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Unibot last won the day on January 1 2014

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  1. Gorgeous, Winni. When you say 'both sides' who do you mean and what year are we talking, if I might ask?
  2. That's cool. It's not unusual or anything for flags to remain persistent. NPO, TRR, TEP, TNP and TSP have all maintained the same flag for years. It's really only Lazarus that's kept shifting between designs. I was just asking because I've only ever seen the current design as a flying or rippling flag... most original flags were a bit less flashy.
  3. Is there like a 'historic' TWP Flag? Just a general question. I was wondering if someone knew of one.
  4. Issue XXVIII. September 19, 2014. TRR Celebrates Kandarin Day Office of IA opens a Murder Mystery into the "suspicious" Departure of the Late Kandarin COMMENTARY | TRR STAFF The Rejected Realms celebrates Kandarin Day today on September 19, 2014. The regional holiday, established earlier this year in the “Regional Holidays Act”, honours The Rejected Realms’ longest serving delegate. Kandarin served as the delegate of The Rejected Realms between 2003 and 2010. To help celebrate the holiday, the World Factbook Entry reflects on Kandarin’s contributions to the region, Kandarin’s flag flies over the region and citizens have been encouraged to discuss their experiences of Kandarin on the Regional Message Board. Unibot, current Delegate of The Rejected Realms, called Kandarin’s delegacy, “an impressive reign of stability, philosophy and friendship” – one which “every successor has hoped to carry forward forevermore”. “I had the pleasure to speak with Kandarin on many occasions before and after his retirement,” says Unibot. “He was always courteous and he was always welcoming. Many considered him their confidant. He had a vision for The Rejected Realms – a region that people would enjoy being rejected to. Thank heavens that he succeeded in building that vision and establishing our region as a world power and a trusted friend abroad”. In coordination with the Executive, The Office of Internal Affairs under Kogvuron have organized a month-long cultural event, “Who killed Kandarin?” to, in perhaps a more light-hearted fashion, celebrate Kandarin’s career and personality. The Murder Mystery follows the reopened investigation into the suspicious departure of Kandarin – “interrogating” friends, enemies and frenemies of the Late Kandarin. CrazyGirl, one of the investigation’s primary suspects, left many in doubt whether she really did commit the crimes accused of her. “I don't think Crazy Girl killed Kandarin,” says Ryno, long-time resident, but noting, “more information is needed though. Finding the killer is very important”. Other citizens are less unsure. “My feelings being all evidence points to Crazygirl,” says Wopruthien, eyeing a potential promotion in the event of his High Commander’s surprise incarceration… The real assailant will be identified by the end of September using the (fair and balanced) Court of Public Opinion to consider a number of high-profile suspects. Kandarin Day, however, will continue through today with many streamers and an outrageously large barbecue. Happy Kandarin Day Everyone! The Lazarene-Osiran War: How the GCRs Stand COMMENTARY | TRR STAFF We’re a week into the Lazarene-Osiran War and already it has become a challenge to follow where each Game-Created Region stands on the Lazarene-Osiran War. Several regions have declared their support for Lazarus or Osiris, others too have claimed neutrality. The hard-working journalists and staff reporters here at The Rejected Times have delved into each Game-Created Regions’ statements to find their stance on the ongoing war effort, where they align and how they will respond to aggression towards either Lazarus or Osiris. The Rejected Realms: A Non-Aggression Pact in Jeopardy Background: OSI-TRR relations were reopened on June 09 2014 with the passage of a Non-Aggression Pact, while LAZ-TRR relations have been an established, timely fixture. The Rejected Realms announced its intention to defend Lazarus, its longest standing ally, in the event of an attack. Due note: The Rejected Realms is legally obligated to provide defense to Lazarus under their Alliance with Lazarus, The Pan-Sinker Accord, The XYZ Treaty and the Constitution of the Founderless Regions Alliance. Guy, TRR Minister of Foreign Affairs published a statement which found the war, “deeply regrettable” and hoped that a “peaceful resolution” would be struck without further hostilities. In that statement, The Rejected Realms also reaffirmed its commitment to its Non-Aggression Pact with Osiris – pledging not to engage in hostile action against Osiris. While Pharaoh Cormac Somerset had initially posted its respect for this stance, he later cancelled Osiris’s embassy with The Rejected Realms and announced his intentions to repeal Osiris’s Non-Aggression Pact with The Rejected Realms. Despite having previously agreed to respect The Rejected Realms’ decision to attend the 2014 Regional Sovereignty Conference, Osiris condemned The Rejected Realms’ attendance at the 2014 Regional Sovereignty Conference as “war-planning” behind closed doors – a claim which The Rejected Realms (and other attendees) dispute. As it stands, the Non-Aggression Pact is still in effect and a repeal has not been motioned in the legislature. Balder: A Loyal Ally – but how loyal? Background: OSI-BAL relations have been a strong fixture for years, currently represented by The Treaty of the Old Gods which established the Imperial Sovereign Realms Army (ISRA) between Osiris and Balder to protect their regions and advance the cause of Imperialism. LAZ-BAL relations largely collapsed with Balder’s withdrawal of Treaty of Copenhagen in response to the rise of the People’s Republic of Lazarus (PRL) which they have since accused of being anti-imperialist. The question left open with Balder is not whether Balder will support Osiris – Zander Cerebella’s announcement ensured there was no doubt remaining in any one’s mind in regards to whether or not Balder would stand behind its long-time ally, Osiris. However, when commentators asked whether Balder would support hostile action against Lazarus, the Statsminister skirted around providing a direct answer, noting instead that the public would have to wait for Balder to discuss the matter. The West Pacific: A Honeymoon Over Too Soon Background: OSI-TWP relations were closed by The Kemetic Republic’s Osiris (KRO) from 11 May 2013 onward in response to TWP’s support of Milograd’s regime in TSP. However, TWP’s support for the Exiled-KRO regime, the Empress Astarial (Detective Figs) regime and later, the Osiris Fraternal Order (OFO) went a long way towards relaxing relations. The West Pacific released a statement declaring it would not commit aggression against either Osiris or Lazarus and hoped for a cessation of hostilities. During that statement, The West Pacific also affirmed its commitment to the values of national sovereignty and regional sovereignty. Darkesia expressed her disappointment with Osiris’s decision to withdraw relations with The West Pacific over The West Pacific’s participation in the 2014 Regional Sovereignty Conference. It should also be noted, Darkesia also hinted that The West Pacific administration would be following this statement with a more extensive statement later. The East Pacific: A Tipping of the Scales Background: At the start of the war, TEP was the only region to boast treaties with both the OFO and the PRL. TEP relatively recently signed “The East Pacific - Osiris Treaty of Amity” and until recently maintained “The Treaty between The East Pacific and Lazarus” (as a reaffirmation of the old, pre-PRL 2009 treaty between TEP and Lazarus). The East Pacific began the war with a statement which argued that ideology was at the heart of the war – defenderism in Lazarus and imperialism in Osiris. Ramaeus continued by pledging to defend either region in the event it was attacked and otherwise to maintain “equilibrium” between the two sides. In the controversial statement he followed by praising The East Pacific’s “ideology of neutrality” –arguing that it was central to his region’s identity and distinctiveness. If that wasn't enough of an undisciplined juggling act… it got worse. Later that week, in response to Pharaoh Somerset’s unilateral closure of relations with The Pacific (among other game-created regions), Ramaeus posted a second statement calling Cormac’s actions, a “worrying trend” but in the same breath suggesting that “one must consider” that Lazarus should not have added the civil war as a topic of discussion in the 2014 Regional Sovereignty Conference. The delegate continued by saying it was “foolish” of Lazarus not to have reduced potential “blowback” to this decision by holding the 2014 Regional Sovereignty Conference at a “neutral host”. Yep, you read that right: “neutral host” – The East Pacific had already declined to attend their ally’s conference because it was not being hosted elsewhere in a neutral location (for which the main suggestion was… erm, you betcha: The East Pacific!). Shortly thereafter, in a surprise move, The East Pacific would announce its intentions to end its long-standing treaty with Lazarus – the only reason given thus far suggests The East Pacific believes this will help it maintain a “balance” during the war. Oddly enough however, The East Pacific has not closed its treaties with Osiris which begs the question of how this decision is one based on balance alone. The Pacific: A Sleeping Giant Awakes Background: As Douria once said: “[OFO’s] ties to The Pacific were never strong, and we never once considered them a friend”. However, NPO-LAZ relations have been a mainstay of the PRL, especially with the latest agreement outlined in “Treaty between The Pacific and Lazarus (2014)”. After the closure of embassies between The Pacific and Osiris in response to The Pacific’s participation in the 2014 Regional Sovereignty Conference, The Pacific posted a statement decrying the closure of embassies as “offensive” and argued that the move went against The Pacific’s own sovereignty (which is ironic given the purpose and eponymous topic of the conference). The Pacific also pledged to stand behind its long-standing ally, Lazarus with a few veiled threats along the way (e.g., “we will deal with the conflict as it develops”, “utilize all the resources at our disposal to permanently solve this issue”). However it’s not all doom and gloom: The Pacific did also offer to serve as mediators in any future negotiations between Lazarus and Osiris. The South Pacific: A Burning Bridge Background: OSI-TSP relations stalled with the unraveling of the KRO by the autumn of 2013. TSP, at that time, declined to recognize the new regime (in response to its lack of a constitution) and was greeted with a slew of insults directed at them by the Imperial Council’s Cormac Somerset, including that it was an “interregional irrelevance”, “worthless”, “a rotting shell” and “a largely inactive region that has no interest in properly defending itself or providing any meaningful assistance in [Osiris’s] defense”. TSP did eventually recognize the OFO. Lazarus, meanwhile, has maintained treaties with The South Pacific for several years now with only a brief interruption when the treaty was downgraded to a Non-Aggression Pact (with much “panda diplomacy”) amidst tensions that rose with the appointment of Chairman Milograd (i.e., Former Couper of TSP). After The South Pacific announced its intentions to attend the 2014 Regional Sovereignty Conference, Cormac Somerset cancelled relations between Osiris and The South Pacific. Cormac also initiated a widely criticized recall motion against Glen-Rhodes, Minister of Foreign Affairs in The South Pacific for his handling of The South Pacific’s relations with Osiris. The recall motion was rejected and Cormac was forced to his resign his citizenship following the public blowback he received for motioning the recall (given his conflict of interests in the matter). The South Pacific recently passed an “Assembly Resolution on the Osiris-Lazarus War”, stressing The South Pacific’s wish to remain neutral in the conflict and promoting their values of peace, goodwill and the security of Game-Created Regions. As for whether The South Pacific would provide support forces to defend Lazarus, under The South Pacific’s treaty text, Lazarus can request assistance – however, the text is clear that this does “not extend to defense against attacks provoked by hostile activity on part of the requesting party”. The North Pacific: A Silent Wildcard Background: TNP does not have treaties with either Osiris or Lazarus. However, TNP boasts healthy relations with both regions. The North Pacific is the only Game-Created Region to have refrained from commenting publicly on their stance regarding the Osiran-Lazarene War. Fortunately, The Rejected Times has The North Pacific’s McMasterdonia on speed-dial. McMasterdonia, The North Pacific’s Foreign Affairs Minister, spoke briefly on the war, noting that The North Pacific intended to maintain a neutral stance. “TNP hasn't made a statement because we don't believe it is necessary at this point,” says McMasterdonia, “we have positive relations with both regions and we're committed to remaining neutral in the war”. But would The North Pacific provide military support for the invaded side of the war? McMasterdonia was reluctant to say for certain. “Our position is not immune to changing circumstances and may be reviewed if the Government believes our position requires re-evaluating,” explains the Foreign Minister. “At present, we are committed to neutrality given our positive relationships with both sides”. A Facelift for NationStates? COMMENTARY | UNIBOT Out of the blue comes new speculation regarding a potential “facelift” for NationStates – at this time we can only speculate, however the redesign of the game would probably provide a new look for the site. In particular, commentators like Zocra have taken issue with NationStates’s banner and sidebar, which some have suggested has been “getting outdated”. After Zocra’s comments, Reploid Productions, Forum Admin, made a surprise hint that a new redesign was in the works for NationStates’s look. “No ETA on it just yet,” says Reploid, “but from what I've seen of it so far, it's looking very shiny!” Without a date provided, we cannot confirm when the new design will be available. However, this development has excited many with the latest design (i.e., “Century”)introduced just shy of four years ago on 28 November 2010. One might wonder whether we could be in for a surprise “anniversary” gift for November 12? Oh how the mind reels with possibilities… The NS Regional Influence Survey: A Comparison COMMENTARY | JOE BOBS As many of you will know, I recently conducted the Great Influence Survey, which looked at what regions and inter-regional organisations are considered most influential today and throughout history. The results were interesting, and you can read through them on the above link. In this article, I want to look at comparing the results to the 2012 Survey conducted by Falconias. Now, the comparison is not an exactly equal one. Falconias separated UCRs from GCRs (of course this makes more space in ones ballot for other regions) and he scored one vote per region per person, whereas I used a 1-10 scale; but let’s put those objections to one side so we can enjoy the comparison. Below are the results from Falconias’ survey and then mine, those with a score below 10 have been excluded for brevity’s sake. 2012 Results 1st Europeia -- 48 2nd 00000 A World Power -- 44 3rd Gatesville -- 43 4th 10000 Islands -- 41 5th The Black Hawks -- 39 6th (tie) Canada -- 36 7th (tie) Equinox -- 36 9th Equilism -- 35 10th (tie) Texas -- 34 10th (tie) The New Inquisition -- 34 12th Great Britain and Ireland -- 33 13th Wysteria -- 29 14th The Kodiak Republic -- 27 15th (tie) Lone Wolves United -- 25 15th (tie) Yggdrasil -- 25 17th DEN Army -- 23 18th Absolution -- 18 19th Unknown -- 17 20th (tie) Europe -- 15 20th (tie) Hampshire -- 15 22nd (tie) Liberalia -- 13 22nd (tie) NationStates -- 13 22nd (tie) New Folsom -- 13 25th (tie) Alteran Empire – 12 25th (tie) DEN Central Command -- 12 25th (tie) Kingdom of Ireland -- 12 25th (tie) Sapientia – 12 29th Eastern Roman Empire – 11 2014 Results 1 The North Pacific 112 (17) 2 The Rejected Realms 106 (14) 3 Osiris 95 (14) 4 Europeia 89 (12) 5 10000 Islands 75 (12) 6 The Land of Kings and Emperors 70 (9) 7 Lazarus 69 (11) 8 The East Pacific 67 (11) 9 The New Inquisition 54 (8) 10 Albion 51 (7) 11 The Black Riders 41 (9) 12 Balder 39 (8) 13 The South Pacific 37 (7) 14 Spiritus 32 (6) 15 The West Pacific 31 (5) 16 The Pacific 29 (5) 17 Equilism 15 (6) 18 Capitalist Paradise 14 (3) 19 Democratic Socialist Alliance 11 (2) 20 Global Right Alliance 10 (2) =21 The Internationale 10 (1) So what can we see? Europeia have maintained their position as the most influential UCR in the world, whilst sadly 00000 A World Power and Gatesville no longer chart. 10000 Islands have risen from fourth to second place. The Black Hawks no longer place, but The Black Riders have come from nowhere to sixth place. Equilism have risen from ninth to eighth whilst The New Inquisition have also risen from tenth to fourth, and their UIAF partners the Land of Kings and Emperors have climbed from forty-eighth into third place and Albion from unranked to fifth. Spiritus, Capitalist Paradise, the Democratic Socialist Alliance, the Global Right Alliance and The Internationale were also unranked on the 2012 survey. What broader conclusions can be drawn? The Black Hawks, DEN, Lone Wolves United and Unknown all ranked in the top of the 2012 survey, but only The Black Riders represent the Invader sphere in 2014. The rise of the Imperialist sphere is evident with the rankings of the UIAF members, whilst the number of Defender regions in the top is fairly constant. Interestingly, ideologically focused regions seem to be more in vogue in 2014 than they were in 2012, with the DSA, Internationale and Capitalist Paradise ranking highly, but regions themed on real world places are apparently no longer a la mode in terms of perceived influence (see Great Britain & Ireland, Kingdom of Ireland, Canada, Europe and Hampshire). For me, the most interesting feature comes from looking at those regions who have stayed at the top: Europeia, 10000 Islands, The New Inquisition and Equilism. Amazingly, if we look at The Mighty Pump’s 2005 survey, 10000 Islands and Equilism were in the top ten back then too. 1. Nasicournia 2. Gatesville 3. Equilism 4. 10000 Islands 5. The Proletariat Coalition 6. The New Meritocracy 7. Allied States of EuroIslanders 8. Whatever region the DEN resides in 9. Lazarus 10. The YoungWorld The staying power of 10000 Islands and Equilism is very impressive, and also for Europeia and The New Inquisition. We can only wonder what the Influence Survey of 2016, or indeed, 2023 will show! TEP Commends Xoriet for her Impressive EPSA Service Five Days and a Hundred Detags Later... COMMENTARY | UNIBOT The East Pacific’s Magisterium has passed a rare resolution to comment Xoriet for her service and contributions to The East Pacific – especially for her service as The East Pacific Sovereign Army (EPSA)’s current and widely admired General. Ramaeus, Delegate of The East Pacific had nothing but praise for General Xoriet when asked to comment on her contributions to her region. “Xoriet has been an absolutely phenomenal General,” says Ramaeus. “She's extremely dedicated and exceptionally hardworking. Her recent flurry of detags shows both qualities extraordinarily well, and they show exactly why she's being lauded, too. Plus, she's one of the nicest people I've met!” Severisen, Sergeant in the EPSA told The Rejected Times that her work had been instrumental in growing and advancing the army forward, despite its independentist structure. “Since I joined EPSA on July 27th, and even before that, when she became General in March, Xoriet has done an outstanding job as the General,” says Severisen, “She's kept EPSA active, aligned to its policy of being an independent military, that has, quite frankly, become one of, if not *the* most active GCR militaries in the game. Her ability to motivate and direct people from every corner of gameplay is inspiring. We have raiders, imperialists, defenders, and people who don't align to one school of thought”. But what’s the key to Xoriet’s success? “Her organizational skills and leadership are what really make the organization work,” says Severisen, “I’m proud to serve as a member of EPSA”. Very recently, the East Pacific Sovereign Army, under Xoriet’s direction, completed a high-profile mission to detag over a hundred regions in under five days. Xoriet saw the ambitious project through with hard work, dedication and interregional cooperation. EPSA has actively deployed during 76% of the days since she has been appointed General. An incredible feat even for such an venerable leader as Xoriet. The Divided Defenderdom EDITORIAL | UNIBOT In a previous article, “The Battlefield Effect”, I proposed that commentators had been wrong in the past to assume that “defenderism” is the guiding political ideology of defenderists. Many proponents of independentism and imperialism argue that, although their ideology can guide both “the martial” and “the political” aspects of their regional life, defenderism fails to provide a cohesive response to the questions that arise in regards to how we should run our region internally. While this is true, I argue that defenderism is not, in fact, the overarching political and moral philosophy of defenders. Defenderism, as a term has arisen out of political convenience, not intellectual accuracy and within this nebulous ideological association contains many ideas and conflicting notions. Commentators have also in the past argued that while invaders have united for a common cause, defenderdom is less politically organized and internally cooperative. This is a direct consequence, I would argue, of the lack of consensus over what defenderism entails – in fact, defenderism is just a blanket term for a group of unidentified political philosophies that govern major regions in NationStates. With issues that, in particular, stress the differences of these political philosophies, the faultlines of defenderdom become apparent – these political philosophies clash and misunderstandings produces mutual distrust between the (otherwise approachable) political factions. Turning a “divided defenderdom” into a “diplomatic defenderdom” requires an understanding of the underlying political constructs of defenderdom itself – despite crude, contrarian remarks, defenderdom is rich in political and philosophical diversity and understanding these nuances is the key to advancing its growth. We begin our survey of the different political philosophies of defenderdom with Liberalism – the ideology of mainstream defenderism, which can be observed in The Rejected Realms, The United Defenders League, The Founderless Regions Alliance and The Alliance Defense Network among many other regions and organizations. Liberalism (Capital “L”) should not be confused with the American school of “liberalism” – nay, Liberalism is a European school of thought with roots in John Locke, a political theorist who outlined the natural rights of humanity and the notion of consented rule. Liberals can be identified as being strongly individualist – seeing the fundamental “building blocks” of a region as individuals who are entitled to a set of basic rights, including the right to equality and right to free speech. Liberals also stress moral universalism (i.e., what is wrong for one person to do is wrong for everyone to do) and the potential of humanity to progress from the status quo through social cooperation. With international relations, Liberalism is idealistic – it advocates for institutional cooperation, interdependencies, cosmopolitanism, the tolerance of “reasonable” diversity and democratization to encourage peace. The principles of defenderism – the active respect and defense of native rights over their collective property – are derived in Liberalism from the contemporary philosophy of John Rawls (as I did in “Paradise Found”) who proposed that people agree to fairer, more just systems when they themselves are unaware if they will benefit from a less fair, less equal or unjust system. Liberal justice, in this view, is a compromise (even a consensus) reached between people, which forgoes them of some of their possible opportunities to avoid the worst of situations. For example, most of us on an individual basis would agree we would not want our region to be invaded or destroyed – now if you did know whether your region was a vulnerable founderless region or not, you would be less inclined to risk your region’s security and thus more likely to agree that people ought not to invade. This consensus serves as the basis for the notion of “native rights” and moreover, the liberal mission to protect native communities from unjust acts of aggression. The second political philosophy that can be found in defenderdom is Neo-Conservatism. I would argue 10000 Islands is the prime example of neo-conservatism in, not just defenderdom, but all of NationStates. Internally, 10000 Islands takes the form of the neo-conservative state by promoting tradition and service to the region as a guiding force of reason and morality for regional citizens. Its neo-conservative roots are certainly also not undermined by its long-standing appreciation of democracy, constitutionalism and a strong executive. Like Liberalism, neo-conservatism is idealistic in nature: stemming from Wilsonianism, neo-conservatism is an aggressive, “heroic” ideology in the arena of international relations which sees the “hero” state as fighting a battle against the “evil” of the world. Neo-conservatism has long been criticized for being more concerned with fighting enemies than it is with making diplomatic friends and allies – this sense of initiative can be regarded as unilateralism by some, or worse, imperialism. Neo-conservatism and Liberalism have collide before – see the controversial invasion of Marijuana militia, where 10000 Islands’ TITO invaded an invader region and the Founderless Regions Alliance deployed to defend against their follow defenders. While Liberalism promotes universalism – a right to non-subjugation which belongs to all equally, neo-conservatism sees the logic of defenderism to be a narrative between good and evil: the attack on Marijuana militia serves an “attack” in the “war on terror” (if you will) between the forces of good and those who would see to it that other’s homes be occupied, or worse, destroyed. Neither side was necessarily wrong about what it means to be a defender, because “defender” is just a label, an overarching term for different streams of idealism which often, but not always, complement one another, co-exist and otherwise, cooperate with one another. Similarly, 10000 Islands has been known to only defend regions that fit a certain meritocratic criteria – smaller regions that do not possess a delegate are rarely exempt from this policy, whereas most mainstream defender organizations that fit into the Liberal “consensus” will defend all regions, regardless of size, because they all possess a right to such security. Without a “rights” discourse, neo-conservatism commits to defending others only when it can be justified within a “virtues” discourse – the weakest victims of invaderdom can be excused , under neo-conservatism, as victims of their own “irresponsibility” and “neglect”, while Liberalism rejects the notion that victims ought to be held responsible for the wrongdoings of others transgressed against them. Neo-conservatism and Liberalism have also clashed over the admittance of “bi-gameplayers” in military ranks. While The United Defenders League (UDL), for a brief trial period, allowed members who wished to both invade and defend to join The United Defenders League, 10000 Islands denounced The United Defenders League as an invader army and requested the immediate resignation of Unibot as leader of The United Defenders League. This divergence of opinion is the result of the two defender parties seeing the fight in different terms – where defenders from the school of Liberalism would see the fight as a fight against injustice and the violation of native rights, defenders from the neo-conservative school see the fight as an eternal conflict against bullies and wrongdoers. When you’re fighting against, not an idea, but a swath of people, it becomes a challenge to distinguish between those who fit into this axis and those who are your friends – the neo-conservative faces the possibility that it might poison its own diplomacy in mistrust and the collective search for “defender purity”. Finally, I also did suggest there was a third political ideology in defenderdom – Marxist theory. Honestly, I am not sure whether it really plays a role anymore. Presumably, Marxist theory would articulate defenderist ideals as a class struggle between the masses and the higher classes of gameplay which mean to oppress them on a systematized scale. Liberalism seeks the right, neo-conservatism seeks the good, Marxist theory would seek liberation. The question remains whether Lazarus will adopt a different approach to defenderism or maintain Marxism as more of a “light roleplay” face. Could defenderdom be even more divided by the introduction of a new political ideology? Or, alternatively, could old conflicts be resolved with the dialogue shifting from a bi-lateral conversation to a multi-lateral one? Certainly a new political ideology would not come without consequences for interregional diplomacy and defender cooperation but it is not clear whether it would add an element of unification or conflict or both to defenderdom. Case in Point: The August Election in TRR OPINION | CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS While The Rejected Realms hotly considers electoral reform, Christian Democrats analyzes the results of the most recent Officer Elections... In one of the previous issues of the Times, I penned an article criticizing the First-Past-The-Post voting system currently used by The Rejected Realms for its elections for government officers -- recommending that this system be replaced with a preferential one. To see whether or not such a change in the region's electoral structure would work, Unibot, the WA delegate, polled citizens who had voted, asking them how they would have ranked the eight candidates (running for four positions) from first to last (participation: 86%). Under First-Past-The-Post voting, the (real) election concluded as follows: 1. Christian Democrats 2. Guy 3. Yohannes 4. Kogvuron 4. thechurchofsatan 6. Hallowell 6. Ryno 8. Sciongrad To break the fourth-place tie, it was necessary to hold a runoff election, which Kogvuron won. Under the simulated preferential election conducted as a test, the candidates finished in this order (according to two methods of tabulation): 1. Christian Democrats 2. Guy 3. Yohannes 4. Kogvuron 5. Ryno 6. Sciongrad 7. Hallowell 7. thechurchofsatan Analysis of citizens' votes using more sophisticated systems reveals two notable differences. First, Sciongrad, under preferential block voting or a Borda count, would have defeated two candidates to whom he lost in the real election. Second, thechurchofsatan, who nearly won a seat in the cabinet, was actually The Rejected Realms' least favorite candidate! The case of Sciongrad and Satan certainly raises an important question: how many times in the past have less popular candidates defeated more popular candidates because The Rejected Realms has been using First-Past-The-Post voting? Whatever may be said in theory, different voting systems do in fact yield different results in elections. Thus, The Rejected Realms (as well as other regions) should consider carefully what they want when they're writing their laws. Method does matter. Vindication for Lord Ravenclaw Osiris drops its "Persona Non Grata" charge against Lord Ravenclaw INTERVIEW | UNIBOT The Rejected Times speaks with Lord Ravenclaw (on the night of the Scottish Refenderdum) over the sounds of the BBC echoing in the distant, discussing his controversial "Persona Non Grata" status in Osiris, politics, war and even a new region... Unibot: Thanks for meeting with The Rejected Times, Raven! Of course, as a subject to the British Crown, you're watching the Referendum closely, I imagine. Thanks for talking some time to talk to us as well. How goes the evening? Lord Ravenclaw: It's rather quiet. I'm currently working on Alexandria and the joys of the constitution in the newly formed Ekklesia (citizens Assembly), thank you for asking. How has your evening been? Unibot: Great. Cards against Humanity in a Faux Scottish Accent - can't beat it. Nice to hear you've been working on Alexandria - how did this project come about and what's your vision for the region? Lord Ravenclaw: Well, Alexandria was for a very long time in Osiris the city which housed the Foreign Affairs department (Temple), and after being involved with that department for so long, I was very attached to the name, and to the symbolism of the City itself. Alexandria is said to have held a glorious library, and was a centre of knowledge and learning. Conversely "Ravenclaw", in the Harry Potter series where my name comes from is the House of Learning, and knowledge so the two appeared to go together. When I became Pharaoh and introduced House roleplay into Osiris, I claimed Alexandria as my own city/province within the region, and I just made it independent as a Kingdom when I retired from Osiris to allow the dynamic to continue and see what I can achieve with it. My vision for Alexandria is whether a group of friends and I can create something different, that comes from a Sinker with its history but can become both a house of knowledge (there is a library project in the works), and hopefully a centre for diplomatic training (Eagleshall School of Diplomacy is very much in the works) that can draw on both the experience of our members as well as try and bring a new experience for players. Unibot: It reminds me of Lemuria, in a way, and its relationship with The North Pacific. Sounds awesome! Of course, Alexandria is a serious departure for you from your former home in Osiris - for our readers who aren't in the know, I wonder if you could describe what happened to lead to that departure? How did you first find out? Lord Ravenclaw: About Osiris? Well as many may already be aware I retired from Government in the dying days of May, as my health was not brilliant. Over the two years I was part of Osiris, well over 18 months of that was spent in the Government, Foreign Affairs mainly and that along with the high stress atmosphere in the region gradually got to me. What got to me at the end was I lost my focus on the game itself and when I lost that focus and separation of player and human, I realised it was time to take a break. It wasn't a pleasant realisation and it cemented to me that I cannot handle diplomacy if I am thinking of the feelings of the person behind a character, it completely ruins the dynamic and diplomatic RP Raven has. To that extent I removed "the Imperial Crown" a nation that I had used when Delegate, and it had resided virtually non-stop in Osiris since April 2012, from the region for a month or so and watched as my influence dropped - it very nearly CTE'd at one point in my puppet region, and it went from one of the highest influence nations (having spent three months at #1) to a tiny minnow once again. More recently I returned to the region not long after Cormac was elected, but not to their forum or government, it was more on the outside of things to keep my mind clear and observe how things were going. Things were fine, I moved the Imperial Crown back into Osiris, and took up WA briefly to help the transition, it felt very symbolic to me and I was glad to be able to help one last time for a delegacy transition, it felt very end of an era for me in that regard. Past that I kept my senses alert regarding Osiran foreign policy, not being attached to the region politically gives me the ability as a neutral diplomat - which I stand by - to see other perspectives that I could not see whilst under my banner in Osiris. I suspect though that you're asking about more recently… Unibot: Yep! Lord Ravenclaw: Well as I said a moment ago, as a neutral diplomat I am able to see other perspectives, and that includes speaking to various delegates or governments that as a member of Osiran society could have been difficult depending on the stance of the Government. A few examples are The West Pacific, Lazarus and the South Pacific where I still enjoy excellent relationships with their delegates and governments free of political affilations and the issues I'd have still being attached to Osiris. I do admit to finding it difficult to watch Osiran policy, as it is an alien feeling to me to not be in the -know- or at least have forewarning about the direction of regional policy in that given the fact for most of 2013 and indeed the early four months of 2014 I was one of, if not the only major diplomat running and orchestrating policy in Foreign Affairs and it will take a while longer for me to be comfortable seeing Osiris take a different turn to what I would have done, which I'm told is natural after having spent so much time focused on one role. Cormac and I have worked together for a very long time, or at least it feels it. He joined the FA department in Osiris at the start of 2013, as an appointment by the then Pharaoh, George Holland as my deputy, and he was moderately successful, and he and I can make a very dangerous team when we're on the same wavelength on an issue and coordinating our responses. That success then allowed us to work together during 2013 when he was Pharaoh, later on through the turbulent periods and into the OFO, and we still retain that ability now. However, the downside to it is, neither of us respond to criticism very well, and I am only marginally better at taking it than he is - both of do have a tendency to lose our tempers although mine is somewhat on a firmer lead thanks to the half decade of experience or so that I have in the field. The disagreement between Cormac, now Pharaoh for the second time and I arose over my concerns on Foreign Policy; which he was aware of and I had been vocal about to him in different mediums, and he would have also had been aware most likely that I was in contact with the governments I named above in trying to even now, see if there was anything I could do to help and resolve the various problems between Osiris and themselves. The disagreement itself came as a surprise, I was rather too careless in what I said - the logs I think have done the rounds - and I publicly commented against the policy. I have very firm views on sovereignty, and the right of a community to decide its fate, from the Osiran civil wars and turbulent periods, where there were numerous groups both within and outside the region who felt it would be better if the community that existed simply didn't, and to that effect I do not agree with, or recognise the right of one community to say that the other doesn't have a right to exist as it is down to their own community to make that decision. The sovereignty over one’s self, is liberty, and I firmly believe - and said as such - rather foolishly that I did not believe the twelve Members of the Deshret who voted in favour of the war with Lazarus had any right to do so. The vote itself is open record on the Osiris forum so the results can be checked freely. Naturally, Cormac didn't take that very well... truthfully, I wouldn't have done either, although my reaction would have been more political than a ban from the channel and a banjection from the region. I was then alerted by a member of the forum that I had been declared as PNG for Sedition, coupling me with the members of Empire who I had sided with Malice over in December. It was a surprise, I was absolutely astounded, and I wasn't quiet about it, gradually anger set in because after everything that I'd achieved in that region it felt like a kick in the teeth. However an hour or two later members of the Deshret found out what had happened and I'm told a discussion began on the matter at once. The way the PNG system works in Osiris is the Pharaoh can declare someone PNG, and the Deshret can overrule it. But only the Deshret can withdraw their own declarations which must be voted on by the full body, in order to prevent matters of regional security. The system is logical but doesn't always work. I do not know the specifics of the discussion in the Deshret chamber only that it resulted in Cormac reversing the status and removing me from the ban list. Severisen unbanned me from the irc channel,and things were rather tense for a while between us, as is to be expected. We've spoken extensively over the last few days and we both agree that we handled things badly - I should have known a better way to express my concern, and he should have handled it better, and we've generally discussed more conductive ways to express concern in the future in a way that doesn't jeopardise a friendship and a diplomatic partnership that is over a year old and that actually helped Osiris survive the early stages of the Osiris Fraternal Order. I am however extraordinarily grateful to the members of the Deshret who spoke in my support, whoever they were; although I have also become aware that there are members of the body who dislike me immensely for reasons I know very little about, nor care to know more. Unibot: You have the opportunity to serve as delegate at the beginning of the OFO - do you feel now that OFO might be making the same mistakes that the past Osiris had? Lord Ravenclaw: Hm, well no society is perfect but I do believe that whatever faults the OFO has they are a far cry away from the divided, secretive government that ruled Osiris in the past. For the most part, my issue was with the challenge system - it is, or so I felt, a rather personal system and finding out that I was going to be challenged was a personal affront to me that wouldn't have happened under a general election format, which is what happens now. All in all, I would say Osiris is far more open about its community, government and direction now that it has been in the past. You will always get people who seek to influence a community for their own benefit, and that isn't any different in Osiris, but looking at the foundations of the community, my own knowledge of it, and the strength of where they started minus a few hiccups along the way as all new governments/communities have, I think they'll do fine. The true test will be sticking to their beliefs and not compromising them over political differences; the second they allow factionism to take over the way it did in the KRO and in the post-KRO community is when Osiris will experience trouble. I do not think it is likely to happen, lessons have been learned since those days. Unibot: Osiris has recently closed relations with four GCRs over the Regional Sovereignty Conference - you're a diplomat yourself, how do you feel Osiris handled the situation? Lord Ravenclaw: That is a general point of contention at the moment, as the governments of said regions are aware and I have been approached unofficially for my views on that matter. There were points under the KRO that Osiris did close relations with a feeder, the West Pacific in this following disagreements over the South Pacific's coup by Milograd, it took many months to repair that damage and a good deal of apologies by me to All Good People. I recognise however, that Osiris has the right to maintain (or not) relations as they see fit, although from my experience I find that cross-feeder and sinker communication is vital but I recognise with great regret that for various reasons it simply isn't possible for positive communication to happen at this time. I have heard Cormac's reasons for it, and whilst I do not entirely agree and I've registered my feelings on this with Cormac, it is ultimately their decision. As normal, though I caution against reactionary diplomacy, as something that is beneath both Cormac, and Osiris. I've also expressed the belief to Dark, Kris, Funk and Senator Elegarth that I hope that the communication can be restored between them and Osiris in the future but ultimately that I have no longer have any power to affect change regarding diplomatic status with Osiris. Unibot: What do you think will be the outcome of the War? Lord Ravenclaw: At this point it depends on the results of the talks happening between Lazarus and Osiris. I do not believe either side, for all of their various "responses" or "declarations" could affect serious change in the other, and that this "war", if you can call it that will end in a peace treaty. Whether it'll do anything positive for Osiris-PRL relations, I cannot say. Although I would very much like to be on that secret forum. Unibot: Do you think Osiris has serious intentions to carry through the negotiations? I mean, I would expect a 'poison pill' to be proposed by Osiris during the negotiations - so it forces Lazarus to be the ones who drop out of the talks… Lord Ravenclaw: Well, seeing as the root administrator of these boards is Severisen, who wouldn't create a board and set it up appropriately if he thought the talks were going to be deliberately ruined by one side. I would have to say that it appears Osiris is sincere in their agreement to discuss the matter as far as I can see. Unibot: Are you done with Game-Created politics for good? What's one thing you'll miss from it all, if so? Lord Ravenclaw: Hm. Am I done? That's a very good question. I've had a lot of fun over the past two years and I've met alot of very skilled people, and had the pleasure of really seeing a wide array of political systems, beliefs and contributions from dozens of people across GCRs. I don't think it's wise to write me out of the picture just yet, but I cannot see myself returning to Osiris although I would like to see what being delegate of a different GCR would be like in the future, it's not high on my to-do list. As for what I'll miss, hm, perhaps established communities. Those communities built up over a decade in some cases were amazing places of learning. Unibot: Hah, if you were going to be the delegate of a GCR... which one? Down the road, of course. Lord Ravenclaw: Hm, that's a difficult question. I'm particularly fond of the North Pacific, I learnt alot about how a democratic region can function and despite the fact I feel an insane urge to cry every time I hear the words "request for review" when it comes to the court, I find the region absolutely amazing to spend time in, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time serving as Minister of Culture and Entertainment for Mcmasterdonia, although I'm disappointed my time was so stretched thanks to RL. Outside of Osiris, The North Pacific was where I spent the most time really, and I learnt a lot with the experience. Unibot: Thanks so much, Raven. If you've got any final words for our readers feel free to share them. I'm so glad to hear that this ridiculous "Persona Non Grata" charge has been dropped against you. Lord Ravenclaw: Thank you Uni, it's been fun. A few things I'd like to say: nothing that is worth it, whether in NS or real life, should be easy to attain. Challenges help you discover not just your strengths, but your weaknesses, and you should always aim to improve your skills and see new challenges to ensure that you continue to learn more. Even veterans of ten years tell me that there's always something new for them to experience as NationStates changes constantly with its politics, so if they can find something new and exciting, I can, and hopefully the players just discovering NS can as well. Also, thank you - I'm glad that it's been dropped, and I'm relieved that my four awards for service to Osiris aren't going to be consigned to the scrap heap.
