2014 State of the Federation Address
Stardate: 239102.05 (05 February 2014)
Valued community members,
In 2014, UFOP: StarBase 118 will celebrate its 20th year. For two decades we have been a community of people that have devoted time and energy to a common interest, Star Trek. With each year we have remained a safe haven on the internet, where people can come together and share their passion for writing. This beacon for creativity will continue as long as we have valued members like each of you. This community continues to bring together people from all over the world. Here, they can get to know each other and really develop the kind of friendships and unity that was envisioned when Star Trek aired for the first time in 1966. We want to thank each and every one of you for doing all you do, to make this the best Star Trek RPG online.
–Fleet Captain Andrus Jaxx
A Look Back at 2013
StarBase 118 has an amazing group of ships and excellent teams that help keep the community up to date and filled with members. The captains and facilitators for each of these groups are tasked with reviewing the year before, and where they want to be in the coming year. The members of each ship and team then work to bring those goals to fruition. It is not always an easy task, and while we may fall short on some of them, we strive to set the bar high.
Until December, the fleet had been solid all year. No commanding officer changes happened at all. However, there are a few noticeable changes in the fleet.
- The crew of StarBase 118 Operations moved to the USS Excalibur-A.
- The crew of the USS Drake moved to StarBase 118 Operations.
- The crew of the USS Mercury moved to the USS Garuda.
- Volunteers from around the fleet were taken to launch the USS Darwin-A under the command of Commander Greir Reinard.
- Captain Della Vetri stepped down as commanding officer of the USS Avandar, and the ship was decommissioned.
- Captain William Rogers stepped down as commanding officer of StarBase 118 Operations.
- The USS Discovery-C was decommissioned.
- Crews of StarBase 118 Operations and the USS Discovery-C were merged into two crews. The USS Gemini was launched under Commander Liam Frost and the USS Atlantis launched under Commander Raj Blueheart.
- We started the year with nine ships and installations, and finished the year with the same. In 2013, we saw sim rates drop from an average of 221 per month, down to 185 per month. This is still well above the minimum 125 per month on each vessel.
Last year we had two of nine first officers at the rank of Commander. The continuing goal is 60% of our first officers at the rank of full Commander. Right now, we have three of nine at the rank of Commander or higher. This will be a continuing focus for us as we progress through 2014.
We have worked hard to increase our standings in the search engines, but in the middle of 2013, Google changed their algorithm. As a result, unique visitors was down 20% over 2012. Along with that, we saw a 16.5% decrease in total traffic to the site. Our site traffic for 2013 was 89,903, down from 107,643 in 2012. That being said, it was still much higher than our traffic in 2011, which was 28,364. We will continue our efforts to boost these rankings in the coming year.
We have a number of teams that keep us on the map. The Publicity Team reaches out and finds ways to advertise our community. Our YouTube presence with the Podcast Team gets some attention, as well as providing a great source of entertainment for our community. And once they are in the door, the Training Team continues to excel in developing fresh recruits into officers for our ships. This combined effort has lead our community to the following:
- 144 Applications – That is down from 200 in 2012. And we have a goal of increasing that by 5% in 2014.
- The Training Team has a goal of a 50% pass rate. Through the hard work of our trainers, we have surpassed that goal once again, with 65%. From here on out, the Training Team is elevating the targeted standard from 50% to 60%.
- Each ship received an average of 11 new ensigns from the Academy. This is down from the average of 14.66 in 2012.
- USS Tiger-A: 20 (-1 from 2012)
- USS Excalibur-A: 16 (-8 from 2012)
- USS Avandar: 11 (Even with 2012)
- USS Discovery-C: 11 (-5 from 2012)
- USS Garuda: 11 (-4 from 2012)
- USS Vigilant: 11 (No data from 2012)
- USS Apollo: 11 (-7 from 2012)
- Starbase 118 Ops: 5 (-4 from 2012)
- Duronis II Embassy: 3 (-12 from 2012)
- Retention rates were a focus for 2013, and will continue to be a focus this year. The retention goal is 50% We strive to keep officers for at least one year.
