Well we are a group of gamers, that's for sure. We are here to enjoy our time together online. However, there are more things we have in common besides being a gaming group.
Right off the bat, if anyone is wondering why we are "exiles" or "in exile", You should ask the members to shed light on that issue, preferably asking multiple sources, because everyone holds their own opinion and reasoning for our position. The only important thing to say is that we are exiles by choice, not because we were forced to be.
So what are we then? Put simply, we're a group of people that is based on the foundation of trust and respect for one another. We don't have ranks, numbers or positions to identify ourselves with, because we treat each other as mature adults with dignity, and contrary to popular belief, this statement does not clash with some of the specific text below.
All of this may sound a little corny, but that's essentially how things are.
As far as gaming goes, we do not perform any type of trial runs in "skill" examinations or investigations. Age is also not a factor in being one of our members. Everyone is able to join our group as long as they are able to behave themselves in a mature manner. That means there is no room for egos or attitudes, and they are usually not tolerated for an extended amount of time.
We are also big enthusiasts of sportsmanship. That means there is absolutely no room for any type of cheating (in reference to online gaming of course) or spying. While the information gathered from possible hostile groups would be useful, the act of espionage is in itself derisory, and therefore has no place with us. We have no use for such exploits, especially because they require tricking other people into believing a lie.
Purposefully taunting and insulting other individuals inside or outside of the STR is not something that is condoned as well. While it is true we are all human, and when tempers fly many things are said, it is an admirable attribute to be able to rise above all of it, and maintain integrity.
It should also be mentioned that we are an entity which sponsors moderation as well. The following is a brief outline of how the entire system functions:
The moderators we have are there to facilitate games going smoothly. From experience the STR moderators and long term members will tell you that for the vast majority of the games we play, it just isn't practical to have a self policing division. The moderators are taken from the membership, and the moderating position encompasses all of the members. Each member is given the opportunity to work for, and with their friends by taking the responsibility of moderating.
The real reason behind having a system of moderation is easy to grasp. We aren't perfect. We make mistakes in selection and people change, but every STR member who feels that their moderator is not being a "true STR moderator" can speak to other moderators or The Arbiter. Understand that moderators are there for practical reasons, not to be the dictator of their selective group. STR moderators should never really have to be anything more than an example and role model. There will only be moderation in cases where people aren't acting like we expect a member of the STR to act. I.e. Racism, Sexism, Homophobia and General intolerance. An STR member should have honor and integrity. They should feel free and equal. When you take the name of STR you take the responsibility that comes with it. Within the STR a moderator should never be forced to take responsibility for others. Moderate yourselves, and we won't have to.
Subsequently, the position of The Arbiter should be explained.
The Arbiter is chosen by the entire STR group (the entire membership count is offered the poll, from all of the games we play) through a vote. The Arbiter is sort of the guardian of the STR, ensuring things run in the intended way and the community works. This includes establishing a permanent home and domain registration (as well as working together with the technical administrators to keep the sites operational and useful), establishing appropriate discussion forums as required, and driving consensus throughout the community to avoid division and segregation of the overall community in order to facilitate people congregating and enjoying themselves.
That about wraps up the responsibilities that are distributed within our community.
The most important thing to know about our gaming habits as well is that we do not strive to be the best in the community. It is far more important to respect others and to be respected in return. We are not strangers to this, and have friendships with many other clans. Competition is not the most important thing, although it is welcome when it is conforming to the ideas written above.
We're a good group. We have been, for quite a long time. Please take the time and chance to get to know us.
Written by SSX-Killjoy
Becuase you enjoy chatting and playing with friends.
This is pretty self explanatory. We are all here becuase we are friends with each other. We play with part of all of the STR in one game or across various games. Just like any good friendship you know we are worthy of your trust and loyalty. We don't push our ideas on you, nor do we make requirements upon your time.
You play when you play, and if we are on, we play as well. If something comes up in life and you are absent for awhile, you are not dropped from the STR. If you find that your parents have grounded you from games, we don't remove you from the STR. Only you can remove yourself from the STR.
Because you want to be part of something that will stick around longer than the game you are playing.
If you have not played a lot of games online then you may not have had the pleasure of being asked to join a guild or group only to have them break apart a month later due to internal squabbles, or lack of playing, or whatever. This is not a pleasant experience. Particularly if you are friends with those that invited you in.
The STR has been around for a very long time. Although the mantle of STR is a fairly new, the SSC that we spawned from has been around a very long time. There are people who are part of the STR who have been playing games together for almost 20 years! There are more than a few that are called old timers on the forums, not becuase of our age.