  5. Issue XXVII. August 28, 2014. Osiris, Lazarus Go to War GCR Conflict Escalates COMMENTARY | KOGVURON Headline of the Century. The political landscape of NationStates was shocked with the news, earlier this week, that the Osiris Fraternal Order had begun a legislative vote to declare war on the People's Republic of Lazarus. Pharaoh Cormac Somerset proposed the motion. In his address to the Deshret, the Pharoah cited threatening comments made by Lazarene Liberation Army General Aperi, the presence of Empire members in the Lazarene government, as well as the anti-imperialist rhetoric given by PRL leaders as justification for formal hostilities. The motion easily passed the Deshret by a tally of 12-5, officially marking the beginning of a state of war between the two regions. Osiris and Lazarus have had problems before, but the declaration is still, nonetheless, a surprising move. The relationship between the PRL and the OFO was initially positive, with the PRL being one of the first GCR governments to recognize the OFO on January 21, 2014. Unfortunately, things quickly went downhill from there. On June 10, Pharaoh Severisen cut off diplomatic relations with the PRL, citing the PRL's "rabid anti-imperialist stance", Despite this history, the PRL leadership was surprised by the motion. "While it initially did catch me off guard," says Chairman Funkadelia, "I really couldn't put this past the Imperialist cabal that has an unfortunate stranglehold on Osiris". Osiran Pharaoh, Cormac Somerset, refused comment - a new Osiran policy forbids Osiran officials from commenting to The Rejected Times. Lazarus has quickly responded to the declaration of war, calling in outside support to bolster Funkadelia's endorsement count. Soldiers from the Founderless Regions Alliance, Global Right Alliance, A World Power, Renegade Islands Alliance, and others have endorsed Funkadelia as a precaution against any direct attempts on the Lazarus delegacy. Lazarene leaders are not too worried, however, says Subcomandante Insurgente Aperi. "I expect the OFO to secure its own borders while enlisting the usual imperialist paramilitary orgs to do the actual dirty work," says Aperi. Osiris's endorsement count has also increased over the past few days, although it still pales in comparison to the endorsements held by Funkadelia. Whether the PRL would choose to make a direct attack on Osiris remains to be seen, however, and the Pharaoh's endorsement count should place him out of reach of most attacks. Osiris also has the support of the United Imperial Armed Forces and Balder, who both have a substantial number of troops who could support the Pharaoh in case of attack. A successful coup of either government seems very unlikely, at least in the short-term. With both sides secure in terms of delegacy, the combatants have already turned to the gameplay forum as a way to attack their opponents. Cormac Somerset and other imperialists such as North East Somerset have derided the People's Republic for their non-democratic form of government. A balder publication, The Runes, has also published several articles regarding events in Lazarus, depicting the government in a negative light. Chairman Emeritus Kazmr responded to these attacks in a release of his own titled "The People's Republic Shall Stand Firm", describing Osiris as having taken a "nosedive into insanity". With neither side able to attack each other directly, this author expects the reliance on information warfare to continue. There is always a chance that this war will end similar to the last GCR war (between The South Pacific and The West Pacific): with no regime changes. Nevertheless, the combination of mutual dislike and opposing ideologies will surely make this war more interesting than the last and lends ammunition to turn this war into a proper firefight. The Feux Interview Feux talks Osiran-Lazarene War, New Lazarus Forums, NPO Anniversary and More! INTERVIEW | UNIBOT Unibot sneaks in an (tightly scheduled) afternoon chat with the man who is "always changing shapes". Feux, Lazarene Vice Chairman and NPO Senator, had much to say about current events, while reflecting on his time as Delegate of Lazarus... __________________________ Unibot: The Feux Interview! Finally after all of these years, we’ve made it happen. The question. The preeminent question of the night is, Feux… what shall we listen to, for the interview? Feux is, of course, a passionate musician. Feux: Oh, so many choices... maybe Steve Reich's Variations for Winds, Strings and Keyboards. Reich identifies with minimalist composers, so it may not be for everyone, but I enjoy it. The piece can give one the impression of modern times, in my opinion, so it may be fitting for an interview. *puts it on in the background* Speaking of music, you’ve actually be working on a project for The Rejected Realms with my sort of... vague oversight. Perhaps it’s time we teased just what it is I have had you working on? Well, certainly one of the more interesting, enjoyable, and... (your vague oversight in mind ) entertaining things I have been asked to do on NationStates. While my real life demands leave me pinned for time, the Rejected Realms will certainly have something to call its own in the future. And we will never speak of that "vague oversight" ever again. Okay. Enough inside jokes! I can't wait for it, Feux. So, you’ve recently been promoted as Vice Chairman in Lazarus. It’s been a busy week for Lazarus to say the least. How did this new position come about and what have been the main challenges you’ve faced? How does it differ as a position from being Chairman? I was appointed as Vice-Chairman by Funk due to my experience and tenure within the game at large and Lazarus. I believe the largest and most pressing challenge has been ironing out the forum move, which was a very chaotic situation upon finding myself in the middle of it. The stress and anxiety of the issue was clearly getting to everyone involved, but I believe the worst of it has pasted and the new forum will sail forward into some clearer waters. While the Vice-Chairman has some powers, and oversees the People's Congress, making sure topics are put to vote when requested, etc. the Chairman is the boss. However, I advise the chairman greatly whenever Funk asks, and am always happy to help out whenever my knowledge allows. Some have said switching forums like this is a “security concern” given the war-time circumstances. I hear this a lot. Do you disagree with them? While I certainly understand where these concerns are coming from, I believe all measures have been taken to maximizes the security of the forum. As root and vice-chairman, it is my responsibility that such things are done and done correctly, so I have been in continuous contact with players who hold considerable amount of knowledge regarding cyber security and the web in general to ensure all bases are covered. I've also have been using all resources available to me - and I have been encouraging other members of the admin staff to do the same - in order to make sure we are ready for any issues we may encounter. Today’s August 28th 2014. The eleventh anniversary of the August Revolution. The day that Francos Spain first took The Pacific. You’re a NPO Senator, yourself, so I was wondering, we know where The Pacific has been, so the question is where is it heading? What’s next for Pacifica? Pacifica always moves forward, whether the step is big or small. One of the more notable changes within Pacifica lately would be the re-addressing of Francoism so that it adheres better to the modern times. This is often a challenge, as individuals always tend to have their own thoughts and feelings ready to be expressed on the subject. Ivan, officially senator of doctrine, has been hard at work debating the issue for some time now, not just with his fellow senators, but with members of the international community, as the philosophy is so far reaching. The possible upcoming war between Lazarus and Osiris may have profound affects on Pacifica as well; however, I cannot say to what extend at the moment. There are some changes regarding exactly how our meritocratic system works under review as well, which could take a shape turn from the traditional format the region as followed for a number of years. We will see what happens as the debates continue, and I am sure Senator Elegarth will keep the international community informed at all times. The August Revolution launched the first and basically the only other major pan-GCR war. A crisis that built modern Gameplay, really. It’s oddly coincidental that on this very same day, Osiris has declared war with Lazarus. Are we in for a crisis that may in time be recognized as just as influential and significant? Likewise, do you think this will this be a “war of words” or something more? I am sure some older members would take offense if I compared their struggle against Pacifica with Osiris' behavior towards Lazarus, so I won't. However, there certainly are some parallels between the Great War and coming events that have me rather excited, the possibility of taking part in history only read about growing. I do not entirely believe the war will be composed of words, with so many parties on both sides of the field likely to take part. It should be interesting, and most likely a significant and influential event for all Lazarenes, as well as others. You had to make that faithful decision, almost a year ago now, to remove Gryfynn, NES and Charles Cerebella from Lazarus. Your last act as Lazarus’s delegate, I believe. How has that decision impacted Lazarus? When I made the decision, I knew it would have profound affects on where the region was heading. I had no idea in my wildest dreams though that I would find myself as Vice-Chairman within the People's Republic just a year later. Harm would have never been appointed Queen - later Chairman - after my registration, Comrade Milograd never given the opportunity to found the republic, or join the Founderless Regions Alliance, etc. Removing those individuals gave members of the community the opportunity to make Lazarus more than she was, to provide more than I could ever provide by myself. I have watched individuals mature within gameplay as members of the Lazarene community that was a result of that decision. I have watched them engage in ambitious projects, set new and impressive precedents, and build a community that continuously leaves me speechless and proud of all their incredible achievements. Playing a role as a facilitator of this growth, the development of remarkable players, this rebirth, has cleared my head of any doubt I may have had when the decision was made. I am proud of what Lazarus has become, and I am proud of all my fellow Lazarenes. There are obvious similarities and differences as region - but at their roots, how are your experiences different being a lead member in Lazarus versus The Pacific? The experiences I have gone through within both regions have built upon one another, and I believe this is why I am largely successful within both. I was a new player - not understanding gameplay at all - though I had played the game for some time before I arrived at the gates of Pacifica. What I learned from the Pacific, from players such as AMOM, allowed me to feel confident when I was elected delegate in Lazarus. The experiences learned from time as delegate still contributes to my success as a Senator, in my opinion. However, when I arrived in Lazarus, I always got the impression that I was looking at a blank canvas - a feeling that I often do not experience within Pacifica, a region rich in tradition and a long history of adhering to its roots. While I do the same extensive administration work for each regions, and play an important role in determining policies for both, I tend to operate alongside my notions of a blank canvas vs. the painting of tradition. Do you identify as a defender? Why or why not? I do not, even though I have served and continue to serve more defender orgs or regions than I have raider. I have always held the belief that it is better to play the role of an observer, willing to take part in both operations, in order to expand my opportunities and carry out the duties required of me as a Senator. Drafting Liberate Nazi Europe would be an example of this, a resolution not popular at all with individuals leaning toward the defender sphere - or most for that matter after seeing the affects of the liberation. You’ve been around the block, from the smallest of UCRs to the height of UCRs (delegate of Europe even) to the height of the GCRs. What advice, if you could, would you give new players? Find a community that you really enjoy, whether it is gameplay or role-play, user created region or game created region, big or small. Through all the things I have been through, my ups and my downs, it has been my friends and comrades, fellow members of the regions I have taken part in that really has made this game what is to me. They are the reason I get excited when I log in, why I want to succeed, you just have to find it. Thanks so much for the interview, Feux. It's been a blast. Take care of yourself. You've got the floor, mate if you've got any final words for our readers. Thank you for having me. I look forward to reading the next article of the Times. Coalition of Freedom: WA Liberation Repealed The WA Security Council reconsiders The Coalition of Freedom. COMMENTARY | XORIET The Coalition of Freedom was a reasonably active and lively region founded by Riftend, a player whose greatest accomplishment since his unfortunate ejection was enacting the devastation of the Greater Democratic Union, the region which had slighted him. Deeply insulted by this absolute outrage of being ejected, he worked tirelessly for months to secure its downfall. Post success, Riftend spent an entire topic modestly explaining his motives for this act to Gameplay. Tragically, Riftend's touching humility was not widely accepted by the bloodthirsty crowd he appealed to. In fact, the outstanding kindness and respect which he consistently showed all of Gameplay was ultimately and discriminatorily rewarded by the deletion of his main nation. Many of those who could not abide the sheer graciousness looked to the Coalition of Freedom with bright eyes. One such person was Leningrad Union, one of Riftend's most dedicated fans. He had only the purest possible motives for the region which was now rendered founderless by the aforementioned deletion. While Rifty, Riftend's new identity, made plans to merge with the Eternal Knights for the good of his region, Leningrad Union and his dearest friends made other plans. The Coalition of Freedom desperately needed to retain its sovereignty, of which said merge would ultimately deny the region. Leningrad Union and his dearest friends moved in to liberate the region of the legal government in hopes of elevating it to new levels of activity. "The invasion of CoF was not a TBR operation!" the wounded Lenin said. How could anyone possibly attribute his gallant actions to one of the most heinous organizations in Gameplay? He continued on to illustrate his intentions."Once we refound CoF, it will once again be a prospering region, except without the raidfending," he added. Unfortunately, not everyone understood that Leningrad was doing this for the good of the Coalition of Freedom. The Eternal Knights and Rifty offered strenuous objections to his generosity, proving that they had no care for the sovereignty of the region. They appealed to the great heart of Cormac Somerset in hopes that he would be able to do something for the CoF. Cormac, touched to the quick by their passionate appeals, put up a Liberation proposal in the Security Council, intending to divest the CoF of the password Leningrad had set up to protect the region. The intention of the no-longer-so-humble Rifty to support the liberation of a region he had denied sovereignty in hopes of bettering it did not go unnoticed or unremarked on by Lexicor, a genuinely sincere and loyal native of the CoF. He proceeded to write a repeal of "Liberate Coalition of Freedom" for a particularly specific reason. "Rifty did not have the best interest of CoF at heart," Lexicor answered simply when questioned. "He left it out to dry, and I was the only native in the region willing to fight him openly. So I authored the draft constitution for the refound and paid for it with banishment. Out of spite, and actual loyalty, I wrote the repeal. That is all". The Proletariat Coalition Invaded COMMENTARY | UNIBOT It was a quiet update, fog rolling across the labour camps, when The Black Hawks, with help from the UIAF, The Black Riders, Osiris and Balder seized control of The Proletariat Coalition. Defenders, watching as the invasion occurred, were unable to assist The Proletariat Coalition since the invasion was conducted behind a password -- a common strategy for The Black Hawks. The Proletariat Coalition, a historic leftist-defender region, has ties to the Red Liberty Alliance which is popularly regarded by some as responsible for the destruction of invader forums between 05-06. While this claim has been contested time and time again, this has not stopped invaders from boasting that the invasion of The Proletariat Coalition serves as some sort of retribution. In fact, this is not the first time that invaders have invaded The Proletariat Coalition - rallying against past cases of forum destruction. Unknown lead a high-profile occupation of The Proletariat Coalition in 2011. Tahar Joblis, respected generalite and veteran member of The Proletariat Coalition, told The Rejected Times that he remembers the past occupation and that he is confident that this occupation will be no different. "As is the case in the last invasion," says Tahar Joblis, "it's unlikely that the invaders have anywhere near the level of collective patience required to eject the natives who have WA members since TPC was a much larger region, but they can be irritating in the mean time; and even if most of them get bored within a month, it's still going to take action by defenders' groups to dislodge them". Tahar has found this recent invasion "a little irritating", citing the suppression of the Regional Message Board and the cancelling of The Proletariat Coalition's embassies as particularly frustrating aspects to the occupation. Meanwhile, Star City, delegate of The Proletariat Coalition, questioned just how much of an "accomplishment" this really was for invaders, given the region's inactivity and near historical status. "The invaders do what they do, and in the past they have been elemental in making NationStates interesting," says Star City. "Next month is ten years since I was the delegate of Cuba and played this game well into the middle of the night fending off three invasions and a griefing. However, want to talk about low hanging fruit? It's only because TPC is admittedly moribund that they've pulled this off - we haven't been active on the defender scene as of the last half-decade. Still, you'd think the invaders would like a challenge. All they had to do was pose as someone interested in entering and acquire the password from me. It's not a thrilling battle between invaders and defenders jostling to get enough WA nations in before update, rather it's playing solitaire on really easy settings. They don't give out grand master titles for that". The Red Fleet, notable leftist army, played a large role in the attempted liberations of The Proletariat Coalition with the last occupation and during this occupation, The Council of Foreign Affairs of The Internationale was adamant that it would support any and all action taken by The Red Fleet to free their fellow leftist region. "The Black Hawks are an invader region with no particular targets," says Auhl, "They enter a region and force the legitimate nations of that region to exile or to accept them, the oppressors, as their new govern. This is absolutely dishonourable and is frowned upon by the member of The Internationale and its allies. The reputation of the invaders has never been any good in the regions we have relation with, but it has effectively vanished unless they restore the central power to The Proletariat Coalition and stop disturbing the stability of such regions". When asked whether he and other older defenders would be returning to organize the liberation, Star City remarked dryly, "fending off a home invasion is not the domain of centenarians". Meanwhile, the invader lead wrote a simple message to onlookers on The Proletariat Coalition's World Factbook Entry: "How long do you think it will take me to remove only ten natives?". The threat has, undoubtedly, cast a shadow over the occupation, while heightening fears of region griefing. Measuring Democracy FEATURE | GLEN-RHODES Democracy seems to be pervasive throughout NationStates. Almost all Game-Created Regions democratically elect their leaders, even if they do so under different trappings – themes of communism, imperialism, monarchism, and the like don’t make the election of leaders any less democratic. But the politics of these regions are different enough to raise the question of whether or not these “democracies” are really the same and can rightly be grouped together. I’ve written on democracy in NationStates before, with my last research project conceptualizing two different applications of democracy in Game-Created Regions: delegative democracy and guided democracy. I believe that analysis still holds, but is too generalized to be worthy of analytic application. Defining democracy was an important step. It’s now time to consider different concepts and variables that go deeper into the characteristics of all regions, rather than those who merely label themselves democratic because they hold elections. My next research project seeks to measure a wide array of variables on how authority is exercised in NationStates regions, particularly Game-Created Regions. It will measure things like how leaders are recruited, how they’re chosen, and what kind of political activity occurs in these regions. However, I need help, because measuring these deeper characteristics requires a level of knowledge that I cannot possibly have, unless I immerse myself into all of these regions. I will be using a modified version of the Polity IV dataset, which is a widely used dataset in political science research on democracy and authority. If you would like to help, all you would have to do is fill out a survey asking you to rank your region according various descriptors. The questions are easy and filling out the survey takes very little time, but it will help the project immensely. If you would like to help, send an email to gr[at]thesouthpacific.x10.mx. You’ll be sent a Microsoft Word document with instructions on how to fill out the survey. I’m mostly looking for people in Game-Created Regions who have held powerful positions and who have never held powerful positions. However, people in User-Created Regions are free to participate, as well! Note: This research project is not affiliated with or sponsored by The Rejected Realms, The Rejected Times, or The South Pacific. Regional Motto Act Passes The Rejected Realms chooses its Regional Motto COMMENTARY | TRR STAFF Soon Available to Order: Snarky TRR T-Shirts The Rejected Realms has passed the Regional Motto Act, 15-9. The Act officially recognizes "Illegitimi non carborundum" as the region’s motto. “Illegitimi non carborundum”, a mock Latin phrase, is oft translated roughly as “Don’t let the bastards grind you down”. The motto itself was chosen as The Rejected Realm’s motto as the result of a month long contest, The Month of the Motto, where the region decided (tournament-style), which motto, out of a range of different nominees, would best reflect the region. However, The Assembly still needed to approve the choice for the motto to be officially recognized. Understandably, there is more to the legislation than just what meets the eye. The Regional Motto Act also encourages executives to make use of the motto on all government literature and bureaucratic documentation. Likewise, the Regional Motto Act establishes additional protocols in regards to its use: explictly allowing nations in The Rejected Realms to use the regional motto as their own national motto. The Delegate of The Rejected Realms was ecstatic with the passage of the "Regional Motto Act". "It's fantastic," says Unibot, "Generations of rejects have continually added this and that to our lore - progressing and elevating it - and we're not any different. We're adding to the creed, culture and psychology of what it means to be a reject. The motto is quite important because it speaks to us all. It tells us that we need to continue, under any circumstances... against the whole lot of them, to accomplish what we need to do. It tells us to believe in ourselves and put faith in our tenacity". With war on the horizon, the tough new slogan represents the heart of rejects, brazen and indomitable - nobody's fool. FRA Elections Prove Interesting COMMENTARY | RYNO Typical FRA elections sees candidates run up against the same dreaded foe. That foe would be the hard-to-defeat "abstain". These elections were no different really. All candidates saw themselves up against abstain and all but one defeated the terror of "abstainity"! As far as the victors of the other positions, Joe Bobs won the coveted Arch Chancellor position, Dyr Nasad won Chief of Defense, Frattastan now stands as Minister of Intelligence, and Wibblefeet will oversee the house as Speaker. All winning with ease, these candidates proved popular with voters. People United Together lost to abstain and had to "try again" to win the position of Regional Liaison Officer in a snap election. In the snap election for Regional Liaison Officer, People United Together joined with Sovereign Liberties to form a joint ticket. They faced off against Tim. Interestingly, the joint ticket beat Tim by a narrow one vote margin (5-4) with a late vote for Tim not being counted. What really made this election interesting, however, is what happened after the vote. Tim asked People United Together to respond to a screenshot of a post left by him in The East Pacific's forum. Tim was concerned about having a FRA cabinet member distancing himself from the FRA and serving invader constituents like defender constituents. After quite a lot of drama surrounding the issue of whether being neutral is acceptable for cabinet ministers, Sovereign Liberties resigned. "I'm going to have to pull a Tim rather than a Karp or a Milo and resign because of RL," says Sovereign Liberties. :I don't have the time to do the job as good as it should be done and I'd rather not half-ass everything else that I have going on". The drama ended with Tim apologizing for "letting the thread get out of hand". Remarkably, Tim was later appointed Vice Chancellor - selected personally by the Arch Chancellor. People United Together spoke with The Rejected Times briefly, expressing his belief that this term would be a "comeback" for the defender organization. Joe Bobs, the new Arch Chancellor shared his enthusiasm, plus a shining new vision for the Founderless Regions Alliance too. "I want the FRA to become a cornerstone of NationStates," says Joe Bobs. "When someone wants to begin a new region, I want them to come to us where they will receive advice and guidance. When a region is struggling, I want them to come to us for help analysing their problems and finding solutions. When a region suspects invasion, I want them to come to us for help with securing their region. When a region needs to be liberated from an oppressor, I want them to come to us for assistance gaining their freedom. And when a region wants to write a constitution, build a military, set up a diplomatic network, or generally needs help in allowing their community to thrive, I want them to come to us". It'll be interesting to see how this term turns out. With the dreaded abstain (until next election) and the drama long behind them, of course! "Doctor Who Week" in TRR The Rejected Realms celebrates "Doctor Who" premiere. FEATURE | UNIBOT Kogvuron, Internal Affairs Officer has organized a popular theme week for TRR. __________ The Tardis, a tall indigo police-box, materializes in The Greymarshes - the moorish outskirts of The Rejected Realms's capital city. The Doctor exits The Tardis with curiosity beaming in his gaze. His companion, Clara, follows his lead, closing The Tardis's doors behind them. The tantalizing smell of exotic meats wafts through the air. The Doctor: Say hello to The Rejected Realms, Clara. Where the barbecue never stops! Clara: Well that's alright, yeah? The Doctor sniffs the air indulgently. The Doctor: You can almost taste the roasted unicorn... Clara: Maybe not then. The Doctor: Suit yourself. As legend has it though, it's bad luck to refuse unicorn meat. Clara: What're we doing here again? The Doctor pulls his psychic paper from his jacket - it reads as an invitation. The Doctor: Invitation. They're holding some sort of birthday party for yours truly. Very kind of them. Love birthdays. Except pinatas. Hate pinatas. Clara: It's your birthday? The Doctor: I'm a two thousand year old time traveler who lives in a box that's bigger on the inside. Any day can be a birthday. Clara: And you're sure this isn't a trap? The Doctor: Trap? What trap? A trap in The Rejected Realms!? Land of the... Rejects and... and (blimey) -- Clara: -- is that really what these lot call themselves? The Doctor: Better "reject" than "baldie". Clara: Well... Clara is unconvinced. The Doctor frowns. The Doctor: Here, look... The Doctor hands Clara the invitation to read. Clara reads. The Doctor: Lots of legitimate stuff on that. Dream journals, favourite quotations, cusine tasting -- Clara: -- no unicorns!! The Doctor: No Unicorns. Promise. Good food. Food, glorious food. Fried, roasted or stewe-- Clara frowns at the menu. Clara: --fishfingers and custard!? The Doctor: An old favourite. What? It was a phase... Clara: What's this about choosing a themed "avatar"? The Doctor: No idea. Reckon it must be like changing your face or something, but who would ever want to do that? Clara: Oooh. There's a scavenger hunt too! The Doctor: Really!? The Doctor grabs the invitation excitedly to read on. The Doctor: Fantastic! Always fancy a good scavenger hunt. Who needs knitting when you have a scavenger hunt. Clara: Okay, I'm sold. Where is it again? The Doctor: We're looking for Unibot. Leader of the Rejects. Tall fellow. Blabbermouth. Bit of a moral fanatic really... Clara: Brave words, Don Quixote. The Doctor: And the eyebrows. Don't stare at them. They're frightfully under-kept. Clara: You look in a mirror recent, mate? The Doctor walks off aimlessly. Clara tries to keep up. Clara: Are we lost, Doctor? The Doctor: Philosophically or geogra-- Clara: --Geographically. The Doctor: Lost like Columbus, I'm afraid. Not to worry though, there's still one thing we haven't lost: daylight. The heavens cloud over and it begins to pour rain. Clara shrieks and the two of them dash for cover. The Doctor: Bad luck ... unicorns... all I'm saying!! The Cold War Awakes EDITORIAL | UNIBOT Unibot reflects on the events leading up to the Osiran-Lazarene War... August 2013. NationStates's centre of power at the brink of war – ring any bells? Well it should. Only a year ago, Belschaft sat down with journalists, over jammie dodgers and afternoon tea, to share a pet theory of his that NationStates had entered into a “Cold War”. Tensions between Francoists and Imperialists