@ Action News

Argon -- Editor

Please don't forget to read the bulletin board. Enter +read from anywhere.

Advertising SpinDizzy

SpinDizzy advertising blitz.  Image by Vesper.After asking around, I thought I'd report my impressions on this subject. To bring everyone up to speed. The meeting that was held last week was recorded, and the full log of the meeting is available. Below is an abbreviated summary I made of that log. Hopefully, I've included all the major ideas and points of view. There is more after the summary.

...or How to attract folks who "get it".

A generalised and condensed impression of what happened at the meeting with no guarantee of accuracy or authenticity posted here by Argon,

To start with the obvious, a meeting was held by those interested on Sunday, 10/26/2003 to discuss ideas concerning advertising the muck. Morticon, local evil wallaby but acting OOC as Wizstaff got the meeting going by saying, "Today's topic? Advertising Spindizzy. If you haven't already, type 'eventlist #show 2 #long' to see why we're discussing this. That would basically be my speech right there."

Morticon's announcement read, "Come one, come all as we have a meeting to discuss advertising Spindizzy to others! As you may have noticed, our connected population count has remained nearly constant for quite a long time, and it'd be nice to attract potential newbies who are more in tune with our philosophy. What might help us (I think) is advertisements that target the group of people that we'd like to see here. It's been a number of years since the last big advertisement blitz.

Therefore, I'd like to hold a meeting (everyone's invited!) to discuss possible wordings for advertisements to be distributed, and just as important, where these advertisements should be distributed and who should do the distributing. Those who think advertising is a bad idea are also welcome to attend to give their view on the subject.

Please note this is a brainstorming session. The results of the meeting will be presented to the wizzes and they'll give the go-ahead and/or make any needed changes.

The meeting was attended by a large number of both SpinDizzy regulars, old-timers, and some new folks, all of which had ideas and opinions concerning the topic. Of special note was the fact that all of the active Wizstaff were on-line at the same time, and at the meeting.

Morti started by mentioning Argon's suggestion that the SpinDizzy Website might have a special page or section that recruits to the muck could be pointed to. It could have pictures, maybe a link to the newspaper, and perhaps "testimonials" from current players. They could describe what they like about SpinDizzy, what goes on here, and what the theme and character of the place is.

Some concern was shown that the website not be turned into brochureware, but to perhaps show SpinDizzy as a place where fun whimsical stuff happens, a little more detailed to one who doesn't know the place than the paper articles. To show people what SpinDizzy is like by showing examples of the people here and the things they do. It was suggested to take some of the best moments chronicled in the paper, and turn them into stories. Not just newspaper stories, but _real_ stories. To show that SpinDizzy is basically, a sort of storyland run by people with creative streaks.

Another idea was making a 'Welcome to Spindizzy' newspaper edition. Then we could point folks to that. Include articles focusing on 'why I came to Spindizzy' and take the chance to advertise what we're doing Say, organizations you've put together, RP summaries? It would be a chance to 1. Use the newspaper, which is often touted as a successful part of Spindizzy, and 2. Promote the concept of Spindizzy though the players themselves since they would contribute the content." BarterGarter suggested, "That's why I think trying to make some stories of SpinDizzy based on the newspaper articles would help. A literary story, as opposed to a journalistic one, would introduce characters and settings, and not just assume the reader knows about them."

Ping suggested that the main thing selling the muck is the muck. "I was just asked though, by my girlfriend, if there's a way to connect to the muck through the website... there may be programs out there that could lower the bar to people trying it out."

The discussion then turned to who it is we want to attract. The general concensus was that we aren't necessarily looking for experienced muckers, but we want to avoid "troublemakers".

Also, the group debated the idea of advertsing on line, thought website links, and at Cons. The general feeling was that this might cast "too broad a net", and bring in, for want of a better term, "undesireables". It was pretty much agreed upon that word of mouth was the best way to promote the muck. That way, one can decide if the "recruit" would "get" the idea of SpinDizzy, and tell him or her about the place, and either send them to the "Introduction Page" on the website, or have them connect directly.

