Members of Alliance

I feel like there is a certain degree of vocal forum personalities making their very specific voices heard, often in ways that I'm embarrassed to have played with several of them in the past. When individuals are pushing their personal views as "what's best for players", it reeks of the initial iterations of the 2.0 rules that were so atrociously received when they peeked from behind the velvet curtain the owners maintained for much longer than was prudent.

While I have no doubt that there are interpersonal interactions that need severe attention, and as others have put it, 25 years of previous damage done, perspective on "What's best for the players" of a continent-spanning LARP seems to me has been lost or discarded in favor of personal differences on what they want out of a game -- again, something that came up through the 2.0 iterations that saw multiple owners in singular chapters through that process.

Again, that there is a vocal subset of players and owners (One is not inclusive of the other, sadly) within this thread and that led to this crisis of management of this game that has seen friendships and more flourish for years intent on further dividing what handful of players even view the often-viewed-as-toxic National forums. That some of these voices seem intent on weaponizing themselves and others towards division rather than communication is shameful.
Your phrasing itself seems to attempt to speak for other players. Perhaps those same players you claim others are weaponizing. Perhaps it's best to keep opinions focused on your own beliefs, rather than trying to incorporate others.


What's fantastic about this, is that this is the first time (that I've seen), a conversation like this happen in a public forum. Previous comments about voting and removing people from positions of power makes it clear much of this is normally done behind closed doors. Some people liked 2.0. Some people hate it. No one will ever agree on everything, so in a public forum such as this, lets let people speak for themselves.

If the intent is to be open, and perhaps work towards making the Alliance a better community, lets work towards that. Here are some things I personally would like to see.

1. To the new owners- publicly post your action plan. You say that you hope to make the Alliance better. What are you currently doing to enact change? What are your long term goals for the Alliance? How do you plan to achieve and pursue these goals? What are the issues you have identified in the Alliance? What steps are you taking to accept accountability for your past actions, and to ensure those things don't happen in the future?

2. To the owners, and any national staff, I'd love to see a list of who all is on the national staff. There have been several committees mentioned, and I don't even know what all of these committees are, much less who is on them. What are their goals? What are they doing to achieve their goals and purposes?

3. As with any governing body, people should know what those representing them have positions on. What are things being voted on? What is my owner voting for in these things?

I would ask to make the owners forums, and votes public to all players. As players, if we do not know what changes are being talked about, and our owners are not bringing these to our attention, how will they know what their players want? Making votes and the owner discussion public will open dialogues that couldn't happen before.

4. There are things you know, things you don't know, and things you don't know you don't know. The last of these is what the National level of Alliance feels like to me as a player. Lets fix that. I'm sure there are a plethora of issues that I don't even have the knowledge to know exist. If you truly want to make the Alliance a better place, and "have the best interest of the players" at heart, lets give the players the information needed to voice those opinions. Having the bylaws available to all would be a great start here.


Alliance has never been a transparent organization at a national level, and for there to be trust, and accountability among the players, local owners, and national staff, the organization needs to be more forthcoming and open about the structure, and discussions happening at a national level. If the new owners are going to be making changes. Lets see it. As someone else said, actions speak louder than words. Tell us what you are planning to do. Show us the follow through.
 
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Feldor

Adept
Marshal
Maybe a question for the chapter owners. What is that you want from a National Organization that it is not providing? How can it better support your larp community?

I have some opinions about that as a player, and as a person who does logistics for a chapter, about things that could be improved in the organization. But I don't think anything I'd say there would be a surprise to anyone in this thread. But honestly, I'm willing to put up with a "not the greatest" rules set to be able to play with friends from all over the country. Big West was amazingly fun. I was super looking forward to Nationals this year. I moved to California a couple years ago, and found a wonderfully welcoming larp community that let me continue playing a character from my days in Caldaria. I had a blast going to Utah for an event, and was looking forward to going to Seattle and maybe Oregon this year. The player community for Alliance has a lot of great people and I'd like them to stay being able to play together, unless there is a really good reason they shouldn't.

I don't care who owns Alliance as long as they are not hurting the community, and preferably are helping the community grow and be a better place for all of us to come play together. I care about the community.
 

Sita

Scholar
I would ask to make the owners forums, and votes public to all players.
This would be really helpful from a transparency perspective. Even if players can't participate, being able to see the process and personalities involved in play would make situations like this a hell of a lot less of a "who said/did what" scenario.
 

