2017 State of the Federation Address
Stardate: 239401.22 (22 January 2017)
Welcome, friends, to 2017 and what may be our most exciting year yet!
Before we begin to entertain all of the ways that UFOP: StarBase 118 can and will grow this year, however, it’s important to reflect on 2016 -- also known as 2393 to our characters. For them, the 24th century is nearing its end (!!). But for us, the group is only getting stronger. 2016 was our 22nd year of continuous operation, which is longer most – if not all – other groups like us out there on the internet today! But longevity isn’t just important for its own sake. You, the talented writers and dedicated members of our community, have shaped the group into what it is today, and we want to salute you as we think back on the year that’s just ended.
And what a year it was! We welcomed some new ships and many new simmers, and we were sad to say farewell to some others. Across the fleet, many ships dealt with the reemergence of the sinister Orion Syndicate as we collectively simmed our very first Fleetwide Plot Arc. If you’ve been around for a year or two (or at least six months!), you’ll also have noticed that we celebrated our yearly awards in June rather than December this year to more closely align with the anniversary of our community's founding.
Elsewhere in the fleet, the Top Sims and Featured Bio Contests are still going strong, as is the dedicated Federation News Service, an offshoot site that colors in the complicated background of the Star Trek universe at the end of the 24th century. With profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and more, we’re also more visible and accessible than ever, so make sure to find out accounts if you haven’t already!
We welcomed two new members to the 10-year member ranks, eight to the 5-year members, 10 to the 3-year members, and almost two dozen to our 1-year members. That’s impressive dedication, and we see it as a sign that our future looks especially bright. Join us as we think through 2016 and plan for 2017!
-- Tony (FltCapt. Aron Kells/Cassandra Egan Manno/Zalea Solzano)
A Look Back at 2016
Compared to previous years, 2016 was one of our most stable years with respect to changes to overall fleet size and ship changes. We began 2016 with eight ships and installations, and we ended 2016 with eight ships and installations. Of course, some of those ships and installations changed over the course of the year. Let’s take a closer look at what happened in 2016:
For those of you looking for some stats on those moves:
We also saw a number of commanding officers receive promotions in 2016. Commanders Sal Taybrim of Ops and Roshanara Rahman of Veritas and Invicta were promoted to captain, and Captains Renos of Darwin and Quinn Reynolds of Gorkon were promoted to fleet captain. Congratulations to them!
Let’s take a look at fleet governance, too. The Executive Council was also extraordinarily stable: No EC members left or joined in 2016, and only the Captain-at-Large (which is a position voted upon by members of the EC at the end of every year) changed -- from Captain Selene Faranfey to Captain Roshanara Rahman.
Similarly, the Captains Council also changed very little, since any staff member ranked captain (or above) is able to vote and participate regardless of whether he or she is actively commanding a ship or installation. However, the CC also voted on a very important proposal in 2016 that offered full commanders voting rights (previously, only commanders who were commanding a ship were granted voting rights). Commanders are now allowed to vote on most CC matters.
Despite what you'll read below about applications, we're really excited to say that we had an incredibly strong year on simming numbers. May and July of 2016 were record highs for those months since we've been tracking! Take a look:
This is a really encouraging sign, which we can attribute to a very experienced set of commanding officers who are settling into their roles and managing to line-up great ship staff. In turn, our very stable roster of ships has helped ensure that people feel comfortable simming together and are willing to create more joint-posts on a regular basis as they build character relationships.
One of the things that may have attributed to this success was the change we saw from 2015 to 2016 of increasing, slightly, our optimal roster size to around 13 people. As we discussed last year, the smaller target roster size we had set in 2015 left everyone on edge – any LOA or AWOL member meant that they were close to being in trouble with too few members to sustain the required amount of activity. As we increased the target roster size to around 13 people, it allowed everyone to relax and we seemed to reach a more harmonious level of simming. With that many members, crews seem better able to keep a story moving at a brisk pace without overwhelming everyone with too many sims. We'll continue at this roster size going forward.
Visits to our website
We didn't include a comparison to 2015 in the chart below only because the crazy traffic spike in the middle of 2015 (likely an attack on the site, or paid traffic directed from an anonymous member) skewed the chart so much.
As always, the chart below gives more context about how we're doing in terms of website traffic:
Unfortunately, that weird spike I mentioned above throws this off a bit, since we can't exclude it but it doesn't count for much in terms of positive growth. So when you see the numbers are a little down, on this chart, it's only in comparison to receiving an unhelpful spike in traffic the year before.
Nonetheless, the numbers are good, and could use with improvement. It's great that people are staying longer on the site and that we're seeing more new visitors.
