The 2017 Mayoral Debate took place at City Hall on February 2. The debate was hosted by BunnyHugger, who took questions from the audience and presented them anonymously to the candidates. The participants were candidates Daisy, Featherwing, Mako, Sondra, and Terrence. Kandra could not attend and was furnished with the questions after the fact; however, her responses had not been received by press time.
1. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what your background is.
Daisy: I’m Daisy, just an ordinary, garden variety ferret. Nothing particularly special about me. I enjoy pouncing unsuspecting furs, stealing items and running away so the fur I stole from will chase me to get it back. I’m not serious about anything very often. Anything else you’d like to know, just ask any time.
Terrence: Hello, all! My name is Terrence. I hail from a word of odd foxes who like to explore and learn and play. I came here because I found the place fascinating and I’ve stayed ever since. I’ve got a background in leadership training, business, and snuggles.
Mako: A lot of you already know me, but just in case, I’m Mako, Mako Eirin. I run the Square to the south of the garden, with a temple, my clothing store, and hopefully soon a few other things. I’m closer to the spirit and magic end of the magic-tech spectrum, and seem to have become known as the resident hoverkitty. I approve, btw, since I do in fact float most of the time. 😛
Featherwing: Oh, me? I’m Featherwing of the LunaStar dragon clan from somewhere in the vast reaches of this universe, and maybe a parallel one or so… I’m the science officer, so I don’t have a whole lot of council-like positions under my belt… I’m one of the rare few that can use auramancy. I hope to be elected to the position of Mayor, as do all my fellow candidates here, so yeah… That seems about right!
Sondra: So, in case you haven’t met me or know me personally, I’m Alexondra. Most of you know me as Sondra for short! [She smiles and waves.] Anyway! I came here over six years ago. It’s amazing to me as the time has flown so quickly! I’m currently owner of my nightclub & bar called “Alexondra’s.”
2. One of the mayor’s unofficial responsibilities has been to welcome guests and other newcomers to the SpinDizzy MUCK. What would you do to improve the ‘newcomer experience’? What should the mayor’s role be?
Terrence: I don’t think that the mayor has any special role to fill there. I think every person should do their best to greet new guests, however the mayor may lead by example. It should be the case that if the mayor vanished, guests would still be greeted warmly.
Daisy: Spindizzy and its citizens already do a wonderful job of making newcomers feel welcome. Everyfur is quick to encourage new furs to stay, give advice or comparisons to other worlds. Personally I feel a mayor should be exactly what they already are, just ordinary furs with a fancy hat. I think that is one of the things that makes Spindizzy such a welcoming place.
Mako: Ideally? We already do a pretty good job of welcoming people… as others have said. If I could make an improvement? I’d want to prep a simple primer for newbies, including some basic commands if they’re totally new to mu*s…. since it can and has happened. Been a while since I was on the new folk/guest island but I recall there being something there. A… basic lesson version of that, easy to absorb. Failing that, possibly trying to find out where their preferences lie and helping them get in touch with people who can help. The folk in St. M’s for mages, etc.
Sondra: When I have met newcomers, I have always placed myself in their shoes. I was once a newcomer here myself and know something about coming to a strange and wonderful new place without knowing many people. It’s always best to make them feel welcome and good about having made the decision to visit our little corner of the world. 🙂
Featherwing: So what should the mayor’s role be in aiding new friends? I’d have to agree with Daisy, with the exception that if asked to, the mayor should be willing to give a tour, if requested by the new friend, to various places, or to help them find a place to bed down so they don’t always have to sleep on the hard ground on Newcomer’s should they nod off and be swept by occupants of the room…
3. How do you feel about SpinDizzy growth so far, and how will you address the rising population when it comes to public events?
Sondra: The growth has been slow and managable so far. If it ever becomes an issue, public events could be spilt into smaller groups so as to not overwhelm people that aren’t immediately attentive or new to SpinDizzy. Each group could come together later on when they have dropped in size. 🙂
Daisy: Personally I like the fact that we’re a smallish place and its possible to know everyone here at least casually. As far as the population rising, I think various things will shift naturally as we acquire furs with a wider array of interests. I don’t see any particular need to overstructure things. Just let them develop as they will.
Terrence: I think most of SpinDizzy is already handling the population pretty well. The population which is incoming is looking for places to plug in, and we’ve had a number of people start leading (and advertising) public RPs they run recurrently. One thing I DO intend to do, however, is start up an RP workshop. I want to help equip more people to run public RPs, so that people who have always wanted to have the courage to do so, and so that the artificial barriers of ‘RP leaders’ and ‘normal people’ are broken down. The other day I spoke with someone who got the impression that if she weren’t mayor, she couldn’t lead an RP. I want to make sure we address that confusion.
