2015 Address

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2015 State of the Federation Address


Stardate: 239201.26 (26 January 2015)

Greetings fellow fleet members,

When I look at 2014, I would say that the biggest thing that has happened to us as a community is all the change that took place. The UFOP: StarBase 118 RPG community faced both positive and negative shifts with saying goodbye to old faces and ships, then welcome brand new ones to our world.

In the end, 2014 put us on the course for a bigger and brighter future! This coming year being the first since our community's 20th birthday, this new chapter will be filled with amazing adventures and great stories going where no one has gone before! Thank you each and every one of you for your dedication and your commitment to the community and to writing. See you out among the stars.

–Captain Nugra

A Look Back at 2014


The Starbase 118 fleet remained strong even though it faced many hard changes. The fleet saw many changes of command with notable ships being decommissioned and new ships lead by new captains in their place.

2015-Average sims per month.jpg

Visits to our website

Due to a monumental shift in Google's search engine algorithm in 2013 we saw a large drop-off in website traffic. We were not able to increase our traffic flow since then:

2015-Sb118-analytics-2013-to-2014-comparison.JPG
2015-Sb118-analytics-2013-to-2014-comparison-stats.JPG

Applications

Despite the drop in website visits, we were able to refine our recruiting by the end of the year and attract more people who were interested in simming. To that end, we managed to end the year with 145 applications, down just two from 147 in 2013.

2015-Apps per month.jpg

Training and Placements

  • 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%.
  • The ships in the fleet received an average of 8.54 ensigns, which is down from 11 from last year:
    • USS Apollo-A: 17 (+6 from 2014)
    • USS Atlantis: 16
    • USS Columbia: 10
    • USS Constitution-B: 7
    • USS Darwin-A: 10
    • USS Excalibur-A: 11 (-5 from 2013)
    • USS Garuda: 7 (-4 from 2013)
    • USS Gemini: 9
    • USS Tiger-A: 3 (-17 from 2013)
    • USS Victory: 10
    • USS Vigilant-A: 2
    • Embassy of Duronis II: 10 (+7 from 2013)

Retention of Members

Retention was much better this year across the ships with the following numbers:

  • USS Apollo-A: 8 out of 16 - 50%
  • USS Atlantis: 10 out of 16 - 63%
  • USS Columbia: 8 out of 10 - 80%
  • USS Constitution-B: 6 out of 10 - 60%
  • USS Garuda: 4 out of 6 - 67%
  • USS Gemini: 3 out of 9 - 33%
  • USS Victory: 8 out of 10 - 80%
  • Embassy of Duronis II: 2 out of 10 - 20%

Taskforces

  • Weekly Newsletter: One of the biggest steps that the newsletter achieved was getting away from Yahoo! Groups that had continually mangled the email when sent out. The new system has been great and the newsletter was even able to bring in more announcements creating a comprehensive list of what is going on in the fleet!
  • Fleetwide Chats: Though the fleet wide chat was a bit shaky as reins were passed to a new facilitator, the group was able to meet most of its goals by having an average of three COs per fleet chat, and came really close to meeting the 25 average members by only one! The biggest draw was the 20th anniversary fleet chat which saw the first voice chat for fleet members.
  • The (Image) Collective: The (Image) Collective had a lot of great achievements including the addition ten members, registered an official DeviantArt account! Though suffered loss of some good talent to Real life commitments, the Image Collective is pushing forward by running the quarterly image contest, and to continue their rapid creation of banners and avatars for the community at large.
  • Monthly Writing Challenge: The monthly Writing Challenge was retired at the end of 2014, but saw great turnout with 37 total submissions for the year and the introduction of a downloadable collection of each section's entries.
  • Publicity Team: One of our most important teams has unfortunately struggled in the past few years with finding long-term leadership and pushing forward with ideas that work. But we did split the team this year, taking one of our vital, ongoing tasks and giving it its own team for more focus. The "mainline" Publicity Team will now focus on more creative, out-of-the-box ideas, as well as some of the tactics that have worked in the past like identifying email lists we can publicize on, etc.
  • Publicity Team (Articles): One of our vital, ongoing publicity tasks what split into a new team for focus. Our biggest challenge with this new sub-team will be keeping motivation and recruitment up.
  • Species Development Committee: For the SDC, 2014 was the best year with over 60 species successfully written up, five being unique to our group.
  • News Team: With the successful launch of the Federation News Service, the News Team has seen the revitalization of our monthly plot summaries. Overall, it maintained the goal of one post per day, missing the goal only when WordPress failed to automatically post scheduled articles from time-to-time.
  • Podcast Team: The Podcast successfully released five episodes with a variety of subjects and participants.
  • Top Sims Contest: The TSC saw 135 entries this year, only two lower from the previous year.
  • Featured Bio Contest: With a bit of a shakeup when their facilitator stepped down, the Featured Bio Contest team were able to create a renewed interest in the contest. They have high hopes with this year including starting to interview team members and to update the contest's tutorial library.
  • Starships in the Fleet: Each ship is unique and their crew dedicated to improve their ships, but there was a common thread running through all their goals which included:
    • Improving retention;
    • Promoting a percentage of Lieutenant Commanders to Commanders;
    • Raising the average sims per month.


