Riddle me this…

This is the scenario I have been in the past 3 months….

Its time to email members for the upcoming month of recipes. I go to the Recipe Rotation.. I check out the names… I click on their blogs… and I only see 1, 2 or 3 TWD entries from now back through November or October… What do I do?!?!?

We used to have very strict participation rules. You had to participate twice a month to continue being a member. No ifs ands or buts… (Well, I would take hiatuses for those getting married, having babies, going on vacay, etc..) The rules have fallen by the wayside, mostly because I do not want to be a hypocrite. My life has been insane the past year. In trying to get Colby’s epilepsy under control, I sometimes barely remember TWD. Sad, but true. (Not entirely true, I bake 3/4 of the months recipes, but then dont post about it. Which is the worst, because I am actually baking along, but then dont put up proof!) I am doing my best to remember the P&Q etc.. to keep things going for you guys.  Its becoming a staple that the upcoming hosts of the week are barely playing along.. Last month, I had to remove 10 members before I found someone who was playing along at all. So, tell me this…. should the members who have only participated once or twice in 3-4 months have the opportunity to host for a week?!?  I want to know what you think here.

Thanks! Bake on!

Laurie

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53 thoughts on “Riddle me this…

  1. Maybe bump those people to the end of the list in case they begin participating in full again? Let the people who regularly bake pick the recipes, I say!

  2. Maybe take the original twice-a-month posting requirement and make that the new hosting eligibility requirement. So to host, you need to have posted at least twice a month for the previous X months. If you post less than that you won’t necessarily get kicked off the blogroll, but you can’t host.

    FWIW, I would not have expected to be eligible to host had my name come up during the 3 months I barely posted.

    Thanks for all you do for the group, Laurie!

  3. I know that I’m probably gonna be the odd man out here, but if you make a rule, it shouldn’t be broken.

    Now I understand that there are reasons for hiatus’s, but if your just not baking along…they know the rules….and they should be followed.

    **ducking**

  4. I have similar opinions to those above. I have been baking very regularly for 17 months now and now my turn should be coming up soon. That said, I’ve made sure that I have posted at LEAST two per month, usually 3-4.

    Also a factor here, you stated about a month or so ago that you had been lax on the rules and hadn’t removed anyone, BUT that you planned to get back in the swing (New Year’s Resolution I think??) and that for that reason you had not removed anyone. I believe you also said that you would start removing people again though.

    My immediate reaction to your question was to bump them back a month or so to give them the benefit of the doubt. I wouldn’t notify them or anything, after all, participation is the key factor in this group, so they should be following along. However, pushing them back a month or so and giving them a “second shot” at hosting would seem fair. After the month or two that you push them back, if they still aren’t participating I would say no host. I think posting something here for all to see is amply fair, stating whatever you decide.

    I guess I’m looking at it from MY perspective. I’ve been anxiously awaiting my turn, and except for one month during the holidays where I only posted one of the month’s recipes, I have participated 95% of the time. But at the same time, life can get in the way and that’s understandable, I guess that’s why I say offer a second shot.

    ;) JMHO FWIW

  5. I remember too the feeling of it being almost my turn to host. I seem to remember feeling like I *had* to participate. Kind of like, being on my best behavior. I would think if a person is getting close to hosting and they haven’t posted in forever, it’s a being done consciously. They are choosing not to participate. I know that life gets in the way and all, but to not post in months is something you do knowingly. I’ve had weeks where I just barely get the recipe made, and I throw up a half-a$$ post, just to get it up there…. “here it is, I liked it, and that’s that”. It doesn’t have to be a Pulitzer Prize winning post. It just has to show you’ve participated. And when you sign up for TWD, you KNOW it is a weekly committment. For that reason, I think there should be a set of rules and they should be abided by. In life, there are rules… you can’t not pay your bills, you can’t drive 100 miles an hour in a school zone. I can see giving people a break for a while, but if they haven’t participated in MONTHS, well, I think it shows they aren’t commited to TWD anymore. I think idea of bumping a person from hosting if they haven’t participated in a long time is a good one.

