We need to begin new recruitment. We cannot let his mes...

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This topic contains 24 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  Meticulac 3 months ago.

We need to begin new recruitment. We cannot let his message fade away

  • Austolycus
    Participant

    It has been a long time since I’ve seen activity from us. Months pass in between postings and public missions are unheard of where I am. Its time to turn this up a notch and remind people how to have fun. the news has flooded our reality with negativity and too many people are drinking the Kool-aid. We are the world last hope for happiness and creativity. We need to step forward now more than ever to remind people to stop listening to the negativity of sexism and racism and bring us all together how it is meant to be. We all deserve to enjoy fun equally regardless of the labels placed upon us. Stop feeding the political dung heap with compliance and be who we are. Toy Soldiers.

  • Agent Rollo
    Participant

    You know what, hell yeah! I’ve been feeling the same way for a while, and I’ve wanted to say something, but I’m glad someone had the courage to “break the silence”. Good on you! Hopefully we’ll get a bit of a spike with the Mammoth coming up, but I think it would do us all some good to kick it up a notch. I’d recommend re-reading the section in General Discussions for the newcomers, it always give me a nice boost of TSU inspiration to read about what started it all. March on, everyone!

  • Pvt. Six
    Participant

    I agree. I just joined within the past year and I fell in love with the message. I’d love to see more people join or be active and I agree with you that the global climate has been incredibly depressing. I’m going to try canvassing the online forums and social media I have to see if I can get any new recruits. I’m also open to suggestions. 

  • Austolycus
    Participant

    Thanks guys. Its nice to see some people are still in this even if Dr.Steel is effectively gone. I’ll try to be more active here (as my work schedule permits).

  • I think that the problem is although we seem to grow in members we never seem to grow in active members.

    Recruiting friends/ family is always a good idea but it just seems hard to effectively muster actives, same with any forum I guess.

     

    There will always be new Toy Soldiers, and the message will always be alive, don’t worry, even if it’s just in our hearts

  • I think the best way to recruit new soldiers would be as follows.

    1. Subversion of the mainstream

    Ie- if you are on another forum, link to this one and encourage people to join! ie as theprideofbluefield put it, canvass on other forums/ social media/ other modes or channels of communication

    2. Expansion

    Accommodate said people with new threads, based on what they were posting in past forums/ maybe create new forum sections to accommodate them, this might seem counter-intuitive but new threads/sections might attract new members

    3. Retention

    Things like contests could help with this, things that would get people ‘Hooked’

     

    I hate to sound negative but I fell in love with this community in 2013, It was so different to what I was used to beforehand ie friendly people, interesting discussions, new ideas,It’s a shame that since 2015 I’ve been extremely busy…

    I don’t think that the TSU needs ‘Saving’ I just think that we need to be more proactive with our recruitment… Again I hate to be negative but I think the OP has a point, and I personally don’t want to see this wonderful community just ‘fade away’ as it were.

  • Howard Mob
    Participant

    I’ve recruited people offline, but they liked the message, not the brand. 

    Most people are scared of people who walk around in long-coats with Naziesque military uniforms on, even if you explain to them the message, they are more likely to shy away from the message, due to the brand.

    Its not because the message is under received, its that people are scared of the brand

  • @Howard Mob said:
    I’ve recruited people offline, but they liked the message, not the brand. 

    Most people are scared of people who walk around in long-coats with Naziesque military uniforms on, even if you explain to them the message, they are more likely to shy away from the message, due to the brand.

    Its not because the message is under received, its that people are scared of the brand  

    You make a good point. 

    While the militaristic and cult like overtones did not bother me that much (because I can see parody for what it is), I can see where it would scare others off. 

    Of course, the dreaded follow up question would be: “So what should/could we do about it?”

    Toy Soldiers is in the name after all. 

    We could change the colour pallette, soften the tone of the message, stop shooting people with foam based ordnance, but would it help?

