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GA Proposal Compendium: Rules & General Advice

Where WA members debate how to improve the world, one resolution at a time.
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Kryozerkia
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

GA Proposal Compendium: Rules & General Advice

Postby Kryozerkia » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:06 am

GA Rules for Proposals

GA Proposals are attempts to introduce new legislation to member nations. By submitting a proposal, you are stating that you have found something in the NS world that needs to be addressed and you are attempting to do so by forcing a change to all members. For this reason, GA Proposals must be more than just rhetoric. While they need not be written like real world international treaties, they do need to be more than just your opinion. Essays belong in the General Forum, not the WA floor.

WA members also need to be aware that being in queue is not proof against action. Just because enough Delegates support a proposal to lift it to the queue does not mean it won't be deleted for being illegal. The WA Gnomes are not swayed by appeals to popularity.

Proposals have a character limit. This limit is approximately 3500 characters, including formatting marks, spaces and line breaks. If you're using MS Word to count characters, you may find yourself a little off, as it appears to count line breaks differently than the game's parser does.

With background information out of the way, let's move to discussing the various categories that lead to proposal deletion.

Types Of Violations

  • Game Mechanics

    Game Mechanics violations are attempts to change how either the World Assembly or NationStates work. Generally, these are proposals that should be threads in Technical. Anything that requires and adjustment to how the game does things, or requires a change of code falls into this category.

    Examples of game mechanics violations:
    • Requiring "proper" spelling and/or grammar
    • Adjusting the number of votes needed for queue
    • Creating a universal WA currency
    • Forming a secondary WA, or forcing the current WA to dissolve
    • Requiring that nations are ejected for non-compliance with any resolution
  • Blockers

    Resolutions cannot be "repeal-proof" or prohibit types of legislation.

    To summarize regarding blockers: being a blocker isn't illegal. It's being a blocker and nothing else that gets a proposal dinged. That, or closing off an entire area of WA legislation -- say, "RESERVES to nations the power to make all decisions on all matters concerning the human rights of their citizens and residents" -- or trying to write the "unrepealable" resolution: "RESOLVES that the WA shall never speak of this again".

  • Creating Military or Police Force

    The WA cannot have or form a military, peace keeping force, the World Police or any other such variation. This is pretty clear: don't do it.

  • Ideological Bans

    Okay, so you hate capitalism. That's nice, but you can't ban it. Proposals cannot outlaw, whether through direct or indirect language, religious, political or economic ideologies. e.g. A proposal can mandate that elections are transparent and fair. In this way no ideology has been outlawed as this would affect nations that have elections while not forcing it on nations without an election system. You may consider the banning of slavery an oppression of your "economic ideology", we do not.

  • Meta-Gaming

    Meta-gaming is a difficult to understand category at times, especially since it often shares jurisdiction with Game Mechanics violations. Essentially, a MetaGaming violation is one that breaks "the fourth wall", or attempts to force events outside of the WA itself.

    Examples of meta-gaming:
    • Requiring the Security Council to take certain action
    • Forcing WA legislation on non-member nations
    • Mandating actions to be taken by regions
    • Requiring Moderators to perform specific actions
    • Mandating actions on the forums

  • Committees

    Committees (tribunals, agencies, organizations, bodies etc) are designed to carry out specific duties related to the proposals. Committees are additions to Proposals; they shouldn't be all the Proposal does.

    Committee Rules:
    • Membership on the committee is reserved for mystical WA gnomes who spring into existence after the proposal becomes law
      For this reason a proposal cannot define:
      • Who can and cannot sit on the committee
      • How members are chosen
      • Term limits for the members
    • Committees are bound by the "meta-gaming" rules
    • Acronyms for committees must not be used to brand a proposal
    • A committee continues to exist when its Resolution is repealed if it has been used in another Resolution
    • A single-use committee that died when its Resolution was repealed may be resurrected for a relevant new proposal
  • Optionality

    GA Proposals are not optional. Don't try to make one that is. Many 'Mild' Proposals will have phrases such as "RECOMMENDS" or "URGES", which is just fine. The optionality ban refers to language such as "Nations can ignore this Resolution if they want," which is right out.

