ASR Manual Chapter 5: Interaction

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Basic Interaction

NOTE- much of this chapter is the basis for the second half of the QuickStart Guide.

Most people in ASR have never met face-to-face and few have even spoken with one another on the telephone. So, it is very important that that a player in ASR be familiar with the various means of communication in the club and the formatting for communications to insure that they recieve prompt attention from the appropriate people.

There are a number of forums through which ASR communicates information. The basic forum for ASR is the usenet newsgroup from which the club takes its name. All formal announcements from the club administration are posted there as are all posts for the units which form the club.

Today, virtually all ASR business is carried out through e-mail mailing lists and list servs. Formatting and subject lines are no less important for e-mail than for newsgroup posts since many players and adminsitrators work with multiple units and quick identification of the subject of a message is important in seeing that it recieves the proper attention. The e-mail addresses of the administrators are listed prominently on the club's homepage and the e-mail addresses of key contacts for new members are listed in the basic club documents which are sent regularly to the newsgroup.

The last basic medium of communication for the club is the world wide web. The club has a homepage and several mirrors. Additionally, the newsgroup can be read though the web and many units have www post archives that contain a log of that unit's stories. All of the club's major documents are available through the world wide web.


Communication

Since the principle means of communication in ASR is the written word, it is necessary to have certain strictly enforced formalizations of the formatting of messages for easy reference.

Messages in ASR take two forms. The first type of message is an "In-Character" message related to the action in the role playing game which are referred to as RPG posts. All role playing game (RPG) posts should be posted to the ASR newsgroup: alt.starfleet.rpg. Many E-mail programs allow you to post directly to the newsgroup. If your E-mail program does not allow you to do this, there are a couple of alternatives. You can use a newsreader to post your messages; or, if you do not have access to newsgroups, you can use Dejanews (www.dejanews.com) to post to alt.starfleet.rpg. If you lack access to both the Web *and* newsgroups, please be sure to let someone know along the way, whether it be the Personnel Officer, your Holodeck instructor during your initial "training exercise," or your Commanding Officer (once you are assigned to a unit).

The second form that a message may take is an "Out-of-Character" message related to real life (RL). NRPG (non role playing game) messages should *not* be posted to the newsgroup. These should only be e-mailed to the individuals concerned with the matters being discussed. Examples of NRPG messages would be a note that you will be out of town for the week or a note asking another player to work with you on a joint RPG post.

Please make sure that all your posts (including your bio) are written in plain ASCII code (plain text), as this is the one code that will be readable regardless of computer system or software. Please do not use any HTML tags, any fancy fonts, any colours, or anything other than plain text. Also, please make sure that your posts are legible. Don't crowd everything together. Break things up into paragraphs and put in a blank line between paragraphs. It is also a good idea to restrict your posts to no more than 72 characters per line. This helps to make your posts legible.

Also, most word processing packages do introduce extra symbols for carriage return and some characters - it *looks* like plain ASCII on the screen, but once it's put as a file into an E-mail message, those symbols appear. You should send a test mail *to yourself*, if you use a word processor as editor, to see how it looks like once it has gone through mail. You should also check your own postings on the newsgroup to see whether they look all right.

Response Time

Whenever you are asking a question of a commanding officer, another player, or an administrator or when you are asked a question, it is considered polite to respond within 48 to 72 hours if at all possible. However, since this group is run by volunteers who all have RL responsibilities, and RL always take precedence, it is not always possible to respond in that time. If you do not receive a response within a reasonable amount of time, you can send a polite E-mail message to the individual in question, asking whether your message has been received. Similarly, if you cannot respond within that time frame, be aware that the administrator may have already had to make a decision. Please remember that we do have lives outside of ASR, and a timely response may not always be possible.

Language

ASR is a world-wide organization and we welcome everyone, but, as you have probably figured out by this point, English is the language used in all correspondence and posts. So, basic knowledge of the English language is essential. Spelling, grammar and punctuation are also important; if you have trouble spelling, the use of a spell-checker is recommended. You do not need to be a master writer, but your posts should be legible and readable.

Also, please note that all writing in ASR is done in third person past tense. That is, we use 'he or she' instead of 'I', and we say 'he packed his suitcase' instead of 'he packs his suitcase'. Please use third person past tense in all of your posts.

Subject Lines

Correct subject lines are essential. There are so many units in ASR that the newsgroup would easily become very disorganized if players did not use the correct subject lines.

The subject lines of all posts should always begin with your unit. Examples are the USS NEBULA and SB DELTA. Note that unit names are always in capitals.

