What I am about to detail is not meant to discredit the Second Life Mentors or the Second Life Mentor Program. It is my own outlook.
Someone very nice, back in December 2006, invited me to "The Helpfuls" group. I have been wearing the tags, "Questions? Ask me!" and "So Many Questions!" for nearly a year now. They must have known that I really enjoyed this work. As a 2-week old resident, I have helped other newbies who were arriving daily. I have been shot, orbited, caged, insulted, praised, loved, hated, sought, rewarded, discredited - still I persist.
I believe in two types of Volunteerism, with respect to this program. Helping and Mentoring. If I simply wished to be a helper, I would have been proud to continue wearing my "Questions? Ask me!" tag (and I still do, when I feel helpful). However, I wished to become a mentor.
I believe mentoring is not the simple act of answering questions (technical or not) - that's just helping. Mentoring is more about taking a single resident aside, and working with them to understand what the Second Life framework is all about. It's about helping them make their own decisions, helping them understand when to ask for help and how to help themselves.
I have mentored other residents over the course of a year. My best friend (Jayme Dean) is my first mentor-ee. By showing her how to work her inventory, I learned how to work my own inventory. By showing her how to make jewelry and micro prims, I learned how better to build. By showing her how to buy land and open a store, I learned how to do so myself.
By showing others what to do and how to do it, I have continued to learn those things myself. Moreover, I have learned how to convey those concepts to others.
I particularly excel at handling griefers. I do not believe in submitting an AR right away. Some griefing acts are simply committed by curious residents. Treating them like outlaws right away only turns them into one. I have worked with many would-be griefers, and even given them weapons (loads of them), and took them to places where they would be welcome to test them out. I even agree to be targets, if they're curious about what the effects of their new toys are like. In every case, they have been civil, respectful and even come to my aid if I am ever in trouble. These people simply need to direct their energies in a constructive manner; I strive to enable them to do so. Still, there are those who are hell-bent on causing grief or spreading hate and discontent. I warn several times before submitting my AR (which I do sparingly).
I also recognize that not everyone learns in the same manner. Handing out notecards and saying, "Read This" in response to "How do I fit my hat on my head?" is not my style. There are people who:
It is very important to recognize those differences, and cater to their needs. One size, just doesn't fit all.
Also, I don't go helping or mentoring to be a prima donna. If I can help someone anonymously, it would be better. But when I type, there is always my name associated with my text; it's inescapable at the moment.
So, that being said - I struggle with the group tag "Second Life Mentor." When I am on Help Island answering questions, I am wearing my "Questions? Ask me!" tag. It elicits more requests for help than a mentor tag. But if I ask to be TP'd to their land to work with them on straightening out a building problem or land permissions type of problem, I switch to my SL Mentor tag, and I am prepared to provide mentorship to that resident for hours and weeks, if I have to.
I am vehemently against policing SL, as much as it seems we need it. I am not a member of the SL Police, and I am not here to arrest, charge, try and dispatch any resident. I am here to teach to others, what I have learned. This topic will undoubtedly cause a certain amount of discussion amongst the group. In the end, Linden Labs have the final say and I respect their policies.
Lastly, I am here to have fun. I wish it for others as well. As it says in my SL Profile, we are entitled to our freedom, as long as it does not encroach upon the rights of others. All in moderation.
The following are items I fiercely encourage newbies to learn, when they are with me.