2011 Annual Report
PO Box 12421 Huntsville, AL 35815
2011 Annual Report
TarValon.Net, Inc. Annual Report 2011
Property of TarValon.Net, Incorporated
Compiled and Edited by Anne Vanolli
With Assistance from Jessica Beaushene
- 1 Amyrlin / CEO welcome
- 2 Keeper / COO
- 3 Tower Archivist / Secretary
- 4 Shatayan / CFO
- 5 Department of Administration
- 6 Department of Community Outreach
- 7 Department of Events and Conferences
- 8 Department of Marketing
- 9 Department of Membership
- 10 Department of Moderators
- 11 Department of Research and Records
- 12 Department of Technology
Amyrlin / CEO welcome
Last year, Eleyan spoke to the fact that 2011 would be a year of transition. After 5 years of service, Dralyn stepped down as Keeper of the Chronicles in a lovely ceremony at our 10th Anniversary celebration in March and Leora was raised to the position as the 4th holder of that title. We had an absolutely magical time in Charleston to celebrate being TarValon.Net, and with more than 150 people attending, it was our largest event to date and was only made better by the presence of “Team Jordan” (Harriet McDougal, Alan Romanczuk and Maria Simmons) and Brandon Sanderson.
April 1st brought the announcement that after 10 years of leadership, Eleyan al’Landerin would be stepping down from her position as Amyrlin over the course of the next year. As the co-founder of TarValon.Net, Eleyan’s influence in our Community is immeasurable, and it’s hard to imagine her not wearing the stole. The search for her successor began later in April, leading to the announcement that I would stepping into her very large shoes beginning at our 11th Anniversary party in Estes Park, Colorado. The past 7 months have seen us working together and with Leora in order to make the transition as seamless as possible, and I’m excited to jump into 2012.
Eleyan and I were both thrilled to be able to attend our 10th Anniversary celebration in England with many of our European members in September. We had a great weekend spending time with people we don’t get to see as often, and really enjoying the time overseas. In October, Leora and I flew out to meet with Eleyan in person and had an intensive training weekend. We addressed where we were at, goals both short and long term, and it was fabulous for me to really get to know Leora as a person. I look forward to working with her in the coming years, and forming a strong partnership.
Throughout the year, TarValon.Net also continued its strong tradition of philanthropy with a donation to Crisis Ministries in Charleston during our event there, we gave needed items to the Chattanooga Community Kitchen during Fall Ball, and ran a fundraiser for Room to Read during our Feast of Lights celebration in December where we raised over $1800. In addition, we met our operational fundraising goal over the summer with the overage being given to a charity of Harriet’s choice.
Looking towards 2012, we continue to look to the future. The final volume of The Wheel of Time will be published, the Amyrlin investiture ceremony will happen at Anni, and we can’t wait to see what is in store. Throughout everything, it all really does come back to the amazing Community that has been built over the years and the people who put their hearts into every contribution they make. Thank you so much everyone for your contributions to our donation drives, our various projects throughout the year, and for your support of each other every day. We are an amazing group of people and I feel so privileged to be counted among you.
Vivianna L’antreau Amyrlin-Elect www.tarvalon.net
Keeper / COO
This was a year of transition for the Tower, and that promises to hold true for the coming year. With long-time Keeper Dralyn Montsier stepping down this past March and our Founding Amyrlin Eleyan al’Landerin scheduled to step down at our 11th Anniversary Party in 2012, our members have had to deal with a great deal of leadership change. Overall, the site has continued to function smoothly and progress has been made on a number of fronts.
