"Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it." ~ George Orwell
In the spirit of presenting copies of good ol' threads on the new Beta Forums, here is my Analysis of NationStates Generations. However its not entirely old - I've updated it with some new dates, and will continue to do so. For example, with the coming of a new forum - anyone new is of the Raleigh generation not the Theseus generation.
I’ve been thinking about doing an anthropological analysis of NationStates generations for a while now. This isn’t a complete analysis by any means. Furthermore I do not know the history of NationStates as one would if I had ACTUALLY been there, so please correct me if I make a mistake. I use a theory of generational archetypes that I find works with the generations, if you are unfamiliar with this system; I have copied an explanation of the generational archetypes for you from a wiki article. The basis of these archetypes is on the notion that the dispositions of generations repeat with the cycles of human events.
Nomad/Reactive. A Nomad (or Reactive) generation is born during an Awakening, spends its rising adult years during an Unraveling, spends midlife during a Crisis, and spends old age in a new High. Nomadic leaders have been cunning, hard-to-fool realists, taciturn warriors who prefer to meet problems and adversaries one-on-one.
Hero/Civic. A Hero (or Civic) generation is born during an Unraveling, spends its rising adult years during a Crisis, spends midlife during a High, and spends old age in an Awakening. Heroic leaders are considered to have been vigorous and rational institution-builders, busy and competent in old age. All of them entering midlife were aggressive advocates of technological progress, economic prosperity, social harmony, and public optimism.
Artist/Adaptive. An Artist (or Adaptive) generation is born during a Crisis, spends its rising adult years in a new High, spends midlife in an Awakening, and spends old age in an Unraveling. Artistic leaders have been advocates of fairness and the politics of inclusion, irrepressible in the wake of failure.
Protogonus Generation (Pioneers)= Hero/Civic
Zelus Generation (Afterwards creation, preceding baby boom) = Artist/Adaptive
Proteus Generation (Pre Influence) = Prophet/Idealist
Lotophagi Generation (Post Influence) = Nomad/Reactive
Theseus Generation (Post WA + Decline) = Hero/Civic
Raleigh Generation (Post-Jolt/Great Revival) = Artist/Adaptive
A Hypothesized "Alaric" Generation = Prophet/Idealist
Crises= Creation, the disbandment of the UN, the Great Decline, the failure of the Jolt forums and the collapse of NS2.
Awakenings= Regional Influence
Unraveling= the humdrum years following Regional Influence, cultural disintegration
High = the culture renaissance of NS (preceding Influence), the inclusion of multiple feeder regions to account for the Baby Boom, a hypothetical second culture renaissance?
Very few of these veterans still exist; they are the pioneers of the game. They came to NationStates like Columbus with a great discovery, and conquered the world like Napoleon. They forged the first regions, and experimented with the first social societies and organizations. The generation’s main function was establishing systems, and new regions. A good real world example would be the Republican Generation (though George Washington was born a few years before it) that led the revolutionary war. The Protogonus had a remarkably low life expectancy, just over 21 days on average (deletion due to inactivity was 21, not 28 days in this era).
One self "diagnosed" Protogonus and notorious roleplayer, Automagfreek, commented on his generation, it's history, the great decline and the future with a lot of passion that I think will connect with fellow Protogonuses. I encourage you took take a further look:
I remember a time when tech levels freely mixed, when the populace of entire nations consisted of fantastical beings such as vampires, cyborgs, elves, and so on. I remember when World War 4 first broke out and not sleeping for two days because I was just so excited and drawn into what was happening that I wanted to be there the second a new development broke. Granted the quality of roleplay and indeed gameplay was much...less evolved, but the volume was so great that there was never a dull moment.
However there was a trade off to the decline in volume and variety. In I.I. for example, the decline in variety meant an increase in quality, and I'm proud to have helped shape the RP community there over the years. Even though I'm still going strong 6 years after joining NS, I'm finding it difficult to continue because quite frankly, everything has been done already.
I think what needs to happen in order to keep things interesting is a regression of sorts, back to a state where variety and creativity abound. I want to see the fantastical nations and cultures, I want to see the imposing alliances, I want conflict that doesn't break down into total bitchfests. There was a time when people really didn't care about "winning" or "losing" at this game, and getting nuked or having an asteroid dropped on your nation simply meant you got a chance to start over and rebuild.
In I.I., it seems that wild creativity is punished because there is a strong sense of realism and wanting to make things feel as true to what is familiar in the modern day as possible. I think people need to let go a bit. Some of the best fun I've had was RPing a clone army, demons and ghosts freely moving about, and wild technologies that more often than not were completely absurd and really didn't do anything that practical. That's what makes this game fun; sculpting out a fantasy world outside of the real one where anything is possible. What's stopping us from doing it all over again?"
