2006 Annual Report

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Edited by Sela Narian and Dralyn Montsier

State of the Tower Address

by Eleyan al'Landerin, Amyrlin Seat

2006 has been a busy year for us. So much has occurred this year that, in retrospect, it is hard for me to realize that it has all come to pass in the last 12 months.

Our goal this past year was twofold. We wanted to fix and improve what already existed in regards to structure, systems, and procedure, so that we would be better situated to handle our continued growth well into the future. We also wanted to more clearly pinpoint what this future was going to be in the coming years. We have made excellent progress on both accounts. While these types of developments are not always the most visible to the general membership, they are vital in improving our community and in ensuring our continued growth and existence.

The continued growth of TarValon.Net not only opens new doors for us; it also continually challenges our ability to adapt to our new needs. We focused our efforts on improving our ability to meet these challenges in three major arenas: developing an efficient organization of manpower, developing improved tools to maximize efficiency, and increasing opportunities and usefulness of communication tools so as to more easily keep us connected as a community.

Several structural changes have occurred within the Administration. These not only serve to improve community functionality, but have also served to more evenly distribute the current workload between volunteers. I believe we may have the largest administrative team of any Wheel of Time community, with approximately one hundred Executives, Admins, Staff, Moderators, and Hall Representatives all working in concert. If we add in those serving temporary positions (committee leaders, committee members, guest writers/artists, etc.), this number nearly doubles.

We rearranged our Admin forum structure significantly this year, going from six forums to 13 permanent forums based on function, and several temporary project-specific forums. Several departments had interior overhauls, all of which was necessary to meet our growing demand for services.

There has been a large focus on creating standardized procedure as well. Our efforts in this direction have allowed us to provide more timely and consistent service, despite our growing work load. This will continue to be a focus in the coming year.

Our IT and various developing teams have been exceptionally busy in overhauling our tools this year. Simply keeping the boards and the site up to date and current (and bot-free) has been a full time job.

Still, we have managed to create new applications. The calendar is about to be released. The Membership Home went through a major overhaul, and has finally become an essential and useful tool for our members. Databases and applications have been improved and standardized.

We have also improved existing services. We also created a new library based on a wiki system, to be fully released in 2007. These items have already improved our ability to use time effectively and to communicate more clearly with one another. There will be even more to see in the coming months.

It can be difficult to keep abreast of everything being done at TarValon.Net. Our community is large enough that we are able to do things we might not have thought possible several years ago. We host increasingly larger and more frequent events. We give more to charity. We have set up a functional scholarship program. We are able to negotiate special deals and discounts for our members with certain vendors. And through it all, our site continues to grow, our research continues to happen (we have an exceptionally formidable Library full of information and articles, and it is fully searchable), special projects and contributions occur, lives are touched and changed.

It is a blessing that we have so many different places for us to find our amusements in this community. Like a true town, there are many places in which we can spend our time and effort. We may only pass some folk as we say "hello" in the street, but we are all working toward the improvement of our community, and we are all part of that community.

I believe it is vital to know what is going on around us, and to be aware of the impact we and others are having, in order to take pride in our community. In fact, I believe this communication is absolutely vital when attempting to preserve a sense of community in a group of friends as large as we have become. Every member needs to take responsibility for staying informed. While we liberally use our Site Announcements forum and News pages to communicate, many members get complacent about checking such things. Predictably, this leads to a feeling of loss of community for these members. This is something within all of our power to improve upon and change.

2007 will focus on increasing and improving our communication with each other, in an attempt to preserve the feeling of community that brings and keeps us here. We will examine our current methods of communication, and find ways to make these tools more user-friendly and attractive. We will try out new methods of communication and determine which of these are more successful; then we will focus our efforts into developing those further.

We will be putting effort into completing a massive project: the Membership Manual. These updated manuals will free up many of our Community Admins to have more time to focus on people and less on trying to figure out and explain policy, or sort out procedure. It will also give all members the tools to know precisely how something works, and what they can do to accomplish what they hope to achieve. Communication about how we work is vital for us. The larger we get and the more we do, the greater room for misunderstanding (especially in the areas around policy and procedures). I believe these manuals will be an incredibly useful tool for all of us.

It is with great excitement that I look to the coming year, and I am honored to have you share the journey!


