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Something Stirs: The History of Early Balder & Osiris

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Unibot III
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Something Stirs: The History of Early Balder & Osiris

Postby Unibot III » Tue Apr 14, 2020 11:23 am

Something Stirs: The History of Early Balder & Osiris

"Yes, it's a game of politics, and yes in politics there's logrolling, backstabbing, backdoor deals, and more. But, we also sometimes forget that in the end it's just a browser game. Every time I look at my nation and that damn dirty [condemnation] badge on my page I can't tell you how much I regret going that far."

- Luxembourg. [1]


Something Stirs: The History of Early Balder & Osiris


Few historical events in NationStates offer such rich insight and regret as a study of Balder and Osiris' early history: those few perilous weeks in October when the twinned fate of two regions were written by ambition... and accident. In the span of just three days in November, both fledgling democracies overcame extraordinary security threats.

For previous historical lectures from this series, see:


In Chapter 1 of this lecture, we'll examine the origins of two sinkers, Balder and Osiris. Chapter 2 and 3 cover the initial twelve hours in these two sinkers during which time forces from TITO, UDL, Europeia, LKE, TNI et. al. sought to seize their delegacies. Chapter 4 discusses the fragile democracies that were instituted as both Balder and Osiris elected new interim delegates to replace their first delegates. Chapter 5 concludes this lecture with a study of the ill-fated coups of Osiris and Balder that followed in November. Primarily we'll concern ourselves with what went wrong for the coupers: namely, why were these takeovers not successful?





Many Thanks, Science Surge

At ~12:29 EDT on Oct 18 2011, a nation named "Science surge" approached the NationStates Tech subforum in need of assistance. Their nation, Science surge, hadn't received issues for over a week since it had been revived in Lazarus. The Site Administrator [violet] noted that the sheer size of Lazarus was responsible for the strange phenomenon. "A large region is more vulnerable to race conditions, where multiple parts of the game try to update it at once, and one doesn't finish before the next one starts," explained [Violet]. "This is one of our architectural problems stemming from the lack of a database."

Unbeknownst to 'Science surge' or the rest of NationStates at the time, this unassuming nation had unwittingly spurred the creation of Osiris and Balder.

Familiar to military gameplayers, 'race conditions' cause peculiar instances of "ghost" nations unrecognized by update, daily censuses, or new issues. By this time in 2011 however, Lazarus was positively ballooning: with over 6,821 nations and counting, Lazarus was not only the largest region in the world but also more than two thousand nations larger than the next Game-Created Region. Its extraordinary size had become a technical issue, disrupting the game's update.

[Violet] first responded to Science surge's request for technical assistance at about 21:12 EDT on the same day. She noted that she had manually resolved Science surge's issue and (more damningly) that "this has been happening a bit lately. I think Lazarus is getting too full. We need a few new rebirthing regions." In just over an hour after remarking that the game needed "a few new rebirthing regions," [violet] quietly set in motion the creation of two new sinker regions to complement Lazarus. The creation of these new sinker regions would go largely unnoticed by other NationStates players.

[Violet] moved Testlandia from Warzone Airspace to found Osiris, then Balder. Eye witness accounts from the day note that Osiris and Balder were passworded and sat empty until they "became a sinker" at some point over the next two hours after their initial creation.

22:16:05 EDT - 10/18/2011: Testlandia logs in.
22:20:33 EDT - 10/18/2011: Osiris is founded by Testlandia and passworded.
22:21:03 EDT - 10/18/2011: Balder is founded by Testlandia and passworded.


Goobergunchia joked to [violet] that she hadn't taken "very long to implement this" (00:52:00 10/19); Sedgistan suggested to [violet] that a game-wide news post was in order, but [violet] resisted, saying the next day that "I was interested to watch how it might evolve on its own, without a News post pointing everyone to it. Took about two hours for the major organizations to notice, then things got very busy very quickly." [2] For the site administration, the slow trickling in of new residents was all a part of the political experiment.

Later that night, [violet] also raised the question of "Why is it that the "eject" button is turned off in Lazarus? I can't remember." Evidently unsatisfied with the response, [violet] decided that Osiris and Balder would possess ejection/ban tools - a departure from the "ejectless" Lazarus. (A few days later on Oct 23, Lazarus was duly granted a ejection/ban button.)

22:58 EDT - 10/18: Earliest activity in Osiris. (Kanoshii refounded)
00:23 EDT - 10/19: Earliest activity in Balder. (Indraha refounded)

01:08 EDT - 10/19: Osiris updates for the first time ever.
01:58 EDT - 10/19: Balder updates, also for the first time ever.


Over the course of 3-4 hours, the evening daily dump notes at least eight nations dribbled into Osiris and thirteen to Balder. [3] This exclusive list of early movers includes Kanoshii (Osiris' first refounded nation), Indraha (Balder's first refounded nation), Revert (Osiris' first arrival and WA nation), TAO (Balder's first arrival, then- puppet of Revert), Ballotonia as "Bal" and Evil Wolf as "Wolf" in Balder. In theory since Balder and Osiris were created before Major update, a WA Delegate could have been elected at Major update - but since no nation had an endorsement, no WA Delegate was selected for Balder or Osiris at Major update. This left the door open for the military operations that transpired.

"I was in the Galactic Republic replacement region [(The New Galactic Republic)] at the time and just stumbled on [Osiris] completely by happenstance," says Revert (Luna Amore) of the initial discovery, recalling especially the "the slowness of people to respond" to the creation of the new sinkers. "I imagine someone refounded in [Osiris] and that tipped me off. [..] I made the first RMB post in Osiris and the second post in Balder ([..] Tao was my puppet, I gave it to TAO years and years ago)." [4]


Long Live the Aretist Revolution

Shortly before 2:00 EDT, a team of defender updaters from Thousand Island Treaty Organization (TITO) - Improving Wordiness (Sichuan Pepper), Echolilia, Surdra, and Boltor - launched into Osiris from TITO's (then-) HQ region, "Knock Knock." TITO was responding to the arrival of Kain the dragoon (Leo Romefeller) and East Triludia (Gerzam) to Osiris whom TITO identified as "known invaders." Improving Wordiness noticed Kain first and ordered her troops to move in. [5]

"[Kain and I] happened to notice that [Osiris] and Balder had just been created and realized the significance of what we were witnessing," explains Gerzam. "We decided to move in immediately to try and form the first government of the region. While we had some thought to try and establish a lasting order there, we expected that we were going to get dislodged by more powerful interregional interests. [...] Really, our heart wasn't really in it like some of the more dedicated coupers and Leo's involvement after the initial attempt to seize the region was basically in the mould of helping whoever actually ended up taking over the region rather than trying to take it himself." [6]

In the likely result of ejection, Gerzam said Kain and him were considering forming a new region (New Osiris) or using New Brittania, their home region, as a "government-in-exile as a gimmick to promote [their] community."

TITO represented 10000 Islands (10KI), the largest defender region of its day.

For readers of the Rejected Times, Guy provided a brief biography of TITO's Improving Wordiness - who also known as "Wordy":

"Wordy first joined 10000 Islands in December 2009, and quickly rose up the ranks of TITO [...] Wordy proved her natural knack for defending and command, making her ascent to the command position of Tactical Officer within only four months, alongside defending greats Anime Daisuki and Ananke. [...] After many months of being the de facto TITO leader, Wordy was appointed in November 2011 to the position of Field Commander, in effect second only in command to Grub. She retained this position until her temporary withdrawal from NS."

Over the next hour, TITO Command (Grub, Anime Daisuki, Improving Wordiness, Boltor and Eist) privately discussed whether or not to move more troops into Osiris and whether the situation called for further action. Decisions like these, Markanite (presently the TITO Commander-in-Chief) explains, were "a collaborative effort with Grub authorising final actions."

"As you can imagine this was all fast paced however officers went into great detail about all aspects of the region and candidates before making final decisions," writes Markanite. Former TITO Field Commander Anime Daisuki especially recalls "[dreading] defending [GCRs] because of the politics that come with them," - a commonly-held view in 10KI. [7]

An hour later - 3:00 EDT - "[Osiris] was declared a 'Red lit' mission and protocols were put in place to reinforce Wordy. [...] Precautions were taken to ensure Kain did not have founder controls over a sinker region [, especially] due to the amount of invader activity in that period." [8] A second, more sustained wave of TITO defenders followed from this point on - more than ten endorsements followed in the next three hours, then ten more after two more hours. TITO reinforcements were seen hopping through multiple regions to clear '10000 Islands' from their Regional Happenings before they arrived in Osiris. [9]

By minor update, TITO held a commanding lead in terms of endorsements over Revert, Kain, and others in Osiris.

