Video & Audio Considerations

If you’ve had enough privilege to be connected through technology on any level over the past year or longer, you might understand the problems on a subconscious level or even cognitive level surrounding the complexity of tech and how it can both assist in connecting to others and get in the way of it.

If we zoom out for a moment, we can see that there are detailed and high-level questions surrounding our use of tech, and how it plays into a users first experience with new hardware and new software. How do we bridge the gap for new users? What about the older generation who aren’t as used to tech? What about those in poverty who haven’t had the luxury of time to learn how to use online platforms and install hardware?

There is a natural learning curve when we adapt to new tech, obstacles we face when we attempt to connect online, and we want our experiences inside our online Relms to be as seamless as possible. With this in mind, we have been putting considerable time into discussions and prototypes for the UX Design specifically around Video and Audio capabilities and interface. Our main overarching question is:

In order to get closer to our goal of making the digital worlds of Relm more human and connective, how do we best help people who are having trouble with their camera and microphone?

There are several troubleshooting steps that need to be covered:

1. The participant may not have sufficient network bandwidth for video
2. The participant’s device may not be equipped with a camera or a mic
3. The participant’s device may not be configured correctly for camera/audio
4. The browser permissions may be too restrictive
5. The app’s servers may be having trouble

And in a 3D world:
6. The participant may not have sufficient CPU/GPU to render a 3D world

In addition, there are psychological aspects to overcome:

1. The participant may not realize they are a character in a “game world” that can move around
2. The participant may not realize the world is “live” with other people in it
3. The participant may not want to be seen/heard
4. The participant may need education to understand how to click permissions dialogs

We have open ended questions and it is our hope that over the next few months, we can answer as many as we can, through implementation, iteration and feedback.

Please feel free to support our work by joining the discussions on our Discord Channel or by visiting a Relm.


Philosophy Club: Yes or No to Heroes?

On Jan 10th, we had a Philosophy Club meet up between some of our members about the pros and cons of holding up people as heroes or icons in our communities. Philosophy is a personal and practical matter for us, something that changes and challenges how we think and do things. We wanted to capture some of what we discussed in our Jan 10th meeting in regards to heroes and invite you to our next meeting taking place on:

Sunday, Jan 31, 2021 @ 12:00pm MST 
Meeting link:

Synopsis of our JAN 10th Discussion:
Heroes – what is a hero? Can anyone be a hero? Does the concept of a hero overlook the role of the community or individual supporters who often play an integral role in the person’s path to heroic status? Does society benefit or suffer from holding heroes on a pedestal? Are archetypes fundamentally different from heroes?

One of our philosophers, Hawley, astutely categorized three kinds of heroes in our discussion:

  1. Influential people (Role Models / personal sphere)
  2. Living symbol (embodiment of an abstract idea or value) 
  3. Legends fables / gods (Archetypes)

We learn from each other’s mistakes and successes. We thrive off of the inspiration we get from characters in stories because we relate to their emotions and live vicariously through them, thereby trying on virtues and solidifying beliefs. Generally speaking, when we know better, we do better.

Heroes might be especially helpful for children, who need concrete reference points as they form their own identities

Having shared heroes builds group identity and cohesion, which can offer people a much-needed feeling of community and shared emotion/values.

Because heroes represent a personified cluster of virtues, it makes it easier to remember the virtues because they are collected in a being, and it also makes it easier to absorb the examples.

While we do need external reference points to learn from because that’s how we change and grow as human beings, we found it was also important to acknowledge that a community makes a hero. A community can rally around its heroes even while heroes are despised by outsiders of the community.  Great things are most often done by groups of people, and recognizing only the most visible of them as “the hero” erases the contributions of everyone else, including their roles in shaping and supporting the hero.

Heroes are people and imperfect, but we avoid seeing their human complexity so they can fill their role.

When we put heroes on a pedestal, their mistakes can tarnish or misdirect from what they were supposed to represent.

Next Meeting Date:   Sun, Jan 31, 2021 @ 12:00pm MST
Meeting Room Link:

Our topic for this meeting will be to discuss our heroes and role models – who do you look up to and why? Can we find some common Heroes? Do we have shared archetypes? 

Suggested Future Topics: 

  • How should we handle differences in “fact”, or differences in “doctrine”, in the Relm community?
  • What intolerances will we embrace so that we can be tolerant of difference?
  • How will we become better listeners as an online community?
  • What crypto is most ethical?

Do you have a suggested topic? Reply and let us know. 🙂 


Relm is Growing

Happy New Year everyone! We’ve started making a fairly big change to Relm’s direction over the past month–from a business app to a community app. Relm’s new mission is to allow us, as friends, to commune together online in a space that facilitates self-reflection, personal growth, and strong relationships. The people are the center, the technology is there for the assist.

What does this change mean? In some ways, nothing has changed–we’re still avatars running around with video bubbles over our heads at (for example). But in other ways, everything has changed–we’ve given ourselves permission to care deeply about the human condition, about meaning & purpose in life, and how technology helps or hinders us in the pursuit of happiness inside the “world of electric light“. A business typically doesn’t care about these things directly, which is why it felt so incongruent to be focused on these things while selling it as a service.

We’re moving Standup to 9:00 AM MST each weekday (from 7:30 AM) and y’all are welcome to join. We typically hold it in Discord right now (“Standup” voice channel), but sometimes in Relm v4.0.

Also, check out the #events channel (in Discord for now) for upcoming events.