2001 and 2002 Annual Report
Author: Val a'Shain, Elyna al'Tzoran
Click here to view the pdf version of this document.
- 1 2003 Annual Report for TarValon.Net
- 2 Introduction
- 3 State of the Tower
- 4 Membership
- 5 Ajahs and Companies
2003 Annual Report for TarValon.Net
Wageningen/Rotterdam, May 12th 2003
Before you lies the first annual report of TarValon.Net. In the 2 years since its founding the site has grown tremendously and we have now reached a size where we feel we should give a more official account of our activities and plans than we have done thus far.
The idea for this annual report didn't arise till a few weeks before it was published. Therefore we were somewhat limited in the information we could include. Steps have been taken to improve the keeping of records so we hopefully can provide more detailed information in next year's edition.
Despite the unusual preparations for this report we think it provides the reader with some interesting information about our community and gives a few interesting hints of things to come.
We would like to thank all the Heads of Ajah and Color Guards for their contributions and putting up our endless harassment about submitting their texts, Yenie Antagar for helping us design the cover, Derrin Covayende for providing the Ajah and Company banners and Aquila Rael for proofreading the document. We would also like to thank the Amyrlin seat for her contribution and of course everybody who took the time to fill out our membership poll.
Editors of the first TarValon.Net Annual Report
State of the Tower
TarValon.Net's second year has been marked by astounding change. As I look back over the past year I am amazed by the progress we've made: our growth and our overall metamorphosis from a small fan page to one of the most established Wheel of Time sites and communities online. The year has passed quickly for me. Projects and versions of our site have overlapped as we clamoured to fulfil the needs of an exponentially growing community. I found myself at a loss for a small while when in mid-September we had managed to completely fulfil all goals I had laid out for a five year plan.
We have established ourselves as a respectable and dependable presence on the Internet. We've managed to maintain our mission statement throughout three major revisions to our Tower Constitution. We pride ourselves on our good relations with other top Wheel of Time sites as well as with Tor, and others who are connected to the Wheel of Time world. Our official social functions tripled in number. We attended and participated in the WOT-track at Dragon*Con and were honoured to have a member from our site invited to speak on each of the main panels. Our most recent party, the anniversary party, had an attendance of 65 people and set the tone for such future events. We are currently planning our Fall Ball in Las Vegas where we will be officiating the first marriage between two active members. We have served the community and ourselves. In a recent competition we logged over 400 community service hours in 4 weeks. We have aided members with housing, jobs, money, food, and gifts. I believe we have proven time and again that we are a new kind of internet community: a community that works to fulfil the needs of its members in real life as well as online.
Our website underwent one major transformation early in year two, and we are currently finishing up a new version in which we release the city of Tar Valon (a place for those who wish to play with us but don't want to commit to the discipline and service that marks members of the Tower). We've expanded our member services to include such items as email and weblogs. We've even met Robert Jordan. All in all it has been an extraordinary year. It has been a year I did not think would come so soon.
And so we are now looking to the future. We have new challenges. We have an average of 300 members posting daily and the total post count is almost double that of any Wheel of Time website that I know of. Our most pressing challenge is dealing with this increasing volume of usage. We will be reviewing our financial status as well as deciding how to raise funds as I can no longer fund the site out of my own pocket, and we want to do so much more for our members in the coming year. My goal for year three is less flashy than what we accomplished in year two, but it is just as important. Year three will be a year focused on our corporate structure. It will identify the holes in our system and work to correct them. Year three will focus on averting our impending financial difficulties, and it will also seek to tie up other loose projects we have yet to complete. I want to establish ourselves as a more credible news source and provide both this report and an e-letter with regularly. I want to find ways to cut down on our red tape and make us a more efficient organization. I want to identify ways for us to improve the services that already exist. And throughout it all, I want us to continue in our tradition of excellence, work as always to improve our relations between ourselves, other sites and the world at large. I want to expand our reputation. We have flowered, it is now time to get down to business and put down roots.
This year many of us realized that the organization of TarValon.Net and the people in it are here for the long haul. There is much to be done in order to ensure our survival. That is our goal in the coming 12 months. Of course, if things move like they have been, we may accomplish it in four.
Watcher of the Seals
The Flame of TarValon.Net
The Amyrlin Seat
In this chapter of the annual report some figures about our membership will be presented. Of course, membership of the site is constantly changing, people are leaving, new people come in, raising and bondings take place etc. This means that any attempt to capture it in a report is outdated in days. The figures presented here reflect the situation on April 1st 2003. Hopefully we'll be able to keep our records updated and tell you a bit more about the changes over time next year.
On April 1st, right after a clean up of the who is who, the white tower had 264 members. This number includes our latest Green Warder, Odin. The distribution of members by ranks is shown in figure 1.