As with most years, 2011 saw a number of new Executives coming in. Vivianna L’antreau was selected as the new Amyrlin, leaving the Director of Moderators position open. Karassa Souladrin was selected as the replacement and has continued to work to make our moderation as even-handed as possible. Also, our Director of Marketing, Meilen Gevedon (who founded the Department), stepped down and was replaced by Kytheria al’Shea; Kytheria and her team began working on a number of important projects that will hopefully be released in 2012. Additionally, they kept pace with the demand for graphics for events and our site and have been working on expanding our selection in our CafePress store. Finally, Kariada Kunai stepped down as the Director of Community Outreach and was replaced by Jodea Kegan; Jodea was able to step right in and oversee a very successful Feast of Lights fundraiser at the end of 2011 for Room to Read that raised a large amount of money for this worthwhile cause.
The rest of the site’s Departments continue to be led by a talented group of women and men. Ubahsur Kindellaer runs the Department of Administration with efficiency, resulting in timely release of her major projects, including the Membership Survey, the Annual Report and Executive Reviews. Serinia Edoras continues to lead the Events & Conferences team in producing outstanding events for us to attend; 2011 saw several major celebrations for our 10th Anniversary that were hugely successful. Serenla Tamowith and the membership administrators have been working this past year to standardize our naming format and to make sure our community is a welcoming one. Toral Delvar and his team make steady progress in expanding our Library and our historical records; discussions have begun for how we will continue to be one of the foremost Wheel of Time resources once the final book is completed next year. Zhareen Narelle and the Department of Technology staff have given us a great year, free from any major technological problems.
Transparency, Accessibility and Involvement
One of the most important issues that the Keeper has been working on this year, in conjunction with Eleyan al’Landerin and Vivianna L’antreau, are the issues of transparency and member involvement. One of the most frequent complaints from our membership is that they would like more involvement in decision making, they would like greater access to Officers and Executives and they would like greater transparency in how decisions are made. In an attempt to begin addressing those issues, at the end of 2011 several new projects were started. First, the Executive Blog was launched. This platform allows Officers and Executives a platform with which to communicate some of the daily work they do in their departments; we hope to see the use of the blog expand in 2012. Additionally, in October we held our first ever Town Hall Meeting; Vivianna and Leora were in chat to specifically gather feedback from members about the changes from the 2011 Administrative Meeting held earlier in the year. Jeffan Caliarthan moderated and it was a good opportunity for members to ask us questions directly and receive a real time response. You can find the archive of this event in our Library (2011 Town Hall Meeting). Finally, the Amyrlin and the Keeper are now holding official “Office Hours” in #wheel with the specific purpose of being available for questions if members prefer to approach us that way. These dates are announced in our General forum.
Looking to 2012
Transparency, accessibility and member involvement continue to be a big issue that we will focus on in 2012. Office Hours and the Blog continue, we will likely hold a Town Hall again, and we will be publishing our Administrative Meeting Agenda in advance for member to submit comments. Additionally, we will be looking at ways to set better performance standard ands expectations for people holding official positions so that we have a better rubric for determining if they are performing satisfactorily. We anticipate that a number of projects will be completed in the Departments this coming year that will benefit our community, including the Servants of All System, a number of Marketing projects, and new tracking software for our Membership. Almost one year in, Leora Oldessroth has settled into the role of Keeper of the Chronicles and in the coming year Vivianna L’antreau will officially take over the Amyrlin’s stole. Inevitably, this has and will continue to result in changes but we anticipate that they will be ones beneficial to the whole community.
Tower Archivist / Secretary
In March 2011, the duties of Secretary were separated out from the COO/Keeper position and merged into a new Officer position named Tower Archivist. The Tower Archivist handles all of the responsibilities of the Secretary as outlined in the Bylaws as well as the merit system, the official archives, the membership manuals, our legal status, and any other special projects assigned to the Secretary. Dralyn Montsier took over this position after stepping down as Keeper.
With the help of many minions, work started on archiving the old forums. Significant progress has been made, but it will be a long-term project.
After several months of hard work, the first round of merits was awarded at the North American Anniversary party in March at Charleston, SC. The second set of merits was awarded at the European Anniversary party in August at Much Wenlock, Shropshire, England.
