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|1.4.1: Interview with massadoobie and DJ Sith, two founders of the JA -Mune - Jan 16 04:17am|
How did you guys come up with the idea for the Academy? How did you guys meet?
DJ Sith: This place was the brainchild of a 15-year-old kid (at the time) from Florida named JediSith999. He was the idea man. We were just along for the ride until JS999 had to leave for personal reasons. He posted to Lucasforums talking about his idea of a Jedi Academy where classes could be held and people could have padawans and such. He got bunches and bunches of support from the LF community. At the time I was hosting a jk2 server for my friends, which wasn't seeing much use, so I told JS999 he could use it for his little Academy. Doobie 1st came on as the site webmaster. I think he has a copy of that old site floating around somewhere. Ask him about it. Doobie and I met in real life once. It turns out we have the same hometown. How weird is that? I was really surprised because he didn't seem like brigadier general of the nerds or anything. He's a normal guy. He came over to my place once to use my computer for a staff meeting. While we get a lot done during these meetings they tend to drag on and on. We didn't really get much time to chat. All we really talked about was policy this or rules that. Oh we made fun of JumpinJedi a lot too.
massadoobie: I wish I could take credit for it, but it was really Ross "JediSith999" Berger's idea. Of course DJ and I can take some credit about where we've gone from the beginning I saw a post on Lucasforums from a guy named JediSith999 looking for someone to make a website for a "Jedi Academy." He thought the community needed a place where we could train and improve without the n00bness of the pubs. I responded to the post, made a design, and we got accepted by jediknightii.net. Eventually, DJ came in as a server host and took over as web designer. JS999 left and I became the leader.
How long did it take from when you 1st came up with the idea 'til it was realized?
DJ Sith: After Doobie and I contacted JediSith999 and got the basics taken care of (we had a game server and a static website running) we quickly realized we were in over our heads. We were processing applicants via email at the time. I say "we" but I mean Doobie was processing these apps. After we announced we were opening on LucasForums I think he got like 90 emails in a single night of people either wanting to teach or wanting to train. At the time I was working overnights in a NOC babysitting a network that rarely went down, so I had a lot of time on my hands. I wrote a web based ticket tracking system for a few departments and could adapt that to a website for the JA. It took a few weeks before everything was up and running before we "officially" opened our doors to students. I think Doobie appreciated the whole automated application thing.
massadoobie: If I remember correctly, I read the news post before the game was even out, so it was probably near the end of March, 2002. I vaguely remember the site being done and posted on jediknightii.net near the end of April, and DJ's version came out near the end of June. Somewhere in there (we use May 17th as the date) we opened for students. So in all it took about a month to two months to get the JA up and running.
Did you believe in success?
DJ Sith: I believe success can only be achieved through near constant overthrow of the ruling class. Viva Revolution!
massadoobie: Of course. We wouldn't have started this place up if we didn't think it would be successful.
Did you plan for the Jedi Academy to get so HUGE, in terms of students?
DJ Sith: Doobie and I really thought that the JA would die quietly after the 1st summer JK2 was out and everyone got back to school. Boy, were we wrong. I had absolutely no idea it'd get this big.
massadoobie: I remember when I had to input all the new members by hand, and I did about 100 one day and thought that was a lot. Now we have over 3500 users, 1300 of which are active, and I can only think two things: wow, I never saw that coming, and thank goodness DJ automated the systems so I didn't have to input them by hand!
What was your happiest/proudest moment at the JA?
DJ Sith: I have a "happiest" moment every time I get an email saying "The Academy rules" or "The Academy taught me how to do this" or "Thanks for running this place". just yesterday on IRC I was watching some students discuss the attack points from various combos and swings and how to counter them using statistics and such. I find it amazing that after a year out people are still discussing these ideas and honing their skills like this. I'm proud to have helped out in a community that is still going strong.
massadoobie: I think the happiest moment was the first time I joined DJ's server and it had our own map running on it. There was just something about the fact that both the server and the map were completely ours that made things even cooler. The proudest moments have been when we've promoted people, especially when Silent Whisper, aValon, cHoSeN oNe, and Huxley were promoted to JAC.
Who do you think has made the biggest impact on the Academy?
DJ Sith: From my nerd technical standpoint I'd say Huxley. He came to us as a regular student, he worked his butt off, proved his worth, and eventually became JAC and the administrator of the heart of the JA: the web server and our main game servers, not to mention the teamspeak server. I thought we'd be up shit creek after I lost my server, but Hux donated one or two and has always been there to save the academy's butt.
massadoobie: Well besides DJ and I, I think the dedication of people such as Jacen Solo, Huxley, Silent Whisper, and Chosen One have really made this place incredible. And of course the opinions and trends we see from the students have a tremendous impact on how we run the place.
