Just about two weeks ago, I took over as Bravo Fleet Executive Officer. I’d meant to send something out like this earlier, but time makes fools of us all. I think many of you are already familiar with me to some extent, but I wanted to take the opportunity to tell you all a little bit about myself and what my goals are for this role. Staff work can be very challenging, and there’s often little reward. Indeed, there’s often straight-up verbal abuse. Without the feeling that I’m firmly among friends within the BFSS, I wouldn’t have taken this on. So, on that point, I’ll start with notes about a few of them:
- First, I want to recognize Emily for not only being the longest-serving BFXO in history but for providing us with this amazing writing and collaboration platform. All shade aside, Nova had its day, but finally centralizing all of the writing in the fleet into one service is so much more accessible and provides so many more opportunities for collaboration and expansion in the future.
- Second, I want to acknowledge how much work LadyBlue has put into this fleet since the re-launch two years ago, especially in the time we have served together as department heads. While her lore work itself is exemplary, her impact on all areas of fleet policy and decision-making can’t be overstated, as everything we do at the BFSS level is done collaboratively. (And she lets me have so much freedom with the specs and other nerdy background information write-ups, which is probably my favorite way of contributing to lore!)
- Third, I want to express my confidence in MJ’s ability to really bring a lot of energy and excitement to the Bravo Fleet Operations Officer role that I have vacated. He ran one of the first non-fleet-run events, and he has a unique ability to keep on top of stories, competitions, and the ‘paperwork’ all at once, all while also running a game of his own.
- Finally, I want to thank Vince for his confidence in me to take on the second seat here. Of all of us in the BFSS over the last ~2 years (which has been one of the most stable teams in BF history), I was the one with the longest gap between knowing Vince from the ~2003-2008 era and the present, because I hadn’t been involved in quite a while, but we’ve developed a really good rapport and trust one another. (It should go without saying that by accepting this job, I’m firmly endorsing the direction BF is taking, which is the brainchild of Vince.)
Who I Am
In the “real” world, I’m a higher education professional, in the field of academic development. I work at a very large university in a state that starts with the letter “I.” I’m finishing my doctorate in writing instruction, and I study how people learn new skills. (Fun fact: my very first peer-reviewed article was actually about SIMMing TM and how it’s different than “creative writing.”) I mention what I do professionally because I know that I generally approach things around Bravo Fleet the same way I do at work or in a professional organization: I take things a little too seriously, while also finding time for levity. If this weren’t fun for me, I wouldn’t do it, but I also tend to fall on the authoritarian side of the spectrum with the rules, because making sure everyone is treated equally and fairly matters tremendously to me. Getting award nominations right, making sure everyone follows the RPG guidelines, etc., is all about squashing the biggest problem BF has had in its long history: toxic cliquism.
My Goals for Bravo Fleet
- We can be both large and excellent. We already have one of the best starship databases of any fan organization, which drives a lot of hits to our site. We also have the highest writing volume of any club, at least as far as we can tell without transparent word-count statistics from other groups. Our membership numbers are also high and climbing. Excellence doesn’t necessarily mean just writing quality—though we do have that in spades—but the quality of member to member and staff to member interactions, so our challenge as we grow is to make sure that everyone feels seen and heard.
- We can make this hobby more inclusive. The toxic, good old boys’ club, military-wank, Marine-fueled Bravo Fleet of the past is gone and not coming back. As we grow, we need to keep at the forefront the belief that Star Trek is about inclusion, and that not only means diversity in the traditional sense but in breaking down barriers to access like opaque terminology (which is why I hate the term “SIMM”) and “oh, we do it that way because that’s the way it’s been done for 20 years” responses to newbie questions.
- We can have a fleet-wide community. The number of folks who are only on one game and do just that is now very small. And there’s nothing wrong with focusing on just one aspect of the fleet if that’s really where your interests are. One of the things we continue to try to do, though, is to remind folk that they’re members of Bravo Fleet, which means they have a whole network of people there to support them and to interact with, along with so many other activities to choose from.
Near-Term Priority: The Academy
My largest near-term priority is to finish my work on the academy, especially in rolling out the core six programs that I’ve had in mind the whole time. One of the purposes of the BFXO role is to have a staff member with fewer enumerated duties so that they can be free for special projects. Obviously, Emily’s special project was the BFMS. Mine, at least my first one, is the academy. One of the reasons I’m keen to keep this one is that learning Moodle is a pretty big learning curve, and designing online courses is part of what I do in the real world anyway.
I’m interested in re-establishing an academy team, though. It would be great to get together with other folks with teaching experience or online learning experience, but I’m also happy for other sorts of contributions, like content writing or beta-testing. If you’re interested, please fill out this form.
I hope this helps you all learn a little more about me. I’m always open to questions or discussion on our server or in private via Discord as well. I’d say you can email me, too, but I’d rather leave that as another vestige of the Bravo Fleet of eons past… I’d thought about introducing Vice Admiral Dahlgren in this piece, too, but I’ll save his fiction debut for something else this weekend. Stay tuned!