Wednesday, November 14, 2018

CDS Election Campaigning: 恭子 Kyoko (Samara Barzane)

By Bixyl Shuftan

Different communities have different ways of how things are run. For the Confederation of Democratic Simulators, the community has elections twice a year in which local citizens (those who own land in the community) chose who will be in the Representative Assembly and who will be their leader: the Chancellor. This election, two people are running for Chancellor. They are Drewski Northman, and 恭子 Kyoko (Samara Barzane). The part of Kyoko's display name written in Japanese kanji also spells "Kyoko."

Sunday November 11 saw two events in which both candidates had a chance to explain themselves to the voters. Drewski had his at 11 AM. Kyoko's was the second one, taking place at 2:30 PM SL time.

I'd like to invite  you to join me for an informal discussion of my platform (attached) and listen to what YOU want to see (and help make happen) in C.D.S. Ask away, but I want to hear from you too!

Kyoko has also put her case for being elected, as well as her goals, on notecard. Her campaign could be summed up as "Respect, Responsibility, and Resourcefulness."

I am running for the honor of serving you as the Chancellor of C.D..S. for the 30th Term.

I have been a citizen of the C.D.S. since 2015 and am currently serving as PIO Head and as a member of the Land Use Commission. Last March’s successful Celebrating SL Women 2018 was planned by Brooke Brandenburg and myself. I have owned and managed The Art Cafe in Locus Amoenus since 2015 and was recently made an Estate Manager

An SL member since 2007, I have worked at a number of SL jobs, which included customer relations as well as store and sim management, marketing, public relations and events. Employers have included store Elikapeka Tiramisu of ETD (now [e]), Roslin Petion of Fleur and designer Mills Michinaga. I owned and managed Park Galleries from 2008 to 2011 and continue to exhibit my own artwork in C.D.S. and elsewhere.

I also owned and operated a translation agency, and served as sim manager for a shopping sim taking care of rentals, marketing, public relations and events. Active in Relay for Life of Second Life since 2008, I was sponsorship chair in 2011.

In that role I raised $11,000 US for Relay for Life of Second Life. These experiences have included the development of program and marketing strategies suited to Second Life. Throughout these work experiences I have interacted with diverse SL individuals and groups.

What I stand for:

As Chancellor I pledge to respect each citizen, as well as the history and structures of C.D.S

I pledge to take responsibility for my assigned duties in a timely manner and for any mistakes that I make.

Finally, I pledge to be resourceful in problem-solving, in the judicious use of C.D.S. assets and in seeking out citizen skills to support the C.D.S. vision.

- Work with key members of the executive and citizenry to develop and execute a marketing strategy for Land Sales and Citizen Retention
- Encourage the Land Use Commission to continue its creative vigilance with regard to our simulators.
- Continue a program of varied events that appeal to our citizens, as well as promoting C.D.S. to others. I will also encourage citizen participation in creating new events.
- Meet with citizens for both social and discussion purposes on a regular as well as ad hoc basis.

The event was held at the CDS Amphitheatre in Colonia Nova. Earlier in the day, Kyoko had held a Maiko dance event, "Odori No Aki,: there. Now, the place was the site of a political event. Rosie Gray, whom was Chancellor earlier this year, told her, "Thanks for organizing the Maiko dance event, I thought it was really interesting, and something totally different for here." "You are welcome," Kyoko told her, "They are good people."

More people arrived, and they sat on a circle of chairs on stage, "Rosie, if we need more chairs can you move us around?"Kyoko waited a few extra minutes for more to arrive, then "OK, why don't we get started? First thank you for coming and welcome. I have a few remarks prepared, (what candidate doesn't *laughter*) But I thought I would start with a couple of stories.

"My poster slogan is Respectful, Responsible, Resourceful. You, of course, will be the just of whether I treat others with respect. It is my intent. But there are other things to respect here at CDS, our vision of democracy in a virtual world, the integrity and functioning of our political structures, as well as our traditions that pull us together.

"Okay, responsibility.  A story. I was recently made an Estate Manager. One of my first acts was to turn this amphitheatre into a water parcel." That statement got a few chuckles from some of the others around, "ha-ha." Kyoko continued, "I was so embarrassed, flattened all the land to the water (laughter). I contacted Rosie and Sudane Erato and confessed, pleading for help, and offered to resign. Their response? They said, 'don't worry. We've done worse.' That told me a lot about the quality of the people caring for our sims. And I will always take responsibility when I goof." Rosie remarked, "None of us is perfect." Kyoko responded, "Rosie while true, that was a lovely goof I made (laughter)."