  • Captain Dermut
    Participant

    That’s why I styled my uniform after the Canadian Mounties. Much friendlier connotations.

  • Lt. Sophie
    Keymaster

    @Captain Dermut said:
    That’s why I styled my uniform after the Canadian Mounties. Much friendlier connotations.  

    Considering there are no rules about how to style your uniform (besides the colour scheme), that’s actually a pretty good idea. Also, if you have a look at the designs by Sgt. Grinner, you’ll see there are many ways to style your uniform without looking Naziesque.

    Maybe we should communicate this better to the outside and come up with new and more fun takes on the TSU uniform. We’ve had a big variety uniform-wise in the past and will hopefully continue to do so. Maybe we could all brainstorm about our image a little and come up with new ideas.

  • Sgt. Dutch
    Participant

    Considering the unique styles of the Army, I’ve always seen it as more of a mercenary type look. Grabbed what’s to hand, specialise, rigs, webbing, etc.

    Also, when Sgt. Grinner made his designs, he specifically kept in mind the cosplay scene, so all of them are doable with materials most people have to hand or are cheaply available online.

  • Lucanaii
    Participant

    This might be a bit against the grain for most of the members but I’ve joined quite recently, haven’t heard about Steel until some time after joining actually. 

    I am also quite bothered by militaristic ideas/uniforms and some rather cultish ideas.

     

    I’ve seen somewhere (and I’m too lazy to look it up now) that anything becomes an uniform when you put a patch on it. I’d much prefer TSU “uniform” to be anything you want to wear but with TSU accessories – let’s have scarfs, hats, gloves, jewelry, patches, badges, etc in wide enough array that it can fit any style, any cosplay?, any occasion (although creating jewelry worthy of meeting the Queen might be a challenge)

    With this I’d like to see more variety of the armory (sorry Airhead :D) and some “official guidelines” for what people can make at home to be easily identified as TSU members

  • Howard Mob
    Participant

    @lucanaii said:
    This might be a bit against the grain for most of the members but I’ve joined quite recently, haven’t heard about Steel until some time after joining actually. 

    I am also quite bothered by militaristic ideas/uniforms and some rather cultish ideas.

     

    I’ve seen somewhere (and I’m too lazy to look it up now) that anything becomes an uniform when you put a patch on it. I’d much prefer TSU “uniform” to be anything you want to wear but with TSU accessories – let’s have scarfs, hats, gloves, jewelry, patches, badges, etc in wide enough array that it can fit any style, any cosplay?, any occasion (although creating jewelry worthy of meeting the Queen might be a challenge)

    With this I’d like to see more variety of the armory (sorry Airhead :D) and some “official guidelines” for what people can make at home to be easily identified as TSU members  

    You misunderstand how uniforms work in TSU, you can do this very easily, and the armoury is entirely optional. You see I would love to own every item in the armoury to use in my uniform, but currently I only need a single soldier patch for my uniform because I use outside sources and custom logos to do my uniform otherwise.

    I always felt like the uniform needs to have some DIY style to it, we are a ragtag group of idealists no? 

    But alas even a mostly normal uniform will not distach the stigma of wearing two bloody colours around and all doing a single hand movement to signal ourselves different (looks at literally any cult). Even my splinter movement I have come to call it (which I’m trying to put more effort into while also pushing the toy solider agenda,which is very similar if not just a toned down version of my mission) is just the salute to signify membership, can still be seen as cult-ish. So don’t be bothered by any cultish or militaristic styles of this movement, anything different will have that stigma.

  • Howard Mob
    Participant

    I think I’ve come up with three solutions to our problem:

    A. Change nothing, hope to “tip over”, basically what we’re doing now

    B. become more main stream, AKA sell out, I wouldn’t suggest this but it may get us a flood of new members

    C. Radicalize, or basically what I’m trying to do with my splinter group;Make it a legitimate movement and not just idealism and comicon recruitment centres.