This graph clearly shows women are still the majority in the Tower. Currently the Tower has 166 female members, 97 male members and Odin.
All 7 Ajahs have seen their membership rise this year but Table 1 shows the Green and Brown Ajahs are clear favorites with the newly raised Accepted. Also shown in Table one is the situation in the Garrison. Here we see VC and DM are twice as big as SDS.
|Gray||7||San D'Ma Shadar||11|
Figures 2 and 3 show the relative memberships of the various Ajahs and Companies (members of Accepted/Soldier rank and above only).
TarValon.Net originates in the USA and 2 years after it's founding that is still clearly visible in the membership figures. Two out of every three members are from the USA. Another thing that is striking is that only some 15 percent of the members are from a country where English isn't an official language. In Table 2 the location of our members is shown.
Countries with less than 5 members aren't represented in the table. These countries are: France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, the Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. The tower is currently represented in 19 countries. For one member the location isn't known.
Figure 4 shows the relative distribution of our members over the different countries. North America, Australia and North-Western Europe are best represented at the Tower.
Does that mean the Tower is most successful in the USA? Table 3 again shows the countries with more than 5 members and the population of that nation. The last column shows how many people there are in that particular nation for every member of the Tower.
|Country||Members||Population||One member per x inhabitants|
Or in plain English, the Norwegians are way ahead of the rest. For nations with less than 5 members the comparison wouldn't be fair. For instance, there is one member from India, a nation of over a billion people.
It is generally believed that the average Tower member is in his or her early twenties. A poll among our members was held to find out if this is the case. 213 members responded, enough to give an accurate picture. The result is shown in Figure 5.
The editors are working on gathering a bit more detailed data about the age of TarValon.Net members. Hopefully a more detailed graph can be presented soon.
It wasn't possible to gather accurate data on how many people joined and left in the period this report covers. Steps have been taken to gather this information for next year. For this year the only thing that could be accurately determined is when the members that are currently with us joined. This is shown in Figure 6.
Of course, this is only a part of the total applications the Keeper received. In the last clean up, for instance 80 members were deleted from the records. Those people are not represented in this graph.
The drop in the number of members joining in March 2003 is caused by the fact the Tower temporarily stopped accepting new members in anticipation of the opening of the City of Tar Valon.
Ajahs and Companies
In this chapter of the annual report the Ajahs and Companies, the organizational backbone of the Tower, will give us some insight in how they developed this year and what we can expect in the next year.
So much has happened in the Blue Ajah the last year... we've seen the comings and goings of several great Heads, we've grown from 3 to 17 members, our Headquarters have changed a multitude of times... and it's all been amazing to witness. But even with all these changes, the important things seem to stay the same. Our sisterhood is close and steadily growing closer, even with... or maybe I should say despite our growing number. With the changing of Heads, came also a new Tower Voice, but the position is still held by a Blue sister. And several Blue sisters involve themselves in the evolvement of the site... like they should, for one of our most important policies has been and always will be to help wherever we can, and to do what needs to be done.
In the future, I hope to see more great ladies seeking out our Ajah, and more exceptional men wanting to be their Warders. I hope that my Blue sisters will get even more involved in the happenings of the Tower and the City of Tar Valon. I plan to make sure that my Ajah will continue to be as close as it is now... and I hope that somewhere along the road, we can be part of making a positive difference in this community.
Melana Waldinn Sedai, Head of the Blue Ajah
The past year has been full of great advances for the Brown Ajah. Our membership has doubled and then some, and we even had a record breaking 5 new members in just one week's time! Our Brown family has grown so much, but we remain as close as ever. Also, eight new Aes Sedai were Raised; that is quite a triumph!
We have added several new sections to our website, including the "Meet the Browns" pages showcasing our group, and the Brown Ajah University, full of insight from a uniquely Brown perspective. Many of our older features have been revamped and our website changed its look to the theme that is familiar today.
Through private donations we were able to become the first Ajah with our own domain name and personal email, something we are very proud of indeed. The next year promises to bring more growth and diversity to our Ajah, and many new group projects to inform and entertain. Also, a new web site design is in the works, and who knows where the next year will take us?
Jorryn Varna Sedai, Head of the Brown Ajah
Over the past year the Gray has established its place in the Tower, and grown. We've concentrated on getting more members and on fulfilling our duties to the Tower. We have also reconstructed our HQ to be more complete and informative, as well as more interesting. Our main goal this past year has been growing enough to be a truly contributing Ajah.
Over the next couple of months, we will be setting up a Daes Dae'mar quiz & classes to help people understand what it's about. We will be emphasizing the parts that aren't lying and cheating, and how DDM has been abused by some users in the books as a way to get whatever they want, etc. The main point is to get people away from the negatives of DDM & use it for good.