It was about this moment Han Held (Hannah Marie Tempestwolf), the current Chancellor, arrived. She remarked, "they said they've done worse and I TP in, 'Speak of the devil and you see her horns.' ... I can vouch that you've got the skills, temperment and education and background to do very, very well."

Kyoko continued, "OK, resourcefulness. We don't always have a lot of money lying around for events. As a result two of our Oktoberfest events, The Pub Crawl and Friedsee by horseback were citizen-generated, a load of fun and, free. There are so many ways to to make that happen again and again. And that's one way we can be resourceful. For those of you who attends this afternoon's event, Odori No Aki, remember the last folktale about the frogs. The moral  there was that it is people who make a community thrive. And we have the people, I know."

"I had more prepared," Kyoko spoke, "But I'm happy for questions, suggestions ideas. The floor is yours." Keila Forager had the first question, about getting buyers for vacant land, "Thank you.  What are your plans to reduce the 'yellow' on the map?" After a few comments about a new keyboard, Kyoko answered, "Not my favorite color. One of the main tasks of the incoming chancellor will be to turn those to green or later snow. My three prongs if you will are Marketing and citizen retention. It takes a community to build a community. While it's the chancellor's task, it is also the task for all of us. What do we value about CDS? What might need to change?" She glanced at her papers for a moment, "Let me look at my notes a sec. ...The three prongs are marketing, outreach, and events. They are all connected. In marketing we need to refresh and refocus our advertising. I have some ideas, but the more the merrier. As for outreach, as I mentioned we should encourage citizen generated events.

"Outreach, develop ways to cooperate with other communities on items of mutual interest. Whether it's events of project we both support, that's a gain for both communities in life and vitality. Cooperating with other communities should not involve poaching, but a reputation as a good community to work with helps drive interest and hopefully more green and less yellow. I've already talked about events as a community project under resourcefulness. Marketing involves selling us, obviously. But outreach and events help sell us also. As the frogs (in the play) said, a community is it's people. We all need to step up. If I am not elected I will not disappear. I will keep working for the well-being of (the) CDS.

While she spoke, others had questions. Keila wondered about if the CDS was in the Linden Destinations Guide, and Rosie told her they were, showing them the link to the Neufreistadt sim. But Lyubov remarked, "I've never found us in the Guide." Then in response to cooperating with other communities she asked, "Do you have come communities in mind, that may share interests?  Steampunk? Victorian roleplay? ... What would be a measurable goal, or achievement, after your six month term?" Keila asked, "I think retention should be an issue also.  Once you get new citizens, how you plan to keep them.   Aside from Rosie here, I've just recently met everyone else and have been a citizen since June this time.   I've been part of CDS off and on since 2007."

Kyoko went on, "Yes, I'm a retired university professor, and student retention is a big worry. A place to start is why we each are here, what makes us stay, what makes us come back? For me it is a community that works together." "And what makes us leave?" Keila threw in. Kyoko responded, "Oh yes that one too Keila. Why do people leave? We need to understand that. ... As for metrics, I'm a philosopher, not a statistician (wink). I would hope that we make a lot of progress on banishing the yellow, that we work together as a community. I will aim for as much non-yellow as possible. If the RA were to want to see a measuring metric that is fine. But often when we seek a number we miss options to  reach the same goal by a different route."

Kyoko them commented, "Can you tell I've been on too many assessment committees? Did I miss a question?" Lyubov commented, "I'm speaking only for myself, not for the RA (smile), but thank you." Kyoko continued, "Of course my job as chancellor is to keep a sharp eye on fiances and other matters. I will do that  to the best of my abilities. But we need the citizens to work together to help us grow, not just in numbers and (money), but in community. I'm not naive. I've been in many communities both real and virtual. The important thing is not to get bogged down in the past, but to look forward. We have amazing sims and that's one of our biggest selling points. I will be as available and consistent as is humanly possible. But I will be working with you to find the energy we need to be even better than we are."

Keila remarked, "Nor could I find a list of places to visit while here, do we still have that too?" Kyoko answered, "The Land Use Commission is working on that right now, and I am hoping we'll have a working list by the next term. Rosie and I will also accept suggestions for places to list." Kyoko apologized for any typos made, "I just get excited about the projects."

