2020 'Shroom Director Election

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Mayumi Joutouguu

Haniwa Lance Corporal
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
Poll Committee
Once again, the time rolls around for our annual Director Election! You can find information on the process right here. Do you think you have what it takes? You have until January 9th to post your campaign, so plan accordingly!

I wish the best of luck to anyone who decides to run.

This thread will serve as a question and answer thread for anyone who posts a campaign, and, should more than one ticket campaign this year, will serve as the debate thread, as well.

Please do not make any posts in this thread which are not related to the Director Election. This thread should be focused on questions about the process and questions for the candidates, not general commentary. General commentary and feedback are welcome in this thread.
 

Dimitri A. Blaiddyd

Prince of the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus
Core 'Shroom Staff
Poll Committee
IT'S HAPPENING!

Yep! After nearly five years of writing for the newspaper, and three years as a staff member, my passion for The 'Shroom still lives on, and now I feel ready to climb another step. Today, it is with great pleasure to announce that I, alongside Goombuigi (@Shroobuigi) , someone who is as passionate as I am, are running for the position of Director and Sub-Director for the 2021 term of The 'Shroom!

Please, be sure to look at our campaign post here, and if you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to let both of us know. We will be delighted to communicate with you.

We are very much looking forward to a nice election. See you around!

 

Mayumi Joutouguu

Haniwa Lance Corporal
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
Poll Committee
Well, folks, we're looking to make this happen again. As of today, Roserade and I are once again running for the Director and Sub-Director positions, looking to lead The 'Shroom through its 2021 term! Please take a look at our campaign here, and, of course ask us questions, bring up concerns, and feel free to communicate with us about our campaign, whether in private or in this thread.

We wish the best to Ninja Squid and Goombuigi, and anyone else who may yet decide to run. Here's to some friendly and professional competition forcing us all to refine our ideas!
 

Mayumi Joutouguu

Haniwa Lance Corporal
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
Poll Committee
If you don't mind, Ninja Squid, Goombuigi, I would like to lead this off by asking the two of you a few basic questions.

For both Ninja Squid and Goombuigi:

Now, unfortunately, this first question is not directly related to the contents of your campaign, but I feel, after having been through the experience of directing The 'Shroom, that this is an important question to ask because it's important you can assess this for yourselves. To be blunt, the Director position is not a one-person job. I can say that after this year, and, while I will not speak for them, I imagine with reason that Superchao, Meta Knight, even Raregold would say the same. It is important for multiple reasons that you have a solid, reliable partner that you can trust and have a good dynamic with. You need to be able to cover for one another's weaknesses, work closely together, and complement one another's strengths. To that end, I would like to hear the answer to the following question from both of you:

Do you feel you have a strong, well-established working dynamic with your partner? To show you have an understanding of how you work together and what you can offer one another, can you describe some ways in which the two of you complement and support one another as project managers (i.e., what can you offer to one another as part of your working dynamic?)?

As for the next question I have at this moment, I would like to note that the two of you hope to bring on an Activities Manager in time for February's issue. I know you plan to hold applications for the position, as has been done with many 'Shroom staff positions, and, as always, whoever sends in the strongest application and who the staff feels will be reliable and the best fit for the position will get it. That said, it's also the case that, in a community as small as this, it's good to encourage some potential applicants, nudge people who you feel like have potential to apply. At the least, you should have an idea of who you see as a good fit for the position, some users you hope to see apply. I can say that Roserade and I have been keeping tabs on a number of users who we feel have potential as future staff members, trying to give them encouragement and avenues for more engagement with the community so that, hopefully, they'll want to get involved when a position should open up for them to do so. What I'm getting at with all of that is:

For the Activities Manager position and other potential staff positions that may open up, do you feel you have a grasp on who feels like they would make strong applicants? You don't need to name any names, but can you say whether or not you have some users you feel have potential as future staff members and whether or not you plan to try and encourage that potential?

For Goombuigi:

Now, this question, I'd like to ask specifically to Goombuigi, as I already know Ninja Squid intends to continue working in his role as Statistics Manager and being an active member of The 'Shroom staff (and considering how much energy he has had and the good ideas he's brought forward this year, I think that's a boon for the paper!), but I would like to know what you intend to do if you lose this election? You've certainly been a highly active, highly-motivated user, joining the Poll Committee, contributing 'Shroom sections, and engaging with the community in smaller ways wherever you can. Do you have any specific ambitions or plans within this community you'd like to pursue if you aren't elected to the Sub-Director position?

Thank you both in advance for answering these.
 

Dimitri A. Blaiddyd

Prince of the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus
Core 'Shroom Staff
Poll Committee
Thank you so much for your questions Pitohui! I will try to answer them as best as possible.

Now, unfortunately, this first question is not directly related to the contents of your campaign, but I feel, after having been through the experience of directing The 'Shroom, that this is an important question to ask because it's important you can assess this for yourselves. To be blunt, the Director position is not a one-person job. I can say that after this year, and, while I will not speak for them, I imagine with reason that Superchao, Meta Knight, even Raregold would say the same. It is important for multiple reasons that you have a solid, reliable partner that you can trust and have a good dynamic with. You need to be able to cover for one another's weaknesses, work closely together, and complement one another's strengths. To that end, I would like to hear the answer to the following question from both of you:

Do you feel you have a strong, well-established working dynamic with your partner? To show you have an understanding of how you work together and what you can offer one another, can you describe some ways in which the two of you complement and support one another as project managers (i.e., what can you offer to one another as part of your working dynamic?)?
Oh, this is something that I am definitely aware. I already experimented a leadership position in the community as a Poll Committee Chairperson, and while it is a smaller scale project compared to The 'Shroom, it pretty much comes to the same point. A leader or director cannot function to the best of his ability without a team behind him that he can rely on, and the same can be said of the other way around. Something we should always keep in mind as a director is two important things: teamwork and communication.

Always be prepared to work as a team player. You have to trust your team and your team has to trust you. A project as colossal as The ‘Shroom will not be able to work effectively if we are unable to cooperate well, and listen to questions and concerns. As an example, during my time as a Poll Chairperson, my campaign plan was to continue the method that had been established by the sixth Poll Committee, and provide new polls on a weekly basis. However, at one point during my term, some of my fellow members had started to show some concerns, since they were lacking in ideas, and generating new ideas for polls on a daily basis was becoming harder and stressful. When I started to get these reactions, I took the time to discuss with Roserade, who was my Vice Chairperson, regarding those concerns and come with a plan that could ease the burden of my members. After that, I presented a plan to the rest of my members for their thoughts on changing the model from weekly to biweekly. In the end, we end up changing the model, which was helpful for the health of the Poll Committee. For taking those decisions, you need to display team efforts and be trustworthy and reliable with your members. Showing they can trust your leadership in order to make the working environment healthier.

Now, coming to the point with your question, I dare say that I am very much impressed with how Goombuigi and I work well so far, and how we are able to trust each other. Providing such examples, are how we have established our campaign plan. It is a campaign that we took the time to build together, each contributing ideas we found important for the improvement of the newspaper, while listening to inputs from the active 'Shroom staff. If either of us was unsure of how to develop a particular plan and making it work, the other was able to provide ideas in making sure we could make it work. Those are small parts of our inner working, which has worked very well so far, and I think the most important ingredient here was our communication. I sincerely believe that having a good communication with your partner is one of the strengths that will make you a good team. If we would have not been able to have a good communication, I do not believe we would have been able to prepare this campaign effectively.

One thing I can easily offer to Goombuigi is my experience with the inner working of the newspaper. Being in a Core Staff position will be something very much new to him, and I think someone like myself with experiences as an active staff member and prior position of leadership from my time as a Poll Chairperson will be something incredibly valuable to him during his adaptation as a staff member. I think that as the Sub-Director is assisting the Director in his duties, me helping my Sub-Director in his duties will benefit the both of us, and help us creating a friendship through it. This mutual aid will lead us to cover the weaknesses of the other, and having a better understanding of each other. So, in my opinion, the point that has really worked well and that will complement us well is how we communicate with each other, I think this will be our strength.

Thinking on it, it reminds me of my time as the Poll Chairperson. Being in a position of leadership in the community was something very much new to me, and when I was looking for someone I could see taking over the Vice Chairperson role, I was thinking that someone with experiences could actually be very helpful in case that I had some worries about our matters would complement me well. When I finally got Roserade's application, I could not ask for a better choice for the position. Roserade was the Vice Chairperson of the committee before me, and someone with experiences in a leadership position was very much going to be helpful for me, but for the inner working of the Poll Committee as well. In the end, Roserade and I end up developing a friendship, and this is something I am very much happy with.

As for the next question I have at this moment, I would like to note that the two of you hope to bring on an Activities Manager in time for February's issue. I know you plan to hold applications for the position, as has been done with many 'Shroom staff positions, and, as always, whoever sends in the strongest application and who the staff feels will be reliable and the best fit for the position will get it. That said, it's also the case that, in a community as small as this, it's good to encourage some potential applicants, nudge people who you feel like have potential to apply. At the least, you should have an idea of who you see as a good fit for the position, some users you hope to see apply. I can say that Roserade and I have been keeping tabs on a number of users who we feel have potential as future staff members, trying to give them encouragement and avenues for more engagement with the community so that, hopefully, they'll want to get involved when a position should open up for them to do so. What I'm getting at with all of that is:

For the Activities Manager position and other potential staff positions that may open up, do you feel you have a grasp on who feels like they would make strong applicants? You don't need to name any names, but can you say whether or not you have some users you feel have potential as future staff members and whether or not you plan to try and encourage that potential?
I definitely have a few members in mind that I would see fit for the Activities Manager and for other positions as well, both from some of our current staff, but from the new blood as well. Although, I feel like a position such as the Activities Manager could really work well for someone of the new blood, so my focus would definitely be to look among some of our community members. Those who are still establishing themselves, but still proves to be reliable among multiple other sectors of the community (such as the Poll Committee, the Awards Committee or in other forms of events like 'Shroomfest).

My approach will be to wait a few days (roughly three days) after the Application process begins, to see and evaluate the interest for the position, since sometimes we can expect to receive some surprises. After that, I will go and approach those that I could see fit for the position, while giving them an explanation for why I am approaching them and why I think they might be a good fit for the position. If they show interest, I could go and help them by giving a few pointers in order to help them making a good application. Sometimes, when we start new projects, we can be a little unsure of the direction we should take, so as someone with some decent experiences as a Core Staff, and former Poll Chairperson, offering some tips and advices is the least I can do, because I would be the one who would have approached them after all. If they decline the offer, well I would respect their decision, but hoping they still understand the potential they have in getting new roles among the community. I would not go and nudge them repeatedly since it would become harassment, and that would simply be counterproductive to what we are trying to produce. Basically, it’s important that they realize that they have the potential if they ever show interest, but there is a line not to be crossed.

That said, even though I have certain members in mind for such positions, it does not mean that they will eventually have the positions. It is important to me that the majority of my staff mates, if not all, are comfortable with the idea of working with those individuals.