This year saw a lot of changes for the Tower. We updated the member home on our main site with new features. The administration had several shake-ups in terms of who holds which positions, including one of the highest-ranking positions, Keeper of the Chronicles. However, these shifts and changes are a part of what have allowed us to thrive for five years, and we feel very confident at the end of the year that we will continue to grow and do great things.

Changes Affecting Our Membership

A couple of changes to our technical end of things may not be as noticeable as other changes, but they are still pretty exciting. We updated permissions for usergroups so that guests and registered guests can see certain forums, which we hope will allow people to see whether or not they want to have a greater involvement in our community prior to registering as a citizen. We also added several new features to the member home. We are always searching for ways to make the member home a more useful part of our community; to that end, people now have control over their official emails. Members can now submit events to our calendar. Senior Members will now be able to recommend a Citizen for raising into the Tower via their home, and all members can contact their membership administrator through a form that automatically pulls up the correct email address based upon the member's rank. The administration also began changing the forum structure in 2005, and this was completed in 2006, ending in a vastly different forum structure with the most important forums on top and also with more forums being restricted to members of our community. Our community news has also started being used to announce raisings and the like, so be sure to check that part of our main site as well!

We finished the change to our raising structures, as decided upon at the 2005 administrators' meeting. Members must now be 13 to be a Citizen, 14 to be a Novice/Recruit, 15 to be an Accepted/Soldier, and 17 to be an Aes Sedai/Gaidin. Members being raised to Senior Members must also be made "real" by going through a process of sending their membership administrator a photograph of themselves and having a telephone/Skype conversation with their administrator (or an alternative membership administrator who has agreed to take on this task). The Heads and Company Commanders now make the decision of when a person within their group is ready to be raised and will compile a packet of information about the Accepted/Soldier in question. That packet, which includes information such as their avatar, their profile, their real life photograph, and details about their time here, is then sent to the Mistress of Novices or Captain of the Guard, who then reviews the packet, makes a decision about the Junior Member's readiness, and places it before the Hall. The Hall then decides if the person is ready to be raised and approves or denies the raising. This change was initiated after the 2005 admin meeting and was completed this year. We feel that this change has been a very positive change over the previous method of polling the appropriate Senior Member group, and our raisings are more standardized, provide more information, and gather more information through this process.

The largest change to our membership as a whole is the introduction of the guesting system. It has always been the case that the Junior Members who are in an Ajah/Company are not members of that group; they are simply guests within that group, in a similar fashion to those who are bonded to someone in the group, with the intent being that the Junior Members are trying to figure out if this is where they feel most at home. However, the culture around this has been shifting over the past couple of years so that there is a stigma attached to those Junior Members who actually leave the group they initially joined, so that Junior Members are afraid to leave their group even when they are unhappy in it. Many groups are also welcoming the Junior Members more into the fold, allowing them to affect the group's policy when they should not. To reaffirm our intent that Junior Members are guests within the groups and not members, and to combat the idea that Junior Members cannot explore their options once they have chosen a group, we have decided to change our policies. Junior Members will now be required to be a guest with two groups at a time for at least the first 6 weeks after they have been raised to Accepted/Soldier. They may change which two groups they are guesting with at any time, allowing them to fully explore all of their options. At any time past 10 weeks, the Accepted/Soldier can choose to Aspire to one group. Once they have decided to Aspire, they are taken out of all other group forums. Aspiring does not mean that they are a member of that group; it is simply a signal to the Head/Commander of that group that they wish to be raised to Senior Membership in that group. The Head/Commander will then go about the raising process as has been done in the past.

We feel that this change, while jarring at first for older members, will be vastly beneficial to the Tower as a whole and will strengthen community bonds. The biggest concern that has been voiced with this change is privacy - many Senior Members are not happy with the idea that Junior Members have more freedom to move about Ajah/Company forums. To retain privacy for the Senior Members within their groups, each group will receive an additional forum called "Chambers" that will be only for the Senior Members who are part of that group. We have also made the Dormitories and the Barracks single gender only to allow the Junior Members a level of privacy as well.