Non role playing posts (NRPG) should begin with the unit, immediately followed by NRPG. For example:

  • USS NEBULA: NRPG: Address Change

The specific format for subject lines follows:

  • UNIT: Title of Post

Some examples of good subject lines:

  • SB DELTA: Ensign Jones Reporting
  • USS NEBULA: Captain's Arrival
  • USS NEBULA: NRPG: Change of Email Address

Examples of bad subject lines (comments are bracketed in [[ ]]):

  • USS JAVELIN [[No location]]
  • Starbase OMEGA: Holodeck 20 [[should use abbreviation]]
  • NRPG Out of town[[No unit]]
  • USS COMRADE: NRPG: WHAT IS GOING ON!!! [[Using all capitals is judged rude]]
  • PUMA: Bridge --> Ready Room [[No "USS"]]
  • Uss Yosemite: Away Team [[USS and YOSEMITE should be all capitals]]
  • Holodeck 20: USS OLYMPIC [[Unit name should go first]]

Note: Some units have a flag for the unit name in their mailing lists. Since all posts also go to the general archive, this is not a substitute for including the unit name in the subject line of the post.

Stardates

Star Trek has long used the concept of a "stardate" to keep track of the passage of time. In the television series and movies, the principle rule is that later stardate has a bigger number. The first digit of a stardate is based on the season that the show is in and is generally accepted to correspond to the passage of years.

In ASR, it is necessary to definte a more absolute method for determining stardates. A full stardates is laid out in the format

  • YYYYMMDD.hhmm.ss

where YYYY is for the year, MM for the month, and DD for the day, hh is for the hour, mm is for the minute, and ss is for the second.

In most cases, the full stardate will not be used. It is very rare to see seconds ever noted with a stardate. Hours and minutes may be used to keep track of the passage of time within a day, but are seldom recorded in permanent records like bio files.

Also, the first three digits are commonly dropped if one is dealing with a date inside a single decade. For example, the 19 January 2411 would correspond to Stardate 10119. For dates in 2410 or previous years, the first two digits are often dropped, for example, 31 December 2410 would be 101231. Similarly to distinguish 2409 from 2419, one would write 4 July 2409 as 090704.

For cases where dates might span a century or more, the full year-month-day stardate can be used to prevent confusion. In such a case, the 19th of January 2410 would be written as SD 24100119.

The conversion between real year and game year is accomplished by adding 412 years.

  • 1993 → 2405
  • 1994 → 2406
  • 1995 → 2407
  • 1996 → 2408
  • 1997 → 2409
  • 1998 → 2410
  • 1999 → 2411
  • 2000 → 2412
  • 2001 → 2413
  • 2002 → 2414
  • 2003 → 2415
  • 2004 → 2416
  • 2005 → 2417
  • 2006 → 2418
  • 2007 → 2419
  • 2008 → 2420
  • 2009 → 2421
  • 2010 → 2422
  • 2011 → 2423
  • 2012 → 2424
  • 2013 → 2425
  • 2014 → 2426
  • 2015 → 2427
  • 2016 → 2428
  • 2017 → 2429
  • 2018 → 2430
  • 2019 → 2431
  • 2020 → 2432
  • 2021 → 2433
  • 2022 → 2434

Mission Dates

Mission Dates (or MDs) are used by some units to ease the maintenance of continuity within the plotline(s). Some units use MDs to construct time lines of happenings on the ship so writers can keep track of who is doing what with whom where at any given time.

There are two parts to the Mission Dates -- the day and the time. They are laid out as follows:

  • MD DD.hhmm

'DD' is for the day. The Mission Dates begin at the start of a mission, and is reset at the start of the next one. The 'hhmm' is for the time in the day, in military time (24-hour). For example, a scene happening at 2:00 pm on the 5th day of the mission would be dated:

  • MD 5.1400

Mission Dates are useful in storylines in which the crew splits into Away Teams, or there are multiple threads and subplots.

Beginning a Post

Posts should begin with the Mission Date, if your unit uses them, followed by a Scene or Location that lets the reader know where the post is taking place. The Scene can also describe when the post is taking place, in game time. A good Scene tag will orient the reader, letting him or her know where and when the post is taking place.

Non Role Playing Discussions

Sometimes it will be necessary to break out of role playing mode and speak directly to the reader. Such statements should be preceded by the letters "NRPG" (non role-playing game) in order to distinguish it from the role play.

Posts will almost always end with an NRPG section for general statements, questions, and clarification. In the NRPG section you can ask for other players to follow up on parts of your post, or you can explain some of your ideas, even ask for feedback. Commanding officers and other players with command billets will often use the NRPG section to give instructions to players, or to explain each player's task or assignment. So, do not forget to read the NRPGs at the end of each post.

Any message that you send out that is strictly NRPG (ie. that contains no role play) should not be sent to the newsgroup.

