The following lines were written by Artimidor, Founder and Webmaster of the Santharian Dream as an introduction to our celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the Santharian Dream. Whether you're a development member and/or an RPG player, a Moderator or an Admin at any of the Santharian Message Boards, or just a visitor passing by - welcome to our 10th Anniversary special! Due to the occasion we have decided to make a special update for you, including things that usually cannot be found in any other update. - We hope you enjoy them as much as we did when putting it all together!

Greetings Santharians, long-time contributers or just recently arrived ones,
developers or role players alike... - It's Anniversary time! Again...

Five years ago I wrote a "Dreamy Anniversary Introduction" to prepare visitors to our Anniversary special that included a look back at the past five years, member voices that talked about their first experiences with Santharia, we had a "Did you know that..." page, a story and a spell made for that rare occasion, poems, and, and, and... This was indeed five years ago, but it seems as if it all happened just a few weeks ago. Caught up in development and improving the site here and there time literally flew by. Many of you that were around back then are still around today, be it on the role playing side or in development. Not everyone is around anymore of course, some have become less active, others more than before, or they have shifted their priorities to other aspects of the Dream. Others took a prolonged break, only to surprise us again with the reappearance. But those that are around still share the same Dream that was begun in the past millenium, as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Somehow this community has just become part of our lives.


Image description. A webmaster glancing over his notebook.

With this update day included, November 16th 2008, the project is no less than 3669 days old. In these days we lived through a lot of things, and those who have been part of the Dream around most of the time may remember all the ups and downs that went on. There were server downtimes and server moves, board troubles and board moves (that was more like a sport for a while as you can read in detail at this update's anniversary timeline), there were site hacks and virus threats, but also innovations in the making and there was trouble brewing among developers. But there were also developer gatherings, then of course happy events of team members in real life like births and weddings, but we should not forget about the tragedies that hit us hard and left us even more helpless as an online community in the face of realities that happened somewhere else on this planet.

All this is part of life as we know it, on- and offline, whether we like it all or not, but I can assure you that I, as Santharian webmaster, do my best to do everything for its continuation. There were very hard times as well to overcome, in personal life as well as related to the site that demanded all strength I could muster to get through it. But there were also always helping hands, of which I must be thankful, as they are pillars supporting the Dream. Bridges can only be built with the help of pillars. Often it hasn't been easy and I had to make a lot of personal sacrifices regarding time or energy, or both. There are times when I envy regular members who can contribute for a while, disappear whenever they choose, and show up whenever appropriate. On the other hand this has to be accepted and needs to be part of our development plans, as we're no company that pays its employees. We are a project that people are here for the fun of it, for the sake of achieving something in their spare time - team members like to get their stuff in, enjoy what they are doing. And they have real lifes, and that is perfectly fine. This should be in our minds, and as a consequence of that to provide the fertile ground for members to stick around, because it's different from sitting in an office with boring calculation tables.

I also had to make my experiences in these years: A webmaster is mostly taken for granted. Over the last ten years a lot has changed for me as well in the process of adjusting to that role, because what started for me as a fun project would change into something that required fulfilling duties and obligations. I've never seen myself in an actual leading role or as someone who tells other people what to do and how to do it. Yet that's exactly what I'm supposed to do, and in some cases this requires strong decisions as well in order to guarentee efficient progress. My primary goal however was from the start to make an entertaining and creative project, to let visions thrive, to help others to get to where they were trying to go, but couldn't on their own. As time went by things got much more complicated, the more complex the world became. At the same time an enthusiastic person needed to keep the project not only alive, but also going, active, someone needed to ensure all the time that there were regular innovations and that there was finalization in key issues - oh, and someone needed to do those regular updates and help that everything ran smoothly. Undoubtedly I grew into this project in a natural process, just as it evolved from its personal website it once was - and the person who once started off as a regular developer more and more had to deal with things he never thought he'd need to do.

