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The Guild of Messengers - discussion review by Whilyam

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Lunanne
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Whilyam wrote in his blog:

The Guilds Part 2: The Guild of Messengers

My original thoughts on the GoMe were somewhat muddled when I made them over three years ago and they have certainly changed. Back then, the post did not clearly define the Messengers and the post was largely an article on the use of “umbrella” organizations.

I’m here to say my view on so-called “umbrella organizations” has changed dramatically. I no longer believe that the Messengers should be as tolerant as they are of the pre-existing groups at the expense of the Guild. What originally was a Guild advertised as a means to unite the Messengers in common purpose now is little more than a hollow tube through which too little passes. The primary issue is that the organizations act too much like organizations and not members of a larger organization.

I believe the “affiliates” act now too much like modern media outlets, competing against themselves to get the “scoop” rather than news distributors bound in commonality and desire to inform. Too often it seems the affiliates are more concerned with collecting and reporting news, then *maybe* giving it to the GoMe. Too often the GoMe is used not as a source of news and information, but as a calendar of dates. The GoMe should be THE organization that originates all stories, with the affiliates distributing that news to their viewers. The GoMe should be focused not only as a reporting agency for cavern event dates, but also as an interviewer of important figures, an investigator of claims, a researcher of ideas, the foundation of new growth through the collection and distribution of information other Guilds can use to do their jobs.

I do not mean to overlook achievements the messengers have accomplished, most notably to me the acceptance of fan shards into the news and the work Leonardo has done in managing the all-Guilds meeting (an excellent use of the GoMe’s resources). The networking the Guild has done, too, is intriguing even if it is misguided. It is rare to get groups in the Uru community to work together in a common cause.

Except that is largely what the GoMe has failed to do. Because the affiliates aren’t really part of the GoMe, they’re just affiliated. Personal disputes between news organizations have taken prominence over the organization’s true job of distributing news. Therefore, the present leadership of these organizations should resign and be replaced with the ultimate goal being the closing of those organizations and their absorption into the Guild. This shouldn’t be some pie-in-the-sky idea, these leaders are people who got into their respective organizations because they felt they could do good. The problem is that reality has made their leadership into a liability and the way they could best serve their group is by getting out and letting the new blood take the reigns and maybe improve.

What’s clear is that the present system cannot survive. While the GoMe’s actions have been tremendous and they have gotten the organizations to do some good work, it is largely temporary. Any small dispute or challenge (like this post, for example) could break it. We need something stronger.
 

Leonardo
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I can agree with Whil on some parts of the review, but I feel it underestimates some points:

I don't understand what he means with "Any small dispute or challenge (like this post, for example) could break it.", I don't see our system to be on a precarious balance, on the contrary, it is by no means fixed and it is flexible, ready to be changed when the changing of times will require it. Our system right now is based on what the Uru Community is right now, that is: with small news to report. We have always been open to changing our structure based on the current situation of the community, or I should say that our structure changes naturally and we recognize it and change the structure on that basis.

But while our structure is not fragile, I can well see that it is weak, this is a very different concept in my mind - think about diamond, it is known to be the most hard material in the world, but at the same time it is very fragile (you cannot scratch it, but if you make it fall it breaks in a thousand pieces) - our structure is the opposite of diamond. This weakness is given by the fact that we are weak on what would be the very center of our work: daily reporters, writers, etc. It's like having a big city with only a few people in it. In a few words we need to change the ratio between editors and writers, coordinators and reporters/criers, organizational jobs and "actual doing" jobs.

Whil suggests to cure this weakness by making a very stronger relationship with the Affiliates. This is what I would love to see, and I have expressed this in our last meeting. Both TCT and CCN seem to have little staff to keep doing their projects and probably a well studied close work with us could give them a new push of activity. And not only this, they would give us a new push in activities too, if they join our efforts in the general day by day news flow. We will have more people that don't cover an organizational job (like Editor, Guild Master, Criers Coordinator) but cover the real core job of our work.

But as Veralun reminded me on the CCN discussion thread, there is little to discuss and report these days. Of course we can always find things to report on, concentrating our attention to smaller realities like the activities of the many groups in the Cavern.

I no longer believe that the Messengers should be as tolerant as they are of the pre-existing groups at the expense of the Guild.

We are not in the position of demanding anything from anyone. Our own members are not asked to do more than they want to do, even if sometimes it is less than what is needed to make this all work properly. The basis of our politic is that this must be a fun thing, and as such we must enjoy it.

I believe the “affiliates” act now too much like modern media outlets, competing against themselves to get the “scoop” rather than news distributors bound in commonality and desire to inform.

I don't see much active competition, but of course I'm viewing them as an extern. It is much more passive competition because they happen to do very similar things.

Too often it seems the affiliates are more concerned with collecting and reporting news, then *maybe* giving it to the GoMe. Too often the GoMe is used not as a source of news and information, but as a calendar of dates. The GoMe should be THE organization that originates all stories, with the affiliates distributing that news to their viewers.

Ideally, yes.

The GoMe should be focused not only as a reporting agency for cavern event dates, but also as an interviewer of important figures, an investigator of claims, a researcher of ideas, the foundation of new growth through the collection and distribution of information other Guilds can use to do their jobs.

Same issue explained above, the need for more interviewers, reporters, writers. And given the quality we usually to point to, it's always easy.

The networking the Guild has done, too, is intriguing even if it is misguided.

I'm not sure of this phrase, what do you mean? Which networking? What misguided?

It is rare to get groups in the Uru community to work together in a common cause.

So, true. But I'm always trying to get them together.

Personal disputes between news organizations have taken prominence over the organization’s true job of distributing news.