    Maybe my hard-nosed position is being influence by the fact that the kids have only gone to school one day in the last eight, so keep that in mind, LOL.

    Laurie, you do a great job and I appreicate all you do. Don’t be afraid to impose some rules. It’s your site, you can do what you want.

    • We are buried under snow too. The kids havent had a full day of school since Feb 5. I am starting to wear out. Its hard being chipper when trapped in doors with 3 little ones week after week! I feel your pain lady. xo

      And thanks for the feedback.

  6. I guess I’m a stickler. Since everyone is aware of the participation requirement, I think the rule should stand. While I agree certain circumstances warrant a hiatus, people should be emailing you with their requests for hiatus. I feel bumping people to the end of the list and possibly having to “re-bump” them creates more work for you, Laurie. I appreciate all you do for this group (the P&Q is extremely helpful) and support whatever decision you make.

    Bake on!

  7. I agree… Rules are rules. Even through my crazy overseas move I tried my best to post at least twice a month and I wouldn’t expect to be given a chance to host if I wasn’t baking along with the group.

  8. Clean house! As a new member I was surprised at all the members that hadn’t baked for months. Each Tuesday I try and visit a few different blogs, see what others are baking. Too often the blogs I visit are quite inactive! Clean House. But then I always have enjoyed a ‘tidy’ list!
    Thanks for all you do! I love TWD!

  9. I may be new, but I really enjoy participating. Maybe it’s time for others to find somting new if they don’t have time for TWD.

    I am travelling on business most of February and March, so I doubled up on my baking when I was at home, so I wouldn’t fall behind (I can’t really bake much in a hotel room!).

    I also have a family and they really love it when I bake new treats!

  10. I think if you don’t participate twice a month, you get kicked out. The recipes are posted in advance and you only have to make two per month.

    Laurie, you get a pass because you started the whole darn thing, plus you put a lot of time into maintaining the group/website instead of posting on your own blog, PLUS we all agree that there are acceptable reasons for a haitus, and you have one right now with your son’s epilepsy.

    One of the things I like about TWD as opposed to other blogging groups is that it isn’t too big and most of its members are active, both of which are a result of the participation rules.

    All that being said, I’ll support whatever you decide.

  11. I like Cathy’s idea to push those people who haven’t been participating to the end of the list and let them know they need to participate regularly in order to “host”.

    Unfortunately I’m one of those people whose turn is coming up and I’ve only baked once a month or so lately. After just having had a baby two months ago, it’s been hard to keep up. While I’d love to host soon, I also understand that I may have lost the privilege with not participating regularly lately.

    I’m okay with whatever is decided!

  12. I’m an outsider but waiting to join in (waiting for my Dorie Greenspan book which will arrive end-march) .. and I agree with the first two people who commented:
    people who are not posting twice a month on a regular basis should not be taken off, but should be bumped down the list .. and only regular posters should have hosting privileges.
    Sounds fair to me.

  13. We all knew what the requirements were when we joined. You were very clear that if we needed to take a break for whatever reason, to send you an email. If the bloggers who haven’t posted in months haven’t emailed you and let you know what’s going on, they haven’t followed the rules and should be removed from the list. If at some point they want to rejoin, they should be allowed to do so, but they go to the end of the list.

  14. I think bumping them to end of the line is a good idea to let the people who are really participating play. Besides if they aren’t bothering to post now who’s to say they will even play along when its their turn?

  15. Great post – people read the rules and signed up after agreeing to those rules. There shouldn’t be any exceptions. It’s probably too much work, but a quick email to those in question stating, “you’ll be eliminated from the list on ___ unless we hear from you…”, but honestly, it’s not worth the trouble!

    As a side note – the baker’s list is a great way to check – but mine doesn’t always show my current post – still shows “Milk Chocolate Mini Bundt Cakes” – and I’m up to date with TWD. Not sure if that’s my RSS feed problem or a WordPress issue – but the feature does make visiting TWD posts convenient!

    Terrific job on the entire TWD project Laurie!

