Channel Docents

[ratified 2016-09-03]

In museum terminology, mainly in the United States, a “docent” is a volunteer who serves as a guide, educator, and sometimes simply a helper in the space. Often, they’ll be giving tours or lectures about the various exhibitions – sometimes they even get involved with curating!

In WeAllJS, a docent is a sort of volunteer caretaker for a channel. Their purpose is mainly to act as an individual who is familiar with the channel’s subject and is able to support and facilitate conversation therein.

Who is the docent here?

A channel’s docent can usually be found listed in that channel’s topic, and they’re a great person to say hi to or ask for help! Docents have made themselves available for channel members and are totally there to help out!

Things docents do

  • Keep the channel’s topic up-to-date, and semi-regularly (weekly? biweekly?) setting new topics, preferably by checking with that subcommunity about what would be interesting.
  • Keep an eye out for those who might be getting drowned out in conversation. Look for opportunities to amplify someone’s voice in a conversation who might otherwise not be heard, and help them feel welcome in the space. RFC addendum
  • Act as conversation facilitators, providing context, helping things stay generally on-topic, and answering questions about the overall culture and even implicit rules/understandings that have developed over time.
  • Help maintain the channel’s general knowledge base, its pinned messages, and any resource collections about its topic, such as spreadsheets, community-approved lists of books or blogs, or FAQ documents.
  • Act as points of contact for admins, who are familiar with the channel’s culture and needs so we can serve that subcommunity’s needs more effectively.

How to become a docent

Are you in a channel without a docent? Send us an /admin request saying so! If there’s no other active docent, we’ll probably just say to go ahead and add yourself to the topic! If the current docent is inactive, or if you’d like to be a co-docent, feel free to message the admins and we can help facilitate a conversation if needed, but if the existing docent is fine with it, just let us know so we can update our docent list!