Interview: CM Rejana!

At the beginning of July - as Supported Fansites, we had the opportunity to have a fun interview with CM Rejana. Interview that we are publishing now as part of the Tibia Guias' birthday month celebrations! 

Come with us to learn more about her, about Tibia Community Managers' work, and especially about the official fansites program and fansite items issues.

Check it out and enjoy reading!


 

TibiaGuias: After all this time talking via e-mail and also on fansite’s board, we would like to say that is a great pleasure for us, Tibia Guias’ team, to have with you our first interview with one of CipSoft’s member. Are you ready? 

CM Rejana: Sure thing! :o)


TibiaGuias: We know a little about you from others fansites’ previous interviews. So, as a small introduction for our readers, we would like to remember some things (please correct us if have something wrong! :p)
 
You graduated from Information Science then you got a job at CipSoft. You have had other assignments in CipSoft before becoming CM and changed your nickname from Alguzara to Rejana when you assumed your current position. Also, we know that you like to meet with your friends, talk and interact with people. By the way, you have always demonstrated to be a communicative and charismatic person through the emails and on fansite’s board. 

So, tell us more about who is "Rejana"? What else can you tell us about yourself and your real life? Any curious habit? "Rejana" is just a nickname? Why did you choose it? Can you tell us what is your real name and maybe how old are you?
Rejana and Fanta - friend's pet
CM Rejana: Thanks for your introduction, this is all basically right. My real name is Uta, and I'm 41 years old. Ancient...
I've been working for CipSoft for more than 13 years now already. There is no real reason for the name Rejana, other than I liked the sound of it. I had put way more thought into the name Alguzara, but now I actually prefer Rejana.
About my real life, I live together with my best friend, we share an apartment in order to save on rent. We both enjoy playing PC games. Some people would probably think that it's weird that we often both sit in our rooms, and talk to each other over Teamspeak. For us that's normal though. In summer, I love being outside, so there is less gaming for me then.


TibiaGuias: Wow! You've been working on CipSoft and Tibia for 13 years! Do you consider the number 13 a lucky or unlucky number? Why?
CM Rejana: Uhm, I'm not really superstious, so the number 13 is pretty neutral for me.


TibiaGuias: Do you still drive a scooter? Do you still have as hobby activities related to music? Or, maybe… currently… you already recorded a CD or DVD and you're doing shows during your spare time? ;0)
CM Rejana: I still drive a scooter and I also still love making music. While I prefer singing together with others, I do indeed record myself sometimes singing songs I even wrote myself, but that is definitely not sharable material. There are no shows and no CDs. It's more a technique for me to let go of - well - negative emotions.


TibiaGuias: In 2012, you said that you don’t like cold weather and that you love the squirrels’ lifestyle - especially these parts: having fun, eating and hibernating. So tell us, even if you aren’t a squirrel (hahaha), How do you like to have fun? What is your favorite food? Hibernation isn’t possible, so... Do you usually travel in winter to escape the cold weather? How about coming to Brazil? Do you already know Brazil?
CM Rejana: Oh, I'd love to visit Brazil! Actually the entire South American continent! Puerto Rico would be the closest location to Brazil I've ever been to, and I loved everything about that island!
Nut-cookies?
Ever since I started working, though, I haven't been travelling much. Reason for that is not only a matter of money and time, but also that I really enjoy life here in Regensburg - so when I have days off, I'm happy to spend them here. A part of me definitely wants to visit South America one day, though.
Squirrels are still a big thing for me, too. They simply rock, they've got life all figured out. 
My favorite food depends a lot on my mood. I really like Mexican food, but also Greek, Italian, Chinese or German / Austrian - and on some days even fast food is what I really need.


TibiaGuias: You've also said in previous interviews that until you joined CipSoft you knew not much about computer games, because you preferred console games. What has changed in these 13 years? Are you still playing Tibia? If so, can you tell us more about your character and what is your style as player in Tibia? What other games do you usually play?
CM Rejana: I still have consoles, a PS 3 and a PS Vita. Honestly, though, I don't use them for playing games much. My PS 3 has become my door to Netflix.
I'm playing PC games mainly. I've been playing Lotro on and off ever since the game went online. And I've spent hours of my life already playing Anno and Diablo III, too, and - while I'm a bit ashamed to admit it, I did get hooked on a game called Fishdom once, as well. I'm not a big mobile gamer, but have played Forge of Empires for some time on my phone.
I play Tibia sporadically. My really active days in Tibia are indeed in the past, though. I've started over in Tibia so many times already - it's uncountable. I usually quit a character after I die. That's not a role play thing, I just lose interest then. I really hate dying in Tibia. And then, after some time, I start a new.
I'm a real slow player, too. I still haven't managed to get a real high level, even after having been around for about 13 years. I usually don't care about leveling fast, about dealing the maxium possible damage, and getting the maximum profit, etc... Only Diablo III had triggered that in me.
With my current char in Tibia I'm a knight, usually on guard around Edron. I like a routine while playing, so I have a set tour I take when I decide to play, while watching streams on Twitch, or talking with friends on Teamspeak.

