2006 Admin Meeting
Note: I'm still working on formatting these and making the tone less conversational...so consider this article under construction.
- 1 New Administrative Structure
- 2 Clarification on IRC titles
- 3 TarValon.Net College Scholarship
- 4 Real Life Ceremonies
- 5 Emergency Funds
- 6 Change in Procedure for Selection of Ajah/Company
- 7 Change in Dorms and Barracks Viewing
- 8 New Moderators for Aes Sedai and Gaidin Forums
- 9 Changes in IRC #wheel, rating level and DO moderation
New Administrative Structure
Significant changes have been made to the Administrative Structure.
- The Keeper is taking over expanded duties, and will supervise 6 department directors who are: Administration, Membership, IT, Membership Services, Research, Communications.
- The Amyrlin Seat will be focusing her duties more on strategic planning, the most pressing of membership or business issues, and reaching out to members.
- The position of Director of Administration has been created, and this department will oversee all legal, financial, and basic administrative issues for the Tower.
- The position of Director of Membership has been created, and will oversee all Head of Ajahs and Company Commanders as well as all members. This position is gender-neutral and is meant to replace both the Keeper and the Master at Arms in their duties regarding membership. This position will be a board Admin and have access to all forums.
- The position of Master at Arms will be retired with Val Gaidin, as these duties will not be divided between the Directors of Administration and Membership.
The heirarchy now looks something like this:
Admins and Community Admins
Assistants and Staff
If you have a membership issue, first go through your Community Admin (HoA, CC, MoN, Capt. or Mayor), THEN go through the Director of Membership (Vivianna Sedai), THEN go through the Keeper (Dralyn Sedai), THEN go to the Amyrlin (me). Most issues will no longer need to be brought directly to me, and we ask that people follow the chain of command (as, if you jump to me first, I will likely direct you to the appopriate person).
Different departments will be allowed to have a "General Staff" - not all positions need to be titled.
The Department of Research and Communications will be made into two seperate departments. Adriana Sedai head of Communications, Atarah Sedai head of Research.
City Development (on the website) will be moved to the Department of Membership Services.
Guild Leaders will be considered Admins and will be given access to that appropriate forum.
Clarification on IRC titles
It is unfair to ask members to remember everyone's title and whether or not they are personally exempt from using it in IRC. So we are going with a very simple rule: If you want your title used, it needs to be in your nickname. If you do not care if people use your title, please do not have it in your nickname.
Yes, I am aware that some have registered nicks that do not include their title, but prefer their title to be used. Vice versa, there are people who have their titled name registered, but prefer people do not use it. This is putting too much burden on other people. So we're keeping it simple.
If it's in your name, everyone in public chat should use it unless they are of the same rank or higher (i.e. Sr. Members don't have to add "Sedai"; my Warder doesn't have to call me "Mother".... otherwise, I outrank you all ). If it isn't in your name, don't complain when it's not used.
Thanks for helping us make this rule clearer and more user friendly for all.
TarValon.Net College Scholarship
TarValon.Net will begin giving away a small college scholarship each year. This year will be our trial run, and will be for the sum of $100 US.
The scholarship will be available to all members who have been here for a specific amount of time (rank not an issue), who will be going to their first year of undergraduate school. It will be awarded based on essay. More details about this will be released in the next week or two. It is out hope to get the amount to be more substantial in coming years.
Real Life Ceremonies
We will make sure the same ceremonies are being used regardless of the country in which we host the parties; we want the experience to be uniform for all members.
Also, we will limit the amount of first sibling ceremonies we preform at real life events (people are still welcome to perform these on their own if they want) due to time restrictions. Unless otherwise stated, we will honor the first three requests we get for any specific event.
For those wishing to have a Tower ceremony to celebrate their marraige, this must occur at the soonest even they can attend after they are married. If it is done before they are actually married, it can be no more than 6 months before the ceremony (and we prefer to do it after the marraige.... good reason must be given to do it before).
We have had a lot of call for emergency funds lately for members, without balancing this out from donations. Members are reminded that emergency funds are for absolute last resorts and genuine emergencies. All other resources should have been used first including government help, family, friends, church, etc. Emergency funds cannot be granted for anything predictable: to pay bills, to cover a shortfall in a paycheck, etc. Bonafide emergencies include situations where a members life is in danger, where they are the victem of an unforseen disaster, or where the situation is a life and death situation over which they have no control and could not predict (i.e. having absolutely no food and no way to get any, needing gas to get away from a natural disaster or to get from an abusive situation, etc.) Other members may NOT make a request for funds on behalf of another person. Most emergency funds will be given on a loan basis, and we will need paperwork detailing the payment of these funds back.... it will be rare when we can give emergency funds overnight (that would have to be a very real emergency). We will continue to encourage members to help and raise funds for one another when we need a little extra help. And it is my hope that those who receive help from the Tower or members will be sure to help others when they have the means.
