Facebook is testing a new application questionnaire feature for Facebook groups to help refine and improve the group membership process. Currently, it's only being seen in the larger groups, and Facebook have not yet confirmed if we'll see a full roll-out.
This type of improved application system is a major win for Facebook group moderators. Its use is not mandatory and it's something the community has been calling for for many years.
If you have access, the new functionality is available in your Group management settings.
From your group home page, click the [...] menu and in the drop-down select "Manage Group", then in the internal left-hand menu select "Member Requests".
If the feature is available to you, you'll see a box that says:
"Learn more about pending members. Review people who want to join your group by asking them some questions. You can ask up to 3 questions, and only the admins and moderators will see the answers."
Click the "Get Started" button to be presented with the form (if you need to revise or change your questions later, they are on the gear icon shown in the screenshot above.)
At this time, there is a flaw in the implementation of the feature, though it may only affect some browsers.
When a member applies to join the group, they click the request to join button and they get presented with this screen:
It's not until they return to the group home page that they correctly get presented with this screen:
Fortunately, if they don't find it immediately on their own, Facebook sends them a notification that looks like this:
When they click on it, they're then presented with a very nice looking panel:
Completed questionnaires don't have their own viewing page, but instead are simply provided as supplemental information in the "Member Request" page, which makes viewing and decision making easy.
While I'm not entirely happy with the questions I'm currently using in the YCDI community (which is hard-limited to 3 questions), I will share them with you to help give you some ideas.
The question and answer fields are all free form with no option for line breaks/spacing. They also don't natively have numbering, so if you omit adding numbers, they won't have any.
Here's an example of a completed questionnaire (with sensitive data redacted).
It's of utmost importance that you use questions that are relevant to your group, and that you think carefully about them. Don't hesitate to tweak them as you go - it's unlikely you'll find the best questions on your first couple attempts. Let the responses from applicants guide your hand.
However, one key point is important for most groups - keep them as short as possible, requiring as little response typing as you can. Sure there will be some very rare exceptions to this, but in social media keeping the workload low (and remembering that many are on mobile phone keyboards) is important.
So far, I'm thrilled by the application responses and the capacity to ensure that I'm adding engaged individuals to the group. However, I have noted some individuals that, based on profile, I would have admitted are not bothering to complete the form, meaning I lose them as potential members. This is going to be the drawback - those super busy types or non-engaging types, or "lurking" types, are sometimes good people, but if they don't respond then you have to make decisions.
It's important to understand that non-engaged lurkers, unfortunately, hurt a group's reach (based on Facebook's News Feed algorithm) and over time, reducing lurkers should help the boost the group's performance. If you keep your application condensed enough, and don't make it require long form answers, then you should still catch the best people.
For some groups, this now makes it possible to collect an email address or method of cross reference that ensures a person has also signed up to your email newsletter (using a cross-reference method such as a "code word" you give them on a page after opting in, is superior to using an email address that some people fill feel concerned at letting all your moderators see.)
Hopefully, this new feature gets rolled out to all groups in the near future.
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