The merits turned out to be a difficult task to wrangle. Gathering information was a time- consuming task, and keeping that information organized in an easily accessible fashion was seemingly impossible. With close work with the Director of Research & Records and the Historians, the entire system was reworked into a more manageable process.
For a list of everyone who helped out with the archives and the merits, see the list of minions. Without their help, progress on all of this would be much slower; I am very appreciative for everything they’ve done.
Half of the entries in the membership manual have been edited and are current. The others are in progress.
TarValon.Net remains a non-profit corporation legally incorporated in the state of Alabama in the United States and is a federally recognized 501(c)(7) social club. The administration continues to work diligently at ensuring that all federal, state, and local regulations for such an entity are met.
The Archivist's minions will continue working on both the archives and the merits. More merits will be awarded over the course of the year. Hopefully the end of 2012 will see most previously earned merits awarded and more progress made on the archives. I will also be making a push to get all necessary documents up-to-date and online, including the rest of the membership manuals.
Shatayan / CFO
By the numbers, TarValon.net was very solvent in 2011. Our financial condition is good. We do not publish our exact figures, but for those who are curious, our numbers look something like this. We had gross revenue of over $40,000, and gross expenses of the same, over $40,000. This will sound like a great deal of money, and trust me it is. The bulk of this income and the bulk of the expenses were event related. I will expand further on this in a moment. Our breakdown looks something like this. Of the above greater than $40k, over $30k was spent on official events. Our operating costs were more than $9,000 US. We ended the year with a balance of more than $1k. I am very pleased with this, as it shows that we are using the funds that we are acquiring, not just sitting on them. It is my desire that your hard earned dollars are put to work, and not just squirreled away for the sake of squirreling them away. Furthermore we have instituted policies and procedures to better account for those individuals who have access to our funds, as well as better account for expenditures.
In the past year we have upgraded our technology components, added key staff positions (requiring expenses related to that), and improved our outreach and standing in the larger Wheel of Time community.
2011 was a mind-numbingly complicated year for us in terms of the finances of TarValon.net. Due to our non-profit status, this caused the office of the Shatayan to completely rethink how we consider our finances in the White Tower. The least of which is how to consider event income and how to budget it and account for it.
Income for events, and the expenses related to our events are the largest single component of our income. What makes accounting and budgeting for them complicated is that we cannot know what an event will cost until that event is planned, funds are received, and the event is executed. This changes from year to year, and even event from event, depending on location and number of attendees. Because of this it was necessary to, in essence, devise two budgets. An operating budget that looks forward (predicting) and one that looks back (summarizing).
For our predictive purposes we have our Operating Budget. This includes things like technology costs, travel for executives for Tower related purposes, membership expenses such as gifts for expectant Tower mothers, as well as many other components which allow the Tower to function on a day to day basis. Our summary budget, which includes our events, will be known as our General Budget. This will be compiled by myself (and future staff members) in December, and will be instrumental in our legal paperwork such as tax reporting. One thing to note is that deposits for events will be considered an operating expenditure, and will be budgeted for generously based on the last year’s events, but will be editable as needed.
I’m excited for this next year, also, though. I intend to continue to draft policies and procedures that not only simplify my work, but will make our finances more transparent, and have even more accountability. I’m equally excited for further technology upgrades which will make our web experience even smoother, and more enjoyable.
Department of Administration
The Department of Administration helps handle the business of TarValon.Net, Inc. by supporting the Board of Directors, the C suite, other departments, and handling major administrative projects. Specific items we handle are the Annual Report, Annual Membership Survey, regular reviews of the administration, acting as a sounding board for tax and legal matters that affect the organization, and administrative support to other departments.
The year 2011 saw few changes as the Department of Administration settled into a groove. Our main projects have not changed: Annual Report, Membership Survey, Annual Reviews, and ensuring legality regarding our 501(c)(7) status.