  • Format

    Proposals need to be more than just empty rhetoric. This includes repeals with no argument, one-liners, proposals that are questions ("Don't you think we should...?"), and proposals that are just too incomprehensible to make sense of.
  • Proposal language

    Not everybody speaks English as a first language (or at all, for that matter). Unfortunately, NS is a game in English. If you cannot compose in proper English, seek the help of somebody (hint-hint, run it through an online translator and post here for clean-up). A Proposal won't be nuked for the occasional typo, but if players and Mods have to spend a good chunk of time trying to figure out what's going on, it'll be nuked.

    Proposals written entirely in other languages are out, too.

  • Goes Nowhere, Does Nothing/Bloggish

    Also know as a blogposal, this violation usually results from a proposal not actually doing anything due to lack of an operational clause. Remember, proposals must be more than just your idea and why it's great but must also give directions to the WA or member states in what to do. Operational (or directive) clauses would be words such as 'Requires', 'Urges', 'Demands', 'Mandates', etc. If your proposal reads more like a blog post about how it'd be great if the WA did this, it'll get chucked.

  • Real World Violations

    George Bush, Barack Obama, Hammas, France, The Michigan Compiled Laws (Annotated), Earth, Milky Way, and Smith & Wesson do not exist in the NationStates world. Don't bring them up in Proposals. This includes references to real world documents, movies, and books. This is really easy to grasp and is a "bright line" violation. A Proposal that is wonderfully written, but mentions "the Great Wall of China" will be deleted. Also, while it acceptable to use real world laws and UN resolutions as a starting point, don't plagiarize.

  • Category

    Category violations are pretty simple things, and often happens with 'Social Justice'. If your Social Justice proposal doesn't deal with "reduc[ing] income inequality and increas[ing] basic welfare", you've got the wrong category. This also includes proposals to ban guns forever being labelled as "Gun Control: Relax". This also includes Medical Marijuana Proposals under Human Rights, by the way.

  • Repeals

    Yes, you can Repeal, provided you use the Repeal function. If you make your own Proposal in some other category and calling it a 'Repeal', it's going to be deleted. Remember, Repeals can only repeal the existing resolution. You can provide reasons for repeal, but not any new provisions or laws.

    Furthermore, simply stating "National Sovereignty" (i.e.: "this law prevents my nation from doing Y, X, and Z", or "this legislation will destroy the moral fabric of our society") is not sufficient grounds for a repeal. Since such a stance could be used on every single Resolution, it is little more than saying "I don't like it." Religious, cultural and ethnic sovereignty also falls under the umbrella of 'NatSov'.

    Also, Repealing on the grounds of an old Resolution violating the current rules is not sufficient. On a more practical side, Repealing because a Resolution violates the rules is itself a MetaGaming violation: the laws do not "exist" from an In Character standpoint.

  • Amendments

    You can't amend Resolutions. Period. You can't add on, you can't adjust, you can't edit. If you want to change an existing Resolution, you have to Repeal it first.

  • House of Cards

    "RECALLING Resolutions #48, #80, #92, and #103..."

    If those Resolutions are repealed, you've gutted the base of your own Resolution. A Proposal must be able to stand on its own even if all referenced Resolutions were struck from existence; however, you may assign duties to an existing committee. Should the Resolution that creates the committee be Repealed, the committee will continue to exist, but in a reduced capacity. If your Proposal "builds on" an existing Resolution, you're amending that resolution. Excessive back referencing is not acceptable either. Create a new Proposal, don't just parrot existing ones. (see: Duplication)

  • Strength Violation

    This is very rare, but has been used in extreme cases. If your Proposal calls for the immediate destruction of all nuclear weapons and forbids their construction, and you list it as 'mild', it'll probably be deleted, so you should take a look at how Strength is decided.

    Strong - Proposals that affect a very broad area of policy and/or use very strong language and possibly detailed clauses to affect a policy area in a dramatic way.

    Significant - Proposals that affect a fair-sized area of policy and/or use fairly strong language to affect a policy area.

    Mild - Proposals that affect a very limited area of policy and/or use fairly mild language to affect only that policy area, or broader policy areas in a very minor way.

  • Joke/Silly Proposals

    These are proposals which serve no other purpose than to be humorous. If you really want to share your amusing proposal then post it in the GA forum.

  • Grossly Offensive

    If you want to execute left-handed men named "Earl" in your country, that's fine. Don't go yammering about it in a Proposal. Yes, this includes screwing with a 'majority' group. Killing all whites is just as bad as killing all Jews. Or blacks. Or poor people. Things such as eliminating "all rights for $group", forced deportation of said group and the like fall under this too.