  16. I’m with most of the group that says that you need to stick to the rules. I think they are not demanding. I wouldn’t even bother notifying people if they’ve been dropped. They know that they haven’t been baking. I’d say if people haven’t contributed in the last month or maybe two that they should no longer be a part of the group. I would expect that if there are extenuating circumstances, then that person might let you know. I think that we all have things going on, and you need to make this as easy for yourself as possible.

  17. Two suggestions:

    1) Perhaps you could get some help with your responsibilities? If a few members could go through the list and find those who haven’t posted in a long time, then you could just take all those off the blogroll in one fell sweep.

    2) I like the “bumping” idea, or something similar where you just don’t allow folks to host if they aren’t doing at least 2 a month. I do think, this group being so huge, that there should be some requirements in place. I have trouble finding blogs to comment on each month b/c I’ll click links on the blogroll and find that that person hasn’t participated in months. So I would recommend that you do take people off the blogroll, but maybe have slightly laxer requirements than the hosting requirements. For example, maybe you could take people off the blogroll if they’ve had two months without a TWD post.

    Also, there’s an email with the new recipes? How does one get this? I just check the blog every month.

  18. I am strongly for the idea of enforcing the rules. Not making more work bumping and keeping track of all that. It’s “fairer” for those of us who do participate and follow the rules.

    It sounds like most of us who do participate regularly are the ones contributing to this discussion and it seems like the majority fall into the “stick by the rules or be removed” camp…

    If the commitment is too much then don’t join… I personally love the incentive and motiviation it gives me to bake, not to mention the friendships and other blogs I’ve found through TWD! :)

  19. How about a post saying something like: “we are removing those of you from twd who haven’t been participating, etc..”, then the ones who really care, but may have had a lot going on lately can step it up. The ones who don’t care can be dropped. I know I haven’t personally been participating as much as I used to – but now I’m feeling the shame, and I’m stepping it up. There is no way I would risk getting the boot – this group is too important to me. I think a lot of members may also feel this way, but maybe they’ve just gotten a little lazy. I think a warning message will remind some people they need to step it up. After that, if there are some who still don’t care – give ‘em the boot.

  20. I have to agree with the majority…the rules are up front, simple and not that difficult to adhere to. If you want to be part of the group, post at least 2x a month. I work two jobs (three if you count my baking) and make the time to post at least two recipes a month. That might mean spending a Saturday baking several recipes just to get them done, but I want to be part of the group and if that’s what I need to do, that what I do. If you haven’t posted in the last two months, you should be removed from the list. Period. Oh, and Laurie, I bow to you and your dedication to this group! Thank you so much!

  21. I agree – the rules have been the same the entire time I’ve been in the group, which is over two years (*gulp!*). If you haven’t posted 2x per month and don’t have a “buy” in the form of a kid, wedding, health issue, etc – out you go. It irritates me to see people host when they haven’t posted in months, then go back to not posting. There are plenty of people who participate week after week and still won’t host for another year or two. Give them a chance.

  22. yeah, no hosting if they don’t play along. those of us who participate almost every week would love to have even a glimmer of hope that we can choose again…and i’m sure, as caitlin said, loyal members who came to the group later on would love to see their turn come up sooner! cathy’s suggestion above is a good one.

  23. I’m a rule gal, as well.

    That said, perhaps you could contact the moderators of The Daring Kitchen and talk to them about their blog-checking program? I know for that, we each have to put a specific few lines in the first part of our post, and they run a program that checks all our blogs automatically.
    That might help, right?

  24. I think they should be bumped, but if moving them back a month or two is going to make a bunch more work for you, kick them off the list. They know the rules, and if they haven’t bothered to contact you, they either don’t care or have too many other things going on. It’s so frustrating to look through the bakers and find people who haven’t participated in ages.

    I am a new member, and I thought really hard about joining, because I travel for work and am sometimes away for a a month or more at a time. So, like many, I suck it up and bake when I can and get at least 2 posts a month done.

    So many good suggestions above!