rose over the uneasy summer after the two factions found themselves at loggerheads over the ill-fated invasion of Nazi Europe and, even more troubling, the Gatesvillian Occupation of Osiris (“The Imperium War”). Francoists, no longer viewing Defenderdom as the primary “userite” threat, began to quietly ally themselves with Defenders, while Imperialists courted independent regions like The North Pacific and The West Pacific – there building a strong base of influence under the delegacies of McMasterdonia, Westwind and later r3naissanc3r. At first, an outright war between Francoists and Defenders versus Imperialists and Independents seemed imminent … and then, as the political fates would have it: the threat simply declined. Proud Anti-Imperialist, Karpathos, was removed from Pacifica, while Independentism began to falter in popularity and Defenders pursued greater political discipline within their ranks. By the time that the leaves fell, a novemberish ambience lorded over NationStates and, for many commentators, a cold war seemed like a remote possibility, short in political momentum and inspiration – wishful-thinking of the conflict-aficionados and jumpy warhawks of high “Gameplay”. Being the fossil that I am, I was still writing articles at this time with empirical evidence that suggested political fragmentation was still occurring in the Game-Created Regions – signs of a cold war still active. But this was a time of détente – the suggestion of a “cold war” was the punchline of a diplomatic joke, not a serious proposal. Little did we know that nearly a year later, the war would officially begin. However, it's not only important to understand how this war has begun, but how it has evolved and escalated to these grave, dramatic series of circumstances that we face. The Cold War never died. It has been in hibernation -- a process of reconfiguration. Pressure has been building for months, such that a release like this was inevitable. The cork in the bottleneck can easily be identified as political inertia and the social stigmas against open GCR aggression, which have kept the Cold War from turning "hot" for all of these past months. But theories from the school of International Relations (IR) can help us identify what broke the levy, virtually a year later... School children are taught that the main factors that led to World War One are Militarism, Alliances, Imperialism and Nationalism (M.A.I.N). More complicated International Relations (IR) theories would discuss the lack of interdependencies (Liberalism), insecurity (Neo-Realism), imperialism and the rational interests of those involved (Realism) and the ideologies and cultures of the warring regions (Constructivism). If we are to examine the recent Osiran declaration of war and the diplomatic escalation that led to it as a calculation of rational interests of those involved, it is clear that this was an inevitable outcome. The imperialist faction and the defenderist faction would both have it in their interests to expand their influence, but expansion can only continue so far – a diplomatic race, to have a decisive winner, must have a finish line. War is a diplomatic instrument as much as it is a threat – it can be used to diplomatically “contain” and isolate the influence of enemies. Normally, diplomacy is a positive-sum game. For example, Bigtopia benefits from a security alliance with Lilliputia and Maxtopia (and vice versa), thus Bigtopia has no rational reason to not accept security alliances with both regions unless coercion and wartime conditions force this diplomatic game to become zero-sum, where Bigtopia has to choose between relations with Lilliputia and Maxtopia. It is often difficult to establish these conditionals without the spectre of war because the political optics are, otherwise, problematic: soverigntists in Bigtopia will accuse Lilliputia and Maxtopia of abusing Bigtopia diplomatically and forcing them to isolate themselves, while either Lilliputia or Maxtopia may offer to allow Bigtopia to pursue both alliances which undercuts the other’s position in the negotiations. The South Pacific is the preeminent case of this scenario with The New Inquisition recently attempting to force The South Pacific to choose between a treaty with The Rejected Realms and The New Inquisition - a move which if successful done, isolates The South Pacific from their enemies, while making the war all that more inconvenient for their enemies which could bolster the value of negotiations with them to end a war that their enemies, otherwise, try to forget. Following the various treaties and alliances between Game-Created Regions and influential imperialist and independent regions helps paint the picture of networking and containment, [July 28 2013] Balder withdraws from the Pan-Sinker Security Pact [July 30 2013] Osiris withdraws from the Pan-Sinker Security Pact [July 31 2013] Europeia severs ties with The NPO [August 10 2013] The North Pacific and Balder Security Treaty [August 19 2013] Treaty of Friendship between The North Pacific and Europeia [October 23 2013] Balder severs ties with Lazarus [October 23 2013] Belschaft declares Lazarus-TSP alliance defunct [November 18 2013] Europeia severs ties with Lazarus [December 08 2013] Osiris and Balder Twin Sinker Treaty [April 14 2014] The North Pacific and Albion Security Treaty [April 26 2014] The Treaty of the Old Gods (ISRA) [March 11 2014] The Treaty of Alsfeld (Balder-LKE) [March 21 2014] Treaty of Amity and Non-Aggression between The South Pacific and Kantrias [May 31 2014] Friendship Treaty Between The West Pacific and The New Inquisition [June 06 2014] Treaty of the Imperium (TWP/LKE) [June 10 2014] Osiris severs ties with Lazarus [June 16 2014] The East Pacific - Osiris Treaty of Amity [July 21 2014] World Assembly Legislative League (TNP-Euro-Balder) [July 24 2014] TNI severs ties with The South Pacific [August 04 2014] Kantrias severs ties with The South Pacific [August 28 2014] Osiris declares war on Lazarus *Red for sanctions, Black for treaties and alliances. The Imperium War set the stage for a number of very important developments, first and foremost being Balder and Osiris’s rejection of the Pan-Sinker Security Pact (PSSP) and Europeia’s severing of ties with The New Pacific Order. Lazarus’s removal of key imperialist members and its entrance into the Founderless Regions Alliance (in addition to the X-Y-Z Treaty) was met with extensive sanctions from the interregional imperialist-independent community – a trifecta of embassy closures from Balder, The South Pacific and Europeia which was later followed by Osiris on June 10, 2014. The South Pacific’s allianceship with The Rejected Realms also precipitated diplomatic sanctions from The New Inquisition and Kantrias, two notable imperialist regions who used the FRA-TNI War as a backdrop for their diplomatic maneuver. This behaviour is, of course, symptomatic of cold war diplomacy – the severing of relationships serves as punishment, coercion and most of all isolation and containment, while the political stage is simultaneously conceived through a converging network of new (and sometimes redundant) diplomatic relationships. Some might find that the loss of security obligations and opportunities for diplomatic cooperation between various factions helped escalate the conflict because without interdependencies, regions like Balder or Osiris have no particular interest in maintaining even a pretense of good relations with Lazarus or The New Pacific Order. Others still would argue that this isolation was intentional, to (i) protect factions from diplomatic blowback for engaging in hostilities with the other faction, and, (ii) force potential allies to choose between them or their enemy, as opposed to a cooperative, positive-sum relationship that might restrict these enemies from engaging in hostilities. Nevertheless, this pattern of alliancing and marshaling of regions into factions has not been a new trend per se, but has played a direct role in fueling the rise of the Cold War. Militarization also cannot be overlooked. Five years ago, as far as I can remember, most of the Game-Created Regions did not maintain active militaries if they maintained militaries at all (NPA has been resurrected, while TWPAF, EPSA, SPSF, PEF and LLA are relatively new from 2011-13) – it was rare even for Game-Created Regions to have contacts with militarized regions, let alone militaries of their own. Obviously our present political environment is much different which helps to shift the tone from a once peaceful climate of multilateral diplomacy to brutish, aggressive gunboat diplomacy. The entire idea of a Cold War fundamentally relies on militarization: 2011’s “soldierless” Lazarus would have never fought a war against 2011’s “paper tiger” KRO – the resulting scene would have presumably been downright comical for onlookers. However, I reckon sociological and anthropological features have played a large role in the Cold War too. Each "player" within the conflict has undergone significant social reconstruction and ideational change since The Imperium War. The Pacific has rejected Francoism - stripping itself of materialism in favour of a non-materialist, structural and critical philosophy, Post-Francoism. This places The Pacific in contention with material and interest-based philosophies like Imperialism and Independentism. Meanwhile, Osiris has since adopted Imperialism, after a period of ambiguity where it was unclear whether Osiris would remain Independentist, become Invaderist or adopt a new version of Imperialism. Lazarus, of course, has been reborn from an ideological package of Francoist and Lenin-Marxist ideas which brings with it shades of Communism, Anti-Imperialism, Defenderism and a critical view on Liberal Democracy, which its enemies have used to their advantage: imperialists have never so desperately attempted to link their ideology with liberal democratic values before - enough so, that it is almost as if imperialists have tried to fill the contrasting political vacuum, à la ACCEL: Osiris's capitalism to Lazarus's communism, so to speak. Social Constructivists, however, would not just analyze the ideologies of the Cold War, but also reflect on the various grievances which might be involved. There are numerous examples of grievances between the parties which continue to echo and relive themselves through present and ongoing conflicts - take for example, Milograd's Coup of The South Pacific from April 2013, which was still brought up as a recent interregional grievance in the Osiran Declaration of War despite The South Pacific recently signing a peace treaty with Lazarus. Dismissing Hobbes from root Admin has also been used as an interregional grievance against Lazarus (despite Hobbes asking for the issue to be "dropped"), since Lazarus's enemies have keenly sensed a rare political opportunity to divide The East Pacific (Hobbes's main region) from Lazarus - The East Pacific is the only region to maintain treaties with both Osiris and Lazarus. Another imperialist grievance oft resurrected is the removal of leading imperialists from Lazarus under the late Feux Administration which has been discursively framed as a "purge" to associate it with the widespread civil unrest of Moldavian and Durkadurkiranistani crises (which fosters an outpour of interregional sympathy and concern for victims). Meanwhile, the repeated lazarene grievances against imperialism are numerous, but many were included in A Mean Old Man's "NPO Retort", which painted the picture of imperialist subversion in Lazarus and outlined the petty political posturing that lead to the embarrassing failure to occupy NAZI EUROPE. Lazarus's "The False Independence" adds to the list of grievances, proposing that instead of freeing Lazarus, independentism had been an ideological tool to maintain control over Lazarus and keep it dependent on foreign imperialist powers. The conflict before us, thus, is a complex beast -- diplomatic containment, identity politics and a quagmire of bad social history lies at the heart of the Cold War. After the monumental events that have transpired today, NationStates will bear witness to the first large-scale war between great powers since Franco's Pacific fought The Alliance Defence Network. In the grand scheme of things, it is not a coincidence that the two youngest states of the Game-Created Regions, no less, have been the centre of this conflict. The two great powers least burdened with political inertia, most challenged in diplomatic breadth and most vulnerable to the threat of annexation and regime change. The war has risen from its slumber with a vengeance and an appetite for drama. As coats turn, worlds burn -- NationStates engulfed for once, not in uncertain peace, but instead certain pandemonium -- I ask only one thing of you all: let it not be for nothing!
  6. Issue XXVI. August 13, 2014. Grub Bans XKI Delegate ! Benevolent Thomas accuses Grub of slander. COMMENTARY | THE CHURCH OF SATAN & UNIBOT 10000 Islands: The Land of Infinite Paranoia. In a sudden and unexpected move, 10000 Islands Delegate, Benevolent Thomas, was banned and ejected from the region. Shortly after, Grub posted an announcement on the Regional Message Board explaining the reasoning behind his actions. "As a sitting Delegate of 10000 Islands, Benevolent Thomas has been secretly planning on starting his own offshoot region while in office," says Grub. "To have a sitting Delegate actively planning on starting their own region while in office is disgraceful and goes against the very ideals of that office". One would presume, the way Grub phrases it, he has concrete proof that Thomas would have recruited from 10000 Islands and that Benevolent Thomas did intend to start his own region, although the evidence has not been provided. "The plans of Benevolent Thomas were all in secret and it was only when I confronted him that he admitted to his plan," says Grub. "He claimed that he did indeed plan on leaving the 10000 Islands once his term was over and would start his own offshoot region. He also told me that he wasn't planning on trying to take any 10000 Islanders with him. I did believe that he planned on riding out his term, but I did not believe that [he] wasn't going to try and take from our region to build his own." Yes: beware the double negatives. Although Benevolent Thomas specifically told him that he did not intend to poach from 10000 Islands, Grub decided unilaterally with no evidence to the contrary that Thomas was lying to him. The former delegate's feelings on the matter were made clear when he changed his national pretitle to "Disgraced Delegate" -- later replacing that with"Slandered Delegate". However, Grub states that Thomas "undermined" the rules of 10000 Islands, although he has not referenced any laws to support his claim, 10000 Islands has a tradition of Grub arbitrating problems instead of addressing issues through a court system. This is most certainly not the only controversial decision to ban a player that Grub has made. Several others already have commented on the matter, many complaining about the lack of due process in this issue, but many still are concerned about how Benevolent Thomas's removal seems to be more or less coinciding with a personal fallout with Grub and Anime Daisuki. "Thomas posted a swear to me," says Anime Daisuki, "Basically telling me off in an angry tone, saying that I disrespected him by speaking to him that way. I was surprised at his sharp reaction which I put it to a bruised ego. From then on I decided to stay away from the guy". Anime Daisuki condemned Benevolent Thomas's "premature" promotion in TITO and argued his changes to TITO, including the use of IRC and cooperating with other defender organizations, were unilateral and ignored major conventions. As of late, the political climate in 10000 Islands has between deeply divided by those open to cooperating with other defender organizations and interacting with the international sphere and, at the other end of the spectrum, the isolationists. Some have speculated that Benevolent Thomas's removal from office and the subsequent smear campaign has been more or less an isolationist political maneuver through fear and paranoia to remove 10000 Islands's most internationalist delegate in half a decade. Is this what is to be expected by all future citizens? Is this the kind of distrust they can expect from their founder? If so, even I would not wish to return to such a place. TRR Officer Elections Close Elections posed a tight finish. COMMENTARY | UNIBOT Elections for The Rejected Realm's next cabinet has concluded. Only a day ago, it would have been anyone’s guess as to which candidates would rise to the top and secure a plurality over the other candidates – many candidates were separated by a single vote. Since only four officers can be elected: Christian Democrats, Guy and Yohannes, having amassed the largest count of votes, secured their seat in the cabinet as officers, but two other candidates, The Church of Satan and Kogvuron tied for votes and faced off in a special run-off. The rules of the run-off were always ambigious, see "Weird Laws of NationStates" for more details, but the speaker chose to have the officers decide the tie-breaker. With Yohannes and Christian Democrat's votes going to Kogvuron, Kogvuron has been chosen as the fourth and final officer for this term. With the elections this close, some have proposed that The Rejected Realms would be better served with an alternative voting model that considers voter preferences and eliminates the “spoiler effect” – this led to a region-wide discussion on the merits of preferential block voting versus the single-transferable vote versus traditional plurality block voting. The hope is to achieve a functional democratic voting system that implements majoritarianism without sacrificing the executive's pluralism or the simplicity of plurality voting. For The Rejected Realms, these latest elections are a sign of a resurgence in the region, with a long list of talented candidates placing their hat in the ring. While for Christian Democrats, former WA Officer and Guy, former Foreign Affairs Officer, these elections proved to be a resounding endorsement of their incumbencies. Christian Democrats, who was voted recently as The Rejected Realm's most popular executive alongside Unibot, built the new WA Office from scratch over his term, while Guy negotiated a well-received treaty with The South Pacific and an Osiran Non-Aggression Pact. Ryno and The Church of Satan are long-time natives of The Rejected Realms, while Christian Democrats, Guy and Kogvuron are more seasoned gameplayers from The Rejected Realms, whose names probably ring familiar to many of our readers. Hallowell is a respected up-and-comer reject, while Yohannes and Sciongrad are new to gameplay, but by no means new to NationStates. Yohannes hails from the roleplay community, where he rose into great prominence as the second largest international commerce and trading nation. Meanwhile, Sciongrad is a “global disarmament policy wonk” from the World Assembly, where he is noted for passing GAR#242, “Biological Warfare Convention”. The Rejected Times briefly spoke with Yohannes, one of the new arrivals to cabinet, who told us that he was very surprised by the election's results and feels an immense sense of duty to the region for entrusting him with an executive portfolio. "I know that I have a lot to learn," says Yohannes, first-time Officer, "and will most probably make mistakes now and then.. but I will try my best to contribute to our lovely community, and the region, of The Rejected Realms -- I will work with all of you, and look forward to get to know each and everyone of you!" The current election as expected has brought with it a balance of both experience and some fresh new faces to cabinet, proving the power of elections in shaping and propelling a region towards an exciting new direction. Next stop: Awesome! The New Pharaoh Speaks INTERVIEW | THE CHURCH OF SATAN The Church of Satan speaks with Osiris's new Pharaoh, Cormac Somerset... The Church of Satan: So, getting straight to the interview, if you would be so kind. To be honest I'm rather excited for this one! Cormac: Hey there! Glad you're excited for the interview, I am too. The Church of Satan: We all know your extensive history with Osiris. What prompted you to go for pharaoh once more? Cormac: There were a couple of different reasons. First and foremost, I felt like I had a strong platform of ideas that would benefit Osiris over the course of this term and hopefully do a lot to improve activity. Activity was strong when the Osiris Fraternal Order was established in December, but it has slumped a bit with the overall NationStates summer lull. My hope was and is that the ideas I've brought to the table will get us back on track with high activity. The Church of Satan: How do you feel about it this time around? Were you at all hesitant about going for it? Cormac: I was a little hesitant. There has been a tendency in Osiris since the region was created for the people of the region to step back and let strong personalities lead, and simply follow. One of the major goals of the Osiris Fraternal Order has been to end this mentality and create a region of leaders, or as Detective Figs (Astarial) would probably have put it, build a sense of community self-ownership. My concern is that I'm someone who has been in Osiris and particularly in its leadership for some time now, so I was hesitant that I could end up recreating that atmosphere of "Hail Pharaoh!" in which one person leads and everyone else follows. That isn't healthy for Osiris, as there will always be people who seek to exploit that kind of political culture. That said, the best way to prevent fostering that kind of political atmosphere is to be aware that it's a possibility and actively seek to avoid it. I've nominated an active cabinet, with a combination of veteran and fresh faces, all of whom will be active and will shine in their particular roles. We also have some newer folks in the Deshret who aren't afraid to speak their minds, even when they disagree with the Pharaoh, and I couldn't be more happy to see that happening. Even if I disagree with them and I'm passionate in arguing my position, I'm glad to see them holding their ground. And most of all I'm glad to see all of us tackling disagreements in a civil manner, and through normal political means, rather than threatening coups d'etat or pulling stunts to intimidate each other. Osiris has come a long way over a few months. The Church of Satan: So who have you nominated for your cabinet? Cormac: Treize Dreizehn for Vizier, James for Regional Affairs, Treize for Foreign Affairs, Zaolat for Media, Severisen for Security, and Zeorus for Justice (Attorney General). The Church of Satan: These fresh faces, what is it about them that made you decide to give them a shot? Cormac: Mostly their enthusiasm. James has been enthusiastic about getting involved with both integration and culture, and I think a strong dose of enthusiasm is what both of those areas need. Zaolat, while hardly new to Osiris, is new to the OFO cabinet andhe's been excited about media as well. I've found that enthusiasm often trumps experiencein terms of many cabinet positions, because those who are more excited will often also remain more active. I also think it's important to promote fresh faces and talent, so thatregional leadership doesn't become a revolving door of the same people term after term. New players don't want to get involved if they don't think they can advance. The Church of Satan: How do you think their enthusiasm will work in conjuction with the experience of the veterans? Cormac: I think their enthusiasm will work well. The veteran members I've chosenare also quite excited about their roles, and are among some of the most welcoming peoplewe have in Osiris. So I think they'll get along fine with new faces in cabinet. The Church of Satan: Do you think this term will go better than previous ones? Cormac: If you mean better than my previous term last summer, almost certainly. We're not starting off with a month long coup by Gatesville, so we're already doing better! The Church of Satan: What are your current plans for Osiris? Anything you feel could be improved upon? Cormac: My plans are to focus more on regional affairs -- integration and culture -- than we previously have. This doesn't mean foreign affairs and military activity will be dead, but they're going to be a secondary priority. We need a more active community, and a big part of that is simply having more people in the community and giving them more to do. So that will be a big priority of this term. Another priority will be media, with a new regional newspaper called The Osiris Oracle. We're hoping it will offer an alternative and a second major media presence in NationStates gameplay to compete with, well, you guys. Although foreign and military affairs aren't going to be a primary focus this term, they remain a priority and there should be some developments in both areas that will be of interest to Osirans and our friends abroad, very soon. The Church of Satan: Osiris is much different from the last time you were pharaoh. Previously the region was independent. I noticed that you removed the "raider" tag from Osiris. Does that mean it is strictly imperialist or is it still, as I've heard often lately, imperialist-raider? Cormac: Well, we shouldn't exaggerate the importance of removing the Invader tag. We've been having a regional discussion about tags since I took office, and we basically decided that tags like "Anti-Fascist" and "Invader" don't describe who we are. Osiris is an imperialist region, and both anti-fascist action and invasion are aspects of Osiran imperialism. But neither tag really defines our region so we decided to remove them. Osiris isn't imperialist-raider, though. That should be clear. We're an imperialist region, and our military activities are geared toward pursuit of our regional interests -- something we have in common with independent regions -- as well as projection of our military power as a demonstration that we are a region to be respected in world affairs. Often that does mean actively raiding, for training purposes as well as to support the efforts of friends and allies. But as we've now seen twice in the region Liberal Haven, we're very open to defensive operations as well when they're in our interests. We certainly have a respect for the sovereignty of other regions with active communities that is not characteristic of raider regions, particularly a respect for the sovereignty of fellow Feeders and Sinkers. The Church of Satan: That being said, do you foresee any changes in your decisions as pharaoh as a result of this? Cormac: I think there will be some clarifications made, and perhaps some new policies enacted to flesh out a more independent approach to imperialism. I don't really look at these as "changes," though, as we've been headed in this direction for some time. Admittedly, the Osiris Fraternal Order began with a much more "raider" flavor than it has currently, but we've been headed in a more independent-imperialist direction since Lord Ravenclaw was Pharaoh. The Church of Satan: Osiris at the very least being imperialist, how do you think it will affect foreign relations? Specifically, since Osiris signed a non-aggression pact with TRR, do you feel it will conflict with the other 3 treaties you have with TNI, LKE and Albion since they are at war with them via the FRA? What would you do if the 2 sides clashed during your term? Cormac: I don't believe our non-aggression pact with The Rejected Realms will conflict with the treaties you mention. It's important to note first what non-aggression is: It's a commitment to avoid aggressive action against each other. Full stop. It isn't a commitment to mutual defense, and while we aren't at war with the Founderless Regions Alliance we respect that our allies in The New Inquisition and The Land of Kings and Emperors are at war with that organization and its member regions. We won't take any action against The Rejected Realms, but we also wouldn't act to defend that region against our allies, and of course the non-aggression pact doesn't require us to do so. I will note, however, that the Osiris Fraternal Order respects the sovereignty of all Feeders and Sinkers. We signed a non-aggression pact with The Rejected Realms due to the troubled relationship our regions previously had, in recognition that we would like to move forward with relations that are built on a much stronger foundation. But Osiris is committed to non-aggression, in practice if not in law, with all Feeders and Sinkers. Moreover, if any Feeder or Sinker is invaded by any force that is not in a treaty alliance with the Osiris Fraternal Order, it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone to find us supporting the legitimate government of that Feeder or Sinker. Both diplomatically and militarily. Our treaty allies remain our first priority, but our commitment to the sovereignty of other Feeders and Sinkers is a real priority for us and one that we will continue to pursue. The Church of Satan: Awesome interview! I look forward to the next one. On a side note, good luck with The Osiris Oracle. Cormac: It was a fun interview, and thanks! So there you have it. Things are looking up for Osiris and maybe we can all see a reign of stability in Osiris that will last for years to come! I'm Bruce Noland, Eyewitness News and that's the way the cookie crumbles! TSP-Lazarus Treaty Passes COMMENTARY | UNIBOT Funkadelia (left) and Kringalia (right) as they signed the treaty earlier today. Two storied game-created regions, Lazarus and The South Pacific have entered a formal treaty arrangement. The treaty was passed unanimously in Lazarus’s congress and was support heartily in The South Pacific were it passed with 83.3% -- smashing the necessary 60% threshold for passage. The introduction of the treaty, titled a “Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between The South Pacific and Lazarus” marks an incredible recovery of relations from the last year when Belschaft, delegate at the time, unilaterally declared The South Pacific’s original alliance with Lazarus dead after Lazarus had chosen Milograd as its new leader. Kringalia, Belschaft’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, had not been informed beforehand of this decision and succeeded in negotiating a popular Non-Aggression Pact with Lazarus – always maintaining that The South Pacific would eventually revisit relations with the Mother Sinker. It appears as though Kringalia has made good on his promises, but the same can be also be said for Glen-Rhodes, TSP Minister of Foreign Affairs, whose top campaign priority was the negotiation and passage of the Lazarus treaty. Glen-Rhodes was the main drafter of the treaty’s well-received text which emphasizes non-aggression, cultural and military cooperation, in addition to laying down the groundwork for his grand vision for a pan-GCR security network. We spoke with both of the region’s delegates, who were very positive about this development. Kringalia called the treaty, “exciting”. “This is a region with whom we have cooperated in the past, both militarily and culturally,” says Kringalia over milk and cookies. “I am fully confident that our already strong bonds will get even stronger with the passage of this treaty. We are already planning some exciting activities between the South Pacific and