Of the TITO operation, Gerzam admits: "[Kain and I] did not expect to be so immediately assailed by TITO, though it is of little surprise as Kain the Dragoon was a nation that had been heavily used in raiding activity over the years. [Kain and I] would have used clean nations, but back then it still took 24 hours to get into the WA, so the nations we used were our current WA nations and we were stuck with them if we wanted a shot at being the first to take the delegacy. Still, it was rather interesting watching [TITO...] justify what they were doing within the context of a native-less, founderless new region. I don't mean that as a jab at them, either: it really was something unprecedented and for which the usual paradigms of R/D were and really still are not attuned to."

Here are some observations that may have factored into TITO's decision to intervene:

1) Kain the dragoon (Leo Romefeller) and East Triludia (Gerzam) were formerly invaders; Kain and Gerzam were then leading members of the New Britannian Empire, Gerzam is a former Archemperor of Unknown.

2) 10000 Islands was at war with New Britannian Empire.

3) East Triludia (Gerzam) and Kain the Dragoon declared themselves "Co-Emperors" of Osiris and called for an "Aretist Revolution." They also recognized themselves as a part of an "Arete Empire of Osiris."

4) Between 1:47-3:00 EDT, more than ten nations (some WA Nations, some non-WA) entered into Osiris that were associated with Unknown, Bigtopia, New Britannia, The Intergalactic Dominion (IGD), The Black Hawks, Folsom, and the Brotherhood of Blood. Many of these regions were connected. It is worth noting though that only a few of these nations actually endorsed Kain however.


Because the number of endorsements that TITO had accumulated was out of step (16) with the comparatively small number of endorsements (6) that Revert and Kain had accumulated by dawn, and the motives of Kain were disputed, this led some to argue that TITO's presence was excessive and unwelcome. Revert, echoing others, questioned why TITO was seeking the delegacy itself directly rather than endorsing a neutral like himself.


Image
Population trends in Osiris over its first 12 hours.


** *


Kain's 'Aretist Revolution' was a reference to Aretism, an ideological movement that he and Gerzam had brought to New Britannia. In simple terms, Aretism exalted elite contributors, the "virtuosi," who worked to elevate a region culturally. Aretists envisioned a cultural meritocracy "of an Autocratic nature" which privileged community-building. [10] In invoking the Aretist cause, Kain the dragoon was calling for an independent effort to build a community. In turn, Kain had established a community forum and regional flag for Osiris (neither of which were officially adopted, however.)

"Had we lastingly taken control of [Osiris] it is likely that we would have tried to structure the place around [Aretism] (whether successfully or not)," writes Gerzam. However in terms of their initial activity in Osiris, "[Aretism] played little direct role other than as a means to try to rally support (since the ideology at its most basic was all about trying to create a systematic meritocracy as a counter to entrenched, closed, and nepotistic power structures dominating many of the major spaces of NS at the time) and build an aesthetic."

A member of NBE and IGD (at that time), New Rogernomics - one of the earliest endorsers of Kain - recalls being messaged by Kain to invite him to Osiris, but New Rogernomics believes that Kain's intentions were positive and the build-up of support and activity was organic.

"If you want it from Kain's side, then he thought it would be fun to have a go at building a community in Osiris," explains New Rogernomics. "We had not been there too long before TITO pre-emptively intervened, and I say pre-emptive because Revert was [leading in endorsements], not Kain, and whatever constitutes a native had no issues with us being there, but plenty of issues with TITO and the other technically raiders." [11]

"I say that as they were fine with Kain just building a forum, but not with a mass influx of raiders and defenders after us wanting to stake their claim to the region. Mostly in hindsight, TITO's motivation was to prevent raider influence or control of a GCR, whereas Kain was there just to set up the community in whatever form the natives wanted."

Gerzam said there was some "organized activity [to pull supporters into Osiris] in the sense that there was an effort being made to rally people, it's just that it was not official and, given the short notice, was very ad hoc in nature."

"We very much tried to pull some support in to give us momentum and push us over the edge, and this support did tend to be largely concentrated from those places that we had existing ties with or were in control of, so even if we didn't order it in an official capacity, we were certainly leveraging what we had. [..] I recall us getting some support from people we did not reach out to purely on the basis of them resenting TITO's involvement, and then there were a few others who seemed to fall in line with us since we set up forum infrastructure and such."

New Rogernomics et. al. note there were strong affiliations between the Intergalactic Dominion, New Britannia, and Unknown, but New Rogernomics believes the movement into Osiris from these regions was natural.

"New Britannia was strongly affiliated with the IGD and [... eventually merged] as a region into what would become The Ascendancy," notes New Rogernomics. "IGD and Unknown were effectively allied, even sharing some regional culture as far as religion. [...] It was kinda expected that folks from Unknown and New Britannia would turn up because of that. Though Kain certainly didn't invite anyone else."


Image
Kain's original Osiris flag (above) was later used to represent Aretism.


** *


12:56:50 PM EDT - 10/19/2011: TITO Commander Improving Wordiness (Sichuan pepper) becomes the first delegate of Osiris with approximately 32 endorsements. Provoking even more controversy still, her first act as delegate was to eject Kain and some of his supporters.

13:14 EDT - 10/19: Sichuan pepper banjected Kain the dragoon.
13:22 EDT - 10/19: Sichuan pepper banjected Nicholas von Sinterklaas (Vortiaganica).
13:22 EDT - 10/19: Sichuan pepper banjected Badr al-Jamali (Ramesses I).
13:23 EDT - 10/19: Sichuan pepper banjected Derp.
13:23 EDT - 10/19: Sichuan pepper banjected Your mum and yo mamma (Face Dancers, TBH).


East Triludia was likely banjected alongside Kain and others, but there is no surviving record of their banjection (minor gaps in Warzone Codger's Regional Happenings logs are probably responsible). The Psychic Horns and New Rogernomics, who were also supporters of Kain the dragoon, temporarily left Osiris during the initial wave of banjections to join Kain the dragoon and the other exiles in "New Osiris."

However, since Kain (Leo) eventually decided to support the interim government in Osiris, the "New Osiris" effort fizzled out:

"We were basically about to found our government-in-exile [in "New Osiris"] but ultimately decided to backtrack," says Gerzam. "With Leo ultimately falling in with the crowd who ended up forming the first "real" government for the region [..] We quietly dropped the issue and never asserted it."

At the same time the first ejections and bans were already underway in Osiris, Balder's delegate was being chosen under comparatively peaceful and amicable circumstances. Many pointed to the early contrast between Balder and Osiris, criticizing the use of force in Osiris and its relative political instability. [12]

By the end of the day, the Osiris World Factbook Entry remained unchanged from its original WFE message ("Something Stirs..."), but Grub, 10000 Islands' founder, joined Osiris on its RMB briefly to communicate TITO's intentions going forward. He indicated there would be an open election held for the delegacy run by a yet-to-be-determined "neutral, well known, third party."

Explaining TITO's decision to intervene, Grub wrote in his official statement: "Last night, a known invader, Kain_the_Dragoon, moved into Osiris. We know this guy and he is not someone you want having your information and running this region by force. Since we can see a bright future for Osiris, we didn't want you to be under the thumb of a known bad guy who has a history of putting his interests above those of other regions. So, we moved in and booted the lot."


Showdown in Balder: "Let it all go to s**t from there"


While Balder and Osiris were in the process of being founded, defenders in the United Defenders League (UDL) were distracted by a complicated political situation that had emerged in The Anarchist International.

At 19:15 EDT (10/18/2011), Zwangzug of the United Defenders League spotted leftist arrivals over the course of the past hour to a small founderless region, The Anarchist International. The five new endorsements were consolidating around Vox Populii, a nation that had joined The Anarchist International a week prior. Evidently, the leftist militants appeared to be same group, The Internationale, that the United Defenders League had recently encountered in "Pact of Steel". In response, I (as Chief of the UDL) moved a puppet account, Robin Hood, to The Anarchist International and invited other UDL troops to endorse 'Robin Hood' and support our counter-invasion operation. From 19:33 to 22:00 EDT, at least thirteen other UDL soldiers would respond to this call for action.

Marxiangrad, a key member of this group, exchanged a series of telegrams with me, explaining that the Internationale's intentions were not to invade the region but rather to establish a regional password to protect it from "raiders/fascists". Excerpts of this conversation still survive and they reveal the clear philosophical divide at that time between leftists and defenders. I maintained that a regional password should have the prior approval of the remaining two natives in the Anarchist International, whereas Marxiangrad argued that prior approval was not necessary - that the natives were inactive, "the "will" of the region [was] intangible as they [...] expressed none," and that the Anarchist International was associated with the Internationale through "solidarity" in a political class conflict distinct from traditional Gameplay.