As we all well know, The 'Shroom is handled by community members who give their own time to make this project work. It is volunteering, so the least we can do is to provide a fun and healthy environment for all of our members.

I would even be ready to discuss with my other staff mates and see if they too have any ideas for people they would see fit for staff positions. My staff mates give as much time and energy as I do for this community project, and I think it would be an injustice not to listen to them as well. I may be the director who will be in charge of managing the newspaper for a year, but in the end, we are all Core 'Shroom Staff who works together in order to make the newspaper, something fun and engaging for our community members.

Now, this question, I'd like to ask specifically to Goombuigi, as I already know Ninja Squid intends to continue working in his role as Statistics Manager and being an active member of The 'Shroom staff (and considering how much energy he has had and the good ideas he's brought forward this year, I think that's a boon for the paper!), but I would like to know what you intend to do if you lose this election? You've certainly been a highly active, highly-motivated user, joining the Poll Committee, contributing 'Shroom sections, and engaging with the community in smaller ways wherever you can. Do you have any specific ambitions or plans within this community you'd like to pursue if you aren't elected to the Sub-Director position?
I know the last question was addressed to Goombuigi, but for the sake of transparency for all of our community members, I still want to give them my own version.

If I lose this election, I plan to continue my active role within the 'Shroom staff as the Statistics Manager, hosting the 'Shroomfest during the next term, working closely with Hooded Pitohui and Roserade for the continual improvement and evolution of this event, and providing any inputs in eventual projects.

I also plan to keep up working as a member of the Eleventh Poll Committee, and I would like to take part as a member of the next Awards Committee as well, which would be an all-new experience to me.

In the end, if I lose the election, you will still see my face around here for the next term!

-----​

I sincerely hope my answers meet your expectations, and if you have any other questions or concerns, please let me know!

Also, I would like my competition to answer this question as well. What do you plan to do within the community next year, if you lose this election?
 

Mayumi Joutouguu

Haniwa Lance Corporal
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
Poll Committee
I sincerely hope my answers meet your expectations, and if you have any other questions or concerns, please let me know!

Also, I would like my competition to answer this question as well. What do you plan to do within the community next year, if you lose this election?
I certainly did appreciate your answers to that initial set of questions, yes. Thank you again for going over all of that.

As for this question, there's a few things I intend to do within this community in 2021 if I'm not directing The 'Shroom, so we'll break the answer to this question down into three points.

First and foremost, if we lose the election, we have a responsibility to oversee the transition process and to ensure the new Director of The 'Shroom is equipped with everything they need to oversee a successful term. Issue 166 is still my responsibility, of course, so I need to make sure it's put together and edited on time, make sure SSOTM happens, make sure any applications we've received are incorporated, and make sure all of the other usual work happens. This includes talking to candidates in this election and encouraging them to prepare the Directorial Address in advance of the issue's release so it can be included if they win. In the following weeks, I'd like to have an open line of communication with the new Director so that I can offer advice and support if they have questions or need assistance. There are two additional special considerations for the transition this year. First, Roserade and I have recently organized some information of The 'Shroom's accounts and I've collected some useful notes for future Directors all in one place. I was very lucky to have Superchao's guidance throughout my term this year when questions (such as how to get into a particular account, or things like "what time should SOTM polls close?", or details about the extension for uploading images more easily), and he was able to answer numerous questions as they came up, but I'm hoping that this document provides everything a future Director will need to know so that they have the answers to those kinds of questions right in their hand. Secondly, Ninja Squid's ticket intends to open applications for an Activities Manager with the release of the January issue. Now, Roserade and I do not believe that this is a position we need right at this moment. If a few new activities were to come together in a solid way during our term and it seemed likely that The 'Shroom would have a higher number of activities in the foreseeable future, that would change our mind, but we don't want to put the cart before the horse and bring on a new staff member before there are solid plans that would warrant having a specific position to mange those plans. That said, we respect Ninja Squid's ticket's plans, and we've already spoken with them to assure them that, yes, if they win, we'll open applications the very day the January issue releases and we'll be sure to make the community aware that those applications are open.

Now, moving into the formal positions and activities I'll be involved in next year if I lose, the first thing to say is that I'll definitely stay on with The 'Shroom! If the new Director would like to have me remain on as Strategy Wing Director, I am ready and willing to stay in the position. I'm not going to stop engaging with staff projects or stop trying to improve the paper and contribute ideas just because I'm not the Director. I'll also, regardless of whether I win or lose, be applying for the Awards Committee next year - I enjoy that too much to miss it! I've spoken to Ninja Squid about this, too, but, should I lose, I'm still willing to do the work of managing the Community Awards (preparing suggestions for the Awards Committee, making the Community Awards Dossier, etc.). Of course, Ninja Squid can choose whether he wants to do it himself or if he wants to delegate that, but I'm ready and willing to do it for him if he wants to delegate it (with the approval of the Awards Director, too, of course)! I'm currently the Chairperson of the Eleventh Poll Committee, and, needless to say, I intend to finish out the term. I'm not entirely certain if I will run for that position again or not, at the moment. I don't like to commit this far out, as it's important to me that I can affirm I have the time and energy to commit to a project before I opt to join it, and I'd rather see where I am as the time approaches. In my ideal view of things, though, I would run for the position of Vice-Chairperson of the Twelfth Poll Committee, with someone new to leading community projects running for the Chairperson position. I firmly believe - as the new rotating leadership system the PC is running on shows - that the Poll Committee is a great first step for people who want to be involved in community projects and who want to get some experience leading a small, dedicated team. If I've done my job this year, someone new to the PC this year will feel confident enough to run it next year, and I can offer to be Vice-Chair to help advise them and give them support (or, if they have someone else in mind, there's nothing wrong with being a regular member of the committee). Finally, while these aren't long-standing projects, there are two other projects that would require a formal level of commitment which I might pursue next year. First, LTQ has floated the idea of hosting a KG, and, especially if I'm not directing the paper, I'd like to be available to serve as a co-host for him. Second, while it's an ambitious project and I don't want to guarantee its timing or delivery too early, Roserade and I have been slowly crafting a special "Mindless Junk project," as I'd call it. That is to say, it's the kind of thing that would fit in with other community projects that have been in Mindless Junk in the past, a large scale creative endeavor featuring members of this community. We're really excited about it, though there's still a great deal of work and planning we need to do.

Finally, I said there's informal things I'd like to do in the community, so I should clarify what I mean. I miss writing 'Shroom sections, I must admit. I want to write some new sections, try some new ideas and get back to regular contributions. I've had to be realistic about my time and energy and prioritize my duties as Director over writing regular sections, but, should I lose, I'll have some more time freed up for writing, and I intend to act on it. Even more importantly, though, I want to use the extra time I'd have to get back to knowing more of the community! I want to make silly little Mindless Junk threads people can participate in, I want to be active in the Ask Board, I want to have casual conversations with people. My favorite thing about being in this community is getting to know folks, and, well, there's people I haven't really had a chance to casually chat with and get to know who I'd like to talk more with, and the extra time I'd have would go in part to this effort. My hope with all of this is that I can help some folks feel more comfortable and invested in the community, encourage folks to talk to people and contribute to projects they otherwise wouldn't, to maybe even help give people ideas for 'Shroom sections or Awards presentations rooted in their interests and skillsets. The best way to ensure this community will have future contributors to projects and fresh energy? Make people feel welcomed and give them reason to be invested in the community - that's what I think, at least. As a final aside, there's been rumblings of a revival - possibly with a fresh slate - of Longform RP. I admit, when I spearheaded its creation, along with Superchao, I primarily was setting out to open a space up for a roleplaying niche that wasn't yet represented on the Boards, but the timing wasn't right and not all of the elements needed to make it last were in place. If I lose the election, you can be sure I'll put some time towards contributing to a revival (and hopefully being in it for the long-term) if it happens.

That was quite a bit, but the tl;dr of all of this is:
  • First, I'm going to oversee the transition issue and make sure the new Director is set for a successful term.
  • Second, I'll continue working on The 'Shroom, as staff and a writer, I'll join the Awards Committee (and do the Community Awards work if the new Director would like to delegate that), and I'll continue my work on the Poll Committee
  • Finally, I'll put the extra time I'd have to being around the community in general, chatting, participating in informal projects, and generally trying to do outreach and encourage members of this community to try new things and make new connections.
 

Roserade

"Write your way into his heart..."
Forum Moderator
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
Poll Committee
I'm going to give a similar answer to Pitohui's, albeit with less words. He and I work concurrently on all sorts of projects and have much similar interests, so you'll find a lot of cross-sections with it.

Firstly, yes, I intend to maintain all of the community positions I have now. I'll continue my duties as a forum moderator and as Fun Stuff Director, and I will apply for next year's Awards Committee. Winning or losing this election will not affect where I am now; I continue to love this community and the positions I have past Sub-Director, so I don't intend to leave it all behind. I'm not currently intending to apply for the Poll Committee position, but as a past Chairperson for it, I still have direct access to the board, meaning I'm willing to supply any support that they might need from me, should they ask for it. Additionally, I will see through the end of our term with Pitohui, and make certain that the transition into our new Director's term is a smooth one.

Past the formal leadership positions, you will continue to see me around this community as an active member. I intend to sign up for Awards Presentations, play in the next Killing Game, join any sorts of tournaments or event nights that come up, and so on. Pitohui already mentioned it up there, and I can't guarantee it'll be happening by next year, but I'm also excited to share that we have a community passion project in the works that I believe will be really, really fun. I was also one of the people to kickstart the conversation of the Longform revival, and I'd like to see that come to fruition. And I'll try to keep up to date with my ask thread instead of waiting a year and a half to answer! Maybe. We'll see. The point is, I love this forum and I'm not planning to distance myself from it in any way. The same goes for any other community venues, be it irc on the very odd occasion, or the numerous Discord servers related to our community. This group of people really matters to me, so don't expect to be rid of me just yet! If you wanted me to vanish for any reason, you have my condolences
 

Goombuigi

The Luigi-fied Goomba
Poll Committee
Do you feel you have a strong, well-established working dynamic with your partner? To show you have an understanding of how you work together and what you can offer one another, can you describe some ways in which the two of you complement and support one another as project managers (i.e., what can you offer to one another as part of your working dynamic?)?
I would say that so far, we've been working together well on the campaign. Although I wasn't as familiar with Ninja Squid before, we've been communicating quite well so far, and we've each had our fair share of ideas while working on the campaign. As for what I can offer to this dynamic, since I'm a relatively new member of the community, I can offer a different perspective on the 'Shroom. What I mean by that is, since I read parts of the 'Shroom as a foreigner for a year or two, and I signed up for 'Shroom sections this year, I can reflect on and evaluate the current sign-up process and my first sections, especially since I had basically no association with the community before that point. I can think about the 'Shroom from an outsider's perspective, with personal examples (such as, when I first read the 'Shroom, I used to read a lot of Fake News and Fun Stuff, but skipped Pipe Plaza). Generally, as a newer member of the community, I have disadvantages (such as not having as much experience with the 'Shroom's inner workings), but since Ninja Squid has been around for several years compared to myself, and so has a different experience with the 'Shroom, this can allow for us to have varying ideas and viewpoints.

