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Someone has made an online application and I want to talk to them, what do I do next?
  • You talk to them, introducing yourself briefly, and most commonly with cc: to new-imc, and then if possible you switch to a local, openly archived list - helping the group create this if necessary.
  • Every new contact or group is different, and your knowledge - or ignorance - is different. There's no simple formula, use your initiative and these hints. How much you help them and "hold their hands" varies a lot between different volunteers. More help is not always better, as it can be perceived as interference in local autonomy, or as bureaucracy. Use your judgment. And use your best netiquette (except for the 3-day and 7-day deadlines, when capitals are used in the Subject: headers).

How do I contact them?
  • Use your judgment! Face-to-face would be best. But electronic is also a good idea, and in many cases the only practical way. Two electronic ways include:
  • either
  • advantages/disadvantages
    • mailing the local list directly
      • advantages : less hierarchical, more open, less chance that communication fails because the contact person is ill, busy, lost internet access, whatever
      • disadvantages : locals might feel you're dominating the list, they might feel you're interfering with local autonomy; and if you don't know the local language well, your comments may be totally out of place in the conversation.
    • mailing the contact person
      • advantages : the contact person will "filter" your comments in some sense so that they are unlikely to be seen as interference in local autonomy; the contact will also bring you up-to-date if you don't know the local language
      • disadvantages : more hierarchical, less open, more chance that communication fails because the contact person is ill, busy, lost internet access, whatever

Do I do this alone, or with help?
  • If someone is willing to help you, either someone else from new-imc, or maybe your local IMC, that would be great! But again, use your own initiative, if noone is willing to help you, is it better to leave the new group with no help at all, or to give them your personal comments?

  • If your local IMC is willing to commit the time, you could try bringing this up in face-to-face meetings. For example, prepare a draft email to send to the local list of the new group, circulate this to your local group, or print a few copies and discuss it at your local face-to-face meeting. You'll hopefully get some useful feedback.

  • If two new-imc people are willing to work together, you could send draft copies of emails to each other, and make sure that they are clear, friendly, not too long in English for non-English speakers but also that they address important points. Only after you have agreed, you then send the email directly to the local mailing list. Of course, this takes more time - it depends how much time you're willing to spend on this.

Is another new-imc volunteer already helping IMC Somecityname?
  • You could try using the TWiki page NewImcRecentUSA (for USA new IMCs) or NewImcVolunteers or make a similar page to help keep track of who is or who is not helping. Of course, use the new-imc mailing list too!
Topic revision: r2 - 05 Mar 2003, BouD
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