Here is a summary of Town Haul April 2015:
On knee-jerk reactions to people:
Do your best to be objective about people: rather than paint people with opinions, get facts, ask questions, and remember not to take sides (after all, there is a group policy on that if you'll read the About Us page). If somebody has a problem with somebody else, getting stressed about it will only make things worse. At the end of the day, we're simply an art group: it should strengthen your relationships, not make you a worrier.
One thing to remember is this: it is hard to get banned from the WSW. If somebody gets banned, it had to be after multiple warnings, after multiple complaints, and after every time to guide the person back to acceptable behavior has failed. The core philosophy of the group is that helping people improve usually works better than simply giving people the boot, so if you see somebody get banned, it had to be for a damn good reason. Should you be one of these people, see where you're doing wrong, put your cards out on the table, and ask, "What's my plan for improvement?"
Please refrain from using the term "you-know-who." We have a number of "you-know-who"s these days: many of which are simply banned members. If you bring up a banned member, simply use their name: not to draw attention, but to eliminate confusion. But also remember that if somebody brings up a banned member, remember what was previously mentioned: stay objective, and preferably stay out of it. All but one members were banned simply for rude behavior: although they were nice to many people, they done things behind the scenes that aroused the need to remove them from the group. Even in a case like Mr. Heart, who was found out to have joined specifically to cause mayhem among the members, it's best to still remain objective: siding with him will continue the damage he's done, but going after him will only make things worse. (And how people react to us bringing up somebody as emotionally-riling as Mr. Heart will be a good test of whether or not we're following our own advice.)
Lastly, do not confuse criticism for harassment. This group is blunt about telling eachother they've messed up or where they can do better. Just because somebody is telling you that you're doing poorly is not to be confused with somebody stalking you, nor is it to be confused with somebody actively turning your friends and colleagues against you. This group is about helping eachother out, even in the hard times. Tough love is not to be confused with being a jerk or causing others to act like jerks.
On trolling and harassment...
Lately in our voice chats and some of the DA comments, we've had a number of people leave comments, messages, and chats specifically to arouse ire. These include...
- Talking about things that have nothing to do with the main topic, simply to annoy others, and when somebody actually joins in, said trolls make fun of the person for joining in.
- Acting annoying and yelling, "Haha! The admins aren't doing anything!," only for an admin to step and and for the troll to go, "Hey! The admins are abusing their powers!"
- Bringing up topics they know will specifically piss people off. For example, somebody is sensitive to violent jokes, and the trolls bring up extremely violent topics and don't quit until the person leaves.
Lastly, do not "bait" or "tempt" the admins: do not act like a jerk, yell, "Haha! The admins aren't doing anything!," and then when they finally do something, yell, "The admins are abusing their power!" The admins' job is to ensure fair treatment among the group, to ensure people don't break the rules (and again, the admins are very lax about this), and most importantly, to protect people from harm. If you poke at a hibernating bear long enough, especially a bear guarding its children, that bear will awaken to eat you. You wouldn't do the same to cops or teachers would you? If not, you wouldn't do the same to anyone else along those lines.
On creative momentum...
Lately, a lot of us have been suffering various creative blocks. Here are some tips the various members have gathered together for beating this...
- Understand the nature of willpower. Willpower is the brain's backup battery to getting us to take action: its finite, but it gets us a headstart on taking action. Luckily, willpower is built like a muscle: the more you use it, the better you get at it. However, since willpower eventually runs out, it's best to understand the other sources of creative momentum.
- If you have plenty of ideas, do the funnest idea first. To paraphrase a quote by Mark Twain, "When somebody rides a horse for fun, they feel like doing it whenever they want. When somebody rides a horse for money, they feel like doing anything else." In this case, make work your play. For new Walfasers (and this advice applies to really anything), do the idea you feel most compelled to do first. If you're a veteran Walfaser, you may suffer this problem: when you began, you had nothing to lose and tons of variety since anything was possible. You had no concept of failure, and any failures you did have, you brushed aside. However, as time went on, Walfasing became routine, and now you got much more to lose: you lost the drive that got you started in the first place. Trade routine for appreciation: start noticing small details you never noticed before, and focus on being more elegant and fun in your execution than simply "going through the motions." At the same time, fear no failure: even failing provides variety, and to solve new problems will provide the same thrill as when you first started trying to figure things out. Problems never go away: you only start getting more "quality" problems, e.g. where most new Walfasers wonder, "How do I make a simple comic?," you have problems like, "How can I make a second Walfas movie?"
