The CLOWN manifesto
The CLOWN ("Crazy Lunatics Of the Wild North") guild was founded back in 1997. CLOWN has since then evolved and is today considered a community rather then a guild. The community has through the years been present in numerous mmorpgs and other online multiplayer games.
The full name speaks of its origin - the founders came from Sweden, and of its spirit - unpredictable, joyful, humorous, clumsy and entertaining. The short name simply sums it all up; what better word to describe it all then CLOWN?
2. CLOWN spirit
The CLOWN spirit is the core of the community. Laughter, jesting and jokes are important. A CLOWN smiles at fellow adventurers, greets unknown travellers and tries to make the world a better place by helping others. A CLOWN is always polite and never grief or harasses others.
These are the standards, or rules if you like, that we live by:
- We laugh and jest
- We love pie
- We are helpful and polite
- We treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves
- We die with a smile
3. Community vs Guild
It is important to understand the difference between the community and any game specific guilds. Guilds are considered manifestations of the community in a specific game. Thus guilds may differ from one game to another since games mechanisms, people, guild size, goals etc. differ. A guild in one game may be very loosely formed while one in another game may be very strict. It is up to the individuals in each game to shape that particular manifestation. As long as the basic values, the clown spirit, are preserved a guild will be considered a part of the CLOWN community. It does not matter what other rules are added on top of the basic ones.
By default CLOWN is a non-hierarchical community where Students and CLOWNs have equal value (the “one man/woman - one vote” sort of thing). However, at guild level members may agree on a stricter guild structure. This is often done to achieve a higher level of organisation. However, it is important to remember the principles of democracy - the majority wins.
4. Adaptation and change
It is important to understand that guilds (on game level) will differ from game to game and even over time. This is a natural process to be embraced and to work with. The manifestation (a guild) of the community in any given game has to adapt to the specific game, its rules, mechanisms, setting, culture and environment. This process might in some guilds (games) be harder then in others, depending on the member base and its mutual history.
There are three fundamental ranks within the community, Initiate, Student and CLOWN. All ranks are given on player level and should thus not be confused with “toons”. The “Initiate” rank always refers to a trialist in the CLOWN community. The "Student" rank always refers to a non-CLOWNed player. The "CLOWN" rank always refers to a CLOWNed player. Note: Other ranks may be present due to specific game mechanisms.
Any toon(s) of a new member/player will be given the rank "Initiate of CLOWN" (or other appropriate/game technical rank) upon entering the CLOWN community. Initiates are considered trialists and can be expelled from the community at any time, for whatever reason.
Any toon(s) of an initiate found to be of “CLOWN material” will be appointed a mentor and given the rank "Student of CLOWN" (or other appropriate/game technical rank).
Any toon(s) of a student passing his/her CLOWNing will be given the rank “CLOWN”. Note: Also see titles.
Any toon(s) of an already CLOWNed player will be given the rank "CLOWN", thus bypassing any in-game requirements.
Only CLOWNed players are eligible to become mentors. Whenever an Initiate is deemed worthy a CLOWN will be appointed as his/her mentor. Being a mentor is voluntary and never forced upon anyone. However, without mentors the community will not expand.
To become a CLOWN, a student will have to prove to the community that he or she is of the right spirit. This could take months, or even years, if ever. The opportunity to be CLOWNed may not be presented to all students. It is not a right to be CLOWNed, it is a quality mark.
The event when a student becomes a "true" CLOWN is also known as a CLOWNING. The CLOWNING itself can be an adventure, staged quest, or similar. The adventure should be followed by a ceremony where the student(s) may choose a title of their own.
Students who have been deemed worthy will eventually be presented with the opportunity to be CLOWNed. The appropriate time/level/point for becoming a "true" CLOWN may vary from game to game. Spirit however, should always be ranked above numbers. The guild master/council in any game sets the appropriate standard.
8. CLOWN titles
A CLOWNed player has earned the right to his/her very own title.
All titles must be unique - there is a list of CLOWN titles already in use. A title is personal and can not be used by anyone else. A player can only have one (1) title at any given time. Titles can be surrendered/changed, in which case the old title will be free to be picked by another CLOWN.
Although a title is given to a specific toon (the one CLOWNed), all future toons of a player will inherit both rank and title. Thus, new toons in a current or future game will be considered (and ranked, if applicable) as a CLOWN. This way, the community can easily tell which toon belongs to which player.
A title earned in a game can be used by the person behind the character in any other game/context as he/she sees fit, e.g. as a pseudonym on a forum or in a forum signature.
A titles should follow the standard of "The [Title] CLOWN" with the [title] word (single) being of describing character, e.g. "The Famous CLOWN".
Titles have in the past had no set rules. Thus a few players have earned multiple titles (on different toons). Players are urged to surrender all but one title, but it will not be enforced.
9.1 Game specific Council
Depending on many things, ie guild size, game type etc, some sort of guild master/council might be needed due to the complexity of things (e.g. guild management, city management, alliance management, internal affairs, clownings, co-ordination of guild progress, suggesting game-specific rules etc, etc). There is no obligation to form a council but its form has proven to be helpful through the years. Councillors may be appointed through voting or any other way the guild (game specific) sees fit. However, only "true" CLOWNs may become councillors due to the fact that the council must organise clownings.
A council is to be made up of active players of the game in question (e.g. World of Warcraft). Thus there will be a game specific council in any game where the CLOWN community is present. There is no limit to the number of councillors allowed but too many have in the past shown to be impractical. Councillors will be given access to a game specific council forum at our site. Inactive players will be removed from the council and denied access to the council forum.
A councillor, or the whole council, can be removed from office if that’s the will of the guild. The main task of a council is to work for the members but it is not directly responsible for organising events. It is however responsible for creating and maintaining an organisation to meet any demands of the members. It may appoint CLOWNs and students into game-specific organisational roles if required.
9.2. "Spirits of CLOWN"
Councillors of past games may, due to their knowledge and experience, be asked to help the CLOWN community. Should they accept they will be known as Spirits of CLOWN and be involved in the running of the CLOWN community as a whole (i.e. not with game-specific issues, but with issues which affect all games). Spirits of CLOWN will be granted access to any existing game specific council forums at our site. A "Spirit of CLOWN" can be a councillor of a game specific guild provided he or she is an active player of that game. The "Spirits of CLOWN" are there to help the community in any way possible and should not be thought of as elite players!
10. New CLOWN guilds (game specific)
Historically, as CLOWN grew and sprawled from game to game there has always been at least one or two "old clowns" at any in game CLOWN start-up. Thus the core and spirit has been preserved from game to game. The presence of “old clowns” is however not required in a new CLOWN guild.
As long as new guilds (game specific) follow the CLOWN core, spirit and tradition, they will be considered a manifestation of the CLOWN community. Any deviation from the path of lunacy and that particular guild (game specific) will no longer have the blessing of CLOWN (the community).
A member (student or CLOWN) who is found to be a burden or who deviates too far from the core values of the clown spirit may be expelled from a guild (at game level). The player would still be considered a member of the CLOWN community. Such a drastic decision can to be taken by the game specific council.
A member (student or CLOWN) who gravely steps over the line may in exceptional cases be expelled from the CLOWN community and have their title(s) stripped from them. Such a drastic decision can only be taken by the “spirits of clown”.
12. Final words
This manifesto is the backbone of the CLOWN community. It is written with the best of intentions but may not cover every aspect of every future game or situation. Use it wisely.
BRING IN THE CLOWNS!