Dark Council Amalgamation Part I

Jac Cotelin

24-01-2006 17:36:35

News post: http://www.darkjedibrotherhood.com/dbjedi/...s.asp?ID=N:3536

Ask/comment away!



24-01-2006 19:07:06

I must say that I agree with a large part of that mentioned. And, while I do realize the vast majority of it is based on the way the site runs, fictionally it's a big mess-up as well. The DJB has essentially become both in- and out-of-character bureaucracy.

You mention the issue of "waiting for Rebirth" attributing to the lack of changes in the website and thus a slowing of Dark Councillor's duties and such, which leads me to the question of when we can look for what one may call the "main portion" of Rebirth to pull through and allow said changes to take place? I often hear questions answered with "this will come with Rebirth" or "this fits in with the coming changes with Rebirth."

At any rate, I agree that there are inefficiencies and applaud that they are being addressed.


24-01-2006 20:19:28

yeah whats up with Rebirth? it always seems like it will fix everything, but is it pretty much over with CG and Jam3z retiring?

On the other note, DC looks like one big mess from what i read :P


24-01-2006 20:25:15

lol, not to accuse Jac of anything; but I suddenly am getting the feeling that with these "huge" changes, the sudden resignation of a few DC members, the document that was wrote up how to remove "evil" GMs, and the other policies that have been coming into effect: we are about to see the dissolving of the DB DC. lol again, im not claiming that Jac is, Im just noticing that with all the policy changes and the hush-hushness of this all it seems something to pull from it all.

Anyways, ill be interested to see this part-2 document tomorrow.

freshjive taldrya

24-01-2006 20:59:02

Looks like a well thought out approach.

One of the things I'd like to stress is that there be more transparency. I for one would like to see some progress on projects being worked on rather than just reading "Work is being done on such and such" in a report. I understand that this would open a lot of doors to comments and criticism, especially in an unfinished system, but I think the benefits of actually showing progress would be more positive than negative. You're always going to have the few people who say "That sucks" but that's to be expected. Some wave their hats, some turn their backs, its all the same, no one really knows what kind of effort it takes unless they themselves undertake it. The term "Wait for Rebirth" has become somewhat of a punchline because of the immense time it has taken to be completed. The recent departure of Jamz and Cyberguy, who as far as I was aware were among the project leaders has cast a shadow of doubt on the project in my mind. I don't want to devalue what they've done for the DB, its more than I could ever hope to contribute and I congratulate and thank them for their dedication for so long, but it seems like they left the project hanging, creating another situation where people are left to pick up the slack.

Another thing I'd like to address is the system of unnofficial advisors that the DC seems to rely on. I know it takes time and effort to shop ideas around, but when you read in a report that something has "been shown to others" it leaves you wondering "Well, who exactly?". I know I've never been approached and asked my opinion on something being worked on behind closed doors (And I'm not trying to wave my hands and say "PICK ME!" here), but its become clear through observing the general flow of things that the same people are being relied upon for opinions. Sooner or later I'd question the validity of those opinions. Every good advisor should be able to say "No" or to disagree without fear of being cut out of the loop in the future.

As far as the positions being created for certain people, it has its good and bad merits. For a utilitarian purpose, such as Lord Archon for Jamz or Ambassador for Mav, its fine, but otherwise it appears as pure nepotism. True, certain people have unique experience and their viewpoint is both highly respected and effective, but that does not mean they warrant a position to be created solely for them. The point I'm trying to make is, where is the line drawn between DC and the general membership? Clearly it must be there for management purposes, but creating a position for someone out of thin air sort of sets them apart from the general membership when they should be as equally regarded as anyone else. The authority of the DC is undermined by appointments that appear to give old hands jobs to make them feel important. It should be difficult to make it onto the DC and challenging to stay there.

The issue of inter-DC communications is easily attributable to the lack of mixing among the clans' general membership. Although the present levels of animosity(pretty much non-existant now) between clans has never been lower in the DB, there is still an atmosphere of separation that I believe becomes ingrained into people over time. As people progress up to the higher levels, I think it would be apparent that the lack of communication was because people simply are outside of their usual circle of friends and busy with the duties of their office. This can be solved at the inter-Clan level and comes to something quite simple. I'm speaking to every member of the DB here:

Lets cut the crap.

