Marvin’s “person” is out of town, so we can talk now! Marvin is so happy that the cat didn’t eat him, he’s decided to respond to a question about the staff!

Dear Marvin,

I read your column last week. I can sure tell you that I WROTE the book on Car-Seat.Org reputation. Your comments were fine for the masses that aspire to move up the reputation ranks, but seriously I’ve been doing all that since before you were born. My concern is the pesky staff. You know, I’m worried they’re going to go after me once they notice I’m getting close to them in reputation! Do you have some tips for that? – Your friend (as far as you know), Meddling Maisy

Hi Maisy (say Hi to Tallulah for me!),

Yes indeed, Marvin has some tips for you, too! Marvin knows some people are experts on everything and are never wrong, especially those pesky staff that try to rule the place with an iron fist. So, Marvin will take your word for it on the topic of reputation expertise, since you’re his friend and came seeking his advice on how to stay below the radar of the evil “Club Car-Seat” moderator gang. And get this, the staff got a reputation bonus when the reputation system started. The Admins got a whole bunch they didn’t even earn! How unfair is that?! This is all just between you and me, of course, since one of those pesky staff is responsible for putting those yummy pellets and freeze dried blood worms into Marvin’s tank!

Without further ado, here’s a breakdown of some obstacles you may encounter and what to do about them:

1) Reports. Don’t take it personally. It’s not your fault, maybe you just don’t communicate as well when you type as you do in person. Maybe you just had a bad day, or month, or year. Sometimes people accidentally click the wrong icon that is so unfairly positioned just a little bit to the right of the tiny reputation icon. That reports you instead of giving you rep. No worries, the snotty staff doesn’t really read those reports! They’re too busy having virtual video conference wine & cheese parties where they snark about all of YOU. Just keep doing what you’re doing, regardless of how much those other members whine about your posts! Until you hear from a Usergroup Leader, just keep those posts coming fast and furious!

2) UserGroup Leaders. They patrol the community forums and give out a slap on the wrist now and then, but are otherwise completely harmless! They’re far too friendly to tattle on you to the overlords. You can annoy them and get rep at the same time by posting lots of drama threads, a double bonus! Keep those hot topics going, even if it’s the 4th time it’s been rehashed this month! The UGL have ban power in the live chat room, so be a little careful with them. If they move or lock your big rep earning topics, be sure to make any snide remarks about them ambiguous, use carefully veiled negative comments or personal attacks that don’t actually name them directly! If a moderator steps in, you just deny everything and say you were talking about someone else lolol!

3) Moderators. Like UserGroup Leaders, but they can actually give you negative reputation, so you have to be a bit more careful here. Fortunately, they’re all too afraid to give any after the member revolt early this year. Instead, they will send you polite private messages and sometimes even those silly infractions that really don’t mean anything. For all the countless hours they spend keeping the forums running as a volunteer, you know they just don’t have the time or energy to deal with conflict. Plus, they’re just too nice to take any action or get into a heated debate with you. If a zealous one does send you a warning, make some concession and back off a little for a week or so, then back to work! Another warning? Back off for two weeks and off to mass posting again haha! A couple of those mods are always on power trips because of that Moderator title they prance around with, so if one of THEM keeps giving you a hassle or tells you to turn off your rep points, then you go public and let everyone else know about it! How dare they treat YOU that way after you gave them three weeks off! You get R-E-S-P-E-C-T and they back down, plus the underdog always gets rep clicks! Worst case, be sure you can turn the tables and blame the moderator for harassing you just in case an Admin gets involved!

3a) Don’t make enemies of all the UserGroup Leaders and Moderators. While you’re laying low for that week or two between posting frenzies, be sure to send friendly private messages to a few moderators and keep them as buds. They’ll never know of your ulterior motives and will surely support you if you ever do cross paths with an Admin! Plus, their clicks are worth a LOT of rep!

4) Negative Feedback. This is really bad for rep. I mean, one click and you might lose 6 points of rep from that 60 points you just earned by posting about how unfair the rep system is! First, plead ignorance. Act like you haven’t read any of the warnings and can’t possibly understand why you are being harassed. Certainly don’t apologize, because it sure wasn’t your fault that you didn’t read the forum guidelines. Or maybe you did, but you shouldn’t be expected to know the spirit of the law, especially if you found a clever exception or loophole [snicker]! Just claim that it wasn’t your fault. As Marvin said earlier, blame it on someone else, like a moderator or other member. Beg and plead for just one more chance. You’ll get that negative feedback cleared because they always give second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth chances, maybe more!

5) The Man. If you’ve received some infractions or warnings by PM, no doubt you’re on the radar of the Admins. Now, you KNOW they are out to get you and their only purpose in life is to keep you from getting those valuable reputation points! These are the inhuman drones who run the place. They’ve probably never even seen a kid or a carseat. Fortunately, they have been around so long and have such thick skins, they have no feelings to hurt if you get too aggressive! Yeah, there are stories of bans, but it’s mostly just urban legend. All those users who suddenly disappeared over the years are pure coincidence! Everyone hates The Man! Cha-Ching, more rep clicks 4 u!