Rejana's Scooter

TibiaGuias: In these 13 years working with Tibia, any fun story that can be shared with us? Any anger or frustration moment?
CM Rejana: Oh, there are many fun stories! Often they become funny mainly in retrospect. For example, when bugs happen, it's stressful at first, but after a few years you can laugh about it. Anger and frustration happens, too, of course. What irritates me the most is when somebody blatantly lies in the forum and we know it, but can't correct it publicly because we might reveal information on that player that we are not allowed to reveal.


TibiaGuias: Tell our adventurous followers, what's your biggest real life adventure? And in Tibia?
CM Rejana: My biggest real life adventure was becoming an AuPair in the USA right after school, suddenly being responsible for two kids, in a country I didn't know a lot about.
And in Tibia - I remember that for the postman quest I needed to go to Mintwallin, and I was not strong enough to do that by myself, yet. That was on Danubia back then, probably a decade ago. Then I saw that other players were announcing that they would go, and I decided to tag along. They saved me there big time! I was so scared. That was really an intense experience...
Also I remember one time jumping in a hole in the Jakundaf Desert, and to my surprise did not find a rope spot back up. So I had to walk through the maze there, got lost and then suddenly these huuuuuge fire elementals were on my screen and killed me... ^^


TibiaGuias: If you were going to recommend the Little Adventurer a real life place to go, where would it be? And in Tibia?
CM Rejana: In real life, I'd take it to Iceland. Even though I prefer warmer weather, I do want to see Iceland, and so I'd take the chance, together with the little adventurer. And in Tibia I'd take it through Hellgate to Draconia, to get warm again after our trip to Iceland.


Now that we know a little more about you, let's move on to questions about your general assignments.

TibiaGuias: We know that you have already been in support team, acting as headgamemaster, and also Master Tutor. And now, after almost 9 years, as a Community Manager, do you feel like doing again something about your previously routine or assignments? How is your current routine? What motivates you to continue and to be satisfied and happy with what you do? Is there any other function you would like to learn and try?
CM Rejana: I enjoy being community manager and I would not want to be back in my old position, or get any other position for that matter.
My motivation really comes from the players. When you do something that they like or enjoy, and seeing that they are having fun - that is really satisfying. Of course when things aren't going well, it can indeed also be frustrating, but then my colleagues are here, too, and we can talk about it. So together it's usually possible to keep the motivation going.
I also really enjoy working together with the fansite admins. Some of them I've already known during my time in the customer support team. So - you could say we've grown up a bit together, too. It's really a cool thing to notice how they and their lives have changed over the time as well.
Apart from the fansite stuff, I also like writing articles or news or doing research about certain topics. Being a Community Manager is a job that offers many different tasks, on many different days. Sure, there are some routines, too, but not so many.


TibiaGuias: Tibia turned 20 years old and has a very large and demanding community of people from many countries, cultures and languages. How do you feel being part of this story? What it's like to be in contact with this community for so long, track changes in the players’ profile, demands and needs? Did you ever learn any other language motivated by interaction with the players? Do you have a language you would like to learn but didn’t had the opportunity yet?

Rejana's work station
CM Rejana: It's amazing to be part of Tibia's history. I share that nostalgic feeling that often players feel when they refer to 'the old times'. It's nice to dwell on that feeling sometimes and to listen to players talk about these days. That was the time when my Tibia adventure started, too.
I have indeed tried to learn different languages during that time. I took Swedish lessons, for example, but I can't really speak it. Due to Spanish classes that I had during my studies, I actually do understand a very tiny little bit of Spanish and even Portuguese, but not enough to follow an entire conversation.
A language I would like to learn but that I didn't have the opportunity to do so yet, would be Arabic, though that is not motivated by Tibia, but just for mere interest.


TibiaGuias: You have already mentioned that you use automatic translators to track non-English fansites. We know that many times these translators doesn’t offer the right options for understanding the content. Has it occurred some funny episode involving some mistranslation? Can you tell us? Is there any word, phrase or expression in Portuguese that you have or had difficulty to understand?
CM Rejana: Haha, yes, what surprised me a lot in the beginning was that "Tibia" sometimes gets translated with "lukewarm". That had been a mystery for me for a while before I found out that tibia actually means that in Spanish. All in all, I think the automatic translators are doing a good job. You can at least understand the topic of a converation. Sometimes it's hard to tell whether a comment was meant in a sarcastic or ironic way, but usually emojies or the following comments will give you a hint.


