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reposted from the WHF thread which can be found here: forum.wolfhome.com/viewtopic.p…

ive had the domain and chat velkacis for a little over a year now i believe, i recognize people have been anxiously awaiting updates for it for ages. i am running the chat alone and i feel somewhat isolated from the chatlands community as a whole so its very hard to know how to tackle a project which is very dependent on this platform. ive been around a long time, i watched situations with wolfhome, serenity, mystical realms, and lupinar all have their ups and downs. these are all communities i deeply loved and wanted to honor with velkacis, but ive come to a realization.

i have run into issues with the way i want to take the chat direction and the way i am able to do this under the way chatlands is currently run. i do not mean this about any one particular incident, i have always had this feeling nagging me. i want velkacis to be a chat which embodies the things i have always wished for in a chat. it is very much a personal project to me, and this is hard to integrate when the largest aspect of a graphic chat is that it is social. i think i have seen a lot of sites consider themselves very liberal in terms of what they allow, and i want to be very clear and not give false pretense, i do not think velkacis will be for everyone.

this is the reason i have decided it will stay closed invite from the very beginning. this is why ive been shouldering all of the work by myself for as long as possible. im scared to see it turn into something out of my control. i want velkacis to be small and personable. i want to keep it a space which i enjoy coming to at the end of a day.

so with that in mind, here are some ideas i know i want for velkacis:
-i want velkacis to be an enforced safe space for people of any gender, race, spirituality, and standing otherwise
-i do not want velkacis to feign apolitical standing, i will never tolerate hate speech under the guise of free speech and i will crack down on members who align themself with fascist political ideologies
-i want moderation to be tightly knit, but not an echo chamber. i want people to be able to critique ideas without the fear of losing standing with one another, but still be able to move forward knowing that we all have something we care about. this is one of the things ive had the most issue with, not only on chatlands but other places as well.
-i want moderation and administration to be fully viewed as a social service, not a position of authority. this is also very hard to manage because of the inherent fact which mods are meant to uphold the rules & have the tools for moderation. i have considered shouldering all moderation work alone for the entire duration of velkacis.

many of the ideas i am working with in terms of moderation stem from the way i moderated previous forums and IRC channels, including one which was literally called "hugbox." the idea was highly centered around consideration, self-management, and nourishing the culture of the channel itself simply by being a part of it. for the time being, this is simply something which is understood or is not- if the community can flourish then it can begin to open itself up and bloom- at least that is how i approach it.

i have been highly inspired by communities such as mastodon which are designed to be federated instances which interact with each other; i feel this is the ideal way to approach chatlands as well. every chat offers something different, and you decide which community you want to be a part of, or dont want to be a part of. the power is in your own personal choices and how you handle yourself to become a part of something larger.

the art and stories are secondary to these points, and i feel i have covered most of what i want to get out of the art & theme in the about pages as well. i do not have the means to host velkacis on another engine or pay any artists, programmers, etc. for anything like that. i admit i have been hesitant to accept new artists because i feel they may be robbed if they decide they are not getting what they want out of the site due to my conflicting visions for it. that is the purpose of this thread. i would like an open discussion about what you guys would potentially like to see out of it. i am taking any & all questions, comments, and critiques.

i am considering using another platform hosted by my friend in the future when that becomes an option, but it is a question of the future, and i would rather focus on what i have now for the time being. i will be reworking the rules, guidelines, and terms of service as i begin to further conceptualize what i want out of this project. i have been doing a lot of things in term of storyline and lore behind the scenes in all of my freetime but i dont feel i have enough to share at the moment.

thank you for taking the time to read this. ive been stewing in my own thoughts for this for so long, so i am very much looking forward to others feedback! ♥
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:iconcomux:
Comux Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2018
Ive been watching your site from a distance and have been eager to see what you would bring to the table and honestly, you have a lot of the same viewpoints Ive had for my own chatsite (Levulose), but just like yourself, I have this fear of opening my site and it eventually becoming like every other chatland site.

If I had to give a suggestion on something I would love to see differently with your site compared to others is removing the hierarchy system when it comes to admins and members (which I know you kind of discussed about). I think a lot of admins (not all admins) are thrown into a position on chatlands that makes it hard not to feel power hungry or superior to those below them because of all the abilities given to them and the notoriety they get with that position. For example, I think all chat names for admins and members should be the same colors, that may sound a little silly, but even small things like this make people feel they are more of an equal to admins compared to feeling less than because an admins names has a special color. Also maybe instead of having a ranking system like helper, gamma, beta, and alpha. Every admin could be trained for a period of time and then all admins could be on the same rank level, so there is no hierarchy within the admin ranks either. 

