Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

11
Jan

Explanation & Hopeful Expectation

   Posted by: Nicolas

It’s kind of crazy to realize that I’ve been on HNZ for seven years… and an admin for six of those.
Seven years is about a third of my life, it’s almost all of my adolescence and my adult life.
In that time, I’ve changed a lot – and the site has too. I joined the site entering secondary school, fairly quickly became an admin, and remained on the site through my undergraduate degree into my current schooling.
HNZ has been an insane blessing in my life. Being on the site provided me rich opportunities to hone skills that would have remained in their infancy were it not for being thrust into a position like I had on HNZ. Where many users have seen the site improve their English language skills, I received the gifts of learning how to work with CSS, JavaScript, mySQL, PHP and my HTML improved drastically. Where creative writing was the focus of many, my ability to communicate with others well was where most of my growth occurred (which is not to say my creative writing didn’t also improve… because it most certainly didseriously). All of this just to say, my experience on HNZ has been somewhat unique to most people’s. HNZ has been a pretty different thing for me. Like you, HNZ for me has certainly been an exercise in creativity, but often not on the scale of my character(s) – where I never really succeeded in maintaining any – but instead on what could most benefit the site and its growth, and how best to implement such changes. It’s also been an exercise in commitment, and frustration, and realizing that sometimes I really mess up. I’ve been caused to grow in a myriad of ways because of my role on HNZ over these six years, it’s been the only HNZ I’ve really ever known, and I’ve loved every moment of it.

But my life continues to change – I find myself juggling school, an internship, a social life, continued online commitments, family, reading, and some things have dropped… admittedly, HNZ has been one of those things. I’ve been on the receiving end of an admin’s life taking over (the mantra of HNZ from time immemorial being “real life comes first”) and it’s not great to have a dead weight admin around. Knowing this, I’ve had countless conversations with Cyndi over the past year about what my stepping down from being an admin on the site looks like, and over the last semester the necessity of those conversations became even more apparent to me.

Remaining on the site apart from being an admin has never really been something I’ve considered because I can imagine trying to be an active part of the community on the board and just being an awful member… telling staff how to do their jobs, backseat moderating, not applying for the things I’d need to apply for. It wouldn’t be a smooth transition, it’d be pretty rough; I think I’d be banned in a week flat. So I came to realize that I just need to wrap up my character and take a clean move away from the board. My series of blog posts a few months ago were my way of sorting through what HNZ is and has been to me, and I hope the trio of them meant something to you, too. As I’ve made this slow conscious move away from the board, I’ve also remained cognizant that there are certain things for which I’ll need to be available for Cyndi and Donna. If something goes awfully awry: the hosting is still on my shared host, I still own the domains, and I still care about HNZ enough that I’m more than happy to help and fix problems at a moment’s notice (they have my mobile number) and even help make some larger projects a reality (need to keep my skills up to snuff!).

I also have a number of people from HNZ on Skype, and so I know that not checking into the board very regularly or having an official role on the board does not mean that I won’t still talk to the people who I’ve come to know, respect, and enjoy the company of over the last many years. I expect many a harassing Skype messages, saucey emails, drunken rants – I look forward to it. I also continue to volunteer as the support administrator for ZetaBoards & zIFBoards, and will be a continued presence on the Support Board where I’m always a PM or a support ticket away.

I also look forward to what I know is in HNZ’s future with Donna & Cyndi at the helm, free of my imposition. Cyndi having been the indomitable force behind renewing Quidditch on the site (unquestionably the highlight of the last couple of years on the board) and often having had a handful of long-term plans she’d like to see happen (if only the site would get behind them enough to make them happen! *cough*Ministry Elections*cough*) I know that the site is in amazing hands and there will be a wealth of really exciting roleplaying opportunities to come (after all, HNZ is a roleplaying site first and foremost – which is something I confess to forgetting perhaps once too often). Likewise, Donna has a great love for roleplaying and HNZ and even as she continues to learn a lot of the admin-ing basics I know that in very short time she’ll be an incredible force propelling the site forward, too. These ladies, with all the Global Moderators supporting them and the rest of the site participating and enjoying themselves, really do have me wordlessly excited for popping in and hearing what’s been going on, and seeing a place that I’ve known as my home in cyberspace for so many seasons of my life continue to grow and flourish beyond what I could have imagined.

It’s a new year, HNZ – and a new season for us all.
I’ll miss all the bi-weekly madness, spam silliness, shouty shouting, countless Kaitlyn characters, sorting confusion, April fools jokes, Werewolf incredulity, and of course all the creativity and laughter and love that the site has to offer.
In short, I’ll miss you.
I trust that I’ll always be a welcome visitor and, should it ever be reasonable or possible, find a home with HNZ on the Internet again.