Signing Off

At the end of each post, always give your name, your character's name, your character's billet and your email address. This helps to identify who wrote the post. This may seem superfluous, but it is quite helpful.

The following format is suggested:

-Your name

Your character's name

Billet

Unit/Location

Fleet

email address


For example:

- John Smith

Captain Charles Clerke

Commanding Officer

USS DISCOVERY, NCC-1779

GREY Fleet

jsmith@provider.net


Many variations on the above are used, but the same basic information should be communicated.

Handling Problems

ASR is a game and the basic reason to be a member of this club is to have fun. There are a number of rules that attempt to protect everyone's fun and to insure that the integrity of this large and complex shared-universe is maintained for everyone. But, there are still occasions when problems arise and need to be dealt with.

Generally, problem resolution follows a military chain of command. If a player has a problem with another player in his unit, he should contact the unit's commanding officer. If the player is not satisfied with the commanding officer's responce or has a problem with the commanding officer, that player should contact the task force or fleet commander as appropriate for the unit. If the problem cannot be resolved within the fleet or deals with a situation between fleets (such as a question about a cross-fleet transfer), the Chief of Star Fleet Operations (CSFO) may become involved. In the rare event that the CSFO cannot resolve the situation, the CINCSF may also become involved.


Administrators

This section lists current administrative billets in ASR. A more detailed description may be found in the appendix.

  • CINCSF - Commander in Chief Star Fleet

- Senior Club Officer - Supervises CSFO and COMLOG

  • CSFO - Chief of Star Fleet Operations

- Club Executive Officer - Director of Bureau of Personnel - Supervises Fleet Commanders

  • CINC(FLEET) - Commander "Color" Fleet (GOLD, GREEN, INDIGO, SILVER, VIOLET); Oversees daily fleet business including launching/closing ships, assigning and recruiting personnel, and writingship mission orders
  • COM(BRANCH) - Commander, Star Fleet Branch; Oversees one of the branches charged with developing supplemental material for the ASR universe. There are also two UFP branches, their heads have civil service titles equivalent to flag rank. They are:
    • UFPDOCA -- United Federation of Planets, Department of Colonial Affairs
    • UFPESCO -- United Federation of Planets, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
    • COMJAG -- Commander, Judge Advocate General Corps
    • COMPA -- Commander, Public Affairs
    • COMREC -- Commander, Star Fleet Records
    • COMSFE(NG) -- Commander, Star Fleet Engineering
    • COMSFESCI -- Commander, Star Fleet Sciences
    • DSFI -- Director, Office of Star Fleet Intelligence
    • MEDCOM -- Commander, Star Fleet Medical Corps
    • CoS/SFMC -- Chief of Staff, Star Fleet Marine Corps
  • (FLEET)XO - Color Fleet Executive Officer

- Assistants to the Fleet Commanders - Duties as specified by fleet commanders


Awards

Definition of Awards

Character Awards:

There are two varieties of character awards. The first are 'Star Fleet' awards, restricted only to Star Fleet personnel. The second are 'Federation' awards, presented to -any- Federation citizen or other person deemed deserving (including Star Fleet personnel). The second form of award may thus be granted to ambassadors, civilian mission specialists, irregular unit characters, etc., as well as Star Fleet officers and crew.

Unit Awards:

These are awards given to a rp unit in recognition of superior rp, conduct of mission and command, etc. Characters serving with a unit so awarded are permitted to wear the decoration. These include such things as "campaign ribbons".

Player Awards:

Player Awards are handled by honors lists. They are to recognize superior player contributions to role play, administration, writing, and related aspects of ASR, and are separate and distinct from character awards.

Classifications of Awards

All three types of awards (character, unit, and player) have different tiers--routine commendations, minor, major, and extraordinary. The use of the four-tier system is to establish who can approve the award, and who should bestow it on the player, unit, or character.

Routine:

Routine awards are given by superiors in the chain of command, and consist of commendations or recognitions of service, officially attaching such things as, "mentioned in dispatches for bravery" to the officer's permanent service record, publicly acknowledging a player's contributions, etc.

They may also include things like "commendations for original thinking," "initiative," etc. Routine commendations are most often handled by the commanding officer, or, in the case of the command personnel (XO, CO) the task force commander, fleet executive officer, etc.

Commanding officers also have the authority to recognize players on their ships with honors lists. These include things like "most improved writer, most reliable, etc." At the discretion of the CO, these can also take on a more humorous bent.

Minor Awards:

Minor awards are service ribbons, medals, etc. given in recognition of superior service. In the case of character awards, the unit's commanding officer or executive officer will write the fleet commander (and task force commander should one be applicable) and nominate the character for the award. If the fleet commander approves, he may bestow the awards immediately without consulting his superiors.

