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FltAdml. Wolf

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FltAdml. Wolf last won the day on September 20

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About FltAdml. Wolf

  • Birthday 05/30/1981

Fleet information

Personal information

  • Location
    San Francisco, CA
  • Player's Pronouns
    he/him/his
  • Interests
    sustainability, barn raising, tech & gadgets, singularity, atheism

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  1. Valued members of the StarBase 118 Community, We are sad to report that we've discovered what appears to be intentional tampering with our 2021 Awards nominations. We'd like to help you understand what we found, how it affected the outcome, and how we will ensure it doesn't happen again. BACKGROUND As you know, we use a form on our website to collect nominations. We use a WordPress plugin called "GravityForms" to build this form and manage the entries, and your nominations are stored in WordPress, in the GravityForms plugin database. When it's time to compile the nominations each year, we export the entries and transfer them via a CSV file into a Google spreadsheet. Our Awards Facilitator and their team then collate the nominations and separates them by type (General, Duty Post, etc.). In addition to storing entries in GravityForms, email notifications are generated from each nomination and sent to the original nominators for their records. An additional email record is sent to a private archive. We were alerted by a member that they were not on the list of people who were due to receive a nominator badge, despite receiving email confirmation of their nomination. We verified that the nomination had generated an email notification from the nomination form but was not present in our database of nominations in GravityForms. INVESTIGATION We then began an investigation to try and determine how we could be missing nominations in our database that had been properly entered into our form. Two staff members conducted a full audit of our backup archive of email notifications against what's in our database, and it became clear that a total of eight nominations were missing from our database and therefore not considered by the various committees that review and select award winners. These nominations were for two members, and half the missing nominations were for one member and one award. We also conducted an audit of our 2020 Awards nominations to see if we could find any missing ones there, and found none missing. As we investigated, we found that a former staff member who had left the group last year somehow had access to WordPress at the level required to delete GravityForms entries, despite having been removed from all staff-level access upon their departure – a fact that had been confirmed twice on separate occasions after that. We also found that this player had a secondary forum account from the one they had used as a staff member, and that this player had been logging in to our forums repeatedly around the time of the awards. And, perhaps most damningly, we found server access records that clearly linked the IP address used to log into that forum account to deleted entries in our WordPress Community News queue. Hoping someone would not be malicious enough to delete award nominations for a friend and former colleague in our community, we investigated other possibilities. But we could not establish a compelling, alternative theory on how these nominations disappeared. If the error had been technical, we would not expect to see only two people – from the same ship – affected: The nominations came from several people, who also had other nominations for other players, some for the same award or award category; The nominations were submitted on different days and different times, so where we originally suspected this could be due to overload at peak times of nomination submissions, this is not the case; Those whose nominations were missing received other nominations present in the lineup, both from the same nominators, and others. While we are fairly confident that the pattern of missing nominations, the login pattern on the forums coinciding with the awards release, and the relationship the former player in question had to those affected are pretty convincing evidence of guilt, we don't have an open-and-shut case. WordPress does not have native login tracking, and there are no logs to show records being deleted manually. As such, we are choosing not to reveal the identity of the player we believe may have been tampering with our site. There was extensive conversation amongst the Captain’s Council on this matter, and though some members considered the evidence that we have to be clear enough to name the player in question, we have decided to avoid doing so due to the fact that this evidence is circumstantial. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT The Captain's Council is mortified and upset to discover two members of our community were not properly considered for nominated awards this year due to the nefarious interference of a former member. We have made a personal apology to the two affected players, and we're making it again now in this public forum. Of course, our awards process is one of our most honored traditions in the group and we don't want anything to impact it now, or going forward. As such, we intend to make the following changes to our process immediately: We will increase the time between the closing of the nomination period and the beginning of the Awards Ceremony by one week. This will give us more time to audit the data we have and allow the Staff more time with the administration of awards, ensuring we're not adding stress where we can avoid it. We will change the access to WordPress in the coming weeks and, specifically, move the Awards Nomination Panel to its own WordPress subsite with access available to fewer people. We have already begun a process – and will continue to iterate on it – to strengthen our access control, safeguarding our community by removing members who have retired or taken long-term leave. The Captains Council also has a process of reviewing the awards post-ceremony each year – examining what went well and considering what needs improvement – and we'll be starting this sooner than we normally do, to ensure the most recent Awards Ceremony is fresher in our minds, for the sake of coming up with other recommendations on how to ensure the integrity of our process. Sincerely, Members of the Captains Council
  2. Congratulations on three years! And thank you for the kind words