Sincerely I see no personal disputes or anything like that here. But probably you are refering to the process that took the Affilites distant from us: I can't speak for the Affliates, but the GoMe didn't do anything like that; it has been more of a random process that started when there was no Uru and when Uru has been back we didn't get back in contact.

The problem is that reality has made their leadership into a liability and the way they could best serve their group is by getting out and letting the new blood take the reigns and maybe improve.

The question is: is there a new blood?

 

Lunanne
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Leonardo wrote:

It's like having a big city with only a few people in it.


Well,we as main news source a big cavern with only a few people in it.

Imo the GoMe was meant to be a hub of activity with not only the guild members posting news but also explorers. The problem is that there isn't a lot of news at all, and that few people spread the news that there is. I think that in some cases events happen that we never hear about.

I know we are considered an "active" guild by many people but I think that that activity is caused by just a small amount of people, and if we did a census like the GoMa I would be surprised if more then 15 people consider themselves "active" messengers.  In a way Uru and any activity related to Uru will always be competing with Real Life and the fact that there is no new content doesn't help.

I think that with the small amount of active people we do rather a lot. Especially because things like making the Magazine is quite hard and time consuming. Everyone says they love it, but when you start about needing articles they are suddenly silent. We cannot make something from nothing....but in a way we need to do this /all/ the time.

About the "affiliates" ( I do not consider them affiliates anymore, we do not work together), I think they have the same problems as us. Working together would help, but I do not see that happen in the near future. Maybe these groups do need changing, but we as GoMe have nothing to say about them.

Leonardo
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Lunanne wrote:

I know we are considered an "active" guild by many people but I think that that activity is caused by just a small amount of people, and if we did a census like the GoMa I would be surprised if more then 15 people consider themselves "active" messengers.  In a way Uru and any activity related to Uru will always be competing with Real Life and the fact that there is no new content doesn't help.

GoMe Coordinator is still updated with what White and I see and a Census has been done some time ago pocking all the inactive Messengers by PM

andylegate
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I can remember way back, when the Guilds were first forming, the reaction from other organizations like TCT and CCN when people were either assuming or saying that they should be part of the GoMe, or should be absorbed by it.

They were very hostile to those ideas.


Now, part of me understood why: they had been around for a very long time, had been an organization that had been very active. I always liked how the TCT publications looked and read.

Another part of me didn't like the idea of globbing every group out there into one central organization. Here in the US we do have several media outlets. And it's wonderful that I can choose what news media I want to watch or read.

If all media outlets were aboloished and only ONE single news organization were allowed to operate in my country......well I've seen countries that do that. That's because they want to control the news and what their people hear about.


Still, the Uru community isn't a country, and it does make sense to have everyting a bit more organized and grouped together. I find that I'm just as split on that as I was way back then.


Saying that a Guild or a Group should "not be tolerant" is about as arrogant as you can get. Guilds and Groups should not ever be going around making demands of anyone. They should be there for the enjoyment of all, and as tools to be used.

The news that the GoMe has been puting out, based upon the various conditons of both the Community and Cyan running MOUL, to me anyways, has been met based upon the amount of people and events that are around and happening.

I would like to see a bit more about when new Fan Ages are put out, and getting the word out to the rest of the community, but that's something that I've already talked with Leo about, and he had some excellent suggestions that he made to me.

Whilyam's review said: Therefore, the present leadership of these organizations should resign and be replaced with the ultimate goal being the closing of those organizations and their absorption into the Guild.

and also:

The problem is that reality has made their leadership into a liability and the way they could best serve their group is by getting out and letting the new blood take the reigns and maybe improve.

I'm starting to see a pattern in Whilyam's reviews here........."Orignal and older members should be forced to leave, and replaced with those that will conform to what I have specified"


I think it would simply be better to just get new people in (after all, some of us don't really want to loose any bodies) and have them more active and doing more things.

Theremin
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I read through Whil's review a number of times, then read Leo's and Lunanne's responses, and then read Whil's post again.

I was looking for something I could grab on to and say- "You know, he has a good point here, maybe we could do something about this." But to be honest I just couldn't find it.

What few people seem to understand is that the entire Uru community is made up of volunteers, some much more dedicated than others. (I think of Leo and Marten for example, with their work on Rel.to) I didn't get involved with the Messengers because I needed another boss in my life telling me what to do. I'm not dependent on the Messengers to provide me with support for food and housing.

What others don't seem to understand is there is no "policing" agency in the Uru community, aside from Cyan, and they limit themselves to legal issues concerning copyright for the most part. There is nothing to prevent the creation of a guild, or for that matter, to prevent someone from forming another Guild of Messengers, or whatever. We can demand these other affiliates answer to us, or even merge with us, but we have no way to enforce this idea. We don't need to become the "news police".

I found the review to be mostly full of rhetoric- no actual examples were given. I am aware there is competition in the real world between news agencies, but am unaware of this in the Uru community. I never understood our goal to be to "get groups in the Uru community to work together in a common cause." 

IMHO -and I want to stress heavily this is only my opinion- I get the impression what Whil would like to see is the community working together to promote a cause he believes in, to operate in a manner he has sanctioned. If he wants to see changes made to our guild, then he should become a member and get involved, express his ideas and debate them. You all know I like a good debate and can be difficult at times, but I'm willing to discuss anything with anyone.

Edit: P.S., I just read Andy's post too.

white
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Leonardo wrote:
GoMe Coordinator is still updated with what White and I see and a Census has been done some time ago pocking all the inactive Messengers by PM.

