Interview with Joesocwork, Advocate for Troubled Yutes
When did you join Simtropolis?
Almost two years ago, about 3 months after I bought SC4D. According to ThatMonkeySim in one of the Off-Topic posts, I came along between the Boomer & ‘Nam generations, just like in Real Life!
What convinced you to join the site?
SimTropolis has a lot of strong advocates and ambassadors over at SimCity.Com. ST really filled a void that was created when Maxis began to put its attention elsewhere.
I first used the site to ask questions about game play. However through SimTropolis I discovered all of these specialty niches such as BAT'ing, modding, terraforming, SimMars, and the City Journals. I used the STEX to enhance my cities and I felt comfortable that I wasn’t downloading items that were plagiarized. As I acquired downloads I felt a need to give back and started to study some of the tutorials and offering advice in the Forums. I ultimately found myself really enjoying the Community and hooked on Off-Topic and the other Community Forums before being noticed and being asked to serve on the ST staff.
Besides the all-important and highly addicting job of being an admin at the greatest gaming fan site of all eternity, what do you do for a job?
I’m a clinical social worker in the metropolitan Washington, DC area. I supervise other social workers who help out young people and families.
So the “SocWork” in your username doesn’t mean that you work in a sock factory?
ROFL!!! I get a kick out that question… no pun intended!
The name basically means Joe the Social Worker, Joe Social Work, or Joe Social Worker!
SocWork and Swk are common Internet abbreviation extensions for my profession in various e-mail and newsgroup lists. People in D.C tend to identify themselves by their profession.
Where did you get the term yute?
From the movie “My Cousin Vinny.”
Is your job as a social worker the theme behind your CML Advocate for Troubled Yutes?
The label basically is whatever the creators (the rest of the Dirkstatorship) decided to make of it. No one ever chooses their label; that’s part of the fun! I suspect that it probably does help define my role as a staff member however.
How did you get the nickname Uncle Joe?
I think that’s informally kind of my second CML! SimTropolis has almost always felt like a family from the get go.
Could you explain the thought behind your Trixie award winning quote "Lurk before you leap"?
Initially I got the idea from the homesite, where the word lurk seemed to be used a lot in a positive way, in contrast to how it’s usually used negatively on the Internet. When I was a newcomer here I noticed that there are many various layers and specialties within SimTropolis that can take some guiding through. I’m not very technically oriented so I realized and appreciated that there were some forums that I was more qualified to comment on than others. The slogan was a way of reminding others and myself that quality counts as much as quantity and that there’s more than one way be an active participant.
What was it like to experience the 2005 Trixies as an admin?
I had a real blast! It absolutely LOTS of fun to see things behind Dirk’s curtain. Much of my time as a staff member is usually spent enabling things to run relatively smoothly within the Community. However in reviewing the nominations, The Trixies gave me a better appreciation of the artistry that goes into the BAT’s, mod’s, maps, city journals, all of our assorted projects, and even posting in general. We have a very talented membership.
What did you enjoy the most about the Trixies?
Announcing the results! Despite some of the anticipated favorites there was a lot of balance in the nominations. Along with the expected well-deserved votes of most well known artists like SimGoober, Tropod, and Jeronij, we also received many specialty and silly ad hoc nominations that we were allowed to use in the final process. For example “The best rural CJ” started as ad hoc but now seems like a natural regular award and the “most likely to be sprinkled on oatmeal” gave us a good laugh. All of these additions gave the awards a greater sense of balance and inclusivity for our regular membership. There remained a lot suspense even for us as the count went along. And when they finally came out it truly felt Christmas had come to SimTropolis.
If you had to choose between playing SC4 or hanging out on ST, which would you pick?
Not even close. I spend LOTS more time with SimTropolis than playing SimCity or other computer games. SC4 might be in pastime that’s in our heads, but ST is a community that’s in our hearts. Since becoming a staff member I now play SimCity from time to time so that I can stay current with SimTropolis.
What other games do you like to play when you're not being a mayor to your sims?
I like strategy games like the Civilization franchise , Rome: Total War, and Rise of Nations, and simulation games Railroad Tycoon. They kept me hooked b/c I could hardly wait to see what happens at the next turn. I do wish they were more open-ended like SC once you’ve completed their objectives though. I’ve also done a couple of first person shooters, Splinter Cell & Call of Duty; they felt like riding on a rollercoaster! I also do a couple of solitaire Mah Jonng type games for 1-5 minutes at a time to relax and change gears when I’m multi-tasking at work.
I’ve also recently started playing The Sims II for the first time. I hated the first one. It felt like playing in a doll’s house & I didn’t like telling characters to go to the bathroom. But the sequel has quickly grown on me. In a weird way the aspirations and skill levels remind me of RPG’s, (except you’re pretty much stuck in the same dungeon, er house.) The social interactions, some of the them quite (seemingly) spontaneous, and life cycle make the characters more poignant, appealing, and easier to care about.
Do you have any particular pastimes?
Other than ST, basically computer games and outings with my kiddoes. I consider myself to be a workaholic at my job; RL keeps me quite busy and I try to keep up without burning out. I enjoy the couple of hours a night living in other (cyber) worlds when the rest of the family is asleep and I don’t have to concentrate on being a social worker.
You recently were interviewed on the ST Cast. Is this your first time being interviewed on mass media?
Over the years I’ve been on the radio a few times to discuss various social service projects that I was representing. I’ve also been on tv a couple of times to help a couple of children to get adopted. I’ve also filled in for my evangelist with some 20 minute lessons for cable. I’m kind of proud of having to have made the most of those opportunities b/c I grew with a pretty bad stutter when I was a yute and I still have mild hearing problems related to a condition similar to dyslexia.
You used to have stuff in your signature about autism. Is that something that you have a special feel for?
My son has autism. Unlike my dyslexia or other things that the children I work with go through, his condition totally baffles me. I continue to be at a loss at what’s the best way to help him past this; I try to be the best parent I can be. Sometimes my profession and background helps, but I’m always seeking answers. Prayer and faith helps a lot though. Despite the stereotypes about autism, my son is a quite loving boy.
Do you still have plans to build a school for the disabled?
Yes, specifically for youth who have learning disabilities but who are pretty high functioning and are motivated to succeed. I’ve had that goal since working on my degrees in social work and have developed a network of resources to help to engage in it slowly w/out losing my current job. They say that stating your goals out in the open helps to encourage one to make them come true. It’s been somewhat slow going due to other RL concerns, but I’m finding that to be the case. And for that matter: I’ve got goals to do start a couple of BAT projects. (not that I’m confusing the two mind you).
If ten million bucks fell in your lap while on you were on your way to work, what you would do with it?
I’ll have to ask my wife! J/k. Lessee, a house, a new house for my wife’s parents, kiddoe’s education taken care of, support a couple of preachers, my school, and invest the rest. At most, the splurging would be on a souped up gaming computer, some steak dinners, and indulge in a part time acting career. Something tells me that even 10 mill, if not thought out through well enough, could go by pretty quickly!
Any final words you'd like to say to the community?
Basically what I’ve said in the other interview: SimTropolis really is more than a fansite, it is a cybercommunity in the truest best sense of the word. I’ve seen nothing like it on any of the fansites for any other computer games. And we’ve got the best membership on the Internet!
This article was made with the help of the Simtropolis Help Squad!