Newsletter #7, for May 16th, 2022

Howdy, y’all!

Joe Hills here, writing as I always do in Nashville, TN!

A lot of folks died on the Everstorm servers this week, so why don’t we go learn about some ghosts!

Minecraft Servers

Everstorm mark II

Our second Everstorm instance ended last Friday, and we have one final obituary to close out the game:

  • QuiltyMel was blown up by a Creeper.

Thanks to everyone who participated! The #everstorm-april-2022 channel has been archived in the Zone of Archived Rooms category and set to read-only.

I’ve created a new channel, Joe Hills Meta > #everstorm-feedback so folks can share their thoughts about each Everstorm game. Feel free to drop us a comment there!

Yirggzmb’s Islands: Everstorm mark III

Last Friday we launched our first everstorm instance designed  by our new server operator Yirggzmb! This time around, the server is full of floating islands, and spawn in is a mesa! Good luck!

There  have of course, been many players who have already given up the ghost:

  • WizardOfDocs got punched by a laggy iron golem protesting the construction of an iron farm in its neighborhood. They are survived by the parquet floor in the storage area at spawn.
  • Atlantius fell while relocating a lightning rod, encouraged by Em to build it higher and jump into a water pit. Final words, fumbling with push-to-talk on the way down: “I’m an expert.”
  • ThatTommyBoii was caught by a spider.
  • Magenta met their fate to a creeper in the noble pursuit of sugarcane.
  • Kasikalli fell through a hole in the basement, and somehow ended up in the void.
  • In search of Carrots, ChefNutmeg was playing Spleef with a Zombie and lost.
  • While protecting a local villager a leather-clad zombie attacked HuffGLaDTem. Huff tried to run but got lagged backwards and murdered—the villager was saved.
  • While colleting corn flowers to decorate Des’ Hidey Hole, Kindalas was ambushed by a Spider Jockey and murdered.
  • Qwarkeh chose fight instead of flight.

Upcoming Experimental and Deep Slate Nine petitions sessions:

  • May 21st, 1pm US Central
  • June 18th, 1pm US Central
  • July 30th, 1pm US Central

Upcoming Quarterly Meetings

Our next quarterly meeting will be held on June 18th at noon,  preceding the 1pm server petitions session and 2pm HermitCraft mini-game field day.

Current agenda items:

  1. Patreon reward tier review

If you have something you’d like to propose for the agenda, please post it in #next-quarter-new-business-requests

Upcoming travel & conventions

Here’s a few events I’ll definitely be attending:

Keep Adventuring!

Thanks as always to our Community Liaison ThatTommyBoii for assisting with this newsletter!

Until next time y’all, this is Joe Hills from Nashville, TN. You know the rest.

Newsletter #6, for May 9th, 2022

Howdy, y’all!

Joe Hills here, writing as I always do in Nashville, TN!

As always, I need as much help as I can get. So let’s start with exciting news on that front:

New server operator and moderator!

Yirggzmb promoted to server operator

Yirggzmb has been an exemplary community member and moderator for years now, and I am excited to announce that she has accepted a promotion to server operator!

I initially encouraged Yirggzmb to apply for a moderator position because I was impressed by her talent creating Minecraft mini-games. Since becoming a moderator, she’s helped me organize group activities in Minecraft like last year’s Decked Out contest and assisted with post-launch concerns on the Deep Slate 9 Vanilla SMP server.

In her new role as a server operator, Yirggzmb will be creative lead on the upcoming Vanillish server, which we hope to launch around the release of Minecraft 1.19. The goal of the Vanillish server will be to provide interested community members a HermitCraft-like experience with some quality-of-life improvements not supported on the Deep Slate 9 server, such as the Statues datapack for manipulating armor stands, or the Vanilla Tweaks datapack to stop enderman griefing.

We have several polls posted in the Servers and Realms > #tbd-vanillish-next channel. If you’re interested, please check it out and chime in! The more feedback Yirggzmb gets, the easier it will be to launch this project successfully.

In addition to serving as creative lead on the Vanillish SMP server, Yirggzmb will be a supporting server operator on the other servers I’m currently creative lead on, so if something goes wrong while I’m unavailable, she’ll be able to jump in and help.

If you’re interested in weird short-term server experiences, good news: Yirggzmb will also be in the rotation to create Everstorm Hardcore server rulesets, so keep an eye out for future announcements on that!

As the Vanillish server is still in the planning phase, Yirggzmb’s duties will still involve some Discord and occasional twitch moderation, however as she shifts her focus toward active server operation, she will be phasing out her time allocated toward Discord moderation. Don’t worry, I’ve got that covered too!

First new moderator hire: QueenDarkLady

Everyone, please congratulate our first new hire since the initial round of moderators came onboard in fall of 2020: QueenDarkLady!

QueenDarkLady has been a fun and active member of our community in both stream chat and discord for some time now, so I expect many of y’all are already familiar with her.

I had the good fortune to discuss community moderation and cultivating positive welcoming environments at length with QueenDarkLady at Tennessee Game Days earlier this year and was impressed by her audience advocacy.

You may notice that her Discord role has changed to “staff-in-training” for now, but I expect she’ll be up to speed and contributing as a full member of the staff by Friday!

We’re lucky to have her aboard!

Gartic Phone game night hosted by ThatTommyBoii this Friday!

I won’t be streaming due to family obligations this Friday or Saturday, so Tommy has stepped up this Friday night, May 13th, to host a Gartic Phone game night at my normal stream time.

Gartic Phone is a drawing game similar to Pictionary where players draw things based off prompts, and Tommy has suggested folks create spooky prompts in celebration of Friday the 13th!

