Greetings, Resistance recruits! As the elected president of the forums for the month of July, I have an announcement to make—though it is not so much an announcement as it is a petition to the members of this forum.
As a community, who are we? Are we artists? Writers? Bookworms? Athletes? Debaters? Musicians? Mathematicians? Science lovers? Star Wars geeks? Marvel fans? Pringle enthusiasts? We are a diverse community of individuals united by a common interest in The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance.
Reach the World!
We all love this game and want to see the grand story of Aethasia unfold and spread across the world. What can you do to make that happen? Here are a few ideas:
- You can spread the word! Share The Aetherlight with your friends and family. Show them your Aetherlight fan-art and role-plays. Explain to them the allegory of the game. Tell them about your favorite character. You can even make your own gameplay videos and promote the game on social media.
- You can buy Aetherlight merchandise: t-shirts, stickers, Bibles, Bible tabs, and the official Aetherlight book, The Timekeeper's Apprentice. Wearing an Aetherlight t-shirt and bringing your Aetherlight Bible to church are great ways to get people interested in the game.
- You can continue playing the game and get involved in the community! Join us at the weekly Aetherlight meetings! Arrange a day to fill up the engines and open the fog gates! Answer questions from other Resistance recruits in the #quests category. Join a conversation on one of our #community-discussions topics. Share your Aetherlight #fan-art-and-ideas. Write an Aetherlight role-play or start a discussion about the game with other #aetherlight-fans. Report any #bugs you see in-game and help squash them. There’s something for everyone here!
This forum has always been community-driven. What began with theory topics about the Scarlet Man’s identity developed into community discussion topics and free-for-all-role-plays. Every voice in this community matters! I appeal to the members to consider my petition and work together to maintain the safe, friendly environment of this forum. Words and topics can only encourage change—it’s up to you to take action.
We’ve come a long way since the early days of the Aetherlight forums. The moderators have always upheld the original intent behind this community, which was to have a place to discuss everything Aetherlight-related. During the period of waiting for new content, role-plays based on other fandoms began to arise, prompting the moderators to create the Non-Aetherlight Role-Play Guidelines.
This all goes back to the unifying aspect of this community; even though we have different interests in movies, books, and TV shows, we all share the same love for The Aetherlight. That is what makes this community so friendly and welcoming—it’s why new users can easily find a place here. When another fandom begins to take over as the primary focus of this forum, problems will inevitably arise. No matter the intent behind a certain topic, it is still something that does not have widespread support across the entire community.
Now, some topics manage to circumvent this difficulty. Polls! (Not the lamp post kind!) is a good example. It is a popular topic for surveying the community members and finding their opinions on a subject of discussion. The best part? It can be used by everyone, not just a small group of individuals. All users can participate by posing a question and giving their thoughts. This promotes community involvement and strengthens the forum as a whole.
What about other topics? Let’s consider the movies topic. It’s a more generalized topic where anyone can begin a discussion and anyone can respond. These kinds of “general” topics are less likely to generate spam because the conversation is consolidated within one topic rather than a variety of smaller, more specific topics.
The same principle can be applied to “chatting” topics, which the moderators recently made an announcement about. Instead of having dozens of individual chatting topics that are difficult to keep up with and only accommodate a few participants, the general topic Talk All You Want is a much more community-friendly alternative. Users are more likely to “track” a generalized topic rather than a host of specific ones because it’s easier to keep up with. When more users track a topic, more can see a conversation and have the opportunity to participate, thus increasing community involvement.
So, what can you do to help grow the community?
- Think before you make a new topic. Does the subject fit into a more general topic that already exists? I would also recommend checking out this excellent guide to making good topics.
- Make use of generalized topics so that more users can see what you post and participate!
- Consider whether it might be better to close an existing topic that is very specific and involves very few individuals. Keep in mind, though, that only moderators and the topic’s Original Poster (OP) can call for the closure of a topic.
Keep the Forums Tidy
On the Aetherlight forums, we stand for the core values of the Resistance: Generosity, Courage, Community, Creativity, and Truth. Truth necessitates a standard by which that Truth is judged, and on the Aetherlight forums, our standards are the Bible and the community guidelines. The guidelines mandate that we are to make this a civilized place for public discussion. We are also to improve the discussion and keep the forum tidy, making sure that what we write is meaningful. That rules out three kinds of posts.
Spam. By definition, spam is when one user makes a string of short posts that have little substance and are not pertinent to a conversation, such as a bunch of emojis or saying "LOL" when the like button could be just as effective. Here's a very helpful guide about how not to spam and a good topic with a conversation about the problem of spam.
Double posts. While sometimes double posts are necessary (such as if no one has posted in that topic for a few hours or days), users often type out their posts so fast that they forget to add something or they make a mistake and they try to fix it by double posting. This actually worsens the problem, though; instead of just editing a typo in one post, the moderators now have to condense or delete multiple different posts. Saying "SFTDP" (Sorry For The Double Post) does not automatically legitimize a double post, nor is it very courteous to the moderators and members who want to make the forums easier to navigate and read. While the phrase does acknowledge that the double post probably should not have been made in the first place, it has lost much of its potency. Double posts have become the new normal, and we need to revisit the issue and raise awareness about it.