  • Bloody Stupid

    Every now and then a Proposal crops up that, for lack of a more tactful description, is stupid. This is clearly a judgment call, but if you're going to mandate that all cars be pink, you're gonna have a dead proposal on your hands. This includes things that are unworthy of WA consideration (such as mandating allowances for children who eat their vegetables).

  • Honest Mistakes

    This usually happens with Repeals. Someone will misread the Resolution and submit a Repeal that supports the Resolution, or tries to undo a Resolution because they think it does something it doesn't (Freedom of Marriage Act comes to mind...)

  • Duplication

    If the majority of your Proposal is covered by an existing Resolution, your Proposal is toast. We've got enough of these things already, we don't need to double up (i.e. the WA has already banned landmines, we don't need to do it again). As an aside, since the WA has already banned biological weapons, you don't need to include it in your Proposal to ban nuclear and chemical ones. (see: House of Cards)

  • Contradiction

    Diametric opposite to Duplication. The WA has already mandated Gay Marriage. You can't ban it without at least one Repeal.

  • Branding

    Limited branding is allowed. "Limited" means that you may list your co-author by nation name only. Example:

    "Co-authored by The Most Glorious Hack"

    Further branding will result in the Proposal being deleted. Don't list everyone who posted in the thread for your draft, don't list yourself, don't list your Minister Of Making Proposals, and don't post the 'pre-title' of the co-author (ie: "The Republic Of..."). This includes creating nations that have the same name as your region or group and using them to promote your region or group. It also includes using the name of a nation, region or group as an acronym in a proposal. If you are using the [nation] tag to list your co-author make sure you are using the short version ([nation=short] or [nation=short+noflag]).

    Illicit Activity Outside of Proposals
  • Excessive Pimping

    <Cogitation> Proposals will be removed if their authors are covered in too much Bling Bling!

    No, Lil' Cog, what I'm talking about is the insane spamming of Regional Message Boards with your Proposal. Irritating your regionmates about it is fine, but don't go on a world tour hawking it. While this doesn't deal with the Proposal itself, excessive hustling will still result in the Proposal being deleted, and the person pushing it may face WA ejection.

  • Proposal Stealing

    If it can be proven that you've simply copy and pasted somebody else's Proposal and submitted it as your own, it'll be deleted, and you will be ejected from the WA as well. Using dictionary definitions: PARAPHRASE! Using proposal by author/nation that has Ceased To Exist (CTEd): DON'T!


Schedule of Offences

In general, you get two "freebies" before you're chucked. Usually, after your second deleted Proposal, you'll get a little note letting you know you're on your last chance (but if you don't, don't come crying to the Mods, ignorance of the law and all...). After the third deleted Proposal, you're out.

Exceptions to the Above

Exceptionally minor infractions will not receive a warning. Also, if you've accidentally posted your Proposal three times you probably won't be warned. Same if you realise your error and ask for it to be deleted before a Mod sweeps the list. The definition of "minor" is up to the Mod doing the sweep, of course.

Exceptionally severe infractions will earn you an instant kick. Usually these are Proposals that fall under the 'Grossly Offensive' group or have been plagiarised. Also, you may be ejected for a second infraction if you submit the exact same Proposal after having it be deleted by the Mods. Unless we expressly told you it was okay to repost, don't.


Closing Remarks

While these rules are binding, we don't want players to feel like they will be hunted down in the middle of the night if they violate the rules. The hope is that players will continue to post drafts in this forum so that others can make sure a Proposal is legal. Also, remember that warnings for illegal Proposals do not count towards being deleted or anything like that. They're simply to keep people from flooding the queue with bad or improperly written proposals.

Helpful Links

Passed World Assembly Resolutions
Passed Resolutions (sorted by category)
The global conspiracy is friendly! A guide to the GA
GA Proposal Q&A
Silly and/or Illegal GA Proposals. zOMG!
Historical Resolutions (NS UN) -- searchable, forumside.
Rulings Repository -- not mod-finalised, Work In Progress.
GA Committees List (incl boards, etc)
The World Assembly Reference Guide (from Jolt)
The Modern Natsov: Freedom to Govern
Improving the World, One Blocker At A Time
Why Repeal?

