The Community Team’s first and most important job is to help you, the users. Every day, we hang out on meta sites and in chat, watching to make sure that someone is working on your problems. Until very recently, community managers also fielded each and every request that came through our support ticketing system.
(And before that, Jeff Atwood handled them all. The whole team@ inbox, singlehandedly.)
Our approach to customer service via email has changed as the network has grown: we’ve tried many new processes and tools over the years to help community managers handle team@ efficiently and still have brainpower left over for the rest of their jobs. (If you’re curious about it, you can take a look at Jon Ericson’s ongoing blog series.) But still, support tickets stack up and all too often lose out to more pressing issues on the sites themselves; more and more often, we found ourselves struggling to resolve problems as they came in, much less fix them in two ways.
Some companies respond to this problem by just giving up, hiding support emails and shunting requests into a poorly-monitored forum somewhere. We know this because we’ve repeatedly gotten emails from members of such sites, from people searching desperately to find anyone willing to help. But we don’t believe in treating our users – the people whose patronage we depend on – as annoyances to be brushed off and forgotten. So we decided to double down on our commitment to friendly and efficient user support: we’ve hired two new staff members to handle email support full-time. And we hired them from the communities they will be supporting.
Please join me in welcoming our two new Community Growth Operations Specialists
Kyle, aka animuson:
Kyle was an elected moderator on Stack Overflow, spending a significant amount of his time helping out others on the site. Some personal background:
- He visited Australia for 18 days as a student, which is probably longer than you’ve ever spent in Australia (unless you live there);
- He plays an obsessive amount (his words) of video games, and has over 100 platinum trophies on the PlayStation Network;
- He previously worked at his county’s Election Commission, which is (unintuitively) the most non-political job one can have.
JNat was a pro tempore moderator on Anime & Manga SE, contributing greatly to the health and growth of that community. Some personal background:
- He studied Arts in high school and has a masters degree in Architecture and Urbanism, so it should be obvious how he ended up in operations for an internet Q&A community;
- He’s Portuguese, so Gabe now has some assistance in supporting the needs of our Portuguese-speaking members.
- He credits his love for anime and manga with getting him this awesome new job.
You might be thinking: “Wait. Operations Specialists? I thought they were just handling emails.” But that would be a waste of their considerable talents. Once JNat and Kyle have tackled team@, there’s no telling how many new and efficient ways they’ll find to help make our team better at supporting our communities.
If ever you find yourself having to contact us, it’s likely that these brave souls will be fielding your request. Feel free to say hi, or tell them what the best part of your week has been so far!