MM: Accepted and Soldiers
What is an Accepted/Soldier?
This is the highest level of Community Membership for Junior Members, one step below full Senior Members. One of the main purposes of being an Accepted/Soldier is to learn how to be a Senior Member, which means a greater understanding of TarValon.Net's groups than your average Community Member. They have read all of the books in the main story arc, have passed the test for Accepted/Soldier with a minimum score of 18 correct answers out of 25, and are at least 15 years of age. At this stage they are allowed to explore two Ajahs/Companies at a time and are encouraged to explore each option that interests them for Community Membership. They must stay at this level for a minimum of twelve weeks.
Novices and recruits spend their time getting to know the ins and outs of the Tower at large. Being raised to Accepted/Soldier means that the administration and Hall believes that you know how the Tower works and that you are ready for a more personal look at the Tower and the Ajahs/Companies that form the basis for our community. Upon being raised, each Community Member must choose two groups to guest with. Before being raised to Senior Membership, each Accepted/Soldier must choose an Ajah/Company to Aspire to. View the next section for more details about the guesting system and Aspiring.
As soon as possible after being raised, you should read all the stickied threads in the office of the Master/Mistress of Accepted and Soldiers. You should begin interacting with the Senior Members of the Ajahs/Companies you have decided to guest with. Most Ajahs have a Big Sister/Little Sister program of some sort and will likely assign you a Big Sister to help you get settled into the Ajahs you are guesting with. The Companies do not have a similar system set up at this time.
Accepted and Soldiers are also expected to show that they are dedicated to the community and willing to contribute. This contribution can take many different forms; view Contributions for more details. Teaching classes is a great way to participate and give to the community, as many of our Community Members enjoy them. You are also able to see all the City forums once more, so enjoy participating in them again!
As an Accepted/Soldier, you are one step below a Senior Member, and other Community Members view you as such, particularly those lower in rank than yourself. You should conduct yourself in a manner befitting that rank. You should have a fairly good working knowledge of the Tower and its guidelines; inexperienced Community Members will ask you questions because you appear more approachable than Senior Members, so you should either know the answers or know where to point people to get them. Remember that you will need to know these details anyway if/when you take the test for raising to Senior Member, so actively helping others figure out the site is excellent preparation for your own raising test.
The Guesting System
In the series, no one is a member of an Ajah until they are an Aes Sedai. At that point, they are able to choose the Ajah that they wish to join. They have had many years to discover what the different Ajahs are about and where their personality fits in. Our community was once set up such that Accepted/Soldiers were in one Ajah/Company at a time. However, we found that this led to people assuming that once an Accepted/Soldier chose a group, they were a full member of it. They were allowed to take full part in discussions about things that only affected Ajah/Company members. More importantly, there was the expectation that Accepted/Soldiers were locked into their choice once they made it, and changing groups was extremely bad form. This was not what the administration wanted or intended to happen, so the guesting system was implemented to change the reigning culture of intolerance regarding finding one's home within our community.
For the first six weeks that you are an Accepted/Soldier, you must guest with two Ajahs/Companies. At any time, you may change which ones you are guesting with, so long as you are in two groups at a time (not one, not three, just two). To guest with an Ajah, look in the Office of the Master/Mistress of Accepted and Soldiers; There will be a thread with information for all Accepted or Soldiers with informationon how to guest.
You may spend as much or as little time as you wish within a given group. Some people will join an Ajah/Company and immediately know that it is not their home. Others may spend 8 weeks within an Ajah/Company before deciding that it not where they belong. Some may guest with every single Ajah/Company during their time spent as a guest, just to make sure that they are not overlooking a group that might fit them the best. Others may know exactly which Ajah/Company they will Aspire to as soon as they are able to and will not participate much at all within their second chosen group. All of these paths and more are perfectly acceptable ways of finding your own home within our groups. We just wish to caution our Junior Members that you should choose your group based upon which group's characteristics most fit your personality, not which group has your best friends in it.
Should you wish to change one of the groups that you are guesting with, you should alert the Head/Commander that you wish to leave. If it has been a week after you have alerted the Head/Commander that you wish to leave that group and you have not been removed, please email the Director of Accepted and Soldiers. You should only be able to see into two groups at any given time.
The guesting system has had many benefits for our Junior Members. People are no longer afraid to change groups; they feel free to find the place where they truly belong. The Tower community as a whole has been brought closer together; people who would not have known much about each other because they were not in the same Ajah/Company suddenly find themselves with new friends. No longer are people cloistered in their groups with few friends outside their groups. Our Community Members also have a better understanding of how the different groups work, lending to more cohesiveness amongst the Tower as a whole and particularly our Senior Members.
Etiquette while guesting
The message in this part is important enough that it deserves its own section. You truly are a guest while you are in the various Ajah/Company forums. Remember that this is where many of our Senior Members consider their homes to be. That means that personal information is often posted in these forums. Under no circumstances should you discuss any information you read in those forums with anyone else not in that forum. You should not allude to that information by any mean, manner, or form. You should not repeat it. You should not copy/paste it anywhere. You should not paraphrase it.
