A long time ago, OUCH started out as the 'school of hard knocks'. it encouraged the students to get out there and practice what they learnt from written guides on our forums. These guides were based on my experiences over the years, and the experiences of others, and they taught the basics of nullsec survival and PVP. We had ship programs that provided T1 frigates to the members, so they didn't have to worry about losing their own ships; but still, the fights they got in to were their own, and from them they learnt how to survive.
It was tough being a student back then in the early days. We didn't have any trainers apart from me. And being in Australia, my availability to the rest of the US/EU members was limited. I did what I could, staying up late and getting up early, so I could be there for them and take them through the guides, teaching them how to create bookmarks and why, and taking them on lowsec and nullsec roams to teach how to avoid gate and bubble camps.
I taught about travel, scouting and intel, and I did my best to make sure that what I taught was passed on, so that the students could become the teachers and they could teach the members I was unable to teach myself. Those who were skilled at PVP were given the responsibility of teaching others their PVP skills, because I know my specialty isn't PVP. :)
It worked well. Eventually we built up a training department, and then an operations department, and we created training modules and graduation programs. The rules within the Corp slowly evolved to accommodate an increasing professionalism, and the expectations we had from ourselves and our students started to change accordingly.
It's reached a point where I have a solid group of senior staff who are professional and committed to the goals that we started with. The rules have been working well, and allowing us to move forward. We've been very successful in establishing ourselves as a known and respected PVP Corp in our operational areas of nullsec.
My involvement has become peripheral to the daily activities of OUCH and the alliance that was built up around it. My senior staff are doing a fantastic job, and I can just sit back and relax.
Except that's not me... I can't just sit back and do nothing, which is why I'm creating a new venture with my alt Alexia Morgan and her Corp, The Punishers.
Even though my alt is going anti-pirate, I decided to maintain a relationship between them, so I declared that OUCH no longer condones piracy, and Black Claw is no longer a pirate. He's now trying to rat his security status back to normal. Well, he would be if people would just stop trying to kill him wherever they see him....
As result of forbidding acts of piracy within OUCH, I've had to recently kick out a few of my members who decided to ignore policy and bait highsec pilots into can-flipping so that they could then be attacked. "But we were mining and forced to respond!" they complained to me after getting the hard end of my boot. How often do miners fly with webs and scrams on their mining ships? Some people are really stupid.
But it showed there's a few changes needed in the Corp policies and regulations, so we're working on revising those at the moment. We're also going to make our regulations public, once we've completed them, so that interested pilots can see what will be expected of them once they make the choice to join us.
OUCH will no longer be the 'school of hard knocks'. We're going to be a professional training organization, with professional expectations of it's students. We're getting serious about what we expect from our students, and what they can expect from us.
To provide you with a teaser, we're not going to allow any students to enter nullsec and/or engage in PVP until they've completed a number of training modules. Too many of our students needlessly die because they just don't know what they're doing yet, so we're going to change that.
The old days are over. The new days are just beginning. The rules are changing, and exciting times are ahead of us as we grow and embrace our professionalism.