Thank You, Volunteers!

Discussion in 'Site Announcements' started by Mieriana Souvra, May 27, 2021.

  1. Mieriana Souvra

    Mieriana Souvra Keeper of the Chronicles Keeper of the Chronicles Aes Sedai

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    We wanted to take a minute to recognize the great work accomplished by the fantastic volunteers this past year!
    Thank you!

    See below a list of completed efforts by our teams. Some of these will be ongoing, plus we have more in progress & upcoming!

    Member Activity Improvements
    • Book discussion forum re-focus, allowing members access to a spoiler-free zone for their first time read-through. Ideally this will increase activity in the book forums by allowing members to identify others who are in the same part of their Wheel of Time adventure.

    • Spam removal, eliminating the random spam accounts and posts. This allowed us to reduce the Moderation department into a smaller team.

    • Official Tower Discord was launched. This was an effort that was in progress for years, so we moved it forward and finally launched it. This gives us another channel for events and more opportunities to connect with each other. More members use Discord than IRC, so this was a huge improvement for communication. The operator team, led by Zashara, also planned and executed the Tower Discord Block Party, a huge virtual event that was a great success.

    • Costume team & forum launch, enabling TarValon.Net the opportunity to become a leader in Wheel of Time costuming ahead of the television show launch. Costumes are a fun part of our community, especially for events and the creation of shawls. This gives our members a place to look for ways to create their own shawls and costumes and give/receive guidance.

    • Discussion forums were consolidated, which helps to keep them more active. By combining some forums and re-focusing others, we are encouraging new conversations and reducing the number of forums that feel inactive or dying.

    • The Tower Calendar was created and released to give members a convenient way to stay aware of what events are happening across our community.

    • The Spirituality & Religion forum was requested a few years ago, so we have finally put that into place. There are a number of great conversations happening in there. It is an opt-in forum.

    • We adjusted our process to make announcements on the forum, in Discord and on Facebook, increasing awareness and engaging our members across channels.

    • Virtual events launch, allowing members to engage with each other in real-time through services such as Zoom and Discord.

    • Virtual events merits launch, giving members additional options to earn merits, and a way to continue earning event-related merits while meeting in person (and geography) is a challenge.

    • Private Citizen forum launch, giving Citizens a place of their own to interact with one another.

    • Mafia Admins have been transformed into Game Masters, expanding their scope from only Mafia games to include more activities including weekly games such as D&D, trivia, etc. This has greatly increased opportunities to engage with each other, and added some more fun to our community.

    • Inktober was fun, encouraging creativity and putting our own spin on the popular event. Members participated and seemed to enjoy it.

    • Make a Friend Day was successful, matching up members with other members that they may not get to interact with frequently.

    • Qaato Nag launched as a re-worked idea to replace Homecoming, which was not a particularly popular event. We switched the focus to a more globally acceptable theme in celebration of Harriet's birthday and of life. During this celebration we worked to collect recipes to make into a cookbook to share with both Harriet and our community. This cookbook has been completed and will be available to the community soon.
    Overall site/community improvements

    • A new platform for Junior Member raising tests was in development and sat in limbo for a little while, so we got that moving along and it has been tested and launched.

    • Mission statement was updated, which is important because this is our “Why.” This is why we exist as a community. This allows us and all of our staff to have clear direction when making decisions.

    • Vision statement was created, which is our “How.” This explains how we will bring about our purpose, and also allows us and all our staff to have more clear direction when making decisions.

    • We implemented a test version of the site, which is going to allow us to make a lot of changes. Previously, we could not update anything without doing it live, which means we could break something. The test site allows us to make more changes and improvements without worrying about breaking the live version of the site. This will let us change the look and feel, add functionality, etc.

    • There were some outstanding prizes from a few years ago that had not been developed and sent, so we put a significant amount of effort into getting those created and they will be sent out soon. Our updated processes & documentation should help prevent that sort of delay from happening again.

