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The Ba Sing Se Times, Issue 48: 27 October

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avatar wiki's community newsletter

Discussion report
Announcements and discussion results:

Announcements

  • Unfortunately, due to his relative inactivity for the past two months, BlackMonkey has stepped down as deputy editor for the Ba Sing Se Times. His work for the newsletter has always been of an excellent standard, and we hope that he will continue to contribute into the future. His successor will be the illustrious Minnichi.

User rights report

48px-5161988.png From the editor
KettleMeetPot

We have arrived into late October, into a period of time where most of the hubbub surrounding the recent admin and bureaucrat nominations has died down. Furthermore, the novelty activity resulting from the episodes of the Legend of Korra has finally declined sharply from the figures we had a month or two ago - where we used to average over thirty editing users on the most active page, we are now netting ten.

Though our count of rollback users and the considerable number of comments we receive per day may indicate otherwise, the truth of the matter is, there will be a general lack of activity across (nearly) all aspects of the wiki. The mainspace will be the particularly hardest hit, with its reliance on canon content to drive it, and a pool of dedicated editors year round - which is unrealistic, to say the least. Even among our rollback users, there is an overall count of eleven who have not managed to edit an article within the past week - and there is even one who has not logged in since September.

Our recent flair during and the months after the LoK was predominantly due to seasonal IPs and users providing bursts of activity during times of interest. Large events, such as the nominations, also contributed to pulling relatively inactive users out of the woodwork. However, with the next Book for LoK far off into next year, as well as the comics, inactivity will be the name of the game for the next few months. So, to our esteemed readers, try not to be the first users who drop off the radar! We and the wiki will definitely miss the activity and input you give to us.

In brighter news, balancing the drop of activity within the mainspace, fanon seems to be as strong as ever, with regular releases of the White Lotus Sentinel and a good many users involving themselves in that part of the wiki. Though I myself have never written a fanon before in my life, I'm thinking it may be time to turncoat into doing fanon instead...

But, as always, I digress from the purpose of this newsletter. As an end to my rambling, I present a congratulations to Lady Lostris, who has become our new bureaucrat, and a farewell to BlackMonkey as deputy editor of the Ba Sing Se Times, stepping down due to his relative inactivity. But without further ado, I will now allow you, the reader, to proceed to the articles. Enjoy!

48px-2217546.png Analysis of Republic City and the modern Avatar World
Annawantimes

As some of you might know, I have always been a huge admirer of architecture and a very dedicated studier of geography. One of the initial reasons I began enjoying Avatar was the geography in the series. The different climates and regions explored as Aang and his friends traveled the world and the extreme detail that the creators gave to everything simply made the World of Avatar seem almost like a real place. And as for Republic City, I must give the creators and producers of the show some credit for creating such a realistic and incredible city.

But of course, Republic City has major influence from several other cities in the real world, and in this column I will be outlining a few of my ideas as to what cities “make up” Republic City. I will also be mentioning a bit about the possibility of skyscraper development in other cities in the Avatar World.

The location of Republic City, all things considered, seems reminiscent of Vancouver, Canada. Vancouver is situated on several peninsulas, and albeit they are a bit larger than Republic City’s main peninsulas, it is quite similar. One of Republic City’s defining features is, of course, the mountains that rise from the areas to the east of the city. Vancouver also is bounded by large mountains immediately to the east. There are several other real world cities that are situated on peninsulas or are surrounded by mountains, such as New York, but most cities do not include both of these features as Vancouver does.

However, although the location does not match New York’s entirely, The shape of the central peninsula of Republic City seems to match the shape of Manhattan Island in New York City. I also think that the true extent of the skyscraper development in Republic City is only paralleled by New York; the busy harbors that each respective cities thrive on are also reminiscent of each other.

And while I’m talking about possible American influence, I’ll move on to Chicago. The criminal activity in Republic City resembles mob activity that occurred during the Prohibition Era. However, the concept of “triads” was prevalent in many Asian cities, therefore some of the criminal activity seems to be based upon events in Asia.

And of course, this brings me to architecture. The architecture of Republic City’s high rise, and even low rise, buildings is predominantly Asian in its appearance. This is likely derived from cities such as Shanghai, Hong Kong, and perhaps Taipei.