Lazarus, which will show the strength and maturity of our alliance”. Chairman Funkadelia said he very pleased with the decision, adding “this is a wonderful new beginning to a relationship that can only get warmer from this point”. For some commentators this treaty may signal changes to the geopolitical landscape with the diplomatic prowess of defender regions growing, but for many others this is just a positive revival of an old friendship. Lazarus and The South Pacific are slated to work together next with the upcoming “rock-paper-scissors” tournament being organized by The Rejected Realms. Recently announced, the event will see these three regions square off against one another in a unique cultural competition where regions select their weapon, rock, paper or scissors, using their regional polls. Can’t wait! Canadian Invasion Escalates TBH place password on Canada COMMENTARY | UNIBOT Despite initial assurances that this mission would not aim for the griefing of Canada, The Black Hawks's lead, Jakker, has placed a password on the region. The full destruction of Canada would require such a long-term investment from invaders that it appears unlikely, but invaders could use the password to help prevent a liberation attempt and sustain a longer reign to torment natives and continue to grief the region. This is a common tactic for The Black Hawks - with their high-profile occupations of Catholic, Capitalist Paradise and South Pacific following a similar pattern of abuse. The occupation has run for a week thus far, already amassing forty-five ejections of native residents. With a regional password now in place, invaders will only need to eject, not ban natives -- since they will not be able to return to their region while it remains passworded and closed to new arrivals. Ejecting residents, of course, requires less Regional Influence than banning residents -- meaning the whole process of griefing Canada has become more efficient. Given the password is now in place, the "pilers", soldiers who supported the lead invader initially to inflate his endorsement count, are no longer needed in such high numbers (dropping almost thirty endorsements). These pilers can return to their headquarters or serve a role in the wider effort to maintain invaderdom's hold on its other ongoing occupations, Ixnay and Anarchy. Both occupied regions have also been recently password by invaders - actions which required an international response and a humanitarian clarion call from the WA Security Council. Already discussion has begun among established authors over the potential drafting for "Liberate Canada" to free the region of its password. While the invasion rages on, players are reminded that the neutrality that Canada has held sacrosanct for decades posed no protection from the appetite of invaders. "Canada has always welcomed those on both sides of the Raider/Defender debate," says long-time native, Almonaster, "and we have done our best to stay actively neutral. We have a very open and relaxed political climate, and would like to keep it that way. Both of the raider leads were citizens in good standing, and could have legitimately run for delegate, simply by agreeing to abide by our constitution. Their press when they took over clearly indicated that this was a flag raid, and they would withdraw. We were not best pleased, but in typical Canadian style rolled out the welcome mat and threw a party. The UIAF were largely silent and disciplined while there, and have indeed (partially) withdrawn". Almonaster had less nice things to say about The Black Hawks. "Jakker on the other hand has reverted to type, and has been busy kicking out long-term residents, gloating about it, and suppressing RMB posts," says Almonaster. "He has clearly broken his word on "no decimation", and seems to be settling in for a long stay. For those who understand British understatement, I think we've reached the level of 'slightly miffed'". Those who can be invaded, may always be invaded, say invaders. PBV for TRR? OPINION | CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS Christian Democrats considers Electoral Reform for The Rejected Realms... August is election season in the Rejected Realms (TRR); and, not surprisingly, the issue of electoral reform has come up again. For those not familiar with the region, TRR elects its four executive officers at regular intervals; and, after elections, the delegate, as the head of government, assigns the winners to various roles according to their particular talents. Currently, the plurality-at-large system is used: each citizen votes for four candidates, and the four candidates who receive the most votes are the winners. I believe this method is flawed for several reasons and have suggested (again) a constitutional amendment to adopt preferential block voting (PBV). Here, I give a short description of PBV and briefly outline its major advantages as a voting system. PBV, basically, is the multi-winner version of instant-runoff voting (the alternative vote), the system that Australians use to elect their House of Representatives. Each voter casts a preferential ballot on which he ranks all the candidates from first to last. The person or people who tally the votes count all the voters' first choices. If no candidate has majority support after the first "round," the last-place candidate is eliminated, and those votes are redistributed to voters' second preferences as if the last-place candidate had never existed. This process continues until a winner is found. Under PBV, successive instant-runoff "elections" are held virtually using the exact same ballots. Instant-runoff counts are repeated over and over again with the winners from the previous "elections" being eliminated at the outset. In this way, one can convert individual preferences (be there ten voters or ten million voters) into a collective list of preferences: this is the electorate's favorite candidate, this is its second favorite candidate, this is its third favorite candidate, etc. PBV has the advantage of being majoritarian (i.e., no more spoiler effect): no candidate is ever elected, unless he is supported by more than half of the citizenry. Second, PBV reduces negative campaigning: candidates have an incentive to get themselves ranked as highly as possible on every voter's ballot, not just the ballots of a small group of citizens. Third, PBV reduces strategic voting: it is no longer necessary to sit around and wait to see how others are voting to see how you should vote or to see if you should edit your earlier post in the election thread; instead, each and every person is free to vote for his genuine preferences whenever he wants without having to worry that his vote might be "wasted" or that it indirectly might "help" candidates whom he disfavors. In short, PBV would provide TRR with a unified set of four officers, each of whom, in his own right, has majority support. Electoral outcomes genuinely would reflect the region's views, minus the political "horse trading" that occasionally leads to the election of widely unpopular or largely inactive candidates. Furthermore, motivated newcomers to the region could find their way into the government more easily by appealing to citizens to give them their second or third "votes." In other words, the adoption of PBV would make TRR more democratic. Whether or not the citizens' Assembly will adopt the system, though, remains to be seen. Change “is a coming” to Osiris COMMENTARY | KINZVLLE Cormac Somerset, notable Osiran, has recently been elected the new Pharaoh of Osiris, with many thanks to a platform that promised change and a push forward towards progress for the great sinker. Within his platform, Cormac argued that Osiris ought to ensure more of a direct and streamlined orientation and integration process, while also focusing on cultural activities as a strong priority. In regards to media, the delegate argued that Osiris needed to provide an alternative voice in the media sphere for imperialism. On Foreign Affairs, he spoke of building on Osiris’s already strong, mature diplomatic foundation, in addition to appointing a committee to serve as policy advisers and fully integrating Osiris’s military into the ISRA command structure. Cormac also argued that a reorganization of the Hedjet (cabinet) was sorely needed. Of course, promising change may have put him over the edge in the polls, failing to realize that change (at least far as voters are concerned) could have equally sharp consequences for his tenure. Thankfully for Cormac, he is delivering thus far. One of the first changes that Cormac has “made good on” has been the reorganization of his cabinet, in addition to the whole bureaucratic system. Apart from a more streamlined application process, the brunt of the changes, however, were made with a shuffle of several priesthoods. Ma`at, which oversaw Osiris’s World Assembly Affairs, has been absorbed into Horus which oversees foreign relations. Ptah, which was once the Ministry of Culture, has been absorbed into Isis, otherwise known as Integration. Apis, a new priesthood, has been created to oversee Osiran media, which was formerly covered under Ptah. The merger of Culture and Integration may reflect the importance of these areas, in regards to Cormac’s priorities for this term. Meanwhile, the creation of Apis suggests that Cormac is laying the groundwork for his idea for a “pro-imperialist” media outlet. The pairing of World Assembly Affairs and Foreign Affairs, although a bit unusual, corresponds with Osiris’s recent public announcement which promoted sovereigntism as a holistic, far-reaching ideology. Cormac’s new cabinet consists of both old faces and some new. Treize Dreizehn for Vizier, James for Regional Affairs, Treize Dreizehn for Foreign Affairs, Zaolat for Media, Severisen, former pharaoh, for Security, and Zeorus for Justice. Delivering on another campaign promise, within the Priesthood of Horus, Cormac has established “The Foreign Policy Advisory Council (FPAC)”. This committee serves as the Pharaoh’s Board of Advisers on state matters. This committee is comprised of seven ex officio members and three additional members invited by the Pharaoh. However, over only the past few weeks, the committee has already shifted more than a game of musical chairs – some new appointments were invited into the fold, North East Somerset and Rachel Somerset were removed for unknown reasons and other members have switched places. At the time of this writing, the ex officio members of the committee are Cormac Somerset, Treize Dreizehn, Severisen, Vaculatestar, and Venico BrightAxe. The committee also includes invited members, Aincora, Bran Truine, Common Sense Politics, and Joshua Bluteisen. Nonetheless, in a season of change follows a storm of controversy. In particular, Cormac’s stance on griefing led to some fierce disagreement from the public. A veto of the “Colonies and Territories Act” sparked controversy when Cormac said that he would not allow Osiris to lead any griefing operation. Of course, this only applies for leadership of a mission, not support missions. Griefing, a widely despised practice outside of invader and imperialist circles, hurts Osiris’s image abroad and isolates them from having stronger diplomatic relations with non-invader circles, argues Cormac. Venico, former delegate, most notably voiced his opposition to restricting Osiris from griefing regions, arguing it was necessary for the military’s activity – a claim which Cormac disputes. Overall, it can be said that running and winning on a platform of change soared Cormac through the polls. Indeed, it seems as though his promises of change are in the process of being implemented without much of a hitch, although not without their share of controversy. Rumours of an “Imminent” Retirement for Krulltopia COMMENTARY | UNIBOT "Hey, look, pal, I don't want to buy a suit!" "[Laughs] No, this is for your coffin". "My coffin?!" Emperor Krulltopia recently celebrated his fifth anniversary as Emperor, but already rumors are spreading that the Bunny Tyrant may be retiring shortly. The rumors started last week in #the_north_pacific among other social channels, claiming that the Emperor intended to resign his position as delegate after August 28th, the eleventh anniversary of Francos Spain’s rise to power in The Pacific. Krulltopia has seen The Pacific through a difficult time for the region – inheriting leadership over the region following an unsuccessful civil war and a decline in Francoism as an ideology. Over the past couple of years, Krulltopia has spearheaded the transition of The Pacific from a Francoist state to a Post-Francoist state – facing internal challenges from Former Senator Gaspo, among others, who advocated for a special brand of imperial independentism that rose to prominence in the ideological vacuum, amidst the launch of the Sovereign Confederation. Feux, NPO Senator, told The Rejected Times that “the rumors are just rumors”. Noting that he and fellow senator, Elegarth had laughed when they first heard the rumors. “Non-Pacificians are the first to claim they know everything about us,” says Feux. In all actuality, Krulltopia is often tight-lipped about such details and it is unlikely any rumors could emerge from a credible source. Over the years, his inward style of leadership and deliberate absence in the international sphere has been mistaken for inactivity, so much so even that it is very likely that Krulltopia could continue as delegate for many more anniversaries to come. Is a “Rachtatorship” Good for Balder? EDITORIAL | UNIBOT The title says it all, Unibot investigates the question of the hour... In an unexpected announcement, Queen Rachel dismissed the Statsminister and assumed control of the Riksraadet. The move was justified by the monarch on the basis of improving Balder’s activity in a time of crisis for the sinker which has been plagued with inactivity for the past several months. Affectionately, one Balderan called the new administration, the “Rachtatorship”. It is impossible to know for sure whether this move will actually improve Balder’s activity – critics of the move in Balder have argued that it will not, while supporters are adamant that it will greatly bolster the region’s activity. I would, however, like to first look at the basic features of a region that promotes activity in any general region, then apply that model to Balder’s case and see whether this most recent initiative in Balder passes muster or struggles to impress. Conceptualising Activity What is activity? It’s participation. So to figure out what generates activity, we have to figure out what generates participation. First, I have to disagree with other academics – the source of activity isn’t “drama” or “chaos”, or even satisfaction with a region. It’s very possible to hypothesize the “Happy Inactopia” – a region where citizens are satisfied with their region and their government, despite its gross inactivity. In fact, in many inactive regions, satisfaction with the status quo is quite high because satisfaction is not an indicator of activity. Nay, satisfaction is undermined by our natural cognitive bias to embrace the status quo, lack of exposure to alternatives, loss aversion and our social and political inertia. Sometimes maintaining the status quo is just “easier” and more convenient – with those sentiments comes with it complacency and even genuine contentment. Meanwhile, activity is most certainly not “chaos”. Although “drama” (i.e., social conflict) is often a result/consequence of activity, “chaos” is more or less a political synonym for enforced activity or an engineered crisis. Certainly, events can and have motivated players to maintain their activity for a brief period of time in response to an immediate threat of deprivation or oppression, but maintaining that kind of long-term participation from players requires more than a threat, but a whole system that inspires, promotes and encourages their participation. Activity = Satisfaction Activity = Chaos We can also rule out the notion that activity is a product of a specific political structure – saying that authoritarian states are more inactive than democratic states is simply poor research. While the New Pacific Order might be considered inactive now, it was one of the leading and most active governments at one time. Meanwhile, some democracies like Pre-Revolutionary Lazarus or Balder have been plagued with almost endemic inactivity, which makes it no different from The West Pacific’s gerontocracy. Nay, sustainable activity begins first and foremost with proactive leadership that gets people involved. Most regions struggle to maintain their activity if their leadership is inactive and it is the pro-active approach among leaders which leads to any semblance of a resurgence of activity for a region. But activity is more complex than just to say you need people to inspire others to get active – there are many structural features of a region which can encourage or discourage participation. The most active regions, I have found, are like “living projects” which are constantly evolving – I like to call this kind of openness to change, “Lability”. When a region is labile, it has low political inertia – it’s constantly trying to progress and pursue perfection. One of the greatest obstacles is the mantra, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Successful regions pursue a “if you can make it better, make it better” mantra, which propels their discussion forward and keeps people interested in contributing to the region and shaping their region to be more relevant to them and their generation. Without lability, a region feels like it is in an “end state” for its users, which begs to question why anyone would see their participation as anything but redundant in that system. Let’s not put the cart before the horse however, all of this is greatly restrained if a region simply does not have the recruits! You can have the most pro-active leader and the most labile region in NationStates, but if you do not have the recruits and the fresh blood, there is nobody to participate in any potential activity campaign. This is why the problem of chronic inactivity is a spiraling, downward phenomenon – recovering from inactivity is not simply a matter of becoming active, it is a matter of closing an “activity gap” or breaking the glass ceiling. You need activity to become active – understand the paradox? This problem is partly a physical limitation, you need people to participate, but also a dynamic social phenomenon, people participate when they see others participating (out of presumably some deep-sated informational cascade). Beating an informational cascade requires a lot of laborious recruitment, some shrewdness and a lot of luck. However, even if you have all of these things, new recruits coming in the door, an active leader and a serious axe to grind for the status quo, you have still got to be concerned with how your region is organized. Traditionally, there are two schools of thought on this issue: The Cosmopolitan is a meritocrat that values the merit and contributions of residents, while The Regionalist is a communitarian that values demonstrations of loyalty from residents. To some extent, both have the right idea. If a region is not meritocratic enough, individuals will not feel as though they can succeed or rise to success in a region which may lead to talented individuals leaving said region out of frustration. The selection of individuals based on negative features (i.e., an autocrat might deliberately surround himself with incompetents to avoid a coup), popularity or loyalty alone, is bound to discourage talented residents who may not excel within those selection processes. The departure of this talent slows down the growth of participation in a region, thus emphasising the importance of meritocracy. Similarly, social cohesion is vital to the growth of participation in a region – if individuals feel they are a part of something greater than them which poses a solid identity and strong cultural dimension, it encourages them to contribute and cooperate with their fellow region-mates. Likewise, it is the perception that one region is different than other regions which attracts people to participate in the former, presumably unique region over others, thus the contributing cultural factors that predicate social cohesion are also quintessential to building a strong, positive pattern of activity in a region. We could articulate this general conceptualisation of activity as the formula above and it will serve as a tool for us as we proceed to analyze Balder’s approach to reviving their region’s activity. The Rachtatorship: The Pros and Cons The Good By taking direct control of the cabinet, Rachel is asserting herself to take on a more pro-active approach in rebuilding the region’s cultural and social infrastructure. The long, arduous process to revive participation in your region begins with a force for change that can inspire others to get more involved. It must be said that dismissing a leader that had continued to be inactive in their position and overseeing the recovery for one's self is a classic stable of pro-active politics. While there may be issues with how this initiative has been handled (which will discuss in a moment), letting an authority figure simply neglect their duties is not an option for any region which wants to pursue a more active course for their region. The Bad One of the main problems with this political maneuver is, however, that although letting the Statsminister continue in their position was not an option, there were other options than assuming direct control of the executive for one’s self (e.g., placing someone else in control or justifying an open dialogue about constitutional changes with the Statsminister’s inactivity). This bridging of the Monarchy and the Cabinet is a sign of an even less meritocratic Balder. In a region which already reeks of a horizontal hierarchy, where players rise to prominence based on the relationships they maintain with those higher in the rungs of power – a closing of the gap between the (already enormously influential) monarchy and the executives, provides a signal to residents of an even greater preponderance of cronyism. "Toe the party line, keep in the good books of the top dogs and shut up” might be a fairly straightforward procedure, but overall it is a crony selection process that undermines the region’s meritocracy and discourages bright, more forthright talent from sticking around, when there are dozens of other regions similar to Balder where players can succeed on their own merits without the glass ceiling that this initiative lowers. The Ugly The real shame of this whole crisis is that Rachel has the opportunity to nurture a much stronger Balder, but her response thus far, to dismiss the executive, leaves her with only two clear directions. First, she could use her newfound status in the region to encourage her loyal cabal to spam more regularly, while she benefits politically from this power-grab and consolidates her political and social influence over the region. Rachel benefits enormously from this strategy – using the inflated forum post counts as a public vindication of all of her “hard work” and leadership. But make no mistake, the region does not benefit from this kind of scenario – constrained by an influential elite, little open and genuine political and constitutional reform would be pursued when such activity could upset the balance of power. That is a recipe for prolonged inactivity – procrastinating in the areas of change, renewal and reassessment for another political season, until the consequences become all the more volatile for Balder. Alternatively, Rachel could use her place in the executive to oversee and accomplish a bold reconstruction and rebirth of Balder. However, that kind of change requires a serious compromise from the Monarchy in term of their influence over Balder, but it also requires an open mind about the current political, cultural and constitutional arrangements and how they could be changed to ensure the region recruits more and finds new faces to participate and contribute (without elites worrying about the blowback from immigration on their own influence), values and rewards contributing members and develops a stronger identity and cultural dimension. Yelling “Fram Balder!” does not ‘cut it’ – you want players to truly identify with the region. Ultimately, it is Rachel’s decision whether to take the easy road and put Balder’s systemic issues on the backburner, or take the high road and threaten her own position in the region to give it a brighter future. As fate will have it, the contentment that people have for the status quo, as I discussed earlier, often delays this decision, but every so often a popular political dynasty in the Game-Created Regions faces that difficult choice of whether to roll the die and continue the victory lap or open the region to new possibilities. This decision, the final act… the day we dread to live, makes kings out of folk heroes and stories, good and bad, out of kings.
  7. Weird Laws of NationStates FEATURE | UNIBOT Dare to enter if you will... an expedition into the quirky, the silly and the downright weird laws of NationStates's Game-Created Regions. ________________________________________________________________________ 16. The East Pacific. Article F.8 prohibits The East Pacific from granting titles of nobility, or citizens accepting titles of nobility from foreign governments. This law was a reaction to The Empire (who used nobility titles), but also served as an Anti-Imperialist measure for several subsequent governments. This is a case of a bizarre law serving a useful function years after its creation. 15. Balder. Section 4.C of the Instrument of State and Government Act allows any former monarchs to continue to title themselves King or Queen - this includes several former delegates, who served prior to the establishment of a monarchy! 14. Lazarus. Section 4 of the Legislative Style Law requires all laws to use common English. 没有更多英语!! 13. Osiris. Section 2.10.a of the State Code of Osiris sets the endorsement cap on the "Guardians of the Atef" at 66% of the delegate's endorsements. The entire rest of the State Code of Osiris uses "two-thirds", but nope, Section 2.10.a requires specifically, a 66% cap. Nobody bothered to tell them that two-thirds isn't 66%. Might as well have chosen 69 and made it a cool number. 12. The South Pacific. Article 10.2 declares that all citizens can request a Great Council to review all of The South Pacific's laws. All other motions require at least a seconded motion. 11. The Pacific. An old gem: Section 406 of The Civil Code prohibits "bad grammar to the point of complaint". 10. The East Pacific. Article F.9 of the Concordat proclaims that "all rights not in this Concordat described or reserved to the government shall remain in the hands of the individual nations". Yes, tilt your head and read it again. All rights not in the Bill of Rights shall still be possessed by individual nations. This legal caveat has been used as a legal catch-all, giving breathing room for the Conclave's members to rule however they like on pressing issues. Dare to continue? It only gets more loopy from here.... 9. The South Pacific. Article 2.1 and Article 2.6 mandates that residents have a right to reside in The South Pacific, so long as they reside in The South Pacific. 8. The Rejected Realms. Although in most regions, run-off elections would commence following a tie during an election, due to Article 3.E, ties force officers to "break the tie" and if this still results in a tie, the delegate must "break the tie". Scare quotations are a result of this author having no clue what "breaking the tie" means - could mean a separate election, or else, players are actually forced to switch their vote to break a tie??? 7. Lazarus. Article 1.8 of the Penal Code of the People's Republic of Lazarus prohibits Vexatious Metacommunication. What is "Vexatious Metacommunication", you might ask? The repeated use of emoticons to the point of annoyance. Watch out Rachel! The recommended sentence is banishment from the forum and in-game region. 6. The North Pacific. Section 5.5.28 of their Code of Laws, entitled "Sanity", requests that all Security Council laws be applied in a reasonable manner. Curiously, no similar law applies to any other branch of The North Pacific's government. 5. The Pacific. An old gem: Section 404 of The Civil Code cannot be found - seriously. 4. Osiris. Article VIII of The East Pacific - Osiris Treaty of Amity requires both Osiris and The East Pacific, prompty notify each other of a new delegate's election. "WHO IS THE DELEGATE OF OSIRIS!!?!?" "I DUNNO" "HOW WILL I EVER FUNCTION WITHOUT MY FORMAL NOTIFICATION!!!" 3. Lazarus. Article 1.B of the Law of Official Images requires the use of Lazarus's seal in all foreign updates and diplomatic statements. Here's the catch: "if it is not used, no seal should be used". Brilliant no? 2. The West Pacific. Article 1.1 of The Regional Assembly of Nations of The West Pacific Act gives their legislative assembly explicit permission to change their legislature's name with a motion receiving 50+1% support. In fact, changing the name of the legislature appears to be one of the most common events in The West Pacific's legislative record. And the finale.... 1. The North Pacific. 7.1.4 of their Code of Laws prohibits the use of TNP's arms in national flags (presumably to prevent impersonation), but nations are free to use TNP's flag (which features TNP's arms - and more effective for impersonation). This bizarre quirk of the law was upheld with Court rulings on Nov 25 2012 and Jan 18 2013. So if you're ever stuck on deciding what flag to fly in The North Pacific, here's a brief guide for you... And remember, if you don't follow this guide - you could face a count of treason !!
  8. Balder Queen Dismisses Government COMMENTARY | TRR NEWS "I am removing everyone," says Queen Rachel. In a shocking announcement this afternoon, Queen Rachel Somerset of Balder has announced that she was unilaterally terminating the Statsminister (Head of Government) and removing all the members of the Riksraadet (Privy Council). To fill the void, the Queen told the region that she would be assuming direct leadership of the government and accepting applications for membership into the Riksraadet. To make this unilateral move, Queen Rachel initiated a royal decree based on her residual powers for the “peace, order, and good government of Balder”. This phrase comes from a controversial clause in the original Consitution Act, 1867 from Canada – “POGG” powers as they have become known by constitutional scholars and academics have been criticized for their far-reaching scope. Justifying this move as a necessary motion to counterbalance Balder’s slide towards inactivity, the Monarch told the region that for the “past few months” it had “seen a collapse in the governance of Balder”, while calling its current state, “embarrassing”. Thus far, the dismissal of the government has been well received by the King of Balder, North East Somerset, but Zander Cerebella had different words for the dismissal: calling the motion a “royal pain in the ass”. Whether or not this move can turn around Balder from a long season of cronic inactivity remains to be seen. In the meantime, the monarch could receive political blowback for this "house cleaning" session - removing the Head of Government and the entire Council of State.
