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The Ba Sing Se Times, Issue 43: 28 July

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avatar wiki's community newsletter

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Technical report

  • Wikia's new forum feature is now available for testing with our general noticeboard, admin noticeboard, help desk and university sub-forums.

User rights report

48px-3565124.png Message from the Deputy Editor

What the heck? BM posted the Ba Sing Se Times issue? Isn't that 888's job?

Let me explain - when your Ba Sing Se Times issue is eight freakin' days late and only has what, three or four articles, they deputy editor has to lend a hand. So yeah, I pulled out a Natsu and sort of overthrew our editor for this issue (sorry wjxhuang) and posted it myself, using what articles we had on the BSST wiki. I really want to say thanks to KFB and Minnichi, who gave me columns at the last minute, allowing this issue to happen. Please give them a pat on the back when you have the chance.

The downside of all this is that I really don't know what I'm doing with HTML compared to 888, so I probably just completely messed up the coding format that we usually make our issues with. I got it done, though, right? It only took an all-out brawl between me and the damn dotted line coding to make it happen. 888, if you have a spare instruction manual on how to make one of these things the correct way, please lend it to me. :)

The actual downside is that all of the articles that were just sent to 888's email are not featured in this issue. That includes the ones sent in by Andrew2070, Omar067, and the second column by KFB are not here, but will be in next week's BSST. If there were others who I wasn't aware of, the same applies to them.

Oh, and about next week's Ba Sing Se Times. You see, we just completely went off of our newsletter's schedule with issue, dead in the center of when we were supposed to have it up and when we want the next one up. Now, the reasonable thing to do would be to move all the scheduled BSST dates back a week so we have the regular two weeks to make the next issue. However, the unreasonable, overachiever method is to get back on the schedule and release Issue 44 on the 11th, as planned. I am going for the latter, getting the Ba Sing Se Times back on track. However, to do so, we will need to construct an issue in six days. We will have all the articles from 888's email that were supposed to be in this one for the issue on the 11th, but it won't be enough. Please, help out and write something - even something small helps.

48px-5161988.png Information(?) and the Internet

I doubt it comes as a surprise to many of you that this would feature in the Ba Sing Se Times, what with the revelation of cheating in the annual User Awards poll - a momentous occasion every July to celebrate not only the creation of this wiki, but also to thank the hard work and commitment of certain people in building it.

However, it comes as no surprise that it too can be subject to exploitation, on an Internet where popular pages and polls are rampant with trolls, hardcore illogical fanboys (Clarification: Not people with just "Fanboy" in their names ofc!), and the uninformed who click whichever option seems to be the best.

In years past, the popularity of Avatar wiki was not as it is today, and this allowed the polls to retain their honest functionality. The community was far smaller, and this accordingly scaled with trolls and people who would choose to exploit the system rather than play fairly. It also meant that everyone knew who all the nominees were, and subsequently, their merits and contributions. The votes (and nominations) were thus fair and equally weighted. the anonymity was, to an extent, helpful as no one would have to be afraid to act on their opinion, and choose the user who they thought truly deserved the award.

But, as we all know from our experiences on the Internet and just watching the (exaggerated and conservative?) news, anonymity can be a double-edged sword. You have but to look at the frauds and felons committed via this digital medium to figure that one out, as well as the fact that any scientific poll or analyses done on the world web are formally considered as non-evidence.

In any given popular online community, it isn't very hard to find users with unscrupulous intent; there will always be those who will try to sabotage the community under whatever motivation with which they legitimize their actions (or perhaps not even that). The wiki has scaled to a point where freely unregulated systems are an unfeasible method not only to conduct tasks of importance, but also, it seems, to even run relatively trivial award ceremonies.

I'm afraid that, like the War Room, such polling systems as in the User Awards must adapt to fit the new and crowded environment, or risk rigging and malicious tampering. There is a reason why all wikis record both user accounts and IPs, why some pages are locked to users, why the User Awards were so susceptible to manipulation - it is all part of an increasing realization that in order to maintain an efficient and constructive wiki community, anonymity must be largely done away with or restricted in certain aspects.

