Every so often I get the desire to build a community–or to build up whatever I’m a part of. Then someone has to patiently remind me that my passions are too much. But here I can go all out! So let’s talk a bit about empowering your Free Company members with teams!
Why join a Free Company? Well… surely there are many reasons. Most people join because their friends are there, or are joining too. Some join to be with famous people on social media. Others join for the reputation of the FC, etc. Cool! So what do you do once you’re in? Is this awesome Free Company ultimately just a chat room that something like a Linkshell could have provided? No… you need to give your members purpose.
If you keep all of the power to the Master and Officers, you invariably create room for an Us vs. Them situation. Without any opportunity for moving up, or without a clear and consistent method, it winds up creating a stale atmosphere for most. Many will feel voiceless because they have no say within the Free Company–so why bother stepping up when called upon? Let’s give them that opportunity.
Look over your Free Company rank permissions. Surely there’s a whole bunch of options here. Think about what you can relieve on yourself and the Officers and allow the members to handle. Coalesce these into groups based on specialty. Let’s call these groups teams, for the sake of it. Set a Free Company rank for each team to set permissions properly, and allow members the free opportunity to join these teams.
We can have a housing team where people can decorate, design, and furnish the company estate. A gardening team where people can grow crops for themselves and others. The sturdy workshop team for building new projects and keeping the airships going strong. We’ll have a team to decide on FC actions each day and even one for mentors because people who love to tutor others deserve proper recognition. So as you can see, there’s many different types of teams you can make to empower the members who decide to join them. Now… how do we deal with any issues that might rise up?
Problems and Handling
From experience, you can’t just give people responsibility. They’ll take whatever power they get and use it for their own benefit, but responsibility just gets shrugged off. Why? Because if things aren’t a problem to the person themselves, they aren’t often a problem. This is a real hassle in selecting Officers but it’s also something to consider with teams. People will join them for the power… but then not do anything with it outside of their own little preference.
First, we should find methods of encouraging activity and setting good examples. Something akin to exemplary stewardship of their role in a team and service to the fellow FC members may lead to consideration as an officer. Or some other kind of prize, depending on what is reasonable. As Kasumi said over on yukaritalks, people like promotions. It’s that sense of validation–but they need to earn it. Teams are a fantastic way as it empowers those who WANT the responsibility as members without forcing it on those who just want to hang out.
If that’s not enough, then we need to think of potential reprimands. Are people sitting idly on their responsibility? Then see if they’d like to try something else. If not, step them down to Member. Are they having an issue in knowing how or what to do? Or just not doing it well? Coach them on it–maybe still see if they want to try another team. And remind them just being a Member is fine too! Finally, clear and obvious power abuse needs this person to be stepped down. And if they have a problem with that? There’s the door.
As an additional suggestion: don’t give the teams any power that might allow for widespread havoc. Keep any bank/coffer teams out of the gil, keep the housing team from being able to remove furniture, whatever you need to do. Understand that granting people power means they can abuse that, so only grant what you’re willing to risk. Most people aren’t going to be cruel about it, but even the most seemingly nice people can get pretty entitled and vengeful when something goes south.
As for your Free Company Hierarchy with teams set in, you could look at something like:
- Coffer Team
- Housing Team
- Ironworks Team
- Gardening Team
- Buffs Team
- Events Team
- Mentor Team
“Initiate” being set, as we all know, to keep unknowns from being able to steal from banks and such. If you haven’t seen threads on this before… where have you been all these years? The “Member” rank is for verified members who just want to hang out, socialize, whatever they like. Then a rank for each team to divvy out permissions to!
But wait… with all of this, what is there left for leadership to do? Realistically–it might very well be more work. More close moderation on the teams, but the only big task left is the moderation itself. Coaching people, encouraging them, working to build your members and Free Company up. Rather than sit and deal with the monotony of keeping things going in the system (unless they like that…) they’re empowered to be proper leaders and can take a more active role in really being there for people. That circles back into making your members happier and more willing to consider joining a team to do more for the Free Company–hopefully making a positive loop.
Has anyone else done something similar in their FC? Lemme know–and happy adventuring!