Moving into 2015


In the opening weeks of 2015, we've seen huge changes in the fleet already, with the launch of two new ships, bringing our fleet total up to 11. We have approximately 130 full time playing characters (which includes some secondaries), and at least two dozen other part-time and occasional simmers in the fleet, constituting the largest fleet we've had in years.

We've decreased the target size of all crews to approximately 11 full time active simmers, from 12 as it was in 2014. This will give us more places around the fleet to place new members, helping pad us for a few months before the need to launch a new ship if our application rate remains as high as it has been since December of 2014.

Challenges

Our biggest challenge in 2015 will be two-fold:

  1. Sustaining application volume to help keep all of our ships at approximately 11 active, full time simmers;
  2. Managing our web resources and costs.

Application Volume

As our fleet grows larger, it also requires us to grow our application volume to maintain our ship size. While our smaller target roster size has helped us grow to a larger number of ships, which in turn allows us more positions in which we can place new members (thus ensuring their higher likelihood to stay as they get their first choice sim pacing and duty post), it also gives us less leeway when members go on leave or quit. If a roster drops to nine members, it can be the start of a vicious cycle in downward posting rates, which may require closing the ship entirely. To that end, it's more important than ever that we have a constant flow of applications to ensure that we are able to replace any member who departs in a timely fashion on their former roster.

To assist with that, we are taking important steps such as splitting off the Publicity Articles Team, to focus solely on that task, while bringing in new leadership to the Publicity Team where there will be a full-time focus on growth-hacking.

We intend to maintain our social media resources, but will be putting less emphasis on them as we go forward, considering their low effectiveness in directly bringing in new members.

Web Resources

Our web resource usage has grown by about 15% each year, necessitating greater costs to manage our extensive presence, which includes a highly trafficked public-facing WordPress installation, a secondary member-only WordPress installation for staff documentation, a forum, a 8,000+ page wiki, and our sim database containing hundreds of thousands of records.

We are quickly approaching a point when our costs will become too burdensome for our membership to sustain via donations, and thus may require either a complete rethinking of our resources, or a change in how they are managed. We will be investigating possible relationships with other sim organizations over the course of the next year to determine if there is an opportunity to partner in a way that can bring down costs, as well as considering whether it may be a better option to hire someone to audit our resource usage and find opportunities to slim them down, or instead move us to a more flexible hosting solution such as Amazon Web Services, which would require greater knowledge than is currently present among our staff.

Taskforce Goals

Our fluctuating list of taskforces will this year need to focus on effectiveness. To that end, we will be instituting a taskforce facilitator goal tracking process.

Training Team

  • Add a “Meet the Trainer” column for the news team feed, featuring one trainer per quarter;
  • Maintain the Apps & Graduates article on the Community News each month;
  • Beat the 60% graduation rate.

Training Admin Team

  • Ensure each active trainer receives feedback at least twice per year;
  • Complete an overhaul of the tutorials;
  • Re-establish notification and celebration of trainer requirement completion.

