VVC Public 2012-03-25

Written by: Voices of the Vampire Community
Link to original: http://www.veritasvosliberabit.com/vvc.html

Voices of the Vampire Community (VVC) Public Meeting – March 25, 2012

Attendees (17)

  • Belfazaar – House Of Mystic Echoes & New Orleans Vampire Association (NOVA)
  • Criophix – Independent Representative
  • Deacon Gray – House of the Dreaming (HotD) & Graveyard Press
  • Isealdor – Vampire Realm Of Darkness
  • Ithril – Independent Representative
  • Lady Nightdancer - Midnight Magica & The Vampire Nation
  • Legardored – Dutch Vampire Community & Independent Representative
  • Merticus – Atlanta Vampire Alliance (AVA) & Suscitatio Enterprises, LLC
  • Octarine Valur – House Valur & South African Vampyre Alliance
  • Sanguinarius – Sanguinarius.org
  • Scarlet Ravenwing – Blue Ridge Vampyre & Otherkin Alliance
  • Sylvere ap Leanan – Gathering Dusk & Vampires-Fetlife
  • The Pink Lady – Vampirism eList & New River Valley Vampires Meetup
  • Victoria – Detroit-Area Vampire Meetup
  • Vyrdolak – By Light Unseen
  • Xeurika – House Quinotaur
  • Zane – Awake & Drink Vampire Support Site

Discussion Agenda

I. Meeting Information

Welcome to the first public meeting of Voices of the Vampire Community (VVC) for 2012. If you have not attended a VVC meeting before or are reading this for the first time please briefly take note of how this meeting will be conducted. The transcript from tonight’s meeting is being logged and will be made publicly available.

Topics will be presented in the order they appear on the agenda (VVC members may refer to the forum or their e-mail for tonight’s schedule). Please do not skip ahead and please do not suggest discussion of items not on the agenda until at the end of each major discussion topic.

Feel free to speak your mind on any and all topics in a civil manner and offer any supporting information, links, or material as needed. Thank you for coming and now let’s begin!

II. Background & Introduction

VVC was founded January 2006.

The purpose of the Voices of the Vampire Community (VVC) is to develop friendly relations among the various Houses, Covens, Orders, and other organizations of the vampire community; to encourage cooperation in solving community related problems and in promoting respect for the views, ideas, and opinions of others without seeking to establish a unifying or governing body; and to be a center for harmonizing the actions of groups in attaining these ends. – August 8, 2006

Voices Of The Vampire Community (VVC) does not assert itself as the exclusive organization of leaders or notable persons in the vampi(y)re community nor do we view ourselves or our actions as legislative or authoritarian.

The members of the VVC are representative of multiple groups, Houses, Orders, paths, beliefs, and segments of the vampi(y)re community who meet and are able to put aside personal differences to work together to discuss, suggest, implement, and support projects, ideas, and other intellectual works that help to improve the overall community.

For more information please visit our web site at: http://www.veritasvosliberabit.com/vvc.html

We are available to answer questions through the community feedback form available at the site above.

III. Discussion

As a departure from the specific matters we discuss in business meetings, tonight’s meeting will take a broader and more relevant approach to the vampi(y)re community. Opinions offered from members of the VVC who are unable to attend tonight’s meeting will be posted first after the asking of each question. All present members please allow time for this to occur prior to posting your own response. Just as a reminder, conversation is to be kept civil, statements or claims backed by example where necessary, and in cases of insuperable disagreements; a concession between parties to respectfully agree to disagree.

Let’s start the evening with these questions:

a. Subcultural Solidarity & Human Rights Activism As Vampires - A Four-Part Question The Emo and LGBT killings in Iraq involving government officials openly characterizing 'Emos' as Vampires, Devil Worshipers, and Satanists is reminiscent of the rhetoric of the Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) panic years ago in America and still occurring around the globe today. During times of crisis involving the physical marginalization of outlier groups (including self-ascribed vampires), what can we do to promote awareness, media saturation, on-the-ground activism, and strategic operations to aid in minimizing the potential harm to victims? Should we involve ourselves politically as 'vampires' or as an 'acronymed identity politic group' when governments or hostilely prejudicial collectives cite 'vampirism' or attack other closely-related ingroups? If yes, what potential negative effects could this have on the individuals or groups receiving our advocacy? How could we maximize the likelihood of human rights organizations giving serious consideration towards our beliefs, practices, or shared intelligence?

b. Globalization Of The Vampire Community - A Four-Part Question The VVC hosts members from over a dozen countries, international groups have created websites and other resources to aid in bridging their unique vampire culture with that of the Western community, and many important documents have now been translated into various languages. (1) What regions or countries of the world have we yet to form strong ties with? (2) What could be the possible reasons for this and what can we do to improve communication, perceptions, and relations with other countries? (3) How can we most effectively integrate multilingual capabilities into long-established vampire community websites? (4) Most importantly, how can we best assist individuals in countries with fledgling communities who've taken the initiative to attempt organizing into a more cohesive entity?

c. Current State Of The Macro & Micro Vampire Community We've now arrived at the year 2012 and do you know what your fellow vampires are doing? Consider the online, offline, and your local vampire community while answering the following questions along with an insight into your reasoning for these answers; (1) What aspects are working and/or harmonious? (2) What aspects are broken and/or divisive? (3) What aspects need left alone to evolve or progress on their own - for better or for worse? (4) What aspects would benefit by being engaged and strides made towards improvement and how could this be accomplished?

d. Other topics you’d like to bring up for discussion?

