MM: Senior Membership
What is a Senior Member?
A Senior Member is anyone who has earned the title of Aes Sedai or Gaidin at our community. These people have worked hard, gone through several examinations by the Hall, and passed two sets of tests. They have shown themselves to be dedicated to our community and have integrated themselves fully.
Such hard work and dedication naturally comes with its perks. All Senior Members must be called by their titles on our forums (with the exception of Current Events, book discussion forums, and Ajah/Company forums) and are deserving of the respect that those titles imply. Senior Members are able to become mentors and guide newer members through the sometimes murky waters of our community. They can participate in all levels of the community and administration.
As with everything, such privileges come with responsibilities. Senior Members are the most prominent members in the community. Their actions and words are scrutinized to a greater degree than others. They have the ability to make new members of the community feel welcome or ostracized with a single emoticon. Their declarations are taken as gospel by less experienced Community Members.
They are also trusted with more responsibilities around the site, particularly within the administration. They have access to more private forums. Both of these mean that they are trusted with more sensitive or personal information, which means they must show tact and discretion. Even after someone becomes a Senior Member, they must constantly prove that they are worthy of the responsibility inherent in the position.
The titles of Aes Sedai and Gaidin reflect the service our Senior Members have and should continue to provide to our community and society at large. Since Senior Members are able to participate in the community at a fuller level than Junior Members and Citizens, Senior Members are encouraged to pursue all sorts of endeavors. Mentoring is something many of our Senior Members enjoy. Teaching classes in the Classroom forum is also an enjoyable undertaking and serves to remind people about things they have forgotten in the series. Becoming involved with the administration is also encouraged, whether as staff or administrators or moderating forums.
Becoming an Aes Sedai or Gaidin also means that you have more forums to enjoy. You have full access to the Junior Members' quarters. Please remember that you are a guest in those forums and should act accordingly. You also gain access to your Ajah/Company's most private forum as well as the Senior Members forum and the Parlour/Clubhouse forums. Many new Senior Members spend time reading through old threads to get a feel for the history of the site that is rarely seen outside those forums.
Senior Member titles
The only forums where Junior Members are not obliged to use titles with Senior Members is in private Ajah/Company forums, if specifically told they do not have to there, and in Current Events and book discussion forums. Another exception to the rule is in chat, if the title is not in the Senior Member's IRC nick. In all other instances, it is important to remember that Junior Members are obliged to always use a Senior Member's title ("__ Sedai" or "__ Gaidin"). They are obliged to use the title even if the Senior Member specifically tells them not to use it anywhere. In the past, it became confusing for Junior Members to keep track of which Senior Members did not want his/her title to be used, and which were strongly vehement about the titles being used. Requiring Junior Members to always use titles, regardless of Senior Member preference, is much easier for the Junior Members. Please keep this in mind, and if you do not prefer your title to be used, you may specifically request that they not use the title in private Ajah/Company forums or in chat (by leaving the 'Sedai' or 'Gaidin' out of your IRC nick). At the same time, do not feel obligated to drop the title if you prefer its use. Senior Members are addressed by their titles as a matter of respect and honor, which has certainly been earned by the time they gain Senior Membership. Also, please understand that a Senior Member cannot ask one Junior Member to drop titles in chat/private forums and still require other Junior Members to use the titles. This is an all-or-nothing indication of preference.
Sending people for punishment
Once upon a time, Senior Members were able to send Junior Members to the appropriate Community Membership administrator for punishment for anything and everything. While this worked as a community-building practice when we were a small community, the administration found that the larger we became, the more divisive it became. As a result, Senior Members are no longer allowed to send Junior Members for punishment. If a Junior Member forgets your title once or twice, a very gentle reminder is good enough. If it is a repeated offense, alert their Community Membership administrator. If you see something else that is a serious offense, alert the appropriate Community Membership administrator.
Who is my Community Membership administrator?
Your Community Membership administrator is your Head of Ajah (for Aes Sedai) or your Company Commander (for Gaidin).
Using the Chain of Command
Many Senior Members feel that their titles give them leeway to take matters into their own hands. Sometimes it is appropriate to try to handle things yourself; disagreeing with someone in Current Events is generally not reason enough to involve an administrator before you try to work things out in PMs. Misunderstandings do occur, and handling them privately is often the best way to efficiently end a dispute.