A compromise was found before Major Update and I as "Robin Hood" departed the Anarchist International. Other UDL soldiers were told to stay in the Anarchist International as a part of a preposition mission, but only in the interim with the agreement of the Internationale while they sought to establish consent for a regional password from the region's extant natives.

** *


The United Defenders League was a defender organization founded earlier that year in June 2011 by me. Rather than past defender armies that had been regional armies or super-regional armies, the UDL was intended to be an open organization -- a paramilitary in essence -- rather than an extension of a specific region or alliance. This system was novel at the time, its main advantage (as I saw it) was that the organization could freely recruit and grow its membership without having to convince whole regions to join (and stay) in the alliance, and without the political interests of member-regions contradicting the organization's goal of supporting regions against international aggression.

The UDL had a "Robin Hood" theme, its members were called "merrymen" - inspired by 'Sherwood St.' in my hometown. The UDL's logo, designed by Milograd, was the symbol for Kodaira, Tokyo superimposed over four arrows. The organization's earliest 'merrymen' were a diverse bunch which included FRA alumni (Spartzerium, Lemmingtopias etc.), veteran defenders (Ballotonia, Goobergunchia, Harmoneia etc.), NS-Sporters (Delaclava, Zwangzug, Commerce Heights etc.), Roleplayers (Solm, Carta/Milograd, St. George etc.), and WA Authors (Glen-Rhodes, Mallorea and Riva, Belschaft, Quadrimmina, Jeux/Feux, Sanctaria, Johz etc.) Eluvatar, later UDL Chief of Intelligence, joined the UDL early on as favour to me, having helped him refound Taijitu. Mahaj switched from invading to join the UDL. Ballotonia also introduced Belgian and Dutch defenders to the UDL, including Ravania and Riemstagrad.

** *


Distracted by the incident in The Anarchist International and the regular followings of update, it wasn't until 01:47 EDT - just ten minutes before Balder updated (01:58) - when updaters from the United Defenders League became aware of the creation of Balder and Osiris. TITO's movement from 'Knock Knock' into Osiris was spotted by Ballotonia, who shared the link to Osiris on the #UDL IRC Channel in response. There was a lot of initial confusion among the defenders. Balder was a small founderless region at this point with a non-descript World Factbook Entry ("Something Stirs...") and a "Sinker" tag; it wasn't immediately clear what was happening or what the significance of the region was, or whether Balder would update or not or when, or whether delegates would even be able to eject other nations in Balder/Osiris.

Below is an excerpt from surviving IRC logs (courtesy of Eluvatar) which capture the fateful moment when UDL updaters first discovered Osiris and Balder:

[19 Oct 01:47] <Ballotonia> http://www.nationstates.net/region=osiris
[01:47] <Ballotonia> Lots of folks moving in.
[01:47] <Ballotonia> Weird: Region has no Founder listed, but has no WA Census either... I don't know how that is possible.
[01:48] <Goobergunchia> Knock Knock is TITO's region
[01:48] <Ballotonia> Yes, I know. But can you explain it being Founderless yet WA Census-less ?
[01:48] <Goobergunchia> 3 hours ago: Region founded by The Jingoistic States of Testlandia.
[01:48] <Ballotonia> Ah, ok
[01:48] <Goobergunchia> new GCR
[01:49] <Goobergunchia> see also Balder
[01:49] <Unibot> Hhhm.
[01:49] <Ballotonia> Yep
[01:49] <Unibot> Weird.
[01:49] <Unibot> Osiris.
[01:49] <Unibot> Oddd.
[01:49] <Unibot> Egyptian Mythology?
[01:50] <Unibot> Wasn't he a god..
[01:50] <Goobergunchia> Somebody linked a comment earlier about [violet] wanting to add more Lazaruses


There was some initial joking and levity (common to #UDL) about "taking" the region but defenders in the IRC channel soon recognized the seriousness of the situation and the need to make a quick decision, as well as the constraints that committing to the delegacy would have on the lead nation. [13] The defending world was already preoccupied with an ongoing occupation in Utopia. I envisioned a quick, democratic transition of power in Balder that would ensure Regional Controls was passed to a civilian government rather than foreign invaders.

[02:10] * Ballotonia notes that whomever commits to the delegacy will be out of defender and liberation duties. Perhaps for a long, long time.
[02:10] * Unibot sighs.
[02:10] <Unibot> Well.
[02:10] <Unibot> If it gets the region off the ground in good footing, I'll do it.
[02:11] <Unibot> But I'd rather just take it for a few days and pass it off to someone once the dust is cleared.
[02:11] <Unibot> This is going to be a hotspot for raider and imperalist groups.
[02:11] <Unibot> Wanting to form the next Pacific.


Ultimately, by 2:06 EST, I made a gut call to commit the UDL to securing the region; six merrymen that were online followed and endorsed my nation, "Robin Hood" (some had already pre-endorsed "Robin Hood"). From 3:00 EDT to Minor update, at least thirteen other defenders joined Balder to endorse Robin Hood.

The initial reaction from some defenders was critical in the operational section of the UDL forum. One FRA defender privately called the decision to intervene in Balder, "shameful" and that it constituted "just more ego-inflating by an organisation which was supposed to be exactly the opposite." I defended the decision to intervene based on the theory of a "power vacuum," believing that without a military power invested in facilitating free and fair elections and a democratic constitutional convention, the fledgling new region would be seized by another military power that intended to occupy the region long-term. "We're going to send some troops since I'd hate to see it become a raider/imperialist fest, I'd like to see the new sinker have a good beginning," I initially wrote on the UDL forum -- jokingly adding "let it all go to s**t from there."

The UDL publicly promised an open Constitutional Convention and an immediate delegate election in four days (Oct 23). A careful reconstruction (below) shows the UDL support trickling into Balder over its first twelve hours, grey represents the growth in WA Nations, yellow represents all nations, blue represents UDL defenders, and green represents Europeia/LKE forces:

Image


By 12:10 EDT, a late challenge to the UDL's mission in Balder came from Europeia, Empire of Earth, the New Inquisition (TNI), and Land of Kings and Emperors (LKE). Rachel Anumia, then President of Europeia, began soliciting endorsements and support; she, like the UDL, also promised a constitutional convention (hosted by Europeia) under the premise that as "the most successful democratic regions of all time... [Europeia knows] how to build a successful, active democratic region." Invaders from Europeia, EoE, TNI, and LKE amassed forces quickly to close the endorsement gap between Robin Hood (UDL) and "Swift sure" (Rachel's puppet nation.) Over the next hour, I and Rachel debated on the Balder Regional Message Board over who could be better trusted to manage a constitutional convention. Meanwhile, both sides were continuing to direct support to endorse their leads in Balder.

"As far as I can recall I think the late intervention was because we hadn't noticed the creation [of Balder]," explains Charles Cerebella on the deployment. "If we had known though I'm sure we would have mobilized quicker though as there wasn't a chance that we'd have completely left it to others." [14]

Charles was a former King of TNI and former PM of the LKE. Of Balder, he recalls "frantic[ally] chasing anyone and everyone to deploy if they hadn't already." He further notes, "TNI had built up a fairly effective reinforcement base [...] of people who were mainly there for the politics or community but who could be relied upon to move a nation even if they would never turn up to an update." He describes TNI as the "real power base," militarily and politically, in its collaborative efforts with the LKE.

Frantically, Rachel reaches out to Europeians on their RMB at 12:37:20 EDT:

"URGENT MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT

We are currently in the process of trying to establish a democracy in Balder. If you're a WA member, it would be greatly obliged if you'd move your nation there and endorse Swift sure."


One hour later, however...

13:38:14 EDT - 10/19: UDL's 'Robin Hood' (Me) becomes the first delegate of Balder. When the proverbial dust settled, the endorsement margin between Robin Hood and Europeia's 'Swift sure' (Rachel) was 23-13. [15] Invaders had tightened the gap considerably. Some readers -- familiar with the larger armies of past and future battles -- might regard these numbers as small; however, I would argue this level of support reflects the smaller scale and mobilization of this era of Military Gameplay and the impact of surprise and lack of prior planning and organization.

Shortly thereafter, Rachel Anumia as President of Europeia released a statement recognizing Europeia's support for the proposed constitutional convention:

"In both regions, it became a frantic race to see who would become the first delegate. Europeia entered the race in Balder late against Unibot and we both sought to establish a democratic region via a constitutional convention and set it on the path to flourishing. We did not win but that does not change the end result which is the birth of a new democratic region open to all. We both have the same aims and we will be sending a delegation to region in order to help it grow by providing our expertise. We will suffer no region or organization to infringe on Balder's newly elected government and urge all sides to support it and help it flourish as a democratic region."