Rivalries and competition are great and have been the motivators for some great events and moments in our history, but we're all in this together. There's no safety net if we degrade into the bitter viciousness and opposing parties that was the model of our EH existence. Maybe an exchange program of sorts where members can visit other houses for a period of time to experience and meet new people, whatever works.

Sorry about the length, it was going to be short then just started snowballing and then I blacked out :P

The doc looks great.

Sith Bloodfyre

24-01-2006 22:08:02

1) Well said, jive. I read through what you wrote, and I think it was eloquent, and straight to the point in a lot of issues that I agree with, that I have always agreed with, and that I will continue to agree with. So, with that said, I won't bable on about anything jive has said, I will just add my agreement and support to what he has said.

2) As far as what Warhunter mentioned, I've got to say, I think the DC *needs* to be dissolved, in one sense. And what I mean is, I think the current DC is a portrait of how certain things in the DB *were*. We need a DC that solves the issues, and cares for membership needs that *are*, not what was. Even as the DB changes, and grows, and adapts, and incites, so too does the DC need to reflect that. What's the point of having a dynamic Club, when you have a stagnant body that is supposed to guide it on an ever-changing path?

3) And now, for a question. With the departure of the coding Entars from active "work" on Rebirth and such, what's the continued feasibility of a new site "with all the kicks," versus just re-creating the current site to our current and future needs? Is the new site likely to get forgotten, and does this just become a "good" reason to ditch the new site to avoid future missed deadlines for its release? (Maybe harsh, I know, but I know Jac enough to say that his answer will be good on this one.)


24-01-2006 23:33:30

I'm going to quickly respond to some posts made:

Yes much of the DB leadership structure has essentiall become a bureaucracy, which isn't always bad - but we tried to identify the negative effects of this in the Part I document relased earlier. As for the "main portion" of Rebirth, there really isn't one big main thing to finish, its basically an overhaul/upgrade of everything from promotions to MAA procedures. With CG and JaM3z resigning, the coding will fall mostly to Jac, and we've been discussing ways in which this will be handled (for some of that, read Part II tomorrow).

Rebirth is definately *not* over, don't worry about that. Tomorrow's document will give a basic outline of how things will go from here.

The DC is not being disbanded, despite Jac's aspirations to complete dictatorship (just kidding). Also the resignation of these DC members wasn't sudden at all, it was actually planned to coincide with the changes to the Council structure we were planning. And the main purpose of the Covenant is not to protect against a bad GM, that is just a small part of it. So the DC is sticking around, its just changing shape a bit tomorrow.

I agree with you partially on the transparency. Having worked on a lot of proposals and reforms in my time as a leader, I have found that getting the opinions of a lot of people can be helpful - but more often than not it can slow projects down to a near standstill. Attempting to reach an agreeable solution (or even idea) with a large group is very difficult, so we tend to break into smaller groups to get tasks finished quickly.

As for the "unofficial advisors" - when we say we discussed the proposal with people, it generally means we talked to those members it will directly effect, and then with members of the Dark Summit (DC + Clan Summit) and Council assistants (Praetors and Magistrates). All of these people do have positions that technically are supposed to advise the GM when called upon, so there aren't really any "unofficial" advisors.

Postions being created for specific members will be addressed in detail in Part II.

The divisions of the clan members is natural, and there isn't really much we can do about it beyond pushing more clan vs clan competitions. Also the current relations between the clans is actually pretty good, I don't usually see anything that gets me worried about how two clans interact with each other. There might be some banter exchanged, but nothing beyond that.

The DC isn't being "dissolved" in any way - but there are going to be changes in Part II aimed exactly at adapting the Council to the changes in the DB. The resignation of CG and JaM3z is forcing us to take a good hard look at the way we have been approaching Rebirth and the projects/coding that go along with it. Honestly we probably should have been looking at this more closely for awhile now, but now its right there in front of us. We're not going to "ditch" anything though, and we don't mind adjusting schedules when it becomes apparently that our initial schedule wasn't on track. We will be addressing Rebirth in Part II in detail.

Sith Bloodfyre

25-01-2006 00:10:24

Kir, when I say "dissolved," I mean in its current form. I don't mean just "GM, and friends," or GM/DGM, screw everything else, or anything like that. The idea that the DC has to stay as it always has needs to be dissolved. The DC needs to be dissolved more on a theoretical level, I guess is what I mean; without actually dissolving it, and starting over, it just needs to be revamped to meet the needs of the DB today. That sort of dissolution can be done at a committee-level (for you people who love committees), which could say, "Ok, we need this, this, this, and so on, and these are the possible ways to remake the DC to answer these needs."