- Starbase 118 Ops: 4 of 5 remain — 80% (Up 35.6%)
- USS Apollo: 7 of 11 remain — 63.64% (Up 8.14%)
- USS Garuda: 6 of 11 remain — 54.55% (Up 21.25%)
- USS Excalibur-A: 6 of 16 remain — 37.50% (Up 8.4%)
- USS Avandar: 4 of 11 remained at time of decommissioning — 36.36% (Down 9.04%)
- USS Tiger-A: 6 of 20 remain — 30% (Down 12.8%)
- USS Vigilant: 3 of 11 remain — 27.27% (Down 72.73%, however the tracking data 2012 was only for one month in operation)
- USS Discovery-C: 2 of 11 remain — 18.18% (Down 13.02%)
- Duronis II Embassy: 0 of 3 remain — 0% (Down 20%)
- Publicity Team: The goals for 2013 were to capitalize on the release of Star Trek: Into Darkness, increase the member base for the team, and continue to find new and exciting ways to market our community. We fell short on the capitalization of the new movie, due to a hosting situation which brought the site down for nearly a month. However, we have increased the number of team members from 6 to 12. We continue to find interesting places to get our name out, and productivity on the team has increased.
- Training Team: Goals for 2013 were to increase the quality of cadets by providing better feedback to trainers, increase communication between the staff, and increase communication with Captains on their officers on the team. The trainer feedback system has been put in place and will help develop our future command officers. We have initiated a Scenario Writing Contest to keep our training sims fresh. There was a shuffle in the Academy staff with Fleet Captain Riley retiring from the role of Commandant. Fleet Captain Andrus Jaxx stepped into the role, and Fleet Captain Diego Herrera was added to fill the Deputy Commandant vacancy left by Jaxx. In all, communication on the team increased in 2013.
- Command Exam Refit: In 2012, the Commander Exam underwent a refit. The goal for 2013 was to revamp the process and exam for the transition from Commander to Captain. This was put in place and the new exam has been in use for the last few candidates.
- Mentoring Program: All ships now have a mentoring program, and continue to tweak and improve them as they can.
- Species Development Committee: In 2013 they had a goal of getting 25 species approved by the Captains Council. They also set a goal to complete 20 species rewrites and add 5 new original species to the ILI. They have surpassed all of their goals except getting the species approved by the CC.
- Top Sims Contest: Last year we saw a 13% increase in submissions to the TSC. The new judging system had a full year in place and though there were some kinks, it was a success.
- Writing Challenge: The goals for the past year were to increase the number of rotating judges by three. Develop or research a way to open the contest to non-SB118 members. These were bold goals, and though they fell short, the contest remains strong.
- News Team: The goals were to decrease the number of non-118 related news stories, expand our number of recurring columns, and increase participation by growing the team. We were able to shift focus to 118-centric articles. Our number of recurring columns is roughly the same. But we saw a dip in participation and number of writers on the team.
- Podcast Team: The goals this year were to increase the length of each podcast to one hour. Shift from scripted hosting, to a live, unscripted session. Work on getting our podcasts listed on startrekpodcasts.com. Increase the members of the team and flow of content. These goals were met across the board, excluding having our site listed on startkrepodcasts.com.
Moving into 2014
The Executive Council would like to thank Captain Della Vetri for over two years of service in the position of Captain at Large. Due to term limits on the position, Captain Vetri was required to vacate it. The new Captain at Large is Fleet Captain Diego Herrera, who started his term on January 1st.
While we missed our goal of launching two ships in 2013, we were able to launch one. The Darwin-A brought us up to a total of ten ships, for a brief time before the Avandar was decommissioned. Getting the fleet to a total of 10 active ships will still be a goal for 2014.
Retention was a big focus in 2013, and to help the fleet grow, it will continue to be a focus. Last year only three ships were able to come in at over 50%. In 2014, the goal will be to have five ships retaining 50% of their new ensigns for at least one year.