It is worth noting, the site crashed temporarily after the selection of Balder's delegate -- this server crash prompted some light joking from UDL's ranks. [12] The World Facebook Entry was updated to welcome residents to participate in an open Constitutional Convention and upcoming Delegate elections. Residents were invited to join a interim regional forum (which later became permanent) created by Sovereign Liberties, an FRA Ranger from Global Right Alliance. I also designed what was intended to be a temporary regional flag. [16]

Image


The following is an example of a 'tarting' message which was used to solicit endorsements from Balder residents:

Greetings ______________,

This is a delicate time for Balder and to keep our delegacy safe I’d like to ask you for your endorsement. As a sign of good faith I will endorse you.

The Constitutional Convention is well on its way to formulating a constitution and campaigning has begun for the elections of a WA Delegate on Oct. 23. To protect this process of regional development our region needs a well endorsed delegate. See our WFE for details on the Convention and our elections.


Charles Cerebella could not speak to Europeia's intentions, but found that the projection of power was at the "heart" of the early imperialist involvement in Osiris: "I think once the decision to intervene was taken, whenever it was, it then became at least for me, at least in the immediate crisis, about a show of strength," explains Charles, "An opportunity to display our military might and diplomatic alliance network. [...] Once [Balder] was founded I think our broad intentions were to ensure it became a good and active region, while at the same time ensuring that it didn't become a power base for [Unibot], the UDL or others."
Last edited by Unibot III on Thu Apr 16, 2020 5:06 am, edited 6 times in total.

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Unibot III
Negotiator
 
Posts: 5800
Founded: Mar 11, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Unibot III » Tue Apr 14, 2020 11:23 am

Dual Experiments in Democracy

The next morning, residents of Osiris and Balder took to their Regional Message Boards to discuss the shocking death of Muammar al-Gaddafi. It's a poignant reminder that Osiris and Balder were created in the real life context of the Arab Spring: optimism for a democratic transition in the Middle East was high; international security analysts spoke freely on cable news of a "power vacuum," "political instability," "demilitarization," and "civilianization."

But how would NationStates' own experiment with democracy-in-a-hurry pan out?

Things were running comparatively smoothly in Balder's burgeoning constitutional convention. "[Balder's regional] forum grew, seeing over 5,000 posts and 94 members in the first two weeks," reads Balder's official diplomatic update. "Creating a constitution for [Balder] proved to be an endeavor that needed more time than expected. Belschaft proposed the Articles of Covenant and Convention to establish an interim government to provide legitimacy to the convention and self-government [...] which was unanimously approved by the convention on October 23rd. The Articles confirmed the ongoing delegate elections and mandated elections for the Committee of Public Safety thereafter."

Those who wished to participate in the constitutional convention were required to identify their nation in Balder and swear an oath:

"I, @@NATION@@, pledge to vote, discourse and hold any offices in Balder with the interests of Balder in mind and no other region or organization."


In hindsight, a key political development came on Oct 21, when Europeia, The New Inquisition, The United States of Europe, and The Land of Kings and Emperors struck a "Pact of Friendship" with Balder, "promising their active support in upholding the security, democracy and laws of Balder." Their diplomatic outreach to Balder, and soon thereafter, the South Pacific, proved a major point of contention for native defenders. At this time though, Balder's constitutional convention was concerned with more abstract matters such as whether its regional assembly ought to be elected or an open membership.

The runaway favourite for the expedited delegate election was Luxembourg, a little-known player who had joined Balder in its initial hours (~11:30 10/18), who enthusiastically supported regional neutrality, self-determination ("No one should have the right encroach upon another nations internal affairs"), and openness ("we should establish a government where everyone [sic] regardless of their experience and seniority.") Reflecting later on Luxembourg's candidacy in an unpublished interview, I called it a "populist" campaign, vague in details, that attracted considerable "energy and support."

A month prior to Balder's creation, Luxembourg had joined the UDL for a few weeks of service as Luxativia ("Lux"), a roleplayer from The Commonwealth Society. He was amicable but remained relatively unknown to the rest of the organization. He departed the UDL prior to Balder's creation citing inactivity: "I realize I truly haven't been of much help. However, I'm getting busier both in Nationstates and out. Making it hard for me to even so much as participate."

"When I saw Balder was created, I like everyone at the time when the news spread about was excited. I wanted to get in on the action, I wanted to partake in a piece of NationStates history," recalls Luxembourg, reflecting on those early days. "When I saw that Balder was created, I loved the thought of being the first delegate of the region; my name forever preserved on the page's history. So I ran for the delegate position." [17]

His main motivation, as Luxembourg remembers it, was to make history and drive out special outside interests from Osiris.

"I was up against numerous competitors most of which maintained outside interests, and in my personal opinion wanted to do nothing more than make Balder a puppet state of the region they hailed from," he explains. "I still find it laughable that Balder has the independent tag."

On Oct 25, Luxembourg overcame his relative anonymity with a landslide victory, 23-8, against Zander to become delegate-elect. Fotar, a defender from the Council of Narnia, was also elected root administrator and vice delegate. Concerns that I may have 'split' Sovereign Liberties' vote in the forum administrator election (resulting in Rachel Anumia's win) led to the adoption of the Condorcet Internet Voting Service.

It is worth noting that a year later, revelations surfaced that Belschaft had sought to "rig" this election in favour of Luxembourg because he believed that Luxembourg was a neutral candidate, untangled by foreign or special interests. His actions were not known to the UDL. Belschaft was later banned from Balder as a result of these revelations.

"It was just bog standard voter importation, nothing fancier than that," explains Belschaft in a recent interview. "There were a few people back then who were concerned about the Defender-Imperialist struggle and who didn’t want either to dominate a new GCR, and Lux presented himself as a suitable candidate who wasn’t either." [18]

Charles Cerebella recalls that TNI/LKE did "try to have [Balder] officials that reflected [its] interests."

"Balder was a pure game of power politics," explains Charles, "Individual, regional, imperialist and defender. At all levels. [...] Certainly, no one from either side was really ill-intentioned and wanted to see a graveyard or griefed region. But everyone was acting from their own interests and power bases so clashed. [...] Those people who were 'pure-intentioned' and wanting the best interests of the region, weren't pure-intentioned because they saw that stance as the route to their own power base in the region."

Foreign entanglements definitely undermined efforts to build a community in Balder, according to Charles, "but [foreign entanglements] were also the cause and root of activity that could and did eventually lead to a community. No one came there clean and fresh and it was a while until there were 'true' natives of any kind and left alone without 'foreign interests' a real community might not have happened. There was a vacuum and people naturally sought to fill it from all sides. [...] Over time, those entanglements and disputes became a forge of the region's identity but sure it was a painful and contested thing."

01:51:20 EDT - 10/26: Luxembourg replaces Robin Hood as delegate of Balder. Luxembourg's brief term would suffer greatly from inactivity and connectivity issues, as Luxembourg himself and others have noted.


** *


After intense discussion among TITO Command, it was decided A Mean Old Man would be offered the role of Elections Commissioner. "A few candidates were suggested however Wordy and AD worked closely with AMOM on a range of issues and he had ideas on how to proceed, which led to the collaboration," explains Markanite. At the time, A Mean Old Man was widely recognized as a trusted neutral figure in Political and Military Gameplay; he had closely researched 10000 Islands as a part of his work on SC#30 "Commend 10000 Islands."

Most candidates for interim Osiris delegate promised neutrality in foreign relations and continued efforts to establish a democratic constitution ("The Book of the Dead"), an official forum, and community IRC channel. Security for the fledgling superpower was a major campaign issue given the region's small base of endorsements. Zaolat promised to choose four trusted WA nations (the "Sons of Horus") to act as a security buffer behind the Vice Delegate. Mahaj promised an endorsement cap of 25-50% of the delegate's endorsements. A departure from other campaigns, Revert was reluctant to implement an endorsement cap.

Voting took place on the official NS forums rather the neutral community forum, only WA Nations in Osiris who were endorsing Sichuan Pepper could participate. This especially impacted players whose WA Nations were fixed in other regions, like Todd McCloud, but were establishing themselves as early contributing members. The WA Nation rule, dictated by TITO, attracted opposition at the time.

Those who initially had been banned in Osiris were unbanned.

