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Future of AeRo

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Hello AeRos,
I know we are behind with updates and progress about several things concerning the site. I apologise for these.
At the moment we are currently at a crossroads with the community and I would like your feedback. AeRo has a long, extensive and involved IC history that spans well over a decade. It is a testament to the writing abilities and interest of our community. However, it can make it difficult to go back and get into things again. A proposal that was brought up was essentially a reboot. What kind of reboot is still to be determined although we were wanting to see what you thought. I understand this measure is drastic, given the state of the site and utter difficulty I've had getting back into things. I hope you can understand why this idea has been brought forward. No post or thread will be removed and anything from this current version of aero is welcome to be played out on the AU board.
Our choices are either;
a reboot to make things easier to manage and to understand.
Or for AeRo to become freeform, allowing members to do what they want in a Rome setting, and it also offers the potential for mini rome worlds. E.g. A separate one for the late roman empire, etc. I'm interested to see how people would see how this could potentially work.
My personal involvement with the site has waned. I don't see myself RPing anytime soon and for those who have been waiting for me to post. I apologise deeply for keeping you waiting. I hoped that the muse would come back, however, I feel that part of my life has come to a close. I will be able to keep an eye on AeRo and the site. I will also not be transferring ownership of AeRo in any shape or form.
What I would like from the members is input on either of the two ideas.
Thank you for listening, AeRos.


Okies, I will update the post too, 

A reboot would be more along the line of a new plot and in a way, with less of the history that AeRo currently has. In a way, it would be more like a fresh start. I'm trying to avoid time jumps because it tends to mean more work ultimately to think and write what happened in that time. People would be able to keep characters/plots going, I imagine so long as they fit in with the rebooted plot. They may need to go through the app process again. I'm still feeling out ideas and thoughts at the moment in that regard. 

Sandbox/free-form could be either 1x1 plots. And there could be overarching plots that occur too. E.g. Say if people want this version, it would be it's own. Or if say they wanted a republic or late empire section. Each would have it's own and it would likely be managed. I'm still feeling out this option to see how much interest there would be. Maybe think of it like a mini rpg and AeRo (the board) in a way becomes the host. 

These are still very broad ideas about the possibilities with it and thank you for asking for clarification too. 

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I would suggest:

Slim down the timeline to include just since the civil war (that's fifteen years ago ICly, which is plenty of time). The stuff before is [i]AeRo[/i] history but doesn't need to be referenced in apps or by characters. I didn't reference anything from before even when making Aulus

Have a shorter, simpler app and reopen to new characters and members. I'd suggest that a character history gloss over the early years and concentrate on maybe the last five IC years, possibly the last ten - where have they been, what have they been up to, why are they in Rome now?

What would a reboot entail? I don't think a timeskip would help with staff load, TBH, because it would just mean writing a whole [i]new[/i] history instead of adapting what there is already. And I don't think a freeform style would suit AeRo, as a board that's always been known for its historical accuracy.

If a reboot would mean that current threads are AU, what does that mean for current characters? Would they need to be rewritten - which again would only add to the staff workload. Or would we be encouraged to drop them and create a whole new list of characters? Which, again, would be a workload issue plus an influx of new apps for new characters. It's easier to rewrite existing characters than to create new ones - and most of us have more than five characters currently in play.

And what are you thinking about Imperial and canon characters? It's hard to do political things without them, and currently we need staff involvement for politics anyway, which, again, is adding to your workload.

A slimmed-down app and shortened history would be easier to moderate - staff could deal with things like apps and new character domicile boards on a given day a week, say, rather than feeling overwhelmed by everything all at once.


Just a few thoughts, I hope it helps?

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Between those options, I would prefer reboot to sandbox. I don't like sandbox type boards, and I don't think they fit historical setting very well, but that's just a personal preference.

As for reboot (or any other option), here is what I feel is important to me as a player:

1. Apps and membership being open and the app process being streamlined (maybe shorter apps, so they can be reviewed faster?)

2. Being able to carry over some characters and plots to the new setting

3. The site working at full capacity (having the character masks & notifications back, etc.)

4. Having active canon characters (whether they are mod-played or apped) to interact with, and having plots on a regular basis (whether they are mod-coordinated or open plots)

I agree with Sharpie in that re-apping all our characters would create a huge workload for the mods at the start of the reboot. If the reboot comes with new history and plot, that would be a whole lot of work too. So I guess it depends on what the mod team feels like you all can handle, or if you would recruit some help for the transition.