Another issue talked about was what Guests experience when they first connect. Although there is usually some chatter going on in the Rose Garden, or maybe an "event", lots of times folks are idling, and it appears the place is boring. It was suggested that everyone put Guest, Guest1 and Guest2 on their watch for lists (Just enter wf Guest1 etc.) so when Guests connect, someone or maybe more will welcome them and be aware they are here so they have someone to talk to if things are slow. PatchO'Black also mentioned that if we are to try and recruit new folks to the muck, that we make it clear about our custom of requiring use of proper punctuation and capitalization.

One reason a lot of folks found TF&F, which is where many of SpinDizzy's regulars came from, was an advertising blitz by Austin on many other mucks. This again brought up the problem of casting too broad a net. Also discussed was whether we really need an increase in population. This was countered by noting that a little new blood can liven things up. Bringing in new ideas and ways of looking at things could make SpinDizzy more fun and exciting.

So, to (Hopefully) summarize;

  • We want to attract new folks who will "get" the theme and character of the muck
  • Pointing them to a webpage either based on the muck newspaper, or something else with fully described and characterized "Best of SpinDizzy" stories and pictures giving new folks a sense of what SpinDizzy is.
  • Not casting too broad a net, but individually inviting players we think will "fit in" and add new life and ideas to what we already have.
  • Keeping a look out for Guests, so they don't see everyone idling around and get that as a first impression of the muck.
  • Not try, nor expect to get more than five or ten additional players per night. Helpstaff and the Wizzes may be hardpressed to handle more than that.

If you are so inclined, read the full log of the meeting.

In several discussions after the meeting, I found that although some SpinDizzy residents feel we shouldn't advertise at all, many felt that we ought to engage in subtle, low key, "sharing" of the muck. The idea being to tell friends and associates we know already, who we feel will "get it" when it comes to the idea and theme of SpinDizzy.

One idea was to build a page on the SpinDizzy website that we can send folks to. Here they could get an idea of what SpinDizzy is, and they things that go on here. Ideas for what to put on this page have ranged from a.) "The Best of @Action News" stories, b.) taking some articles from the paper, and adding some explanation of who and what is involved in the stories. Sort of fluff them up a bit with information that a regular on SpinDizzy would take for granted. c.) Finally, the idea of a page that simply explains what SpinDizzy is, what we expect of our regulars and new residents, and, of course, the theme and character of SpinDizzy.

It was suggested that all three ideas could be incorporated. Perhaps starting with a simple "What is SpinDizzy", as described as c.) above, then link the fluffed up newspaper articles, and a page on how to connect and some simple explanations of how to speak and move around for folks who are new to mucking.

I suggest that those of you who are interested contact me, Argon, and we'll get together and see if we can come up with a plan for a "Welcome to SpinDizzy" page or pages. We can get some examples put together and let the Wizzes decide what they like best.

I think it is important, although not urgent, that we get new players to join us here. New ideas and ways of looking at things brought by new characters can keep SpinDizzy alive and vibrant. But I agree with those who suggest we extend invitations to SpinDizzy carefully.

I'm looking forward to hearing from those of you who are willing to assist in this project. Thanks!

Tami Takes Over Spindizzy Twice

In a bloodless coup on Sunday afternoon, local coyote Tami took over Spindizzy. In the mid-afternoon, Eastern American time, Austin signed off, with the parting words, "Take over, Tami," which the coyote then apparently took seriously.

After several minutes of pondering a hostage situation involving large, killer robots (that is, finding some large, killer robots and taking them hostage until someone met her demands), she decided to try things the easy way. She held an election.

After much campaigning over the course of the next half-hour, Tami promised two things under her leadership. "I'll wear a sticker on my shirt that says, 'I RULE,' and I think that doing this will annoy Morticon," the coyote candidate was heard to say.

