I've got some excellent news for you. Over the past 20 years we've grown from an idea into one of the longest running persistent and free games on the internet. It's been a great ride so far and we're far from done. Our player base continues to grow and many of you have made super generous donations which allow us to advertise and keep the servers running. With that in mind, we recently took some steps to solidify the organization.
One of the biggest steps we've taken is to form a 'social club' in the eyes of the United States government, which allows us to have c7 non-profit status. That allows us to take in 'dues' tax free due to the fact that we are putting it toward the club. Sindome has always been a non profit labor of love, and that is now official in the eyes of the government.
In doing this, we had to adhere to some regulations and write some bylaws, which are basically an extension of our @rules. It was funny, while we were doing this we realized that we already met about 90% of the expectations the Fed has for an organization like ours. We already structure ourselves in certain ways, and have bylaws in our own right. Now they're more official.
Each and every (non banned) person reading this who has a character, will be considered an 'Associate Member'. That's basically a member in good standing with the organization. You'll have to agree to some terms and to abide our rules, but these were things you were already agreeing to simply by playing, or as part of the social contract that playing the game puts you in. This agreement will be presented to you on your characters page when we roll everything out. You'll have time to read through it before it becomes a mandatory part of playing the game. It will however, be mandatory at a certain point. Basically, you agree to abide by the rules of the game.
There continues to be no fee for playing Sindome. However, there are several types of membership that now exist. Those of you that have donated $25 in the last six months, or $40 or $200 in the last 12 months will be 'Club Members'. Instead of continuing to take ad hoc donations, our new membership levels are considered 'membership dues' and will entitle you to basically the same benefits that you were already seeing. 'Club Members' will also have access to a specialized @ooc lounge on top of the benefits they were already seeing.
There are some other things we are codifying in our bylaws, which include Staff Member positions, twice yearly town halls, and…
Well, you folks are an integral part of the game and we want you to be represented in the actions taken by the admin. Town Halls are great for us to suss out major issues with the game, get feedback, and act on it. We want to take that a step forward by allowing the election of a group of players to form the Club Membership Committee which will meet several times a year to discuss issues and solutions that will then be presented to the Staff. Each town hall, and perhaps in the days before and after, every player will have the ability to vote on who they think should be on the committee.
This should help the game to continue to grow as large issues can be brought to the attention of the staff after discussion among the elected players. I image this will be used as a way of raising OOC issues with the game, solutions, requests, and other such things. Sort of an evolution of the Town Hall, which features everyone. No one is required to vote if they don't want to and they can always decide not to accept a position on the committee if they wish.
I know I've just info dumped a lot of stuff on you. We've got more details forthcoming and you'll be kept appraised each step of the way. I welcome feedback and suggestions with regards to this-- but please keep the following in mind: what we've done is an extension of the way we've grown in an Out of Character way. None of the steps we've taken will change how you already interact with the game in any way. We aren't pulling the rug out, we aren't enacting crazy changes that will pivot the game. We're simply writing down all the stuff we already abide by and getting everyone to buy-in on the rules we already have in place. On top of that we are renewing our commitment to providing you the best possible community to act out all your delicious cyberpunk desires.