(In this email: migrating Geas to Discord for the new semester, survey on the challenges to moving on-line)
The Eusa Societies Team has been in touch with us, and they are advising societies that cannot social distance at their events to move their activities on-line for the first semester. As there is still uncertainty as to what the University will look like in the forthcoming semester, and how Eusa venues like Teviot or Pleasance will be running, we have decided to move Geas on-line for the first semester of the forthcoming academic year. In the coming weeks, we will be making preparations to transition our activities on-line. We will monitor the situation going forward and see whether or not it will be feasible for us to return to meeting in person from the second semester based on the guidance from the University, as well as any relevant government restrictions or guidelines.
Migrating to Discord
What this means is that for the first semester, all Geas events will be held on-line on our Discord server. We have run a number of events on our Discord server, and we have subsequently moved our summer games on-line. We are confident that this should be viable, although we appreciate that the experience will be very different, and there will be a number of challenges to this. We would appreciate any feedback or suggestions our members will have.
For our Discord, this is what we are currently planning:
- Having designated public channels that will be open to everyone, as well as sections of the server which will be for paid Geas members only.
- Having server bots that will make the moderation and management of the server easier
- Running our regular weekly Wednesday and Sunday gaming slots on our Discord server at the usual times, with Committee members present to help if there are any issues.
- Having dedicated text and voice channels for all games run at Geas, along with dice bots so people can run their games on the Geas Discord without having to buy personal subscriptions for platforms like Zoom.
- Creating a system by which we can host our game pitches and sign-ups on-line in real time
- Hosting events like one-shots and/or socials, on our Discord.
- Custom commands for members to raise concerns or issues of their safety on the server or in their games.
You can join the Geas Discord here: https://discord.gg/9QCrnK6
Our plan is to make sure the Geas discord is as close a simulation to our regular, in-person activities as possible by moving our pitches, games and other events on to Discord. As with our usual events, we will have all of our Discord server open until after the first couple of weeks of term, when we will start enforcing membership and restrict the members’ only sections. We will also ensure that the on-line spaces on Discord will be a safe and welcoming environment, especially considering that for most people this might be the only interaction they have with Geas and other members. This will mean some revamping of our Discord and the way we run it, as well as some formalising of rules for the server to ensure consistency with our Society policies as well as Eusa’s guidelines.
We are planning to revamp the Discord server in two weeks’ time on 20 July. During this revamp, we will be closing down access to the Discord server for a couple of days while we rebuild all the channels, roles, and permissions for the server. If you are running your summer game on the Geas Discord, please be aware that this might cause some disruptions.
We welcome any feedback or concerns our members may have, as well as input on what features they would like to see implemented in the Discord.
Challenges of Moving On-Line
We acknowledge that playing games on-line won’t be the same as meeting in-person. Not only is it a different environment, but can be especially challenging for people with cognitive or sensory difficulties. Further to our preparations of migrating Geas activities on-line, we are also going to survey our members about their experiences of on-line gaming over the summer so that we can identify any challenges our members might face during this transition and support our members in addressing these concerns.
We will use information from this survey to plan how we organise our on-line events, as well as what adjustments we would need to make in order to make sure that they are as inclusive and accessible as possible.
You can find the survey here: http://geas.org.uk/onlinesurvey
While we acknowledge that moving Geas on-line is far from ideal, we believe it is the best option that we have in the current circumstances and avoiding risks to our members’ health. Moreover, this also gives us an opportunity for members of Geas who have moved away from Edinburgh to get involved with the Society’s events once again, and to participate in our weekly games or one-shots. We understand that there will be challenges to this, and hopefully we will all be able to deal with any such challenges proactively.
If you have any questions, concerns, or feedback, you are welcome to email us and a member of the Committee will get back to you.
You want games? We’ll give you games!
Equality and Wellbeing Officer, 2020-21.