The Barracks Manifesto was written on May 12, 2008.
man·i·fes·to /ˌmænəˈfɛstoʊ/ [man-uh-fes-toh]
–noun, plural -toes.
a public declaration of intentions, opinions, objectives, or motives, as one issued by a government, sovereign, or organization.
Definition retrieved from www.dictionary.com.
Table of Contents
- Who We Are
- Our Beginnings
- What We Are Now
- What We Stand For
- Where We Are Going
Who We Are
The Elite Guard Barracks is a long-standing club on Newgrounds that has withstood the test of time and overcome adversity. Being almost 2 1/2 years old, we have come very far from our humble beginnings. Our club has changed drastically in that time, and we have taken up the goal of protecting the Newgrounds Portal. We have been doing so for a long time, and has become integral to us and our goals. What this Manfesto is here for is to document our past, present, and future, and cement our common goals as a club and declare our intentions for the future.
The Elite Guard Barracks was started by EagleRock, then an Elite Guard Sergeant. In an effort to provide those on Newgrounds that loved B/Ping, protecting the Portal, and were of Elite Guard status with a place that they could share their interests with others on Newgrounds, the Barracks thread was started on 11/29/05. The requirements for membership back then were very simple: have a minimum of 1,500 Blam/Protection points which granted you the rank of an Elite Guard Private. The selectivity of the club, its simple concept, and the fact that no club like it came before it make the Barracks popular fro the start. However, our club's intentions and goals were also put under the gun right away, as moderators questioned whether our club was intended solely as a "blam club," a useless chat room, or even just a duplicate of another club.
Despite these early questions, the Barracks was allowed to survive by the moderators, and an early pool of members started to join. The club turned out to be very popular among heavy B/Pers, and gained many members. It was so popular, in fact, that the idea actually spilled over into a new club started at that time, the Newgrounds Police Department. The NGPD was quite similar to ours, in that it had one requirement: having a rank that consisted of one of the Police Department Badges, from Police Officer up to Police Captain. The rationale of the NGPD's creator, Mr_Crawford (then called DarthMalentus), was that the police officers of NG should have a location of their own that they could go to without being pushed around by any Elite Guards.
This, naturally, disturbed EagleRock from the start, as he contacted the NGPD and let them know that "pushing around police officers" was not our intent. The two groups discussed their goals and, seeing as the clubs were so similar, they became allies right from the start. Having our first ally and a decent roster of Barracks members gave the Barracks a strong beginning, which would help towards an even stronger future.
As time went on, the Barracks allied with other Newgrounds clubs, such as the Newgrounds Mafia and the Newgrounds Department of Defense. By then, the Barracks also had officers put in place, like EagleRock, serving as the Chief Barracks Officer, Major_punk as the Barracks Records Officer, and Phantom serving at the Barracks Relations Officer. Time would indeed be good to the Barracks, as it soon grew to the full size it is now, gained all the necessary officers, started its own forums, and became quite reputable in its own regard.
However, the Barracks was missing one thing at this point: a true purpose. While the goals of the Barracks were perfect for its humble beginnings, it would surely not last for the future. Indeed, finding a true purpose of the Barracks would not be difficult. Since the club was started for those that enjoyed B/Ping, it would naturally flow that our goals were to protect the Portal. However, doing so would not be so simple as just B/Ping and getting as many points as possible, but changing the way we voted to be fair to all flash, and give every flash that came across a member's plate a fair vote.
This worked out very well for the Barracks and charged our members even more towards our cause. Members worked towards protecting the Portal for a nobler cause than just "stat-whoring" and hording as much B/P as possible. We took it upon ourselves to truly protect the Portal, and forgo B/P points in the process. This was all in an effort that one day, the scales would be tipped against mass-voters and spammers on the Portal, taking away the power they had on Newgrounds and let those that voted fairly get the points, rather than those supporting the spamers.
This cause, of course, met with great adversity. Spammers, spam groups, and other BBSers alike took to attacking our Barracks and calling us "kissasses" and "goody two-shoes" on Newgrounds. This even caused our thread to be threatened to be closed by moderators again, as trouble often stirred up in our Barracks. However, the officers managed to smooth things over again and keep our thread alive.
As time went on, the Barracks came across other adversities, including inactivity of important members, officers, and even the Chief Barracks Officer. However, the Barracks kept alive despite all these hurdles, and continued to be the great club it is today. The Barracks stands as a testament to the persistence of its members and their dedication to the ideals of the Barracks.
What We Are Now
The rich history of the Barracks makes it something its members can be proud of. Despite all we've had to deal with, we are a group that is still dedicated to protecting the Portal and the ideals it came to embrace. Today our club stands as one of the most active and oldest clubs around. Our highly active users have also made our club one of the most posted-on in Clubs and Crews, and certainly one of the most seen.