We're also setting up studies for all of our members to get us all together on this. We're planning on doing something a bit different with the arrangement of the studies because we're bored with just a list of studies. ;).
Elanda Tonil Sedai, Head of the Gray Ajah
The past year has shown HUGE growth for the Greens! Several of our Sisters have bonded after long searches for that special Gaidin. Almost all of our Accepted have been raised to the Shawl, and I'm pleased to announce that our remaining Accepted should be raised soon, Light willing! With our growth, I was a little afraid that the closeness of the Ajah would be lost, but I've been quite surprised! All of our new and older Sisters are working together and show such support for each other that I am greatly honored to be the Head of the Greens.
Each new member that joins is another person that must find their niche within a settled group of people, but I cannot think of one Green who has had a problem with that. It's amazing actually! I think with the growth of the Ajah, the Greens are headed towards an awesome year! Each person wants to help in their special way and every one of the Greens has a field that they excel at, and I plan to utilize each member's talents to make this a memorable year for the Green Ajah. GO BIG GREEN! :-)
Amaria al'Salar Sedai, Head of the Green Ajah
Well, its been a great year so far for the Reds. We went from a practically non-existent HQ and Ajah to one who is full of well known Sisters and a Headquarters full of stuff.
I don't know what to say, I never thought we would get so far. The Red Ajah holds some fairly prestigious positions within the Tower and the City. I was happy and excited to get the Mistress of Novices position and happy for Masayna when she earned the Constable position.
I have to brag that our Ajah is very involved with the Tower, be it with projects or policing. People know us and they either love or hate us. *lol* I'm very happy that the Red has gone from the silly stereotype of being man haters to what we are now. Now if only RJ would get us completely out of that. (I hear in CoT the Reds gets some interesting things done, but I haven't read it, so no spoilers for me please :p).
I want to try to go to school in the near future to learn web design, so I hope to take the Red headquarters into new things and someday win that best HQ award. ;) Until then, I plan to continue small to make changes to make the HQ look more uniform and professional and hope to add more things that will keep people coming back. Currently we are up to 5,775 visitors and I never imagined so many hits for the Reds because of their reputation. I hope to increase it tons by adding neat and fun things.
I am also very lucky to have many talented ladies; Vallah has done wonderful things with basic Flash and creating banners and I wish I could put stuff up, but right now my personal computer is without internet access. : I hope it have it up when I return from Tennessee though and get working again.
Valasia a'Leran Sedai, Head of the Red Ajah
The White Ajah has seen quite an exciting year of growth and adjustment at the Tower. We've expanded from a tiny Ajah of only three Sisters, to quite a respectable family of eight Sisters and one Accepted, and we are waiting enthusiastically to see who will be joining us in the coming year. We've also been saddened by the loss of several fine Gaidin over the past year, but I'm proud to see that we've maintained amiable ties with these men. Each Ajah member, both past and present, has brought to the Ajah a depth and dimensionality that has provided insight, incited courage, and tied us together as a family. I have been thrilled to see us become so much more than just the sum of our parts.
However, some of the White Ajah's most impressive achievements have been in the Tower as a whole, belying the White Ajah's reputation for remaining remote. For instance, the Forsaken Project, which everyone in the Tower was invited to contribute to, gained for us a reputation as a source of project ideas. Although that project is largely complete, Accepted and Soldiers are still occasionally sent to me for inspiration. Fortunately, due to Eili's fabulous mythology project (soon to be unveiled) and Lyssandra's position as Tower Librarian, there have always been plenty of projects to go around.
Lyssandra has also made huge contributions to the Tower by patiently answering the questions of so many newcomers. Alene has contributed to a lighter reputation for the Whites, with the formation of a Tower Comedy Club, which is likely to see more action in the future as her time allows.
Dralyn has also found her own Tower niche, as the innkeeper of the brand new White Crescent Inn. Some of the newer White Ajah members are still finding their places in the Tower as a whole, but we've discovered that Shirlyn is wonderful at making signatures, Jayna may be quiet but she has a willing and caring ear, Shyana is an amazing Servant of All (as I believe she single-handedly won that competition for us), and Kyssa is great at providing technical knowledge and resources for building websites. Taken as a whole, we have a talented and accomplished White Ajah.
And I can only imagine what the next year will bring for us.
Arthaine Dasin Sedai, Head of the White Ajah
This past year the Yellow Ajah has really come into its own, under the direction of the Head of Ajah, Drasil Sedai, and through the hard work and dedication of our members. We have grown from two Aes Sedai and two Accepted to eight Aes Sedai and three Accepted. We gained and lost a valuable member, Ela al'Tharin Aes Sedai. More than just our membership has grown, though. The spirit of the Yellow Fellows has also grown.
For Halloween this past year, we decked ourselves out as The Dungeon, featuring torture devices, and endless chances to be caught by the 'evil' Yellow Fellows, and actually frightened a few passers by!