Guilds were also implemented. Another decision from the 2005 administrators' meeting, the Guilds are meant to be a more egalitarian place for all members of our community to discuss topics related to broad categories that could conceivably exist as a networking Guild in The Wheel of Time. The six Guilds initially chosen were the Youth Guild, the Martial Guild, the Tailors Guild, the Gleeman's Guild, the Artisans Guild, and the Healers Guild. However, while we were debating the best ways to implement the Guilds, we decided to change some of the Guilds and ended up with the Artisans, Innkeepers, Gleemen, Martial, Tailors, and Healers. These decisions were based upon whether or not the Guild focused on a real skill, if the Guild could have conceivably existed in the series, and if the Guild could offer benefit to our community. The structure decided upon is that all members can post in any Guild, but only members of that Guild can start new threads, edit their posts in that forum, and vote in polls. Members can only be a member of one Guild at a time, though members do not have to belong to any Guilds if they do not desire to.

One change that garnered significant discussion was changing the guidelines and filter rules for our main chat room, #wheel. We have often stated that #wheel and #oldewarderandhen are at a PG-13 level; however, our moderation style has been a good deal stricter than what you usually find in movies that are rated PG-13. We have changed our guidelines to state that #wheel will now be an environment that is family-friendly, while #oldewarderandhen will remain at a PG-13 level and #wanderingwoman will remain 18+. While filters have been employed previously in various forms, we have not had one for quite some time. However, the actions of a few individuals who seem determined to overstep the intent behind our guidelines have caused us to review our guidelines and procedures. For several months, TheDarkOne, the bot that manages out official chat rooms, sent reminders to people who use certain words in #wheel. While not an official warning, this took some of the pressure off of our chat operators to catch every single curse, and it provided for more even coverage of cursing while we were reviewing our guidelines. Once our review was complete and decisions were made, the filter was removed and the guidelines updated. We hope that our members will be mindful of where they are speaking and follow the guidelines as listed. The final change implemented this year with regards to our chat rooms involves titles - if Senior Members wish their titles to be used, they must list their titles in their nicks. Otherwise, titles are not expected in our chat rooms.

There are only a couple of changes to our events that we implemented this year, mostly with regards to our ceremonies. We will perform our ceremonies at every official function in the future so that all of our events have a thread of continuity and common experience. Our ceremonies often include first sibling ceremonies, which will now be limited to the first three ceremonies for which we receive applications. Marriage ceremonies are the celebration of a current or impending marriage between two Tower members with their Tower family. If a couple wishes to have such a celebration, it can be done at any time after their legal wedding or no more than six months before their legal wedding is scheduled to take place, providing sufficient reason is given. Unofficial events planned in our Local Events forum must be inclusive - if a member plans an event in that forum, all members in good standing are welcome to attend. The host is allowed to set the age and who may stay in their home, naturally, but if a member who has not been banned from our real life events wants to attend, they are allowed to attend. If a member wants to be more exclusive with the guest list, that member should plan the event outside of the Local Events forum.

One of the most exciting additions we have had to our philanthropic side of things is a scholarship. This year, we have decided to start offering an annual scholarship. This scholarship is open to any Tower member in good standing who is currently in their first year of college/university. Members who wish to apply will have to write an essay, which will be put forth in the Hall in a blind-read for selection. While our initial offering is $100, we hope to increase this amount as possible. We are extremely excited about this decision!

Changes Affecting Our Administration

One of the largest changes involving our administration was the resignation of our long-time Keeper of the Chronicles, Elyna al'Tzoran. Elyna has served as the Amyrlin's right-hand woman for four and a half years, and finally decided to step down and enjoy a well-deserved retirement as a regular Aes Sedai. Dralyn Montsier was chosen as her successor. Val a'Shain, the Masters at Arms, also retired, and the duties of that position have been subsumed within the Directors of Administration and Membership (see creation of departments below) and the Keeper. While many changes within the administration do not necessarily end with changes for the community as a whole, given the wide reach and visibility of these positions, the changing of the Keeper and retirement of the Master at Arms will be a shift, both for the community and the administration.