Kyoko then brought up, "Do you want to know why I decided to run?" There were answers of "Yes." The candidate then began to explain, " I've been in CDS since mid-2015 as a gallery owner and resident, with absolutely no intention of running for office. I mean absolutely no intention. Rosie knows how absolute (wink). So what changed my mind? A sense of duty and a higher calling?" Lyubov grinned, "You were drafted." Kyoko answered, "Not that simple really, although my arm is still untwisting." Lyubov kept grinning, "Rosie, keep it twisted tight! don't let her go!" The former Chancellor chuckled, "Haha, no I didn't twist her arm at all." Kyoko responded, "You darn near broke it off." There were more snickers from the others.

The candidate continued, "Over time I came to appreciate the democratic ideal that drives C.D.S., and began to notice the citizens who were working for the well-being of our community. Art Cafe was part of my hoping to provide a resource for C.D.S., its citizens and our visitors. As Public Information Officer for the 29th term I attended most of the Resident Assembly meetings and was overwhelmed by the quality of our elected representatives and the care they were taking with the welfare of C.D.S. Additional experience on the Land Use Commission has only reinforced that realization. Our representatives really care. My 'vision' for C.D.S. comes from these experiences; that we need to find ways to keep the C.D.S. project fresh and vital, and that we ought to explore future options together. The fact is, the bulk of the Chancellor's job is paperwork and details, all important, in keeping the engine humming, but not glamorous. I mean no one in their right mind would run for Chancellor (laughter). The opportunity for the chancellor to effect much change in 6 months is smaller than you may think. But the avenues that ARE open are ones we can travel together and get some things done. "

"OK here we circle back to where we started. The areas we can affect most easily are marketing, outreach and events. All three are inter-connected. Of course I have some ideas and dreams for C.D.S., but my biggest hope is that we will work TOGETHER to develop these new approaches. Working together we can be more than the sum of our parts. Our major resources are the belief that democracy is possible here and the outstanding beauty of our sims. The Land Use Commission works hard to keep our sims fresh and functional. I've had a wonderful time wandering the sims lately, finding many amazing locations to enjoy, AND list for your enjoyment (wink). If elected Chancellor I promise to be accessible and responsive to your concerns and ideas, especially for marketing, outreach and events, because those are the most accessible means we have to grow as a community."

The meetup would go a little longer. But eventually it was time for it to end. So people went their separate ways.

The polls open on Saturday November 10 at Noon SL time, and will close a week later, on November 17. The election results will be announced on November 24.

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, November 2, 2018

When A Friend Passes Away

By Deaflegacy

Most of my story will be about real-life, but it's one I need to tell.

October 27, 2018, was one of the hardest days I had in my life.  It was the day that my best friend of nearly four years passed away.  Her name has been changed to give her friends and family privacy so I will settle on Yvonne.  My other best friend, Larry (name changed for the same reason) texted me.  He wanted me to call him.  So I called Larry.  It was then Larry told me that Yvonne had passed away.  At first, I thought Larry was kidding and Larry said no.  We made an arrangement to meet. Larry's girlfriend, Beth (name changed for the same reason) and Larry pick me up.  We stopped by Yvonne's house.  It then hits me.  Yvonne is gone.  She's not coming back. 

We knew it was going to happen because Yvonne kept falling asleep.  She passed away in her sleep most likely from a heart failure.  I miss Yvonne very much.  Even when Beth told me that I have to move on, I still miss her very much.  If there is one thing that never will change, it's that Yvonne will still be my inspiration.  She was one of the few people who inspired me to write in my journal every day.  Even when Yvonne is gone, I will continue to write in my journal every day for Yvonne. 

But I know Yvonne will not be forgotten. I remember last year when Bixyl and Gemma told me about their SL friend Breezes Babii passing away. Her friends came together to give her a funeral here in Second Life. They still talk about her once in a while. A few weeks ago, Akea Grommet, another of Bixyl's SL friends, passed away. Akea's friends gathered at his partner's house here in Second Life to share stories about him. Some hadn't seen him a long time, but still they came to pay their respects.

At least, I know that Yvonne is at peace.  She is in a better place and that's why I'm tell you all about my best friend of nearly four years.  Yvonne was a wonderful and kind person, who cared very much about me.  Even though I know that Yvonne is in a better place now, it doesn't stop me from missing her.  From the day I left her house, carrying a large teddy bear, I know right now that Yvonne is with me.  Best Friends Forever.