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USS Sheppard NCC 76479 – A By-Laws

Version 1.1 Created by: Rich Lombardia 190609 Edited by: Kermie Mistwallow 190609


Note: This set of by-laws are limited to the crew of the UFS starship titled the USS Sheppard NCC-74679 -A. This does not supersede the rules outlined in the UFS membership manual or any other official UFS publication. This set of by-laws are written to enhance the administration of the ship by outlining what is expected by each member.

If at any time you find the laws written in here conflict with any laws written in any official UFS publication, then you should follow the laws from the UFS publication and immediately bring the discrepancy up to the commanding officer of the USS Sheppard for immediate action.

"General Expectations"

UFS is a fan-based organization with second life being a platform in which we role play as our Starfleet characters. Our expectations and your career advancement are tied together. Your Starfleet career can advance based on five criteria;

  • Time in grade
  • Attendance
  • Participation
  • Attitude
  • Fleet Activity

"Time in Grade"

This the minimum amount of time you are generally required to spend at a certain rank before you are eligible for the next rank. This is clearly outlined in the Promotions Manual and will not be reprinted here. The month you reach your TIG is the month we make the determination if we are going to put your forward for promotion.

"Attendance"

Our missions occur on a weekly basis. You are expected to make every effort to attend each week. A great deal of planning goes into these weekly roleplay missions. Your absence could end up negatively affecting the entire roleplay.

If you know in advance you are going to be absent, please let a member of the command staff know as soon as possible.

If you are going to be out for an extended period (longer than two weeks) then you should fill out an official leave of absence form (LOA) complete with your expected return date. After you complete the LOA, you should alert your department and the executive officer.

Attendance is recorded for every mission. Arriving late or leaving early is also recorded. Please be aware there is a pre-mission briefing that gives the officer in charge the opportunity to make announcements in addition to giving you direction regarding the upcoming mission. If you do not attend this pre-mission briefing or come late it counts as tardiness.

If you arrive 30 minutes or later to the ongoing mission you may not be allowed to participate. Arriving late to a mission is disruptive as your chief, the XO or CO must take time to catch you up.

If you are absent4 weeks in a row (excluding official LOAs) then you are automatically placed into non-RP status which pauses your time in grade. You will need to speak to the executive officer before being allowed to return to active duty.

If you are absent for six weeks in a row, then you are automatically removed from the ship. This means you are registered as active and unassigned.

Any department chief or assistant department chief who is absent4 weeks in a row (excluding official LOAs) will be removed as a department head or vice. You are also placed into a non-rp status. You will need to speak to the executive officer before being allowed to return to active duty. If you wish to be considered as a dept chief or vice you must re-apply to the command staff.

If you develop a habit of semi-constant tardiness (such as every other week) you may be removed from the ship due to lack of commitment. There are several ships/stations of the line that might better suit your schedule if you are having trouble attending weekly missions.

"Participation"

When you attend a mission, you are expected to participate in the capacity in which you are assigned. This means taking an active role as a Starfleet member in your chosen department, assignment or role. We all receive Starfleet training and take classes. You shouldn't stand around silently awaiting orders. Be familiar with your role and play it accordingly. If it's something that might affect the role play in an expected way, speak with your chief, the XO or CO (in that order) about it. You may, at times, be asked to play a role outside that of your normal Starfleet position.


"Attitude"

Attending roleplays with a positive attitude is important for crew morale. Our virtual world is an escape from the many difficulties and stressors of real life. The last thing any of us need is a crew member spreading negativity. As real-life humans we are not always in the best of moods. Negativity is contagious. You are expected to show up with a positive or at least neutral attitude, so you do not bring your ship mate’s mood down. If you are having a bad day and can’t leave that on the other side of the computer, then it would be appreciated if you excuse yourself from attending the roleplay. If you are being negative, you may be asked not to participate in the current mission or event.

"Fleet Activity"

Participating at the fleet level is not a requirement up through Lt. but it doesn’t hurt if you want to get started early. There are no paid members. This entire organization subsists on the generosity of its members and dedication of our time toward the daily administration. As you move up in the ranks you are expected to assist in a capacity that your RL skill set is suited. Usually around Lt. Cmdr. the promotion board is looking for Fleet level involvement. This could involve attending fleet wide events, taking additional classes or degrees, picking up a fleet job, teaching at the academy, or several other types of activity. Feel free to reach out to the command staff about what might fall under Fleet activity.

