Prestige: A How To Guide

*Please Note, the following is a long read, but it covers just about everything in regards to the Prestige system*

The Minds Eye Society (MES) relies on members who volunteer their time to provide all of the organization’s services and events. Because members are not paid for their time and effort, The MES has developed several ways to recognize those who volunteer. The most common form of recognition is with the prestige point system. Coordinators award prestige points for service to the organization. Prestige points are a reflection of effort, time, and energy volunteered to the MES. Prestige points are not awarded for actions or events that result in experience point awards, monetary gain, or other forms of compensation.

Members who have earned prestige points can qualify for a higher member class, resulting in awards, recognition in the organization’s publications, and more flexibility in character creation. Members who advance in member classes also take on more responsibility for supporting the organization and helping other members. While a higher member class does show distinction and grant some privileges, it does not give members authority over one another. All members are treated equally regardless of the member class they have earned. It is easy to become caught up in the race to gain another member class by earning as many prestige points as possible; however, the true value of the time and effort you volunteer is found in such intrinsic rewards as new relationships, completed projects, and leadership experience.
-The Membership Handbook

Please note the following information was taken from The MES wiki, the original page can be found here

One of the most daunting tasks to a new member is the notion of prestige, membership class (MC) and what all that entails. Even more confusing is the task of putting together a proper prestige log. Fear not! It’s actually not too bad, and fairly straightforward. This page is dedicated to help you get to a complete log faster in a user-friendly fashion.

The Basics

Step one: Getting the log template itself.
A blank prestige log template can be found here (Or here if the National link doesn’t work)

If you do not have Excel on your computer, you can download Open Office for free and use it instead. The Prestige template is designed to work equally well with either program. Again, it’s free!

Step two: Get acquainted with the file.
When you open the file it should look something like this:

Prestige 1

Lets start with the basic info up at the top.

Prestige 2

This is pretty straightforward, but you might not know your Chapter and the Domain code. False Reflections is CA-045-C and In Aeternum Ludus is CA-065-C. The Domain code is CA-058-D, and our domain is in the South West Region of the MES. *Please Note: If you are an independent member of the domain, you should leave the Chapter Code field either blank or put N/A.

Next we take a look at the tabs on the bottom of the workbook.

Prestige 3

You can scroll through all the tabs to see what the prestige systems of the past and present were like, the second tab is a chart that tells you how much of what level prestige you need to qualify for a new MC increase. The most important tabs you will be using are the Prestige log itself, and the June 2013 -Present tab. We will touch more on this tab further below.

Back on the Prestige tab, you will see the Prestige tracker on the upper right hand side.

Prestige 4

This tool allows you to see how much prestige you have left until you have the sufficient amount to qualify for a specific MC.

Last is the log itself.

Prestigelog 5

The only real sections you have to worry about at first are the date, description, category, and notes sections. which brings us to…

…Step three: Filling out the log

Each line in the log represents one item.

  • The date should use a mm/dd/yyyy format and will automatically change to MonthName-YY in the log. Don’t worry about making the exact day appear. The exact date will remain visible in the formula bar. Use the date you earned it (completed the task) not the date you reported it.
  • The descriptor should be succinct. The best thing to do is simply pilfer the wording from the June 2013 – Present  tab and edit it a bit.
  • For the category simply select from the drop down menu. If you don’t remember what something falls under, you can check it on the June 2013 – Present tab.
  • Last is the notes section. Notes can make the difference between an entry making an audit or not. When you write them, keep the idea in mind that you are telling a coordinator that is a complete stranger what you did to earn the entry. They are also reminders to help you remember the specifics surrounding your entry down the line. Links should also be inserted here for things like Standards (previously Ordeals), Regional and National Prestige awards, and anything listed as something other than “supervising coordinator” on the  tab. Allow them to automatically hyperlink- your coordinator will appreciate it. It is also highly recommended that you include the title of the Coordinator report where this prestige can be found (if it was not reported, it does not count and this shows reviewing coordinators where to find where it was reported).