Some NationStates examples of the Protogonus Generation are,
Maxtopia (Sir Protogonus himself)
Ineptia (Founder of the Heartland)
The Bruce (Founder of Wysteria)
Cupertino (Founder of Farkistan)
The Most Glorious Hack
(Dates of Emergence, Nov 2002 - June 2003. Antiquity before Moderators!)
These players arrived to the game with playful ambitions to a progressive NationStates world. Under their direction, NationStates exploded with a cultural renaissance. They were also easily frightened of crises. With their involvement, a baby boom progressed. These explorers of the modern world found that NationStates needed a bit more creativity, and added greatly to the already established systems, created new ones, and tried to bring order and righteousness to them with moderation, they were enthusiastic players. A real world example that correlates back to the Zeluses would be, the silent generation, that were a hard working group of people, known to be strong activists, though also were criticized for being “withdrawn, cautious, unimaginative, indifferent, unadventurous and silent.”. The Zeluses improved on the life expectancy of their forefathers, and played the game with more consistency, their averaged life expectancy was 58 days.
The United Nations Old Guard (UNOG) was formed by many of this generation in response to the addition of a repeal feature to the UN.
Some NationStates examples of the Zelus Generation are...
1 Infinite Loop (opened the original NS flag Service)
(Dates of Emergence, June 2003 - May 9 2004. Antiquity in a Post-Mod era!)
This generation arrived in a baby boom that naturally followed the cultural renaissance of NationStates. They found themselves in a very developed world, with several different demographics and styles of play. Many players frolicked in the wide variety of organizations and institutions that had been created by their forefathers. However there was an increasingly large dispute over Influence, which divided them from their conservative predecessors. As well, the creation of a Repeal Function in Oct. 2004 for the UN, divided the Older, and Conservative United Nations members and the Proteuses who supported the new ability. There also seems to be prevalent liking of humor, which stemmed from this generation. As for a main function, expansion was one the underlining principles under the Proteus Generation’s prevalent years.
The mod conspiracy theories stems from this generation, but flourished in the Lotophagi generation. The best example of a Proteus Generation in Real Life would be the Baby-boomers, who alienated authority and were the first to really relish in the life style of a “teenager”. After the "Awakening", they died away fairly quickly, and became very conservative in their manner and roleplays (focusing on mostly Real Tech and strict political guidelines). This shift to realism might have been caused by the turbulence of the age, but no matter what, it obviously was a factor in the Great Decline. This could correlate back to real life, with the radical teenagers of the 60's becoming business oriented "yuppies" of the later years. The Proteuses had a lower life expectancy then the Zeluses, and on average, players died away at 49 days. This drop in the expectancy could be due to the overwhelming amount of expendable puppets at the time created for roleplays.
One Proteus describes his memories of the generation...
Some NationStates examples of the Proteus Generation are...
(Dates of Emergence, May 9 2004 - April 6 2006. Anyone who isn't Antiquity, but remembers a pre-influence era. Ol' time Jolters!)
Afterwards the cultural disintegration following Regional Influence’s activation, new nations found old organizations to join. Cultural progress is at an all-time low. There is a slow steady decline of population in this era, (NS looses about 45% of its size over two or so years). At this point in time, some start talking about a possible sequel. The residents become apathetic, if one went to the technical forum with a suggestion for the game his answer back would be “the mods already turned that down, so it’s not going to happen” within a few minutes of posting. This generation found that gaining respect among players, becoming influential and savoring distinguished autonomies was important. Many of the players on NationStates are probably in a real world generation such as Lotophagi, but don’t even know it. Generation X would be a suitable example of such. One Lotophagi explained his generation's existence as a fairly ignored one, because they're "not old enough to be well regarded by the ancients and not young and brash enough to demand the attention of the Theseids". Also adding that
The Lotophagi had the longest of life expectancies out of the generations, with 81 days on average. This depicts the generation as being the most dedicated base of players. Around this time, a revival of Past-Tech threads became popular, some of which tiptoed into the line of alternative history threads and sparked a lot of controversy.
Some NationStates examples of the Lotophagi Generation are...