More info can be found in the Activity Sign-Ups > #may-13-gartic-phone channel on Discord.

Minecraft Servers

Upcoming Experimental and Deep Slate Nine Petitions Sessions

  • May 21st, 1pm US Central
  • June 18th, 1pm US Central
  • July 30th, 1pm US Central

Everstorm server mark II

This is the final week of our second Everstorm server session, so make sure if you want to play, you hop on there before this Friday when we’ll launch the Mark III with some new surprises!

Only one obituary last week:

  • Kasikalli was end raiding, lost patience, and threw some risky pearls that sent him to the void.

Pinball with Musicians series concluded with TNA creator Scott Danesi

Last week’s Friday night pinball stream was a huge success, as I was joined via Discord call by the creator of Total Nuclear Annihilation, Scott Danesi.

We talked a lot about his career and pinball machine design, which I’m sure will shape my HermitCraft 9 mega-base plans!

If you couldn’t catch it live, I strongly encourage you to check out the VOD here:

Upcoming travel & conventions

Here’s a few events I’ll definitely be attending. I’ll be printing POGs with cool art to hand out. I hope some of y’all can make it!

So long and thanks!

Thanks to our Community Liaison ThatTommyBoii for help with this newsletter!

Until next time y’all, this is Joe Hills from Nashville, TN.

Keep adventuring!

Newsletter #5 for May 2nd, 2022

Howdy, y’all!

Joe Hills here, writing as I always do from Nashville, Tennessee, with help from Community Liaison ThatTommyBoii. Let’s jump right in!

Two special streams this week!

Not every heading requires an exclamation point, but Tommy and I are so excited about these:

Thursday: NJ’s birthday charity stream!

This Thursday, I’ll be wrapping up my evening HermitCraft stream after the first hour to raid and join NJ on voice to play games together during her birthday charity stream.

The stream will be benefitting the American Cancer Society. You can learn more about them and their mission in advance at https://www.cancer.org

Friday: Total Nuclear Annihilation! Pinball with its creator, Scott Danesi!

This Friday at 8:30pm US Central, I’m excited to have Scott Danesi, creator of Total Nuclear Annihilation joining me as a call-in guest to discuss this game as well as other creative endeavors. It’ll be a great time, and I hope y’all can join us live, or at least check out the VOD later!

In case you missed it, here’s the VOD for the April 29th session with Pujol:

Minecraft server updates

Deep Slate Nine

This week, I added two new trading villager spawning command block buttons to fulfill my petitions promise to allow players to trade for elytra and hearts of the sea.

You can find the Heart of the Sea trader spawning button in the Donut Cave location of my HermitCraft 9 axolotl shop.

The Elytra trader spawning button can be found on the edge of my pinball sea, at the location of my HermitCraft 9 chest nest.

Everstorm Server Mark II

The Everstorm server is in its second of three weeks this session.

Week 2 Obituaries

  • Maahes0 was not a good enough dancer to appease the skeleton.
  • NJ and ChefNutmeg died gloriously for charity.
  • Second turned the wrong way around a birch and found a skeleton.

Experimental Server

Per petitions promises, I’ve expanded the world border, and also installed the Blazes and Caves achievement pack and the Decorative Blocks mod on the Experimental server.

Connecting to the experimental server will now require players install the Decorative Blocks mod, which can be downloaded at https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/decorative-blocks. Players already using Fabric for the Voice Chat mod will want to download the Fabric version, and ensure they have the latest Fabric API installed.