Thank you for asking these questions, and including us in this process! :)

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Posted (edited)

As I said in Discord, thanks for posting this - really appreciate being involved! 

Given the above, I would prefer a reboot to a sandbox, I need the structure of a setting and overarching plot to help with muse. In terms of a reboot - some of my own thoughts on it below: 

Really appreciate the clarifications on the characters/plot being able to transition over because I think that's the most important thing for me. I've spent four-odd years writing them now, and to lose that would be really tough as a player - it's almost as if I'd be joining a new board, and that requires commitment from a member to come up with new plots and characters and interest. To be really candid, it would be hard to muster this for me personally knowing I was really enjoying plots and characters that got wiped in the reboot. If you went for a 'seamless' reboot where all our characters lived the lives as per their apps, either exactly as they are (in option (a) below) or via (b) - just under IRL history up until the civil war, that might make it easier - it would mean that our plots could be the same on a 'new' AeRo? 

As a player of only a few of years on the site, I agree that I found the 'lore'/site history a bit overwhelming when I joined! I mainly just went from the civil war onwards as plot points. If you were rebooting the plot, you could always start there with civil war and either:

(a) keep the history what it is, but don't use the timeline format which can be unwieldy - instead just do a bit of a guidebook of very, very key events (as whilst interesting, events 20 years ago canonically aren't super relevant for new players in the current format);

(b) make it a historical civil war between the IRL historical emperor and Quintus, Quintus be victorious and then have Quintus retire recently. That cuts out a lot in between. For those players that have been around for decades, you could always direct them to the AU board to write those plots.

I agree on new apps/characters being allowed being important - although won't hammer home the point. I think new characters = new motivation to write. 

Either way, I think there will be a lot of work that will have to go into either option - but I'm sure everybody is very happy to help pitch in, or, if leaving things as they are is an option and re-opening apps/jumping forward a month or two in the timeline (which will save the work of rebooting or sandboxing), equally very happy to help.


Edited by Sara
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At the moment my opinion on the options presented is rather moot. But I felt this community deserved to know where I stand on things, as far as my continuing with AERO. 

Yates said in a rather depressive apocalyptic poem “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;” describing a situation where things are out of control and the center of the situation can no longer sustain the weight of it. 

I’m at this point when it comes to AERO. 

The current status of AERO is a situation that is no longer sustainable, for me. 

Since my father’s open heart surgery and a lot of things that came after that, and a great many things that came before that, to be honest, I’ve come to admit to myself I’m very burnt out.

I look at the site and at the discord and all I feel is guilt and sadness. I feel no connection to my muses or the story here. 

I apologize for making promises we could not keep. I apologize for the lack of communication on my part of things. I do not handle failure or potential conflict all that well. 

But this is where I’m at. If things stay the same, I cannot stay as both admin and as writer.

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Thank you for your comments so far. 

I need to clarify some things about the reasons why those options were put forward. 

I don't believe I will be RPing in the future and my management of the site will be more hands off. Hopefully I may be able to do more than I am currently able to at the moment. I'm busy with work and I write professionally so logging in to write doesn't fill me with excitement like it once did. I also don't have the same time or patience to admin in the ways I have done previously. Especially when it comes to apps that are fiddly, not quite wrong but not ready to be accepted either. I don't have the energy for political plots and things like I used to either. Especially when dealing with players who want to jump in and want to be Caesar right away. (I'm not saying that anyone wants this, it has happened in the past and it is exhausting humouring their idiocy when they can't read basic info). Essentially, AeRo, the way it is currently going is not maintainable for me anymore. Having all this intense lore is tiring to work with and I considered closing the site down. However, it is something I don't want to do while there are still members interested in the site and who enjoy their time here. AeRo has been part of my life since I was 20 and it means a lot to me. 

The reboot was to give a fresh start to help move things forward and take the weight off. Making things more simple is a patch that won't last long. I should have been clearer about this and I understand why it is frustrating. I'm exhausted. It is difficult to remember the site lore, and it is something I used to do easily. Now? I can't. I have to spend time going through it when I'd rather to post or do something else. That is part of the reason why the freeform was suggested as an option too. 

The reason freeform was put forward was to allow members to keep going with their current plots and continue them onwards. Along with other possibilities as they arise. 

The software also upgrades pretty regularly and it can be tiring dealing with it plus any add ons. I'm still looking for a solution to the problem.