     

    Option A would effect the community itself the least, while option C. Can’t really be done with us being more laid back (except perhaps me) and B. would just be appeasement to the ones who don’t join because of branding.

  • Lt. Sophie
    Keymaster

    @Howard Mob said:
    I think I’ve come up with three solutions to our problem:

    A. Change nothing, hope to “tip over”, basically what we’re doing now

    B. become more main stream, AKA sell out, I wouldn’t suggest this but it may get us a flood of new members

    C. Radicalize, or basically what I’m trying to do with my splinter group;Make it a legitimate movement and not just idealism and comicon recruitment centres.

     

    Option A would effect the community itself the least, while option C. Can’t really be done with us being more laid back (except perhaps me) and B. would just be appeasement to the ones who don’t join because of branding.  

    One major problem with your ideas I see here is that there is no definition of whatever “selling out” or “radicalisation” mean. You basically use your very own, personal understanding to come up with a solution for an entire community.

    For some, it’s already selling out to work with other groups and therefore compromise in some areas (e.g. uniforms, statements, etc.). In a way, we’re already doing that by not discussing politics on here and sticking to a PG13 rule for our creations or missions.

    I don’t think radicalisation is an option as we’re way too diverse as a group to specialise on one idea(l). This includes a lot of us thinking that radicalism is no solution to anything, and a broad range of ideas of what a Utopian Playland actually is. It would also require members to be a lot more active. The way I see it, our main problem is not having not enough members and therefore needing more. One of our biggest problems is inactivity and lethargy. We could have 10,000 members but if only 3 of them share our work and ideas with others, that is pretty much useless, no? On the other hand, I don’t think we need anyone to actually join the Army, as long as we can get the word out there and people to collaborate with us. During our last Gaming Mammoth, we had one very active and kind streamer to stream with and for us, regardless of not being a Toy Soldier, and he did a formidable job at spreading the word. This is what we actually need, not thousands of dead forum accounts.

    • Howard Mob
      Participant

      You mis understand what I mean by “radicalize”

      I Live in Liverpool, and I haven’t met a single Toy Soldier offline, I hadn’t seen one, I hadn’t heard a single tongue echo the name until I found a Dr.Steel fan on a retro-futurism discord. What i mean when I say “radicalize” is not to bring politics in it, but to actually go in the streets and spread the message beyond conventions or what have you.

      Radicalization is doing what I saw when I found the origins of the toy soldier army, what i thought was done, spreading the word, wanting to make a better world, not what we have been doing, twilling our thumbs and talking about our latest art blog. Toy soldiers is a place of art, yes, but when I heard is message, I heard an echo I agreed with, to have a fun world, one where people have not to fret of such tings as boredom, yet the movement itself seems dead, and well, bored.

      I would rather see a sell-out, at least then I would have a reason to disdain, but I don’t, the message is there, people believe it, just no one carries it out. We are not building a Utopian playland, we’re pulling wool over our eyes and saying that the world is a playland, that we not need to effect it, that the Internet will be our utopia.

      But what do I know, I’m just a lowly pleb compared to the code-monkeys and yellow jackets, they know truly what out meaning is, I’m just a crazy radical who wants to bring politics into a group who thrives without them.

      Striving towards a true Utopian Playland, Howard “Moth” Mob

    • Meticulac
      Participant

      You mis understand what I mean by “radicalize”

       

      I Live in Liverpool, and I haven’t met a single Toy Soldier offline, I hadn’t seen one, I hadn’t heard a single tongue echo the name until I found a Dr.Steel fan on a retro-futurism discord. What i mean when I say “radicalize” is not to bring politics in it, but to actually go in the streets and spread the message beyond conventions or what have you.

