UFOP: StarBase 118 History
- For individual ship histories and lineage, see Ship Histories. For command lineage, see UFOP Family Tree.
Our community began its existence in June of 1994 as a 'Live' Star Trek SIMulation, held in AOL chatrooms. Within the next six months, the crew of the two ships, the USS Phoenix-B and the USS Alliance, decided to move over to a 'Play-by-Email SIMming' (PBEM) format. In this field, and with a new web presence, the group began to grow, slowly at first, and then more rapidly later. Today, UFOP: StarBase 118 is one of the longest established Star Trek RPG groups on the internet.
Early Fleet Structure
Formerly, the group's administration was run by the UFOP High Council, which consisted of all officers ranking Captain or higher. This system worked well for the first several years of the club's existence, until the fleet size swelled to 14 vessels and the High Council became ineffective at solving problems. The proverb too many cooks spoil the broth quickly comes to mind. To remedy the problems of the High Council, the group restructured its command in September 1999. The largest change was that the High Council was replaced by the UFOP Executive Command (UEC), and the UFOP fleet was divided into two sub-fleets. Rear Admiral Shaun Marlin took command of one sub-fleet, while Rear Admiral Randor took command of the other. The goal of this change was to make administration of the fleet easier, by allowing smaller groups to work together.
After a few months of working in the new system several problems were highlighted. In an attempt to solve these problems, a few more administrative changes were introduced in late December 1999. These changes re-unified the UFOP fleet and created a single Captains Council. The Captains Council replaced the previous sub-fleet councils to serve as a single discussion forum for all command level officers ranking Commander or above. The UEC was still the decision making body of the group, but the Captains Council gave all command level officers the opportunity to discuss group matters and suggest policy to the UEC for consideration. The chair-person of the Captains Council was also a full member of the UEC and was elected by the UFOP captains every six months.
The Birth of a Constitution
As with all forms of administration, the UFOP Command team needs to be flexible and respond to change (as well as recognizing when change is required). Late in 2000, it became clear that further reforms were required. The ideas behind the UEC and Captains Council were good but there was no definition. There were no clear rules about who made what decisions and how the UEC and Captains Council should operate. As such it was proposed to create a UFOP Constitution (CON).
The CON would be binding on every UFOP officer from a newly recruited cadet to Fleet Admiral Wolf. Brian Kelly, a senior group member, kindly offered his expertise in writing legal documents and spent many hours creating the first draft of the CON. This draft was then discussed by officers of Commander rank and higher, and from this discussion a final draft was created. All UFOP Officers of Commander rank or higher were then asked to vote on whether the CON should be adopted. The answer was a unanimous yes and so it was that the UFOP Constitution was ratified on December 17, 2000. This is now the most significant document in the group and is binding on all our members.
The Modern Era
The significance of the CON and the changes it produced are too much to consider here but it gave the UFOP councils new structure and definite operating rules. The UEC became known as the Executive Council (EC) and the Captains Council remained the same. Magistrates were appointed in each council to direct discussion and handle the issue of voting. Last and by no means least, the CON allowed for a set of related bylaws to be established. These bylaws were designed to pad out the CON, which was deliberately more of a framework for the group rather than a complete guide to everything UFOP.
To members not involved in the administration of the group, the system may seem complex, perhaps unnecessarily so, however the running of such a large group is a huge job and responsibility, and the new system has proven to be the best yet to deal with this task effectively.
Since the CON was ratified, UFOP has enjoyed some semblance of stability. The group's membership has plateaued at approximately 150 members, and ship count fluctuates from around 8 to 12. Those problems that have been encountered have been dealt with using the CON as a rulebook. The EC is happy to report continued success and productivity among both members and command.
Celebrating 20 Years
The Fleetbook project compiled biographies of participating ships as a time capsule to mark twenty years of simming.
If you're interested, this contains further links for more information