"Department Heads"

These are the requirements for a crew member to be a chief or vice chief of a department, should there be a need, any of these requirements can be bypassed at the discretion of the command staff. An acting chief can be appointed. Any officer chosen to be an acting chief will have to work toward completing the requirements at the earliest possibility.

Note these positions are part of the ship’s Senior Staff and come with additional responsibilities. Please review these prior to applying for a position and make sure you can perform all the duties required.

"Other considerations"

Also understand the command staff have authored the story arc and have a flow to each mission and to each story arc. You might have a good idea on how to thwart something or help in a given situation. Although impressed with your suggestions, we might find ways to turn your idea down. This is not personal but a necessary evil to ensure the arc continues as planned. If possible, we will incorporate your ideas into the resolution.


"LOA vs. Shore Leave"

A leave of Absence is a scheduled time away from UFS that can span a fixed length of time. During this time your TIG stops and resumes when you return. This is good for extended vacations, medical recoveries, and similar reasons. Shore leave is an unofficial term for you to take up to a two week break from UFS and allow your TIG to continue. This is not a UFS wide policy but a USS Sheppard policy. Please note if you have Fleet level responsibilities and plan to be away you should speak to your Fleet level CO regarding your absence. There are some caveats to taking shore leave. You should not be gone longer than the indicated time (max two weeks) You are not going on shore leave every other week You do not go on shore leave more than three times a year.

Consider this, with holidays we probably have about 40 missions a year. If you are gone for three shore leave stints each lasting two weeks, you will have missed 6 weeks or 15% of all the missions for the year.

Don’t confuse this term shore leave with our in-character shore leave when crew are allowed time off from the ship. Shore leave in the role play sense may be the basis for some missions.

We live in a digital age. Every UFS member has an email address associated with them. If at any time you are on shore leave that is going to go longer than expected, then you can always email your chief or a member of the command staff and let them know.

Positions of Responsibility

Aside from advancement in rank there are other ways a member can be rewarded for being part of the crew. Becoming a department head or vice department head are such ways. There are other unofficial but equally important positions one can aspire to achieve.

Senior Staff

The senior staff is made up of the department chiefs. There are senior staff meetings that are a mix of in character and out of character reports. This occurs once a month and is an extra responsibility you agree to take on when you accept the title of chief. If you frequently miss these meetings, then we may consider removing you from your position. If the time of the meetings doesn't fit with your real-life schedule, then bring this to the attention of the XO so it can be addressed.

"Chief of a Department"

To apply to be a department chief you need to satisfy the following requirements:

  • Be an active, graduated member
  • Achieve the rank of Lieutenant/Petty Officer 1st Class (PO1)
  • Have been aboard for at least 6 months
  • Have your ADP Associates
  • Have a good attendance record
  • Have a good participation record
  • Adhere to UFS Uniform Policy
  • Is prepared for the missions by having read the mission brief
  • Shows knowledge and aptitude of their dept and has the ability to direct and instruct others.

Responsibilities

  • Train new staff members and ensure they understand the responsibilities as it pertains to their department and the ship.
  • Ensure new staff members have everything they need to do their job. (uniform, tricorder, phaser and other tools.
  • Ensure those in your staff wear the uniform properly (including correctly formatted titler)
  • Give direction to those in your staff during missions.
  • Ensure your staff have tasks to complete during a mission. Especially important when no specific order is given from command.
  • Write promotion and award recommendations for those in your staff.
  • Be the link between the command staff and your department. This means bring their concerns to command and helping your department understand certain command decisions.
  • Follow up with your staff if their attendance, participation or attitude needs attention.
  • Attend senior staff meetings, write a monthly staff report and be prepared to assist in ship wide events.
  • Be prepared to take command if a situation warrants it. This applied both in character and out of character. This might mean the center seat on the bridge, taking command of another vessel, leading an away team, etc.

"Vice Chief of a Department"

  • To apply to be a department vice chief you need to satisfy the following requirements
  • Be an active, graduated member
  • Achieve the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade/Petty Officer 3rd Class (PO3)
  • Have been aboard for at least 3 months
  • Have a good attendance record
  • Have a good participation record
  • Adhere to UFS Uniform Policy
  • Is prepared for the missions by having read the mission brief
  • Shows knowledge and aptitude of their dept and can direct and instruct others.

Responsibilities

  • Be familiar with the responsibilities of the chief. You may need to step in during their absence or they may ask you to assist in certain areas such as writing an award recommendation or getting a new staff member setup. The vice chief position is not a senior staff position and usually will not be part of the monthly meetings.