  3. Ever since I handed off the production of the Awards Ceremony to an "Awards Facilitator" – in 2012, I believe – I've been writing a section for special thanks. Looking over those past notes of thanks I've written, they've grown considerably from 2012's very modest couple of lines mentioning the assistance I received, to 2020, which included a detailed description of the rather insane lengths we go to produce this event – our largest, oldest, and most special event of the whole year. This year I want to jump right into the thanks without further ado because the folks who have helped here deserve nothing less than the world. Let's start with @Jo Marshall, Emily, comparable only to Captain Marvel in feats of strength and focus! From appointment as the Awards Facilitator in May, Em took the job of coordinating everything with aplomb, ensuring that each step of the process runs smoothly. If you've read last year's special thanks, you know that Em also facilitated last year and so now has managed two years without a hitch! It's really hard to imagine, if you haven't done this kind of thing, all the plates you need to keep spinning at once but also how much "manual labor" is required. At the staff level of this community, we value making things as easy and expeditious for each other as possible. We have dozens and dozens of administrative forms that allow us to easily catalog data and format it into tables. We have administrative forums, where we organize threads of data. We have Google Sheets galore where everything must be ordered and colored correctly. The goal here is often to present data and tasks to others in a way that feels as seamless and easy as possible, but often it means putting in a hell of a lot of work to move data from one place to another in a format that works. You can't describe it as anything other than a labor of love to help other people participate in the Awards process, even when it means spending a lot of time to make that work. A former boss of mine once wrote in an evaluation that I have a "high tolerance for bureaucratic process," and now I want to pass along this rather backhanded compliment to Em, who never complains, is good natured, funny, quick to volunteer and adapt to the challenges posed. She navigates the intricacies of this bureaucracy with ease and ensures that the rest of us can pick up exactly where we need to. I can't help but feel an affinity for her, and a deep appreciation for her skilled dedication to what we're trying to accomplish when it comes to the awards and any other task she takes on. Next, I want to thank everyone who had a hand in the selection of our awards and other setup: @Addison MacKenzie (Matt): Who assisted Em with the entire process and helped to get everything posted The Awards Committee: Who carefully read a lot of nominations and made the best choices for those awards. Thanks to each of the following people who put in extra effort for this part of the process and it is a HUGE lift to read all these nominations. VAdml. @Quinn Reynolds Com. Aron Kells @Tony, aka Kells Com. @Jalana Rajel Cmdr. @Kelrod Cmdr. @Serala Our Commanding Officers: Who not only tirelessly command and manage their ships, but also ensure that members of their ship are justly rewarded for their contributions during the awards – which requires reading lots of nominations and balancing them all appropriately, all while simming and everything else they do! Thank you for your dedication, your enthusiasm, and the work you put into this process and everything else you do. I know that this is an incredible lift for all of us each year, and your efforts do not go unnoticed! Our First Officers: Who help advise the Executive Council in deciding what Staff Awards are received, by reviewing all the nominations and making recommendations. Thank you so much for all the hard work you put into considering the nominations! Everyone who nominated someone else: Your nominations really do matter! These nominations inform the entire process and help the staff and Awards Committee recognize the contributions we couldn't possibly have seen alone. Thank you for putting in that time. There's also a couple other "special thanks" for the year on behalf of the Executive Council. I recognize that putting these at the end of our Awards Ceremony, at the bottom of other thanks, sends a signal about their importance. But I want to counter that impression by saying that the fact these are being mentioned here, and chiseled in the stone of Wiki Mountain in our Awards Ceremony archive, should also say something about how important these notes are! Cmdr. Serala (Jim) deserves recognition for stewarding the crew of the USS Chin'toka after their commanding officer abruptly resigned without notice. Jim's loyalty to our community and skilled intervention helped ensure a smooth transition to Capt. Mei'konda. We want to thank him for making that transition as easy as possible for everyone Capt. @Oddas Aria (Nick) deserves recognition as the EC's Captain At Large who keeps the most consistent and well-communicated office hours for Captains Council questions! Com. @Roshanara Rahman (Rich) deserves thanks for taking on the EC Magistrate role, facilitating and helping to push forward boatloads of to-do items across 2020-2021, keeping us on task and making sure things got completed in a timely fashion as well as taking lead on a bunch of projects. Also, for being an open-minded individual who helped foster meaningful discussions that helped our staff understand other's points of view And Com. Taybrim also had these thanks to offer: So that's a wrap. Awards are presented, thanks are given, and we now head into our 27th year of operation as a community. I hope you all enjoy your time here and feel recognized and rewarded for your efforts, and that the joy of being in fellowship with each other is a reward of its own. Until next year! -FltAdml. Tristan Wolf
  4. Our formatting is standardized across the fleet and you can find a full explanation here: https://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php?title=Training_Tutorial_1
  5. I don't think it's a reference to anything specifically, but Teller can let us know if I'm wrong. You can use your own character if you want or create a new character – does not have to include yours or reference your current simming environment in any way.
  6. If you need inspiration, you can read previous Writing Challenge entries in our contest archive!
  7. If you're interested in helping create new Polls of the Week, just reply here – no need to include your email address (we'll grab it from your ship's email list).
  8. Every time I see the title of this thread on the unread threads list, it gives me a giggle.
  9. This is our automated feed from theCommunity News - you’ll want to post in this thread: 😉 https://forums.starbase118.net/index.php?/topic/20338-poll-of-the-week-best-jeffrey-combs-character/
  10. Hello! Your application was approved over 12 hours ago. Please check your spam/junk folders for the approval letter
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