A report, wherein there is a discussion about censorship, a congratulations for a new elder, and other various bits and pieces.
Over the next few days, we'll be putting together a newsposting guideline. In the current iteration of our site, there are a lot more people with the capacity to post things to the news page than has been in the past. This is handy for a number of reasons, but as often happens int he real world, the technology outstripped the rules around it.
For years now, I have sent out an 'onboarding' email to anyone joining the dark council and dark summit positions that report directly to me. This covers a few expectations (like 'do a report every month', 'make yourself available to the members', etc), 'common sense' issues ("Don't cyber members or I'll fire you") and the expectation of professionalism. That's really nothing new. We have held our DC members to a high standard since ever. There's a reason for that: these are the representatives of the Brotherhood, they can post things to our website and it can be seen by the thousands of potential members that come across our site.
Except that it's not just those people who have access to post to our news site anymore.
The elephant in the room over the past week or two has been about the use of a single word. It's not even one of George Carlin's "Milwaukee Seven". Among friends, it can be a funny thing, even as a running nickname for someone. Those who aren't in on the joke can and do take offense at the use, as it demeans women. At any rate, said word was used in the title of a subunit report header. As a response, i went in and manually edited the word out. When the member in question re-edited it back, i changed it once more, then popped into IRC to let them know that I edited it and why.
Since then, I have seen people from the same unit start using the same word a lot more, trying to elicit a response, trying to stir people up, and maybe trying to make a point. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to sort out why it was edited, even with the old adage 'common sense isn't so common' in mind.
Yesterday, I had a bit of a longer conversation with Yacks about the situation. He's a former Justicar, elder of the club, and all that. He's also a bit closer to the situation at hand, and his real life job involves social media, so he was rather ideally suited for this. After some explaining, we see both sides a bit more clear and the understanding is better. Their major concern was that we were starting to arbitrarily an unwritten standard. My major concern was that unpleasant language would filter out into social media as part of our more or less automated advertisement campaigns. My job, at it's core, is to defend and try to grow the Brotherhood that we all enjoy. Having our ads go out and make us look bad would be terrible.
Some of the words I'd seen float around about this scenario was 'censorship', 'puritanical', 'overzealous'. The amusing part about all of this is that I have a terribly foul mouth. My mother used to tell us "when you haven't got anything nice to say, use all your swear words.". Raken, Valhavoc, and Pravus are all veterans. Nobody is as good at cursing as a veteran. The differentiation is to know that there is a time and a place for it. I don't swear at work, I try very hard not to swear in anything remotely official here (like reports, news posts and reccs) but I can get downright blue on IRC, G+ and whatsapp. As I said, there's a time and a place for it. So, we're not really trying to censor anyone, we're just trying to keep the professional parts looking professional. It's not about trying to stifle creativity, it's not about trying to enforce some kind of religious rules (and anyone who has talked with me for more than twenty seconds know how funny that notion is), it's just about keeping the site looking attractive to new people.
So what came out of the discussion? We will be putting up a brief 'standards' bit of text on the site whenever you go to post a news item or report. If you have access to report on the news page, you have to abide by these rules. As I mentioned, it's to keep the brotherhood moving forward and keep our recruitment efforts strong.
Scroll down a bit and look at Raken's news post. I'll wait.
It's not often that we promote people to the Elder class. It's less than one percent of our club that ever puts in the work to get there. And it is a hell of a lot of work, as well as some rather stringent qualifications. To be truthful, it's harder to get Dark Side Adept than it is to get Dark Jedi Master, as there is a razor used to get out of the equite class.
Marick Arcona did it.
Here's the reccommendation i wrote for him:
I get asked rather often: what makes one an elder?
I get asked this often enough that it seems to feature semi-regularly in my reports. What it means, what it takes, what a person has to do to reach past the equites and cement themselves as an elder of the brotherhood. There's been too many things written about them.
