Enquirer Home Page | Twitter | Back to Improbable Island

Introduction to The Academy

The Academy is home to the Wise (Wanderers in Search of Explanations). The building itself is reminiscent of a medieval abbey. Of course it couldn't be that old. Nothing on the island is. But if it was anywhere else you'd be sure it was authentic. Tourists would flock to it. Sorry, got a bit carried away. Where was I? Oh yes .. Stained glass windows interrupt the supporting buttresses along the walls, filling the interior rooms with rainbows of light.

Inside the 'olde' feel continues. The vaulted roof is lost in shadows crossed by huge dark timber beams. Occasional gargoyles peer down from the recesses. At one end a series of bookcases hold a range of scholarly texts, on wide and diverse subjects. And quite a lot of dust. Honestly .. you just can't keep a place this big dust free. But .. err .. back to the subject at hand. A wooden staircase spirals up the wall into the tower, leading to a broad balcony commanding wide views over the island. In the hall a series of desks and chairs are mingled with plump leather sofas and armchairs, arranged around a large open fireplace.

Clan hall facilities include residential quarters, a kitchen, a cellar, storage, workshops and an 'onsen' style bath-house. The clan has been fortunate to secure the services of an expert cook.1)

The Academy was founded to promote critical thinking and reasoning. Discussions sometimes approach actual philosophy. Then again, one of our members likes to wear an Admiral's hat while playing with toy boats in the bath. Go figure. Anyway, what I was going to say was .. while The Academy is scholastically themed, and encourages pursuits related to understanding the events, people and history of Improbable Island, the clan welcomes members with any inclination to benevolent creativity. Oh, and fun, bring some fun.

A crest over the door carries the motto: "Aquila non captat muscas"

The Academy: Clan Manual (V1.1)

Values. The Academy was established to promote thoughtful understanding of and participation in our collective experience of Improbable Island. While the clan is scholastically themed, it is not limited to purely academic or intellectual endeavours. The pursuit and recognition of creativity, while having fun, is our primary aim.

Activities. While the clan is relatively small, the extent of Clan based activities is ipso facto limited. Members are nonetheless encouraged to think of activities that they might undertake by themselves or in conjunction with such other members as are available. The scope and number of these will expand as membership grows. Typically these might be things like collaborative role play, research aspects of Island history, treasure hunts, entertainment events, parties, theatre productions, performance art, games, scientific experiments2)etc, either within the confines of the clan hall or at large on the Island. Members of other clans might also be invited to participate, as appropriate.

Expectations. The Academy has expectations of its members. Foremost of these is that members will protect and where possible extend the good reputation of the clan. Members are also expected to be supportive of fellow clan members, and helpful to new arrivals to the Island. Finally, members are asked to assist the extension of clan buffs by contributing a fraction of the Cigarettes that are accumulated by normal participation in daily Island activities. No particular number of cigarettes is specified, as it is recognised that they are also essential to players in various numbers and stages of character development. A rough guide would be around 10%.

Benefits. Ask not what your clan can do for you; ask what you can do for your clan. Well, it's a nice sentiment, but not perhaps entirely realistic. What members should be able to expect is that membership of the clan will give them:

  • 1. a degree of recognition as being members of a clan that is made up of valuable and respected participants in the Improbable Island community;
  • 2. a reliable source of advice and support in our mutual endeavours;
  • 3. a source of increasingly valuable clan buffs, and
  • 4. opportunities to participate in clan activities.

Inactive members. Members that are inactive for more than 21 days may be removed from the clan, either to make room for new arrivals, or simply as part of administrative housekeeping. Once removed for inactivity, former members are welcome to apply again, but if there is a queue they will be placed at the end of that queue, as if a first time applicant. If you know in advance that you will be absent for longer but temporary period, please advise and your place will be held for a longer period.3)

Eligibility. The Academy has no active criteria for inclusion or exclusion of applicants, beyond those of participating on the Improbable Island web site. Clearly applicants should make themselves aware of the clan's theme and activities to decide if they feel that they can contribute, and also if the clan will suit their role-play aspirations within the Improbable Island context. Applicants may be "interviewed" and/or subject to observation for a period after applying to allow the decision maker to form an opinion about their suitability before accepting an application. There is no fee or initiation process as part of the application.