Nothing. Nada. Zip.
If anyone is found to break this ethical code, the punishment will be severe. You should not join an Ajah/Company just so you can gawk at the skeletons in the closet.
Please respect the trust that is given to you by allowing you to peer into that group's home, even if only for a week.
Along the same vein, some amount of participation in the groups with which you are guesting would not be remiss. Our community has many lurkers, and that is fine--we're not suggesting that you jump right in and start spamming every thread. However, a thread introducing yourself when you first join a group is helpful, as it shows the members of that group respect by alerting them that someone new has entered the forum and also allows them to get to know you better. Responding to posts that contain content that interests you is always welcome; don't feel shy about joining pre-existing threads.
Aspiring to an Ajah/Company
Once you have been an Accepted/Soldier for at least six weeks, you are eligible to Aspire to a group. This means that you are declaring that this is the group you intend to join once you are raised to Senior Membership. This is a necessary part of being an Accepted/Soldier--you cannot become a Senior Member until you Aspire. Aspiring lets the Head/Company Commander of that group know that you plan on becoming a full member of that group, and this in turn allows them to start examining you with regards to becoming a full member. You do not have to Aspire to a group right at six weeks; some people take several more weeks or even months before deciding to Aspire to a particular group.
Each group has a different process for Aspiring. You will be able to find out that procedure either by looking through the stickies in that Ajah's/Company's forum or by contacting the membership administrator for that group. Once you have officially Aspired, you should alert the membership administrator of the other group you were guesting with and have yourself removed. This means that until you become a Senior Member, you will only see one Ajah/Company forum.
Aspiring to an Ajah/Company does not mean that you are a member or even a half-member of that group. You are still free to explore other Ajahs/Companies should the desire strike you; you just need to alert the membership administrator of that group to your intentions to un-Aspire. Please do not let reluctance of offending the members of the group to which you currently Aspire impede you from finding your true home, if it is not there. Senior Members realize that sometimes it takes time to find the right group, and respect that.
Who is my Community Membership administrator?
As per the Chain of Command, the Master/Mistress of Accepted and Soldiers is the membership administrator for all Accepted and Soldiers. All Aspirants are included in this, though their membership administrators may work in conjunction with the appropriate Head/Commander in certain circumstances.
The next level of Community Membership
The next level of Community Membership is becoming an Aes Sedai or Gaidin, which are also known as Senior Members. In order to be raised to Senior Membership, you must meet the following requirements:
- You are at least 17 years of age.
- You must have made a significant contribution to the site. See Contributions for details.
- You must have read all of the books in the main story arc of The Wheel of Time.
- You must have been made real. See Being made real for details.
Raising to Senior Membership is largely left in the hands of the membership administrators. Unlike all other ranks in the Tower, you do not apply to be raised to Senior Member. We like it to be a surprise; therefore, Accepted and Soldiers are not alerted to the fact that they are being considered for raising. Through a communal effort, Heads/Company Commanders keep track of where Accepted/Soldiers are in their journey through this rank. Once a member Aspires to a particular group, the Head/Commander will take start keeping better track of where that member is in the process. Once they feel that the Aspirant is ready to be raised, they review all the requirements. If that member has met all the requirements, the administrator will start putting together a raising packet.
While putting together this packet, the administrator will be examining the following questions:
- Does this candidate seem to understand what our community is all about?
- Has this candidate been a faithful, respectful, and contributing member of the community for a significant period of time?
- Does this candidate represent my Ajah/Company in a positive manner?
- Will this candidate represent the Senior Membership of this site in a positive manner?
If the answers to those questions are in the affirmative, the administrator will complete the packet and send it to the Mistress of Accepted/Captain of Soldiers. S/he will consult with the Director of Membership, and provided that no serious issues have been raised, the packet will be posted before the Hall. If the Hall approves the candidate for raising, the candidate will then be summoned via PM to take a test. This test is based solely on knowledge of our site--procedures, the administration, our history. All of this information is available via the Bylaws, the Membership Manual, and Site Announcements. In the event that there is conflicting information or discrepancies, go with the most recent information released.
All Aspirants should also keep in mind that, as with all ranks, the 12 week minimum is just that - a minimum. It is very rare that someone is raised to Senior Member immediately upon reaching their 12 weeks, so patience is recommended. If the Aspirant wishes to speak with the Head/Commander about things they might want to do to improve their eventual chances at being raised, then by all means do so, but understand that a candidate will never be told in advance that they are to be put before the Hall. Surprise is another part of the journey! Please also keep in mind that constant and repeated pushing of a Junior Member to be raised to Senior Membership is not looked upon positively and might affect one's chances of being approved by the Hall if they believe that the Junior Member is, in displaying impatience and disregard for the careful process of raisings, not comporting him/herself in a manner as would be befitting of a Senior Member.
I failed the test. Now what?
As with the test to Accepted/Soldier, it is possible to fail the test to Senior Membership. If you fail it the first time, you will be given adequate time to study the material. Once you feel you are ready, you will be given the test again. Should you fail a second time, an alternative arrangement for testing will be made.
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