IV. Business Reminders

Discussion

Merticus: Voices of the Vampire Community
Merticus: Public Meeting - March 25, 2012
Merticus: Discussion Agenda:
Merticus: I. Meeting Information
Merticus: Welcome to the first public meeting of Voices of the Vampire Community (VVC) for 2012. If you have not attended a VVC meeting before or are reading this for the first time please briefly take note of how this meeting will be conducted. The transcript from tonight’s meeting is being logged and will be made publicly available.
Merticus: Topics will be presented in the order they appear on the agenda (VVC members may refer to the forum or their e-mail for tonight’s schedule). Please do not skip ahead and please do not suggest discussion of items not on the agenda until at the end of each major discussion topic.
Merticus: Feel free to speak your mind on any and all topics in a civil manner and offer any supporting information, links, or material as needed. Thank you for coming and now let’s begin!
Merticus: II. Background & Introduction
Merticus: VVC was founded January 2006.
Merticus: The purpose of the Voices of the Vampire Community (VVC) is to develop friendly relations among the various Houses, Covens, Orders, and other organizations of the vampire community; to encourage cooperation in solving community related problems and in promoting respect for the views, ideas, and opinions of others without seeking to
Merticus: establish a unifying or governing body; and to be a center for harmonizing the actions of groups in attaining these ends. - August 8, 2006
Merticus: Voices Of The Vampire Community (VVC) does not assert itself as the exclusive organization of leaders or notable persons in the vampi(y)re community nor do we view ourselves or our actions as legislative or authoritarian.
Merticus: The members of the VVC are representative of multiple groups, Houses, Orders, paths, beliefs, and segments of the vampi(y)re community who meet and are able to put aside personal differences to work together to discuss, suggest, implement, and support projects, ideas, and other intellectual works that help to improve the overall community.
Merticus: For more information please visit our web site at: http://www.veritasvosliberabit.com/vvc.html
Merticus: We are available to answer questions through the community feedback form available at the site above.
Merticus: III. Discussion
Merticus: As a departure from the specific matters we discuss in business meetings, tonight’s meeting will take a broader and more relevant approach to the vampi(y)re community. Opinions offered from members of the VVC who are unable to attend tonight’s meeting will be posted first after the asking of each question.
Merticus: All present members please allow time for this to occur prior to posting your own response. Just as a reminder, conversation is to be kept civil, statements or claims backed by example where necessary, and in cases of insuperable disagreements; a concession between parties to respectfully agree to disagree.
Merticus: Let’s start the evening with these questions:
Merticus: a. Subcultural Solidarity & Human Rights Activism As Vampires - A Four-Part Question: The Emo and LGBT killings in Iraq involving government officials openly characterizing 'Emos' as Vampires, Devil Worshipers, and Satanists is reminiscent of the rhetoric of the Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) panic years ago in America and still occurring around the globe today.
Merticus: During times of crisis involving the physical marginalization of outlier groups (including self-ascribed vampires), what can we do to promote awareness, media saturation, on-the-ground activism, and strategic operations to aid in minimizing the potential harm to victims?
Merticus: Should we involve ourselves politically as 'vampires' or as an 'acronymed identity politic group' when governments or hostilely prejudicial collectives cite 'vampirism' or attack other closely-related ingroups?
Merticus: If yes, what potential negative effects could this have on the individuals or groups receiving our advocacy? How could we maximize the likelihood of human rights organizations giving serious consideration towards our beliefs, practices, or shared intelligence?
Criophix: (1) We can try to provide awareness through media outlets or campaigns on Facebook if we opt to. This would have to be a community wide agenda and agreement on the situation. We could also opt to run ads on Facebook or other pages and raise money through donations if we were to go that route. On a individual level we could write our representatives and voice our concern over the situation and suggest action on the part of the U.S. Government to stop these actions.
Criophix: (2) I think on a personal level the OVC has enough politics. The politics gets a little insane at times and adding extra political notions into the community would only cause division and argument. On a different note if there were a group devoted to politics and vampires I wouldn't be opposed. I've dealt a little in politics myself and to tell you the truth it's insane and to be honest makes little sense lol.
Criophix: (3) On this part I believe opposing sides would make it their job to discredit the community in any way they see fit. We're talking groups which range in millions to billions on private donations and funds. I don't know any human rights groups that would take us seriously. Most groups tend to take funds from Christian fundamentalists which would have an opposed reaction to any vampire based organization being in league with their organization. To make it simple most of these groups wouldn't touch us with a ten foot pole being afraid of loosing funding or credibility.
DeaconGray: I don’t believe we can offer direct support because as you mentioned it only provides a connection to Vampirism, which in their culture, is just as real as the great Satan. I would say stick to being connected to efforts already underway by international groups, or like you said an acronymed identity.
LadyNightdancer: Quite honestly I believe the only thing that can be done is to make the general public aware of the killings on the basis of inhumanity. If anyone were to get involved in this as a vampire directly with Iraq, I suspect they wouldn’t listen because they believe vampirism is evil.
LadyNightdancer: Education perhaps about the difference between an Emo, Goth and Vampire might be helpful. It would need a total about face in their beliefs even if only from a fringe group. If one was too active it wouldn’t matter what name one used because they can find out who you actually are so you’re taking the chance of being known.
LadyNightdancer: I think the best thing would be writing to Washington D.C. as a large body including people who are not vampirics. Making them take notice. The likelihood of them stopping the obscene killings would take a world wide reaction and possibly embargos in my opinion.
LadyNightdancer: I think it would be futile to try to make human rights organizations take the vampire community seriously on any level. Most people believe it is a delusional idea and until more can be offered than philosophical opinion I don’t think there is credibility in trying to share our beliefs, practices or shared intelligence as you put it.
LadyNightdancer: I also believe on an individual level this is something each person has to decide for themselves as far as activity within various human rights groups.
OctarineValur: Our community faces many challenges in different places around the world, and many of us who work for our community, for tolerance and acceptance by the broader society of mundanes, find that if we are open about our vampyrism, we are either not taken seriously, are ignored - or reviled.
OctarineValur: Therefore, many of our Kin who are also in the human rights advocacy business tend to work for Vampyre subculture acceptance within the framework of their general advocacy efforts without admitting anything about their own vampyrism, or mentioning Vampyres directly in their activism.
OctarineValur: This approach does not always benefit the VC as much as we would like it to. To show one example, even in the broader LGBT rights movement, there are smaller sub-groups which make up the bigger group, whose unique differences are often overlooked by the broader alliance - and this causes endless trouble for the groups overlooked - and for the movement as a whole. Minority groups such the world over should all learn from this example.
OctarineValur: Hence, while some say that those who belong to minority groups should rather just stay in the shadows and take on the mantle of global human rights, the opportunity to focus on the uniqueness of what makes a particular culture unique, and its unique needs, is missed.
OctarineValur: However, there is little else that can be done, but to try to include our interests in the broader rights to freedom of expression, religion, belief, conscience, assembly, association, etc when we take these matters up in the name of broader human rights.
OctarineValur: A group which has unique needs which are not particularly addressed under the broad "human rights" label, such as those identifying as real vampires, will not specifically benefit by this - except where there is significant overlap with other groups.
OctarineValur: Therefore, even if no specific mention is made of particular needs or the identity of our community, where our rights share any overlap with other communities or subcultures, we would also benefit from any activism which benefits those communities, within and as an integral part of the broader human rights movement.
OctarineValur: I would like to suggest the following:
OctarineValur: 1) The formation of a specialist human rights advocacy/activist network, possibly in the form of a secret Facebook group, or on another forum (although admittedly Facebook is by far a more responsive and immediate platform WHEN it works).
OctarineValur: The reason why it is called "specialist" is because the participants would be part of the general VC, who;
OctarineValur: 2) Have an understanding of activism, and who have ties to mundane activist and human rights bodies, and who are motivated to work for human rights protection and advancement. Candidates would be identified, screened and invited to participate on matters of trustworthiness, focus and ability.
OctarineValur: and may also make things worse for the victims of the human rights abuses, further enable the perpetrators, or alienate other activists who are not connected to the VC.
OctarineValur: Therefore, members of such a body could participate within these parameters in the context of an internal VC group under their nightside identities, and outside in their dayside capacity with no obvious connection to the VC.
OctarineValur: Activism would take form under the names of whatever advocacy bodies the members belong to or participate in, in their particular fields, and not externally under the name of this VC body. To my thinking, the body, as said before, would “not exist” except to the members. It would however, be vital that such a body takes its direction from somewhere, and not just be left to its own devices.
OctarineValur: 4) The kind of activities I envisage such a body and its members performing, include the following:
OctarineValur: a) Monitoring human rights related incidents and violations which negatively impact on whatever human rights or freedoms affect VC members directly or indirectly, or could in the future. This includes compiling incidence statistics, reports, notifying the VC (or the VVC) of crises, and so forth.
OctarineValur: b) Individual activists would share news and reports on these matters with the group, and also their experience, suggestions and strategies in dealing with these. On the whole, it would result in increased experience in the field and improve networking resources in activism and advocacy for the VC worldwide.
OctarineValur: c) In times of crisis in any particular area, this would imply the pooling of activism resources, such as global activists working together on issues, circulating petitions, contacting influential mundane figures in government or society, the UN, circulating news of the actual events to media, and general on-the-ground activism in their areas.
OctarineValur: d) In my view the MAIN aim of such a group would be to advance the best interests of the VC globally, and to work for its protection within the scope of human rights work.
OctarineValur: The brief and scope to member activists should include attacks on human rights based on anything which would affect human rights in general, but also any legal issues, new or existing, which would or could endanger the lives or freedoms of VC members –
OctarineValur: whether secular or religious, legal or illegal, or based on gender, race, ethnicity, culture or the right to freedom of conscience, association or self-expression. Naturally it would have to adapt strategy and practice according to which country is at issue, as mundane laws and attitudes to subcultures vary.
OctarineValur: Once again, it should be stressed that, in this current presentation form, this body would in effect publicly "not exist", but be a private network of associated human rights activists within the VC who have a clear understanding of the needs of Vampyres, Donors and Otherkin etc within the context of broader human rights activism.
OctarineValur: As a viable alternative, it could have a public face as an online international human rights advocacy interaction body - with no visible ties to any VC, but I can’t really see the advantage in that.
OctarineValur: How could we maximize the likelihood of human rights organizations giving serious consideration towards our beliefs, practices, or shared intelligence? - This part is easier to answer, but not easier to do. Advocacy is one thing, but activists for human rights often face uphill battles when it comes to proving certain characteristics of persecuted minorities.
OctarineValur: In terms of religious persecution, the argument of freedom of religion is useless when persecutors claim, however falsely, that “Satanists/vampires” do x,y,or z – justifying their phobias and persecution.
OctarineValur: In terms of gay rights for example, medical and psychiatric research and advances provide undeniable proofs that sexual orientation as gender identity are natural occurrences - as well as leaving persecutors with little credibility and little chance of being taken seriously by a thinking public.
OctarineValur: Currently, while a small measure of progress has been made in this field for our community, there is still extremely little going for us in the form of actual proof that we are what we identify as – and I feel that this area should receive significant attention in future, in order to have something in our arsenal that will demonstrate our identity as being more than just self-identified.
OctarineValur: Statistical evidence gathered so far, as well as personal testimonies provide a good insight into our nature, but I think areas such as controlled observations (during hunger and feeding and after) using Kirlian photography for example might also prove useful.
OctarineValur: Given the eagerness of some researchers today to get involved and even make their careers with the VC, finding someone willing to do this should not be difficult. The only risk here is if these tests don’t show what would suit us.
ThePinkLady: As far as promoting awareness, Merticus and the Atlanta Vampire Alliance [AVA] have been collecting every scrap of information on the emo killings in Iraq and posting them in an accessible online location - http://www.atlantavampirealliance.com/forum/index.php?topic=2550.0 Their awareness work has come to the attention of bloggers who now refer to the site and its growing archive of information on the subject.
ThePinkLady: However, to be taken seriously by officials, we need community leaders who are media-savvy and not wackos to go on public record either condemning the attacks or petitioning governments and/or human rights organizations to investigate the problem.
ThePinkLady: I could come out and say something, or be a part of a group standing in solidarity, but I'm pretty much a nobody. My words, while truthful and heartfelt, wouldn't have the impact of someone with better academic or social credentials
ThePinkLady: As for the effect on the groups we wish to protect, we're caught between a rock and a hard place. If we do nothing, people will die, and if we do something, there's a chance more people might die. At this stage, raising awareness is important if the outcome is (horrifically) the same.
Vyrdolak: 1: I actually feel that "awareness and media saturation" are contributing to the problems, not alleviating them. One of the biggest problems that the vampire community as a whole has is its inability to understand how it is viewed by "the ordinary world." Without that understanding, all "PR" work is pointless, even self-defeating, because it's based on false assumptions.
Vyrdolak: The vampire community has *not* changed the average person's idea of what a "vampire" is or made itself look benign in any way. All the PR does is emphasize to "ordinary" people that they live in a world full of freaks and crazies. The vampire community seriously doesn't understand this.
Vyrdolak: 2: I would say, no. You can't help groups under aggressive attack by identifying with them, because that just turns you into a target. The way to help is to identify with the aggressive party in such a way that you gain its ear and respect, and then "name and shame."
Vyrdolak: 3: I don't think that's possible.
Zane: a. I feel that the best route for us to take would be to simply raise awareness, but not get directly involved. I do not know of any area of the globe where "vampires" are viewed with very many serious looks, and I don't think that "a whole bunch of anonymous individuals" is the best way to go, especially when it's possible that it would be discovered that we're a bunch of self-described "vampires" who tried to hide it at first