Originally posted by Enodia, reworked by The Most Glorious Hack, and polished by the NationStates moderation team. May 3, 2014: Added dictionary definitions, CTEd nation proposals, to Proposal Stealing -- Ard. May 9, 2014: Added Past Resolutions, temporary Rulings Repository, to Helpful Links -- Ard. May 13, 2014: added committees list -- Ard. August 7, 2014: added link to World Assembly Reference Guide -- Ard. August 12, 2014: Added NatSov, Blockers and Repeals commentaries -- Ard. August 15, 2014: Added 'resurrecting dead committees' note -- Ard. August 19, 2014: spoilered this list -- Ard.
Last edited by Ardchoille on Mon Aug 18, 2014 6:04 pm, edited 25 times in total.
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Kryozerkia
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Kryozerkia » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:40 am

General Assembly Proposal Categories
There seems to be some confusion as to what the existing WA proposal categories do, so I'll try to describe them in more detail here. Note that any reference to "government" refers to the governments of WA member nations, not the WA itself. References to "Personal" and "Civil" Freedoms are identical and completely interchangeable.



Environmental - A resolution to increase the quality of the world's environment, at the expense of industry.
Example: GA#63 – Protection of Outer Space Act

Precisely what it sounds like. Any Environmental resolution will cause a hit to your industries while improving the environment. Any proposal written for this category should preferably talk about industry having to somehow pay for environmental improvements. Of course, this could be abstracted by saying that the government taxes industry more to implement an environmental plan of some kind. Environmental resolutions affect one of the following Industry Areas: Automobile Manufacturing, Uranium Mining, Woodchipping [EDIT 17/02/2014] Automotive, Mining, Logging, the new areas of Manufacturing, Agriculture or Fishing, or All Businesses.



Human Rights - A resolution to improve worldwide human and civil rights.
Examples - Mild: GA#6 - Humanitarian Transport
Significant: GA#15 – Freedom of Marriage Act
Strong: GA#4 – Restrictions on Child Labor

Moral Decency - A resolution to restrict civil freedoms in the interest of moral decency.
Examples - Mild: GA#136 - Convention on Wartime Deceased

These are exactly opposed types of resolutions and affect Civil Freedoms. "Human Rights" increases these freedoms while "Moral Decency" reduces them. Remember that these freedoms primarily discuss the domestic Civil policies of WA member nations; Shall the WA require its members to exert more or less control over the personal aspects of the lives of their citizens/subjects? If it's an issue about how you choose to live your life (or if you have a choice), then it's Civil Freedoms. Total Personal/Civil Freedoms are one of the components of Anarchy. Zero Civil Freedoms are Totalitarian regimes.

"Mild" versions of either category will push nations in a particular direction, but only as far as the centre. Stronger versions will push nations towards a more extreme end of the spectrum.



Free Trade - A resolution to reduce barriers to free trade and commerce.
Examples - Mild: GA#34 – International Transport Safety
Significant: GA#70 – International Competition Law
Strong: GA#68 – National Economic Freedoms

Social Justice - A resolution to reduce income inequality and increase basic welfare.
Examples - Mild: GA#44 – Reduction of Abortion Act
Significant: GA#21 – Living Wage Act
Strong: GA#52 – Food Welfare Act

These are almost exactly opposed types of resolutions. Both affect Economic freedoms. "Free Trade" increases Economic freedoms while "Social Justice" reduces Economic freedoms. In addition, "Social Justice" also increases government spending on welfare and healthcare (though "Free Trade" does not have an opposite effect). Economic freedoms primarily discuss how much regulation there is on business/industry or how much government spending goes to helping poor/sick people. Total Economic freedom is Laissez-faire Capitalism. Zero Economic freedom is a completely government-controlled economy. Creating a Food and Drug Administration in all WA member nations, or creating a Securities and Exchange Commission in all WA member nations is imposing a mild form of Economic control, and therefore a mild reduction of Economic freedoms; you're imposing restrictions on what businesses and industries may do and you're moving away from a completely-uncontrolled Laissez-faire system.

In terms of Economic Freedoms, "Mild" versions of either category will push nations in a particular direction, but only as far as the centre. Stronger versions will push nations towards a more extreme end of the spectrum.

With regard to the Social Justice category and the three strengths, when determining whether or not your policy is mild, strong or significant ask yourself, are you covering general welfare, or are you including healthcare:

[violet] wrote:
Glen-Rhodes wrote:You're better positioned to know if Social Justice actually increases healthcare. If it doesn't, then I withdraw my complaint. But if it does, then I think this discussion is only talking about one side of the solution.

