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We’ve had some questions regarding Ricochet groups accumulate among the membership, and so we’re proud to present this FAQ containing way more than most of you ever wanted to know about Ricochet’s groups!
1) What are groups?
Groups were a feature added to Ricochet in July of 2016 at popular request. Groups are separate from the Main and Member Feeds, and are a way for Ricochet members to share particular interests away from the churn of topics on either the Main Feed or Member Feed. In some ways, groups resemble long-standing open threads devoted to particular topics, such as the Divine Help thread (prayer) or the PIT (general goofiness), but unlike these threads, which are formatted as ordinary Ricochet conversations open to all, and which must be periodically closed, then reopened, to reduce technical burdens on the site, groups are designed to stay open indefinitely, and also offer various privacy features.
2) What kinds of groups are there?
There are Public, Private, and Hidden groups. Joining a group (any kind of group) permits a Ricochet member to post, receive, and reply to Updates in that group. All activity and content in a Public group is visible to all Ricochet members, whether they’re in the group or not. Moreover, any Ricochet member can join any Public group. Private and Hidden groups require permission from a group’s admins or members to join. All Ricochet members can see that a Private group has been active, but they cannot see into that Private group without group membership or admin privileges. Hidden groups are just that: hidden. Ricochet members who don’t have membership in a Hidden group or admin-level access will not even know a Hidden group exists.
3) Who are these admins, and what is their role in groups?
Each group has one or more Group Admins. Group Admins are usually either the founder of the group in question, or someone given permission by the group’s founder to co-admin the group. Founding a group automatically makes you the Group Admin of that group, a responsibility you may later pass on to others, if you like. Group Admins have control over a group’s settings — its cover image and profile pic, group description, and so forth. A group administrator can also delete posts made by group members. Since anyone can view a Public group, the Group Admins of a Public group can’t restrict any Ricochet member from viewing their group’s content, but the Group Admins of Private and Hidden groups can. Becoming a Group Admin gives you leadership in that group, and the more restricted the group’s access (from Public to Private to Hidden), the more control you have.
General admins on Ricochet — Ricochet editors and staff, including Ricochet super-admin Max Ledoux and also including the Ricochet mods — also have full access to all Ricochet groups, to facilitate smooth working of the site. Because Ricochet is for the most part self-policing, Group Admins, not general admins, are chiefly responsible for ensuring their groups run smoothly.
Group Admins have the right to close their group at any time, as well as the right to control their own membership, up to and including removing members from that group. Removing members from a Public group does not prevent those members from viewing the group, but it does prevent them from posting in the group until the ban is revoked.
In the event that a Group Admin leaves the site without having assigned another admin first, Ricochet moderators and admins can, at the request of the group’s membership, re-assign the Group Admin role to another group member.
4) How do I join a Ricochet group?
To join a group, either go to Ricochet’s Groups Page, and find the name of the group you wish to join, or navigate directly to the group itself. If it’s a Public group, find the blue button marked “Join Group” and hit it. That’s all there is to that. If it’s a Private group, hit “Request Membership”. That request will either be accepted or denied by the Group Admins and existing members. To join a Hidden group, you need an invitation, else you won’t even know that group even exists.
5) How do I start my own Ricochet group?
To start a new group, you only need a few things. You need a name for the group and a description of the group’s purpose. You’ll want a “Cover Image” which should be around 1250 x 450 pixels and a square “Profile Photo” of at least 200 x 200 pixels to serve as the group’s profile pic or logo.It is possible to create a group without a profile photo or cover image, but that will leave you with the default placeholder images.
Go to Ricochet’s general Groups Page, and click on Create a Group.
The first page will show you a place to enter the Group Name and a Group Description, to let people know what your group’s about. Next page, choose whether this group will be Public, Private, or Hidden. Also choose who can invite people into the group. Next page, upload the Profile Photo. This is the square one. You can crop the photo if you need to. Next page, upload the Cover Image, which is the banner photo that appear across the top of the page for your group. On the next page, a list will appear of the people who are your Friends. This will allow the software to automatically send a notice to those you select telling them about your creation of the group.
6) What kind of content can I post in Ricochet groups?