For the Activities Manager position and other potential staff positions that may open up, do you feel you have a grasp on who feels like they would make strong applicants? You don't need to name any names, but can you say whether or not you have some users you feel have potential as future staff members and whether or not you plan to try and encourage that potential?
I don't have much to say about this question that Ninja Squid hasn't already, but currently, I don't have many ideas for applicants. I have a general idea about who I expect to see apply, but not as much who specifically I'd like or hope to see apply.

Do you have any specific ambitions or plans within this community you'd like to pursue if you aren't elected to the Sub-Director position?
If I lose the election, I still intend to write for the 'Shroom, participate in community events, and keep up the activity I've had so far. Regardless of whether I lose or not, I'd like to sign up to be a member of the Awards Committee, and participate in next year's Mario Awards. I might also start writing a bi-monthly or volunteer-based section should I lose (since I'd have spare time that would have otherwise been used for Sub-Director duties) - I've been tossing around ideas in my head, but haven't written any concrete drafts as of now. Until I do, I'd like to continue refining the sections that I currently write, and experiment with different kinds of writing. I'd also like to join the Longform Roleplay if/when it's revived, but I'm currently struggling to write a draft that I'm satisfied with (I'm generally not that good with longer blocks of writing, and usually opt for more concise writing, as you may have noticed throughout my answers here).


I hope these answers are satisfactory, and thank you for asking me these questions!
 

Reverse Input

Ace Artist
One of the main differences I've noticed between the two campaigns comes from the makeup of the schedules. Although both have some commonalities, like Shroomfests and the FunkyK38 issue, but other than that, theres many differences, both in terms of how much load there is and in terms of the timing and position for the second special issue. If you could, would you be able to share some more thoughts on the thought process behind the way the schedules have turned out. To be a little more specific for each ticket:
  • For Ninja Squid and Goombuigi: You seem to have big plans for Issue 175, as a combined Luigi's Mansion/Halloween and Shroom Anniversary celebration. Is there a reason that you're putting focus into two broad and distinct areas at the same time, and do you think there's a risk that the issue could end up diluted by trying to cover both of these topics at once (i.e. you're trying to reach for the stars but by splitting your focus you can only reach a certain level for each of them)? Additionally, it only comes out a mere two months after the Awards ceremony finishes winding down. Taking into account the large amount of themed issues, do you think there could be any problems with writer burnout from having a few too many big things happening all in a short space of time, or do you think this won't be an issue?
  • For Pito and Rose: Compared with the opposition's schedule, yours is relatively scaled back, and looks to function about the same way that this year has. Can you share some thoughts on why you believe this approach is good, focusing on maintaining the status quo rather than expanding plans to do a bit more than previously done?

Over the past year or so, we've had Koops' FE section giving the rather unique offering of video content, and we've also recently seen a very image heavy section from the twins about 3D modelling. While I'm sure that writing remains the major focus, do you see the idea of multimedia sections and ideas as a potential growth area for the Shroom? If so, do you have any thoughts about the processes and structures that may be put in place (or are maybe already in place) for implementing this kind of content?
 

Dimitri A. Blaiddyd

Prince of the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus
Core 'Shroom Staff
Poll Committee
Thank you very much for your questions, Revin!

For Ninja Squid and Goombuigi: You seem to have big plans for Issue 175, as a combined Luigi's Mansion/Halloween and Shroom Anniversary celebration. Is there a reason that you're putting focus into two broad and distinct areas at the same time, and do you think there's a risk that the issue could end up diluted by trying to cover both of these topics at once (i.e. you're trying to reach for the stars but by splitting your focus you can only reach a certain level for each of them)? Additionally, it only comes out a mere two months after the Awards ceremony finishes winding down. Taking into account the large amount of themed issues, do you think there could be any problems with writer burnout from having a few too many big things happening all in a short space of time, or do you think this won't be an issue?
I will explain in detail our strategy behind our schedule. To clarify, our themed issues (for Issues 168 and 177) are not going to be large-scale projects or big things. Take this like our DK-themed for the Holiday Issue 153, or the 3D Mario-themed for Issue 120. We will encourage our current writers to write something around the theme, but nothing like doing outreach for special sections, or the staff making anything major. Just a regular issue, but with a distinctive theme.

On the other hand, as you can see, for our March’s themed issue, we still plan to do an open invite for community members to write something about their best memories regarding the Mario franchise, and there is a strategy behind it. As you can see from our plan, we want to try to put more emphasis on engagement with the community. The reasoning behind this was that after receiving feedbacks from our active staff members, one of the things our ticket should keep in mind to improve was to try breaking the fear barrier of writing for The 'Shroom, and while doing our campaign, Goombuigi also share his thoughts with me that some of our fellow community members may want to engage with The 'Shroom, but not wanting to necessarily be 'Shroom writers. With those thoughts in mind, and considering that the Super Mario Bros.'s 35th​ anniversary celebration ends in March, and March also being the month of Mar10 Day, we think that doing a little something where our writers and community members can share their best memories will be something that could be engaging, but also a first step into writing for The 'Shroom. Doing this, will allow us to work on certain aspects that we want to improve and refine during our term.

To go even further with our strategy, since we intend to do a staff meeting after our first two issues (February and March), we think that doing a regular and themed issue right at the start of our term will also allow us to identify what is working, what isn’t working, and what we need to improve on. By communicating with the staff, and by listening to their inputs on our plans, we believe we can achieve a clear goal on our engagements and communications with the community.

In April, we are thinking on doing another small activity called "Ultimate Location Battle". This activity will be done in a similar vein to the "Ultimate Character Tournament" and "Ultimate Music Battle", but instead, focused on various locations from the Mario franchise. We intend on shaking up the formula a bit by making it more engaging with our community members as well. Doing it in a friendly competition format, by doing something like "Ninja Squid's picks" vs "Goombuigi's picks", and encouraging our community members to fight for our chosen locations by voting for them.

With our FunkyK38-themed Special issue, we want to provide a lighter Summer Special, in a similar vein to the Dr. Mario Summer Special, really. The Awards season begins at this time of year and the attention of the community often focused on this sector, where they are with many contests, events, and of course, the Killing Game extending during summer. As we well know, the community is small, and there is a point we should not be oversaturated with projects. By that, I mean, doing many projects in a period with already many projects, and because there is too many things, none of them will end up working. This is what will create a burnout, and this is what we should be avoiding. Therefore, nothing major scale, but we will still provide an issue that will do a little celebration of FunkyK38. For that, we intend of speaking with FunkyK38 to provide inputs regarding the issue's theme.

With all that said, this is where we end up with our big special issue of the year, Issue 175. We intend to start discussions early in the year, to brainstorm ideas regarding what the staff would like to do. As you said, we intend to combine Luigi's Mansion/Halloween and a Shroom Anniversary celebration, but we do intend on doing the anniversary celebration that will still respect the Halloween theme, so there will not be something like “splitting the focus” strictly speaking. One of the idea that I brought up was doing a Special Staff collaboration for the event. To develop my idea further this time, I am thinking that we could be doing something like a section where the staff is invited at The Last Resort to celebrate the anniversary (the hotel in Luigi's Mansion 3), and each of us could be covering a specific floor in the hotel or something along the line. Further discussions will be required on that, but I think this might be a good start for the project. As you see, it is possible to celebrate the Shroom's anniversary, but still respect the Luigi's Mansion/Halloween theme. In the end, this will end up be something with enough material for our writers and community members to be inspired by.

I think holding this special issue two months after the Awards should be ideal enough, and provide more than enough time to create an outreach and encouraging community members to do something interesting for the newspaper, while avoiding time crunch and stress like for Issue 150, which was in September. In addition, there is something interesting with the calendar next year. As usual, the 'Shroom will be released every third Saturday of the month under our term, but with the time period between October and November being five weeks, instead of four, we will push back the October issue for one week, and give us an extra week to develop Issue 175.

To conclude the year, our Holiday Issue will have a theme where we will encourage our writers to write for, but without doing major scale projects for it.

As you can see, we will keep the summer period more relaxed on our side to keep the focus on Issue 175. The first period of the year, (January-May) will be the period where we will be working on defining our goals, recruiting new writers, and refining the newspaper, and the summer period more relaxed to concentrate on the development of Issue 175. In the end, our schedule will be a bit bigger compared to 2020, but the spacing of the workload sufficiently distant to avoid burnout.

Overall, the strategy behind our schedule is to make the newspaper a bit more engaging, which is a direction that we want to take. If we want to attract people to write for The 'Shroom, or get engage with the newspaper, we must be able to get there and engage with our community members. It goes both ways. This strategy will help one of our term goal that is to increase and refine the communication of the newspaper.


The tl;dr version:
No, I do not think this should prove to be an issue.

The strategy behind our calendar is to build upon the momentum created by the 'Shroomfest by offering a good variety of smaller activities during our term to improve our engagement with the community. Not only this will allow The 'Shroom to be more active and visible within the community, but this will also help us shaping a solid plan of what might be working in the future. These smaller activities will allow community members who would like to engage more with The 'Shroom, but are still demonstrating concerns about writing a section, and those are not really feeling ready to write a proper section to still have opportunities to get engage with The 'Shroom in different ways.

With the summer season being more relaxed on our side, and the continual momentum provide by our community engagements through the term will allow us to generate more than enough appeal for new community members to join in for Issue 175.

Overall, this calendar will build on what worked with 'Shroomfest, and make The 'Shroom more engaging with the community. If we want to bring in new writers, we must create different opportunities for community members to make a first step on their engagement with The 'Shroom by offering a selection of activities that can meet different fields of interest. It is important for us, to create an incentive within our community members to write for the newspaper, and we think that being more engaging and communicative with our community will allow us to develop this incentive on our members to participate in this project.



Over the past year or so, we've had Koops' FE section giving the rather unique offering of video content, and we've also recently seen a very image heavy section from the twins about 3D modelling. While I'm sure that writing remains the major focus, do you see the idea of multimedia sections and ideas as a potential growth area for the Shroom? If so, do you have any thoughts about the processes and structures that may be put in place (or are maybe already in place) for implementing this kind of content?
As a staff member, I can say that there is not a structure in place right now when it comes to video format (by that, I mean that we do not have any guidelines as off yet regarding that process). I can definitely see the idea of multimedia sections as a potential growth area for The 'Shroom, and I am very much open to explore and expand this sector. There is something interesting when it comes to exploring new formats for our sections, because this will allow new possibilities for our applicants to express themselves with their content, and with our focus being on expanding the accessibility to The 'Shroom, we think that allowing new form of multimedia sections is something that aligns well with our goal.

However, we should not get ahead of ourselves when it comes to this subject, and instead of going all out and looking at various possible ways to implement multimedia sections. I think we should instead focus first on video media, like Koops' section, since it is a proven format that we believe can work on a larger scale. Going from there, we want to make sure we have a better understanding of the technical aspects, and build a clearer guidelines based upon the kind of content that the video format can work with, and how to present such content in the newspaper.