Lastly, I’ll talk about the possibility of tall structures in other locations in the World of Avatar. In the real world, the method of using steel to build taller buildings spread from the United States across the globe quickly. Most large cities developed a central business district where these buildings would be built. I am predicting that the same occurred in the World Avatar - the world’s major cities which had a demand for more workspace began constructing taller structures to accommodate these workers.

So this arises the question - which cities developed high rise buildings? During the original series, the Fire Nation seemed to enjoy impressing the world with the newest, most modern technology that was available; they also built a few taller structures. This seems to be a reasonable place for skyscraper development. Another major city, Ba Sing Se, seems like a place where taller buildings would be necessary. The city is bounded by walls on all sides, and they have one area to build - up.

These are just a few of my predictions and musings about development in the Avatar World.

48px-5340941.png Is Avatar Wiki your home?
Humble Imaginations

From editing articles, posting comments, and writing fanon, AW has it all. Once you log in, you meet many friendly users, those who will some be on your friends list on your profile, or those who you laugh and joke around with on the IRC. They soon become like family to you, even if you can't see what's behind the screen. Avatar Wiki soon becomes your home.

However, we must not separate ourselves from reality. Although we may be sad to see those who are your friends become inactive, they may become something spectacular some day. Maybe, the next time they'll log in, they'll be a successful lawyer who is still intact with their fellow Avatar fandom.

Sometimes, there are things on AW you may not expect. I never expected myself to be a rollback user. But hey, life is full of surprises. I've made a lot of good friends in my time here, and hope to make more in the future.

48px-5161988.png An Interview with Lady Lostris
KettleMeetPot

It's that time again, folks! Lady Lostris, one of our renowned administrators has been elected by the community to the post of bureaucrat. An excellent all-round contributor, she has been spreading her web of influence over us all since the beginning of 2011, first as good ol' regular autoconfirmed user, later as a rollback, and finally as an administrator... And, well, most of our readers should know the rest of the story from there. Now, let us all hear the welcoming words of wisdom from our newest bureaucrat!

1. The community has elected you. You know your role, and your responsibilities. One week in, has reality matched your previous perceptions of the post?
Yes, it has. My perception of the post was that it was not something special at all, and now that I have been a bureaucrat for a week, I know that it is nothing special at all.

2. Here's hoping that you have a long bureaucratship. But on that note, how long do you think you will stay as bureaucrat?
*Takes out her crystal ball* Hmm... apart from the top of my desk and a lot of dust on the ball, I really don't see anything. I guess for now my answer will be "until I quit, or the community finds someone better".

3. Now that you have gained insight on the job, is it any different to your previous role as an administrator?
Not at all, really, except for the additional fact that I now have to keep a closer look at the rollback requests -which I usually already did, just to know the new rollbacks on the block.

4. As the new bureaucrat of this wiki, are we to expect any new immediate changes - policy or otherwise?
I do not believe that it is my responsibility to be a driving force behind any sort of change just because of a title. The "bureaucrat" tag now attached to my name (figuratively speaking) does not change anything in the way I experience the wiki and go about proposing things. So sure, you may always expect proposals from me, but that has everything to do with me wanting to change something than with a bureaucrat wanting to change anything.

5. Any final thoughts on your election to this post?
No ^^. Though . . . Seeing as I am the first female bureaucrat this wiki has ever had . . . Hey, wjxie, how about changing the bureaucrat userbox image from Avatar Roku to Avatar Korra, get some girl power? :-p

from the fanon portal
48px-3467474.png FFF: The Ultimate Waterbender
Godsrule

It is the Summer of 0 ASC. Syra, an eleven year-old Air Nomad girl, is leading a peaceful life at her home, the Eastern Air Temple of the Telukin Mountain Range. With summer having arrived, school days have turned from lessons in the classroom to Airbending practices outdoors. At the same time, a twelve year-old Fire Nation boy, named Siro, is living in the small town of Sen Go not too far from the Fire Nation Capital. His father is one of the advisers to the head of the town and therefore, is very keen on all current events happening; his older brother is training at a local military school. - A description of WANWtE

Hey Everyone, Godsrule here with another FFF (Fanon Fact Finders) interview. Today I am interviewing The Ultimate Waterbender about her fanon When Air Nomads Walked the Earth. So without further ado, may I give you the author of When Air Nomads Walked the Earth The Ultimate Waterbender!