Mako: I don’t have a good metric to compare against but as far as I can tell we’ve had several new folk show up over the last while. Most stay, which is even better. 😛 Thus far? I ascribe to a “more is better” rule for stuff like public events, since I like the idea of getting folk involved so long as they’re interested. Because they’re public, and therefore meant to be open. Size management might depend on the event. If it’s the sort of thing that requires a lot of back and forth smaller subgroups might be best, but that’s a case-by-case thing. By and large, if you build it, they will show up, and can take part as they want.
Sondra: Oh, I’m sure that anyone can lead an RP group. It only takes organization and not authority. Obviously people that want to RP with a group aren’t going to need an official office holder to lead.
Featherwing: It’s quite manageable as it stands right now, so if the current trend of relatively low population continues, there will be no need to make any changes, should it grow beyond manageable levels, splitting it … would be preferential.
4. Is there anything you’d avoid doing as Mayor?
Daisy: Making speeches.
Terrence: I’d do my best to avoid making the mayorship seem like something important. I’d avoid taxing anyone. I’d avoid alliances with any particular factions.
Sondra: I don’t think it’s so much a question about what to avoid as most of that would be obvious to anyone that took the office seriously. Having a positive attitude and be willing to work with others and allowing that flexibilty to be a strength is the most important thing!
Featherwing: I’d personally avoid any unnecessary conflict with existing organizations within the community unless it was a matter of life and toad. Then, and only then, would all bets be off.
Mako: I’d like to try and avoid favoritism. That goes multiple ways. We don’t generally have that anyway but it’s a good statement to make. You want what help I can offer, I’ll try and offer it, regardless of affiliation.
5. If SpinDizzy were to explode in a cataclysm of dust bunnies and pocket lint, where would you hold ice cream socials, and what flavor would you serve?
Sondra: Um, I guess it’d have to be on Spengo! We’d sit in the flowers and watch the lint and dustbunnies hop off while remembering everything that we shared on that once wondrous place we called home. 🙂
Terrence: Probably back on my home planet, since that’s where I’d find myself restored after the explosion wondering what happened, and the flavor probably wouldn’t be appropriate for public audiences since I figure you guys would be dead and most of the folks back on my world can get rather… [He waves a paw.] Well, you know.
Daisy: Ice cream socials can and should be held anywhere there are freezers to keep the ice cream unmelted in. I’d serve colorful flavors like mint chocolate chip and strawberry ripple. Colorful things taste better.
Mako: Anywhere we want, I suppose? I mean, no atmosphere means the ice cream won’t melt. 😛 …. we won’t breathe either, but I guess that’s not a problem. 😛 [She pauses.] … oop. Spengo. I keep forgetting that’s there. That’s a good idea. o.o Flavor? Mm… partial to chocolate or vanilla. Most people like one or the other so at least there’d be something everyone would like.
Featherwing: I would hold a joint venture with Patchy’s Ice Cream Parlor and hold socials at the Juice – ahem, at my Juice Bar in New Town. The portal to my farm for showers and clean up that might result from transit to the bar. Orange floats, pineapple sorbet, kiwi gelato (The fruit, not the bird…), and the like.
6. What are events you’ve thought particularly well-done or inspirational?
Sondra: Oh, I loved the Olympics! They were an especially fun event that we all attended or competed in! A few years ago we also had the SpinDizzy World’s Fair. That was an awesome undertaking that showed off the talents off all of SpinDizzy’s diverse citizenry!
Terrence: There was an event a good while back involving a simulation of a trolley problem that I didn’t attend but did read up on. It gave me some things to wrestle with which took a while and I found that valuable. Unfortunately my time zone often prevents me from visiting most of the events that are run here. And I figured I could whine and complain about that or I could just run a few within my time slot and see how well they do. I have enjoyed the Olympics especially in the past. Most of the holidays often feel a bit forced but I’ll be damned if I don’t enjoy the festival of cuteness.
Daisy: I have most enjoyed those events that don’t quite go as planned, but then I think a certain amount of chaos keeps things fresh and fun.
