volunteers

Both Standing Rock and the infamous desert art festival (in its early pre-police days) are examples of temporary autonomous zones, which I will refer to as “TAZ,” because even if it wasn’t already an acronym, it just sounds badass.

This term, invented by anarchist philosopher and sweet-ass-name-haver Hakim Bey, refers to “temporary spaces that elude formal structures of control.” Building a TAZ can be a great protest tactic. You just pick a spot where your presence can disrupt something in need of disruption and build a town around it.

There was no strict hierarchy at Standing Rock. One of the first things we saw driving into the camp was a large series of tents set up as essentially a gigantic free closet full of winter wear for all who needed it. There were also camps, and sections of camps, dedicated to providing free coffee for all. There were camps which cooked meals with donated ingredients for everyone (we ate buffalo stew and buttered vegetables), and camps that handled recycling.

There were camps where both trained medical professionals and nonsense medical professionals were on hand to perform emergency medicine, give back rubs, and do whatever the fuck Reiki is. There was a camp of legal experts and a camp full of press liaisons. They weren’t hired for the event; they showed up, found other people with similar skills, and started doing whatever it is they did best. We considered starting a dick joke tent, but then assumed they already had one.

We did occasionally hear talk of “elders,” which got us all excited about the possibility of learning a new Dragon Shout, but it turns out they weren’t that kind of elder. One night, we heard an announcement over a bullhorn at the main fire that the elders had advised everyone to head back to their camps for the evening, since it might drop below freezing. It was advice, not an order. A liaison at a camp where U.S. Military veterans gathered to pool their skills told us they listened to advice from the elder council, “but we are here to serve the people, just as when we were deployed.”

How Standing Rock Gave Us Tactics For The New Millennium

Then we have Virginia Saenz. Let’s say one day you get a wrong number phone call from a total stranger. It’s a woman who leaves a nonsense message on your voice mail, addressing a person who doesn’t live there, with a message that goes something like this: “I can send you money for groceries, but that won’t leave me enough to pay my mortgage this month, and the house is already in foreclosure.”

Saenz, a real estate agent whose only connection to these people was that her phone number was a couple of transposed digits away from theirs, could have just deleted the message. Or, if she was motivated to be a good Samaritan, Saenz could have called the person back to let her know she had gotten the wrong number, so she’d know that the person she had intended to call would never hear her message.

But instead, Saenz called the stranger back and said, “I’ll take care of the groceries, don’t worry about it.” The lady, Lucy Crutchfield, had meant to leave a message for her daughter. Saenz contacted the daughter and bought her and her family enough groceries to get them through the end of the month, allowing Crutchfield to pay her mortgage.

There are people who make a habit of this sort of thing, by the way. In Tennessee, a group of nine women have been running a secret charity for decades, just prowling around the city looking for strangers who’d had their power turned off, or who had just had a death in the family, whatever. Then they’d sneak by their home in the wee hours of the morning and drop off envelopes of cash and a freshly baked cake. Over the decades they’ve dispensed nearly a million freaking dollars this way.

6 True Stories That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity

Clearing Up Misunderstandings, Part 3: Volunteer Treatment

I’ve noticed that people are starting to share ancient chat logs and out-of-context screenshots in an attempt to damage my reputation. I’d like to take a moment to share my side of the story.

“YandereDev treats his volunteers like they are disposable.”

There’s something you have to understand; I am disposable.

If someone is working for free, they can work at whatever pace they want. They can quit the project at any time they want. They can ask me to stop using their assets at any time they want. A free volunteer can dispose of me at absolutely any time. A volunteer might have to leave the project because they need to focus more on school, because they need to put in more time at work, because they’re having problems in their personal life, or because of any other reason. Any volunteer can drop out of the project at absolutely any moment, and I have to be prepared for that. Because everyone is a volunteer, nobody is bound to me or obligated to stay on-board the project, so I must to be prepared to replace someone at a moment’s notice. It’s necessary to view everyone as impermanent and have back-up plans. To a volunteer, I am as disposable as a tissue.

“YandereDev is a poor leader.”

Most games have multiple “Leads”. The Lead Programmer lays the foundation for the game’s code and oversees the work done by the other programmers. The Lead Artist determines the game’s art direction and oversees the other artists. The Lead Animator plans out all of the game’s animations and oversees the other animators. The Lead Writer writes the core of the game’s story and oversees the other writers. The Lead Designer is in charge of the game’s design and oversees the other designers. The Voice Director oversees the voice actors and makes sure every single line in the game is read properly. The Project Lead is in charge of the direction of the entire project as a whole.