In fact I think we have exactly eight and a half members that are considered active. By me. At least that's what I remember from my last census. Which took place the day before yesterday. By the way, the half one is a member who pops in very sporadically. *chokechokelazaruschoke*

I will not comment on Whil's review, but I'm always glad to read an external opinion to see how we look from the point of view of somebody who is completely unaware of our internal structures. I wonder if we should work on our PR.

n/d
Whilyam
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It starts with leadership. We are all volunteers, but that doesn't mean we can't lead people. If Leonardo or whoever were to stand up today and said "we're inefficient. We're not getting the job done as we are. We need people to move from their organizations into the Guild." people would listen. You are all here because you want to help disseminate information, not because you enjoy being a part of some obscure organization. You are here, in other words, for your actions not your affiliations.

It is easy to defend the status quo by repeating many of the tropes seen here. "We're only here to have fun." "If you want to change something, become a member." It's easy and it's disgraceful. Your Guild would not have been formed had people not taken the step to make this guild, so don't tell me this community cannot go farther without sacrificing fun. Your Guild would not have stabilized had people not taken the advice of those outside the Guild on projects like the Cavern Criers (first suggested by fans outside the Guild and then brought up internally).

The organizations no longer serve a purpose aside from personal pride. You can say you belong to CCN or TCT or whatever. They are, in their own right, useless. Here's why: the only reason for multiple organizations is for multiple "sides" to a story. Simply: we don't have stories like that. the only reason for one organization is to perform the job... that organization need only be the Guild. There is no logical reason for affiliates to exist aside from personal desires to "own" a "media outlet" for Uru.

To reply to andy. The Guilds are supposedly Uru's future. If they cannot have some form of mandate to get people to unify, I'm not sure what it would take. If the organizations are honestly committed to the ideals they say they are, then there should be no problem. The organizations balked last time specifically because they were not committed to these ideals. Instead they were committed to furthering their members' own petty grievances to the detriment of the community as a whole. If they really are here to have fun and spread news, if they really are here to fill the needs they see, then they should recognize their own existence is a hindrance towards that goal.

Furthermore, yes a running theme is the replacement of the "old guard" in part because many of these members are too rooted in old versions of Uru. The "new blood" is much more tolerant, much more open about what it means to enjoy Uru. We are an old enough community that we now have "generations" with different "cultures" so to speak... congratulations.

I should be clearer on this point: the Guild leadership appears to me to be open to new ideas. It is the affiliates who are holding things back. The affiliate leadership is the one that I think should be replaced.

(on an off-topic note, my discussion board language seems to be broken. All I get is Italian. I've set it to English, but it's not converting. If anyone knows how to fix this, please let me know.)

Marten
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I agree that Whilyam's article seems more focused on the affiliates than on the GoMe - though he approaches the topic from the perspective of "The GoMe hasn't successfully brought the affiliates' talent into its organization."

I'll try to bring some perspective to "the affiliate problem."

  • Members of The Cavern Today and Cavern Communications Network have had some really nasty disputes stemming from personality and interest differences.  TCT is very serious about their work, and has attracted very detail-oriented people.  They set a very high standard for themselves and derive satisfaction from the technical quality of their work.  In contrast, CCN's group is more creative and jovial.  They make up silly stories - and they have fun and joke around while producing.  Their creativity burns out when forced to meet someone else's idea of perfection.
     
  • It's unrealistic at this time to expect that these organizations will turn over their leadership to new people. As Leo said, "The question is: is there a new blood?"  I don't think there is.  And even if there were - since each group attracts its own sort of people, a leadership turnover won't resolve the core personality differences that led to previous conflicts.
     
  • I don't see either CCN or TCT as being a true news organization, nor do I believe that CCN, TCT, and GoMe are really in competition with each other.
     
  • TCT produces podcasts every few months.  They're more of a "this quarter in review" publication.
     
  • CCN is dormant despite attempts to wake back up.  They're just 3 people, and each of them is busy with other parts of their lives.  When CCN has been active, they've mostly focused on creative media - not news.  Tyion's recent but incomplete interview podcast series is the most newsy thing they've done in a long time.
     
  • GoMe... does news, and also some things not-so-newsy.  For the record, I also feel our magazine is not really news for the same reasons as the video and podcasts... the production time on it holds it back from being current.  The History Channel is not news.  Where I think we're a news organization is through our RSS feed, our involvement in community forums, and our in-cavern activities.

Anyway - there was one item out of Whilyam's post that I really liked, and I don't believe the situation with the affiliates needs to hold us back from embracing this sort of vision.

Quote:
The GoMe should be focused not only as a reporting agency for cavern event dates, but also as an interviewer of important figures, an investigator of claims, a researcher of ideas, the foundation of new growth through the collection and distribution of information other Guilds can use to do their jobs.

I think that bit was really well said.

edit added some formatting and clarified a bit.

Leonardo
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I don't think anyone would support me if I said something like that. On the contrary I think they will probably try to put more distance between them and us.

And at this point, I'm  not even sure if there is a leadership in TCT and CCN.

So, this is something the Guild can't control, it's up to the Affiliates.

(offtopic: Strange, what did you do to switch to English? Yesterday I changed how localization works on the URLs so if you just deleted "/it" from the URL it makes sense that it switched back to Italian. To force it to English change /it to /en. The cause of the Italian interface is that I placed on the MOUL forums a link with "/it" inside XD Sorry)

EDIT: Very good points Marten. I liked very much that point too...we should try to recruit more writers definitely

EDIT2: Whilyam, these are the links to the discussions at TCT and CCN that I started some weeks ago about GoMe Affiliation:
http://www.thecaverntoday.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3346
http://www.caverncommunicationsnetwork.com/central/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=250

Tweek
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First up, I'm glad I'm not the only one having launguage issues, it was Italian for me too earlier, the other day it was French.