Reflecting on the approach in hindsight that was taken in the elections, A Mean Old Man writes: "If I were to do it today I'd use my own forum for the ballot so I could check everyone's IP info. It's not a perfect screen but you can pick out some of the lazier meddlers with it." [19]

Zaolat (also known as Mekhet, wabbitslayah, and Via Vulpes) indicated that although he was a defender, he had decided to move into Osiris (8:15 10/19) to act as an independent third party: "I saw Osiris first," explains Zaolat in his original campaign thread. "I noticed two groups of WAs rushing in, one a group with known invaders [Kain] and another group of defenders [TITO]. I had a feeling this would not go over well, so I went in independently as a moderate party. I got endorsements from many neutrals, invaders, and defenders." Another candidate for the interim delegacy, Mahaj (then a UDL Officer) recently recalled to me that he sought the Osiris delegacy during the initial excitement because "Osiris seemed less structured than Balder, which had people like [Unibot] immediately setting up shop." For Mahaj, Osiris "felt like a bigger opportunity to get involved and grow the region's government." [20]

15:04 EDT - 10/28: In a remarkable set of circumstances, Zaolat was declared the winner of the interim delegate elections in a tight 21-19 vote against Revert. Initially Revert had tied, 20-20, with Zaolat, but upon realizing Zaolat had voted for Revert while Revert had voted for himself, Revert asked for his vote to be changed to support Zaolat in kind, in effect breaking the tie.

01:04:27 EDT - 10/29: Zaolat officially replaces Sichuan pepper as delegate of Osiris.



How Not to Coup a GCR

A month later, both Balder and Osiris faced serious crises that tested their early leadership and united their communities.

The events that followed in the fledgling sinker regions serve as two exemplar case studies in how not to coup a Game-Created Region.

While interim delegate elections were commencing in Osiris on Oct 23, a newly-created puppet "Knights of the round fable" quietly joined the region. Round Fable was the lead nation of what would soon become an orchestrated attempt by the Phantom Knights and other invaders (e.g., LWU, TBR, and others) to take advantage of the new sinker's low endorsement levels and seize the region.

Since many of you, dear readers, probably have never heard of Knights of the Round Fable, you're probably guessing that things didn't go according to plan. And you would be right. But their plan almost worked. Almost.

Like any would-be couper, Round Fable began soliciting endorsements but was careful not to encroach the endorsement cap (37). Other invaders were also instructed to move anonymous puppets into Osiris and solicit endorsements although the identity of their operation lead (Knights of the round fable) was only divulged to them a few hours in advance of the planned takeover.

Invaders were greatly aided by the coincidence that the interim delegate was unavailable on the night of their attack. "It literally happened on the day I was swamped at work," laments Zaolat. "I knew I would only get home roughly right before update. I didn't tell anyone though that I wouldn't be online early enough. In hindsight, I should have told Wordy at least." [21]

NOVEMBER 20

The Phantom Knights plan was rather straightforward: after a month of tarting, Round Fable sat just below the endorsement cap at 36 versus Zaolat's 55 endorsements. It follows then that if the 15 invaders that were currently in Osiris were to endorse Knights of the Round Fable (and two additional invaders were to move in at update) while six invaders unendorsed Zaolat... in theory this should have resulted in Knights of the Round Fable overthrowing Zaolat in a tight runoff, 51-49. Emphasis on "if", "were", and "in theory".

1:06:45 11/20 - Major update begins in Osiris. The invaders mass endorse Knights of the Round Fable and unendorse Zaolat.


It's important to note here that endorsements and unendorsements only 'count' if they occur before update has begun in a given region. Indeed, even though update can last for minutes in a large region, you need only to reside in the region at the beginning of update for your endorsement to count.

Since invaders conducted their plan after update had begun in Osiris, it meant their endorsements and unendorsements did not count.

~1:09 11/20 - Wordy, spotting the activity, follows the invaders into Osiris. She is the only defender that identified and reacted to the movement.

1:09:48 11/20 - Update ends in Osiris. Since they all appear in the Region Daily Dump for that update but not the Nation Daily Dump [22], we know for certain that Wordy and two invaders, Fire Blade and Brave Little King, moved after update had begun (too late) but before it had ended in Osiris.


The response from the invaders indicated that they had no idea what had gone wrong with their mission. On the RMB, a subversive spammer railed that "[Zaolat] has retained the delegacy this update following a glitch," "Zaolat would be vanquished, do not reward a game glitch," etc. etc. etc.

Another invader tellingly bragged "Wordy moved in two minutes after the region had stopped updating," which suggests they thought it's meaningful to move in before a region has stopped updating; since Wordy had in fact moved into the region before it finished updating, it also indicates the invaders may have mistaken the last reported Ceased-to-Exist nation (1:07:19) for the end of update in Osiris itself. In reality, because nations would update in a region by order of residency, there was usually a gap between the last CTE and the end of the update which consists of nations who had joined the region in the past 28 days.

This time around, TITO's assistance was warmly welcomed by Osirans and the state of emergency proved a unifying moment for the new community.

NOVEMBER 21

While Osiris was being attacked by the Knights of the Round Fable, Luxembourg was making a decision he would come to regret.

In an attempt to gain access to the Balder root administrator account, Luxembourg hacked Fotar's personal email. The process used to access Fotar's email account was rudimentary as Fotar himself explains: Luxembourg had exploited one of his account's security question.

"When I had gotten into the gmail, a guilt wafted over me," admits Luxembourg. "I felt nauseous, my temperature spiked, I felt dizzy, my hands felt fuzzy and clammy at the same time, pins and needles ran down my spine. What had I done? I hacked a gmail, all for some browser game."

What was motivating Luxembourg? Luxembourg had a past in NationStates as 'Aglirinia,' unknown to others at the time, raising domestic problems in the Commonwealth Society, among other regions. [23] But Luxembourg also has stated in numerous cases that he passionately wanted to 'take back' the region from outside interests and believed he needed control over the forum to do so.

"The thought of Balder becoming a puppet almost made my blood boil," Luxembourg explains. "[...] Looking back at it now, I realize had I been honest with everyone from the get go and told them my opinions upon resignation Balder may be in a very different state than it is today."

In an earlier 2013 interview, he elaborates: "I chose to [overthrow the government] because I felt like Balder was basically becoming a puppet region for Europeia, and The New Inquisition our government was basically being modeled after Europeia's and TNI's you couldn't walk into a government lobby without someone saying "Well in Europeia or Well in TNI we do it this well." I was outraged and just wanted to bash their heads together and say "Well guess what this is Balder, and we're going to do Balder's way. We need to create an entirely new identity, a new culture, a personality. [...] I believe I achieved the complete opposite of what I wanted."

When he shared his views in a series of IRC conversations beginning Nov 18-19, Luxembourg found a sympathetic ear from members from the New Pacific Order in #the_pacific (A Mean Old Man, Feux/Jeux, and Krulltopia).

A Mean Old Man described the conversations at the time by writing "Lux originally complained to us about what was happening in Balder. The state of Balder was less than satisfactory; the region was loaded with security threats [...] I personally still believed [lux] should assume a more assertive role and “lay down the law” in Balder, considering the recent dangers in Osiris [See: Knights of the Round Fable] and considering Balder was in a much more vulnerable state than its sister region."

"Lux continued to speak with us over the next few days and we eventually realized he did actually plan to assume a more assertive role in Balder," says A Mean Old Man. "Jeux and I both were interested in his attitude; we liked the idea of fostering the growth of another GCR led by a leader with a strong sense of duty and a heavy hand, and believed that if Lux came to us for advice we might be able to help him fill the role of a tough but fair leader. We liked this idea and he seemed bent on receiving our support and the overall support of The Pacific and the NPO."

Luxembourg was hoping to persuade NPO to provide support for a takeover.

"I feared I wouldn't be able to take and hold the region without myself, so I sought the help of [...] The Pacific," says Luxembourg. "The people I most often spoke with were Feux and A mean old man; however, now that I look back on it, I feel I was truly the one doing all the talking and was more so a confessional than planning. Feux spoke much more than AMOM did. Krulltopia rarely participated in the talks. They all appeared fine with the though of the coup - until talk of hacking came up."

In a serious turn events, Luxembourg shared to #the_pacific on Nov 21 that he had captured "the forum’s ROOT administrator account’s password and [...] Fotar’s e-mail address." Luxembourg also admitted, according to A Mean Old Man, that he "planned to log into Fotar’s WA nation [...] and remove it from the WA (through the stolen e-mail)."

~5:30 11/21 - The NPO was understandably "horrified" at the revelations and immediately reached out to St. George, a Commissioner of Public Safety in Balder, with two screenshots from Luxembourg's shocking testimony.

~21:00 11/21 - Fotar himself was ready to sign off for bed when he was first alerted by me that his email had been hacked. The news sent him into an understandable panic "to change passwords to other accounts and make sure everything was secured." Fortunately, he was able to recover the password of his email account.


NOVEMBER 22

It's worth appreciating at this juncture that Luxembourg had make a number of grave errors over the past few days. Hacking an email was deeply wrong, but it was also unnecessary; in accessing this account, he severed all credibility he had. Luxembourg's discussions in #the_pacific, equally inadvisable, effectively alerted authorities to plan for an immediate liberation effort.

