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Hello fellow Dreamers, Before I get stuck into this, there's an apology in order. I'm sorry that the last update news was way back in March of last year. I assure you that this isn't intentional, and we've not really gone anywhere either. We're still as busy as ever. But I'm going to try harder to keep everyone in the loop about everything that is going on here. I've decided to present these as newsletters, that I want to start releasing more frequently perhaps, I don't know. It's a new format I'm trying out. This announcement will cover: A message from the Community Administrators to everyone about the current pandemic The recent EcchiDreams Folding@Home Event against COVID-19 The situation with Politics on EcchiDreams and it's Discord UK's Draconian Age Verification on Indefinite Hold Changes to Section 18 violation enforcement Removal of Politics from EcchiDreams Promotion of Dreamer Content under "Our Picks" Welcome Pack Staff Applications Feature Updates Mood System Overhaul Upcoming Features Profile Items Profile Enhancements Roll the Dice! A message from the Community Administrators We understand the community’s current concern regarding the COVID-19 situation, and even share those concerns. Whatever the outcome, come the end of the year, few of us are going to be the same again. It is going to test each and every single one of us in ways we never thought possible, if it has not done so already. Like yourselves, we are worried about our families, our friends, neighbours as well as all of you, the Dreamers of this awesome community. Some of the stories we've heard from Dreamers (some public, some privately via EcchiTexts/DMs on Discord, and so on) has been truly heartbreaking, and our thoughts are with you and your families during this difficult time. It is extremely important right now, in a time were we must remain apart, that we must come together in spirit. Now more than ever, we need to bring comfort and love to help and support each other. EcchiDreams is absolutely here to escape from what's going on in the real world, and to try and keep you preoccupied during the lockdown that has been instituted by various countries. We are staying absolutely free of charge to use, and are going out of our way to make sure that our virtual doors remain literally open. We, as a community need to be understanding to those who may be affected by the isolation and the lockdown, as it is likely to start driving people stir crazy. To that end: as of the 21st April 2020, Neptune and I have asked the staff to relax a little on the enforcement of punishments when it comes to violation of minor rules on the site. This does not mean a consequence free free-for-all, but for minor offences content will likely be removed, offenders served a polite notice and no further action taken. This doesn't apply to repeat violations of the same offence, Section 8 or various serious violations. We ask that you remain understanding if you get such a notice, and to not take advantage of this. We are not giving up, and neither should you. We hope none of you catch this virus, obviously. Your first priority is to stay healthy and follow your Government's advice, guidelines, apply some common sense if you get crazy advice, and of course laws. Just know that we're here for you, as a community. The recent EcchiDreams Folding@Home Event against COVID-19 As many of you might be aware, EcchiDreams recently hosted a Folding@Home event in which: @Peculiarity, @Manni, @Alexander Bodide, @Neptune, @Rucio, @Sunstone, @Kerzin Kalamond, @Elena Ichinomiya, @Avengalyne, @Mr.X, @nicjomo, @Lawless Lawyer, and I all pulled together with our computers to sacrifice our CPU and GPU cycles, to help the Folding@Home project in their fight against COVID-19. This also means that everyone sacrificed their comfort when their computers started getting warm, their sanity, because playing games on them was out of the question, all during a lockdown with nothing else to do for 14 straight days. Some of them couldn't even use their computers, full stop. For that I can only say thank you! As a Team we contributed 29,481,528 points worth of credit and 1337 work units to the project. Woo! Go Team EcchiDreams! Nearly 400,000 EcchiCredits were dished out as reward and, because of the success during this event, the 'Rave Blob' reaction and mood was introduced to EcchiDreams. I am extremely touched that there was such a response to this event, and I salute you all for taking part. Each and every single one of you. This brings me to my point that when we work together - we can achieve something. This is exactly why we should all stick together as a community, despite our differences. We all have things in common, and it takes guts to celebrate those similarities, and tolerate the differences. UK's Draconian Age Verification on Indefinite Hold In the last article, I spoke about the UK Government's ill-thought out desire to make it so that every porn/adult themed website on the internet. Most of the article is moot and invalid now, but there are still some highly critical pieces of what I think about the UK's direction when it comes to personal freedoms and liberties, especially online, which is why I have not taken down the article. You'll be pleased to know that as of October 2019 - the UK Government decided to scrap the idea, after repeated delays to implement it, and good. I think it should never see the light of day, ever again, certainly not in its current incarnation. I don't want to get too political so I'll leave it there as an update to the saga. Changes to Section 18 violation enforcement Some of