I’m excited to announce a new project that our member advocates will focus on during the coming months – a community roadmap.
LARP organizations are unique creatures in function and business model. Regardless of whether they are for-profit or not-for-profit, LARP clubs straddle the line between providing a service and shepherding a community. In addition to fostering a collective game of make believe, LARP organizations must also tackle difficult social topics: inclusion, the creation of safer spaces, and navigating situations where out-of-game traumas bleed into the gaming community.
This becomes especially challenging given the subject matter that can come up in World of Darkness LARPs, where the setting explores the darker sides of society and the human psyche. These are issues that our real-world leaders often struggle with handling, yet we place expectations on the organizers of our LARP groups – who often lack professional training – to navigate these topics. This is further compounded by the reality that there are those who are heavily invested in our hobby who may have not developed the communication skills necessary to provide actionable feedback about emotionally charged situations in ways that come across as assertive rather than aggressive.
I’m inspired by the work that has been done so far by the Dystopia Rising LARP organizers and members in putting together protocols for creating a safer LARP space and dealing with issues of conflict and harassment within the community. I feel that we can learn a lot from what they have done, and tap that experience in further developing our own community framework.
I’ve asked our Member Advocates – Doug, Jordan, and Rachael – to work with me in developing a community roadmap for our organization. The idea behind a roadmap is that it serves as a guide to get from where you are now to where you want to be in the future. Much like a roadmap used in travel, this can include places (behaviors) to focus on, and ones to avoid. Here are the topics that I feel are necessary for a community roadmap:
- How we as a club define “community”, and what each member’s role and responsibility is in building that community. This includes responding to incidents where we witness others acting in ways that are detrimental to the spirit of community.
- How we as a club define a “safer space”, and what each member’s role and responsibility is in creating such.
- How we express and acknowledge consent within a LARP environment, and handle incidents of breeches of consent at community events.
- How we define and respond to incidents of harassment and assault (building upon our current processes).
Thank you to our Member Advocate Team for being willing and eager to take on this project. If you would like to proactively reach out to them to offer assistance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
President, The Hidden Parlor