Recruiting. While The Academy accepts anyone that is prepared to live with The Academy's stated aims and philosophies, existing members should exercise judgement as to whether or not a prospective applicant will 'fit in' before encouraging others to apply.

Conduct. Members are expected to operate not just within the 'letter of the law', but to support the spirit of these guidelines. Effectively this means having fun without spoiling other people's fun. As our revered Admin, CaveManJoe so eloquently put it, "Don't be a dick".

There are two areas of conduct that have been perennial matters of concern. The first is in 'violent' or confrontational behaviour, the second is public displays of affection beyond common standards. In the matter of violent or confrontational behaviour, the Rookie Advisory 4) has some guidance. Clan members are expected to adhere to that guidance. In the case of getting all hot and sweaty in public, simple standards of decorum apply. While all participants on Improbable Island are required to be at least 18 years of age, that doesn't mean that everyone enjoys graphic descriptions of your sex life. Romance and intimacy are a part of life on Improbable Island, but in general if you wouldn't do it in front of your partner's parents, then don't do it in public spaces here.

The Clan founder has been tossing around the question of 'at what point do I as a clan leader take action in cases of undesirable behaviour by members?'

So far the best he can up with is:5)

  • 1. If I am advised that Mod/s have had to apply sanctions against a clan member, the person is out of the clan until or unless they can 'show cause' why that should not be the case.
  • 2. If I am made aware that Mod/s have had to intervene, but not apply sanctions, then I will 'keep an eye' on the person, and try to find ways and opportunities to coach them away from the problem behaviours.
  • 3. If I am aware that a person is acting in a manner that I feel is reflecting poorly on the clan, but not to the extent that would attract sanctions or intervention then that is an internal matter and I'll sort it out with them.
  • 4. If I'm aware of behaviour that I think would normally attract sanctions or intervention by Mod/s were they to become aware of it, I will direct the person to cease and desist, and if the person does not comply, alert the Mod/s for action as they see fit. (and apply the above as well.)


See the floor plan V2.0 here

The building extension project is now complete. Members may make use of their accomodation in the east wing, and the storeroom and workshops in the west wing. Your room has been fitted out with all the normal hardware, but furniture and decorations are up to you. The accomadation is comprised of a bedroom, ensuite bathroom and loungeroom. The workshops have been left bare, except for benches, water trough, and overhead beams capable of holding a block and tackle for heavy lifting. Tools, equipment and raw materials will need to be sourced by users.

A walled kithchen garden has been established outside the .. kitchen.6) It has a range of fruit trees and vegetable beds. A domesticated (Moo!) Interrupting Cow is penned there to provide dairy goods. A private garden for members has been established in the in the area enclosed by the residential block. The 2 remaining quadrants have been landscaped as small parks, open to the public.

The Academy Library.

The Improbable Island wiki contains lots of excellent reading. Members are encouraged to browse the index when they have some spare time. The titles below are merely a selection that the Clan management recommends as being notable or of particular value.

Works by Members.

Recommended Reading

Other useful docs

The "syntax" link at the top of the wiki editing page is broked. Try this one. Formatting wiki entries

The Improbable Island Glossary



Establishing the kitchen in one of the unused offices was a surprisingly arduous project. When completed it comprised a working small commercial kitchen, with a centre bench topped with granite.9) The Academy was pleased to recruit Cookie's10) protege, Tiff, as the clan's resident chef. A record of Tiff's arrival can be found in the chat log.

The Academy's Secrets

The Academy has discovered, via concerted research activies, that .. wait a minute .. lower the cone of silence! (click .. whir .. zzzzz .. thunk.) Kjarfri orijgr m alrigmarmkg porgj. Kmflfre lkmff iamforimf! Opoaef jaerfl argflr. Plus tax.

Discussion Logs

In the interest of keeping this manual down to reasonable size, a seperate log page has been created for memorable moments in the the Clan chat space. View it here

Projects in progress


The tower has an elevated platform, ideal for stargazing, and it was proposed that a telescope would be a fun toy useful addition and complement the activities of the Academy. Recognising that you don't just wander down to eBoy's and pick one up, it was decided to construct one. Lenses and focus mechanism were sourced from a malfunctioning TV camera after it was defeated in the jungle. More parts were secured from a huge magnifying glass, an S-trumpet, and a couple of observatories also encountered in the bush.