Once we get more comfortable with the video format, and getting an established process and guidelines for the video format, I will be open to explore at other forms of multimedia sections that the newspaper could implement in the future, with a similar process, as we will be doing with the video format. Is the idea good? What are the technical aspects of it? How can we implement this on the newspaper? Can we implement this? What will be the guidelines? Those are all questions that will require answers to. Although, for now, like I said, let us not get too much ahead. Best try to get things in motion with a concept that is working; the video format.

You know, we think that the video format is something that might be useful and interesting not only for writers, but also for readers. Taking me for example here: I am someone who is more of a visual learner. I will often be looking for concrete actions when it comes to walkthroughs. Therefore, when it comes to video games, and if I ever need to look for tips, I mostly look at video walkthroughs, instead of something written, because I often get a better understanding when I can see concrete actions. I am sure that I am not alone on this case, so getting video format sections will surely be appreciated by readers who prefer this kind of approach.

In the end, it is good for the newspaper to always seek, improve, and offer different formats, which can generate a larger pool of possibilities when it comes to presenting a section. Some community members might be more comfortable in presenting a section in a video format rather than in writing, and this will allow our members to focus on their strengths, which will be beneficial for them, since they might show more fun at doing sections for the newspaper. Ultimately, this will be beneficial for our goal in making the newspaper more accessible.


I hope my answers are good enough for you, and if you have any other questions or concerns, please let us know!
 
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Mayumi Joutouguu

Haniwa Lance Corporal
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
Poll Committee
  • For Pito and Rose: Compared with the opposition's schedule, yours is relatively scaled back, and looks to function about the same way that this year has. Can you share some thoughts on why you believe this approach is good, focusing on maintaining the status quo rather than expanding plans to do a bit more than previously done?
To this question, we have two answers. It comes down to a combination of "being realistic with what we have to work with" and "trying to make sure special events and issues remain special."

The first point is the more important one, and the second one is honestly wrapped in what we have to say about it. An important thing to remember, with The 'Shroom, is that this is ultimately a volunteer-based publication. No one is getting paid to do this. Our contributors only have so much time and energy to give to the paper, and it's important to respect that. We have to be careful we aren't asking too much of our writers or our staff. To paraphrase words from Edo that stuck with me, if we could make the paper bigger and better by simply piling more demands and more work on our contributors, then the Directing Staff would have the easiest job in the whole community. They could think up ideas, tell people to put those ideas into practice, and simply lounge while projects happened. That's not what's happening, though. We're a small community with a limited number of folks to draw upon at any given moment, and we can only realistically expect so much from those folks (even those dedicated to this place have lives to attend to!).

So, with a realistic assessment of what we can do in mind, let's see where we are currently. We had two special issues this year, one a lighter "themed" special, a decision we made because we were worried about taxing people with a large special issue as we moved into Awards season, and one a full special issue in December. Now, we're proud of how they turned out! If we couldn't endorse them as a quality product, we wouldn't be running in this election again. That said, they're on the smaller side. With December's issue in particular, there were a few individual plans and projects that, unfortunately, didn't work out. Not everything that everyone hoped to have in that issue made it in. While it might be possible to attribute some of that to this peculiar year, and fatigue and other matters complicating people's work, it also tells us that rapidly scaling up, trying to get more ambitious and pack the year with more specials and bigger plans, may not be feasible at the moment. Even if we could, say, get every writer to say they're going to submit a special contribution on top of their regular sections (which would be a pretty demanding task as it is), we ought to assume that only a fraction of those contributions are actually going to materialize. Do we try and spread those contributions out over multiple special and themed issues throughout the year, having a larger number of thinner issues, or do we concentrate those into two larger specials? Rather than ask people to spread their extra effort out thin throughout the year and repeatedly present them with these calls for special contributions, we keep it focused in the summer and the winter, giving people plenty of time to work and plan and giving us two larger specials which have enough content to feel special.

Of course, you're asking more than just about specials - there's other considerations like games and activities. Again, we want to move cautiously and realistically when it comes to this. We're not as likely to attract new writers if they're looking at an event that peters out because it had three participants. We already space out 'Shroomfests both for the benefit of the staff and for the benefit of forum users who want to participate (it would become exhausting if we asked you to argue every month). Right now, we have the Shroomfest, and that's still a project in its infancy. We need to see how that continues to develop, and build around it. There are opportunities for more events and games in the schedule, even on top of it, but we need to take time to think through them and make sure they're hitting a productive niche. They have to be built around the community and how people want to engage with The 'Shroom rather than piled on. Hence, we'd rather not pre-commit to major activities at a certain time right at this moment, before we have a chance to see how the first few months of this next year go in terms of how people are engaging and in terms of what they want (do they want more low-effort activities, like checking a box, or maybe they want more open-ended activities where they have a longer period of time to create something with broader direction, or perhaps they want something more like an Awards activity or tournament with a pre-defined goal and timeframe).

Now, that all said, just because we aren't putting a great deal on the schedule yet doesn't mean we are wholly committed to maintaining the status quo! We said in our campaign that our goal is gradual improvement, and that does mean pushing the boundaries as we go along. This year, we held a meeting a few months in advance of December so we could get the plan laid out for issue 165 early and had plenty of time to work on it. We didn't hold a meeting for this year's summer special, because we wanted that to be very light. Next year, we think it'll be okay to make it a bit of a heftier issue, so we do intend to have a meeting for it in March, to begin planning it out so it can be more on-par with a normal special issue, so it can be balanced with the holiday special. Furthermore, you may notice that we didn't push for any large, issue-defining project for the special issues this year. I admit, this was in part because I was trying to be realistic about my management abilities in my first year as Director. There's a number of elements to coordinate for a special issue, including art assets, trying to drum up special sections, ensuring all of the extra elements (like End-of-the-Year Awards) that should be present are put together and present. Those are simply the basic expectations of a special issue! I didn't want to overcommit myself and ask the staff to work on an additional project unless I was certain I could organize and lead that project effectively. Now, I've a few special issues under my belt. I have more experience with the basics of coordinating a special issue now than I did at the start of 2020, naturally, and, with that experience helping me to streamline the coordination of those basic elements, I feel like it's a realistic ambition to incorporate some larger, staff-driven projects in our special issues next year (think something in the style of the issue 150 Travel Guide) and I intend to make that a part of our specials.

In addition, we've had some thoughts from outsiders that have influenced our plans for next year. This question itself has made us realize that we ought to have a feedback survey focused on 'Shroom activities in February. Between a poll for our readers and members of the community and more one-on-one feedback gathering, we can find out what kind of games and activities people want, whether low-effort, easy-to-click ones or more open-ended, creative ones, that kind of thing. We'll use that information to craft new ideas for 2021, and work those into the year. Furthermore, we've had a few questions about why we aren't celebrating The 'Shroom's 15th anniversary. To tell the truth, we ought to! We don't envision issue 175 as a full-on special issue, but we do think it can be a celebration of that anniversary milestone. In our mind, we celebrate that with a mixture of some past-rooted special sections (I've had a 'Shroom Recap I've been planning for a long while coming, and if I can't do that with a whole year to prepare it… well, that'd just be sad) and some forward-looking sections. We don't need to make the entire issue themed to celebrate the anniversary, after all, but the comments we received about a sparse schedule and it being odd not to celebrate the anniversary, we thought had merit.

The tl;dr version? Our philosophy is one of being ambitious enough that we continue to add and improve, but cautious and realistic. It's true that our schedule looks pretty much the same as this year, and that reflects our concern that packing more into the schedule right now would result in burn-out and fatigue and would stretch what we have thin. That said, we do intend to push beyond the status quo of this year, just in smaller ways like adding staff-driven projects to special issues. In addition, with the discussions we've had with members of the community, we intend to incorporate some special content into issue 175 to celebrate The 'Shroom's 15th anniversary and we want to hold, in February, a feedback survey focused on the kinds of activities people want to engage with.


Over the past year or so, we've had Koops' FE section giving the rather unique offering of video content, and we've also recently seen a very image heavy section from the twins about 3D modelling. While I'm sure that writing remains the major focus, do you see the idea of multimedia sections and ideas as a potential growth area for the Shroom? If so, do you have any thoughts about the processes and structures that may be put in place (or are maybe already in place) for implementing this kind of content?

We do feel that there's room for more multimedia sections in The 'Shroom, yes, and, while we don't believe it will displace written sections, it's very well possible that opening up to multimedia sections will encourage contributors who have ideas that may not translate well to a written section to sign up for the paper.

To tell the truth, I think the nature of multimedia sections makes it difficult to create a consistent, broadly-applicable process for implementing multimedia content. Different ideas are going to have different specific needs, whether those needs are related to video content, are related to images, or even something as simple as tables. We have tools for accommodating video-based and audio-based sections as well as written sections, and those are the multimedia sections we're most likely to encounter. We can't anticipate every single form someone might want their section to take, so, while we can take those most common types (written, table, text, video, audio, or combinations thereof) and think about them proactively, there's always going to be a need to… wait and see. There are some instances where we just have to wait to see the ideas an applicant or writer is presenting, then work with them to determine the best format for their section and equip them with what they need.

I doubt we'll ever reach a point where we have a broad, consistent process for implementing multimedia content, but we have a pretty good track record of getting writers what they need during their application process or as they go on writing. Back when PK144 wrote his Course Corner in Strategy Wing, at one point, I pitched the idea to him of condensing some information he was presenting into a table. He liked the idea, so I used the template the Wiki uses for levels to put together a special table for him to use, specifically made for his section (it was also really badly made, functional-but-kludge-coding , but thankfully LTQ cleaned it up!). Koops is a great example, because we've come up with two different solutions for his section. First, during his initial application process, we realized the sheer number of images he wanted to use required a new tool, a new format. To that end, LTQ designed the Shroom Comic to make it more manageable. We learned lessons from that, lessons that we were actually able to apply in issue 165. Coffee wanted to make a joke about the Copy Flower, but the joke depended upon having an image repeated multiple times. That could have easily resulted in a lot of wasted space on the page and wonky formatting, but I suggested he use the Shroom Comic boxes, he liked how it looked and agreed, and it came out well. We were able to use lessons and tools from Koops' section and apply them to a completely different section with a different aim. If there's another video section, we can use the lessons from Koops' transition to a video-based section to do the same there, and it's very well possible that even that table made for PK144's section can see use in another section someday.

In short, while we may not be able to create some standard process for incorporating multimedia content into The 'Shroom, with how varied it can be in structure and purpose, we can work with writers to give them the tools and tricks they need to make their sections work at their best (in whatever media that might be) and we can apply the lessons and tools from one section to another as we go.

Now, if there's one thing I would like to standardize with regards to multimedia content, it's ensuring that The 'Shroom relies upon external hosts as little as possible. You never know when even a pillar of the Internet is going to do a 180 in terms of its practices, and it's all too easy to lose externally-hosted content. While there are some things we can't avoid (there's really no practical alternative we have to hosting videos on YouTube, at the moment), I think we should, as a guiding principle, ensure that whatever we do relies on external hosts to the smallest extent possible, for the purposes of future preservation.
 

