The past (How and why I found FK):
2016 was a year I could not wait to leave behind me. In the first 8 months I lost more loved ones then in the past 30 years of my life. It became so bad that I started losing motivation to do anything. Some would call it a burn out, I called it a lack of me time, or better said, a lack of killing virtual enemies. My old community had gone from 30'ish people to a hand full and each of them played different games, so finding someone to play a game with was getting harder. That combined with all the real life issues meant I played games less and less. By September real life had hammered me down so much I needed a holiday for the first time in 12 years of working.
The weeks before my down time I had been watching soviet's streams and I realized that I wanted to get back into ArmA. I had played ArmA 2 a lot in the past and was keen to get into ArmA 3, however due to the lack of people around me who played it I never bothered with it. So during my holiday I decided I was going to find myself a new group of people I can play games with regularly. I figured the group Soviet played ArmA with was as good as any so I did what every pleb would do, I joined the ZF ts and waited. Luckily it didn't take long before I got the TS detailed and that's when something magical happened.
From the first mission I played with you guys I realized that this was a group of people with the potential to make a great community, with the right tools they could grow to be the biggest bunch of idiots one can dream of. A few days passed and I decided the first thing that had to be fixed was their TS. Having to kick people from TS because it was so limited meant a lot of people got annoyed. Since I had a spare NPL I offered it to Greybeard for use on his TS with one condition: "No more secrecy around the TS details, it needs to be an open place that anyone can join." I will be honest, at that point I never planned to be in any form of leader position, I just wanted to make sure I would have a group of people to play games with.
With TS now in a good place and the number of people joining on the climb, I got to talking to Greybeard and we shared some idea's. He started working on a website in his secret cave and I got to thinking about how we could organize this group of misfits. I mean, even bad company had a leader. My past experience with larger communities meant I knew we needed more then one person to make the decisions, and so the community managers were born. The website came online, a name was decided on and some wanker made a pink logo, PINK?!? really...? There was no turning back now tho, FK was born!
The present (and some more of the past):
I will say when GB announced he would have to leave due to real life issues I was "frustrated". Don't get me wrong I understood his reasons and knew exactly how he felt, after all I had been in that same position on months before. The point where you feel you are about to burn your self out on something that is meant to be fun and relaxing. However it also meant I was now in a position I had never planned to be in. I was, as someone called it, the head honcho of this community, the go to guy when something had to be done.
I started working on ways to make my life easier, one way was the restart script that allowed ArmA admins to restart the server without my help. I started giving them more access on the website to allow them to take more control of it. I even moved some of the servers to a central way of managing them. However there was still a ton of work to be done and I still found myself dealing with community decisions more often then I liked. This meant that between my work, my admin tasks and the community, I had 2 full time jobs. It also meant it took the fun out of the thing I came here for, ArmA.
So for the past few weeks I have been thinking about how I can prevent burning my self out on this community. I took a step back and just watched it grow and form itself. I watched the streams to find points of friction and made notes of what might need changing. All this time I refrained from actively making decisions other then the ones that would effect the server side of things. By doing that the Community Managers inadvertently answered my question. They stepped up and showed they are capable of running this community, they are capable of making the hard decisions that can push this community to higher levels. I know that they made a few mistakes, but can you blame them? We are all new to this and we all have to learn. Personally I think they have done one hell of a job.
The future (Plans, ideas and people):
What does all this mean for the future? The role of community manager with become one with more responsibilities, one that requires people who are willing to make the tough choices. I will be looking to get less involved with these decisions to a point where I only have an advisory role (something I have been doing for the past weeks). We will probably see new community managers as the load on them increases, we might even introduce community moderators to spread the load and responsibilities.
Of course there wont just be changes in leadership, there will also be changes in the community. We will be looking to setup fun events to find new ways of enjoying ArmA. As more people join we will inevitably setup servers for other games, more games means more people and so the community continues to grow. We might at some point even reach a point where we have more then one ArmA server. A few weeks ago I jokingly mentioned FK merchandise and the amount of positive comments I got for that where staggering , so expect a store section on this site to open up at some point in the future (Seriously, We will be starting a competition for the designers amongst you to send in your art work for the merch).
As you can imagine, with a new and growing community comes allot of change. And I won't deny, some changes might not sit well with everyone. However we will always keep the community in mind when making these decisions and the community is larger then just 1 person.
One thing won't change tho. The people. The people that enjoy a good ArmA session and know when to have fun and when to be serious. People that will make you laugh at the moment you least expect it and put a smile on your face. The people that will always manage to annoy you no matter how hard you try to ignore them. The people that make FK the community it is!