ZOID CITY Community Help and FAQ

Table of Contents
Philosophical Considerations Time and Logistics Autonomy or "you can't make me do that..."
Safety Member to Member For Fighters
What if I get in real TROUBLE? Back to the ZOID Documentation Back to the Main ZOID Page

If you have any additional questions, that I haven't thought of please
email me with them.

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Philosophical Considerations

1) Why should I enter a voting and visiting competition or "fight?"
A voting and visiting competition is a great way to meet other people who are often very different from yourself. This type of competition is a terrific motivation to make yourself known and know others better. The net is a very fragmented place, and ZOID brings people of all skill levels, views, and walks of life together.

2) Why should I join but not fight?
Perhaps you feel that the only valid contest on the web is one of skill and coding ability. Perhaps you feel uncomfortable competing against those much younger than yourself and beating them or being beaten by them. Perhaps you are pressed for time. There are as many good reasons for fighting as for not fighting and ZOID CITY Community you may do either.

3) What goes on here, anyway?
ZOID CITY Community and Competition is a learning community of web site creators. What goes on here is education and self-improvement via a
mailing list and an optionl work requirement, and an openly scored voting and visiting competition.

4) Why do I have to be on a mailing list?
The ZC2ZC3 mailing list gives you a place to communicate with fellow members and get to know them better. Some of them are people very unlike yourself. Diversity is the beginning of education. Moreover, you can reply to messages on the mailing list either publicly or privately, unlike guest books. Also, ZOID CITY governs itself through its mailing list. For more information on the ZC2ZC3 mailing list please read the mailing list FAQ.

5) Why should I work?
Evem though work at ZOID is optional, it is still a great idea. Working means working for yourself. Our wide variety of work assignments help you find ways to explore and satisfy your interests, improve your skills and, and get more out of life on the net as well as use the net to get more out of real life.

6) There are pressing real life issues! Why should I waste my time here?
You are not wasting your time here. Many of the world's real life issues come from people of different backgrounds and views not understanding eachother. While joining ZOID CITY Community will not solve the world's problems, it does encourage brotherhood between those who view the world differently. If you have a message, you will hopefully not be preaching to the choir. The world of ZOID CITY Community will be different than your academic department, scholarly mailing list, buddies at school or work or church, or association of nice internet ladies.

7) Isn't knowledge of HTML, craft, and design important?
Yes, but meeting and talking to others and learning from them is important too. That is why the competition is a voting and visiting rather than a site rating contest. Everyone can learn more about coding through the work requirement.

8) Isn't the content of web pages important?
Yes, and web page content would make a great topic for the ZC2ZC3 mailing list, wouldn't it? There is also the portal project. Meeting diverse people through the net, however, is just as important as page content.

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Time and Logistics

1) I want to fight and vote! What is the fighting schedule?
ZOID CITY Community Competition operates on a Sunday to Thursday schedule with raw vote totals available on demand, due to our partially automated scoring system. Scoring is by the percentile-range method to learn more about this stop by
Stat Central.

2) Why do you have this weird schedule?
A Sunday through Thursday schedule is more tolerant of sabbath observering Jews and Moslems. Most Christians do not have rules forbidding them from using their computers on Sunday. Orthodox Jews, however, do. A fighting week that starts on Sunday also means that you get any information and reminders on Sunday or late Saturday rather than on the first day of the work week. A Sunday through Thursday schedule allows you to spend the weekend upgrading your site and visiting other sites.

3) What is partially autotmated scoring? You mean the trustees don't do scoring!
Well sort of... A SQL (pronounced sequel) database tabulates the raw vote totals and then ZOIDRubashov, or any other scorer places these in a spread sheet to obtain percentile-range scores. Spreadsheet templates are always available on the Exhibition Page in both Works and Excel formats so that you can score along at home.

4) I notice you have a trustee fighting and scoring. That's cheating!
Excuse me, as the fighting and scoring trustee, let me inform you that it is NOT in my interest to doctor the scores. Since raw vote totals appear automatically, doctoring them is just plain too much work. I make spread sheet templates available so that anyone can check my scores, and if my scores are high, that is because I vote exchange.

5) How many hours per week does it take to be a member?
If you choose to work every week, it takes between two to ten hours of your time. Think of this another way. Playing tennis, practicing an instrument and many other hobbies take about this much time, and you are always free not to work during a week that is busy in real life. Note: Waging a successful campaign at Site Fights takes fifteen to twenty hours per week.

6) What if I get busy with family, school, or work?
Work less, don't fight, and just read your email. In an emergency, for religious holidays, military duty, or school or civil service exams, you may request a "hold" on your membership. Please set the ZC2ZC3 list nomail andspend your time tending to other things besides ZOID CITY. You will return from your as a member in good standing.