It does, but only if the strength of the resolution is "significant" or "strong", not "mild."




The Furtherment of Democracy - A resolution to increase democratic freedoms.
Examples - Mild: GA#17 – WA General Fund
Significant: GA#22 – Diplomat Protection Act
Strong: GA#27 – Freedom of Assembly

Political Stability - A resolution to restrict political freedoms in the interest of law and order.
Examples: - Mild: GA#2 – Rights and Duties of WA States

These are exactly opposed types of resolutions and affect Political Freedoms. "The Furtherment of Democracy" increases these freedoms while "Political Stability" reduces them. Remember that these freedoms primarily discuss the domestic Political policies of WA member nations; Shall the WA require its members to grant more or less say in the operations of their government? Who makes the decisions? Whether or not you even get to vote on anything (or anyone) is a Political Freedoms issue. Total Political Freedoms represent something akin to pure democracies, where every single citizen has a direct vote in every single matter. Zero Political Freedoms means that the citizens (or subjects, or slaves) have no say in the operations of government whatsoever. Imposing regulation on campaign finances is a mild form of reducing Political Freedoms.

"Mild" versions of either category will push nations in a particular direction, but only as far as the center. Stronger versions will push nations towards a more extreme end of the spectrum.



Gun Control - A resolution to tighten or relax gun control laws.

Remember that Personal/Civil Freedoms have subcategories. (Actually, Economic and Political Freedoms also have subcategories, but it's Civil that concerns us here.) "Human Rights" and "Moral Decency" affect the overall government control on the personal lives of citizens. "Gun Control" affects the degree of freedom regarding the private possession and use of firearms.

"Tighten" increases government regulation on the private use of firearms while "Relax" reduces these regulations.

This proposal category discusses ONLY the private, personal possession of firearms, and does NOT address the use of guns by agents of the government (the police and military). If you want to talk about police or military weaponry, then use either "Global Disarmament" or "International Security".



International Security - A resolution to improve world security by boosting police and military budgets.
Examples - Mild: GA#10 – Nuclear Arms Possession Act
Significant: GA#20 – Suppress International Piracy
Strong: GA#53 – Epidemic Response Act

Global Disarmament - A resolution to slash worldwide military spending.
Examples - Mild: GA#121 – Medical Facilities Protection
Significant: GA#40 – The Landmine Convention

Precisely what it sounds like. "International Security" increases government spending on the police and military while "Global Disarmament" reduces government spending on the police and military. Both resolutions affect the military more than they do the police, but they do affect both.

These categories can cover any kind of weaponry used by a nation's police or military: including, but not limited to, conventional, nuclear, biological, chemical, space-based, and non-lethal.

Do not use these categories to establish a WA military force. These are resolutions to change the level of national government spending. The WA cannot maintain its own standing military under any circumstances.



Gambling - A resolution to legalize or outlaw gambling.

Precisely what it sounds like. "Outlaw" will ban gambling (and eliminate the gambling industry) in all WA member nations while "Legalize" will allow gambling in all WA member nations. The "Outlaw" subcategory cannot be used to implement age restrictions, or partially restrict the activity. Partial restrictions don't outlaw the practice; partial bans belong in Moral Decency.



Recreational Drug Use - A resolution to ban, legalize, or encourage recreational drugs.
Example - Decision Legalize: GA#124 – Essential Medication Act

Precisely what it sounds like. "Outlaw" will impose a drug ban, "Legalize" and "Promote" will remove drug bans. They also have effects on the "Drugs" subcategory of Civil Freedoms; "Outlaw" will instantly impose total government control on drugs, "Legalize" will relax government control on drugs, and "Promote" will impose zero government control on drugs. "Promote" will also increase overall Civil Freedoms, but will not push it past the centre.



Advancement of Industry - A resolution to develop industry around the world.

This is a wide-ranging pro-business Category that more accurately reflects the power of corporations in Jennifer Government. Don't know why Max didn't give us more like this when he created the game. Guess he's an old softy.

Area of Effect

First choice is Environmental Deregulation. Rather than devoting the whole proposal category to reverse the effects of "Environment', we've chosen a middle ground of 'all business'.