Staffing changes include the additions of Lyara Tieran briefly as the HR Project Manager, Jeral Mazur as the Membership Survey Statistician, and Jeffan Caliarthan as general minion. Lyara had to resign due to real life after a short tenure. We were lucky to have Ennairam Lamp, who worked so hard as Membership Survey minion, accept the Project Manager role after Mashiara Al’Kama resigned.
This meant that the team for the majority of 2011 consisted of Ubahsur Kindellaer, Department Director; Isarma Maracanda, Annual Report Project Manager; Ennairam Lamp, Membership Survey Project Manager; Jeral Mazur, Membership Survey Statistician; Jeffan Caliarthan; and the legal team. The legal team saw no changes and remains Leora Oldessroth (around her Keeper duties), Atreyu Silverstar, Calypsa al’Nicolai, and Hammar O’Justice.
This year saw more interdepartmental communication, where Jeffan did triple duty as minion and liaison with Marketing (graphics) and Records & Research. Additionally Loreniel Killan and Kerna Shedrian liaise with Marketing and Records & Research respectively.
The 2010 Annual Report saw many bumps along the road, which resulted in it being published and available to membership and the public in September. Our regular goal is to have it published within the second quarter (April to June.) The bumps also resulted in the report not having graphics as it normally does. November 2011 saw increased networking with Marketing and Records & Research in order to streamline the process of creating and publishing the report so that it will look better and be available sooner. We still have the 2007 and 2008 annual reports in process; they are expected to be complete in 2012.
This year was the year of the Membership Survey. The majority of our efforts went towards numerous changes. The first big change was finding software for the survey. There are many reasons to have the survey be a separate database than drupal. After an exhaustive search, we settled on the (free) product of Lime Survey. One of the advantages that Lime Survey software gives us is that survey takers can pause their survey and come back to it later - if they create a sign on. Note: The sign on information does not get tied to the data when it is downloaded for analysis, so anonymity of the participant is maintained.
The second change was getting more member participation throughout the year. This was done by having a discussion in General of questions membership would like to see data on. The department and Execs reviewed the suggestions, which yielded many great questions! We chose one “winner” who was gifted with a signature badge; the winner was Mieriana Souvra for the question “What is the best/worst thing about your rank?”
The other changes were to update the questions on the survey. We were able to combine several, shortening the survey from 150 questions to a variable amount depending on one’s rank that maxes at 100. We also made the decision to change the time frame from three back to two weeks. Thirty-two per cent of submissions were within the first twenty-four hours, eighty-five per cent within the first two weeks, and only 1% in the last week.
The Annual Review process was changed this year so that the format was different, no analysis was provided, and the direct supervisor reviewed the results with the position reviewed - as opposed to the HR Project Manager reviewing the results. The process went smoothly for the Exec level. No department directors took up the offer on doing reviews within their departments.
The legal team helped immensely with regards to ensuring what we could and could not do at the Charleston and Chattanooga events, specifically with raffles which are a major form of fundraising for the organization. In 2011 we also reviewed the legal needs of Colorado, to be acted upon in 2012. Additionally, a spreadsheet was created to find the requirements for filing for state exemption status for all states; this document will be (a small) part of the event location selection process.
Department of Community Outreach
In 2011 the Departments of Philanthropy and Online Events combined into the Department of Community Outreach, which also includes the Outreach Activities staff. Currently we cover all TarValon.net online festivals and events, and all fundraising and philanthropic endeavors.
Jodea Kegan replaced Kariada Kunai as Director of this department in October. Sadly, a good amount of departmental information was lost in the transition. Xylina Tyloredrid serves as Outreach Activities Coordinator. Aldus Tyloredrid served as Outreach Activities Graphics Coordinator until Dec. 2011 under Marketing. OAGC changed from an Admin position in Marketing to a staff position in Community Outreach at the same time as Aldus stepped down. Miya Kiyoshi took over the position of OAGC and now answers to the Online Activities Coordinator and Community Outreach Director.
