by Kyar Chi, Jenna, Heavenly Angel Moon, Gwynevery Golightly & Aero Bigboots
Feedback, Thank You!
Many cheerleaders have given insightful comments, thank you everyone! Below are:
- Cheerleader Comments on the “Cheerometer” proposal
- Info on Gwyn’s “Cherrymeter” demo
- A Survey you can fill out! We’d like to gather more, and more detailed, feedback from The Squad.
About the comments
- Comments came from many directions — in-world messages, notecards, group notices, Discord posts, Twitter, and so on. In case anyone doesn’t want their name attached, we are making all the comments anonymous. They all came from SLCS Cheerleaders.
- If you sent a comment and it’s not here, apologies! Please send it again and we’ll add it.
- If you haven’t commented yet, but would like to, you can send it to one of us and we’ll add it.
I love what you wrote. [Meet the Cheerometer] You really understand motivation. I agree that the current terms are military like. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing since so many cheerleaders are interested in power and control. I potentially like the color pompoms. But I fear they could be a confusing mess. I’m OK with them if you can make it not a disaster. I like the “Circle of Life” idea, but I actually prefer that we have not 36 levels but possibly infinite levels! Once people hit max level they lose interest or quit. I kind of want it to go on forever.
I agree with your ideas, but want to go further. I also dislike Apparatus Points and Military Names. And want to permanently turn off Rank Controller hovertext. It looks “2010ish” and is especially ugly when we’re all performing. I’d rather just let you click someone else’s Rank Controller and tell you their Rank & Months if you want to know.
Let Degrees within a Level be automated as you’ve proposed. But make advancing from Level to Level NOT points based. Instead that should be based on Letters (notecards) that Senior Members put in your file. Sort of a “vote” like a Panel that the co-captains want Cheerleader X to join them as a Co-Captain. And then when you do advance from Level 2 to Level 3, it should be a big event! Like passing Panel or induction into Ring of Honor, a thing announced and celebrated with the squad.
Don’t forget that this indirectly leads to another task: Update all the documentation (training material, etc.).
We could switch the cheerometer into silent mode while performing.
When working with Cheerleader Participation Data let’s be sure to keep everyone who uses the data in the loop. Sayrah, Taylor, and others should be in the loop. Let’s not mess up other projects.
A few quick thoughts about rank system proposals:
- We all should have a voice in giving our thoughts. I think it will be most productive to pick a small subset of cheerleaders to make final decisions. These members should consist of a majority of NEWER members of the squad, who have proven active desire to be part of the squad long term – so people here 2-5 years, and active throughout, I’d say. Why? Because I believe newer people won’t be so tied to old systems. For whatever reason, it helps to keep emotions out of things. How to choose the deciders? That can be a Ring of Honor meeting, where the list is decided, etc. Whatever. Just choose a way of deciding the deciders that appears fair to the members at large.
- We should give serious consideration to getting rid of rank altogether! Give CoCapt based on attendance over time – Sayrah keeps track of active months and Sr CoCapt based on taking leadership roles in squad (to get it ‘quickly’) or a longer period active in squad. It’s simple. Easy to do, etc.
- Ultimately, remember that rank should be the least important thing we think about. And if it is causing trouble/consternation, then again – consider dumping it altogether…
- Get rid of the tie between ‘rank’ and ‘abilities in group’ whatever is done. It was a mistake to tie them together. Make a floating titler show rank… not the group title.
The notecard has some good ideas but I think it’s important that we not degrade those who used training devices to rank up as “cheaters”. Everyone gains a large measure of their points that way. If they choose to put in the effort (and it is real effort) to not stretch that out over a long period of time, that is actually quite the opposite of cheating. It is initiative, which should be rewarded broadly as a virtue.
Queen of Egypt
I respectfully disagree that the one-week Sr Co Capt. is using the field equipment [incorrectly]. Someone with a basic knowledge of scripting can “sniff” the command and make herself Queen of Egypt in about a minute with time to spare. It took me 2 months to hit 5-Star Sr Co-Captain, though I had the Sr in a month. I was VERY focused on earning the rank though, and most don’t do that. In any event, there are ways to secure the system. let’s see if we can do that, rather than throw the baby out with the bath water.