Community meetings and petitions minutes

Quarterly Meeting

  1. Joe establishes goals of quarterly meetings
    1. Have time set aside to discuss things that are important for long term sustainability for the discord server.
    2. Let folks weigh in on things
    3. Be more helpful and constructive, without creating a false sense of urgency
  2. Meep suggests content accessibility
    1. Joe creates #feedback-accessibility channel to keep all info regarding accessibility in one place.
    2. Captions for screenshots
      1. Joe suggests a bot that removes all images that do not contain alt text, and will post a message reminding the poster to add alt text.
        1. Kindalas suggests that Joe/Staff be required to have alt text, but community members should just endeavor to have alt text.
        2. Meep agrees and mentions that entities such as Facebook do not require all user images to have alt text, but for official posts/images to have alt text.
      2. All staff messages shall contain alt text descriptions.
    3. Audio descriptions for videos 
      1. Joe is looking into incorporating audio descriptions for his videos.
      2. Holding workshops with experts, such as an audio descriptionist, as a discord event for the community to learn.
        1. Meep agrees it is a good idea, and offers the contact information of a freelance audio descriptionist.
      3. In the meantime Joe is trying to be more aware of descriptions in his monologues.
    4. Transcriptions of meetings
      1. Maahes says the newsletter helps get the gist of meetings out there.
      2. Meep says a process in which we can go back to review notes after the meeting
        1. Joe asks if minutes would be sufficient for the meetings
          1. Meep clarifies that minutes are sufficient.
        2. Kindalas asks if the recordings of the meetings would also be sufficient
          1. Meep says that so long as the recordings are posted to the discord it will be sufficient.
            1. Tommy clarifies that he will upload the recording to youtube and link that via discord
            2. Maahes suggests linking the recording in the newspaper as well.
              1. Joe states that was the intention.
  3. In proxy for Netcropolis, how volunteer roles in other communities can be covered in ours.
    1. Joe asks for clarification on what roles folks had in mind specifically
      1. Tommy mentions that since we plan on adding a server operator role to the discord that need will be met.
        1. Joe gives breakdown of plans for hiring server operator
          1. Start with one operator, with plans to have three.
            1. Each operator is a lead on their own project, but will provide support coverage for the other operator’s servers.
          2. Graehart asks if server operators enter the realm of demiurge
            1. Joe clarifies yes, the server operator would handle petitions and gamerules for their projects
          3. Joe says the operators would also take a turn managing the Everstorm server
          4. Mid to late May is the scope for hiring the first operator.
    2. Kindalas mentions the value in Joe paying his staff.
      1. Joe appreciates the feedback and states he will continue to operate this way.
  4. Mr. Hardluck suggests more community game nights.
    1. Joe’s short answer is Yes.
      1. The long answer is that game nights had stopped due to the hiatus between hermitcraft seasons. Now things are in an upswing, and game nights will be encouraged again.
    2. Joe says community members are encouraged to hold their own game nights as well
      1. Mr. hardluck asks if that would be a context for folks to be encouraged to create their own server
        1. Joe says yes, and this is one of the intended uses of the spam-servers-you-operate channel and community-leadership channel
        2. Graehart asks for where the line between community and personal events is drawn
          1. Joe clarifies it’s a community event if the whole community is invited, it’s a personal event if you invite only a few people
          2.  Mr. Hardluck further clarifies that a community event is an open invitation whereas a personal event is a few exclusive invites
          3. Joe mentions that the servers spammed do not have to be applicable to everyone in the discord.
            1. Joe also mentions that community spaces for people of a specific identity should be run by people who identify that way.
        3. Graehart asks if community members holding events would require a moderator
          1. Joe clarifies no, folks can hold their own events that don’t have staff present.
          2. Folks can still propose staffed event ideas to Joe
      2. Grayswandir suggests a channel to spam open events in
        1. Joe suggests a pickup game channel
          1. Joe clarifies it would be intended for folks to post when they’re about to play a game for others to join
        2. Joe changes the channel to be #players-wanted, to allow not only immediate game invites but also upcoming ones. 
          1. #feedback-players-wanted is created as well.
        3. Seanard suggests a voice activated voice channel to go with it.
          1. Joe says he is not entirely comfortable with voice activated channels and suggests two push to talk channels.
          2. Joe asks if folks would prefer a voice activated channel knowing it may be removed in the future.
            1. Mr. Hardluck says to give it a chance.
            2. Kindalas suggests having it as a second open-gaming voice channel.
          3. Joe creates open-gaming-voice-activated to go with open-gaming-push-to-talk

Broad Server Meeting

  1. Aviva suggests we discuss why we are in the community and what makes it good.
    1. Aviva says there had been miscommunication on what players had wanted and what Joe had wanted for the vanilla server.
      1. Tommy says the changes coming will help distinguish unique server aspects from community comfort ones.
    2. Maahes says the level of trust the community has built here is more enjoyable.
      1. Joe says he trusts the community to work together to not have problems.
    3. Kindalas says the types of fans Joe cultivates is what makes the people here exceptional.
    4. Isaac says he went through servers that claimed to be LGBTQ+ friendly and accepting, but would also accept people into the community that would exclude him.
    5. Meep says that the lack of hand holding was beneficial, and that mods that helped with accessibility being allowed helped.
    6. Mantuamaker says folks helping one another here made things easier.
      1. Alice agrees that being allowed mods helps.
      2. Beyr agrees
    7. Aviva was concerned first about splitting the community between the different servers
    8. Em says she joined for Joe and stuck around for the community
    9. Toxxic says the balance between players and server ops is good, we aren’t anarchy but also aren’t hand held.
    10. Giljaxon felt very welcomed by everyone here, and appreciated the meetings existing for folks to join in on.
    11. PinkDistortion says the community is amazing.
    12. Maahes appreciates the open forum and transparency.
    13. Mallorca enjoys the hermitcraft-like experience where folks can be trusted to be courteous. The chaos and whimsy brought by petitions are enjoyed as well.
    14. Casewalker appreciates what Joe creates, and the community makes it more wonderful. When issues were raised on the server having a server operator helped.
    15. Gaea joined for Joe as well but the lack of hand holding made the experience refreshing. 
  2. Netcropolis and Surfrock suggest hiring server operators and administrators.
    1. Joe says having Yirggy as a trial server operator was successful.
      1. Joe plans on having the first lead server operator hired in May to launch the Vanillish server.
      2. Additional server ops will be hired to lead their own servers and as support roles for other server ops.
    2. Server administrators are scoped further out into the year.
  3. Em suggests better feedback mechanisms
    1. Emoji polls, petitions, and meetings are all places for feedback to be submitted.
      1. Maahes and Mallora agree these are good methods.
  4. Misterlantz and Em suggest clearer communication about server aspects for community feedback.
    1. Feedback channels and planning channels are in place for folks to discuss aspects.
      1. Tommy says the channels are underutilized
        1. Joe says server operators would encourage feedback
      2. Maahes says the experimental server was on hiatus but intends on coming back after assessing how the first changes go.
        1. Joe asks the experimental players how they want to handle server resets with upcoming game updates.
          1. Maahes and Seanard wish to wait before resets.
          2. Mantuamaker says servers being on the same game version are more accessible.
            1. Joe says the experimental server will be the slowest to update as it is modded.
    2. Misterlantz says having a pinned message that explains the intent of the server would be helpful.
      1. Joe agrees having a scope definition would be good.
      2. Maahes says pinned messages throughout may not be the most helpful, and suggests one dedicated channel for this.
        1. Joe says his first instinct is to have a page on his website with server descriptions.
          1. Aviva says there are already too many channels, and that server descriptions/pinned messages are better.
          2. Joe says having a url to send people to a site would be most beneficial. 
            1. Joe puts this into his queue.
    3. Misterlantz suggests having a website page about the patreon may help to educate and encourage more folks to join
      1. Joe says he doesn’t wish to promote the patreon until he’s more confident in the discord.
    4. Graehart says having clear definitions and scopes of the servers would be helpful.
  5. Sami suggests better communication around Community Leadership Encouragement
    1. Joe acknowledges that he’s struggled with this.
      1. Em says it occurred when there was already tension, creating issues.
      2. Joe uses the term satisficing to explain that decisions made may not be the most financially optimal, but allows the owner to prioritize personal  satisfaction over profit.

