So after months of the Outpost being a "ghost town" for the most part a fire was finally lit to get the place back on track. The match? It was AJ, who just earned his first Admiral's Star for his efforts in the last few months. I had a sit down with AJ a few weeks ago and asked him about a few proposed changes to get the low down on what exactly is going on.
BR: Thanks for taking some time for the Blue Report, Admiral, I'm sure things are busy.
AJ: Yes, they are indeed! And it is a welcome change, believe me!
BR: So you've been working on a new rank system for OTF, how did this project come about?
AJ: Well, it came about after I'd realised that the current system no longer suited our needs, and didn't work well with our current level of activity. I was given a mandate by the Commander in Chief to look into every facet of the Outpost, and suggest changes, regardless of how radical it may be!
BR: Why mess with something that's been unchanged since the start of the Outpost?
AJ: The main reason is this: At the moment, there are only 4 realistic Senior promotions (CL4 -5, 5 - 6, 6 - 7 and 7 - 8 - and even the latter is VERY rare), and the requirements for those are currently too demanding for our reduced level of activity. Why work when there are only three - realistic - rewards available? Similarly, the requirements for, say, Commander, at present, are leading a team - how many teams do you see out there? Not many. By the same measure, the 'rank terms' are too long for our current level of activity. Waiting half-a-year for an internet promotion doesn't work these days, so we are also culling the required terms dramatically.
BR: Does this mean that higher ranks and privileges will be easier to attain?
AJ: Yes and no. Captain, for example, is still hard to obtain. The difference is the curve does not jump dramatically any more - rather it is more structure to encourage people to reach their true potential. What I mean by this is we have people at CL6 who are better than CL6, but because CL7 is so demanding, they're stuck. The change solves that.
BR: So how exactly are things going to change as a part of this proposal?
AJ: Firstly, ranks will increase from 12 to 19, and there will be extra ranks between most of the current ones. The requirements for each rank have also been altered, to comply with the above point. More details can be found at the OTF forums!
BR: Will these new ranks shift anyone around or do ranks stay with their user?
AJ: Ranks stay with the user. Everyone will keep their current Starfleet (i.e, default) rank title. No-one will lose out.
BR: Aren't we going to run the risk of getting rank orientated people in leadership positions just trying to get a leg up?
AJ: That has always been a risk at OTF, but one that has been managed well. The Execs, VC and CinC act as the buffer to ensure this doesn't happen.
BR: What are going to be the benefits to the partons of OTF?
AJ: A much more fluid system that allows people to reach their true potential! ;-)
BR: There's been some talk in the Forums about rotating assignments. Can you tell us some more about that?
AJ: Unfortunately, I can not. We haven't touched on it in great detail at this time, but we have discussed the idea of Provisional/Acting/Temporary promotions, where we can get active CL4s, for example, to get involved with a team - perhaps even leading, if needs be - and given them a provisional rank of, say, Commander. Field/brevet promotions worked in Star Trek, and in reality, and it's something we're looking to explore.
BR: When is all this supposed to take root?
AJ: Unfortunately, I can't say right now. Iain, as you know, is one VERY busy man, so it depends on his timetable at the moment! Similarly, we are discussing other changes that we want to finalise so we can roll them all out together.
BR: Are there any other changes in the works that we should keep an eye out for?
AJ: We are looking at the way promotions are issued, with a view to modernising and make it more fluid, as well. More details as and when we thrash out minor details amongst ourselves!
BR: Anything else for the good of the order?
AJ: There are always new ideas being brought forward - all I can say is keep an eye on the forums... ;-)
BR: Thanks for bringing us up to date on what's going on.
AJ: Any time!
BR: What is the Marketing Team/Division?
Dmitri: The marketing team aims to address two points; firstly it is about refining and shaping the 'product' which is the outpost itself. Secondly, it is about simply getting the word out there about that product through ensuring we are ranked high in search engines and in driving traffic towards the outpost itself.
BR: How did you come to be the Marketing Director?
Dmitri: I have performed many functions around the outpost over the years, most recently as ISA Director, so when I requested the role of Marketing Director the execs were happy. I felt it was time for a new challenge in a capacity where my skills can be used to maximum effect.
BR: How long have you worked in marketing?
Dmitri: I have been the Marketing Director at the outpost for only a very short period and I am just starting to develop some ideas. However having been politically active and ran for political office I have a good grasp of the importance of marketing, its uses and its importance in any modern organisation. Inadvertently, I have years of marketing experience if only through flaunting myself at poor unsuspecting electors.
BR: What can you tell us about your mission?
Dmitri: In marketing? To make the outpost the most cool place on the interwebz. In everything else? Uh... I just wanna chill wit ma homiez innit bruv. P.S. Vote Labour.
BR: Are there any vacancies on the team?
Dmitri: Not at present. My first aim is to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy. Only when I come to implementing that strategy will I be calling on other people to do specific tasks.
BR: What, if any, other projects/products are you guys working on?
Dmitri: There is a huge effort going on right now to revamp the Outpost. We are working to make it more relevant in the era of Web 2.0. One very exciting development right now is the new website design we are working on.
BR: Tell us something random about yourself.
Dmitri: I'll have a gin and tonic, please. Keep the fruit.
BR: Is there anything else you would like to add?
BR: If anyone has any ideas for outpost10f marketing please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Failing that...see the previous question.
Seb had known Tess since she first started working as a flight controller at Platform III late in 4356. It was her first dero on the job. Despite the ease of her shift, traffic was beginning to back up on her. She was trying to sound calm but Seb could hear the telling, almost imperceptible tremor in her voice. When his turn came and he was ready to go, he spoke gently into his comset. "Listen, Miss. When you can't seem to move fast enough, then take a deep breath and slow down. Trust me. It works." Then he went on his way and forgot about it. On his return, as he was leaving the docking bay, a beautifully animated young woman with dark, dark eyes and flowing, black hair walked right straight up to him and blocked his path. She extended her right hand. His mouth agape, he brought his own hand up slowly to meet hers.
"Hi! I'm Tessellea Pevez," she effused, "and I've just gotta thank you! I did what you said. I took a deep breath and slowed down. Sure enough, it worked! The rest of the noff was a breeze. So if you're hungry, dinner's on me and if you're not, then you're having caff whether you want it or not!"
Allowing himself to breathe again, he smiled, shook her hand warmly and said, "I was new once and somebody told me to try that. I'm glad to see it still works. I'm Seb Strellus, and caff's fine."
"My friends call me Tess," she said. Then, with a grin, "and so do you."
They were close from that dero on.
Here's the Strellus Glossary.