Members will be contacted when submissions are deleted and will be required to work one-on-one with the TF Resource staff after the first violation. The second violation will result in demotion to a lower user role on the website. Demotions will be carefully considered and in consultation with the management sub-committee. Demotion in extreme cases may be permanent, but will more often be for a cool down period with a set of conditions for reinstatement.
Dispute resolution will be handled first through the management sub-committee and if necessary through the oversight committee. This process will only be undertaken in cases where reasonable people might see some merit in the argument for reinstatement.
The Standing Committee has developed and approved the following policies and procedures. Any necessary additions or updates will be developed and approved by the same committee. Decision making will be as transparent as possible but, in the interest of focusing energy on the important work of developing content, this project will not be a democracy – the committee will have the final say.
The information on the TF Resource is divided into topic areas - alternative sorting and information delivery strategies may be developed in the future but for now we are keeping it simple. The initial topics were selected by the standing committee and future topics will be selected by the community and the Standing Committee. Once a topic has been selected for development, a topic team is formed of Standing Committee members and individuals with an interest and expertise in the area. Over several months text will be written, resources located, and community suggestions solicited. The development will take place on a public page – open for comments, edits and additions by registered users. Once a fairly stable topic page has been developed, the topic will move to a “maintenance mode” with minor updates added along the way. In maintenance mode, a moderator is appointed to keep the topic active and the topic teams are reshuffled as necessary to begin work on developing the next set of topics. During the initial topic building process and maintenance, the Standing Committee will strive to build a community around each topic and welcome new editors and contributors interested in guiding the topic through the development process. The wide-ranging and complex nature of travel forecasting means that the “complete” build out of the site is several years out.
Topics development will begin by indentifying sub-topics, developing an outline, preparing a to-do list to guide work, identifying overlaps with existing and future topics and developing strategies to handle these overlaps, and engaging community volunteers to help with the topic. Although each topic may have a slightly different format, templates and style guidelines will be provided to guide topic page development. Each topic group will be asked to collect a range of resources, including: references, graphics, courses, power point slides, etc. Although each topic may not lend itself to each category of page content or resource we ask the topic groups to try to be as inclusive as possible. Volunteers then start working the topic group moderators to write overviews, reach out to TRB committees and other relevant organizations, for content, suggestions, and assistance. The topic develop stage will be iterative, with text being refined by many volunteers, and collaboration being the overriding activity. Your contributions will be edited by others, over and over, if you are a sensitive writer you will either have to get over it or find another volunteer project. Moderators will track contributions and this will be noted on the final topic page.
Once the material for a topic page is “complete” it will be published. The terms complete, finished and final are all used in a very different sense than they would be for a printed resource. Our motto on the TF Resource is “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” A given topic page will never be perfect, complete, or the final word on the topic. That is okay - this is an evolving resource. We will publish the topic when the group of volunteers working on the topic is comfortable. It will be expected that the first few months after publishing will attract many comments, additions, new resources, etc. Although we won’t entertain a complete rewrite right away, we will make adjustments to the page. The development page will serve as the place to make suggests for the topic page and to discuss the topic after the development phase is complete.
If a topic you really care about is not currently under development you can suggest beginning development, but a topic will only be started if there is a diverse committed group of volunteers ready to tackle it. If there is enough interest staff will open a talk page and find a moderator to work with you. It may be difficult to accommodate too many new topics, so we may not be able to open up your new topic right away.
Volunteer time is always valuable and with the large topic being covered by the TF Resource we are especially cognizant of using volunteer time efficiently. Our moderators will be trained to help volunteers make important contributions to the site. We will make every effort to use material you have produced, but you should expect to work with a moderator on to edit your work. It is important to consult with topic moderators before investing too much time - we want to make sure you are moving in the right direction.
Preliminary topic page templates have been developed. Refined versions of these templates and style guides will be developed and provided to the topic groups. In the meantime, topic pages should follow the basic guidelines below:
- Be in a neutral point of view (if there is more than one approach describe both)
- Not contain original research but original content is okay
- Not include guidance, standards, or requirements
- Be verifiable
- Should include links to other portions of the TF Resource
- To the extent possible should include illustrations, images, and other breaks in the text
- Be free of plagiarism, you are welcome to quote other work but be very careful to provide credit
Obviously the Topics pages on the TF Resource have significant overlaps, share common background information and material. The advantage, and the curse, of a web based resource is that we don’t need to replicate common material all over the sight. The curse portion comes into play because to avoid that replication we need to be very aware of what is on existing topic pages and what will be included on developing topic pages. Collaboration is therefore critical not only within a topic group, but also with topic groups upstream and downstream of your topic and elsewhere on the site.
Web Site Roles
To avoid some of the problems associated with anonymous postings, the TF Resource will only allow attributed contributions. Unregistered visitors may view anything on the site, but will not be able to post to the site. Registered site members will have the ability to post and contribute at various levels.