The administrative structure was also changed and clarified this year. The Amyrlin Seat's duties have shifted so that she can focus on involvement in the community, the most pressing of membership and business matters, and strategic planning. The Keeper of the Chronicles will focus on making the administrative side of our community function smoothly and efficiently, and she will directly oversee the Department Directors and have board administrator access so that she can interact with all members in all forums. Those Directors are responsible for the administrators and staff within their Department, and any administrators who have staff are responsible for their staff. The Department of Administration was created to oversee all of the business aspects of our community, from legal to financial to record-keeping. The Department of Membership was created to oversee our membership administrators and the membership groups and will have board administrator access to facilitate the duties of this position and to enable him/her to interact with members in all forums related to our membership. The Department of Research and Communications has been separated into two Departments with separate Directors. The administrative calendar was also firmed - demotions and bond dissolutions now occur on January 1st and July 1st every year, as well as the Hall changing over.

Our European events have continued to grow and change, just as the North American events have. To ease the burden of our primary Mistress of Revels, we have split the position into the North American Mistress of Revels and two European Mistresses of Revels. Given the vastly different business practices employed in Europe due to the different countries, we felt that having two Mistresses of Revels would provide for a more comparable workload to that of the North American Mistress of Revels. We look forward to having the European Mistresses of Revels to help us plan our events more professionally in Europe!

Current Events, one of our more contentious forums, will have the Keeper as a permanent moderator and then two to three other moderators who rotate on the same schedule as the Hall rotation. Current Events is a difficult forum to moderate long-term, so allowing people to swap in and out keeps the moderation fresh.

Administrative Projects

This year we celebrated our fifth anniversary at Corpus Christi, Texas. To help commemorate this event in the manner it deserved, we decided to put together a memory book. We included pictures taken at our various events over the past five years, and we allowed our members to purchase pages in it for Shout Outs, which could include anything from graphics to poems. This aspect of the project was a huge success, and our members great enjoyed seeing the many memories included in its pages. We ran into some difficulties with the printing and mailing of the books, but those were eventually resolved, with everyone receiving the books that they paid for. We want to thank Jenarra Tikvah and Faeril Munlear for all of their hard work on these books!

While a structure for the Guilds was decided upon, that structure is somewhat transient as the administration tries to provide the best experience for our community. Therefore, the Guilds are a project that will be on-going, and their current form should not be taken as their permanent form.

One project that we were happy to see completion on was adding the RSS feed of Robert Jordan's blog on Dragonmount.com to our website. We are thankful that Dragonmount has given us the ability to post his writings on our website directly, and we hope that our members enjoy this feature.

One of the biggest projects that was completed this year was a complete reconstruction of our Bylaws (formerly known as our Constitution). The Bylaws had not been updated in three years and so were horribly dated, so they were changed to reflect the current guidelines and policies of the Tower. Our IRC guidelines were also updated and released.

We also firmed up the procedure for demotions this year. While this will be altered somewhat to take into account the new guesting system, Senior Members who are no longer happy in their chosen group can apply to take a voluntary demotion back to Accepted/Soldier in order to find their home in a new group. This should be a a rarity and will not always be approved.

The changes to our administration and the solidifying of administrative structure resulted in the Executive branch holding a class about the duties of the Directors, the Keeper, and the Amyrlin, as well as the new structure. Given the administrative upheaval of the year, this class helped a lot of our members gain a better grasp of what it is that the top level administrators do.

Looking Forward

Many of our changes are on-going projects. Implementing the guesting system and working out all of the kinks will likely be a process that lasts well into 2007. We will be working with our membership groups and listening to their feedback to make sure that the guesting system achieves its goals while suiting the needs and desires of as many members as possible. The Guilds are also a work in progress and will likely be changed throughout the upcoming year as necessary. To complement our new Bylaws, we will begin work on a Membership Manual that includes the actual details of our community and administration. This will be a living document that will be changed as needed to reflect changes more rapidly. Our Department of IT will begin looking at content management systems that will suit our needs in terms of transitioning our main site into something more secure and flexible, as well as a system that will better suit the needs for our ever-expanding Library. Part of the long-term goal is to have a unified log-in for all of this. The Director of Communications will begin searching a new format for the Tar Valon Times; email no longer suffices. The administration plans on having two fundraisers a year to help cover costs and will begin that this fall. A busy year behind us, and a busy year ahead!