Overall, 2016 was our worst year for new applications since 2009:
This is definitely a cringe-worthy chart, as we see application numbers continue to decline. Simply put, our search engine rankings are slipping, meaning we get an even smaller portion of the already small number of people looking for Star Trek simming groups. We have to turn this around this year.
In 2016, February, September, October, and December were our worst months ever for new applications since we've been tracking.
Training and Placements
"Well, at least we beat 2010" isn't exactly the way I wanted to end the year, but I suppose it's something. As usual, this tracks with our application rate, although we can keep in mind that returning members help sustain the fleet. Only some returning members go through training, so there are others that are not tracked on any of the charts above.
We hit our goal on Academy pass-rate (60%), achieving a pass rate of 67% (72 people graduated out of 108 people in training). Keep in mind that this includes any returning members who were sent back through training. Congratulations to the Training Team for hitting this mark!
We ask each fleet ship and task force to report-in with an update on how they did for the year, which includes questions about challenges, accomplishments, and goals for next year. Below, you’ll find the retrospective information for each task force in 2016.
While many teams did not meet all of their goals, it’s important to recognize just how long this list of task forces is, and how much we’re engaging our members and helping our future staff develop skills. It’s quite an accomplishment, and cements the fact that we are a community, and not just a game.
This team is perhaps the most important in the fleet. All prospective members undergo a week-long training mission before they’re placed aboard a ship or installation in the fleet, so the effect that the Training Team can have on all new members is quite important.
- Commandant: Fleet Captain Renos, starting in November 2016 (Captain Selene Faranfey through October, 2016)
- Deputy Commandants: Fleet Captain Quinn Reynolds, Captain Roshanara Rahman
- Fleet Admiral Tristan Wolf began the year as the Training Team’s interim Commandant, with Captains Selene Faranfey and Nugra and Commander Kael Thomas as Deputy Commandants. Thomas took a LOA earlier in 2016, while Wolf stepped back from his position to allow Faranfey to take over as Commandant.
- Fleet Captain Renos joined as a Deputy Commandant and, later in 2016, full Commandant, and was joined by Quinn Reynolds and Roshanara Rahman as Deputy Commandants following the retirement of Nugra from his position. Faranfey moved from her role as Academy Commandant to the role of Chief Statistician.
- The Training Team’s goals for 2016 included solidifying a core staff team (Commandant and multiple Deputy Commandants), and while it did not quite meet that goal, the team did possess a core staff for most of the year before transitioning.
- The team was able to meet its goal of implementing a "Meet the Trainer" column for the Community News, and also created one "small class" set of plans, which will be expanded this coming year, for when we have smaller classes.
- The Training Team was able to get actionable feedback from the survey administered to active trainers this year, which will definitely help the team going forward. However, the team wasn’t able to get feedback to trainers as regularly as its staff had hoped. Additionally, there were many weeks in 2016 in which the team struggled to find enough volunteers to staff training classes.
- As a sub-team of the Training Admin Staff, the Statisticians Team manages all the important data on applicants, graduates, and training teams for the Academy. This team is now led by former Academy Commandant Selene Faranfey, and has done a good job of helping provide the necessary statistics for 2016.
- The Training Team is always recruiting, and is open primarily to members who are ranked as full lieutenants or lieutenant commanders. If you are interested in joining the Training Team, speak with your commanding officer!
This team is responsible for the creation and manipulation of all images that StarBase 118 uses, from character portraits to ship banners to new badges and awards.
- Current Facilitator: Captain Jalana Rajel
- The (Image) Collective very successfully met many of its goals for 2016, including providing character images in a timely fashion and releasing four new video tutorials on Youtube (with links and descriptions in the forums). Additionally, the Collective was able to recruit a new co-facilitator, Lieutenant Commander Ayiana Sevo.
- As if that wasn’t enough, the (Image) Collective went even further and designed and/or created new badges, service ribbons, campaign graphics, and other simming-related graphics. They also implemented a new system that registers all graphics created by and for StarBase 118 with watermarks. However, it has been difficult to fully implement the watermarking system, as (Image) Collective members have found it challenging to consistently implement watermarks and members requesting graphics have occasionally been unhappy with the watermark. (More information about the watermark found on the forums.)
- As in 2015, this team struggled a little in 2016 with member retention. However, the (Image) Collective has been able to maintain a roster of at least five active members.
The Top Sims Contest is one of our two current forum contests. Simmers submit excellent sims (either their own or someone else’s) to the contest, where those sims are then evaluated by a panel of judges. At the end of each year, the whole fleet is eligible to vote on the judges’ favorites and name a top sim of the year.