 

Secondly, there is always room for improvements in all groups, if people are willing to take on said improvements. Most of the GoME's services seem pretty straight on, a little obscure in my mind, but that could be down to me largely staying out of the majority of the community. Worth noting that it's something that isn't actually down to the GoME, for example, the MOUL site's new page has been stagnating for almost a year now, for a site that's about MOUL and the community it could go a long way to branching out in those directions, having it's front page pull from the GoME news feed would go a long way here. DJC's new build decided to remove the news page in favor of it being the GoME feed for several reasons (1, I'm not hugely interested in the news anymore, 2. not hugely interested in Cyan, 3. not hugely interested in updating DJC anymore), we have a nice news source, I might as well use it. It's a path other sites could possibly think of taking (like if UO ever brought their site back).


The D'niverse/community is in a bad place at the moment, people are tired, bored, moving away. I agree, to a degree, that new blood is good and needed, but as one of the "old guard" (course when I say old guard I mean rivenguild, not those who consider themselves old guard from Uru Prologue days) I've had *counts* 13 years now, watching this community (and I've watched very carefully). New blood is fine, but the "new blood" come into it and don't do any homework, they don't look into the history of Uru/D'ni/Myst or the community, I drop in randomly at the MOUL forums and I see more damage (bevins) than good from the "new blood", my point with that is it's a double edged sword.


Anyway, bad place, news levels are running on empty, so perhaps it's time to take the offensive and make the news, and I don't mean in the sense of Fox News. I mean the interviews idea and stuff. Try for Cyan folk, try for community members, you've got Age Builders, Maintainers, Messengers, Artists, Coders, regular community members, plenty to draw from. A series on Maintainers, interivews with Dot, Andy, Marcus, how things work, plans for the future, favorite pie fillings etc.

 

As for leadership, dear god, I've never seen a community so afraid of leadership, I'm amazed we every got anything done (one of the reasons I tend to work solo all the time), as vounteers you can be leaders, leaders are needed to get things moving, but this community is so quick to lash out against those who would assume a leadership position tauting "power grabbing" and "personal agenda", unfortunately most people don't really realize there is no such thing as power in the community, it's like listening to people talk about Dustin having power over Age releases cause Drizzle/UAM is his, build your own library manager or do what I do and release solely from a website, what power is there to be had there? Hopefully, one day, greater population will actually figure this out.

Jnathus
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Hello, I'm J'nathus, the guy who occupies the 'center seat' at The Cavern Today.  
 
We've been having problems as of late figuring out what news to cover and what directions to go with programming. For my part, I figure we're adventure gamers and we all have our specialties, including tech, hardcore games, comedy, etc, so we're in a bit of a crossroads of how to scratch that 'podcasting itch' that we all have.  We love what we do, and we continue to do what we do.  That has never changed.  As far back as the CCN debacle, we have asserted that we do audio, and while other projects are free to exist, this is what I / we do, and what we WILL do.  
 
Personally, I've been with the project since February 2006, heading up the endeavors as early as the following Fall season. So throughout the years, I've figured out how to make our programming work with a staff of 80+ down to as low as 8.  
 
So, you might understand why I take exception to the concept that there is a lack of leadership at TCT.  The fact that we are less active as an affiliate in GoMe is mostly because I don't care about your organization, and I don't see any relevance.  You are useful as a channel to get the word out about our podcasts. We feed the news from  your site RSS and we comment on what we find news worthy. 
 
Your presumption to change leadership in areas where you are not concerned is laughable.  I love URU, and I am glad to have access to MOUL, as URU CC doesn't run very well on today's systems. But it is to me what it is to own games like Oblivion. I'm glad I still have it, but at the moment, it's not a focus nor an interest. 
 
It's not that I believe you do NO GOOD, but the movement to organize at this very moment seems very ill-timed.  Thoughts that ego drive other projects / organizations is sort of a given.  We've worked hard to do what we do, and we're proud of what we've accomplished.  It's been a great ride and a great learning process. However, the URU fount is dry... the Myst fount only a little less so.  We discussed covering fan ages and although we want to, too many of the staff resist the idea of covering things that do not have Cyan's blessing, so we avoid that topic like it doesn't exist. So, we're left with nearly nothing to speak of in the URU / Myst universe. 
 
So, we're moving in a different direction, making the URU / Myst news more of a quarterly, maybe twice yearly bit, which means, as far as GoMe is concerned, TCT is very likely a non-entity. 
 
The fact that TCT / CCN feature highly in your discussions suggests that you have very little to fuel your interests. I invite you to focus your energies elsehwere, because you only offend when you question what we do and how we do it. A long time ago I decided that TCT was and would remain the master of its own fate.  When Cyan started trying to narrow guild focus, I said: "Then I want nothing to do with the guilds."  My response is similar when demands come from external sources that have not dealt with the management difficulties and accomplishments that are the culmination of TCT. 
 
We are managing very well with or without you. If it needs be without you, then so be it. 


Maurus
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EDIT: Disclaimer: I wrote this with the assumption that Whil was speaking on behalf of the GoMe. While this isn't the case, this post still serves as a rebuttal of sorts to his post.

Second Disclaimer: Though I am a member of TCT, what I am about to say does not reflect the views of the group.

I am speaking as a member of the community, one that has worked very hard for years getting material out to the rest of the community as a way of doing my part. Reading this thread broke my heart, and I feel I must speak freely about this.

Look, Cyan didn't create the guilds so people could develop them into bureaucratic nonsense. The guilds were created as a way of motivating the community into becoming something more in-depth. It was like asking "here are the different alignments, which are you?"