Here is an example of a typical early log

Prestige 5

You may notice a few things…

  • 1) There is an empty line between months. This is great because it helps break up the months when your coordinator is auditing. Coordinators love to see this. And this is how you should present your log for an audit be that an MC 2-5 (Chapter), MC 6-8  (Domain), MC 9-11 (reviewed by Domain then submitted to Regional), or an MC 12-14 (reviewed by Domain, sent to Regional who reviews and sends to National) audit.
  • 2) Like awards are grouped together, then chronologically listed in a given month. Again this helps you pick up if you are going over your monthly caps, and makes auditing faster.
  • 3) The Standards have a link to the Standard search. Again this is for ease of auditing. The link for copy paste is here: http://legacy.mindseyesociety.org/usnc/ordeals/search_basic.php
    Do I still have to report that prestige? Absolutely! Yes, the prestige on the national archive is technically awarded by simply being on the archive. However, what if the server accidentally goes down and we lose all that information? If you have reported it in your prestige reports, we can still recover that information from the chapter and domain reports. Yes, technically those reports are stored on a server too, but many of your fellow members and officers keep a copy of those reports. That way, if the servers go down, there are still copies that can be share. More on reporting below.
  • 4) This log has 55 general prestige documented awarded in July 2013 under “Social/Non-Game Support” which exceeds the monthly cap of 50/month. The award is listed nonetheless and the Usable Prestige is zeroed out and highlighted instead. This is good to have on your log for two reasons. First, if one of your other entries is nixed in an audit you now have a backup documented. Second, it shows your coordinator quickly that you are aware of the cap and that they don’t have to do much to address the line- which again, speeds up your audit. You can even go further; right click on the cell and insert a comment explaining that the award is over the monthly cap. Most coordinators will use inserted comments like this to explain why an entry is invalid.
  • 5) The member is eligible for MC 2 at a glance by looking at the Prestige tracker.
  • 6)I’ve seemingly ignored the National Review line. You don’t need to worry about national reviews until you are eligible for MC 12. National reviews are locked in on the National Coordinator’s website so that you don’t have to juggle multiple logs

Reporting your prestige

Now that you’ve got the basics of how to fill out your log, you’re going to want to send in a prestige report every month to your supervising coordinator (chapter or domain coordinator usually) to have it approved. There is no official format to put it in, but here is a suggestion that will help you become your coordinator’s new best friend.

You do not need to send your actual log every month to your direct coordinator. In fact, sending just your log as an attachment on an email is a sure way to make extra work for your coordinator. The following format is based on what your coordinator sends in every month in their own report. Doing math for an entire domain/chapter can be a big job, and having it done ahead of time for them helps volumes.

  • Name:
  • E-mail:
  • Membership #:
  • Expiration:
  • Member Class:
  • Present Office(s):
  • Date gained:
  • Standards:
  • (ongoing tally)
  • Past Cumulative: 0
  • General: 0 + 0 = 0
  • Regional: 0 + 0 = 0
  • National: 0 + 0 = 0
  • New Cumulative Total: 0
  • (Justification by Category:)
  • Administration (80 max/month):
    • Item, Item subcategory
  • Non-Administrative Game Support (50 max/month):
  • Social/Non-Game Support (50 max/month):
  • National and Regional Convention Events (100 max/event):
  • Mind’s Eye Standards (previously called Ordeals) and Timely Renewal
  • Totals (0G/0R/0N) 0 Prestige

This can seem a bit complicated, but its really straightforward once you use it. You can ignore the categories you didn’t earn any prestige in. As an example of this in practice, let’s pretend Johnny is submitting for August 2013 building off the log in the previous examples above.