See a Sr. Co-Captain for the last point?
Maybe the points that give you bells have to come from a Senior? That is, you’re at 299,999, ready to jump to Sr Co-Captain and your controller notifies you to find a Sr Co-Captain for a promotion. This would serve to limit the speed, would ensure others are around to celebrate with you, and would allow the adding of new tags as appropriate.
The same would apply for Jr. Cheerleader to Cheerleader. And for Jr. Lieutenant to Lieutenant, and so on. Just as we welcome new trainees, new grads, etc, we could do a welcome notice for new levels.
If someone is gaming the rank controller with a script, it would be obvious when they change not only multiple stars but multiple ranks in a short time. I am aware that some people rank quickly; I made Sr Co-Captain in 30 days and had my 5th star in 30 more. That, however was with a crap-ton of grinding to earn those points. At least two senior to me made it all the way in 30 days. One of them told me it was kind of a competition between them at the time. I support that. Competition like that keeps people honest. In addition, I like people being at the stadium to answer questions and welcome people.
How long to Level Up?
I don’t care much one way or the other, as I’ve earned my points the right way…. that said, if we’re going to remove the field equipment as a way to earn the points…. We should replace it with something else. Just getting points from others is far too slow, IMHO.
Military Ranks? Get over it.
One of the issues on your site had to do with the “military” names of the ranks. Put me squarely in the camp of “get over it”. That the names are military in origin is a non-issue, and being oh-so-offended that the names are the same. It’s like telling a hearing-impaired child that his “name-sign” was not allowed as it looked too much like a gun. RL cheer squads refer to their leader as cheer captain, or perhaps “head cheerleader”, and that latter would have wholly different connotations of a not-girl-next-door variety. You will notice that I did not include the “we’ve always done it this way” rationale, as I don’t value that, nor do I think anyone should. Now, does my opinion matter in this, in the grand scheme? No more than anyone else’s. I would hope, however, no less either.
Anyone who has been in SLCS for more than a few months is fully aware that rank has no true meaning. Personally, I see absolutely no problem with this. I think we should avoid all appearance of elitism which is all-too-common in RL cheer squads. Rank is just something to take personal pride in.
I’d love to see the ranking extended beyond Sr. Co-Captain all the way to 5 star Sr Joint Chiefs of Staff.
As far as the roles in the SLCS group, I have no problem releasing the influence rank has on them; as I said earlier rank has no true meaning. I DO believe, however, that all members should be able to post group notices and change the radio stream. To prevent this from being abused there should be a role above the “Everyone” role, named “Cheerleader”. When you pass Panels you are granted this role.
If you abuse group notices or stream changing you can be demoted to the Everyone role.
As for who has a voice, I believe we are all equal; one person, one voice. While I have personally been a victim of the “We’ve never done it that way before” mindset, I feel it is wrong to silence those who feel this way.
I love your proposal [Meet the Cheerometer]! It’s so smart! But “Black” pom poms? Why not Pink poms!? [suggestion to use colored poms, but not need to follow martial arts belt colors, instead use cheer friendly colors like Lavendar, Teal, and PINK!]
What if the gym equipment points capped at next level -10, and you could only bell from a point bok or another cheerleader? Just my view that bells should be cherished by people around you.
These are the thoughts of a sister who has lost all interest in the spirit points due to prior actions of an individual. I believe with a restructure, spirit points could be beneficial for the cheerleader and the squad.
Also, I understand that there are a lot of sisters who have earned their points, ranks and reputations. I do not wish to take anything away from their hard work and efforts.
Rank should have Meaning
- Too many Co-Capt, Lt…etc. Suggest rank associated with billet, i.e- Co-Capt head of Training or Training Co-Capt. or with experience, i.e. expert driver, or knowledge.