As a member of a podcast team, "messaging" is what I do. That's my trade. That's how I choose to contribute to the community, and I have been for years. And I'm not the only one- by basically condemning us "umbrella groups" you invalidate the work of like 60% of the people who identify with the GoMe.

As for the criticisms about lack of content from groups like TCT or CCN - Look, be realistic: Uru is a game that only a handful of people really play anymore, and there doesn't really seem to be much of a future. But at least we try. Give us some credit, at least we make an effort to get content out. And really, you have to give any community members who are driven enough to want to help the community as a whole credit for actually having the interest to do this out of the goodness of their hearts. Uruites are becoming extinct, and there aren't going to be a lot of us left soon, so be thankful people like TCT, CCN, etc are here at all.

Additionally, the idea that the GoMe needs to actually be an organization is a little misguided. Going back to what I said earlier, that's not really the point of the guilds. They're supposed to be a label, and not an actual organization. It's like Cyan's way of introducing "classes" into the game in what, admittedly, was a bit of a failed attempt at spicing things up. Basically, that alignment shouldn't be anyone's decision but the individual's.

So you can't just wave a magic wand and say "you're not a messenger anymore" just because your way of doing things doesn't align with someone else's. That's just not how it works.

Theremin
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Just to be clear-

The post by Whilyam doesn't represent the Guild of Messengers, nor was his review of the guilds asked for by the GoMe. It was posted here as a matter of interest and to discuss, as the GoMe don't believe in that type of censorship. We are open to discussing ideas.

Nor is the GoMe criticizing the TCT or CCN or any other guild in the community. We are not here to tell others how to run their organizations; merely to help if we are able.

I am saddened that Jnathus doesn't care about our organization and sees us as irrelevant. It tells me there was a need or an expectation we were unable to fill for whatever reason. Perhaps this would be a better focus for us to work on.

Leonardo
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Jnathus, Maurus, you speak as if the GoMe wrote that article, I would like to remind you that it was written by Whilyam, not the GoMe. We are just discussing what he wrote.

As for the criticisms about lack of content from groups like TCT or CCN - Look, be realistic: Uru is a game that only a handful of people really play anymore, and there doesn't really seem to be much of a future. But at least we try. Give us some credit, at least we make an effort to get content out. To be very blunt, that seems to be more than your "organization" can claim, actually.

I don't read anywhere that someone said you were not making something, or making bad publications. No one attacked your work and I know that many in the community like your podcasts, me among them. And more importantly no one attacked you, this is just a discussion, and in order to discuss we need to say things.
Maybe you can find Whilyam's words to be an attack, but knowing him: it is just how he espresses himself most of the time. I wouldn't be alarmed by that.
For the last part: Last time I checked we had a Magazine published and the front page/RSS Feed is always kept active and updated, I wouldn't say that we are not publishing anything.

So you can't just wave a magic wand and say "you're not a messenger anymore" just because your way of doing things doesn't align with someone else's. That's just not how it works.

I can't read this in any of the posts above.

The fact that TCT / CCN feature highly in your discussions suggests that you have very little to fuel your interests.

We are discussing about you and CCN because you were the subject of the article. I can assure you that we have also other subjects to talk about and we talk about them in our meetings. You are the subject here because you are the subject of the article, no other reason.

I invite you to focus your energies elsehwere, because you only offend when you question what we do and how we do it.

No one is questioning what you do or how you do it, as I mentioned to the reply to Maurus above. The only question is about collaboration, no one said anything about your publications.

A long time ago I decided that TCT was and would remain the master of its own fate.  When Cyan started trying to narrow guild focus, I said: "Then I want nothing to do with the guilds."

Ok.
In that period many of us weren't here or weren't focused on what was going on in the Messengers' organization efforts, so we didn't know that.
I was seeking a reply of this kind when I posted on your forums, I wanted to know if you were still interested, I wanted to know what was the meaning of being an Affiliate now.

However I think that some of the things you are saying are here just because you feel offended and/or angry, right now. Just take a deep breath.

P.S.: certain points of this post may seem to be written with an aggressive tone, but I assure you they were written with the most calm tone in mind.

P.P.S.: Theremin beated me in writing. He is always able to hit the points I want to cover in a much more sintetic way XD I always like to focus on the details

Maurus
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My mistake - I was under the assumption that Whil was speaking on behalf of the Guild.

Nonetheless, Whil's views were a bit hurtful, and I felt I needed to rebut his claims, so, my point essentially still stands: the idea of the guild isn't about leadership, it's about community, and we need to be aware of that.

As for the language issues, it looks like someone viewed the page in Italian and then passed it around. Just change the URL in the URL bar from ... .com/it/ ... to ... .com/en/... . Problem solved!

Leonardo
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I can well agree with you on tht Maurus. Sincerely, GoMe is not really interested in leadership, it just exists because there is a need for some kind of coordination. You can read the nature of our structure in the F.A.Q section (link on the right column on the front page) and you will see that GoMe has a loose leadership, it's only purpose is coordination, nothing more.

Jnathus
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I apologize...  it wasn't my understanding that Whilyam didn't speak for the GoMe..  I thought you linked us to this discussion because GoMe was taking a hard line with affiliates.  I mean, I did better than I originally intended. I kept the profanity out of the message.  I'm not nice, and don't you forget it! :) 

As I've said in a different way, TCT has done what TCT does based on the fortunes of time and the interests of our collective staffers take us to, but as we've both sort of spelled out, URU isn't really that relevant anymore. HOWEVER, we said that before, how we were over it, etc, and then the latest MOUL came out and we scrambled to redesign the site, get a new cast going, etc.  Deep down, we have a love for Myst / URU, but we sense that we're forcing a fandom to keep the programming going for this kind of thing, and as such, we don't understand the GoMe going ANYWHERE on ANY level right now.  We're still bound as like-minded people, but we need a direction to go in, and as such, we're working on a 'branching out' podcast (new or revitalized), WHICH might not be appropriate to distribute through GoMe's distribution channel - so we're likely parting ways either way. 