We had a rough month in May. Due to an issue with our host, the site was down for nearly a month. It could not have happened at a worse time. The new Star Trek movie released while the site was down. Not only did we fail to capitalize on the buzz the release generated, but also the build up of the release. This helped to contribute to us failing to hit our application goal of 170. However, as we look to 2014, that goal will remain a target for us to hone in on.
Each team in the community has submitted their goals for 2014.
- Publicity Team (Fleet Captain Diego Herrera, Facilitator):
- Ensure 8 SEO articles are submitted on a rotating schedule every month (2 per week).
- Continue Facebook and Twitter activity and increase interactivity of content. Begin initiative to encourage fleet members who are not in the team to comment on facebook posts.
- Review forum & PBEM activity and continue to target appropriate websites for advertising and promotion.
- Continue links with outside organisations such as Ongoing Worlds.
- Improve communication between the Publicity Team and Image Collective, Podcast Team and Newsies.
- Increase participation from active members.
- Training Team (Fleet Captain Andrus Jaxx, Commandant):
- Continue to work on Cadet quality, though holding them to present fleet standards and utilizing retrains when needed.
- Continue to work on trainer quality, by providing feedback to the trainers.
- Add a “Meet the Trainer” column for the news team feed, featuring one trainer per month.
- Beat a 60% graduation rate.
- Podcast Team (Lt. Commander Leo Handley-Page, Facilitator):
- Make podcasts monthly whenever possible.
- Higher production quality with more varied music and sound effects.
- Two Audiobook-style adventures and Top Sims acted out.
- Three Interviews with noteworthy figures outside Fleet (writers/actors etc)
- Species Development Committee (Commander Tal Tel-ar, Facilitator):
- Complete a total of 26 species rewrites.
- Add 5 species that are not already on the master list.
- Writing Challenges (Captain Cassandra Egan Manno, Facilitator):
- Have at least six entrants and four judges per Challenge.
- As for attracting entrants: Post at least one message per month on the Community News describing the current Challenge and talking up past winners and Challenges; remind the CC about the Challenge 2-3 weeks before it’s set to end and ask them to send reminders; post a message to the Announce group before the Challenge’s end (1-2 weeks) as a last reminder.
- Keep the winners’ page and current Challenge page on the main site updated.
- Publish the PDF downloadable compilation after the end of each Challenge.
- The Image Collective (Lt. Commander Jalana Laxyn, Facilitator):
- Increase membership by 3 members, assisted by recruiting on the placement questionnaire.
- Create five new ILI Images for new species to push the progress bar of this project a bit further.
- Continuing to provide everyone with the images they wish for their characters in under a week.
- News Team (Fleet Captain Kalianna Nicholotti, Facilitator):
- Maintain at least three columns with at least one post a month throughout the year. As of now, we have the Forums Roundup, Top Picks, Lower Decks, Trek Plate Special, and Stardate Now. Of those five, the goal is to make sure at least three are included in every month’s news cycle.
- Increase participation by holding two recruiting drives and using various channels to let new officers know about the team, while reminding older officers that we are still seeking writers. Contacting new officers who have been identified as prime candidates in the Academy is yet another channel to use as well.
- Keep articles related to events throughout the fleet published on a timely basis, ensuring that members get to participate in all of the events they want. This will require working with other team leaders on a regular basis, but will serve the fleet better in the end.
- Weekly Newsletter Team (Commander Raj Blueheart, Facilitator):
- Ensuring that all contests and competitions are listed in weekly newsletters.
- Train a second team participant to ensure that there is always coverage.
- Featured Bio Team (Commander Greir Reinard, Facilitator):
- Continue to simplify the competition and make sure bios are judged fairly, in line with the adjusted nominations process.
- Bios no longer need to meet the minimum selection criteria to participate in the competition.
- The minimum selection criteria will be kept but used as a standard and judging guide to help make sure bios are judged fairly.
- Minimum of 6 entries per round.
- Add one more judge to the team to help manage increased participation.
- Department of Veterans Affairs (Lt. Commander Roshanara Rahman, Facilitator):
- Add two articles for members, built upon the discussions we’ve had so far on our forum.
- Clarify just what the purpose of the VA is and what services it offers members.
