Voice: Report 3


Voice: Report 3


Welcome to my third report, in which I bring you updates on some of our popular systems, the current fiction competitions running, and another Voice's Question. I'm visiting family for a couple days, so I will not be available on IRC much, but I am still available by email and other means if needed. As always, if you ever have a concern, please feel free to contact me!

Wiki Update: Competition Approval Guidelines

As part of his work on updating and increasing the transparency of the guidelines the Voice staff uses for approving character sheets and fiction competitions, Kz'set (Arden to most of us :) ) has completed a Wiki page on the Voice's Competition Approval Guidelines. These guidelines have been in use by Voice staff members since the Voice began approving competitions, but we never had a central place for them before, leading to occasional confusion by membership as to the expectations on fiction competitions. Kz'set will be working next on updating our Character Sheet Approval Guidelines and eliminating some redundancy there in hopes that memberships will get fewer remands, so look for that soon, as well!

Aspect Word Cap

In addition to the above, Kz'set completed a basic overview of Aspect length in response to questions on how long Aspects should be. The Voice staff felt some guidelines on Aspect length could be helpful, and that some membership tended to go far over what was needed, but we wanted a baseline from which to work. After a random search of a couple dozen members and their aspects, Kz'set determined that the median (and mean) aspect length was less than 100 words out of 40 aspects examined. Of these aspects, only two exceeded 150 words.

The Voice Staff wants to clarify that Aspects should be relatively small chunks of information that are needed to accurately reflect a character's actions or behaviors, in general or under specific circumstances. Because of this, we have added the following requirement to Aspects in the Character Sheet Approval Guidelines:

Custom Aspects should be a minimum of one sentence in length and no longer than 150 words. If you're using more than 100 words, we recommend carefully considering whether the additional words aid or detract from what you're trying to get across.

While we will be allowing any current aspects over 150 words (which is to say, we won't be forcing anyone to change their character sheets :) ), new aspects will be reviewed as above. The Voice Staff is always willing to help membership out with suggestions regarding aspect length if you need suggestions on how to decrease the length of an aspect!

Delays on CS Approvals

As some have noted, some character sheets are facing delays in December. There are a number of reasons, but one of the biggest is that if your character sheet has custom aspects, typically my staff leaves me to make the call if they are anything but straight forward. December is a busy month for me, between the semester ending and holiday family time. One of the hopes of us increasing clarity and transparency in our CS approval rules is to expedite things. My staff does not like remanding CSes, because we know you guys put a lot of effort into them, so if there is anything ambiguous we often take a bit more time to go over it closely. So I am sorry if some CSes have sat in queue far longer than we would like; we're working at it!

Partial Cluster of Ices, Word Requirements

After a bit of deliberation, I've decided to remove the minimum word count(Fiction)/post count(Run-On) on the requirements for Clusters of Ice. What this means is that fiction competitions with a minimum below 500 words are acceptable, and that people participating in a Run-On with only one post, can earn partial Clusters of Ice. This is all brought to you by the magic of James' coding that tracks partial Clusters. This applies to any requests for Clusters of Ice processed from today forward, so if you were a competition organizer and leaving off individuals that wrote fewer than 2 run-on posts, make sure not to do so anymore! Remember, competition organizers still must submit the PIN of a member and his or her word count (fiction) or post count (run ons), along with a URL to the competition and run-on, in order for CIs to be processed.

DB-Wide Fiction Topics

With the Great Jedi War looming on the horizon, I decided not to run any official Voice fiction competitions, but we've still had a few interesting fiction topics come out for members to participate in. For those looking for a writing topic in the time before the Great Jedi War begins, three DB-wide fiction competitions are currently running:

  • Star Wars Sherlock, in which your character has been tasked by his or her House or Clan leadership to investigate a crime. Your character and a partner of your choice will investigate the crime and figure out who the guilty party is.
  • Welcome to the ways of the force, in which you must detail how you train your first apprentice/padawan.
  • Rule of Two, where your character must detail how he or she took his or her master's life.

Each of these competitions is running until the second week of January, so still plenty of time to get an entry in!

Staff Awards

Since his appointment as a judge back in August, Vivackus has been the most active judge the ACC has seen since its re-release. He has been so active, in fact, that he has judged more than twice as many battles as any other judge in the last year (outside of Fading Light 2). For this reason, as well as his usefulness in staff discussions and his grading of qualification exams, I am pleased to announce that Vivackus has earned a Grand Cross for his work as an ACC Judge. Congratulations!

But Vivackus hasn't been alone. I've been really lucky to have an excellent staff since taking over as Voice. Several of these individuals have been judges with me since the ACC started, so most of these awards are only for the last few months. Alaris and Aidan earned Steel Crosses; while Alaris has been a steady staff member all year, Aidan (Shadow) recently rejoined the Voice staff and has been a major driving force behind several projects and also the most active reviewer of character sheets. Wally and Xen have both been excellent staff members for the last few months, earning Antei Crosses. Halc stepped down as a judge a bit ago, but his work before he did so earned him a Dark Cross.

The Antei Combat Chamber

The ACC has been slow moving lately; membership focus has been largely elsewhere. Therefore, it is not too surprising that Aidan Kincaid, aka Shadow, has retained his first place Elo since the end of the ACC Tournament, at 1100. Shadow is a mere 500 Elo rating away from an ACC Title... ;)

Following the upcoming Great Jedi War, we will be exploring a variety of new competitions to help encourage more participation in the ACC... So if you have an idea for a competition, feel free to write it up and email me.