The hostility in my response is targeted against Whilyam's statements, as they're just asinine IMO.  Again, I apologize for being so offensive...  Much of our development is internal and Marten's impressions are not entirely accurate nor representative.  I almost left you completely alone and did what I always do...   keep doing what TCT does.  I probably should have. :) 


Nalates
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….hmmmm…

The key ideas in Whilyam’s article are tolerance and ‘…at the expense of the Guild.’  That says something revealing about his thinking. If one is familiar with Whilyam’s postings in the community his recommendation for less tolerance on GoMe’s part is understandable. Tha the guild should be worried about others doing things at it expense missed the point of why those that participate in the guilds are engaged. Then let’s see… members of an organization are supposed to act like they are not part of the organization but as part of some other organization… right.

How the ‘affiliates’ act is a perception and I have not heard any one in those affiliate groups agreeing. Nor do I hear any majority of the fan base agreeing with his misperceptions. The ideas just piss people off.

That the efforts to network and form cooperative efforts are misguided is another perception… misperception. That Whilyam sees the GoMe, which has gotten significant parts of the community to work at some cooperative level and is providing probably the most unifying activities in Uru, as a failure to unify is amazing… or perhaps it just reveals an agenda or misperception based on an agenda.

That Whilyam thinks it is rare to get groups in our community to work on a common cause is accurate or erroneous depending on one’s viewpoint. If one thinks the Uru community is a homogeneous community, he is right. But, no one has every pulled the community together and GoMe certainly hasn’t. But, the erroneous part is the reality that we are a diverse community and have never had identical preferences. We all generally love Uru but there is no agreement on what it is we love about it or what should be done with it. The people that like the same things form groups.  Those groups then pretty much work well. That one group is more interested in their stuff than others stuff is not surprising. We are never going to fit into some single group or umbrella organization. Six plus years should have proven that by now.

That Whilyam recommends ‘pie-in-the-sky’ ideas shouldn’t be the idea and then puts forth his out of tune ideas… well… To recommend current leaders, which is a poor choice of labels – volunteers is far more accurate, …that current volunteers sit down and let the non-existent other volunteers take over is about as pie-in-the-sky thinking as it gets. New blood… what new blood does anyone see stepping up?

That an Uru fan would come out and say the current system cannot survive, in a community of the game that won’t die, is just silly. Its hyperbole. A small dispute like Whilyam’s post destroying the GoMe is just his over inflated ego talking.

Tweek pretty well describes the state of things and where many fans are. Maurushas the organizational guild thing right. Bureaucratic organizations were never the point. However, Cyan only created the guilds of the story - the historic guilds of the D’ni and the IC in-game guilds - the restored guilds. Fans created the other guilds, not Cyan. Cyan tried to figure out how to work with them and use them to help the game and community.

Obvioulsy Jnathus, as he responded, missed the direction of discussion with a preconception distorting his perception and thus his response. This happens a lot in online communities. Then people just react. Misinformation going into the community creates problems. So, misinformation like Whilyam’s opinion has to be countered with facts. Andy did a good job of that over at GoMa and Leonardo here.

Nalates GoC
SL Nalates Urriah - GoC's Uru Maps Tech Data Site - GoC @

Whilyam
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The hostility the affiliates showed towards the GoMe because of my views serves to underscore my point about the shaky relationship the Guild has with its affiliates. I agree the Guild wasn't set up to be a bunch of bureaucratic nonsense. The problem is that that is what I see it turning into today. The Guild is more concerned with maintaining good political relations with the affiliates than with news gathering.

Furthermore, I understand there are different personalities at work here. Some are more geared towards "professional journalism" and others towards having fun and putting on a show. Perhaps a solution is to have the different people work on publications that reflected their personalities. For example, the CCN crowd could focus on publications which were light-hearted or satirical while the TCT crowd focused more on news gathering and reporting, etc. People from all organizations would choose the works they wanted to contribute to, and so on. What is unmanagable, unwanted, and detrimental is to persist in relying on the organizations. I understand people have a lot of emotions tied into these groups (evident from the explosive reaction to my suggestions). That doesn't change the fact that these groups no longer serve a purpose. As I see it, the name on the forum would be the extent of the real changes for these organizations and nothing more.

However, if the organizations respond only with the kinds of attacks seen here it reveals that they are more concerned with maintaining their source of pride rather than building a better news distribution organization.

Nalates highlights a point I need to clarify. The Guild's tolerance of the affiliates comes at its own expense. So long as the GoMe is playing the duct tape holding everything together, the affiliates are allowed to control what work is done. The Guild, in my opinion, needs to have that power. If the affiliates have that power, we end up with personal squabbles like those mentioned between CCN and TCT. With the Guild in control, it would be simple to have an open production policy allowing like-minded individuals to work on projects which fit their personalities, etc.

As a side note, I'm enjoying the discussion here (less the discussion trying to analyze my mental state or otherwise ham-handedly try to discredit or disparage me). I knew in writing this article that this would be one of the more controversial in the series since it suggests the most radical change. If even one organization merges or folds, I believe it would dramatically benefit the Guild and the community as a whole.

Maurus
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Maybe you don't understand this, but, that's not really how the GoMe works. Maybe it's how the other guilds work, but it isn't how GoMe works. GoMe isn't so much an organization in its own right as it is a news aggregate through the combined efforts of those running the RSS feed and folks like us who distribute information in our own ways.

The guild isn't "tolerating" its affiliates Whil, it is its affiliates.