- Top Sims Contest (Commander Liam Frost, Facilitator):
- Increase the participation in the runoff rounds by a modest 10% by increasing the amount of publicity.
- News posts will increase to twice a month (coinciding with the opening of each round).
- Fleetwide Chats (Fleet Captain Toni Turner, Facilitator):
- Have at least three chat “Specials” in 2014.
- Increase participation by the Captains, resulting in at least three per chat.
- Increase participation overall, averaging at least 25 people per chat.
- Exam Updates (Fleet Captain Idril Mar, Facilitator):
- Complete the question database.
- Continue the revision of the questions within it for better focus and clarity.
- JAG Office (Fleet Captain Idril Mar, JAG Officer):
- Draw up a rough timeline for appeals.
- Revise the process to address the few glitches found.
- Implement a formal process for appeal advocates.
The command staff of each ship around the fleet also submit their goals for the year. While there are some ships with many goals, the main areas of focus in 2014 will be:
- Moving quality candidates into command roles and ranks.
- Increasing sim quality and quantity.
- Increasing involvement in the Top Sims Contest and Writing Challenge.
- Work on increasing retention.
As we close the State of the Federation Address, the Executive Council would like to thank everyone for their continued participation and contributions to our community. With each of you, we continue to be a place where people of all walks of life can come together. We will continue to strive for improvements and growing as a community. There is a reason we have so many returning members, and new officers…it is because we strive for excellence and lead the way as the best Star Trek simming community on the internet.
Thank you for all you do for us and your fellow fleet-mates. We are nothing without members like you. Have a great year of simming, friendship, and success!
-The UFOP: StarBase 118 Executive Council
Comment, or ask questions about our 2014 SOTFA on our forums!
At present, the fleet consists of the following vessels:
- USS Apollo, Achilles Class: Fleet Captain Andrus Jaxx
- USS Atlantis, Intrepid Class: Commander Raj Blueheart
- USS Darwin-A, Horizon Class: Commander Greir Reinard
- USS Excalibur-A, Vesta Class: Fleet Captain Kalianna Nicholotti
- USS Garuda, Galaxy Class: Captain Cassandra Egan Manno
- USS Gemini, Dakota Class: Commander Liam Frost
- Duronis II Embassy, Planet-based Embassy: Fleet Captain Toni Turner
- USS Tiger-A, Prometheus Class: Fleet Captain Sidney Riley
- USS Vigilant, Intrepid Class: Fleet Captain Diego Herrera
The Executive Council:
- Fleet Admiral Tristan Wolf – Magistrate
- Fleet Captain Idril Mar
- Fleet Captain Sidney Riley
- Fleet Captain Toni Turner
- Fleet Captain Andrus Jaxx
- Fleet Captain Diego Herrera – Captain At Large
The Captain’s Council:
- Captain Cassandra Egan Manno – Magistrate, Active CO
- Fleet Captain Sidney Riley – Active CO
- Fleet Captain Toni Turner – Active CO
- Fleet Captain Andrus Jaxx – Active CO
- Fleet Captain Kalianna Nicholotti – Active CO
- Fleet Captain Diego Herrera – Active CO
- Commander Greir Reinard – Active CO
- Commander Liam Frost – Active CO
- Commander Raj Blueheart – Active CO
- Fleet Captain Idril Mar – Retired CO
- Captain Della Vetri – Retired CO
- Captain Ben Walker – Retired CO
- Captain Samuel Perkins – Retired CO
- Captain Quinn Reynolds – Retired CO
- Captain William Rogers – Retired CO
Captain’s Council Non-Voting Observers:
- Commander Tal Tel-ar
- Commander Jhen Thelev
- Commander Liam Frost
- Lt. Colonel David Whale
- Commander Raj Blueheart
- Commander Alucard Vess
- Commander Marcus Dickens
- Lt. Commander Sundassa Faranster
- Lt. Commander Kael Mason Thomas
- Lt. Commander Nugra
- Lt. Commander Ben Livingston
- Lt. Commander Darius Clack
- Lt. Commander A’ern Zerxes
- Lt. Commander T’Mar