Gilwing

Administrator
Alliance Logistics
Alliance Owner
This would be really helpful from a transparency perspective. Even if players can't participate, being able to see the process and personalities involved in play would make situations like this a hell of a lot less of a "who said/did what" scenario.
This is currently being discussed by the chapter owners and a vote will be coming shortly after.
 
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James Trotta

Spellsword
Diversity Committee
Let’s not build straw man arguments please. I’m good with tough questions and hard conversations. I have a problem when people pretend they are looking for a solution but they are unwilling to have a real conversation. So yeah let’s have a discourse, but let’s be honest about what we say and why we say it.

I got involved here because of false and hurtful claims related to the diversity committee. These false claims can make us feel bad and interfere with our work. So smother discourse? No. Honest discourse? Yes. Tough questions? Sure. Demands for a better game? Yes please. But is everyone on this thread trying to build a better Alliance?
My perspective here is that essentializing the situation ignores the scale of the issue and is in effect attempting to smother discourse about these events under the guise of a toxic positivity of 'if you can't say anything nice, then leave'.

But 5 pages of discourse about all this pretty clearly demonstrates that while the subject matter is uncomfortable and difficult, the broad majority of people participating are not critical of people, they are critical of behavior. And being constructively critical of behavior isn't ever a bad thing.

This is not a fun conversation to participate in nor read through but it's still a necessary one, especially because the floor to this was opened when the new owners elected to broach this subject in the manner in which they chose to do it. Multiple chapter owners are noting that attempts to communicate with the new national owners have had variable results, which is indicative that not everyone is getting the dialogue or discourse that's needed and there are reasons for that but if communication is not happening, due diligence was demonstratively not taking place, and actions are being taken based in part or wholly on rumor, then what real upside is there to attempt to have these conversations by other means or methods?

I'll also note here that this is a two-way street. This conversation is as much about the national owners as it is about chapter owners. Both parties have vested financial interests to protect. Moreover, however, chapter owners have a fiduciary obligation to their players who primarily engage with Alliance on a chapter-based, local level. The real focus, in the end, is how this rolls down to players on this level and players have little agency in this situation other than deciding to keep playing or not on a local level. To do that, they need information and they get that information most primarily from their chapter owners and staff cohorts. If those groups can't get that information, which seems to be a consistently reported theme among a number of chapters, then it creates an even more uncomfortable situation that's far and away a bigger deal than 'someone worded something on the Internet in a way I didn't like'. Attempting to squelch the discourse because it's a difficult conversation to have ultimately does a huge disservice to the largest group involved in this situation: the players.
 

RiddickDale

Knight
Moderator
Public Relations Committee
This is also currently being proposed and discussed in the owners forums and should be up for vote in the near future. Thank you very much for your suggestions.
This is why this thread is valuable.

No one can truly wipe away what has happened, but our current chapter owners and National Leadership are here listening right now.

Stephen
 

Auric

Administrator
Alliance Owner
One thing that was important to us coming into this was transparency. So much of what happens at the National level of the organization has been hidden from players for so long. We want to make sure that, going forward, as much as possible is done in full view of the players.

Dave and I were aware of the plans of some chapters to split off prior to our purchase taking place. We were also aware that there was an offer by some of the chapter owners to purchase the game that was rejected. We knew that both of these things had done significant damage to the Alliance, and we decided to attempt to purchase the game despite, and in part because, of all of this.

This organization is very important to us as players, chapter & national staff, and now owners. Our hope was to be able to come in and repair some relationships and to limit the impact of this potential split. We know that there is a lot of work to be done and that it will not be easy. We are also aware that some of our actions in the past have created some challenges, and made all of this harder. We can't undo the past. Those things happened. Those bells have been rung. We just need to learn from those mistakes and move forward to correct things.

Before we move on and talk about our plans for the future, we want to talk briefly about the past. We know that in the next day or so, some chapters are going to be separating themselves from the Alliance and that while those plans have been in motion for a while, our purchase of the game strained and broke some of the relationships that we had with the owners. We want to take this chance, before they leave, to apologize to them for any hurt we’ve inflicted or disrespect they received. I know that both Dave and I will be taking an important lesson away from this and hope that we can rebuild things moving forward.