  1. Heyo Ultimate, how ya doing? - Hola. ^^ I'm doing pretty well. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to be interviewed.
  2. So for those who don't know, can you tell us what When Air Nomads Walked the Earth is about? - "When Air Nomads Walked the Earth" is basically a "slice of life" story that takes place during the summer Sozin's Comet arrives. It revolves around two characters: an eleven year-old Air Nomad girl named Syra and a twelve year-old boy from the Fire Nation named Siro - the two are "independent" characters, by which I mean they have never interacted with one another. The story is neither an action-packed thriller nor does it take a completely different twist on the events leading up to the Hundred Year War; it's a straightforward, real-to-life look at two innocent, carefree school students carrying out their lives in a world that, unbeknownst to them, will be turned upside-down.
  3. Why did you name it When Air Nomads Walked the Earth? - You know, I can't say why I chose this particular title for my story. The original title was going to be "Syra's Story", but I discarded that idea because, one, it seemed too unoriginal and, two, the story revolves around Siro just as much as it does Syra and thus it wouldn't be right to include only her name in the title. "When Air Nomads Walked the Earth" was one of those ideas that just pops into your head; and when that happened, I went with it.
  4. Okay, so any reason why you chose Syra and Siro's names? - As I have stated on Syra's character article, her name was the name of a character in my middle school's Latin textbook and I've always found it quite pretty. Syra was originally going to be named Tyla, but that name was eventually given to her best friend. When the fanon was nothing more than a collection of possibilities and ideas, I was still pondering everything, including character names and when I remembered the name of the textbook character, I decided to go with that. As for Siro's name, all I knew was that I didn't want it to begin with "Z"; I simply thought of possibilities until I chose the name "Siro".
  5. Okay, so any reason why you chose for Syra and Siro's names to be similar? - Haha, actually no, the similar sound to their names was completely unintentional. I can't say how it ended up that way; it just sort of happened. =S
  6. Who do you identify with more, Syra or Siro? - I would say that I identify more with Syra. Out of all the characters introduced in WANWTE, I find her character to bear the closest resemblance to how I am as a person: generally upbeat, independent, not particularly "loud" and keeps more to herself, yet also strong-willed. Syra is a girl who strives to be the best she can be in school, remains loyal to her friends and tries to avoid trouble when she sees it, particularly when it comes to cliquey people, and that pretty much relates to how I live my own life. But I can relate to Siro in that I hope to become a writer when I get older.
  7. Are Syra and Siro ever going to cross paths? - Heh, everyone asks me that question. xD But no, Syra and Siro will never cross paths with one another in the story at any point. I find that should they, it would be a little cliche. These two are completely unaware of each other's existence and lead their own individual lives; you could easily have two separate fanon stories about them because they're not involved in each other's lives. And not to disappoint or anything, but I plan on keeping it that way.
  8. Are we ever going to meet Aang in WANWtE? - Yes, but in what context, I'm not saying. ^^
  9. Were you really 13 when you started it? It seems like your writing is beyond that. - Yes, I started my fanon on March 11, 2011, when I was still thirteen. Beyond that? -waves hand- No need for flattery. =P
  10. And your Fanonbending Mastery, any thing to say about that or the user who sealed the deal? - Well, of course, a thank you to you and all those users who voted; you guys have been very supportive and without you, where would the series be? So I really appreciate all the encouragement and reviews. =) But it still baffles me how I've achieved that level - I still feel that the names of many other fanon writers should be under that list of Fanonbending Masters in place of mine, because there are some extraordinary writers and series out there that deserve the recognition. Hopefully those series will gain that recognition; it's been long overdue.
  11. It has been a while since you finished Chapter 11, when can we expect the next chapter? - Aye yes, I know and I owe you guys much more than an apology for the delays. It's been almost a year since I've last published a chapter on the site and I don't know what's gotten into me, why I can't seem to just find time to sit down and write the chapter already... At this point, I'm about halfway through with Syra's part of the story and I've also begun writing Siro's side. I have a solid idea of where I'm heading with both parts of the story; it's just a matter of actually writing it all out in detail. I can't promise that I'll have the chapter up by a certain date, but if I can finish it by the time the holiday season in December comes around, that would be ideal.
  12. Any inspirations for WANWtE? - Iceland77, a now-inactive user, was the one who inspired me to write a fanon series. I had been an editor of her first series, "In Azula's Mind", and that was when I really began to enjoy the fanon side of the wiki; eventually, I decided to write my own story, so I owe it to her for the inspiration to write on here. The story line of WANWTE itself wasn't based on any concept or series in particular, though. It was just an idea that I considered writing about; I actually considered discarding the idea, too, but Ice convinced me otherwise, so again, a thank you to her for encouraging me to go through with it. ^^
  13. Can you tell us about any future storylines? - Heh, well, I don't want to give much away... But to spare some information, Zorin will appear towards the end of the series (Why wouldn't he, though? He's my favorite character. ^^) Syra is eventually going to clash with Jia and things won't be pretty. =/ And I already gave away that Aang is going to show up at some point, so what more could you ask for? ;) I will say, though, that with the way I have planned out the story (yep, I have the entire rest of the series figured out), Syra's story may be ending on a slightly more upbeat note than Siro's; ironic because the Air Nomads are the ones who suffer and the Fire Nation has the upper-hand. But why that is, you'll just have to wait and find out.
  14. Do you have any ideas for future fanons? - I'm currently writing a one-shot, unrelated to WANWTE, and it's really the first time I'll be incorporating romantic elements into my writing, so I'm hoping that it will turn out well. A few months ago, I talked of possibly publishing a fanon series named "Destiny's Darkness" and I started writing it, however, after careful consideration, I've completely revised the plot. Most likely, the title will change to better reflect the new story line. It's really unclear, though, when this series will get off the ground. I'm still working out a lot of details plus there's WANWTE and real-life matters to attend to.
48px-5047861.png Lazy Authors and the Advertising Report
Minnichi

