Q&A with Aynia, Co-Founder and Seasonal Queen of Caer Sidi
Pland Adanna: Where did you get your start in NS and how did you get to where you are today?
Aynia: I actually *found* NS back in 2008, I just had no idea about the greater gameplay aspect or offsite communities. I mainly just stuck around a couple of weeks and then abandoned it until I randomly remembered it again in 2014. I founded Antovign, a nation I still keep today, and my first home here on NS was Albion. It was a wonderful place to be and I honestly couldn't think of a better place I'd have wanted to start. I took a break for a while through 2015 and when I came back I joined Arda en Estel, took over as an admin and ran that for a while alongside making my name in Equinox. Unfortunately, I've seen a lot of good regions go silent, and Lynxi and I decided to found our own region and just do things the way we felt best based on our cumulative experience. Hence, Caer Sidi was born. I did a whole bunch of other things between then and now but those were the main regions I consider my past and present homes and the regions that have had the greatest influence on me. Events wise, I've always enjoyed hosting things. I used to host really elaborate tea parties back in the day, just on a whim, and I think those small region centric events really set the stage for me to make things more inclusive of other regions, or just regions at large, or in the case of UCR Con, events tailored to a specific audience.
Pland Adanna: When you first decided to co-found Caer Sidi, did you have any preconceptions about what it would grow to be and if so how did they compare to reality?
Aynia: Whelp, I can say right from the start that my aspirations and hopes for Caer Sidi have been far outweighed by reality. I really didn't know how it was going to turn out, but I think my target back then was I wanted us to get to 50, today we're sitting above 200 nations. Our lore and roleplay is much more vast and intricate than I originally thought it would be, and we're comfortably over 300 people in our discord, with a pretty good variety of regulars. All in all, it has far exceeded anything I thought it'd be.
Pland Adanna: Can you give a brief summary of Caer Sidi, such as the main focuses of the community and how the government works?
Aynia: Caer Sidi is a Celtic/Fae/High Medieval fantasy theme, and role play has always been a big focus for us. Our government is a constitutional monarchy, with myself as Seasonal Queen. Captain Carrot is my Regent and is basically in charge of keeping things from burning down when I have to be away as well as being my right hand man. Other positions wise we have a few, to see over culture, FA, and journalism. Our legislative branch, the Oireachtas, is made up of all citizens having an equal vote, though really isn't used that often (but it's never been a large regional focus). We also have the Interior Council, which is our administrative team as well as people I trust to be confidantes. They give input and valuable experience that has helped me through numerous predicaments and obstacles.
Pland Adanna: Europeia and Caer Sidi have enjoyed a strong alliance since the ratification of the Treaty of Cairdeas in 2020. Can you talk a little about how that relationship grew over time?
Aynia: I would say it grew slowly over time. We have had some crossover in citizenships and people in our discords, so the two communities really got to know each other, I would say especially in the year leading up to the treaty. It really seemed a natural step forward to formalize a treaty with one another because the culture and friendship between our regions was already there. Since then, we've had a great relationship, I like to think, and we consider Euro to be a very close friend.
Pland Adanna: Where do you envision–or want–this alliance going in the future?
Aynia: I most definitely want to organize more cultural activities and events together, because my time working with Euro has been awesome so far. I think because my personal focus tends to be more community and culture driven, it makes me want to see more of that between Euro and CS. Both regions have a lot to bring to the table, and since our communities can mesh so well, it just makes sense to focus on what comes natural.
Pland Adanna: You’ve organized many big events throughout your NS career, with potentially the most notable being UCR Con. What was your favorite event to put together, and which was your favorite to attend as a participant?
Aynia: I want to say UCR Con 2, or Caerchella were my absolute favourite things to do. I think if anything Caerchella might win out, because it brought so much cool art, poetry, writing and music. When it comes to participation, I want to say this last NSGE. I would say the first but I was part of that one and I don't count it. I think that the NSGE is a good idea and Aga has executed it really well. They're always really fun to go to.
Pland Adanna: You have a massive amount of community-building experience in NS. Do you have any words of wisdom for those looking to create communities of their own?
Aynia: Hold onto your butts, it's a long one! Just kidding, I mainly preach these two things when it comes to region and community building:
1. The buck does stop with you when it comes to conflict and bad behaviour. Your number one job as a community leader is keeping your community a safe and non toxic place. Doing fun things comes second.
2. Once you open it up, it isn't just your baby anymore. It becomes a community effort if you allow community participation. Let people explore ideas, be open minded, and let the community begin to really stand on its own two feet. To me, there's nothing more satisfying as a founder than a region that doesn't *need* you to do anything at all. You plan it, you make it, you allow others to contribute and shape it. The reward is being able to look at the community and be proud, but also to be part of the community itself without the stress of having to micromanage.
I think that both these things are things new founders either don't think of or aren't ready for. Taking responsibility is hard, and letting go of the apron strings is hard, but it all comes with the territory and we need to be prepared.
Pland Adanna: If you were able to change one thing about NationStates, what would it be? What are you working on now in NS?
Aynia: Hmmm... If I could change one thing it'd probably be to up the average age so I don't feel so old, lol. As for what I'm working on now, you should be seeing an official announcement for it soon, but I can give a hint, it's another iteration of something, it isn't UCR Con, and it's going to be summer themed. Our embassy regions will all get a special invitation, but if other people want to pop in they can as well, so keep an eye out for a new embassy thread post and announcements from our emissaries!
Pland Adanna: To end the interview: Do you have any particular NS hopes or ambitions for the future?
Aynia: I've always said that if I ever got commended I could retire happy, but... I can't say I'm anywhere close to retiring. I think my main aspiration is to keep bringing people together through events and making fun memories.
Thanks so much for the opportunity!