Deputy Commander - Soap Box

The Deputy Commander UF Starfleet assists the office of the Commander in Chief with the overall direction of UFS.

Moderator: Kermie Mistwallow

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Kermie Mistwallow
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So I’ve been thinking about this forum post for about a week now and how to word things. There is only one way to do it, and that is to be blunt.

I am sure you are aware that my IM’s and DM’s are constantly going and one thing that seems to crop up more and more is interactions with each other as members. Now I want you to remember something, we are all VOLUNTEERS. This is not a paid job, we do not employ staff and we certainly do not agree with how some people speak to or approach other members.

I want you to ask yourself something, when you have opened a message with another member, how have you started that conversation?

Was it polite?
Have you said Hello first?
Asked how they are doing?
Attempted to be courteous?


Demanded an action be taken
Spoke down to someone?
Used fake rank to assert authority?

Now ask yourself, how do I want a message to start with me?

Have you just started that message with such discontent and disrespect that causes the person to react and mirror you?

Again remember we are all VOLUNTEERS, we come here to have fun.

That member you just got impatient with for not responding quick enough just got off an 18 hours shift speaking to people in retail.

That member you just spoke down to has been bullied all their life

That member you just called names behind their back has spent the day trying to help you.

Behind every computer screen, behind every message you send, behind every comment you make is another person just like you. Remember we are all in this TOGETHER.

This is a fan group, it’s not the military, it’s not a job, it’s a place we can all come to escape the real world. Those that give their spare time freely to you to make sure you are having fun in your fandom and have the resources you need should be thanked. When was the last time you actually took the time and thought about what someone else is doing for you in this group and thanked them for it, rather than expect to get what you think you deserve?

When was the last time you took the time out of your own ship or station bubble to see what is going on around the fleet? When was the last time you took the time to go to a UFS event? When was the last time you went to a P&A Ceremony just to support your fellow members and not just because you or a friend was getting something?

We are “UNITED” it’s time to start acting like it. Go out there, speak to someone new, make a new friend, who knows, tomorrow may be that much brighter for it.


Another thing that is on the tip of everyone’s tongue is promotions and what that means for the individual. Now Ulrich (The Director of P&A) has made some fantastic posts about Promotions and Awards, but there is still an archaic mindset.

If I get a higher rank, I'm better than those below me. I'm able to give them orders, I'm able to talk down to them.

I didn’t get a promotion, this is bullshit, I attend my Roleplay once a week and that's it, and yet still people are taking a long time with things.

Wasn’t it JFK that said “Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country”. The same goes here, and don’t forget we are a Star Trek inspired fan group, the only reason they got to that kind of society was because they stopped thinking “What can I get out of this” “or “What personal gain can I get?” and they started thinking “how can I better things for everyone” or “What can I do to help”

There are many positions available in UFS. Go check them out, who knows you could be the difference between UFS moving forward, and UFS being stuck in a constant state of the few doing things for the many.


So remember to treat people how you want to be treated, speak to people how you want to be spoken to, look how you can help be part of the solution not the problem.

This is your Deputy Commander …. Standing By
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Ferre Flamand
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Nice message that also shows what this group actually stands for. I regularly drop by on Discord and there are indeed people who never say hello back but they probably have their reasons. It doesn't matter much to me anymore, I try to remain polite and do what is pleasant for my immediate environment. What you say there about the quote from JFK : very correct :) In the meantime I have already reached an age where I don't necessarily want to assert myself, I have spent most of the time in the Air Force (no, not a pilot) and I know how military works (although that is not that bad in the air force ;)). By the way, I think it's a success formula to do casual on Discord while there is some form of hierarchy in game (which makes it more realistic). In 2006 I was briefly at SLSF, but after two months of walking around aimlessly, I no longer saw the fun in it. Now, after being away for years I came back last year and after a somewhat difficult start I found what I was looking for : the real deal :)
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Greenlantern Excelsior
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The Vulcans had the right idea. When we start injecting emotion into everything, sometimes the people we're talking to will respond with emotion. In most cases that's not good. Example: My boss asks me to do something that requires me to ask another group to take action. So I have asked politely, but nothing happened. Should I jump to conclusions and accuse my counterpart in the other group of being lazy? Of course not. I just go to my boss and inform him that I can't complete my assignment because the other group isn't responding. My boss then has a power lunch with the other group's boss where they discuss this. Maybe the other group's boss informs my boss that they're short handed, or that they're working on a hot project and will get to my request in due time, or that my request was misplaced. The result is that I didn't make an enemy in the other group by accusing them unfairly. Being polite and courteous and businesslike is how we "lubricate the gears of industry," as the old saying goes that I heard somewhere. And if I'm going to insert an emotion into a request for information, it's always going to be humor.