The renowned BlackMonkey has returned - I think! Except as a ninja that secretly watches over our fanon portal, ensuring that his brilliant Advertising Systemis still running strong. But while he’s doing that, I’ll attempt to update you all on the Fanon Advertisement news again.

Today, October 20, marks the end of Chi-Blocker’s promotion. There were a total of three participants in the Advertisement Contest: me, Acer Indonesia, and Typhoonmaster. With me and Acer being part of the group that changes out the promotions every two weeks. Seriously, guys? I thought userboxes were a thing here! I mean come on, winning that fortnightly contest will get you some nice attention in the BSST too! Ya leave me no choice but to lay it down on you… How many of you guys wish you had more active commenters on your fanon? How many of you can say that you have at least five consistent ones per chapter? Oh, I know the answer: almost none. I think I’ve read enough fanons to have a pretty good idea. And you want to know why this is so? Look at the overwhelming and gracious support for fanons in the Advertisement System! One person outside the “staff” that runs the system itself left his advice for the contest, i.e. advice that’s supposed to help the promoted fanon.

So there you have it. I know some of the habits you fan-hungry authors practice; commenting on your own fanons to ask for other comments, agreeing to subscribe only if the other subscribes in return, commenting on other fanons to demand the same for yourself, starting messages on others’ walls only to guilt-trip them into a subscription, or even butting into someone else’s thread just to advertise your fanon… I’ve seen quite a bit. I don’t think much of it and I hold nothing against anyone who practices these habits, but today I just felt the need to point out why you still don’t have fans. None of those things work. Or maybe they’ll work for one person, but five active commenters? Probably a stretch, huh? And the reason is right in front of your face. You don’t support other fanons. Here in this Advertisement System, where support is made so easy and even rewardedwith userboxes and a BSST announcement, you still can’t leave a single meaningful comment. So that naturally gives me good reason to believe that you probably won’t support the fanon outside of the Advertisement System, either. Now I know many of you are involved in other ways to help fanons, but that doesn’t change the fact that a great number of authors are still floating around the portal, doing nothing and screaming for fans as if they’ll come. Well…what can I say that I haven’t already? If there are others like you, the fan-hungry author who never reaches out to leave any form of supportive feedback…do you really expect them to treat your fanon any differently? You tell me.

