08 October 2016
Trench Wars Public Memo
Over the last few weeks, staff has been going through a major overhaul.
It's been apparent to almost everyone that staff has needed some serious work for quite awhile now. As the playerbase gets older, it means that most of us are working full-time, maybe have kids, bills, all the usual problems; but on top of that, we're also volunteering to keep the game of spaceships going. This isn't meant as an excuse. It's just the reality of the situation.
There have been many requests made by the public over the years for staff to increase its transparency. This is our attempt to begin stepping in that direction. One of the biggest sources of misunderstanding comes from a lack of transparency. If you don't know what's going on behind the scenes, it often looks like nothing's happening at all. In reality, we're communicating pretty much constantly, whether it’s on staff policy, or about issues brought up in-game or in the forums. But it’s a human system. Think of it like a government. It’s a bit inefficient, and often slow to move in the right direction, as taking a step in the wrong direction can mean further headaches for everyone. It’s a frustrating process, but it’s the one we have to work with. The problem with it is that when it takes a great deal of time for something to get done, the perception is often that nothing is being done at all.
We’d like to open things up to show you that right now, that’s not the case. In these last few weeks we’ve been working incredibly hard to make the changes needed to get TW back on track.
This game is only as good as the people who work to keep it going, whether they’re on staff or not. The success or failure of this push depends not just on staff players, but on non-staff players as well. We need constructive feedback and concrete suggestions to keep the zone moving in the right direction.
The rest of this post details some recent changes to staff, as well as a departmental run-down, as a first attempt at transparency.
Staff Organizational Chart
To begin with, as there’s often much confusion about it, we’d like to share a Staff Organizational chart with you, in order to help better understand our structure, and familiarize you with the various department heads.
Click here to see the full chart.
Staffing changes and departmental reports
We (Beasty, qanand M_M God) remainHead Sysops of the zone. Sysops are ultimately accountable for everything that happens in the zone. Their task is to ensure departments are managed properly by each Department Head.
Beasty has recently once again taken on the role of Dean of Staff. He hopes to work actively with Department Heads to make strong new hires into staff. If you’d like to join our all-volunteer staff because for some reason having one job that makes you money isn’t quite stressful enough for you, please put in an application here.
Markmrw has taken on the role of Head of Leagues. He will be in charge of overseeing all leagues such as TWL, TWD, and TWDT.
Under Markmrw’s overall leadership, Attacks has re-joined staff and will be our Head of TWD. He has many fresh ideas and wants your input to help bring back life to the classic league. Please refer to his post for more info.
Up in ya !! will be re-joining the TWD department as the Head TWD Operator.
Board remains Head of Bans.
Raizin will be taking on the role of Assistant Ban Op.
Together they will use a common-sense approach in working to enforce the zone rules while trying to maintain a good relationship with players.
Shadowmere will be taking on a newly created role as theHead of Quality Assurance. This is an internal position tasked with monitoring individual departments to find areas we can improve. He will also provide QA for ongoing projects, ensuring everyone has the resources needed to complete their work, and that they are staying on-task.
Raizincontinues on as Head of Events.
He will be focusing on arranging more regular weekend events and keeping our ER’s trained and up to date on best hosting practices.
However, this is a temporary assignment. We’re on the lookout for a new Head of Events. If you wish to apply, or wish to recommend a fitting staffer (or player) for the position, please contact Beastyor qan at any time. The ideal applicant will be passionate about and fluent in hosting, interested in actively improving the Events department, and possess the leadership skills needed to support our ER staff. Specific zone or staffing experience, aside from good familiarity with the ER position, is not required.
Senorkevin is our Head of Staff Training. Under his tutelage hopefully we’ll see one of the best classes of ZH’s we’ve had in awhile.
PR / Marketing / Social
Wirah has taken over the role of Head of PR/Marketing, and is our new Forum Administrator, having recently reorganized the forums to the current layout.
Wirah has started a professional reboot of our email newsletter. It’s in a format that allows players to receive updates on only what they’re interested in, choosing specific areas. He’s been sending out many updates to keep players informed and up-to-date. If you haven’t signed up yet, please take a look. It’s probably the single easiest way to stay up-to-date on everything going on in TW: http://trenchwars.com/newsletter
Wirah has also been working on increasing our social media presence across various networks. Our official social media accounts can be found below. Recent news has been posted to Facebook and we intend to start distributing news on many other platforms in the near future. Please click the icons below, and like/follow/add/share:
qan is the Head of Development. His most recent major project has been the rocky but finally-complete TWD player ratings. We’ll see this roll out officially in the upcoming TWD season, beginning 10/17. We’re also experimenting with player borrowing in TWD, though the details of the implementation have yet to be finalized.
Milosh is our Chief Web/Bot Coordinator. He continues to work on a redesign of the website.
Wirahhas joined as a Web Developer and is excited to work on new projects, starting with a Top 5 display for player ratings on the front page of TWD.
As always, if you notice any bugs in the bots or website, please send a ?message to Qan and/or Milosh with as much detail as possible, using pastebin for longer comments. The only way the dev team can fix it is if they know about it first. Bounties are available for bugs in the form of spacedollars.
Lastly, if you are interested in non-technical development, such as map design,graphics design or ship settings, please contact qan for more information. It’s much easier than you think, and it’s a lot of fun to see something you made get used in-game. We’ll be working on getting a TWDev zone back up again in the future, and you won’t need to be staff to gain access.
Finally, we would like to take the time and thank each and every player (staff or otherwise) who offers to help in whatever capacity they can. This is an old game (read: a classic!), and in some ways we’ve grown up together. We’re like a family at this point. Sometimes a dysfunctional one, it’s true. We all know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, triumphs and moments of shame. We have pictures of some of them.
Some of us have made lifelong friends from this game. Some of us have met in real life. Some people who met in this game have gotten married, and some of their kids even play. And some of us have had SS friends who have passed away. The point is, we’re a community, bound by more than the power of pew.
We’re all devoted players of this game who, after so many years, still want to keep it going. In the end, though we may argue and fight unnecessarily, we’re all in it for the same reasons: Subspace. TW.
Staff and non-staff may not always see eye to eye. And it may seem like sometimes staff, especially those of us in upper staff, don’t really care or aren’t really putting in any effort. The point we’re trying to make is that we do care. That’s why we’re still here, day in and day out. That’s why when we’re trashed in the forums, or after another ?help call telling us we’re worthless, we try to brush off the insults while still taking the honest parts of the criticism. We try to take every small suggestion, criticism and incident, evaluate it, and do what’s needed to prevent the same problems from coming up again. This often-laborious process is how we evolve. It’s far from a perfect system, but it’s what we’ve got. We’ve tried over the years to make it better and we’re trying again now. We need you to work with us to do it. We’re certainly not always right; we make mistakes all the time, and we’re not afraid to admit that. We have no e-cred to protect. In the end, it’s all just about making the zone better, constantly aiming to improve. So we ask you, please work with us.
If you feel you can help in some way, or feel like something is being neglected, please don’t hesitate to use the staff chart to find out who’s in charge of the issue you want addressed, and try talking to them directly. Or try posting on the forums with specific details for what you see is wrong, and ideally, how you think it can be fixed. Understand that we don’t always have the resources, and that everything’s done on a volunteer basis, so not everything is possible. But despite all that, even if it doesn’t seem like it, we’re listening. That’s really our only job.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.
And … Happy Pew-ing!
TW Head Sysops