Zane: No, I think that the best course of action is to raise *awareness* with possible mediums for this being the likes of Facebook, and particularly Real Vampire News.
Merticus: I believe that the VVC is equipped and organized to mitigate most serious or even crisis situations involving real vampires or those ascribed such label -- at least in terms of awareness, communication between groups and with necessary officials, contacts within the media to ensure the situation receives attention, and people in place should support be needed on the ground (at least in most regions of the world).
Merticus: However, I do believe we would benefit by having points of contacts within human rights, advocacy, and civil rights protection organizations/groups. Some of us keep similar contact listings for media and law enforcement so it shouldn't be a great undertaking to compile a contact list of sympathetic and well-placed rights activists.
Merticus: I also think we should identify those among us who are best suited to handle different aspects of the advocacy and intelligence gathering process should a serious situation ever arise. I believe that advocating for other groups outside of our own community under a name that's inclusive of "vampire" or "vampirism" can be counterproductive to appeals for sympathy and support given the negative public perception of those who self-identify as real vampires.
Merticus: This is one of the reasons why when I passed confidential materials regarding the Emo/LGBT/etc. killings in Iraq on to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, I did so as a corporate (and in some cases acryonmed) entity. An association with Vampirism, Satanism, or Witchcraft in some countries is tantamount to a death sentence and it doesn't help anyone when foreign governments or hostile groups see such subcultures spiriting the cause of said oppressed group.
Merticus: The VVC is uniquely positioned to be able to gather actionable intelligence from a variety of subcultural or outlier groups that most human rights organizations aren't accustomed to dealing with on a daily basis. In my opinion, the intersection of belief, sexuality, and gender with that of lifestyle, practice, or identity will occur more often in the future due to the increasing secular globalization brought about by social media, et. al.
Merticus: We must to be ready to address these issues swiftly and effectively for the safety of these non-conformist communities. Granted this undoubtedly will be challenge and in some cases perhaps a futile attempt, but the aiding in the education of advocacy groups on how best to understand or conceptualize certain subject matters
Merticus: (such as Vampirism, lifestyle or fashion choices, Goth, Emo, Satanism, Luciferianism, Paganism, ritual, magick, and other practices and/or beliefs) so that their people can attempt to counter the misinformation and propaganda of the opposing side is crucial.
Sylvere: First, are we even certain these individuals identified as vampires? If they did not or it isn't clear, then we should not involve ourselves other than to pass information to human rights groups. To be visible as a vampire organization would only confirm what the killers think they know, thus opening the door for them to justify their actions by using us.
Sylvere: Even if the victims *did* identify as vampires, to be visible to an area of the world well-known for its intolerance and human rights violations could potentially put the victims' families at risk.
Sylvere: Or, if anyone should contact us, because of our visibility and ask for our help, then the threat to those individuals is greatly increased.
Sylvere: Bottom line, we absolutely should not involve ourselves as a vampire organization.
Sylvere: However, those of us who are so inclined and are in a position to work with human rights advocacy groups should certainly take the opportunity to do so.
Sanguinarius: Sylvere has a point.
Ithril: It would be important too that anyone who is actually self identified as Wiccan or Satanist be kept out of the conversation with these extremists, it will only confirm their suspicions
Sylvere: True enough.
Sylvere: However, we have no control over what Pagan/Wiccan/Satanist groups do of their own accord.
Sylvere: Any of our members who are also affiliated with such a group can do as they see fit as a member of that group.
Sylvere: Just FFS, keep your vampirism the hell out of it.
Belfazaar: *nods* My thoughts... If we, as individuals, would like to do something, great, fine – more power to you. However, we are facing the reality of a community that has not changed in several thousand years on their stances of personal beliefs of "outsiders" to their communities.
Sanguinarius: Maybe we can work WITH human rights groups, behind the scenes?
Sanguinarius: Without sounding like I'm babbling, that's why Star Trek TNG had the prime directive to not interfere with other cultures/races.
Isealdor: My greatest concern with any sort of promotion of awareness, activism, etc, is much the same as Sylvere’s - it is extremely easy for someone to try to step into a situation and a culture they don't understand, with the best intentions, and end up causing more harm.
Belfazaar: As an organization, leave this one to others... Remember people, the United Nations (UN) voted... Gays, Lesbians and their ilk were removed from "protected" status.
Sylvere: +1 Belfazaar
Ithril: Good point Belfazaar.
xeurika: I agree.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: While on one hand it seems like we should make some form of outreach, the problem exists for the danger it would attach to both parties. As Sylvere stated, any persons who identify as any of their terms would be in danger I would think. Further the more open the VC is, the more scrutiny its member fall under
Belfazaar: I'm all for fighting battles against injustice, however, we have more than enough of that in our own little corners of the world... WITHOUT being able to help each other. Coming out as a "global vampire organization" to the aid of something like this will only exacerbate the situation.
Sylvere: Definitely.
Isealdor: As individuals, we may be able to take information at times and pass it on to other groups and people who have the ability, means, and experience better to help; I'd agree with Merticus that we are in a unique position that someone of a subculture may be more likely to come to or trust one of us than, say, a religious charity group. If some as individuals are able to bridge that gap, then great. As a community, though, I don't think that
Isealdor: should necessarily be promoted given the risk for people to seek out and then share info or contact someone carelessly and put them at greater risk.
* Sanguinarius nods
Merticus: This is one of the reasons I passed materials on to the organizations not under "vampire" related auspices. However, I was aware of the situation prior to major media outlets picking up on the story. In some cases we have access to information across the various groups prior to the public and I don’t think we should overlook this as a potential asset.
Merticus: So do we use this information or just acknowledge it internally and move on? Some of us are already working behind the scenes on a number of issues.
legardored: I believe this should be left at the hands of highly trained people who have experience with the cultures people and the laws. Involving us as a group would pose a risk for both sides. However it does not mean we cannot pressure other more influential groups to take action as individuals. And support could be provided in for example fundraising.
Belfazaar: And I, in turn, passed it on to a couple of organizations that DEAL with this kind of thing.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: I agree that if you personally choose to take action, do so for yourself, and not the vampire community, leave the vampyre part out of it for the communities sake.
Sylvere: I say we work as individuals without making any connection to vampires/vampirism.
legardored: Agreed on that.
Belfazaar: I second that.
Isealdor: Agrees with legardored: It's not like there aren't ways we can help -- even individually working to promote the groups who are helping on the ground is aid.
Ithril: That would probably be for the best.
Merticus: Nod, I agree. No direct ties to vampirism/vampires should be a given.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: I agree.
xeurika: It is a situation that our identifying as vampires is not going to help the situation, and could potentially aggravate problems we try to help with.
Sylvere: We don't have to wave the vampire flag in order to be effective.
Sylvere: TBH, established groups like Human Rights Watch have more clout than we ever will.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: I think that if we find a way to offer support outside of the community, we should offer info for connecting up, but again, no reference to the community, or even for that matter religion.
Victoria: As a public organization, don't we have to make a public statement condemning this type of persecution? Politicians never have to get their hands dirty to make a statement...
Sylvere: I guess we could make a statement but I don't think anyone would take it very seriously.
Belfazaar: No, Victoria, we don't have to put out a statement every time one of these events takes place... If it were closer to home, that would be a different story... Like what was put out for the Columbine shootings... This is a CULTURAL problem and can only be handled by those that UNDERSTAND that culture...
Isealdor: @Victoria: Personally, I'd say that making some public statement of "we don't approve of people out of subcultures being killed", for example, isn't really going to "do" anything. If people want to actually do something that helps, they'd be better off seeking out working with an established org that specializes in it--better use of time.
Sylvere: I also think it's impossible to foresee what ramifications even a public statement might have for the victims' families and friends.
xeurika: Agreed and it may be that our best course of action is to help fund raise or encourage people to support Amnesty international
Belfazaar: Unfortunately, Sylvere, it is not impossible to see... It would truly exacerbate the radical factions and only hasten harsher actions... This has been proven to be the case by such things as the GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation) actions in the area.
Sylvere: I see your point, Belfazaar.
Sanguinarius: Wait, what would do that Belfazaar?
Sanguinarius: Supporting something like Amnesty International?
Isealdor: No, public statements.
Sanguinarius: Oh.
Belfazaar: GLAAD made a statement a few years back over something VERY similar about a Lesbian having her breasts removed... Within a month, another hundred women were blatantly killed on the auspice of being a lesbian... WITHOUT PROOF.
* Sanguinarius would certainly HOPE so.
Merticus: Let me paint a scenario and let me hear how you'd react: In a certain European country (pick one) the government issues mandates against sanguinarian vampires and begins searching for any/all information through social media tying people to vampirism, they round up suspected "real vampires" and arrest them on ‘X’ charge and deny them right to legal representation.
legardored: On the scenario described by Merticus. My first course of action would be to gather counter intelligence and make sure that we would not put any heat on the fire. Further actions could only be based on that to not risk extra people.
xeurika: In a situation where a government is rounding up any group and detaining them without trial would be cause for global human rights outrage, I would think.
Isealdor: @xeurika: You mean like it does in the many police state countries around the world?
xeurika: Yes like police states around the world, but those situations any government or organization would have limited influence.
Sylvere: You'd think so but the sad reality is that minority groups are oppressed worldwide and the establishment doesn't care.
Sylvere: The establishment likes it that way.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: A friend commented to me that this situation resembles the Nazi's, and like the Nazi's the Jewish community could not take it in control by themselves. It needs to be a government, large scale action, that we can support and help with the effort but cannot ourselves control.
Belfazaar: But again... In this case, Gays, lesbians and the ilk have been REMOVED from "protected" status... How do you combat something when the organization set up to watchguard against such atrocities has deemed you UNFIT to be protected?
Sanguinarius: Did they say WHY they got removed? Or did they just remove them?
Belfazaar: It was brought up in a vote... Most of the African, Asian and Middle Eastern countries ALL voted it down... 79-70... Countries that usually don't even bother to show up to vote, voted,
Scarlet-Ravenwing: Again, as Belfazaar has pointed out, with the placement of certain rules by the UN it makes it all the more difficult to work on. If the UN has turned its back on let's say half of the people under question, what can be done for the other half? And exactly what is it that we can do from here?
xeurika: If a formerly liberal, rights respecting state was to start such a practice, it would be a cause for alarm, and outrage from the global community.
Isealdor: Sorry, sarcasm doesn't translate into text well. I was meaning that that exact sort of thing /does/ happen, many places in the world, all the time--and it's rare that there's overly much outcry about it, compliments of lack of awareness, lack of knowledge or means to do anything about it, and general mass apathy.
Merticus: If "vampires" in Brazil were being targeted by radical groups as "Satanists and Devil Worshippers" and systematically killed would it not be helpful to have access to who are the self-identified vampires in Brazil, how can we contact them, and find out what is really happening on the ground there so we can get their story out to the media and rights groups? (scenario)
Merticus: Take Vampirefreaks or the Goth/Emo websites... how difficult would it be for administrators or moderators to identify those living in Iraq (as an example) and privately contact them to ascertain the validity of claims of violence against their peer groups?
Isealdor: @Merticus: Of course... but most don't have the means to have that access, or even access to secure communication lines.
Sylvere: @Merticus: Of course it would be helpful.
legardored: The problem with networking is that you need to maintain them and again it can work two ways.
Belfazaar: It would be helpful, however, as Isealdor mentioned, several just don't have the means to operate that way on the net.
* Isealdor is completely and utterly AGAINST having site administrators running around trying to contact anyone who has ever signed into their website from Iraq.
legardored: Imagine one groups gets rounded up who has access to sensitive data from the target group.
Sylvere: The question becomes: How do we establish those contacts without posing a threat to those we contact by the simple fact that we contacted them?
Sanguinarius: Isealdor, why?
Isealdor: When they were on, it may have been more under the radar. If they were to try to contact back now, that's a fabulous way to flag someone. Unless you happen to have extremely secure communication methods other than the publicly available ones, it is likely to be monitored.
Sanguinarius: I see.
Ithril: In such an instance, even postage/mail would not be entirely secure.
Sylvere: Probably even less so.
Merticus: Yes, and this flagging I "fear" has been done lately by many of the human rights organizations who have openly engaged and contacted those in Iraq (for example).
Merticus: Posting on Facebook walls, groups, and out in the open in comments.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: Merticus, the problem I think with that is again, some of the people targeted aren't any of the such, so having a emo/Goth group suddenly jumping to your support when you claim you aren't Goth, is proof you are, and thus a death sentence.
legardored: Speaking as someone who has IT security knowledge secure does not exist on the internet only minimized exposure. However one effective method is gaining trust of people who have an influence in a country which governments don’t dare to arrest because of international attention.
Isealdor: Scenario: Say a kid a couple years ago in Iraq logged onto one of our sites and was somewhat active in the community. Compliments of the persecution, he has now cut his hair, changed clothing styles, and claims to have "reverted" back to being "right and normal" and everyone's mostly forgotten that he used to dress as a Goth...
Isealdor: An admin goes and sends them emails or hunts down their Facebook page based on info they gave when they were active, and posts now asking if they're alright, they're likely to flag and have their past dug through.
Isealdor: It sounds extreme, but it isn't.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: I agree Isealdor.
Merticus: Yes, that's entirely possible and I’d go so far as to say even probable given some of the activity I’ve seen with IP connections coming from Middle Eastern countries immediately following discussions with individuals in the past.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: Legardored, it seems if someone had such influential persons available, then great to ask for assistance, but I'm not sure what even they could do.
Belfazaar: Unfortunately enough, we've seen evidence of things like this in every day life... People who may have had gang affiliations and done things they weren't proud of... When they "grew up", they got themselves straight, and were later arrested for "crimes" they committed while they were in the gangs.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: It seems we all have similar thoughts or ideas.
Sylvere: I think we've reached a consensus about what, if any, involvement we should have. Should we move on?
legardored: Agreed.
Merticus: Anyone else have anything to add on topic A?