Second, Labor Deregulation. This one is going to benefit corporations at the expense of the worker. Surprise!

Third, Protective Tariffs. This opposes international 'Free Trade' by adding protectionism for national industry.
Example - GA#118 – Ethics in International Trade

Fourth, Tort Reform. Removes legal barriers from anti-corporate litigation, reducing government interference in business. Guess who takes the hit when industry wins?
Example - GA#106 – Assitance Givers Protection



Education and Creativity - A resolution to promote funding and the development of education and the arts.

Area of Effect

Artistic is just what you'd expect - government funding for the Arts. No more trying to sneak it in under human rights.
Example - GA#61 – WA Copyright Charter

Educational - finally something for all you "Free Education" lovers. Of course, nothing is truly free, as you'll quickly discover.
Example - GA#48 – Access to Science in Schools

Cultural Heritage is another of those lovely amorphous categories that lets you do those wonderful meaningless things the RL UN loves so much. For a small fee, of course.
Example - GA#72 – Cultural Heritage Protection

Free Press allows the ultimate expression of your new-found educational and creative rights. Be careful what you wish for, though ...
Example - GA#89 – Internet Net Neutrality Act


Health -- A resolution to modify universal standards of healthcare.

Most of these will improve nations' health at government expense, though no doubt industry will be eager to help. Bioethics sets limits on how far you can go.

Area of Effect

Healthcare: If universal health care has always been your Great White Whale, you may be able to persuade others to join the hunt. But for those with simpler ambitions, it's about governments coughing up funds to improve the health and general wellness of their people. Now you don't have to try disguising government funding for health as social justice (or recreational drug use, either).
Examples to come

International Aid: Well, of course we want all the wealthier member governments to spend their money on poor sick foreigners ... and their citizens will gladly support that, naturally.
Examples to come

Research: Makes everyone cleverer, doesn't it? Industry profits from the side-effects, governments just have to give it a little bit of seed money, and it practically runs itself. Public and private research and the study of health and medicine benefit. Nothing could possibly go wrong.
Examples to come

Bioethics: Just because escaped superbugs might cause one or two silly little epidemics somewhere unimportant, people are being scared into putting the brakes on Science! You say it's setting ethical international standards for healthcare and research. I say it's the free individual's civil rights freedoms being chipped away by the nanny state!
Examples to come




Getting Additional Help

As extensive as these explanations are, sometimes there are things that still aren't clear and you need additional help. Ask your fellow players for advice. When drafting a WA proposal, do it on a word processor on your own computer. Then, post the draft as a new topic here in the "World Assembly" forum and ask for advice. Hopefully, experienced players will come along and point out anything in your draft proposal that violates NationStates rules and needs to be changed. Moderators are not always available to answer questions on draft proposals, so experienced players are the next best thing. This is essentially a peer review process.

Do not underestimate the value of informal peer reviews. When you submit a proposal to the WA, you certify that you understand the proposal rules and that you are subject to Moderator action if the proposal is deemed to be in violation. "I didn't know" or "I didn't understand" is not an acceptable excuse. If your nation gets thrown out of the WA, then that's permanent. In that case, you'll have to start over with a new nation if you want to continue participating in the WA. Get help before you get in trouble.

Written by Cogitation; September 24, 2004 and February 23, 2005, reworked by The Most Glorious Hack, and polished by the NationStates moderation team. Health category added and Environmental areas of effect readjusted 17/02/2014. Health areas of effect updated 29/05/2014 ... and again, 23/08/2014 (Ard).
Last edited by Ardchoille on Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:02 pm, edited 10 times in total.
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Kryozerkia
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Kryozerkia » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:58 am

Why Amendments Are Illegal

A frequently asked player question:

(ooc: I consider this a dodge by both players and the mods. I have heard second and third hand that players when expressing concern about these matters have been ever so politely told to buzz off, I bring it into the open so it may be addressed in the open rather than ignored individually...so I may judge for myself without a filter just what the actual mechanical difficulty is and why it IS a mechanical difficulty)


Players and mods have diddly to do with amendments. The only way to get new game code is to have one of the admins write it. On Thu, 23 Sep 2004, Max Barry, [violet], and SalusaSecondus upgraded the game to include code for repealing previously passed resolutions. Up 'til that point, the standing rule was 'you passed it, you have to live with it'.