Status: No recent action, awaiting an urge to tinker. Parts in storeroom.

PM11) Hairless.

Dining Table

OK .. bit of an oversight. We put in a great kitchen, recruited a chef .. and have no table to eat at.12) Daedalus has expressed a preference for a large oak refectory style table, but is open to other suggestions that will fit in with the hall's .. ambience.13)14)

Status: No action so far.

PM: None

New Member Orientation chapter in this manual

New members are arriving in clan halls with no background info if there is no one there to greet them on their arrival. A chapter on the accomodations, details of facilities (layout, use etc), interaction with Tiff, u.s.w., would be useful in their early days.

Status: No action so far.

PM: None

Perpetual Symposium

As per idea floated by Daedalus.(See MotD excerpt below*). Needs discussion to refine concept.

Status: Main structure completed. Decoration under way.

PM: Daedalus.

*From the MotD:

I'm kicking off a project. While it will be clan themed, participation is strictly voluntary. I know you all have things that you want to do, and those should take priority.

For our newer members, I'll re-state the idea. Those of you that heard it before will just have to bear with me.

Not so long ago, we had a number of quite philosophical conversations here. Transcripts of some of them are available in the clan's chat log. While they were going on it occurred to me that there are lots people out there that would have enjoyed taking part in those conversations, and enhanced them by doing so. It would also be a kind of promotion of the aims of the clan .. to further understanding of the people and events on the island, and encourage thoughtful debate and sharing of our ideas and experiences.

Eventually I came to wonder if it would be valuable to construct and adapt a dwelling to that purpose. A venue open to the wider public to meet and discuss ideas. A symposium that doesn't have a fixed topic or period.

The Perpetual Symposium.

At the same time it should have a social aspect. For an interesting description of the original symposia, I offer the following remnant I retrieved from an old pre-EMP source that you may remember as Wikipedia:

Symposium originally referred to a drinking party (the Greek verb sympotein means "to drink together") but has since come to refer to any academic conference, or a style of university class characterized by an openly discursive format, rather than a lecture (or) question and answer format. The sympotic elegies of Theognis of Megara and two Socratic dialogues, Plato's Symposium and Xenophon's Symposium all describe symposia in the original sense.

Symposium as a social activity in antiquity:

The Greek symposium was a key Hellenic social institution. It was a forum for men to debate, plot, boast, or simply to party with others. They were also frequently held to celebrate the introduction of young men into aristocratic society. Symposia were also held by aristocrats to celebrate other special occasions, such as victories in athletic and poetic contests.

Clearly we'll do away with the gender exclusivity, and perhaps some other ancient greek cultural proclivities as well. But I like the idea of it not just being a place of serious cerebral discourse.

So, after a good deal of procrastination, I've selected the site and staked a claim. It is not my intention to do this in a hurry, and in fact it might be better to not do so, as I'd like us to think about how best to use it, what it should look like, and so on. I'd like to hear from you all with any thoughts on this.

The location is one step due west of Improbable Central. (That's left for those of you that are cartographically challenged.) Map reference is X12Y11.

Right now it's just a building site. Feel free, but in no way obligated, to contribute to its development.

And I have thoughts about stage 2, but we'll talk about that later.

Thanks for your attention.


1) What? .. oh alright .. not a cook .. a Chef
2) not on each other, please.
3) within reason
4) which the clan founder played a significant role in drafting, and therefore takes a wee bit seriously
5) Note that these are guidelines. A 'case by case' treatment may over-rule these
6) Well duh!
7) See any similarity to the Koans project? I wonder .. could they be ..?
8) A guide to roleplay. This is a collaborative work, originally kicked off by Reverb, with contributions by many of the Island's best RPers.
9) which can be confused for marble in certain lighting conditions
10) The gremlin chef at the Common Ground bar
11) Project Manager
12) Huh? What's a preposition?
13) ooh ambience .. la de dah!
14) i.e. No mission brown, burnt orange, fake woodgrain or lime green laminex. I still have nightmares of the 70's!
Logged in as: Guest (Guest)
the_academy.txt · Last modified: 2017/05/28 03:35 (external edit)