Blah blah, blah blah, blah. All that. I don't see it ever coming to a point where Jac needs to fire everyone, and start over, and recreate as he goes along. If that seemed like what I was getting at. I've come for your pants.

freshjive taldrya

25-01-2006 02:10:08

Just to clairfy some of my points, because I think you missed what I was getting at :P

I meant transparency as just a means to show us whats going on, you have the input you need to do projects like Rebirth, we just want to see whats been done, maybe a screenshot or a sample. (Yes, larger than the four inch square we were shown previously :P) You can use your smaller groups to flesh out ideas and get input, I have no problem with that, I just want to see whats being worked on :P

As for the advisors part, I was addressing the issue across the board, not just with this proposal, I meant EVERYTHING. I'm not asking you to shop ideas to every person on every issue, but getting some new blood in the mix every now and then can't hurt, and who knows, you might uncover an idea or two that previous people hadn't thought of.

The clans: I wasn't insinuating that there was any animosity, but just a general atmosphere of separation, as in "This is ours, thats yours, we mix occasionally, but otherwise keep to ourselves." That I think creates a lot of ingrained attitudes.

Thats it :P


25-01-2006 02:57:47

I have to agree with Freshjive on the thing about advisors

I think overreliance on one or two individuals, no matter how talented that they may or may not be, is not a good idea.

Of course, I'm sure Jac gets advice and commentary from more than just one or two people - but how 'critical' can this advice necessarily be if the same people are consulted all the time? Something to consider...


25-01-2006 07:40:06


I find myself strangley enough agreeing with many of the comments posted so far. I think the problems outlined in the document of the GM's to be reasonably fair though I felt it went on about the Order Leaders a bit too much. I think the roles of the DC do need to re-thought and clearly defined with increased communication amongst them and the membership. I know from my time as QUA that little thought or even liking for the DC existed for the very reasons the document highlighted.

Though I must point out that its a reflection on the system and not individual people. I am little fed up over rebirth. Many are starting, least in my experience, to give up on the whole thing. It promises much and has thus far delivered nothing. In an ideal world clear deadlines would be given and met, not this continual push backing and it being seen as the holy grail.

However at this stage I can't really comment on account of the changes yet to be published. But so far its a step in the right direction.



25-01-2006 07:49:25

Kir, when I say "dissolved," I mean in its current form. I don't mean just "GM, and friends," or GM/DGM, screw everything else, or anything like that. The idea that the DC has to stay as it always has needs to be dissolved. The DC needs to be dissolved more on a theoretical level, I guess is what I mean; without actually dissolving it, and starting over, it just needs to be revamped to meet the needs of the DB today. That sort of dissolution can be done at a committee-level (for you people who love committees), which could say, "Ok, we need this, this, this, and so on, and these are the possible ways to remake the DC to answer these needs."

Sith: I think you will very much find that part two of Amalgamation does - or rather finishes - exactly that. Just remember that we've come a long way from a 20-person DC in which some jobs that really belong as one were artificially split into two or three (coughMAACHANcough). The committee you mentioned has already happened and their names are on the front page of Amalgamation and on the "Dark Council" sidebar of the site.


25-01-2006 08:07:35

In bold and big letters just for you all so that you will remember :)


So. There. Read it twice and then see my explanation below.

When Project Rebirth was released to the membership, the first thing you saw was a 65-page grey tome of ideas, projects and changes. In this tome, a number of additions and modifications to be made to the DB were outlined, one of which was putting the site on a new and stable codebase.

Since then, many of these projects took on their own life. The Covenant was the Covenant and it was published a few weeks ago. The RPG stats thing is Project Infinite Depth and has grown to a heap of specs and documents of which you've only seen a few. Amalgamation is a spinoff of the Orderless move. And so on. The only thing that always kept the name "Rebirth" was the site re-coding. For some reason it never got a different name. And, unfortunately, it was the one part of Rebirth that really got stuck (along with some stuff that would like to go from finished spec to working beta but is also waiting for coder time)

So, has Rebirth failed ? No. A part of Rebirth has failed (coding a new site in a certain timespan) and the DC is looking at ways to fix this. But please go and compare the DB of today to the DB of September 2003. Notice any changes ? See. There's Rebirth. Or at least a pretty good part of it.


