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FltAdml. Wolf

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Everything posted by FltAdml. Wolf

  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
  11. Quite easy – just create the address you want and let your CO know and they will facilitate the change. Here on the forums you go to your settings and you'll be able to update it. If you have any trouble just email me at t.wolf@starbase118.net from your current/old address and let me know your new address and I'll update it for you.
  12. https://deadline.com/2020/07/star-trek-prodigy-nickelodeon-series-animation-comic-con-cbs-1202993144/
  13. I've had lots to say in past ceremonies about @Quinn Reynolds (Emma), but this awards presentation by @Tony (Kells) (Tony) really hits different! Emma is the perfect person to be the inaugural winner for this award. Like award's namesake, Elinor of Kanist, Emma is gracious, hard working, and incredibly wise. Her keen intellect has guided my thinking in many situations, and I've learned a lot from the way she approaches a problem. I'm very grateful she's a member of the EC, and an incredible captain. Many thanks to her for everything she's brought to the group over the years. Like Tony, I wasn't quite sure what to make or @Roshanara Rahman way back in the day. His strong opinions often challenged my long-standing positions, but I soon came to understand how valuable this new insight was. Like Emma, Rich is the perfect person to the the inaugural recipient of this award since he embodies the 'multiple disciplines' angle so strongly. Rich is a Renaissance Man who has his hands in everything, and does all of it so well. He's tireless, creative, proactive, and approaches everything from a place of collaboration. Congratulations Rich, you deserve this! I'll admit I was skeptical of @Oddas Aria's (Nick) Capstone Project. Our recent Fleetwide Plot Arcs have been difficult to manage and put a drain on everyone. But Nick found a new way of making a FWPA work, and pulled it off expertly! Between that and his other work around the fleet, including the CAL position and managing a recent launch – the USS Arrow – I'm really impressed with what he's done. Congratulations on earning this award Nick! @Jarred Thoran (Richard) has had a real trial by fire, and certainly earned this award in the past year! He was a "captain transplant," something we don't do very often, particularly with first-timers, but he managed it with aplomb. The Executive Council was impressed with his introspective, analytical leadership style that combined both technical ability but also a sophisticated take on management with empathy and compassion. The results on the Atlantis have proven his skill, and he definitely deserves this award! Congrats Richard. From a former recipient of the Chief's Citation, congratulations @Randal Shayne (Quinn)! He has seen a lot of OOC areas of the fleet this past year, and is learning a lot from each of these interactions – I'm looking forward to seeing how these skills get put to use in the coming months and years as a leader in the community. @Sal Taybrim (Jamie) winning the Sarek Star is perfect alignment with this award's intention. The goal of this award is to reward and uplift those folks who have found a way to navigate with grace the weird and wonderful world of politics in our community – for the sake of encouraging everyone to learn the best way to make change and improvements in a diplomatic way – and Jamie certainly has. I'm thankful that she is using her many years of experience in role playing groups to keep us on the path to bettering ours! Last but not least, Nick winning the Christopher Pike Pendant goes to show how well-rounded he is consideration of his other win this year! I love this nomination that Rich mentioned: “He is humble, exceedingly competent and possessed of a fighting spirit. For every hit, problem and issue, Nicholas has the patience to face it and the desire to find the best answer possible.” What a testament to what he's brought to the Eagle and Juneau crew! Congratulations to him for a great year – looking forward to many more
  14. Valued members of our community, I hope you've enjoyed reading through this year's awards ceremony. I know it's a lot of text, a lot of recognition, just a lot to read overall! But, in particular, I hope what you take away from this ceremony is the full feeling of gratitude and appreciation that pours out from what we're doing. I'd imagine it's hard to understand, before you reach the command levels of our community, just how much work is going on behind the scenes to pull off everything we do. But let me pull back the curtain and point out just how much this exercise is choreographed: Our process begins in April by reviewing the past year's ceremony, the suggestions we got from the community, and the list of awards to decide if we need to retire or add any. The Captains Council discusses these things at length – considering what's working and what's not – before we have to refresh the nominations form, check all of our award pages, begin preparing our news posts and fleetwide emails, and then launch the process. From there it's a sprint to the end of the nominations process, pushing everyone in the fleet to participate – uncovering memories from weeks and months ago of ways that people impressed us, reviewing each of our peers and trying to understand the impact they've made on our community. All the while, our staff is ensuring that every angle is covered in nominations and that each person who has earned an award gets nominated. Things really get hectic once nominations close as our Awards Facilitator – Jo Marshall, this year – picks an Awards Committee and starts collating the nominations. There are at least 100 tasks that must be done in a line before we actually get to the ceremony, involving every member of the command staff, with some folks being buried in the work, like Kirk opening an overhead compartment to reveal thousands of tribbles. At the end of the day, we are all exhausted, but filled with gratitude for the opportunity to make entirely clear how much we appreciate everyone's contributions. Although we go to great lengths throughout the year to try and help each of you understand how much we value the time and effort you expend to write the perfect sims, we also know the magic of coming together for this recognition – to write down in the annals of our history that "this person was amazing, and we want to thank them for that." It's no trivial effort – as much as we want you to think that it is! – and I hope that those of you who earned awards can take some time to look back over the history of the award you