Mako: From the ones I’ve seen myself? I rather liked the Olympics, that was a wide array of little things in different forms that gave people a chance to try stuff. The quadrupedal race was quite fun too, I think. Not all the holidays were perfect but most of them had good effort put in. The… festival of light, I think it was? Was also interestingly different. … and quite blinding. 🙂
Featherwing: Yeah, definitely the World Fair and the Olympics… Those two are always fun. And I’m gonna make an effort to make the Pi Day bakeoff a recurring event, even if I don’t get the mayorship again this year!
7. Would you organize any RP events around the office of Mayor or City Hall?
Sondra: That all depends on who and how many people would take an interest in it. I’m always one that encourages RP as it’s something that I have personally come here for and I’m sure others come here for to escape that other dreaded world known as RL! 😉
Featherwing: Potentially. Depends on who wants to or what would happen if I did!
Mako: Answer to that one’s easy. Would people be interested in it? If so, then sure. I’m sure the city hall and mayorship itself can be plumbed for interesting stuff to do.
8. What single trait does each candidate think is most important in a mayor?
Sondra: If it had to be a single trait, I’d say it was “flexibility!”
Terrence: I think the trait most important in a mayor is the desire to lead by example rather than fiat.
Featherwing: Speed–Oh. Openness! That’s something that a good mayor should have!
Daisy: I think above all else, a mayor should be entertaining.
Mako: In a word, patience. Because if you can work at something enough you can probably find a way around any issues there are. But nothing’s gonna go perfectly all the time, you’re going to have to be able to hold on when stuff goes wahooni-shaped.
9. Name one thing you like about your fellow candidates.
Mako: I’ll agree to that. All of em have been friendly, and when I was new, more than a few helped me get settled in and learn the ropes. :3
Terrence: Yes, friendliness. I haven’t had an issue with any of them and some of them are especially cuddly.
Featherwing: Eeyup. Friendly! Every single one of these mugs.
Daisy: I can’t pick a single thing for all of them, they each have their own wonderful qualities and make spindizzy a more interesting place just by being here
10. What events have you planned in the past? How did they turn out?
Featherwing: Pi day, something I didn’t do in 2016, but did the two years before that with mixed results… The first one went well, the second had lack of interest and I probably didn’t schedule it right.
Daisy: I’ve run an Olympics event, it wasn’t well attended but those that were there had fun. Other than that I tend to go with small scale or spontaneous things.
Sondra: I planned a comedy night once! It went very well. I loved the jokes that all of my guests made up on the big stage! It was so warm and fun that nobody suffered stage fright! 🙂
Mako: So far? I’ve run one expedition through the gate that went relatively well, although I want to go back and do more with the idea when I’ve had enough time to write more and hopefully better material. The second one’s in progress… and I ran that one Olympics event that went… well, at least in my eyes okay. Plus some minor stuff with friends in slice-of-life things and stuff in and around my square.
Terrence: Well! In other lives… [Or alts or MUCKs or what have you, OOCly speaking] I’ve had explorations of underground missile silos, grand societal collapse scenes, interplanetary conflicts, and such like that. I’ve also done a number of cute small spontaneous things. Of course most of my scenes have been one-on-one things above the rating of PG-13, but that’s normal. I also ran a class on some technical topics.
11. What is your greatest achievement?
Sondra: For me, it’s having formed friendships with many of my new friends on SpinDizzy. They’re relationships that I’ll treasure for the rest of my life should I ever have had the misfortune of never being able to come back here.
Daisy: Inspiring a group of furs to get silly and play along with me at the beach when I pretended to be a ferret pirate. It was good silly fun, and something I’d like to try to encourage more of.
Terrence: Helping people make better versions of themselves. Inspiring others to want to try more things. The most important thing to me is the slow, difficult but rewarding work of building one another, having in-depth exploratory conversations, and meeting challenges to make the group as a whole better. I sometimes view my success as “the number of couches I’d be welcome to crash on if everything went south.” And I don’t know how many there are at this point, but I know I’ll never want for cushions in a pillow fort.
Featherwing: I’m guessing this refers to on the MUCK, so I’d say being able to build a spacious juice bar in New Town and making many feel welcome. And one last achievement would be being worthy of being able to help with the MUCK in a greater capacity.
Mako: So far? I’m quite proud of getting the expeditions through the gate going, and equally proud of getting the Cherry Blossom Square open with my store and temple. Gives people a new spot to do things, the store’s generated a few fun outfits so far already. :3
12. If you could turn the other candidates into something, what would it be?
Sondra: Skunks! … but one can’t have everything. 😉
Daisy: Ferrets, there’s no such thing as enough ferrets! Then I could pounce and wrestle with them all.