  9. Not possible, I'm afraid. Many of these new-fangled IPB forums do not have a consistent spoiler tag (I've considering doing that in the past). It's hard enough as it is to reformat every edition for IPB. If NS's GCRs would stick to ZB it would be possible to do an issue organized with
  10. Issue XXV. July 25, 2014. Editor-in-Chief: Unibot | Copy Editor: Gruenberg Table of Contents Part I Not In My Wildest Dreams (Kogvuron) Bearly Started: A Special Interview with Bears Armed The Legitimate Point of View? (Glen-Rhodes) Migration in The Rejected Realms (Starrie) The Decline of Defending (Cormac Somerset) Part II It’s the End of the World! (Afforess) The Myth of the Gameplay-Role Play Divide (Joe Bobs) A Critique of the Wolfist Manifesto (Kogvuron) We'll see your World Cup and Raise You! (Apox) The Battlefield Effect (Unibot) Part III Foreign Relations Main Talking Point In The South Pacific Elections (Gruenberg) Lazarus "Wins" The World Cup (Kogvuron) World Assembly Legislative League Treaty Ratified By TNP (Gruenberg) NSG Reacts to MH17 With Shock And Anger, Mostly Anger (Thafoo) Is TNP's community "cracking at the seams"? (Church of Satan) World Assembly's 300th Resolution Breaks Record (Gruenberg) TRR Chooses a New Flag! (Church of Satan) In Brief - News Round-Up (Gruenberg) Not In My Wildest Dreams FEATURE | KOGVURON The founder of The Rejected Times reflects on its legacy and impact... A year and a half ago, I started the TRR Media Organization on a whim. I saw an opening, an opportunity, and I took it. At the time, there were no real established media organizations, save for the PNN which was always more into satire than reporting. I wanted to help create something special, something unique, and something that we as a region could be proud. We started out with humble beginnings. Issue 1 was only 5 short articles and an interview, and was basically put together by three people. However, as time went on, the Organization grew and changed and adapted in order to fit the current times. Today, the Rejected Times as the Media Organization is now known, regularly pumps out issues with the most insightful editorials, the most informative commentaries, and the funnies cartoons available in NationStates gameplay. I could talk about the Times for pages, but instead I’m going to talk about a couple of other things. First, I wanted to acknowledge the change that the Times has made in gameplay as a whole. As I said earlier, back when I founded the Times, there were basically no serious media organizations. Today, there are many. Most excitingly, many of our fellow GCRs have formed their own media organizations as well. From The Northern Lights to the Independent Herald Tribune, the Rejected Times has helped to inspire a new generation of GCR media organizations. And this is something that we can all be excited in. Second, I wanted to talk highlight the work put in by the staff of the Rejected Times. Our paper truly has the greatest staff of journalists in NationStates. From the all-star writers whose eye-opening op-eds headline pieces, to less-recognized reporters who help keep people informed about what is going on, everyone works extremely hard to meet deadlines, and to keep improving. Today, TRT is so far removed from my original image of what the media organization would be like, and that is great, because the input of so many people has made it far better than what I alone imagined. Third, I wanted to thank everyone who has ever been involved in a publication of the Times. You have transformed a small idea into huge publication, one that will surely last long past most of us here in this game. You helped to build one of the greatest newspapers that this game has ever seen. And you have made me proud to call myself a contributor to the Rejected Times. Thank you, and here is to 25 more stellar issues! Bearly Started: A Special Interview with Bears Armed INTERVIEW | UNIBOT Bears Armed sails to victory with "Legal Competence". 7,135 votes to 2,282. Congratulations on your victory with "Legal Competence". For our readers, could you give a brief overview of the resolution? Certainly. It requires that every member nation have and use a fair system of some kind for determining which people there are or aren’t fit to make important decisions for themselves, without needing a parent or guardian’s approval for their actions, whilst leaving the actual details of those systems for the nations (in their variety) to determine locally. If I understand it correctly, this stands as a major success for you in a career-long crusade to push for sapient rights? How did that mission begin and what have been some of your successes and losses along the way? It began quite shortly after I got involved in NS. I started looking at the ‘United Nations’ (the international organisation that we had in those pre-‘WA’ days) a few months after creating my first nation, Godwinnia, and by that stage I’d already decided that the nation had some Fantasy elements in its nature including the presence of groups from a few non-human peoples in its population. This meant that when I started looking for proposal ideas and noticed that there was nothing guaranteeing sapient non-humans the same rights that humans enjoyed, it seemed an obvious possibility to try. However my own first attempt at drafting a proposal on the subject inspired somebody else to create one as well, they submitted theirs before mine was ready, and when theirs was voted-down I turned to other projects instead for a while. Are things complete for the Sapient Rights movement? Or is there more work to be done? There’s definitely more work that could be done, although in some cases that might interfere more extensively with national sovereignty than I or the Bears would really like: We accept the need for international legislation in the case of the most ‘fundamental’ rights, but have a rather narrower view than some nations do about what rights should actually counts as 'fundamental' in that context. For one thing, I’d still like to see an “Equal rights for non-human sapients” resolution passed, although bearing in mind that at least three other proposals on the subject (including one by me) have already been voted down since the earliest one that I already mentioned here I’m not very optimistic about the chance of that ever happening. An idea that does seem quite obvious and potentially viable would be a resolution about the rights & duties of the guardians who are assigned to look after the interests of those individuals who don’t qualify to manage their own affairs under the Legal Competence rules. I was going to start work on one myself, as a follow-up to ‘Legal Competence’, but another nation has already started a draft and for now I’ve settled for commenting on that instead. I heard you faced a moderation challenge with "Legal Competence" before it passed. Obviously the proposal survived, so what was the challenge? How was it resolved? All that I know about it is what was posted in the discussion thread: Somebody, their identity not publicly revealed, questioned whether some detail in the text would count as either contradicting or amending an existing resolution — despite my inclusion of a line specifically recognising that earlier resolutions (if still in effect) took precedence over this proposal in any cases where they overlapped — and the Mods decided that it didn’t do so. Although I've known you for a long time, I'm not sure I'm well informed about Bears Armed, the player. How did you find NationStates? How did you get settled down into the World Assembly and the NS Sports community? And how did your bears theme develop? I originally learned about NS, back in 2005, from an online friend-of-a-friend who mentioned that she’d just revived her own nation and posted a link to that page. The basic idea looked interesting, and I had some spare time available, so I created ‘Godwinnia’ that same day and never looked back. I lurked in the forums for a couple of months before starting to post there, learning what was what, and the NS-UN was simply the side of things that attracted me most: I introduced myself there by commenting a bit on some drafts by other people and then went on to start the ‘Sapient Rights’ proposal that I’ve already mentioned, and apparently did so sensibly enough that the existing regulars accepted me quite quickly. The ‘NS Sports’ side of things, which in those days was included in the ‘NS’ sub-forum rather than given a separate section of its own, was a later addition to my interests: Shortly after creating the Bears I was looking for ways in which to introduce them to the outside world, sign-ups for the [first] Summer Olympics happened to be open, and my involvement just grew from there. And why the Bears, you ask? Well, after running various human or mostly-human nations for about a year I decided that I’d like to try the challenge of running an actual non-human nation successfully, I didn’t want to simply resort to using one or another of the well-known concepts from SF&F, a Modly comment in the forum about the illegality of submitting joke proposals on ideas such as that old favourite the “Right to Keep and Arm Bears” put this idea into my head, bears did look rather easier to handle than some of the other possibilities… and I’d always had both a sweet tooth and urges to hibernate when winter came along. As you may know, The Rejected Times often publishes articles that provide a critical light on issues in the World Assembly, especially in regards to the Secretariat. What issues do you think are most prominent in the World Assembly (if any) and how do you see these issues being resolved? Well, let’s see... a/ Starting with one of the biggest shouting points of recent months, there’s the question of whether Mall made a misjudgement in proposing ‘Liberate Haven’, because a lot of people think he should have realised that doing so would stir up such a major storm and that this might impact on quite a few other players’ feelings about the Secretariat as a whole. My response to this would be: Yes, in my opinion he made a serious mistake. No, though, it obviously wasn’t an abuse of power. No, he shouldn’t “have to” resign, but he should learn from this and be more careful in future… and if he doesn’t learn from this situation, and does something else along those lines that causes such a major kerfuffle again, then maybeso then the Secretariat as a whole would be well-advised to reconsider whether having him in their ranks is overall an asset or a hindrance to their work. b/ Some of the GA regulars have expressed unhappiness about various recent rulings on proposals’ legality, but although I might have preferred more clarity about the reasoning involved in a few cases I don’t actually have any major objections to raise there. I understand and have no problem with the Secretariat’s current policy of using all of the GA-experienced Mods available to try and get their rulings as correct as possible on the first paw, instead of deliberately holding some back for potential use as a ‘court of appeal’, especially bearing in mind the limited number of judges that they have available: In my personal experience they’ve always been willing to listen to reasoned arguments about the actual facts involved, and past precedents, if the players raising questions actually take that approach instead of trying to insist on changes to the existing rules or just shouting for a second opinion. c/ And talking about players wanting the rules changed, there’s also the recurring drive by some GA semi-regulars to have the ‘mandatory compliance’ rule abolished… That’s a potential change that I definitely think would be another mistake, because even leaving aside the matter of passed resolutions causing stat changes — which might not always make perfect sense under current circumstances, but would become downright nonsensical if member nations were actually free to ignore any & all GA laws to which their governments objected — if all resolutions became totally optional then where would be the point in trying to hard to craft ‘good’ proposals and get those passed? How much sense would still bothering with that if it would have no more effect than simply tossing ideas out bloggishly on a “take it or leave it” basis? What, in fact, would continue to distinguish the GA from NSG? You've been a modestly vocal anti-invasion advocate for a long time - and in a way, you're both a roleplayer and a gameplayer. So, may I ask: do you see solutions on the horizon for settling the divide between Gameplay and Roleplay? Especially in regards to the "Liberate Haven" debacle? Sadly, no, I don’t. Some raiders might become more “reasonable” about their choices of targets, but I suspect that there will always be others who either attack everywhere that they can or deliberately choose the targets that they know there will be the most fuss about so that — in some peoples’ eyes — they will look more important. As long as the administration continues to regard R/D as a valuable aspect of NS, and declines to introduce any measures that would drastically limit it, we’re probably stuck with more-or-less the current situation. Have you ever considered becoming a defender? Why or why not? *hands Bears Armed a business card tactfully* I’ve considered that, yes, but there are several reasons why I’m unlikely to make defending a major part of my NS activity: RL generally limits my ability to be around at updates, I’m averse to being a cog in a larger organisation (I already get more than enough of that for my liking in RL, and one reason why I enjoy NS so much is being in charge of something — even though that’s only a fictional nation — myself instead…), I think that Bears Armed Mission’s continued GA activity might actually contribute more to both its home region and the game as a whole than just adding one more soldier to the ranks would do, and it really wouldn’t makes sense from an IC viewpoint for Bears Armed Mission to keep moving between regions. However there have been a few occasions, during periods while B.A.M. wasn’t regional delegate, when I’ve shifted WA membership temporarily to other puppets that were already in various other regions so that those could support native delegates against outside threats… and I do have puppets, acknowledged or secret, in quite a few regions… The NS World Cup is coming up soon - what are Bears Armed's chances? And how do you plan to roleplay this World Cup? I’d like to say “an easy win”, but to be honest — considering their recent form, and consequent rating — I’d be overjoyed just to get them through the qualifiers successfully and into the World Cup proper again for the first time in a while. I think that that might be possible this time around, looking at how free I will be to spend time on my RPs. And the main theme for this RP? I’m going to continue with a storyline that I actually began several Cups ago, but that was intended from the start to be spread across the years: It’s basically inspired by DC Comics’ classic ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ storyline from 1985, although with more of an Ursine aspect… “Look, up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s SuperBear!” I know you’re a big fan of NationStates Issues and you’ve done a lot of research on how they affect nations and how population rises. What’s your favourite NationStates Issue and why? Careful there, Uni, you almost look as though you’re implying that some issue decisions might actually affect population levels… which we know, despite the fact that some answers look as though they should have effects, isn’t the case. My “favourite issue, and why?” Ouch, that’s a difficult question: So many possible choices… I think that I’ll have to go with #201 ‘Jolly Roger Sighted Off The Port Bow!’, for its novelty value. Thank you so much for joining us for this very special issue, Bears Armed. Good luck in the future, mate. I couldn’t think of a genuinely nicer, more treasured player who we could have shared with the world for this interview. If you’ve got any final words for our readers, you have the floor. Thank you for the compliments, and thank you for giving me this opportunity to express my opinions. “Remember, dear readers, it isn’t absurd: A person’s a person, no matter how furred.” And remember, too, that only you can prevent wildfires! The Legitimate Point of View? Independentism's influence over The South Pacific wanes OPINION | GLEN-RHODES Disclaimer: The following views are that of the author solely in a private capacity. In early June 2104, the Assembly of The South Pacific found itself yet again debating the region’s stance on military gameplay – whether we are Independent, and what being Independent truly means. This discussion had last been held in late November 2013, when Hileville posed the question if TSP was actually Independent, given the raider and imperialist slant of its foreign affairs. That discussion did not lead anywhere, except to show that Independence in TSP was not monolithic – it has its supporters and detractors, and not everybody agreed on what it meant in the first place. Belschaft, the region’s loudest and most prolific advocate of Independence, proposed a Charter amendment in June 2014 that would have officially re-declared Independence to be one of the “fundamental ideals and principles” of The South Pacific. The language read: "6. Independence; that ours is an independent region, devoid of any prescribed military ideology or alignment, and that our officials shall act on such basis." A year prior, this amendment would likely have sailed through the Assembly. But something unexpected happened. The fault lines that were first exposed in November 2013 were fully opened by Belschaft’s proposed amendment. Opponents to Independence, this author included, vilified the amendment as an attempt to push out non-Independents from the region. Proponents of the amendment denied that, and argued that it’s really defenders (particularly Unibot and myself) who were harming the region by advocating for something other than Independence. However, among those who called themselves Independents, or eschewed any label, there was a clear disjointing when it came to what these people really wanted. Many simply did not care about military gameplay, and assumed Independence was merely another term for not getting involved. Others thought of Independence more in terms of regionalism. The original language of Belschaft’s amendment was changed midway through the debate, abandoning the language of Independence, and adopting something some have started referring to as TSP First: "6. Openness; this region seeks to remain open in matters of military and political alignment, welcoming all citizens and officials with loyalty to the region." While this language is different from that which ultimately made it to the voting floor (although failed to get the requisite 75% required to pass, with the region split 10-7 in supporting it), I believe this marks an evolution in the debate over Independence. Throughout the debate, it seemed that people began to see Independence as a distinct ideological position, with a set of connotations that went beyond merely “acting according to the interests of TSP.” In other words, I posit that TSP now sees Independence for what many have argued it has been all along: an ideology that consistently favors raiding and imperialism, and disapproves of defenders. TSP First arose from that debate as a completely separate ideal, one in which raiders, imperialists, defenders, and neutrals are all capable of having TSP’s best interests in mind, even if they advocate for the adoption if a particular ideology. It’s under this ideal that I made the conscious choice to highlight my disagreements with Independence in my own campaign platform. A year or two ago, this would have been predictable political suicide. In my past two campaigns for Minister of Foreign Affairs, I avoided discussing the topic altogether, instead focusing on internal ministry reforms. However, I always thought that it was a shame TSP could not see people run on their beliefs, because being anything other than Independent was too controversial. The debate over Belschaft’s amendment, and the subsequent failure of even a watered down version, signaled to me that the iron-fisted vision of Independence as the exclusively acceptable ideology of TSP no longer existed. I also saw a dramatic shift in other GCRs. Osiris went raider. Lazarus went defender. The Rejected Realms officially adopted the “defender” label in January 2014, although it had long been a member of the Founderless Regions Alliance. I have no illusions that TSP will adopt a specific military stance anytime soon. There are still people in the region who believe that non-Independents threaten TSP society. There are even more who don’t really care about military gameplay, at least not enough to go all in on any particular stance. But I think TSP will enter into a new era where Independence is not the only legitimate point of view, and where Cabinet members can run on their sincerely held positions. And that is ultimately far better for the region than the alternative. Migration in The Rejected Realms An Empirical Investigation FEATURE | STARRIE This article profiles four groups of nations -- those immigrating to The Rejected Realms, those emigrating, migrating nations in general, and all nations in total. These are named trr-i, trr-e, wld-m, and wld-s respectively in the graphs. I've collected a sample size of almost 20,000 from each group, found on nsarchive.net. Error bars at 1-std. This shows the average civil rights, economy, and political freedom of each group of nation. With the exception of economy, nations immigrating to TRR seem to align with the average world nation while nations emigrating from TRR seem to align with migrating nations in general. These histograms show the three statistics, with score on the x-axis and frequency of the y-axis. Red, blue, and green show economy, civil rights, and political freedoms in some order which i've forgotten. Curiously, the wld-m group seems to be the only one which has lost the spike right below 60. The wld-s group seems to have a large proportion of nearly maxed-out scores. Beyond that, there isn't a huge visible difference in the charts. I stuck these two charts together for no particular reason. It seems that small nations do the majority of the moving in NS. It is notable that nations tend to leave TRR with a significantly larger population than when they joined. The effect is too large to dismiss as an artifact caused by the sampling window. Perhaps nations CTE less often in TRR. The influence chart reveals no surprises. Nations taking a quick trip through TRR leave with slightly less influence, and static nations tend to have the most influence. Influence is scored on a scale from 1 to 21, with 1 being minnow and 21 being hermit. These population histograms reveal more detail. Population is on the x-axis and frequency on the y. Note the natural log scale. Small nations make up a significant portion of nations, and the vast majority of nation migrations seems to be from the very youngest of nations, probably settling in a region. Surprisingly, the trr-e chart shows that few of the nations which joined TRR in their youth leave before around 100 million population. Possibly, young nations recruited to join one region rarely leave for another, at least for the first few weeks. For each group, there are two influence histograms. The histogram on the right excludes minnow in order to clearly show the rest of the bars. The trr-i histogram sticks out -- even though many hermits move from region to region, few move to TRR. This hints that the majority of nations moving to TRR don't do so voluntarily. Almost 35,000 nations pass through TRR in the last year. So where did they come from and where did they go? These pie-charts show the origin or destination of nations in all four groups. The top twenty regions are shown and the rest are just lumped together in Other. TRR recieves many nations from the sinkers, but barely any GCRs show up in TRR's emigration chart. The bottom two charts hint that nation migrations are fairly spread out. Although the top twenty regions hold what seems to be a third of the nations in NS, the top twenty in migration handle less than a fourth of moving nations. TRR is a clear outlier. One crude way to identify activity / enthusiasm is through flags, the rationale being that a collection of puppets is less likely to have custom flags than the average active region. Over a quarter of the nations entering TRR have the default flag, yet only a sixth leave TRR that way. But in general, we can still consider them slackers. Only 12% of all nations use the default flag, and among traveling nations, the figure is under 8%. The Decline of Defending A NationStates Great War on the Horizon? OPINION | CORMAC SOMERSET "Defending is dead." You may expect this statement to come from an imperialist or raider partisan, but it came instead from a high profile defender official in a Founderless Regions Alliance member region. Indeed, the decline in defending has been startling. In recent months, defenders have been largely absent at update, neither preventing most invasions nor even attempting to end most long-term occupations. Perhaps the starkest demonstration of the decline in defending was the Lone Wolves United occupation of American Continent, ended after two weeks only by the revival of the Founder, despite minimal support and a comedy of errors on the part of Lone Wolves United. Rumors of the death of defending should, of course, not be exaggerated. Both the raider and defender sides of the military gameplay spectrum have seen declines in the past, with defenders experiencing another recent decline during the summer of 2012 and raiders seeing an early 2013 lull in activity. In both cases, activity resumed after a few months. Still, it must be noted that the decline of defending has lasted longer than usual and preceded the overall 'summer lull' of NationStates by several months. If defending is truly dead, as at least one defender official believes, its passing from NationStates gameplay raises serious questions in regard to regional conflict. For as long as NationStates has existed there has been conflict between regions. Whether it's the overall invader-defender conflict or more specific examples such as the battle between the New Pacific Order and the Alliance Defense Network, there has always been conflict in NationStates and defenders have always been integral to that conflict. If defending is dead and buried, how will new forms of conflict take shape? Some have recently theorized that raiders are trying to create new enemies to replace defenders, or perhaps to become a new generation of defenders. This theory is based on Mallorea and Riva's attempt to pass a liberation resolution against the historic roleplay region Haven, followed shortly thereafter by invasions of roleplay regions Ixnay and American Continent by, respectively, The Black Riders and Lone Wolves United. This theory suggests a coordinated goal to provoke roleplayers into defensive action. Whether there is any truth to this theory, no such goal appears to have been accomplished, as roleplayers have instead continued to insist they want to 'opt out' of gameplay and will not be forced to participate in it as defenders. If defending remains dead, a far more likely scenario is escalation of already existing conflicts that lie just beneath the surface of a previously united sphere of independent, imperialist, and raider regions. Now able to sustain their own invasions and occupations without support from other regions, in recent months The Black Riders have taken a cavalier attitude toward independent and imperialist regions as well as other raider regions. This erosion of unity has already seen Ainur, currently a minor player in the imperialist sphere, seeking formation of an alliance with The Eternal Knights, the sworn enemies of The Black Riders. Other imperialist regions, such as imperialist Sinker region Osiris, have also begun distancing themselves from the Riders. Independents and imperialists, meanwhile, remain natural allies as they share the same fundamental goal: pursuit of regional interests through military policy, rather than advancement of rigid ideologies or apolitical, arbitrary military action. In the absence of a defender threat to their own military operations, it is becoming increasingly difficult for independents and imperialists to politically justify supporting The Black Riders' injudicious and aimless destruction of random founderless regions. For imperialists, who also prioritize the projection of their regional power upon the world stage, the absence of a defender enemy has led to an increase in liberation efforts against fringe invaders such as Right Wing Uprising and The Doom Squad as a means to this end. While these conflicts between independents and imperialists on the one hand and raiders on the other largely remain limited to harsh words, in a world in which words mean everything they could quickly lead to military action. One wrong move against the wrong region could find The Black Riders, the largest and most active raider force, as the new enemies of an extensive and tightly interconnected network of independent and imperialist alliances. If defending remains a ghost of its former glory, NationStates gameplayers should not be surprised to see regional conflict taking a new shape as a 'Great War' between political independent and imperialist regions versus apolitical purveyors of random destruction. It’s the End of the World! (As we know it) FEATURE | AFFORESS I’m leaving NationStates. By now, most readers should be well aware of the circumstances of my second deletion. I don’t think this deletion surprises too many people. Feared, respected, hated, or loved, I don’t think there is anyone left on NationStates that hasn’t formed an opinion on me or my actions as a player. I’ve never minded being a polarizing figure and I embrace controversy, but these two tendencies spell doom for interaction with the NationStates staff. Whether you think the moderators are ivory-tower tyrants or even-handed sheriffs guarding the wild west, there is no room left in NationStates for my cavalier brand of antics. I don’t conceal the fact that I think its better to ask for forgiveness than permission, or that if it can be done, it should be done. Right and wrong is a question for the historians, not the movers and shakers of tomorrow. This attitude of experimentation and disregard for tradition is incompatible with how the staff run NationStates. My welcome has long since been worn out. I don’t normally mind the vitriol or hate spewed in my direction, anyone who changes anything is always an easy target. The internet can be a hateful place, but it is also the final frontier, where anything can still happen. But I think a tipping point has been reached where most players would rather see me go than see me stay. As a permanent resident of Capitalist Paradise, I’ve always embraced democratic rule. So it is hard for me to justify remaining when the majority would see me gone. I don’t want to stay against the wishes of the community. I’d rather leave, its not my place to dictate how the NationStates community should be run or what it should embrace. This isn’t an apology, I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong. I have a clean conscience. But it is the end of my time at NationStates, so it’s the end of the world. What will become of my many projects? NSWiki, NSArchives, NationStates++? The NationStates administrator [violet] expressed interest in acquiring all of my projects. We agreed upon an arrangement and all domains, services, and sites will become official NationStates Ltd. assets. This means the NationStates++ extension, NSWiki, and NSArchives are all going “official”, and will continue to be supported into the future. The goal is to integrate the best of the sites & services into the game over time, while continuing to use the sites as a “testbed” for beta testers and non-standard, but much desired features (like puppet management). Users should not see any interruption in services, and their data will remain secure. I’ll be working with the staff to make sure the transfer goes smoothly and my code & projects are well documented. To my friends, I am glad I had the opportunity to become friends with strangers over the internet, even thousands of miles apart. If you ever want to talk, don’t hesitate to email or find me somewhere to chat. To my users, I am glad I was able to improve your experience on NationStates, even if it was only a tiny bit. NationStates++ was a huge learning opportunity for me and I enjoyed every minute of helping you guys. To my detractors, I wish I could have known you better. In my experiences, most disagreements arise from miscommunications and unmet expectations, not a fundamental “unlikableness” in a person. I always wanted the best for NationStates, even if we didn’t agree on what best was. The Myth of the Gameplay-Role Play Divide OPINION | JOE BOBS In this article, I want to cover the wide range of issues that have arisen in recent weeks on the pseudo-divide between role play and gameplay. In the last issue of The Rejected Times, Gruenberg's excellent article covered the array of technical options aimed at resolving the situation, so I will not go over that ground, though I urge everyone to read it to understand some solutions being discussed. Instead, I wish to focus on the current 'GP versus RP' zeitgeist, dispelling some myths, examining the evidence and looking at a non-technical solution I have proposed. In the NS History thread, Space Dandy posed the question: have gameplay and roleplay always been so divided? Reploid Productions described the historical relationship as "identical" to today's, which was met with disagreement from others: Unibot cited Francos Spain's involvement in roleplay, while Blackbird recalled that the distinction is a more recent phenomenon, and that 'in character' or 'out of character' were more normal modes of thought in years gone by. My recollections are in agreement with this. NationStates is a very different place now than it was originally. This is not the beginning of a nauseating voyage of nostalgia and glorification of the past; it is simply true that the game was different. I believe the internet was different. Remember a time before Facebook? When you maybe had a Hi5 or MySpace account, and there was certainly no Netflix or Amazon Prime Streaming, because your internet made a funny noise when it started up and you maybe even went through that horrific AOL screen? This is what I remember when I began playing NationStates (though admittedly, perhaps my technology was worse than most). This is almost impossible to prove, but I feel that internet communities tended to be more specialised then, owing to there being fewer internet users who logged on daily or for long periods of time. NS was no different to the rest of the internet: communities were specialised, often focusing on a political ideology, national identity, or cultural trend. Let's examine the evidence. Two of the most powerful communities in 2005 were the Alliance of Capitalists, Conservatives and Economic Libertarians (ACCEL) and the NS Communist Party. The ADN and DEN fought their wars, but the vast majority of players were mostly concerned with forging alliances with other regions who came up when they searched 'liberal' or 'Europe', as these would probably be like-minded individuals. In this climate, gameplay and roleplay had no meaning: everyone was both a gameplayer and a roleplayer. One could make certain actions in character or out of character, but it was rare for someone to assert their identity as a gameplayer. or a roleplayer. This recruitment telegram from the ADN from 2003 was written in what we would today call roleplay language. So, if the divide is an illusion, what's the problem? Are roleplayers upset over nothing? Shouldn't they get equal treatment and be just as prone to invasion as any other founderless region? Mallorea and Riva clearly believes so, as he believes that releasing one's password makes one responsible for allowing invasion. But the logic here is distorted: if roleplayers want no part in gameplay, forcing them to maintain an Intelligence or Security Department to prevent invasion is forcing them into gameplay. He may be factually correct: there is nothing to distinguish a roleplay from a gameplay region in the eyes of an invader. Yet here is the misunderstanding: why ask the question as 'do roleplay regions take part in gameplay by default?' Why not ask: 'is there another way?' This week the FRA have launched a new tool for roleplayers to use: the FRA Intelligence Support Agency (FRAISA), which will provide security to any roleplay region who requests it, in the form of advice, performing security checks of new nations and, of course, defending and liberating. My hope is that this will provide a temporary fix until a technical solution is found to prevent the raiding of those who do not wish to engage. This brings me to another point. This debate is not gameplay versus roleplay: I may be accused of being a 'moral defender' for this, but this is invaders versus roleplay. Firstly, the invader philosophy of destruction as a form of creation is a myth. It creates activity for the invaders only. If it does create activity in the natives, it is not the kind of activity they want. If it were, we would see a lot more natives of invaded regions joining invader militaries. Secondly, defenders (bar a few examples) are not solely interested in defending as an end unto itself: they are also interested in region building and the continued existence of communities. This is one of the cornerstones of the FRA. Call me 'moral' as a dirty word if you will, but defending is in and of itself beneficial to NationStates in a way invading will never be, because NationStates is a text based game born from those years of slow internet, and so it is based on communication and interaction between communities. Defending preserves communities whilst invading does the opposite. I avoid using the term 'destroy' here only because of its connotations of forum destruction; perhaps a better wording would be that invaders silence communities, by silencing their identity through their WFE and flag and their interactions by closing embassies and erasing RMB messages. To those invaders who deny this, look at the outcry over The Black Riders' invasion of Farkistan, which has been called 'desecrating holy ground'. By following Mallorea and Riva's Liberate Haven fiasco with the invasions of Ixnay and American Continents, the invader and imperial community has fired across the bow of roleplayers, but in doing so they have attempted to draw a division that does not exist between gameplay and roleplay. It is a fabrication of their propaganda. The reality is: it's invaders versus everyone else. Everyone on NationStates who values their community; everyone who enjoys the interactions they have experienced; and everyone who wants to see their creations flourish. A Critique of the Wolfist Manifesto FEATURE | KOGVURON The Wolfist Manifesto is arguably one of the most important documents in the history of military gameplay. In it, Evil Wolf and Scardino laid out a set of principles that have guided raider organizations since 2007. At face value, the Wolfist Manifesto