The idea of thanking someone for their help is a good one. And you can say something else, "You're doing a good job." Several UFS members have said that to me, and it brightened my whole day (thanks, guys!). With any luck, the person you say that to will "pay it forward" and say it to the next guy.

Thanks, Kermie, good post.
Captain Hal Jordan (GreenLantern Excelsior)

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Poison Toocool
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Excellent post, thank you Kermie.

If I can add one thing my late partner taught me, when IMing someone in Second Life, 3rd Rock Grid, or on Discord, besides saying hey, how are you... ask if they have a minute to answer a question, or are free for a chat. Be aware they may be busy with other things. Be aware they may already have 4 IM's going while they're supposed to be Roleplaying or in a meeting or conducting a class or trying to fix a script. Be aware they might be with a partner and wanting some alone time. Taking a moment to ask if now is a good time, is respectful and courteous. And if the answer is 'sorry, I'm not free at the moment' then accept that with grace and say you will contact them another time.

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Being there for each other is very important. Civility helps more than most people realize.

I'm not the best at attending events, but I do try my best to be there for people on Discord. Every day bonding makes us realize what kermie just pointed out. That we are people, with lives and a fan group. This shouldn't be the place we come to get harassed more. It should be the place for fun.

Don't find your fun in the expense of others. We are all better when we find fun together.
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Drewski Northman
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Very well said, Kermie. We all have to remember that we’re all here to have fun, and it’s better to be part of the solution than part of the problem. We all have things that we see as problems that others might not notice as much.

If you see something like that, that’s your golden opportunity to help! Approach your CO or the appropriate person and ask how you can solve the problem. Never know where that might lead all of us as a group.
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Erikalancetti Resident
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I'm totally agree.
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Very well Said!!
Rank: Commander :angry-tappingfoot:
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"What we do in Life,,, Echo's in Eternity"---- Maximus Desmus Meridius ! :flags-usa:

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Cipher Rhode
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I can speak for myself in saying that for the longest time, I haven't been able to participate in many RPs in SL, especially ones involving Marine action. To make up for it, sometimes I write short scenarios with the help, permission, and encouragement of other UFS officers where yours truly would make myself available as a boots-on-the-ground, tactical asset.
LtCol Christopher "Cipher" Rhode, UFSMC

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Kinney Randt
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Was this a trademarked Randt Rant? I feel like I should get royalties. Oh, also, well said :)
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Siobhan Crystal
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Very well said. It is difficult for some to realize that rank means far less than position. When I was here before I held the rank of Fleet Captain, because of my Branch duties, but I was the Executive Officer of Tranquility and the captain was a Captain. How would it have looked if I refused to take orders because my rank was higher? It's position and responsibility. NOT rank. Besides, we all have something to learn. I may outrank other members of my science team, but I learn from them every week, and that needs to be supported, encouraged, and celebrated.

Also, promotions are more than time in grade. It is also contribution. I was just reminded that myself. While I have had a lot of personal turmoil in RL the past year, I am now in a position to start focusing on other things. Many hands make the work lighter and the more of who look beyond the ship or our personal cocoons, the easier and better the UFS experience will be for all.

Excellent job of calmly bringing everything into focus and reminding us that we are all, I hope, here to have fun.

"Outside a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read." --- Groucho Marx

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