Roserade

"Write your way into his heart..."
Forum Moderator
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
Poll Committee
I am not the most experienced person with baking, but the few times I have done so, I've had a lot of fun with it. I've primarily made brownies from the box using brownie mix, but last month I also made some Funfetti vanilla cake for my mom's birthday. It's her favorite kind of cake and I wanted to extend my hand that way, with some help from my sister

I think that in the end, it's very satisfying to see the work you put in become something you and multiple other people can greatly enjoy. By the time my brownie mix is done baking, there's an entire tray of brownies there that anybody I know can take from. I find that element of cooking food really important: yes, you are absolutely free to enjoy the food on your own, but it's so satisfying to share it. I think I received this mentality from my mom, who loves to cook for the family and likes the reception to what she makes. While I'm not very skilled at cooking, and my palette is rather limited when it comes to liking foods, I still find that certain joy in making something for everyone.

In general with the baking process, I also just find that really fun. Admittedly, I'm a pretty big stickler for the instructions on the box - I'm more likely to pull out a measuring cup than estimate my amount of olive oil - but I still feel pretty loose when it comes to baking. I trust in the process that the end product will still be at least somewhat good, and if it isn't, I've learned my lesson and will take that with me for my next try at baking. Beyond that, just putting everything together in the bowl and mixing it usually by hand is great, especially when it finally reaches that color and consistency that makes you go "yes"; and there's a level of joy I have when I pull my tray out of the oven, try the toothpick test, and learn that I've baked it perfectly.

Also I really love baking brownies because chocolate is very good
 

Mayumi Joutouguu

Haniwa Lance Corporal
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
Poll Committee
With credit where it's due, to all parties, both director and sub-director, what is, in your opinion, the most fun type of cake (or other baked good) to bake, and why?
I'd be lying if I said I haven't been thinking about this question for three years now, but, the truth is, it was relatively difficult to pin down what my favorite baked good is to make. I'm rather fond of baking, you see. I often would bake with my mother, so there's nostalgia wrapped up in the experience of baking for me. To this day, though, I like baking with people! Too many chefs spoil the soup, they say, and that's true, but baking with one other person can be a blast. You don't need assistance. Baking is a one-person job, but, trust me, putting on some background music, divvying up the jobs in even simple ways (e.g., "get the ingredients out, and I'll do the measuring,"), and simply keeping a sense of humour about you and remembering to enjoy the process and laugh can make it a grand time. It might take a little longer, true, but it's usually worth it for a process that's as much about the memories and the simple pleasures as the end result.

That's not to say that there's any reason to discount baking alone, though! Baking solo is much the same process, perhaps even a more streamlined process. It's about having fun, enjoying the ride with a sense of humour and light-heartedness, and having pride in the final product!

Needless to say, with the above, I find myself baking often. I've tried my hand at making everything from the basics to brownie cookies, vanilla fudge, cinnamon rolls, and banana bread. Banana bread, actually, is a contender for my favorite good to bake. It's simple, a good use for bananas that would otherwise go to waste, and gives you a delicious breakfast that will last for a few days. It's not quite at the top, though. I also considered Neiman Marcus cake! For some context, we have a family recipe that's a variant of it (now, ah, I'm going to guess that, if I did some digging, it was probably straight-up lifted from a cookbook by someone in our family) that we trot out for the most special of occasions. Considering how rarely we make it and how delicious it is, I would almost call it my favorite, but there's one other I enjoy making just a bit more. That's the other cake I save for special occasions, with a little looser definition of "special" than for the Neiman Marcus: The Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake.

At first brush, there's not much special about this recipe. It's standard fare. The most challenging part of it is timing things out so you can efficiently make the frosting and the cake and timing out the boiling of the water so you aren't left waiting around too long. Now, if I might briefly walk you through my approach to making this cake, I believe it will shed some light on my approach to baking. It's not strictly within the scope of your question, however, so allow me to spoiler tag it out of courtesy to those who don't wish to read it.

I begin with the recommended 13x9x2 inch pan for the one-pan cake, preparing it as directed. At the same time, I bring out all of the ingredients I'll need, save for the milk, which stays in the fridge until it's needed. I get out, as well, my bowls, my mixing spoon, and all of my measuring cups and spoons. Now, I'm a bit of a stickler for recipes. I know some folks aren't fussy about what order ingredients are added in, but, unless I set out to experiment with something specific, I add ingredients in the prescribed order. For simplicity sake, we'll assume I'm not experimenting, this time.

My first mixing bowl on the table, I measure out my sugar. Now, the container I use for my sugar, it has a gap that's only accessible to a third of a cup. I have to use my 1/3 cup to scoop out my sugar. I take a single food bowl - the kind you would eat cereal from - and I hold my 1 Cup measuring cup over that bowl. I then use my 1/3 cup to scoop sugar into the 1 Cup cup until it's a bit overfilled. I set down the 1/3 cup, and pick up a butter knife. The flat edge, I set down against the edges of my 1 Cup cup, and I slide it along to remove the excess sugar and leave me with a completely level cup of sugar so that I know it is exactly one cup. I repeat the process. Where is the excess sugar - or any spilled sugar - going? Why, it's going into the food bowl, of course. So, when I finish with the sugar, rather than wasting any, I can take the sugar in the bowl and return it to the sugar jar. Of course, I repeat the process for a second cup, and soon I have two cups of sugar in the mixing bowl.

I'll spare you the detailed description of the remaining dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt). They follow the same basic principle. I'm very set on using a knife to make sure any dry ingredients I measure out are level in the measuring cup or spoon I'm using, and I always ensure I have a bowl underneath to collect excess. Now, the sugar is easy to return. The others are not, so I focus on minimizing waste with those and use the bowl mainly for easy disposal at the end, for keeping a mess from being made. I ensure all of these dry ingredients are stirred together in my mixing bowl before moving to the next step.

This is the point where, in the interest of time, I begin to boil the water. This is simple as can be, putting a pot on the stove, ensuring that it's well over a single cup of water but aiming to not have two full cups. They say a watched pot never boils. To ensure I'm not simply waiting around for it, I move from the stove back to the counter to begin working with the wet ingredients while it warms. I do not leave the kitchen, though. One mustn't leave a pot of boiling anything completely unattended, of course!

While the water boils, I begin adding the wet ingredients, in order, to my mixing bowl filled with the stirred dry ingredients. First come the eggs. Now, I've come to find that a hard thwack against the edge of your bowl produces a nice, clean break around the center of the eggshell, splitting it easily into two and making it easy to let the egg fall into the bowl without any shell getting in. The milk and oil I measure out, of course, with a liquid measuring cup. Again, I'm very particular. You do not eyeball a liquid measuring cup. You get down on your knees and you look at it eye level, with it sitting on the counter. That difference in perspective does make a difference in your measurements, I assure you! It's not as important here until you get to the vanilla, but you can pour these over a bowl if you'd like. So, I carefully measure out all of my wet ingredients and add them into the mixture.

Now... I don't own an electric mixer. It's a bit hard to approximate "medium speed" when you're mixing by hand, but I've my wooden mixing spoon, and I've found stroking speeds that seem to work as an equivalent. Now, I do try and respect the "stir for two minutes" idea, but I also end up having to use my own judgement here, and I continue to stir until all is thoroughly mixed and I see no lumps or irregularities.

Now, by the time this is done, our boiling water is ready for our use. Now, measuring boiling water without scalding yourself is a challenge, I admit, and it requires care and patience. But, once again, you get a cup, ensuring it's exactly one cup at eye level (you may astutely note that we put well over one cup of water to boil because a good deal of it boils it off before you measure it, and it's better to have excess go unused than to not have enough and to have to prepare another pot). You mix it into the mix, stirring thoroughly, then pour it into the pan and set it to bake for the prescribed amount of time.

With it baking, you can take a new bowl and begin preparing the frosting. I do think it would be overkill to walk you step by step through my frosting preparations, as it's based around all the same principles of sticking to the recipe, measuring carefully, and being a stickler about even the smallest steps like being sure to alternate the addition of portions of the milk and powdered sugar. Generally, this finishes before the baking, so there's some time to set the frosting to the side and begin cleaning up.

The cake comes out of the oven, and you check it to ensure it has been fully baked. Once that is established, there's one more step that I like to add, one little personal touch passed to me from my mother's approach to baking. They tell you to cool completely before frosting, but this requires that the cake is still warm, so disregard that. Take the handle of your wooden spoon, and - spacing them evenly - poke holes throughout the cake. Don't press all the way down to the bottom of the pan, only about halfway down, and make sure you slip in and pull out cleanly so that the cake doesn't end up with cracks and end up crumbling when you go to slice and serve it. If you do this, then begin frosting while the cake is still warm, you end up with frosting draining into these holes, filling them with a delectable, sugary richness. Believe it or not, if you keep at frosting evenly, too, you still end up with a smooth and presentable layer on the top!

After frosting with your frosting pockets in the cake, let cool, and set aside to serve!

Now, what makes this cake, in particular, appealing to bake? Well, as I mentioned, there's a tiny bit of challenge in planning things out so you get all the steps done efficiently. That's certainly part of the fun. There's room for experimentation - what texture do you want your frosting to have? - and addition of personal touches (such as frosting pockets), but there's nothing left vague or unclear instructions such as "add to taste." It's delicious, something you can tear into with a cold, refreshing glass (or two... or three... maybe four once when I was in particularly high spirits) of milk, which doesn't hurt my fondness for it.

Most of all, though, it's simply satisfying to see your work produce a tangible result, as with any other baked good, and satisfying to be able to share that and see others enjoy it. This is a rich cake, and, as I've said, I tend to save it for special occasions. I've made it for someone to take into their workplace for a going-away party for a colleague before. I've made it for aunts and cousins before. There have been many cases where I haven't even had it besides sampling a small taste to make sure I was satisfied with sending it (and, don't get me wrong, a number of cases where I have also had some with other folks), but I simply adore hearing that other people have enjoyed it. It needn't be "oh, you must tell [Pitohui] that this cake was delightful." No, simply to know someone enjoyed it, even if they don't know I made it or don't have any sense of its preparation, that's good enough to make me smile! I can take pride in my own work, hearing that people enjoyed it. That feeling of satisfaction and pride you get from making something and sharing it with others is true of all baked goods, which is what makes it hard to pick a single one, but I suppose this one has the right mix of "only made on occasion" and "shared with a wider group of people," that has made it particularly enjoyable for me to make.
 

Dimitri A. Blaiddyd

Prince of the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus
Core 'Shroom Staff
Poll Committee
Wait, it’s already time for the annual MarioWiki Bake-Off and nobody told me!? smh

I have to admit, cooking is not a part of my repertoire unfortunately, which probably come from my lack of joy in cooking meals, and the fact that I cannot really express myself or be creative with it as much as I like too is also a part of the problem. Although, there is one exception to the rule for me, and it is with sweets, so of course, I love baking cakes.