In this project, I have to play all of those roles. I’m the Project Lead, the Programing Lead, the Art Lead, the Animation Lead, the Writing Lead, the Design Lead, etc. I have help from a voice director, but I’m still the one who writes lengthy descriptions for exactly how a line is meant to be read.

I’m not saying that I’m a god-like paragon of extreme talent and skill. I have plenty of flaws, there are many things I suck at, and I have a lot of room for personal improvement. When I talk about how many things I’m in charge of, I’m not bragging; I wish that I was only in charge of one aspect of the game, instead of being in charge of every single aspect of the game. Being in charge of so much work is stressful, and leaves me with almost zero free time to play video games.

Nobody alive can be a perfect leader 100% of the time, especially when they have the aforementioned number of responsibilities and duties. There are obviously going to be times when I stumble. Every leader stumbles sometimes. You learn from your mistakes, and keep going. But if I was a poor leader, I think this project would have collapsed months ago.

“YandereDev doesn’t communicate with his volunteers.”

I estimate that there are around 20 ~ 30 volunteers on the project at any point in time (sometimes old volunteers have to leave the project, and I’m reviewing new candidates daily, so the number is always in flux). Most of my time - as little as 4 hours a day, as much as 8 hours a day - is spent communicating with the volunteers. It’s not unusual for me to spend at least an hour writing an e-mail while I gather reference material and describe exactly what I need in explicit detail. I spend so much time communicating with my volunteers that I barely have any time left over to write code.

So, why do some people complain that I don’t communicate enough?

Some of the volunteers contributing to Yandere Simulator are industry veterans with years of experience and their names in the credits of prestigious games, and some of the volunteers are amateurs and hobbyists with no real experience in game development.

Some aspects of Yandere Simulator as so well thought-out and thoroughly planned-out that I could write an entire book on exactly what I need, and some aspects of the game are a low priority at this point in time, so I haven’t put much thought into exactly how the assets need to be built.

The experienced and skilled volunteers get the “I know exactly what I need!” tasks. The inexperienced and amateurish volunteers get the “Um, I don’t really have a clear plan for this…” tasks. I try to be up-front about this at all times, and I apologize whenever I fail to mention this in advance.

“Yandere Simulator’s development is plagued with drama.”

No, not really. In the 14 months I’ve been working on this game, there have only been about two instances of real drama. Most volunteers are mature, professional, respectful, take criticism well, and don’t waste my time. There have only been one or two volunteers who, sadly, didn’t match that description.

“YandereDev is constantly driving volunteers off the project.”

Some volunteers vanish without saying a word to me, some volunteers don’t communicate with me for weeks or months at a time because they are busy with other projects, and some volunteers don’t communicate unless I contact them first, so it’s difficult to know exactly who is “gone” who is “busy” and who is “on call”. I have no way to know how many people are currently involved with the project or how many people have left the project; I can only tell you that there are days when I communicate with volunteers for 8 hours straight, so I certainly have no shortage of volunteers, and on most days, I wish I had less.

To my knowledge, there have only been two members of the project who were publicly vocal about the reasons why they left. Anyone else who has left the project has been mature and professional enough to keep their reasons to themselves, instead of embarking on a defamation campaign.

Several volunteers are constantly telling me how much they enjoy working on the project, so I’m simply not getting the impression that Yandere Simulator is a shoddily-run project rife with drama. For every one person who leaves the project, I can assure you that there are at least two others taking their place.

Some of my volunteers have been working with me for over 5 months. Some of them have been working with me for over 12 months. If I was a nightmare to work with, I don’t think the project would have anyone volunteering for that long.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

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Happy Thanksgiving from the Bureau of Land Management!

We are thankful for our public lands and resources, and for the employees, volunteers and stewards who manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

Admin Note: That’s so wonderful to hear! To all you con-goers, remember to be kind and respectful of the people there! The volunteers are trying to make the experience an amazing one for everyone, and they work hard to do so! Make sure to give the volunteers and hotel staff your thanks, and spread the SPN Family love :)

Things I would do if you were mine..
-spoil you
-always put you first
-change things you dislike
-never cheat
-give you all the kisses and hugs you wanted
-trust you 100% and not judge you
-remain your best friend before anything else
-give you space when you need it but not let you go to sleep angry
-send cute goodnight/good morning texts
-stay on a phone call with you so you are able to fall asleep

Where would be without our amazing volunteers?! 

Fun fact: Almost 100 years ago, Planned Parenthood began as an all-volunteer organization. We’re so grateful for the compassionate and generous people who support and protect the vital services our health centers provide every day. We are constantly impressed by their dedication, passion, and energy. Thank you, volunteers, for helping to make our work possible.