Department of Administration

Director of Administration: Arisaema Draconis
Report by Dralyn Montsier, Keeper of the Chronicles

In the summer of 2006, the Department of Administration was fully separated out into its own Department. The duties in this Department were previously shared between the Amyrlin, the Keeper, and the Master at Arms, with the lion's share going to the Amyrlin. However, with the formalization of administrative structure, a Director was chosen to head this Department. Arisaema Draconis took to her position with her usual dedication.

In formalizing the structure of this Department, changes were made to the staff. Eniara Kisharad was chosen to take over the Treasury from Oskana Tyra, and Elyna al'Tzoran was chosen as the Assistant Treasurer to oversee the European funds. Leora Oldessroth was added to the Legal staff. The Executive Assistant, Pylar al'Stnap, was added to this Department, and her duties were shifted a bit. Jaimes Al'Nor joined the staff as Financial Advisor.

Due to difficulties adding Eniara Sedai to the Treasury, we do not have a financial report for 2006 yet. It was also decided that the Keeper should be on the bank account as well; again, difficulties with the bank have prevented that thus far. We decided that in order to facilitate the handling of European funds for European events, we would have a portion of our Paypal account in Euros. This has been an advantageous decision that has helped our European members greatly. All of our events saw us with a small profit. We also started holding our fundraisers again, which resulted in well over 1200USD. Our first scholarship of 100USD was awarded to Valena Dalmere. Though we announced our second scholarship of 150USD, no one applied, so it was not awarded.

I expect that our Department of Administration will continue to grow and thrive over the year of 2007.

Department of Information Technology

Director of Technology: Lyoness al'Thorn t'Morsin
Report by Dralyn Montsier, Keeper of the Chronicles

This was a big year for the technical side of the Tower. We separated out some server administration duties from the Master of the Watch position, adding Zhareen to our admins as Systems Administrator. In this role, she took charge of server administration for the main site.

We formalized the process for hiring ops for our chatrooms and hired several new ops. TheDarkOne, our chat bot, was down at several points but always managed to come back up, and she provided quite valuable service for our chatrooms.

We migrated servers for our main site, which caused quite a bit of recoding in order to make it work with the new server. Our virtual server also changed servers, which caused a bit of downtime for a couple of days with our boards. We managed to house almost all of our affiliated sites on one of our two servers, and we hope to have all such sites on our servers in 2007.

We tweaked several of our applications and technical services and made them more streamlined and efficient. A few modifications were added to our boards, mostly to aid in spam bot reduction. We installed a few new programs, such as a new calendar and a Wiki, to replace old technical services. A short list of new or enhanced applications: a calendar, the avatar gallery, the citizens application, the raising tests, the monthly reports database, RJ's blog, and the Library Wiki (to be fully released in 2007).

Department of Membership

Report by Vivianna L'antreau, Director of Membership

The year of 2006 saw many changes for our membership in regards to procedure. It also has seen one of the biggest changes in terms of administrators for the Department of Membership since the position of Master at Arms was created. Up until now, the Master at Arms and the Keeper of the Chronicles were in charge of male and female membership, respectively, of TarValon.Net. However, as the Keeper was transitioned to become the Chief Operating Officer and Val Gaidin stated his intention to retire from his position, it became apparent that having these two positions remain as two halves of a whole was not really practical in light of the administrative structure. So those duties that were primarily administrative for the site as a whole were given over to the newly-formed Department of Administration, while the duties that were membership-related came to the Department of Membership, with new Directors selected for both departments.

This year also saw a large turnover of our Membership Administrators, including six of the seven Heads of Ajah, three of the four Company Commanders, and the Mistress of Novices. We thank all of our previous position holders for all of their hard work over the years, and have been very pleased with the work of our newer Administrators. We would also like to extend a fervent thank you to Val Gaidin for his years of service in the position of Master at Arms, and for the example he gave in keeping statistics and information on all members of this Community.