Experimental Petitions

  1. Maahes suggests the decorative blocks mod
    1. No concerns/questions
    2. Joe queues
  2. Maahes requests Joe die to a skeleton to complete bases on the server
    1. Joe is slain
  3. Seanard requests the world border be corrected
    1. Joe queues
  4. Seanard suggests the blaze and cave advancement pack
    1. Joe queues

Deep Slate Nine Petitions

  1. Kindalas requests the sleep percentage be lowered to 30%
    1. Night players have requested 25%
    2. Joe changes gamerule to have sleep set to 25%
  2. Kindalas requests an elytra villager.
    1. Joe raises concern about an elytra villager and heart of the sea trade, and suggests expanding the world border instead,
      1. Kindalas says the border cannot be expanded enough to accommodate the number of players.
    2. Joe will decide on a trade, and queues adding the villager
  3. Centipede proxies for Darth’s items lost in server lag
    1. Joe gives an elytra and 4 netherite ingots to Cen
  4. Meep requests a mooshroom spawn egg and Mycelium
    1. Joe gives all players present 4 mycelium and 1 mooshroom spawn egg
  5. Mallora requests a cat spawn egg
    1. Players offer locations of cats to tame instead
  6. Heart of the sea villager still needed
    1. Joe queues
  7. Giljaxon requests replacement for lost shulker of gold
    1. Alice suggests in place of gold to be given gilded blackstone
    2. Joe grants 64 gilded blackstone to Giljaxon

Have a great week!

Thanks so much to Tommy for writing up the meeting and petitions minutes and for all his other help with the newsletter!

Until next time y’all, this is Joe Hills from Nashville, TN.

Keep adventuring!

Newsletter #4, for April 25th, 2022

Howdy!

I hope everyone had a great weekend! We took last week off from publishing the newsletter because of the holidays, but we are back at full speed today!

Ten Years of HermitCraft!

Thanks so much to everyone who helped us celebrate 10 years of HermitCraft this weekend! We spent Saturday looking backward at our old season, and Sunday looking forward to the post-1.19 world border expansion during our UHC!

Here’s the VODs from each!

Total Nuclear Annihilation with Musicians!

The next two Fridays at 8:30pm central I’m going to have talented musicians I know join me on stream to chat about creativity and play pinball!

Here’s the VOD for the April 22nd session with Sean Hills:

Patreon Untitled Season 8 Vanilla SMP World Download

Having concluded our final parade float build contest of Season 8, I’ve tarballed up the world download at https://joehills.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/2022-04-25a-s8.tgz

Enjoy!

Everstorm Mark II

The first Everstorm server was a huge success, and we just launched our second attempt, with a few rules changes and a slightly-shorter three-week play period.

Rules

  • Hardcore: true
  • Weather Cycle: False
  • Firetick: True Server
  • jar: 1.18.2 Jar only updates when world resets.
  • Next reset scheduled for Friday, May 13th.
  • Four mystery changes:
    • KeepInventory true (discovered by ThatTommyBoii)
    • Pvp: false (discovered by Madeline and Michael Socks)
    • Firedamage: false (discovered by ThatTommyBoii)
    • FallDamage: false (discovered by 5uperStone)

Obituaries

  • MisterLantz creeper-ed before his time.
  • Tommy buried himself alive in the name of science!
  • EsdeeAr was blinded by lightning and never saw the creeper coming up from behind.
  • PinkDistortion was impaled by a drowned trying to swim home because a zombie villager stole her boat!
  • Tegzi, after braving the depths of the nether and opening the gateway to the end, was surrounded by cruel creepers in a dark, forgotten forest.
  • CurtisDoesADig did a dig and a zombie tagged along.
  • ItsThePitts In a little cave / Water Bub came to say hi / His hug was my doom.
  • Qwarkeh could not build her protective cocoon fast enough to prevent a spider from falling on her face—she built her own tomb.

Patreon Discord Changes

Based on valuable community feedback from our meetings on Sunday, I’ve made the following changes to the Patreon Discord.

Accessibility

Moving forward, I’m requiring staff members to use alt-tags on all images to ensure that our messaging doesn’t exclude any community members.

The entire community is encouraged to do the same, but we aren’t formally requiring that from everyone at this time.

I’ve also created a new text channel, Joe-Hills-Meta > #feedback-accessibility to ensure important conversations about accessibility aren’t buried in the middle of unrelated discussions elsewhere.

Community Gaming

Several community members requested changes to help everyone self-organize games on the fly.

As an experiment, I’ve created the following channels to help y’all out toward that end:

  • Gaming > #open-gaming-voice-activated
  • Gaming > #players-wanted
  • Joe-Hills-Meta > #feedback-players-wanted

We’ll revisit this formally in the fall, but feedback is welcome any time.

