The Wizard of Oz
[A candid peek behind the curtain Q & A with the Administrator of ReVo]
Hello Everyone, and welcome to the Emerald City! This will be a candid, behind the scenes, one of a kind look to how things are ran here on ReVo and just what goes into the day to day and everything that we do, and we’re going to kick this segment off this month. Each month (or more then once a month depending on how we adjust things later) I will be fielding questions sent in by you guys either to myself (on the forums) or the ReVo account (also on the forums) or directly to Smurfy or Rivers to pass on, and attempt to offer as much insight into things that I can, as candidly as I can.
While it is that I may not be able to answer every single question that is floated in my direction, I will attempt to address each and every one that comes across in some fashion. We do afterall, have to keep some tricks of the trade behind closed doors.
So without further adieu, lets go ahead and jump into fielding some of the initial questions that were sent forth.
Q: How do you all keep up with messages that come into various places, day in and day out, and does it ever get tiring?
A: This is a great first question, because coming off of vacation and turnaround, the end of the year, a shift in staff, etc, I constantly feel more behind above and beyond the day to day as it compiles. But I’m not alone. While the short answer is twofold. A) very carefully, and B) I don’t., that’s part of the team that we’ve built here at ReVo and part of our daily duties.
I’ll explain the “I don’t”, first. We receive tons of messages everyday from posts on the forums, support, to personal PM’s, to the ReVo account, emails, and discord. These are checked on a regular basis and passed on to where they need to go and answered as they can be, and sometimes when it comes down to Discord (especially), things may get lost in everyday conversations, sometimes I/We get busy doing other things, don’t see the messages when they pop up, or don’t get a chance to respond (though we always try) right away if someone else has already answered it. I admit I’m personally a little notorious for that.
When I say “we”, its absolutely a collective effort. As far as it getting tiring? Sometimes. But that’s what we signed up for, and for the most part its rare that it becomes overwhelming, and is simply part of our day to day around the other things that we do in our lives. Sure it can be a little tiring sometimes after a long day at work or checking things before going to work, or when something breaks or a situation arises right when you try and settle into some roleplay, but its what we do and that communication is never lost. Our team will always see it.
Q: How are decisions made on how the events will go. How are the ideas born and put into effect.
A: Another great question, and one that’s been quite fluid over time as we’ve worked to develop our strategy for coming up with and delivering events and ideas that everyone will love. Normally I’d want to pass this onto Rivers, our current event coordinator, but working with her and that team (and everyone else on staff, including our chatters!) I’ll offer as much insight as I can. Please note, however, Im speaking strictly from an ‘event’ standpoint in the rooms and not say the monthly flavors, as those ladies and that team have some wizardry going on that plans these things out months in advance (though these ‘themes’ will often correspond to what type of event we’re throwing that month, but not always).
The first thing that we do while mapping out events is looking at each month, what we’ve done in the past, what was successful, what wasn’t, and begin building from there. We then begin taking into account holidays, events that our chatters might be putting on, various genre events that the chatters might like (like the gorean fairs), suggestions from our chatters and our teams (we keep notes and lists), and then build a rough list of ideas and begin brainstorming. Brainstorming is an integral part of the process (and probably the most fun!). Tossing out a ton of ideas and seeing what ‘sticks’. Sometimes we’ll source others with random ideas and see what they think of them, if it excites them. If its something they think people might be interested in. Sometimes we just go random and take the constant feedback we get and build the next one from there with a little trial and error.
Most of the events that we try and plan are built to encourage ‘roleplay’ and to get everyone that we can involved, regardless of what genre they might roleplay in or how familiar they are with a particular setting. Once we have an idea in mind, that’s where the magic happens. We decide this is what we’re going to do, then begin mapping it out. What’s the theme. How do we wanna do it. Is this going to be a dice game, roleplay, how long is it going to be? What are the prizes going to be? Do we need Dj’s for it, how do we promote it, etc. Then its advertised and parceled out to the teams and people that are going to support it and we knock it out of the park.
Most events are planned and ready to go weeks before they’re actually announced.
Q: How are things are decided, such as new ideas, chatter suggestions, etc.?
A: This might be my favorite question for this month, because I’ve actually gotten asked this alot over time and know Q did beforehand. The short answer is, if I don’t like it, it doesn’t get done!
Its actually a little more in depth then most people would think. We get alot of ideas floated around to us through all mediums, from our chatters, to our staff, and keep a running list of most all of them. As staff we brainstorm alot amongst ourselves with things that we see moving forward (being chatters ourselves) and toss out there ideas we hear ‘on the grapevine’ since we work to keep a pulse on the happenings around the site. There’s alot of them (and this is a good thing).
We take all of the suggestions put forth by pretty much anyone from anywhere and they all get discussed. Some of the bigger discussions (such as site policy or site changes and suggestions for implementation or improvement to process, etc) will get discussed at our Admin and Cabinet level first, and then passed down to the rest of the staff on what they’ve been seeing, with a collective brainstorming process on how we can implement things, if its good for the site, the best way to go about it, etc. From there if agreed its good, it goes back up top and if its something that we feel that we can and should do, then we draft a timeline to implement these things and communicate it out as soon as we can.
Sometimes it works much quicker then that. Sometimes chatters will have great suggestions be it on something we’ve recently done on how to iterate on it and improve it (we’re always looking for suggestions!) or come up with something completely brand new. Sometimes these are something we’re able to implement and do/will while going through a quick vetting process, and other times we may feel its not something that we can do, or roll it over into another suggestion and combine the two. Sometimes we may feel its better to roll out down the line.
Its actually quite rare, that decisions are made and new ideas are put forward at an Administrative level without conferring with others. This is usually reserved for quick changes or clarifications to other things. Even while I think it is that I have bright ideas, sometimes, not so much. Every idea and suggestion goes through a discussion and vetting process.
So that’s a little insight and a sneak peak behind the curtain for our first installment of the Wizard of Oz and hopefully (surely), there’s plenty more questions that people might come up with, or thoughts and things that they’d like me to expound upon in upcoming segments. I’m also open to taking suggestions and feedback for this format and willing to branch things off and include thoughts on things you guys would like to hear about.