Have you ever been sick of it all and considered closing down the JA?
DJ Sith: I won't say that I've never been frustrated with the place at times. Back when profile pics were updated manually, there were class points to assign, trials to read, a hotmail account to check, forums to keep up, a website to maintain, fires to squelch, meetings to run, etc etc. I would get kind of burnt out. Nowadays a lot of that stuff is automated and the bumps have been worked out. Heck I don't think we've had a general staff meeting, much less a reason for one, in months. But I never thought of throwing in the towel. I love this place too much to quit.
massadoobie: Many times. DJ and I have had many conversations, mostly in the first summer when we were open, about closing down shop and moving on. Then the JA started to really take off and we haven't had one of those conversations in a long time; I can't imagine this place being closed!
What are your long-term plans for the JA?
DJ Sith: One of these days I'll finish the damn website, but I don't think that will ever happen. It's like trying to calculate the square root of a million. It can't be done.
massadoobie: To stay open as long as possible to serve the students, no matter if JK2 is the game or JK:JA is the game.
What will be the next big JA thing?
DJ Sith: I'm looking forward to JK3's release and I hope the Academy will jump all over it. I'm glad that Lucasarts decided to name a WHOLE GAME after us.
massadoobie: The next big JA thing will be the adoption of JK:JA at the end of the year. It'll be interesting to see how we adapt, how long we support JK2, and when we'll become a fully JK:JA academy. Before then, we should be in cruise control unless Raven drops an unexpected patch on us.
Editor: Of course the next big thing is the Holocron, but that was so obvious the two guys didn’t mention it...
How did you made up your names?
DJ Sith: DJ Sith was my 3rd or so online name. I made it up back in my JK1 gaming days, playing in the Black Sun Empire, and running the clan the Great Shaolins. If any of you reading this know what either of those two organizations are let me know so I can chat about the good old days with you. It's funny. Everyone thinks DJ stands for "Disc Jockey" or "Dark Jedi" or some clan name or whatnot. I just kind of made it up on the spot when a guy I knew in the BSE said "You need a cool nickname" to me.
massadoobie: The massa part of my name is from a quote from the movie The Crow, when one of the characters (TinTin) tells the pawn shop owner (Gideon), "Oh I'll close you up real good, MASSA!" The doobie part comes from my last name, DuBois (pronounced Doo-bwa)
Do YOU have superiors?
DJ Sith: If you ever met me in real life you'd think I was the dumbest guy. My girlfriend Debbie is my brain and keeps me on the straight and narrow. Some day I'm going to marry that gal.
massadoobie: Well DJ keeps me in check pretty well, but other than that, nope! It's a good thing I'm a benevolent ruler...or else everyone would've quit a long time ago.
Was there a point system from the very beginning of the JA?
DJ Sith: Heck no! We started out much like we are now, with students, teachers, staff, and JAC's. At the time we had a big issue with students enrolling for class but never showing up. We added the point system in October or November or so to try and force the students to only sign up for classes they want to take and to actually attend them. This tied in with our ranking system we had at the time. It was a good idea in theory, but we had grown so much more than we planned to and the whole system became rather unwieldy. So we chucked the points system (and the rank system) out to file 13.
massadoobie: No, the points system was put into place in January, and removed in March.
Final question, DJ: why did your server die?
DJ Sith: When I started up with the Jedi Academy I was living the life of the overpaid telecomm employee. I was laid off back in June, but I still kept my employee discount for my Internet service. Since I had access to the DSLAM and all the routers on the way to the backbone I pumped as much as I could through my little DSL line (I think it was 3m down/512k up). I used all this fancy bandwidth to host a JK2 server for the Academy. They never charged me normal rates for my DSL service nor reset my speed back to what it should have been. Eventually the company went under (good riddance, ya jerks) and I had to find a new DSL provider. Fast upload speeds costs mondo bucks, and since I couldn't keep the bandwidth up I decided to close down my server. It's for the best. I wouldn't hear the end of it about lag and whatnot if I tried to host a game server on my current line.
And doobie, your final question: did you ever get Aeth that thingy you promised?
massadoobie: I still haven't figured out what to give him. Anyone have any ideas?
Editor: doobie offered a prize if someone found a particular “secret.” Aeth was the winner, finding it in the very first news post.
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