- Current Facilitator: Lieutenant Commander Maxwell Traenor
- The Top Sims Contest reevaluated its goals in 2016 after some overly ambitious goals in 2015, and the team was able to meet most of the 2016 goals. The roster of judges was consistently and judiciously maintained, the contest was publicized well (via the Community News and fleetwide emails), and run-off rounds were posted and completed promptly.
- Like many other teams, new badges were also introduced for the Top Sims Contest to reward participation and judges, though it may be too early to tell if this has resulted in increased participation.
- Unfortunately, participation was noticeably down in 2016 as compared to 2015. The team’s goal was to have 20% of the fleet participate in voting for each of the year’s quarterly run-off rounds, and while three of the four quarters met that goal, one did not.
- Nonetheless, the Top Sims Contest continues to help us showcase our best sims and remain a cornerstone of our contests.
The FBC contest recognizes the hard work members put into the careful crafting of their character biographies on the wiki, and the team behind this contest is responsible for not only developing content to help members put together great wiki bios, but also driving the contest according to its schedule. When members create a particularly memorable and compelling bio, they have a chance of being selected by the Featured Bio Contest. This selection means that their bio will be highlighted on the wiki homepage (and many other subpages!) for a month and they will receive recognition on the forums, as well as an exclusive badge.
- Current Facilitator: Lieutenant Commander Brayden Jorey
- Deputy Facilitators: Rear Admiral Toni Turner and Commander Alucard Vess
- The Featured Bio Contest met some of its goals for 2016, including maintaining a judging roster of at least three with a total of six to eight judges per round and maintaining a minimum of six entries per round. They have also consistently produced two articles per month for the Community News. Other goals, such as increasing bio feedback by 5%, , are more difficult to quantify, but the Featured Bio Contest notes that it has been encouraging and helping the fleet improve and update character bios.
- Leadership also changed for the Featured Bio Contest in 2016, from facilitation by Commander Alex Blair to Lieutenant Commander Brayden Jorey. Rear Admiral Toni Turner and Commander Alucard Vess help out as deputy facilitators.
The Federation News Service (FNS) continues as a successful spinoff of our community, helping to create a shared universe of stories that reflect 118 canon and may be used by simming groups around the world.
- Current Facilitators: Captain Roshanara Rahman and Lieutenant Commander Rune Jolara
- The FNS met its goals of posting articles (both monthly ship reports and other news updates) to the Community News feed, as well as establishing relationships with individuals from outside our community. This included adding a non-118 member and continued engagement with readers outside our group, particularly the writer of Star Trek: Citadel.
- However, the FNS did not meet its goal of establishing a one-article-per-month minimum for team members.
- The FNS was initially working very closely with the fleetwide plot arc (FWPA) coordinators to report on events occurring across the fleet and to help fill in the background of events from the Star Trek universe. However, FWPA tie-in articles did not continue much beyond phase 1 due to general issues with FWPA execution, as noted by FWPA coordinators. The FNS did assist with a special conclusion in phase 3 of the FWPA.
- Beyond the goals laid out for 2016, the FNS started an audio "news update" feature on the website that is recorded by Lieutenant Commander Mirra Ezo.
Wiki Ops is responsible for the ongoing maintenance and improvement of our wiki. While everyone is welcome and encouraged to edit and contribute, the Wiki Ops team curates and helps make the experience more enjoyable and streamlined for all.
- Current facilitator: Lieutenant Commander Rune Jolara (Lieutenant Commander Sky Blake through the end of 2016)
- Wiki Ops is one of our newer teams, and as such its goals for 2016 involved differentiating its members and operations from other wiki users and operations while implementing general wiki area improvements or overhauls.
- Its achievements for the year included many successes, including:
- Wiki Ops begun use of the References Tool for Memory118 pages, where members were encouraged and used the tool to cite sims in various pages (providing improvement of the ILI & M118 pages).
- Rosters used by most ship pages (master crew roster, NPC roster, etc.) now use the standardized page naming convention.
- A template index now holds more specific categories, making the template a user is looking for easier to find.
- Wiki Ops members are now "power users" with the ability to edit pages currently protected from the general user group (i.e.- templates).
This team is incredibly important for helping to maintain – and when possible, increase – our membership size. These members help maintain our presence on social media and recruit new members, which makes their efforts extremely important to the future of the group.
- Current Facilitators: Fleet Admiral Tristan Wolf, interim (Captain John Nugra from June through December, previously Fleet Captain Renos)
- In 2016, the Publicity Team was able to meet its social media goals (12x posts per month on Facebook, 40x posts per month on Twitter), as well as establishing, maintaining, and improving relationships and links with outside organizations.
