About my second day as a Volunteer, I answered someone’s question in the forums. My response carried my “official designation” as a Volunteer. In about 5 minutes, I got the reply “What’s a Volunteer.” After I stopped laughing–I try to never take myself too seriously–I sent back “I write things for Replay’s Blog and Facebook posts and don’t get paid any cash. Otherwise, I have no responsibilities or authority.” That seemed to satisfy her. Over the past few weeks, that question, or a close variation, has popped up both at tables and in the forums. It seems to me that many players don’t know what volunteers are or what they (we) do. I thought readers might like some answers.
First, Volunteers don’t get paid any money or get any advantages at the games. Some get “chips” now and then, depending on what we’ve done during the preceding time period. I’ve been particularly fortunate at that with many accepted Blog articles or stories and Facebook posts over the past few months.
Second, not all Volunteers are doing the same jobs. When I last counted, there were about 70 of us, total. Roughly half of them are translators fluent in English and some other language; their function is obvious and useful, both to Replay and the players speaking those languages. About half of the remaining Volunteers are Player Representatives. PRs mostly answer questions from players, point out where to get help if help is needed, and report problems to more senior people. Moderators are almost everybody else. They try to solve the problems they observe or that their attention is called to by PRs. (I often think the Mods have the worst job here: dealing with the problems and being called away from the games they came here to enjoy.) Some of our casual players want to think of Mods as “beat cops;” a fairer analogy would be to think of them as “school crossing guards” who get the kids across the street safely. We also have Forum Moderators, Facebook Friends, and Blog Buddies.
That sounds like a small army, doesn’t it? Actually, several people fill more than one role. I am both a Blog Buddy and a Facebook Friend. Others do both of those jobs and are also PRs or Mods. So, there are about 85 or 90 “jobs” being done by about 70 individuals.
So, who is responsible for seeing that our games run smoothly and the rules are followed? All of us, Staff, Volunteers, and players, too! Every individual here is, and has to be, part of the team. That’s the only way a cooperative venture like a poker game can happen and succeed.
It might be easier to understand if we compare poker to automobile traffic. If no one stops for red lights or stop signs, chaos, accidents and injuries will abound. Only a crazy person would leave their house in the morning for fear they wouldn’t survive to return at night. Whether we want to or not, we must ALL obey the traffic laws, even pedestrians, else the whole system fails. Likewise, unless we do it in poker, there can be no games. Think about that. Think how empty and dull our lives could be without the winning and losing, without the banter, table talk, and socializing with friends over the poker table. You WOULD miss that.