In the end, it's important to remember that the Tower operating budget is needed to keep the community in existance. We WILL continue to help members in dire need, but we do not have the funds to operate with this being our largest expense. We're here for the worst emergencies which can be helped with a small amount of cash, and that's about all we can handle from administrative funds.
Change in Procedure for Selection of Ajah/Company
This is one of those things that can seem like a larger change. What it is, rather, is a fundamental change. We've known for a couple of years that our size has been making the selection process of an Ajah/Company more difficult, and that we needed to attempt a new procedure. We tried some bandaids, but they did not work.
In the end, what changes is some wording, some procedures, and some forum permissions. All current members of the Tower have had time to discuss this with Administration, and I believe have a fairly firm grasp on how it will work and how we'll go about it. We're still working out a few kinks here and there, and likely will be for some months. Like any time we try a new procedure, patience and a willingness to try it are going to make all of the difference.
And, like everything else we try, if this doesn't give us the desired results, we'll try something else. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was Tar Valon.
In the past, Accepted and Recruits were allowed to petition only one group at a time. During this time, they would see if they fit in with the Ajah or Company, and if they did, they would be raised to it. If it didn't work out, they could change groups, and try out other areas before making a commitment. In theory, this was how it was supposed to work. 2 or 3 years ago, it worked pretty well. But we were vastly smaller then. These days, we've had a lot of problems with people not knowing the groups before they petitioned to visit them, and Jr. Members feeling as if they did not have a right to change their mind once they had "committed."
The fact always has been, and remains, that until you are raised to Sr. Member, you are not a full member of any Ajah or Company. You are a guest. You can change with very little fanfare and no one is going to stop you (unlike in Sr. Members, where to change you must petition, be reviewed, and if approved, take a demotion in rank). It is very important to me to preserve the ability of Accepted and Soldiers to use their rank for the purpose for which it was created: to find their place in the Tower, to see how they can contribute, and to see where they best belong.
We've shifted the Ajah and Company forums a bit. Each group now has a personal chambers forum for full members of the Ajah or Company. They also have a sitting room (or, for the men, a great room). This sitting room is a place where the full members of the Ajah mingle and talk with their invited honored guests: the jr. members considering joining, and their bonded partners. Think of how these rooms would be set up in the White Tower.....
In "New Spring" we see Siuan and Moiraine hanging out in the Blue Quarters. They certainly would never go in without being invited. They also went into the Brown Quarters, when invited. Once inside, there was a place where they might mingle and talk and do what was asked of them. But they were not offered their own bedroom or let into the very private rooms until after they took their oaths and bound themselves completely to the Tower and the Ajah. That's the concept we're going for.
And so, it will be slightly easier for Accepted and Soldiers to visit different sitting rooms now.
I'm going to only give a general overview right now, and ask Dralyn or Viviana to come back in with the details. I'm afraid I might be fuzzy on a few of these.
In general, though: Once you become an Accepted or Soldier, you will be asked to explore a few groups. You can visit up to two sitting rooms at a time. If you wish to change one or both of them at any time (provided you don't do it every other day... we have to manually change permissions ), you may. You may not decide on one particular group at any time within the first 10 weeks of your time as an Accepted or Soldier. You are expected to explore a bit, and consider your options carefully. If, after that time, you wish to "Aspire" to an Ajah or Company, you may, and you may request that you no longer be allowed to see different sitting rooms. However, you may still change your mind (you're aspiring, but you're not a member) until it comes time for you to be raised.
You do not HAVE to aspire to an Ajah or Company until it's getting close to the time you hope to be raised to Sr. Member. For example, if you've just been raised to Accepted, but you're 15 years old, you know it will be at least 2 years before you can be raised to Sr. Member. If, at 10 weeks, you decided on the group you wanted to concentrate most on, you could decide to aspire to it that soon. However, you could also decide to explore groups for the entire two years. Aspiring to a group will become one of the qualifications to be raised to Sr. Member, but it doesn't have to be done any earlier than you are personally ready to do it.