- Loosen the pressure. We do this for fun. Taking it too seriously causes unneeded anxiety and sucks the fun out of it. Remember this adage: when we strive to be the best, we end up as average, but when we strive to be average, we often have enough fun to become the best. Relax, and have a blast!
- Do projects FOR YOURSELF. Who cares about recognition? Craving recognition violates the previous advice: it causes undue stress and anxiety for what amounts to making comics and videos with a virtual paper doll program. In ZUN's own advice, make something you will enjoy. Remember that recognition is not automatic: the best way to get recognized is to just become friends with the community. Note how many members are widely known, but haven't done much, while there are members with pages and pages of content, but who only keep to themselves. Our projects, and indeed everything we do in life, spreads via word-of-mouth, so don't just make stuff: talk to other people about their stuff, and they'll eventually become interested in yours.
- Write down your plans. This is classic goal setting: get your ideas on paper, set goals, set deadlines, prioritize which project you'd like to do first, and then set out to work on that first big thing. Beware not to get caught up in all of your ideas at once, and especially beware about publicizing projects before you've taken action to actually work on them. Instead, either focus on one project you want to work on at a time, or juggle at most three projects you work on equally with visible, measurable progress.
- Get in a peak state. Get yourself amped up with good music, stimulating conversations with friends, and/or an encouraging environment to help you work. If you need to, exercise, eat right, get sleep, and manage your emotional states (i.e. handle stress, practice gratitude, etc.). Other tips include looking at similar projects to the one you want to work on, or even writing "in character": dressing up and acting the character you're writing for.
- Forget failure, forget bad reviews, DIVE IN WITH ABANDON! Even if you're successful, you're going to get at least one bad review: you can't please everyone. Again, mainly work on something for yourself. Fools dive in with wild abandon, but they still manage to get things done: this is the story of Tommy Wiseau, Ed Wood Jr., and Stephanie Meyer, all incompetent writers who believed so passionately in their terrible story ideas that despite their lack of skill, they succeeded. If they can do it, you, with all your creative potential and ability to learn from mistakes, can do something great. And if somebody dislikes your work, remember this quote by Winston Churchill: "You have enemies? Good. That means you stood up for yourself."
- Trade discouragement for the challenge to succeed. If you feel somebody is "better than you" at something, the last thing you want to do is give up. Remember: they started where you did, and if you do what they did, you'll not only get to where they are, but you should tell yourself, "I'm not only going to reach their level, but I'm going to see how I can eventually do better!" And don't just stop there: always strive to outdo yourself. After all, if you do somehow become regarded as "the best", there'll be nobody to compete against except your previous best. In the meantime, have a friendly competition with your peers: challenge them to do better than you, and have them challenge you to do better than them. Make a fun game out of outdoing eachother: not a heated rivalry, but a sport to encourage growth.
On people who just randomly leave the group...
In addition to knee-jerk reactions on banned members, people just randomly leaving the group or deleting their account is dramatic and causes unneeded worry because most people assume the worst when they leave and never say anything (or worse, they only leave the WSW, yet continue to remain in the Walfas community with the same members).
If you're going to leave the group, at least give a reason why. A number of reasons are not even really reasons to leave the group: at the end of the day, the WSW is a place to put stuff. It's a Walfas content depository. If you have to take a haitus because of a family emergency, we'll still be here when you get back, so why take the unneccessary steps to leave the group, close your account, re-open your account, and then re-join the group when you could simply not go to the place where you put Walfas stuff? If you feel like you're "not contributing," you can just contribute, even if that means being somebody else's friend, and who says that's a requirement when this place is also a good haven for fans? If you're being harassed for your affiliation to the group, stand up for yourself! Don't let others get away with terrorism or scaring your away: show that you got a spine and stand by your friends! Legit excuses for leaving might include, "My work doesn't want me to have cartoons on the internet, so I have to close down all of my accounts that aren't on Facebook or LinkedIn.," or, "I legitimately want to quit Walfas, animating, everything. I'm starting my entire life over elsewhere, and I'm not going to keep in contact with anyone here." Even if it's as hard as that, it won't cause much drama because we'll at least know why you left.
