Happy Spring, Bravo Fleet!
The first thing I want to start talking about this month is really a reflection of the last year of Bravo Fleet.
On April 24th of 2020, Bravo Fleet made a huge change in the way we do business. We took the massive step into evolving from simply a one-trick pony show “sim group” to a dynamic and multifaceted “Star Trek club” that is unique in our world with the way we approach how our members engage with the group as a whole. This change was something that the BFA knew would receive mixed feelings from our membership at the time. A lot of people were only used to the “sim way” for 20 years and people in Bravo Fleet historically were extremely hesitant to welcome any change at all. However, it’s been no secret that the activity of siming has been on the decline for many years tracing back to really when Enterprise went off the air. The dwindling pool of people available for just that activity has shrunk to the point where terms like “simcest” would get thrown around quite often. The BFA knew we would be fighting an uphill battle with a lot of people, but that the change would be better for the overall health of Bravo Fleet and its ability to survive into the future.
Over the past year, we’ve certainly had our downs. A lot of people weren’t convinced at first and left the fleet, or left due to the continuing fallout . Some were downright hostile, abusive, and obscene towards us about it. We’ve had our unfortunate share of judicial proceedings. We, like so many other groups, have found our amount of sims going down over the past year. We’ve had to deal with this weird, almost disturbed obsession by The Wider Community with Bravo Fleet and what we’re doing.
But we’ve had far more good than we have bad. The thing about all the bad I talked about above? We expected it. We knew it would happen. We were prepared to accept it all to ensure Bravo Fleet could flourish.
We expected people to leave, and believe it or not but if you go back and read reports from that time, we were even encouraging it for a while. We knew what we were doing wouldn’t be for everyone and those individual members would want to leave. We wanted people to go where they would be happy.
We knew people would be hostile towards us. Either we were fundamentally changing something that they knew for 20 years or they were just part of a massive exodus. It was an exodus that really had nothing to do with anyone who was in charge of Bravo Fleet in the aftermath, but it’s easier to be mad at “Bravo Fleet” than to be mad at those who were responsible.
We knew we would have judicial proceedings, even though the point of the Magistrate is to avoid at all costs. But no group is without trouble, and not all trouble can be mediated. And actions in bad faith have consequences.
We knew that the number of sims we had would go down over time. The whole point of the change was that you didn’t have to be on a sim to be a member. Over time, as people have realized, there are other avenues for being a member. When you don’t have to join a sim to be a member, sim counts will naturally go down. There are now other ways to do writing, even collaborative, in Bravo Fleet. However, on the flip side, that has given us sims that are filled with people who want to do that activity, and we’ve found that the overall quality, in every aspect, is rising in what we can offer on that front. It isn’t the same 5 people creating new characters and simcesting away. It isn’t 7 people sitting on their hands waiting for 1 guy to respond to a post who doesn’t really want to be there but has to in order to be part of the club.
We also knew we’d probably deal with some weird obsession with Bravo Fleet by people who weren’t in the club anymore and had no intention of being. That is just a historical fact of Bravo Fleet that dates back for as long as I can remember and isn’t unique or new to any time period in Bravo Fleet history. We dealt with nonmembers crying on Facebook about what was going on. We had nonmembers crying in our Discord about what was going on. We had nonmembers crying in other Discord servers about what we were doing. Hell, we even had people trying to dox our Magistrate in real life to lose his real life job because they didn’t like a Magistrate trial. We had people say we would fail and they hoped we would.
But the thing is? We know what we’re doing is working because every single one of those people who would sit on Facebook and cry about how much Bravo Fleet sucked were offered, at some point or another, sometimes multiple times, the ability to delete their dossier and sever their membership and relationship with Bravo Fleet and they refused. Not that they didn’t respond. They responded, and refused. And we are happy to keep them as members of Bravo Fleet! We know what we’re doing is working because every new person who has joined Bravo Fleet since has given us consistent feedback in surveys telling us that they love what we’re doing and that we offer so much more than anyone else. We know what we’re doing is working because other groups have already started trying to copy us — from competitions to copying our Conservatorship to just wholesale lifting our Charter. We know what we’re doing is working because the stats tell us it’s working. We didn’t fail. Bravo Fleet succeeded as a team.
In the past year…
- Bravo Fleet has grown its membership by 35% — and this is counting all of the aforementioned people who had left.
- We’ve offered 98 competitions which have gotten 545 entries.
- We’ve had 625 gaming submissions worth 957 Strategic Action Ribbons (solo gaming), 154 Combat Action Ribbons (team gaming), and 65 Campaign Ribbons (major gaming achievement).
- We’ve had 1732 Duty Ribbons (1 per game/sim posts), 2367 Service Ribbons (1 per 250 words of fiction written for a total of 591,750 words of fiction!).
- We’ve had 214 promotions and 75 merit awards earned.
And this is all with us really holding back on actively recruiting until BFMS2 is done (see below for more on that!).
Now that is a success.
What we’re doing is working, what we’re doing has been well received by you guys, and we’re going to continue improving what we do as much as we can. Here is to an even more successful Year 2!