Ricochet groups permit group members to post “Updates” as well replies to those Updates. The Update interface is pretty basic, without all the bells and whistles that Ricochet comments have. Updates can include photos and text (including naked links), but there isn’t a palette for bolding, italicizing, or embedding links in text. There is, however, a bar-shaped button permitting the updater to choose who gets notified of his Update, either Logged In Users, Only Me, My Friends, or Group Members. Group members can also Like each other’s Updates and replies.
Pictures may also be uploaded as a group post or comment, but due to the more limited code set, you cannot use any image in your existing image library and must upload it or link to it. Uploading an image for use in a group post or comment does, however, add it to your image library, and is thus available for use outside of groups.
Please note that due to the more limited editing tools available for group posts, posts and comments cannot be edited once posted. You can, however, delete your own comments or posts within the group, while Group Admins can delete any group member’s. Group posts and comments also cannot be flagged or quoted, but they can be liked, just as comments and posts on the feeds.
In the event that you are concerned about content posted within a group, and wish to alert management, please email the Moderators at [email protected]
7) Does the CoC apply to Ricochet groups?
Yes, it does. The civility demanded by Ricochet’s Code of Conduct (CoC) may be more informal in groups, but it’s still generally applicable, so use your common sense.
Public groups, being public, are open for the whole site to see, and members of Public groups should behave accordingly. Private and Hidden groups, due to their restrictions, can and do contain occasional expletives or all-caps “shouting”, such as, “[Expletive]! MEMBERS X, Y, AND Z are REALLY MISSING MY [EXPLETIVE] POINT on the Member Feed today!” But, for example, defamatory, gossipy, or rude conversations about fellow Ricochet members, spam, or generally obscene content violate Ricochet’s CoC in any group, no matter how restricted.
All Ricochet members can rest assured knowing Ricochet won’t host any group (no matter how “invisible” to the general membership) defaming fellow Ricochet members, or one posting obscene content about any person, whether a Ricochet member or not. So, for example, there aren’t any Hidden groups devoted to “Max Ledoux is a TOTAL [OBSCENITY]!”, and, since both Private and Hidden groups are fully visible to Ricochet admins and moderators, no Private or Hidden group functions as a secret haven where obscene content goes unnoticed. Post your hot naked pics of Cocaine Mitch in even a Hidden group, and they will be taken down. And if someone were to devote a Ricochet group to “Alex Jones is totally right about everything!!!” and the group weren’t clearly described as satirical, it would fall afoul of the “fruitcake” and misinformation clauses in Ricochet’s CoC.
Your Ricochet hosts aren’t continually looking over anyone’s shoulder, and entrust most concerns about CoC within groups to the Group Admins, but having grossly different standards of conduct for different areas of the site just isn’t scalable. Rules for Ricochet’s civility sometimes get a bit stretched in groups, especially in more restricted groups, but busting right through those rules is something Ricochet simply cannot host, in any group.
On rare occasions, and in order to deal with CoC concerns in a timely manner, moderators may comment or post within any group, irrespective of membership. Until recently, this was not policy, and we trust Group Admins to take leadership so that this new policy remains rarely exercised.
8) What features can Group Admins use to manage their group?
Clicking on the “Manage” Tab as an Admin will allow you to manage your groups in detail. This opens a menu with several options. Only Admins have access to the Manage tab.
- Under “Details”, you can change the group’s name and description, along with any other custom fields you establish (more on that under Extras).
- “Settings” allows you to determine if the group is Public, Private, or Hidden, along with who in the group can invite others.
- “Photo” lets you change the square profile photo shown in the listing of groups and on the right side of the group page.
- “Cover Image” sets the wide header image that appears on top of the group page.
- “Members” allows you to promote or demote members of your group between the different roles of Member, Moderator, and Admin. You can also Kick / Ban a member from your group. Moderators in groups are “trusted members” who can be assigned higher privileges, such as uploading photos or inviting members to a group. Group Moderators do not have the ability to delete posts or use the Manage tab.
- “Photos” determines who can create photo albums in the group.
- “Extras” – This is a very useful feature that lets you add content to your group. You can add Fields or Pages. Fields are questions you answer on the details page. They can be set to be displayed on an extras page or not. They are good for fixed questions, like the date and location of the next meetup. Pages lets you create pages of content much like a normal Ricochet post. You can create multiple pages, and determine how visible they are.
- “Delete” will allow you to delete your group.