I always like being expressive and having joy with what I am creating and especially when it is for others, so I feel like it is when I am baking sweets that I can truly shine in the kitchen. Although, I have to say, it is not really during the preparation process of a cake that I have the most fun, but rather during the presentation of it. To be clearer, it is especially at the visual level that I have the most pleasure. Like how my cake will look like for example. I am someone who pays particular attention to detail when I have projects to take care of. Of course, that goes the same when it is about cakes. I like to bake cakes that can be out of the ordinary for example. Some people might think that it is a bit superficial, and that the taste of a meal is something that is far more important, but I am someone who thinks that both are important when we prepare something. A cake can taste good and look good as well.

Take a vanilla cake for example. A person could bake a vanilla cake and put a lot of effort into making their cake tasty, but the result will look like this:


That cake might taste incredibly good, but doesn't it look boring to the eyes? It is something that could be expected when someone is baking a vanilla cake for example. To me, this is a lackluster presentation, and it could definitely be better. Well, this is where I have my fun with a cake, and go beyond the necessary preparations of doing a cake. So, if I am doing a vanilla cake, I will make it look more like this instead:


Now, isn't it pleasing to look at, and even more tastier? For me, it is. That is exactly what I enjoy when I am doing a cake. So, for me, it's not really about baking a cake that I have the most fun, but rather how I will make it look like that I have the most fun with. The more a meal allows me a creative freedom, the more I will have fun, and I feel that cakes really give me that creative freedom that I need. For examples, I remember doing carrot cupcakes and once baked I had fun putting them together on a plate to give a look that is like a bunny face and then, I covered them with the creaming to make it look like a bunny face. Well, I think I didn't do as well as I would have liked, but I found that for a first time, I did not do so badly. I also like doing rainbow swirl cupcakes, and four years ago, I remember that my local community festival end up wondering if I could make vanilla cupcakes for dessert for a dinner that was being organized, because the person responsible for preparing the desserts that day end up being unavailable, so they had to come out with an emergency plan (notice that, as you might know, I am doing a lot of volunteering for my community, so it's not something that is coming out of nowhere for me). They then brought me the necessary ingredients to make vanilla cupcakes, and I could have done just as they had asked me and made very simple vanilla cupcakes, but I preferred to put as much effort into it during the preparation of the visual as I usually do when I prepare a cake. In the end, I made vanilla rainbow cupcakes with a light blue French vanilla cream on top with little candies to decorate it all. They were very cute at the end. Overall, my cupcakes were very well received, so I was very much happy about it.

To answer your question LTQ, I will say that my favorite cake to bake is probably the vanilla cake, because it is a cake which is quite simple to make, but it gives such a creative freedom which allows to have a lot fun with the color combinations both in the cake and in the creaming and there are several possibilities that you can do at the visual level that I think is the one I prefer to do. For me, it is about baking a cake that could be so simple and boring, but making it super beautiful and attractive to look at that gives me the most pleasure. Why settle with something that is just normal, when you can bring it out of the ordinary? That's a bit of my philosophy. After all, people eat with their eyes first, apparently! 😉

To be creative, trying to go above and beyond the expectations, while making people happy. That's me!
 

Goombuigi

The Luigi-fied Goomba
Poll Committee
With credit where it's due, to all parties, both director and sub-director, what is, in your opinion, the most fun type of cake (or other baked good) to bake, and why?
I don't bake much, because, to be honest, I don't have much of an interest in baking. I've baked cakes in the past though, and probably my favorite type of cake to bake is a chocolate cake (mostly because I like eating leftover chocolate that isn't used for the cake), though I don't have a strong preference. As for the process of baking - first I need to mix the ingredients. That part isn't as interesting to me, and it can be tedious, but it's necessary for the end result to come together. I'm a perfectionist, so I tend to follow instructions very closely, more often than not I read them three or four times to make sure that I'm doing everything right. My perfectionism is probably at its worst when measuring something - for example, if I need 500 grams of sugar, I often end up with 10 extra grams, so I pour some out, but have a few less grams of sugar, etc.

My favorite thing about baking a cake is seeing the layers of the cake come together, and especially decorating the cake. Leaving the cake in the oven, and finding it in a near-finished state, is a very exciting moment for me, because I can start decorating. I like decorating it in all sorts of ways. In particular, I like molding figures out of marzipan (probably because it's similar to clay), and putting them on the cake. In the past, for my siblings's birthdays, I've made figures for their cakes, and I would say that is my favorite part of baking cakes. There is a downside though, that being that eventually, I have to eat the marzipan figures, or they'll go bad. I tend to eat them last, sometimes even a couple weeks after the rest of the cake is eaten. If I make characters like Mario or Luigi, it's almost painful to have to eat them. This is why, when I make things out of marzipan, I always take a picture of them, because I don't want to lose them permanently.
 

Mayumi Joutouguu

Haniwa Lance Corporal
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
Poll Committee
for both tickets: if you win, are there any ideas in your opposition's campaign not included in your own that you think have merit and would be worth considering?
Excellent question, Revin, and I appreciate your continued engagement with this election. The short answer to this question is "yes." There are definitely some pieces of the opposing ticket's campaign that we think are worth incorporating into our plans this year - as a matter of fact, we've already incorporated some of those pieces into our campaign!

Ninja Squid said:
Objective: Create a push towards more "accepted with contingency" sections, rather than formal "rejected" sections, while providing continued support to our potential writers during the application process
Hooded Pitohui said:
We've read Ninja Squid's ticket's plans for the application process, and, to be blunt, we agree. Credit for the idea goes to them, but we want to express our support for their plan to change the application process by moving towards "accept with contingency" over "rejection" and assigning a staff member to support our applicants by providing feedback, tips and assistance. If we're elected, we will also work to implement this system.
This is one of the biggest points where our particular objectives overlap with those of NS and Goombuigi, to the point we incorporated it into our posted campaign (with due credit to them). The point raised that we could improve our application process by providing more proactive staff support, support that sets them up with a specific staff member and sees that staff member actively offering guidance and assistance rather than putting the onus on applicants to reach out for help, that's a strong point. We will be implementing this idea if we're elected, and working to make it the new standard for the application process.

Ninja Squid said:
There is also something important in 2021 we want to address. The year 2021 will mark the 15th years since the very foundation of The 'Shroom, which started with "2006 Beginnings". Because of this incredible achievement that would not be possible to be done without the help of our community members over the year, we want to focus most of our efforts in making the 175th issue the best issue of 2021.
Furthermore, we've had a few questions about why we aren't celebrating The 'Shroom's 15th anniversary. To tell the truth, we ought to! We don't envision issue 175 as a full-on special issue, but we do think it can be a celebration of that anniversary milestone. In our mind, we celebrate that with a mixture of some past-rooted special sections (I've had a 'Shroom Recap I've been planning for a long while coming, and if I can't do that with a whole year to prepare it… well, that'd just be sad) and some forward-looking sections. We don't need to make the entire issue themed to celebrate the anniversary, after all, but the comments we received about a sparse schedule and it being odd not to celebrate the anniversary, we thought had merit.
Here, our perspective changed as we engaged in this debate and heard some comments and feedback from folks in the community. Admittedly, we had no special plans for issue 175. I'm personally wary of overdoing celebrations for "half-milestones," once you reach a certain point, and it never came up in our early discussions we should do anything at all. Then, we heard from folks. We received some comments suggesting we should do something for the 15th anniversary, and we thought about those. While it's true that 175 is a half-milestone between 150 and 200, and even 15 years is arguably the same, being between 10 and 20, we realized that there is merit in celebrating the 15 year milestone for a small community project like this (after all, five years is not guaranteed! It's not an insignificant amount of time for a project like this!) and that there's a general desire to celebrate that milestone. The 'Shroom is a community paper. If the community feels strongly about something it should do, we need to listen to that.

So, as explained above, we will incorporate some celebration of the 15th anniversary into issue 175. We don't intended for it to be a full-on special or themed issue, but we will work to give it some special features celebrating the past and looking ahead to the future, focusing on the idea of the 15th anniversary as another step forward in The 'Shroom's history.

Ninja Squid said:
We do feel that with the road The 'Shroom is currently going regarding community engagements, that there is a need for an Activities Manager during our directorial term. One thing we are also considering to implement during our term is to allow our community members to pitch in ideas for 'Shroom-sponsored events they would like to see us doing, and the Activities Manager will be there to keep records of such ideas.
They have to be built around the community and how people want to engage with The 'Shroom rather than piled on. Hence, we'd rather not pre-commit to major activities at a certain time right at this moment, before we have a chance to see how the first few months of this next year go in terms of how people are engaging and in terms of what they want (do they want more low-effort activities, like checking a box, or maybe they want more open-ended activities where they have a longer period of time to create something with broader direction, or perhaps they want something more like an Awards activity or tournament with a pre-defined goal and timeframe).
The final major point to bring up here is the idea of refurbishing the Activities Manager position. Once again, we're in agreement with NS and Goombuigi in terms of there being room for more 'Shroom events, and we're even in agreement that there might be a need for a staff position dedicated to managing events. Where we disagree is the execution.

The biggest thing here is that we don't want to put the cart before the horse. We don't want to bring on a new staff member - because this is a small community, which means that there's only a limited pool of reliable, trusted individuals we can draw from at any given time (though that pool is always being expanded and renewed!) - without having a strong reason to bring them on. We don't need staff bloat, where people are asked to do work and the team expands in size without it being necessary. If we're going to bring in an Activities Manager, we want it to be when we have more than just the 'Shroomfest solidly worked out and off the ground. The 'Shroomfest may not be the end all be all. It has certainly been successful, and we think it has a good future ahead of it with continued refinement this year! But we have to keep an open mind. Maybe there's something that can complement it, or maybe something that works even better will come along.

We aren't opposed to more 'Shroom events and activities, which is why we intend to hold a Feedback Survey entirely focused on gauging what the community wants in terms of activities, but we want to move slowly and be practical about this. Again, it's better to have two or three strongly worked-out events than six or seven that aren't as refined as they could be or only get a little participation. Let's take time, focus on what we have, and cautiously look for opportunities for more. In our view, if we do end up having more activities come together this year, then we can bring on an Activities Manager once we see they're all getting off the ground and likely to continue.

There are a few other minor areas where we are considering what NS and Goombuigi have brought up, and while we may not have formal plans to act on all of it or may have plans that go in a slightly different direction, we're listening to what they have to say and we're using it to inform our decisions.

if you lose and the winners approached you about implementing any parts of your campaign, is that something you would be willing to go along with?
As for this...
Unequivocally, yes! We're staff members, we intend to stay on as staff members if we lose, and our job is to contribute to The 'Shroom however we can, regardless of our formal position. I can tell you that Ninja Squid has been an absolutely grand staff member to have on our team this year because he was consistently active and worked very closely with us on a number of major projects. At times, it's felt more like we're a Directing Staff of three than two, he's been so passionate and hard-working when it comes to raising concerns and contributing to projects with us. Any respectable Director, I'd volunteer as much of my time as I'm able to help however I can, but with Ninja Squid in particular, I have a strong incentive to work as closely with him as he has with me. I know Roserade feels the same.

