I love doing summer and end-of-year updates to the community because as those 6 months fly by, it's important to take a step back and realize how much we've accomplished. I'm very proud to say that as the years roll by, we've been been able to make major updates on a consistent basis for the sake of promoting a flexible and forward-thinking culture; also, I think it's important to keep things fresh and to make sure our role-play environment is setup for success.
We're all here to have a good time. We're here because we love being creative writers and we enjoy the company of those we play with. Keeping this in mind, my role is to observe the community, take feedback, and present solutions to any problems or improvements to make Dead End and any of my other communities a great place to play.
It's also important to understand the role staff has - they are unpaid volunteers who not only are in the trenches with you in role-play scenes, but must take time away from their social fun to help people, moderate issues, bounce griefers, attend regular meetings, and so much more. Lately, it's been clear that the lack of staff members and certain policies has required our current staff to take on too much - they manage several groups in-world, manage the community overall, and try and have fun role-playing on a daily basis. Don't forget they have a real life, too - one that requires them to take care of kids, daily jobs, and everything that goes the day-to-day!
That being said, there's always room for improvement. In order to ease their load and quell any issues that stem from being overburdeoned, I'm introducing a series of policy updates for both staff and community that are effective immediately as of this post:
I have promoted Kyo (Warumono Mode) to the role of GM. Both Kyo and Bean (Xhex Darkfire) will work alongside Kahlen and Faerie to manage the community on a day-to-day basis. They have a direct line to me and I will make sure issues they bring to me are addressed. That means, any questions that were once reserved for admins can now be posed to GMs as well. Under the new definition, GMs and Admins are equal in authority; the only difference lies in a few technical abilities such as managing group proposals, checking application status, estate rights, etc.
I have also recruited new moderators and security members to help bounce griefers, facilitate and moderate issues in an RP scene. I spent a lot of time writing out a new staff guide, easily located in the Guides submenu for staff members that list things like expectations, communication best practices, role definitions and easy copy/paste messaging to residents who violate guidelines. It's a great to bookmark to keep on hand when dealing with visitors who don't bother reading our rules.
New staff members include Fudge Placebo (moderator), Jaylah Sass (moderator), and Lidia Blackheart (security). I'm still in the midst of recruiting a few more.
Not all leaders are part of our staff team. However, the expectations are the same when it comes to communication and collaboration. This is why the proposal system has been setup, even for rental businesses. I've resolved with staff to make sure we work closely with group leads on epic stories, general needs, etc. to avoid some of the problems we've had before.
Any existing issues or bad feelings will be addressed - I plan to build our team of leaders and staff with players who have the right attitude and can play well with everyone.
Several updates to businesses have been made. First, I introduced the concept of "Themed" rentals. These are available businesses that are pre-furnished for a particular theme (ie. massage parlor, asian district, head shop, salon, biker bar etc.). This allows an opportunity for players to make their own business without the hassles of setting up props.
I have updated policies regarding group creation and managing roles/titles. The updated business guidelines can be found under the Community > Propose submenu on the website. All existing members should read these policies and work with GMs/Admins to make sure they're in compliance. Essentially, I've eased up on group restrictions and require group leads to collaborate with staff on a regular basis.
Several updates to factions have been made. You'll find details regarding stages to group management using the factions guideline page under the Community > Propose submenu on the website. If you have an idea you'd like to propose, we'd love to see it!
Factions should maintain a business front. I think it's an important aspect for a faction to keep a presence on the sim and add depth with the interaction between regular denizens through a business and not just fighting other factions. Every faction has a philsophy and culture that could easily be represented through how they handle customers 🙂 We'll work closely with existing and new group leads to make sure this requirement is met with an open mind.
In the spirit of promoting crime and a more flexible RP environment, I will be opening up a seperate discussion on introducing gun play in DE and how we can regulate it to experienced players only.
Needless to say, this website took a lot of work and finally got it launched last month. It's purpose is to facilitate better collaboration and communication between the entire community, showcase awesome stuff like photos from Flickr, newspaper articles, etc., and to make it much easier to find guides. Signing up now and staying signed in is super easy! Oh, your username/password will also work between both Dead End and the Crack Den website 🙂
The site has been a work in progress every week it's been launched; I am squashing bugs and reorganizing things constantly.
I have a lot of new cool features to introduce to it over the coming months, too. Please keep reporting any bugs you find in the Feedback subforum!
I migrated the newspaper to its new home and built a 1-click in-world registration to it. The purpose of the newspaper is to allow the community to promote their stories and events. More editors have been added to the WordPress site so we can quickly review articles and publish them as they are posted.
Look out for new mesh in-world newspaper vendors in the coming weeks which will launch the newspaper site!
West Side Build
Two months ago, the entire west side of Dead End (40%) was built from the ground up with more businesses (diner, head shop, biker bar, salon, burger joint) and areas (rail road, projects, basketball court, abandoned buildings, etc.) to RP in. A number of existing businesses were relocated to better spread the RP, too. After some road cleanup and planting vegetation in areas, we can finally call it complete in the next couple of weeks.
Also, general improvements were made to existing buildings and props with the use of mesh 🙂
Hospital / Asylum
We moved the hospital over from Dead End into Dead Drop - just right over the border. By doing this, we free up a lot of region resources to reduce lag in Dead End and allow more members in since RP in the hospital can get long and isolated in recovery/cells. I think the only thing left now is to reposition the OOC area for the Asylum and we're all set!
Since the new year, we've processed 3,600+ new registrations! To improve the process. a number of updates are pending for new character registration. First, I will be sending applicants a copy of their application to their emails so they can reference it and copy/paste if rejected. I will also be sending email notifications if an application was accepted or rejected (with reason).
Also, to improve delays in processing, I have allowed two more folks to process them if applications remain pending beyond the 48 hours. It's been working great so far - we've gone from an average of 5 days down to 2-3 the past couple weeks. Remember, you can always re-initiate your own invite if you somehow missed it or SL didn't send it to you by visiting the OOC area and clicking on the blue re-inviter board.
All this was accomplished since the new year... and we have more coming up!
The policies that I've updated are mostly built to require less engagement for staff with players. I prefer our community become more self-policing than require staff to constantly have to moderate. By making guides easier to find, reducing meticilous rules, and by trusting the community to help one another, I think we'll be able to keep up with the growing number of new members we see every week.
There's a ton of work ahead of us and it's going to require the entire community to pitch in. I've been concerned about the level of drama that's been reported on the past few months, but I'm confident with the way we conduct ourselves as staff, group lead, and community, moving forward we can start fresh keep focusing on building a better DE. I have asked staff to forward any existing/repeat issues to me so I can make the necessary calls to keep our community drama-free.
I've personally updated staff and group leads wtih the details of the changes so we're all on board. I'd love to hear your thoughts on what we've accomplished and the updates mentioned above.
Thanks for reading!
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.