This report isn't really a report, to be honest. It's more of a recap of recent events in the Dark Brotherhood as well as a sort of Ask Me Anything I'd like to start up. The way I see it if members have questions that need answering I'm here to help so instead of asking members to come to me in private I'll just gather up as many questions as I can so the answers are here for everyone to read if they're curious.
In short, I'll post all the relevant links/reports that you may want to review to keep up to date in the Club.
I have left out some of the sillier questions that I already answered in chat so as to leave space for the more serious ones.
I feel like putting a term limit on a GM isn’t the same as putting one on DC or Clan leadership. While there are certain benefits to it — limits burnout, fresh ideas come into the fold, etc. — it can also be majorly detrimental to the Club. Many projects, especially (and I’ll use a personal example) the Graphics Society take literal years to complete for one reason or another and switching leaders mid-project is never a good thing.
Another example would be raw talent and knowledge of a certain part of DC work, specifically, that can’t easily be replaced. What I mean is, while not everyone can easily be a DC member, a Voice or a Herald is easier to find these days than a Senechal or a Justicar. Specific DC positions require specific skills that cannot easily be replaced because they’re based on knowledge and experience so it would be detrimental to the Club as a whole to do something like, say, force James to step down just because of arbitrary term limits. (I take him as an example because we all love him and his work. <3 James.)
Consuls are the same, in my opinion. Many Consuls have a vision for their Clan that takes several years to process and implement and I feel like these individuals are usually serious enough not to allow pride or burnout to restrict their Clan. They will step down when the time is right. Exceptions obviously exist, but we can handle those on a case-by-case basis as opposed to making a blanket rule that might hinder progress.
In summary, a GM term limit makes sense. Not everyone can be a GM but a GM also doesn’t HAVE to do everything, this is why DGMs, the DC and the Consuls exit, and it prevents stagnation of ideas on the highest level. But to restrict our most important positions would hurt the Club more than it would help. (I’ve repeated myself several times, intentionally, so I get my point across.)
These two questions, while different, touch on a subject that’s a real issue in today’s Dark Brotherhood: creating new generations of leaders as well as retaining them.
Personally I don’t think it’s a recent problem. The DB has always had issues with training and retaining leaders. Leaders are very often “recycled” and very often hold multiple positions. I think the root cause of this is personality — i.e. some members simply have the charisma or the know-how to handle multiple positions at the same time, or the same position multiple times, and that’s fair. After all if I was a successful Proconsul in one Clan, there’s no reason i can’t be successful in another.
I’d say personality is a major factor because not too many leaders go past the initial stages (BTL; AED; QUA; Magistrate) and gain higher positions. It might be that folks simply aren’t interested in having more responsibility and want to enjoy the Club and members-consumers, which is fair and fine, or it may be that they simply don’t like leadership to begin with. Maybe they tried a stint and didn't find it to their liking. In any case, not everyone is built for leadership, especially higher leadership. Not everyone has a vision and the means to implement it. Over the years many Clans have risen to the top and fallen back down because of lack of vision or lack of manpower to support a great vision. It’s not the fault of the leaders, I think, but a reality we have to handle. There is no fool proof way to retain leaders, I think because everyone’s interests are different and everyone needs to find it within themselves to follow through or step down.
There are ways to help leaders get the positions they want and it primarily has to do with applications. I have seen many applications that just don’t make the cut because they’re stubs of several sentences, or don’t really offer any sort of concept that catches the eye, which goes back to the vision problem. Writing a good application gets you miles ahead of the competition, to be honest, and I’ve personally only ever accepted applicants who have had a solid presentation in the first mail. It may also be fear that’s restricting members from applying, which is fair, not everyone can draw as well as the herald or write as well as the Voice. However, I still urge people to apply to anything they’re remotely interested in. There are many ways to help your Summit through think tanks in Summit chats, or the DC with fresh ideas. Sure, sometimes it won’t pan out, but stick with it. I did, and here I am.
My goal as DGM is to slowly return all the Clans into the fold of the DB (or DC umbrella, if you will). It's not healthy to have too many dissenting parties in the Club. How this will come about is up to the Consuls of those Clans and Mav as GM (I include any relevant DC member under Mav but Mav has the main word). My hope is that we can work out any in-character issues, not just with COU and Arcona but with any Clan that might have them. That said, IC every clan has to remain a bit hostile to the DC and vice versa because that conflict is where we draw our stories from for the most part.
Favorite? I get to work with all the Clan leaders and DC to develop the club further if they want my help that is. Least? The mails. So many. So many filters.