- However, the team had difficulties in maintaining an active member base. This may be in part due to changes in leadership, but building and maintaining a steady pool of volunteers to do publicity work was difficult for this team in 2016. As such, they are always looking for new volunteers!
- The team also established (or reestablished) a our presence on more social media sites, including Tumblr and Instagram.
The Newsies are responsible for all of the news items you see on the main site, whether that responsibility involves collating information like ship reports or writing entirely new content for the news cycle.
- Current Facilitator: Fleet Admiral Tristan Wolf
- Deputy Facilitators: Captain Quinn Reynolds and Lieutenant Commander Trellis Vondaryan
- This team fully or partially met all of its goals for 2016, including maintaining a focus on fleet-based activities and implementing a method of delivering news posts to the Community News Team email list each day so the team is more aware of what's on the news. Partially accomplished goals included daily news posts (starting in June, the team missed only one day per month on average, usually earlier in the month as they had a lack of feature articles to slot in at the beginning of the month when they have the least amount of content on deck) and increasing positive feedback for members.
- Other accomplishments for the year included implementing an interview tutorial and systematizing the process of interviewing people, so that we now have at least three interviews on the news each month.
This team is responsible for compiling and the weekly newsletter that all active members receive. With two active members, it’s also one of our smallest teams.
- Current Facilitator: Captain Raj Blueheart
- Deputy Facilitator: Commander Alex Blair
- The team met its goal of sending 50 newsletters in 2016, though they hope to send a full 52 (one of each week of 2017) this year.
- They did not, however, manage to recruit and train a third member.
- Though they had intended to work with the (now ended) Graphics Contest or the (Image) Collective on ways to enhance the newsletter, this was not one of the team’s accomplishments in 2016.
This team addresses the concerns of longer-term members (that is, those who have moved beyond the rank of ensign) with a focus on the satisfaction and retention of those members.
- Current Facilitator: Captain Roshanara Rahman
- Deputy Facilitator: Lieutenant Commander Alerta Millis
- The DoVA intended to create summary articles or reports for discussions related to member retention and the decommissioning of ships, as well as a rules page for members to easily access community rules and codes of conduct. While none of these documents came to be in 2016, the DoVA did continue to discuss those issues, and other discussions led to actionable items put in place by the fleet, including:
- Discussion regarding training ships and experiences led to fleet administration launching the USS Za with a full graduating class from the Academy.
- Discussion regarding lack of clear understanding of CO duties led drafting a list of CO duties overview by fleet administration.
This team is dedicated to ensuring that the long history of our community is preserved. Primarily, that work now takes place on the wiki, though they have a great wealth of sources to draw from, including old groups, past sims, the forums, defunct sites, and interviews with current and past members.
- Current Facilitators: Commander Sarah Mason and Lieutenant Commander Chythar Skyfire
- For 2016, the Community History Team achieved its goals of maintaining an active roster of at least four people, implementing a roll call system, and completing one full ship history (the USS Columbia, though the USS Atlantis also saw its crew and awards history completed).
- However, the team did not fully meet its goal to complete ten other history projects.
This team is responsible for putting on monthly chats, including special chats.
- Current Facilitator: Captain Sal Taybrim
- The Chat Team was able to meet all of its chat-related goals: There was a fleetwide chat in every month of 2016, including three special chat events (a watch-along, a trivia contest, and a chat as part of FallFest). The Chat Team also recorded solid participation from across the fleet, had success with moderated chats, and successfully emigrated chats from IRC to Discord.
- However, the Chat Team was not able to recruit a deputy facilitator during 2016, and the facilitator reports that she is in great need of one. If you’re interested, please contact her directly.
- It would also help if COs are more proactive about promoting chats on their ships’ OOC lists. There is a direct correlation between CO interest in and reportage of a chat and crew participation in that chat.
This team is responsible for the production of our podcasts. That includes creation of individual segments, recording, editing, and producing.
- Current Facilitator: Sabrina Holly
- The team’s major goal was the release of four podcasts this year, which is was able to do with much assistance from its team membership.
- The team had also planned to produce a monthly news article and a quarterly fleetwide email about the podcasts or Podcast Team. Unfortunately, they did not fully reach this goal.
Our newest team, this group is responsible for building a new starship creation tool/game called the Starship Designer. The ASDB also maintains and expands the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards ASDB Technical Database, which provides specifications and design histories for Starfleet starship classes and small craft.