Another change I would like to note here was instituted in the fall of 2006 regarding Accepted and Soldiers choosing Ajahs and Companies. It has always been true of our Community that, much as in the books, Accepted and Soldiers were not considered "locked in" or full members of the group they chose to guest with until they were raised to Senior Member. This year, though, that was made much more clear through the implementation of the Guesting system. Upon being raised, Accepted and Soldiers are required to choose two groups to guest with and get to know initially over the course of 10 weeks. At the end of those 10 weeks, they have the option of continuing to explore the different Ajahs and Companies, or they can Aspire if they have found the group to which they would eventually like to be raised. Before they have Aspired, Accepted and Soldiers are allowed to guest with any groups they want to, but can only be in two groups at a time. They are also allowed to un-Aspire if they decide that they have chosen wrongly. Because of this change in practice, I have removed Accepted/Soldiers from Ajah and Company statistics unless they have chosen to Aspire at the time of this report. All other Accepted and Soldiers who are still currently guesting with more than one group will not be reflected in the numbers below. This has been an exciting change for our department, and has been embraced by members at all levels.

Last year, Val spoke of the inception of Guilds in the City, and we have seen their success over the course of 2006. After the Admin meeting in early fall, Departments and which Administrators reported to them was more clearly defined, and Guilds were found to fall under the Department of Membership Services, so Kariada will speak of them in more depth.

It has been a busy and challenging first year for me in this position so far, and I look forward to the years to come! Now on to statistics.

City Membership

We are now in our third full year of the City of Tar Valon, which was created in April of 2003. Over the course of that time we have received nearly 2500 applications. During calendar year 2006, we received 902 applications, which averages to about 75 applications a month or 2.5 applications per day. Of these applications, we retain a nearly even distribution of men and women, though as opposed to the Tower, men have a slightly higher representation in the City. Unfortunately as in years past, we have no reliable method to truly know how many of these remain as long term citizens, or actually make an account. This year in the City also saw our first citizen clean up which also deleted accounts with zero posts, and individuals who had not posted in more than a year.

Our City Membership is very diverse in terms of country of origin. [GRAPH]

As in the Tower, there are a higher percentage of members from the United States, with the next highest numbers from Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Canada. The category "Other" includes India, Bulgaria, the Phillipines, New Zealand, Serbia, Belgium, Finland, Israel, Finland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, Iceland, Malaysia, Japan, Russia, Slovakia, Argentina, Austria, Brunei, Columbia, the Dominican Republic, Estonia, Ghana, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, Yugoslavia, Puerto Rico, Korea, Brazil, and Bosnia.

Tower Membership

The number of new Tower members this year returned to the numbers of 2004, with 98 new novices and recruits. The graph below shows the new members: [GRAPH]

We seem to go through almost quarterly surges of members, with low points reflecting popular vacation times. Our slightly lower number of people moving into the Tower also mirrors our lower number of citizen applications overall this year, which shows that we are still staying fairly consistent, ratio-wise, from the City to the Tower.


In 2006, our membership numbers actually stayed consistent to those of 2005, other than the categories of Senior Membership, which were of course higher. This can be primarily attributed to the membership cleanup held during the fourth quarter of 2006, which retired 65 members. Of those retirements, (30 women to 35 men), the majority of men who chose to not respond to the cleanup were Recruits and Soldiers, while the majority of women who did not respond were Novices. Any Senior Member removed has the option of coming back at a later date with their rank restored.

TABLE 1: Membership numbers by rank

Another interesting detail to note is that as of March 23, 2007, we are exactly at a 2:1 ration of women to men, which is once again consistent to our history over the last five years. Here is a different representation of the same information: [GRAPH]

Ajah and Company Membership

As I said in my introduction, fall of 2006 introduced the "Guesting" system to TarValon.Net. Because of this, I separated the Accepted and Soldiers away from the Senior Member numbers for each group. This year saw the Green Ajah become the largest Community Group, with Blue, White and Dai M'Hael close behind. Mahdi'in d'ma Dieb has doubled its membership over the two years of its existence, and most other groups are fairly close in numbers. It is interesting to note that after years of having consistently smaller numbers than most other groups, the Red Ajah has essentially the same numbers as Gray, San d'ma Shadar, and the Val'Cueran.

TABLE 2: Ajah and Company numbers

In these next two tables, the places where Accepted and Soldiers are guesting is broken down. The total number is higher than that of the true number of Accepted/Soldiers because during their first 10 weeks at that rank, it is required to guest in two groups at the same time. These numbers also fluctuate, as Accepted and Soldiers are welcome to change groups as they choose until they elect to Aspire. [GRAPH]

Tower Location

Another show of consistence is found in the graph of Tower member locations. It is almost an exact mirror of that for the city with only slight variations in percentages. [GRAPH]

The "Other" category here includes Germany, South Africa, Finland, Ireland, Belgium, Italy, India, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, Portugal, Spain, Israel, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Serbia, Malaysia, and France.