7) What about emergencies?
If they are long term emergencies, please request a hold (see above).

8) What about religious holidays?
If you observe religious holidays that forbid you from using a computer or any holiday where you plan to be out of town, do not fight during that week. If the membership decides so, fighting may be extended or suspended during the High Holy Days and similar times. For those who are shomer shabbos, the trustees can make special arrangements to place your site into competition ahead of schedule or a bit late, depending on your time zone. Also, ZOID CITY Community Competition operates on a Sunday through Thursday schedule which makes life easier for sabbath observers.

9) I have a full time job, can I participate here?
Absolutely. You will have to be a bit more careful of your time management than a stay at home mother, but men and women who work full time especially make the best role models for younger members. People who work full time frequently have hobbies that take as much time as participation here.

10) Does it cost anything to participate here?
Only time and a tolerance of others with view points different than your own. You do not have to agree that all ideas are equal. You just have to accept that decent thinking human beings can hold different ideas than yours.

10) Do I get paid to work here?
No, but with a tough or high profile work option, participating here will look very good on your resume or college application. And yes trustees write references.

11) Can I win prizes?
ZOID CITY Community is a nonprofit educational organization. It is also run on a shoe string. There are no sponsors and no material prizes. Besides learning, prestige, and status are better prizes than anything money can buy.

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Autonomy or "You can't make me do that!"

1) If I join a group, I'm just going to be a cog in the wheels?
The more you do, the less cog-like you become. The more you stand out as an individual. Mailing lists, such as the
ZC2ZC3 email list which forms the heart of our commmunity are great forums for self experssion as is Bruno's Cafe, our web boards and a variety of other work options.

2) If I join a group, you're going to boss me around?
The only time I will do that is in cases of emergencies or if you commit harassment, fail to disclose and describe potentially offensive material on your site, or become part of a flame war on the ZC2ZC3 mailing list, or publicly embarass a fellow member (not a trustee by the way.) on the ZC2ZC3 mailing list. Otherwise you are pretty well free to do and say what you please.

3) But you have all these rules here? Why so many?
They are mostly advice and instructions. Rule of written law means that the "rules of the game" are known to all, we do not make things up as we go along, and there is a basis for decisions about scoring, fighting, member conduct etc... It is much better to say RTFM (Read the fantastic manual) than it is simply to accuse someone of being unspirited.

4) If you believe in free speech, why are there so manyy rules about what you can and can't say on the mailing list?
The mailing list is cumpulsory for all of ZOID. That means those on it are a captive audience. In tight crowded places there are always more rules about what people can and can't say for the sake of friendliness, safety, and civility. Also the email list is home to newbies who may have never been on a discussion list before. It is important to give them a positive experience.

5) Who is in charge here anyway?
ZOIDRubashov/Eileen H. Kramer is the founder, and her emails are ehkuhall7@malaspina.com and zoidrubashov@zc2zc3.i-p.com. Josh Bieber is another trustee at joshb@malaspina.com. He manages the interactive story. Gothwalk/Drew Shiel is a third trustee at gothwalk@starflung.com. There are also a special trustee. CatMa, halle62@juno.com, is a former English teacher and trustee for time management issues.

6) So what exactly do I have to do here?
This is a surprisingly short list.

  • Remain on the ZC2ZC3 mailing list and obey its rules.
  • Access your email every other day. If you read your email during the week but not on weekends, that is fine too.
  • Be able to read, since ZOID works by rule of written law and a mailing list.
  • Ask a question if you don't understand something, since none of us read minds.
  • If you are under eighteen or dependent on your parents bed and board, you will need your parents cooperation to allow you to participate here. You do not need to fill out a permission slip since that slip is meaningless. Your parents can cut off your internet access at any time because they are in charge and pay the bills. You therefore need their permission and blessing. I don't. Please encourage your parents to come forward with any questions they might have about your participation here. I'll be happy to answer.

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Safety Issues

1) Some of the pages you allow are vile! What can I do about that?
Don't vote for them. Don't visit them. Your taste dictates what you do, say, and create. It does not dictate who can join ZOID CITY Community or which sites can compete.

2) Some of the pages you allow are vile! What are you going to do about that?
Nothing if their owners have
described and disclosed them properly before going into competition. They are as entitled to express their views and compete with their handiwork as you are.

3) Why do you allow "hate sites," "pornography," and other objectionable material?
ZOID CITY Community allows and fosters academic/intellectual freedom. It does not permit members with sites that are obscene, criminal, or commercial. Aside from that, all other sites are permitted. A climate that allows web site creators to fully express themselves and follow their interests even when those interests are controversial, is the healthiest environment for both youth and adults. Challenging opinions and a variety of seriously-taken ideas encourage questioning and intellectual growth. For more details, please read the approval rules.