Mako: Don’t think I’d want to. They’re plenty colorful and fun as is. 😛
Terrence: I’d decline to, unless they asked me nicely. I might gendershift them or something if they did, or make them this or that species.
Featherwing: If I was forced to change my fellow candidates, I’d probably just make them floofier versions of themselves if they’re full of fur, or some other species that fits what they look like currently.
13. What’s your comfort food?
Sondra: Tortilla soup!
Daisy: Chocolate chip mint ice cream, but it’s even better if shared.
Mako: Mac & Cheese. :3
Terrence: Prime rib with horseradish sauce.
Featherwing: Kettle-cooked chips, almost any kind of flavor.
14. What, in your opinion, is SpinDizzy’s greatest strength, and how do you plan to emphasize it as Mayor?
Terrence: The varying creative interests of its citizens. Everyone’s got their own signature style and interests. The whole of who we are is community contribution.
Sondra: I think SpinDizzy’s greatest strength is its warm and welcoming nature. People wouldn’t want to stay here if it didn’t bring some sort of happiness to their lives. Some of us get to enjoy it most days while others get a sweet number of moments stolen from reality to savor when they can. 🙂
Daisy: I believe Spindizzy’s greatest strength is the freedom to be who and what you choose to be, to be as involved or as solitary as you want, even our wizards get to enjoy just being furs most of the time. I can’t think of anything that could improve that.
Mako: Yeah, our versatiity is a pretty strong point of ours, really. We have a wide array of people with a wide array of interests and skills. Which also means we have a large pool of talent to draw on. We already get along pretty well, that means we can also help tap that to ensure there’s something nearly anyone can take part in.
Daisy: I’d like to add to my answer. I think all of us here are family, and I describe us that way. You may have one cousin or uncle that you enjoy most, the less you see of them, but you’d still help them if they ever needed it.
Featherwing: That’s a real thought-provoker, and a lot of the really good points have already been made by my fellow candidates. It’s a strong combination of all three that truly makes this MUCK great. How to emphasize it however is to not really emphasize it at all, the way it naturally occurs is good enough.
15. How do you imagine the office of Mayor would change in your administration?
Featherwing: I personally don’t think it would change a whole lot with me at the wheel, mainly because of the natural way things occur not really needing much change within the position.
Daisy: Oh I’d be unpredictable, be silly, keep furs wondering what scrape I’m going to get into next. It won’t be boring, and I’d hope to encourage succeeding mayors to always make time to be silly at least once in a while.
Terrence: In my ideal scenario, the mayorship would fade into the background and people in the community would take up the holidays without the highlighting of a certain individual. That is to say, the economic demand for a mayor-like person would diminish because enough people would be running events that having a specialized event runner position would appear redundant.
Sondra: I really don’t think the office of mayor would change. It has been and should remain a symbolic office of community cooperation and leadership while acting as ambassador to newcomers to our extended fuzzy family. We should always remain a warm and friendly place- an abode from the otherwise stormy days of our existence elsewhere.
Mako: Gonna have to go with Featherwing’s answer on this one, really. Position’s there for a purpose. I might try and leave some useful notes or something for whoever came after to help if I could work something of that sort out, but otherwise… don’t fix what ain’t broke, just treat it with a little respect.
16. Please make a closing statement, if you wish.
Sondra: I don’t think I have anything else to add other than I would be deeply humbled and thrilled to be your next mayor. It would be a wonderful opportunity to give back to SpinDizzy and to all of you for being a safe harbor for me and others that need you more than you need us. 🙂
Terrence: This online community is my favorite one. I’ve been here in one form or another for years and I’ve seen many people here grow in many ways. I’d like to keep seeing that. I’d like to encourage things we’re doing well and help people find ways to amplify each other’s strengths.
Mako: Bout the only thing I can think of to say right this moment is, I’ve not been here for that long, but so far, I’ve found it to be one of the most active, friendly, and interesting places I’ve been to for a long, long time. Even if I’m not elected, I hope I can keep adding stuff to it and taking part in it. Heck, some of the ideas I have down will get recycled… probably most if not all. 😛
Daisy: My vision is to be a mayor who does not take things seriously, who makes things fun in a far less structured way. Real life is already too serious, Spindizzy is about getting and giving hugs and cuddles when you really need them, finding the joy that is often missing from humdrum workaday life and knowing that if you need a shoulder, there is always at least one available for you.
Featherwing: Vote for the squishy friend.