Server Administration and Operations

The experimental #ds9-ops channel has been very productive for ensuring that operations needs are brought to my attention efficiently. To address comparable concerns that arise on the other servers, I’ve created a new channel: Realms-And-Servers > #admin-operations.

Like #ds9-ops, this channel is only for requesting operator or admin assistance. Please be courteous and avoid idle chatter there.

We’re continuing to grow!

I’ve sent out a lot of Discord invites to new Patreon patrons the last few months, and expect we’ll see a surge as summer begins. To that end, I’m currently in the process of onboarding two additional discord moderators, who I hope to have fully trained and ready to work by the end of May.

If you’re not a member of the Patreon Discord, you can join for $5/mo via https://patreon.com/joehills

Community Meetings and Server Petitions

Yesterday we held several community meetings, which our Community Liaison Tommy recorded and posted here:

Since we had so many meetings yesterday, we haven’t had time to fully write up and format the minutes yet. You can expect those in next week’s newsletter!

From a practical standpoint, I think that’ll work out better anyhow, as a lot of the petitions require implementation this week and I’d like to include the final details with that.

Upcoming Travel & Conventions

Here’s a few events I’ll definitely be attending. I’ll be printing POGs with cool art to hand out. I hope some of y’all can make it!

So long and thanks!

Thanks to our Community Liaison ThatTommyBoii for help with this newsletter!

Until next time y’all, this is Joe Hills from Nashville, TN.

Keep adventuring!

Newsletter #3, for April 11th, 2022

Howdy!

It’s been a busy week for me—and thanks to y’all, an incredibly successful one!

Let’s start with a few of those successes!

Successes of the week

Mercy Road, 24-hour charity D&D stream, raised over $8000 for Child’s Play!

Y’all are amazingly generous, and I cannot express enough how much I appreciate your support for this weekend’s charity D&D game benefitting Child’s Play!

Saucefire ran a great game, and I was fortunate to play with an incredibly fun party.

If you missed the game live, please enjoy the video-on-demand here:

Babilar’s Earth Day Parade

Thanks so much to the Babilar crew for hosting the final build contest in our S8 parade float build contest series!

The barges, ships, and sea-life y’all constructed were beautiful!

Congratulations on first place go to MantuaMaker2 (AKA Grace)! Check out her build, and many others in the VOD below:

My Music City Multi-Con footage featured as evidence in video by creator being sued for defamation by Billy Mitchell

Okay, this is a weird one. I’ve seen the documentary King of Kong a few times, but I never expected my work to be mixed up in that world.

King of Kong documentary subject Billy Mitchell is suing YouTube uploader Karl Jobst for defamation, and my video of Mitchell playing Pac-Man at Music City Multi-Con is being used as evidence that Mitchell lies to crowds?!

You can watch the whole thing if you like, but my small contribution starts at 13:55

New Discord Channel #spam-servers-you-operate

We have a lot of folks in our community who create cool spaces to hang out and play games.

If you’re running any sort of server you’d like to welcome other community members to join you  on, feel free to post information about how folks can join via our latest Discord channel #spam-servers-you-operate.

Please note that this is intended to be a place to showcase leadership of our community members elsewhere, and not intended as a place to post links to popular Minecraft servers you don’t operate. Thanks!

Windows re-installed on production desktop

Thanks to everyone for your help with test streams this week!

It seems like my Windows re-install was successful at obliterating whatever weird conflict was causing my graphics driver to frequently crash.

I’m planning to build out better hardware redundancy in the back half of the year to ensure future flukes like this don’t derail my production schedule as significantly. Thanks for your patience!

Inquiries

“Will the Q&A portion of the weekly [project management] meetings be on hold completely until the April 24th meeting or will Q&A be simply limited to clarification on Agenda topics in the weekly meeting?” asks Kindalas

Questions pertaining to agenda items will be answered as they arise.

Removing the Q&A segment is intended to avoid scope-creep of project management calls into subjects that would be better addressed on the agendas of other meetings.

Please raise concerns about those subject in the appropriate Discord channel for each. If you aren’t sure which to take them to, Tommy and I will be using #sustainable-growth as a bit of a catch-all until we can refine our process.

Community Meetings

Experimental Server meeting to be re-scheduled due to low attendance

NJ and I will select a new date to be announced in the next newsletter.

Upcoming Meeting Agendas

Thanks to our Community Liaison, ThatTommyBoii for helping compile feedback and suggestions from the community into agendas for upcoming meetings!

Experimental Server – TBD pending rescheduling

  1. seanard suggests the BlazeandCave advancement pack
  2. Maahes suggests the Decorative Blocks mod
  3. Mr. Hardluck  suggests the Hats Plus mod
  4. Maahes suggests the Crazy Features datapack, specifically for the bendy pistons.

Quarterly Meeting – April 24th at 11am US Central

  1. Meep suggests consideration of content accessibility. 
    1. Captions for screenshots with important information
    2. Audio descriptions for videos
    3. Transcriptions of meetings
  2. netcropolis suggests consideration of how to ensure roles usually covered by volunteers in similar communities are filled properly here
  3. Mr. Hardluck suggests more community game nights such as UHCs, Mario Kart, Among Us, pinball challenges, etc.