      Radicalization is doing what I saw when I found the origins of the toy soldier army, what i thought was done, spreading the word, wanting to make a better world, not what we have been doing, twilling our thumbs and talking about our latest art blog

      Oh! Yeah, you’re right, this is just be a case of people using words differently, and I didn’t mean to make it sound like you hadn’t made any good points. With that out of the way, yes, getting out on the street is very important. I just see myself as being in a particularly bad position to be doing much of it: Living in the middle of nowhere, without a clear or safe walking path to a public gathering place or own vehicle, and barely getting out of the house even with my family. Any emphasis I had on web media is entirely because that’s what my current circumstances best allow me to focus on.

      This is something I should be more mindful of, though. From now on I’ll try to keep more of an open mind toward finding opportunity to spread the word wherever I end up. If nothing else, my front lawn is as good a place for a sign as any. Maybe I’ll try making and printing out some coloring pages/activity sheets to leave around local diners, Little Free Library boxes, and such? I guess bookmarks would also work there as well. Got some other ideas too, but I’ll bring them up in chat rather than bog down this thread with the particulars. Anyway, thanks for getting me to put more thought into considering what I can do!

      • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  Meticulac.
  • I think that we need to reduce restrictions on Divisions, divisions may not  be active all the time but they could attract new members with similar interests, I think that the biggest problem with TSU if I’m being completely honest is that there isn’t a lot of information available. With regards to “making the site mainstream” we can reach a reasonable compromise by trying to improve member retention, As Lt Sophie pointed out, thousands of dead accounts won’t solve the problem we need more active members. To be entirely truthful with you I find that most of our efforts are on recruitment, rather than retainment, something that is critically, critically important. 

    I don’t know why people need to form splinter groups and radicalize, with respect there are hundreds and hundreds of forums where you can discuss politics, that is what makes TSU such a unique and welcoming environment 

    I think to retain new menus we need to create things like guides, reduce restrictions on creating divisions and do more to reduce the “mysticism” around TSU….. ie making guides, handy pamphlets etc with the history of TSU, maybe question and answer sessions could help…. 

  • @soldier OF MIS-ORTUNE said:
    I think to retain new menus we need to create things like guides, reduce restrictions on creating divisions and do more to reduce the “mysticism” around TSU….. ie making guides, handy pamphlets etc with the history of TSU, maybe question and answer sessions could help….   

    Being that I write training materials as part of my day job, I am SO THERE!

    There are lots of tools we could use for this ranging from videos on services such as youtube etc. to presentations on services like Prezi. What will be required to facilitate this is some rationalisation around how we handle messaging and how members “join” the TSU (admittedly that is rationalised though not necessarily clear).

    Simply, if we do create additional guides etc. they need to be saying the same sorts of things. 

     

    Alongside that, are we too centralised? Should Divisions be more like cells or their own networks to some extent? I don’t have the answers to that, but how we operate as an organisation says a lot about who we are and how we want to spread, or even retain membership.

    I have some time off coming up and may well get to work on a few bits and pieces in this space. 

  • @Spymaster General Danov Valravn said:

    Being that I write training materials as part of my day job, I am SO THERE!

    There are lots of tools we could use for this ranging from videos on services such as youtube etc. to presentations on services like Prezi. What will be required to facilitate this is some rationalisation around how we handle messaging and how members “join” the TSU (admittedly that is rationalised though not necessarily clear).

    Simply, if we do create additional guides etc. they need to be saying the same sorts of things. 

     

    Alongside that, are we too centralised? Should Divisions be more like cells or their own networks to some extent? I don’t have the answers to that, but how we operate as an organisation says a lot about who we are and how we want to spread, or even retain membership.

    I have some time off coming up and may well get to work on a few bits and pieces in this space.   

    Yep, Totally Agree, I think more needs to be done to keep current members thought :/, why not introduce a “years of service” section or a “service record section” with different rewards/badges for “years of service” given to toy soldiers and a yellow jacket esque award for those who have rendered years of service (say 5 years or more) 

    Being really quite blunt, I think that the yellow jacket award recognises exceptional soldiers but, that’s just it, it only recognises the MOST exceptional soldiers, things like rewards for years of service would recognise the efforts of ALL soldiers, just saying. 

