by Gwynevery Golightly & Aero Bigboots
We’ve been talking with SLCS CIO Sayrah Parx about the possibility of updating the SLCS Rank Controller’s algorithm. About renaming it to The Cheerometer, changing it from terms of war to terms of community, and moving Spirit Points closer to their original meaning.
Even small adjustments or renaming will effect the whole squad. We encourage you to let us know in the comments at the bottom, or by in-world IM, or Discord, or any way you like, what your feelings and ideas on any of this are.
Cheer & Values
The SLCS Rank Controller’s current Spirit Points Algorithm can be both Gamed and Cheated. It is possible to gain massive “Spirit Points” without doing anything involving Cheer Spirit.
We believe that Spirit Points should be awarded for Cheer Spirit. For Performance, Interaction, and Community. The “work” of Spirit Points includes Performing, Being in Formations, Driving, Training Games, and sitting on Panels. The “play” of Spirit Points includes Wednesday Game Night, Friday Dance Parties, GNO, and RFL Fundays.
Gaming the Rank Controller
Standing alone on the sideline and doing many repeated vaults off the trampoline can currently generate a lot of Spirit Points. But it is not a Spirit Activity. It is also no longer a necessary squad skill since we no longer trampoline onto the stage and perform dance routines. Hours of vaults, while showing great determination and dedication is Gaming the Rank Controller. This loophole in the Spirit Points Algorithm should be closed.
Cheating the Rank Controller
Hours of vaults is a way to Game the Rank Controller. There is also a script sometimes passed between new cheerleaders to automate repeated vaults at rapid pace. The already meaningless act of thousands of repeated vaults can now be automated and accelerated. While this demonstrates ingenuity and might teach new cheerleaders the Linden Scripting Language (LSL) it is Cheating the Rank Controller. This loophole in the Spirit Points Algorithm should be closed.
SLCS’ talented and dedicated training team have a lot to accomplish in the short training time available. A “Training Month” might sound like a long time, but it breaks down to 3 hours of Training, 5 minutes of Driving, and Panels. In that short time there is so much to learn about performing and the Cheermaster HUD. Our current training is:
- 100% Technical
- 0% Sororal
- 0% Spiritual
We try to teach trainees as much as possible in this very short time. We encourage them to also come to Wednesday Game Night, Friday Dance Parties, and many other events.
Trainees are asked to “Friend” all other Cheerleaders. But we don’t emphasize community or spirit. The result is dozens of “blank” friend requests. Not even a
Hi, Gwen, I’m Aero, I’m a new trainee this month. How’s it going? Would it be OK if I friended you?
Trainees in their rush to membership only ever send perfunctory friend requests without even a “Hello”. While not the world’s worst problem, this is a perfect example of how we accidentally emphasize the technical over the sororal.
Cheerleading + Utopia = Cheertopia
It is worth remembering that the Second Life Region where Srooc Skytower Memorial Stadium lives is called “Cheertopia”. Cheertopia is a portmanteau of Cheerleading and Utopia. Heaven on earth. An impossible Camelot. A fictional, fantasy, dream-like place where all the Cheerleading values of enthusiasm, participation, community, and family are realized in their perfect form. That we allow new cheerleaders to believe that their worth as cheerleaders, avatars, and human beings is somehow based in their ability to rapidly accumulate massive Spirit Points is a great un-Cheertopian failure.
At core this failure is not an SLCS failure, a Second Life failure, or even an Internet failure. It is a human failure. Why does an MMORPG player in the Global North pay a player in the Global South to level their avatar up for them? Why do college students cheat to earn hollow degrees? Why seek a merit badge for a mountain you didn’t climb? This problem is a human problem.
We can close the loopholes in the Spirit Points Algorithm. We can do our best to not create new loopholes in the process. But it is at least as important to impart the true values of SLCS to our newest members. There are only 36 “bells” to ever be experienced in the life of an SLCS cheerleader. The goal shouldn’t be to experience them all in your first 36 days as a cheerleader and then be forever maxed out on levels. Our goal should be cheerleaders who love the spirit of the squad, who love time with each other, and who every now and then experience the added joy of “bells”.
The “Circle of Life” and “The White PomPom” as described below is one step in this direction. By making the ultimate cheer level (The White PomPom) indistinguishable from the beginner level we hope to put emphasis on the journey instead of the destination.
Current SLCS Rank Controller
SLCS Spirit Points System
Can the Spirit Points Algorithm be updated to better reinforce SLCS as it is today? Years ago we used trampolines to vault onto the stage and dance. Therefore training on trampolines at the stadium helped the squad. We don’t currently do this yet using the apparatus can still be heavily rewarded. By contrast, we do dance in Formation and need Drivers. Yet these are not rewarded beyond the standard “being nearby” Spirit Points.