With a unanimous vote of five for Tami, she announced herself Ruler of Spindizzy, put a sticker on her shirt, and scribbled a pair of announcements on the bulletin board. One post proclaimed her new regime and the other blamed Austin for the whole thing.

The next day, Morticon learned of this coup and was indeed annoyed by it. He stormed into the Rose Garden late in the evening and challenged Tami's leadership. She accepted his challenge and allowed a recall election with even more voters. When the voters learned that the evil wallaby was unable to say "Please", they cemented Tami's win by voting for her again. Even Morticon himself eventually turned his own vote to the coyote! Afterwards, he was heard vowing that she would sleep on the couch for a week for this.

After the election was over, there was a party with cherry pie made by Morticon and Tami to celebrate her re-election.

Crime Spree at Squirrel Hill

The recent series of minor crimes and harrasment at the Squirrel Hill Assisted Living Center, 5 east and 2 North of the Rose Garden has been halted. A qroup of rogue seniors was apprehended and brought to justice.

Grey_Squirrel, acting president of the Squirrel Hill Residents' Association remarked, "It's about time those whippersnappers were stopped. It's the same old story, a gang of young punks come in here, thinking that because they've turned 65 they have all the answers, and start trying to run the place on their terms. These kids were reported to have lined up their walkers in the hallway, forcing those who wanted to pass to pay a toll of coupons. But a few of us got together and fixed their wagon."

According to witnesses, as the "Metamucil Masters", as the ruffians called themselves, were having their daily powered wheelchair drag races down the main hallway, a few of the old timers slid their canes into the spokes of their wheel chairs bringing them to an instant stop. At that point, Squirrel Hill authorities moved in and assisted the "suspects" back to their rooms.

As of press time, all was quiet at Squirrel Hill, and the old characters were continuing to make typos and spelling errors due to arthritis and the expected memory loss of "maturity".

SpinDizzynews.org found to be Lynx Compliant

Spindizzynews.org appears to be one of the few Lynx-compliant sites! Test it online: at http://www.delorie.com/web/lynxview.html . I think it wins hands-down over New York Times...which is supposedly one of the more compliant sites out there. Special thanks to Tami for originally suggesting @Action's site to test in the viewer.

Lynx browsers are often used by folks who don't wish to bother with images, or who may wish to use a screen reader to access web content. You can listen to a screen reader (You'll need to play it in Quicktime) online at: http://www.nytimes.com/library/cyber/week/0528blind.html. See the link at the bottom of that page.

Bearing Up

Ba'ar.Welcome to latest edition of Bearing up, the advice column where Ba'ar (That's me!) has answers to your most challenging questions.

Dear Bearing Up,
Did you know if you turn a can of 7up upside down, it spells dnL? How come?
From Dr. Pepper

Dear Dr Pepper.
Did you know that you've got WAY too much time on your hands?

Dear Bearing Up,
Who invented the phrase "blood is thicker than water", and why?
Signed, Great White

Dear Great White: A vampire.

Hey Ba'ar,
This is my third letter to your column. I keep asking where I can find the Bear Nekkid Ladies I keep hearing about, but you won't answer. Are you keeping them all for yourself?

Dear Lefty.You can find the Bear Nekkid Ladies in your record store. They're the latest ursine rock group.

Dear Bearing Up,
Is Leslie, the little kid in the bunny suit, a boy or a girl?
Signed, Curious

Dear Curious: Leslie is neither. She's a real doe (female) rabbit.

Dear Bearing Up
What can I do about spam e-mail? It is becoming a problem. I am as 'enhanced' as I need to be.
Signed, Argon

Dear Argon: Simple. Fry the spam and serve it for lunch. Spam's delicious on toast with mayo.