  25. I was new to TWD – I initially started following “the rules” and was excited about the group. Despite my participation, however, my name never even made it to the board (I don’t mean as a host, I mean even as a member), I didn’t get a confirmation that I was a part of the group (just a “waiver” type email that identified the rules and asked for a commitment), and there was no way to confirm whether I was or wasn’t. Motivation to participate in a group that doesn’t even recognize you as a member isn’t high. I love the book, and loved the idea of a group – but a group with such strict rules about posting at least twice per month, specifically on a Tuesday, with minimal at best recognition of new members is going to render exactly what has happened – lack of participation.

  26. First, I agree with the majority: I’m okay with people participating when they can, but only people who follow the participation rules should be allowed to host. This seems fair, especially with the size of the group. I also disagree that participation should be based on how fast your name is added to the list. It took a while for me to be added, too, but I still participated: I baked regularly, I posted on my blog, and I came here and discussed recipes in comments. I did it because I enjoyed it, and I wanted to bake along. That’s really what this is about…

  27. I’ve faithfully stayed with TWD for the past two years because of the sense of community and the group’s desire to bake together and support one another through our baking adventures. I’ve participated in a few baking groups, but I haven’t experienced the commitment and support that the TWD bakers have exhibited.

    Growing the TWD group is a fantastic thing, but to sustain that spirit of support and community, it requires that everyone makes a good faith effort to participate.

    I don’t think the rules are too rigorous or unreasonable – isn’t the whole point of partaking in the group to bake regularly from the book? I say members either participate on a regular basis according to the guidelines, or be removed from the group.

    I think the bumping of non-active members to the end of the hosting list is a nice idea, but would think that the process to track and maintain this would be an administrative nightmare. I say keep it simple – you’re in the group if you participate; otherwise, you’re out.

  28. I agree with everyone else. It bums me out to click on random blogs on the blogroll and have it be a dead blog that hasn’t been updated in months. I understand that life gets busy and blogging falls by the wayside, but I think that hosting is a privilege of being an active group member. Bump ‘em to the back, I say!

  29. I must admit that I haven’t been the most loyal TWD-member the last couple of months and although I would be a bit bummed if I was bumped to the end of the list, I was and still am quite aware of the TWD rules. I agree that rules and they should be inforced.

  30. Make it easy on yourself…rules are there for a reason. If someone isn’t posting accordingly, you can just remove them (post in the original rules if not already), and they can always re-apply, right? Of course, that puts them at the bottom of the list again, but that’s what happens when the rules aren’t followed usually, right? If it means that much to them, they will re-apply. When checking, I would use a two month rotation, that way you only have to look at 1/8 of the blogs each week, still a lot of work, I know.

  31. I definitely think that in order to host you need to be a regular participant. Every once in a while we all have a month where we simply can’t participate as much as we should, but if in the last 3 or 4 months someone has only participated in 1 or 2 things I feel like they shouldn’t be able to be a host. There are rules and they should be followed unless you’ve got a really good excuse (marriages, babies, vacation, sickness, etc)! There are so many of us that love this group and try hard to follow the rules and would love to host, those who don’t take it as seriously should be bumped to the back of the list. Right?

  32. I agree with the rules you’ve set forth, Laurie. It irritates me when people host and haven’t been posting. Rules are rules for a reason.

    Laurie, I really appreciate everything you do-by starting this group, you’ve encouraged so many of us to push the envelope with baking-to bake or try things we might otherwise have just overlooked. Thank you!!!!!

  33. Um.. as probably one of the offending at (had a slight hiatius post wedding from Dec- This month) I’d say contact them first to see if they are still wanting to do it. Perhaps hosting would give them the kick to throw themselves back into things!

  34. Nope, UNLESS they contacted you and told you that there was stuff going on in their lives which precluded their participation. My posting fell by the wayside for about a month because of a family emergency, but I let you know and you gave me the green light. I don’t think that’s too hard – your rules are clear, generous, and you are very flexible.

  35. Along these lines, would it be possible to update the “Completed Recipes” page? Some of us would like to go back and bake things that we had to miss, and that would be a big help.

  36. As someone who has hosted, I will say that I was very appreciative of the fact that my date moved up considerably from when I joined as the result of non-particpants being dropped. It would have been frustrating to regularly participate and then get the choice between “whipped cream” or “pie dough” as my recipe.