Should we offer bonus points for Being in Formations? And for Driving?
Delivering Spirit Points
The process of delivering spirit point boxes is currently manual: Cheerleader A tells Cheerleader B to handout a spirit box to Cheerleader C for attending Event D.
Metrics have less opportunity to Level Up than Cheerleaders in Americas time zones. Should we offer a bonus point factor for participation during Metric Day (Americas night) hours?
The current Rank Controller has 6 Levels: Jr Cheerleader, Cheerleader, Jr Lieutenant, Lieutenant, Co-Captain & Sr Co-Captain
Each of the 6 Levels contains 6 Degrees, denoted in hovertext as 0 thru 5 stars of that Level, for a total of 36 degrees of Cheerleader
Ideas for a new SLCS Cheerometer
The terms “Rank” and “Control“, and Levels (ranks) like “Lieutenant” and “Captain” are all Military terms. Should we consider substituting terms of community for terms of war?
The Rank Controller could be renamed to something like:
We could replace all the Rank names with new Level names: Cheerleader I, Cheerleader II, and so on.
Each Cheer Level could have an associated PomPom color. As a cheerleader achieves a new Level they receive their pompoms of that color.
The Pom colors would not appear in hovertext, nor would they be used very often. Practices & Events would use the specified uniform poms just as we do now.
Once every 6 weeks the squad could try to have a “Levels Practice” where we wear the latest anniversary uniform, currently “SLCS 2022 0922 15th Anniversary Uniform”, and the color Poms for each cheerleader’s current level.
Circle of Life
In Judo a student climbs through belts of different colors to achieve the Black Belt. Then they progress through degrees of Black Belt. Finally, at the highest level, the master is awarded, once again, a white belt. The circle is now complete.
After Level 36: Sr. Co-Captain/Cheerleader VI ***** – Black PomPom, should we add a 37th and final Level? Here we could drop the Roman numeral after “Cheerleader” and simply award the “Cheerleader” level. Like the ultimate white belt in Judo, this final Cheerleader Level would come with White PomPoms.
The circle is now complete.
Time to Level
We currently have policies like:
To sit on a Panel you must have a Rank of Lieutenant and a minimum of 60 days service.
Such policies are necessary because the current Rank Controller does not include a time factor. If an updated Cheerometer included minimum days for the Levels, then we’d only have to say:
To sit on a Panel you must be at Level Cheerleader IV or above.
New Cheerometer Level Names & Times
|CURRENT RANK NAME||NEW LEVEL NAME||POM POM COLOR||DAYS REQUIRED|
|Junior Cheerleader||Cheerleader I||White||0|
|Junior Lieutenant||Cheerleader III||Green||60|
|Senior Co-Captain||Cheerleader VI||Black||365|
New Cheerometer Levels?
Other than the single 7th Level, or 37th Degree, in the table above, all of our proposed Levels and Spirit Points are identical with the current Rank Controller.
Would squad members like to add more levels? We’d always keep the existing levels and spirit points as is, but we could add new Levels above the existing ones. Each Level with 6 Degrees (0-5 stars). If cheerleaders would like to have even higher goals to level up to. Please let us know if you have thoughts.
One nice thing about the new Level Names is that they extend easily. With the existing names, if we wanted new Levels (Ranks) above “Sr Co-Captain *****” we’d have to add “Admiral” or “Sergeant Major” or something. With the new Level Names, if we want to add higher levels beyond “Cheerleader VI *****” we can simply add “Cheerleader VII” and “Cheerleader VIII” with 6 degrees (0-5 stars) each.
Bells, bells, bells!!
Revised Spirit Points System
Training Apparatus on Field
Eliminate or reduce points for this. If points are awarded, limit the number of points that can be earned in a day.
Basic Cheerleader to Cheerleader Spirit Points
The basic spirit point exchange between cheerleaders stays the same. Example:
- “Cheer Helper – v1.10: You gave everyone else near you 4 spirit points.”
Point Multiplier Factors
- The Cheerometer could listen to Cheermaster Commands.
- The Cheerometer could recognizes being in a Formation – 2x normal points
- The Cheerometer could recognize Driving (“start formation”) – 4x normal points
- The Desk in the panel room could send out a multiplier for Panel Members – 3x normal points
- Training Sister Game Apparatus – 3x normal points
- Points factor for practicing on Stage
- Points factor for Game Night
- Points factor for Metrics time zones
- To make that work multiplier objects have to send that factor in a regular interval (several minutes, like the rank controller) and the Experienceometer has to set back that multiplier to 1.0 in a similar interval to get back to “normal”.
