I would like to get the word out about the Martenson Brigade. Since community members cannot see this forum unless they are signed up, a few posts in the general PeakProsperity.com Forum would be a good place to start. I think it would be great to have a few posts from Brigade members there to encourage others to join the cause.
I’ve attached the LATEST Martenson Brigade application. If you post something, please attach THIS file (not the one I sent you as it may have changed). Also, feel free to send this to people on your contacts list or upload it to wherever you can think of.
A few key points when suggesting that people volunteer:
1. Tell them to change "Your Name" in the file name to their actual name.
2. Make sure they know to return the application to [email protected]
3. Make sure they know to sign up for free membership to PeakProsperity.com first.
If you do post anything on CM.com forums or other sites, please just tell us about it as a reply to this message.
I’ve been reluctant to post much in the "regular" forums here because of what I’ve seen as a strong tendency for discussion there to turn into polemics. I don’t have/want to waste the time it would take to refute the numerous errant viewpoints and ideas posted on that side. (See "Peak Oil is a Hoax" for starters.) If "anything goes" in all these discussions, the inevitable result will be chaos, and information density will suffer markedly. Already has, in fact.
It seems to me that posters’ intention needs to be finely focused on the message of the Crash Course, and if posters don’t "get it," and just want to grind their own ideological axes, they should find open forums elsewhere to do so. I’m not suggesting an "amen chorus" here – reasonable people can disagree and even improve the shared model – but I’ve seen too many forums deteriorate from incessant sniping from invaders with their own agenda and the subsequent diversion from the main focus.
If you’re looking to increase the size of the Martenson Brigade, I think you really need to ensure the people you’re recruiting are able to understand and act upon the essential message of the Crash Course. Frankly, I’d apply a rigorous selection standard, which does seems to be in effect at the moment, I might add. just based on the quality of the posts I’ve seen here from the initial selectees. If you want to increase ranks and our ability to focus meaningful action where it is needed how about this idea: in place of the subtitle of "new member" or whatever, put "Martenson Brigade" in their avatar space. That should encourage a few more volunteers, even if it does represent something of a "vanity appeal." Anyone who can’t carry their own water should be vetted out fairly early, I would think. Just a suggestion.
I agree with Downrange. I also think it would help to have some sort of Martenson Brigade / Volunteer Brigade or whatever as our avatar subtitle, at least so that we can recognize each other, if not attract more volunteers.
In terms of brigade expansion…we could always privately message people we notice who seem like good candidates. personally, i was surprised that people like switters, krogoth, joe2baba, etc… with 250+ posts aren’t in the brigade. then again, they very well could be (i just haven’t seen them in our forum). it probably would be helpful to have a registry of all brigade members too – whether that’s public or not doesn’t matter too much.
Is there a certain number of people we want in the Brigade? Is it a "more the merrier" type thing, or is there a certain number that you’re shooting for?
I’ve been reluctant to post much in the "regular" forums here because of what I’ve seen as a strong tendency for discussion there to turn into polemics. I don’t have/want to waste the time it would take to refute the numerous errant viewpoints and ideas posted on that side. (See "Peak Oil is a Hoax" for starters.) If "anything goes" in all these discussions, the inevitable result will be chaos, and information density will suffer markedly. Already has, in fact.[/quote]
I completely agree. There’s so much noise in the forum that I don’t have time to sort through to get to the good stuff. I personally don’t have enough time, and, collectively, I don’t think We have enough time. My purpose here is to get the message out to those willing to listen, consider alternatives, and make the leap to what our future contains.
Chris’ message is only a part of the whole story. It’s only step 1. What about eating, drinking, and keeping warm? What about how the less wealthy in our civilization are going to be culled? Since I’m not exactly wealthy, how do I stop myself and my loved ones from being culled?
Back to Downrange’s point, all communities that succeed are exclusive in some respect. They don’t let everyone in because someone will destroy the community that everyone else worked so hard to create.
Wow. You guys are spot on. I honestly don’t get to the General Forums
much (time mostly, as Dale points out) and didn’t even think through
some of these excellent points. You are all correct in pointing out
that Martenson Brigade members are very exclusive, hand picked members
of the CM.com community. Not everyone gets in and we pick people who
demonstrate an overwhelming passion for this cause and who bring
something to the table. Only about 50% of applicants make it to
membership status partly due to our standards and partly due to the
application process itself.
By submitting an open-offer in the community, we invite a barrage of
low-quality applicants, some of whom might get through and poison our
exclusive community and overall mission.
I think Futuo’s concept of privately inviting members is one way to go.
If any of you see forum participants whom you think would make
excellent members, feel free to send them an application.
As far as Downrange’s idea of having some type of identifier in the
avatar space, that is something we are already working on. The text
would be something we could do quickly, however we are also working on
icons for certain types of members. Paid members would get one icon,
Brigade members would have another, donors would have yet another,
etc… That type of recognition is important.
I am humbled by the fact that current brigade members take such pride
in this fledgling community and balk at the idea of inviting just
anyone into the group.
Thanks for the great insight!
Thanks for the excellent feedback and please keep it coming. I must admit that just this morning Lucas called my attention to an important discussion in the general forum that I should have responded to days ago. The truth is that the more focused and specialized the group, the higher the quality of discussion. I try to keep an eye on everything going on on the site, but when I get really busy (as was the case last week with the DVD project), the general forums are the first thing to drop off my priority stack.
But that said, we need to continue to focus on solutions. In answer to Futuo’s question, it’s not so much "the more the merrier", but rather "We need to get the maximum possible number of people who choose to be educated, informed, and ready to contribute" to join.
I’ve intentionally resisted the temptation to offer some sort of reward (such as a subscription discount) for joining the Brigade, because I know that would bring in a lot of free-loaders whose sole motive was the prize and not a sincere desire to help the cause. Believe me, we do want to reward people who make a real contribution, but you can see why we have to approach this delicately.
Several of you seem to be asking "us" (the CM.com staff) what our plan is here. I gotta be honest: We need your help in forming one. The mission of the brigade is to bring together passionate people who want to help spread the word. Yes, we do want to restrict it to those who are sincere in their desire to contribute. That’s why we’ve chosen so far to keep the Brigade forums restricted to Brigade members only.
To put it bluntly, we need to figure out how to entice the maximum possible number of passionate contributors to join the Brigade, but we need to do that in a way that also keeps the "Peak oil is a hoax" crowd out of our space. The "application" form is one example of a step we’ve taken in that direction. We figured that making people fill out a form was – in addition to being a useful information gathering tool – an effective way to weed out who was serious. Lucas tells me that not all the people who inquired about the brigade bothered to complete and return the application form, and I think this means our strategy is working. I hope it doesn’t mean we are loosing valuable volunteers, but I’m not really sure.
So please, keep the suggestions coming! I particularly like the idea of personal invitations to forum participants who seem "fit for the job". Perhaps we should use a thread here to "nominate" them. I think that being nominated actually has a very positive psychological effect: being told we’re looking for high quality people and your name came to mind is a nice compliment to anyone. When they join the brigade and see that they were in fact nominated by someone who was impressed with their writing in the forums, that should help even more.
These are my thoughts, but at the end of the day we’re counting on you guys to help us figure this out. We don’t have anything close to the budget or resources to "Run the brigade top-down", and even if we did, I don’t think that’s the right solution. We need the brigade to self-organize itself, and right now a high priority in that campaign is to figure out how to entice more people to join.
I prefer to see less.
When I read, I want it to be high quality contributions, worth my time and effort.