A steep path

Image description. Sometimes one has to overcome a steep mountain path to see the Injr rising on the other side. Drawn by Bard Judith.

Thus the fun and personal enjyoment aspect of the Dream that was clearly predominant in the first years often took  a backseat and thus regularly results in stress nowadays, which I can actually get enough of at work anyway if I want to. Remember that the Santharian Dream is just a spare time project - for everyone, and that includes the webmaster as well, and therefore I urge everyone that we should have an eye at that. Santharia is not a scientific project and I personally, while trying to maintain important consistency, wouldn't take everything we develop dead serious. We should be aware that we're dealing with fantasy here, and that a lot more is possible in terms of fantasy, all we need is some creativity that shouldn't necessarily be based on Earthen concepts.

Sometimes we're drifting off in such areas, which also takes the fun out of developing and leads to dead ends, in terms of development and even relationships between team members - and I guess it would be good for everybody to approach things a bit more relaxed. Focusing on the fun part of the Dream, building relationships and drawing on our fantasy creativity to achieve something unique together should be among our priorities in the future as well, as it makes Santharia accessible and enjoyable. This is what Santharian contributers are here for, and we shouldn't disappoint them, as this is still the heart of the Dream, just as it was when it was created in 1998. We should be working on that and keep these values in our minds.

I'd also like to use this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to the project within the last 10 years, be it big or small, through an entry or a picture, by composing music or singing songs, or by just contributing an idea here and there. Even a small contribution that might seem overlooked finds its way into other entries when references are made and a solid net is constructed that is strong enough to hold the whole weight of the Dream. Special thanks go to our moderators, who have this often unthankful job of checking entries in their area of expertise when nobody else has time or interest in helping out with comments. Unfortunately this is another aspect of the fact that Santharia has become bigger, more detailed - and requires a lot of work already thate needs to be put into a single entry. It hasn't only become demanding for contributers to put something together, but also for others to comment on it. This means often that excellent entries don't get the necessary attention they deserve, which is a pity. The job of moderators shouldn't be to be the only ones commenting on entries in their Forum section, here I'd wish for still better cooperation between team members e.g. to help newcomers get their first entries accepted and confirm their work and inspire them for new contributions. But also don't forget about your fellow veteran developers, as you might know yourself: It's most fun developing if you're getting appreciation of what you do from others. Don't be too harsh with comments on others either - we all want to deliver better entries, and you'll achieve this goal much easier by giving constructive criticism.

Picture description. We've still got work to do, haven't we? Picture drawn by Quellion.

I guess I sound like a politician already... - Next time I should engage Tharoc for an introduction speech. He's cool and witty and with a warg at the side it's much easier to get some arguments across methinks.

Anyway, Santharia is still around and we plan to have it around for some more I'd say - that is if you all agree. I'm sure you all have lots of plans of what to do in the next months and years, and I bet there will be some brand new exciting stuff to dig into as well you have no idea of yet - but just don't forget to bring at least most of the things you've started to a conclusion as well. It's easy to get carried away, and of course that's also part of the fun around here in the Compendium halls - that there is always something you'd like to try your hands on. It's tempting to tackle many projects at the same time, but don't let your primary focus be neglected, and if so, make sure that others can pick up where you left and let their own creativity reign, so that it adds all up to something that brings Santharia further as a whole.

Okeydokey, and that concludes my anniversary speech, rant, inspiration, whatever you might call it. I hope you have time to look around at this anniversary update and enjoy the one thing or the other as much as all the contributers did by preparing it for you. Make the anniversary quiz, hunt for Jeremy, participate in Irid's and Rookie's adventures in Prague, sign the anniversary ditty or laugh your *beep* off at the Santharian blunders we've put together. And once you're done with I hope that you're energized enough for the next 10 years to come! In this regard: Happy anniversary and cheers!

Yours sincerely Santharian Webmaster,
Artimidor Federkiel

 Date of last edit 14th Dead Tree 1668 a.S.

Written by Artimidor Federkiel View Profile