Publicity Team

  • Maintain a roster of at least five active members;
  • Maintain Facebook activity of at least a dozen posts a month;
    • Increase the number of member-focused sharing activities;
  • Maintain Twitter activity of a least 40 posts a month;
  • Maintain posting on PBEM email lists, Facebook groups, and websites for publicity purposes;
  • Maintain links and relationships with outside organizations such as Ongoing Worlds;
  • Continue to improve communication between the Publicity Team, Podcast Team, and Community News Team.

Publicity Articles Team

  • Maintain a roster of at least six active members;
  • Generate at least eight SEO articles each month.

News Team

  • Maintain a roster of a least six active members;
  • Maintain a posting rate of at least one article per day;
  • Maintain a focus on fleet-based activities foremost.

Fleetwide Chats

  • Maintain participation of at least 25 people, on average, per chat;
  • Maintain participation of commanding officers resulting in at least three per chat;
  • Ensure that at least two articles are posted on the Community News each month;
  • Send a fleetwide email before each chat;
  • Request participation via OOC lists through commanding officers for each chat.
  • Schedule at least three special subject-focused chats.

The (Image) Collective

  • Maintain a roster of a least five active members;
  • Find and implement at least five images for SDC-created species;
  • Find and implement at least 10 images for canon species currently without images on the ILI;
  • Continuing to provide members with characters images in under a week.

Species Development Committee

  • Clarify purpose and intent of the team with a detail-oriented explanation and clear rules;
  • Clarify the process of creation and approval of new species for playability purpose;
  • With assistance from wiki experts in the fleet, implement a template-based structure for all ILI species;
  • Complete addition of at least five canon species missing from the ILI.

Community History Team

  • Maintain a roster of at least four active members;
  • Complete historical research on at least five entities (ships, etc.).

Wiki Operations Team

  • Implement a wiki etiquette and editing guidelines document;
  • Expand awareness of the many templates on the wiki available for use and increase their user-friendliness where possible.

Podcast Team

  • Complete at least four 30-minute podcasts in 2015;
  • Complete at least two interviews with noteworthy figures outside the fleet (writers, actors, etc.);
  • Ensure at least one shareable portion of each podcast is cut and provided outside of the podcast.

Weekly Newsletter Team

  • Complete at least 50 weekly newsletters;
  • Train a second team participant to ensure that there is always coverage.

Department of Veterans Affairs

  • Engage in a discussion of membership retention and subsequent creation of a least three action items for the community staff.

Featured Bio Team

  • Maintain a judging roster of at least three;
  • Maintain a minimum of six entries per round;
  • Ensure that at least two articles are posted on the Community News each month;
  • Send a fleetwide email at least once a quarter about the contest.

Top Sims Contest

  • Keep the judging roster up-to-date with tracking of judge terms;
  • Ensure that rounds are judged in a timely fashion so that winners can be notified on a regular basis;
  • Ensure run-off rounds are posted in a timely fashion;
  • Increase participation in voting of the run-off rounds to 20% of fleet active roster;
  • Ensure that at least two articles are posted on the Community News each month;
  • Complete CC-led overhaul of the Top Sims Contest process to increase participation overall, considering the retirement of the Writing Challenge.
  • Send a fleetwide email at least once a quarter about the contest.

Graphics Contest

  • Maintain a pace of four rounds per year;
  • Maintain a minimum of at least five entries per round;
  • Ensure that at least two articles are posted on the Community News each month;
  • Send a fleetwide email at least once a quarter about the contest.

Fleet Stats


At present, the fleet consists of the following vessels:

The Executive Council

The Captain’s Council

Active Commanding Officers

Inactive Commanding Officers

Captain’s Council Non-Voting Observers


Member Resources
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News Archive Podcasts · The Reporter · Tactical Data Report
Taskforces Guilds · Teams · Department of Veterans Affairs
Events & Activities Writing Improvement Month · Free-Form Simming · Top Sims Contest · Writing Challenge · Community Awards
Councils Executive Council · Captains Council
Constitution & Docs UFOP Constitution · Constitution Summary · Constitution Bylaws · Terms of Service · State of the Federation Address
Links and Support Affiliates and Off-Site Resources · Donate
REV SD 239203.25