The Balder Committee of Public Safety, believing that the endorsement gap was too high for an operation at major update with short notice, planned instead to run an unendorsement campaign against Luxembourg in the hopes of liberating the region the next major update by raising Fotar's endorsement level with external support. A broad "task-force" of military organizations, including the UDL, were enlisted to help. Together this task-force participated in planning and logistics.

Unknown to many participants of the task-force at the time, Rachel Anumia was privately directed by the Committee of Public Safety to contact Luxembourg and 'tip' him off that Fotar was aware his email account had been hacked and that the UDL was coordinating an intervention. Rachel had explained that the intention behind this message was to convince Luxembourg to cease his plans.

Undeterred, the message only made Luxembourg aware of the plans to unseat him and convinced him to expedite his takeover.

~12:15 11/22 - Luxembourg banjects Fotar.
~12:15 11/22 - Luxembourg banjects Robin Hood.


Shortly after minor update began that next day, Luxembourg took decisive action to consolidate power in Balder, ejecting Fotar and my non-WA nation in Balder, Robin Hood. He also removed the links to the forum in the WFE, changed the regional flag, suppressed dissent, set a strict endorsement cap (5) and added a “totalitarian” tag to Balder.

I immediately advised Fotar to leave the Rejected Realms before it updated in five minutes. This is a process called "update surfing" that was described in the first Anatomy of the Coup lecture. By avoiding update, Fotar preserved his "thirty-something" endorsements from Balder residents. Speed was crucial here: Fotar only had a small window of time to act to protect his endorsement levels.

12:20:19 11/22 - Minor update begins in The Rejected Realms.


Banjecting Fotar and Robin Hood cost ~40% of Luxembourg's regional influence alone (25% just to banject Fotar). Banning and ejecting a nation costs half of the banjected nation's influence for a delegate. At the time, the science of influence growth was not well understood but we can approximate the influence costs today using modern techniques available to us since the timeline of events is isolated, extraneous influence expenses were limited, and the endorsement levels are fairly well documented.

Even after only a small number of banjections, it began apparent that Luxembourg had exhausted his influence and was unable to continue purging nations. With his influence drained and a liberation effort certain, Luxembourg resigned from the World Assembly.

~14:30 11/22 - Luxembourg resigns from the World Assembly.


Now it should be noted that if a WA Delegate resigned from the WA, they would maintain access to Regional Controls until the next update (this is no longer true). However in this case, Luxembourg surrendered his nation to me. By accessing Balder's regional controls, I was able to reverse the World Factbook Entry and unban Fotar (who subsequently became delegate at major update, 2:00:48).

Fotar sent this mass telegram to solicit endorsements from residents and explain the confusing situation:

I have some unfortunate news. Our region is currently without a delegate. This happened after the elected delegate hacked into my email account, ejected and banned members of Balder from the region, and other crimes. As the elected Vice-Delegate, I will be taking up the role of Delegate until such a time as our region adopts a Constitution and has new leaders elected.

I would ask that you would please endorse me to increase the security of Balder. Any time there is a change in delegate in a large feeder region, security is crucial or else those without good intents may swoop in and steal the region.


2:00:48 11/23 - Fotar assumes the delegacy at major update. Before the end of the year however, Fotar departed Balder citing real life commitments, he also recalls being "thoroughly put-off and disgusted by the political mud-slinging and bantering that dominated the election cycle, rather than focusing on issues." [24] Rachel Anumia replaced him as root administrator and Zander replaced him as delegate. For what it is worth, Charles Cerebella remembers "the early days of Balder as a lot of fun." He writes further: "I learnt a lot about building a region from the experience and what it took to forge a community. That was the heart of my experience and joy from NS and I carried a lot of that forward into building Albion later. Over time the politics in Balder got more bitter and less fun but it was a great region. I made some real NS friendships there in Zander and Fuzzy who then became very active there and Albion later."


End Notes


Thanks to Eluvatar, Charles Cerebella, Markanite, Luna Amore / Revert, New Rogernomics, Belschaft, Fotar, Anime Daisuki, Akillian and the UK Admin team, New Bane, A Mean Old Man, Zaolat, Mahaj, Klaus Devestatorie, Aglrinia, and others. This lecture wouldn't have been possible without your assistance.

[1] From a message, Jan 24 2018.

[2] Of Osiris and Balder's founding, then a day old, Max Barry wrote that "for the first hour or two, things were pretty quiet. Then people noticed. Nations moved in. [...] And, pretty soon, debates over how these regions should be run. Who should be the Delegate? Various well-organized alliances [..] seizing power. Shouldn't the region be left in the hands of the native residents? But who were they? [..] after only half a day, we can see differences in the new regions' emerging political structures."

[3] The daily dump from October 19 lists Osiris' first residents (in order of residence) as "kanoshii, pinky_und_der_brain, shram, kuchka, reo_linda, transea, revert, beiguo" and Balder's first residents as "testlandia, indraha, etae, tao, gloverstania, bavarian_king, exalted, you_will_not_believe_this, wolf, privy_council, psychotic_wranglers, bal, daleklandia."

[4] From a message, Feb 10 2020.

[5] From a message with Markanite, Mar 3-7 2020.

[6] From a message, Mar 17 2020.

[7] From a message, Feb 18 2020.

[8] From a message with Markanite, Mar 3-7 2020.

[9] For the purposes of this analysis, I have reconstructed a timeline of arrivals in Osiris/Balder based off the only surviving record I have which is the daily dump from the major update on Oct 19-20. If nations left Osiris/Balder before the next update, they would not appear in this reconstruction. I'm confident, however, that this estimate is close. Most WA Nations remained stationed in Osiris/Balder even after the first minor update, except for nations like Kain the Dragoon that were banjected.

[10] For more information on Aretism see A Beginner's Guide to Aretism.
viewtopic.php?p=7459625#p7459625

[11] From a message, Feb 11 2020.

[12] Some examples of these sentiments: 1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. 5.. 6.. 7.. 8.. 9.. 10.., 11.. 12.. 13.. 14.. 15.. 16.. 17

[13] IRC Log from #UDL, courtesy of Eluvatar...

[01:53] <Unibot> Will this update?
[01:53] <Unibot> I didn't think it'll update...
[01:53] <Unibot> Will it?
[01:53] <Spartz> ooh... can we take one of them? :P
[01:53] <Unibot> The region is just older than the update...
[01:55] <Unibot> Osiris is pretty bad ass name for a sinker, I must admit. :p
[01:55] <Unibot> "Tags: Small, Founderless, New, and Sinker."
[01:55] <Unibot> ^^ and its totally confirmed.
[01:55] <Ballotonia> Seconds ago: Bal relocated from The Netherlands to Balder. :D
[01:56] <Spartz> I so wanna take one of these regions right now... :P
[01:58] <Ballotonia> Since TITO is moving into Osiris, move into Balder?
[01:59] <Ballotonia> Balder just updated
[01:59] <Ballotonia> No Delegate
[01:59] <Goobergunch> I see I was *right* to dossier Wolf :P
[02:00] <Ballotonia> And Osiris updated 50 minutes ago
[02:01] <Unibot> UDL was the first to adspam both of the new sinkers. :P
[02:01] * Unibot sniggers.
[02:01] <Ballotonia> Which means we have 12 hours to decide whether or not we even want to get involved in a sinker delegacy.
[02:01] <Unibot> Hhhm.
[02:01] <Spartz> I do :P
[02:01] * Unibot nods.


[14] From a series of messages, Apr 13 2020.

[15] IRC Log from #UDL, courtesy of Eluvatar...

[19 Oct 12:18] <Unibot> Ballo, when [will] Balder update?
[...]
[13:09] <Ballotonia> 17:37:33 GMT
[13:10] <StGeorge> 27 minutes
[13:10] <Ballotonia> give or take a bit of variance, of course.
[13:13] <Unibot> Okay.
[13:16] <Ballotonia> What's your closest competition in Balder?
[13:17] <StGeorge> Swiftsure has 11
[13:17] <StGeorge> Uni has 23
[13:29] <Ballotonia> Looks like this update is running late. No surprise with all the activity going on.
[13:33] * Ballotonia adds 2 minutes to his prediction.
[13:35] <Ballotonia> 23-13 now
[...]
[13:39] <Ballotonia> The Kingdom of Robin Hood (elected 1 minute ago)
[13:39] <StGeorge> 1 minute ago: The Kingdom of Robin Hood became regional WA Delegate.
[13:39] <StGeorge> dammin ballo!
[13:39] <StGeorge> ninja
[13:40] <Mahaj> so wabbit can i create the forum?
[13:41] <Ballotonia> NS Down?
[13:42] <Spartz> UNIBOT! YOU BROKE NS!
[13:42] <Mahaj> its slow, yah
[13:43] <StGeorge> it's been slow for ages


[16] The flag proved popular and was officially adopted for a period of time. From a Balder regional update: "However the flag was so popular, a competition to for a new flag voted against all the proposed replacements, and it has stayed with us as a lasting symbol of the region." viewtopic.php?f=12&t=168506

[17] From a message, Jan 24 2018.