Indeed, the ideals we have embraced long ago are finally coming to light on Newgrounds, as Wade Fulp has started initiatives on stopping the spam issues that Newgrounds has had for a long time. Since Clock Day '07, it seemed that spam did not stop since that day, and has been a serious problem since. However, now that Wade and others on Newgrounds recognize the problem, it seems great head-way will be made into stopping the issue once and for all. As always, the Barracks will be right there to help stop it.
What We Stand For
The Barracks has always stood for protecting the Portal and being active on Newgrounds, giving aspiring flash artists a chance to receive good feedback, fair voting, and a proper chance to get their flash seen by the world. However, we do not just stand for voting like crazy and getting every point in sight. Indeed, our goals are higher than the selfish ones of the traditional Newgrounds "stat-whore."
We stand for giving every flash a fair vote, no matter what. This means every single flash should be viewed to its full length, and evaluating it fairly. This means not voting on a flash based on what you think it will get, it means giving it what you feel it deserves. This means not just voting 0 or 5 on a flash to maximize your potential of getting the point. This means discarding any biases on the flash artist. You should not auto-protect the flash if they already have flash on the portal, or auto-protect (or auto-blam) the flash if it comes from a particular flash group. Even if the artist has a propensity to submit spam, they still deserve a fair vote.
We stand for protecting the Portal in every way possible. This doesn't mean just voting on every flash. It means giving flash artists the reviews they need and the constructive criticisms that will help them improve. It means flagging flash that do not follow the rules of Newgrounds, and flagging rule-breaking reviews. Flash artists work hard to get their work on Newgrounds, and they deserve no less than the ability to post their work on a Portal that will help them progress in the art.
We do not tell anyone how to vote, no matter what. This is paramount to our ideologies, as we are against practice mass-voting and using unallowed means to get flash on the Portal. This means we do NOT tell anyone to blam or protect a flash for any reason. We do NOT direct them or bias them towards any particular vote. And lastly, we are NOT a mass-voting group. The closest the Barracks will ever get to telling someone how to vote is telling them to vote what they feel the flash deserves. A flash may be given anything from 0 to 5 by different voters, and they should be able to vote what they feel is right and fair without criticism from others.
We are not against any group of flash artists, no matter what. While this may seem counterintuitive to us being against mass-voting and spamlike flash, it is not. Many groups have spammed flash on the Portal at one point or another, but that does not represent the intentions of the entire group. Also, if the group has decided to not spam the Portal with flash and submit real art, then they deserve a fair vote like everyone else. This is indeed the fairest way to vote, and it applies to everyone.
These ideals are what separate us from the rest of Newgrounds, as we are committed to the fairness and protection of the Portal for everyone. It gives the aspiring artist a way to get their flash evaluated fairly, it keep the Portal clean of malicious flash or spam, and gives everyone a fair vote, even those that have spammed in the past. No one is perfect, and we all make mistakes. Therefore, our mistakes should not affect the present. This is what will make for a greater Portal in the future, and what will make Newgrounds a better place than ever.
Where We Are Going
The Barracks has a great history, and has an equally great present. However, the future for the Barracks is not for keeping things the way they are, but making them better. We will continue to fight for the ideals that we stand for, and we will stand by our allies and make Newgrounds the best place it can be. The Barracks, as great as it is, isn't perfect, and always can stand for improvement. Therefore, it is important to have plans for the future.
The Barracks will be run more openly and clearly to all members. While the Barracks was never run particularly poorly or were there any secrets kept from its members, officers do become inactive, and certain processes have become lost to its members over time. Therefore, all of the practices of the Barracks will be written down for every Barracks member to see. It is important that everyone is in on how the Barracks works, and even more important that this information does not get lost to members again.
The Barracks Officers will be kept active and available to its members. Let's face it: we all have lives and real-life obligations. That is why I never chastise anyone for being inactive, away, or whatever. However, for those in the Barracks that are in fact active and members in good standing, it is important that they are not left in the dark without any form of leadership. Therefore, the Barracks will have a more clear chain of command and more frequent filling of inactive/vacant spots. This way, the members will always have someone to turn to without question or worry.
The Barracks will stay committed to its allies and keep the ties strong. While the Barracks has several allies, the amount of communication between them is not always the strongest. We do constantly have overlapping members between the groups, which is good for relations. We will make sure to keep our Laison positions filled and help out our allies how we can. This way, our ties will stay strong together and we will all be stronger because of it.
The Barracks will stay devoted to its ideals until change is made. For the longest time, the Barracks has stood for the ideals that make for a fair Portal for all. Newgrounds has made inroads to this goal as of late, mostly thanks to Wade Fulp's interventions and the forming of the Portal Watch. Since the Barracks is home to no less than four Portal Watches, it shows that our ideals are aligned with what Newgrounds is meant to do: provide a location where you can create, view and enjoy flash. We will stay committed to our ideals and see these goals through to the end, when we can finally say Newgrounds is the best place it can be.
It is through these goals that we will continue to contribute to Newgrounds in a positive way, and be the best we can be.
Supreme Commander EagleRock
Chief Barracks Officer of the Elite Guard Barracks