As ever: all the best,

Nick


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23
Jul

Starting a New Era: College Life

   Posted by: Kaitlyn

Not many know that I’m actually going to college now. Not much of a surprise but whatever. After two years of trying to find a permanent home to settle down and start college, somehow I got in last year and went to classes online. This year is different. I fought to get In-State Tuition because I feel like this is my home now. I’ve never lived in this part of the county, but Cohutta is amazing on so many levels. Small, quiet, but lots of bugs out in the country. Can’t expect more in the south though. Anyway I am going to classes in 16 days. I’m counting down in my head because I’m excited. My classes are as followed:

  • Calculus and Analytical Geometry I
  • Principles of Programming I
  • English I
  • Fundamentals of Speech
  • American Government

I am a Sophomore and it is hilarious that according to this college, I’ve taken English II before English I. I needed English I for my major. Anyway, that is what I have, and I go to school all weekdays. I begged for five classes, and that was what I wanted. What can I say, I really wanted it. This will bring about some changes to my life though. One thing, never been in a campus classroom before so that will be an exciting change.

Changes for HNZ though? I might not be on for like 24 hours a day. Probably a similar schedule for what I had when I was working a full time job, or a part-time one. All of the pages of Accio! that I do will be closing earlier, which was why it was in the BWU several times. Bringing out a new set of pages so keep a look out on that! But with that in mind, anyone that is not pictured at all, won’t be. Not even the seventh years. I used to spend a good two to three hours looking for pictures and the full name for those that did not post pictures. Not anymore. I just wish that some people would take like a couple minutes out of their lives to post a picture for their student and answer to the PM if there was one. It makes the pages really worth while! It makes them bigger and fuller! But I guess it isn’t that big, which is why there isn’t going to be IC Superlatives for a while. That itself takes sooo long to do. It isn’t worth counting the votes if only 4 OOC people voted.

I might not be able to do lessons for my students anymore, especially my third years. Less to grade I suppose but eh. I liked it. I want to focus on school, but I am going to have fun in the meantime. It might take some time, I’m sure that this will be easy to balance out after a couple of weeks. I am superb at time management. When I want to be that is.

Sigh. I’ll just wrap this up then.
~ Kaitlyn


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20
Oct

The Great Move

   Posted by: Kaitlyn

I am starting to get more and more nervous now. Why is that? Well, most of the people that have known me has the girl from Georgia (Oh yeah, from the same place our Kait aka Kiera Potter, small world?) Though after I started working at Wal-Mart, I quickly learned that it is a physical job, but love it none the less, and people actually talked to me. It was nice, yes. I originally got the job to start saving up for Michigan, and helping out mom because she is being garnished for a surgery I went through three years ago. While helping her out and earning so little money, saving up was just not going to be happening within the next two years. However I figured, hey, get the garnishment stopped, I’d be able to save easier, right? But, then something came along to where I may not have to worry about it.

Mom got laid off, thus being offered a job in another state. Where? New York, one hour away from Canada, in a big city named Rochester. At first, I thought that it wasn’t going to happen, and whatnot, but now I am sitting in the living room, looking at boxes and I have been told to pack my room. It was like a smack to the face. The worst part, I am scared. Utterly scared that we will end up losing everything again, and then ending up in a worse mess than before, though things seemed legit with the forms and mom’s drug test. There was another option, where I could find rides to Walmart, on crazy hours, and fight like hell to maintain a living on my own. However that is almost impossible too. I don’t have a car of my own, thus I would end up losing the job with winter coming. So, I have to go to New York before I can go to Michigan. I would end up losing my job, yes, but in a big city, mom’s work is wanting to hire me too in something. It would be cool working like 12 dollars an hour where she is making almost double than what she was making here, before the garnishment.

On an added note, I talked mom into helping me save up, because she helped Christian and Sarah get a place of their own, why not me too? So, after we get settled, I start college and have a job, with mom’s extra funds, she is going to help me find my goal. Though first, get a car of my own. Once my credit is up a bit, maybe a lease for one but I don’t want to wait a year. So, Used is my best option. I am New York Bound soon, and then later, who knows how much later but it will happen, I will be in Michigan.

This is being posted mainly to let everyone know, I am going to be in the process of moving across the freaking country, and might not have internet for a while. I have a feeling, this would be a great trip, and a better life for mom and me both. Just some thoughts running through my head right now.


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Introduction
Applications are a very important part of HNZ. They moderate who can say their character is/does what, and helps keep the board from becoming rampant with Mary Sue type characters which would surely annoy most people on HNZ. They have become ingrained in the culture of the site, I believe, and when they cannot be processed as quickly as I would like, or you would like, it becomes a frustrating matter.

