ASR History 1998

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History of ASR, version 1.2.3 (Written ~1998)

by James Bowman

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With the Internet becoming less and less a "wonderful toy" and more and 
more a household necessity, one can suspect that there will be 
histories of each of the newsgroups...who propogated them, the names, 
the flame wars, the spinoff groups.  In the end it shall look like a 
complicated family tree and 100 years down the line, we'll want to know 
who was there "at the beginning". To find out about a.s.r. and its 
history, I spoke by e-mail or IRC to long-time members. 
For what it's worth, this document is meant to dig back to those faded 
memories, and put a.s.r.'s origins in an unfamiliar place....Prodigy.


Well, okay, Prodigy isn't *exactly* unfamiliar.  However, what would 
become a.s.r. began sometime in June 1990 as a play by E-mail game not 
much different from its present form on one of the bulletinboards 
maintained by Prodigy.  Back then, the game was played by a number of 
people.  Judi Marko, an early Prodigy player estimates that the number 
of players in the Prodigy days numbered approximately 100.  The 
maintainers of the World Weavers' Web Page, Jack Gerber, Judi Marko and 
Martin Shaw, have this to relate about the early a.s.r. 
history...."World Weavers started as an on-line club called SF. It was 
started by Greg Swedberg and Mark Pickett on June 30, 1991 in the Arts 
Club on the Prodigy service. The club grew rapidly and then shrank 
again. There was little stability. At that time, role playing on the 
Prodigy bulletin boards was against the rules but many Prodigy 

members ignored the rule and did it anyway! The games were played 
under the  science fiction discussion topic and in the television 
section where  Prodigy members discussed Star Trek. Many clubs were 
established and posts for the clubs soon took over a such a 
sizable portion of the board that there were complaints. 
Finally, Prodigy established a separate Star Trek topic. Still, it was 
technically against the rules to role play. Eventually, however, the 
clubs became so popular that Prodigy bowed to pressure and started a 
Game Club with a Star Trek RPG topic. All the role-playing clubs were 
asked to move and SF did so...."

In early 1993, Prodigy announced that they would begin charging for 
time spent on the boards. A search was initiated for a new home. There 
was an abortive attempt to move to National Videotex but that turned 
out not to meet the club's needs at a reasonable price. The club then 
moved to Mnematics."  After this corresponding move to Mnematics, the 
formation of alt.starfleet.rpg was proposed as a Usenet group by Judi 
Marko and Linda Pfeiffer in October 1993.It was given newsgroup status 
for the first time in November 1993.  

alt.starfleet.rpg would unfortunately not remain intact as a 
newsgroup.  Around March 1994, disputes among the administrators of 
the old Prodigy group and the newer members arose. In November of 
1994, a growing sense of frustration and disatisfaction with the
highest eschelons of club leadership among the twenty some 
commanding officers of shipboard rp units and several 
of the fleet level command staff resulted in a call for greater 
accountability. The end result was the departure of Fleet 
Admiral Jack Gerber and Senior Admiral Judi Marko. They formed 
alt.shared-reality.sf-and-fantasy to house their newly restructured 
club, World Weavers.  World Weavers has a number of worlds and goes 
beyond the Trek scope of alt.starfleet.rpg.  Whereas Judi Marko relates 
that there was no actual takeover of alt.starfleet.rpg., Marko states 
that she decided to defuse the potential for further conflict.  Marko 
would resign first, with Jack Gerber soon following.  Marko and Gerber 
immediately began the process of forming a new Usenet group.

In November 1994, the  newsgroup alt.shared-reality.sf-and-fantasy was 
formed. At leat one quarter of a.s.r.'s memebers joined the new 
newsgroup, known by its nickname, World Weavers, or WW. The real 
difference between the two newsgroups, in role-playing terms, is that 
one is not limited to playing in the universe of the 25th 
century Federation in WW.  One can play games-by-email with different 
themes, such asa Dungeons and Dragons themed gamee or as Dragonriders, 
a game with similar themes as those examined in the fantasy books of 
Anne McCaffrey.  The connection to a.s.r. is not forgotten, however, as 
there are many writers who belong to both newsgroups.  In the 
sf-and-fantasy Star Trek universe, an intergalactic phenomenon "split" 
the universe into two different realities, trapping ships in two 
different Federations. A further split occurred in January 1996 when  
Armin Lenz and Kelli Belden left a.s.r. to 
form Holoworld, alt.holoworld.rpg in Usenet terms.  
Holoworld continues to support Star Trek based roleplay, as well 
as magically-themed e-mail games. Holoworld itself was originally an 
artificial intelligence project that ran on SB GAMMA as a way to 
provide non-Trek rp experience (through holodecks) to ASR players. 
Like WW, AHR provides both Trek and nonTrek campaigns. 