I've already offered my services for the Community Awards, but I'll gladly volunteer to lead anything which NS or Goombuigi would want to delegate to me. If they see something on our agenda, want to incorporate it into their term, and want one of us to assist in that effort, we will be there to do just that.
 

ace pheonix

king of the courtoom
Core 'Shroom Staff
Poll Committee
To all; where do you think things will be at the start of 2024, three years from now? This is a general question, though only about yourself and this community. You can talk about how you envision your own community presence, or the distant future of The 'Shroom, or other community projects and efforts, etc.
 
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Dimitri A. Blaiddyd

Prince of the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus
Core 'Shroom Staff
Poll Committee
for both tickets: if you win, are there any ideas in your opposition's campaign not included in your own that you think have merit and would be worth considering? if you lose and the winners approached you about implementing any parts of your campaign, is that something you would be willing to go along with?
Thank you for your questions, Revin! Your engagement in the debate is nice!

I did notice that my opposing ticket implemented some of our ideas in their campaign, so it is nice seeing that some of our ideas might be moving forward whether or not we end up being elected as the next ‘Shroom Director and Sub-Director. Although, after looking at Pitohui and Roserade’s campaign, there is definitely thing I can agree with and would like to see implemented.

Hooded Pitohui said:
Continue our one-on-one outreach to attract new writers and new staff members. It's a slow and unrefined process, we admit, but we believe personalized outreach is an effective way to attract new contributors to this project. It was by reaching out directly and providing ideas based on their interests to writers like winstein, Baby Luigi, ZelenPixel, and Moldomré that we gained some great new sections and guest submissions this year, and we intend to continue this style of outreach to attract additional writers next year. In addition, we keep an eye out and encourage individuals who we feel have strong potential to contribute to the project as staff members, and will continue to do so next year as we aim to ensure we'll always have new, promising staff members to step up and fill roles as they open.
This is a point where I can easily agree with, and especially the staff members part. I can certainly tell that there is multiple members of our community who have potential in becoming members of the ‘Shroom staff, but that aren’t going forward with it; simply because, they don’t think they might fit in. Therefore, I think reaching to them is a good idea not only to try to have more applications for the different positions that could opening in the future, but also to demonstrate to some community members which still demonstrates some uncertainty that they have the qualifications and the potential to become great members of the ‘Shroom staff. So, I could see myself doing something similar to what I want to do for the application process for the Activities Manager position, or even how I end up approaching Goombuigi to be my running mate, really.

I mean, from my point of view, I think that I have learned a lot from my position, and in a way, I do not expect someone to be perfect immediately upon taking office, but certainly someone who can learn from their position. So, if you think you have to be someone incredibly great or of high-caliber to be a 'Shroom staff, you are wrong. Just be someone who is passionate for this community, it's members, and for The 'Shroom, while contributing to the maintenance of this project while helping to continuously improve it, and I think you will show great potential overall to be up to the task. Heck, I still make mistakes sometimes, even with my experiences, and I am pretty sure the same can be said about my staff mates as well. We are all humans after all.

Hooded Pitohui said:
Observe and potentially refine the Staff Section of the Month process There's a long history of the Staff Section of the Month process having less than an ideal amount of participation, and we've been looking at that history lately. Now, we recently made a change to the process, and we're not looking to make another overhaul before we see how that shakes out. We did, however, see an idea in old staff discussion that we plan to follow up on should this recent change not produce the results we hoped it would. In other words, we're going to keep an eye on SSOTM, give this new system time so we can assess it, but we have an alternative plan we will pursue if the results aren't satisfactory.
Oh boy, our dear Staff Section of the Month process. As I mentioned in our campaign as well that I wanted to make a internal staff discussion regarding this very subject. I believe that the SSOTM, has proven to be problematic on several occasions, and even certain staff members have simply stopped participating in this process. Goombuigi and myself had contacted several of the active staff members asking them what they feel was the current strength and weakness of the newspaper. One of the weaknesses we got was obviously the SSTOM process, and that we should probably even scrap it. I can definitely understand the point. So, if I am winning this election, I will be working in finding a process that could be working, and talk with my staff mates to look about a way to refine to current SSOTM process, but also looking at alternative plans in case that it shows no improvement.

I think looking at a new system might be a good thing to consider, since I believe we could use that energy to create a system that could be functional, rather than desperately trying to save a system that has repeatedly shown problems.

Hooded Pitohui said:
Continue to refine The 'Shroomfest. The 'Shroomfest has been a great addition to the paper that has driven new engagement with the community on the forum, and we've been very pleased with its success. However, we do recognize that it is, as a concept, in its infancy and that it is rather labour-intensive. There is room to continue refining the concept this year, and, in terms of 'Shroom-related activities for the community, we'd like to keep our focus on improving it before we begin considering additional large activities that will need to be created and managed. While we aren't opposed to incorporating some new small activities this year if ideas come up, we do want to avoid anything too large so we can focus on making what we have run as well as possible rather than ending up with numerous creaky projects without strong management behind them.
While I didn't make a lot of mention on it on my campaign, this is also a case where I partly agree. But to me, The 'Shroom should always demonstrate constant improvement to stay fresh and an interesting project for our community members, so since 'Shroomfest is part of The 'Shroom, it will fall upon my job as a Director to demonstrate an ability to work on improving and refining our The 'Shroom as a whole. To me, refining or improving projects like The 'Shroom and what comes with it is not exactly what I see as a one-term goal, but rather as a lifetime goal. If a manager takes charge of a project without making any real improvement or significant change to make sure it remains in a healthy condition, don't be surprise if it doesn't stay interesting.

For example, let's take a look at what The 'Shroom is about:

The 'Shroom is the community-written and edited monthly newsletter of the Super Mario Wiki devoted to delivering the latest Wiki and community news and entertainment to members and readers of the website alike, currently on its twelfth (fourteenth) year of operation. Beginning as a small community portal in 2006 founded by Sadaharu (talk), the project took off in 2007 under the direction of Wayoshi (talk), quickly building up an assortment of eager writers, and today continues to have a large, thriving team of contributors and a devoted reader base keeping the project more active than ever. As well as covering the latest news and statistics relating to the Super Mario Wiki and its surrounding community, the newsletter offers a broad range of sections such as humorous fake Mario stories, games and activities, multimedia, and detailed review and opinion sections.
Okay, it sould be fourteenth year actually, but it doesn't matter right now. As it says, the newsletter offers a broad range of sections, along with games, activities, multimedia, and detailed reviews and opinion sections. This is what I call a "lifetime goal". It is what The 'Shroom sould be doing over it's lifetime. Therefore, everyone who is leading this project should take this in consideration and at heart. That is exactly what I am interested to do. So, while I agree with Pitohui on the notion of refining the 'Shroomfest, I disagree on the notion of just keeping focus on the 'Shroomfest right now, and waiting until we get things off the ground for other form of activities. As of now, the 'Shroomfest, as a project has demonstrated that it can be functional, and I have learned a few things from this activity that I believe may be useful to consider for other forms of activity. One of them, is that the 'Shroomfest has demonstrated that it is still quite possible for The 'Shroom to be engaged with the community when it comes to quicker interactions, so by that definition, I think having smaller-scale activities that can be quick to interact with in the future and in a more active basis could help The 'Shroom in gaining interest and keeping a certain momentum when it comes to the long-term. As Goombuigi had pointed out to me, it is possible that some members of the community want to interact with The 'Shroom without necessarily writing for it yet. Overall, it's good for The 'Shroom to think about having different range of activities that will interest different people. After all, it's possible that some members aren't interested in 'Shroomfest, but might be interested in different types of activities. This is something that I would like to put in place not only for my directorial term, but something to think about for the long term as well.

Overall, I think it's a good idea to think about making The 'Shroom more active in the community, and allow our community members more chance to interact with The 'Shroom. Taking advantages of what is working currently with 'Shroomfest is a good thing to take in consideration in order to design our activities based on what has worked. The reasoning of bringing in an Activities Manager comes from the fact that the managers are supporting roles in making sure The 'Shroom is in a working condition, and I feel like with the workload that will be coming with such activities that a manager that will be working closely with both the Director and Sub-Director on the creation and management of the activities that will be implemented in the future is necessary, and since I want to make sure there is a good balance on the workload of each of our staff members I believe that this will make it possible to avoid putting too much pressure on our exisiting staffers.


As for your second question, if I lose this election, I have already mentioned that I will stay on board as the Statistics Manager, and to tell the truth, I have already spoken to Hooded Pitohui regarding some of our ticket's campaign plans before and during the debate, and there are certain topics where we have agreed with. Furthermore, as you can see, Pitohui and Roserade's campaign already contains a few ideas from our own campaign, so I will definitely be working with them, and helping them going forward with those ideas during the next term. If I went "Haha NS go brrr" in 2020, then I will "Haha NS go brrr brrr" in 2021 lol.

Pitohui and Roserade are very amicable to me, and they are fun to work with, so I will be incredibly happy to keep up working with them if they keep their director positions. I also intend to keep in touch with Goombuigi during the next term. The guy has great potential for a future staff position, and has been a great joy to work with so far! For me, one way or another, it's a win.


Thanks again for your questions, Revin! I truly appreciate it.
 
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Mayumi Joutouguu

Haniwa Lance Corporal
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
Poll Committee
To all; where do you think things will be at the start of 2024, three years from now? This is a general question, though only about yourself and this community. You can talk about how you envision your own community presence, or the distant future of The 'Shroom, or other community projects and efforts, etc.
Well, the first answer that comes to mind when I hear this question is "hopefully not here!" Lest you think I'm saying I'll leave the community in the next three years, let me clarify. As much as I like The 'Shroom and want to continue to contribute to it, I hope I'm not running in the Director Election come January 2024. While I'd like to be here to step up for leadership positions if I'm needed, my long-term goal is to bring new community members into the fold, and to equip them with the tools and guidance they need to take up these positions of leadership. In other words, when I parked myself in the Director's chair, I never intended to stay sitting in it forever!

Quite frankly, I've been impressed with Goombuigi's passion and dedication in this election, teaming up with an experienced staff member and putting himself out there. Creating more situations like that, where we have a relatively new community member who has taken a real interest in the community, in its history, and in its projects shows that drive and capability to step up to lead projects and keep them going. My hope is that, with three years more to encourage folks, to get them involved with community projects, to get them in staff positions, all of that, we could see a slate of new faces making legitimate runs in the 2024 Director election.