I'm enjoying reading your comments and appreciate the time you're taking to answer this thread. I'm still willing to hear suggestions and your thoughts about things, and I hope we come to a solution that works for everyone. 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks both for your honesty, and so sorry for what you're going through, both of you. Absolutely RL comes first. 

I guess as a member who loves your site, I just want to see it thrive and continue to write fun plots with my friends. I think a reboot would enable that, so long as we can transfer over what we have from here to whatever new setting it is. Although, as you say Gothy, it's a patch that won't last long as the work of running a site builds up again and again over the next few years. I suppose with that in mind, are you open to adding new administrators or moderators to your staff?

This is not me fishing for a job, as you know I already run another board (over which I'm slightly burned out - so I get it! 🫠), but I genuinely think that with some help to manage the parts that yourselves can no longer manage due to to really valid reasons, the site might flourish again. You would all maintain control and ownership of the site still, but you would have people to do;  board maintenance, list updating, running events, NPCing canons, reviewing apps etc. Would really welcome  your thoughts. 

Edited by Sara
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I've not been on AERO as long as some, and I had been in the mindset that I would roll with whatever was decided but I also thought that it would be best to throw my two pence into the ring.

Quite understandably that Real life absolutely comes first and I'm really sorry to hear what you both are going through at the moment, similarly to what has been said by Sara above.

And that the option to reboot with freeform elements would be my preference, with preference for a slimmed down timeline so that it covers the basics leading up to the game start; which might make it less daunting for new prospective players to jump on board with. Highlight the important parts that players should know; like ruler changes, or what's happened since IC start or perhaps have an account there for players to add IC updates through the orator?

Also jumping on what Sara had suggested: perhaps putting out feelers for staff applications to widen the net and take the workload off a small amount to ease the adjustment between present and the rebooting of the site could assist in the long-term whilst still maintaining overall control and the ownership of the board. Of course, I also understand that it comes with having it be a brainchild and not necessarily something you'd want to chance putting faith in newcomers to act as staff members who haven't had the full experience of the board as well.

When it comes to the apps, I think they're pretty streamlined already as they are. Perhaps changing the quick app form to be something for general characters and not just disposable ones could also help with the approval/apping process for characters too.

I'll probably edit my reply if i can think of anything else but at the moment this is sort of where my thoughts are presently.


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Posted (edited)

I know I haven't been around a lot myself but I do like the idea of a reboot. This site has a lot of heavy lore and I feel that it can be very intimidating. 

Stories end, but new ones always begin. Characters and muses are far more adaptable than we give them credit to being. 

Edit: I also think you, @Gothicshould do whatever makes you happiest with the site. Ultimately it's your creation, it's you who has put years of your time into it, not to mention the costs, because this platform is costly, AERO should be something you're happy with. 

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Itsa me, Rennalish. 

I love Aero. I haven't been active in a long, long, long time, mostly due to my own IRL problems and Ancient Rome really not being my forte in the first place. But. But! I legitimately hard-core hated Romans for years. Somehow, who knows, Gothy twisted my arm and convinced me to give it a try, and I tried it, and now I'm all fond of ancient Rome like a grandma who knows her children are troublemakers and clucks about it while shaking her head, because how is it that kids are so smart and so stupid at the same time. Romans? "Aw, those guys." I know way more about Rome than I ever thought possible. I still get a bit of schadenfreude every time I learn of some new historical incident where the tribes they were all snooty about kicked their skirted butts, BUT, I also love them. My stupid, overly-formal, debuached geniuses. Such a blend of imagination and contridiction and honor and cruelty, they ARE human nature at its most dualistic and Aero got me thinking this way. This site is special. I created a character I adore here, and one I would love to play (again, and again, and again, I don't care how, cranky Seia delights me). I remember dozens of other people's characters with love like I knew them in-person. 

In short, it's a damn cracking good site and my only real wish is that it lives. I'm fine with a reboot, or a semi-sandbox (like maybe 3 sections on site: History I, History 2, AU), so there's some structure for different plotlines. My main concern with a reboot of that nature is that it is going to be more work. I think the easiest solution will be to reboot and shrink the lore. I personally adore trying the same characters in different ways, because change one tiny thing and suddenly you're careening off down a path headed toward the other side of the world. That isn't for everybody, but "what if?" is fun for me so starting over won't bother me in the slightest as long as the site history remains accessible and people can continue their current plots as much as they wish in a subsection or AU board of the rebooted site. 