4) Is ZOID CITY Community safe for my children?
ZOID CITY Community is not only safe for those under eighteen. It is beneficial! ZC2ZC3 is locally controlled and small. The staff do not tolerate harassment and abuse. Both children and adults are free to avoid sites that they might not enjoy, and because voting is limited, they are under less pressure to visit and vote for objectionable sites than they might be at other competitions. Also, your teenager or middle school age child will not end up on the wrong end of a censorship dispute. Children need the right to free expression too. If you still have unanswered concerns about safety, I strongly urge you to join ZOID CITY Community along with your child.

5) But you are not rated G or even PG-13?
ZOID CITY is not Hollywood and web pages are NOT movies. They do not require the big budgets and there are an infinite number of them. The chances of you or your child having to deeply probe a web page you detest because it is one of only ten at the local multiplex, is nonexistent. Meanwhile, both youth and adult web site creators need to know that they can express themselves without fear of being booted out or an organization or having their site pulled.

6) But don't you do anything to protect children?
Please see the question #4. That said, ZOID, is not in loco parentis. Deciding what your child can and can not see on the internet is your job, NOT MINE.

7) But children are young and innocent!
Children (minors) include anybody under the age of eighteen. As a practical matter children under age ten or eleven do not build web sites and most young web site creators are at least eleven or twelve. This makes them older minors. This means that they have similar rights to free expression and information as adults, provided they have the agreement of their parents.

If younger children have web sites, these are usually sites done by a well meaning parent or other adult. Such sites are welcome here at ZOID provided the site creator becomes a member. If you have created a site just to get guest book signatures for your little one and make both of you smile, ZOID is a useful place both to get the guest book signed and to receive hints about more fun and useful activities for you and your child.

8) How do I know your chats are safe?
We have an anti-harassment policy. and those hosting the chats will state in advance whether cussing is permitted. While cussing someone out is harassment, some people have greater tolerance for profanity as part of ordinary informal speech than others. If you feel uncomfortable at a chat due to the topic of conversation, you can always leave.

9) What if ZOID CITY Community gets sued?
We will go to court and fight it. We can not let the threat of litigation deter us our belief in intellectual freedom.

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Member to Member

1) What about email spam?
If you receive an unwanted piece of email from a member, please send email back to that member asking her to STOP sending you further mail and bcc (blind carbon copy) the email back to yourself. This serves as a record. If you receive no more unwanted mail, you have solved the problem. If not, then, you are the victim of harassment. (See the next question).

2) What about harassment?
Harassment occurs when someone whom you have told to stop bothering you via either chat or email continues to do so. In order to prove harassment, you must prove that you have told that person to STOP. In a chat get a witness to watch you tell that person to leave you alone. With email save all correspondance. Trustees will punish harassment severely. They will NOT intervene, however, unless you have told the person bothering you to STOP first.

3) What about privacy? You have my email address.
And we are going to keep that address and not sell it to anybody. If you do not believe us, take a tour of this site and notice that we are on a paid provider so we can banish nearly all advertisement. There are ads on our ballot because we outsource it. We believe strongly in keeping commercial interests' grasping claws OUT of ZOID CITY. We are also not going to give your email address to any law enforcement officials without a subpoena.
Onelist which currently handles the ZC2ZC3 list, has its own privacy policies.

4) To whom can I complain?
If you feel that anything in life, including ZOID CITY Community is unfair or rotten, you can complain to anybody and everybody. You have the right of academic freedom. If you want to complain about the trustees, the rules, or ZOID in general, on the mailing list you are free to do so. You can also tell the entire world for much the same reason.

5) Can I criticize a Trustee?
Of course you can. They have skin as thick as elephant hides. Of course, constructive criticism generally is more effective than flaming.

6) Can I criticize a fellow member?
NOT by name on the ZC2ZC3 mailing list. Members do not have thick skins. Some are young. Some are new at mailing lists. Some may lack your coding skills. To criticize a member in public is to embarass her. You may criticize ideas and technique on the mailing list all that you please, but leave individual members' names out of your critical posts. If you feel you must write a critical letter to a member, send it as private email and if the member tells you to STOP the conversation, do so at once.

7) Isn't it unspirited to critize?
The web routes around damage. If criticism does not happen up front where people can come up with ideas and suggestions for change, it goes on in secrecy and degenerates into gossip.

8) Can I air my political, religious, or other views?
You can certainly express your views on your web page. You can mention them as part of the discussion on the mailing list, and you can look for links that fit those views as part of a work requirement. Please do not proselytize on the mailing list for either religious or political causes. Arguing about coding and aesthetic technique is another issue.