Merticus: b. Globalization Of The Vampire Community - A Four-Part Question: The VVC hosts members from over a dozen countries, international groups have created websites and other resources to aid in bridging their unique vampire culture with that of the Western community, and many important documents have now been translated into various languages.
Merticus: (1) What regions or countries of the world have we yet to form strong ties with? (2) What could be the possible reasons for this and what can we do to improve communication, perceptions, and relations with other countries?
Merticus: (3) How can we most effectively integrate multilingual capabilities into long-established vampire community websites? (4) Most importantly, how can we best assist individuals in countries with fledgling communities who've taken the initiative to attempt organizing into a more cohesive entity?
Criophix: (1) The Middle East. Countries like Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Turkey.
Criophix: (2) It's hard to communicate with those countries. First you need to speak the language. Next they have to want to speak with you. There exists a fear that you could be an undercover government agent or individual trying to expose them. I doubt they would give up there life just to talk to vampires.
Criophix: (3) I know there are some add-ons for certain hosting services which translate web pages. Besides that we would have to find a translator. Google only gets half the job done correctly.
Criophix: (4) By providing them with literature. Regardless of how we see it these communities are going to evolve in a semi-isolated state of existence. We can't hold their hand or show them everything. Their culture will have to evolve independent of our own. All we can hope to do is help start it in the right direction.
DeaconGray: (1) I believe we should be looking more into Asia. There is a budding community there, but they are facing some of the same issues as the Middle East in some places.
DeaconGray: (2) A big part of our response, or effort has to be made in finding people who can translate the information. We also have to be ready to understand that people from other countries are not going to respond as we do in the USA. Americans are often considered very insincere in how they deal with people. Many other countries don’t do that.
DeaconGray: (3) I still believe that a organized effort to put a general stamp of approval on written efforts could be of significant use. We do not have to like all of the content or even agree, but we should be able to agree that things are professional well thought out and presented in a manner that reflect well on the community.
DeaconGray: (4) The effort Heidica Northernlight and I have taken is to try to provide a group that can offer technical support. We can speak to things like open source links, and information of merit, but we can also just recommend good host sites, offer technical skills etc.
LadyNightdancer: I would say one area of the world I hear nothing about is Asia. I don’t know if their cultures would have the same concept of vampire, if any at all. As for the last two questions, I believe it would be by a case by case basis upon their request.
LadyNightdancer: If you are merely speaking about American sites I still believe it would be on the basis of whether the person wanted to get involved with making their sites multilingual in nature. If help is requested I believe the best course of action would be to ask them first if they need or want any assistance.
LadyNightdancer: As far as fledgling groups go, all you can do is be friendly and offer any assistance they might want but to leave it up to them to ask for it. I think the less intrusive the better.
OctarineValur: (1) The Far East? I have heard of the Japanese VC via the efforts to raise funds and aid for them at the time of the earthquakes last year. I have never had any contact with anyone claiming to be from there though, but perhaps it’s a culture or language barrier?
OctarineValur: (2) Reasons could include culture and language difference. Many participants in their local VC’s may be solitary and only starting to find the OVC and interacting with it, as we in South Africa did. If English was not one of my languages, I doubt I would have been participating so much in this OVC.
OctarineValur: (3) For important community news or educational articles, duplicate pages in larger volume languages (ie French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic) could be added to existing websites.
OctarineValur: This would mean more effort and storage space, essentially duplicating entire websites in different languages, or if a “translate this page” button could link it to an online translator to their language.
OctarineValur: (4) Speaking as a founding member of a fledgling community, in my experience it helps to know what has been done before, what works and what doesn’t, mistakes made by others in the past that should be avoided etc. Experience, first-hand accounts.
OctarineValur: Useful resources, such as the Donor Bill of Rights (in multiple languages for example), Black Veil or some other guideline, useful definitions and links to online resources (links directory etc).
OctarineValur: Personal mentoring for community leaders, even via chat, email or Facebook, is of inestimable valuable - I for one, have benefited from this to a large extent, and I try to pay this forward with others I encounter. Compilation of all of the above into an e-mailable zip file that can be sent to a founder, or via URL repository.
ThePinkLady: b1. It may be easier to name large known communities than name off all the places where the communities are underground or off the Internet: Central and South America, Southeast Asia, Central and North Africa to name a few.
ThePinkLady: b2. I imagine societal pressure negatively impacts groups that operate outside of North America, Europe, and Australia, as it seems SAVA reports witch-burnings in South Africa every other week and Iraq recently targeted youths perceived as radical with hate crimes and death. Problem is, some communities (like Germany) want nothing to do with American vampire culture, seeing us as just a bunch of drama-whoring yokels.
ThePinkLady: Another stumbling block comes from the legalities of vampiric practices, as something legal in one country may carry severe punishment in another. Open communication with other groups, on- or offline, may be possible if it's done as a cultural exchange: no educating, no browbeating, no shaming, just sharing information.
ThePinkLady: b3. Google Translate can only do so much. The only way to make websites truly multilingual means people who are fluent in multiple languages must volunteer their time to do it, or someone's got to be willing to drop the money on having it done professionally. Existing translations are labors of love.
ThePinkLady: b4. The VC/OVC can only help individuals who reach out, so in order to assist leaders of fledgling communities, those leaders need an established communication channel, almost like a Dial-A-Vampire, where someone can get in touch with a community member who speaks a mutually-known language or has some other commonality. To this end, sharing among community leaders is even more important.
ThePinkLady: There will never be a convenient time to host Twilight IV - http://www.meetup.com/Twilight/, so might as well start planning for it.
Vyrdolak: 1: From what I can see, most of Asia and the Middle East, for obvious political reasons; and I don't see much coming from South America, which is a hotbed of paranormal phenomena in other respects.
Vyrdolak: 2: Translation of materials into native languages would probably be the biggest and most helpful step. That means more than a Google button to auto-translate.
Vyrdolak: 3: Now that's a tough one. It's by no means easy. Encouraging members from other countries would help, but do we then dump all the onus for translation onto them? I think that ultimately, some monetary investment would be needed. The vampire community is almost entirely a volunteer-run labor of love, and there are many pitfalls and limitations inherent in that model, all of which we see on a daily basis.
Vyrdolak: 4: By being supportive, tolerating their culture-specific takes on the issue, and respecting the social and political limitations they may be faced with.
Zane: b. Honestly I feel that building global ties is coming along very nicely in its own time. I'm afraid that if we push it too much, there may be more harm done than good. I think that it's a process, and that it will take time. We simply need to accept that things need to run their course. This isn't to say that we shouldn't be involved internationally, no -- what I'm saying is simply that if we do too much, it might have the opposite effect as intended.
Zane: To number 3 particularly, although it's far from perfect, Google Translate seems to do a more-than-adequate job most of the time, and can be embedded into any site. The website translator can be found here: http://translate.google.com/translate_tools?hl=en and you can see it in action on my site, here: http://awakeanddrink.org for a "live example".
Zane: I think the real question here is how many people actually *want* to be involved offline? There doesn't seem to be that much interest in it any more, with many offline groups diminishing in activity over the last few years. So I think that we need to ask ourselves, 1.) Is there really that much of a desire for it? 2.) When somebody does form a group, how can we help them get the word out?
Zane: To my #1, I suggest that Merticus run a Facebook poll (or a few), that cover the following: 1.) Are you interested in offline communities, or are online communities sufficient? 2.) Is there an offline community near you? (we probably need to quantify what "near" means) 3.) If there were one, or if you discovered one, would you attend? 4.) How often?
Zane: Obviously the answers will be massively skewed because it's being asked, well, *online*, but nonetheless it would be interesting to see what kind of interest is present for such things currently. As a side I also like the idea of a Twilight IV.
Merticus: I'd particularly like to see stronger ties formed with South America, Asia, and emerging communities in the Middle East. I believe we should be lending assistance to fledgling or newly-formed communities wherever they may be and provide adaptable templates or open resources that can be interpreted for their particular culture and customs.
Merticus: Personally, I'd like to see The Vampiric Ethos, Donor Bill Of Rights, Real Vampire Community Abuse Awareness Campaign, & the Real Vampire Community Personal Safety & Privacy Awareness documents translated into as many languages as possible and vice versa with documents that are central to their communities.
Merticus: I think the Russian vampire community has done a great job integrating multi-lingual capabilities into their website and the navigation of their website is also friendly to English-speaking users. In contrast, I think some in the German vampire community have promoted an isolationist policy that intentionally derails any attempt to learn more about their beliefs or organizational structure
Merticus: - contrary to the spirit of mutual cooperation, education, and fostering global communication. We must also realize that participation in vampire-related activities not only goes against societal norms but in some countries violates religious laws and even constitutes criminal behavior that’s punishable by death.
Merticus: When communicating or assisting persons from these parts of the world, we have to be careful and constantly remind ourselves of the possible repercussions of choosing to involve ourselves in their lives.
Merticus: This past year I've began posting more non-English articles to the Vampire Community News (VCN) Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/groups/vampirecommunitynews/) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/VampireNews) feeds in an attempt to help expose English-speaking or predominant Western vampire communities with their foreign counterparts.
Merticus: It's my hope that more websites will begin integrating built in translation capabilities (if only just Google or Babelfish scripts), articles will be released at the outset in two or more languages, and long established participants in the community will seek out those from other areas to share their knowledge with and learn from in the process.
Merticus: I would also encourage anyone willing to help to join the Vampire Global Development Support Network on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/groups/190155421090478/. The combination of knowledge shared in groups such as this one and the hands-on consultation from members of the VVC can lead to resurgence in interest and responsible growth of the vampire community worldwide.
Sylvere: 1. Asia, the Middle East, Central America, the Indian subcontinent. 2. I think the reasons are obvious. Either tech is limited or cultural pressure makes it impossible for vampires to be open enough to seek out others. 3. I'm not sure. 4. If we have any contacts at all in those areas, we ask them what they need. If not, we wait for them to come to us.
Belfazaar: Honestly, I think things are going well on the developmental front... I would like to see more things translated; however, I’m a technotard... I'm lucky to do what I do...
legardored: (1) I have no particular country in mind. I think we can learn from any country. But are they willing to risk exposure to international groups. If not why and how can we persuade them otherwise?
Isealdor: Given the VVC membership represents something like 13 countries, it might be easier to list what countries and regions of the world we have formed strong ties with than the ones we haven't. I think we also, as a community, need to be more aware of some of the potential culture clashes and differences in the global communities; compliments of the differences in cultures. I fully support the idea of promoting translations…
Isealdor: but what applies in the United States, for example, is not going to have total crossover into other countries. For example, take Belfazaar's "how I started NOVA/how to start a group" thing--that's absolutely wonderful for the U.S., and maybe parts of Europe and potentially parts of Asia. In the Middle East? Not so much. So I have to agree with Sylvere to a large extent on the "wait for them to come to us" and tell us what they need help with.
