Mara as Protector of the Atlantis Magicians was disputed from the very first days. There have been two demote votings against Mara: The reason for both was her engagement to achieve a peace agreement with the Priests of Huitzilopochtli.. The first demote had no chance. The second had another official reason: Lots of spells were lost in the Mages Libraries and Mara as the Protector was blamed, as it was among her duties to care for the libraries.
(This was indeed a severe problem and in fact Mara had neglected it because I was convinced it was the result of a bug in the library code. After half a rl year the bug was finally found in a combined effort of Tarjan and a number of players (including me), discussing the code via IRC. Too late for Mara though. And I'm still waiting for an apology ... but that shouldn't be of importance here.)
Facing the second demote voting Mara wrote a description of the Protectors tasks which can still be found in the Atlantis Magicians library. Then she evaluated her own performance against the tasks specified. This note is documented here.
As you have seen the Position of Protector covers a wide range of tasks. Those who say we don't need a Protector have to know that all these tasks will fall to the Guild Master if the Protector position is removed.
Now let me walk through this long list, annotating my comments one by one. Please follow me through my lengthy note, you might find many interesting points.
> 1. The Protection of Knowledge. > 1.1. Education > 1.1.1. Awarding Grey Magicians > should be discussions about teaching styles and > caring in order to improve the general level of > education. It's the Protectors task to initiate them > when he feels it is necessary.
I've done it several times, with varying results. Some were annoyed that I dared to question their abilities (which I didn't but they understood it that way), others have reacted with constructive discussion. I hope I have helped to improve the general situation of apprentices this way. No names here.
My predecessor has preferred to teach the apprentices on his own when he thought their masters didn't do a good job. My way is to tackle problems at their root even if I'm unpopular for it.
> 1.1.2. Apprentices > the necessary steps. This includes teaching spells,
I haven't counted the spells I taught. A rough estimation gives about 250 taught spells, not counted the spells i taught my own apprentices.
> explaining Magic and the Guild, sometimes up to
I have encountered surprisingly many apprentices that didn't even know the basics of spell learning and training. The most often mentioned reasons were lack of time and different sleeping times. Mostly I've had a talk with their masters afterwards as I think when someone accepts an apprentice it involves the duty to make at least weekly care possible. No names here.
> giving a homely feeling.
The daily care ... by the way I know a (small) number of non awarding Greys that care more for the athmospheric part of education than the actual masters of the apprentices.
> When Apprentices are abandoned by their masters, the
A situation I found ... let me think ... about seven times. (Didn't keep track of it, sorry.) No names here.
> Protector takes over their education
Which i have done in cases when the apprentices were close to mastership.
> or seeks out a > new master for them.
Which I have done when they were quite inexperienced or absent for a long time.
> 1.2. Research > The Protector conducts research of his/her own as well as
I've finished the project on the shock healing ritual and conducted a lot of research on the Concentration project which seems to be close to a finish.
> participates in other Grey Mages projects when they seem to > be stuck.
When you check the research projects you'll find my comments on several projects.
> 1.3. Library > 1.3.1. Spells > The spells are fixed formulae derived from our > magical knowledge. To care for them so that they > don't get lost is the duty of all Atlantis Magicians > but the Protector has special responsibility here.
If I understand the voting right this is the main point the accusation is based upon: The loss of spells. The loss of spells is, without doubt, a serious problem.
As pointed out in a note shortly before the demote voting started I had hoped for and expected a self organizing process that all Atlantis Magicians would take part in caring for the library. Many, including myself, have written notes to the boards explaining how to protect the books. Myna had started her pseudo research project for covering the missing spells and who worked on replacing spells. Most of us have been writing many scrolls to replace missing spells.
However, hoping that this could work out by itself with just minor indicating, without constant control of the Protector, was naive. After thoroughly considering all facts I have to state that an important part of my tasks slipped from my attention.
I have talked to many of you. I agree that I should have checked the libs as daily routine. Sadly, even that would have only given track of the spell loss, it would not have tackled the problem at its root. Over a long time I have asked many for ideas how to solve the problem but all I heared was: You are the Protector, you are responsible. This is too easy, friends. Just pinpointing the Protector and saying 'She's guilty!' doesn't help.
A theory I've heard is that there are people actively interested in spell loss so that they can blame it on me. I don't believe in this idea. We have weird people in this Guild and I have strong enemies, but nobody can be _that_ treacherous.
> 1.3.2. The Librarians > The Protector stays in contact with the librarians > and supervises them.
Neither Itheria nor Sepoa have ever reacted to me when I tried to talk about more complex issues than the availability of certain spells. I have to admit unhappily that I found no way of speaking to them about concepts for the library.
> They give out and take back > books and sort them back into the shelves.
That they have done well. However, so far the librarians have refused to act according to the twice held voting of keeping track about lending books.
But - and this gives some prospect on positive developments - I'm hoping for and looking forward to some organizational changes to come that give the necessary tools to care for and guard the library into our own hands.
> 1.3.3. List of Books > The Books represent another part of the Knowledge > that the Protector has to care for.
Often it has been mentioned that the books are partly out of date and not completely consistent with each other.
As Protector I have the ability to remove books but this seems to me similar to destroying knowledge, even if it is outdated knowledge. When possible and necessary I asked the authors of books to update them. However, I'd prefer to preserve outdated books on a historical bookshelf rather than removing or changing them.
Soon after I became Protector I have worked out a concept for a change in the library and presented it to Masari who said he might build it. Only now it comes to my mind that i could possibly ask the dwarves for some interior constructional work. My idea is derived from the Padorn library with their many bookshelves on several subjects. It would give the Protector the power to set up bookshelves, name them and assign books to them. Thus it would be easy to organize them in a better way than they are organized today.