    • Moved from Cafepress to Zazzle for our store, giving us access to higher quality products for our members.

    • We were nominated for a 2020 Stabby Award on Reddit!

    • Steps have been taken so we can be prepared to incorporate the WoT TV show information into our Library.

    • New Main Page for the Library, which should bring more traffic.

    • Some SEO improvements have been made to the Library and Analytics is now set up to keep track of that traffic.
    Transparency/Feedback improvements

    • Exec Meeting Discussion forum remains open with meeting notes & discussions. This has led to great feedback from the community, which helps guide our choices and highlight needs within our community.

    • Process outline for sharing upcoming changes, which you can find in the Exec Meeting Discussion forum.

    • Formalize various staff processes for consistency, which makes it easier for us to work with each other.

    • Launch of the Suggestion Box form, giving members a way to suggest improvements.

    • Community Outreach Interest Survey was launched to find out how our members want to engage.
    Membership & Inclusion Improvements

    • Mediation team launched, giving members a way to work through issues in an effort to improve communication and relationships.

    • Focus on talking through issues instead of moderating them away, which has led to the resolution of some long-standing issues for various members and will hopefully continue to improve communication across the site.

    • Current Events forum was revamped into the opt-in News & Politics forum, featuring a new un-moderated experience, designed as an optional experience to encourage more open discussion. This has helped to set more clear expectations for those who want to participate in this experience, and has led to a reduction in the quantity of member conflict incidents.

    • Code of Conduct was updated to more clearly state what sort of behavior is not tolerated at TarValon.Net, helping to reinforce our support of a diverse community.

    • Statement of Diversity support was released, declaring TarValon.Net’s rejection of bigotry of any kind.

    • Pronoun field was added to the forum in support of our LGBTQIA+ members, giving all members an opportunity to share which pronouns they use.

    • Demographic survey was launched in an effort to allow members to update some outdated information as well as giving us more insight into the diversity of our membership so we can better support them. This survey remains open for members to continue making updates as needed in recognition that certain demographics can change.

    • A photo release form was launched, giving members the option of whether or not TarValon.Net can share their photos online. This is important because we have a bunch of photos, and we would love to share them in more places, however we want to make sure we are respecting our members’ privacy.

    • We have significantly decreased the response time between member requests and staff responses in many cases.

    • Sharing & encouragement of free diversity training sessions, in an effort to increase awareness.
    Staff improvements

    • Formalize hiring timeline & transition guides to improve staff turnover. Previously, some staff members were lingering in positions they no longer wanted because there was no formal hiring timeline. Transitions were difficult for many staff members because there was no formal transition guide to identify what information needed to be shared.

    • Improve visibility across the Exec team by allowing all the Directors access to one another’s departmental forums. This helps us to know what is going on with each other’s departments, which allows us to identify areas we can help each other with. This has helped strengthen our team and efficiency.

    • Improve communication across departments by creating optional all-exec (officers & directors) fortnightly meetings where we focus on current work, hot topics, future planning, and cross-department collaboration. This provides a more frequent touch-point in addition to the more formal strategy-focused quarterly meetings.

    • Review expectations and update guidelines. This was important because some members were unclear of what was expected of them. We have made improvements here by reviewing expectations with various teams, updating posts that contain this info. In some cases, informational posts were many years old, so updating them was an important step.

    • Establish more discussion channels and facilitate more talking/working together. Teams are having more frequent meetings, we have opened Discord channels and Facebook chats for various teams. This has been an important way to support each other, and gain efficiencies by working together and leveraging each other’s strengths.

    • Set up email addresses for Hearts/Honor Guards, giving members an easy way to reach out to these groups when they have questions or need assistance.

    • Revamp of internal documentation, bringing processes, guides and notes up to date. Some documentation was many years old, so this has been an ongoing and important effort.