Amendments / repeals had been a sore point for players since the beginning of the game, and UN Mod Enodia had to formulate a rule making both illegal, since the only way to implement them was for the admins to make adjustments to the code with the passage of each game-altering amendment. Their response? "No way, Jose."

The admins worked long and hard on finding a way to address the problem of permanent UN resolutions. They decided that the amendment process was simply too difficult to code effectively, so they went with the repeal code and the strikeout of the prior resolution. Frankly, none of our current admins have the time or inclination to revisit that code, and the problem with amendments is just as difficult now as it was then. That door probably won't ever be reopened.

Let's have a look at the mechanical problem, using Historical Resolution #4 as an example.
UN taxation ban
A resolution to reduce income inequality and increase basic welfare.
Category: Social Justice
Strength: Significant
Proposed by: Nassland

Description: The UN shall not be allowed to collect taxes directly from the citizens of any member state for any purpose.

Let's amend this proposal by taking out the word "not". How would you code an Amendment to reflect this minor change? Would it be different than adding the words "or treasury" between 'citizens' and 'of'? How about changing "for any purpose" to "for any military purpose?

Now, multiply those effects times all the passed resolutions, and correctly anticipate the possible phrasing choices that will be used in all the unwritten proposals yet to hit the floor. Write some code to address all those potential changes. Incorporate it into a simple game where the actual mechanical effects are hidden from the players, so they can't know what the effects really are. Are you starting to see the problem yet?

That's the true, non-evasive answer. Now you see why we don't like writing it out every week when the question gets raised for the umpteenth time.

Originally posted by Frisbeeteria
Last edited by Kryozerkia on Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:27 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Kryozerkia
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Founded: Antiquity
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Kryozerkia » Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:12 pm

Writing a GA Proposal

The time has come for you to pen your first proposal. You have an idea of what you want to see happen. You've got a vision of the direction you want to see the World Assembly take. This is great, however, writing a proposal isn't a sprint, it's a marathon. It doesn't happen overnight, it takes lots of tears and sweat to formulate a proposal which can withstand a legality challenge and overcome the high standards set by the delegates and ambassadors who roam the hallowed halls. There are many hurdles, but if you're patient, those hurdles are nothing more than little pebbles on the road to the resolution.

STEP 1 - Understand the rules

The first step in writing a proposal is to familiarize yourself with the rules for proposals if you haven't already. If you don't understand what a certain rule means, you should ask for clarification of that rule in the GA Proposals Q&A thread. Either a Mod or another player will answer your question. Once you're confident in your understanding of the rules, you're ready to move on to the next step.

STEP 2 - Check existing resolutions

Now that you've got a firm understanding of the rules, you're ready to for the next step, to ensure that your idea hasn't yet been legislated. This steps purpose is to avoid running afoul the rules on duplication and contradiction. You can check on existing resolutions by checking Passed World Assembly Resolutions. It's compiled to make searching for existing resolutions a snap. Although you can check the General Assembly page for the same information, Omigodtheykilledkenny's thread is better organized and easier to search.

STEP 3 - Pick your topic

By now you should have an idea of what you want to legislate on. If you're lucky, your first idea hasn't been taken. If it has, you'll have to think of another one. If you're unsure about it, just go back to step 2 until you have a topic which hasn't been legislated on yet. It's worth remembering that not all topics are international issues. Many national issues generally get frowned upon in the GA and are viewed as micromanagement. An example of a national issue is infrastructure maintenance. It seems like a nice topic to tackle, ensure that all member nations follow the same standard but such issues generally aren't feasible due to general opposition. A good example of an international issue is mandating the removal of DRM and other regional controls often found on various media to encourage nations to trade these goods.

STEP 4 - Pick your category & strength

If you've made it this far, it means you've got an idea, you've understood the rules and no one has yet legislated on this particular topic. Now you need your category. Earlier in this thread there was a list of categories and what each accomplishes. It's time to figure out which category you're writing to. This is important to remember because you don't want to write your proposal then shoehorn it into the category that best fits. You'll want to write specifically for that category from the outset.

For example, you want to mandate that media isn't subject to DRM or any form of regional control. You would likely be writing this in the Free Trade category with a strength of significant because this positively affects free trade and removes one of the barriers that exists.

If you write a proposal without this, you'll have folks ignoring your proposal and asking for the category and strength.

If you're repealing an existing resolution, you will not need to select your category and strength.