  • Name: Johnny Cammy
  • E-mail: johnnyisnotreal@gmail.com
  • Membership #: US2013011234
  • Expiration: January 2014
  • Member Class: 2
  • Present Office(s): ADC Unconquered Sun (CA-058-D): Herding Cats
  • Date gained: August 2013
  • Standards: Membership
  • Past Cumulative: 175
  • General: 175 + 100 = 275
  • Regional: 0 + 25 = 25
  • National: 0 + 0 = 0
  • New Cumulative Total: 300

Categorical breakdown of backdated award(s):

  • Social/Non-Game Support total 25R (June 2013)
    June 2013 Whole blood donation, Blood Centers of the Pacific 6/15/13, Regional Blood drive 25R http://www.sw-st.org/2013_06#overlay-context=rcreports

Categorical breakdown of monthly award(s):

  • Administration (80 max/month) 20G
    August 2013, ADC herding cats, Assistant to Domain Level Principle Officer 20G
  • Non-Administrative Game Support (Max of 50/month) 30G
    August 2013 Portraying an NPC: 8/3,8/10,8/17 . 15G
    August 2013 Donated Needed Materials for game: 5 packs of Pull Cards.15G
  • Social/Non-Game Support (Max of 50/month): 50 G
    August 2013 Donated needed materials to the club: 2 six pack of soda, plate of 2 dozen cookies. (6/7) 15G
    August 2013 Donated 150 Aluminum cans to Domain Recycle Drive 30G
    August 2013 Donated 5 large bags clothes to Domain Clothing Drive 30G

    Totals:100G/25R/0N: 125In this example there are a few things to note. Do you see that the last category is limited by its monthly cap? Johnny has been donating a lot, but everything needs to have limits to prevent abuse of the system. You’ll also notice that the month the action was performed is listed in front of each entry. This is helpful for several reasons. In the case of being an officer, your prestige is awarded by the officer above you. For VSTs, DSTs, ADCs, CCs, etc, this would be the DC… For DCs, this would be the RC. Which means, you don’t get the prestige until the report comes out…. So you can’t claim it until the following month. In the example above, the awarded prestige that Johnny is backdating has been awarded in the Regional Report and is for his blood donation in the month of June 2013, the report didn’t come out on time, thus Johnny didn’t include it in his report until the report was published. Please note, Regional and National awards should be reported in your monthly prestige report to your direct coordinator (even if they can’t award the prestige) once the Regional or National report containing the prestige award is published, this is so the running prestige totals that your direct coordinator maintains can accurately reflect your log.  The award is also listed under Categorical breakdown of backdated award(s) thus Johnny’s direct coordinator knows that Johnny didn’t donate blood in August, but occurred back in June . Dating items is also helpful in cases when you have worked at a convention and the prestige isn’t posted until later.

  • Prestige needs to be listed in the month it was earned, not the month it was successfully reported. For example- if you participate in your domain’s July 2013 Charity, and you forget to report it on time, you can still report it in your August report. However, the prestige still is attributed to the month of July and does not affect the caps in any month other than July 2013.

You can find the categories in more detail in the membership handbook that the June 2013 – Present tab does not cover. If you have not received a membership handbook in the mail, one is available online here: Membership Handbook

Now that you know what you are supposed to be sending in…. the next question is when do I send it? Chapter reports are due on the 5th of each month. So, I recommend sending your prestige report to your direct coordinator at the end of each month. Domain reports are due on the 15th of each month. Independent members of the domain should send their prestige reports to dc@unsun.org no latter than the 10th of the month, latter submissions may not make it into the monthly Domain Report. Consult with your Chapter Coordinator or the current Domain Coordinator for when their exact deadlines are for your report. Remember, the coordinator needs some time to review each member’s report and prepare the chapter/domain’s report, so sticking to their deadline is important. The report should be sent to your direct coordinator in the body of an email by their deadline.

  • Remember- you must have your prestige approved by your coordinator before you claim it. If an item is not awarded for whatever reason, don’t forget to go back and remove the line, or zero out the value in your log. Items in my log that have not been awarded I highlight in Red, in this way I know that I am due prestige for that month but for whatever reason the report was not published, or the award did not make it into a report, and I should not claim that award.

