Posts from category "Musings"

The Council, Cardiff, and a Welsh Assembly Member

Many of you know that over the past month, I have been on vacation in Wales, staying with my good friend and fellow Pharaoh and Deity, Rob. What many of you were not aware of, however, is that while this was most assuredly a vacation for me, it was also a chance to have some solid work sessions with Rob about where we see our community, and how we see it moving forward. A month-long assessment and evaluation process kicked off, where we were frequently discussing various aspects of Duat. Some of my fondest memories are driving back from castles and cathedrals dating to the 1400s and earlier, Rob and I reminiscing about our friendships we’ve made and then talking about the day we’d had, or discussing Cider, or a host of other things.

Rob’s parents invited him, his wife, and I to join them for a concert. The Welsh group, CALAN, is a truly unique experience for someone from the United States who has never been to Europe before. One thing that we here in the states lack: time. I visited churches twice, even four times older than this great nation I call home. I went in to Cardiff and saw a castle that was build on the ruins of the original Roman naval fort that was built before the river was diverted to make way for the sprawling city life.

When I was in Cardiff, one thing really caught my attention. Along the bay, near an antique Norwegian church that’s been turned into a restaurant and community centre, is the Welsh Assembly. For those who aren’t familiar with the way the U.K. works, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have their own assemblies, which are separate from the Members of Parliament that are sent to Westminster in England. Roughly analogous, the Welsh Assembly would be similar to the State Legislature in the United States. What caught me, really and truly, was the design of the building.

I had an opportunity to meet the Assembly Member for the Bargoed area, which is where I was attending church services. We got to talking about the architectural design of the building, and he confirmed my suspicions. The building is quite literally a glass house, and it’s designed to be utterly transparent.I have strived to run Duat in a similar way. From our origins, our beginnings as an alliance in a nation simulator, we have always been a transparent organization. That doesn’t stop now.

The culmination of the evaluation process resulted in four Deities being stepped down from my council. Let me be clear: they were not punished, they did nothing wrong. One of the realizations we came to is that the Council of Deities needs to have more administrative responsibility, and the individuals on the Council have made clear that they were not interested in this. I even tried to force at least one member into trying to comply with my new desires for administrative capability; and that led to his resignation from the community entirely.

I never want my members to feel like they are being forced into doing something that they just aren’t comfortable with, and that extends to my Council as well. That’s why I wanted to clarify why Mikey, Tom, Jayden, and Akito are no longer Deities. Mikey is still, and always will be I suspect, a trusted confidant. After all, he is still one of only three people who has led our community. I’ve just decided I am no longer going to try to force him to take on the responsibilities that he genuinely and truly is not interested in.

Introduction of the Blog system

As a community, one of our major goals is to break into the game review world. This is not an inherently difficult task to accomplish; we merely need someone who is a good writer to actually, you know, write the reviews. Of course, in order to write a review the individual needs to have played the game. That is where the difficulty lies. Then there is the question of where we are going to publish our reviews. Of course, it makes sense to use Steam's built-in curator system, especially when you consider that a sizeable segment of our gaming life is delivered through Steam.

As someone with a background in marketing and public relations (I have a Masters in Public Relations, and one in Political Science, but that's a different conversation entirely), I'm particularly cognisant of the importance of regularly circling back visitors to our website. After all, the more people we can expose to our website, the more valuable our website becomes. That also means more unique content.

So exists the dilemma. If we publish primarily on Steam's curator service, we will inevitable have greater exposure for those articles, but at the cost of reduced exposure to our entire gaming community. Conversely, if we publish primarily on our website, we will have greater control over that exposure, but at the cost of reduced visibility for our reviews.

Rob and I were driving back from Great Whitley in England, taking the M5 into Wales when we started discussing this very problem. Granted, we were both (me more than him) more than a little tired. We had just climbed what he claimed was a hill, but I know to be closer to a mountain (having climbed the Appalachian on more than one occasion). Sidebar: did you know that Wales, and southern England at least, have an obscene amount of "hills" that are more along the lines of what US Citizens would charitably call small mountains? I didn't until now. In any case, we came up with a solution: cross posting. Everything is published on our website, and then cross-posted onto Facebook, Twitter, and even our Steam group, all with links back to our website.

Enter the blog system. We'll be testing and trialing this over the coming weeks and months, and undoubtedly tweaking it to high heaven as we go.