- Current Facilitators: Lieutenant Oddas Aria and Captain Roshanara Rahman
- The ASDB began operations in September. Since then, the team has discussed multiple ship systems, mostly weapons, and how they serve to balance a ship for maximum playability and fun.
- The ASDB has developed the beginnings of a model melding how various ship systems interact with each other and implementing some of the ideas asked of us, such as general ship strength indicators. The model is in prototype stages but usable for future work and as the basis for other applications.
Each year, we ask task force leaders and ship captains to nominate members for special commendations. This year, we’re actually going to post those here so you can see our stand-out members who are rising above to help guide the community.
- While every simmer in this list has been recognized twice with special commendations from his or her ships and teams, it’s also true that some have been recognized an impressive three times. However, only the player of Mirra Ezo has been recognized a whopping four times!
- One of those commendations comes from her installation and Captain Sal Taybrim. She joined the base early in 2016, after some time aboard the USS Columbia and USS Apollo-A, as a lieutenant, junior grade. She’s now a lieutenant commander and one of the staff members on Ops, and her talented simming and mentorship helps make Ops one of the finest ships or installations in the fleet.
- She also received commendations from the Podcast Team, Chat Team, and Federation News Service Team. That’s an impressive résumé for any member, but she not only maintained membership on those three teams (and more!), she shone brightly enough to receive three separate commendations from those three different task force facilitators.
- We’re not sure what’s next for this talented simmer, but we’re certainly grateful for all the work she does!
- Often considered the “big two” of the task forces, the Publicity Team and the Training Team require dedication and perseverance. Both are integral to the continued growth of StarBase 118, and so dedicated service in both is incredibly valuable. Usually, many members choose to focus on one team or the other, but in this case, both teams’ facilitators chose to recognize Brell for his exemplary service. Well done him!
- As if that wasn’t enough, Fleet Captain Renos also wants to recognize Brell for his dedication to the operations of the USS Darwin. As Brell is currently a lieutenant commander and the Darwin’s chief of engineering, we’re sure it’s only a member of time before this talented simmer becomes a member of the StarBase 118 staff.
- It takes a lot of work and enthusiasm to be recognized for a special commendation aboard one’s ship or simming installation. And while the player of Antero Flynn has that distinction, as he’s received not only the respect but a special commendation from his CO on Ops, Captain Sal Taybrim, he’s also received special commendations from his other activities around the fleet.
- You may remember him, along with Mirra Ezo above, as one of the judges from the special trivia chat. That alone makes them both worthy of commendation, but his dedication to the Chat Team provides further evidence of his commitment there.
- He also receives a special commendation from the Publicity Team. The players of both Flynn and Brell, who also receives a commendation for the Publicity Team, solidify them as some of our most tenacious, inspiring members. Without their hard work, it would be much harder for us to continue to build our membership, so we give them our deepest thanks along with this important commendation.
- Early on in its history, the USS Gorkon had one of the worst things happen: Without any prior notification, its first officer abruptly quit. Although the Gorkon’s CO, Quinn Reynolds was an experienced CO, she was just then returning to command -- and whether or not she had been commanding for many months or years immediately prior, it was a tough situation. From out of that, though, the Gorkon’s eventual command and support staff grew, and Ayiana’s commendation on the Gorkon echoes back to those early, faught days and the importance of the community that formed in the wake and made the Gorkon we know today.
- However, like others on this list, Ayiana Sevo isn’t only notable for service above the Gorkon. With commendations from both The (Image) Collective and the Federation News Service, it’s plain to anyone that Ayiana is detailed and dedicated when it comes to service to the fleet. The Federation News Service is particularly notable, since it’s become one of the most impressive and important teams associated with StarBase 118, and providing content there can have very broad impacts: We’ve seen directly that anyone, from other Star Trek fans to Trek novelists, follows the FNS news--and its dedication like Ayiana’s that makes that possible.
- While many simmers on this list have received their (deserved!) commendations for work that requires some time in the spotlight, the player of Commander Blair receives his commendations for some quieter positions.
- First, it takes a lot of dedication to ensure that the weekly newsletter goes out each week, to say nothing of the content of those newsletters. It’s just two people ensuring that they do, too, and Captain Raj Blueheart wanted to recognize Alex Blair as one of those two very important people.
- Then, too, it’s not easy to receive a commendation for stepping down, but the Featured Bio Contest’s new facilitator, Brayden Jorey, wanted to ensure that folks knew about Alex Blair’s service, not only to that contest, but also to ensuring that Jorey had a good transition in.
- They may not be the most glamorous of jobs, but they’re certainly necessary, and we thank the player of Alex Blair for all he’s done to make sure they’re done.