25-01-2006 08:26:21

Weee.... DB political discussion! Giant, never-ending Goat-rant time!

Or not. As I'm not going to be a sarcastic, smartass, bitch for once. Actually, for a change, I'm supportive.

I figured I'd post the comment I made on the news page here, simply to keep everything in one place, and because it addresses one of the areas I think most people might be feeling a little skeptical about, i.e. "What?! You're getting rid of OLS?! NOOO!":

"It would be a little more benefitual to understand what the OHC and SHW do, because I have not seen much from them. - Mifune"

Precisely. Right now... not much.

Its been that way for a long time. Even when I was SHW a year ago the OLs didnt do a great deal. Sure, you have ONE Order Leader running ONE Rite of Supremacy, but... what do the other two do while that's happening?

Again... not much.

Its a waste of resources really. Perhaps KHP has always had something of a more defined "role" but OHC and SHW cross over so much that the need for two individuals is unnecessary, and encourages people to slack off and hope the other OL does the work.

Take the release of any new game, the feedback the Dark Council usually recieves is that they didn't do enough, not enough competitions were run, a server wasn't created in time, etc. The big problem is even the Dark Council itself, even the Order Leaders themselves, don't really know what they're meant to be doing either.

Take Empire at War in a months time, in the current set-up with OLs the situation would proceed as follows:

(1) Empire at War is released.
(2) OL: so which one of us is meant to do something about it?
(3) Confusion.
(4) Something eventually gets done, albeit far too late.

And thats been going on for, well, years. JA, BF, RC, BF2, every time we've had a new game the Dark Council just hasn't really known who should handle it. For a while we had the Lord Marshal position, but even then, that was just seen as "Order Leader #4" and people still didn't really know who should be doing what.

Flashy titles, fancy names, all that stuff might be nice, and while I can agree, especially considering I am a former SHW and will miss the position, I also accept that we've gone on far too long without an efficient structure. Nostalgia is nice, but ultimately a more efficient Dark Council that gets something done and actually produces results for the club is more important than "Oh, lookie! A cool sounding position title!".

I won't go into more details until Jac releases the rest of the proposal tomorrow, but... lets just say flexible roles and the ability to have as little or as many managers as we need is far more desirable in my view. New game comes along? Cool. Hand it to the Gaming Guy, or else create a new Gaming Guy #2 to handle it if Gaming Guy #1 is already too busy.

Can't do that with OLs though, OLs you've got three, no matter whether they're underworked or overworked. And, as many AWOL OHCs have proven in the past, they've often been underworked, and, as the present OLs have proven over the past year or so, are now overworked. Back in the day when the OHC just had to deal with JA and the SHW XWA it was a piece of cake. These days though, with so many different games and activities flying around, and no one person really being able to manage the whole lot we're in need of something much more flexible and dynamic.

Taking my earlier example, come next month when Empire at War is released I'll be much happier to see a scenario where we go:

(1) Empire at War released.
(2) Gaming Guy: Cool! My job!
(3) Competition released.

Than a scenario of:

(1) Empire at War released.
(2) OHC and SHW: so which one of us is gonna do it?
(3) OHC: fine, I'll do it.
(4) Member: so EaW is Obelisk? *transfers Obelisk*


25-01-2006 09:04:23

I'll repost my reply to it as well:

Goat, you mean as opposed to:

( a ) BF2 Release date comes near
( b ) Jac: "Korras, do something"
( c ) Korras releases cool competition to take place 3 days after game (theoretically) hits stores, information is up even a week prior to release.
( d ) Members: "Store gets it next week", "$ how many, can't afford before Xmas", "My GFX card doesn't support it", "The game has bugs", "Doesn't run under my version of Windows", "*&$% Connection Lost"...
( e ) Competition ends with about 5 members having played.
( f ) It takes ages until a company is found that would run a stable, affordable and actually AVAILABLE server for BF2.

Bottom line: It's not always the fault of the DC but sometimes the best efforts are undercut by the desire of the games manufacturers to get the best features and performance over criteria like price, sufficient distribution in stores and stability.
This however doesn't change the wisdom of Jac's changes - just defending Korras and Jac against any ideas they might not have done their job on the BF2 release.


25-01-2006 09:08:42

Ok, that copied post out the way, time to make a few comments of my own:

In case you're curious from what I mentioned in the post above, yes, I'm one of those evil unofficial advisors that got to see the proposal early! MUWAHAHA! Run in fear infidels!