There were 2 successful fundraisers to benefit Tarvalon.net and one on behalf of Room to Read. Sadly I do not have access to information on our first fundraiser of 2011. It included the silent auction and Da’covale auction at the Charleston Anni party. The second Fundraiser was held in July and raised $3,212 overall with a goal of $3,000.
The final fundraiser of the year was our Feast of Lights effort. The community was given the chance to take more part this year with this fundraiser as they were allowed to suggest an organization for us to donate to. After a final list of all eligible organizations was complete they were put up to a vote. The final 3 were Room to Read, Operation Smile, and Build On with the winner being Room to Read. The goal set for the fundraiser was $2,500, and the amount raised was $1,830. While we did in fact fall short of our goal it was a very good effort. Immediately following the fundraiser future goals were discussed and it was suggested that our Feast of Lights event needs to have a smaller goal and holding it in November instead of December. Donor lists for the July and December fundraisers to be found at the end of this document. There were several prizes offered for each of the fundraisers, winners did not receive the items in 2011, but I will list who they are and what the prize is:
Caerwyn won a $100 event ticket certificate, this was given to him
Keisha won a t shirt from taveren tees
Dwynwen won a $25 Amazon gift certificate
Feast of Lights
Deborah won a $20 Amazon gift card
Ashlyn Sindal won a $30 Amazon gift card
Servant of All
The merit system for philanthropy is not yet up and running. Almost completed by Kariada, the system is almost fully fleshed and there is only some basic work left to be done, along with a decision as to how this merit system will interact with the merit system currently in place. There is no current graph for the system, but one is being put together from available information.
Online Events is run by our fabulous OEC, Xylina Tyloredrid. She took over the position in June (from Liiane al’Rhuidea), but due to a prolonged absence with the previous OAC she had been doing the job as the Assistant before the change happened. They put on events at the Tower for Bel Tine, Sunday, Shaoman, and Feast of Lights, and did Valentine delivery and Live at Anni coverage. Every event was well planned and executed, even the live anni coverage. It had a few hiccups, but all in all I would say the OE team did an outstanding job.
Sample of Shaoman 2011 avatars
Department of Events and Conferences
The Department of Events & Conferences has focused on continual improvement this year. Building on the processes and standardizations that were established in 2010, 2011 was a year of leveraging those changes to further improve events and become more effective in our roles.
Other events throughout the year provided their own impressive affairs. Both JordanCon and Dragon*Con in Atlanta, the NA Fall Ball in Chattanooga and especially the European celebration of our Tenth Anniversary were once again successful events that grew our community and also enabled our public outreach. Though we did not have an official event in Continental Europe in 2011, we hired a new Master of Revels for that region, Naeris Gaidin, who will be leading the official events in that area starting in 2012.
Sonea Ilandred and Yelenia Hylraren continue their excellent work as the Mistresses of Revels in Britain & Ireland and North America, respectively. And the staff members of the department continue to provide vital support, such as our Local Liaisons and Riley Maconnar in his efforts not only as Master of the Kitchens, but also in working with the department in his role of Shatayan to build new financial tracking processes.
2012 promises to be another exciting year for Events, starting with our Eleventh Anniversary event in Estes Park, Colorado. We have received well over 100 registrations and are unexpectedly, but pleasantly, surprised by the volume of planned attendees following such a milestone event in Charleston just one year ago. In addition to Anni and the Continental event mentioned earlier, we are planning our Fall Ball event to take place in New York City, and looking forward to significant international attendance!
|The Department of Events & Conferences continues to work hard to provide outstanding celebrations of our accomplishments and provide opportunities to grow and develop as a community.|
Department of Marketing
During the summer of 2011, Meilen Gevedon decided to retire from her position as Director of Marketing. Kytheria al’Shea was selected to fill this role, and the transition of leadership occurred in mid-August.
Staff and Position Changes
There have been many staff changes in the Department this year, as well as refinements to positions within the Department as we worked to streamline work processes and communications with other departments.