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Development of a.s.r.

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The original flagship of what was to become a.s.r. was the 
USS OLYMPIC. It belonged to the single fleet called Gold Fleet.  
Fleet Admiral Jack Gerber realized that one fleet would not be 
enough and in March 1994,  Blue Fleet was created.  The QUASAR 
became the flag ship of Gold Fleet, and NOVA became the flagship 
of the new Blue Fleet.  The USS OLYMPIC became the flagship of 
all of a.s.r. By July of 1994, Green Fleet was started to accommodate 
the rapidly growing game.  D'Maris Coffman took command of it and 
the USS QUASAR moved to Green as the flagship.  The USS NEBULA was 
commissioned to replace the QUASAR as flagship of Gold. The USS NOVA 
remained the flagship of Blue.  In September 1994,
Crimson Fleet would join the fleets of a.s.r. as a 
second-character-only  fleet. Crimson Fleet would later 
join the shared-reality newsgroup in November 1994, leaving the two 
other fleets mostly intact.  However, the OLYMPIC would remain behind 
to serve as the flagship of a.s.r.  White Fleet would replace 
Crimson Fleet, and shortly thereafter, the concept of a flagship 
for a.s.r. would be abandoned to give all fleets equal footing.  
The OLYMPIC would become the flagship of White Fleet.  


According to D'Maris Coffman, most of a.s.r.'s  players have 
joined after 1994.  New ships would be created, and a special 
kind of play-by-e-mail (PBEM) called the *free thread* would come
into existence.  Ships such as the PEARSON, FENYMAN, ANDROMEDA,
HOOD, NELSON, TRAFALGAR, FARRAGUT (formerly the LEVIATHAN), LEXINGTON 
and YORKTOWN would make their first appearances in 1995.  
Two new free threads, DS4 and DS12 would also appear 
that year. More changes would  come for the fleets.  Red Fleet 
would be created.  White Fleet would be renamed Silver Fleet.  
Gold Fleet would be closed and a new fleet, Indigo Fleet would be 
created.  In 1996, the PULSAR became the flagship of Red Fleet. 
Furthermore, the ANDROMEDA was tagged to replace the OLYMPIC 
as flagship of Silver Fleet, the former White Fleet.  

In 1998, Blue Fleet would be closed and its ships would be
distributed among the other four fleets:  Red, Green, Silver and
Indigo.

Also in late 1998, Green Fleet would no longer maintain a "flag"
ship as a role play unit (Green's flag ship is the NPC ship 
USS TITAN).  The flag ships of the other fleets are:
	
	Indigo Fleet :  NOVA
	Red Fleet:  TEMPEST
	Silver Fleet : ANDROMEDA

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Administrators                         
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The first administrators were Greg Swedburg and Mark Pickett,
who  created the original Prodigy newsgroup on June 30,
1991.  Gerber,  Marko, and Shaw write: "In October, 1992, 
Swedberg, after being  criticized for how he handled the club's 
affairs, decided to resign as Fleet Admiral and he appointed 
then Captain Pickett as a new Fleet  Admiral. Joe Ramirez, 
was an Admiral at the time and there was considerable objection 
to him being passed over. After vigorous discussion, both Pickett and 
Swedberg left and Joe was promoted by popular acclaim. Beginning 
at that time, SF started making major changes.  "Shortly after 
that, Joe asked Admiral Jack Gerber to assist in a wider area 
of responsibility. Jack gradually became the club manager. Outside 
pressure prevented Joe from carrying on the duties of Fleet 
Admiral and he eventually resigned in favor of Jack who took 
over as Fleet Admiral in April, 1993."  Ramirez, a high school 
student, would be forced to leave in order to devote time to his 
academic studies.  Jack Gerber and Judi Marko would serve as Fleet 
Admiral and Senior Admiral until November 1994 until they moved to 
World Weavers. 

Mike Miller would serve as the Fleet Admiral (old term) until 1996.  He 
resigned in March and Mark Elwell became the new CINCSF (Commander in 
Chief, StarFleet) in April 1996.  Alex Knepper formerly served as 
Senior Admiral,second to the Fleet Admiral, until July 1996.  D'Maris 
Coffman took over for Alex in July 1996, and received the permanent 
posting as CSFO (Chief of Star Fleet Operations), which was formerly 
the "Senior Admiral" position inNovember 1996.  Mark Elwell retired in 
April 1997, serving one year as CINCSF.  D'Maris Coffman was elected 
CINCSF, and Andrea Schalk took over the position of CSFO.