> 1.4. Development > The Protector is responsible to think of ways to improve > and enhance the process of finding and preserving knowledge.
My major ideas have been
A new project that has not yet been decided upon by the Grey Council are examinations on candidates for promotion. By those both the knowledge and attitude of the candidate as (in the case of apprentice promotion) the teaching success of the master can be analysed. Furthermore examinations are moments of peaceful discussion and thinking for all participants, questioners, candidates and bystanders alike. We (meaning an unspecified group of Greys together with me) have been experimenting in this field. You might remember occasional notes reporting on it at this board.
1.4.2 The Knowledge Council
The Knowledge Council is part of my Guild Structure Proposal I gave as alternative to Tracers proposal. To remind you: It is meant as a Council that focuses on education and research just like the Protector does nowadays. Its first task could be to define and conduct the examinations we've done experimentally so far. Another task could be developping a guideline for Awarding Greys that helps in teaching and defines the minimum an apprentice should be taught. The Protector would be heading this Council.
> 2. The political aspects > The Protectors task is to help and guide in the creation of an > athmosphere where the knowledge can prosper. From this insight > necessarily a political role has to be derived.
Some say no, the Protector has no political task. Well, _every_ Grey is allowed to meddle into politics, so why not the Protector who has some responsibilities towards the whole Guild? (And, btw., does anyone believe, my critics in this point wouldn't act politically when they were Protector?)
So I did.
> 2.1. External > The main goal for the Protector is outer peace. If there is > no peace (or even war) the knowledge section of the > Protectors tasks is heavily disturbed. A second goal is > keeping up the reputation of the Guild. The Protector has > to work for it.
There has been the so-called Huitzi agreement. It hasn't been my idea but i have been driving it for I wanted peace for the Guild. Though it caused major internal turmoil and some trouble with non-mages who misunderstood the intention of the agreement I state that it has worked out: Very few have been the attacks of Huitzis on Mages since then. To my knowledge it's been only one attack on Keziah of whom they didn't know he's no Satai anymore. And, surely, some fights between Huitzi hunters and Huitzis. (Elbereths creature has reported of being attacked by a snake eagle but to my knowledge that was before the agreement was signed.)
Please, let it stay at this point. I think we have exchanged all arguments long ago. Let's just say that the agreement hasn't been broken so far. Let's state that, however, there are different oppinions if the agreement makes sense at all.
As for the reputation: Some of you say the reputation of the Guild has been severly damaged and it has been my fault. I deny the charge.
Let's face it clearly: Our reputation has always been that of a Guild quarreling each other. Our reputation has always been that of selfish people mostly interested in their own prospect. Still our Guild is one of the most attractive in Xyllomer to the young as well as to the experienced - just look at who has applied for apprenticeship since the ban has been lifted.
> 2.2. Internal > The Protector can be called as mediator in conflicts.
It has happened sometimes. The effect of my intervention may be called positive.
> Conflicts can be productive if they are carried out in a > constructive manner. It is the task of the Protector to > encourage constructive problem solving strategies.
Uhm, yes. Sounds good. Problem is, the Protector has been target of many conflicts. When you're target of aggression it is hard to mediate the conflict, that would be the role of someone not involved. I have to admit I had my share in polemics as well - and sometimes I enjoyed it.
However, the constant quarrels around the Protector, may it be my predecessor Tashgan, may it be me, may it be my successor, cost a lot of time, time that every Protector would greatly prefer to spend on constructive work for the Guild. Too much time has been wasted for fending off trouble. Tashgan has tried to ignore it - which hasn't worked. I have tried to confront it openly - which hasn't worked either.
> 3. Cooperation with the Guild Master > Guild Master and Protector are the leaders of the Guild. They > are meant to cooperate and support each other.
Consider the situation we started in: Tracer and I have not started as a team, we've been voted for by different parts of the Guild. Neither of us has been jumping with joy about the prospect of working together. We hardly knew each other and we have different bonds in this Guild.
How's the situation today? We've come to a state of respect for each other, still it is far from friendship, i'd call it a working relation, still far from being a good team. The communication could (and should) be much better, often neither knows what the other is doing. I've made several attempts to improve it, without real result - if Tracer has the same feeling towards me I can't even say. I can say that I miss public support by the Guildmaster ... maybe I just don't see it. (One thing I see: He's allowing public threats of murder against me on this board and into my face. Doesn't make me happy.)
When we started out I have understood the combination of a holy Guild Master and a neutral Protector (yes, I am neutral, not evil as many of you suspect) as a chance to reunite this deeply torn Guild. So far it did not work out. I doubt that it can work out, too many of us are not interested in a united guild (maybe exept when the Guild is doing excatly what they want).
> 4. Fighting for the Guild > No special role for the Protector in this field.
Right. I have fought when necessary but (as I think as a result of my work) it has seldom been necessary to fight in or around the tower. However, I have a complaint: More than once someone called for help and more than once I have died because I was the only one jumping in against a foe that was too strong for me alone but would have been easy target for two or three Greys. But again, I won't tell names here - names of the people I consider selfish wimps since these experiences.
Finally, let me say a word about the time i spent on being Protector. It is not meant to complain, it is unnecessary to tell me that i knew it in advance. It is just to give you an impression. When I wake up many people instantly jump at me to ask for help, to discuss, to do this and that. This usually takes up to a whole day before everything is done. Now consider that you can meet me very often, multiply it with the time I've been Protector and wonder if you would like to have my job. ;-)
It's been a long note. You're still awake? To give a summary: Yes, there have been flaws in my performance as Protector concerning the spell loss. There have been disputes on my political role, a group of Greys disagrees with it, others support my way. The position of Protector covers a wide range of tasks and I think all over all I have handled them well. Where I've made mistakes I promise improvement - even a task like this has to (and can) be learned by experience.