makes Wolfism seem to be a benevolent philosophy that aims to help nations all over NationStates by pillaging their regions and pushing them towards the "enlightened path." However, once one analyzes the document more closely, several interesting conflicts appear, which I will now expand upon. Are Raiders The Backbone of NationStates? In Section I of the Manifesto, Evil Wolf claims that "raiders are the backbone of NationStates." Wolf introduces this point by alluding to the Communist Manifesto, and then describing the conflict created by raiders as the most important conflict. In doing so, Evil Wolf follows the theory of activity set out by The Mighty Pump and Todd McCloud in their pieces "Pump's Views on Activity in NationStates" and "The Necessity of Chaos." Under this theory, raiders would spur activity by creating conflicts, thereby being the "activity creators" in NationStates, and forming its backbone. Wolf's complete ignoring of all non-gameplay factions aside, I challenge this idea by introducing the idea of a world without defenders, such as the one that Wolf proposes will eventually be the end result of Wolfism. Without defenders, raiding would exist. However, most raids would be either a) tag raids or one-sided raids. Tag raids generate a little activity for the raider organization, but this activity is mostly meaningless and has no real value. One-sided raids too generate activity for the raider organization, but the lack of hope for a liberation would cause hopelessness to set in among the native population, thereby suppressing activity among communities that were raided. From this, I conclude that raiders are not the backbone of NationStates, because without defenders, any activity generated by raiders would be inconsequential for all outside of an elite few raiders, and would even suppress activity in the rest of the gameplay world. Raiders and defenders together are the backbone of NationStates. This brings me to my second point. How Does Wolfism Help Natives? In Section II, Evil Wolf claims that raiding a region "propels [it] towards the enlightened path." This implies that raiding, and Wolfism, somehow helps natives, despite conspiring to deface and occupy their homelands. This is quite an interesting take on military gameplay to say the least. The premise put forth in this section depends on whether a) raids spur meaningful activity in the target regions or the end result of Wolfism is somehow favorable to natives, favorable enough that it would negate any short-term losses. With most raids today being tag raids on regions that are already half-dead, it is safe to say that most raids do not spur meaningful activity for the affected natives. Even in regions targeted for long-term occupations, lasting activity is usually not a result. Out of 16 non-tag raids performed by TBR since 2012 that are not ongoing, 1 is active (Catholic), 3 are moderately active (South America, Ohio, Yorkshire), 8 are inactive (Deutschland, RORMS, Korel, Former United States, Ireland, Coffee House, Orion, Christmas, Western Assembly), and 4 are colonies (Islamic Republic of Iran, UNO, Planet X, The Silver Isles). Although this sample set is not statistically valid for all raiders because it focuses on just TBR, I think the point is clear. Raids simply do not spur meaningful activity in invaded regions. It is safe to say that the Wolfist premise is not true by point (a). Therefore, it must be true by point ( if true at all. This leads me to the last and final section of this piece. Dictatorship of the Raider In the Manifesto, Evil Wolf claims that Wolfism seeks to bring about the "Dictatorship of the Raider" by destroying defenderism completely. I assume this would look like a world ruled by raiders, where raiders can go around destroying whatever region they want without opposition, although the term is so vague that it could mean any number of things. Based on this, there are a couple of issues with the Dictatorship of the Raider. Going back to point ( from the last section, the Dictatorship of the Raider would have to be long-term positive to natives in order for Wolfism to be good for natives. I think it is clear that a Dictatorship of the Raider would be an absolute catastrophe for natives, because natives would always have to watch their backs for invasions, thereby being distracted from whatever they actually wanted to do. Thus, I think it is clear that the premise is not true by point ( , and therefore, Wolfism does not help natives. More importantly in the military gameplay of today, Wolfism advocates for unity among raiders so that they can create the Dictatorship of the Raider. Theoretically, a world with a Dictatorship of the Raider would be basically utopian for raiders, as there would be no defenders. However, without defenders, raiders would quickly run out of regions to raid and raiders would have to turn in among themselves for the next targets. Because of this, a Dictatorship of the Raider could never last, simply because of the nature of raiding organizations. Raiders will always keep looking for the next target, and sooner or later, that target will be other raiders, causing civil war among the Dictatorship and allowing a new generation of defenders to arise. Raider unity towards the creation of the Dictatorship of the Raider is useless. Conclusion and Credits I hope that my critique sheds light on some conflicts and inaccuracies inside of the Wolfist Manifesto. One of the things that I personally found interesting about the Wolfist Manifesto was its modeling on the Communist Manifesto. While the Communist Manifesto argued for a classless society where all are socially equal, the Wolfist Manifesto in fact argues for the elevation of a raider class above all at the expense of natives and defenders. I don't know if this juxtaposition was intentional, but it was certainly an intriguing choice of model by Evil Wolf. Credit to Evil Wolf and Scardino for the writing of the Wolfist Manifesto, and to The Mighty Pump and Todd McCloud for the pieces that I cited in the text of my argument. The list of non-tag raids by TBR was taken from a list of raids by Feuer Ritter. I am unaware of whether this list is complete, but I think any additional raids unmentioned would be unlikely to affect the conclusion much. We'll see your World Cup and Raise You! LXIX NationStates World Cup coincides with RL World Cup FEATURE | APOX Apox, Co-Host of the NationStates World Cup, discusses the history and the future of the famed NS tournament... The NationStates World Cup is by far the longest-running event in the NS Sports section of the forums. Founded in 2003, with 36 different winners since then, it is about to begin its 69th edition, with myself and The Holy Empire (the only nation still-active in the tournament that also participated in WC 1) co-hosting. It is therefore by far the most prestigious tournament we have in our sub-forum, with numbers regularly topping 180 competing nations since I've taken part, and occasionally more than 200. It is one of the biggest hosting achievements any nation can undertake in NS Sports, only surpassed in size and complexity by NationStates Olympics. The World Cup is intentionally closely modelled on the Real Life football/soccer version: while many nations enter, only 32 qualify for the finals. There have been significant changes over time regarding the generation of scores, with the first two tournaments using dice to generate results. However, Excel spreadsheets were introduced in WC 3, and by the 5th tournament, excel spreadsheet formats started to focus on the "three Rs": rank, roleplay and random. The balancing of these three components has been a much debated point over the years, with frequent arguments over how random a "scorinator" is. So frequent are both arguments and upset results in games that the community can often be heard to talk of the dread random number goddess known as Margaret, who can be appeased through the sacrifice of rubber chickens. While a range of scorinators were used in the middle years of the tournament, the current scorinators are typically NSFS (Nations States Footie Simulator) or Xkoranate (a gargantuan scorinator with many different events). A system known as "KPB rankings" tracks each contestant's success (or lack thereof) over recent tournaments, allowing for a fair assessment of each team's current multiverse national football team rank. However, what really makes the World Cup great is the community. 90% of users who take part in the NSSport sub-forum will enter the World Cup, and there have been many legendary, funny or downright absurd roleplays over the years. Current active teams include squads composed of Orthodox Christian monks, sentient ursines, and absurdly polite gentlemen in top hats, while long-term participants fondly remember the legendary incident involving an egg....; there are even some 'normal' football teams. Nearly every cup, there will be collaborative roleplays between nations, and it is these collaborations, planned or unplanned which makes the World Cup so fun. Even if winning the damn thing is so hard… The Battlefield Effect Where Independentism Goes Wrong… EDITORIAL | UNIBOT One of the key observations of this article is that partisan politicians themselves are more irrational, more dangerous, defensive and most of all more partisan, when the entrenchment of their values is threatened. This is the source of what I will call “The Battlefield Effect” and it is a phenomenon which has extremely grave consequences for independentism. We expect that when a region becomes “independent”, leaders will make more balanced and rational decisions, voters will act more balanced and rational and the whole region itself becomes a more calculative machine. That is the intended purpose of independentism: to pursue a region’s interests above all else. However, from my observations, independentism has the exact opposite effect than intended. Leaders become more partisan, voters become more partisan and the region itself becomes a more partisan machine. It can be said that The Battlefield Effect occurs when players seek out other ways to confirm their region’s alignment, in the absence of a clear official alignment. When a region lacks a clear alignment that is not the “end” of the debate. Players seek out other ways to signal their region’s alignment and these signalling tools can take on an absolutely irrational form. For example, you might believe a treaty isn’t just a treaty; it’s an affirmation that “we share common ideals” *nudge* *nudge* *wink*. You could propose a treaty with X, Y or Z or cancel a treaty with X, Y and Z to more closely align a region towards an alignment. Alliancing with other more solidly aligned regions serves to confirm what has been left unconfirmed in the wake of the region’s independentism. Likewise, you might propose an election isn’t just an election; it’s a confirmation of “where the region stands” *coughs*. If so and so wins or loses an election it signals a shift in a region’s alignment based on the stances of those running – despite none of them (perhaps) running as anything but a closet defenderist or invaderist. Over the years, I have noticed many issues where military gameplay has played a silent third rail in the political backdrop – players competing over polls, attempting to define their region’s culture with regional flags, holidays, anthems, fighting for control over their forum administrations and court decisions (criminal, civil and legal!), media and immigration policies, promoting roleplay, spam, General Assembly votes, WA Repeals, IRC versus MSN/Skype or sources of international cooperation (i.e., “The NationStates Community”, NS World Fair). Meanwhile others might condemn activities like adspam, UCR recruitment and forum destruction with the question of a region’s alignment playing a vital, although understated role to the discussion. One of the more common items to manipulate for one’s advantage is the discursive interpretation of history. A closet defenderist might to try to downplay dissonant events and emphasize events that resonate with defenderism, while a closet invaderist would do the same in regards to invaderism. Take for example, The North Pacific, where the legacy of the originally defender North Pacific Army is discounted by some and praised by others, or The South Pacific, where the collective memory of important events is edited, pruned and challenged – the major involvement of invaders in the Sedgistan and the Milograd coups are downplayed or excused and a new narrative is written to suggest that these coups reflect an Anti-TSP FRA, despite the fact that Sedgistan was ex-FRA at the time of the coup, Milograd was not yet a member of the FRA and the Founderless Regions Alliance had supported the coalition in both coups (which is also contested). The histories of coups are especially important as the “narrative of liberation” can resonate with defenderism, but the “narrative of hypocrisy” can clash with defenderism. The Empire’s reign in The East Pacific is often very controversial, for example, with some Easterners attempting to downplay the wrongfulness of the event. Instead, they might emphasize the mistakes of defender forces or the creation of the Concordat as of result. Since The Battlefield Effect finds that players seek ways to demonstrate their region’s alignment through other ways than an official acknowledgement, there has to be a symbolic process for which players can accomplish this outcome. Namely, players form associations with the desired alignment. Some are strong associations, while others are weak associations. Note that none of these associations are necessarily valid, reasonable or rational. A strong association is a relationship between the military, people or other regions which are already officially aligned, while a weak association is a contrarian relationship or a tangential relation with an idea related with a clear alignment. The former association is simple: if say Bigtopia is a defender or a defender region, support for them is regarded as a direct, strong association with defenderism. The latter can take on more complex forms. We observe patterns and make poor generalizations: for example, it was argued by some that IRC was more popular among defenderdom, while MSN was popular with invaderdom. These kinds of generalizations serve as the foundation for many weak associations. Likewise, defenders might tie unrelated issues to features of their own rhetoric of compassion, social responsibility and international cooperation or the rhetoric of the invader, which promotes personal responsibility, creative destruction, social darwinism and self- aggrandizement. The fairy tale of independentism begins with a myth that this ill-fated ideology can find common ground between all regional mates, regardless of creed: the interests of their region. But this rational compromise collapses under scrutiny and practice. Interests are not a solidly defined rational construct, but an ambiguous morass that can be misinterpreted and misconstrued. With room for debate, common ground becomes a battlefield. The product of this clash, forces the region’s decisions to become less rational, even warped by partisanship – avoiding peace and cooperation to evade tacit association with “the other”, while the internal meritocracy of independentism devolves into sheer cronyism. The community relations of the independent region deteriorate as every issue and nearly every decision becomes an ideological space for catty dialectics and more identity politics. Independentism, in practice, brews all of the vices it condemns (in greater potency than its alternatives): irrationalism, partisanship, a near religious commitment to particular allies and the militarization of the political community. Perhaps Independentism is unintentionally flawed or perhaps its creators never intended it to be anything else but a political instrument – a trojan horse for invaderism (or its shrewd step-brother Imperialism) or defenderism. I even reckon that defender and invader regions, with the Battlefield Effect largely not present in their regions, more closely realize the independent ideal than officially independent regions do. Take for example, The Rejected Realms, which — after formally becoming a defender region this year— sought a Non-Aggression Pact with Osiris, an imperialist-invader region. Meanwhile, the citizenry here in The Rejected Realms recently voted a vocal non-defender, Christian Democrats, as its most well regarded executive officer (in terms of performance). The official shift towards defenderism has closed a gaping void… an endless debate in The Rejected Realms, allowing us to focus the past few months on cultural development and growth instead. In light of this, though, it should be said that imperialists are right to propose that defenderism and invaderism are not “political ideologies” — defenderism, for example is a set of ethical value judgements which can only inform the politician so far. If martial ideologies govern the martial and political ideologies govern the political, it can be said that independentism is a failed project to bridge the two and govern both the martial and the political from a coherent rational egoism. Imperialism is a success in those regards, leading both the martial and the political with a unifying doctrinal vision, whereas the Battlefield Effect is a direct consequence of Independentism's failure to address the political or the martial in any clear, unambiguous manner. Perhaps some of the issue for independentism lies with its use of Realism, an international relations theory, which cannot be applied to internal politics, since Independentism’s rational egoism conceives of a collective regional ego, but does not explore the individual. Martially, independentism is an ambiguous mess that loses ground and is quietly undermined by clearer, more preferred alternatives. It was a mistake rather to assume that existing defender regions do not already govern their political spheres with a doctrine that can inform leaders what they ought to do, when defenderism —as a value set— is irrelevant. For example, defenderism cannot normatively propose who you ought to ally with, or better yet, how to design your constitution or whether you should be democratic or autocratic. Yet, defender regions do make these decisions, so there must be some underlying, connecting ideas present. So what could they possibly be? The Red Liberty Alliance had democratic socialism to govern the political and the martial under a thick, established ideology that included the values of defenderism, while the Alliance Defense Network was a dissociative beast – Dr. Jekyll, the idealist, Mr. Hyde, the realist. But what about contemporary organizations and regions like the FRA, the UDL, The Rejected Realms, Lazarus or even 10000 Islands? All of us have identified as “defender”, giving the false impression that defenderism serves as our political ideology, but there has to be something truly driving our political decisions … a set of ideas that extend to internal issues and are relevant not only to decisions regarding interregional conflicts, but regional politics and culture too. Next edition, I will explore in depth this elusive ideology without a name – the unspoken doctrine from which defender regions and organizations govern. Dare if you will to enter the mystery and the unknown of the Defender State as I confront the subconscious of our political psychology… This editorial will continue next edition with a second and final installment, “Political Philosophies of Defenderdom”. Foreign Relations Main Talking Point In The South Pacific Elections COMMENTARY | GRUENBERG The South Pacific has concluded a low key set of summer elections, giving another term to incumbent Delegate Kringalia and Vice-Delegate Arbiter08. Kringalia ran on a platform entitled "Forward", an easy direction to choose given he faced no opponent. The ticket was elected by a margin of 24-5, and will be served by a Cabinet comprising Minister of Regional Affairs ProfessorHenn, Minister of the Army QuietDad, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sandaoguo, and Chair of the Assembly Unibot. The South Pacific also held its traditional vote for "Craziest Person in TSP", which saw 13 voters favour Rebeltopia's particular brand of craziness to the 7 who preferred ProfessorHenn. While Kringalia, QuietDad and ProfessorHenn were all elected unopposed, Unibot faced the tightest election, winning by only a single vote of 14-13 against God-Emperor. A late vote change proved decisive in determining the outcome. But despite the margin of victory, the election for Chair of the Assembly was not fiercely fought: both candidates faced questions over their ability to commit to the rule given their duties elsewhere, Unibot serving as delegate of The Rejected Realms and God-Emperor holding political office in two other Pacifics. Unibot assured voters he would be able to maintain activity levels, while God-Emperor promised to appoint a competent deputy, an approach Unibot described as unnecessary. But this was the only point of friction; indeed, so bland was the political debate for this position - an almost impressive feat given the involvement of Unibot, who has proven himself capable of arousing partisan bickering at every turn in the Assembly - that it is difficult to analyse the vote outcome, which may have come down to something as prosaic as the candidates' choice of graphics: while God-Emperor campaigned with a stylish Van Gogh chair, Unibot chose a more prosaic Clip-Art style. The South Pacific voted for functionality over aesthetics. The centrepiece of the election was the race for Minister of Foreign Affairs, the most fiercely contested Cabinet seat. Four candidates declared themselves, although Sandaoguo and Belschaft quickly leapt ahead of The Republic of Zinnwaldite and The Solar System Scope, both of whom faced accusations of being too inexperienced and failing to understand the role, earning only a single vote each. Sandaoguo won the election with 15 votes to Belschaft's 11, but paid a gruelling price for doing so, facing repeated character attacks by Belschaft, who accused his opponent of lying over everything from whether he was claiming credit for work done by his predecessors, to whether he had underhanded motives in negotiating the treaty with The Rejected Realms. It was this issue that proved the most controversial, as midway through the elections, in a truly remarkable and no doubt wholly coincidental bit of timing, The New Inquisition announced they were severing their Treaty with The South Pacific in response to the treaty with TRR. While the reunciation was emphasised "not to be seen as an act of war or hostility" by Minister President MagentaFairy, it was also starkly critical of Glen-Rhodes (Sandaoguo) for his previous questioning of their alliance, and of TSP Minister of the Army Geomania for some R/D crap, whatever. The renunciation of the treaty with TNI was immediately hailed by Belschaft as proof that his darkest prophesies of the outcome of the treaty with TRR were accurate, but it was not enough to swing the election in his favour. That Sandaoguo was reelected to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs suggest many in The South Pacific do not share this sense of pessimism about the direction of foreign policy, or that they agree with Sandaoguo's anti-imperialist sympathies. He will now have another term to further his aims, which he had announced as pursuing interregional security not through doomed multilateral agreements, but instead on a gradual bilateral basis, and the success of that project on whether trading a bilateral agreement with TNI for one with TRR proves a wise decision in the long run. Lazarus "Wins" The World Cup COMMENTARY | KOGVURON July 13 saw Germany win their fourth World Cup title following a 1-0 extra time victory over Argentina. In addition to German fans, Lazarenes were also quite excited with this development, with their region defeating The Rejected Realms and The South Pacific in the FIFA World Cup Event. Lazarus picked Germany partly because of its status as the birthplace of Karl Marx, the father of communism. Other regions in the competition did not fare so well. Picking perennial disappointers England, TRR found themselves knocked out in the group stage. TRR Delegate Unibot said, "Short and sweet. Just what The Doctor ordered. We didn't choose England for its chances, let's say that. Hah! It was a pleasure getting to watch the World Cup as a partisan and I hope the others, Lazarus and TSP, had fun too." TSP fared better, picking The Flying Dutchmen of the Netherlands to win it all. The Dutch played well, working their way through to the semifinals through a tough group including Spain and Chile. However, they were knocked off in penalty kicks by Argentina, denying the Event a Lazarus versus TSP final. TSP had to settle for a victory in the third place game over Brazil. On the whole, it is safe to say the tournament was a huge success. Rejects were very excited about the contest, despite the reservations that some held over their team of choice. Lazarus was even more excited, with the official world cup thread reaching 35 pages long and hosting a commentary on almost every one of the 64 games. Lazarus Chairman Funkadelia commented, "I'm pleased to be able to share this competitive event with our friends in The Rejected Realms and The South Pacific. I think we all know that Germany, and the People's Republic of Lazarus, were all destined to win from the start ." TSPers too were excited with the success of their squad. ProfessorHenn noted how Kringalia changed made the WFE orange to support the team and changed his national flag to the Netherlands football logo. This event was truly enjoyed by all who took part. World Assembly Legislative League Treaty Ratified By TNP COMMENTARY | GRUENBERG The North Pacific Regional Assembly has voted to ratify the World Assembly Legislative League Treaty, a multilateral WA agreement between TNP, Balder, Europeia, and the International Democratic Union. Proposed by former TNP delegate McMasterdonia, who had sought to revitalise the region's stagnant WA affairs ministry, bringing in Abacathea as an advisor and reforming policy to exclude citizens without WA membership in the region from voting, the WALL Treaty ratification vote passed 28-8 with 8 abstentions. The Treaty calls for increased cooperation between the respective member regions in World Assembly affairs, including binding them to consensus decisions on whether to sponsor or oppose proposals, and usurping the powers of the regions' respective WA ministers to provide analyses and summaries of resolutions; the cooperation is also intended to extend to broader policy discussions and activity drives. However, each member retains regional sovereignty in determining their own votes on resolutions. Three of the regions represent sizeable delegate votes and are known for “stacking” early to influence resolution outcomes; the IDU may seem an odd bedfellow, but share long historic links to The North Pacific, and already technically possess a treaty with the region, although in practice its requirements with regards to WA activity are seldom honoured. As the largest region and leader of the negotiations, TNP will play host to the official WALL discussions. WALL represents a novel venture, at least for regions of this size. Gameplay treaties in the past have been signed on forum destruction, antifascism, telegram recruiting, and aspects of R/D play, but given the scant regard for using the WA as anything more than a technical means to a game exploit in most gameplay communities WA-oriented treaties have not been actively sought. Indeed, one has to go back to before the WA was even created, to its predecessor the NSUN, to find examples of interregional organizations cooperating on WA matters, such as CACE and ACCEL. How the WALL will work in practice as such remains very much an open proposition. Personality clashes – a number of those in senior positions within the respective regions have starkly different views on WA policy, and TNP's experiment of appointing WA deputies from opposing ideological camps has seen much butting of heads – could easily derail accord, but if the agreement holds up it could see even greater sway over the direction of the WA falling into the grip of the cabal of powerful regions, further proving the complete irrelevance of the WA forum community. Whichever path is taken, it promises to be an intriguing prospect. NSG Reacts to MH17 With Shock And Anger, Mostly Anger NSG reacted to information nearly as fast as it became available COMMENTARY | THAFOO The reaction of all NSers far and wide, from Gameplay and Roleplay to NationStates General, was of complete shock when the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was downed this year. The grim news was announced via the thread posted by L. Ron Cupboard. Naturally, everyone's mind immediately went to the previous incident, MH370, which had occurred months ago, nearly equally shocking the world as the search progressed for the still missing airliner. One famous NSGer, Ifreann, known for his tongue-in-cheek commentary regarding social and economic issues, claimed, "At some point we have to consider the possibility that God does not want Malaysians flying." By the third page, however, the tone had changed, with blame going to the Russian government, Russian-supported separatists, or a mistake by the Ukranian military, all highly reminiscent of Iran Air 655, an incident that occurred in 1988 when the United States Navy mistook an Airbus A300 for a warplane, with a death toll of 290, a mere eight fatalities behind MH17. As NSG topics usually go, however, by page 100, the thread had devolved, ridden with threadjacks and debates, mostly centered around the most suspected culprit in the plane's downing: Russia or Russian-backed separatists. Further developments have continued being posted on the fast-moving thread as they arrive. Is TNP's community "cracking at the seams"? OPINION | THE CHURCH OF SATAN Lately it has become apparent to some that the community of The North Pacific is tearing itself apart rather fiercely. punk d of The North Pacific expressed concern over this in a post to The Agora of The North Pacific entitled "Cracks at the seams". However, the citizens of The North Pacific don't seem nearly as concerned on the grounds that these things happen: people will leave regions from time to time and others will stay; this kind of turmoil is unavoidable; it will happen eventually, but The North Pacific will survive as all GCRs do in these situations. I'm inclined to agree with these citizens, though it's nice that punk d is so concerned for The North Pacific. In response to the lack of concern by fellow citizens, punk d said: "I tend to be paranoid, so hopefully I'm being just that. ... I feel the lack of concern means that the "cracks at the seams" may not be as bad as I suspected. I am concerned about the things I wrote, sure, but if most others are not concerned then it means that the disagreements aren't hitting the core of TNP as I feared." Cormac also weighed in on this: "I haven't been playing NationStates for nearly as long as Punk, nor have I been as active a contributor to The North Pacific. I do, however, have some experience with community turmoil and community collapse within GCRs. "I tend to agree with his assessment here. All communities will have their drama, but what I've seen happening in The North Pacific over the past few weeks has a different feel to it. It doesn't have the same feel as past political disputes such as the WA voting policy, the NPA Doctrine, etc. It feels more to me like the serious disputes that led to irreparable rifts in Osiris in 2012 and 2013. "Whenever I get that feeling in a community, I feel compelled to share my perspective with people. Of course you can take that for what it's worth, or leave it, but I would rather share my impression of the situation and be wrong than not say anything and wonder later if I had done everything I could to call attention to problems and change them." Crushing Our Enemies replied with a similar response to the rest of TNP which seemed largely unconcerned, hopefully for good reason: "I've been hearing bits and pieces of the craziness of late, and I've had the chance to read through some of it. It seems to me that it will all come to a head, one way or another, and TNP will go on. Maybe not the same as it ever was, but our community can weather this." Romanoffia, one person largely responsible for the 'craziness', chimed in with: "Hey, people wanted activity and failed to realize that when you ask for activity, you don't always get exactly the type of activity you hoped for. Or worse yet, got the exact activity you were looking for." In the end, the worst case scenario is a repeat of Osiris, in that new leaders will arise from the conflict and unite the region once more; the best case scenario is that the in-fighting continues and one or both parties involved leave the region, returning stability to it. Frankly this is nothing to be too concerned about but it should be watched closely. I hope all goes well for The North Pacific. I may not have invested anything into the region myself, but I'm a citizen too and I don't want anything bad happening as a result of the in-fighting. World Assembly's 300th Resolution Breaks Record COMMENTARY | GRUENBERG Statheads in the World Assembly had two reasons to get excited about child pornography as the 300th Resolution ever passed broke the all time record for the highest percentage in favour. Wrapper's Child Pornography Ban passed by a margin of 8486 to 649, representing 93% of votes in favour; in doing so, it eclipsed even such highly supported resolutions from the World Assembly or its predecessor, the NSUN, as Outlaw Pedophilia, Female Genital Mutilation, Prevention of Child Abuse, Child Pornography Prohibition, and On Female Genital Mutilation – the list itself suggesting the kind of issues on which the WA has the biggest consensus. The vote reflected a rare moment of GCR unity in favour, and an equally rare moment when prominent anti-WA delegate Noctaurus of Gatesville did not cast a vote against. Indeed, the largest vote against came from Duck-Boss, raider delegate of the occupied region of Anarchy. This vote irritated the natives of Anarchy for implicitly associating their region with support for child pornography. The Black Riders explained that they voted against not based on the political issue at hand, but rather as part of a general pattern of doing everything to antagonise natives: according to the ever poetic Coraxion, "Our actions will always show bad taste, from point of views of an average NSer". But even deliberately provocative votes like this did nothing to the overall margin of victory, which surprised even its author. "I thought for sure that passing a Moral Decency/Significant proposal would be more of an uphill battle. Category aside, I could see how some would vote against it on technical grounds, like the definition of pornography, or the age of consent, or other reasons like, it doesn't go far enough, or goes too far, or it should ban hentai, or it shouldn't ban realistic CGI. There were so many plausible reasons to vote no," admitted Wrapper, who roleplays a Stargate-themed pacificist nation in the World Assembly and had previously tasted defeat with their unpopular World University of Peace proposal. The resolution arose out of a concern that the restrictions in existing WA legislation, such as Prevention of Child Abuse, did not go far enough to ban child pornography, and real life precedents played their part, as Japan finally banned the possession of child pornography. This motivated Wrapper to write a proposal in comprehensive fashion: "This, along with Sciongrad's very persuasive arguments, convinced me that a possession ban was absolutely necessary." Wrapper can now boast, in similarly annoying fashion to Safalra, to being the most successful resolution author in history - while the WA may have occasion to consider where it is at 300, and whether progress on issues of less obvious consensus is still possible. TRR Chooses a New Flag! OPINION | THE CHURCH OF SATAN For several months now the citizens of The Rejected Realms have been debating whether or not to choose a new flag for the region. It started on October 11th of last year when Frattastan telegrammed Milograd, asking for a more refurbished flag. The aim was to have a more modern version, so the region seemed less old-fashioned. Milograd posted 3 versions, one of which he scrapped, the second a definite improvement from the first and the last one being his finalized version, which looks vert sharp. Almonaster submitted one as well although it isn't quite up to par with Milograd's last one. Unibot submitted one too. Personally I think it's a good second place option. In the end when the issue went to vote, TRR delegate Unibot went with Milograd's finalized version. The vote ended at 10 For, 5 Against. As of 9:28PM EST on July 14th the change was put into place. The Rejected Realms' new regional flag is now the following: We're grateful for Milograd's contribution to the region and I'm sure this flag will fly over TRR for years to come! Thank you so much Milograd, from all of us at The Rejected Realms! In Brief - News Round-Up NEWS | GRUENBERG Flag Thief's Return NationStates's most infamous imposter, Flag Thief, has returned after a long absence from the game. Announcing their resumption of vexillological villainy, Flag Thief immediately stole the fiery phoenix flag of YoriZ, having noticed the ongoing drama of the occupation of Anarchy. Flag Thief often chooses high profile targets for their banner burglary, and had soon moved on to a new unsuspecting victim: The North Pacific delegate McMasterdonia, subject of a Commendation vote in the Security Council (with which Flag Thief will be familiar, having themselves been Condemned for their actions in a previous vote). The Rejected Times will be watching for further acts of flag thievery by the returning rascal. Games of the IX Olympiad The NationStates Summer Olympics, officially the Games of the IX Olympiad, have been selected to be held in Zube and Kytler Bay City, hosted by The Kytler Peninsula for the first time. The Summer Olympics are organized using the xkoranate scorinator created by Commerce Heights, and are the largest multisports tournament in NationStates, with over 50 nations having already entered. Signups, open until July 31 at 23:59 UTC, are permitted by all nations in NationStates regardless of previous involvement in NS Olympic or Sports events, and are being coordinated via spreadsheet in this thread. NS++ bought by NationStates NationStates has entered discussions to acquire NS++ from Afforess. Following the deletion of Shadow Afforess for threatening the region of Haven with a password cracking tool, the mechanics of which would have broken NationStates rules, there were fears that NS++ might close down, but [violet] has now taken steps to ensure its continuation. Game staff have long disclaimed any official sanction for NS++, but this would now become the first tool created by players to be officially supported by the game. Details have been closely held while negotiations continue, but there is every sign that NS++ will continue to be made available to all players, with only the loss of its ad-blocking feature.
