Headmaster's Report #4: Project Happy Fun Time (TM) Edition


Headmaster's Report #4: Project Happy Fun Time (TM) Edition



This might seem like a quiet report because it's been a quiet month - our new Magistrates and course writer are settling in nicely and we haven't had any major course announcements since my last report. Because of that, I wanted to utilize this report to dive a bit more in-depth into what exactly the SA Staff has been doing since I took over as Headmaster. Ood has requested I avoid the word audit, because it makes people want to jump off cliffs, so instead we'll be using a... different term for it.

Project Happy Fun Time

As I mention at the close of each report, the Shadow Academy is a huge repository of information written by Viewers Like You. Written by dozens of individuals over the span of years, there's bound to be typos, formatting errors, or ambiguities. When you add in the fact that we've seen a major evolution in the canon of both SW as a whole and our little corner of it, the SA is in need of changes in a thousand different ways. I don't have the time, energy, or knowledge to successfully do this myself, which is why the entire SA Staff is engaged in the process - Marcus, Ood, Ophelia and Rins'zler, and the entire crew of Professors and Docents. We're dividing, conquering, and seeing some definite results. Here's just a few of the accomplishments we've seen so far:

  • With changes in DB canon, our two DB history courses were severely in need of updating. As a major project during his term as one of my Magistrates, Alishu took this on almost single-handedly. He completed two quality rewrites that are currently pending DC revision (what can I say, we changed DB canon again) but when they're released Soon you'll see two great courses highlighting our fictional history.
  • Staying on the subject of former Magistrates, Alishu's compatriot Mirus took on as a major project the update for the Lightsaber courses. We originally were planning on combining LS Studies and Advanced LS Studies into one far superior course, but after putting together that draft and discussing it with Wally we discovered a hitherto unmet need - we needed to be able to not only help members understand the canon aspects of lightsabers but also how to utilize them in writing (specifically for the ACC). This conversation resulted in a version of Mirus' original draft discussing things like the inner workings of a lightsaber alongside the ACC Staff's new course on writing lightsaber combat. Because of Mirus' work and most importantly his flexibility, we were able to not only improve the SA but a small part of the overall member experience.
  • That flexibility has also been very apparent in DS' audit of the Department of Legends. For those not familiar, Legends is where we send courses such as the old Order COREs that aren't DB canon anymore but we want to keep around. My original intent with having DS audit these courses was to check for typos and nothing more, but once he got into them he discovered that both the courses and their exams could be improved significantly. The drafts I've seen of the work he's done so far have made me really excited to see what this normally overlooked course of the SA could become.

I could keep on going for a while highlighting the work different individuals are doing, truly. It's a very time-consuming and thankless task, but the end result will be a Shadow Academy that is cleaner and clearer. Summer slowed us all down from the time line I had originally planned, but I am confident in my team's ability to continue the momentum we've been building and wrap this up. Our goal is to be as thorough as possible, and if that takes a little more time then so be it!

Journeymen Competitions

Marcus and I had a good time reading your fiction for the JM fiction comp we ran in July, and I want to thank you all for entering. This month, I'll be running a fun Flash game comp I ran across recently. It opened up today and will run until the 31st of this month. Just as before, it's important to note that this is a JM-only competition, so anyone ranked EQ1 or above when they submit their entry will be disqualified. If you submit as a JM4 and are then promoted, that won't be a problem. We've been toying with the idea of doing an EQ/EL-exclusive competition to balance the JM-only one, but I'm not sure yet. Thoughts? Let me know in the comments or on Telegram.



Shadow Academy Staff are currently engaged in the following projects:

  • SW History Department Rewrite - Aabs & Farrin: Because of the evil Darth Mickey, my beloved Galactic History courses aren't fully canon anymore. The courses are being pared down (almost in half) and will be added to the Legends Department. This is still behind schedule because of our focus - Aabs' and myself - being elsewhere. With the addition of Lexic to our team, though, I think we can finally make the push to get this done. Estimated completion: End of August, 2016

  • DJB History I & II Update/Rewrite - Alishu: Alishu has completed first drafts of both courses and they've been sent to the DC for approval. There are some changes in canon that we need to work through, and the DC has been focused on other things (It rhymes with Mossessions and starts with a P), so this got shifted down in priority. I'm hoping to see it done very soon. Estimated completion: End of August, 2016

  • The Dreaded... AUDIT! (non-SW courses) - PROFs/DOCs, Farrin & Ood: The non-Star Wars courses will be audited for accuracy, typos, etc. Exams are going to be reconfigured and updated. I said last report this would be done by this report, and though we've made solid progress we're not quite there yet. We will be soon though. Expected Completion: August, 2016

  • The Dreaded... AUDIT! (SW courses) - PROFs/DOCs, Marcus, Rins'zler, Ophelia: The Star Wars-based courses will be audited for accuracy, typos, etc. Exams are going to be reconfigured and updated. This work has already begun by our awesome staff, and I think we're on track for my original expected completion. Expected Completion: September, 2016


  • Operation Remodel - SA Staff: In an effort to streamline the organization of the Shadow Academy and make it easier to initially get to information and then to find similar information, the SA will see a fairly extensive reorganization. The audit takes precedence, but expect to see more about this later on this summer. Because of the delays in the audit, this has been pushed back slightly. Expected Start: 8/2016; Expected Completion: 9/2016

  • Operation Prereq - Farrin: In order to make a more focused new member experience, different options are going to be explored to create prerequisite courses before other courses open up to a member. This is on the back burner for now, as the SA Staff has more pressing matters (y'know, the stuff above this item) and it'll require some tweaks on the coding end. Expect more info on this over the summer as well. Expected Start: Unknown; Expected Completion: Also unknown. :)

There are some other really exciting things in the planning stages that aren't quite ready for prime time yet, but hopefully will be within the next couple of months. Stay tuned, sports fans.

Top Exam Takers

Name # of Exams # of ACs
Acolyte Xolarin 29 50*
Novice Dain Cathis 22 8
Acolyte Jason Kane 21 6
Neophyte Ar'ekk Daesharacor 19 4
Novice joe 19 2

*Not a typo - that really says 50. Xolarin's been a beast.
Note: these numbers cover the period from 7/13/16 to 8/16/16.


The Shadow Academy covers tens if not hundreds of thousands of words, and those words were written by imperfect humans (GASP!). We try our best to catch and fix any and all errors before we release courses, but we're not always successful. Because of that, we will always need your help. If you spot an error, please report it to the SA Staff using this simple form; if it's a major enough error, or you spot enough, you'll be rewarded. At the very least, you'll get the thanks of a grateful HM... that's got to count for something, right?

In Darkness -
Farrin Xies,
Headmaster of the Shadow Academy

Hah first.

Woo Farrin!

Oh my goblins!!! You guys have been busy! So much great things you and your team have been putting out! I'll encourage those jm comps for you in Arcona and well, everywhere. :D

I am very much in favor of an EQ+ competition category! Just when the JM comps begin, I get promoted. (Not that I'm complaining...)

Best Farrin and best SA. Very glad to see the nucanon updates progressing!

Once again, thank you for the joy that was serving the Shadow Academy. Cannot wait for so much of this to finally become reality!

Its definitely a good start in the right direction. As long as we continue to receive canon material between 4 ABY and 34 ABY, we should be good ^^

Has anyone else read the Aftermath books yet? I would like to double-check things with you.


Love the Prereq idea :)

Please do EQ+ comps. Great idea :) Fantastic report, too :)

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