Those of you who are presently engaged in this thread, please cool it and do not continue playing the "last word" game. The presence of insults does not have a place in a well-ordered debate by a community. You have made your points, and do not need to press onward. If you persist in typing, I will have to take steps. I do not want to do this, so I hope that you will kindly take the hint.
While I generally dislike this sort of a public forum, and hope that others in a similar vein are not opened in the future, I suppose that there is no point in closing the doors to an empty gryphon aerie. As the subject has been brought up, and there are two new Ops presently in place, I suppose that this is as adequate a place as any to explain my plans, intentions, and reasoning. This post will be long, so I ask for your patience in reading it, paragraph by paragraph.
In this post, I am going to explain, to the best of my ability, how Ops are selected, and why the present set of new Ops were brought into their positions. By writing this down in an accessible location, I hope to remove any confusion or lack of understanding. I also hope to solidify my thoughts on the subject, as I have had a lot of experience in making bad decisions for Ops in the past, but hope that I have learned from these decisions, which has led to my present process of thought when selecting new Ops. I will probably not respond to any additional posts in response to this one.
First, what qualifies people to be considered for an Op position? The first thing that is needed is for somebody already on the Staff to recommend somebody else. After that, the entire current staff has to agree to the promotion. Then the new Op is placed on probation for a month, perhaps two, to see if things work out. If they do not, then the person is encouraged to quietly resign to Storyteller status with no loss of REP award for the promotion. If the person refuses this, then they are simply removed from the position without the option of remaining in the Storyteller position, though still without loss of REP.
What each of the other Ops uses as a basis for recommending and approving the admission of another Op to the Staff is up to the individuals in question. I can only explain my own thought process. This starts with selection. When I am looking for somebody willing to take on the role of an Op, I first observe to see if the person in question seems to be serious and consistent in playing in the setting. Since I have frequent absences, I need people who are able to fill in where I am not present to keep the setting going and working smoothly. That need for people who are able to work for the good of the setting must preclude all other ties or favoritism or even a preference for one's own characters. These people must be seriously interested in making Therafim and its players prosper and helping said players to enjoy themselves. They should also share my vision for the setting, or be able to inspire new visions in me. Finally, but no less importantly, they should be able to work with the other Ops with a reasonable degree of unity, and to regard and treat each other member of the Staff with respect.
Ideally there will be at least two people in each position. This is for sake of oversight, to reduce opportunities for corruption, to provide ample second and third opinions when decisions must be made that will affect players and the game world itself, and finally to provide a strong, united front when those decisions are implemented. Three people is a desirable number for the Mechanics Op position, mostly because of the amount of raw sewage that those in this position are forced to wade through by the opportunistic, the dishonest, and the rude. The job does not get any more pleasant, and has resulted in more burnout of players in the position than any other, but at least the workload can be somewhat reduced.
Naturally, these are only my ideals. These ideals are subject to some flexibility for sake of practicality. As an example, ZenithSolar and I do not always see eye-to-eye on matters of setting, but I respected his decisions as an Op and tried to keep him aware of my actions, while he tried to keep me aware of his. So long as the flaws to the ideal are not so extreme that they become unbearable to my sensibilities, I am willing to work with almost anyone who is willing and able to do the job needed. ZenithSolar was able to handle a great deal of the stresses involved in the Mechanics Op position, did a great deal of troubleshooting, and we agreed on far more points than we disagreed, and so I fully respect him still, and believe he did a find job while he held the Mechanics Op position. Having to do the job alone for an extended period, however, was a heavy weight to bear, and I understand his need to resign. I only hope that ZenithSolar continues to play in the setting, and enjoys his time here now that he has returned to being a player only.
Now, on to the subject of the present two Ops, how they got there, and why I approve of their being where they are, starting with Sorrowdusk as Story Op. For starters, the position needed to be filled, as it had been left empty for quite some time. At first I wrote off Sorrowdusk as having an excessive case of keyboard diarrhea and an obsession with all things Lovecraftian, and tended only to skim what he had to write. However, over time I began to actually read some of the things that he wrote, and found that it has quite a lot of merit. He still struggles with brevity, but I find that our minds do frequently work along similar lines, even if the way that we express ourselves tends to be rather different. I respect his opinions and thoughts, and believe that he has the best interests of the Therafim setting and its players at heart. Besides this, I have noticed that he has an unflagging degree of energy, and he frequently acted to keep me on task in writing needful pieces of the setting, while still being respectful towards me. Sorrowdusk has also been constantly interested in other people's characters, usually (despite unkind statements by some to the contrary) for the purpose of trying to get to know people better and then to help them advance and improve their playing experience. So I suggested him to Kara and hopey, and they both were willing to try him out in the position, albeit with significant reservations for the same reasons that I mentioned before. The position needed to be filled, and he seemed to have the qualities to accomplish the job. Most importantly, Sorrowdusk is still willing to learn and to improve, and so over time his weaknesses have been turning into strengths. I believe that the Story Op position will help him to continue his development even further, while at the same time helping others to enjoy their time in Therafim.
Finally, the matter that began this discussion: the appointment of Ziyanani, the player otherwise known as Jennibear. Jenni asked me about becoming a Mechanics Op because she saw that there was a need for another person in the position, and that the list of potential candidates was rather short - she would have preferred to be a Story Op, but felt there was a greater need for somebody in the Mechanics position, and she might as well offer herself. The oncoming resignation of ZenithSolar threw that need into a very clear light, and got me to hasten the process of getting her approved by the others Ops, including ZenithSolar. I had asked around with several people at that point, to see if there were any people willing to take on the position of Mechanics Op, and had been turned down by everyone that I spoke to, or given an ambiguous answer, likely to cause the topic to drop. In all honesty, though I felt that Jenni was a competent possibility for promotion, I tried especially hard not to recommend Jenni to the other Ops because I was afraid that there would be charges of favoritism. I do regard Jennibear as a friend as well as a roleplaying buddy, and I was worried that my views might be tainted by my personal feelings. Eventually, however, as the pressing need for a new Mechanics Op came to the fore, and my longtime observation of Jenni's behavior towards others as well as her interviews with ZenithSolar and myself seemed to hold up towards her being reasonably reliable as well as able to interact with others, and her ability to run quests successfully spoke well of her knowledge of the game mechanics, I presented Jenni's name to the other Ops for review, and she was swiftly promoted.
If I did not have confidence in the present set of Operators of Therafim, I would not have suggested them in the first place. There are an unfortunate (but thankfully small) number of people who refuse to give one or both of our newest Ops a chance in their present positions, who refuse to trust them to any degree, or who seek to make their new jobs more difficult than they need to be. I ask that you please treat Sorrowdusk and Ziyanani with respect, and that you accept their decisions, as I intend to accept their decisions.
Should anyone wish to place their names up for recommendation to positions on the Op Staff, please pm me on the wikia with a quick rundown of your qualifications for the job - Ziyanani's summary as shared by Sorrowdusk makes a good example of what this should look like - and I will happily review them and share them with the other Ops presently in place so that we can discuss the matter properly. If you speak to me in the chatrooms on this topic, I will advise you to do what I have just said, as I will likely forget to bring up the subject with the other Ops without something more tangible than a chatroom conversation.
It is my hope that this clears things up somewhat, and makes the process of promotion to the Op position more transparent.