The next major event for the DB is coming this November. It will involve the Collective, all the Clans as well as DC assets that will be available for the Clans to use in the event. So far we have a rough outline of the event that will probably last 4-5 weeks and include multiple competitions that will last the full length as well as competitions that will last for one week at a time. As far as details, I don’t want to delve as much because some things might still change. For now, this will have to suffice.
As far as how the event will affect the Clans fictionally, we’re still working on a solid story. What I can say is two things: we will endeavor to make it meaningful for all Clans as best we can, and there will be an intermission fiction sometime in September that will lead into the event itself.
2) I am, in short. It's not much of a setting if folks don't use it. As for my thoughts on teh Collective? It's a different direction than we've had before and a new way we're approaching DB-wide events and fiction so in that sense it's a bit scary. That said, you have to manage expectations while also delivering content people will engage. I think the Collective is very much in development and members will enjoy it much more when it's further developed and has actual impact on them or their characters.
3) She's on her 7th cargo container of Corellian whiskey. In all seriousness, though, I haven't really given it much thought. I'm glad she fits into the role, but I haven't really had the time to develop her further.
The Art community is a tough nut to crack, I'll be honest. We've made the first bold steps, but now we'll have to carry through. Personally, I'd like to see more competitions done so members can engage them, I'd like to see gfx events (like the Tournament we did), as well as the more continued development of Art courses in the SA.
For now we have a few updates. Apart from some projects that I won't discuss because they're still in development, we'll probably have one more fiction update before the Club wide event in November. I'll discuss more on this topic in the report.
As for the second question, I'll keep it humble and say she's a great writer and it's gonna be a fun and challenging match. Anything beyond that is silly hubris.
Adding lootboxes. :P
I feel like the upcoming November event will be a challenge. we really want to deviate a bit from past stories and past event setups. I'm not talking like 180 or something, but we do want to make it feel different than every other event we've had. Hopefully, we make it happen to everyone's satisfaction.
I'd say: 1) Morning coffee 2) Interclan relationships and collaboration
I've found a lot of positivity in Clans mingling and developing stories together. It's my firm belief that the future of our club lies in that direction because it's not enough to just have events in your own little bubble anymore. Clans become weaker the more they internalize their ideas and methods. Sharing them not only improves relationships with other Clans but spreads good ideas through the Club. Just look at Plag, Tal, and CSP with the Probowl, or Arcona and COU with their multiple joint events. I think fostering such interactions helps us all develop.
I also don't think Clans are at all tied to DJB-wide events. Like most of the relations come from Clan joint events or just members mingling outside vendetta times. DJB events help foster loyalty to one's own Clan and push everyone into a competitive environment, but if you have the foundation of friendliness it becomes a friendly rivalry as opposed to bitterness once one side loses. "we'll get you next time" vs "screw you guys." I've seen both sides of that and I much prefer the former.
I don't. Not really. There's very little the DGM or teh DC can do beyond acting as support for the Consuls and their summits. I think all of the good will comes from the people leading the Clans. (Not sure if that answers the question or I need to be more specific?)
Team MRR. :P
My favorite part of the Podcast? Main topic part 2: Collaboration Among Units
This isn’t a specific mistake but a series of mistakes I had done over the years and never realized at the time. In hindsight, though, I think my greatest failing as a leader of the DB is that I took far, far too long to realize what leadership really is and what it takes to be a good leader. It took me far too long to realize that nothing was stopping me from helping the Club more than my own ego and hubris. I had been, for a long time, “one of those members” who liked to blame my lack of promotions and advancement on others, when in fact it was all my fault, to begin with. I wasn’t really mature or serious enough to realize how much I cared for the Club that gave me a lot of fun, friendships and great moments so I became bitter and resented whoever was that I imagined slighted me. It really takes time and self-awareness to break beyond that barrier and realize it’s not really about you and what you can achieve but what you can achieve for others and the Club itself. My perspective changed when I returned to the Club some four or five years ago from a long time in the Rogues and joined COU. I started from the bottom, fresh, and it really paid off to get that new perspective and do the best I could do as BTL; RM, PCON and eventually Herald. I hope that answers your question.
This is a very hard question to answer because I’m in the know on past and present plans about the DB as a whole and the systems we are looking to change. I’d have to say that I would change the way we grant promotions and medals, but that is already being handled by the MAA in the experience system. I’d also like to change the way we categorize and organize our data on the Wiki to make it more user-friendly, but I also realize it is a massive undertaking that will/would take years and many people to process in a way that is effective. Not to mention the upkeep after. Basically, all the changes worth implementing would take many man-hours to accomplish so I stay realistic and focus on what’s at hand and what’s doable. One step at a time.
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