Like the Internet as a whole, wikia and its subsidiary wikis have tolerated anonymity to a large standard, but the general trend in larger online communities has adapted to the point where you must be identifiable in order to contribute almost anything meaningful or substantial. Furthermore, as the the entire world wide web becomes even larger, that tendency is not set to become any weaker... And this wiki is set to follow suit.

48px-1040506.png Shipping in Book Two: Spirits

After the Comic-con, the creators have been revealing some other details about the second book of The Legend of Korra: Spirits. In different interviews Bryan and Mike have announced important parts of the plot and the fate of some characters after the first book's ending.

The creators and voice actors have expressed their knowledge about the "shipping wars" and the discontent of several fans of the series' pairings. "I'm just trying to hide from the fangirls that are a little upset with Mako at this point, he's not really clearly deciding between Korra and Asami. There are some pissed off fangirls out there, so I'm in hiding" has said David Faustino, Mako's voice actor. Despite of this, it has been confirmed that Book Two will have romance as an important topic as well. Mako and Korra are now together, and they both have really important jobs. While Mako has become a cop in Republic City, "making a big name for himself busting triads"; Korra has yet to adapt to her role as a fully realized Avatar, having to "learn how to really respect her abilities and role". Because of these separate ways, the couple will find that things can get a little complicated as they will try to maintain their relationship. In the other hand, Bolin now will have one of the "most bizarre stories", which may become in a new love triangle. When DiMartino refered to the development of "relationship stuff", he said that "...the ones we deal in Book Two, we've never done before. They're different dynamics".

48px-3232697.png Home, sweet home... Or at least, that's how it should be
The Ultimate Waterbender

Could the word “home” really become synonymous with “Avatar Wiki”? After all, the only thing before you is a screen. A collection of data floating around in the vast universe that is the Internet. Usernames and avatar images belonging to people scattered across the continents, many of whom you couldn’t even match a face to.

Well, that’s the beauty of a community like Avatar Wiki. For many of us who stick around on the site, we find ourselves throwing our heads back in laughter or venting to someone about the horrible monster that can be real life – talking as though we had known someone for six years instead of six months. Through the mystery of cyberspace, you can feel that human presence and you sit back, kick your feet up on the coffee table and think, “I’m at home.” And for once, you’re not talking about your house.

So when cracks appear on that picture-perfect surface, when conflict rears its ugly head and goes hard to work tearing at the seams of our community, you find yourself shaking your head in disgust and asking, “What the heck went wrong?” And whether you’re in the thick of that conflict or silently watching it play out from the sidelines, the truth is, it’s a patch of gray that encircles everyone and threatens to rip apart that “home sweet home” atmosphere. Well, let’s face it – struggle is inevitable. But do we throw away the rules of common courtesy and etiquette just because, hey, another conflict is just bound to happen at some other point? Never.

Respect – it always comes down to that. I know sometimes someone says something nasty to you and in that moment, you just feel like ripping their head off and screaming, “Who the hell do you think you are?” But where does that take you? You come back with a mean remark of your own and the person who offended you in the first place feels threatened and does something even greater to hurt you. And you just keep going at it, sinking lower and lower, until you hit rock bottom and can’t go anything further. Then you wonder where everything spiraled out of control when the real question is “How can you expect to receive respect from someone if you can’t be respectful yourself?” When you feel offended, just take your fingers away from the keyboard for a moment and relax. Think about what to say before you type it, because once you hit “enter” or press “publish”, there’s no taking it back.

And if things are already out of hand, if an argument has already ensued and there’s no turning back now – learn. There is always something to be taken from an experience, no matter how nightmarish. Promise yourself that the next time you receive a hurtful comment, you will relax and remain thoughtful of that person, even if they have irritated you to no end. In the end, that promise may be broken when you slip up and say something biting, but make that pledge anyway because you have to start from somewhere.

