This week's community express is a little sad for me to write. It is with some regret that I will shortly be leaving Auran to take up a position managing online community development strategies for a local government body. The government position offers an exciting opportunity for me to explore the potential for developing online community collaborative networks across a broad range of community groups. However, my involvement with Auran and the Trainz community will continue :)
Some of you are already aware that my close association with Auran goes back to 1997 (the Dark Reign community) and has developed out of PhD research that I've been undertaking on Online Communities. Part of the reason for my departure from Auran is so that I can also focus on completing my PhD thesis over the course of the next 12 months or so. A little distance from Auran and the community will be necessary as I write up the thesis as the Trainz community and Auran feature heavily in this study. If you would like to participate in my research (by discussing your views, opinions and experiences of online community) please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As mentioned above I will continue to be closely involved with Auran in the area of Online Community Management and will continue to participate as a community moderator, so you cannot escape the waffle cards that easily :) I feel that this fantastic, rich, active Trainz community that you have built with us has reached the stage that many of you should take a significantly more active role with the community management side of things (forum moderation, chat moderation, chat events etc.). Afterall, it is your community. Over the course of the next week or so I will be approaching a number of individuals to take on these roles. If you would like to put your hand up to be considered for these positions please email email@example.com Please keep in mind that these roles can be demanding and do require you to not participate directly in flame threads or personal attacks but rather to 'moderate' these outbreaks :)
On a personal note, being involved with the Trainz community, seeing it grow over the past two years, has been an amazing experience. I would like to thank many of you for your assistance, contributions, patience, good humour and fun. My position here at Auran as Online Community Manager would just not have been as successful or enjoyable without your passion and energy. Please keep in mind that the strength and quality of this community and forum is that it is a community - despite differences of opinion and the occasional outbreaks of hostility it is generally warm, welcoming and helpful. I hope that it continues in such a style and direction as these qualities certainly mark it out from many other online game communities. Try to give the moderators the benefit of the doubt as they struggle to deal with difficult issues, and before making 'hostile' posts think twice and then think again ;) Maintaining a welcoming community environment is as much about restraint as anything else. Report difficult, obnoxious or aggressive posts to the moderators and let them sort it out.
It has been fun guys and I look forward to continuing to work with many of you, although in a slightly different capacity.
The Big Boy has been released! Strat's brilliant model is now available to purchase and download from http://www.ludd.luth.se/~strat/trainz/bigboy.htm. Take a look at these gorgeous screenshots; you know that you want to see this beauty running on your layout. A fantastic effort Strat!
The Trainz forum waffle thread of the week goes to one of the best wafflers of em all and Trainz chat regular, Boweavel for this thread, "Latest Waffle (The Wafflers Post)".
A big thanks to the community guys demonstrating Trainz at model rail exhibitions over the past weekend in different corners of the world. Here, locally in Brisbane
Bruce Bowden (Cho)
supporters including Chris (psycho_aussie) and
did a great job and had a lot of fun at the British Railway Modellers of Queensland exhibition, held at the Gap Uniting Church. In Belgium,
André (Casey38) and friends demonstrated Trainz at a model railroad show; a fantastic effort! For André's report of the show and a rather interesting picture, take a look at this thread.
Finally, the next round of beta-testing is about to kick off and the Third-Party Support Program will be up and running early next week. I believe that I've got back to most if not all of those participating in the program. If you're a third-party creator and want to know all about our plans for supporting and raising the profile of third-party content then please get your expression of interest in to me ASAP (firstname.lastname@example.org).