STEP 5 - Pen that proposal

Now you're ready to start writing. You've overcome the first three hurdles toward writing a proposal. If you've made it this far, you're doing better than most people. Players who ignore the first three steps find themselves out of luck quickly. By not doing your homework you hurt your chances of your proposal ever being considered.

If you're worried about losing your proposal while writing, you can always first write it in Word, Wordpad, Notepad or any other word processing software on your computer.

While most proposals have a basic anatomy there is no requirement that you follow the format used by others. When writing your proposal you'll want to consider what your title is. Your title is important and should reflect what your proposal is about. Some players like to include a preamble which is a flowery way of stating why the proposal is needed. Definitions can be used, but only if they're necessary. Some proposals are fine without since the terms used have universally accepted meanings. Finally you'll have your action clauses which spell out what action is to be taken. This is also where you would include your committee if your idea requires one. Not all ideas require a committee and in fact some players think the WA is too bureaucratic. If you're unsure about how you want to format your proposal, you can use the link mentioned in step 2 to give you guidance.

STEP 6 - Post it to the GA forum

Once you've got the basic framework, you can (and should) post it to the General Assembly forum. It's strongly advised that you don't skip this part of the step. By using the GA forum you're able to edit and receive constructive criticism and valuable feedback. If you skip this and go directly to the World Assembly and drop it onto the floor there for approvals, you'll likely see it removed because it hasn't been vetted for technical errors. Even if it doesn't get removed, it may lack the publicity it needs to achieve quorum. The forum is also valuable for publicity.

STEP 7 - Review & edit

Your proposal is written and ready for review. Don't worry if it's a first draft. That's what this step is for. This is where you receive feedback on your proposal whether it's about spelling, grammar or suggestions on how to tighten it to remove potential loopholes. This is also the perfect time to weed out illegalities which you may have missed. Some folks may not be outright helpful, but that's their nature. You'll need to be ready to deal with criticism. Many of the criticisms are designed to help you improve your proposal to increase the likelihood of it being successful.

This is the step which often takes the longest and can be the most frustrating for newcomers who want to see results.

Consider the feedback given by others. If you ignore it you'll lose votes. This is where you'll want to be flexible. Small changes will help get votes.

It is normal to see multiple versions of a draft before it even reaches its final form.

STEP 8 - Be patient

Seriously, don't rush this. If you've come this far, you've demonstrated a good amount of patience needed to make your proposal reality. There's nothing wrong with letting it sit for a few days. This gives others time to read it if they haven't already. Once you've let it read for a few days, go back, read it over. Get more feedback from others. Don't be shy. Feel free to ask directly if you think it's ready. Give them time to offer more feedback if they have any.

STEP 9 - Submit it

You've toiled over this proposal for a long time, but fortunately it's ready. Submit it. In order to submit your proposal, you'll need to be a member of the World Assembly and have at least two (2) valid endorsements from other players in your region.

The next common step once you've submitted your proposal is to launch a campaign to raise awareness of your proposal. When you're ready to campaign, you'll need to keep the following rule about telegram campaigning in mind:

One Stop Rules Shop wrote: WA Advertising Spam: Region natives are welcome, even encouraged, to post discussions of WA proposals and resolutions on their regional message boards. WA business is part of the region and part of the game.

  • Non-natives and region-hoppers are forbidden to post WA advertisements or requests for proposal approval outside of their native region.
  • Note that the Pacifics and the Sinkers do not receive special treatment here. WA approval requests have even less relevance in the feeder regions than they do in player-created regions, and are thus forbidden.
  • Requests for proposal approval may be telegrammed to WA delegates, except where the region's tags designate "No GA Campaigning", "No SC Campaigning", or "No WA Campaigning" (as appropriate to the telegram request). More than one request per proposal may be considered spam and should be avoided.


Most proposals when accompanied by a solid telegram campaign which explains why a delegate should support your proposal can be successful enough to get your proposal to quorum. If it reaches quorum it'll go to vote on the next update if there isn't a proposal at vote. If there is already a proposal at vote and you're next, yours will appear when the other has either been passed or defeated.

Sometimes even the best written proposals don't achieve quorum on the first submission. Don't feel defeated when it happens. Just keep on trucking until it gets to vote and becomes a resolution.
Last edited by Kryozerkia on Sun Jan 29, 2012 4:59 pm, edited 9 times in total.
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