Today, I am going to talk about one of them. One of them who some will say is not ready. One of them who many will say hasn't yet earned his stripes. One who many will scratch their heads and wonder why he's getting this honor. And yet, one who has left an indelible mark on his clan, on the Antei Combat Center, on the character sheets, and as a result on the brotherhood.
Marick "Wally" Arconae.
To most people who come to the Brotherhood, we are a pastime. We are something that you do when you're bored. Between semesters at college, on a few hours on the weekend. For most, the Brotherhood is a Hobby. On the other side of that, there are those who make it their job. Dedicating as much, if not more, time to the brotherhood than they do a real job, they are always reachable, always working on something, always trying to refine some element of the very club that so many of our members enjoy.
It doesn't take much to see what side of that equation that Wally falls on. Beyond an admirable term as Consul of the Brotherhood's largest, and arguably most active Clan, he has found the time to serve as a formidable right hand to the Combat Master, digging deep into new systems and producing with the team there an entirely new character sheet system. This was not a retread, as had been done countless times before. It took research, it took construction, not remodeling to bring this to fruition. It was a lot of work. And afterwards, it took some lumps. Releasing your baby into the wild of the Brotherhood, no matter how much work or research that's been done, can be a painful process. Everyone is a critic. It is entirely too easy to critique, and it's hard to put yourself out there and do the actual work. This concept, this very rule of life is why people say things like 'fortune favors the bold'. It's also why we have such awesome shiny things that are dedicated to those upper echelons of rank... to drive people to those pinnacles of achievement.
Yet to say that this is why Marick's done the work would be farcical, and doing the man a disservice. Marick has continually been trying to get things better in the brotherhood. There are few who put in the same kind of hours as I do, and he's one of them. He's been a forerunner in trying to build bridges between the clans and houses. He's helped us turn the real-life internecine drama and conflicts away from the domain of the real world and drive them into mostly fictional issues. He's blazed the trails of bringing the DB's communications into the twenty first century with Google hangouts and what'sapp, two major technologies that even the Dark Council employs. He's used these forms of communication to reach more and more of his members, increasing dramatically the speed of communication beyond the twenty year old IRC programs we all know, love, get disconnected from, and hate. He's used these new technologies to help build up a solid core of new members, turning green acolytes into equites capable of leading, and too many of them have we stolen from him for duties elsewhere.
It's not all swine and roses. Wally and I do not always get along. We've butted heads on more than several occasions. The beauty of it is that it rarely spills out into public. He's been savvy and sane enough to keep arguments behind closed doors, to come and try to be heard and try in earnest to understand why things are not the way that he believes they should be. That's a measure of self-awareness that many so-called leaders do not have in this age of hyper-critique and grandstanding politicks. He understands that there is a time and a place for everything, and the denigrating consequences of not paying that concept its proper due. It's a thought process that even some who have been with the club for decades sometimes struggle with.
The critics will say he's just been a consul. He's been the best consul I have seen in my 8 years on the dark council. To those who will say that he's done it all for Arcona, I will point to his ideas being tested in his backyard first, then spreading like wildfire to the club, from Promotheus to What'sapp. There will be those who say that he hasn't been involved in any major works outside of his clan, and that is simply dispelled when you look at the great relations he has had with all but a few summits, the great work on the Character sheet team, on the ACC restructure. To those who will say 'he's not going to last', I'll just wait and let him prove you wrong.
Today, Marick Arconae is hereby named an Elder of the Dark Brotherhood.
Wallard, welcome to the adult table. You've earned it. From a grateful brotherhood, and an impressed Council, thanks for everything you've done and everything that I know you're going to keep doing.
Don't fail me now. ;)
Star Wars Commander recently launched for the iOS devices. It's a Clash of Clans port, basically. I've never really been good at that game (everyone at the office plays it, and I pretty much just have that set up so they can not give me crap about it.), but i am having a bit more fun with the stormtrooper veneer it has in this mode. I understand that they will be releasing it for android devices here soonish, but have no idea if they'll be part of the same servers (and guilds) or not. Either way, Val is running the 'guild' or whatever it's called on the game. If you want in, include your pin in your join request so we can see it.