TibiaGuias: The Tibian community seems to be getting bigger and more demanding. In your view, are 3 CMs enough? How do you split tasks? Does everyone still write articles by themselves? What kind of article do you like to write?
CM Rejana: I think three CMs is enough for the tasks that are assigned to us, yes. All of us CMs need to be able to replace the other CMs (at least rudimentarily), but we each have our own areas that we focus on.
My focus are the fansites, as you already know, as well as website polls, feedback forms, and also since recently, I support Mirade in our more advanced surveys. Burchan is mainly in the forums and on Facebook apart from some other specific tasks, and Mirade is our team lead, and as such often part of strategic meetings and busy with all sorts of things next to the daily work.
We all still write news, however, I do that much less than Mirade and Burchan. We all also still write featured articles, however, Burchan and I do that more often than Mirade. So - we have splitted our tasks indeed, and sometimes take on other tasks, too, always according to the workload.
When it comes to featured articles, I enjoy writing role play articles the most.


TibiaGuias: How do you feel about working in one of the most popular assignments in CipSoft and also the closest to the community? You usually get very excited to see the impact of any news, article, teaser, poll or feedback?
CM Rejana: I really like getting a direct reaction from the community on topics. We all usually have a feeling whether what you are going to announce will sit well with the players or not, but often enough, the reaction of players actually comes as a surprise. So yes, we usually eagerly anticipate the comments of the players after we have published something new.

We know that your main activities are directly related to the official fansites’ program . So, let's go to the specific questions!

TibiaGuias: In your view, what is most gratifying in working directly with fansites? And what is the hardest part?
CM Rejana: The most gratifying part is seeing that people have so much interest and fun with Tibia that they invest their time in creating a fansite and maintaining it, too.
Actually, the fact that so many players create and provide content of all sorts connected to Tibia in their spare time is really cool. Just look at all the videos out there, or the articles and fanart, this is just all really amazing!
The hardest part is if you can't fulfill a request, and you can't give a good explanation for it, either. Explaining why topic A has a really low priority for us in comparison to topic B, for example, can be difficult, especially if the person you have to explain it to has a big passion for topic A.


TibiaGuias: If it were possible, would you want any of the old fansites to go back to their activity, proposal and/or content? Which ones? Why?
Little Adventurer on Rejana's Office Wall
CM Rejana: Hmm... Only if the players running the sites would be motivated to come back and would have enough time on their hands. If a fansite is run by a motivated admin or team, it's usually cool.
Most former fansites left the fansite programme because the admins had simply become too busy to run their sites, though, which is normal if you grow up and real life simply becomes more demanding. Some have tried to keep the fansite alive by admin changes, which often works out fine, however, fansites do change indeed when the person in charge changes.
So - just stating a fansite name here or a topic I would like to see "return" doesn't provide a good answer. It's the people behind the scene to a large part that define the quality of a fansite, not the topic alone...


TibiaGuias: Imagine that you were just one of many current Tibian players and wanted to create your own fansite. What would it look like? What would be your focus and theme? Would there be some original proposal that hasn’t been massive explored by any of the existing fansites?
CM Rejana: I don't think I'm a person who would have the perseverance a fansite admin needs, nor would I have the coding and graphical skills.
Hmm... ok, but let me think... well, in order to be different from the already existing fansites, I'd maybe try something in German, however, that would reduce my fansite community quite a bit already. Maybe English would have to be at least included. Then - streaming is a really interesting and an up-to-date topic, something could be done with that or around that, probably - I don't think I'd be entertaining enough, though, to start streaming myself.
Considering my job inside CipSoft, maybe some sort of "TibiaLeaks" would be interesting... but - now that I've said it, I can't do it anymore, because everybody would know immediately that I would be the leak...
I really don't know, it's a tough question!


TibiaGuias: How many sites are currently being monitored for possible inclusion in official fansite program? Is there any general tip that you could give to these sites administrators and staff so that they succeed in their projects and purpose?
CM Rejana: There are currently 26 fansites on the monitored list. The number changes quickly, though.
(What's the monitored list, somebody reading this might ask... Each suitable fansite that applies is listed on our internal monitored list for at least 6 months before they can get into the fansite programme. We want to watch a fansite develop and exist for some time first, before it can get into the programme...)
An advice for fansite admins: Don't put yourself under too much pressure and take your time. Fansites should be fun. As long as you are having fun, your motivation will remain - if there's too much pressure, you might become impatient, and will lose interest altogether. That actually happens to most fansites that apply. Only very few really make it into the programme in the end.
And another hint: Communicate with us! Let us know when you have published something cool, or when you've changed your design, etc. Just staying in touch often helps to keep yourself going, too. Oh, and try to do "your" thing. Copying somebody else usually never pays off....