Immediately following the transition in the Director role, a new Tower Voice was hired. Mhor Blathnaid was selected to join the team, filling the role of co-Voice when Stasia t’Andrei elected to retire. Mhor joined Loraella Melodie as the Tower Voices for the rest of 2011.
The Department of Marketing was originally built around the preceding Visual Resources Department of TarValon.Net, and graphic artists still make up the largest core of Marketing staff. The Graphics Development team changed quite a bit in late 2011 as well.
Lijena Tarkand and Ninya Evoneigh both stepped down from the GDT in late August. A round of GDT hiring was conducted in the fall, and Marketing welcomed Hanajima al’Cere, Sikozu O’men, Badria Aidan, Sasha Melrai, Alyssa Letherio, Darim Pelegro, and Venric Methalion to the graphics team in October. This is a highly skilled, diverse set of artists who have already begun to create excellent designs for Tower projects. These new team members joined existing GDT members Azi al’Thone, Aloren Tarabutton, Jeffan Caliarthan, Meilen Gevedon (who has graciously stayed on as very part-time help), and Arie Davion.
Note: Arie is the lead of the Graphics team, as Product Manager, and Alyssa provides additional help in the form of legal advice regarding intellectual property matters.
The Product Manager is an administrative role within Marketing, and is an invaluable aide to the Director in helping to keep project lists up to date, providing direction to the Graphics Development Team members as needed and ensuring deadlines are met, and, of course, managing the TarValon.Net CafePress shop and merchandise. Because this role encompasses more than “just” managing the shop, the title was changed to better reflect the duties. In November, the position became known as the Marketing Project Manager.
Not long after this change, in December, Arie was selected to become the next Head of the Gray (Grey) Ajah. As such, she had to step down from her admin position in Marketing (a member cannot hold two administrative positions at once). Hanajima was selected to fill the role of Project Manager, and after training extensively with Arie, Hana assumed her new duties in late December.
But wait, there’s more!
In November, Erin al’Denael, the longtime Editor of the Tar Valon Times, decided to retire. Erin’s past work has helped the TVT grow into a robust publication, and she left quite a mark on the role. However, a talented and qualified candidate was selected, and Jeffan Caliarthan, longtime Marketing team member and TVT reporter, assumed the role of Editor in late November.
One final staffing change in November: the position of Online Events Graphics Coordinator (OEGC), which became the Outreach Activities Graphics Coordinator (OAGC) in May to reflect changes in the Department of Outreach, changed once again. This role, held by Aldus Tyloredrid, straddled both Marketing and Outreach Activities. Aldus contributed to many projects in Marketing, including graphics creation, and also assisted the OA team with planning for their events, as essentially the graphics team lead in that area.
Aldus decided to step down from his role as OAGC in early November, and while working with him to redefine the role, it was decided that it would make the most sense for this position to become a staff position within the Department of Outreach, rather than an admin position in Marketing. The new structure is much clearer for all involved, since the OAGC reports to the OA Coordinator solely. Miya Kiyoshi was selected by the Department of Outreach to fill the role of OAGC in November.
The only staff position in Marketing to NOT change in late 2011 was the External Marketing Coordinator, which is still held by Loreniel Killan. She continues to help expand our outreach efforts in many ways, such as SEO for our website and planning event flyers.
Projects and Looking Forward
Now that we are all settling into our roles in Marketing, we continue to work on projects that span the areas of social media, news posting, newsletter creation, external marketing, graphics production, and the TarValon.Net shop.
We do many different things for our community in Marketing, but it boils down to: publicity/increasing our visibility and presence in WoT fandom; reaching out to prospective members; community building amongst current members; and creating a professional visual presence for TarValon.Net.
We continue to work on expanding the shop, calling for the community to submit new merchandise ideas. We are expanding our social media posts to bring you more of the latest site news AND WoT-related news. The TVT is growing and changing along with our membership. We continue to produce graphics for official events, conferences, activities, and fundraisers, as well as site-wide initiatives such as the Merit Badges.