And as for people reacting to people who leave willy-nilly, remember what was said earlier about the "you-know-who"s: the best reaction is not to react. Most of the people who leave end up coming back anyway; especially if they have any of the above non-excuses. In the meantime, give them time and carry on with your own life: just because they made a dumb decision doesn't mean it'll have to drag you down.
New Folders for April 2015
Currently being set up are...
- Crafts: For hand-crafted items, costumes, real-life props, and other offline creations, which have been increasing in number. Crafts currently in the Touhou folder or Original Art folders will be moved on request.
- Introductions: For introductory comics from new members, similar to how forums have an Introduction thread or sub-folder.
- Twilight of the Hakurei Season 2: Starting around May or June, we're going to revive this old WSW classic! For those who don't know, Twilight of the Hakurei was our first big group-wide tennis, taking place between the events of Mystic Square and Embodioment of Scarlet Devil, featuring hundreds of PC-98-style OCs across 30+ Walfasers. However, after a spectacular start and ultra-high story tension, the series coasted to a halt after numerous Walfasers participating in the event either left the community or ran out of interest. With a new generation of Walfasers itching for stuff to do, we're starting the campaign over with a more limited engagement: only 5-7 players (maybe 10 if there's tons of interest) and 3 characters max (with ten players, that's 30 characters at most after the first death event), meaning only four death events this time. The new TotH will require dedicated players only: you must be willing to participate regularly and pick up the slack if somebody else falls behind or quits. As such, only the best of the best Walfasers are going to get in, but expect one hell of a roller-coaster ride of drama, heroism, references galore, and awesome, awesome death scenes. You can view the original TotH in the archived folder.
Enough serious talk! Time for the latest content from the WSW and surrounding Walfas community!
- DeityDiz93 to start a PC-98-Themed Contest: Touhou Oldworks! Be on the lookout for this new contest soon!
- Ceej39 is still offering services for animations. If you got an idea, pitch it to him. First come, first serve!
- Captainface and Spaztique to very likely show up at A-Kon.
- Captainface still working on the Walfas Course on Autism.
- redbeatsmermaid: working on a Five Nights At Freddy's comic, Nocturnal Enigma
- Tenguichi announces there are several slots open and props needed for upcoming RP games Gensokyo Apocalypse and Gapped Roleplay. Tenguichi will be discontinuing his current projects to work on these exclusively.
- AlgaeNymph begins the Page-A-Day Challenge, where you write a page of your fanfic (or prose work) every single day.
- MyonNyanMukyuu: building up props for an original story, building up to NaNoWriMo 2015.
- trynt: doing a Walfas project based on of Hotline Miami, reviving the video series Walfas Randomness, and a possible Seihou Race with DeityDiz93. Also, Beginner's Mistake continuing: an adaptation of the online game Survival.
- sethb1 offers help to new/struggling members with Walfas Academy, a Walfas group designed to help you get the edge on your Walfasing skills.
- MegaGundamMan making specialized customs for Kantai Collection.
- ExPorygon: The WSW Mincraft server was hacked and destroyed, unfortunately. New server coming up and new pack, but he's starting a poll for what modpack you'd like to see next.
- BleachBummer still needs more voices for Tosatsu Kingdom soldier (and your only line is the word "Bun!"). Don't forget: TouhouCon is coming up in September. Plan early and hang with the Walfasers!
- MagnumPhoenixZX has new Clockwork Corpse Carnival chapter coming out for Youmu. Fans of the series, let this sink in. Newcomers, check out the rest of the series for ultra-dark Touhou reimagining!
- Spaztique to devote all of May to finishing his prose works (Voidspawn, Loveless City, Flight of the Steel Butterfly). Also, he is streaming a project by Ubermangaka and co-starring TTBNC, MiniWitch3, and Tenguichi, Veil of the Void: a Lovecraftian horror Pathfinger RPG campaign, but played by four of the funniest people in the WSW.
With that, we'll see you all in May! In the meantime, Keep Calm and Touhou On!