Let me first of all welcome you to the re-launched Blue Report! It's been a while, but given the changes that are being made, we felt now was an appropriate time to re-launch and get the thing moving once again! Hopefully we will have a lot of changes across the entire Outpost in the coming weeks and months, and I positively encourage anyone and everyone to get involved and lend a hand where they can! Working together, we can make the place grow and flourish and take ourselves into 2013 feeling encouraged and ready to face all challenges!
Within the Blue Report, I'm hoping to get articles and messages from all across the Outpost, from the Executives to the various departments and projects, so everyone has a chance to promote their own work and activities. This will also allow the readership can keep track of what we have going on, what plans are in the pipeline, and see if there is anything they'd like to get involved with themselves! We also aim to have some lighthearted and fun articles in the forms of comics and cartoons, random funny images, and so forth!
As far as my department, Communications, is concerned, right now we are focusing mainly on this project - the Blue Report. We hope to have more coming in the future, and if anyone wants to get involved, then please don't hesitate to send me and Navi and email, and we will see what we can do! Likewise, if you have any idea as to what other tasks and projects you think Communications could explore, then again, contact us at any time!
For now, I shall say thank-you for reading, and I hope you enjoy the artcle!
CL9 Andrew James
Comms. Senior Manager
AJ: I've been here for 11 years, but that'll change to 12 in the summer of 2013! :D
Navi: What kind of things have you done during those 11 years?
AJ: I'm going to assume you mean aside from chatting and making good, firm friends? :D First of all, I started in Counselling. I can't remember what I did, so it can't have been anything too major! Once Counselling was abandoned I switched to my (still) beloved Entertainment. I was a Trivia minion, steadily rising upwards. I remember the team of Queen Demon, KC and myself! We all rose up together. I was the ATL under KC, before he moved to Senior Manager. At that time, I was made AM1 and TL of Trivia, with QD as the ATL. A few months later I got my first shot at the "big chair", running the department. It was a fun time, before the decline, when the department had 40+ members!!
During the same time I was also a Senator, assisting Hobbie and Jaden run the SW Affiliation. That was a lot of fun! However, real life intervened and I faded from knowledge for a good while.
A few years later I came back as an EC member and since then I've had various jobs, all with the same goal - rebuild the place! I've retaken the ENT job twice, and Communications twice (including current posting!)
Right now I'm constantly bugging the new QC in order to get my plans pushed through *g*
Navi: And now you're our big bossman here in Communications. Tell us, what do you want to do with the department? Any big plans?
AJ: Well, my first aim is to make the department self supporting and capable of almost running itself. I plan to start slowly, and focus mainly on the Blue Report. Previously I feel we've tried to do too much too soon, and think taking a measured and patient approach will have a better chance of success this time around.
I will not lie, I've not yet fully considered what other teams and projects I'd like Communications to take on. My only focus right now is a successful Blue Report, which will help show to the members that we are active and serious about what we are doing. Hopefully, that will create a snowball effect where new projects are added and shaped, and the process continues from there.
Navi: And who's on the team right now?
AJ: Right now it's just myself (Senior Manager), my right-hand Navi (Assistant Manager), Shannon, Robert, Cameron, T'Pel and Daniel. A small team, sure, but there's no need for a huge team right now at all. However, that being said, I am not against adding new people - but they have to be the right people. I don't want members for the sake of it!
Navi: Ultimately, what would you like to see OTF become? What would be your ideal form of the site?
AJ: One thing I'm always keen to stress is that we shouldn't focus on the past and look to reclaim the "good old days". Rather, we should look forward and create a future we can be proud of. We can't get drawn into measuring our successes against what the Outpost used to be like, as the demographics and internet makeup has changed a lot since then.
I still strongly believe the Outpost has a place. We provide the chance for people to chat directly with fellow geeks and nerds, and to make lasting friendships. I don't feel we're as anonymous as Facebook or Twitter, and that is something we need to sell hard.
We're not just a chat site, we are a community. With the right marketing strategy, and the right moves within the Community (projects, depts, etc) I think we've a solid chance of writing a new and successful chapter.
Navi: Any further comments you'd like to add?
AJ: I encourage people to get involved and help out - even if that just means visiting the chatroom more often than they usually would. For years people have sat in the corners and bemoaned the death of the Outpost. We need to break the shackles of that negativity and actually get those people to DO something. So, I would challenge those who would sit and grumble, to get up and be the change you want to see.
AJ's first day as the Senior Manager! (click to enlarge)
Hydra: Today? You mean like….right now? I’m just great. Ask me again later though; I may have a different answer for you.
Navi: You were gone for a while. What brought you back?
Hydra: Ah yes, the “Where have you been,” question. In truth, that is a rather long story. The short of it is I left here…a long time ago, to seek my fortune. I grew up, had some fantastic adventures, and accomplished quite a bit in those years. OTF and its denizens have always held a special place in my heart/mind/spleen, and it felt like it was time to return.
Navi: So you're taking over as Trivia TL. What experience do you have in Trivia, and how is that helping you with the tasks you have ahead of you?