Anywho... the point I'm making, more in reply really to freshjive's post than anything, is while Jac might talk to people like me, our role isn't anything official, its more just so he knows hes not a dumbass idea that people are going to hate and call for his head for first. I'm usually prime critic #1, so if it can pass the Goat-test its usually good to go. Importantly though is everything still ends up in the public eye before anything gets done, plus big changes like this actually need to be voted on by the Dark Council and the Consuls, so its not like any secret cult of advisors actually wield any power. The other reason I figured I'd mention this is just due to the transparency thing, I don't care if people know Jac talks to me, nor am I sure do any of the other people he might talk to about things, personally I find that a rather pleasing thing, even just a couple of years ago a lot of what went on in the Dark Council was still behind locked doors and a mystery to regular members, these days theres not a lot people don't know, and with the changes that will be even more true.

Which actually leads me onto some of the points I wanted to make and some of the reasons I really like the proposed changes.

For a start, downsizing the Dark Council means more power to the people. Less core Dark Council members means the Consuls represent a larger proportion of those with official authority, meaning when things like this come up and need voting on to find out whether people like them, with a smaller Dark Council the Consuls will actually be able to have a much bigger influence. In my view that can only be a good thing.

Another area I like which I briefly mentioned in my previous post was that the new system will allow for the creation of new positions fairly easily as and when we need them. That's good in the sense of that when we need something done, lets take the release of a new game, if we need a specific individual to spearhead that project (and who people can similarly blame if nothing gets done... again something the current Dark Council setup lacks, as the roles are so undefined its never really anyones fault if something doesnt get done) then we can have somebody do that with total ease. Right now we can't invent the new Zando Order with the Zando High Prophet if the OLs are overworked and we need somebody else to run something, thats a limitation based pretty much just on nostalgia rather than efficiency, and ultimately, given how much we all complain about the Dark Council, in my view it again can only be good that the Dark Council is working to make itself more functional, rather than just a historic landmark. Function over fashion as far as I'm concerned, I don't care what it looks like so long as it gets the job done.

And I'm finding myself talking too much about the specific details that aren't out until tomorrow so I'll cut this short and only make one more point (edit: so it was a long point :P). Leading on from the idea that flexibility and the ability to be much more dynamic I figure I should really make a mention of the idea of nespotism some people worry about. "LCH was made for Mav", "LA was made for JaM3z", "OCL was made for Trev", "LM was made for Mike", etc. While in those cases I'm sure most people haven't had any major problems, and its not like any of us have actually been afraid of Mav going nuts, aside from perhaps me during one of my occasional psycho periods, I can agree with the point jive made about how a lot of people still worry about the "what if" scenario of a GM coming along and being able to freely appoint all his little cronies to the DC with flashy titles and fancy names. Valid concern really as it has happened, see: zoraan for details. The nice thing about the new proposals is the way they provide a CLEAR depiction of exactly where the various advisors and managers fit into the chain of command etc.

Taking two examples:

Lord Chamberlain was a part of the DC for all intensive purposes.
The ICTE Manager is in limbo.

Both positions that were created to fill a particular function, yet given vastly different areas of authority. The new proposals change that making these kind of "auxilary" jobs fit into the ladder at a preset position (underneath the main DC and Consuls as it happens) which makes sure the bulk of power in the DB always remains with the core DC which doesn't change (i.e. MAA, HRLD, HM, SCL etc). What this means is we end up with the best of both worlds, we can both be fully flexible and dynamic, creating new jobs for people as and when we need things done, but also have confidence that the integrity of the Dark Council and the distribution of power in the DB isn't going to be undermined by having the DC swell to giant proportions. Again, going back to one of my first points about the authority of the Consuls, as a Consul I'm extremely pleased that in the future I'll know my vote is worth so much regardless, and won't have to worry about needing to see how many surplus DC advisors we've got at the time to out-vote me. That's been a big problem in the past year or so, as the core DC has changed so many times with the LCH, OCL, LA, LM positions coming and going that, while at the time all these positions have been necessary to fulfill particular duties, they've also led to us being unsure exactly where the power in the DB lies.