Speaking of competitions! To go along with the Archanis Campaign, which everyone has been absolutely kicking ass at… I present some nice, easy, and quick competitions! These will run for a few weeks until April 4th, 2021. So uh… I guess I won’t get in the way of these anymore:
Something we’ve always been hesitant to push, unless asked, is donations. However, we have made some changes to donations which are worth announcing that we actually put into effect a while ago. The big change is that we now have a tier for Discord server boosts — Slip of Latinum. This tier is under the two that you’re probably used to mostly because Discord Nitro comes with its own perks. However, you’ll still get access to a room with Bravo Fleet Command, giving you a direct line to the club’s leadership.
We’ve also added a perk to all levels which will display on your dossier, as a thank you for donating to our organization to keep the ship running. We’re always looking for ways to improve the perks of donating to Bravo Fleet but it is a balance between saying thank you and feeling like we’re doing pay to win which we will avoid at all costs (oh, pun).
Bravo Fleet Management System… Two
Yes, the much talked about BFMS2. I’m happy to report that the last phase of coding for this system is scheduled to begin tomorrow, March 22nd (or today if you’re in the future like McGig!). There are some points I want to talk about with BFMS2 that I haven’t in the past. These have mostly developed as a result of discussions within the BFMS2 team on what we want the software to do and not to do.
One of the big things we’ve decided is that we’re going to dump every single member we have into an active unit when BFMS2 launches. What does that mean? Well as I type this, we have 658 accounts in our current system. All of these people signed up and joined Bravo Fleet at some point, got an email this time last year, and didn’t ever request a dossier deletion. It’s safe to assume that something about Bravo Fleet interested them at one point. So this might give us a chance to re-engage them. The other thing to keep in mind is that BFMS2 will have an AWOL system — essentially a system that if you don’t log into your BFMS2 account within x amount of days, it’ll automatically transfer you to the Reserves. It’ll also send out a few emails to let you know that time is getting close. So if those people are still not interested, this will allow the system to go through its natural motions to AWOL people into the Reserves and keep a note on their dossier letting us know that is what happened!
The next thing is regarding primary characters. In the new system, these will essentially be your account face. It is hard to explain without seeing it but the important part is that there are a lot of accounts in BFMS right now that don’t have any characters. For those accounts, we will just create “John Doe” characters. We could go through and undelete characters in BFMS, but the reward for all that work isn’t very high. So just consider this a warning that if you don’t have any characters assigned to you in BFMS that in BFMS2 you could just be a John or Jane Doe.
Something else tangentially related to BFMS2 is activity recording. We can’t award you if you don’t record your activity in BFMS! We want to award you! You’re doing things. Let us love you! Until we get into BFMS2, this is just a reality of how the current site operates. Unfortunately, a lot of what goes on behind the scenes is by hand which is why we always ask for your help by recording your own activity. When BFMS2 comes around a lot of this will be automated, but not all. You’ll still have to record some things like sim posts on a Nova site and your Discord level. But nowhere near the amount that everyone has to do things by hand right now. So, just know that while it is a huge PITA for all of us right now, there is light at the end of the tunnel!
Now, the disclaimer here is that while we’re heading into the last phase of coding BFMS2, this is still a process. We will need to spend time testing everything, possibly fixing any bugs once people are poking at it, and then the huge task of transferring everything over. Much of it by hand.
Something that recently popped up last week that is also worth reiterating is our Dossier Deletion Policy. Per the OCS Policy on Dossier Deletions:
- Any member who wishes to leave Bravo Fleet in totality may do so by requesting their dossier be deleted by the OCS. Once a dossier is deleted it is done so in full and not retrievable.
- Any awards, promotions, or recognitions that were on a dossier that has been deleted are not transferable to a new dossier created by the same member.
The thing I want to point out is that what makes you a member of Bravo Fleet is having a dossier (account) with us. When you don’t, you aren’t a member. Our Charter, Magistrate Code, and policies are all made out to protect members. If you aren’t a member anymore, you have zero rights under our structure. This includes sitting on Discord trying to lurk and/or troll or complaining when you’re kicked as a result of it because you don’t have any rights as a member not to be.
Also per the above policy, if you do rejoin, even immediately, you start from scratch. From the very bottom. Rank, awards, everything. Nothing you did previously counts or will be added back to your new dossier. So please, please, please be sure that when you nonchalantly ask for a dossier deletion you know what you’re really asking for.
Ask The BFCO!
On Discord, I asked a few days ago for any questions you may have. I got a few funny anonymous ones, so here goes…
Anonymous asks… Why are you the definition of pure evil? #askthebfco
Because I worked long and hard at it!
Anonymous asks… How do you feel knowing that you “violated, and continue to violate, the rights of players within the simming community”? #askthebfco
I’m pretty happy that I am violating the rights of players in The Wider Community that I have no power over their rights. Having power over something you don’t have power over seems like a resume builder to me.
Anonymous asks… Is Emily as evil as you? I thought she was the nice one but idk now… #askthebfco
If only people knew…