- Ranks, LT, Co-Capt, etc should denote position, not time, the time indicator indicates tenure, rank should not
- Let’s associate Rank with skill or knowledge. For example, the ability to pass an exam at certain levels of knowledge. Or the ability to expertly drive the squad (maybe advanced driving skills test)
- One Capt – Christi Charron (a ship only has one Capt or maybe Christi should be the one and only Admiral) and then one Captain for each squad and two for SLCS (one each for the regular squad and Metrics squad)
- One or two Co-Capt per squad (following the above).
- Structure – Three different structures are mentioned . Military rank structure (current), cheerleader structure (not used) and martial arts structure (mentioned). Personally, I like the cheer structure ( Capt, Co-Capt, cheerleader, Trainee), but that might create hostility.
- Spirit Points should not affect/relate to rank. Because a sister can gain points using the apparatus or being with other sisters, it is not an indication of gained knowledge or skill. Maybe one way to indicate a trainee is ready for panels is to use the Spirit points and reach a certain level to go to panels… shows dedication and desire. Example – using the bots to train or practicing on the field at the stadium (maybe points for using the CM?)
- points for game apparatus – eliminate – while it shows determination, there is no benefit, i.e, only helps the sister rank up faster. Spirit points should be gained for activities that help the sister gain knowledge and experience.
- Rewarding Spirit points: maybe hair bows or patch/badge for the uniform in the different colors (like martial arts belts)
Suggest not returning to white as a senior as it can create confusion between novice and expert. However, I do understand the “circle” concept.
- If continuing to use a rank system I suggest limiting the amount of points per activity. For example, using the apparatus can only account for 1/4 of the total points to rank up. Event driving 1/2 total points, 1/4 for attending events (being around sisters). Doing it this way, an individual cannot rank up from just jumping (as is currently the most common activity). It will require a mix of activities in order to rank up and additionally, it will provide experience and knowledge in order to gain rank.
I like the direction you and the other sisters are heading. To me, rank denotes overall knowledge and experience, not the ability to repeat a single activity over and over and still not know much if anything about cheerleading, the CM or any of the multitude of things to know about SLCS. My loss of interest in spirit point comes from the realization that rank does not currently mean that a particular sister, while high rank, may know less about SLCS than I do or may not be able to answer “advanced” questions. I feel I still have a lot to learn as there are so many aspects to SLCS life to know and experience to become a well-rounded SLCS Cheerleader.
I think you are totally right on this point. Spirit points should be exactly that, points for spirit in its many forms. At the end of the day the points should enhance and reward the creation and maintenance of the spirit of community within the squad.
The trampoline’s day has passed and it should be retired except for training if someone decides to bring back vaulting onto a stage. The same for the other apparatus.
I say this as someone who gamed the system myself. I was told that to fully participate in the events and duties within SLCS I needed to be at least a Lieutenant in rank. The ability to give back is something I aspire to do, so off to the trampoline I went. I felt guilty doing it, I could almost feel Sayrah “judging” from her perch above the seats.
Then I would look at the ranking display and see squad mates I truly admire with numbers of jumps in the several thousands. Feeling in good company I would bounce for a bit until I could feel those eyes on me again. In the end, the feeling was exactly as you described… empty. Yes, I was a Lieutenant but what did that mean? “Nothing,” was my conclusion and so I resolved to not bounce again and let my rank accumulate organically, doing the things I should have been doing in the first place.
As a final nail in that coffin I found that my time on the apparatus was wasted as, beyond rank, there is a time limitation that must be fulfilled before being invited to participate in panels and the like. So here I sit with a rank that I feel I did not earn, guilty enough that the display remains hidden for at least another month when such a level could have been earned.
Again, I have to agree. The Trainers pack a lot into classes! And the Training Sisters reinforce content with Training Games. Still, this is purely technical skill. There is a small sororal sense between classmates and the occasional cheerleader that makes herself available in the aid of a trainee.
