(Parental) Advisory Council

April 3, 2010

When I saw that Cryptic had introduced a Star Trek Advisory Council yesterday, I had no idea that it would lead to so much hubbub around the web (in retrospect, how could I not? It’s Cryptic after all!) I figured it was just another idea the devs have concocted in their efforts to improve Star Trek Online, and thought to myself “Keep up the good work, Cryptic!” and moved on.

Even when I saw the Massively article on this topic that has now garnered so much attention, I was like, “Touchy STO forum dwellers getting their panties in a bunch again? What’s new?”

But then I read Adventurer Historian’s latest post on his blog on the matter, and that’s when I finally realized, “Holy crap, there might be something amiss here after all.” You see, when I first saw the announcement on the Cryptic website, I hadn’t bothered to click any of the links. A quick glance showed me that the STOked guys were involved and I also caught a glimpse of a link leading to a site called TrekMovie.com. With that, I brushed the whole thing off as a kind of marketing ploy/publicity stunt.

Good old AH’s post, however, brought one particular link on that site to my attention.

Before I go on, I just want to point out that I actually quite like the idea of an Advisory Council. Despite accusations that this will lead to one group of fans getting more input than anyone else, I actually don’t think that will be the case. Based on Cryptic’s comments I’ve read, it doesn’t seem like they intend for the Advisory Council to replace other modes of fan communication such as the website’s main forums. It’s simply an extension of it, if you will, a way for them to represent and reach out to other pockets of their fan-base, not just those who frequent the message boards.

But if that’s the case, what part of the STO fan base, pray tell, are they trying to represent with the likes of Berlin Niccals and the eyebrow-raising content on her site (though to be fair, it’s a reblog)?


Cryptic hand-picking their representatives instead of having them elected by the community will probably score them a lot of negative points, but it’s a quicker and more efficient process, so I get that. Hiring a social networking group to decide for you also feels a little impersonal, but all in all it’s a smart way to go and so also cool in my books. But seriously, how did that particular site get past the vetting process? I can’t look at anything on that page without getting an F-bomb dropped on my face.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against swear words and cursing. I swear all the time when I’m at home or out with friends. I just don’t do it on any social networking outlet for the sake of civility, and not if I want my opinions heard or taken seriously. It’s all about perception. I could care less what Niccals puts on her personal site, that’s her prerogative. My problem is not with her, it is with Cryptic. Do they, as a game developer, really want stuff like that associated with their game (based on a family-friendly IP, I might add) or their company? Saying inappropriate things and cussing are bannable offenses in-game and on their forums, so I don’t understand how this person’s webpage got the company’s endorsement and linked directly from the official site. Hmm, *checks calendar* nope, way too late for an April Fool’s Day practical joke.

Update: It appears that Cryptic has removed her name and site from the official announcement.


  1. You expanded on my thoughts perfectly. The idea of an Advisory Council is swell, especially given its accredited goal – it’s to supplement the official forums by involving the tens of thousands of players that don’t use the forums.

    But, well, Niccals is a strange case. A really strange case. I’ll be interested in hearing why she was chosen and how she was vetted. I’ve had a bad first impression, and I’ve drawn up some pretty negative conclusions about her. But I’m a rational human being who recognizes that Cryptic takes two steps forward and one back each time it does something. I can be convinced this was an Alright Choice – I just need a reason to believe that.

    • Also, that’s a great TOS shot. very nice!

    • Thanks for enlightening me on the whole thing. Like I said, when I first saw the announcement I didn’t think much of it, didn’t know it involved a doozy like that. I have no problems with the other people on there…STOked, despite what people think of them, have a fan following and have given much to the community. Starfleet is a well known and reputable Star Trek fan club that has been around since forever. I checked out trekmovie.com and it looked well maintained and informative. Niccal’s site, however, does seem out of place.

      • I’m wondering if she knows she even got chosen. She seems quite surprised that she’s somehow gotten 300 random views to her deviantart account.

      • That comment made me wonder too. Can all of this be the result of a simple misunderstanding? If it is, that’s a whole different story. She can write whatever she wants on a personal blog, that’s her right. It would be really nasty of Cryptic if she wasn’t told, exposing her personal site to all this drama. And in that case, someone in the marketing department REALLY needs to get fired.

      • A misunderstanding? That would be awesome.

  2. Oh, apparently the whole razor thing was reblogged from someone else. Alright, so I was wrong.

  3. I can’t get to any of the shutupwesley.tumbler.com links. And all references to Berlin Niccals seem to have been dropped from the Announcement. So maybe Cryptic has corrected a screw-up?

    • Looks like you’re right. Cryptic has removed her name and site from the announcement and the site itself is down, probably from the increased traffic removed by the author.

    • While it is interesting that Niccals was dropped from the council announcement and her Tumblr blog is gone, the drama surrounding this whole thing is starting to wear on me now.

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