(This one is a little more fickle (I apologize), April 6 2006 - April 1 2008, around the time of the UN collapse. But some Lotophagi still popped up as late as the end of May - Some)
As the Who said, "MY GENERATION!". These nations were born in an apathetic world that had been thrown on its side. Societies had been totally destroyed with a mysterious great decline, and the UN exploded into an “extra-dimensional fireball” to be replaced by a newfangled successor, the World Assembly. Many players of this generation find themselves lost on where to join, with a world that has been spread thin of dieing ideologies and playing styles, without the population to support it (as if a disease has ravaged through and sucked the meat off the belly of the beast, leaving only a skeleton). With a crisis emerging, their generation will do what it is necessary to fight through it, with a creative driven passion and determination. They at times don’t realize it, but with a crisis at hand, Theseuses have been raised to preserve what they can, as well as revive, restore and bring back the game with all its glory and might. This generation is in complete correlation with the real life generation that is edging on university age no doubt, the Millennials! NationStates has witnessed a large scale domination of roleplay threads based around future tech (FT) under the Theseus generation. It would be interesting to see if real world events such as Obama’s inauguration had an effect on NationStates. A rough life expectancy is calculated at 37 days on average. Much lower than previous generations, and obviously a sign of the Great Decline.
The Jolter's Club Thread offers insight into the Theseuses' future.
Some NationStates examples of the Theseus Generation are...
New South Hell
Unibot (Author of this amazing analysis)
Mayor for Life
(Dates of Emergence, April 1 2008 - May 1 2009. Anyone who can remember the days of Jolt and cutting at each others throats to get an early beta key to NS2 - but cannot remember the days with a UN (and not because you've forgotten ))
A fresh, new generation which has joined a reborn NationStates. Inspired by the creativity, and the rapidity surrounding these turbulent years - they'll live it up! In most debates, the Raleigh's will side with the younger, 'hipper' Theseuses in debates, and be the ones that fill their older brother's new found institutions' memberlists - but they will receive their authority and learning from the Lotophagi, which is a particularly un-existentialist generation to receive an education from, and thus the Raleigh's won't be as particularly action-driven as the Theseuses were but instead, rule driven. Their chapter will be the institution 'cultivational' years of NationStates, with these new areas of the game being hoisted on the shoulder's of the Thesuses, expect the Raleigh's to play upon their shoulder's in the biggest playground that NationStates has ever seen - people will look back at this period of time as one of the golden ages of the game. The Great Revival. The new rules of the functioning playground will be made up by the Raleigh's with the help of their educators, the Lotophagi.
I would define a Raleigh as anyone who wasn't around to participate on the Jolt Forums (actually choosing to participate on the Jolt Forums is an entirely different matter however...) - therefore making this quick, turbulent environment of the newfound, beta forums - the only environment that the Raleigh's have ever known.
Some NationStates examples of the Raliegh Generation are...
Give it some time.
(Dates of Emergence, May 1 2009 - And Beyond, anyone who was not in the game when the Jolt forums were the official forums - in all of its ad-ridden bad karma anti-gloriousness !)
An important aspect to this anthropological study is how these different generations get along. In NationStates it is common to read a conversation between members of varying seniorities. So let me elaborate on this concept with a thought experiment, imagine a big metaphysical, chronological, gravity defying, multiplying, air-looming, lobster cracking cube. In this magical box are representatives of the five generations. As if it is a lucid dream, their reason for being there in the box is arbitrary and undefined, and their attempts to distinguish their perceived reality as a dream are fruitless. The proceedings in the box would go something like this…
Protogonus paced around the box, unimpressed with his company. He felt just a tad awkward from all of the stares that the younger representatives gave him. Stroking his white wig, and addressing the scruffiness of his colonial attire.
(At times, the “fame” of being an older nation can estrange and alienate Protogonuses)
Zelus was a quieter man who looked over at Protogonus for advice. Apparently in the past, he had been his loyal apprentice. With Protogonus silent, so was Zelus. Which left Proteus to address the quietness, “So, is someone going to talk about something!? Or should I be leaving to find a magical magazine stand somewhere?”
The joke made the older crowd laugh, but had Theseus confused.
The young, fair-haired man interrupted the controlled laughter, “hey! Maybe we SHOULD be trying to leave this place, there has to be something more than just this box.” The father of Theseus, Lotophagi, shook his head, and smiled with embarrassment to the other representatives, “no son, that’s never going to happen. Proteus was just making a joke.” To Lotophagi’s embarrassment, Theseus continued. Now addressing the royal Protogonus with little of the reverence that Zelus or the others showed him, “Hey Protogonus! You founded this place! Why don’t yeh order a royal expedition…to discover the world outside of the box? Eh?”
Protogonus did not answer back. But Zelus stepped in to address the rowdy young man, “the answer is simple. There is nothing to explore out of this box. Believe me, Proteus has tried numerous times.” Zelus glared coldly at Proteus. To break up the awkwardness, Proteus and Lotophagi laughed at the boy’s folly.