Phantoms

(Ahem) …Bah, talking this seriously is wearing me down. The formality of the BSST and the obligation not to use my beloved emoticons must be getting to me. But ANYWAY… like I was saying, today marks the end of one promotion and begins another. And I was most delighted to find that Phantoms by Aritiane is this week’s pick! There’s no shortage of praise I can give this masterpiece. It’s one of those fanons that I just can’t understand why commenters aren’t flocking by the hundreds around. If you’ve ever had any gripes about LoK, namely in character development and shallow plotlines, this fanon takes care of it all! In fact, this fanon is 1 of 2 that ever received a 9.0 or above average in Minnichi’s FRS reviewing history (the other is Energy Saga, naturally). It’s not like I do it on purpose, guys, but I just can’t stress enough that Aritiane writes really, REALLY well! The characters have all the depth that the show doesn’t give us, and the dark, conspiracy-themed plot is so well-planned and intense that I wouldn’t be surprised if Aritiane turns out to be a paid author in real life. It’s just…gah, you mustread it! That’s really all I can say.

And that concludes the update on the Advertisement System. The contest is open to anyone who wants to comment and be glorified in the next BSST issue! Probably more useful than begging for fans or whatever else you’re trying at the moment, just saying. Speaking of which, Acer Indonesia gets a special mention for winning the contest this time. He’s the most consistent commenter of all and truly deserves this glorification. You guys gotta stop letting him win!

48px-5047861.png Undeniable Proof that Your Fanon Has Readers
Minnichi

As much as authors are encouraged these days to continue writing regardless of the state of their fanbase, it’s never easy when your comment section is a barren desert. One begins to wonder if people even like their fanon, let alone read it. Welllll, for anyone who’s not familiar with the site, Fanfiction.net has a handy tool called “Traffic Stats” that reveals the dark truth! …Okay it’s actually a pretty awesome truth, but this here’s just to show you guys how bad we have it with lurker readers, i.e. those who view your fanon and enjoy it without leaving a single trace of feedback.

With this in mind, I think it’s safe to say that 100% of fanons have readers. That’s right – ALL of them. I took a little screenshot of the September Traffic Stats for my story, Silent Hero in Emerald, just to demonstrate:

This graph was from the month of September (and as you can tell, my last update was on the 8th). “Views” refer to the number of times any of your chapters were clicked on, while “visitors” refer to how many different IP addresses, or people, viewed your story. And now to the point: In Fanfiction.net, fan comments are referred to as “reviews,” which they keep in a huge collective pile of pages instead of a chapter-by-chapter section, and the author only replies to them via PM. My fanon’s last update brought back like 6 reviews, I think (I lose track of which chapter they were meant for in the collective pile). They were all posted on the day of the update, September 8th…but look at the graph. On the 8th, there were 158 views and 40 visitors – FORTY VISITORS?! That means that out of forty completely different people, only six went through the effort of writing a fan comment and posting it. One might blame this on the possibility that people were "trying out" my fanon at first and didn’t like it, so only a few commented. But as you can see… the trend continues as the days pass. Of course, there’re never as many as 40 after the day of update, but even now I’ll see it jump to 20 and above on certain days, while it’s been well over a month since September 8th.

Just think about this, guys. There are more lurker readers out there than we can imagine. A 40 to 6 ratio of visitors to actual commenters is really saying something. As much as we want to show the world actual evidence of fans, truth is the great majority just read leisurely in the background. But they’re there! Meaning YOUR fanon has readers. Period. Don’t ever quit because of lack of readers...because there really isn’t a lack at all. Try to lure the lurkers out, if anything, but don’t ever forget about them.

So my final message? Authors: stay confident; you always have fans! And to the lurkers: get off your butt already and leave feedback if you truly like the story! You have no idea how much damage you do by staying hidden.

48px-5340941.png Open position in the Fanon Fact Finders
Humble Imaginations

Hey Avatar Wiki users! Love fanons? Do you like asking questions? Well, we have the job for you! Currently, the Fanon Fact Finders has one open slot left for one lucky user! If you would like to sign up, all you have to do is test interview one of us members (Ratava, Fruipit, Godsrule, Kyoshidude, or myself) and after voting, we'll decide if you'll get the job or not.

Random polls

Reader, what do *you* think best describes our new esteemed bureaucrat, Lady Lostris?
 
10
 
2
 
14
 
39
 

The poll was created at 12:48 on October 27, 2012, and so far 65 people voted.
Do you believe that the wiki will continue on this trend of inactivity?
 
15
 
29
 
38
 
10
 

The poll was created at 12:48 on October 27, 2012, and so far 92 people voted.
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