6) The Ban. Perhaps you know the routine already from other forums? If you don’t, it’s nothing to worry about here. Besides, you probably expected it for some time, maybe even asked for it. What to do? Duh! Make a new alias! You should have at least a few of these already, anyway. They’re handy for jacking up your main identity even if you aren’t banned. You simply reply to posts made under your main username with lots of accolades about how smart you are! As a bonus, you can give yourself some rep! If things ever go sour with your main username, you have some backups already going! Just be careful not to use this account from the same computer or location. Those ruthless Admins can be sneaky. Post from work or steal bandwidth from your neighbor’s unsecured wireless network. The Admins will never realize it’s you, no matter how poorly you disguise your writing style! Be sure to send Marvin an email at marvin “at” carseatblog “dot” com with your new username so he can click you for some rep, too! You can trust Marvin a lot more than your other “friends” who will rat you out in exchange for reputation (yet another thing to try!). And don’t use PM because you know Big Brother (and Big Sisters) are out to get you now and just love to spend their time reading through “Private” Messages. Be sure to read the FAQ fine print about that!

7) The Fan. Yup, the fishy poop is gonna hit the fan now. Sure, you have other aliases and are still addicted to reputation, but nothing is stopping you from spreading the word about how unfair the Car-Seat.Org Clique and their reputation system are!. You’ll never meet any of these people anyway, and they sure deserve it! Especially that one guy who won’t put any more yummy pellets into my tank no matter how much I beg. No compassion at all, that one. I’m glad he can’t read fishy lips, because my mouth isn’t just opening and closing in anticipation of food! Besides, they can’t do anything to you since you are already banned, and we know they’ll never discover your new identity (or identities) rotflmao!

That’s pretty much it! Now that you know how the system works, you can minimize your risks! Just be sure to come back and thank Marvin when you have the respect of everyone at Car-Seat.Org as they look at all those reputation boxes in the bar that you’ve filled! But good luck catching Marvin!

Marvin’s “What’s Fishy” Advocates Corner:

There are two questions this week, but please, only one guess per person! It works like this. Each person may comment with one answer. Huh? Two questions, one answer? Yup, that means just one guess for you, not one guess per question! If you make more than one guess, only the first one counts! The first correct answer to either question wins first prize! It doesn’t even matter which question you think you are answering, as long as your response is a valid answer to either question. Then, the first person with the other correct answer wins the consolation prize! It’s easier than punching through chad on a voting ticket, really!

First prize: If you tuned in to Marvin’s Blog last week, you already know that this week’s first prize is a diaper bag in stunning Orange and Blue! It matches Marvin and celebrates a once in a decade event! The Valco diaper bag is courtesy of Let’s Go Strolling. Marvin is glad to announce they are his first promotional giveaway partner, so please visit their website if you are shopping for strollers or accessories! The winner also gets a rep click from Marvin.

Consolation prize: A reputation click from Marvin. OK, it’s not much, and basically worthless if you are not a member at Car-Seat.Org. Not even a cash value of 1/20 of a cent for this, sorry! No substitutions, refunds, etc! If you aren’t a member at Car-Seat.Org, all you get is a cyber pat on the back from Marvin!

Believe it or not, Marvin’s “person” has had some fishy forum behavior in the past, too! The questions involve his sordid internet past:

1) Yes, it’s true, he was once banned from an internet forum, even after he had been warned! He was told he violated their Terms of Service. At the time, the terms prohibited including links to commercial websites, but made an exception for non-profit ones. Apparently, some of the moderators were unwilling to actually read the terms and arbitrarily enforced a no-links policy. What website banned him?

2) Marvin’s person was also reprimanded from another internet forum for including “Child Passenger Safety Technician” in his signature, among other infractions regarding his signature. Apparently, CPS Tech wasn’t recognized as a credible title that could be verified, despite being listed on a public database. Ultimately, he was told that “footers”, “bumper stickers” and “taglines” were not allowed at all. Even though the forum rules and terms of service included no such restriction on what most of us call signatures, the moderators insisted that it was not simply not permitted. Presented with the fact that the forum software had a signature entry area for all members in their user profile, the lead moderator still issued a final warning. As a result, Marvin’s person removed his posts (editing out each signature was far more time consuming!). He also no longer volunteers his time by helping parents at those forums any longer, even though he was the only person correcting inaccurate advice on auto and child passenger safety there at the time.  What website didn’t even know they allowed signatures and hassled people who used the built-in signature feature?

Be the first one to comment on this blog with a correct answer to either question and you win! If you’ve already won a bag from Marvin, you are not eligible for this one, sorry! Again, only 1 (one) guess per person, if you make more, only the first one counts. Only one first prize and one consolation prize winner this week. Marvin is the final judge of the winner if there are any ties, technicalities or other unforeseen circumstances Marvin forgot to cover with fine print! Marvin reserves the right to make substitutions, since first prize will be shipped directly from the retailer to the winner.

Here’s this week’s first prize from Let’s Go Strolling:

(Contest Closed)