That’s it for the basics…

Intermediate Prestige logs: Audits

Remember- you must submit your log for review by your supervising coordinator in order to receive a new Membership Class. Usually this is your chapter coordinator, Independent members of the domain should submit their log to the DC (dc@unsun.org) for review. A review must go through the coordinator chain from the ground up, so if you are going for MC 9- it’s a no no to skip your Chapter and Domain coordinators and send it directly to the RC.

  • MC 1-5 Chapter Coordinator (or DC if you are an independent member of the domain)
  • MC 6-8 Domain Coordinator
  • MC 9-11 Regional Coordinator (most RC’s have an ARC dedicated to prestige reviews)
  • MC 12-14 National Coordinator (most NC’s have an ANC dedicated to prestige reviews)

Prestige Audit Checklist

Congratulations you’re well on your way to gaining a higher Membership Class (MC) There’s a few things that you should get acquainted with before you submit your log for review, regardless of the level of the review be that an MC 2 or an MC 14 review.

  • 1) Is the Prestige Log in the correct format?
    • Is it in chronological order of when the prestige was earned? This will make it a hundred times easier for you in the long run. So, do a sort by date prior to submitting your log for review to make sure everything is where it should be.
    • Is it in the current excel/open office format (again, you can find it here). The National office can not accept older formats of the excel sheet, custom excel sheets, or the form on the CRD at this time. (Regional and Domain coordinators tend to stick to this guideline as well)
  • 2) Is there enough detail for someone who knows nothing about what you are doing to come to the same conclusion? While his direct coordinator may know that Johnny donated a garbage bag full of clothes to Goodwill each month as a part of an MES Clothing Drive, regional and national staff probably don’t. So “Donated Items to Goodwill – Part of Clothing Drive – 1 Garbage bag of clothes – 30G” is a perfect descriptor. If you put “Donated to Goodwill – 30 prestige” the auditing coordinator doesn’t know whether you donated one sock or a truckload of things. They will have to delete the award until they can get more information from the member, because clearly the single sock isn’t worth the same as the truckload.
  • 3) Check Individual Awards –
    • Make Sure they are valid based on the prestige system used at the time. HINT: One the national template, use the tabs for the various older prestige systems, if your log has older entries covered by a former prestige system, so you don’t have to look them up time and again.
    • Make Sure the Category is Correct. This will prevent things from being viewed as “over cap” when they truly are just in the wrong category. Only the first and second prestige systems (Up through the end of 1997) didn’t have categories, everything after that does have categories and category maximums.
    • Is there correct documentation for each award? All Regional and National Prestige must be accompanied by either a link to the award or a report title (As a note, a simple link to the prestige search site is not okay. you need to actually click on each link to get the “actual” link site to the award). Since Regional and National Prestige must be awarded by a Regional or National Coordinator, providing the ST Report, doesn’t do anyone much good. If you can’t find regional prestige verifications, especially for items pre-2000, contact your ARC Prestige or the appropriate coordinator.
    • Standards (Ordeals) need “proof” too… Most of these you should be able to find either by doing a prestige search on the MES website or by the “Verify Ordeal” Choice under the Legacy Tools: Ordeals Section on MES member portal (again the link to copy/paste is http://legacy.mindseyesociety.org/usnc/ordeals/search_basic.php).
    • List Mod Prestige must come from Regional/National/Global – So all list moderator prestige items need a report title or a link.
    • Make sure it follows the guidelines in the Membership Handbook. The Old FAQ’s might be helpful but some of this information no longer applies.
    • Make sure that prestige awards for catergories such as: Transporting 2+ members to a sanctioned event, Recruiting a new member, Providing lodging for members for an event, etc. (Basicly anything that you did or provided for another member) lists that member(s) name(s) and their MES membership number. (National has been looking at these awards harder, recently)
  • 4) Check the Awards by Month –
    • Look at the month as a whole, make sure that each Prestige Category is within the cap. It is wonderful that Johnny donates to every charity known to man each month, but each drive has a max of 30 per month and the Social/Non-Game Support category caps at 50 per month.
    • Make sure there aren’t duplications of awards (or that someone who doesn’t know anything might see it as duplication of awards). If “Attended Domain Meeting” is listed twice without any more information, It will probably be assumed the member forgot they put it on there once and accidentally re-entered it. But if it is listed as “Attended Domain Meeting x2 – 6/14 and 6/28” Then the auditing coordinator will know the domain had 2 domain meetings and that the member didn’t “double enter” the prestige.
  • 5) For Coordinators making changes – it can be assumed when you get a log from a member that you will probably have to make changes. It is extremely beneficial for the member (and yourself or your predecessor) for you to make detailed comments on your changes. Reference the report, the MH, the prestige guidelines, or an FAQ. This will help keep everyone on the same page. It is suggested to use the “Add Comment” box you can make by right clicking on the cell and then typing why you made the change. It also helps if you highlight the cells in a color so that people can easily find where the changes were made.