The next table will show our population per capita:

TABLE 3: Members per capita

As in years past, Norway continues to have the highest membership in population, with one member per 229,652 members. All countries have improved their standing here in the top seven, but remain in the same order as 2005. Following Val's example, I also left off countries represented by less than 10 members.


In the following graph, you will be able to see which years have the most Tower members born in them. The leader by far is 1986, with rivals found in 1982 and 1988 along with the group of members born before 1972. The average date of birth of all Tower members, though, is September 21, 1981, which is a bit older than previous years. We also have very few members born in the 90's still, which is not entirely surprising, considering that our minimum age of membership in the Tower is 14, so our youngest members could have been barely born in 1993 at this point. [GRAPH]

Department of Membership Services

Report by Kariada Kunai, Director of Membership Services

This past year has been about growth for the Department of Membership Services. We have spent many months assessing everything we do and deciding how it fits within the department and within the Tower and community as a whole. And we discovered that we do quite a lot!

Our Online Events team has taken off and is now producing fun-filled events for the community's enjoyment with a frequency we were never able to achieve before. Our radio program has continued to grow and help to make IRC an inviting environment. Participation at official events has sky-rocketed, and for the first time ever we are outgrowing spaces and having to find other ways to accommodate our growing numbers. The Member Home on the main site is getting more fun and functional tools added, with many more on the way. We are getting an increase in new members every month while using our new member services, and are starting to look at alternatives to how we use avatars in anticipation of increases in membership in the years to come.

In addition, we have been charged with the development of our Guilds and are working to foster networking and professional community, placing them as yet another service we provide and maintain for our members.

In 2006 our day-to-day activities continued, our major areas within the department grew, and we took on new tasks that easily established us as the department with the largest number of staff and administrators. What started four years ago as an assortment of services lumped together has become a massive and productive operation for the Tower. In direct response to this growth, the Department of Membership Services planned to undergo a major restructuring. Towards the end of the year, we started putting into motion the split of the Department not only under managers but also, with the reassigning of specific duties, into a new Department entirely. These efforts will be fully implemented in 2007. After this is accomplished, we will be at a point where we can really fill out and grow into our structure. I have high hopes for where the Department of Membership Services will see itself in 2007.

Department of Communications

Report by Rhed al'Tere, Director of Communications

The Tar Valon Times was sporadically published in 2006; only five issues were released. The reasons for this varied, due to complications with motivation and organization. We are confident that this will be remedied in 2007.

In June, two new Eyes-and-Ears, Roshen Aldazar and Arya Ellesméra, were brought into the department. Their job, along with Rodi Leg'na Krad, was to scour the internet looking for news about Robert Jordan and the Wheel of Time. Later in the year, Rodi retired from his position.

At the end of the year, the Director thought of having a rotating Tar Valon Times staff, but this was not implemented before the end of 2006.

Department of Research

Report by Atarah al'Norahn, Director of Research

The last year in the Department of Research has been a year full of planning and preparation. With the large number of articles available in our Library database making the Library difficult and cumbersome to search, a long-standing dream of the Department has finally been realized: the creation of a new, more-searchable and user-friendly format for the Library. Technical work on the Library was completed in 2006, with work on transferring articles to the new Library beginning. The new Library will be released in 2007. We dearly hope that viewers will find our many articles to be more comprehensively organized and easily searchable.

With a great deal of hard work by the Department staff and volunteers, the number of articles in the Library has nearly reached 3000. This includes articles written about the "Wheel of Time" series, articles written about TarValon.Net by its members, and the official Histories, which continues to grow under the expert direction of the official Historian, Ismene Gillandred. We hope to continue working towards creating new articles and keeping the old articles as up-to-date and accurate as possible.

Early during this next year, the Department of Research hopes to release the new version of the Library and work to make the Library easier to use and update. We also hope to make progress throughout the year in getting the entire Library updated to the end of Knife of Dreams, in preparation for the release of A Memory of Light.