TVN or The Vampire Network site has released some interesting articles that has drawn a lot of interesting responses and criticism in the past. So we decided to go find them and ask them a lot of questions to see what it was all about and help cut thru the secrecy. They were easy to work with and quite pleasant and easy to as well. From what we have found out is the site will have its official launching early in 2017 so stay tuned for that.We find it to be an interesting approach that could well turn out to be something wonderful. Especially with the holes that will need filled in the new year. Time will tell but until then. Enjoy the interview!The main site can be found here and also the Facebook page.
Q: Who is the person or people behind The Vampire Network?
A: TVN is a consortium of vampires who have witnessed a lack of useful/accurate information (vampire biology and beneficial lifestyle practices) within the greater vampire community and decided to pool resources in order to create something constructive and new. Currently, our internal core is composed of members from Europe, the UK, and North America. Our research team consists of medical professionals and researchers who work to present raw scientific data as often as possible. Our IT team consists of graphic designers, website developers, and other administrative professionals. We are privately funded, as our research requires the use of professional medical facilities and testing equipment.
The matter of online transparency has been a challenge due to the potential pitfalls of using the legal names of our core group in the vampire community, coupled with constraints of having pseudonyms on Facebook. But we are very present and accessible on our website. Some of us are mentors who are available within our support forums.
Q: What was/were your inspiration for putting it up?
A: We’ve been inspired by organizations who have tried similar projects but gave up or are giving up due to lack of time and financial resources. Many helped to shape our initial concept and identify areas where we could make a difference. Some of these entities are winding down in 2017, which will leave an even greater demand for support.
We’re also inspired by the thousands of vampires who have voiced that they can’t find the help and resources they need and are suffering physically, mentally, or socially, because of their vampirism, as well as from community leaders who would like to provide support but struggle due to lack of time, digital space, organization, expertise and resources.
Finally, we felt strongly that there was a need for a large, neutral, moderated discussion platform outside of the social media sphere, where visitors could discuss challenges and solutions surrounding vampirism without existing group politics.
Q:How did it come about?
A: For many years, we’ve been planning and testing prototypes, gathering information within the vampire community world-wide (surveys, medical testing, and research) and talking to existing organizations about their needs and visions for the future. This year we added to that the planning, designing and testing of the website and online discussion forum, which is set to launch in January of 2017.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish with TVN? What is your mission-vision?
A: We hope to become a major resource, information center and sanctuary for vampires and allies looking for factual and practical information. We intend to produce resources and materials which will help improve the lives of vampires by arming the community with currently available factual information regarding vampire biology (including the psychic aspect of vampirism), psychology, sociology and metaphysics.
On our website, we will provide an engaging place to work through our discussion groups; however, our intent and hope is that the resources we provide be shared and distributed throughout the greater vampire community so that together we can affect real positive change for vampires everywhere. In addition to facilitating online dissemination of information and resources and online support, we also offer offline support for vampires.
It is also important to note that our vision is not set in stone and will continue to evolve with the changing needs of the community.
Q: We have noticed that there are 3 tiers to your site. What is the reason for such tiers?
A: During the planning period we discovered that there was a decline occurring in many vampire circles, due to a lack of clear, universally agreed-upon, definitions regarding different types of vampirism.
We found that blood drinkers and psychic vampires, for example, would often clash on basic beliefs, leading to stagnant, hostile, and in some cases a destructive partition that prevented organization, action, and progress.
To combat the friction we saw, we decided to create individual ‘safe spaces’ that provided specialized information for those who need it. Initially that led us to construct a tier system with barriers.
But as research continued, we found that blood drinkers who also identified as psychic vampires and vice versa were also having difficulty finding communities structured to fit their dual interests and needs.
The questionnaire that was distributed during the testing phase, to determine the needs of our visitors, revealed a deeply gray area that overlaps between blood and energy vampirism – and an authentic curiosity from both sides. This desire for more information, community, and understanding was significant. In short, we found more common ground between blood drinkers and psychic vampires than we expected, and then decided to expand our scope, adjust the tiers, and remove the blocks between them.
Therefore, the tiers have been created to provide both specialized information and focus – without barriers and exclusion.
Q: What does each involve? Since you do not have the questions up anymore how does one get to different tiers?
A: Our tiers are vampire, blood drinkers, and mentor. Each tier is open/public.The vampire tier exists for all vampires. It provides public information and resources that apply to all self-identified vampires, as well as vampire enthusiasts. It represents the ‘general vampirism’ level of the website.
The blood drinker tier includes public information and resources specific to blood drinking: Health, safety, ongoing research, medical implications, managing and treating symptoms, etc.
The mentor tier focuses on providing resources to mentors or leaders of the community: Leadership and counseling resources, common challenges, news, information, and (if desired) active mentor and teaching opportunities in the online discussion center.