Role-play techniques that facilitate spam and create an untidy environment. Role-plays that are written without a unifying idea or organized plot to guide them often generate spam (e.g., out-of-character comments) and are confusing to both the participants and the readers. Creativity in role-play is a huge part of this community, and we don't want to smother that! We do, however, want to make sure the content of free-for-all-role-plays (FFARPs) and any role-play fits within the Aetherlight's community guidelines: tidy, civil, and family-friendly. If you would like more tips on writing good role-plays, check out this useful guide.
What can you do to help keep the forums tidy?
- Flag spam and off-topic posts so that the moderators can clean them up. The mods are superheroes, but even they cannot be everywhere at once. Bringing these posts to their attention is helpful and not annoying in the least. If you aren’t sure whether something is spam, consider whether it fits within the given conversation. If it seems unnecessary or adds confusion instead of clarity, it is probably spam and you can safely flag it. (You won’t get in trouble for mistakenly flagging something, either, so you don’t have to worry about that.)
- Think before you press “reply.” Haste in creating a post leads to typos, which lead to double posts, which lead to confusion and more work for the moderators. I know what it’s like to want to respond to a friend as soon as possible, but the truth is, they can wait. In addition, pausing for a moment can allow other users to enter the conversation. This can be applied to both community discussion topics and role-plays.
This is the final point I offer for your consideration. Role-play has always been immensely important to this forum, making up a large portion of this community’s creative endeavors. In recent months, there has been a rapid influx of new community role-plays that are hard to keep up with because they are so fast-paced. A role-play comprised of many short, one-sentence posts is hard to read and even harder to join. When participants cannot keep up with a role-play, they are left behind. Massive, rapid-fire role-play topics limit community involvement because they intimidate those who might have wanted to participate. I do not write this intending to put anyone down—I know exactly what this is like because I once role-played in the very same way. I encourage every writer on this forum to take their work seriously and make it the very best that they can. With practice and patience, one’s writing can only get better and better as time goes on. The result is well worth the effort.
I petition the members of the Aetherlight forums to consider how they can uphold the core values of the Resistance as they take part in this community.
To encourage Community: support The Aetherlight, decrease spam and double-posts, make use of generalized topics, and use role-play techniques that invite participation.
To encourage Creativity: brainstorm with friends, listen to the ideas of others, and work together to weave imaginative tales that hearken back to the original spirit of The Aetherlight—that feeling of excitement and hope that the game instilled within each of us. Don’t let an Aetherlight role-play become “just another story,” but use it as a reminder of the mission the Scarlet Man gave us. We must fight against the evil fog that corrodes the world and take a stand for what is good and right. We must fight until the day when the Great Engineer takes back his throne and vanquishes the fog forever. Don't ever forget that!
To encourage Truth: follow the community guidelines, be kind and respectful to others, and be mindful of what you post. Do not write something that you would not want your little brother or sister to see! This is a family-friendly community. While the world is indeed full of difficult subjects and we don’t want to discourage meaningful dialogue, dwelling too much on any of them can unduly glorify them.
Finally, keep in mind that this is a public forum, which means anyone can read these posts. Represent Jesus and shine His light! Even though you are surrounded by Christians, walk in such a way that will bring God glory and point an unbeliever to Him. In the same way of thinking, be careful to guard your privacy! You never know who may be watching. Even though the moderators are here to look out for your wellbeing, it is your responsibility to follow the rules and safeguard your personal information.
What I believe this community stands for, in summary…
We are a community with diverse interests, united by our love for The Aetherlight.
We want to see The Aetherlight spread far and wide, so we endeavor to support the game by sharing it with friends and getting involved in the community.
We are a community, but we are also individuals. Each of us has a voice and the ability to influence this forum. By the topics we make and join, we can encourage community participation and growth.
We stand for the key values of the Resistance: Generosity, Courage, Truth, Community, and Creativity.
We uphold Truth by adhering to the community guidelines and measuring everything against the standard of the Bible.
We encourage meaningful dialogue by making sure topics are tidy and navigable. This means decreasing spam, avoiding double-posts, and promoting good role-play techniques.
We strive to make the forums an open, welcoming environment where everyone can learn and grow.
We purpose to carefully consider what we post before we hit “reply” and be responsible to protect our personal information.
We determine to glorify God in all that we do, knowing that we represent Him to an unbelieving world.
We are followers of the Scarlet Man, harnessing the power of Aether to demonstrate true Aethasia to those trapped in the fog. We are rebels who believe Aethasia and its people are worth fighting for. We are scientists, mechanics, pilots, spies, engineers, breakers, salvagers, strategists, explorers, adventurers, detectives, and heroes. Together, we are THE RESISTANCE.
Thanks to everyone for reading! I am blessed to be a part of this wonderful community and pray that it continues to grow and flourish. That requires the participation of each of the individuals who comprise it, though. It’s up to you to make these forums a safe, friendly, God-honoring place for people of all ages and to build your conversations on a foundation of Truth, Community, Creativity, Courage, and Generosity. I petition every one of you to rise to the challenge and take action.
For Aethasia, for the Scarlet Man, and for the Resistance!