Volunteer — The Allocator

By Theresa de Valence - Posted on 07 December 2011

The Allocator reads/skims every post from DorothyL listserv from the beginning of December to ~20th January and forwards the emails to the people who will do this year’s collation of entries (Indefatigable Sharpies).

Think this is a job you can do? Read on:

During this period, The Allocator needs to be on immediate delivery of DL posts, rather than digest. If you need help to set this up, email Michael (The Saint), info on DorothyL website.

In round robin fashion, The Allocator will forward each qualifying DL post (see below) to one of our Indefatigable Sharpies (formerly called Volunteers C). In order to simplify this job from year to year, google groups accounts have been formed for the Indefatigable Sharpies: DLBests1@g…, DLBests2@g…, DLBests3@g, DLBests4@g…, DLBests5@g…, DLBests6@g…, DLBests7@g…, DLBests8@g…, DLBests8@g…, DLBests10@g…, DLBests11@g… (caps NOT important, address hidden for spam-prevention).

As someone volunteers to become an Indefatigable Sharpie, s/he is invited to become a member of one of the DLBests groups (I do this). Volunteers who also helped last year may end up with the same account (I try to keep the same account if I can). The Allocator is invited to join all DLBests groups. See additional notes below.

As the DL listserv distributes posts to The Allocator, s/he modifies the post (see next para) and forwards the post to DLBests1@g..., then DLBests2@g..., then DLBests3@g..., etc., then back to the beginning, in round robin fashion. Sometimes a person needs to relinquish his/her position as a Sharpie. It’s important for The Allocator to remember which DLBests accounts are in use.

The Allocator should be forwarding emails every couple of days. Before forwarding, The Allocator changes the email Subject to include the name of the sender of the original post. This is for auditing purposes. Sometimes a poster will tack on one more favourite book. Sometimes a poster will change/correct the wording/spelling of a prior entry. Sometimes a poster will repost his/her entire post. It’s The Allocator’s job to make sure that all posts for one sender go to the same Sharpie; this will alert the Sharpie that s/he needs to closely inspect the data.

Another issue which comes up is that Indefatigable Sharpies sometimes include their own Bests Reads Booklist in their own spreadsheets, so The Allocator needs to keep in mind who are this year's Sharpies. The simplest way to manage this is to send any booklist posted by a Sharpie back to the same Sharpie.

An important issue is which DL posts qualify as belonging to the Bests lists. Of course any post with a subject containing "Best of 20xx" belongs, but I usually also include any book recommendations posted during this period. Here is my reasoning: In spite of everyone’s interest in more good books, many people don’t create Best Of Year/Memorable posts (my guess is that they can’t be bothered). Fewer than 5% of the DL membership submit titles. So, it is my tendency from 1 December until mid- to late- January when we quit taking Best Of Year lists to read every DL post and, if the poster says they’ve really enjoyed a book (i.e. highly recommended, VG, or better) referencing the year ending December 31st, then I include that post/book title(s) in the compilation of Best Books. I take the liberty of assuming that *if* that DL poster *had* written a Best Of/Memorable list, these titles would have been included. These posts increase the number and breadth of the Best Of lists. The only time I might not include a title which was highly recommended is if the author of the post has otherwise sent in a Best Of Year post. In this case I often ask the poster if they’d like to include the new title in the Best Of Year list. Or if I’m unclear about something that the DL poster has written, then I will write directly to the poster for clarification; if the poster does not write back to me, then the odds are I will omit the post from the compilation. Sharpies can manage these posts themselves or ask me to do them.

The Allocator is a member of all DLBests groups and will receive the forwarded posts back again. This practise was established to make auditing your own actions easier (since you won’t have to go back to the website to see what posts have occurred). I recommend that you create a subfolder and a rule in your email software to funnel all posts from DLBests into the one folder.

If you'd like to volunteer, please comment here. For greater privacy, use the Contact menu item at the top of the screen or use the Contact form.