How do we solve a problem like referrals


Forking a conversation from Slack regarding external requests for “expertise”.

In short, Farset has no “official” pathway for people to enquire about people with “particular sets of skills” beyond different versions of word of mouth referrals, normally to directors or NEMs directly, but occasionally with people dropping by and leaving a message for “someone”, or just calling in (on the phone that very few answer of check (<rant> and shouldn’t, it’s 2016 FFS, I don’t want to be playing your 3 minute long message multiple times to catch your mouth-sharted phonenumber at the end…</rant>))

My first feeling is to just do the same as we’ve done with job offers; Send them to the Jobs Board.

Any better ideas?


And for the JIRA types, I’m tracking this issue under MO-72


As far as I understand, the only difficulty with Discourse is that having a Farset-branded forum for this encourages people to come to Farset with tech requests. If that’s not a problem, then the Jobs board seems perfect, but from the Slack discussion I get the impression we want to discourage that association.

If not Discourse, then something off-site - given the target demographic is non-technical people who are looking for quick fix (on the assumption that anybody more motivated or informed will use the Job board), then they /probably/ have a LinkedIn account and are used to using it. This would, naturally, become noisy, but would beat simply telling them to clear off.

Digital Circle is also an option as a digital connecting space, so it fits in their remit, but it sounds as if they are already directing these types of science and engineering enquiries to Farset.

My only personal feeling is that, as I am in the coworking space quite a bit, it would be helpful to have some SOP that we can stick to when people ask - the One True Established Way of not hassling NEMs, directors or members - so eventually when someone in Uni A asks technically minded Uni A member Techie B, Techie B says go to the OTEW (not ring Farset and leave a phone number). Similarly, with such enquiries DC that directs to Farset, for that matter.


To me, this is not so much about referrals - I’d say if there is an identified forum, it’s up to people to identify themselves (a) wanting help and (b) wanting to provide it. A system to refer a project to a specific person creates administrative work and a knowledge burden - a separate, albeit perhaps useful, service.


This is my general point; is Discourse a suitable “one true way”? Does it need a separate room or should it be lumped in with #jobs (which I know many don’t sub to).

If someone posts a reasonable enquiry, I’m more than happy to share it through official channels to raise awareness/audience, but not everyone likes that.

My 2c


That sounds like a decent solution to me - even if #jobs is not well-watched, I’d say that’s a secondary issue (as with the LinkedIn point), where no hassle is caused, people like me can opt in for info and on the off-chance something otherwise unrouted isn’t the job-request equivalent of 419 spam, it gets promoted to people who are likely to be interested.

And it solves the original problem that I and others can say something (at least sounding) more productive than “sod off”. Plus “jobs” has the benefit of suggesting indirectly that free labour from naive geeks for a routine project is not available.


Can we consider this an (at least interim) solution? Will put a note beside phone and in coworking space, for others’ info if so. (and what’s the best way to reference this discussion from issue tracker?)