Isealdor: Things like the Global Development group? Great, and I'd say likely more helpful, as it opens a communication and resource platform rather than us throwing out what we think people might want or need.
Belfazaar: Isealdor is correct... What works here in the U.S., hell even here in New Orleans isn't going to always work anywhere else... It can be an "example" in some countries, however, take Iraq... What would happen to someone going, "I'm starting a vampire support group, would you mind me having it here?"
Sylvere: I'm all for translation, but I know from experience that Google is SHIT when it comes to translating from English to another language.
Sylvere: From a language to English, it's ok but not fantastic.
Sanguinarius: People are welcome to translate articles and info from sanguinarius.org and/or mirror them on their own (foreign) sites
Sylvere: If we want a translation done, it really needs to be by someone who is bilingual.
* Sanguinarius agrees.
Ithril: Any translation, especially of a topic as complex as this, will be questionable. An electronic translation will certainly be of limited quality.
Sanguinarius: In some cases, the person might need to come up with their own terms in their own language for words that don't HAVE a translation.
Sanguinarius: And those might become the vamp terminology for that language.
Sanguinarius: So translating something is very influential.
Sylvere: I know someone who is fluent in Japanese so we could potentially get that done.
Sylvere: We'd need to come up with a small payment though. He's in poor health and can't work. Any help with medical bills, even $5 or $10 per article would help.
Merticus: The VEWRS (all 379 questions of Part 1) has now undergone native translation into Spanish and Russian. I'm working on having other documents translated as well. Mistwolf, DarkFess, and others have been extremely helpful.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: I agree that the best thing seems to be to continuing with the efforts in the current direction, with the knowledge that there may be more who need help out there. But to push would be dangerous, as such with the current Iraq situation. Being more open to other countries/cultures needing the information = great, going to them = not so great.
Merticus: Does anyone have other thoughts on development of communities aside from the translations?
Isealdor: Reaching out to what community already exists in some of the places would be a good start...
Sylvere: Merticus, you said you "know a guy" in several places.
Sylvere: How about contacting them and asking if they need or even want our help?
Merticus: Some do and some don't. It's a mixed response given what, if any, baggage comes along with it. Re: American vampire community.
Sylvere: It doesn't hurt to ask if they want our help. If they do, great. If not, fine, we back off.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: True.
Belfazaar: That's another issue I have... A lot of this is assuming that the others WANT our help or even contact with us.
Isealdor: How many can even say there is or isn’t a community some of the places we'd like to form ties with? Take China...is there a vampire community of some sort in China? How is it organized at the moment? Does anyone even know?
Merticus: I've yet to find any organization in China. India and Norway are emerging communities at the moment and both are actively seeking help. Hence my response mentioning the Facebook group and need for private consultation.
Victoria: I think the VVC is public enough that simply making ourselves available for one on one mentorship with leaders in emerging communities who come to us for help will be safer for all involved.
Isealdor: Who says it even has to be an issue of "our help"? Why not just open doors for communication and sharing?
Belfazaar: No... It doesn't hurt to ask, but more often than not it works better if we let them come to us...
Scarlet-Ravenwing: Well said Isealdor.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: Again I think an open-door type policy of being willing to help, if help is asked for, is a good idea. As for where or whom, that is to be seen by future need and contact.
Sanguinarius: How do we let them know we are here for them to come to?
Sanguinarius: Without possibly endangering them a la Question #1?
Ithril: It seems I have had some (limited) contact with some people (one or two individuals from China/Asia) who claimed to be vampire.
* Isealdor nods* I know several from China... beside the point.
Belfazaar: Chinese authorities are very proactive in watching their people... How does this work against us?
xeurika: Also with the "great firewall of china" it may be impossible to search and find even if they look.
legardored: We have a question form on the VVC website right? What if we could provide a separate form for people who require project aid in their country?
Sylvere: Asking can be as simple as saying “Hey, if you ever need anything, let us know. We're happy to help in any way we can.”
xeurika: That’s the rub, I'm sure many would be happy and able to help, but connecting those in need with those who can help is always the big challenge.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: Or on that thought line Legardored, what about a simple contact us place?
Merticus: Vampire Global Development Support Network - http://www.facebook.com/groups/190155421090478/ + they can contact us through the VVC forms on the website.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: With the acknowledgment that we are happy to try and answer questions as best we can.
Sylvere: For that matter, we could just add a checkbox on the current form for International Project Assistance or something.
Merticus: Nod, the existing forms can be modified/added to, etc.
Isealdor: There seems to be a running mentality of that "Oh, we're organized, we should help other places be like us"... an Anthropology 101 approach of "let's find out their way of doing things" is most likely always going to go over better. If someone sees something they like out of our community when we share how ours is set up, they're probably going to ask questions and adopt whatever. Maybe we could learn some things from how they run things.
Sylvere: That's why I keep saying let them tell us what they need.
Merticus: India, Norway, Mexico are the one's that come to mind who have specifically sought assistance from people (throughout Facebook) desiring help contacting others in their countries and setting up some form of organization. And some of them have received assistance and are making real progress.
Sylvere: At that point, it's our job to STFU and listen to what they say.
Isealdor: @Merticus: Are the majority of those sorts of requests you've seen coming through Facebook at this point?
Merticus: Yes, the majority of everything in the entire vampire community lately is through Facebook in some manner or another at the moment.
Merticus: Along with some direct e-mail contact.
Sanguinarius: Facebook conquers the world! News at 11!
Isealdor: That actually makes a lot of things harder, because Facebook isn’t exactly as search friendly as forums crawled by Google bots.
legardored: What I learned from providing help to groups is that it mostly is just pointing them in the right direction. You need a website built? Not a problem here you have some examples how it could be done including training documents. You need to know how to connect to people here you have some means there pros and cons.
Merticus: The central question all of them have asked is how can they go about locating more people in their countries who identify as vampires.
Merticus: Without knowing who to contact or having a small base to build on they are discouraged or stumbling around in the dark.
Isealdor: Begs the question of how and where they're finding the vampire community things on Facebook to begin with, and what sort of ways we can integrate some of the social media more into our existing information platforms (forums, sites, whatever).
Sylvere: *snort* We still field that question in the U.S.
Sanguinarius: We always will.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: Too true Sylvere.
Sylvere: Unless you're in a major metro, you can't find anyone.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: For the most part.
Merticus: Some people are just more adept at finding people than others... that is also a factor.
Isealdor: Sylvere: Not true, you just have to have really good Google and Facebook-fu :)
Scarlet-Ravenwing: Is there a way to set up some sort of map link system on one of the websites?
Sylvere: Oh hell no.
Sylvere: No one wants to be mapped.
Isealdor: @Scarlet: What sort of map link system? Like everyone be mapped like on FourSquare or with Locations or something?
legardored: A vampire wiki?
Scarlet-Ravenwing: Not so much direct contact, but like, "Looking for vamps in VA" would show a contact page for VA vamps, and set up a possible chat exchange? Just a thought.
Merticus: Unlike some in the Otherkin and Therian community, I don't see the vampire community implementing a mapping system for it's participants (linking IPs to general locations on a real-time map). Serious privacy and other dangers would be involved in attempting such.
Merticus: Scops from the German vampire community established a vampire/donor mapping system complete with contact information and a GUI map - I don’t even want to contemplate such large scale or the nightmare scenarios that could arise.
Merticus: Granted, this is also a reason why people still ask that question but I’d rather field the question than read about people being stalked by vampires (or vice versa).
Sylvere: Meetup.com used to be the way to do that.
Belfazaar: Unfortunately... mapping can lead to the exact style of problems we were discussing in topic A.
Isealdor: @Scarlet: Certain sites have similar things to that, just isn't always where most people look.
Ithril: And closely monitored by 'authorities'.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: But thus far down here Meetup is for tea parties and roleplayers.
Sanguinarius: Only if you let them come to the meetups.
Sylvere: Yeah, I got a lot of that with my old Meetup group.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: Perhaps making those sites that do have it, more noticeable?
Scarlet-Ravenwing: I realize the danger, it would have to be some sort of voluntary thing.
Belfazaar: The only thing I did with Meetup was create a profile and put my name out there for people to contact if they were interested in getting together...
Scarlet-Ravenwing: Same thing here Belfazaar. I used to help out with paranormal groups, but it got crazy, so I just exist there.
Sylvere: I ran a group for years but Meetup's fees just got to be too much.
Sylvere: Facebook is free.
Sanguinarius: Same here. I had to move onto Yahoo groups.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: I know what you mean Sylvere.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: Yahoo Groups is where my base site is too.
Victoria: The Detroit community is still based on Meetup.
Victoria: It does work you just have to have someone willing to pay for it and wait, and wait, for people to find you.
Merticus: I'd be rather surprised if most of you (those present) didn't keep a database of the vampires in your respective state / city / etc. and how to contact them.
Merticus: If you don't, then I wonder why not?
Sylvere: I don't.
Sylvere: There are all of 2 of us.
Sylvere: And I don't like the other one so I want nothing to do with her.
Victoria: Does the contact list in my phone count?
Isealdor: @Sylvere: There are far, far more than 2.
Sylvere: @Isealdor: No, there really aren't.
Sylvere: At least not in Kansas City.
Sylvere: There are blood fetishists, role-players, and the confused.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: @Sylvere: I’ve met people from all 3 types you listed.
Sylvere: Oh wait...I forgot one.
Sylvere: Ok, there are maybe 3 of us.
Isealdor: And the ones who don't come out to roleplayer-type things...
legardored: Could not live without a CRM (customer relationship management) to be honest.
legardored: Basically a database build to keep tabs on clients.
Ithril: I know of... perhaps four in my state.
Merticus: @Ithril: I have 11 vampires in my list in SC (one's I know how to get in contact with)...
Belfazaar: The same thing exists everywhere... unfortunately
Scarlet-Ravenwing: Merticus, some move, some are uncomfortable with that kind of info being nailed down, and yet others are close enough they need no nailed down info.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: I have under 20 vampyre/Otherkin in my area that I have personally met and either know where they live, talk to or have the ability to contact.
Merticus: I’ve lost count of the number of vampires I’ve met in the Atlanta area or from the entire state of Georgia… the list was over 80+ persons last I checked.
Belfazaar: I think in order to do something of this nature, building a singular database with mirrored sites would work best, to be honest.
Sanguinarius: There are probably 5 or 6 vamps/Otherkin in and around Tucson, AZ that I know of/am in or have been in contact with.
Sylvere: I do know a few Otherkin/Therians in my area.
Sylvere: But I didn't count them since they aren't involved in the vampire community.
Isealdor: Or someone just keeping an actually up-to-date geographic listing of people wanting to be on it, groups, events, etc.
Isealdor: And not just completely vampire events, since there are very few of them, but things like Renaissance festivals or conferences where clusters out of the community tend to get together.
Merticus: Public databases and listings of that type are dangerous for reasons mentioned above so aside from that how can we assist growing communities?
Merticus: I put people in contact with others privately... always have, always will.
Isealdor: Things like Belfazaar's "how to" on New Orleans Vampire Association (NOVA).
Belfazaar: If there is such a way to keep up with who does and does not make contact, how do we let those near them know?
Isealdor: I think even if we know who or what is around us, and being willing to pass people to others in their general area, it'd help
Belfazaar: *nods* Seems to be the best.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: Why not let them contact members here who are from their area, Belfazaar?
Belfazaar: I have to say that we try to encourage people with the things we do in the NOVA, however, we're not expecting to be the only ones doing these things. We’re just vocal about it.
Merticus: Anyone have anything else on topic B?
* Sylvere moves on.