I know this alone would make a lot of positive changes and lead to more equality. I know members and admins would feel less tension and resentment toward one another, because Ive heard so much over the years from members feeling like admins just are superior and I know that causes a lot of issues with trying to keep the community as a whole and keeping the trust between admins and members of the community.
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:icondarkeifie:
darkeifie Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2018
thanks for the feedback. im glad to know there are other sites looking at the state of chatlands and trying to make a push forward, id love to make an affiliates page in time. :]

removing the roles/colours is a good idea and ive one ive been considering, however in the past ive seen it go haywire just the same. i think having different roles is necessary for distributing the work smoothly and i do think each role holds a unique ability, something ive emphasized in velkacis' staff handbook. functionally it makes sense to have coloured usernames so a user who needs help knows who to ask as well. i very much liked serenity's peacekeeper & initiate system and i felt they did perhaps the best job of coming up with an innovative way to use the poorly designed system to the benefit of the site.

on top of that, i like the idea of using the helper role so people can help the site without all the added responsibility of moderating. its just a matter of getting the structure in place and enforcing it correctly. i do not want a relaxed staff because i feel the staff should be held to higher standards than the userbase, something i feel wishspell actually did correctly most of the time (although not always, and MR certainly had its number of problems as they all did). i have learned so much from watching all the different staffs, but ironing out the kinks is going to be a challenge for sure.

i think a lot of the issue stems from chatlands culture already being the way it is, so when it comes time to choose staff ill probably be looking for people with exposure to a lot of different types of systems i think? i dislike that chatlands inherently paints it as a hierarchy/ladder rather than role/position and i wish i could change the names of the roles, but instead ill have to settle for making a page with descriptions of each role. but im going to weigh the pros and cons before i decide for sure however, i may decide to remove the system altogether.
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:iconkobweb:
kobweb Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2018
i wish for a bright future for velkacis but at the same time i'm jaded in that i can't imagine chatlands being any more than what it currently is (or always has been?). your ideas are fresh and they breathe hope but can they withstand the environment chatlands currently drums to? i want to have faith in that your beliefs will manifest a community of support and healing, so i am doing my best to go along with that train of thought.

but i don't know. fleeting websites like "wolfhome secrets" and discord groups created for the purpose to promote the exclusion of others are far too common for comfort. i see this everywhere on the internet anyway and i've come to view the world in poor lighting because of it honestly, so chatlands isn't an exceptional case by no means. i've been an admin on wolfhome as recently as last september (i believe?) and these are current issues that plague the chatlands community. even if the administration at the time was ready to combat these sorts of groups, many of the administrators acted in the same way as the groups themselves did -- targeting users in order cast the blame and ostracize them (i can't elaborate well on this so i hope its not too vague). the admin discord at its worst were full of retribution warriors looking to seek revenge on the userbase and not authority figures bound by rules and regulations meant to "protect" its userbase (definitely not servants of the community). these are only examples of who dominates the chatlands landscape. maybe this is just my way to vent out any left over frustrations and i hope someone out there with a more positive outlook is ready to challenge my beliefs because i'm damned if it never happens.

regardless i am always here to support you at whatever cost it takes, even if it just means i continue to act as its financial aid. i'm not looking for any paybacks and will love whatever you develop. i'm here for your full support even if my view on chatlands is tainted by poor experiences.
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:icondarkeifie:
darkeifie Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2018
thank you. i appreciate your support and im really glad to have the opportunity to at the very least try something like this which has idealistic goals. but i am honestly jaded too and thats why i felt like it was so important to bring up. i think one of the things many chats do is try to make their chat appealing to everyone, pursuing the idea of freedom and egalitarianism. i admire this when it works, but when it goes wrong it goes very wrong.

i like the idea of being able to include everyone in a community, because i view the world in a rosy-tinted glasses kind of way and i want to believe in the best of everyone. but i am not going to cater to people who spread things like hate, drama, etc. ive seen enough. and i dont think velkacis will be free of problems, im not that naive, but i am not going to tolerate people who are actively propagating it. if people want to remain on velkacis they will be forced to look at themselves with regards to the community.

protection and empathy will be huge aspects of velkacis, so much that i've included them in the plot. i want velkacis to be marked by people who are truly willing to extend care to one another, and thats what a lot of the central conflict focuses around. i can only say i know what standards i hold myself to and thats why for the longest time i have considered just running this by myself, but thats not entirely practical for several reasons, and frankly its just lonely. i want velkacis to be something people want to share with one another. "will it be enough?" is truly the question here.
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:icondarkeifie:
darkeifie Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2018
also to elaborate on administration- i think this has been one of the hardest things to combat in chatlands. like i said, its not a new problem, not by a longshot. part of the issue is the way the 'ladder' works (based on /promotions/ and not /distribution/ of duties, which has severe impact on how each position is viewed and this has been pointed out for ages) but also based on the idea that administration and moderation is viewed as something to attain in the first place.

because of the general aimlessness of a graphic chat, i dont think users feel like theyre contributing to a website if theyre not actively a part of the staff, and i want to avoid this with velkacis. i would like to try and find ways to incorporate the story with the userbase (i looked at ARPGs and i think ill do something like this), and have events which dont just have meaningless prizes or ladder rungs which you can climb, but a feeling of inclusion for everyone so they can look at it and say 'i participated in that alongside everyone else and i enjoyed it.' the prize in this case would be interacting with other people and discovering your place in a part of something.

i havent 100% figured out how to ensure this yet, but when you do have these things in place, administration begins to look more like a civic duty which supports the userbase on its back at its own expense. you dont get to participate in them in quite the same way, instead you relish in being able to watch it unfold before you. if you want to be participating in it, youre going to definitely want to be a user because really that is the best position there is.
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