But then something terrible happened, Lotophagi started to cough blood. Disease had spread throughout the box, and it was now apparent that their home was no longer safe.
Proteus and Zelus remained in a constant argument about what to do, Zelus wanted to care for Lotophagi but Proteus wanted to leave the cube, so he wouldn’t contract the disease, and therefore called Zelus an old fool.
This was when Protogonus pulled rank, putting his hand between the two confrontational men, he explained “It’s time for you two to listen; we shall take a royal expedition.”
Proteus and Zelus were stunned.
Protogonus finished his commands with a question, “and who will lead?”
Protus looked at Zelus because of his seniority, and Zelus looked at Protus because he felt like he had misjudged the situation with Lotophagi, and figured he DID deserve the position more.
While this was going on, Theseus jumped to grab their attention, he felt it was imperative for them to leave and he also thought his father could be saved. However, his attempts were futile, at least for now. But Protogonus knew that Theseus would come out of the expedition being the leader of the men, regardless of who started out as the supposed leader.
There are some important aspects of intergenerational conversations that can be discussed with a breakdown of the story. To start, there is a definite ladder of power among the ambassadors, but it’s an awkward one. You must understand, Protogonus devised the Gerontocube, and therefore is fully respected by everyone, even the young Theseus to an extent. Zelus learned everything from Protogonus, and therefore is the most respectful of him, with an exception of Lotophagi. What separates their dealing with the elder is, Zelus is not afraid to communicate with Protogonus, because they were once close, but Lotophagi knows only of legends of the great elder, and therefore is embarrassed when his son tries to address him.
There is also a very thin line of control between Zelus and Proteus; these two generations can at times be confrontational, with one attempting to take the stance as parent over the other and the other attempting to throw the authority off his shoulders. This is similar to real life examples, where the Prophet will rebel from the Hero's timely institution, and be confrontational with the Artist. In most societies, the preceding generation begins teaching a generation later, the omission is evident here as well, Proteus had little to do with Lotophagi’s education; he left that up to Zelus. This is obvious when Lotophagi becomes sick, and Proteus shows no sympathy. Being taught by Proteus as opposed to his apathetic father, Theseus has the same sort of rebellious streak to him that Proteus had in his younger years, but his disposition is not of out arrogance like Proteus at times but out of distress for his father’s safety. Protogonus also hints to a bit of favoritism with Theseus, which may stem from them being so similar, they’re going to have what socionics dubs an Identical Relation, while Proteus and Theseus will have a Mirror Relation. Protogonus's may feel recently energized by the Theseus's generation, and want to help with their cause, the Proteus's alienation of authority is what kept them from feeling the same energy before.
So, we have Protogonus who made the box. Zelus who established the first of its social rules. Proteus who tried to break those rules, Lotophagi who relished in them and Theseus who wishes to step out of the box.
Using this model, I can lay out a prediction of the future. The Theseus generation will convince other significant members of the generational landslide that a course of action needs to be taken to combat the Great Decline. Consider this time an epic battle of ideologies, generational rivalries, and a rebirth of social institutions. Older, wiser and well respected members of NationStates will awake from their pedestals, and feel compelled to help the cause. The Lotophagi will be hesitant of such changes, and for the most part let the crisis be averted by others. Not out of ignorant lethargy, but out of social apathy and a love for a system they don’t understand fully, or truly know. This hesitation is a logical one, the last time the system was changed it led to the Great Decline (regional influence). Zelus and Proteus generations may have a hard time distinguishing the movement behind these changes from the ones that brought forth the initial awakening. In the coming months, systems will be revamped, or scrapped and replaced with something more efficient.
The Theseuses will carve their way into NationStates history with new social institutions and game mechanics that bring about a NationStates revival. There is a relative calmness for a while, the Raleigh generation emerges. Their populace is a homogeneous one, which partakes in only a few different demographics, silent and forgettable. But their existence is welcomed by the Theseuses who had worked hard to see such arrivals and new blood. Ralieghs will find themselves befriended and taught by Lotophagies, who are as lost in this new and brave face of NationStates as the newborns. Their doctrine of stability, knowledge and authority will drive the Ralieghs to enforce strict new social rules in their prevalent years. In the coming months of mid 2010, the young and fresh Alaric generation will materialize. With their arrival marks a new age of imagination which helps to expand on the world forged by the Theseuses and the Ralieghs, but also instigates a huge change to the game’s mechanics. Around 2012, a magnificent alteration to the game will carry a huge price, as Alaricods and Ralieghs argue over its creation, popular institutions will become outdated with the changes. Creativity and populace will decline once again, worse than in the original great decline. Imagine NationStates falling like Rome. The Zhuangzi generation will slowly fill NationStates hollowed halls, echoing generations before it, as they attempt to put the pieces back together like a gigantic puzzle. The Alaricods and the Ralieghs will drop out of attendance with the fruitless attempts of the Zhuangzi to put back together its troubled world. NationStates will die a slow lingering death and will never reach its cyclic heroes, the Croatoan generation scheduled to arrive in early 2016.