Merticus: c. Current State Of The Macro & Micro Vampire Community: We've now arrived at the year 2012 and do you know what your fellow vampires are doing? Consider the online, offline, and your local vampire community while answering the following questions along with an insight into your reasoning for these answers;
Merticus: (1) What aspects are working and/or harmonious? (2) What aspects are broken and/or divisive? (3) What aspects need left alone to evolve or progress on their own - for better or for worse? (4) What aspects would benefit by being engaged and strides made towards improvement and how could this be accomplished?
Criophix: (1) Communication.
Criophix: (2) More cross communication between groups.
Criophix: (3) Some of the groups which wish to be left alone. Those who don't want to contribute to a online community or a community at large unless they are running it with their rules.
Criophix: (4) I think the cheapest and easily accomplished improvement would have to be the way we comment towards individuals. A non-argumentative, constructive argument and a polite debate. We don't need a below the belt campaign on one individual or one group. I think that would boost individuals wanting to talk about issues. I think it would prove to get more individuals involved and interested.
DeaconGray: (1) I feel that there is actually greater communication between aspects of the community. When I came in the Gotham scene really didn’t go out of their way to talk to the OVC, and the same was true in the other direction. There was a lot of tension between the groups generally speaking. These days we have groups like Communitas.
DeaconGray: (2) I still feel we need a better connection with the spiritually minded vampire set. Like it or not they are part of the community while their leadership might not have any interest in what we are doing, their membership is wide and varied. I feel that most of them when they speak about their beliefs get beat up pretty badly, and as a whole we allow it too much.
DeaconGray: I am not saying we should accept every wild thing out there, but instead face the facts the Temple of the Vampire (ToV) is here to stay, the Temple of Set (ToS) {Order of the Vampyre} is as well, and it doesn’t appear the Aset Ka are going anywhere any time soon, and we have not even mentioned Father Sebastiaan and the Ordo Strigoi Vii. As long as we keep allowing the demonization of these groups on our forums it is going to turn off their members.
DeaconGray: (3) I think the scholastic movement is doing just fine.
DeaconGray: (4) I am not sure, I suspect there would be a time of convergence and strife, but eventually things even out as people learn to accept each other.
LadyNightdancer: One of the major things I see is most are not very open minded and name calling ensues when certain topics are brought up. I see people make unequivocal remarks, sometimes demeaning concerning aspects of the vampire that cannot be substantiated by anyone and are merely in most cases opinion.
LadyNightdancer: We have a tendency to label those with different ideas to be cults, fringe or delusional role players. I don’t believe this to be advantageous to knowledge and learning in general if anyone with a different idea is considered automatically wrong and suspect.
LadyNightdancer: Some of these questions I simply cannot answer definitively because it hits at the very core of individual belief systems. The only thing I will say is some need to delineate things out so that the same people are not always being recognized like there is some sort of hierarchy or celebrities of the vampire community.
LadyNightdancer: We need to inform but not try to police each other. I’m not sure how to accomplish this exactly, but Merticus has made strides at trying to accomplish something like this but it has to be more than one person who appears in the forefront of things over and over again.
LadyNightdancer: Perhaps finding out what the individual goals are of various houses, organizations, etc. and their various philosophies. Even though there are some that have made it a practice to know all the organizations there are many who do not know them.
LadyNightdancer: Perhaps guest someone at a public meeting to talk about an individual group.
ThePinkLady: Considering I had no idea that a well-known community person still lived in my state until just a few weeks ago, I need to work on my community awareness. It's important to me to know the state of individuals and communities in my area as well as so-called vampire crimes.
ThePinkLady: After seeing three local Meetups fold in the past month, I plan to extend my own Meetup to the entire state and invite other group leaders to be a part of it. I hope to get people from all over the state interacting and sharing.
ThePinkLady: I prefer to handle things at the local level. My interaction with the OVC is becoming more and more limited; I'm tired of the drama, so rather than burn myself out trying to fix the unfixable, I've limited myself to local activities and reaching out to serious inquirers or locals online.
Vyrdolak: 1: Um...
Vyrdolak: 2: All of them! But the vampire community, as *always*, is simply mirroring the culture as a whole. Internet activity is dying. People are retreating to restricted venues like text messaging, local chat and direct messages that are immune to advertisers. We're seeing far less real interaction and vastly more game playing and "sharing" of impersonal content (links, photos, videos).
Vyrdolak: This means that the substantial interaction on which the OVC was based, like forums, e-mail lists and blogs, has basically trailed off to a trickle. You can't "fix this" because people don't want it to be fixed. They're closing themselves off by choice.
Vyrdolak: 3: I don't think anything else is *possible*. What vampire community members constantly forget is that the "vampire community" is, and has always been, an organic entity. No one has "made" the vampire community what it is or *can* "make" it something else by choice. It simply is what it is, and it can't be controlled because it's too dependent on free membership and free self-identity.
Vyrdolak: 4: I always hold that the best course of action is to *model* behaviors, institutions and systems that you hope to see increase. People can and do imitate things which they perceive as working well. You can't get people to do something just by telling them.
Vyrdolak: Strong leadership is vital. Trolls and bullies will always gravitate to groups that seem weak and chaotic, where they can abuse their power and enjoy pushing others around. They need to be dealt with *severely,* because that will encourage less aggressive members to feel that someone will have their back if they stand up to the jerks.
Vyrdolak: I've never had *anyone* back me up in an argument with a creep and that's been very disheartening. It's why I stopped doing it. I got sick of being the good guy in a cage fight while everyone else just sat back and was entertained.
Zane: c.1: We're all talking! This is a good, rather large step from a few years ago when nobody could agree on anything. Now even if we disagree, we can still discuss matters, much better than in the past. *points to past transcripts*
Zane: c.2: There's been a recent influx of interest in vampires. Ironically enough, the majority of website owners who have traditionally had the sites found when this interest struck are extraordinarily busy with life matters.
Zane: There's this *massive* disconnect between interest and activism where the two are so disproportionate that those who are genuinely interested in the truth can find nothing but fiction. Problem is, there's really no good way to solve this. If life calls, then you've got to answer.
Zane: I'm trying my hand at a solution, where I'm essentially collecting all the articles I can find, and posting them in modern, computer-readable formats so hopefully they'll get more attention. You can see this here: http://archives.awakeanddrink.org though note that it's still very much in development.
Zane: I've got it to the point that you can rename articles, change authors, change the original link, and the category something's filed under all through point-and-click, and even write articles the same way, but currently the content requires HTML knowledge. So next is making a GUI for the content.
Zane: What I'd like to do is have a "trusted circle" oversee this, but also have a type of "peer review" system incorporated into this (which is discussed in the bottom paragraph on the main page http://archives.awakeanddrink.org). Since there will be (theoretically) all articles here, this serves as a great launch pad for peer review.
Zane: Maybe have a checkmark or some such indicators for articles which do or do not meet "standards" (which will need to be quantified once it's up and running, but won't simply be, "Agree/disagree with viewpoint"). I've already spoken with some of you regarding inclusion of articles.
Zane: c.3: As stated above, international relations.
Zane: c.4: Instead of trying to make a bunch of half-baked new stuff, we first need to address what existing projects we already have. If it's a project we need to decapitate and throw to the Kraken, then do so. If it's a project we want to pursue, then we need to do it, and do so with conviction.
Zane: All these dead, half-baked projects lying around the Internet is discouraging to all of us, I know, so I can only imagine how it looks to somebody who's begun looking into our efforts.
Merticus: Pardon me for reiterating some of what you may have already read, but I believe it goes to the core of why there’s often the perception that the “vampire community” is not functioning or everyone is somehow intentionally refusing to work together for the “welfare and education of all”. Many self-identified vampires have migrated from forums, web groups, and other closed-discussion boards to Facebook and their time in the community is now spent almost exclusively via their cell phones.
Merticus: This exodus of people are being huddled tightly together in an increasingly smaller number of available groups and the lines are being blurred between those among us who are lifestylers, religious, fetish, sanguinarian, psychic, pranic, and everything in-between “vampires”. Everyone brings to the table their own subjective reality of what it means to be a legitimate part of our community and therein lies the cause behind much of the bitterness and outright hatred some have displayed in the past year.
Merticus: I would contend that one's self-identify with the loosely defined concept/condition/state of being/et. al. of 'vampirism' is entirely dependent on the individual and no more or less valid than the next person. How well we get along with one another is directly dependent on our acknowledgement and tolerance of these differences.
Merticus: Some in the 'vampire community' have medical and/or mental conditions which they've yet to find a satisfactory answer for.
Merticus: Some in the 'vampire community' have medical and/or mental conditions which they're in denial over.
Merticus: Some in the 'vampire community' incorporate magickal or ritual practices with a spiritual blend of 'vampirism'.
Merticus: Some in the 'vampire community' are just left-hand path leaning 'vampire' spiritualists or esotericists.
Merticus: Some in the 'vampire community' don't believe 'vampirism' has anything to do with religion and/or spirituality.
Merticus: Some in the 'vampire community' believe their soul is inhabited and/or are fallen angelic or demonic 'vampires'.
Merticus: Some in the 'vampire community' believe 'vampirism' to be an evolutionary advancement in certain humans.
Merticus: Some in the 'vampire community' believe 'vampirism' is caused by a virus because they read certain websites.
Merticus: Some in the 'vampire community' simply enjoy the 'lifestyle', wearing fangs, and dangling an ankh around their neck.
Merticus: Some in the 'vampire community' really wish they could emulate fictional (perhaps even folkloric) 'vampires'.
Merticus: Some in the 'vampire community' felt a void in their life and have 'attempted' to fill it with 'vampirism' and the O/VC.
Merticus: Some in the 'vampire community' have no clue who or what they are and don't care either way - 'vampire' sounded good.
Merticus: Some in the 'vampire community' have no desire to define their own identity because they never learned to think for themselves.
Merticus: Some in the 'vampire community' are still searching for their own answers (physiological, medical, spiritual, or otherwise).
Merticus: Some in the 'vampire community' are completely deluding themselves (irregardless of whether 'vampirism' exists or not).
Merticus: Some in the 'vampire community' really wish they could close their eyes and wake up somewhere else.
Merticus: Some in the 'vampire community' won't be here this time next year because they will no longer identify with 'vampirism'.
Merticus: Some in the 'vampire community' are just bat-@&*# crazy.