[18] From a message, Mar 27 2020.

[19] From a message, Jan 09 2020.

[20] From a message, Feb 08 2020.

[21] From a message, Mar 15 2020.

[22] Region Daily Dumps capture a list of nations residing in a region at the end of update in a region, Nation Daily Dumps capture a list of nations who update in any given region. The discrepancies between these two files can be very meaningful for military gameplay and after-action reports.

[23] Luxembourg himself cites the Commonwealth Society, Bohemian Grove, UGFLSPN, Greater German Empire, Azhukali, and Japan as regions he couped.

[24] From a message, Mar 28 2020.
Last edited by Unibot III on Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:25 pm, edited 5 times in total.
[violet] wrote:I mean this in the best possible way,
but Unibot is not a typical NS player.
Milograd wrote:You're a caring, resolute lunatic
with the best of intentions.
Org. Join Date: 25/05/2008 | Former Delegate of The Rejected Realms | Gameplay Alignment: -18 / -13
Unibotian Factbook // An Analysis of NationStates Generations // The Gameplay Alignment Test // NS Weather // How do I join the UDL? // The Transpacific Trade
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✯ Duty is Eternal, Justice is Imminent: UDL

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Boda
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Boda » Tue Apr 14, 2020 11:41 am

At least us and unibot have something in common, we're all bored from the coronavirus
Add this in your signature if you advocate for legal cannibalism!
Join Tenochtitlan today!

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Unibot III
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Unibot III » Tue Apr 14, 2020 11:53 am

Boda wrote:At least us and unibot have something in common, we're all bored from the coronavirus


I've been working on this for about four months, but I've have time to finish it during the lockdown. ;)

Principal research began at the beginning of the year. I've been sitting on that private interview with Luxembourg since 2018.
Last edited by Unibot III on Tue Apr 14, 2020 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
[violet] wrote:I mean this in the best possible way,
but Unibot is not a typical NS player.
Milograd wrote:You're a caring, resolute lunatic
with the best of intentions.
Org. Join Date: 25/05/2008 | Former Delegate of The Rejected Realms | Gameplay Alignment: -18 / -13
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✯ Duty is Eternal, Justice is Imminent: UDL

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Kanglia
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Founded: Nov 19, 2016
Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Kanglia » Tue Apr 14, 2020 11:56 am

Interesting as always Uni. Good read all around.
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Bowzin
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Left-Leaning College State

Postby Bowzin » Tue Apr 14, 2020 11:57 am

Unibot III wrote:
"I, @@NATION@@, pledge to vote, discourse and hold any offices in Balder with the interests of Balder in mind and no other region or organization."


I thought this looked familiar, so I checked, and it looks like it stood the test of time! Straight from our citizen application:
I, @@nation@@, pledge to vote, discourse, and hold any offices in Balder with the interests of Balder in mind and no other region or organization.
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Unibot III
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Unibot III » Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:06 pm

Bowzin wrote:
Unibot III wrote:
"I, @@NATION@@, pledge to vote, discourse and hold any offices in Balder with the interests of Balder in mind and no other region or organization."


I thought this looked familiar, so I checked, and it looks like it stood the test of time! Straight from our citizen application:
I, @@nation@@, pledge to vote, discourse, and hold any offices in Balder with the interests of Balder in mind and no other region or organization.


Whattttt???? No way!!! I wrote that almost a decade ago in a hurry.

I remember scrambling to put together the registration process at the very moment that the delegacy was secured. Thanks for sharing, Bowzin. I'm flabbergasted!
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✯ Duty is Eternal, Justice is Imminent: UDL

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Wabbitslayah
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Founded: Apr 19, 2009
Moralistic Democracy

Postby Wabbitslayah » Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:53 pm

I cannot confirm any of these.events actually ever happened.
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Jutsa
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Founded: Dec 06, 2015
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Jutsa » Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:59 pm

Amazing! I always find great amusement in reading NationStates history (more than reading most things in general), so this was a real treat.

Many thanks for putting this together, Unibot! I guess this game's made people go to ludicrous lengths for a long time now... :blush:

Sometimes wish I could've contributed to something great, but I had already tried in a smaller setting and ultimately realized I spent so much time
doing that instead of doing stuff both more productive and generally less laborious, and there's no way I'd ever be able to do something like that again. :P

Regardless, I still appreciate GP and love reading about the wacky past that I couldn't have been witness to. Many thanks again. :D
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Fauxia
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Fauxia » Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:02 pm

It’s terrible when people with the right idea have to do it the wrong way.
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Tinhampton
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Anarchy

Postby Tinhampton » Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:06 pm

Wabbitslayah wrote:I cannot confirm any of these.events actually ever happened.

So how do these links to Balder and Osiris work? :P

Brilliance from Unibot, as ever
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Daytime to Night
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Founded: Dec 04, 2007
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Daytime to Night » Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:12 pm

Fauxia wrote:It’s terrible when people with the right idea have to do it the wrong way.


Absolutely, Balder "a new democratic region open to all", what a lovely idea.

Thanks for giving us the full details of the UDL invasion of Balder, Uni.
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Wabbitslayah
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Founded: Apr 19, 2009
Moralistic Democracy

Postby Wabbitslayah » Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:12 pm

Tinhampton wrote:
Wabbitslayah wrote:I cannot confirm any of these.events actually ever happened.

So how do these links to Balder and Osiris work? :P

Brilliance from Unibot, as ever

Never heard of this Osiris.
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Fauxia
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Fauxia » Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:17 pm

Daytime to Night wrote:
Fauxia wrote:It’s terrible when people with the right idea have to do it the wrong way.


Absolutely, Balder "a new democratic region open to all", what a lovely idea.

Thanks for giving us the full details of the UDL invasion of Balder, Uni.

The sarcasm here is at a level beyond my comprehension.

Wabbitslayah wrote:
Tinhampton wrote:So how do these links to Balder and Osiris work? :P

Brilliance from Unibot, as ever

Never heard of this Osiris.

Of course not. That was probably that Mekhet guy.
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Roavin
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Posts: 1046
Founded: Apr 07, 2016
Scandinavian Liberal Paradise

Postby Roavin » Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:17 pm

Just two comments on the mechanics:

Unibot III wrote:In reality, because nations update in a region by order of residency, there is usually a gap between the last CTE and the end of the update which consists of nations who've joined the region in the past 28 days.


That may have been the case at the time; these days, nations update in a deterministic but effectively random order (like regions - it's effectively impossible to predict when a nation will update in relation to others, but that relation will always be the same).

Unibot III wrote:Now it should be noted that even if a WA Delegate resigns from the WA, they maintain access to Regional Controls until the next update.


That was changed when Regional Officers were introduced (so ... late 2015, early 2016, one of those). These days, they immediately lose access to them.

---

But other than that, this was a great read. Thanks for putting it together!
Last edited by Roavin on Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unibot III
Negotiator
 
Posts: 5800
Founded: Mar 11, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Unibot III » Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:21 pm

Daytime to Night wrote:
Fauxia wrote:It’s terrible when people with the right idea have to do it the wrong way.


Absolutely, Balder "a new democratic region open to all", what a lovely idea.

Thanks for giving us the full details of the UDL invasion of Balder, Uni.


I was delighted when I learnt Elu had the old logs saved. I wanted to give readers an inside look into some of the offsite and IRC-based planning and discussions.

Some of these decisions were made in such a rush that only the original fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants transcripts can capture just how improvised everything was in those first few hours.

There was no “playbook” for defenders on new GCRs. We were going by instinct.


@Roavin: Thanks Roavin. I’ll update the essay to reflect that. That would have major implications for triggering, especially in a big subject region.
Last edited by Unibot III on Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
[violet] wrote:I mean this in the best possible way,
but Unibot is not a typical NS player.
Milograd wrote:You're a caring, resolute lunatic
with the best of intentions.
Org. Join Date: 25/05/2008 | Former Delegate of The Rejected Realms | Gameplay Alignment: -18 / -13
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✯ Duty is Eternal, Justice is Imminent: UDL

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Luna Amore
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Posts: 12192
Founded: Antiquity
Benevolent Dictatorship

Postby Luna Amore » Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:37 pm

Wabbitslayah wrote:
Tinhampton wrote:So how do these links to Balder and Osiris work? :P

Brilliance from Unibot, as ever

Never heard of this Osiris.