We’ve built a great team this year, and we are set to continue to produce a lot of excellent work for our community.
Department of Membership
The Department of Membership is responsible for handling all administrative tasks related to our membership and fostering a sense of community within each membership group.
The Merit System was finalized and launched in 2011. The first of these awards were presented at our 2011 Anniversary in Charleston, SC. The Merit system now falls under the Tower Archivist.
A Membership Clean Up was completed in 2011. 116 members were removed from our active rolls during this process.
It was decided during 2011 to further utilize our Wiki. As a result, the Who’s Who was incorporated into the Wiki this year. All active members have been added to the Who’s Who, with updates and additions being processed as needed. The new Who’s Who was launched publicly in 2011.
A Membership Database is being researched further to find an affordable solution that will work with not only this Department, but also Administration and Community Outreach.
Junior Member Summer Camp returned in 2011. This special area of the forums encouraged our Junior Members to relax, have fun and interact with each other. The event ran from July 10 – August 4. Senior Member community groups were encouraged to participate and create activities for the Junior Members. The majority of the Senior Member groups participated and the event was very successful.
Our Project Gaidin competition, for the male Junior Members, wrapped up at our 2011 Anniversary party. Baryd al’Syeen was crowned the winner, with Aldus Tyloredrid finishing runner up.
Our 2011 Anniversary party also saw the first organized toast for our Junior Members, following the tradition upheld by the Senior Member groups. The toast was conducted by the Membership Administrator representatives present, the Director of Membership and the Captain of Recruits. The Junior Member toast was very successful and will be repeated at future Anniversary parties.
The Department began an initiative to convert all members’ forum names to a First Name/Last Name format in 2011. As of the end of the year, 80% of the community groups have been processed and converted to this format.
Online testing for rising in rank is still not working properly. In the meantime, tests are still being given via email. More testing regarding permissions will be conducted in 2012.
The department is still looking for ways to encourage activity between community groups.
Looking Ahead to 2012
A Membership software solution will be discussed again at the 2012 Admin meeting. We will also need to discover a fix for the testing issue or create a new, more streamlined process to replace email.
The Membership Activities Coordinator to be hired will be added to our forum and will help coordinate site-wide activities and group efforts.
Department of Moderators
With the selection of Vivianna L’antreau to succeed Eleyan al’Landerin as Amyrlin, Karassa Souladrin was chosen as the new Director of Moderators around mid-year.
In 2011 we have switched to a group of “Discussion Halls” rather than the Guilds. Job Hunters was reinvented as the Education and Employment Forum. There is a Sports Fanatics Forum as well as other forums that more directly correspond to the Guild forums. We’re finding a lot more participation in the Discussion Halls as opposed to the Guilds since anyone can participate without having to “join”, although there is still some tweaking left to be done. We will be evaluating the participation in these forums as well as feedback from the Membership Survey to decide if any changes need to be made for 2012.
In Current Events we have switched to a system of having four moderators, two of which switch out every 3 months. This allows for some continuity in moderation and also brings in fresh eyes about the time that the current mods might be feeling a bit burned out. So far this system seems to be working well, and despite how heated the “discussions” get, there are relatively few complaints or moderator interventions necessary.
Towards the end of the year, we hired a slew of new operators for chat. Unfortunately this was not handled as well as it should have been and the new ops did not receive the training they should have gotten. We are working to remedy this as well as updating the chat guidelines for 2012.
Department of Research and Records
This year has been a busy year for the Department of Research and Records, which is responsible for overseeing and maintaining our library and historical records. The year began with Toral Delvar as Department Director and Eniara Kisharad as Assistant, with Willow al'Meana as Headmistress and Kerna Shedrian and Loira Al'Ramoidra as Historians. Willow stepped down in April to be replaced by Aryela Dashtahd and Loira Al'Ramoidra stepped down in August to be replaced by Zimone Zarasri.
