012 at 7:59am

I spent a few days flagging SPAM on Open back when I started ranting about the issue.  If they're advertising on Craig's List and willing to pay, then Exodus II is having an effect.  They've got another few weeks to at least get something done.  BTW: if they hire you, I'd volunteer to become a SPAM Killer gratis... plug me into one five hour shift a week and I'll be happy to blast those pesky buggers into oblivion... much more satisfying that video games or dust ups.  Keep us informed Alan.  In the meantime the pace of commentary and posts here on Our Salon has picked up considerably and I'm feeling good about the move.  I'll stop by around Christmas and see what's going on back in SPAMLAND.

Comment by Jeanne Sathre on November 24, 2012 at 8:11am

Maybe you could provide them a list of people who you could bring along and who'd be willing to volunteer a few hours each week. Count me in. And good luck.

Comment by Boanerges on November 24, 2012 at 8:14am

I've got my hands firmly affixed to my blue jeans. I don't know why OS is the way it is, except perhaps they're trying to find a justification for killing it. Almost all the good writers have hived off to other places, including -- but not limited to -- here. It's sad, really, because I loved the place, as most of us did. Last post I put up attracted one commenter, whereas even I got well into double digits less than a year ago.

Comment by koshersalaami on November 24, 2012 at 8:44am

Let me say at the outset that I would be utterly amazed if you got a response.

Is there such a site as Orphans of Open Salon or do you mean here?

If you wanted an answer, the way to do it is not to say:    

Dear Open Salon:
You think you need one person to fight spam, but actually you need to hire seven. I hope you have seven employees' worth of resources in mind.
Love and Kisses,
Sagemerlin

I'd be more inclined to say:

Dear Open Salon:
You realize, don't you, that you have such a devoted community over there that they'd organize and do this for nothing to support their site? We've repeatedly offered to help. We weren't kidding. All you had to do was approach us; in fact, you probably still have that option, though at this point a lot of your bloggers have become satisfied with the site you drove them to by choosing to live with the problems rather than taking them up on their offers.

This is an activist community. There was a time, before you hired Mr. Sugarman, when general consensus at the site was that Editors' Picks had become arbitrary and capricious. The response of the community was to set up and run a function that granted an avenue for peer recognition called Readers' Picks. It ran for a few months and the only reason it stopped running is that the administrators got tired of fighting with OS's technical issues and elected to spend most of their time on another site. This is who we are. We would rather work to fix OS than to leave it, but you aren't giving us that option.

You probably do need to hire me, but not specifically as your SPAM killer. What you need is a Liason/Community Organizer, someone who can speak for you and for the community on technical issues and who can coordinate both to address them, not just about technical problems but about adding site functions, both to suggest them and to organize their implementation utilizing free community labor. I'm not talking about an Editor here; that's Mr. Sugarman's function.

I gather you've noticed that your site is in trouble. Spam is one problem. Given the right approach, we could make Open Salon much more of an asset rather than just trying to maintain it as one, and we could do so at very low cost.

Love and Kisses,
Sagemerlin

That being said, the next issue is whether anyone cares. What matters about OS at this point in comparison to OurS is its readership. If Lorianne manages to grow the OurS readership enough, and God knows she's trying, consensus will rapidly follow Go Man's stated viewpoint above.

The real truth?

If OS really wants to survive and prosper, they probably need to hire two people:

You and Lorianne

Comment by chuck a stetson on November 24, 2012 at 9:02am

Our Salon is where I hang my hat.

Comment by tr ig on November 24, 2012 at 9:11am

All in all, pathetic

Comment by Ardee WNC on November 24, 2012 at 9:31am

The time is coming soon when OS will have lost us all. But I doubt they will listen.

Comment by Abrawang on November 24, 2012 at 9:31am

How bizarre.  You'd think if they really wanted to make a success of Open they'd post the notice there.  Surely they've read the many posts and comments from folks who would love to take on the project.  Surely it's advantageous to have someone with the familiarity and love of the site as it was in its better days.  This is so weird that it almost sounds like a hoax, though I can't see what the point of that would be.  Good luck on your application.

Comment by Jenny on November 24, 2012 at 9:51am

Anyone who's used CL knows its full of hoaxes, spammers and crooks. This is especially true if they expect you to respond with your personal email. Good luck. 

Comment by MarkinKentuckiana on November 24, 2012 at 9:55am

@Kosh - Orphans is a Facebook forum where some members of the community hang out.  I believe Tink is the (or one of the) administrators.

@jlsathre - why would you want to do that?  Aside from the fact that we have a better home here, talk to mishima666 about the futility of being a "spam cop".

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