But let's look beyond that specifically. I think, in 2024, we'll see much of the same that we have now in this community, but with an altered form. I think we'll still have Awards, but we may have three or four large tournaments over eight or nine-medium sized ones. I think the Awards itself will scale with the community. If it becomes abundantly clear that filling the number of Awards we have isn't in the cards, I'm sure the Awards Committee will, at some point, recognize that and adjust the numbers - we've done it with the Community Awards, actually. Likewise, while I do think The 'Shroom will expand in that time and end up a little larger, I wouldn't wholly rule out going "okay, we have a smaller number of sections than we used to, maybe we need to rethink our organization. Maybe we don't need six teams." That one, I'm not as confident about. It's going to depend on specifics, it's going to depend on what alternative means of organization are proposed. The point is, though, I don't think it's a bad thing to keep an open-mind to changing that, making it so we have fewer teams with a little more content in each of them. The Poll Committee, I think will be essentially unchanged. I can't say for sure what the 12th Poll Committee and onwards will be like, but I do think keeping to the new bi-weekly poll schedule is a realistic, smart approach. The Wiki itself also feels like it will go on essentially unchanged to me, but I won't claim to know as much about it.

What's the takeaway from all of that, the broad statement on where I think the community will be in 2024? It's okay to scale back. Greater focus on fewer things that keeps them larger and keeps their quality up isn't a sign of decline, it's what small communities do! It's adaptation, a recognition of the fact that the userbase of a small community gets older and has other focuses and needs to tend to other areas of life. Saying "maybe we need to adjust this, scale back our expectations," isn't an admission of defeat. It's a recognition of reality. The landscape of the Internet has changed. You notice we don't get as many new members (and, thankfully, we have a little less drama than back in the day, it seems), and that's simply because fora have been supplanted by centralized social media. If we aren't constantly expanding our suite of regular users, we should expect that some things change because the lives of our regular users are changing. It doesn't mean we have to throw out every tradition. It just means being selective with our time and energy and focusing on the cores of those traditions.

Now, as for where I'll be in all of this? Well, I'll still be contributing to The 'Shroom. Maybe I'll still be Strategy Wing Director, or maybe I'll have left the position and cleared the way for someone new to get staff experience, but, if not, I'll be writing. You can basically guarantee I'll be on the Awards Committee - or, well, that I'll apply for it, at least - in any given year. I also hope to just be... a general presence. You know, I've invited lots of people to Rose Garden this year, tried to get people from different parts of the community to talk to each other more. I've encouraged people to sign up for Awards presentations, including some first-time presenters this year. I've tried to sweep through the Ask Board with questions. On the whole, I simply like making people feel welcomed in this community! I like to reach out to them, make them feel "invited in," so to speak. I want to keep engaging with people where I can, old and new alike, and finding ways to encourage people to talk to each other who otherwise might not talk to each other. So, back to the question, I think I'll be a general presence in 2024, working on some projects but mostly focusing my energy on simply being around on the Boards, in chat, playing games, talking to people and trying to forge new connections.
 

Dimitri A. Blaiddyd

Prince of the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus
Core 'Shroom Staff
Poll Committee
Thank you for your question TPG!

Hmm… 2024 huh? Well, I am sure that we will face a few changes from now (no, I will not say big changes, uh, well, nevermind) on how we interact, and I am confident that some members of the new blood might be rising up the ranks at that time. Overall, as long as the community keep its welcoming nature, I think the MarioWiki community still has a long life ahead of it.

While, I do not really love talking about the future, especially from a personal point of view, I can say that I still see myself as a part of the community at that time, and I do want to be a part of the new blood. What I mean by that is that I want to be around these members when their time will come to take up the leadership positions here. I believe that to allow this to happen, we have to help them to gain experience and help them visualize their potential. Like I did for Goombuigi. I could have chosen a running mate with more experiences as a staff member, but I really think that choosing someone from the new blood to join me was my best decision. If we were to be elected, I think that Goombuigi will get valuable experiences that will help him in the future of this community and learn a lot from the Sub-Director role, and if we are not elected, well this campaign, this election debate, and my guidance will be incredibly valuable to him when he will look for other opportunities in future elections or leadership positions. I believe that actions like these will help shape the future generations. That is what I think will make them shine. Therefore, if I have the opportunity to still be an active community member in 2024, of course I will be here, and helping the new generation rising among the ranks. What is interesting here is that there is always new people joining in each year (just take Goombuigi for example), so there is always a new pool of people that has good potential in becoming established members. In any case, if you are someone with great experiences in a sector, think about joining forces with someone of the new blood who demonstrated a certain level of interest or passion in the same project. Not only will you brainstorm new ideas to consider, you will surely discover a kind and genuine person that might become a great leader for tomorrow thanks to your mentoring.

Now speaking about The ‘Shroom. At the start of 2024, if my stats are right, we will be at Issue 202. Will The 'Shroom still be a project that is working? With confidence, I think that yes, it will still live at that time, and in a healthy condition. As long as The 'Shroom continues to evolve and stay an interesting project for our community members as it is right now, I don’t think there will be a sudden stop to it. Just looking at how we saw a slight increase in the total number of written sections in 2020, I think that says a lot about the health of this project, especially considering the longevity of it. I believe that is it something that is rather situational. Depending on where and how the community goes and evolve, I think the newspaper should always pay a close attention to this to keep up with its lifetime goal. Would I still see myself as a staff member in 2024? I hope that yes, I will still be here! I would like to be a part of Issue 200, and still be involve in this project as an active member. I think that starting this year, I will pay a closer attention to people who are as passionate as I am for The 'Shroom, and looking for new blood that will be able to rise up the ranks in the future, and help them considering these opportunities as much as I did with Goombuigi.
 
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Goombuigi

The Luigi-fied Goomba
Poll Committee
To all; where do you think things will be at the start of 2024, three years from now? This is a general question, though only about yourself and this community. You can talk about how you envision your own community presence, or the distant future of The 'Shroom, or other community projects and efforts, etc.
In 2024, I would imagine myself in a vastly different position than I am in now. I would have been in the community for nearly four years at that point, and I'd probably have participated in many projects and got to know a lot more people by that point. The 'Shroom would be past it's 200th issue by 2024, and I'd be lying if I said that I hadn't thought about to to commemorate that milestone in my 'Shroom sections, once or twice. Whatever position I am in, I definitely imagine myself as still an active community member. Personally, my life will have changed a lot, I would transition a full-grown adult, and I'd have to deal with life beyond high school (which is scary for me to think about!).

As for the community itself, I'm not really sure how much it would change, but I can't imagine that it would change by a significant portion. I can still see the Poll Committee and Awards Committee existing, but I'm not sure how active the community would be compared to now. From what I've seen and heard, there doesn't seem to be as many new members who stick around in the long-term and participate in community events, and that general activity on the forums has been waning. While I don't have a guess as to whether there would be a larger number of new users compared to now, I don't think that would be entirely necessary, as long as there are people who are motivated to help out in the community, which we have many of currently. I've noticed general activity shifting to Discord, and I'm guessing that gradually, that's going to continue as time progresses, but it makes sense for the Boards to stay up for those who prefer them, and for community events such as the Awards.
 

Roserade

"Write your way into his heart..."
Forum Moderator
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
Poll Committee
To all; where do you think things will be at the start of 2024, three years from now? This is a general question, though only about yourself and this community. You can talk about how you envision your own community presence, or the distant future of The 'Shroom, or other community projects and efforts, etc.
This is obviously a very suppositional question, and I'm not going to act as though I know what this community or my life will look like in four years. It's entirely possible that, through some unforeseen circumstances, I'll be distant from this community, or it could be that I'll still be serving as Sub-Director for The 'Shroom! Who can truly say. I think, then, that instead of answering how I think the community will look, I want to answer how I trust this community will look. Maybe that seems like a minor difference, but I have a certain amount of faith in both this community and myself that I'd like to share.

No matter to what degree certain community functions are running, no matter if Awards Presentation are slimmed in numbers, or there isn't a Killing Game happening that year, or if The 'Shroom has had a fantastic issue 200 sendoff (not that I'm necessarily looking for that to happen, just as an example), I trust that there will be a group of people here who are all caring, motivated, and passionate for this community. The amount of love and creative joy I've seen pour out of these forum threads is indescribable. I've seen users create comics starring their friends, spend over a decade designing Minecraft worlds, and form vast, overarching narratives with their original characters. I've seen people come and go, but even more so I've seen people stay, and all of them impact the environment of the Mario Boards in some way, no matter how "insignificant" it seems. Some of the people who are still taking charge on community projects and endeavors now are people I knew when I joined at the age of nine, which is nine years ago now. While demographics may shift, projects may grow or shrink, venues may shift, I am trusting that through it all, there will be this dedicated userbase built on appreciation and collaboration.
I really don't know if I have estimates to what will happen in the next four years. However, I will say that for those of us who may be worried about the future of community projects, I invite you to look at this year as a renewal of faith. Throughout 2020, despite everything else going on in the world, we've managed to create an entirely new interactive project for The 'Shroom; we've witnessed or played in the most positively received and lovingly-crafted Killing Game the Mario Boards has had thus far; we've seen an uptick in interest with projects like The 'Shroom, boasting more writers than we did before; we've had roleplaying become such a popular community event that we had to make an entirely new board for it! All of this shows that the people here still have pep to their step and a willingness to connect and create. So while I cannot say with confidence what any of our events will look like in four years, I do definitively trust that they will still be going, and will be lead with vigor and excitement for what potential this userbase carries.

I also trust that, to as many degrees as I can, I will be committed to serving this community. If my gushing up above didn't clue you in enough, the Mario Wiki community is one of the most important communities I'd consider myself a part of. I've dedicated hours into The 'Shroom, moderating the forums, participating in events, serving in the Poll Committee and Awards Committee, and I don't intend to hit the brakes on this train anytime soon. As I said before, I ultimately cannot say what things will look like in four years. By that time, I'll be nearing the end of my time with college, which I'll be leaving for over the summer. Who knows what my life will end up as at that point, while I'm stumbling through adulthood and learning how to live that way. But I want to emphasize that I will always try my hardest to support this community and its endeavors, through every thick and thin and every project. I love you lot. You've given me a place to be a creator, a friend, a leader, and you've supplied me with some of the strongest bonds I've had in my life. So I'm not wanting to go anywhere anytime soon, and I hope that in those four years' times, I will be just as involved as I am right now.
In regards to realistic expectations, I'd say at the bare minimum, I'd trust that I'm still present, be it in Discord servers or on this forum. Even if I do end up having to drop my responsibilities, I doubt I could ever bring myself to fully leave. I do hope that I'll still be participating in Awards ceremonies and presentations, and writing or assisting for The 'Shroom, but regardless of what I am actually doing, I will still be there. So I trust that I will still be an engaged part of this community, regardless of if it's to a more "passive" degree or not, and I trust that I will continue to serve you all for as long as I can and to the best of my abilities.
 

Reverse Input

Ace Artist
thank you to all the candidates for their well-thought out answers and the time they've put aside to answer them
before things wrap up, i do have one final question i would like to pose to each individual person running (although i realise that the election will soon be over so if you're too busy to answer, i understand!)

If I were to ask you what makes a good leader, what would be your response? To be clear, this is intended to be a general question. This isn't specifically for the 'Shroom, nor am I asking for you to justify whether or not you yourself are a good leader. I just want to know, from your point of view, what you feel makes for a good leader. Characteristics, personality traits, habits, actions, examples of people you look up to in leadership... I'd like to hear whatever comes to mind for you specifically.
 
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