- As first officer on the Embassy of Duronis II, this talented simmer has his work cut out for him: Not only is he an integral part of one of StarBase 118’s most unique sims, he’s first officer to the highest-ranked CO in the fleet, Rear Admiral Toni Turner. However, Admiral Turner selected Commander Jorey for special recognition due to his unfailing commitment to the Embassy.
- However, Jorey also took over the Featured Bio Contest this year and has run it with aplomb, leading the effort to recognize the best of our wiki’s character biographies. Well done him, and many thanks for your service!
- It isn’t easy to start an entirely new team, and yet that’s exactly what the player of Lieutenant Oddas Aria did.
- In conjunction with Captain Roshanara Rahman, Oddas Aria saw a way to address several needs at once -- including the need for the fleet’s own ship strength calculator. Thus was the Advanced Starship Design Bureau born, and we very much look forward to seeing what the future holds for this exciting new group and for its talented leadership.
- However, Oddas Aria isn’t just impressively active outside of the home. Back on the Embassy of Duronis II, word is that this simmer is a force to be reckoned with and has been back since assignment in May of 2016. Congratulations to this talented player, and we look forward to what the next year may bring us as far as your talents and dedication are concerned!
- The USS Darwin-A, which will shortly become part of the Andaris Task Force is not only one of the most impressive ships in the fleet, it’s one of the most rigorous. You may be sure of the care and the craft that James, aka Fleet Captain Renos, has instilled in everyone under his command. Therefore, to receive feedback from him is a truly lovely moment, as you can be assured that you have well and truly earned it.
- Randal Shayne’s commendation proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is not only committed to the StarBase 118 community but that he has received James’s respect. That’s worthy of recognition on its own, but Randal Shayne was also the recipient of a special commendation from the Federation News Service in 2016. Again, this important team is responsible for some of our most impressive in-group stories and our most interesting out-group outreach, and it’s through members like him that the FNS continues to prosper. Well done, and thank you for all you do!
- Next time you’re on the forums, keep an eye out for Taelon of Starbase 118 Ops (aka Ruwon of the USS Za, aka Alison). Last time I checked, her profile photo was something about sharks in the back of convertibles, and while I think she changed it for the Halloween Avatar Contest, the point remained: If you were around The (Image) Collective forums through most of 2016, you probably noticed her. That’s a very good thing, because her dedicated work for that team earned her one the team’s few commendations this year--and it makes sense that she’d be one of the most memorable, what with the sharks-in-the-back-of-a-car thing.
- Perhaps it’s no surprise that she also distinguishes herself on her ship and base -- though her commendation is for her diligence and enthusiasm aboard Ops, the careful craft and dedicated drive that go into her creation and portrayal of Ruwon aboard the Za are a nice complement to what she does on Ops. Both ships, and the fleet overall, are lucky she’s found a place here, and we congratulate her for all she’s achieved this year!
- It’s not often that you’ll see a captain on a multi-commendation list like this. Generally, COs won’t recommend themselves for ship commendations, and it takes some real dedication to teams beyond their ship to receive any sort of commendation. After all, many COs are very focused on making their ships the best that they can be.
- But Jamie, aka Captain Sal Taybrim is the rule. She not only runs both Starbase 118 Ops and the Chat Team, she finds time to commit to other teams around the fleet. That is to say, she doesn’t just dedicate time, she goes above and beyond the call of duty.
- Both the Newsies Team and the Training Team selected her for special commendations in 2016, and it’s easy to see why: Jamie is reliable and dependable, and you can always count on her for an interesting article or assistance in running another training class. She’s one of the finest COs the groups has ever had, but more than that, she’s one of the finest members the group has ever seen. We’re lucky to have her, and we thank her for all she does!
Additional Ship Commendations
These simmers’ COs identified them as participating with a notable and sustained excellence over the course of the year. We join their COs in recognizing their efforts and their dedication!
Additional Task force Commendations
Without the dedication of these talented members, more than one of the teams below would have been in dire straights. Their team facilitators selected them for special recognition, and we recognize and celebrate all the time they volunteered to making these teams and the whole of StarBase 118 into a better place!
Looking ahead to 2017
The biggest challenge facing our group in 2017 is increasing our application rate. It seems we've finally reached a point where, if we don't do something soon, we're going to be in some very serious trouble – at best, facing a steady attrition rate that requires us to close at least one ship a year, and at worst, more than that.
As mentioned above, the primary issue is our search engine rankings. We've been outputting a really tremendous effort on social media, with more content than ever on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, but that's not making up for our lower search engine rankings. The number of people who know what Star Trek simming is, and are looking for it, is slowly dropping, which means the pie is getting smaller. If we don't have healthy search engine rankings, we're getting an even smaller piece of that pie.
