www.whyville.net Apr 27, 2008 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

WhyGuides: Helpful or Hoax?

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A few weeks ago a new method of helping newbies was introduced to Whyville -- Tour Guides. Simply go to the WhyHouse, then click the Welcome Lounge to meet and greet new Whyvillians. The duty of Tour Guides is to give tours to newbies and introduce them to the website.

This is a very useful concept, however there are many flaws -- especially with the three requirements to become a Tour Guide. I feel that these conditions are unsuitable for this position because they are simple to fulfill, the Tour Guides know nothing themselves, and the quality of the tours is poor.

Firstly the qualifications to be a Tour Guide seem effortless to meet. The three requirements are: your account must be at least 20 days old, your salary has to be a minimum of 30 clams and you must not have had any punishments in the last 30 days. These days many Whyvillians achieve high salaries with the help of cheat websites, so it is simple to meet the salary requirement of just 20 clams. 20 days is not a suitable requirement because most Whyvillians have visited Whyville for over 20 days; requirements are something to attain, not something that has been accomplished already. One strategy that Tour Guides use is creating an account, raising it's salary to 20 clams and not logging on for a month. By not accessing their account for a while, the Whyvillian avoids chatting and therefore also avoids getting punished. These guidelines are similar to the ones to become a YHelper so Tour Guides can be considered as "mini YHelpers" however their help is not up to standards.

Secondly, this lack of experience results in poorly Whyville-educated Tour Guides. As I mentioned earlier, one requisite to be a Tour Guide is to have a 20 day old account. However I consider a 20 day old Whyvillian to be a newbie as well. In just 20 days it is impossible to learn about all the tour destinations. I speak from experience because when I was a newbie myself, I barely knew anything about Whyville let alone enough to give somebody a tour! The 20 day old requirement is enabling a vast majority of Whyvillians to become Tour Guides and this is wrong. Each week we are bombarded with ymails from City Hall begging Whyvillians to give tours. But the newbies are better off, in my opinion, without some of the unskilled Tour Guides.

Does that mean I only want a selective few getting ymailed? Of course not. I want everyone to have a chance at being a Tour Guide. Emphasis on the word 'chance'. However clearly a lot of people are getting this privilege and taking advantage of it. In any case, giving too much privilege to too many people results in chaos and this is the situation we have with Tour Guides. For example only a selected few have the privilege of becoming a YHelper if they meet certain specifications. During the senate race there are guidelines to meet before creating a platform. What if most Whyvillians could become YHelpers or senators? These statuses would be tarnished because clueless people would be aiding other clueless people. One could even say that the Tour Guides is like the blind teaching the blind.

Lastly Tour Guides have bad judgment and sense of direction. The very second a newbie enters the Welcome Lounge a Tour Guide quickly adds them to their tour and teleports them elsewhere. This is very rude and abrupt to the newbie that JUST made an account and knows nothing about the website. Imagine if, when you created your account, an unknown user whisked you away to another room and began explaining things that you did not understand. The greeting at the Welcome Lounge states "And now you can earn up to 100 clams a day for lending a helping hand. (Clams are paid at the same time you get your salary. You get one clam per room per person in your tour.)"

The tours are misguided and rushed because some Tour Guides are fueled by greed and only participate to earn clams. However for the poor quality of the tours given, these Tour Guides do not deserve to be rewarded. Marian Wright Edelman, an American activist for children's' rights, once said "Never work just for money or for power. They won't save your soul or help you asleep at night." But City Workers seem to have a different concept because they are gratifying Tour Guides for their 'work'. The tours are not teaching new members anything; but creating confusion and misguidance.

To improve the Tour Guides I am proposing three solutions. One, the account age guideline should be increased to 50 days. 50 days is over 2 months, giving Whyvillians plenty of time to learn about the website and raise their salary. This brings me to my second idea, the salary requirement. Though Tour Guides do not need to know about the Salary Ledger games or methods to earn clams, the salary should be raised to 50 clams. As I said before, Whyvillians use cheat websites to boost their salaries but increasing the salary requirement will increase their hard work and show that they're devoted to Whyville. Thirdly, Tour Guides must not have been punished in the last 60 days. This will show whether a Tour Guide is in trouble often, or not. Fourthly to become a YHelper, you must pass a test that questions your knowledge about Whyville. I think there should be a similar test for future Tour Guides asking questions about tour destinations. For example one location is the Food Court. So an inquiry could be "What is the program called, involving healthy eating?" The answer is WhyEat. However City Workers cannot monitor Tour Guides to make sure they are explaining these things to newbies. The effort and force has to come from within a person because City Workers are too occupied to make sure Tour Guides are doing what they should already be doing.

Some will argue that if newbies are mislead by Tour Guides, they can always get better assistance from a YHelper. However the guidelines to be a Tour Guide are similar to the ones to become a YHelper so Tour Guides can be considered "mini YHelpers." Also if people suggest newbies should go to YHelpers if they are confused by botched tours, then what is the point of having Tour Guides at all? Do not get me wrong; I have nothing against the program because it is extremely useful. It is a good concept that is failing to work. Though nothing is perfect, everything can always be improved. Though I know City Workers are extremely busy, they are constantly promoting something that is obviously defective and seemingly ignoring the results. It is easier to be proud of assisting others than it is to admit the assistance itself is poor. Therefore I believe that the specifications to fill the Tour Guide position should be changed because the requirements to become one are minuscule, causing Tour Guides to be inexperienced and give terrible tours.


Author's Note: I want to thank a fellow Whyvillian, Amanda. She educated me on the topic, provided arguments and encouraged me to write this article! Thank you so much for making me angry about this issue!!


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