One has to remember that NationStates will be very different in 2016. There will be a few distinctive demographics, and many failed projects. New features such as Regional Issues, and a glorious new systems for delegacy will be abroad. Predicting NationStates in six years is about the equivalent of guessing what Earth will look like in 110 years. Also one has to consider the possibility that the Internet will change, in six years, a lot of technological progresses can happen, as well as a possible NS3 sequel (shudder...) that could drain the Croatoan populace's attention from NS1.
After little debate with myself, I set out to test these anthropological theories. I had at first considered an experiment with a supposed “vulnerability” in the code that would allow for some humorous circumstances. But in the end I decided on a simple thread which outlined a question I have asked myself a lot, and wait for the replies. The question is “should the World Assembly have an army” among other discussions, the reason this is such a “debatable” topic is because the World Assembly is forbidden from forming an army, a decision which apparently was not left to the participants to decide. I figured the issue would show the generations very clearly, with their varying dispositions. Unfortunately, the thread was closed before too many observations could be made, in fact only members of two generations had time to comment (Proteus and Lotophagi).
The Lotophagi appeared apathetic to the argument, it took them the longest to register what I was getting at, and they suggested that I would fail. Showing no hope for change. The Lotophagi crave “maturity” and acceptance within the systems they respect, they wear their apathy like a badge. When someone else walks in and shows no “realism”, the Lotophagi suggest that they back down, as they have or else the society might not respect them, and immediate failure would follow. The Proteuses were more confrontational, they took the attack on the rules as an attack on themselves and the system they were protecting. This leads me to suggest the Violet Curve, a generational experience that is alive today in real life; generations after the “awakenings” such as the Boomers switch from absolute liberalism to strict conservatism in decades. The Proteuses were initially quarrelsome with their founders who were attempting to force them into conformity. But after they saw the changes they wanted to the system, the Proteuses became the greatest protectors of the systems. I would like to also point out, that although confrontational, the Proteuses were not totally apathetic to possibility that change could happen, because they have experienced it before, but they were still confrontational in “behalf of the system’s defense”.
I’d also like to thank a particular Proteus for being the only one that actually tried to answer my question of why there is a ban on the World Assembly’s potential army. You know who you are.
Data collected by me and a talented colleague, which reveals the distinct make-up of NationStates.
The census report was conducted with a python script that scans the <FOUNDED> tags in the XML feeds of Nations which describes how long ago the nation was founded. Some Protogonus outdate the <FOUNDED> tag’s creation and therefore have a <FOUNDED> date that equals zero – they were included in the census as Protogonuses.
As of April 29, 2009 …
NationStates can be dissected as,
3.7% Protogonus Generation
5% Zelus Generation
8.3% Proteus Generation
17% Lotophagi Generation
66% Theseus Generation
With merely two thirds of NationStates being young this causes me to think that the majority of Theseuses are merely puppets that have been newly created, however this assumption is unproven and based entirely on common beliefs.
On May 12, 2010, this experiment was conducted again with the results as recorded...
3.14% Protogonus Generation
1.55% Zelus Generation
7.63% Proteus Generation
10.75% Lotophagi Generation
8.63% Theseus Generation
29.39% Raleigh Generation
38.90% Alaric Generation
-- Tentatively, Feb 26, 2010 was used as the date to split the Alaric generation from the Raleighs. Feb 26, 2010 was the day that the World Assembly's voting floors were split. This date of transition is subject to change.
With the number of Theseuses deflated to 8.63% (-57.37%), and the two most recent generations, representing 68.29% which is similar to the 2/3 Theseus Measurement from 2009. I would conclude that the most recent generations are inflated by newly created puppet nations, which their owners don't intend on revisiting.
If you disagree with the depiction of a Generation, please say so. I could be dead wrong on my anthropological analysis, I don’t have much history to go by, and I’m applying a very theoretical model to it. If you do approve of the generational analysis, and you wish to contribute with more significant events, please do so. If you don't approve of your name being used as an example for a generation (possibly because you think this generation stuff is silly and you don't want your name linked to it ), for what ever reason, please just say so, I'll take your name off, promise. If you think you can add to the list of names with better examples, please post them.
Thanks for Reading