Within the community, we want to prepare ourselves for potential command changes, but do whatever we can to keep as much stability as possible. This past year was an abnormally "quiet" and stable year for us, and as such, it's expected that we might see more turnover among staff as some pent-up demand creates the need for change. But, we are in a good position in terms of our command "bench," with numerous officers working through their Commander promotion process. That's a great sign that we're setting ourselves up for success. The more experienced players we have who are prepared for command, the less disruptive it is when current Commanding Officers retire.
A focus on both quantity and quality of sims should also be on our minds. From time-to-time we need to remind ourselves that our native writing format – "modified script" – lends itself to dialogue focused writing, which can be a bit dry. We need to resist the urge to focus on dialogue and instead find a healthy balance between exposition and scene-setting, alongside dialogue in our sims. Reading sims that are balanced are more fun.
The Captains Council is, as we do on occasion, talking about how we can streamline workloads across the fleet and cut any unhealthy practices and procedures that bog us down and make us feel like administering our group is a chore. Where we can find efficiency, we'll try and implement it as quickly as possible.
Finally, on the subject of yearly costs: Things haven't changed too much in the last year. The fleet continues to pay about $1,350 a year for hosting, domains, and software to run the site. There's additional backup costs (about $20/mo.) but these are paid by Fleet Admiral Wolf. A donation drive in late November yielded a good portion of our hosting fees – better than last year's attempt to do that drive near the very end of the year. We'll still need to do one more drive before our hosting renews in May to get us over the finish line. Many, many thanks to all the members who donated – your generous contributions help drive our website.
Task force Goals
This year will see the Training Team working to settle-in with the new staff getting their feet under them. Most importantly, we'll need to ensure that everyone is volunteering at least once a month so that everyone is pulling their weight around the team. Primary goals are similar to last year:
- Ensure each active trainer receives feedback at least twice per year.
- Create two more small class scenarios.
- Recruit one more deputy commandant.
The (Image) Collective
- Remove non-useable images and provide more useable high resolution images for the resources gallery of uniforms and backgrounds for the fleet
- Making use of fleetwide emails and one-on-one communications to add at least two more members to the (Image) Collective
- Continue on the path of bringing the support and teaching aspect back to the image team. To do that, the Collective wants to start a Q&A related to graphic questions. These questions will be answered either directly or in form of a tutorial (text or video). They hope to return to the roots of supporting each other to improve graphic knowledge and learn from each other.
Top Sims Contest Team
- Meet or exceed the average submissions per Round that had been established in 2015 and 2016 of 8 submissions per Round
- Maintain fleet participation in Run-Off Sets and final vote for Top Sim of 2017 of at least 20%
- Expand Top Sim Judge duties to include posting Top Sim Contest news and notices on ship OOC lists in order to increase fleet participation
- Complete CC-led overhaul of the Top Sims Contest process with the intent to increase fleet participation
Featured Bio Contest Team
- Have at least one representative from each ship on the FBC team
- Have a minimum of 6 nominations per round
- Continue to produce 2 articles per month for the news team
- Make sure each past Winner and Feature Nominee has the appropriate badge displayed on their character's wiki page
Federation News Service
- Create several running plot arcs to provide direction for news developments (like 2392's presidential election) to help inspire writers
- Create FNS Youtube videos from the monthly recaps sent to the news team.
- Assign "backup" stories directly to team members to write so that they each write at least one article a month, either of their own headline or the assigned backup headline.
Wiki Operations Team
- Seek ways of improvement for the ILI, Factions and Memory 118 pages
- Expand membership of Wiki Ops by 25% through inviting all members interested in keeping up to date with latest wiki updates, learning more about the wiki/how to use the wiki, and with development projects to join the wiki ops list
- Create 3 tutorials on use of various individual templates
- Organize a portal similar to the ILI for articles/pages about worlds through the Galactic Atlas project
- Maintain Facebook activity of at least a 15 posts a month
- Maintain Twitter activity of at least 50 posts a month
- Maintain Tumblr Activity of at least 10 posts a month
- Maintain links and relationships with outside organizations
- Implement and successfully launch one major operation or project
- Implement and continue link-building plan established in 2016
- Ensure "kudos" post for writers is gathered and posted at least once a month
- Ensure that a monthly "article ideas" post is sent out every month for team members to draw on
- Post at least two interviews a month
- Have a member of the team (not staff) put together chat reminders each month
Weekly Newsletter Team
- To post at least 50 newsletters in the next 12 months
- To divide posting tasks equally between the Editor and the Assistant Editor, i.e., 25 newsletters per editor per year
- To initiate discussion on separating FNS and SB118 into two distinct newsletters
Department of Veterans Affairs
- Provide fleet administration with a direct report of recommendations for increasing retention.