Yes, me.
What’s this? Processed as quickly as I would like? Yes, me. I like applications to move quickly as well. I don’t like holding on to them for ages – they clutter things. 😉 Having them around for too long makes me go a little bit crazy.

So what’s the hold up?
Right now, as many have noted, applications seem at a bit of a stand still. This is as frustrating to me as it is to you all, but likely even moreso to me. Why, you ask? Well, you’re waiting on one or two applications. I see all twenty or so currently in queue. The hold up? As you should know, Livvy has been dealing with some large real-life problems and (as says what has effectively become the ancient statement of HNZ) ‘Real life comes first’.

Real Life Comes First
I think it’s humorous that when members are going away and leaving behind work for the Global Moderators or Administrators to catch up, for the sake of the site, we still say ‘Real life comes first’. However, when it is an Admin who needs the time off, nobody seems to be able to have patience. At all. The song of ‘real life comes first’ fades away to a mob of angry villagers, pitchforks in hand, ready to go find the monster.

Trying to Catch Up
Nearly every application, however, does have a response from me. Some are even mid-discussion between Livvy and I. Unfortunately, it seems Livvy’s life has taken her for another whirl and HNZ time has had to be cut. Livvy doesn’t like to hold things up, but she loves administrating HNZ and definitely wants to be a part of the approval process. So, I trust she will catch up in a timely manner. If she knows she won’t be able to catch back up in a timely manner, then she will ask me to process applications until she can catch back up. As much as ‘real life comes first’, there are still ways we can adhere to that without ensuring applications drown.

Mid-Discussion? Wait, so how do applications work – exactly?
I have a feeling, based on some of the results from the recent site poll that not everybody is aware of how applications are processed on HNZ. What we look at for them, and why it is that applications get denied – even when hard work has obviously been put in to them.

Every form that is sent in is given a topic in a hidden forum. There are plenty of these forums for every type of application, with approved and denied archives as well for future referencing. It’s all very helpful, actually. When a new application comes in, Livvy and I read the topic then post our initial reactions. We discuss the application with each other if applicable, and either: Approve it, suggests tweaks to it and approve it when the tweaks are ironed out, or deny it.

So what is it, exactly, that we look for in applications? Here are some of the basic things:

  1. Is it canon?
    If an application, in any way, breaks with our knowledge of the canon Harry Potter universe – it is denied.
  2. Does it make sense?
    We look over applications to ensure that what they say makes sense. If a person applies to be a Death Eater, for instance, but comes from a loving household, doesn’t believe in any sort of blood supremacy, and has no reason to be a Death Eater – then such applications are denied. It may be funny, but if something doesn’t make sense then it could really screw other things up. Making sense is very crucial.
  3. What would the repercussions of this be?
    For many applications, especially plot requests, things effect characters outside of the plot, too. Usually this is in minor ways, but sometimes it can be major. Take, for instance, a plot request where an unspeakable has found a cure for werewolves. It doesn’t go against canon – nothing says there can’t be a cure. It might make perfect sense, too. But the plot would effect everybody on the site and the future of the site as a whole. It would likely negatively influence many other character’s developments as well. If that is the case, that the repercussions of a request would be largely negative and widespread – it is denied.
  4. How common should it be?
    For special ability applications especially this is considered. We only truly meet one metamorphmagi in the Harry Potter novels, through all seven books. This indicates how truly rare the ability is. We receive plenty of requests for this gift, however. So we must consider how common it should be and, if enough have already been approved for the time being, no more are accepted (even if they’re all pretty good) unless the application just blows our minds.
  5. How many other special things does this roleplayer have?
    This is something that must be considered in conjunction with How common should it be?. We don’t want two roleplayers having a character with every possible special ability and nobody else on the site being able to have anything. We want to spread the wealth a little, so this must be considered. Has the person had many applications recently? How many special things does this person already have? Could we approve this for somebody else who does not have as many special approvals?
  6. Is this user in good standing?
    This is also something we must consider. Members who constantly break board rules, are rude to anybody and everybody, etc. shouldn’t be given special allowances. It is a reward, almost, to have special plots approved, have characters with special abilities, etc. So why should a user who doesn’t care about site rules be given plenty of extra awesome things while rule-abiding members might not? It’s just one of the many prices of rule breaking.
  7. Plenty More
    There are several more considerations that are given to applications in that time that Livvy and I review them. It’s not just a quick read and a rash response, thought is given to applications, and the most appropriate response given – even if it’s not something the applicant wants to hear.

Conclusion
In summary: Stop complaining. Don’t be hypocritical. We take necessary time and thought for applications.

That is all. ^_^

~Nicolas


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