Merticus: Some in the 'vampire community' think 'vampirism' is a combination of 'everything' because they think this is an appealing idea.
Merticus: Some in the 'vampire community' will think I didn't cover some element of their own personal experience in any of the above.
Merticus: Some in the 'vampire community' will be correct in this thinking.
Merticus: Personally, I support and engage the segments of the 'community' I choose to based on my own comfort level in dealing with the groups and/or individuals (along with their history/emotional/belief/etc. baggage) that comes with that decision.
Merticus: As for the rest, I observe and study them at arms length out of an innate desire to 'objectively understand'; trying to not find myself entangled too deeply in their lives nor be combative towards their beliefs or practices.
Merticus: I honestly don’t know if the online vampire community will experience another ‘Golden Period’ of enlightenment and research into what it means to be “vampiric” (if you even consider us to have gone through one in the first place). If more people would quit worrying about the perceived failures or shortcomings of others and concentrate on their own projects and local communities I think we’d all be better off.
Merticus: Attitudes of entitlement, deep seeded mistrust, intentional deceptions, wanton ignorance, and purposefully baiting others to engage in negative rhetoric isn’t improving any of our lives or friendships with one another -- it’s simply narcissistic and predatory vampires using one another as prey.
Sylvere: I got nothing. There just isn't a community in my area.
Sylvere: I don't extend my "reach" to St. Louis, MO or down south.
Sylvere: My limit is Lawrence/Topeka which are about an hour west.
* Sanguinarius likes the idea of trusted circle or peer review for articles.
xeurika: Peer review is one of my things, unfortunately, I've had zero time to put it into action.
legardored: I am happy to say that we managed to connect about 20 Dutch and Belgium people in one group and some internal auditing shows that they are also communicating with each other privately. So I would say from a Dutch perspective there is progress.
Merticus: That's good to hear legardored.
Sanguinarius: If all goes well, I will be converting my website (and articles) over to a CMS system and people will be able to rate and comment on articles and information.
Sanguinarius: I’m not sure when I will get this implemented. It’s a huge project.
Sylvere: Sanguinarius: Are you migrating to WordPress or are you self-hosting a WordPress powered blog?
Sanguinarius: WordPress on my hosting.
Belfazaar: One of the primary things I think that promotes disharmony is the keeping or allowing trolls to run free in our groups/forums.
* Sanguinarius nods
Belfazaar: I'm not suggesting being heavy handed... Just when someone truly shows they have no intention of playing by the rules... slap them down.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: I agree Belfazaar, trolls and roleplayers seem to affect so much.
Belfazaar: We can disagree and continue to communicate, which is a VERY hard thing to come by with today's allowing of trolls throughout time...
Scarlet-Ravenwing: I agree Belfazaar.
legardored: We used a simple method a few years ago by first watching members for 2 months and if they have behaved they would get access to the larger group. This was however an Otherkin community.
Belfazaar: If we all start communicating on which people have been trolling our lists and/or be removed from list for trolling it would be a great start...
Belfazaar: Just open communication on why someone was bounced from such-n-such list...
Belfazaar: After a few bouncings, some people learn their lessons...
Merticus: There are currently discussions in the Therian community about implementing (it actually already exists) a centralized troll script that is used on registrations of multiple forums to ban the IP ranges, names, etc. of known trolls/troublemakers.
Merticus: I believe this is a problematic ‘suggestion’ for any number of reasons (recycled IPs being one of them) and would actually encourage more IP masking, multiple trolling identities, and eventually lead to a complete restriction of TOR usage for those of us who wish to legitimately maintain some degree of privacy.
Merticus: Also, the vampire community currently doesn’t have the same forum, LiveJournal, and Tumblr presence as that of the Therian or even Otherkin community.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: 1. Discussion, open working forums. 2. Pages or organizations who front with media falsehoods, outreach with little actual interaction. 3. I think outward reach, other countries, "rescue" type things. 4. Connecting persons for more/better discussion, more directional sites - these are some of my thoughts for starters.
Isealdor: Scarlet, can you explain more what you mean on part 4?
Scarlet-Ravenwing: @Isealdor: I mean places where persons can ask questions pertinent to their area, as and example, I help out with a group who has sent me folks looking for Virginia Vampires or Kemetic Pagans to me for help in find what they need.
Isealdor: @Scarlet: How much of that is those places not existing vs. people just not knowing where to find them? (ie: more a networking issue than anything)
Scarlet-Ravenwing: Isealdor, it’s a bit of both.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: It falls under either not finding much in the way of what they are looking for (we, in my area, are still Bible belt and thus anything different is viewed as sinful, basically, so it’s underground).
Merticus: What's broken in the vampire community?
Merticus: What's working just fine in the vampire community?
Sylvere: Re: Broken - The whole damn thing?
Sanguinarius: What's broken is that it's getting too inclusive.
Belfazaar: We're a factitious lot... that's what is broken... I've always said that we acknowledged differences in vampires early on, but we did not shine a light on it...
Belfazaar: We moved on... Too many people are trying to spotlight the differences between all of us.
Belfazaar: Sensationalism replaced journalism in the 1980s...
Belfazaar: We're not going to fix that issue any time soon... While "ratings" rule what journalism is.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: Bad press, bad representation in the media (at times) is a major part of what’s broken too.
Sylvere: What's wrong is that people need to GTFO the very minor differences in feeding habits and move on.
Belfazaar: Thank you, Sylvere!!
Scarlet-Ravenwing: Well stated Sylvere.
Belfazaar: Focus more on the commonalities rather than the differences... Our differences make us a strong community, however, it is our true strength to acknowledge and focusing on our commonalities
legardored: If anything I would say encourage your fellow vampires to quit being passive but start being active.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: Draw more of a unity to the existing communites, thus a stronger community whole?
Belfazaar: The problem with that, Scarlet, is that someone inevitably starts bringing up a "ruling council" in one disguise or another... What works in ONE area does NOT work in all areas.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: Well, with me thus far the closest thing to a "Ruling council" I have ever mentioned is the VVC, but I have pointed out that even then the VVC is not the be all/know all.
Belfazaar: But that's just it, Scarlet... VVC is NOT a body politic... It is supposed to be an open line of communication...
Merticus: Yes, the VVC is not a "ruling council" - if we were there would be more heads rolling on a weekly basis :p
legardored: And more paperwork.
Sylvere: The VVC is not a governing body.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: I realize it, did you not see where I said that I didn't say it wasn't? I said the closest thing to it for folks who ask me is that.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: I in no way suggested we are the law.
Belfazaar: Take, for example, the proposed Vampire Judicial Council (VJC)... It even stated in its bylaws that should you NOT be a member, their rulings applied to you ANYWAYS.
* Sylvere lights VJC on fire and dances on the ashes.
Belfazaar: I think VVC stands best when it stands as an open road of communication...
* Isealdor wholeheartedly agrees with Belfazaar.
Merticus: The majority of people who access the resources and information in front of them don't take the time to learn who/what/how to use them. Ignorance is rampant and if it's shiny and new or rehashed it's somehow "amazing" to people when others have been saying it for years or have it available to read.
Belfazaar: True, Merticus... Very true...
Isealdor: @Merticus: Those resources, by and large, aren't in the currently preferred form of media consumption. If it's small, bite sized, and comes out on a catchy video or meme or lulzcat photo, or in a quick twitter-sized blurb, it gets paid attention to.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: True Merticus. In interaction with what happens here a lot though, folks don't even know what they are looking for or where to begin, and that’s where that group sends them to me for.
Merticus: Not everything can be bite sized, sorry.
Merticus: It's not up to all of us to spoon feed people information in doses that are engineered especially for them.
legardored: Even though some people come up with stuff where your thinking my god how could you miss that? I still would say encourage them to dare to ask.
Isealdor: @Merticus: No, unless we don't want them to ignore the resources.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: What I find is that for some folks the real resources are so mixed by media nonsense it’s too hard to weed out what’s real.
Merticus: Should we create a vampire comic strip to help teach ethical principles and donor care?
Merticus: Are we at that point?
Scarlet-Ravenwing: lol Merticus
Isealdor: @Merticus: Sadly... that'd probably actually work fairly well.
legardored: Has memories of the pagan cartoons.
Sanguinarius: That would be a good way to reach the younger crowd.
Merticus: ::passes out crayons or colored pencils to everyone::
Isealdor: lol
Sylvere: lmao, fingerpaints.
* Isealdor wants charcoal.
* Sanguinarius waves around a purple crayon.
* Victoria would love to see the Real Vampires School House Rock.
Ithril: Pastels! I don't want crayons...
Merticus: Clay modeling classes on how vampires feed will be held on Thursdays…
Sylvere: Did someone say claymation?
Sylvere: Claymation feeding guide w/Mr. Bill even.
legardored: I get the feeling we would get into fights over who gets to use what crayon rather soon.
Merticus: Other thoughts on topic C? I’m turning the rest of the meeting over to Isealdor because I’ve not been able to shake this persistent sinus headache.
Isealdor: Thing is... we make fun, but Evan Christopher has had some luck with having nightclub-like events with a "class" or "lecture" attached during part.
legardored: It can work but it can also have risk.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: Isealdor, I was asked to teach a class similar for a fetish group locally. I did tech, but with no show, the last thing I wanted was a bunch of folks going home and cutting each other up.
Sylvere: I don't even want to imagine how a class like that would go over where I live. Not after the craptastic cutting/blood play demo that happened at one of the Goth nights.
Isealdor: @Scarlet: was there a lot of interest? And how much of the group were VC themselves?
Scarlet-Ravenwing: There was actually about a 20 person group attending, but that was pretty good for our area. I knew of two vampires (myself included) and one Otherkin.
Isealdor: Not bad :)
Sylvere: Any bloodletting classes done around here are done under the auspices of BDSM.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: The group overall seemed to be interested due to its increasing interest in the real community due to my husband and I attending a few of their meetings.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: Yeah, someone tried to do one here for that reason, didn't happen in the group we're in, but across the mountains it did... *sighs*
legardored: We had a member who did that recently which ended less than fortunate...
Isealdor: I've seen many end up in the kink community trying to find vampire community info -- tends to be a decent crossover and connection branch.
Sylvere: We have several people who do needle play or blood cupping but have nothing to do with the vampire community.
Belfazaar: It was one of the original places for sanguines to find each other...
Sylvere: Easy place to find donors too, I'm sure.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: Yeah it seems I have had a good number of folks ask me questions via Fetlife, where I'm in two or three groups for vampyre culture, Sylvere's included.
Isealdor: Does anyone have anything else for topic C?
Sylvere: Nope
Scarlet-Ravenwing: I guess not.
legardored: No
* Sanguinarius shakes her head.
Victoria: No
Belfazaar: Nope
Isealdor: Ok, moving on...



