For some reason, I feel like posting this here. It’s an email that I doubt any of you will find meaningful.
date: Sep 23, 2007 10:26 PM
subject: Communication & Moderation
I have no real way of knowing how interested you are in the workings of the communities outside of SK.org. If you aren’t at all, then I can safely say this email won’t interest you. If you are, I’d like to ensure another player-run forum doesn’t blow up in the face of the game.
I’m sure you know by now that SKLogs.com has now sunk, javarmonkey.com being the replacement. While it is self-described as not being focused on SK, it does have a section devoted to SK. With that, it has the potential to enrich or degrade SK, just as SKLogs did. Communication goes a long ways towards ensuring that history doesn’t repeat itself. That might sound cliche, but there’s a lot we can learn from SKLogs.
The relationship between SK.org and SKLogs was abysmal, at best. Its origins were humble enough, but time saw a massive schism between the two, when really, they’re both working to try and make the game more fun for everybody. I don’t need to describe SKLogs’ devolution; we both know what the problems were and why they were so bad. But, I think it was a necessary problem for the community to face. SKLogs made mainstream what supamang and Chemhound did in the pseudo-underground. It forced the players and the staff to make a very conscious choice about how they played the game from an OOC perspective. Not visiting SKLogs meant sacrificing a huge wealth of information as well as a very large social connection to the other players. That wasn’t the case, before. Additionally, the wealth of information created an illusion of necessity – players seeking to maintain their status as knowledgeable and elite felt required to read and participate in order to stay on the “bleeding edge” of competition inside the game.
While it is easy to decry such an obviously weak attitude towards the game, most players don’t, even now, realize that they were so immersed in the cycle. History seems to indicate that there’s no way to change these trends – which is why a place without moderation became such a powder keg, self-destructing in a pile of chaos and flames. With this, we’re presented with the same situation, but with fresh experience and knowledge to learn from. A player-run site is a necessity for SK. As one forum passerby, Joebones notes: a strong player-run forum is a sign of good health in and outside of the game. There has to be a place where players can go to be moderated less strictly – otherwise they’ll get fed up, and something on the extreme will appear, like another SKLogs.
I am (for the time being) moderating the SK section of Java’s site. Her goal (as well as mine) is to eliminate the presence of information that detracts from the game – working out what kind of information that is, exactly, isn’t easy. That’s why I’m writing this. A successful player-run SK forum (or subsection of a forum, as they case may be) should be focused on complementing existing structures and material without fighting against the ideals of the game. I think I need your help to do that – if you’re willing to provide it.
From what I can tell, a major portion of SKLogs’ failure was derived from a lack of communication. What would you like to see in this player-run community? Where should it differ from SK.org? How can I make sure the two aren’t working against each other? How comfortable are you with any of this?
Thanks for your time and consideration. I hope I’m not too long-winded, but I thought I should be thorough about all this.
Salandarin / Tim