Jnathus
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I think what you're proposing Whilyam is that GoMe BECOME the group where people participate.  GoMe's function is to put a face to the community of the aggregate of the groups that participate / affiliate.  The GoMe is not THE organization of people producing the product.  GoMe is like digg.com where it links to many sources, but in and of itself is NOT a source.

The groups didn't splinter as they have because people were able to get along (at least not where CCN / TCT are concerned).  We do things OUR way, and your suggestions to the contrary do not change that.  Have you managed any organizations that give you this perspective that you portray?

I also notice you're taking glee in having stirred this pot like this.  You're a bit of a jerk if that's what your intention was.

Your mentioning of power struggle with CCN / TCT has to do with one VERY mentally unstable woman. While I won't go into that, once we parted ways with her, the strife at TCT ended quite completely. MUCH of that struggle came from an over-arching entity attempting to force their will onto others.  The project is collaborative (and still is collaborative), so we move in the direction the changing fortunes of time push us and where we are comfortable going.

Whilyam wrote:
If even one organization merges or folds, I believe it would dramatically benefit the Guild and the community as a whole.

The part that really loses me here, is WHY this is even an issue at the moment? What community demand is there for ANYTHING the GoMe offer?  What community is there to serve?  Is this your way of getting the community engaged, by simply causing drama?

So long as your opinion has no binding effect on the GoMe, then we'll continue to co-exist peacefully / amicably.  Cyan decided to put us into a box because of MOUL, but MOUL came and went, and we served the community well and faithfully.  When MOUL returned so did the strong URU-based TCT podcasts.  At this point, we do not see much of a community to serve, and therefore much of this issue is moot. 


Leonardo
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I think what you're proposing Whilyam is that GoMe BECOME the group where people participate.  GoMe's function is to put a face to the community of the aggregate of the groups that participate / affiliate.  The GoMe is not THE organization of people producing the product.  GoMe is like digg.com where it links to many sources, but in and of itself is NOT a source.

Well. I am almost sure that GoMe was born with that principle in mind back in 2008. But now it is much more than that. GoMe is indeed producing a product: the Cavern Criers are no longer a separate entity from the Guild (even if it is a bit dormant now), the Magazine Team is active and working and it not (never been) an external team either. So, GoMe is producing something and at the same time it is also a link to other sources.
That concept of GoMe no longer exists on its own, because GoMe now has an internal team and internal publications. Your vision of GoMe is a label you can use to call all the media organizations, but that is no longer true, because with an internal staff and organization. GoMe is no longer a label for independent organizations, it has a "head" (and with this I don't mean it controls the Affiliates or should) now and it should be that central core to be responsible to unite them (with any degree of unification, from loose to tight, but still unifing them).

Right now I think that this 'being link to other sources' has become a very weak link. If GoMe has to be some kind of face for the Affiliates we need to know a bit more of them to promote them and saying that we are together. This is what I was envisioning when I first approced you some weeks ago. Also maybe placing a link/logo/something somewhere to show you are an affiliate. You know, something we can use to actually link us and being able to say "TCT/CCN is an Affiliate of GoMe, right now they are working on X, Y and next publication will be around Z month".


@Nalates: Please keep personal attacks/trying to discredit someone out of your posts. You can discuss the ideas, the concepts, etc. In other words, keep the Whil &Co. vs Nalates & Co. "war" out of here, please.

Jnathus
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Leonardo wrote:
Also maybe placing a link/logo/something somewhere to show you are an affiliate. You know, something we can use to actually link us and being able to say "TCT/CCN is an Affiliate of GoMe, right now they are working on X, Y and next publication will be around Z month".

Point of principle: TCT / CCN are not the same thing. We are not affiliated in any way. You MAY say TCT and / or CCN meaning certain entities if you like, but I don't know why CCN even gets honorable mention anymore. What are they even doing anymore?

About keeping you appraised of our development . . .  If we were doing a lot of URU news, that would be fine, but at this point, we're not. In addition, WE hardly know when a product will be out. These productions are produced by volunteers and a consistent schedule is hard to maintain, as RL can intrude and often does. So, what you are suggesting is that we keep you 'in the know.' You have a greater estimation of WHAT there is to know than there is. I'm tempted to promote you to "production staff" on our forums so you can see behind the veil and see that much of what goes on is far less substantial than you are envisioning.

If GoMe has a staff and a product, then you are no longer an over-arching entity.  You are a competitor.  That status is fine with me, as there's really nothing to compete over, no REAL news, etc.  

In the end, I can't put a strong enough point on how insubstantial Myst / URU have become, and how this bickering is entirely pointless.  WE at TCT are moving forward in a new direction that is not Myst / URU based.  I'm actually a bit uncomfortable telling you this, as this movement is 'still in development,' which is to say that we're still discussing the right way to go forward on this.  Now that sounds important, but what is the more accurate portrayal is that we have trouble getting staff into the discussion, so we wait until they do.  The balance of push and pull with volunteer efforts that I have learned is why I balk so heavily over the ideals proposed by Whilyam and the movement of 'more substantial ties' that the GoMe wants.  You just don't see the big picture, and I don't know if it's good or even right to disillusion you.  

As we are intending on maintaining 2 podcast sets - 1 that is more URU based, and 1 that is more ecclectic, we shall be notifying you on the rare occasion when we produce the URU one. Outside of that, I think you won't hear much from TCT in the future. 


Whilyam
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That is indeed what I'm proposing. The Guild should be (and, as Leo points out, is becoming) the producer rather than the distributor. I think this is how the community will be best served.