    I think that awards should be earned, but maybe we should have more “formal” awards like the yellow jacket title, maybe things like a “Long service medal”??? or “badges for X no of invasions” or badges for no x of posts, that people could include in their titles… idk I think by doing that it would introduce more incentives whilst keeping the Y.J title relatively lucrative and desirable… just a thought 

  • Meticulac
    Participant

    Well, looking at what the TSU already focuses on, which I can only presume are its strengths out of sheer amount of practice, it seems our primary activities include the invasion events and the production of media for use on the site, as well as some participation in online gaming. I don’t have much experience with organized convention events or other such invasion-related activities, but I have watched the ebb and flow of online communities for a time, so I guess I ought to share what I think in that regard.

    What I usually tend to see is, websites that present some material or another that gives people a reason to visit the site regularly without having to first register tend to attract a lot of activity and general discussion. I know I’m more likely to speak up somewhere that builds a sense of familiarity with me first. Not to mention, said material acts as a “hey-look-at-this” thing to point new people towards, and as a focus of discussion.

    Conversely, forums that *only* offer discussion among members tend to slowly dwindle if they ever take off at all, and to me can sometimes even come off as looking like some sort of recruiter’s club where the only thing to do once you join is talk about ways to recruit more people. Clearly not an impression of fun being being made! I’d say the TSU homepage avoids that well enough, with stories and the various divisions, each focused on their own activities, as well as the Bandcamp link that was up there before.

    I do, though, think directly promoting that stuff could get people to stick around longer and pay more attention than simply telling them to join, so I guess I’ll do that when I try to get the word out. Eventually, it might be worth looking into a proper indexing system for stories instead of just a tag on the blog so that it’s easier to get an overview of what’s been written or pick out a particular series. Incidentally, I skipped over Tales from the Bunker posts the first few times I saw them, since before paying enough attention to actually read one, I presumed they would be actual status updates on the site.

    As for media/propaganda I could make, there’s a few things going through my head, so most details should probably wait until I’ve started making some of it or at least discussed it elsewhere. Two ideas that stick out to me in particular for whatever reason are making a comedy duo of characters for slapstick/philosophic dialog purposes, and some Bunker-related game tiles/sprites (from scratch or based on appropriately licensed material from opengameart), both with the intent of inviting collaboration on them. Maybe a chatbot? Chatbots can be fun.

    Anyway, one thing I’m wondering is the amount of pop culture reference accepted in TSU entertainment material, since there’s a noticeable contrast between stuff that was on the doctor’s website and in his music, like mention of specific candies and toys, an entire song dedicated to the television show Land of the Lost, and a poster specifically made in response to the Got Milk campaign, as opposed to TSU material I’ve seen that, so far, neatly keeps itself contained to the world of the digital bunker and its inhabitants. If there’s some kind of policy, I’m fine with that, but I figure it’d make sense to have some things that look outward at the world we’re trying to enjoy. That, and I want to draw dumb crossover stuff like a bunkerbot in a boxing match with one of the robots of Equius Zahhak from Homestuck.

  • Pvt. Six
    Participant

    As a disclaimer, I probably have no idea what I’m talking about but I love taking part in these kinds of conversations.

    Social media itself has a larger toll on online communities as of late. Essentially message boards are dying out with twitter/instagram/snapchat accounts being more used. Of course I’d love for the message board to pick up in a big way but it seems like it’ll be an uphill battle. Our strongest tool that we can use is our community itself and I don’t mean just by recruiting.