Broad Server Meeting (Aviva Meeting) – April 24th at Noon US Central

  1. Aviva suggests Joe hear why folks play on the servers and why they take part in the community to help him better understand the community and their goals
  2. Netcropolis and surfrock suggest hiring and setting clear responsibilities for server operators and administrators
  3. Em suggests create better feedback mechanisms such as polls for specific items under consideration
  4. misterlantz and Em suggest clearer communication about differentiation between the servers and pre-launch opportunities for community feedback
  5. ZedrikCayne suggests clearer warning labels on Joe’s weird art ideas
  6. Sami suggests better communication around encouraging community members to create their own server

Vanillish Survival – Meeting on May 14th at Noon US Central

  1. Joe presents state of project
    1. TBD launch date
    2. Server operator role
    3. Server defaults at launch
      1. Keep inventory: on
      2. Mob griefing: off
      3. Sleep percentage: single player sleep
  2. No community requests or suggestions made yet. Please submit those in #tbd-vanillish-next

Everstorm Server Obituaries

CurtisDoesADig died as he lived: starving, and in between a skeleton and a hard place.

Videos last week

We met up with Scar and Cub for some fun, plus we managed to capture a major server configuration change live on film!

Upcoming Travel & Conventions

Here’s a few events I’ll definitely be attending. I hope some of y’all can make it!

So long and thanks!

I feel if I thanked everyone this week, I’d just end up repeating the entire Successes segment of this newsletter again!

Even so, I do want to credit our Community Liaison ThatTommyBoii for help with this newsletter. Thanks, Tommy.

Until next time y’all, this is Joe Hills from Nashville, TN. Keep adventuring!

 

Newsletter #2, for April 4th, 2022

Howdy!

Welcome to the second issue of our newsletter!

Thanks to feedback from the community, you may notice that we now have colorful headers to help break up the text!

Here’s one now!

Constructive Community Feedback and Flexibility

ThatTommyBoii promoted to Community Liaison!

Y’all may have noticed over the last year and a half or so that ThatTommyBoii has been an incredibly helpful and engaged member of both my professional staff and our broader community. I noticed too, and created a role that suits his aptitude and excellence in both capacities.

I am excited to announce that Tommy has accepted a promotion to the role of Community Liaison. He will be responsible for ensuring that community feedback is acknowledged and added to publicly-visible draft agendas in advance of the appropriate public meetings.

Tommy will also be responsible for ensuring those meetings are streamed and recorded, and that useful summaries are written and published in the following week’s newsletter.

Congratulations, Tommy!

Sure, Tommy is great, we all know that—but, what kind of meetings, Joe?

Quarterly New Business Meetings

Let’s say you have a suggestion for improving the Discord and want to propose a temporary experiment to see how it goes for three months, where do you take that?

You take it to the Discord channel #next-quarter-new-business-agenda-requests! Tommy will make sure that your proposal and name are added to the draft agenda for next quarter’s New Business meeting, during which you or a proxy can present your case either on voice or in writing.

It’s kind of like petitions—except not in character!

Myself and other community members will have the opportunity to ask questions and comment. After review, experiments that seem to make sense at the time will proceed. Each experiment will have a feedback Discord channel created so that folks can weigh in as it runs.

As this is a new system, we’ll hold our first Quarterly New Business Meeting on April 24th at 11am US Central, immediately before the Minecraft Server Roadmap meeting at noon.

After that, we’ll do another Quarterly New Business Meeting each June, December, and March.

Experiments that seem promising can be altered, expanded, or extended at the next Quarterly New Business Meeting.

Proposals for paradigm shifts that are too broad to test effectively in a temporary manner will be considered for inclusion in the agenda of the Annual Patreon Community Structural Review the following September.

Annual Patreon Community Structural Review Meeting

Every September, I’ll host a meeting where I will consider long-term and wide-ranging permanent changes to the structure of the Patreon tier system and Discord server.

We will review some of the experiments attempted after the quarterly feedback meetings and decide what may or may not make sense to roll out server-wide or in a more permanent fashion.

A note on tempo

The Patreon Discord was founded in October of 2016, and I haven’t had the staff to be able to set aside time to really explore and consider significant restructure or changes in an orderly way until now.

When attempting to determine an appropriate tempo for testing and implementing big changes, I realized that monthly petitions for the Minecraft servers have a good feel to their pacing given that those servers run for twelve to twenty-four months at a time.

The Patreon Discord has operated as a community center for six years now, and has demonstrated a value that warrants considering how to keep it running well at a scale of twelve to twenty-four years. Using roughly the same proportional thinking, we end up with a major meeting once per year.

The quarterly meetings will allow us to ensure that that annual tempo doesn’t fall too out of step with emergent needs. Other discussions can also be scheduled as needed to focus on specific topics, such as the Minecraft Server Planning Discussions.

Patreon Minecraft Server Planning Discussions

I’ve previously scheduled a few planning meetings with the community about what kinds of game rules, modpacks, etc. we should consider in the future.

If you’re interested in shaping the agenda for each, you may do so in advance in the appropriate Discord channel.

  • April 10th at noon, US Central: Experimental server discussion based on notes in #2022-experimental-next
  • April 24th at noon, US Central:  Broad server expansion and operator role roadmap planning meeting based on notes in #sustainable-growth (thanks to Aviva for proposing that)
  • May 14th at noon, US Central:  Vanillish “Survival-Comfort” server discussion, based on notes in #tbd-vanillish-next

What is or isn’t in-scope for Tommy’s New Role?

Tommy’s new role is scoped around ensuring community concerns and feedback are heard and addressed.

I recognize that y’all have been ill-served by me mingling the day-to-day planning of my schedule with concerns that impact the whole community—discussion of which y’all deserve to have properly organized and documented.

As such, my project management calls with NJ will be narrowly refocused on my workload, and the Q&A agenda item will be removed indefinitely pending  review on April 24th.