The out-of-class events are a good way to meet other cheerleaders. And there are several to choose from. I was encouraged to friend everyone I met in the squad. If I wasn’t quick on the “friend” button, those I met sure seemed to be. Now I am about 2 months in from starting training and I have 80 SLCS friends. But honestly, I have spoken less than 20 words to well over half of them. I would agree that this emphasis is in the wrong place.
We are human and we do chase labels and titles. Ephemera that allows us to pat ourselves on the back and say, “look at me.” Closing the apparatus gaming and the cheat codes is excellent. However, I also agree that it is our instinct to want the shiny that makes us special. I support a system where spirit is rewarded and active time in the squad acknowledged.
Spirit and reward
I like having a list of activities that focus on delivering the desired values of Cheertopia. Training, assisting, and mentoring of trainees. Mentoring of rookie cheerleaders and providing additional training to them. Driving and being in formation in practices and performances. These activities require time and effort and should be rewarded. They promote our core values. Coming to performances, watching, and attending events is a more passive activity and cheerleaders can be rewarded with passive points.
Cheerleaders outside the US are at a disadvantage in attending events and classes. I’m not against a “points multiplier” to level the field. That said, there are issues even for US based squad members with classes and performances occurring in the middle of work days. Making the playing field absolutely level would be a near-impossible task.
The Meter and Ranking
Cheer-O-Meter sounds deliciously campy and I love it.
The proposed ranking system of Cheerleader (rank x) I think works great, with the pom colors. The only issue I think is the absentee squad mate. Someone graduates and then disappears for 6 months. If there is only a time requirement and no “spirit” requirement, they return as Cheerleader V. I think it needs to be hybridized.
Revised Spirit Point System
Cheerleader to cheerleader passive point system is great and works well to create the right mindset of community. Points based on Cheerleader level is what I would support.
Multipliers are an easy way to automate the system. They remove the need for submitting reports and someone handing out points. I like the proposed system and multipliers.
I love the chart with the levels with time and points. We can store points in a “bank”. And then when both the points box AND the time box are ticked, bells will ring.
Welp, that’s all from my brain. Your blog was really inspiring and pointed out many of the things that I WANT the SLCS to be. Some squad-mates and I are helping trainees. We’re making it our mission to make sure they feel the sisterhood of SLCS. And, importantly, even after graduation we want them to know that they have a support structure and people that want them to grow and thrive as SLCS cheerleaders.
Thank you for organizing this survey. I do not have any strong thoughts on this issue either way and would go with the majority. My only concern would be if we decided on a system which divided squad members into 2 distinct and unrelated structures.
I am happy to expand on my thoughts and feelings but I find the multiple choice question format a little limiting. Again, thank you for investing your time to improve the Squad’s arrangements.
The Cherrymeter Demo
We made a new rank controller demo called CherryMeter to give an idea. It’s a wearable “Halo”. It provides a menu on touch where you can simulate your Level (“Rank”) and Sub Level (“Degree” or “Stars”) and choose between different display options. The CherryMeter shows the current points in brackets as well.
The CherryMeter exchanges points with others around. It’ll be more fun if you have some company to try it out. 🙂
The CherryMitter might be the most important part of the concept. It is a script/item that will send out bonus factors in a given range and for a given time, “amplifying” the exchanged points. Example Scenarios:
- Participating in a Formation
- Sitting on Panels
- Cheer Games
- Game Night
- Attending Classes
Message Gwynevery Golightly in-world to get demo copies of CherryMeter & CherryMitter (they’re fun to play with! 🙂
SLCS Levels (“Rank Controller”) Survey
I’ve worn many hats and tried on many identities as an avatar. I’ve been young and I’ve been old. Skinny and full-figured. Black and white. And red and green. A cheerleader and a derby girl. A barista and a host. I’ve seen so much love and beauty, so much desire, so much hunger for love and connection in the virtual world. I’ve seen that hunger and need expressed in unhelpful and destructive ways. Ways that can make living in this world as frustrating as living in the first life we came from. I’m touched by the tiny acts of kindness that surround us every day. If we can make it here, we can make it anywhere.