It is written by Mod Howes and is dated 2 November 2009.
Developing The Events Community
Hello, folks! My name is Mod Howes and I’m responsible for developing our events community support, as well as organising J-Mod support for in-game and forum activities. In this CM blog I hope to give you an insight into how we’re strategising our work with the events community, what challenges we’ve faced, how we've met them and also where we might be heading in future.
So what function do community events play in RuneScape? Well, one of the things we aim to promote in Community Management is building interlinked communities within the wider citizenship of RuneScape. The wider player-base of RuneScape is an overarching super-community, but in order for Gielinor’s citizens to get the most out of their experience in such a diverse landscape, it’s often more fun to get involved with groups of people who share similar interests to you.
The first patrons of the Events Forum were members of established sub-communities such as the clan community, the role-players, the corporations and our plucky volunteer mods. They’ve always posted regular invites to open events in the Events Forum, but more recently, a core of event-mad players have taken the events community to new levels by making it a community in and of itself. We began to see players dedicated to making quality events who were posting new lists of activities every week, and it was this explosion of additional activity that first prompted us to evaluate what support we could offer.
A wild Jagex mod appears
The first step was to assign a dedicated J-Mod to working with the community (yours truly) so that they had a familiar and stable point of contact with Jagex. From there, we began to get a feel for how the community ran, what areas they would like to see developed and what problems they felt needed addressing.
During our first fact-finding posts, we noted that there was a real need to provide some clear resources for those wishing to get involved in events. In response, we created a new central thread for listing any events that we felt were particularly creative, focusing on things to do over the weekend. The "Awesome Events Digest" (as it was then called) became a focal point for players wishing to discover what the events community had to offer. As a happy side effect, it also encouraged our event organisers to provide really clear details of their events so that attendees could get involved more easily. This seemed to be a winning formula, as the number of events being posted each week by regular contributing players grew and grew, and teams of players who posted events began to emerge.
Early adopters of a regular events programme were many and varied, including players from our very own volunteer mod community ('Battle A Mod', 'RuneScape Outreach' and 'Town Square Q&A'), as well as regular player initiatives such as 'Weekly Forumer Events', 'The Eclipse Project', 'The Big Give', 'Vibe Radio' and too many others to mention.
With such a big increase in the amount of interest in events, it was obvious we needed to move our support up a gear in order to provide everyone with a little more room to grow.
Divide and prosper
On closer examination, it became clear that there were two kinds of activity going on in the Events Forum. There were players organising and looking for regular standalone events, and there were players organising and participating in persistent gameplay activities that took place outside of the established ways to use our content. This kind of activity is known as "emergent gameplay", and includes activities such as running hotels, restaurants, wrestling/sports federations, etc.
We carefully combed through the entire Events Forum and separated out those threads relating to events and those threads relating to emergent gameplay. The event-related threads would need to stay in the Events Forum, but we were left with a huge number of threads all bursting with creatives who needed a new home. Once the folks involved in these threads gave us the all clear, we went ahead and created the brand-spanking-new Creative Gameplay Forum (which will require a CM blog of its own!).
We soon moved the creative gameplay threads over to their new home, leaving both communities with enough room to thrive and prosper. It was then up to me to meet the needs of the svelte new Events Community and for Mod Crow to meet the needs of the fledgling Creative Gameplay Community. With more room to grow, it was time to set up the final stage!
Three is the magic number
The final stage of our support-bolstering effort was to revitalise the way the Events Forum worked. It was clear by now that regularity and dependability were very much the key ingredients for fuelling the event community’s growth, evidenced by increasing attendance numbers. To that end, we set about designing three new sticky threads that could provide greater structure for event advertising and would also nurture a better quality of events being posted.
Here’s what they involve:
- The Events Community Home thread now serves as a central discussion thread for the events community and the J-Mods who support it.
- The Featured Events & Live Alerts thread is where we list the most prominent events taking place in the community over the week, alongside a 'live alerts' system for events that are about to start in under 60 minutes.
- The Events Workshop & Submissions thread contains a guide to good event planning and also allows you to submit your event details for inclusion on our event listings thread and our official RuneScape Events Twitter feed.
So that’s what we’ve achieved so far, but this is only the beginning! We have plans to launch our own official regular events as well and they will no doubt inspire many more to get involved! Our trusty event teams will naturally play a big role in these events too, which really makes "eventeering" a community effort. Of course, there’s always more scope for developing existing and new event teams too, but you’ll have to visit the Events Forum in the coming months in order to get involved and to find out more. We’ll look forward to seeing you there! Have fun! ;-)
If you'd like to discuss our support for community events, check out this thread.
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