And going back to the beginning, the reality that most of the users you can’t picture because you have never actually been in their presence before… Well, there is a face to that username; and a name, a life, a person. You may be communicating through a machine, but you’re not communicating to a machine. Somewhere out there, there’s a person reading and reacting to your comments and they deserve the same consideration as if they were sitting right in your living room.

Conflict cannot put miles between us – living on all corners of the continents does that already. It can’t mar that feeling of home until you struggle to log yourself in because this place has begun feeling more like a prison yard.

We’re Avatar Wiki. We’re better than that.

General Iroh
The Ba Sing Se Times needs YOU.
Have a great Avatar or Avatar Wiki joke?
An interesting opinion about the wiki?
A fanfic that desperately needs readers?
A review of a fanfic you'd like to publish?
Just write a column,
and send it in to the editor.

from the fanon portal
48px-3565124.png Fanon - Half Booming, Half Dead

People, I included, are always complaining about how inactive and dead the fanon portal is these days. Well, it's sort of still is. And sort of not. The fanonical side of the wiki has really been coming along recently. Now with no new Korra info streaming in and trolls spamming Makorra comments after the finale, the community seems to have drifted towards fanon - which is a good thing, for us fanon folks. So part of me wants to congratulate everyone for getting into this side of the site and starting writing stories. We're getting more than we can imagine, oh, and it seems like fanonbending is the new fad these days also. Business is just booming around here lately.

And then, parts of fanon portal still are very much dead. Dead as a doornail, whatever that means. I feel like the guy who just figured out global warming is actually real. The fanon portal is really, truly, inactive, in some areas. Lets look at Featured Fanon and Featured Article voting - that's a big thing, and it used to be buzzing with activity. I think up until the second to last day of July, there wasn't even a single Featured Article nomination all last month. So yeah, that's one thing, go vote for this month.

So yeah, I see a lot more fanons being made, but a lot less fanon activities being contributed too. I really hope we have a good voting turnout for the 4th Fanon Awards, which, as a member of the Fanon Awards Council, is well on it's way. The final ties for council nominations are currently being broken, so the event will officially open and community nominations will begin shortly. There are a lot of variety in the selections we've made - lesser known fanons, popular fanons, new and old alike, so we should be attracting pretty much everyone to participate. Please, check in often, activity should start up in the next week.

Now, this is either a great way to show how dead the portal is these days, or it's a blatant insult to my system, but no one even participated in the Fanon Advertisement System's Promotion Contest in the past two weeks. So if anyone actually wanted to know who won the drawing for the contest this time around, there is no winner because no one even played! If you want to enter to win an exclusive userbox, recognition in the next Ba Sing Se Times, and your name in The Fanon Advertisement System page forever, please just read the current Fanon Promotion and post one or two sentences about what you thought here.

And that brings me to my next topic, this week's Fanon Promotion - The Lifebenders! It's actually a fanon that I help Suzon write, and it's pretty good so far, (we've only got one chapter out) if I do say so myself. It tells the story of an earthbending master named Toka, who is supposed to teach Avatar Yangchen her earthbending. However, he is extremely cocky and conceited, so his veteran teacher, Lee, destroys Toka's legs in hopes to teach him a lesson about his arrogance. Now, Toka has to adapt to his new body and learn modesty and bravery to defeat a rising clan of evil deformed benders, The Lifebenders, who threaten to disrupt the balance of the world forever. Read the first chapter, write a sentence or two about what you thought, and then get put in the aforementioned drawing. It's a good deal, I'm telling you.

And that pretty much wraps up my fanon portal recap of the past couple weeks. What more can I say? Vortex may or may not begin soon, with Omar's final block in all. Readers of my fanon, expect The Final Seminar to still not come out for a bit longer, I've been very busy and might have only five or six paragraphs written so far. It's going to a pretty lengthy and action-packed chapter as far as the "seminar chapters" usually go, so be prepared for a long wait but a good piece of Rhythm.