  37. Laurie,
    I think the most important thing to being in any group is… participating. I am very aware of the rules as is everyone else that signs up. I try really hard to keep up with the 2x a month rule out of respect for the other bakers. If something comes up I make sure to let you know out of courtesy. Heck! You’re not a mind reader! But I don’t think it should be your responsibility to babysit members that don’t participate. We’re all adults here right? In theory “bumping” is a good idea but I think it creates administrative work that you clearly do not have time for. I say if they haven’t participated in the last month (or 2?) before their hosting time, they get bumped off the list (unless they have already contacted you prior and made you aware of the situation) and if they want to get back in the group they can reapply and get added to the end of the list. Just my 2 cents.
    With that said, I better get my arse in gear and post about the Chocolate Chip cookies. Can you say Thursdays with Dorie? Better late than never :)
    xoxo, CB
    PS – White Chocolate Brownies rule!

  38. I agree with most of the people above. I joined the group because I wanted to use my Baking book more and I knew that I could at least fit in two recipes a month. If people aren’t following the rules, then they should lose the privilege of choosing a recipe. I understand that we all lead busy lives and may have a bad month – which they should email you and make you aware of. So, I don’t know that kicking those people out if necessarily fair. But drawing their attention to the fact that they haven’t participated may be needed. Revoking their recipe selection may be the only form of “punishment” for not following the rules. I’m a teacher, and I struggle daily with my students meeting deadlines and holding them accountable for turning things in on time. I constantly remind them that the real world doesn’t put up with late work and incomplete assignments. If this were a job, they would have been fired. We need to hold adults accountable as well!

  39. It would be great if you also included some where on the site information/instructions about joinging. It is really unclear whether the list is closed or how to sign up. I notice from looking through the site in search of instructions that quite a few people are asking the same questions. Thanks!

    • Tuesdays with Dorie is now a closed group. We have completed almost half the book and will continue with the members we have. Membership will reopen when we start the next book. Thank you!

  40. I’m quoting this in it’s entirety because it is exactly my experience:

    —–
    I was new to TWD – I initially started following “the rules” and was excited about the group. Despite my participation, however, my name never even made it to the board (I don’t mean as a host, I mean even as a member), I didn’t get a confirmation that I was a part of the group (just a “waiver” type email that identified the rules and asked for a commitment), and there was no way to confirm whether I was or wasn’t. Motivation to participate in a group that doesn’t even recognize you as a member isn’t high. I love the book, and loved the idea of a group – but a group with such strict rules about posting at least twice per month, specifically on a Tuesday, with minimal at best recognition of new members is going to render exactly what has happened – lack of participation.
    —–

    Now, as to the person who said you shouldn’t stop participating just because your name doesn’t make it to the list – that’s all well and fine, but when your name and site don’t make it to the blogroll, no one visits you. You can visit and comment on others and some of those people return the favor, but ultimately no one knows you’re a member and so you don’t get to become a part of the community, you don’t get the volume of comments on your posts, and you wind up feeling left out.

    I “joined” in Feb of 2009. I participated for nearly 10 weeks and never ever was my name added to the list, nor did I even get any acknowledgment that I was a memeber. Someone kept posting on the page that “I’ll have the new members listed soon” … and then it just never happened.

    I was really honestly quite disappointed, because I spent the money on the book and was quite dedicated to cooking and photographing the recipes. But I got really disheartened after nearly 3 months, and it wasn’t worth the time and effort I was putting into it, to simply not be acknowledged.

    • Kara- Im not sure what to say, other than I am sorry. I am not sure why you were never added. I have done my very best to add all the members who want to join. Running TWD should be a dedicated position. Alas, it is not. It is a hobby and is treated as such. I do not have an answer for why your name slipped through the cracks. I apologize. I am sorry you spent the time and money, only to not be acknowledged as a member. Again, my apologies. :(

  41. Howdy, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam remarks? If so how do you stop it, any plugin or anything you can suggest? I get so much lately it’s driving me mad so any help is very much appreciated.

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