However, there are many times when the chain of command should be followed. Cases like these might include problems that cannot be worked out with just the people involved, or if the problem/dispute involves more than just two Community Members or is larger than just two Community Members. Another situation may be if the conflict involves an infraction against the Code of Conduct or Membership Manuals of TarValon.Net by one party or another. These are examples of personal situations one might find oneself in which the chain of command would be the most appropriate way of resolving the issue. This usually involves contacting your Community Membership Administrator and explaining the situation. Your Membership Administrator will then start alerting the appropriate administrators to the situation, and they will begin working towards a resolution.
Part of following the chain of command means knowing when and how to address grievances you may have with the administration. If you have an issue with a staff member, a moderator, a chat operator, or an administrator, address it with that person's direct superior in the administrative chain of command. If you are unsure who that might be, address it to that person's Director. You should also go to the appropriate forum to address any concerns you may have (or even PMs or email). The threads in Site Announcements announcing changes and decisions made at an administrative meeting are not where you should voice your frustrations with those changes. Ideally, in such situations, you would approach the appropriate administrator. However, if you feel you must discuss something in a more open environment, please choose the forum wisely. Also please keep in mind that threads regarding a grievance with another Tower Community Member which are started in private forums, are not allowed and will be locked.
Regarding Junior Members in your Ajah/Company
Particularly on the female side of the community, Junior Members really look up to the Senior Members. Our views of our Ajahs/Companies can really affect what someone thinks of those groups. Remember that you do not get veto powers against someone who wants to join your group. You do not get to decide if someone is a White or is DM; that is their decision. You should refrain from actively changing someone's decision to guest or Aspire to a particular group, including your own. Threads posted in your Ajah's/Company's members only forum asking for emailed opinions about someone who wants to Aspire to your group or is being considered for raising to Senior Member do not mean that you get to vote. If you have serious concerns about a potential Aspirant or someone who is up for raising, you should email your Community Membership administrator. You should not, however, expect that your opinions will stop that person from joining your group.
When an Aspirant of your Ajah/Company is ready to be put up in the Hall for raising to Senior Member, your Head/Commander will post a locked thread in the forum seen only by the Senior Members of your group, stating that he/she is planning to put up this member for raising. The purpose of the thread is to compile recommendations to send to the Hall. Again, it should be noted that this is not a vote. A unanimous agreement by the Ajah/Company members is neither required nor needed to put someone up for Senior Member. As said, this thread is created for the purpose of receiving recommendations from other members of the Ajah/Company to put forth for Hall consideration, as well as to obtain any important and relevant information about the candidate which might have been previously overlooked, which might bring into question the candidate's readiness for Senior Membership. Please feel free to address any concerns with your Community Membership administrator. However, it is important to understand that the question of a Community Member's raising is ultimately the business of the relevant Community Membership administrator, the Director of Membership, the Keeper, the Amyrlin and the members of the Hall.
In addition, Junior Members are not to be alerted of their prospective raising to Senior Member. It is meant to be a surprise and is kept private for assorted reasons, not the least of which being the fact that a raising thread in a private forum does not guarantee the raising. If a Senior Member informs a Junior Member that he or she is being considered for raising, the Senior Member is subject to consequences from the Administration.
Using your power for good, not evil
As stated above, Senior Members wield a lot of power over the Junior Members and Citizens. Even a single emoticon, if used inappropriately towards a new member with only three posts, can completely alter the way that person views our community, not to mention Community Members who are still finding their way around. We are a complex community with a long history. Things that older Community Members comprehend immediately are sometimes incomprehensible to someone who has never joined an internet community before. Our Community Membership comes from all walks of life. Please show patience and tolerance for those who are just finding their way to us.
Our Senior Members try to live up to the idea of being "Servants of All," even after they have earned the title and held it for several years. This can take its form in several ways--answering questions from new Community Members in Ask the White Tower, making signatures, taking new and lost Citizens under their wings. However, sometimes the attention can be overwhelming, particularly if several Senior Members contact a new Citizen whose avatar is too large or who makes another silly mistake. If you see an obvious mistake on the part of a new Community Member, contacting the Mayor is a more appropriate means of handling the issue. Otherwise, you might cause our new Community Members to run and hide from all the helpfulness.