As you may have seen above, we did have a judge step down from the ACC. For the moment, I am not opening applications for the position, but I may do so following the Great Jedi War.

Voice's Question

A frequent membership question relates to if ACC battles are "real" or not. The short answer is that the ACC takes no stance on this - membership can decide to incorporate ACC battles into their personal stories, or not, as they choose. One ACC-related competition that may be run post-GJW is one in which participating members are basically agreeing that they want the battle they have to be "cannon" for their character. Of course, the ACC will never force a member to modify his or her character's physical features or anything as a result of the battle, and all battles that take place in this competition can not end in a character's death on either side - though maiming is allowed. So here's the question: Would you be more likely to participate in the ACC if you knew that whatever happens in the battle is something you are encouraged to work into your character history?


  • Voice has published official competition approval guidelines
  • New reccomended word count on aspects of 100 words. Max at 150 words.
  • Partial CIs for fiction and runon competitions!
  • Three fiction competitions to write in!
  • Grats to Viv on GC, Alaris and Shadow on SCs, Wally and Xen on ACs, and Halc on a DC!
  • Shadow tops in ACC Elo with 1100.
  • Voice's Question: "Real ACC" Battles?

A special shout out to JH Nameless, who has been helping me out with graphics lately, as well. His work has been excellent and he has been working on some symbology for me.

That's it for now! Happy Holidays!

Telaris "Mav" Cantor
Voice of the Brotherhood

Awesome report. I am so envious of you guys.

I would definitely be interested in a tournament where everything was canon. I hate writing something if it doesn't contribute to my overall character arc, it almost feels like a waste. I reference my match with Dash in character fiction all the time. In my opinion, competitors (and some Judges) seem to get hung up on the old thinking that there has to be a death for the match to be satisfactory.

Any chance that CIs for run ons will ever be up to par or at least close to fiction? I'm sure I could find several runons that contain tens of thousands of words that only award maybe 15 clusters total due to current guidelines. I feel this promotes a 'slackers' feeling to only post minimum requirements as once you hit cap, you're done.

I would be interested in a tournament with a canon twist. I would, however, prefer to see some more venues that exist in the Expanded Universe or Star Wars canon. I was going to add ACC battles into my character history in the past, if those battles weren't on Antei or some high-value location of another unit (In most cases, it wouldn't make sense for my character to be there in the first place.)

woo, go team Voice! pew-pw

Turel: Agni-Kai's :D

I also do not see why run-ons award CIs differently. It's ludicrous that someone writing 2 250 word posts gets the same number of CIs as someone who wrote 4,000 words over 2 posts - clearly far more effort has gone into the latter's posts.

It's probably because no one wants to read 4000+ word drivel on the forums. :P

Turel: I think that resolution is important, but death isn't always resolution. In some matches, it makes little sense, based on how the characters have been portrayed, to allow someone to live. One of the reasons that the competition mentioned above would specifically forbid "death matches" is to encourage people to develop resolution outside of death. But... given the prevalence of aspects related to execution, I was a bit worried some members may have trouble with not killing an opponent. My feeling is that some resolutions are best written as death, but not all.

Arcia: It depends. One of the reasons that run-ons received a cap and fiction did not is that run-ons typically have a sort of ever-evolving prompt, since your prompt is effectively everything that has come before it. The initial fear in having cap-less run-ons was that members could potentially use run-ons as a way to generate an obscene number of Clusters. I am considering adjusting the cap based on data from run-ons that have been run recently, and I am also considering removing it entirely. Any changes to Run Ons won't happen until post GJW, though.

Vyr: On Venues, we will be adding some recently created user venues soon. We have a set of venues set as "Standard," and those are chosen by Open Challenges as random venues. We also have other venues - Warzones, Unleashed, and even unit-specific venues (e.g. Arcona's) that are not Open Challenge venues. I can also toggle what venues are selected by Open Challenge if members believe certain Venues are less likely to be possible for characters in general outside of a unit to reach. However, for the competition I was planning, membership challenging another member would have the freedom to select whatever Venue they want, even those not selected by Open Challenge.

Mark: As to Run-Ons (and the ACC) going with posts instead of Word Count, that is precisely to discourage someone writing 4,000 words over 2 posts for Clusters of Ice alone in the past. These days, I am not as rigidly against this, especially given the hard cap on Clusters of Ice for Run-Ons. I am far more likely to adjust the cap and increase the rewards for additional Run-On posts than to award Word Count in ROs because my feeling is that Run Ons are driven by multiple posts, not single long posts. I understand this may not be the best way to reward effort uniformly, but Clusters of Ice are only one way we have to reward our members for excellence in competitions.

Mav: Thanks for your response! I'm glad to hear that the Clusters for Run-ons is being reviewed. I agree that people could use a capless system to 'exploit' in a sense, so perhaps having just a high cap for word count would be better suited than just a cap for post count. Just another bit of input that I'm sure you've already discussed with your staff. :)

Love the header. Reminds me of the science fiction from the 60's and 70's.

As an FYI, Character Sheet Guidelines have now been updated. Mav and I made some changes to wording of some topics and reorganized things a bit. Enjoy!

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