Let me emphasize this point, because I can tell I've upset you: I appreciate all that the affiliates (and in particular TCT) have done. I do not mean to trivialize what the affiliates have worked on. I worked with the Archiver a while ago and participated to some extent in TCT, so I am not saying that the work you guys do has no meaning. Moreover I am not taking glee in "stirring the pot." Quite the contrary, I am disappointed that my view of the affiliates' relations with the Guild are correct. Furthermore, this article came about now because now was when I felt like I should revisit my Guild articles.

Leonardo
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my words were more based on a general view, not necessarily related to your current status. I think you well described your situation right now in the posts above and I understand that there is really little activity on the Myst side.

Marten
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Jnathus wrote:

Leonardo wrote:
Also maybe placing a link/logo/something somewhere to show you are an affiliate. You know, something we can use to actually link us and being able to say "TCT/CCN is an Affiliate of GoMe, right now they are working on X, Y and next publication will be around Z month".

Point of principle: TCT / CCN are not the same thing. We are not affiliated in any way. You MAY say TCT and / or CCN meaning certain entities if you like, but I don't know why CCN even gets honorable mention anymore. What are they even doing anymore?

Leonardo was offering an example where either CCN or TCT could be used interchangeably depending on which organization's activities were being reported.  It is your mistake to interpret his statement as a confusion of the two groups.  Furthermore, just as Leonardo has asked that we keep personal attacks out of the forum, likewise, please keep attacks against other organizations out of the discussion.

Back to the main topic:

I understand the root of Whilyam's concern, or at least, I interpret in a certain way in which I agree.  The Myst and Uru community is not a very large one.  It consists of several generations - from the first fans of Myst, through the history of Rivenguild, and up through Uru's time - who have gathered into many small groups.  And despite that we all have something in common, that something about Cyan's games touched something in our hearts, the community (generally) continues to stay divided in these tiny groups, and thus limits itself to very small projects.  I say generally, for there have been exceptions, such as when several groups merged into the Guild of Writers.  I know that Whilyam is disappointed that other community groups have not followed that lead.  I support and respect his choice to voice his concerns.  I wish that he would voice his feelings more constructively and less provocatively.  But, I do not for a moment believe that the voicing of his opinion in either manner will change things.

Now I am going to be a bit negative myself.  Debbie Downer.  Sorry.

My idea for Rel.to - built by Erik and Tweek, and now in Leonardo's hands - was an index resource for our community - that's something you all know, I believe.  But also it was also a sort of monument to the failure of our community to overcome its divisions.

I had hoped, in some small way, that the size of Rel.to would cause people to say "You know, do we really need this many small groups?  Do we need 10 different Exile hint sites?".  And when someone proposed starting up yet another site for some personal agenda, I thought, "People can show this person that there are already 7 other sites doing the exact same thing, and stop this madness."

As it turned out, the problem was even worse than I'd realized when I decided to create Rel.to as a solution.  There are so many resources and groups out there that I could not keep the site as up-to-date as I'd planned.  Every now and then, Gorobay would dump a huge list of sites he'd discovered into the suggestions thread.  My will to continue broke.

And agendas continue to rule the day.  The leaders of each of the small groups have their ideas of how things should be done, and they lack the enthusiasm or interest to work together.  And they're entitled to do as they please, there's nothing inherently wrong with that (when looked at from a case by case basis).  But the result continues to be a 250 ring circus with 250 circus masters each putting on a one- or three-man show.  I think that's discouraging to prospective new members of the community, and I think it's a lot of wasted potential, but hey that's just my opinion and that's not worth much.

For the TL;DR crowd:  In summary, everyone has their reasons to continue business as usual, will treat Whilyam as an uneducated outsider who is telling them how to do things (which he is), and will not take the opportunity use this outside perspective as a tool to break out of old habits and routines that offer comfort but limit our potential.

One of my favorite Demotivators(tm):   http://www.despair.com/tradition.html

Whilyam
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Marten did a good job of summing up some of my key points. Though I would submit that I don't raise these points in the most constructive tone because there's no real "constructive" way to tell someone they need to destroy something.

Also, the language issue is gone. Looks like the /en did the trick. thanks, Leo.

Leonardo
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Whil

It always amazes me how Marten can express concepts that I find always difficult to write down. Nice one Marten!

Marten
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Now that I'm relaxed and in a more positive frame of mind, I'm going to counterpoint myself - with a specific exception.

While I stand by my position that there are too many small groups in the Myst and Uru fandom, I believe that the Guild of Messengers, The Cavern Today, and Cavern Communications Network do not represent an overpopulation of media producing groups for the community.

Jnathus said "(The Guild of Messengers) are a competitor... but there's nothing to compete over."   I do not entirely agree with this.  I don't feel that newspapers and news radio compete with each other.  GoMe, TCT, and CCN each produces media products, but I think we've each found our own niche and approach, and I believe we have both distinct and overlapping audiences.

The groups that were closest to the calling of the Messengers - the Criers and the Relayers - are now a part of us.   I believe that the most important and appropriate opportunities for groups to merge in our field were realized.  The groups with a common vision and purpose became united.  It does not make sense to expect groups that do not share common goals to merge together just because they exist in the same general category.  (Would you like to replace your dishwasher and clotheswasher with a single all-purpose washing device?   I wouldn't!)

So - while I'm like in mind with Whilyam about the many tiny circuses that seem endemic (and an epidemic) to the fandom, I find it odd  that he would select the separation of the Messengers, TCT, and CCN as an example of the problem when that is one of the few areas that I don't see it being an issue.

Whilyam
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I don't necessarily think it's competition but that TCT and the other remaining affiliates have no logical reason for still being "independent" from the Guild.

I would argue that real life news organizations of different media do indeed compete, but (as is plainly obvious) Uru is not real life. :P