    I would love the Pinecone Broadcast to return in some new format since Dutch has his own projects taking up his time. I’ve just now begun podcasting so I probably wouldn’t give us the most polished sound but I think it’d be fun. What I would love is something that puts attention on our community and what we’re currently working on.  When I spread the word about TSU, I pitch us as a creative community and I think we should be broadcasting our own members and what they’re currently doing. As someone who is trying to create on a daily basis, the hardest part is getting the word out there for people to check you out. I love the WRITE division because it gives me a platform to put my work out into the world and I know that could attract new members. Besides, it can help us get to know one another better.

    I agree with the sentiment that we should be bolstering ourselves up with things like accomplishments/award honors. We are all a little vain and like to see our names pop up in positive ways. I’d also love to see what Danov can cook up!

    I love this place though. I think as long as we all work hard and do everything within our ability to get the word out then we will attract some awesome people to join us.

  • I really enjoyed my take on the uniform, and so far most people have really liked it, though 1 person thought it made me look like a nazi, said it was the armband.

    Though the website is mostly dead I have to say the discord server is really active. I can log on most any time of day and there will be a couple of people puttering around.

    I have to say this, and it may sound harsh but radicalizing seems like a very bad idea and in doing so would really make it seem like a cult. It would also end up driving a lot of people away. Because to be honest radicalizing would mean politicizing, and I come here to get the hell away from all of that garbage. The Toy soldiers are about fun and radicalizing isn’t fun, its work, lots and lots of work. If anything we are more of an artist and geek collective. And really the only reason it isnt more active is because in todays world most people have to work to extremes in order to survive and unfortunately either don’t have the time, the money, or both in order to be active in the community outside of small things like posting something on Facebook or chatting in the discord server on their break.

    I think the place to start is to start small. Get your friends involved. Make your uniforms and go to cons, march in local parades, go play dungeons and dragons in uniform at your local game store. If you do art, post it to Instagram with a toy soldier watermark in the corner. Thats all that really needs to happen.

    Honestly the biggest problem I see is that getting the word out their quickly and effectively costs a lot of money, and nobody wants to foot the bill themselves so they have to raise funds somehow. Either by collecting donations or selling some sort of product. But that is time consuming. And I have found its easier to get someone to buy something than spend time on something.

    Unfortunately people don’t have time for clubs in their adult life.

  • Meticulac
    Participant

    In regard to radicalization/politicization, I also don’t see it as a great direction for the army. While a lot of important things get politicized, and often due to their importance to begin with, I think it’s useful to have places that focus on spreading a set of healthy values while avoiding overt political campaigning. Telling people whether the political party that they see as their team ought to be winning or losing can scare them off from considering a point of view they might have otherwise accepted.

  • Prophet
    Participant

    Hello,

    I thought I would make an account here for an explicit purpose; hopefully to provide some kind of relief to this specific thread. I wanted to let everyone know that Dr. Steel’s message might seem to be fading but his Ideas are still very much alive. I was going down a rabbit hole for some research on a project until it eventually led me upon Dr. Steel. I say this because I think it is important to remember that if one seeks knowledge one will find it. I am young, only 23, so when Dr. Steel and others were discovering his ideas I was creating my own as a child. Here I am now finding out that when I was a kid there were adults like ya’ll and Dr. Steel who were also going down the same path. That is what I want to remind everyone about; that the path that leads to Dr. Steel and the Army of Toy Soldiers is many.
    If someone wants to seek knowledge they will, in one way or another, find his message, be it from him or from others but just with different words. I had no idea any of this existed yet despite that, I was already on the same path, we just can’t see each other all the time on our journey’s.
    Please, do not lose heart Toy Soldiers, do not stress or fret, because these ideas and messages are out there. Keep strong. Keep fighting. Remember, history repeats itself. Dr. Steel & The Toy Army will have the spotlight again like they once did, one way or another. Truth comes in many forms and Dr. Steel is but one form of truth of many. The truth will have its time again, thanks to ya’ll, Dr. Steel and the others who don’t even realize they’re helping, like me.

    G-D Speed Toy Soldiers.

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  Prophet.
    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  Prophet.

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