I'm aware I'm jabbering on now pointlessly and no doubt saying the obvious, but oh well, I'm on a roll. I think the best way to demonstrate this is another example, lets stick with Empire at War, say nobody had time to take on the task of implementing this new game, one that is quite different to anything the Krath, Obelisk or Sith Orders have ever traditionally associated with, what would we have done under the current situation? Create a fourth Order is out. Invent a new DC advisor perhaps? That's the most likely outcome, but its never been one thats really felt right with me. We've gotten into the habit of late of creating and dismissing new DC spots somewhat brashly. Its good, but, like I say about the whole "distribution of power" stuff, it also has knockon effects, leads somewhat to a two-tiered DC with "senior DC" members and "junior" members, even though technically they're all the same. Its basically just confusing when it needn't be.

All this combined also makes it harder for Jac, because when he needs to appoint somebody to get something done he shouldn't have to be struggling with problems like "will it make the DC too big?", "will the CONs like it?", "will people complain about me appointing a "crony" to the DC?", "will people think I'm just creating a position to promote a friend?". All those are very real issues that undoubtedly come into his head each time, placing an issue of politics in the way of what should be a simple question of "will having this guy do this be good for the DB?". The big problem is though that right now the DC carries so much prestige that its difficult for Jac to just create new spots, even when he really needs them, without having to consider the knock-on effects.

This works both ways. While I've been rabbiting on and no doubt boring the hell out of the few of you that have read this far about how creating new DC spots causes problems because people say "unfair, you just created that job so [Name] can have the same prestige as an OL or the MAA!" it also does the reverse... existing DC members looking at the "lesser" members of the DC and slacking off as a result. The DC should be the creme de la creme. The jobs should be challenging, involving, and hard working. Joining the DC is a big commitment, and people should view it as that. Basically, you shouldn't apply for a DC spot lightly thinking it'll be an easy ride only to find out its not, and screw up as a result, which just hurts the club.

That happens currently though. People often forget how hard being on the DC is because they look at some of the easier spots that we've created over the years and think "hey, the DC isnt so bad!" only to find the core spots in the DC *are* that bad and are a lot harder working than some of the hanger-on positions that have just been made for a few months here and there for particular people.

The new system will actually make it quite clear what the core DC is, i.e. the "senior management", the ones with the power to actually influence policy and vote on stuff, and who have very involving jobs that require a full time commitment. MAA is a good example of one of those positions. In comparison, rather than have more trivial spots given the same status, less important positions that are just needed to fulfill particular roles, and that often are easy enough to do along side another commitment without having to abandon a Clan behind (often to the detriment of the Clan), will be more independent of the main DC. That's where the ease of flexibility comes in, on top of the fact each of these new roles will be far more clearly defined, with specific duties, unlike the current setup where, by large, especially with the Order Leaders at least, all a lot of the DC does is spend time working on pet projects rather than actually having to manage any specific part of the DB. Even Rites of Supremacy, for as enjoyable as they are, are ultimately just "pet projects" of specific Order Leaders... they don't *have* to run RoS, its only if they feel bothered. The new positions *will* be obliged to actually do their jobs and run competitions however, as the new positions will be much more clearly defined (I should probably point out when I say "new positions" I'm not just meaning new names and titles, I'm also refering to existing jobs like DGM that are just getting more clear guidelines under the new structure).

Anyway, its mid-afternoon, I still need a shower, and, yeah, you're bored to death and I'm a nutjob that thinks too hard about geeky Star Wars clubs, so I'll end here. More tomorrow when Jac's released the full shazzam.

Werdna Elbee

25-01-2006 09:09:59

How are you going to choose "Gaming Guy" tho? Ask me a couple of weeks ago and I would have said, "hell yeah, I'll do EaW...that looks cool". Now that the demo is out I have found that I personally don't like it.

You'd have to have some sort of infrastructure set up a bit before the game came out to catch the influx of new players and the "three week peak" that the game enjoys after it's release. Yet you may get lumbered with someone who decides that they don't really dig the game, or their new job.

To be fair, there is no better alternative and I'd back the "gaming guy" process...it's just something I noticed. A fluid second-class of the Council seems the way to go.

Also, if there are less Council places then their will be less of a braindrain on the Clans. Quite right. I agree that it would be nice to have a larger pool of strong leaders to choose from. But what about looking at it from the other direction...

It's pretty damn hard to get your first leadership spot if all the jobs are taken by veterans. These days Battle-team leaders have all but lost what little power they had so they can't really cut their teeth on leadership in these positions anymore.

