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