  11. Issue XXIV, July 07, 2014. >> Liberate Haven Liberate Haven Stirs Controversy COMMENTARY | KOGVURON When Mallorea and Riva first published a draft for "Liberate Haven" last Thursday, one would think that no one could have suspected the sheer level of controversy and debate that would follow. On the other hand, maybe this is what the author intended. No matter Mall's motives, here are the facts: Liberate Haven proposed to remove the hidden password of the region Haven, a well-known roleplayer region, boasting famous residents like Questers and Kraven. The author made clear that this was designed to open the region to a potential invasion. This is not the first time that an invader has tried to unlock Haven for invasions. In 2010, Oh My Days of NAZI EUROPE drafted a proposal to liberate Haven. Roleplayers had responded negatively then as they have now, with current II Mentor Oseato describing the proposal as a "massive tyranny and abuse of the Liberation function". That proposal sparked a major debate between the roleplay and gameplay communities, although to a lesser magnitude than the current proposal. Many roleplayers objected to this most recent proposal. Some feared that the passage of this resolution would set a precedent for aggression against roleplay regions using the Security Council. Previously, the WA Security Council was used to "open up" NAZI EUROPE to invasion. However, using the Security Council against a region not associated with hated real-world ideologies would set a different sort of tone for the future workings of the World Assembly. Roleplayers also took exception to another clause in the proposal, which accuses Haven of participating in the 2013 coup of The South Pacific in support of Milograd. Many roleplayers claimed that Haven did not take part, with some saying that no Havenites did at all, and others admitting that while some Havenites did take part, this should not reflect on the region as a whole. Opponents of the bill also claimed that it was hypocritical for Mall to justify the "liberation" due to Haven's support for the coup, since Mall was heavily involved in the coup himself. Mall and supporters of the proposal responded to these arguments by displaying evidence of the participation of Havenites in the coup, and by saying that this line played only a minor part of the whole proposal. Despite all of the controversy surrounding the proposal, the resolution did not even reach the voting floor. The proposal failed to reach quorum within the allotted time, meaning that it would not be voted on. Mallorea did not campaign for the proposal, although other invaders did send out telegrams asking delegates to approve the resolution. Opponents of the proposal also counter-campaigned to great success, with the number of approvals being maintained relatively stable at thirty-nine as soon as the counter-campaign began. Even if the resolution did get to vote, it seemed likely to fail. The forum response to the proposal was overwhelmingly negative, and even in traditional gameplay circles, the response was cold. Kringalia, WA Delegate of the South Pacific, told the Rejected Time that he"[saw] Liberate Haven and the controversy that followed it as an unnecessary exercise of futility". "It should be a matter of common courtesy to leave roleplaying regions alone," says Kringalia, "but at the same time I do not believe that this should be an enforceable rule or feature in the game. There has been fault on both sides for being excessively partisan and unwilling to talk civilly. In terms of the proposal itself, I agree with what some people have said, that it is hypocritical of Mallorea and Riva to use the 2013 coup as an argument, when he was one of the people orchestrating it. The truth is that the South Pacific no longer cares about the roleplayers that participated in the coup. This is why there has been no response from the people of the South Pacific to this proposal, because we honestly have no interest in it". Maybe all the debate was much ado about nothing, however, the proposal definitely has touched frayed nerves in the NationStates community. The Greater Good EDITORIAL | UNIBOT “Do I have the right?” “The Greater Good” is a dangerous and slippery notion, as many have discovered over the passage of human existence. Decisions that at one time seemed justified to us, accumulate and snowball such that they are no longer justified, but instead bear severe consequences for civilization. For example, the careless, rapid industrialization of the twenty-first century may bring with it overwhelming environmental issues and severe climate change – at what point do these externalized costs of business and industry outweigh their benefit to society? The captioned picture is from Genesis of The Daleks (Doctor Who). In this iconic scene, The Doctor is faced with the decision of whether or not to erase the very existence of the most dangerous and hostile race in the whole of the universe: The Daleks. He decides that although erasing the Daleks from existence would save all of the innocent lives that they have taken over the years, this decision would also erase all of the international cooperation that had occurred in the wake of such a terrible, relentless threat. In some ways, the universe had become a more cooperative intergalactic society in the wake of the Daleks – who was he, The Doctor asked himself – to undo that history of spirit, courage and goodwill? Recently, in the wake of this “Liberate Haven” debacle, some roleplayers were discussing whether invading should occur at all– this is to say, whether regions should have to suffer through invasions despite not condoning this practice. Todd McCloud, former invader and griefer, entered the debate to argue that invading served ‘the greater good’ – by (i) providing activity through chaos and drama to founderless regions, (ii) providing an incentive for regions to stay active and (iii) diverting active natives to new regions as opposed to old “stagnant” ones. This line of argumentation is a traditional justification for invading – newer invaders like to argue that there is no ethical boundaries in NationStates beyond that which is legal (amoralism)*, which contrasts them with “moralist” defenders, who believe invasions, are wrong. Whereas, arguing that invading serves a ‘greater good’, as Todd McCloud is here, assumes there is a good at all – which in a strange way, places him in the same camp as so-called “moralists” like myself and other theorists over the ages, although we wildly disagree over what is right, wrong or permissible in NationStates. My first inkling was to deny the logic of “the greater good” theory for a number of reasons: (1) People ought to be permitted to choose to be inactive. Why should their choices not matter? If a region desires to be relatively inactive, their stake in their own region is greater than the collective’s stake in their own activity. (2) The threat of invasion doesn’t appear to keep many regions active – so is it really an effective incentive that deters inactivity? (3) Presuming that the death of regions is a natural process, the length of this process is only prolonged if invading exists, because the brief stint of activity “puts off” the region’s death (according to this logic) as opposed to letting a region succumb to inactivity earlier. (4) Players often leave the game altogether because of invasions. Todd McCloud’s only explanation as to how this corresponds with the “greater good” was to say that these players would have left anyways – which is not necessarily correct, since they left the game because of an invasion that did not need to happen. (5) Invading is a game exploit – a piece of bad game design which has been protected and privileged. Every decision by the administrators to change or alter the game code has been vetted to ensure it won’t negatively affect invaders or unbalance the “invasion game” – but this very well could mean that some neat features have been rejected over the years. Bearing this in mind, we cannot confidentially say that the “invasion game” has always been for the greater good of the game -- it may just be for the greater good of itself. In my experience, contrary to what Todd McCloud claims, invasions don't normally spark abnormal activity – regions will get more inactive because they no longer can communicate over their Regional Message Boards freely, active newer natives get removed (and disheartened) and the occupation drains their community’s life. Meanwhile, occupations require dozens of invaders who, instead of residing in a home where they can be active and contributive, sit in a region they’ve never heard of to act as a “piler”. The overall picture suggests tag-raids are useless spam and occupations are annoying, if not uneventful snoozefests for almost everyone involved. So, then I wondered: what would I do if I were given two wires like The Doctor was in the Genesis of the Daleks and it was explained to me that if those wires touched… I would eradicate all of the invaders forever in the past, present and the future? My first instinct would be to hold the wires together, thinking of all of the players who would regain their homes. Concosia would be free and standing… Greece… Hippiedom…Eastern Islands of Dharma. Every loss, rewritten. Every victory, redundant. NationStates would never experience loss or maliciousness or fear on a collective scale, but it would also have never had a reason for courage, compassion or goodwill. At that point, I wondered if The Doctor might just be right – 10000 Islands would not exist today if it was never invaded by the Empire of Power all of those years ago nor would those regions have allied together in the Alliance Defence Network or the Red Liberty Alliance or the Founderless Regions Alliance and players would have never united under the banner of the United Defenders League or the Pacific Army or the “It’s Only Politics” campaign. So many organizations and coalitions of the willing over the past twelve year would have never formed. Likewise, if it were not for the cause of defending, I figure I may have never met some of my best friends either - defenderdom has brought so many great people together to fight the good fight. Perhaps it is wrong to value these circumstances as an end in and of themselves instead of as a means for fighting an injustice which (apparently) could be extinguished with the simple connection of two thin, fraying wires. Yet, even still, I cannot help but think that although it would be wrong to judge whether NationStates was “better” off with invaders or not, I still did not have the right to surrender the object of our cooperation and goodwill for the benefit of peace and prosperity. *The beauty of NationStates’s amoralism is that when faced with the question, “Should invading be legal?”, the amoralist who believes only that which is prohibited is wrong, cannot answer that question without being trapped in an infinite recursive loop, unless they hold some sort of belief of right or wrong that stands as an ethical reference, independent of the ruleset. Opting Out Of Invasions: Reviewing The Proposals FEATURE | GRUENBERG "Liberate Haven", the Security Council proposal by moderator Mallorea and Riva to open the historic region of Haven open to raiding in order to demonstrate the superiority of R/D play to roleplay and to extract a punishment for its residents' alleged involvement in Milograd's coup of The South Pacific, has generated a storm of controversy. While thousands of posts spread across dozens of threads have raged back and forth on the proposal's claims, subplots worthy of a Mexican telenovela have spun off, involving everything from signatures and flags to unrelated SC proposals and the meaning of the word "troll". From the bitter ashes of this raging inferno have risen various proposals from players opposed to the R/D game, or at least to forced involvement in it, discussing ways to "opt out". Many of these ideas are rehashes of those considered and discarded in the past, but some represent new twists. The Rejected Times assesses various proposals, eaching hoping they can help put the lid back on the box Mallorea opened before hope for NationStates itself slips away. 1. Status Quo The "status quo" represents the situation at present. Many have argued that in a few days, the tumult will die down, roleplayers will return to roleplay and gameplayers to gameplay, and that the whole affair will be largely forgotten: indeed, some players appear to be unaware that a proposal to Liberate Haven has been proposed in the past, and aroused a similar degree of fury, outrage, and moderator intervention. Strengths: Prevents the admins from having to waste time fixing the game. Actually likely to happen. Weaknesses: The factionalism and mutual distrust this affair has made evident will only continue to harden. 2. Using The Classroom Mechanism Common lore has it that every region in NationStates is automatically vulnerable to, and hence a part of, R/D play, but strictly speaking, this is not true: classroom regions, specially designated for educational use, are completely walled off from the rest of the game. Members of these regions can join the WA and elect a delegate, but uninvited nations cannot join the region, making them immune to invasion. Even external contact is restricted through the telegram system. It has been proposed to use the code for classroom regions on request for any region. Strengths: Would afford regions genuine invulnerability. Mechanism already clearly exists. Weaknesses: Movement between regions impossible. Would probably require excessive coding overhaul to even consider. 3. Regions Can Declare Themselves Opted Out The regional tag system, whereby regions can declare themselves "Roleplay", could have the added function of bestowing on regions using specific tags certain immunities. Regions tagged as belonging to parts of the game unrelated to R/D play, such as roleplay, WA, Sports, or General, could be cordoned off from invasion; regions tagged as defender or invader would remain open. Strengths: Allows regions to change their designations should they wish. Nations can still move out of regions. Weaknesses: Virtually all regions would likely tag themselves out of the R/D game. Everyone already hates warzones. 4. Founder Succession Founder succession is an extremely popular idea, so much so that many of the proposed opt-outs to the R/D game all essentially boil down to some variant on this. It would permit founders to designate a successor and should the founder CTE or simply wish to transfer duties, ownership of the region and associated privileges would pass down to the next nation. Some proposals see multiple levels of succession to ensure foundership continued indefinitely. Strengths: Strong support among many players. The difficulties of refounding can be avoided. Weaknesses: Has already more or less been ruled out by [violet]. Of no help to regions that are currently founderless. 5. Invitations The proposed Liberation of Haven has shown the weakness of relying on passwords, but an alternative suggestion is to turn passwords on their head, by requiring that nations be "invited" by the founder or delegate before joining. The option to turn off invitations off would also be available. Strengths: Invitations cannot be leaked, unlike passwords. Provides better internal security than relying on all members to keep passwords secret. Weaknesses: Still vulnerable to raider sleeper puppets. Not functionally different than the current situation. 6. Security Networks A more original proposal involves an expansion of the Embassy system with a system of regional networks, not dissimilar to previously discussed ideas involving "Associations". In this system, even small regions with low endorsement counts could build up much higher Influence counts by networking with larger regions through the Embassy function, to a maximum cap. The feature would therefore benefit smaller regions more than larger ones, but regions with few or no Embassies would still be targets for R/D players. Strengths: Would not kill off R/D unlike some other suggestions. Gives most help to those most in need and least able to defend themselves otherwise. Weaknesses: Makes delegate changeovers in small, networked regions hard. Proposed by Unibot, and therefore necessarily immensely and arbitrarily complex. 7. Limited Refounding A simple idea has been mooted to limit refounding of a region (where all inhabitants are cleared out, and then the final inhabitant moves out and restarts the region at the next update) to the last nation left in the region. This would be of most benefit to currently founderless regions, which would be able to guarantee a refounding without opening them to the risk of "hawking", the practice of raiders sniping a refounding attempt at the last moment, which is a major discouragement to refounding being carried out by vulnerable regions. Strengths: Offers regions a means of safely refounding. Technically simple to organize. Weaknesses: Any successful raids could not be counter-sniped by defenders. Guaranteed end-game for any raided regions. 8. The Nuclear Option Afforess, well known for his creative thinking in technical matters of NationStates, has proposed a bold new Security Council category permitting "eviction", or removal of powers, from founders. Founders have historically been held sacrosanct in NationStates: no permanent harm can come to a region with an active founder, and all regions are encouraged to maintain founders to ensure their safety. But this same protection offers R/D regions a means to hide behind the safety of founders while exploiting the vulnerability of founderless regions. An eviction proposal would strip away this protection and enable R/D regions to be counter-raided. Strengths: Provides a genuine option for punishing R/D regions. Unlikely to be abused given the SC's defender sympathies. Weaknesses: Not impossible to abuse, and the mere idea of messing with founders would give many NSers heart attacks. R/D regions probably wouldn't care anyway. 9. The Thermonuclear Option Many players from various sections of NS have expressed the basic sentiment: they are not looking for a compromise. They simply want to ban R/D altogether. The argument against many proposals is that any form of opt-out would kill off R/D because no one would ever opt in to being raided: even raiders themselves protect their home regions with founders. But, some players argue, if this is truly the case, then there is no point preserving a game type that no one wants to play anyway. Strengths: People signing up for a nation simulation game might be able to concentrate on nation simulation. Would appease the insane bloodlust of the frenzied minority. Weaknesses: Never going to happen. 10. Make Gruenberg Supreme Arbiter Of Everything Strengths: Would immediately guarantee absolute goat-enabled perfection. Weaknesses: Dick too big, might kill someone. Dear Gameplay OPINION | KYLARNATIA Kylarnatia, Roleplay Mentor, speaks to Gameplay about balancing the invasion game... When asked to write an opinion article for this publication, certainly in light of the recent events, I spent quite some time brainstorming over how to approach this issue tenderly and respectfully. Ultimately, it's going to be impossible to please everybody, but I'm going to try my best to reach across to everyone. For I mean to. There has certainly been a lot of misunderstanding between roleplayers and gameplayers over the past few days, something which neither side can claim total innocence. In an attempt to rectify some of the misunderstandings and petty arguments brewed up in the past few days, I've written this short article for you, in the hopes it'll answer any concerns you have and help you understand where the roleplay crowd is coming from. First of all, and perhaps most importantly, we don't hate gameplay. We don't hate invaders, we don't hate gameplayers, we don't hate proposal writers in either the General Assembly or Security Council. In fact, I personally admire all the hijinks and heat-fuelled bureaucracy that you guys get up to. Yet in the past few days it has been conceived that we hate everything you stand for due to Mallorea's late "Liberate Haven" proposal. Despite the fact it failed, what irked us is that the entire proposal was unjustified - not only because Mallorea's claims that Haven was "heavily involved" in the coup didn't seem very well grounded, and because the entire proposal came across as if players had the right to "break in" to other peoples regions if they deemed them too inactive. Fact is, as far as we're concerned, that lies solely on a matter of personal perspective which totally disregarded the intended purpose of the region to begin with. Furthermore, we were overly concerned that such a proposal would set a precedent for future proposals to try and break in to even more regions which had, up to that point, remained peaceful. As a result, we felt incredibly under threat from a game we'd not had to be concerned about until now, and were seemingly being forced into it. Imagine if a roleplayer designed a proposal to liberate a region like "The Americas" simply on the basis that they didn't believe the region was being utilised properly because it "was lacking in adequate [roleplay] activity". That would be pretty absurd, right? I'm pretty sure the residents, let alone fellow regions of the same nature, would be up in arms about such a proposal. As such, I don't think it's outrageous that roleplayers reacted the same way to the "Liberate Haven" proposal, although I like to point out that we have recognised many gameplayers, generalites etc. were behind us too, and we thank them for that. Even though we've always been told participation is optional, the fact was recently dawned on us that somehow it isn't, despite the fact that - beyond a brief explanation of the mechanic in the FAQ which (from the way I read it, at least) does not stipulate that participation is inevitable - there is no warning of the actual mechanic, not even in the Terms and Conditions. Therefore, the heated debate over "opting-out" springs from this lack of pre-warning that we still had to be involved, despite having always stated our wishes to stay separate from the affair. This does not mean we adopt a "separate, but equal" attitude, however. Certainly not. We simply believe that it should be left down to a matter of pure choice: if a region wants to participate in invading, roleplaying, general discussion etc., it should be able to do all those things. At the same time, however, if a region does not want to be apart of something for it infringes on their wishes as a group, they should also have the right to abstain from that which they do not want, or at least require more adequate protection from it. Of course we don't think this will be an easy thing to reach a solution on - certainly not - but we know we can all do it together, as a whole NS community. We understand that the mechanic of invading is important to many of you, and I can assure you that I, the other Mentors and the vast majority of the roleplaying core don't want to take that away from you. At the same time, we don't want our roleplay regions taken away from us. So please, after reading this, take a look around Technical or come and join us in International Incidents, and see what suggestions are being made. We'd love your feedback on all of them, and the more we spend time working together and finding a solution that works for everyone, the less time we can spend complaining and feeling as if we're never going to be able to truly play the game we want to play, as I'm sure we all feel right now following recent events. Lets work at it together, people! >> News Afternoon Tea with Ramaeus INTERVIEW | UNIBOT "Earl Grey with blackberry and vanilla. Unibot, black. Ramaeus, a spoonful of sugar". Unibot, Editor of The Rejected Times sits down for a special interview with Ramaeus, newly-elected delegate of The East Pacific... Unibot: Greetings Ramaeus! So the elections just happened. 21-18 for yourself. How do you feel about the win? And did you ever think you might be delegate? Indeed. Quite frankly, it's a relief that it's over. It was a pretty tense election. Honestly, I never thought I would be a GCR delegate. I was a little surprised that I was even nominated. I'm curious. WA Author to WA Author here. How do you feel your experience in the WA has helped prepare you for leadership in TEP? Well, I'm far more immune to criticism. I'm still open to it, obviously, but my experience in the WA gave me thicker skin. And I'm also far more aware that such criticism is rarely personal. That doesn't sound like the World Assembly that I know! *puts on a kettle* Your favourite tea? Earl Grey. Excellent, that's what I'm making. That'll be two cups then. Heh... sounds good. I feel like inserting an obligatory Star Trek reference here. I only quote Doctor Who. Every great decision creates ripples.... Speaking of that! Where do you see the direction of The East Pacific heading - where do you want to take it? Hmm... For now, I see us improving relations with our fellow GCRs, getting the native populace far more involved on the forum, and just increasing the overall native awareness regarding the regional government. Not too ambitious, I know, but I'm technically just the Delegate-elect! Quite frankly, being the new Delegate hasn't even sunk in yet. Those are all good places to start! You say you want to improve relations with fellow GCRs - what's your opinion on GCR unity and the Pan-Pacifica movements and such? Hmm... it's a nice ideal, certainly, but I think it may be a bit naive. Most of the GCRs are split on the R/D alignment. And that makes GCR unity quite difficult to achieve, IMO. Too many regions disagreeing with each other on key issues. On the subject of native populaces - some GCR residents argue that non-forum players shouldn't be catered to, that it's "their decision" to not participate on the forums. Would you agree or disagree? I'd disagree with that. My own experience tells me that sometimes you just have to take the time to reach out to the native populace. Sometimes, they just might not know about the regional government. Until AMOM started engaging me through TGs, I didn't have any idea that TEP had a regional government. *hands Ramaeus a cup of steaming Earl Grey* There have been a lot of reforms talked about in The East Pacific - in which area should reforms start first? And why? I'd have to say that most of the issues regarding the Conclave have been fixed. We now have an active and committed Viceroy and two Arbiter Candidates who have a strong record for activity. What do you believe is going to be your biggest challenge as delegate? Hmm... there's a tough one. Right now, it would be getting used to all the nuances that come with the position. As for the future, I can't say with any real certainty. The summers often play host to coup attempts - if you had to guess a who and a where... go for it! Heh.... oh, wow. I'd have to say... TRR and Frak. Kinda random, I know.And no offense, or anything. Believe me, he's tried! You're going to be a summer delegate, however - any ideas on how you're going to keep up activity in TEP? Several, actually. The biggest one is utilizing Skype. We're also exploring possible cross-regional RP activities. I'm not saying where, obviously. And the idea of a theme has also been tossed around. The rest are a little more minor and focus actively recruiting new nations. I also plan on liberally using regional telegrams in order to educate and possibly motivate the natives of TEP. Awesome! TEP's a roleplay-friendly region and I was wondering if you could weigh in on your thoughts on this "Liberate Haven" business? That we are, that we are. Initially, I was in favor of the draft, mostly due to their involvement in the TSP coup. But now, I'm not too sure which side to fall on. It's kind of a complex issue. Mall has a point regarding their involvement in the TSP coup, but the actual content of the draft falls mostly on traditional raider ideas. And while that's not a deal breaker for me, it does lower my opinion of the proposal a bit. The RPers do have a point as well regarding continuing their craft relatively undisturbed. But you can't opt out of GP. Do you think it is fair that they are angry that they can't opt-out of Gameplay? Hmm... I wouldn't say so. They joined the game. Even if they weren't aware that R/D existed before, that really isn't my concern. If they want to avoid GP as much as possible, then they should take the necessary precautions in order to do so. Namely active founders and non exec WA delegates. Last but not least: Nominations for hosting the NS World Fair will be coming up in the next couple of months. Do you see that as something that The East Pacific would be interested in? Hmm...Honestly, I'm not too sure. It's an option worth exploring, certainly. But... it would depend on whether the time invested in hosting it will be beneficial to TEP. Thanks so much for the interview, Ramaeus - it was a blast! Good luck on your term as delegate and if you've got any final words for our readers, feel free to share 'em! Heh... don't mention it. O/ Month of The Motto OPINION | CHURCH OF SATAN For months now, the citizens of The Rejected Realms have been tossing around the idea of a regional motto. Many mottos were proposed and Unibot, the delegate, has decided that all of the residents of The Rejected Realms should have a say in it. In order to facilitate such a grand initiative, this month's regional polls will be dedicated entirely to that democratic outsourcing. The regional motto will be decided in an "elimination style" poll, wherein for every two days, two different mottos will be pitted against one another. The motto with the most votes moves on until the end of the month, where at long last, at the end of July 31st, the top motto will be chosen! As you can see below, this is the current status of the votes: On July 17th, the first two mottos to make it past the first round will go head-to-head for a spot in the semi-finals. The mottos in question are "Never Cruel or Cowardly" and "Per Reprobationem Concordia". The first one you might recognize as being seen in The Day of The Doctor (Editor's Note: It's from Terrance Dicks) and Unibot's signature on various regional forums -- and for good reason, he suggested it, heh. I think it has a strong chance of making it to the finals. The third match ended today with Unibot's "The exiled, the lost, the found" beating Cormac Somerset's "All is change, all is movement", 24 votes to 3! Of course they are all fine mottos and I look forward to seeing one of these mottos emerge as the victor. My personal favorite though, "Rejection isn't permanent" will be going to vote on July 11th. I think it sums up the region quite well, despite the fact that our region's name is contradictory to the motto. All Hell Breaks Loose in Region Inc NationStates' Corporate Region sees conflict in the executive office. COMMENTARY | JOE BOBS To those who are unfamiliar with the region, Region Inc was founded in 2010 and was modelled on a corporate structure, with departments and CEOs instead of ministries and delegates. Its fresh approach saw it quickly becoming one of the most popular regions in the NationStates, climbing to over 800 nations in mid-2010. Sadly, the region fell on hard times recently and the population has shrunk to 100, but a group of dedicated members persevere. This month, however, political infighting broke into all-out war, as relative newcomer Westbrook and long-time member Termy clashed. Termy threatened resignation and even began a vote of no confidence in himself, whilst Westbrook even went so far as to threaten forum destruction. "The behavior of both members has been far below the level required of elected officials," stated Chief Operating Officer Robert Hawkins. "Public arguments and name calling, public threats of destroying the Region and resignations being offered and then retracted". Chief Executive Officer Tze was absent whilst the conflicts raged. Westbrook left the region in a blaze of anger, saying he was "disgusted" by Robert Hawkins, but apologised to other members for his actions, and claimed that tragic events in his real life had led to his aggressive behaviour. Newly elected Director of Human Resources, Diirez, is focusing on stabilising the region, asking the region to build on improvements and solving the various problems which have arisen from the crisis. Clover, Chief Financial Officer, stated she was "saddened" by recent events, but had "hope and pride" for the future. Cool Flag Brigade Launched OPINION | CHURCH OF SATAN Flag of the Week: "Milk Romney". Discovered by Ryno. The Delegate of The Rejected Realms, Unibot, has began sign-ups for a program called "The Cool Flag Brigade". What is this "Brigade" you ask? A paramilitary organization of some kind? A band of masked superheroes? If only it were true, lol. In all honesty, it is a loose coalition of players within The Rejected Realms whose mission is it to look through the region's nations for flags that are cool. What happens after that? Well, the Brigadier chooses one flag that will be displayed as the flag of the week. It's a nice little cultural activity and frankly there really are some very cool flags out there! I've never gone through and looked at the flags here until now, having joined the brigade myself. Those of you in The Rejected Realms, I highly recommend joining. It's very fun and you'll even get some good laughs while you're searching. I know I certainly have. For example, the nation of Possessed Giraffes has a flag which depicts Rich Uncle Pennybags, well-known mascot of the popular board game Monopoly, kicking back on a reclining chair smoking a cigar. With his fat bank account I'd expect no less. There are very silly ones as well, such as Cocaine Bears, whose national flag features a bear with a face covered in cocaine. Many more silly and cool flags are sure to be discovered and you can be sure they'll be featured. Keep an eye out everyone! Demonyms Added To Nation Settings COMMENTARY | GRUENBERG Demonyms have added to the nation settings change, permitting players to choose nouns and adjectives to describe the inhabitants of their NationStates. Previously, demonyms were purposely avoided in issue choices and nation descriptions where possible, but the change now permits greater customisation. Game admin [violet] announced the changes after consulting with her Issues Editors, players appointed to assist with the coding of new issues for the NS game, to check they were willing to adapt existing and future issues to make use of the demonyms. The addition of demonyms marks the first new customisable fields for nations since national religions were introduced. Since then, the admins have generally been unwilling to consider additional settings, and the introduction of Factbooks has largely negated their need: common suggestions, such as national sport and national anthem, can now instead simply be written up as part of a Dispatch. But demonyms remained a popular and useful suggestion, with the potential for clashes with issues the only conflict that needed to be resolved. Demonyms can be changed through the Settings page of the NationStates nation menu, and then opening the drop-down for demonyms. "The settings include options for singular and plural nouns, and adjectives" The introduction of demonyms has proven popular, with many players immediately making use of them. Nonetheless, there have been teething problems. All nations are automatically set with a default "-ian" suffix for their demonyms, meaning every single nation has to be changed manually should a user wish to customise them, a time consuming process for those with multiple puppets. Additionally, the settings initially did account for pluralisation, leading to complications given the English language's varied treatment of plurals; a custom pluralisation option was later introduced. IIWiki Demoted COMMENTARY | UNIBOT IIWiki, the leading roleplayer wiki has had its "regional tag" removed from the site. The ultimate decision was first suggested by Christian Democrats, although moderators had previously come to an agreement to remove the regional tags for all of the NationStates wikis. WikiStates's regional tag was obviously removed for inactivity and the removal of NSwiki's regional tag reflected NSwiki's shift from the Goobergunchia's player-driven wiki to Afforess's mostly bot-driven wiki. However, Milograd, among other players, were critical of the decision to remove IIWiki's regional tag among the purge of the other wiki's regional tags, especially in light of the declining relations between the roleplay and gameplay communities. The moderator staff, in their defense, argued that potential users of IIWiki would be able to locate other users of the wiki through the wiki itself, instead of through regional tags. The owner and founder of IIWiki, Solm, was shocked by the decision and spoke with The Rejected Times recently on the subject. "A tragedy! I say!" says Solm, "A quality wiki, I say! Quality! Removed from the face of NS because all the other wikis are inactive! It's not our fault we are more active than all the other wikis, 10,000 posts and counting, mhm. Nicer quality articles too, each one meticulously groomed for perfection. But I guess NS no longer appreciates our great service". Solm lamented the loss, but ended the conversation with a heavy sigh and an optimistic outlook. "Oh well," says Solm, "IIwiki shall remain advertised in the wonderful signatures of our patrons, who we love so dearly". Equilism and the Rite of Passage COMMENTARY | JOE BOBS Joe Bobs takes a look at one of the more unique methods of entering government in NationStates... To gain membership of the Equilism Senate, one undergoes a ‘rite of passage’. The most recent inductee is The Tricky Barbarian, who is coming towards the end of his ordeal at the time of going to press. But what is this "rite of passage"? There are two phases, the Questionnaire and the Dare. The former lasts for five days and the applicant must answer all questions posed to them, regardless of content. The latter lasts for two days, and again, the applicant must complete whatever dare is suggested. The applicant may forfeit, but their ascendency to the Senate is delayed by two weeks as punishment. Questions posed to The Tricky Barbarian included: which parent is your favourite? (Mom.) Describe Equilism as a cake (red velvet). Describe the girth of your phallus in metric terms (No, just no). A typo in the title of the thread has led to the creation of the goddess Passaga, who is now the subject of many poems of praise from the people of Equilism. Recent dares have included making a lavish breakfast for Kinzville, changing his flag to a photo of himself in a Santa hat for Small Huts, writing ‘I <3 Equilism" on his arm in Nutella for The Grim Reaper, taking a controversial stance on a topic in NS Gameplay for Klaus Devestatorie, and finding the first post of Equility for Niccassnan. The rite of passage is certainly one of a kind, and one has to believe that anyone willing to undergo such a process is going to maintain a level of commitment to Equilism. Perhaps we will begin to see versions sprout up across NationStates? Only time will tell.
  12. Gameside Down NationStates struck with a Denial of Service Attack COMMENTARY | UNIBOT Panic is beginning to set in as players are left in the dark. NationStates has been “down” now for several hours and is expected to remain inaccessible for users for another twenty-four hours. [violet], site admin, has told users that NationStates has been subject to a Denial of Service attack. Denial of Service attacks saturate a target with requests to such an extent that the target machine can no longer respond to other requests. In recent years, Denial of Service attacks have become a common form of “internet protest” and a manner of revenge for disgruntled users, which has NationStates abuzz with speculation over the possibility that the recent “It’s Only Politics” campaign and the surrounding backlash against “Liberate Haven” may be involved with the denial of service attacks. Some roleplayers, that The Rejected Times spoke with, expressed concern that “one of their own” could be involved and feared it could have ramifications for their movement. Meanwhile, others still have speculated that this could be an attempt at “diversion” by a disgruntled invader – hoping to blame the attacks on the roleplayer community and discredit their campaign. “Liberate Haven” is a proposal by Mallorea and Riva, notable moderator and griefer, which aims to exploit the WA Security Council to make it easier to invade and attack Haven, a well respected roleplayer region. The resulting backlash has spawned a larger forum-wide debate on the limits to military gameplay and the rights of natives to “opt out” of invasions. Rumors, claiming to come from a credible source, suggest this attack was a “distributed denial of service” (not simply a denial of service) which indicates either multiple individuals being involved, a bot or some sort of malware. This source also suggests the site should be available within five hours – 1 AM EST. Although the official forums are available for viewing, it is currently impossible to access the game or log into an account to post on the official forums. [violet], however, has shared some helpful hints for connecting to the game for the technologically advanced … In the meantime, keep calm and get comfortable - this could take a while to resolve.