If a non-command player wishes to nominate command characters (CO, XO) for minor awards, he should write the fleet commander directly with the recommendation. The same applies to unit gamemasters.

Minor unit awards are also handled by the fleet commander. Fleet commanders may create campaign ribbons -- e.g., Second Battle of Gamma--at their discretion, in addition to awarding standard ones noted below.

Fleet commanders (and COMANC) also have the authority to create fleetwide honors lists per the guidelines above for ship honors lists.

Major Awards:

Major awards are those so prestigious that their bestowal reflects on Star Fleet, or the Federation, as a whole. Authority for approving them thus rests with the Chief of Star Fleet Operations (CSFO). The process is the same as the one for minor awards, except that the fleet commander must submit them to the CSFO for approval. If the CSFO approves, the fleet commander has the authority to then bestow the awards directly. COMANC should also submit major award nominations for irregular units to the CSFO.

Extraordinary Awards:

There are two extraordinary character awards in ASR -- one is military, the other is non-military. They are the Federation Medal of Valor and the Federation Medal of Freedom. These awards are conferred by the Federation Council, and this means the CINCSF of ASR is the only player who has the authority to confer them.

Extraordinary awards must be recommended by fleet commanders to the CSFO, who in turn endorses them for final approval and bestowal, which rests with the CINCSF.

There are no extraordinary unit awards at this time.

Extraordinary player awards consist of an 'honors list' which the CINCSF presents to the Assembly twice a year. Recommendations to the honors list may be made by any ASR player and are subject to the sole discretion of the CINCSF.

With the exception of the extraordinary awards, the list which follows is not exclusive. Other specific awards are therefore acceptable as long as they are approved by the formal bestowing authority -- the fleet commander for Minor Awards, and the Chief of Star Fleet Operations for Major Awards.

Hierarchial List of Awards

Character Awards:

These awards carry with them ribbons or medals. Multiple bestowals of the same award are denoted by stars. Those players who wish to adhere to the practices of the British system may, at their leisure, add designated abbreviations for major awards after their characters' names, c.f. CAPT John R. Smith, LS, in signoffs, etc.

The below is by no means inclusive but is a listing of the awards currently bestowed. As mentioned, approved alternates may be added.


  • Star Fleet Awards
    • Extraordinary:
      • Medal of Valor
    • Major:
      • Star Fleet Cross (aka Golden Nebula Medal)
      • Latinum Star
      • Star Fleet Medal
      • Distinguished Service Medal
      • Silver Star
      • Legion of Merit
    • Minor:
      • Cross of Alexander
      • Bronze Star
      • Hero of the Federation (aka Star of Hope) **Posthumous**
      • The Pike Medallion for Heroic Injury (aka Wounded Lion)
      • Meritorious Service Medal
      • Star Fleet Commendation Medal
      • Star Fleet Achievement Medal
      • Prisoner of War Medal
  • Federation Awards
    • Extraordinary:
      • Medal of Freedom
    • Major Awards:
      • Gold Lifesaving Medal
    • Minor Awards:
      • Medal for Merit
        • Zephram Cochrane [ENG]
        • Richard Daystrom [SCI]
        • Leonard McCoy [MED]
        • Hikaru Sulu [EXP]
        • Sarek [DIP]
      • Silver Lifesaving Medal

  • Unit Awards
    • Major Awards
      • Outstanding Star Fleet Unit Citation
    • Minor Awards
      • Fleet Unit Commendation, e.g. Blue Fleet Unit Commendation
      • Theater/Battle/Action Ribbons, e.g. GAMMA Quadrant Action Ribbon

  • Player Awards
    • Star Fleet Honors List [Extraordinary]
    • Fleet (Specific) Honors List [Minor]
    • Ship (or Unit) Honors List [Routine]

Descriptions of Key Awards

Though a detailed description of the awards is outside the proper scope of this proposal, the CINCSF and CSFO are hereby required and authorized to produce a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) providing such a description, and specifying the criteria for the various extraordinary and major awards listed above. The detailed description, along with ribbon and medal graphics for the above awards are included as appendix D of this manual.

Likewise, shipboard commanding officers and fleet commanders are hereby authorized to produce similar FAQs for routine and minor awards (and in the latter case approved alternates) on an individual fleet- and unit-wide basis.

This is in recognition of the reality that the individual fleets and ships have developed such widely different rping styles and objectives for shared writing that such authority is best vested in those administrators for the level of award which they are authorized to grant.

Insofar as this concerns individual commanding officers, this is a reiteration of the current policy which permits commanding officers to write commendations/reprimands, mention officers in dispatches, etc. Any shipboard commanding officer who wishes to propose a new minor award must obtain approval from his fleet commander as that office is the issuing authority for such awards.