www.whyville.net Aug 15, 2007 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Being a Y-Mail Helper: No Walk in the Park

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Y-mail helpers. You see them everywhere. In the Newbie Help Room, their faces in the Times, and even around you in chat. You got it. Y-mail helpers are just ordinary citizens like you and me. Most people know what y-mail helpers do: Answer questions through chat in the Newbie Room, where new citizens or older Whyvillians with questions can come and ask a helper, and answering questions through y-mail. It would seem like a pretty easy and fun thing to do, which it is, at times, but there are also some responsibilities in it comes to being a helper that some of you may not realize.

When I first became a y-mail helper, and started answering questions in chat at the Newbie Center, I found out it was harder than it looks. I had to type long and complicated answers quickly, deal with the ever-agonizing filter, and impatient citizens ready to take their knowledge and go. After about a half hour or so, I was exhausted. So. My first turn in the Helper chair was over. But it was not to be the last. There are many different things that other y-mail helpers do when they help in the chair. some of these strategies may help your helping session, and others could just make the person you are assisting feel more comfortable. Here are a few things that you should to do keep your helping session relaxed, helpful, obviously, and fun for you.

1. Always greet the Whyvillian when he or she comes to the chair.
2. Even if the Whyvillian has multiple questions, you should let them start wrapping up before you move on with someone else's turn.
3. Have patience! Remember what it was like when you were a newbie? It was hard for all of us, and the best thing we can do is try to help a citizen succeed in our town.
4. If you get tired, it's okay! There is usually another helper sitting around somewhere, or when you leave, a citizen will most likely ring the bell and call another one. It's alright to leave during your session if you have something important to do, or are just feeling tuckered out and believe you can't be as helpful at the moment.

I know many y-mail helpers have gone through some embarrassing moments in there time, too. I know I feel like just leaving the room when a Whyvillian asks a hard question and I don't know the answer. I try to do the best I can, as I am sure many of you do, but in the end, there is only so much we can do to help with things we don't know about.

When I get done with a session in the Newbie Center, and got asked a question I didn't know about, I usually try to go explore and find the answer. That way, if I get asked that question again, or something similar, I'll be on top of it.

Even Y-mail Helpers learn from the citizens asking the questions.

So, do you want to become a y-mail helper? Here is how:

1. Click on the destinations bar on your bus menu, and scroll down to the very bottom where you see the words "Y-mail Helper".
2. When you click on that, it will take you to a page that has some information about y-mail helpers and their pictures below. After you read the information about the helpers, then scroll down to the very bottom once again, and you will see a link that says "If you are interested in becoming a y-mail helpers yourself, click here to visit the Y-mail Helper application page."
3. Then, a page will come up telling you the requirements to be a y-mail helper. Click on the "Check if I am Eligible" button to see if you can continue to the test.
4. Once you have checked if you are eligible and you are, then proceed to the test! You must get all the questions right to pass. If you don't the first time, that's okay! Look at the questions you got wrong and dig up some info on them in the Times Archives, or around Whyville.

There you have it! Being a Y-Mail Helper is a lot of hard work at times, but it's also really fun and gives you a great feeling. But remember: Next time you're sitting in the Newbie Help Center, waiting for a helper to arrive, be polite. Y-mail Helpers do a lot to the community. You can be one to! Just be ready for the challenge???and the reward! (Helping Whyvillians get going on Whyville is a great feeling, you know. No clams required!)



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