Issue #65
Summer 2003

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What follows is a fictional example of how an event can be organized in order to ensure that as many members as possible attend. It illustrates effective use of the chain of command to disseminate information. Please note that the names of persons and groups are fictional, and no insult to actual persons or groups should be inferred (except Shatner, who deserves what he gets). Besides, I had fun coming up with the names.

Lieutenant K'Plop has an idea for an event. He wants to get a bunch of Klingons together to throw cream pies at William Shatner at a celebrity fundraising carnival. After talking it over with a few of his Klingon buddies (who all think it is a great idea), he gets the go ahead from his ship captain to contact the carnival hosts, and arranges for the Klingons to show up. Now all he needs to do is tell the Klingons. Here's how he does it.

K'Plop wants all the ships in the Flaming Forehead Quadrant to show up. He mentions the carnival a few times over the Flaming Forehead listserve in the months prior to the event. Two or three weeks before the carnival, he puts out an announcement giving all the details of the event (date, time, location, cost, etc.). He also asks the captain of each ship to get back to him a week before the event to let him know how many members from their ship are coming. For good measure, he also sends the invitation to some people he knows in a couple of other clubs: the Klingon Imperial Support Services (another Klingon club), and the Federation Alliance Network (a Starfleet club).

The Flaming Forehead Quadrant has four ships. The first, the IKAV Martok's Mama, is a Marine ship. It is a large, highly organized ship, with a strict phone chain system for communications. The captain, first officer, and communications officer each phone a designated section of the crew roster, and when everyone has been contacted, the first officer and comms officer report back to the captain, who then contacts Lieutenant K'Plop with a list of names.

The second ship, the IKV Big Toe of Kahless, is a Navy ship. The captain does not have email, but his communications officer (who does) tells him about the announcement. At his request, she forwards the announcement to all of the crew members who have email. Those who do not have email (or who do not use it regularly) each have an online "buddy" among the crew whose job it is to keep their offline buddy up to date. Each online buddy makes one phone call to his offline buddy, and sends an email reply (for both of them) to the comms officer. The comms officer compiles the names, reports to the captain, and sends the complete list via email to K'Plop.

The third ship, the KPV Feklar's Cuspidor, is a Demon Fleet ship. The captain has asked the members of his crew to call him regularly to find out what is going on. Since K'Plop has been spreading the word about this event for a couple of months, everyone on the Feklar's Cuspidor knows it is coming up, and the ones who are interested call their captain about a week ahead of time to get the details.

The fourth ship, the XLV Latinum Falcon, is a Xeno Legion ship. The crew is a small, close knit group of friends who get together every week at a local coffee shop. At one of these informal meetings, the CO asks who wants to go to K'Plop's event, and counts hands.

The weekend before the carnival, K'Plop calls the ships he hasn't heard from already, as well as his friends in the other clubs. He now has his complete list of who will be attending. Over the course of the week, some last minute changes are made to that list, but they are communicated to K'Plop by the captain or comms officer of the respective ships. As the event approaches, K'Plop knows that he can count on a good contingent of Klingons to show up to pie Shatner.

This story illustrates a few important things about communication. It is the responsibility of the event organizer (in this case K'Plop) to make sure all the ships in the area have the full information about the event. Depending on the local situation, this may require a general announcement on a listserve, emails sent to the CO/Comm of each ship, or even occasionally a couple of phone calls. Alternatively, in some areas there may be a designated officer whose role is to assist in coordinating communications between ships.

At any rate, once each ship is informed of the event, it is their own responsibility to spread the word among their own members. This story illustrates a few possible models for how this can be achieved; there are others. Each ship can use whatever system suits its needs, but the important things are that everyone on the crew knows what system they are using, and that the system accomodates both online and offline members.

It should also be remembered that changes may need to be made to the system in specific cases, such as when tickets for an event need to be reserved (and paid for) weeks in advance, or when an event comes up at the last minute. Cases such as these may require the ship captain to call everyone on the ship, to make sure things are handled quickly and efficiently. This should be the exception rather than the rule, though.

L Lt.Col. Krikor sutai-jechwI'
(Krikor Ajemian)
Crimson Knight Fleet

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