NJ and I have discussed the requests to record those calls, but have concluded that concerns about both privacy and production value distractions would undermine our ability to work effectively during those sessions.

I’m optimistic that the new meeting process Tommy is taking point on will be a more appropriate and productive home for addressing the concerns of our growing community.

This is a pretty broad overview, what if I’d like a clarification about the implementation details?

This is an example of a great question I don’t have a perfect answer to yet. Until I figure out a better process, please post your question in the #sustainable-growth room opening with the word “Inquiry:” in the following format:

Inquiry: will Tommy still be working as a moderator too?

I’ll search for the term “Inquiry:” as I compose the next newsletter and will get back to you with what I hope is a batch of well-reasoned responses that look something like:


“Will Tommy still be working as a moderator too?” asks JoeHills

At present, Tommy’s new duties are in addition to (not a replacement of) his existing moderator responsibilities.

As the community grows in the future, the duties of the Community Liaison may expand to the point where also serving as a moderator is impractical, so Tommy and I will be keeping an eye on that.


Based on the volume and manner of inquiries received, I’ll iterate the inquiry and response process from there.

Serious inquiries only, please.

Everstorm Server Obituaries

  • NJ died at the bony hands of a skinny-dipping skeleton.

Upcoming Events

Two big events this Saturday, April 9th!

Sean Hills to guest judge Earth Day Parade Float Build Contest

The Babilar neighborhood from the Season 8 Vanilla SMP server will be hosting a parade float build contest celebrating Earth Day on April 9th at 11am US Central Time.

All $10+/mo Patreon members are welcome to participate, and the event will be in creative mode, so no in-game prep will be required!

D&D charity stream!

On April 9th at 2pm US Central time, I’ll be joining Quinn MurphyRyan NorthJack Packard, and Kat Welsford‘s D&D party to play for three hours of a 24-hour charity stream benefitting Child’s Play, an organization that helps medical facilities obtain, install, and maintain game systems for children.

We’ll be live at https://twitch.tv/saucefire!

Travel & Conventions

Here’s a few events I’ll definitely be attending. I hope some of y’all can make it!

Two videos last week!

In addition to the behind-the-scenes work I’ve been doing this week, I’m really proud of the artistic and collaborative efforts I’ve achieved with my friends in my two latest YouTube videos!

If y’all missed either of them, I hope you’ll enjoy them when you can!

Thanks and so long!

Thanks to everyone who posted in #sustainable-growth over the last few weeks! There was too much valuable feedback to thank everyone who influenced my decision-making by name, but please know y’all are all appreciated.

There’s a few cases, though, where I can clearly say that one individual’s feedback felt like it captured what the community was trying to say in a way that resonated with me, and then led directly to particular actions on my part.

I want to thank and credit for these specific constructive contributions:

  • Em for suggesting a better-defined feedback response methodology to both ensure folks feel heard and allow ample time for other community feedback on suggestions before responding myself
  • Phali for inspiring the creation of this newsletter as well as encouraging a serious review of how I can better delegate
  •  QueenDarkLady for helping me understand that the ability to restructure the community over time is a requirement that demands prioritization independent of my own availability or competing responsibilities
  • SurfRock66 for pondering a self-governance model that provided me a thought-experiment framework through which to explore “what could be the most valuable goals a group like that might achieve?” and “what efforts toward those goals could I most productively delegate to staff?”

And finally, additional thanks to Tommy for helping me review and edit this issue!

Newsletter feedback is always welcome in the #newsletter-feedback channel, so I’ll see you there!

Until next time, y’all, this is Joe Hills from Nashville, Tennessee.

Keep adventuring!

 

Newsletter for March 28th, 2022

Howdy!

Welcome to our first attempt at a weekly newsletter!

I’m not sure which parts will work and which won’t. Let’s find out!

Expansion!

Thanks to Yirggzmb for piloting our first server operator role on the Deep Slate Nine server. I consider the experimental pilot a huge success, and spoke with Yirggzmb afterwards about setting up a more formal structure later this year.

Folks who played on the server can leave feedback in the Joe Hills Meta > #moderation-processes-and-hiring room in Discord.

Upcoming

Mario Kart practice stream this Thursday night!

I’ll be avoiding April Fools’ spoilers on March 31st by streaming Mario Kart 8 with friends at my normal stream time of 8:30pm US Central.

Confirmed players so far include Samihiggins, Mr. Hardluck, and NJCoffeeJunkie.

Earth Day Parade Float Build Contest with Sean Hills

The Babilar neighborhood from the Season 8 vanilla server will be hosting a parade float build contest for Earth Day on April 9th at 11am US Central Time.

Our musical guest judge will be Sean Hills of “Sean Hills Sings Joe Hills” fame.

All $10+/mo Patreon members are welcome to participate, so get your barge brainstorming underway!

D&D charity stream!

On April 9th at 2pm US Central time, I’ll be joining Quinn MurphyRyan North, and Jack Packard‘s D&D party to play for three hours of a 24-hour charity stream benefitting Child’s Play, an organization that helps medical facilities obtain, install, and maintain game systems for children.

Our dungeon master, Saucefire will be live from 11am US Central on Saturday the 9th until 11am US Central on Sunday the 10th at https://twitch.tv/saucefire, so I hope you get the chance to check this out, even if you can’t make my time slot!

Patreon Minecraft Server Planning Discussions

I’ve got a few planning calls with the community scheduled about what kinds of game rules, modpacks, etc. we should consider in the future.

If you’re interested in shaping the agenda for each, you may do so in advance in the appropriate Discord channel.