TibiaGuias: Considering the current fansite program and your experience with it, what are the good points? What are fragilities? Currently, people's interest in starting and maintaining a fansite is still high?
CM Rejana: We have a few applications of fansites each month, I'd rate this as high, yes. Most of the fansite admins who apply to the fansite programme lose interest in their sites, though, during their waiting time on the monitored list.
Good points of the fansite programme are definitely the advertising that fansites receive with the fansite box, the fansite list and the newstickers. Also some in-advance information or exclusive screenshots for updates are nice, and test server access for the admin and 5 of his or her helpers is definitely positive as well. For promoted fansites, the premium time for the admin and three helpers is probably the biggest plus.
The weakest point of the fansite programme in my eyes are fansite items. While I think it's really cool that a fansite can have an item as a representation ingame, they are cause for much criticism. Most of these items remain very rare, so they can be sold for an insane amount of money.
I have never made a secret out of the fact that I wish that these items would be soulbound. I do understand, though, that compared to other problems in Tibia, fansite items have a rather low priority, and compared to other problems, the problem of 'fansite items being sellable' is indeed a minor one.


TibiaGuias: Even though you don’t have to act as a judge, do you often follow the fansite contests? What kind of competition do you like and do you have fun watching the submissions?
CM Rejana: I really enjoy fansite contests. There are some amazing artists in the Tibia community, for example, and looking at their work is really cool. I've also been witness to very funny baking contests, or one time players were asked to cook Jean-Pierre dishes. There is so much creativity in the Tibia community!
One contest submission for a TibiaCity contest that took place probably a decade ago really got stuck in my head. Anyone remember this?



TibiaGuias: Nowadays, social networks, video channels and streaming are increasingly common tools for many different forms of content and information exchange and dissemination. Current fansite program only benefits sites. So, administrators can use social networking and video and streaming channels only as a resource within a site.

What do you think about the exclusive use of fanpages, video channels and streaming to promote content related to tibia? Do you believe there is any real possibility of a change in the official program, or creation of any specific program, to accept those who create and maintain good Tibia content just in fanpages, video channels and streaming?
CM Rejana: I have to speculate here, since I can't foresee what will happen in Tibia. I do see a good chance though for content like this to get some sort of 'official' attention in the future. Currently the only way for streamers or video creators to get support for their work from us is to get the attention of fansite admins. I know that some have indeed formed such cooperations with video creators, for example.
Some youtubers have chosen a different way and built a fansite to promote their youtube channel. The fansite then could indeed join the fansite programme. That is a legitimate way, a bit of a workaround, though, and not every youtuber would be up for that.
We'll see what happens in the future. I would rather see a seperate way to support streamers or youtubers than using or changing the fansite programme for this. I think that the needs would be quite different and that this should be addressed then properly.


TibiaGuias: Last year, a feedback form and discussion about the current fansite program was held. We know that the result can’t be considered a faithful and a complete representation of the community's opinion. But there have been many and constant criticisms about: CipSoft's lack of further support; lack of CipSoft's direct intervention in fansites and corruption in fansites contests and events.

How do you analyze these questions? Is any work being done to improve these points? Can the community wait for any changes in the program?
CM Rejana: On the one hand, we do not want to intervene too much on fansites, too much intervention also means too much restriction. On the other hand, though, we clearly do not want to support behavior that we do not appreciate, either. So we try to find a balance that works for us.
We have some rules that fansite admins have to adhere to if they want to get our support - basically, the Tibia Rules. We collect and analyse feedback from time to time from the community to see if this still works out alright. We hear the feedback on fansites loud and clearly, also the criticism of corruption in contests. Most of the fansite contests run smoothly, though, without any complaints at all.
However, to improve in that field, we are talking with fansite admins, trying to find ways to avoid mistakes in contests, trying to find ways to provide the most transparency. There are open discussions, and we try to find and collect good practices.
It is often wished for by contest participants that we community managers would select contest winners. We can't always do that, we have only limited time at hand, but we actually have increased our participation in contest judging and now often also other fansite admins are invited to vote on contest winners. We try to get as much objectivity and transparency as possible into judging contests. It's not always going to be bullet-proof, though. Just one example, if you have to judge a picture, you are going to use your personal taste for judging.
Also, we cannot guarantee that there is no way for fansite admins to cheat in contests and to favour their friends somehow. It's a risk that we can only try to minimize. We watch contests, we talk to admins about contests beforehand, raise concerns, discuss about weak points. But there's only so much you can do. In the end it's indeed a matter of trust, too.