- Create rules page compiled from Constitution and Terms of Service.
- Create a viable proposal for a non-command pathway to staff membership to submit to fleet administration for consideration.
- Build tutorials for each category of history work
- Increase membership by at least 20% and maintaining at least 4 members
- Consistently utilize a semi-monthly check-in system
- Complete at least one full ship history (crew history, awards history, mission history, mission summary)
- Complete at least one "category" (awards, crew history or mission history) for the remaining inactive vessels
- Implement a system of deadlines and assign tasks to active members
- We will continue to have 3 event chats. This will include Trivia 2017, A 2017 watch-a-long and a third event TBD
- We will host at least 3 moderated chats with specific topics to offer a slower discussion for members who prefer that to the free-for-all format
- I would very much like to see an assistant added to the chat team
- Release 4 podcasts in 2017
- Ensure a fleetwide email is sent at least once a quarter about the podcast or team
- Create a special podcast in addition to the four focused specifically on fleet awards highlighting the importance of OOC dedication, IC character development, and hosting an interview with a member of the fleet
Advanced Starship Design Bureau
- Post meaningful questions and products along with deadlines for feedback to get members posting within a one to two week time frame
- Assign members section of the new starship design model to divide up work to produce work faster and encourage more engagement
- Produce a report on the purpose and status of the group (PDF format) by March 31st, 2017. The report will be published to the Forums, Wiki and the community at large.
- Produce a model for the creation of starships for the general public usage by September 30th, 2017
Team and Task force Recruitment Status
- Training Team: OPEN to new members
- Rank required: Lieutenant (with CO approval) or lieutenant commander (and above)
- Featured Bio Contest: OPEN to new judges
- Rank required: Ensign
- Additional requirements: The Featured Bio Contest would prefer to have at least one judge from all active ships and installations. If your ship does not currently have a participating judge, you should apply now!
- Federation News Service Team: OPEN to new members
- Rank required: Ensign
- Special note: Membership is also open to non-SB118 members. If you know people from outside our membership who may be interested, please put them in contact with this team’s leadership.
- 118Wiki:Operations (Wiki Operations Team): OPEN to new members
- Rank required: Ensign
- Special note: To join, leave a message with the current facilitator of the team on her talk page.
- Top Sims Contest: Judging is restricted, and each ship’s CO and/or command team has the ability to select new judges as they see fit. However, any member of any rank can submit sims to the Top Sims Contest.
- Department of Veterans Affairs: OPEN to new members
- Rank required: Lieutenant. Additionally, you must have been a member in good standing for at least one year prior to joining.
- Chat Team: OPEN to new members
- Rank required: Lieutenant
- Special note: This is a call for a deputy facilitator. If you enjoy chats and could help this team, please contact the current facilitator.
- Podcast Team: OPEN to new members
- Rank required: Lieutenant JG
- Special note: To join, leave a message on the wiki talk page of the current facilitator.
- Special note: Members do not have to be able to produce, record, or edit podcasts to join. Feedback and discussion are always welcome.
- Advanced Starship Design Bureau: OPEN to new members
- Rank required: Ensign
- Special note: The ASDB notes the following for prospective members:
- People interested in starship tech who want to collaborate on figuring out specifications for classes and starship components
- People with real-world tech knowledge who want to share their insight into design and engineering theory
- People with web/app creation knowledge
- Artists interested in creating MSDs (those LCARS cutaways you see on the bridge and in engineering) and other artwork for the project
- You do not need to be an engineer or be playing an engineering character to join the ASDB.
At present, the fleet consists of the following vessels:
- USS Athena, Odyssey Class Starship: Fleet Captain Selene Faranfey
- USS Constitution-B, Galaxy Class Starship: Captain Jalana Rajel
- USS Darwin-A, Horizon Class Starship: Fleet Captain Renos
- USS Gorkon, Sovereign Class Starship: Fleet Captain Quinn Reynolds
- USS Veritas, Veritas Class Starship: Captain Roshanara Rahman
- USS Za, Chariot Class Starship: Captain Keelah Rhani
- Duronis II Embassy, planet-based embassy, and USS Thunder, Akira Class Starship: Rear Admiral Toni Turner
- StarBase 118 Ops, Trojan-II Class Starbase, and USS Columbia, Nebula Class Starship: Captain Sal Taybrim
The Executive Council
The Captains Council
Captains and Above