First off, let's talk about responsibilities. Up until now, the GoA - such as it's been - has simply tasked itself with recording every possible piece of information pertaining to the Myst universe in the Archive. In MOUL, that responsibility expanded to include recording chat logs for posterity, and updating the Archive as new information, Ages, and history came out in the game. In that regard, there is still a lot of work to be done, and hopefully with an increased membership, we can get some of the backlog of existing work out of the way before MORE really takes off.
From here we start moving into fuzzier territory. Based on comments made by Rand and RAWA when they gave me the MORE roadmap, which I've taken to the GoMa and GoW, the two Guilds have agreed that the GoA should be included in the upcoming Fan Created Age Licensing (FCAL) panel as an equal partner for the review and approval of story-related content. This panel would be responsible for giving an initial approval to FCA requests, and would be staffed by an equal number of representatives from each Guild (Writers, Maintainers, and Archivists), who would serve limited terms and be chosen by a process that is still in development. In the event that elections or some other form of public selection is chosen, DPWR will need a public forum in which the selection process would take place, and the GoA would need enough members to be able to place people on the panel without compromising the rest of the Guild's operations due to potential conflicts of interest.
In addition to this panel, the GoA will need to develop a system by which Ages that have passed the initial FCAL process will be reviewed to ensure that they comply with the terms of the FCAL they were given. This review system would likely be a general Guild function, wherein a small team would likely give the Age a once-over in conjunction with the Guild of Maintainers inspection team before approving it for public release.
Finally, there will likely need to be some approval method in place for fan-created storylines that don't require the creation of new content for their execution (to use the popular examples, consider J.D. Barnes or Echo McKenzie's roleplaying in MOUL). It is currently unclear whether these stories will need to be submitted to the FCAL panel as with any other request, or whether there would be a more specific Archivist-only (or Archivist-led) approval process for them. I am currently awaiting further information from Cyan regarding their opinion on the matter, and it has been posed to Andy at GoMa and the GoW in general to get their opinions as well.
With these new found responsibilities comes a need for more organized membership criteria. I first want to make one thing very clear: the ability to contribute to the Archive will not be restricted to Archivists only as part of these new policies and responsibilities. The Archive was built on the concept of being open to contributions from anyone in the community, and I would very much like to keep it that way. Beyond that, we're going to need some rules for how people get brought into the Guild itself, and how we decide who will be in charge of individual projects.
My initial thoughts are that anyone who wants to join the Guild can do so. This will afford them marginally increased permissions in the Archive to assist in its maintenance (the ability to protect or remove articles from the Archive, for example), as well as a voice in any open election proceedings to be performed by the Guild, but little else. Guild membership will still be kept separate from forum membership, as I'm sure there are folks here who have no desire to participate in the Guild, but would still like to participate in the forums, and I have no problem with that. For the sake of terminology, let's refer to these entry-level Guild members as Guildsmen (terms subject to change).
The next "level" of Guild membership (this is starting to sound like a PBS pledge drive, but without the awesome tote bags) would be in charge of adding prospective Guild members to the appropriate forum group, as a way to take some of the load off of the Guild Masters in this regard. They would be given extremely limited access to the forum's administration panel for this task, and for this reason, will likely be hand-selected by the Guild Masters for their trustworthiness. Again for the sake of argument, let's call these people Guild Captains.
Thirdly, there would be Guild Masters, who would be in charge of various specific projects within the Archive, or heading up the Archivist arm of a joint GoMa/GoA Age inspection team. These would be go-to people who would help handle the larger operations of the Guild. For example, there might be a Guild Master for the Archive's Timeline project, a Guild Master for the Archive's Chat Log project, and a small handful of additional Masters to help handle inspections, taking assignments on a rotating basis (so if there were 3 Inspection Masters, a Master would get every 3rd Age to come down the pipe). The selection method for these positions would likely vary... Archive Masters could be self-appointing with approval from the rest of the Guild (and/or approval from the other Guild Masters and Grand Master), or elected (though I'm not a fan of electing someone into a position they might not want). Inspection Masters are more likely to be elected through some Guild-wide process given the somewhat more delicate nature of their duties, but in either case, I'm open to suggestions.
Finally, there'd be the Grand Master who, barring any usurpation or abdication of power, would probably be me. Because I hate myself . The Grand Master would be in charge of establishing general policies to be approved by the rest of the Guild (things like how to format Archive articles and such), coordinating the efforts of the Guild Masters, and making sure that the website was properly maintained. Ideally, it would be more of a hands-off role, though I reserve the right to go on an Archive update spree from time to time .
Now, because the Archivists will be operating out of this forum, there's going to need to be some reorganization of this place to accommodate them. I'm also planning on doing some additional forum clean-up, because this place looks pretty dead most of the time due to forums that get used maybe once every few months. Anyway, I'd like to put forth my ideas for a revised forum structure, and get everyone's thoughts on it. This structure won't include hidden forums needed strictly for the operation of the forum itself (like the moderator forum), but any and all Guild-related forums are included in the structure below:
- Guild of Archivists
- Guild Announcements (with feed to DPWR home page)
- Guild Discussion (for discussing organization, new ideas, etc.)
- Guild Projects (initially to discuss Archive-specific projects, but can later be adapted to service FCA review projects after the initial FCAL is given by the approval panel)
- Archive Requests (pulled from existing D'niPedia Forums section)
- Archive Article Discussion (also pulled from existing D'niPedia Forums section)
- Speculation & Theory (from the D'niPedia Forums section)
- Writers Ring Forums
- Image Submissions
- Studio Floor
- Community Forums
- The Lounge (off-topic; Other Games would be merged into this forum)
- Myst Series Discussion (consolidated forum for all Myst/Uru game discussion, since the individual forums are pretty much dead as a doornail 90% of the time)
- Community Projects
- Aveara (might remove or archive elsewhere, since this project is decidedly not going anywhere)
- Sehv Tsahno (might remove or archive elsewhere, since this one seems to be dead as well)
- Forum Support & Feedback
- Site / Forum Support & Feedback
- Testing Forum
I'm more than willing to accept feedback and additional thoughts about anything I've outlined here, because none of it is absolutely, irrevocably set in stone at this point. So, all of you interested in helping out with the GoA, please make your voices heard!