We have some positive, active momentum built up now with the owners that are staying, and maintaining and expanding those lines of communication is going to be a very important component in keeping the organization moving forward. We are also actively combing the forums and other channels of communications for thoughts and ideas from our community to help the game grow stronger and more transparent. (Please reach out to us if you have ideas. They have been great so far.)

Several concerns have been brought up on this thread. We’ve been reading, and if we have missed anything we’d ask you to bring it to us so we can address it.

We also want to talk about the things that we’ve been doing, mostly behind the scenes so far, to help make changes in line with the concerns that have been raised.

Rulebook/Players Guide

The books need to be finished and made available quickly. We have already contacted the appropriate committees to get them back into action. The good news is that now that the purchase is complete we can make the edits ourselves without running the risk of the original author refusing to make the changes again. We will make announcements regarding release dates as soon as we can.

Transparency

As we stated earlier we have been engaged in on-going discussions with the chapter owners. One of the things that currently being discussed are steps that we can take to help improve our overall transparency going forward. Here is a list of in progress items on that front:

1. Votes will be taking place on the following proposals in the near future:​

a. Making chapter By-laws public​
b. Making future Owner discussions and/or votes public.​

2. We will be creating a stickied post on the National Forums (Likely under announcements) that will include a list of National Staff members, their positions, and responsibilities. This will be posted on or before next Monday (10/19).​

3. We have a number of other suggestions that have been sent to us that we are considering. One of them being a "Suggestion box" where players can send suggestions to the owners and national staff as a whole so they can review them together on a regular schedule. This is something that may take some further development, so we don’t feel comfortable nailing down a timeline right now.​

Our Plans

One of the main reasons we bought this game is because we knew that we could help it grow. We are going to do that by investing in its future. We have seen the organization run contests and ask for submissions for things like coins, logos, posters, etc. Volunteer work from our community has always been great, but we know that some of the improvements we need to make (i.e the website) will need to be handled by paid professionals.

We also want to put more effort into advertising. We would love to be able to print and distribute posters around the country to various places. @Gilwing (and I’m sure others) first found out about the game after seeing a flyer in his local game shop. There is no reason we couldn't do that again. We also want to expand our marketing efforts to include social media so we can help broaden our audience to people who might have never even heard of LARPing before.

Thank you everyone for taking the time to read this post. We hope that this helps to alleviate some of your concerns. We welcome this discussion and the frank feedback we have been recieving. If you have any questions about the above or if you feel there is something we missed, please continue to comment here or reach out to either myself, David, or Stephen.

Thank you,
Matt and David
 

Cedric

Rogue
Marshal
Just even seeing the topics public that the owners are voting on is super helpful. Thank you for taking a step to make it more transparent!
 

Simon

Adept
People shouldn’t be forced to stay in an organization that presents little to no incentive to be in. That’s just business sense. Forcing them to do so out of some sense of tradition or obligation is abusive and toxic, particularly when that organization restricts them to adhere to expectations that run counter to the game they want to be in.
If you are going to make statement like that you are going to have to show me how anyone is being forced to do anything.

Joe Siegel
 

Simon

Adept
Just a perspective here...no chapter owner, plot writer, general manager, or fellow player at any game has ever represented me, nor had any fiduciary responsibility to me. I have been a player in a game run mostly by volunteers (there might have been more paid staff somewhere so I will not say entirely) for a fee. I was therefore a customer.

So this change of ownership...honestly, without hearing about other changes it represents a nothing burger. Now if owners pull their games from the list of ones I can play, that impacts me. If writers up and leave...that might affect me. Same with players. However every single individual person who does so is a unique individual making their own choices. If they are unable to make choices on their own and are controlled in their actions by others that is somewhere between sad and criminal. I will however choose to believe until proven otherwise that everyone is making their own choice.

But the thing is there is allot of attempts at shaming and bullying to be read here in-between the good questions. I mean passion is good...but I find it hard to believe there is not a little malice.

So to ownership...I wish you good luck with the changes and maintenance of what is not worth changing. I would caution all that while it might be possible for them to improve their ability to hear what the players and runners have to say, to expect outright and full on democratization is to doom the whole enterprise, so make sure you allow the writers to write, the runners to run and the players to play.

See ya.

Joe Siegel
 
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