Between this, the assault team (kinda like a card game app), and tiny death star, it shows that Darth Mickey is not going to let lego be the only ones making games for the property. Now if we could get them to start doing some non MMO games, that would be awesomesauce. Heck, watching how much Roberts has gotten people to put out for a game that hasn't even been coded fully yet might actually encourage them to make a new TIE fighter game. I'm not holding my breath on that one, but certainly there's money to be made there.
Speaking of Darth Mickey, this news just came out. Marvel will be republishing many of the Dark Horse Star Wars comics, under the 'Legends' imprint. It's very obviously a cash grab, but also prudent. With Dark Horse losing the rights, someone will have to be reprinting them to keep up with demand.
On top of that, it seems that Gwendoline Christie has signed on for Episode 7. She's notable for being a very masculine and martial noblewoman in the Game of Thrones Series, and if the rumor mill is to be believed: she will be playing an antagonist... and one who uses a saber. Given that she's pretty handy with the sword in GoT, i'm sure she'll be able to handle a glowbat pretty well.
Big spoilers (maybe) at this link. click at your own risk:
Ask the GM Time!
Ernordeth asks "<ErnoMadden> Have you seen clips on Rebels? What are your thoughts? Any plans on integrating any new things from the show into the club? i.e. Inquisitors, planets, etc"
I've seen a few clips. I'll be honest, i'm not so much a fan of the cgi style of animation. It's probably part of why I haven't watched all the way through clone wars. That said, new material is always a good thing. I imagine that there will be a lot of new material to absorb and use. Inquisitors have been a part of the Brotherhood for a LOOOONG time, though. Largely disused now, but Inquisitor was a prestige class for the Sith Order, and before that, under the hammer, the COJ was the Hall of Inquisitors. So there is actual precedence already. ;)
someone who prefers to remain anonymous asked "<Anon> Can you clarify the Nepotism policy? Some people say it means a relative/lover can't even be a member in the same unit (including the Wiki)"
Nepotism really only goes to the chain of command, in my reading. That is to say that under no circumstances should people be sleeping with (or cybering, or whatever) a member who is a direct report. Basically, you should never have a situation where a leader is even tempted to give special consideration as regards assignments, awards, or promotions based on their real life relationship.
I mentioned earlier in this report that I send out an on-boarding email to all of the people joining the DC as regards this. I'll post a snippet of that here:
"I expect my councilors to behave as though it is a real job. This includes not crossing the lines with members as regards sexuality. I normally don't have to tell people, but it is a terrible idea to get romantically involved with members of the club. It sets unrealistic expectations in the other party, it makes other members jealous of the enhanced access that the other party is getting, and it calls into question your ability to operate without bias. I have said for some time that I will fire any of the Dark Council that I find are cybering members. It's just bad for everyone involved."
So there's that. But yes, it should carry over into the clans and houses in the same vein.
Esca asks "<Esca|Wiki> Will Muz Ashen ever sit upon the Iron Throne?"
Muz thinks it's cursed. It's been 8-9 years in character time, so probably not.
Nero asks "<NeroInferni> When will the GJW start?"
Seriously, we're unsure just yet. We want to make sure that the war is awesome, and worthy of capping off the Dark Crusade/Fading Light campaign, and we also want to make sure that everyone has a chance to calm down for a little bit. We've been running pretty hard, and a little time off is a good thing. Raken and I are looking at sometime in either late fall or winter, but nothing is set in stone yet.
• News posting rules coming soon.
• Wally = DA
• Disney taking mobile gaming serious. we can hope they take the rest of the gaming platforms serious.
• Gwendolyn Christie signed for episode 7
• Marvel to be reprinting Dark Horse SW comics.
And that is about all for this time. Have fun out there!
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