2004 Admin Meeting
Over the weekend of July 17 and 18 2004, several of our dedicated Administrators gathered, braving wildfires and mosquitoes to hold the Second Annual Administrative meeting. This extraordinary team of individuals are those who keep the site functioning, friendly, and fun for us all, and their dedication to this site through our period in exile is only one of many things that we should honor them for. This annual Administrative meeting is the one time a year that our administrative staff gathers to make crucial decisions about the site and community, and plan out the next year of activities. Members of the Administrative team travelled not only from all around the United States, but from all around the world to meet in Southern California. Keeper of the Chronicles Elyna al'Tzoran and Master at Arms Val a'Shain both travelled all the way from the Netherlands to attend this meeting, and Assistant to the Mistress of Novices Moradi Lopanes came from Norway to be present.
The meeting itself has been reported to have lasted about seven hours, but apparently these were not gruelling hours spent with everyones noses pressed to the grindstone as some previous administration meetings may have been. Eleyan Al'Landerin, The Amyrlin Seat, commented, “We were in the mountains, sitting in the sunshine and drinking soda, wine, and nibbling on lunch” in relation to the atmosphere of the Administrative meeting. She went on to say that this meeting was “probably a lot more enjoyable than most such meetings.” So all in all, it appears not to have been a torturous seven hours of work. “So much was accomplished in about half the time as last years meeting”. Lyoness t’Morsin, Chief Information Officer, commented about the efficiency of the meeting. Cutting the time in half over a one year period shows the great improvement of our ever-evolving Admin team. Val Gaidin also mentioned this improvement and pointed out that it is a further “step in becoming a more professional organization.”
The outcome of the meeting was described by all those involved in positive words and as a successful gathering, many participants having expressed a sincere fondness of the memories of the event. Val Gaidin acknowledged a further benefit of holding the annual administrative meeting in person rather than online: putting a face with a name. “You can do a lot online, but once you meet each other in person, the picture becomes a bit more clear,” Val commented. Another such positive comment that really sums up the administrative team’s feelings about the nature of the meeting, was when Pylar al'Stnap, Assistant to the Amyrlin Seat, mentioned, “I feel really good about what was decided.” Then Pylar Sedai went on to add, “Everything has that “oh, wow, that is perfect” feeling.”
Some, if not all, of the improved efficiency of the meetings is due to the excellent and diverse group of individuals that attended the meeting. As Mother commented, “We had a fantastic group of people with many professional skills to bring to the table.” This grouping of professionals at the meeting were able to blaze through the entire agenda, making decisions as they went and then reportedly touching on several issues that were not on the official meetings agenda. But while the meeting was said to be extremely productive and succesful, administrators were reluctant to elaborate on what the decisions made, or what they were in regards to. When pinned down for an answer, most of the meetings attendees said only to keep an eye on the Site Announcements forum, and that all that was going to be released would be released in due time. Already these announcements have begun to be posted by the Tower Voice, Mellyn al'Baya, and Mother in the forum.
On July 25, Mellyn Sedai announced a new administrative department and its appointments. This new department was decided upon at the admin meeting as a part of the plan to revise the administrative structure of TarValon.net. The new department is going to be co-headed by Tower Librarian, Lyssandra Darai, who is the new Director of Research, along with the Tar Valon Times’ own editor, Adriana al’Tere, the newly appointed Director of Communications. July 17 saw Mother announce a new structure of the Admin forums. She noted that although not many people will be able to see the changes, “it still took most of several days and does effect you.” The changes include the formation of new departments, the division of the administration forum into five parts, and then making user groups with different permissions for different administrative roles.
Beyond this only Mother was willing to give us a bit more information of just what was discussed and decided upon at the meeting this year. “The bigger things decided included co-locating our server, moving everything related to TarValon.net to our server and URL, creating a new IT department, creating a new department of Research and Information, de-arranging our current administrative structure, discontinuing mandatory Gray Ajah counselling, and coming up with a definitive decision on whether or not we will allow people to change Ajahs/Companies after they reach Senior Member.” Mother said the answer to the question of senior members changing Ajahs or Companies was, in fact, a no. Mother also stated that “We have also decided to create a 4th company as our garrison is growing at a faster rate than it has in the past.” The name and details of this new company remain unknown at this time.
The question of finances is something all of our administrators were be aware of. According to Mother’s enthusiastic response, “We’re doing okay!” This was also the primary attitude that Oskana Tyra, Tower Treasurer, held, noting that the actual numbers can all be found in the TarValon.net 2004 annual report, which can be found in the Site Announcements thread and was posted on July 20. Mother went on to say “we do not have a lot of money, but we’re able to operate without going into debt and without me personally having to foot the costs.” Mother ensures that this really is a good place to be financially, continuing to state that our stability is “something that not many sites our size can say [they have], especially without the benefit of advertising.” Every time a member posts on the message boards without being annoyed by a pop up ad is a point of pride that our administrators can certainly appreciate and that all members can be thankful for.
Finally, with this Second Annual Administrative meeting coming just after our period in exile, it begs the question of how much the exile drained our resources and finances. Mother did note that the exile did in fact cost the tower “several hundred dollars.” Then she went on to remind that TarValon.net’s Legal Counsel, Alyena Dashcova, and Tower Treasurer, Oskana Tyra, were both working very hard to recover that money. In regards to co-locating out own servers, Mother also acknowledged that the Tower will be “shelling out some significant money.” She went on to say, however, that “the company we're working with is giving us a good deal, and one of our more senior members works there. I think we'll end up avoiding a repeat of this summer.”
All in all, the meeting seems to have been a great success for our ever-evolving community here at TarValon.net. We have some large changes coming, still to be seen that in the meantime will be something to look forward to. As a whole this great community is as still strong as ever. The tower remains unbroken.