you may have noticed that over the last few months we've been trailing out a new system to inform people of Section 18 Violating Content. This system replaced the previous which issued out first time warnings to people who posted this type of content on EcchiDreams. The feedback we got was that despite the fact that it was a 0 point "First Time Offence" that it was heavy handed. So we tried out a new system, a new method of dealing with it: When someone posts offending content up, we delete it, and send them a notice saying what was deleted, why it was deleted and how to avoid making the same mistake in future, with the flowchart. The first time is not a warnable offence, it's merely a "This is the situation, this isn't allowed, we've deleted, please follow these guidelines to help prevent this in future". The second time it happens, is when the first time warning starts becoming a thing. Although really we've seen a drastic drop in these kinds of offences after the polite notice, to near zero. As in we've hardly warned anyone for it since. It's not perfect. This seems - on the most part - to be better received. Although there is no unifying template that all the staff use for these messages, it's something that we're still working on. Each of the staff have their own templates based on circumstances which are modified to fit the situation. We're working on perfecting it, and we're going to set this new way of dealing with it - as official policy. Therefore it's no longer in the trial stages, it's going to become the way in which we deal with it. Removal of Politics from EcchiDreams In response to demand from quite a number of Dreamers, the Politics Channel has been removed from the Discord server, and the forum has been removed from EcchiDreams all together. This decision wasn't mine alone, but it has received an overwhelmingly positive response. Because it causes more problems than it's worth, and with how polarising it is, the amount of drama it has caused and so on... We're not going to stop you from discussing politics, but my advice is to do so in EcchiText's or something. Whilst political opinions are allowed to be discussed openly by nature of Section 15 (Freedom of Speech; so long as it doesn't violate the universal rights of another person) just be aware of what you're getting yourself into by sharing your political views, and that other people in the chat might not want to hear them... That is your choice to make, not ours to make it for you. On the forums we recommend using the Random Chat Chat, and use the tags to tag it as political, that way people can decide whether or not they want to view that content or not. Really, one could argue whether EcchiDreams is really the place to get an informed political debate. Probably not. Promotion of Dreamer Content under "Our Picks" You may have noticed that I have started promoting content written by other Dreamers to the "Our Picks" section on EcchiDreams, which is also shown on the homepage. It serves as a promotion of good quality content that is on our site, reviews, news articles and so on. Dreamers who write something that appears under "Our Picks" will get an EcchiCredit award, and later down the line an actual trophy for their profile. So if you write good content, it could be a good way to expose it to the rest of the site and be recognised for it at the same time. We could expand this over time to allow other Dreamers to vote for the content that they want to see promoted. What counts as content that is eligible to promotion in this system? Well this isn't concrete or set in stone. Perhaps we're going to want a clear set of standards as to what gets promoted, in the future such as "no txt spk lyk dis" or somewhat passable grammar or what have you. Anyway, I'm putting it you guys to see what you think on the subject matter, and I'd be fascinated to read your comments. Welcome Pack If you had noticed that under every welcome topic, I was practically replying with the same template after saying my personalised bit, then you weren't alone. We noticed this and it came off as a bit impersonal, and repetitive. The welcome guide passes on a lot more information that what I was doing before, and gives people a very good run down of the community as a whole. All in all we see this as quite successful, although we can make improvements to it over time. You can view the guide yourself here: And if you have any suggestions, comments, or feedback for it, we'd be interested in hearing them. Staff Applications EcchiDreams has not looked into bringing in new staff since 2018, but in just two short years we've grown pretty wildly, with over a hundred active people per day. It has been crazy how far this site has come in a very short time. We would like to bring two more people into the moderating mix, to help us serve the community better. Of course, this position is completely voluntary (not even the Community Administrators are being paid for their roles), any money generated by the adverts are put straight back into keeping the site up and supplementing for server and licencing costs; the rest comes out of the Community Administrators pocket. Other staff aren't asked to help with the upkeep at all, either. It's not something we could ever, in good faith, request. This application will close on July 1st 2020, those that are picked will be asked to read and accept the Staff Policy Agreement by the 6th July 2020. It is important that you read below in its entirety. You have to have: A content count of at least 100 A reputation count of at least 150 Have been registered for more than 60 days Be 21 years old or older Be in the Dreamer, Gold