The two served a full one year term and the team of Jari Makela and 
Takako Nagumo took over as CINCSF and CSFO respectively.  During
a meeting of the Round Table in April 1998, a group of ship captains
brought a motion for a vote of no confidence.  Despite the decisive
defeat of the motion, Makela resigned his position.  Takako Nagumo
stayed on as CSFO, while Jeff Jenkins took over the post of CINCSF
in October 1998.

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Administrative History
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Before there was a need for more than one fleet, all ships were in a 
unified Starfleet, commanded by their respective captains with the 
Fleet Admiral in charge of the entire fleet.  Jack Gerber decided that 
two fleets needed to be created in 1994, in order to better organize 
ASR.  As a.s.r. split into Gold Fleet and Blue Fleet in March 1994. It 
was decided in June 1994 that each fleet would have its own Fleet 
Commander.  Whenever a fleet became quite large, it would split into 
"task forces", each fleet being split into three or four such
groups.  At times, the task forces have been known to have separate 
commanders reporting to the Fleet Commander.  A Solar/Olympic class 
vessel was created as a special class for flagships.  There are only a 
few remaining Solar Class vessels, however, at this writing.  Whenever 
a player also served as a fleet commander, his or her ship would 
generally become the flag ship.  As a.s.r. grew, administrator/players 
were assigned ranks beyond Commodore.  Eventually, the PC (player 
character) administrators were forced to give up their "cushy" lives as 
starship captains, and with their higher ranks, they settled on 
Starbases such as SB KAPPA and SB EPSILON, which serve as "free 
threads" in their own right.  The flagships, however, would become role 
play ships for the most part, with their captains not required to serve 
as administrators.  

Generally, Fleet Commanders have ranks at Vice Admiral or above.  Most 
Fleet XOs (Executive Officers, or vice-administrators), serve as Rear 
Admirals. The current fleets in a.s.r are, in alphabetical order:      

      
Green:  Andy Catterick, administrator     
Indigo:   Dana Loeblich, administrator     
Red:  Chris O'Conor, adminstrator     
Silver:  Mike Dawe, administrator

And of course, there is "Grey Fleet".  When a player leaves a.s.r., his 
character is assigned to Grey Fleet unless some specific reason is 
given  for an absence and the final destination of the character is 
player determined.  Many administrators do not consider Grey Fleet
as an actual NPC Fleet.

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The present day
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Starfleet is run at two levels.  More information can be found on Jason 
Bostjancic's alt.starfleet.rpg web page. The upper level is the most 
purely administrative.  It consists of the "Flag Council" of a.s.r.  
There are only a few seats at the Flag Council table.  They belong to 
the CINCSF, CSFO, all of the CINCFLEETS, COMLOG (the
Commander of Logistics, the person in charge of the Fleet's various
webpages), as well as the head of ALB (Armstrong Lunar Base, where
new players are trained) and COMANC (the person in charge of the
free threads).  This select group of players make the day to day
decisions of ASR, and their decisions are binding.

The second level is that of the "Round Table", a group consisting
of the above as well as the commanders of each RP ship and each
large free thread.  If a person serves on the Flag Council and
as a commander of a ship, the XO or another representative will
represent that role-play unit at the Round Table:  a person cannot
sit in multiple capacities.  Each representative has one vote during
the round table, except for the CINCSF who serves as presiding
officer in a fashion loosely ordered after Robert's Rules of Order.

Round Table is called into session during April and October.  The
CINCSF and CSFO are elected during the April meeting.

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Appendix A:  Individual Ships

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Judi Marko relates the names of some of the ships from the PRODIGY days: 
the COMRADE, DEFIANT, CENTURION, OLYMPIC, FALCON, PHOENIX, SIGMA, 
TRIDENT, and NOVA, as well as the OLYMPIC, of course.  Future versions 
of the history will discuss the development of ships and fleets in more 
detail.

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Appendix B:  List of alt.starfleet.rpg "Senior Administrators"

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June 1991 - October 1992 :  Greg Swedburg
October 1992 - April 1993 : Joe Ramirez   
April 1993 - November 1994 : Jack Gerber
November 1994 - April 1996 :  Mike Miller
April 1996 - April 1997 :  Mark Elwell
April 1997 - April 1998 :  D'Maris Coffman
April 1998 - October 1998 :  Jari Makela
October 1998 - present :  Jeff Jenkins



Contributors:  D'Maris Coffman, Jack Gerber, Judi Marko, Martin Shaw