For awhile now, I’ve been interviewing folks from our Fallout/Elder Scrolls mod community. After talking with some guys at the office, we decided it might be fun to interview a different kind of mod — our forum moderators.
We kick of “Meet the Moderators” this week with Rebecca Mueller, otherwise known in the forums as Summer. Summer is a Retired CCRN BSN MS (that’s fancy for being a nurse) and lives in the great state of Alaska.
On to the interview…
How did you first make your way to the Bethesda Game Studios forums?
I arrived seeking the puzzle box in Morrowind just as many others did. After that, I came every time I needed directions somewhere and ended up hanging around to help others with answers to their questions. I just never really left since I got to know and care about many in the community. This place became my Internet home.
When did you become a moderator? Any fond memories from when you got started?
It was in November of 2005, after Oblivion was announced and before the release. The place was really busy during that time and sometimes a ton of fun. The building hype leading up to release is a lot of fun. And who wouldn’t want to close thousands of “when is the release date?” threads. I spent days just figuring out what I was doing and sometimes I’m still not too sure.
Prior to becoming a moderator, did you ever have any run ins with other moderators?
Not that I remember. I think I would remember it if I did but then you know at my age I conveniently am able to forget what I want to.
In your years as a community member and forum moderator, what are some of your most memorable moments in the forums?
The laughter. I love when there is a nonsense topic and everyone is getting a little silly. Also I was here the day Oblivion was announced and I jumped for joy that day. I keep hoping for another big announcement like that here. We knew something was coming since there was a countdown on the main page but we didn’t really know for sure. It was a real treat to see it announced here first. It was a very happy day on the old TES forum. I long for more announcements like that one exclusive for this site.
I have also enjoyed watching members growing into adulthood. So many who were 13 or 14 when I joined and now they are 20 or 21. Just sharing in their successes and hearing as they graduate, go to college, get married and have children is a joy.
To avoid the wrath of your banhammer, do you have any advice for community members?
I get furious when someone acts as if they smarter than anyone else and use that arrogance as a means to put another down. Those types of flames as well as any type of derogatory comments on the boards are likely to get my attention faster than most other offenses. So flaming other members for any reason is a good way to make me have a twitchy ban finger. The only thing I find worse than flaming another is when someone gives bad advice to someone sick or depressed.
Similarly, what kind of advice can you offer to someone who would like to become a forum moderator.
Read and follow the rules and be helpful on the forum. Report things that you know are against the forum rules. Don’t respond to flamebait. And mostly, just be a nice person and treat others how you would want to be treated.
You reside in Alaska (that’s 4 hours behind us)…what hours of the day can members expect to see you?
Goodness, that is difficult to answer since it really depends on what’s going on in my real life. But I can be found most days from about 5 or 6 a.m. Alaska time (9 or 10 a.m. EST) until almost lunch time. My coffee time is pretty important to me and I spend it on the forum. After that, I’m on and off according to what I’ve got going on at home or in the community. I also generally have a couple of hours in the evening to be here just before bedtime. 1-3 or 4 a.m. EST. By the way, Alaska’s time zone is GMT-9 for those wondering.
But being retired I wander off and on all day long and when I can’t sleep you will find me on the boards off and on all night too, though that doesn’t happen much. I generally sleep like a rock.
What’s the best part of living in Alaska? The worst part?
Alaska is a beautiful place with so much to love. Its vast wetlands, boreal forests, temperate rain forests, 39 mountain ranges and 17 of the 20 highest peaks in North America, ice fields and glaciers, are just a bit of the beauty here. We’ve abundant wildlife and clean clear water, warm summers and the Aurora Borealis in winter. But most of all I love the people. Alaska is truly a land of the individual. Such diverse people who come together to help one another overcome whatever nature and life hurls at us. Alaska is the land of rugged individualism and that is something I am drawn to.
I guess driving to town on icy roads for supplies and when the temperature drops lower than 40 below is the worst. But then again, that is part of the adventure here.
You seem to be pretty active in your local community as well. Last year you worked as a volunteer for your county’s polling center for the 2008 election. What was that experience like?
I was honored to be asked to be an election judge in such a historical election. It was wonderful to be part of it all. Our voting district had a record turn out this past election. In a community of this size we all must become volunteers just to keep our community going. As a point of interest, we overheard Obama giving his acceptance speech while we were still open for voting. One of the other election judges quickly closed the door from where the TV was broadcasting the speech and we just continued to admit people and take their vote assuring each vote counted. Unlike most polling places in the United States, we served coffee and home baked treats to all who literally came out of the woods to vote. Election day serves as a social event here when we can all catch up with one another’s lives. We just can’t discuss politics and that’s almost the best part of it.
I also volunteer often for many community activities and I encourage all to become a volunteer. I guess Booker T. Washington said it best: “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” I also help with a Bluegrass Festival each year that our local Lion’s Club sponsors. The proceeds go to fight blindness all over the world as well as many contributions to community members who are facing personal disasters such as losing their homes to fire or terminal illnesses. The festival is the last weekend in July each year and I invite anyone coming to Alaska to attend. It is a family event and last year we had well over 2,000 people in attendance. I served beer at the beer garden sporting my Fallout 3 t-shirt and it was a blast. I figure if I can advertise there for Fallout 3 I can advertise here for the Anderson Bluegrass Festival. In addition I seem to have acquired the position of volunteer community nurse, doing special procedures, dressings, health checks, transportation to doctors for my neighbors. Once a nurse, always a nurse.
Helping on the forum is just another way I can volunteer for a community I care about and that does indeed lift me up.
Of the titles released by Bethesda Game Studios, what stands out as your favorite?
That is the most difficult question you have asked. I like many found Bethesda with Morrowind’s release and so it holds a special spot in my heart. But I went back then and played Daggerfall which I also enjoyed bugs and all. Then Oblivion was good as well and Fallout 3 exceeded my expectations. Since I can’t really say which has brought me the most fun I’m going to say TES V will be the best evah! I am assuming we will see a TES V.
I do think Bethesda really outdid themselves with Fallout 3 though. It becomes a deeper experience for me with each character I create. Seeing the changes in how the game plays out according to the choices I make gives me a clue just how much thought the developers put into the making of it. It’s nice to see how open the developers are to suggestions for improvement that I see made repeatedly on the forum. Shivering Isles was icing on the cake for Oblivion and was a shining example of the devs listening to the community.
In future titles, is there anything in particular you’d like to see?
Yes, I want a little cabin with an old lady named Summer serving coffee and pie to all who stop by. Fat chance but I’d love to see it. On a more serious note though, I always want for more diplomatic choices to resolve quests in my RPGs.
When you’re not playing games or in the forums, how do you spend your time?
I just enjoy life. Long walks, yoga, animal and bird watching, baking, hunting, fishing. Just normal Alaskan life. I also spend a great deal of time with my Grandchildren, they are the jewels in my crown after all. My hubby and I have also built two homes. One a small cabin off the road system and the home we live in which may never be finished but it’s big with all the modern conveniences like running water and electricity. Building our home has been a labor of love as well as a lot of fun and very rewarding.