25 Years, The Evolution of a Club
A Star Trek fan group and a 90210 fan group went to battle on Prodigy.
Sounds more like a lead-up to a joke than a legacy, but then again, as they say, sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.
On this 50th Anniversary year of Star Trek, our club, www.star-fleet.com, is celebrating 25 continuous years of role playing fun!
For me personally, my RP experience is limited to this one club, so I sometimes am really surprised to learn how often groups can fold. I can’t say for sure what the difference is, but I can point to a few things we do that have provided stability and growth over the years.
Love politics or loathe them, our elected government model allows continuity over the years. Our President (and their running mate) are elected every 8 months and they appoint their cabinet (leaders of our fleets and departments). Laws and appointments are set down in Edicts and Bills, allowing a constant record of decisions made. This allows there to established precedent for different situations that might crop up, making decision making a bit easier.
Having been President before, I can tell you it’s a challenging job to manage a club with 100+ people of different ages, nationalities and backgrounds. But at the same time our diversity adds a richness to all our interactions (even if things can get rather heated at times).
I know some people see all the rules as being too restrictive and lessening the fun, but I firmly believe that the solid structure in place (that is constantly evolving) is what keeps us intact even when we hit rough patches. We can weather the storms because we have mechanisms in place to handle them, and that is often a reassuring thing to have a large club.
An acronym for Elected Government Oversight, the three members are elected on overlapping 2 years cycles. Their job is simply to review all laws declared and make sure they aren’t detrimental to the club. Ensuring that the rules we put in place will be interpreted correctly later on down the road when the original policy makers may not be around. Clarity and simplicity is key!
While not a new concept, we provide a training areas for new members who might not have RP’d before, or are not used to our system. Our bulletin board style is quite different than a lot of the forum and email systems out there, so it’s been recognized that people need an area where they can be mentored ad eased into the system. We find generally that by letting people run a small sim in this environment, that they generally do better when joining in on the rest of the club. Since new members in the Academy are not allowed to join other ships until they graduate (usually around 3 months), they are not overwhelmed. One of the biggest things we see when people are super enthusiastic, is that they join a whole bunch of ships, get overwhelmed and then burn out. The Academy does help with this a bit.
Our previously award winning library is a staple part of our system. It houses all those rules I mentioned, as well as ship and technology specs (all our ships use custom designed specs), courses, an archive of all Presidential edicts, and historical info and documents. Having all this information at your fingertips is incredibly useful, if a bit daunting the first few times until you get the lay of the land.
This isn’t to say that we don’t have our challenges. Having such an established club where things exist for long periods of time without change means that putting change into action is a tough process. The status quo is comfortable, and people naturally resist change. The balance we’re constantly striving for is to honour the history, reasons and work that went into where we are at, while allowing things to evolve as the club membership does. It’s a precarious balance at times, and we’re not always successful at is, but that in of itself is a part of the growth of a club. I think we learn more about ourselves and what needs to shift when we hit bad times.
One of the biggest changes we made was the introduction of X-Fleet (eXperimental Fleet). This a special fleet that exists outside the rest of the fleets and allows people with a few friends to try out ideas that normally wouldn’t work elsewhere. They are allowed to fail and succeed with little intervention, and the hope is that it not only provides an outlet for people’s more crazy ideas, but also to spark creativity within the main fleets as well.
We also changed up the group that manages the technological side of the site. Instead of a department, they are more of a collaborative board that oversees maintenance and development of the site. With a brand new site design in progress, it’s exciting to see how this change benefits the club as we go along.
STF Quick Facts:
# of members: 111
# of RP environments: 26 (ships, bases and a planet), 3 Academy ships and a handful of X-Fleet environments (the exact number changes)
# of Fleets: 7- 5 Main fleets, Academy & X-Fleet
In honour of this special anniversary, in addition to internal club events, we’re hosting a small Open House on July 17th, from 12-6 EDT. It’ll be held in IRC at #stf25. We’re on the Sorcery network. Chit chat will be welcome in our main channel #star-fleet
Guests are very welcome!! More info can be found at www. Star-fleet.com. If you’re interested in joining the irc live Star Trek RP at , RSVPing is recommended, but not essential. You can let us know my emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author:
Lindsay is a ‘veteran’ member at 6+years in the club. Her animal nickname (given to a person when they become Captain for the first time) is Beaver, for her busyness all over the club. She specializes in custom species characters and promises her active dam building won’t flood the club.