Hydra: Yep, I’m the new Trivia boss! Before I wandered off, I was in Trivia, having moved up the ranks from minion, to Phoenix Division Leader, and eventually onto the TL position. So in some ways, this is all very familiar to me. I have a pretty good understanding of how events should work, and how the team should function to complete its tasks. This will help, however OTF is not the same place it was ten years ago; we’re playing an entire different game now. Internally, we’ve had to re-adjust how we think and make new plans for the future.
Navi: And what plans do you have for the team? Any changes you'd like to make? Improvements? Things you have seen that worked in the past that are especially dear to you?
Hydra: Well, I have lots of plans! However mostly I am told taking over the world is beyond the scope of trivia. We’ll see though. In truth, we do have quite a few plans going. Much of it involves housekeeping, for example if you were to visit the trivia home page right now, you might notice that it’s…more than slightly out of date. We also have plans in the works to experiment with the traditional format of trivia, to see if we can’t find different things we like/don’t like, and perhaps make things more interesting for participants. One thing that our team would like to bring back is Flash Trivia. For those of you unaware of what this is, they are short, unannounced events that could take place at random. We plan on testing these out in the new year as well, so stay tuned for that!
Navi: Who are your new minions?
Hydra: Ah! Another change that has happened recently. With the new TL, comes new people! First, stepping into the position of ATL is CL5 Chris, who will be instrumental in making sure I don’t catch the place on fire. We’ve also brought along CL6 Navi, CL5 Trinity, CL4 Kiko, and CL4 Cameron to help out. Please feel free to console congratulate these individuals next time you see them.
Navi: What do you see Trivia becoming, ultimately? What is your ideal?
Hydra: Ultimately? What I’d like to see is trivia to continue to provide a source of fun and entertainment, and have it grow as much as the current environment will allow. As much as I am ‘leading’ trivia, where it goes is very much up to my team, and the people who participate in our events.
Navi: Anything you'd like to add?
Hydra: You’ll notice at the end of every trivia, we ask for your comments and suggestions. This isn’t just out of
courtesy; Trivia thrives on the input we get, not only from our members, but also from the community
itself. We’re here at your behest, so if you do have something to say, please, speak up!
Navi: How long have you been a member here?
Tanya: 11 years as of December 27th.
Navi: What are the biggest changes you've seen happen during your time?
Tanya: V2 was big, I saw that in my first year.
And the handover from Andrew to Andrew was significant personally as well, as it changed what my significant other was spending his spare time on.
The closing of many departments was big too, though in the opposite direction. What we're doing in Engineering now will be the next big change people will remember.
Navi: What projects or departments have you been part of in the past?
Tanya: I was Division Leader of Aurora (Simming) for quite a while, before passing it on to HAL. I regretted doing so at the time, as I don't think Kaela and I did much good in the short-lived Holidays department. I was an ISA member as well.
I've picked up jobs here and there since then, but I had most success in Aurora, built the most memories and friendships there. Many of the people we still see here today were at one time part of my team: HAL, Keith, DeBoe, and even Iain for a short time.
Navi: Now that you're in charge of Engineering, what are your plans for the department? Any projects you're working on now that you'd like to share with the community?
Tanya: There are three things we'll be working on (and hopefully completing) over the next year.
1. Firefly Chat. This was started over the summer, and is so close to being finished. Hopefully it will please our Joss Whedon fanatics.
2. Game of Thrones Chat. I'm really excited about this one. Winter is Coming.
3. Site updates. There are a few small tweaks we need to make all over the site just to clear out dead pages and links, and bring us quietly into 2013.
Navi: Whom do you have working with you?
Tanya: I work mostly with Trinity, Hobbie, Navi, Synii, and Michiel at the moment. Trinity is full of boundless enthusiasm and is a very hard worker. Hobbie, the wise old sage. Navi, the ever reliable and friendly. Synii has been with me from the beginning, talking Game of Thrones. Michiel and I have just begun working together on some of the art. Even if I didn't mention other team-members by name, I do appreciate them being there, even if they just comment and offer opinions on things.
Navi: What would you like to see from OTF? What is your big vision of what the future holds for the site?
Tanya: Our future is in maintaining what we have and keeping our content and membership active. Community is so important to us as human beings (or Romulans, Wookies, Elves, and other species as listed in our individual dossiers), and it isn't always easy to find it in our modern lives. There will always be value in what OTF has to offer in that sense, and our future is in the same place as our past and present: chat-based community.
I'd like to see more of what we've had over the last half year. I feel like folks are getting excited about OTF again, which is neat to see 10 years after our peak. The return of in-chat Trivia is a huge draw, and I hope that the Firefly and Game of Thrones chats can bring back some of the excitement and magic we had, as well as drawing new membership. Even this issue of the Blue Report marks another return, another step out of hibernation, and I am glad to see it.
Navi: Any further comments you'd like to add?
Tanya: Constant vigilance.
The Brotherly competitiveness even leaks into OTF from time to time
Every now and then, we all need to accidentally dinosaurs!
Fantastic. Thank-you, Captain.