We have great stuff here. It's beyond kind to keep it open even when your muse has burned low, so I'm just thankful for that. Choose the option that seems healthiest for you, O Venerable Admins. We made awesome stories before, and we still have the talent so we'll make them again.  

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I too haven't been active in some time, and much of what has been said resonates with me. Being burnt out, having lost muse, real life growing increasingly more demanding. AeRo has given me a lot during my time here - fun, joy, sadness and excitement through posts, and a sense of community that is very hard to match, especially as few online roleplaying communities are as long-lived as this one.

As a writing member, my selfish preference between a reboot and going freeform/sandbox would be the former. I've grown fond of and attached to so many characters here (not just my own), and would like to continue keeping up with them even if the lore and setting have changed a bit. Yet there are some things and elements I would like to see happen that I'm aware are unlikely to, and that's okay - we're humans, not tireless inexhaustible machines.

As someone who has opened a post to start a reply and closed it after hours of staring at the screen because nothing is coming out far more times than I would like and each time the feeling I'm letting my fellow members down gets worse, my vote is to go with what is tenable and feasible, not just now but long-term - and the present status quo is neither. AeRo has had many incarnations and iterations over the years, and maybe that's why it has stayed alive for so long. If its next evolution is a more hands-off one and the alternative is the site closing down, then that decision makes sense to me. 

Ultimately, AeRo is your garden of creation @Gothic, and you've been kind enough to maintain it and let us play in it for all this time without asking for anything in return. 

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*waves* I'm here too! 

I haven't been very active myself the last few months, too much stuff going on in RL leaving very little motivation and muse to write proper posts here. I miss writing though, and as others have said, with other words I think... I would be very sad to see AeRo just close for good. It's my favorite site, I've been a member for over 10 years now, I've left and come back a few times and it has always been a nice and welcoming community, where you could just pick up your old characters and stories and continue on with new plots and shenanigans. It's an amazing board! Great stories, great lore, great writers. I've tried other sites a few times, but this is where I've always returned to, because it's just the best. Have I praised AeRo enough now? Not sure 🤔

Anyway, I just want to see the site go on. I would be sad to lose my characters and the stories I've built up over the last decade (fx Alexius must live on, he's been through so much and he's not done yet). If it was a reboot of the site, where we could keep on with our characters and maybe less grand plotlines than before, that would be great. But if it means more work and admins not being able to keep it up, that wouldn't be good in the long run. We want our characters and stories to thrive and for us to thrive too, of course. 

I think a sandbox-thing might work out, if done right. Not too many areas to play in and make sure to keep one of the RP areas for the old AeRo plotlines, so we can keep our characters and keep on going with the stories we already have. Keep the character masks, if possible. Adding more areas too, so we can play out the same characters, but in different ways (like it's already done in the current AU board). Maybe with a few big plotlines or events coming out now and again for each area, so something "happens", that our characters have to react to. I could see that working out and maybe it being less work than the big reboot-idea.

But, like I said... all I really want is for AeRo to live on so our characters can live on. So I suppose I'd be happy no matter what happens. As long as the site isn't closed and won't die out.

Several people here have already offered their help with the future of AeRo and I'd like to give a hand too, if needed 😍

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Okay I gave everyone quite a bit of time to have a chance to reply and share their thoughts. Thank you for replying everyone. It touches my heart to hear how beloved AeRo is. I wanted to sit and think about how I wanted to proceed so I apologise for keeping you waiting. 
I figured I would add some more of my reason for doing this and I hope you all understand. I've tried multiple times to post with my characters, especially my faves; Octs, Alaric and Clauds. They felt like strangers to me. I love the lore and history of the site but I don't have the energy to deal with all of it like I used to. There is also the matter of the expense of AeRo and it is a decent amount of money to pay for the site, so I want something I can manage and enjoy when I have the time. 
Here is the current plan.
The site will be rebooted with a new plot and beginning. We'll try to help members fit their characters into the new plot and setting. As for the time period, that is the part I'm currently still trying to work on deciding on the best one for us as a community. 
There will also be the oldform added to the AU board where people can continue their existing plots as they wish. They won't need to re-app their characters for this section of AeRo and will continue. Technically this will be considered to be AU for the main board. 
This is all quite new still and I understand change can make people nervous. AeRo is pretty resilient as a site and as a community. 
I'm going to post this and leave it to give people a chance to post their thoughts/etc. 
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