  • April 10th at noon, US Central: Experimental server discussion based on notes in #2022-experimental-next
  • April 24th at noon, US Central:  Broad server expansion and operator role roadmap planning meeting based on notes in #sustainable-growth (thanks to Aviva for proposing that)
  • May 14th at noon, US Central:  Vanillish “Survival-Comfort” server discussion, based on notes in #tbd-vanillish-next

Conventions

Here’s a few events I’ll definitely be attending. I hope to see some of y’all there!

Books and Media

I’m going to try to write a bit each week about shows, movies, and books I’ve enjoyed.

Age of Ash by Daniel Abraham

If you like fantasy novels and the Baltimore parts of the Expanse Series, this is the novel for you! That means I really liked it, but I’m not sure how much it would resonate with other readers.

Everstorm Server Obituaries

  • Michaelsocks was killed by a golem he tried to rescue from a tree.
  • seanard was killed when he foolishly opened his front door to a zombie riding a chicken.
  • netcropolis met his end when he decided to cave for the first time in 1.18 on a hardcore server.
  • MisterLantz died making a parrot friend.
  • Gritmonger was killed by a creeper while trying to make a creeper-and-mob-proof tunnel of cobble.

Monthly Petition Notes

These are an edited version of my notes from petitions. I’m sorry.

2022 Experimental Server

  1. Gracious AKA Mantuamaker
    1. Requested: two llama eggs to get pack animals on the server
    2. Add-on request: Mars requests goat eggs
    3. Proposed solution: Seanard wants to expand world border
      1. Joe asks Seanard and Kindalas to get new center and diameter coordinates
  2. Seanard wants to update to 1.18.2
    1. No problems raised
    2. Have to update the mods
    3. Joe queues mod audit updates for mod and jar
  3. Mr. Hardluck presents prox mod request
    1. General caution but enthusiasm
    2. Joe commits to installing in the next 30 days
  4. Michaelsocks asks for otherwise disc and pigstep disk
    1. Traded golden apple for otherwise disk
  5. Mars requests super powers for an hour
    1. Joe grants them and also provides everyone milk
  6. Mars on behalf of maahes wanted a bunch of riptide five tridents
    1. Joe requests a mechanism to provide that in game, and Apoteosis mod is mentioned, waiting on more feedback
  7. Mallora data pack request
    1. Enable bundles recipe from vanilla tweaks
    2. Joe  queues
  8. Shapeless crafting data pack
    1. Joe queues
  9. Mr. Hardluck requests Scar-style hat mod
    1. Joe says that’s not technically feasible because of the way HC does hats, but is open to other suggestions
  10. Michaelsocks requested spyglasses for everyone
    1. Granted
  11. Mallora wanted player head that said slain by joehills
    1. Joe creates one… with a sword
  12. Seanard requests Joe allow players to slay him to earn player head
    1. Granted.

Deep Slate Nine Vanilla Server

  1. Kindalas requests sleeping percentage change
    1. Player vote results
      1. Most popular was 30%, but that did not have a majority of votes
      2. 2nd most popular was 50% with almost as many votes
    2. Judgement: Joe set to 40% for now, with intention to slide to 30% in a month
  2. Kindalas requests committing to no end resets on the server
    1. Benefits
      1. Allow mapmaking
    2. Downsides
      1. Run out of elytra
      2. Run out of dragon heads
      3. Run out of endstone
    3. Joe commits to not resetting the end, as expanding the worldborder later should fix those
  3. 5th Alice requests a rabbit spawner
    1. Stated goal is to open rabbit stew shop without generating lag
    2. Tech analysis shows desert is within worldborder and wouldn’t be a lag issue to build a regular rabbit farm
  4. Meep requests Thorns V on elytra as accessibility offset
    1. Technically not possible
    2. Desirefire suggested protection 5non-elytra armor in lieu 
    3. Thorns 5 on boots, helmet, and pants instead
  5. Crohn requests adding data packs/discord bot to allow discord to repeat audio for visually-impaired players
    1. After discussion of privacy issues with publishing server logs elsewhere and the technical issues of JAWS, MisterLantz is taking point on helping Meep solve the issue
  6. Sami petitions on behalf of soragirl18 for lost items
    1. Crohn44 will offset the loss out of personal inventory
  7. Des requests Discord rooms
    1. #ds9-quarks: spawn coordination text and voice chat
    2. #ds9-holosuites: share works in progress
    3. #ds9-fire-caves-of-bajor: Nether coordination text chat
  8. Phali reports two villagers kidnapped
    1. Other players offer their own
    2. Joe gives everyone a polar bear
  9. 5uperStone requests skeleton spawn egg to convert a spawner
    1. Kindalas offers to offset boon by destroying own skeleton spawner elsewhere
    2. Joe grants wither skeleton spawn egg
  10. NJ requests four unbreakable shields for people who helped her when game started
    1. Sami requests same for CryingRug
    2. Meep has similar add-on request
    3. Solution: /give @a shield{Unbreakable:1,EntityTag:{Invisible:1b},display:{Name:'[{“text”:”Help for the helpers”,”italic”:false}]’,Lore:[‘[{“text”:”This shield was given to you because you helped someone.”,”italic”:false}]’]},Enchantments:[{id:loyalty,lvl:3}]} 1

Possible future sections

I ran out of time to include everything I wanted to in this first newsletter, and I’ve heard a lot of great suggestions for things I’d like to try in future weeks, like a list of VODs with summaries.

Patreon folks with ideas, please leave them in the #feedback-newsletter channel, thanks!

Additional thanks

Thanks to ThatTommyBoii for helping out with this weeks’ newsletter!