Isealdor: d. Other topics you’d like to bring up for discussion?
Sylvere: I’ve got nothing.
Sylvere: We covered everything I had already.
Sanguinarius: Something that may sound self-serving but actually is not... I'm accepting advertising on my site. Anyone interested can find out more info at http://www.sanguinarius.org/ads-info.shtml
Sanguinarius: For community members to advertise at reasonable rates.
Belfazaar: We have another three people who've asked to join our GED program here... I'm finding myself truly amazed there are so many without high school diplomas.
Scarlet-Ravenwing: GED program?
Isealdor: @Belfazaar: want to talk more about that, what it is, etc?
Belfazaar: One of the things we had on the table was to create an educational avenue for the vampire community, checking on things such as grants and other things for education... However, we found several who had not even gotten their high school diplomas. So we utilized one of our own who is a qualified GED instructor to facilitate in this aspect.
Sylvere: Don't most schools do that through their financial aid departments? I'm not sure how NOVA would facilitate that.
Sylvere: Could you clarify?
Sylvere: Well, I'll use myself as an example.
Sylvere: When I went back to school, I filled out the FAFSA for federal aid.
Sylvere: The results were sent to my school.
Sylvere: Their financial aid department gave me a list of all the grants/scholarships I could apply for.
Belfazaar: We have a grant writer on staff... She would look for grants, write them out and help attain them for students.
Belfazaar: One of the grants she is looking for is so that we can actually build a facility to host such things...
Isealdor: @Sylvere: With colleges, sure... but not all are looking at college, just need to have a GED or HS diploma to be able to find decent employment.
Sylvere: @Isealdor: He did say education.
Sylvere: I thought that meant school of some sort. My bad.
Belfazaar: Yes... Education is one of the things, however, what I'm speaking of mostly is the fact that when we were going to put something together for a place to HOST education, we found a number of members without a HS Diploma... So we sidestepped a bit to create a GED program.
Isealdor: Both, actually...the tutoring some need to get a GED isn't that different than someone getting ready to take college entrance exams, for example.
Sylvere: Ah, ok. So something like a small business grant?
Belfazaar: Yes
Sylvere: Gotcha
Sanguinarius: Has anyone taken advantage of it yet?
Belfazaar: I was seriously surprised at how many without diplomas there were... We are up to seven and it seems a few more every few days.
Sylvere: That's very cool that you're doing that.
Belfazaar: 1 just needs to actually take the test, three need help with basic math skills before they can, one needs help with reading and writing... The other two have not taken the pretest to see what they need.
Sylvere: The few vampires here are all college educated or have some sort of technical training.
Belfazaar: Which is pretty much what I've expected here... To find there were those without... switched our program up a bit...
Sylvere: There was one who only had a GED but she moved away.
Sanguinarius: Helping out your fellow vamp to get a leg up in the world is very noble. Therian/Otherkin also.
Belfazaar: The oldest here, is actually a Therian who will be 40 this year.
Sylvere: There's one psi about an hour south who isn't but then she's also in HS.
Belfazaar: Unfortunately, not every member felt that way... They also didn't understand that we have to work with such people as Jackie Clarkson, who is notoriously anti-ANYTHING that is not Christian, white or Republican.
Belfazaar: She steps aside for us because we feed the homeless.
Belfazaar: But it is not always the case... So we have to play more politics than I care to, just to get things done.
Sylvere: Nice.
Belfazaar: The ulterior motive behind all of this is to provide a true safe haven and possibly jobs for vampires, Therian and Otherkin in our city... Those having trouble finding work.
Belfazaar: That's where the homeless shelter comes in.
Sylvere: The public school system here is so broken I'm surprised we don't have more people in the same situation.
Sylvere: But those who are in it are not part of the vampire community so I have no contact with them.
Sylvere: That's why I homeschool.
Sylvere: We might be a little behind where other kids his age are but I know he's really understanding things.
Isealdor: That it exists, no matter what the scope to start, I think is a good thing.
legardored: Compliments for such a ambitious project. I feel glad that there is no need here for such a thing. I really hope you can make a difference for those people.
Sanguinarius: Yes, so do I.
Belfazaar: Another thing we are looking into is affordable healthcare for NOVA members and their "families".
Isealdor: @Belfazaar: As individuals, or... ?
Belfazaar: Like for NOVA members to have it for their "households"
Belfazaar: That way, should people move down for our respective Houses/Clans/Covens/Orders, they can have health care available.
Belfazaar: NOVA has incorporated as a non profit.
Sylvere: I know some polyamorous families incorporate so all of them can have healthcare.
Sylvere: Is that an option?
Isealdor: Family corporations aren’t usually NPO, different sets of rules, etc.
Sylvere: Yes, I know, but I don't know if a Louisiana NPO would have the same option.
Belfazaar: Yes... Daughters of Divinity is a nonprofit and they have healthcare.
Sylvere: That's cool.
Belfazaar: It is where I got the idea... Was speaking with one of them.
Sylvere: Well best of luck with that. Healthcare in this country is a nightmare of epic proportions.
Sanguinarius: Yes
Belfazaar: Yes... it truly is... unfortunately, the way the law reads, anyone without healthcare or insurance can be arrested now.
Sylvere: Yes, but there's supposed to be a public insurance option.
Sylvere: Where is that?
Belfazaar: By 2014, when the Obamacare package is fully initiated.
Sanguinarius: Do you have links to any articles about this Belfazaar?
Sylvere: I thought the mandatory health insurance didn't take effect until 2014?
Sylvere: Obamacare can't happen to soon for me.
Belfazaar: Yes, they are already "targeting" people without insurance.
Sylvere: I've been sick for a month. I can't see a doctor because I can't afford it.
Ithril: Most hospitals have 'charity' programs... go to the emergency.
Ithril: They wrote off nearly $50k that I owed them.
Sylvere: We don't qualify. Been there, done that.
Belfazaar: Yes, same here... I've actually been sick most of this past year.
Belfazaar: I make too much, according to them.
Sylvere: We used to have the hospital's discount but my husband makes more now.
Sylvere: Of course, it's still not enough to afford insurance.
Isealdor: Alright, thank you all for coming!
Isealdor: If there’s nothing more to be said for topic C and nothing else to be brought up for discussion (topic D) I think we can leave it there for tonight.
Merticus: IV. Business Reminders
Merticus: Refer to the forum for all current discussions.