If interested in either position you need to submit your interest, in writing, to the executive officer and commanding officer. Indicate that you are qualified for the position and a short (few sentences) as to why you think you should be considered for the position.

"Removal from Senior Staff"

There are a few ways an officer may be removed from their position. Voluntarily: An officer may decide at any time they are unable to fulfil the duties of a senior staff officer and step down. Removed by Command: If the Command staff feels you are not able to fulfil your duty as a senior staff member they can remove you from your position. You are entitled to know why this decision was made. Command staff will attempt corrective measures prior to removal from office. Removal due to disappearance: Any senior staff officer that is absent from a ship for 1 month (4 weeks in a row) with no contact will automatically be removed from their position. A leave of absence that will extend to 1 month and beyond will also result in a removal from the senior staff position.


"Command Staff"

The ship’s command staff includes its commanding officer, executive officer and second officer.

"Commanding Officer"

More information regarding how a person is appointed as CO and their responsibilities can be read in the Commanding Officer manuel.

Some things to consider

  • Commanding officers dedicate a great deal of time to UFS and their ship. They put in several hours of work each week. Their donation of time increases with their Fleet responsibilities.
  • A great deal of planning goes into each mission. Many times the CO is relying on your attendance. When you are absent that might negatively impact the entire mission.
  • A CO is not paid to do their job. On the contrary they pay real money to host ship for the crew to roleplay aboard. Although pricing varies, a quarter sim costs approximately $80 USD a month.
  • Each mission may or may not be part of a larger story arc. Usually there is an intended resolution. You are encouraged to be creative in your role plays but don't get angry or discouraged if your ideas are turned down on a given mission. There is usually a good reason that is not apparent yet.

"Executive Officer"

The XO is the direct link between the Captain and the crew. They are the Captain’s shadow and the person that would fill in for me (both in character and out of character) should I become unavailable for any reason.

They are also the person that will primarily be appointed to lead away missions or other teams with specific purposes. Some things to consider Executive officers also dedicate a great deal of time to UFS and their ship. They put in several hours of work each week. Their donation of time increases with their Fleet responsibilities. The captain has a lot going on during the mission. Some of the responsibility of the mission is passed on to help alleviate the chaos. This is both in role play and behind the scenes. The XO is privy to certain mission and story arc specific information the rest of the crew is not. This means at times they will lead you into a course of action and deny alternatives that are suggested. It’s nothing personal but there is usually a reason behind it and the XO doesn’t have the time to explain it while trying to move a mission along.

"Second Officer"

The second officer is an appointed senior staff member that has an added level of responsibility at the command level when the situation warrants it. They can be asked to lead entire missions, lead away missions, become acting or permanent XO should the current XO need to step down, they are also pulled into ship command meetings. This gives them some additional information during missions. The second officer may be chosen or there will be a call for interested senior staff officers.

In order to apply to be the second officer you need to satisfy the following requirements: Be an officer

  • Achieve the rank of Lieutenant
  • Have been aboard for at least 6 months
  • Have a good attendance record
  • Have a good participation record
  • Shows up in proper uniform
  • Is prepared for the missions by having read the mission brief
  • Shows knowledge and aptitude of their dept and can direct and instruct others.
  • Work well with the command staff

"Unofficial Ship Positions"

Ship Historian

The ship historian is the keeper of the USS Sheppard history. Duties include: Maintain the USS Sheppard History Record new events and help ensure accuracy in the Sheppard timeline. Assisting or creating new Classes to teach the Sheppard history.

Yeoman/ Captain’s Aide

The yeoman is the ship’s secretary and assistant to the Captain. Duties include: Maintaining the Sheppard's Calendar Sending out reminders and information via email and notices Keeping minutes at meetings Maintains attendance for missions and events Collecting chat logs from missions and events

Quartermaster

The Quartermaster is responsible for crew needs including: Assigning crew members quarters Maintaining the crew quarters tracking document Making sure all crew have their uniforms, equipment and combadges

"Missions and communication"

Missions occur once a week. There is generally an in-world notice that has a note card or link to the Forum that has mission briefing with in character and out of character information. Always assume we are having a mission unless there was a notice that specifically stated a cancellation. (Even if no briefing was sent) You are responsible for reading the entire briefing. It has relevant information such as where we are meeting, the uniform of the day and other important out of character information. Please do not ask questions in group or local that are asked in the briefing. This proves you didn't read the briefing. If this becomes a problem, then perhaps the Sheppard is not the ship for you.