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Greetings, Happy to be here - A. J. Garth - 03-12-2014

Hey all, I've been a casual reader for a while now, thought it was about time I stepped up and joined the party.

Just want to start by saying I'm really impressed with the overall concept and execution of the OA project, and I've wanted to get involved in some capacity pretty much since I stumbled across it. I've poked around the Encyclopedia Galactica a bit, and I find some of the ideas that the setting works with to be really interesting and thought-provoking. I don't really have that much familiarity with transhumanism as a concept, but it's something I've been getting more into in recent years (especially after reading Charles Stross' Accelerando ; great book, I highly recommend it).

My principal area of relevant knowledge is biology, so if I were to help out, I guess I would be most interested in contributing to OA's collection of bionts, especially xenobionts and -sophonts. I used to spend a lot of time editing/building wikis on various topics, so I'm fairly comfortable writing/editing articles; I enjoy writing in my spare time, so I'm hoping I might find an outlet here. I don't have a professional art background, but I like to think I'm decent at sketches and lineart, and I've been experimenting with digital painting (Photoshop CS5) for a few years now.

So I guess my main question is, where can I be of help? I've been checking out the Art and Visual Media group, and it looks like a good place to start, but I'm really down to contribute to any area of the project that needs expanding.

RE: Greetings, Happy to be here - Drashner1 - 03-12-2014

Hi AJ, Welcome to OASmile

We're not all that formal around here, so really whatever aspect of things strikes your fancy is fine as a starting point. All of the areas of interest you mention are great places to start with room to grow here.

One minor thing re xenosophonts - Some time back we made the editorial decision to keep the number of alien races in the setting low. This means that any new xenosophont race that is to be considered for addition needs to more or less 'knock our socks off' in terms of how strange, well developed, plausible, and well written they are. Basically, we don't want to preclude more xenosophonts, but we deliberately set the bar higher there than for most other things in the project. Of course, if you have some ideas that will fit the bill, we are more than happy to have our socks blown across the roomSmile

Xenobionts are always welcome and are subject to our normal standards. We have a number of naturally evolved biospheres in the setting, some Earth-like, some decided not and new lifeforms to populate their rich eco-systems are always welcome. As are any other ideas you'd like to present for consideration by the group.

Editing is always welcome here as well. If you notice any issues in existing articles, please post them to the Proofreading sticky threat in the Suggestion Box - Website sub-forum. One of the site editors can pick them up there and do the necessary fixes.

We can never have too much artworkSmile Pretty much any medium you're into we can probably accommodate.

On a final note, if you haven't seen it already, the Introduction to OA pages:

have a number of resources for new members, including OA Canon, FAQs, How to Contribute guidelines, etc. We do NOT expect new members to read everything there before contributing or taking part in forum discussions and they should mainly be thought of as a resource to help you get up to speed faster. Of course, if you've already read through all of it, please disregard this part of my postSmile

Ok, I think that about covers things. If you have any questions or concerns about anything pertaining to the project, please don't hesitate to post em here and we'll do our best to come up with answer.

Once again, Welcome to OA!


RE: Greetings, Happy to be here - A. J. Garth - 03-12-2014

Sounds great, thanks! I actually kind of like the xenosophont clause, it separates the universe from "softer" sci-fi - a lot of settings (Star Trek/Wars, etc.) have so many sapient species it makes it look like almost every solar system is populated. Plus, as you said, it places a focus on making each species well-realized, and from what I can see most are excellently done (personally I like the Cthonids, their article is great).

Anyway, thanks again for the guidance! I'll spend some time browsing the GA and discussion boards, and hopefully I'll get around to contributing some ideas soon.

RE: Greetings, Happy to be here - Andrew P. - 09-10-2014

Just a notice going forwards: I've changed over to a new account (using a pseudonym was getting kind of old), so any future posts under this name are still me, the man formerly known as A.J. Garth Smile