won, maybe read some of the presentation from those past ceremonies, and know that someday someone else will be doing the same with your name. Welcome to the Hall of Honor, you've earned it. Before we close, I'd like to mention some commendations and "credits" where they're due: First and foremost, to Jo Marshall, who stage managed this process – collating, coordinating, logisticating, pontificating, and memeing every step. She brought a whole new character to the role and upped the ante for all those who come after her. I have deep empathy for the person in this position, and even deeper thanks for all of the hard work put in to make sure that every detail is perfect and correct. Thank you, Jo Marshall, for everything you've done to make this "show" go off without a hitch! To our Awards Committee, that read through 22 awards worth of nominations and carefully voted to award the Duty Post and Special awards. You've done a great service puting in this time and consideration, and helping our community come to the best decision. To our Deputy Awards Facilitators, who helped Jo Marshall with the incredible lift of bringing this ceremony to fruition, making sure that all the nominations were properly collated and checked against our rules, and that everything was where it needed to be! To our Commanding Officers, who have been tireless and extremely gracious throughout the whole thing. Your efforts are priceless in how much care and time you've put in. Thank you for everything you've done here, and everything you do to maintain this thing we've all built. This is an amazing thing we have and I hope you know how rare and precious it is to have a "round table" like we're experiencing right now. To our First Officers, who judged the Staff Awards and every other day of the year help make what we do possible. Thank you for being our cheerleaders, our assistants, our defenses, our collators, and our partners in this. I look forward to the day when you sit in the captain's chair and look in gratitude at the person in your seat. And finally, my last thanks is to you, dear members! You make it all worthwhile. The joy you bring, and the joy you experience fuels every moment of this. I look forward to many more years in service to this community. Until next year… 🖖 - Jordan, FltAdml. Tristan Wolf
  15. This year we had two sets of special commendations we wanted to give out alongside our awards: Written by Fleet Captain Sal Taybrim: Jalana Rajel - for incredible dedication year after year to The (Image) Collective. She's consistently helpful with graphics of all kinds: New awards, character portraits, and more! And, she's consistently a friendly and helpful staff member for StarBase 118. German Galven and Nijil from StarBase 118 Ops: Who took the lead in cheerleading the awards and nominations process, and assisted in writing up the shipwide awards ceremony for Ops. Alex Blair from the USS Constitution: Who assisted Jalana in cheerleading the awards and nomination process on the USS Constitution and also assisted her in writing up the Constitution's shipwide awards. Also, German Galven for his work on the News Team: He has been an integral part of meeting our goals every month and uplifting others through an unending series of interviews! Written by Commander Randal Shayne, new CO of the USS Arrow: LtCmdr. Quentin Collins: Justin has been nothing short of an exemplary first officer from the beginning. He has had a hand in everything from award cheer leading to mentoring to discussing command decisions and making suggestions for our new region. And, on top of it, he stepped up without hesitation when the launch of the Arrow was moved up. All around fantastic. LtCmdr. Kim Chin-sun: James has been similarly helpful in the launch process. Specifically, his input and work in terms of mentoring cannot be overstated. Because of him, we can help guide newer officers effectively from the beginning. On a more personal note, I'd like to extend my personal gratitude to Marissa (Cmdr. Ash MacKenna) who has been spiritually supportive to me, and, from what I understand, functionally essential to the Juneau.
  16. Thank you so much @Sal Taybrim, et al! It's been a pleasure and an hour to serve the community and see it grow and change after all these years. I truly appreciate this award 😊 Congrats again to @Quinn Reynolds and @Jalana – five years is so amazing, and you're an asset to our group and wonderful leaders and people to boot! Thank you for everything you've done over those years to help build this community. I know it's a lot of hard work on a day-to-day basis and it does not go unnoticed how well you've done it! Huge congratulations to all the LOS winners, in particular @Nyka Wyss (15 years!!!); @Roshanara Rahman, @Dassa Alexander-Dalton, and Loxley for their 10-year accomplishment. What trip it is to have folks along for the ride for this long. @Geoffrey Teller, all your hard work this year has paid off! Thank you for everything you put into the Embassy and the Thor transition. It's been a real pleasure watching your progress. @Alieth, thank you for all the beautiful work you've brought to the group. Having your artistic flair here has been a joy. Your kindness and patience is very appreciated. @Blake, you deserve all the plaudits for the years of work you've put into the wiki. Like a tree that we planted years ago, its branches are now providing shade to nearly every corner of the fleet – and you've tended and watered it along the way. You have much to be proud of! @Samira Neathler, thank you for your continued commitment to training. As part of our team of training officers, you've made it possible to grow the fleet over the past few months and your attention to detail and willingness to volunteer has not gone unnoticed. @Jo Marshall, I've said everything I'm going to say about you 😜 Congrats to each of the Xalor winners – thank you for continuing to add your voice and creativity even in the face of these challenges.
  17. Possibly the worst part of the ceremonies for me is the fact that I can't personally thank and congratulate each and every person individually without it becoming way too tedious for our audience 🤣 Nonetheless, I want to congratulate you all for your hard work this year. Not only have your community peers recognized your writing, your contributions to the fleet, or both!, but your captain has acknowledged that you've made a real difference for your ship. This community doesn't work without folks like you who are dedicated to what we're doing and putting the enthusiasm and good cheer needed to make this a place people want to be. So thank you so very much for everything you're doing.
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