Can confirm. None of this can possibly be true because those places don't exist.
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Unibot III
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Founded: Mar 11, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Unibot III » Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:13 pm

There's now a Dispatch version of this text if anyone wants to add it to the region's WFE resources for whatever reason or share it in-game. Cheers.
[violet] wrote:I mean this in the best possible way,
but Unibot is not a typical NS player.
Milograd wrote:You're a caring, resolute lunatic
with the best of intentions.
Org. Join Date: 25/05/2008 | Former Delegate of The Rejected Realms | Gameplay Alignment: -18 / -13
Unibotian Factbook // An Analysis of NationStates Generations // The Gameplay Alignment Test // NS Weather // How do I join the UDL? // The Transpacific Trade
Paradise Found // The Unibotian Life Expectancy Index // Proudly Authored 9 GA Res., 14 SC Res. // Commended by SC#78 // The Polysemes of Nativeness;

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✯ Duty is Eternal, Justice is Imminent: UDL

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Glacikaldr
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Posts: 298
Founded: Jul 17, 2016
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Glacikaldr » Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:59 am

Giving the upcoming NationStates Great Exhibition speakers something to aspire to haha
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The Church of Satan
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Founded: Apr 15, 2013
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby The Church of Satan » Wed Apr 15, 2020 4:04 pm

I know the beginning of a GCR and the following few weeks would definitely be chaotic but I had no idea it could get that bad. It's an interesting history lesson for sure, a very good read. Great work!
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The Black Leaves
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Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby The Black Leaves » Wed Apr 15, 2020 6:21 pm

This is a great read, kudos for the effort it must have taken.
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Caelapes
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Left-wing Utopia

Postby Caelapes » Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:02 pm

Unibot III wrote:Showdown in Balder: "Let it all go to s**t from there"


While Balder and Osiris were in the process of being founded, defenders in the United Defenders League (UDL) were distracted by a complicated political situation that had emerged in The Anarchist International.

At 19:15 EDT (10/18/2011), Zwangzug of the United Defenders League spotted leftist arrivals over the course of the past hour to a small founderless region, The Anarchist International. The five new endorsements were consolidating around Vox Populii, a nation that had joined The Anarchist International a week prior. Evidently, the leftist militants appeared to be same group, The Internationale, that the United Defenders League had recently encountered in "Pact of Steel". In response, I (as Chief of the UDL) moved a puppet account, Robin Hood, to The Anarchist International and invited other UDL troops to endorse 'Robin Hood' and support our counter-invasion operation. From 19:33 to 22:00 EDT, at least thirteen other UDL soldiers would respond to this call for action.

Marxiangrad, a key member of this group, exchanged a series of telegrams with me, explaining that the Internationale's intentions were not to invade the region but rather to establish a regional password to protect it from "raiders/fascists". Excerpts of this conversation still survive and they reveal the clear philosophical divide at that time between leftists and defenders. I maintained that a regional password should have the prior approval of the remaining two natives in the Anarchist International, whereas Marxiangrad argued that prior approval was not necessary - that the natives were inactive, "the "will" of the region [was] intangible as they [...] expressed none," and that the Anarchist International was associated with the Internationale through "solidarity" in a political class conflict distinct from traditional Gameplay.

A compromise was found before Major Update and I as "Robin Hood" departed the Anarchist International. Other UDL soldiers were told to stay in the Anarchist International as a part of a preposition mission, but only in the interim with the agreement of the Internationale while they sought to establish consent for a regional password from the region's extant natives.


Interesting and unexpected to see this story pop up in relation to the creation of more sinkers.

Vox Populii was a puppet of Populii, a Comrade Member of The Internationale and a Squadron Admiral of The Red Fleet. Marxingrad was a Squadron Admiral in The Red Fleet (of the now-defunct 1917 Squadron) as was one of the original three Comrade Members of The Internationale (along with La Pasionaria, who hasn't made their presence known if they've continued to play since their puppetsweep, and Proletaire, who is still around). Those three started in NS2, making The Internationale perhaps unique in NS history as a regional community that is still around but which had its start on NationStates 2. The full conversation between you and Marxingrad was republished on the original forum of The Red Fleet, along with six pages of further discussion.

The Red Fleet, for its part, has continued to carry out the practice of defending vulnerable leftist regions by taking them out of all invaders' targets through the use of regional passwords.
    
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Warzone Codger
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Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Warzone Codger » Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:08 pm

I played a part! Airspace played a part!

...Oh.
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Unibot III
Negotiator
 
Posts: 5800
Founded: Mar 11, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Unibot III » Wed Apr 15, 2020 9:09 pm

Caelapes wrote:
Unibot III wrote:Showdown in Balder: "Let it all go to s**t from there"


While Balder and Osiris were in the process of being founded, defenders in the United Defenders League (UDL) were distracted by a complicated political situation that had emerged in The Anarchist International.

At 19:15 EDT (10/18/2011), Zwangzug of the United Defenders League spotted leftist arrivals over the course of the past hour to a small founderless region, The Anarchist International. The five new endorsements were consolidating around Vox Populii, a nation that had joined The Anarchist International a week prior. Evidently, the leftist militants appeared to be same group, The Internationale, that the United Defenders League had recently encountered in "Pact of Steel". In response, I (as Chief of the UDL) moved a puppet account, Robin Hood, to The Anarchist International and invited other UDL troops to endorse 'Robin Hood' and support our counter-invasion operation. From 19:33 to 22:00 EDT, at least thirteen other UDL soldiers would respond to this call for action.

Marxiangrad, a key member of this group, exchanged a series of telegrams with me, explaining that the Internationale's intentions were not to invade the region but rather to establish a regional password to protect it from "raiders/fascists". Excerpts of this conversation still survive and they reveal the clear philosophical divide at that time between leftists and defenders. I maintained that a regional password should have the prior approval of the remaining two natives in the Anarchist International, whereas Marxiangrad argued that prior approval was not necessary - that the natives were inactive, "the "will" of the region [was] intangible as they [...] expressed none," and that the Anarchist International was associated with the Internationale through "solidarity" in a political class conflict distinct from traditional Gameplay.

A compromise was found before Major Update and I as "Robin Hood" departed the Anarchist International. Other UDL soldiers were told to stay in the Anarchist International as a part of a preposition mission, but only in the interim with the agreement of the Internationale while they sought to establish consent for a regional password from the region's extant natives.


Interesting and unexpected to see this story pop up in relation to the creation of more sinkers.

Vox Populii was a puppet of Populii, a Comrade Member of The Internationale and a Squadron Admiral of The Red Fleet. Marxingrad was a Squadron Admiral in The Red Fleet (of the now-defunct 1917 Squadron) as was one of the original three Comrade Members of The Internationale (along with La Pasionaria, who hasn't made their presence known if they've continued to play since their puppetsweep, and Proletaire, who is still around). Those three started in NS2, making The Internationale perhaps unique in NS history as a regional community that is still around but which had its start on NationStates 2. The full conversation between you and Marxingrad was republished on the original forum of The Red Fleet, along with six pages of further discussion.

The Red Fleet, for its part, has continued to carry out the practice of defending vulnerable leftist regions by taking them out of all invaders' targets through the use of regional passwords.


That was very interesting! I didn’t know about the NS2 background. I remember NS2 well (unfortunately). I thought it’d include the Internationale event in this story because I found it interesting, I had logs of it, and I wanted to provide context to the UDL position in Balder. The UDL were busy in October, our minds were focused on at least two or three different regions while Balder was thrown into our lap. None of us wanted to be hunkered down in Balder while, say, “Anarchy” or “Rome” was occupied and in need of a liberation.

Warzone Codger wrote:I played a part! Airspace played a part!

...Oh.


Warzone Codger is being humble, when the regions were created he set out to log the regional happenings of Osiris and Balder to create a record of the first few hours for posterity. Some of that information came in handy with this essay; I especially made use of the logs to check and confirm times for the arrival and eventual banjection of the Kain supporters (who didn’t appear in the daily dumps.)

I think it’s possible Codger is the first NS Gameplayer to discover Balder/Osiris. Revert didn’t witness the sinkers with a password...
[violet] wrote:I mean this in the best possible way,
but Unibot is not a typical NS player.
Milograd wrote:You're a caring, resolute lunatic
with the best of intentions.
Org. Join Date: 25/05/2008 | Former Delegate of The Rejected Realms | Gameplay Alignment: -18 / -13
Unibotian Factbook // An Analysis of NationStates Generations // The Gameplay Alignment Test // NS Weather // How do I join the UDL? // The Transpacific Trade
Paradise Found // The Unibotian Life Expectancy Index // Proudly Authored 9 GA Res., 14 SC Res. // Commended by SC#78 // The Polysemes of Nativeness;

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✯ Duty is Eternal, Justice is Imminent: UDL

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Kringalia
Diplomat
 
Posts: 791
Founded: Feb 03, 2013
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Kringalia » Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:34 am

That's a fascinating read! I still have to finish it, but it's really cool to find out about the details from that time. Hopefully next time we'll get something about TSP. :)
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