One of our biggest accomplishments has involved our Headquarters. In the last six months we have moved from Geocities (a weapon of the Dark One) to our own domain, Yellowajah.com. Thanks to the hard work of Ela Sedai, our Headquarters has gained an incredible new look, featuring a portal stone, and incredible amounts of information, from herbs and their uses, how to prepare them, and within a few weeks, a section on breakthroughs in Modern Medicine. We did more than revamp, we completely reinvented the Yellow Ajah, and what it means to be a Yellow Fellow. With our new look, we're hoping to take Best Ajah Headquarters for the second year running.
We have also embarked on a journey to make our dream a reality. With the help of Raevyn Sedai, we have been organizing a Peer Counseling Network within the Tower, something we have pushed for and worked to get for the past ten months. We look expectantly to the time when it finally launches into a huge, booming success.
Overall, we have been growing by leaps and bounds, going from a very small and almost forgotten Ajah, to one of the best, in our (not so humble) opinion (well, Yellows never were noted for their humility...). With all that we have accomplished this past year, it's only natural to look with anticipation at what this coming year will bring, and whatever that may be, the Yellow Ajah will ride it through and come out on top, better than ever.
Drasil Shekara Sedai, Head of the Yellow Ajah
This year was for the most part marked by a changing of the guard. Finding himself under pressure from real life matters, Lt. Thalion resigned and his Second in Command, Val a'Shain, was chosen to follow him in the role of Company Commander. Filling the now vacant role of Second, renamed Color Guard, was Rollyn Montagorae, chosen by the new Company Commander.
The major project since a'Shain's appointment has been the Dai M'Hael homepage, which the CC has built into a very respectable data source for all the members of his company. In addition to this pre-eminent project, we have also had many projects submitted by our Soldiers as the ranks of Dai M'Hael have grown from a small handful to now numbering over twenty able-bodied men. These projects range from songs and poems of Dai M'Hael submitted by Oryn and Xavier, to an in-depth comparison of WoT battles with real life battles submitted by al'Cary. Their contributions have greatly added to the rich depth of research and content available at TarValon.Net.
The goals for the Company's future include training the new members in what it means to be intelligent, patient, and mature men of honour; continuing to improve the Company homepage into a first class database; and providing well-thought out advice and assistance in order to lead the Tower website into whatever future may loom before it.
Rollyn Montagorae Gaidin, Color Guard of the Dai M'Hael
Over this past year Val'Cueran has grown to be a large company of men. The most obvious exterior change this year has been to our website. The new site was designed by one of our soldiers and is a vast improvement over the former site. Since its inception Val'Cueran was meant to be a company of men that see and act with their hearts. As such we are a closely knit group that share our problems with each other and strive to help each other overcome those problems. In addition to serious discussions, our private forum offers a place for our members to completely cut loose, resulting in conversations that can best be termed bizarre.
Our goals for the next year include a shift of our website to a new domain and adding features to make the site more functional to the members and not just a promotional site. Val'Cueran members are also going to strive to become more active in the Garrison areas of our community. This is not intended to be simply a membership drive; it is meant to reinforce our presence in the Tower. Val'Cueran is striving to remain the largest Company and provide the Tower with dedicated men.
David of Jargonia Gaidin, Color Guard for Val'Cueran
San d'Ma Shadar
San d'Ma Shadar has had a roller coaster year. We have seen our membership double, and we house some fine individuals. We have also seen our share of controversy. All in all, however, we have become a stronger and more productive company.
Our membership roster now boasts 11 members + 1. LOL. James Davion (Company Commander) Ban Al'Seen (Colour Guard) Aleric Matsushiro (extended leave) Soryn Vandalheart (Quartermaster) al'Lan Mandragoran (our +1 we still thought of it first) Mac al'Bannon (the Stable Rat) Cyn Windbourne, Willam Cambrae, Patrick Delunante, Jayrik Thaurturion, Robertus Cain, and Jax Devonshire. We have unfortunately lost a few members as well; Driggy, Oakan Moonrunner, and Darim Pelegro.
We have hosted 1 shift raid, 2 beer bashes, and 2 brawls to end them all. And we donated 6 pints of blood, to aid our troops, over $150 in clothing to the homeless and indigent, more than $50 in books and comic books to battered and abused women and childrens' shelters, as well as community mentoring and tutoring.
In the next year, we hope to invite people to join a reinvigorated Bear that has moved past the problems we have endured. I hope that our civic activism will increase, and that we can do more to support this wonderful community. We continue with our policy of not actively recruiting, and yet hope that more men find their way to us. In all I believe that the coming year will find us prepared and willing to join in the fight against the shadow.
Ban Al'Seen Gaidin, Colour Guard of San d'Ma Shadar