9) Why is there no place to cheer?
I think there are better ways to spend your time than constantly mindlesssly advertising ZOID CITY just to earn points five times a day. I have enjoyed cheering and writing poetry that gets a message across in that format, but not everyone has the knack for squeezing their expression into rhyme. Now if you really enjoy cheering and think others would like to do it too, setting up a cheer book or board with remotely hosted cgi might be a good work assignment.

10) Why are there no chats?
Personnel shortage. Why not host one if you want one?

11) Can I organize a special interest chat?

12) Can I create games for my work requirement because you don't have many, and the ones you hae are really lame?
You certainly can. The same is true for cyberpet adoptions and most anything else left out of the main site except a vote exchange board.

13) How about signing guestbooks? Nothing makes me happier than to see people sign my guestbook!
If you enjoy signing guestbooks and if you can find new and existing members that have guestbooks, then sign away. It will surely make them feel welcome. Just a word of caution though, not everyone likes, regularly reads, or even has a guestbook. Many people prefer email or Blogs or even web boards.

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For Fighters And Those Interested in Fighting

1) You mean there's no vote exchange!
I did not say that. I said that there is no formal vote exchange. You are free to do what you wish with your private email short of harassment. There are also an assortment of vote exchange walls, boards, and lists to try. Most of them are affiliated with other competitions but nearly all accept ZOID fighters. Vote exchange, however, is not without its draw backs.

2) What are those drawbacks?
Vote exchange is hard clerical work. It involves visiting sites with which you wish to exchange. You really do want to know for whom you vote. Also some sites are in sorry shape or may be repugnant to you for other reasons. Please don't support sites you detest or know nothing about. It will make your voting and visiting experience every bit as mindless as some outsiders believe it to be.

It involves sending out daily reminders during the fighting cycle to all your supporters, and it involves pulling up a myriad of disparate ballots across multiple competitions

Also carrying a huge vote exchange list will not give you an exclusive victory. Our scoring rules make any fighter with a 200% lead in raw vote share her victory with the second place fighter while all other fighters receive raised scores. A runaway victory does not displace those behind you.

If you vote exchange, please do it in moderation. For teens, newbies, and those unused to clerical work, start with only a load of ten supporters. This means you can be choosey as to whom you support. For those with a bit more experience, twenty-five makes a good long term load. Fifty suppporters is pushing it, and at one hundred you don't have a life. At two hundred you have tapped out the pool of hard core vote exchangers and become part of a select and somewhat defensive subculture. Please keep your load of supporters manageable.

One more thing: you will need to vote for your supporters during the off weeks when you are not fighting.

3) What If I want to set up a vote exchange board on my own site?
I can't stop you, but there are already plenty of vote exchange walls, books, and lists out there. Once again, voting at standard competitions is extremely time consuming. Unlike Site Fights and similar ompetitions, which exist primarily to sell advertising, ZOID CITY is a learning community where the fighters' and members' best interests come first. Therefore, voting is streamlined and you have plenty of time to work, learn, and communicate. To carry the vote exchange load expected of top level Site Fighters, Web Brawlers, Site Warriors, and Fantasy Fighters, means that you live in-part by the rules of an enterprise that expects you to be gone in three weeks and as replaceable as an employee at MacDonalds. I can not stop you, but don't do this to yourself. Burn out hurts. I have been there.

4) May I participate in Site Fights, Rumbles, or Web Brawls if I am a member here?
Yes, but you may not fight at another competition while fighting here simultaneously. You also may not beg endlessly for votes on the ZC2ZC3 list. Also many other competitions do not permit dual membership.

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Getting In Trouble

1) What happens if I break the rules?
You will hear from me back channel. That means a personal email. Unless, I am trying to persuade or cajole you, the email letter will be a business letter and formal in tone. The more formal the letter the angrier I am. Generally the letter will state what rule you have broken and what you must do to make ammends. In practice, this has usually been a request to cease and desist certain behaviors. The reason the letter is back channel is to spare you public embarassment. The reason for the formality is that you deserve professional treatment. Period.

2) What if something goes wrong on the mailing list, or the desert magic guest book, or one of the boards, or the interactive story?
Depending on the forum, the trustees may pull the offending posts, or they may leave them as souvenirs and warnings, or in the case of the mailing list, I address the list as a whole. Most of the time, prevention of damage is better than punishment. If I kick out a member, I lose a member and every member is precious.

3) What things can I do to be kicked out?
I hope this list gives no one ideas but here goes. This is a noninclusive list. Most of these are violations of trust and safety between members:

  • Repeated harassment.
  • Major and extreme fraud in disclosing and desribing a web site in competition.
  • Complaining to a member's real life employer or school authorities.
  • Stealing money from another member by selling them something and not delivering the goods or buying something from another member and not paying for it. The potential for theft is one reason commercial sites can not compete at ZOID.

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