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Common Prestige Questions (Content taken from the MES Prestige FAQ found here)

What officers are required to attend meetings, and thus doesn’t get prestige for them?

It depends on the type of meeting:

  • Chapter Meeting: CC, CST, ACCs (plus VSTs for independent chapters only)
  • Domain Meeting: DC, DST, CCs, ADCs, plus VSTs under the current Handbook only (prior to that, a VST was just an ADST with a different title)
  • Regional Meeting: RC, RST, DCs, ARCs
  • National Meeting: NC, NST, ANC’s, ANST’s, RC, RST, ARC’s, ARST’s
  • CST Meeting (when they existed): CST, ACSTs
  • VST Meeting: VST, AVSTs
  • DST Meeting: DST, VSTs (CSTs when they existed), ADSTs
  • RST Meeting: RST, DSTs, ARSTs
  • NST Meeting: NST, ANST’s, RST, ARST’s

Note that this list applies to organizational meetings all the way back to the beginning of the prestige system.

How far away does a game need to be for me to get prestige for driving people?

The prestige guidelines say that driving people to game “must involve at least two hours of driving round trip.” This means that it’s worth prestige if the trip would normally take two hours to get there and back, and you have at least two extra attendees in the car.

Generally speaking, local games do not count for this prestige award. Even if you got caught in traffic, or delayed by construction, and it took an hour for you and a couple friends to get to game. This award is to encourage carpooling to non-local events, and coordinators should keep this in mind when awarding prestige.

The award can be valid, however, even if the passengers were not in the car for two hours. Coordinators should not award prestige to an out-of-town player who picks up a pair of local people a few minutes away from the game site, but a local member who drives to pick up distant members can be rewarded if it’s appropriate. Use your best judgement, and if it may be a borderline case, please note the details in your report just in case people have questions come review time.

Can I earn prestige while my membership is suspended?

Given that most prestige is awarded for participating in MES activities, being suspended from all MES activities makes it rather difficult to earn prestige. There are two exceptions, however: early renewal and recruitment. These are the only two prestige awards given for something outside of club activities. Of course, if you are only suspended from certain MES activities, you can still earn prestige as normal for whatever actions you are not suspended from doing. For example, if you are suspended from being on IRC and lists, you could not earn prestige as an IRC moderator or listmod, but you could still clean up after game or publish a newsletter to earn prestige.

How often can I earn the Early Renewal prestige award?

Early Renewal has a cap of 50 prestige per calendar year. That means that if you earn this award in January, you are not eligible for the award again until January 1 of the next year.

Remember that this is a limitation of the current and most immediate previous prestige system, and that previous systems used different guidelines. As a result, early renewal awards earned prior to Apr 1, 2003 do not count towards this cap.
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Further questions can be answered by the FAQ, or by your direct coordinator.

Please send feedback, comments, suggestions for improvement to admin@unsun.org