Dreamer and/or Platinum Dreamer user group. Don't be offended if the application gets rejected, as it goes up to a staff vote later down the line. If we've not had enough suitable applicants, chances are it could be extended past the deadline. Primarily we'd want someone to tick as many - or better yet all - of the requirements as possible, and secondarily we would want English speakers, who can type English fluently and be somewhat competent in their grammar. Feature Updates We've kept various applications and modules up-to-date a per our responsibility to keep in line with bug fixes as well as security flaw patching. I accept that there are some quirks of EcchiDreams that don't always work right, but usually we get these bugs fixed depending on severity. There is still a bug bounty program in effect, and we welcome all reports, it lets us know that there is a problem and you get EcchiCredits for it. It's win, win. Mood System Overhaul We previously had 18 mood icons to express your mood to the world. Sure you could write whatever custom text you wanted in it, but there was a bit of a lack of choice. We've had a few suggestions over the years asking us to add more to it, and back in December we brought it up at a staff meeting, and agreed that we could totally do that, and upgrade the icons whilst we were at it. During the process, I kind of teased it, and we were asked to leave "Waffle Time" in there. We did. You can thank @SMFoxy for that one. Now you can express yourself even better than ever before with the mood system overhaul. We went from 18 icons to over 110. You can still write in what you want, but you have more range to pick the icons that better reflect your mood. Since the Folding@Home event, we also put in the Raving Blob. It is the biggest overhaul of the system since it first appeared on EcchiDreams a few years ago, and we're quite proud of it. Upcoming Features We don't normally like talking about upcoming features because there is a chance that things might not be implemented due to technical reasons, or implementation sucks, and what have you. But I wanted to share some upcoming features this time that I hope to have implemented by the end of the year. Profile Items To help you spend your EcchiCredits, we're looking at greatly increasing the range of items you can buy in the EcchiStore. These are 'Profile Items' that you can buy for yourself, or gift to other Dreamers. The feature works, and it works very well, however... The only problem I have with it right now is that I don't have any idea what kind of items to include, what kind of icons to use, or anything of the sort. It's something I'm going to be working with the staff on over the next few weeks/months but any help from the community, any ideas, would be extremely welcome. We will most likely have to licence the images that we use, which is not a problem. The forum icons, and the icons used in the dashboard are such icons that we've purchased a licence to use. Profile Enhancements Everyone on EcchiDreams is looking for different things. For example, some of you are only here for ERP's, some of you are only here for deep, long term storytelling roleplays, some don't want to roleplay - you want to take part in the community as a whole, and some just want to lurk. Well, what I'm hoping to do is allow the Dreamer to set this preference as part of their profile, as well as a few other things that might be helpful, such as a "Am I taking on new roleplays right now?" kind of thing, perhaps. The idea is that you'd be able to search this using our search system, to find someone who is after the same thing you're after. Although there is a debate going on about if we should allow the searching by Gender/Sexuality as well. I personally don't think it should matter what gender or sexuality the actual roleplayer is, if a male is happy to roleplay a female, or a straight person is happy to roleplay Yaoi/Yuri, why does it matter? But as we've seen, there are quite a few roleplayers who actually seem to care a great deal about these kinds of things. This can be implemented quite quickly, but not in a format that I'm too happy with, and it's something I'm trying to work on and finalise. I'd rather have it looked polished and working, than for it to look like it's working and barely functional. Roll the Dice! We're thinking about introducing a feature that will allow roleplayers to make dice based roles for a more D&D like roleplaying experience. These dice would be "Thrown" upon posting in a topic. Right now the code is largely untested, and very much in alpha stages, pending tests, so we don't actually know if it works or not. Or if it even works for the clubs or not. It is likely that the first iteration of this will be extremely basic, and therefore something that we can build and improve on later down the line. Lets us know what you think about that one! Image Source: 士由(シユ) (Pixiv Account Deleted) This was just the kind of neutral picture that I wanted for the announcement. It screamed "It's Spring Time" and "It's going to be a warm one!" to me, which spring here in the UK started off with a spring time heatwave. So it felt appropriate. It's got a vibrant picture, and I think that right now people could use a little vibrancey to brighten up their lives. The artist is quite talented at doing landscape art and I want to promote their work for more people to seem unfortunately they appear to have deleted their Pixiv account. If anyone knows if the artist is operating under a different name or alt Pixiv account let me know, and I'll happily link it. It's a very well done picture and I for one would love to see more of their work.