FIRST-a-holic Anonymous mailbox corner

A lot of my experience in FIRST prompted me to push forth this idea. Many times I felt that I want to get something off my chest, but 1) wished to remain nameless, 2) hide the identity of anyone who might be involved. Other times I just want to ask for advice without having to worry about being judged, or just want someone to listen.

So, here is what I want to start (and want your feedbacks of): FIRST-a-holic Anonymous mailbox corner. (didn’t intent to borrow the “FIRST-a-holic Anonymous” name, I will think of a better name later)

The whole point is what I just said: a mailbox for anyone participating in FIRST to e-mail/message to. The sender’s identity will remain nameless, and I ask that any team/group/person mentioned in the message be nameless too. I will then post the message in the forum (maybe its own sub-forum), and any CD posters can respond to the message (be mindful that the responds will be monitored carefully.)

The anonymous mailbox is for:

  1. Sharing your concerns and frustrations about your team, friends, family, organization, or other individuals you work with because of FIRST.
  2. If you just want someone to listen.
  3. Ask for advice when you don’t know what to do.

The anonymous mailbox is NOT for:

  1. Bashing your own or other teams, organization, or individuals.
  2. Start controversial arguments.
  3. Anything non-FIRST related.

Let me know what you think.

Like a FIRST Dear Abby?

Good idea Ken, this will enable all users to have conversations about sensitive topics without judging the ‘thread-starters’ character.

I am interested to see what topics come up.

Ah yes, that’s the name I am looking for.

Hmm. I will take it that the lack of responds means people think its a waste of time?

I think it’s a good idea. Give it some time, its only been 6 hours …

Jeez Ken… it’s only been 6 hours.

I think the idea has a lot of potential. If it is executed well, it could turn into something positive. Or… it could turn into a whine-fest.


Heh, sorry, my bad.

Well, I have considered that turning into a whine-fest. But, is that necessary a bad idea? Having a place for people to vent isn’t necessary a bad thing, especially when it is not intented for finger pointing or yelling. God knows even I need to vent sometime.

Maybe, by keeping these messages in their own corner, and respond to them in a constructive way, it might be helpful to the message sender as well as the rest of the forum. It might be especially helpful for FIRST-a-holics who are reaching out to the community for the first time when their team don’t approve of such thing, or college students who are stressed out by their new team AND their new school.

I am only throwing this idea out to see if there is a need for it. It would only happen if it is useful for the FIRST community.

I think that they key would be that there would need to be editorial control. If you don’t accept all submissions, then you can’t weed out the one’s that don’t allow much building upon. Then again, that opens up another can of worms.


I like the FIRST Dear Abby idea and I like the idea that submissions do not have to be accepted, but i think that if a submission is not accepted, they should get an email back explaining why because they might not undestand and then feel “shoved aside” and i dont think that thats what we want.

I think that it should have its own separate forum on CD so that it doesnt get mixed in with other things (or a subforum of the Team Organization) … i also think that it should be set so that it can only be viewed by members only, ive said it in a different post, but i think that these complaints when looked at by a non-FIRSTer (someone who doesnt or cannot see all the problems that occur within teams such as a company, etc.) it could come across as bad publicity. Those of us in FIRST know how awesome FIRST is and how lucky we are to be a part of it.

So THIS was why you were asking me what Dear Abby articles were called… :slight_smile:

First off, I love the idea. I think it’s a good way for people to get advice through anon contact…it allows people to be freer with what they say.

However, I would like to propose that one of the rules is to keep names out of it. (Yes, I’m basically pulling off what Matt just said a few posts ago :D) That means no names of anyone involved, no team names/numbers, no sponsors, and no location. If we self-editorialize oursleves, then I think we’ll communicate better (because thinking about how to word it makes you stop and think before you post, thus calming down the poster).

Ken, is there more than one person responding to these emails?

I love this idea. It has potential and is what we need for CD IMHO. Many times things have crossed my mind about FIRST and other teams I didn’t want to bring up due to a negative perception of my team by those reading the things. I think there are a few problems out there that need to be addressed like this. Not only that, but it seems that stuff like collusion could be discussed in this manner, so no teams would be hurt in the discussions.

I think it is not necessary to limit the responds to 1 or few person. However, know that the responds will be monitored closely. Responds that are indented to hurt other’s feelings, point fingers, bashing should not be allowed. I think this can function as an open to all mailbox corner, for those who want to write a message to post one, and for those who wish to offer guidance or words of comfort to responds.

I think it will work out as long as incoming messages are filtered.

And yes, I would keep all the messages nameless… The sender, the people mentioned inside message, etc will be anonymous. Hence the name FIRST-a-holic “Anonymous” mailbox corner.

This is an awsome idea, go with it.

We could set it up so the replies are all moderated by a group of 2-3 high-reputation moderators. This would prevent some major catastrophe, and also make sure that names/team numbers/locations/etc are not added in future replies. The mods could also then close threads when they’ve run their course, which I have a feeling will be pretty quick with anonymous, hot topics like these.

Just so I make sure I’m reading this right the system would work out something like this:

First a person who is haveing trouble with there team or a concern with something e-mails the mailbox. i.e.

Dear, First-a-aholic mailbox (or a diffrent name)

There are a few people on my team that like robotics and are very skilled, but I can not get them to focus during the meetings, I have tried dealing with this by saying/doing

  • All of
  • This standard
  • Stuff

But this has not worked out What should I do?


Stressed In New England

Then one of the people responding to the e-mails in the mail box will first make sure it is appropriate, and then respond i.e.

Dear Stressed in New England,

You teammates have classic yayayyayayayayayayaya, you should take them to the side during your next meeting and try yyayayayayaayayaya


First-a-holic Email box moderator.

Now realize I just threw down what ever came out of my head for the emails. But overall is that the way it would work out?

The first part is right. But I am not sure I would limit the responds to only mailbox moderators. Any thoughts on this? I do not want to ask people to spend their time in this as dedicated moderators who are the only ones to reply, since they are busy already anyway. Besides, I cannot say who is “more deserving” to be moderators than others when a lot of people are good.

All that need to be done is monitor the incoming message to wipe out the names, and watch for responding messages to make sure they don’t cross the line.

Dear Kenny…

Perhaps having a subsection on CD, with 3/4 ish mods. The same group can get access to the submissions. Can threads in a certan forum require mod approval before they are public? That seems to me the easiest way to do it, just have people submit to it, then the mods can read it and then repost it using the Dear Kenny moniker. Once posted, then everyone can post and read it.

That is if the forum can do that. If not, then setting up a new user on CD that the forum mods can all use, and have people PM their questions there.


i give two thumbs up to the idea. it’d be a way for people to get help without anyone looking down upon them or what not. I say go for it!

I believe the responses should be open to everyone and not just the moderators. Say someone does have a concern, someone from another team might have had the same concern and can post how they dealt with it. It might have happened to several individuals (or teams) and you can get different responses so the original poster will then have more than one choice on how to deal with it. The moderators can also give thier thoughts and advice and also filter the responses. I believe this “Dear Abby” idea is great and will help alot of individuals and teams.

( Just out of curiousity if there are three to four moderators how often would they check (to screen) the responses? Say someone posts a reply but it has to be screened first would it be hours before the Mod posts it?)