There have also been other changes in the Department. Over the past couple of years, we had been creating Member Pages to give deeper context to our histories and provide more information about what people have done for us. At the Admin meeting it was realised that they provided a basis for the Who’s Who and it was decided to transform the Member Pages into who's who pages. With this change, and the more extensive historical records we had developed over the previous couple of years it was decided to change the name of the department to Research and Records to better reflect its activities.
Currently, there are 6,178 content pages, with around 5.5 million views in total. The main page is the most popular, with around 236,000 views, but each of the top 10 has over 10,000 views, with Rand al’Thor the most popular page created by us now on 15,000, up 5,500 over the year. The most viewed page is the Strike at Shayol Ghul, with 34,000, up 10,000 over the year. There are now 1,310 pages with over a thousand views, almost twice the 719 of last year and 5,498 pages viewed over 100 times.
The most popular community page is still Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah, with 14,500 views, up 10,000 over the year, followed again by the White Ajah community HQ, with 7,947 views, up over 4,000 in the year
Goals from 2011 focused on Book information and Community pages, which are elaborated on in the following sections.
Completion of Towers of Midnight update, update of all lists, creation of a terms glossary, to complete the incomplete articles and continue to work on expanding the chapter summaries
The library has been updated for Towers of Midnight, with the exception of a small number of lists, most of which have been assigned and are awaiting completion. Other than these, all the lists are up to date. A terms glossary has also been written and the other glossaries, character and location, expanded and completed.
Some progress has been made on the incomplete articles, but there is still a lot of work to do. Most of the characters have been assigned.
A major re-categorisation of character summaries was also undertaken, transforming it from the three level it had been since 2007, to a five level one now. Commensurate with that, the characters in the top two categories are being re-written so that the important information can be quickly accessed without any loss of the extensive details these characters have. This reorganisation has highlighted a number of areas where information is missing. The country articles have also been re-organised so that they are all in the same format, which, as with the characters has highlighted a number of areas where the information is insufficient.
The aim was to update the Member pages so that all people who had held a role had it on their page, to expand the details of past events and to add any other details to be found on the Webarchive or old forums.
The addition of the Who's who complicated matters, but I believe these aims to have been met, though with several hundred member pages it is hard to be sure that everyone has the full details. We are up to date, as far as possible on everyone who held a position, received an award or attended an event in 2011. We also greatly expanded the member pages with the change to a Who's Who, with the addition of pages for all Tower members.
Looking forward to 2012, the Department of Research and Records will be working on the following items.
1) Complete the articles that require expansion before Memory of Light is released
2) Complete the rewrite of the pages for the most significant characters and countries that was begun in 2011
3) Depending on the release date for Memory of Light, I hope to have at least Chapter summaries and book summaries completed and to have identified all the new characters, places and terms that will require articles as well as those that will require additions
4) Make more progress on extending the chapter summaries
1) After the membership clean up, make sure every current member has a fully updated Who's Who page containing all the information we have on them
2) Have the job descriptions for every position completed
3) Have the "time served" pages complete, so that we can easily see what every member has done.
4) Have something written for the remaining broken links, about twenty articles or re-directs
Department of Technology
The Department of Technology supports the infrastructure of TarValon.Net. While the main objective is to maintain the availability of our website and message boards, members of the department are utilized as a technical resource for other projects and play an important role in the collection and management of information.
At the start of 2011, the transition to the integrated Drupal Content Management System (CMS) and phpBB3 forum was relatively complete, with most previous issues resolved. There were no staff or structure changes within the department. Everything pretty much progressed at an even keel. The biggest accomplishment of 2011 was the implementation of our Executive Blog. The Executive Blog is a means for Officers and Executives to share with others what they are doing in service for the community.
Looking ahead to 2012, the primary goal will be to continue supporting TarValon.Net and to embrace any new changes that head our way.