For 'Bearing Up',
Why is it that Cobra, when their plan to take over the world was foiled by a wild and heroic last-minute action by one of the G.I.Joe team, threw away the whole plan and never tried it again, instead of just trying to fix up the approach the Joes used? Ditto Wiley Coyote?
signed conqueror

Dear conqueror. That's simple. It was because they were too dumb to realize what was wrong and fix it.

Remember possums (to steal a term from Dame Edna ;-D), if you have any questions, please page mail me (Ba'ar) online or send mail to big_bear@operamail.com. Thanks.

Weekly Survey

Argon doing the survey.This week, Argon asked, "Do you think we should advertise SpinDizzy and if so, how?"

  • Terry puffs, "I think we should buy a list of 200 million e-mails and spam them with a large GIF of ASCII art."
  • Tarka says, "No... I don't think that we should advertise SpinDizzy. That will just bring more people here and change what Spindizzy is. Like we might get tourists."
  • Slug clicks, "I think the community will eventually stagnate and die if new people aren't sometimes added. I attended that meeting, but had to leave early."
  • Gilead -- I think we should hold a Spindizzy Party at all the major cons. And tape candy to an inflatable oak tree.
  • Borris says, "Friend ButterFluff was one who told me about here."
  • Suri waves her tail. "I think we should give away knitted tailwarmers with our URL on them!"
  • Kinsor -- "Hmm... suggest Fisher Price change the name of their popular toy to the 'Sit n' SpinDizzy!'"
  • Carlos -- "And in response to the survey, sure! I've only been MUCKing for a year or so, and it would have been a shame if I had never gotten the chance to get here due to lack of advertisement. I believe the best advertisement in the case of people who had never heard of MUCKs is to branch SpinDizzy out into stuff like stories and drawings, which people can run into when websurfing."
  • Dael remembers that meeting, hehe. "Yes, but I have no idea how."
  • Nikon says softly, "Yes, and get some of those weird Japanese Advertizers."
  • Elissa yaps, "Sharks with frickin' laser beams on their head that would burn "You will visit SpinDizzy now and Like It!" on people's bodies. Then they'd become walking billboards, and everywhere they went people would want to visit, compelled by the power of they mysterious words!"
  • PatchO'Black chrrps, "Not sure, Argon. While I wouldn't mind seeing SpinDizzy get more recognition, I would want any advertising to be done in a tasteful manner. Nothing spammy, and no pop-up ads!"
  • Cye says, "I would have to say Yes too."
  • Brenda giggleprrfs "Well, still, can my answer be, 'Up to you guys! I just live here.' =^.^=
  • Vesper -- In that case I think SD SHOULD advertise, and I think we should put up large obnoxious billboards along roadsides everywhere! That way when people see the advertisements, they'll get so excited that they'll go straight home and join! (or get into a car accident... whichever comes first)
  • Mavra says, "Yes, Spindizzy should advertise, and with $20,000,000 in my bank account, I shall go into space with a miles-wide mylar billboard that says, [SPINDIZZY WANTS *YOU*!]."

Notices And Corrections

Desperate Criminal Wanted

Wanted for taking over the world... imprisoning the Wizards.... general mayham and carousing... and leaking on centaur backs... Tarka Saarmas. The Sparkly Otter of Ultimate Doom. Warning.... extremely dangerous and Yiffy."

The Doze Garden

The Doze Garden Comic Strip

Guidelines and Procedures for Submitting Articles

Submitting a story or artwork for @Action News is easy! Just send it to newspaper@spindizzy.org or qmail or page Argon about it.
@Action News is published weekly on or after 12:01 AM Eastern Time on Monday. Most any type of story or article will be accepted. Generally, we'd prefer things that aren't out and out lies or flames about other folks, and have a basis in the reality of SpinDizzy. Things that occur in public areas are fair game. The things reported don't have to have actually happened, (any more than anything that happens here does) but make sure you don't overstep the social boundaries and rules of interaction that we have. These are pretty broad guidelines, but we expect good sense to apply.

Thanks! Argon, Editor @Action News