    • Marketing coverage request form was developed, enabling our team an easy way to let the marketing team know when a post is needed. This has helped us in our effort to increase awareness among the membership and also among the Wheel of Time community about what is going on at TarValon.Net.
    Onboarding of Admins & Execs
    We had video interviews, welcome meetings, team meetings, and coordinated transitions and training. Of course, not all onboardings received the same level of effort, but this was a significant effort by the relevant teams that we want to recognize!

    • Director of Research & Records

    • Director of Marketing

    • Director of Membership

    • Co-Director of Technology, a new position

    • Director of Community Outreach

    • Mistress of Novices/Recruits

    • Mistress of Accepted/Soldiers

    • Master of the Watch-Moderation

    • Servant of All Coordinator

    • Outreach Activities Coordinator

    • Marketing Project Manager

    • Social Media Manager

    • Tar Valon Times Editor

    • Tower Mediators, a new position

    • Costume Team Lead, a new position

    • Tower Historian

    • Mayor

    • Game Masters, a new position

    • Heads of Ajah & Company Commanders: Gray, Green, Yellow, White VC, MDD, SDS

    • Headteachers
    Increased focus on Philanthropy
    This is one of our goals for the community, and something that we heard through the Suggestion Form and other feedback methods, so we put focused effort into this aspect.
    • Great Charity Hunt is a huge, community wide, year-long event. This has resulted in a great deal of coordination, resulting in donations, support of various communities and some fun swag for good causes. This has been a fun way to put some focus on causes that are important to our members and do some good.

    • Reestablishment of the Servant of All team. This team had been vacant for a few years, so we felt it was important to reestablish the team so they could get us back to work on our philanthropic efforts.

    • Robert Jordan Memorial Scholarship program was enhanced by opening eligibility to any program at an accredited institution, and updating and standardizing our processes in an effort to make the program even more efficient.

    • International Red Cross Fundraiser was held to help people in response to major global disasters that were occuring. We wanted to help, and ensure that help was not limited to any specific country, so we chose this international charity as our focus and we were able to raise $700.
     
  2. Melorea al'Taehor

    Melorea al'Taehor Novice

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    Wow, when its all set out so clearly I can see there has been so much change going on! Well done, and thanks to all for the hard work.

    Is there a way to see a list of forums that are opt in?
     
  3. Jocasta Braithe

    Jocasta Braithe Accepted Game Master

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    This is fantastic! I'm proud to be even a small part of it. :love
     
  4. Mieriana Souvra

    Mieriana Souvra Keeper of the Chronicles Keeper of the Chronicles Aes Sedai

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    Thanks, Melorea!
    There are only two forums that are opt-in. News & Politics and Spirituality & Religion. You can see them here on the Discussion Halls category page description and there is a link to the opt-in/opt-out form as well.
     
  5. Dar'Jen Ab Owain

    Dar'Jen Ab Owain Soldier

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    Thank you to everyone for all your efforts. :)
     
  6. Leala al'Dareis

    Leala al'Dareis First Seasoner Aes Sedai Assistant TVT Editor

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    :joy This is a lot of work! Great job!!
     
  7. Idine Espanyas

    Idine Espanyas Aes Sedai Head of the Yellow Ajah

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    Thank you, everyone! Great job! :joy
     
  8. Alora Sionn

    Alora Sionn Mama Wolf Gaidin Company Commander of Val'Cueran Moderator

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    :hug
     
  9. Maibella ni Rhoiden t'al'Varrak

    Maibella ni Rhoiden t'al'Varrak Aes Sedai Head of the Gray Ajah

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    I love seeing everything listed in one place - it really shows a glimpse at what is going on that we all might not be aware of. Thank you everyone!
     
  10. Melorea al'Taehor

    Melorea al'Taehor Novice

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  11. Polegnyn Nemeara

    Polegnyn Nemeara Aes Sedai

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    Thank you, everyone!
     
  12. Siusane al'Cuyler

    Siusane al'Cuyler Aes Sedai

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    amazing! especially when put all in one place. good work, volunteers!
     
  13. Syera Faelron

    Syera Faelron Soldier

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    Yo cool