  13. Issue XXIII. June 26, 2014. Editor's Note I think it's safe to say we've made the big time. Cheers. The Death of Invaderism and the Rise of the Cold War OPINION | JOE BOBS Is NationStates in a Cold War? Joe Bobs, Senior Reporter, discusses... I believe we are experiencing a proxy war of essentially two sides that bears similarity to the USA-USSR Cold War in several ways. I will argue that the Invader-Defender conflict is actually emerging into a new stage, the Imperial-Defender conflict, fought via proxy wars between two sides. Okay, so perhaps I am stating the obvious. Of course the war is fought via proxies. Ever since moderators ceased being directly involved in resolving invasion disputes, there has been a continuous move towards refounding large regions with active populations; the risks were too great not to. This signaled the end of traditional alliances in user created regions. Non-Aggression Pacts were no longer required, and mutual assistance in case of invasion became superfluous. Thus arose organisations such as the FRA who looked to find new regions to defend. This marked the beginning of the era of proxy wars. For a long time, nothing changed. Invaders and Defenders followed each other across the NationStates world battling in one region and then another. Then arose imperialism. There had always been regions who attempted to invade and hold other regions before, but suddenly they had a name, an identity and a political cause. The Invader-Defender conflict had almost always been fought amongst UCRs. However, today the FRA's membership includes Lazarus and The Rejected Realms, and almost all the GCRs have some involvement in military gameplay outside their own defence and that of their allies. My theory on this turn of events is as follows: the boom of NationStates in terms of new players entering the game was in the mid 2000s. Many of these players flocked to the UCRs which were in a golden age of growth, and these players climbed to the top of their regions. However, when their regions died, or the players felt the need to move on, they found the GCRs calling. Today, we are seeing that era of players at the top of the GCRs. These are the players that became involved in the game at the height of the building of UCR alliances: the ADN, the RLA, the FRA, and so on. They have brought the ideals of their old UCRs into the GCR world. As the GCRs have taken on these ideals, the players have made the connections they did before, and now two great blocs are forming. This is something I have seen in every online game I have ever taken part in, the eventual formation of two or three huge blocs of power (wherever a third occurs, it usually plays kingmaker between the other two). This almost always leads to stagnation, but I am hopeful that the complexity of NationStates will prevent that, after all, military gameplay is just one aspect of the game, and is affected by developments in other areas. The development of GCRs as imperialists and defenders has centralised the conflict around an axis. I believe that this is in fact leading to the death of Invaderism. The largest raiding forces of Lone Wolves United, The Black Hawks, The Black Riders etc are becoming mercenary groups to the imperialist blocs of UIAF, Osiris and Balder; like the nationalist movements manipulated by the USA and USSR throughout proxy wars, they are sent to fight, but the ultimate victory is with the Imperialist power. Much has been said of the decline of defenders on the NS forum, and yet the FRA is the largest alliance in the game. I believe we are actually seeing the death of Invaderism and a realignment of the game along Imperialist and Defender lines. All armies will need to adapt. The Imperialists will increasingly use Invader puppets, fed with crumbs of power and glory from table, and the Defenders will increasingly need to win native support to gain allies for the future. But as the Imperialist expansion pushes onwards, many currently neutral natives will look for support from the Defender cause. TEP Delegate Race in Dead Heat Ramaeus leads narrowly over Old Federalia COMMENTARY | TRR STAFF With the other candidates, 1 Infinite Loop, Milograd and Hobbes leaving the race, the frontrunners, Ramaeus and Old Federalia, are now challenging for the coveted delegate position in a very tight race. As of this writing, the election stands at 20-17 for Ramaeus, although only twenty-four hours ago, the election had been tied with Old Federalia catching up with Ramaeus. An extremely generalized analysis suggests that while Ramaeus has benefited from the veteran vote (and the EPSA vote), Old Federalia has cleaned up with new voters. Both candidates are running campaigns that could be considered a bit on the “abstract” side. Ramaeus’s campaign appears more of a ‘status quo’ campaign, applauding the work of the previous adminstration in several areas and emphasizing the task ahead to bridge the forum and the regional community. Old Federalia’s campaign promotes a vision of “Pan-Pacifica”, which has been popular in The East Pacific since A Mean Old Man’s attempted Modern Pacific Alliance and Prussia’s Trans-GCR Alliance. Ramaeus’s experience has been challenged by Old Federalia publicly, while Old Federalia’s plans to train new Army recruits through the regional University has received the ire of members of the East Pacific Sovereign Army (EPSA). The mean average of post-counts for the voters who supported either Old Federalia and Ramaeus are 1,365 and 789.6 posts respectively. However, the medians of the post-counts for their voters show a much different picture, with Ramaeus sporting 247 posts, while Old Federalia holds 104 posts as a median supporter post-count. Although, the age of voters is not often a major concern, the East Pacific News Service posted its “Numbers and Elections” analysis of The Rejected Realms’s election earlier, using poster data to determine if the recent election was “legitimate” or not. In one of the most regionalist of the Game-Created Regions, post-count and the credibility of voters is a huge issue and a poor turn-out among senior voters could reflect badly on a potential winner. The election itself has citizens very excited. “It's been a thorough process with a lot of decent discussion and campaigning,” says Bachtendekuppen, delegate of The East Pacific, “whoever wins will be a deserved winner”. Few elections in NationStates have been –this– close, one citizen told The Rejected Times. “The election as been close indeed,” says Xoriet, General of the EPSA, “and we've seen new ideas from all-new candidates. There have been lively (and sometimes heated) discussions on plans for the future of the East Pacific. People are getting involved that have rarely to never been involved since applying for citizenship prior to this. It has been quite an exciting few weeks”. Ultimately, with the election race this tight, it is anyone’s guess as to who will be The East Pacific’s next delegate, but rest assured, The Rejected Times will be covering the vote closely! The Festering Snakepit: Does Intellectual Honesty Matter In The WA's Nest Of Vipers? OPINION | GRUENBERG "The oracles of old were thus delivered by priests dedicated to the service of the God who was supposed to inspire them. The glare of worldly pomp which surrounded these impostors, the respect paid to them by artful politicians, who knew how to avail themselves of this useful engine to bend the necks of the strong under the dominion of the cunning, spread a sacred mysterious veil of sanctity over their lies and abominations." - Mary Wollstonecraft "I want a language that speaks the truth." - Studs Terkel NationStates is a political game, and the flippant assumption that politics necessarily involves the expedient resort to dishonesty is often used to justify deceptive behaviour in various facets of the way it is played, from gameplay to roleplay to regional business. In the small corner of the game devoted to World Assembly play, there is an increasing tendency to advance all such acts of duplicity under the vague banner of "the Festering Snakepit", the idea that the WA is an inherently amoral lair of corruption and intrigue, in which blatant lying and misrepresentation is perfectly permissible politicking that should be openly encouraged, the only counter being debate. Given significant traction by the fiasco of Repeal "Rights and Duties ... ", the zenith of this trend was reached when Repeal "International Criminal Court", written by newly appointed moderator Mousebumples, went to extraordinary lengths to distort the truth, invoking conflicts with other resolutions where none existed and imagining bizarre new interpretations of existing laws, and yet was permitted to go to vote. Historically, moderators removed such proposals under the "Honest Mistake" section of the proposal rules, emphasising that while in-character politicking was permitted in the WA forum, proposals themselves could not contain factual inaccuracies. Indeed, this very authority was the subject of extensive debate in the WA's predecessor organization, the NSUN, with moderators fiercely defending their right to enforce this rule and ridiculing those who disputed it. As a mark of how starkly the present sense of the rules enforcement has now changed despite claims to the contrary, they now refuse to enforce the same rule, claiming that while some of the legality concerns about the repeal were a "legitimate concern", they were not actionable as they were not "central" to the repeal, seeming to open the door to proposals containing rules violations so long as they are secondary to the main argument. WA moderator Kryozerkia, in an incredibly rare foray into the WA forum, also doled out a crass and insensitive charge accusing those questioning the legality of "try[ing] to wield the moderators as weapons", despite the moderators having quite repeatedly encouraged players to report illegal proposals. When not simply slinging mud, the moderators explained their decision as believing that matters of interpretation should be challenged through debate, which reflects a lack of understanding of how the WA actually works. Debate is completely irrelevant: there has probably never been a resolution vote where the forum vote seriously affected the outcome, and in the days of Jolt it was not uncommon for forum polls to reflect completely the opposite opinion to the game vote itself (or, in the case of "Kenny polls", ringing endorsements for the generosity of the Thessadorian Ambassador). Any proposal can reach quorum thanks to the revamped telegram system, which through stamps and scripts permits instant contact of the entire delegate base instead of lengthy and arduous manual campaigns. And once a resolution does reach vote, the "stacking effect" (qv RRT passim) means that the likely outcome is decided almost instantly. In this case, with Europeia's support, Mousebumples was virtually assured of victory before the proposal even went to vote. All of those are systemic factors in the WA game that do not have an easy fix without complete overhaul of the regional delegate or telegram system, neither of which are likely, or somehow requiring people to partake in forum debates, which is even less likely. As such, the simple reality that debate has no real impression on whether resolutions pass has to be acknowledged, and with it, the recognition that if a proposal does contain demonstrable falsehoods, there is no effective way of countering those with the truth. The only conceivable method would be a mass telegram of all WA members, achievable only through telegram stamps at significant cost to the user - and the indefensible Discard of one of the few proposals to employ exactly that tactic hardly encourages players to make use of the system. Nor does the refusal of proposal authors to engage in debate on the forums, with Mousebumples plainly stating that any arguments against the repeal were not going to have any impact anyway. Another factor is that, simply by reading this far into this article, you are already an atypical NS player (given the length and style of this article, a very atypical player). NationStates is a fairly basic game, and playing it does not require a big commitment of time and effort. Of course some players find ways to become significantly invested in it, becoming active on the official forums or within their own regions; but of the entire WA voting public, these represent a minority. Furthermore, player turnover in NationStates is high (issues fatigue is the most commonly cited cause, though there is necessarily little quantifiable evidence here) and of those voting on the repeal, thousands will not have been playing the game when the resolution originally passed, let alone even older resolutions. None of this makes those players "lemmings", as WA insiders are wont to sniff at them - they are probably the ones with common sense for not becoming so attached to a free webgame - but the fact remains that the WA voting majority simply is not qualified to recognise factual inaccuracies. That's why the Honest Mistake rule exists, and why it has always been enforced to ensure people do not claim that Rights & Duties of WA States gives them immunity from compliance, that the Freedom of Marriage Act forces religious communities to recognise gay marriage, that the Nuclear Arms Possession Act legalises the use of nuclear weapons, or any of the other common misconceptions that see proposals removed from the queue on a weekly basis. "The Festering Snakepit" was, after all, a roleplayed joke of The Palentine, something the humourless modern WA seems to have overlooked in adopting the phrase as a quite genuine statement on the moral purpose of the organization; and while NationStates remains a political game, that does not mean the political aspects should obscure the game aspects. Players can only hope that the appeal to "debate" instead of enforcing a commitment to the truth in this instance was a blip, rather than a reversal of policy - even if such a blip poses the question of why the exception was made this time. Safe Spaces Not So Safe, Say Mods COMMENTARY | THAFOO AND UNIBOT Safe Space Rape Thread Locked. A notable pillar of the NationStates General establishment has been “locked” by forum moderators. Started in May 02, 2012, the “Rape Thread”, served as a safe space for survivors of rape (a crime, as the OP states) to come forth and share their thoughts. Those who came forth and identified themselves as a survivor would often receive support and comfort from the community. The thread itself was heavily enforced by moderators, who would closely review the thread for victim-blaming, trolling and other insensitivities. However, the thread was recently locked due to fears of liability issues. As Katganistan, Senior Game Moderator, noted, the moderation staff was concerned that the forum could be held responsible for emotional damage caused by trolling in the “Safe Space” thread. Dread Lady Nathicana added by noting that there were more appropriate areas for seeking out help, assistance and discussion that are moderated by trained professionals and a dedicated staff. The Safe Space had been inactive for three weeks and it was then that the moderators decided it was an opportune time to lock the thread before more issues could arise. This decision keeps Moderation in line with its similar opinion on Safe Spaces for Mental Health. It was only months ago when a thread regarding depression was locked by the moderators, who argued "[they could not] watch every single post that [was] made there before someone else [saw] it, and then the damage of the troll might already have been done to another user". At the time, the organizer of the depression thread, Divair, soon retorted by noting the existence of other safe spaces for rape and body image -- an inconsistency which is now resolved with the closure of this latest thread. Although most appear to be understanding of moderation’s position (which reflects its similar opinion on Safe Spaces for Mental Health), this discussion has not gone without some controversy. The spirit of the Safe Space itself was to move the sharing of survivor stories away from sterilized, professional settings (i.e., communities and institutions dedicated to the subject) and bringing them to “normal” social settings like NationStates which may have had more of an impact in demonstrating the sheer number of those who we love and respect that have been affected by this terrible crime – supporting survivors and enlightening others. Ultimately, what does this decision mean for NationStates General? Threads regarding sensitive psychological issues no longer have a place on NationStates General considering how sensitive, overall, these issues are. However, many involved, including those supposedly sensitive to such trolling, disagree, claiming that the threads serve to provide support from others who are suffering in the same way. All future threads regarding this decision have been quickly closed, a strategy increasingly used by the moderation to dodge answering to those who are less than satisfied with the current state of NationStates moderation affairs, particularly in the General forum. Ethics of Cross-Regional RMB Posting Where Does The Responsibility of Punishing Spammers Lay? OPINION | THE CHURCH OF SATAN Recently a new feature has been implemented that allows nations in one region to post on the Regional Message Board (RMB) of another. What are the implications of Cross-Regional RMB Posting? A nation in The North Pacific by the name of United Meth of America spammed the RMB of The Rejected Realms, resulting in the nation's deletion by NS moderators. This incident brings up the question of, who is responsible for the spammer? Certainly The Rejected Realms could do nothing to prevent it short of reducing Cross-Regional RMB Posting to just founders and delegates, but why should the rest of The North Pacific, and by extension, all of the other embassies of The Rejected Realms, suffer for one person's idiotic act? On the other hand, The North Pacific could have done the same, but why should they do it instead? Of course The North Pacific has the option of ejecting the spammer. It would certainly get rid of any problems on their end, but they'd be sending the source of the problem directly to The Rejected Realms and nothing would be achieved. Because of this gap of enforcement, will this new feature result in an increase of spammers? Even if it doesn't, all of the spammers get sent to The Rejected Realms if they are not deleted by moderators. Ultimately, there really is no fair solution to this issue and it's quite sad that some people would rather abuse this feature at the expense of thousands of innocent players who don't want to read their trash. The simplest solution would be to restrict the new feature to founders and delegates, but nobody wants to restrict communication between our fellow regions like that -- we do so enjoy one another's company. In my humble opinion, a new addition to the feature needs to be added that allows founders and delegates to revoke a nation's Cross-Regional RMB Posting privileges as this would certainly solve the problem. Sov-Con Whitewash in “Commend Astarial”? COMMENTARY | TRR STAFF “A self-fellating snake seems an appropriate choice of flag for the organisation” ~ Sedgistan. Although “Commend Astarial” passed handily, 8,066 votes to 1,055, some have complained that the resolution itself ignores important events in Astarial’s career because of political sensitivity. Unibot was the first to suggest removing a clause in the original draft of Commend Astarial which praised the work of Sovereign Confederation. Arguing that the ill-fated organization had collapsed early in its life, Unibot also added that Sovereign Confederation had been more of an incursion into regional sovereignty than a defense (as shown by the treasured “Rubber Soul” leaks, once published in The Rejected Times and NS Weekly!). Mallorea and Riva, Frattastan and Milograd later agreed with this suggestion, which lead to the author of the draft, Mcmasterdonia, removing the controversial clause from the resolution. Cormac Somerset, however, argues that Sovereign Confederation should have been included in the resolution – defending its track-record despite its many mishaps. “I think Sovereign Confederation was a mixed bag,” says Cormac to The Rejected Times, “Its ultimate flaw was throwing together regions which were not natural allies and which had some fairly significant ideological differences. On the other hand, it doesn't deserve the demonization in which some individuals have engaged. Its military contributions, though few, were positive, and the organization's overall goal which was never fully realized was also positive. I think it was a positive enough organization, and Astarial's role in it both significant and positive, that it should have been included in Commend Astarial”. On Osiris’s boards, Cormac later accused McMasterdonia of removing several clauses and euphonising Astarial’s history to protect his own political popularity. The Vizier of Osiris argues that the commendation overlooks Astarial’s “autocratic” coup of Osiris and her oversight of Osiris’s transition from an independent army to an invader-imperialist army. At the time, however, Astarial and the Osiran elite had both argued that these events had not occurred: that the new regime was not autocratic, nor a coup and that a switch of alignment had not occurred. “There's no question that Astarial should have been commended,” says Cormac, “as the margin by which the resolution passed made clear. Unfortunately, I'm not satisfied with the final draft, not only because of the exclusion of Sovereign Confederation, but because many of Astarial's achievements -- notably including the Osiran Reformation -- were veiled in euphemism. The Security Council has passed controversial Commendations before. Astarial has made an overwhelmingly positive contribution to NationStates, but many of her positive contributions have also been controversial and the resolution should have better reflected that”. Granted, many commendations have removed clauses to ensure their political survival and popularity, but the Sovereign Confederation’s legacy has the public sharply divided on its commendableness. As the old saying goes: one couper’s glorified protection racket is another couper’s enterprising, Nazi-hunting “Third Way” heroes… Lazarus brings the Funk! INTERVIEW | THE CHURCH OF SATAN Funkadelia's campaign based on unity, harmony, culture, ideology and Lazarene roots swept the Chairman Elections in Lazarus with an overwhelming victory over the other candidates! In the first round of voting, Funkadelia gained the most votes with a stunning 11 of the 19 votes. Llamas, Stujenske, and Horse, whom all had only 1 vote, were eliminated after the first round. Funkadelia had an even greater lead in the second round of the election with 13 of the 19 votes. Fantome, who had 2 votes, was eliminated. In the final round, it was between Funkadelia and Aiden. Funkadelia's lead increased further with 15 of the 19 votes! It appears as though Funkadelia was absorbing the votes of those from previous rounds like a sponge! I reckon Funkadelia had this election from the very beginning and nobody could have stopped him. This decisive victory makes him the fourth chairman of The Peoples Republic of Lazarus. I sat down with the newly elected chairman to talk about what he'll bring to the Lazarene table... The Church of Satan: Congratulations on your win, Funkadelia! What are your plans for the future? Funkadelia: I have a myriad of plans for the future. I plan on leading Lazarus into an age of more and more activity. The past week has been the establishment of my leadership, and from here on out I am preparing to bring us closer to harmony. The Church of Satan: What do you feel will be your greatest challenge as delegate? Funkadelia: I think my greatest challenge so far and probably into the future is keeping activity up. Certainly, it is easy to make yourself active, but it becomes more difficult when you have to oversee multiple other people and make sure that they remain active as well. The Church of Satan: What about your opinion on imperialism? Has Osiris' recent accusations against Lazarus affected it in any way? Funkadelia: My opinion on imperialism has not changed, and diplomatically weak and laughable moves like those of Osiris will not make me change my opinion. We planned on reaching out to Osiris and we wanted to try to work out differences and maintain at least a neutral relationship, but Osiris tarnished that with their aggressive actions. Lazarus must remain in a position to counter imperialism and defend other regions from the same fate as we experienced under those of the imperialist regime that was overthrown last year. The Church of Satan: Lazarus has chosen Germany as its team in FIFA. How are they doing? Funkadelia: I'm very pleased with the way Germany is performing in the World Cup, but I wasn't very pleased with the draw against Ghana The Church of Satan: What's your opinion on the current happenings over at NAZI EUROPE? Funkadelia: I think that the imperialists failed at keeping the Nazis down. Their defeat in Nazi Europe was shameful. I don't have much more to say on the topic. The Church of Satan: What about the Islamic region ISIL? Are you at all concerned about what it could actually be? Funkadelia: I doubt that a group like ISIS would use a game such as NationStates to try to spread their propaganda. It's probably a bunch of kids or weirdos trying to get some attention. Kinda like the Nazis. After becoming chairman, he appointed Ikania as the Governor of Information and the editor of The Lazarene Gazette. He also appointed Fantome as the Governor of The Judicial District. Currently, the position of Vice-Chairman remains vacant. No word yet as to whom he's considering. Best of luck on your term as Chairman, Funkadelia. I'm sure you'll make Lazarus proud! Lobbying - Vice or Virtue? EDITORIAL | UNIBOT Lobbying is a controversial topic in NationStates. I suppose the easiest definition I could give for “lobbying” is that it is the practice of contacting players in private, with the hope of encouraging them to vote for or against a measure, or convince players to vote for a candidate. Lobbying is strictly prohibited during elections in Lazarus and The East Pacific, while it is common and uncontroversial in The Rejected Realms, The North Pacific, Osiris and Balder. Cormac Somerset noted to me that Osiris’s position on lobbying, however, is a new development for the Osiris Fraternal Order from the days of the Kemetic Republic of Osiris. “The KRO had very strict campaign laws and rules,” says Cormac, “ you essentially couldn't do it, anywhere except your campaign thread, to the point they had to change the law to make sure -debates- would be legal”. “This of course gave more established players the edge,” says Cormac, “and allowed them to see what candidates were saying at all times so they could counter anything they didn't approve of - which I'm sure was the point. All of the KRO's laws were meant to keep an Empire-approved oligarchy in power, and the ones that didn't Empire just ignored”. Lobbying is legal in The South Pacific, but is extremely controversial as a practice – defended by some and condemned by others. Every election in The South Pacific sparks a fresh debate on the ethics of lobbying, where lobbying has a troubled political history. I have a long personal history with the practice of lobbying as an author in the World Assembly; in fact I might even say that my days as a lobbyist in the World Assembly were what sparked my career in Gameplay. The first region I ever convinced to switch their vote was Capitalist Paradise, under FASTERCAT. My enemies in the World Assembly were well established in the art of lying, cheating and undermining the World Assembly’s governing institutions, thus I knew to be the best in a genuine snakepit, I had to better at convincing masses of people. I learned how to approach people and the art of “gab”. You had to be tenacious, persistent and have an answer for any question. It was a natural development for me to lobby (and similarly recruit) when I became a gameplayer and for the life of me, I still to this day do not understand why lobbying could ever be considered a wrongdoing in the democratic context. I believe opposition to lobbying is rooted in the ideas of the Ancient Greeks who were skeptical of democracy. Skeptics of democracy worry of the power of demagoguery to influence the public’s fears and emotions towards a mob-like, irrational state. At its worst, democracy becomes ochlocracy when the public is led in a “moral panic”. However, the stance that some have taken against lobbying is, unwittingly, a stance that undermines the pursuit of the democratic process. I think it’s fair to say both Lazarus and The East Pacific themselves are skeptical of democracy, thus this line of argumentation is, at the very least, on the right track. Lazarus presents itself as a rare case of a (pseudo-Soviet) procedural democracy, while The East Pacific stands as the only (pseudo-American) republican democracy that emphasizes the need to balance the legislature with an equally powerful executive and judiciary. Lobbying, for these communities, appears to be a tool of demagoguery. But I would have to disagree strongly. Lobbying is the exchange of information from one player to another and in a free and fair democracy, the exchange of information is integral to the democratic system. Overall, the flow of information in democracies is not as good as it could be. Voters often do their duty and vote, but do so without reading the full campaign literature available to them. However, if you make the effort to directly and personally approach a voter, often they will take the time to read the literature given to them. Critics of lobbying often try to argue that lobbying is “superfluous”, because campaigning can be done publicly, but that is disingenuous: lobbying is threatening to critics only because it works. Uninformed voters come out of this exchange of information with more knowledge (knowledge which can be positive, negative or neutral for the candidate involved). Likewise, critics of lobbying often like to argue that lobbying can be “intimidating” to newer voters, because newer voters will feel compelled to vote how others encourage them to vote. Lobbyists, however, are the last people that voters are afraid of. Open voting is transparent to the peering eyes of the whole Court of Public Opinion. In particular elections, voting for one candidate or another could threaten your social relations with many people in a region -- not just a lobbyist or two. If these critics of lobbying actually wanted to prevent the intimidation of newer voters, they would implement closed ballot voting practices not blame the entirety of intimidation on “evil lobbyists”. Lobbying stands as the first defense against the stagnancy of incumbent bias. While political systems naturally have biases towards incumbents and traditional legislation, lobbying as a persuasive force balances habit with the consideration of new ideas and alternatives. Rumored New Sinker, "ISIS", shares name with Jihadists COMMENTARY | JOE BOBS On 14th June, the region of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was founded. The name, ISIL or ISIS, is that of the jihadist group linked to al-qaeda currently waging war in Iraq. At the time of going to press, ISIS controls much of Iraq as the world waits to see if the US will support the Iraqi government with air strikes, having ruled out a ground invasion. The real ISIS is led by al-Baghdadi, and the NationStates region was founded by a nation of the same name. Its first Delegate was a nation called Usamah Bin Ladin. Disturbingly, there is a remote possibility that this region could have links to the real world group, as ISIS are known for using the internet and social media (particularly Twitter) to convey propaganda. We at the times hope that there is no link to the real world group and trust that game administrators will be monitoring this situation. On 18th June, the region was invaded by a small force led by the nation ISIL FAIL, who had hoped to end the region and advocated its demise on both the RMB and the main forum. However, the invasion was unsuccessful and the region is now passworded. One interesting development is the fact of the soon to be launched GCR, Isis, named after the Ancient Egyptian goddess. As the real world ISIS grew to prominence, some in NationStates began to question whether it would be in bad taste for the game to release this new region. Yes, the source of the name is not the same, but the aesthetics and connotations of the name cannot be dismissed. Now, with the developments around the region of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the real world ISIS seems to have made its mark on NationStates. Will the game administration launch the region of Isis as the latest GCR in light of these events? Only time will tell. It is possible that they could save face by changing the name, perhaps employing suggested names from the forum discussion such as Persephone, the Ancient Greek Queen of the Underworld. Stalling the release may help, but that relies on the hope that the real world ISIS will fall from power, which is, as Donald Rumsfeld would say, an 'unknown unknown'. NS Literary Magazine Prepares For Summer Issue FEATURED ANNOUNCEMENT | THE NEW WORLD OCEANIA The NationStates Improviser Literary Magazine is glad to announce that, after a lengthy post-spring hiatus, summer submissions are officially opened. We accept fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, screen- and stageplays, and visual art. The Summer 2014 Edition's cover will feature visual art from Aspiration Improviser Aelarus, and within will be found several classic and new Improvisers, including the winner of the Summer 2014 Story Contest held by the writers of A&F. If you're interested in submitting, becoming and editor, or viewing previous issues, see the official NationStates Improviser thread. Happy improvising! TNP Adopts Flemingovianism As The State Religion! Flemingovianism Recognized by Government! COMMENTARY | THE CHURCH OF SATAN Flemingovianism has only been around for a short time when you consider how long NS has existed, but in that short time Flemingovianism has gained much popularity in TNP. Despite the popularity, it was fiercely debated by many that it would be absurd to make it the regional religion. After 2 long years though, TNP has given it the stamp of approval at a vote of 17 AYE, 15 NAY and 8 Abstain. This isn't the first time Flemingovia pushed for this bill. On Jan 27th of this year another vote took place. The results however, were not favorable, failing with 16 AYE, 16 NAY and 4 Abstain. He was close, but close isn't good enough. I sat down with the man (and now government recognized god) of TNP himself, Flemingovia to talk about this momentous occassion. The Church of Satan: At long last, Flemingovianism has become the state religion of The North Pacific! How do you feel? Flemingovia: I think it is very exciting. TNP is one of those regions that prides itself on stability and tradition. Nothing much changes in TNP, so it is quite rare for a new initiative to start that opens up possibilities for whole new avenues of play. As far as I know no other feeder has adopted an official regional religion, so this makes TNP distinctive and unique in this increasingly cosmopolitan age. It gives Flemingovianism a legitimacy that it lacked beforehand and a scope for involvement in regional life that was not possible before it was the state religion. The Church of Satan: I'm just as excited as you are! The very concept has faced opposition from the very beginning. What do you think are the contributing factors that made this possible? Flemingovia: Two things helped the bill to pass. The first was that as the debate continued people began to realise that while a state church may not be desirable to them in real life (side note: in real life I am opposed to it too!!), playing a political simulation like Nationstates allows one to explore and develop things that may not be desirable in real life. This is a game, for goodness sake. It is all make-believe. So why not make believe something interesting and fun that we may not encounter in real life? The second thing that helped the bill was the tone of the opposition. Some of the arguments used against the bill were so rabid and bonkers, and the opponents so obviously unable to distinguish between NS and reality, that some people who might otherwise have voted against the bill either abstained or voted in favour. Nobody wants to be associated with the person who stands in a corner at a party ranting at a pot-plant. The Church of Satan: That pot-plant had some good ideas, heh. Any plans for the first official act of The Church of Flemingovia? Flemingovia: Lots and lots of plans. The first is that Astarial is to be crowned queen of TNP, by divine election and Will of God. We are also setting up an Augurs department to handle prophecy and an inquisition to knock on the door of heretics and hand them pamphlets. It’s going to be great fun. There is also new scripture and hymns in the offing. The Church of Satan: Astarial's ceremony is sure to be memorable with The Church to liven things up! An inquisition? Oh I smell a Monty Python reference coming on! New scripture and hymns too!? You're pulling out all the stops! Some people (only 1 comes to mind) have always remained opposed to this event happening and still do. Why do you think they so defiantly oppose it? Flemingovia: I have no idea who you are talking about. But hypothetically some people will always lack the capacity to distinguish between The North Pacific and the real-life USA. They are to be pitied rather than feared. The Church of Satan: For those that aren't familiar, what's Flemingovianism all about? Any hymns, scripture, a holy book or the like? What's the story behind it? When was it first started and what was its inspiration? Flemingovia: Flemingovianism is, as far as I know, the most developed religion in Nationstates. It is a belief system founded upon two pillars. The first is the confession that Flemingovia is God, the firstborn of Max. this revelation was first received in Spring 2012, and was eagerly embraced by many in TNP and other regions. The second pillar, and derived from the first, is the “Flemingovian Mantra”, a guide to life for all true Flemingovians: "Flemingovia is always right. I will listen to Flemingovia. I will not ignore Flemingovia's recommendations. Flemingovia is god.” Flemingovianism has many practices. Our priests wear Lilac, for obvious reasons, and there is both an Old Testament of Scripture and a New Testament, which was only begun when the church was recognised as TNP’s regional religion. We also have a hymn book that contains around 30 hymns, we also have a religious court system called the Fiqh, which offers speedy civil rulings based on common sense and fairness. Of course, everyone in Nationstates knows that the constitutional court system of TNP is the envy of the world. Cases are never prolonged, verdicts are always correct and our justices never dismiss cases in a strop. But for those times when the constitutional court needs assistance … there is the Fiqh. If you want to find out more about Flemingovianism, drop me a PM or visit the Temple Courts in the Agora section of the TNP forum. At the very least look in the Flemingovial Hymn Book. Some of the Hymns are a lot of fun to sing along to. Indeed! As a citizen of TNP, I feel that this is just the sort of thing the region needs to bump up the cultural aspect (or lack thereof.) To commemorate this event, I would like to close this story with the first hymn from Flemingovianism's book of hymns. To the tune "Age of Aquarius" When the courts are made a laughing stock And Our region has too many laws Then the people will turn to Flemingovia And This is all because, This is the dawning of the Age of Flemingovia Age of Flemingovia Flemingovia! Flemingovia! Brand new start for TNP No delegates that go absentee No more trials that last for ages Or constitutions with 74 pages Laws that no one can understand Root admins that no one can withstand Flemingovia! Flemingovia! When the courts are made a laughing stock And Our region has too many laws Then the people will turn to Flemingovia And This is all because, This is the dawning of the Age of Flemingovia Age of Flemingovia Flemingovia! Flemingovia! Let the sun shine, Let the sun shine in The sun shine in Let the sun shine, Let the sun shine in The sun shine in Let the sun shine, Let the sun shine in The sun shine in Let the sun shine, Let the sun shine in The sun shine in Let the sun shine, Let the sun shine in The sun shine in Let the sun shine, Let the sun shine in The sun shine in Let the sun shine, Let the sun shine in The sun shine in Let the sun shine, Let the sun shine in The sun shine in Let the sun shine, Let the sun shine in The sun shine in Let the sun shine, Let the sun shine in The sun shine in Let the sun shine, Let the sun shine in The sun shine in
  14. Lazarus Elects Funkadelia as New Chairman COMMENTARY | UNIBOT “The Rejected Times runs out of stock photos of Chinese elections…” Another term ended, another Chairman elected. Lazarus has gone the polls and chosen to elect Funkadelia as its newest Chairman. Funkadelia was a favourite among the smorgasbord of candidates during the race – last week, The Rejected Times’s Election Fever panel of commentators also named Funkadelia as the frontrunner. He has most recently served as Kazmr’s Vice Chairman and took the initiative to communicate with foreign leaders in Kazmr’s absence. While Funkadelia arguably stands as the candidate with the most similar views as Kazmr, Milograd on Election Fever noted that every Chairman brings their own legacy to the position to help redefine the region. Milograd brought a communist culture to Lazarus, Kazmr brought his savvy and colorful media to Lazarus, like Mao Zedong’s teachings or Deng Xiaoping thought, all eyes are on what new doctrine ... on what new way forward that Funkadelia will pursue in the Sister Sinker. “I am very excited to be elected as the Chairman of the People's Republic of Lazarus,” Funkadelia tells The Rejected Times, “This is an office that I hold with high regard, and I am humbled to be given the honor to serve Lazarus in this capacity”. When asked what his immediate plans were for Lazarus, the focus was clear. “I plan on simply increasing activity,” says Funkadelia, “With the inactivity of Comrade Kazmr, Lazarus remained more inactive than I would like to see it be, so I plan on turning that trend around”. The new leader only found out he had won at the top of the wolf’s hour, thus the appointment of his Vice Chairman has yet to have been decided, however his other appointments favoured some of the region’s most beloved newer and older members. “I have already appointed Ikania as the new Governor of the Information district,” says Funkadelia, “and he will be running the Lazarene Gazette. I also appointed Fantome as the new Governor of the Judicial District. I am confident in his abilities as he served Lazarus well during his time as Chief of Police. Overall, I am very pleased with the prospects of this new government, and I plan on having Lazarus returned to the levels of activity we have seen in the months following the founding of the People's Republic of Lazarus”. Lazarus appears to be in safe hands and sailing towards greater heights, but one question… the most important question of all remains: how did he plan to be watching the match tomorrow? Funkadelia laughed, telling The Rejected Times that he hoped the election translated into a successful game for their World Cup pick, Germany, for their match tomorrow against Portugal. “Auf geht's, Deutschland!” he says proudly.
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