As we continue to evolve the website, we also hope to open a public tier specifically for elements of psychic or energy vampirism. As one of the least scientifically documented areas of vampirism, we opted to include this in a Phase II, which gives us time to gather the resources we need to ensure we will provide a quality resource.
Q: When links to the TVN site first started to be circulated in the online VC groups, it was noticeable that TVN only focused on blood drinkers in its definition of vampirism. But browsing through it recently, non-blood drinkers were included and in fact is one of the tiers. What is the reason for that change? Does it have to do with the criticism it received prior?
A: Initially, we underestimated the interest TVN would draw from non blood-drinkers, and the gray area that exists between blood and energy vampirism. We realized that focusing solely on blood vampirism excluded thousands who also need support and resources, created unnecessary rifts, and worked against our objectives.
The criticism and feedback did make a difference. Because one of our major objectives is inclusive support, and because we took to heart the air of exclusiveness and secrecy our initial model was projecting, we opted to change it.
Q:We also noticed there was a test prior to being able to access some parts of the site. What is the reason behind that?
A: During the testing period of the website, we created the “sorting hat” online quiz to determine the needs of our visitors and how we could best evolve TVN to serve them. Depending on the results, they were redirected to a space where they were able to view specific parts of the website, tailored to their responses. Some of these included access to articles, while others were directed to a customized message. For instance, if your response suggested that you were endangering yourself or others, you were stopped from proceeding further into the website. If you answered that you were presenting physical symptoms, you were encouraged to visit your doctor to manage them and directed to articles offering advice on how to approach the medical community.
Q: Would the answers to the questions be used in a research later on?
A: No. We used the information collected solely to direct users and collectively determine how we could evolve the website to best serve our visitors. If visitors want to participate in research studies, those opportunities will exist separately.
Q: That same test could no longer be found on the site. What was the reason for taking it down?
A: The testing period is over. We were able to determine the needs and interests of our visitors, and adjust our presentation to move forward. As a result, we removed most of the barriers within the website, including opening the tiers to each other. We encourage feedback and questions on an ongoing basis, and will offer opportunities for future surveys, but the initial information-gathering phase is complete.
Q: Can a user access multiple tiers or will he only be limited to a single tier to access? What is the rationale behind that?
A: All three tiers will be accessible to everyone. We ultimately decided barriers did more harm than good.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish or do with this site and why did you go the route of creating it instead of say helping other existing places?
A: Our core group felt strongly that it required a new and neutral presence, independent of any existing group or organization. Although we network with other groups, the core members of our organization are not affiliated with any active group within the online vampire community.
Q: What was the vision, goal or “mission statement” of TVN upon its creation and how has it changed now?
A: The mission and goal remain the same; to provide quality support and resources to the vampire community. What has changed is our scope, degree of inclusiveness, and the realization that by evolving we can provide more resources to more people.
Q: Do you think the secrecy/mystery factor was the right choice for this? Why or why not?
A: The initial partitioning and resultant “hidden” content was a feature of the testing phase of our website, during which we assessed our visitors, their interests and needs and we regret that it was taken as secrecy. However, the criticism we received was valuable feedback in that it revealed to us that partitioning worked against our main priorities, philosophies, and goals.
Q: What is it you hate about the vc/ovc that some of the articles on your site have alluded to and why do you think yours will be any different from the rest?
A: We debate the pros and cons of the OVC constantly. Some of us believe it’s essential, others feel it’s devolved to a point where it does little good for the people it was created to help. As a living and evolving ‘entity’ we generally feel that it is and will be what its leaders make it. We hope to make it a little safer, more constructive, and enjoyable for everyone involved.
Again, the critical response to the OVC article from some of its members was something we considered carefully, and in the end opted to edit the article to remove the negative tone. While we believe individuals need to be educated about the potential dangers, it is not our intent to condemn or alienate anyone or take an ad hominem approach to any specific group or individual.
Q: Since your site refers to a network, is there any faction or people you are working with currently in the community and how have they helped shape or decide or change tvn?
A: Our policy allows all groups and individuals to work with us anonymously, so we won’t name names, but we’re fortunate to be working behind the scenes with many well-known individuals and active groups within the greater community who share our vision. With permission, some of these connections will be disclosed on the website itself in the future. They have been a huge factor in our planning, especially within these final months leading up to our launch in January. Networking is the heart and soul of our organization and purpose; to work together with the community to create quality resources that can be shared worldwide.
Q:Anything you would like to add or say or promote on upcoming ventures with tvn?
A: Thank you for the opportunity to introduce and clarify our organization and its goals. We welcome all groups and individuals to explore our website in January 2017. Groups or individuals who want to contribute to TVN are encouraged to connect. We can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or inquiries.