Social NetworkMangala Solaris
Jayne Fillon, a fellow CSM9 candidate, asked me an interesting question in my campaign thread, one that resonated with me given my activities in game, especially my focus on NPSI operations and similar community events.
Jayne asked me this:
Hey Mang – had a question I was going to ask you and decided to post it here instead.
Simply put, you run the largest public fleet group, RvB Ganked, using nothing but a chat channel and mailing list. Do you think that there are an adequate amount of resources and tools to manage and operate a community not tied to corporations or alliances? Incursion communities operate on this same principle, and as was seen during the dissolution of Bombers Bar, this model is limited in scope and does not have the same luxuries such as roles, standings, fleet finder, or CEO replacement.
Put even more simply, there are communities in Eve that exist outside of the constraints of corporations and alliances, do you think that there are enough tools to help these communities thrive and succeed? Can they even be considered legit entities at all?
To put it frankly, while corporations and alliances have plenty of in game tools to help them organise and operate (that those tools need a complete rework is a whole other discussion), social groups get bunk.
Groups such as Ganked, Spectre Fleet and ISN amongst others get nothing beyond a chat channel and a mailing list, which corporations have built in. Once upon a time these would have been sufficient, however as groups like these become more popular across EVE’s growing player base, they become limiting.
Here’s a few examples of what I mean:
Inviting people to large fleets becomes more of a chore than for corporations;
Contacting a myriad number of people to announce events through a mailing list becomes increasingly more difficult as a group gets larger, as you have no way of knowing if a name on that list is still active in your community;
Right now social groups have no protection from those who would seek to take over their identity. Anyone can create a chat channel or a mailing list and profess to represent a social group in EVE, even a group that may well already have those tools setup.
As to whether groups like Ganked or Spectre are “legit”, I would say that they are to some degree, after all Spectre was recently recognised by CCP with a Community Spotlight. However with no real permanence ingame, and no presence beyond existing means, these groups are not as secure as the more venerable corporations and alliances are.
Tools of the trade
Now as with anything I have gripes about, I do have my ideas on additions to EVE that would give groups like those mentioned earlier more tools to organise themselves and their activities. Before I go into them, let me say that I am no artist – I cannot make even MS Paint work the way I want to show these ideas graphically. You will have to rely on your own imaginations to picture the ideas I have in mind. And of course, I am not a game developer – what appears easy to implement to me may not be easy to code by a professional.
By far the easiest way to assist public groups would be an option to make a fleet public. This would entail simply adding a zero standings option to the fleet advert a pilot can make. However this, while making a fleet viewable by your target audience, becomes viewable by ANYONE. Even those you may wish to not see the fleet. Improving on this idea, the next step could be to create a fleet link that only accepts invites from a specific channel. And since fleet links are great for FCs, in that we do not have to take “x’s” manually, these could be posted in the channel message of the day and people join as they are available. In the case of Ganked, such an addition means no need to form up one hour before we actually depart, instead actually heading out to create and become a source of content on a Saturday night.
…the holy grail of all the public communities across EVE, is something similar to how groups on social networks work
However this would just be a temporary fix. My holy grail, indeed the holy grail of all the public communities across EVE, is something similar to how groups on social networks work. A group is created, this group gets a chat channel and a mailing list with the same name. Players can either join the chat channel or the mailing list, either option automatically makes them a member of the group. Organisational structure would come from granting people certain roles, similar to how operator rights for chat channels and mailing lists are already granted in EVE. These operators should have a similar role to what they do now, just with the added ability to create and advertise fleets for their communities and even add events to group calendars. Essentially, think of such groups as corporations without the death and taxes.
Of course these ideas are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to possible features for public, social groups in EVE. The ability to set standings that trickle down to your fleet, fleet kill logs, fleet crest links that allow an FC to pull all crest mails the fleet made and many, many others.
Why am I so concerned about social groups in EVE? Socialisation is the key to getting the most out of EVE in my experience and as with real life, social networks (and I do not mean twitter, facebook or snapchat) are massively important to getting along.
Over the seven years I have been here, the most memorable experiences I have had have been with others – from the first time I got remote doomsdayed, during an old SHC ganknight, to leading over 95 of the past 120 RvB Ganked roams. And the more tools that social groups have to promote themselves, to organise their activities, the more the participants will want to hang around and remain playing the game.