If getting that promotion becomes harder still I'd like to see some assurances that Battleteams (or "Circles") are next on the agenda of being revised.


25-01-2006 09:17:18

Hehe, I know Kaiann, thats actually why I picked EaW as the example :P

BF2 possibly wasn't as bad as other games as it was actually quite a multi-order friendly game (ground stuff, space stuff, etc). RC might be a better example, where, even to do the day, lots of people just see it as the OHC's responsibility, simply because its a FPS, so apparently should be the OHCs job as its "Obelisk".

This doesn't always manifest in existing OLs that much, because they absorb new things as they come, and manage fine. The biggest problem is when you get a change of OL, I think this point was addressed by Jac in the proposal, as new DC members rarely talk with their predecessor, so only end up doing what they think about doing, and quite often a lot of stuff gets lost in the process. Priorities change from person to person basically, which in such loosely defined roles as the OLs poses problems.

If Korras retired today for example, and we needed a new OHC tomorrow, the new one might not care about BF2 or RC, and might expect the SHW to handle those. This is the big danger with unclear position descriptions.

A good example actually is the difference in approach between me and BF as SHW, as we were both VERY different. I was probably more traditional to be honest, as I mostly just stuck to flight sim stuff, whereas BF has branched out a lot more, doing more with things like Allegiance. True a lot of this isn't due to each of us personally but the atmosphere at the time, but its a good example of how exactly what an OL does depends greatly on who the OL is, which sometimes might mean some people end up feeling left out because a particular person doesn't think so much about the things they prefer.

Looking at it in reverse, I didn't make anywhere near as big a deal about Allegiance as I could have, which the Allegiance players probably didn't like. Its very easy for OLs to end up focusing on one thing they care about more, and forget about another group. That's something that can't happen under more clearly defined positions, but, similarly, its hard to have clearly defined positions without going back to Order Platforms, which have all kinds of problems of their own.

"It's pretty damn hard to get your first leadership spot if all the jobs are taken by veterans. These days Battle-team leaders have all but lost what little power they had so they can't really cut their teeth on leadership in these positions anymore."

That's true... I've seen a lot of that lately with people struggling to get up the ladder. There's lots of ways you could look at this, so I'm not going to go into a "this will be better because..." because, in all honesty, I don't really know without waiting and seeing.

I do think from a personal level that the 'second tier councillors', to say all I can without revealing anymore, might make it easier to get on the ladder. Right now joining the DC is a big deal, it takes you away from your Clan et all, so being able to take up a job with similar importance and responsibility more easily, but without having to leave your home behind or take on the full burden of DC member, might actually make it easier for some people. I'm sure it'll prove a good thing for there to be more chances of getting DA or DJM without joining the DC proper by helping out as one of the non-DC-DC-positions. The DC as it is currently is rather... isolated in comparison. Joining it isnt all its cracked up to be to be honest, as it gets lonely fast. I think it'll be good to be able to have people able to do the work without the politics, so still be able to remain in a Clan if they want, but still be able to do something that might one day make them an Elder. Right now you cant really do that without joining the DC, as all DC spots have some degree of influence over policy, blah, blah, blah, so people prefer them to stay "neutral" and not affiliated with any Clan.

I hate to draw the comparison, but I can't really help but do it... but I do think a lot of this carries over from the EH. Back then leaders wanted to, well, be "leaders". They wanted to have authority over people, be the bigwigs with the power, the glory, everything. They weren't content just doing their job and getting rewarded for it, they wanted to be able to have some level of control and power over the little people too. What the new DC set-up will change is draw a very clear line between "management" and "administration". There will still be the main DC, who will still manage, and will still have a level of control over peoples lives in the DB because they'll still be able to influence policy decisions. But there will also just be administrative roles as well, the "non-DC-DC" jobs, who will be tasked with just... doing something. They'll have a job, and they'll do it, but they won't be "leaders", but "workers". Their role will, for example, be to run competitions, not prance around as if they are all important and a "leader" with power and authority over other people, when really all they are is a workaholic who's good at processing hundreds of CF requests. I think thats a big difference from how things were back in the day when the DC was both administrative AND managerial. What we're doing is giving people the chance to do a job that matters, and so get rewarded, without having to take on board all the other crap that comes with having to be a responsible leader who is accountable to everyone and expected to be impartial when making big policy decisions. If you want to deal with the politics and crap and have to actually "run" the DB, fine, join the DC. If you just wanna do some work and get DJM, fine too, don't join the DC, just help out one of the [Insert New Position Names Here] :P