Those who struck out from the SSC to become the STR have experience many of the things that happen to online gaming guilds/groups. We have seen mass exoduses, people causing problems for other members, server changes and people leaving only to come back shortly after. We have learned through sad experience how stick together, and what it takes to allow a group of people to exist longer than your typical guild/group. The STR is not going anywhere anytime soon.
Because you enjoy having fun!
I realize this probably sounds funny, but over the years of being together the one ironclad truth about playing games is that if you aren't having fun, you aren't likely to play the game. This is true for those that you spend your time with online either in chat on the forums, or any of the myriad of ways there are to communicaton on the internet.
Our goal in the STR is to have fun. For those who are looking for a power gaming group, we are not the ones for you. We are not here to be the best, to make the most in game money, to have the best equipment, or just simply to the best of the best. Again, from sad experience we have learned that this will tear a group apart faster than you can say "Boo!" We have seen it time and time again, and trust us, it isn't worth it.
Because we are organized.
"Organized? Where? I don't see any leaders?" you may ask, but trust us the organization is there. However our organization is not set in stone, as it were. We do have positions such as an Arbiter, Group leaders (ie those whose whole purpose is to support the group), and moderators. The main difference is these are not positions of power. These people are in place becuase we voted them to be in there, or they are rotated into that position. Outside of the few people who maintian the group websites (or main site) every position in our organization can be held by another.
This may seem a bit odd if you are used to set structured heirachy of people to follow, but we have learned that this a very flexible and easy to maintain system. Becuase games come and go, as well as people, we are never stuck with a gap in our organization. If someone leaves, we can vote or rotate someone into their place quickly and efficiently. It also helps promote the idea that it is upto everyone to help others.
Because we believe in helping the little guy.
Everyone no matter how many years they have been online playing games can't help but be made to feel like a newbie in a new game. Although play mechanics are not all that different from game to game, the nuances in a game make a big impact. We as the STR believe in helping the next person in hopes that in helping them we ensure that they enjoy their time in the game.
Depending on the game we may help by providing funds or equipment, or follow you through the the world showing you cool things, helping you gain experience, or more. Often times were are out there in the gaming worlds helping those who aren't even members of the STR. We believe in spreading the fun to everyone in any game we play in. Sometimes helping others has helped us gain members, sometimes it hasn't, but we definitely have gained great reputations in the games we have played because of it. In fact, if you check the credits for Freespace 2, we have a mention in them under the name Shattered Star Confederation.
Some of our members also develop games!
There are members of the STR who are actively participating in the development and releases of games. Not to mention there are more than a few that are beta testers for other developers.
It's only a game.
Written by Inquisitor
That gets said a lot. It gets used a lot to defend peoples actions when they do something that upsets someone. Sometimes it's close cousin gets used: it's only an internet forum.
To a great extent, it's very true. Nothing in a game should cause grief, games should be entertaining, enjoyable, relaxing, challenging. They shouldn't be mean spirited and they shouldn't make you angry. If it stops being fun, stop doing it.
We play games together for a reason, however. This is a safe haven for us. A place to shield ourselves from the jerks, the dicks, the people who get enjoyment from disappointing others, the folks who feed off of anger and pain. You know who they are, each game type has them, and each forum seems to attract its share. We're all here because we believe we're NOT those people. We're here because we believe we're better than that, and we believe we have surrounded ourselves with likeminded folks.
Sometimes, however, we make mistakes. Sometimes people aren't likeminded, and that causes tension. This is our haven though, our sanctuary, our home, in a philosophical way. I don't know about you, but when people come into my home and start yelling, upsetting my guests and my friends, I get a little angry.
This, this place, is not "just a forum" and the games we play may just be games, but we play them together to avoid the trolls and the fools. So, while it may "just" be a game in any one instance, the way we have chosen to play that game means we take our relationships seriously. We take THIS seriously. It's our haven, our sanctuary, our home.
Words of advice, though, try not to take individual games, game mechanics, or game happenings too seriously, remember we are all here for the same reasons (or should be) and cut each other a lot of slack. Don't let any ONE game, any ONE act, any ONE mechanic, destroy the good will and friendship we have (or are trying to) build here. If it stops being fun, stop doing it, even if for only a short while.
If anyone actually has a problem, for goodness sake, tell someone, don't let it fester and then leave in some kind of fury after months of buildup. We may not be able to fix it, but at least we will try. Give us a chance, it's a good bet you are here because we do share that vision of playing games to have fun, and if your fun is being ruined by someone or something, I'd rather try to fix that than lose a comrade. The internet is full of jerks, the good people are few and far enough between. Again, we may not be able to fix it, but you can be sure we'll make some kind of attempt. It is "only a game".
Anyway, that may not make any sense, and it may seem contradictory, maybe it is, this is all a very fragile balancing act. Remember that people take it seriously beyond the simple game mechanics, and remember that we are all here to have fun.