TibiaGuias: Fansite items should be commemorative items to represent the fansites in the game. In your opinion, did they really become luxury goods, status symbols or bargaining stuffs? The current inability to market fansites items through the Market have had the expected effect? What do you think about the way of the fansite items are currently distributed?
CM Rejana: Not having fansite items listed in the market does not prevent their sale. That was not our intention with not listing them. We simply do not want to encourage trades like that...
We encourage fansite admins often to offer the fansite items whenever possible, to make them a bit more common. You cannot force anyone to create events, though. So admins are also allowed to sponsor their fansite items for player events, for example, or for conventions. What works really well for some fansites are contribution system. Then you can receive the fansite item if you have created enough content on that fansite, for exmaple, or if you have received enough participation points.
Fansite items have been in the focus of criticism concerning fansites for a real long time. I remember that when we implemented the souvenir fansite items from the Thais museum, we had thought that this would help to reduce the value of some fansite items. We wanted to signal that if you are just interested in the graphic, you can get a souvenir version, no need to pay huge amounts of money for it. Our plan was to find a way that would not devalue the original fansite items much, but would give an alternative way to get the item.
Prizes for fansite items of fansites that had dropped out of the fansite programme had become really insane. We had hoped that this would reduce the pressure on this topic a bit, that was only semi-successful, though. Prizes for fansite items still are insane, for both, fansites that are in the programme, as well as fansites that have left the programme.
Back then we had decided not to offer souvenir fansite items of sites that are still in the programme, in order to prevent that fansite items lose their purpose to attract participants for fansite contests.
What can I say... soulbound items really would be the best solution in my opinion, though. However, I'm very certain that some players would dislike that a lot, too.


TibiaGuias: Are there any proposals being studied or evaluated to mitigate the creation of fansites for the sole purpose of getting items?
CM Rejana: Seeing that most fansites that apply to the fansite programme do not pass the 6 months waiting period on the fansite list, I think that this buffer time actually works quite well against that. Most people don't know about the monitored list when they apply.
Also, they do not consider the fact that creating a fansite is quite some work. Apart from the structure, you have to provide your own content, you have to produce something interesting for the community. You need to have creative ideas, and you need to communicate with us. It can take quite some time before we say: "ok, please - if you are still interested, join the programme!"
There is no guarantee that this will happen after 6 months already. If your site is not ready by then, you can remain on the monitored list for much longer. We don't want to pressure people, but we don't want to accept "not ready yet" fansites into the programme, either.
After you have finally made it to the fansite programme then, there is another waiting period of at least three months during which you have to actively participate in the fansite programme before you can get a fansite item.
So - it's 9 months of work at least, and when you start out, you have no idea if you will really ever succeed the end. Who would go through all that, if you do not have interest and fun and ambition for the fansite project in the first place? And when all that is given, well - yeah, then you can actually have a fansite item, and then you really deserved it, too.
I doubt many people would really go through this entire process for the sole reason of the fansite item.

No more talking about work. Now a few quick questions about your ingame's preferences.
TibiaGuias: What is your favorite place in Tibia?
CM Rejana: Edron.

TibiaGuias: Have you played with all the vocations? What's your favorite?
CM Rejana: I have played a sorcerer, a druid and a knight, no paladin, yet. I had the closest connection to one of my druids (on Nerana), even though I currently play a knight. As mentioned, I really hate dying in Tibia. And with a knight I simply stand a better chance :p

TibiaGuias: What is your favorite quest? Why?
CM Rejana: The postman quest, because I have awesome memories about it.

TibiaGuias: What is your favorite monster?
CM Rejana: Definitely dragons.

TibiaGuias: What is your favorite hunt?
CM Rejana: Clearing Cyclopolis when I have it all to myself.
  
TibiaGuias: Are there any item that you don’t have and would like?
CM Rejana: Yes, the bookworm doll! It's just too cute! :o)


TibiaGuias: We would like to thank you for your time and availability to grant us this interview. We hope it has been fun and rewarding for you as it was for us to design it. To finish, would you like to send some message to the Brazilian community, especially those who follow the Tibia Guias? 

CM Rejana: Thank you very much for having me! TibiaGuias rocks! Greetings to everybody reading this! :o)

TibiaGuias: Thank you!



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