That's all, folks. BlackMonkey, signing out.


Bending was always a tool for mankind.
Now, mankind is a tool for bending.
The Lifebenders

48px-3403431.png The Second Round Preview

"The Inaugural Pro-Bending Match", chapter four: "The Second Round"

Here we go with round two! The Winged Lemurs are frustrated about round one, and oh, does it show! Halak goes right at Kuska and blasts her back to the edge of the zone! He wants revenge on her for the round one knockout! Meanwhile, the captains are going at it. This is an interesting strategy to see fire versus earth on two fronts at the moment, and bang! A big fire blast from Shao Fung and Sagashi is back in zone two! The buzzer rang out and Sagashi was left frustrated. He had failed on his own strategy in a matter of a few short seconds.

The Sloths' earthbender tries to pick himself back up, feeling the heat as Shao Fung bears down on him! With the first fifteen seconds gone, right now, it is currently all Winged Lemurs in an apparent repeat of how the first round began! The question is, can they hold up this time after the Aardvark Sloths bounced back last round?

Now is Kuska trying to fight back, but she does not look good right now! Halak's attacks really seem to be putting the strain to her. She is not the same girl who ended round one with a last-second knockout to propel her team, and oh my goodness, Halak drives her into the corner and she is down! Kuska struggles to her feet though, and keeps fighting! Never quitting, what else would you expect from a student of Master Katara?

Well, assuming Mr. Tao is still here, he would be disappointed in the Aardvark Sloths. They are not doing the job he said they needed to do! Right now, it is all Winged Lemurs! Miaka steps up and he hits Sagashi now! The Sloths' captain is now teetering on the edge of zone three, can he survive? Shao Fung drives back at Gitsu and throws him back a zone!

With another buzzer, Gitsu, whom had fallen to the ground from the blast, got up in frustration and quickly gathered up another fire blast.

Thirty seconds gone. Gitsu is set, and wow! A huge fire blast right near Shao Fung's face! Very close to a dangerous shot, but Mantia does not call a foul! Shao Fung looks like he's trying to sell it with his hands to his face, but no dice. Now the Lemurs' captain better watch himself, because Gitsu looks angrier than an untamed dragon! He fires a huge blast again, but this time Shao Fung dodges!

Meanwhile, Halak and Kuska are still brawling with water, as it looks like we are back to direct element-on-element duels! Kuska looks a bit spent at the moment; perhaps exacerbating a bit too much effort at the end of round one, or maybe her nerves are holding her waterbending skills back. Nevertheless; she'd better get it going or she will be in zone three!

50px-5047861.png Fanon Review: The Lifebenders

Hey fanon portal! Minnichi's signing in for another review, in hopes that it'll distract her from all the back-to-school commercials slowly haunting her TV. Time goes by too fast! But I'm thrilled to see more activity in the fanon portal these days, and that intimidating review schedule of mine only makes me happier. Today I offer my commentary on The Lifebenders by BlackMonkey and Suzon, a fanon still in its beginning stages but that also shows endless potential already.

TL-WP 01

The Lifebenders is BlackMonkey and Suzon's upcoming fanon. It tells the story of an earthbending master named Toka. He is supposed to teach Avatar Yangchen how to Earthbend. However, he is extremely cocky and arrogant, so Lee decides to teach him a lesson. He destroys Toka's legs in hopes he will now realize he is not the best. Now, Toka has to adapt to being handicapped.

Toka is quite an interesting fellow - and wildly talented! His arrogance has no end, but the writers display it in such a fun and humorous way that you've still gotta love him in the end. Gee, thanks for only letting me read one chapter about him, guys. Update, I say!

Random polls

Which spirit(s) would you like to see reappear in LoK from the following:

The poll was created at 17:12 on August 5, 2012, and so far 146 people voted.
Are you glad to see the return of comments?

The poll was created at 17:12 on August 5, 2012, and so far 115 people voted.
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