I will say, as I always say when this comes up, that people do need to remember why they joined the DB, which was either (1) to have fun, (2) to play games, or (3) to write stories. A lot of people end up being in the DB for nothing more than to get imaginary medals and promotions, which, while fair enough and I'm not going to knock it, I think a lot of people often have to remember they earn that stuff most easily and enjoyably by doing one of (1), (2) or (3), not by playing the politics game and crawling up the leadership ladder. I've noticed that a little more lately, as there are some people that often apply for positions but... don't do anything. They're not active, they don't write, they don't like playing games, but seem to just be in the DB to get promoted or something. In a way one thing I actually hope about downsizing the Council is that it may remind people that we're not in the DB to get promoted and one day join the DC, we're here to play games and have fun, which, hopefully, a more efficient DC that runs more competitions will help us to remember.

"If getting that promotion becomes harder still I'd like to see some assurances that Battleteams (or "Circles") are next on the agenda of being revised."

*notes down Circles on his 'to-bitch-list* :P

Seriously though, I do agree. I've been begging for Circles for, well, quite literally years. In a way the stuff Jac said a few days ago about the loss of CG and JaM3z giving us a chance to play with the current website might give us a chance to see Circles sooner rather than later, which could be a good thing... while its a bit off-topic, I guess looking at Clan and House leadership is the next logical step after we sort out the problems with the Dark Council.

I definately agree though that theres a lack of oppertunity in Clans themselves. Like I said above, thats why on one hand I'm rather optimistic about the fact some of these new positions won't require full time membership of the DC, which gives people more to do without taking that giant leap. We do need more emphasis on BTL spots though, as right now they're actually quite important, anyone that was in the TC will remember how, despite being the bottom of the ladder, being a CMDR was great fun and a very admirable role. Just because you were a CMDR people didnt look down on you for not being a Wing Commander or Commodore, often some CMDRs had more respect than anyone because they'd stuck with their squad, turned down advancement prospects, and made their unit into the best of the best.

You don't get that with BTs though... Circles may largely be BTs by another name but I've long believed they need a new coat of paint, as BTs themselves just don't seem to want to work. Personally I've always wanted Circles to be a kind of official Master-Student relationship, with the leader of the Circle the Master, and the members his Apprentices, or something. Kills two birds with one stone, encourages people to be Masters and makes something useful out of BTs, although its a controversial point that I know not everyone agrees with me on, plus I'm straying quite far from the discussion about the Dark Council. Anyway, point is, I do agree that looking at BTs next would be good, if only to restore some sense of respect to BTL positions, so people don't see them as meaningless spots, and actually aspire to become, and stay, BTLs, the same as they might AED or QUA.


25-01-2006 11:07:57

Just to jump to the original topic, not trying to side step the gaming master and please continue after this because I'm quite curiouse but have no opinion on it yet, I just wanted to thank the creators of Amalgamation. I've been in this club a long time, and although most of the time I'm rather inactive I have sat and watched the DB grow and change. Even coming back from inactive for 2 years I see that the infighting and confusion is not near what it was, not just during the time of the split but say 4 or 5 years ago. I'm glad you guys are getting something done, your not saying in the future this will happen but rather your saying the changes are happening now. And the fact that you are showing us whats going to happen, maybe a day ahead of time, but thats taking action and not just saying it and letting time drip by until we are all sick of the idea anyhow.
I'll be honest, I hope to still see infighting. Thats whats been the glue of the db, everyone hating the other person and trying to outwork and outshow them while the rest of us try to keep up. This does tend to be a rather large setback later and slow us down to just the fighting and a pretty ugly mess but rather enjoyable to watch nonetheless. But infighting within the powers at be aside, I'm glad to see the structure changing to get work done better. I have always followed Jac with my pants down and will continue to do so (although the stepping down of the consul memebers and the hush hush did make me wonder if Jac was up to something, but then I realized it was just Jac and all the llamas are safley tucked away for the night).


25-01-2006 16:34:27

I just wanted to add a brief comment about the documents that have been posted on the main page. When Jac sent both documents out, he primarily used the BCC feature, so with the exception of Kir and Pyralis, I really didn't know who else was commenting on it. Granted, I could have guessed and I would have been on the mark for many of them.

Just an extra bit of info I think you might like to have