To visit an Ajah or Company, you will still need to apply. Think of this as knocking on the doors before entering their Tower quarters. They may ask you a few questions, and ask about your interest in them (in other words, when you do pick the first two you explore, I suggest picking ones that do genuinely interest you as potential groups). These applications also help us with the administrative task of giving you access, or changing access. And, obviously, you will want to talk to the HoA or CC before you officially "aspire."
I'm excited about trying to meet this challenge for our Jr. Members. I'm excited about trying to facilitate a new way for people to know others on their own turf, and about how this will effect a new generations of Sr. Members (both in their happiness with their decision, and their exposure to and appreciation of ideas and practices of other groups).
It will seem complicated for awhile.... things will work themselves out fairly soon. And we will, as always, review this within a year to see if did what we hoped it would.
If you have specific questions, do talk with your community admin! They're there to help!
Vivianna: Here's a break down of exactly how this procedure works:
Brand new Accepted/Soldier will:
1) be raised 2) choose 2 initial groups to guest with which may or may not stay the same during their entire time as Accepted/Soldier 3) after 10 weeks at this rank, the Accepted/Soldier can choose to notify the HoA/CC of their chosen group that they would like to be considered eventually for raising into that group. ((Important note! You are not *required* to aspire exactly at 10 weeks! Take all the time wanted or needed)) 4) HoA/CC takes normal raising process from there and raises said person at their discretion.
Current A/S (I'm lazy, so abreviating from her on out ) will:
1) choose their 2 groups they would like to experience (which may or may not include the group they are currently a guest of) 2) if they have already been an A/S for more than 12 weeks, can immediately notify the HoA/CC of their chosen group that they would like to be considered eventually for raising into that group 3) HoA/CC takes normal raising process from there and raises said person at their discretion.
This second part happened a few weeks ago, so we've pretty much settled things for all current Accepted and Soldiers. All new members of the Tower, and all new applicants to become Accepted and Soldiers will fall under the new procedure.
Change in Dorms and Barracks Viewing
We have decided to make the Dormitory and Barracks single gender forums. Like any decision, we will review this one in 6 months to a year to see if it had the desired effect.
This means the Dormitory will be visible to: Novices, Accepted, Aes Sedai and the Barracks will be visible to: Recruits, Soldiers, and Gaidin.
As always, board Admins (including myself, the Keeper, and the Director of Membership among a few select others) will be able to see these forums, regardless of our gender.
We had a fairly large request from Jr. Members in the Tower to have a place where they could discuss things with "just the girls" or "just the guys." We're willing to try it out.
New Moderators for Aes Sedai and Gaidin Forums
The Mistress of Novices and the Captain of the Guard will be adding the moderation of Sr. Member forums to their current job descriptions. The MoN will moderate Aes Sedai, the Captain will moderate Gaidin. Then, the Director of Membership will mod both of these along with the Sr. Members forum as well
Changes in IRC #wheel, rating level and DO moderation
Taking into consideration some very good points made about our moderation of #wheel, we reviewed our procedures, and are attempting to amend them.
As with anything, we will be reviewing this in 6 to 12 months, and making changes to it if necessary.
We have consistantly told members that #wheel is moderated at a PG-13 level. It was pointed out to us that PG-13 actually is far more permissive than we allow #wheel to be. Our wording does not accurately reflect what we are looking to achieve in that forum.
So we're making two changes.
1. Levels at which we moderate rooms:
- Wandering Woman will remain an 18+ chat room, and will not be moderated for having adult topics, profanity, etc (though still moderated for issues related to our by-laws).
- oldewarderandhen will remain a PG-13 moderated chat room, focusing on games and radio programs. We will attempt to moderate this more closely to what this rating means (which generally includes some wiggle room for profanity and some adult topics).
- wheel we will ask to be "family friendly." Basically, we're asking that, should our mothers walk in and look over our shoulders (or if we're chatting at work), we're not going to see anything that will get us in trouble.
2. The Dark One will no longer give profanity warnings. We're asking you to be aware of which chat room you're posting in, and to be aware (and considerate) of those who are in that chat room with you as well. If you're in #wheel, and you know everyone very well, and you know everyone in that room wont mind if it's slightly less family friendly, no one is going to hunt you down. However, members must remain respectful that this is an "everyone" chat room, and be aware if a topic is too adult (or not appropriate) for someone present.
The Dark One will still be logging these forums. There will also still be moderators present.
I would vastly prefer we all police ourselves than have to rely on others to do it for us.
So.... that's what we're trying! More accurate representations for how we're moderating rooms. No BOT telling you not to swear. More lax rules for posting when it's a small group of people who know eachother well. Asking for people to be more responsable in being aware and policing themselves.
Thank ye kindly!