"Pressing Projects" or "Trouble sleeping"


CGA President, Tribe of Judah Founder & President
Staff member
I went to bed earlier tonight, but couldn't get to sleep. I found myself fixating on the distance between where Tribe of Judah stands and where I want our community to be. I thought about projects that had stalled, chapters we had closed, and goals we've yet to accomplish.

I'm fond of saying "the community will have what the community will work for" and advising new Chapter Leaders and Guild Leaders to not shoulder a burden beyond their resources. I still stand by that advice, but I feel pressed to communicate my heart to see Tribe of Judah resolve longstanding issues and move toward the potential I envision.

The following topics are the three I consider most pressing:

1. Game servers. Tribe of Judah used to rent a dedicated server which we used to host multiple game servers. We canceled our account with ServerBeach, our server hosting provider, in July 2005 after discovering the company updated its Terms of Service to allow hosting of pornographic web sites without notifying its customers.

In September 2006, I posted a thread entitled "Bring Our Servers Back," presenting the goal of raising enough money to buy our own dedicated server hardware. It took us until March 2009, but we reached our goal of raising for $2000 USD.

Last August, I called for members to help collect colocation quotes to make an informed decision and choose a US datacenter in which to have dedicated server hardware installed. While a few members pitched in, we still, as of March 2010, lack sufficient information to make an informed decision regarding colocation providers.

After we select a colocation provider, we need to select the dedicated server hardware, purchase the hardware, and have it shipped to the datacenter we choose, where it will be installed.

There is the possibility of revising our plans to shift from colocation to dedicated server hosting. Each scenario has its advantages and disadvantages.

Regardless of which option we choose, I want to make headway on this project soon. Ideally, a member would volunteer to manage the entire project. More feasibly, multiple members would volunteer to complete the research necessary to make informed decisions.

I've posted why I want Tribe of Judah to own or rent server hardware, but I'll link the thread here again.

2. Web site. Tribe of Judah's current main web site (not including chapter web sites) was developed by Tom "SirThom" McGuire. Tom did an excellent job of writing custom code to deliver a site that meets a long list of requirements.

Trouble is, SirThom resigned from his position as Tribe of Judah Lead Web Developer in 2007. The fact that the site is still in use today, with a few fixes and patches courtesy of VibroKatana, is a testament to SirThom's programming prowess.

But we're steadily moving toward the second half of 2010 and SirThom is no longer around to update or patch web site code. Though most sections of code remain solid, there are a few more areas that could use patching. The roster dropdown display issue is one such example.

Rather than bring on a new Lead Web Developer and ask him or her to patch and add features to an overwhelming amount of custom code, staff members decided it would be better to move to an entirely new web site based on a well-established platform like Drupal or DotNetNuke.

When we make the transition to the new site, we'll be starting with a fresh slate--which is why it's been three and a half years since our last membersweep. I had thought we'd have a new site up and running in 2008 or 2009. We're now in the third month of 2010.

A member has volunteered to dig through the current site's code to see what it would take to make some very helpful fixes and updates, but the plan remains to move away from custom code to an established platform that we can modify for our purposes.

Building a new site, even using a platform like Drupal or DotNetNuke, will require a substantial amount of work. We're going to need web developers and graphic designers able and willing to contribute their skills, time, and effort toward build a new site.

3. Internal communication. Tribe of Judah spans multiple games, multiple genres, and even multiple platforms. With chapters ranging from Guild Wars to Unreal Tournament to Xbox Live, we have a lot of members with a wide array of gaming interests. The benefit to a large gaming group like ours is that members can move from one game to another and find familiar faces. I've played with members who moved from StarCraft to Counter-Strike to World of WarCraft to Team Fortress 2.

The challenge with a group and diverse as ours is that internal communication is a logistical headache.

I don't have the notes in front of me, but a quick forums search suggests that the first time I appointed a staff member to compile a regular Tribe of Judah newsletter, designed to help keep members in all chapters and guilds informed on events and updates across all of ToJ, was in 2003.

Again, if memory serves, we've had only one newsletter in the seven years since.

It can be easy to settle into a small group of friends and remain unaware of what's going on elsewhere in that organization. Internal communication is key to building a sense of community, especially in a large organization. It needs to be convenient, concise, and regular; a newsletter meets all those requirements.

Trouble is, I've been calling for an Editor-in-Chief for years now. The position has either remained vacant or those who volunteer for the role step down before completing a single newsletter (with one exception).

Tools like Facebook and Twitter can also help keep members stay plugged in to what's happening across Tribe of Judah, but, for the purposes outlined above, the newsletter format remains ideal.

To make this long-unrealized goal a reality, I need an Editor-in-Chief who I can rely on to compile information across all Tribe of Judah chapters and guilds, edit said content, and distribute it (likely via our web site's Mass E-mail control panel).

So there you have it. Three stalled projects that I want to see resumed. I'll need help to make it happen. It remains true that the community will have what the community will work for. We're looking for a few more people with whom to share the workload.

If you're willing to volunteer for any of the roles marked in bold above or for any position listed in our Help Wanted thread, contact me and Elihu and we'll find a way for you to get involved.

I'm still looking for members to volunteer to help out in the three areas listed in my original post.

I'll periodically bump this post for a while to make my best effort to ensure as many members as possible see it.
At this point, all I can say Tek is I feel your pain. I've got 5 months to catch up on.
At this point, all I can say Tek is I feel your pain. I've got 5 months to catch up on.
This thread should serve as a proper "crash course" for the major challenges facing Tribe of Judah now. :)

As summer is winding down, I thought it would be a good time to remind members of the key areas where we're seeking additional help.

Summer's over! We're preparing to announce the appoint of a Newsletter Editor-in-Chief, but there's still significant progress to be made on all three fronts listed in the OP.