- More than one multiplier at the same time won’t add up, the highest multiplier around would be used.
- A main switch to turn on/off the multiplier might be needed (imagine all cheerleaders hang around in the panel room for some reason)
- A wearable might be useful too, for example to be taken to a GNO or an Event, but of course only for the event responsible/organizing person.
- This could make point delivery boxes obsolete.
- Examples with Cheerleaders (2 base spirit points every 6 minutes):
- 1 Cheerleader -> nothing happens with or without multipliers, since 0 points receiving at all.
- 3 Cheerleaders who just stand around together: receiving 4 points each.
- 3 Cheerleaders in an active formation: Driver 16 points, driven: 8 points.
- 3 Training Sisters near a game: 12 points each.
Points for each Level
Replace “Lieutenant” etc, with Degrees of Cheerleader. This way the SLCS Experience-O-meter would always have the word “Cheerleader” over your head. For example:
|OLD RANK||NEW LEVEL||POINTS||DAYS||POMPOM|
|Jr Cheerleader||Cheerleader I||50||0||White|
|Jr Cheerleader *||Cheerleader I *||400|
|Jr Cheerleader **||Cheerleader I **||800|
|Jr Cheerleader ***||Cheerleader I ***||1,200|
|Jr Cheerleader ****||Cheerleader I ****||1,600|
|Jr Cheerleader *****||Cheerleader I *****||2,000|
|Cheerleader *||Cheerleader II *||4,000|
|Cheerleader **||Cheerleader II **||5,000|
|Cheerleader ***||Cheerleader II ***||6,000|
|Cheerleader ****||Cheerleader II ****||7,000|
|Cheerleader *****||Cheerleader II *****||8,000|
|Jr Lieutenant||Cheerleader III||15,000||60||Green|
|Jr Lieutenant *||Cheerleader III *||18,000|
|Jr Lieutenant **||Cheerleader III **||21,000|
|Jr Lieutenant ***||Cheerleader III ***||24,000|
|Jr Lieutenant ****||Cheerleader III ****||27,000|
|Jr Lieutenant *****||Cheerleader III *****||30,000|
|Lieutenant *||Cheerleader IV *||56,000|
|Lieutenant **||Cheerleader IV **||64,000|
|Lieutenant ***||Cheerleader IV ***||72,000|
|Lieutenant ****||Cheerleader IV ****||80,000|
|Lieutenant *****||Cheerleader IV *****||88,000|
|Co-Captain *||Cheerleader V *||150,000|
|Co-Captain **||Cheerleader V **||170,000|
|Co-Captain ***||Cheerleader V ***||190,000|
|Co-Captain ****||Cheerleader V ****||210,000|
|Co-Captain *****||Cheerleader V *****||230,000|
|Sr Co-Captain||Cheerleader VI||330,000||365||Black|
|Sr Co-Captain *||Cheerleader VI *||384,000|
|Sr Co-Captain **||Cheerleader VI **||438,000|
|Sr Co-Captain ***||Cheerleader VI ***||492,000|
|Sr Co-Captain ****||Cheerleader VI ****||546,000|
|Sr Co-Captain *****||Cheerleader VI *****||600,000|
|Queen of Egypt||Queen of Egypt||2,147,483,647|
The Cheerometer Hovertext over a cheerleader would read, for example:
Upon reaching Level 37 there are no further levels to achieve. This is where our SLCS Active Awards take over. At Thursday night practices Sayrah Parx presents years-of-service awards.
Do our Active Awards have parity for Metrics Cheerleaders?
Taylor Fairfield (taylortemper) has started tracking and presenting Active Awards for the Comets.
- February 2022 post on the Rank Controller: slcs-rank-controller
- Adding a time factor to the Rank Controller: gaming-the-rank-controller
- Posts about the Rank Controller: tag/rank-controller
- CheerAdmin by Taylor Temper: cheeradmin.org/dashboard.php
- Martial Arts Levels, Judo 12th Dan, and the White Belt: History of the Belt
- Wikipedia/Cheerleading: wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheerleading
- SLCS Website: https://slcheerleadingsquad.com
Cheerometer Call to Action!
Those are our ideas as they’ve evolved so far. The Rank Controller/Cheerometer is everyone’s! Please chime in the comments below and let us know your feelings and ideas on any of this.
What should the next steps be?
If changes are made, we’d like everything to be transparent.
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.