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A place to spoil daily issues for those who haven't had them yet, snigger at typos, and discuss ideas for new ones.

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Trotterdam
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Postby Trotterdam » Thu Apr 15, 2021 7:15 pm

Chan Island wrote:On my mind is making an issue related to the various completely unclaimed bits of land in the world, most notably Marie Byrd Land, a vast stretch of remote Antarctic ice sheet with no sovereign jurisdiction.
Aren't there international treaties forbidding anyone from claiming it, though? That's not quite completely unclaimed, since there are laws on who it belongs to (the answer explicitly, rather than implicitly, being "no-one").

Chan Island wrote:Do we have an issue where, say, a @@DENONYM@@ scientist is murdered out there and now the question is who or how you can prosecute the killer.
Why would that be treated any differently from someone being murdered in international waters?

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Candlewhisper Archive
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Anarchy

Postby Candlewhisper Archive » Thu Apr 15, 2021 11:40 pm

Aw man, I JUST got the joke in the name of the first speaker in 1071. I'm so slow.
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Fauxia
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Postby Fauxia » Sun Apr 18, 2021 5:31 am

Candlewhisper Archive wrote:Aw man, I JUST got the joke in the name of the first speaker in 1071. I'm so slow.

You’re probably too literate.

I, on the other hand, saw immediately what was going on, because I’m used to reading gibberish, especially if I write it.
Last edited by Fauxia on Sun Apr 18, 2021 5:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Chan Island
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Founded: Nov 26, 2015
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Chan Island » Sun Apr 18, 2021 9:10 am

Trotterdam wrote:
Chan Island wrote:On my mind is making an issue related to the various completely unclaimed bits of land in the world, most notably Marie Byrd Land, a vast stretch of remote Antarctic ice sheet with no sovereign jurisdiction.
Aren't there international treaties forbidding anyone from claiming it, though? That's not quite completely unclaimed, since there are laws on who it belongs to (the answer explicitly, rather than implicitly, being "no-one").

Chan Island wrote:Do we have an issue where, say, a @@DENONYM@@ scientist is murdered out there and now the question is who or how you can prosecute the killer.
Why would that be treated any differently from someone being murdered in international waters?


There are in that particular case, but other locations similar to it exist because nobody actually wants that land, like Bir Tawali on the Egypt-Sudan border, or the bends of the river border between Serbia and Croatia where Liberland was pulled off.

International waters is a bit of a murky area, but from what I can tell the general consensus is that crime is committed on the nation the ship is registered too. So if an Irish citizen commits a crime against a Moroccan citizen on a US ship, the crime is legally considered to have taken place in the United States (to pull a random example, maritime law in general is super complex though). It's the same rule with airplanes as a general rule too, though in practice the answer is "whichever country the plane landed in".

But boots on the ground, in territory that no country on earth claims as jurisdiction... now that might be different. There hasn't really been any precedent from what I can quickly find. So it might make a fun issue for people to think about.
Conserative Morality wrote:"It's not time yet" is a tactic used by reactionaries in every era. "It's not time for democracy, it's not time for capitalism, it's not time for emancipation." Of course it's not time. It's never time, not on its own. You make it time. If you're under fire in the no-man's land of WW1, you start digging a foxhole even if the ideal time would be when you *aren't* being bombarded, because once you wait for it to be 'time', other situations will need your attention, assuming you survive that long. If the fields aren't furrowed, plow them. If the iron is not hot, make it so. If society is not ready, change it.

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Chan Island
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Chan Island » Sun Apr 18, 2021 2:33 pm

So one of the more interesting bits of information that's been coming out since the death of Prince Philip has been the fact that he has a cult dedicated to him on a pacific island, which in life he interacted with a couple of times, sending them signed pictures and well wishes and the like.

Do we have an issue like that? Where like a tribe on a tiny island on the other side of the planet is found to be cargo-culting it but for the leader?
Conserative Morality wrote:"It's not time yet" is a tactic used by reactionaries in every era. "It's not time for democracy, it's not time for capitalism, it's not time for emancipation." Of course it's not time. It's never time, not on its own. You make it time. If you're under fire in the no-man's land of WW1, you start digging a foxhole even if the ideal time would be when you *aren't* being bombarded, because once you wait for it to be 'time', other situations will need your attention, assuming you survive that long. If the fields aren't furrowed, plow them. If the iron is not hot, make it so. If society is not ready, change it.

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Trotterdam
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Postby Trotterdam » Sun Apr 18, 2021 6:59 pm

Chan Island wrote:nobody actually wants that land, like Bir Tawil on the Egypt-Sudan border
Someone actually has claimed that. There is negligible chance of this claim ever being recognized by any nations whatsoever.

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The Sakhalinsk Empire
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Sakhalinsk Empire » Sun Apr 18, 2021 10:57 pm

Trotterdam wrote:
Chan Island wrote:nobody actually wants that land, like Bir Tawil on the Egypt-Sudan border
Someone actually has claimed that. There is negligible chance of this claim ever being recognized by any nations whatsoever.

I can see an issue being along the lines of "a micronation claims some terra nullius; however, despite being eligible for international recognition, nobody actually wants to recognize said micronation". The debate would be whether these claims are recognizable.

Actually, there's an issue quite similar to this, where numerous Republics of @@ANIMAL@@ secede from @@NATION@@. The overlap doesn't seem too much, but it's something to keep in mind.
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Trotterdam
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Postby Trotterdam » Mon Apr 19, 2021 6:32 am

The Sakhalinsk Empire wrote:I can see an issue being along the lines of "a micronation claims some terra nullius; however, despite being eligible for international recognition, nobody actually wants to recognize said micronation". The debate would be whether these claims are recognizable.
Of course, if @@NAME@@ decides to recognize them, then "despite being eligible for international recognition, nobody actually wants to recognize said micronation" is no longer true. (Though the recognition of the nations that actually border the micronation is probably more valuable.)

The only real dilemma comes when some "mainstream" nations recognize it while others don't. (This happens with serious non-micro nations, such as Taiwan, Kosovo, South Ossetia, etc.)

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Nova Catania
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Moralistic Democracy

Postby Nova Catania » Mon Apr 19, 2021 6:36 am

I want to write an issue about something similar to the "Freedom Ship", which was an idea proposed by an architect to build a massive floating ship as an off-shore tax haven. I don't know if there are already any issues about this, if there are none, I don't know where to get started.
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Candlewhisper Archive
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Anarchy

Postby Candlewhisper Archive » Tue Apr 27, 2021 2:41 pm

Okay guys, let's workshop this whole reversal issue on abolishing the Upper House.

42% of democracies have a bicameral system, apparently. Most of those believe that to be broadly a good thing. Seeing why that is will help us deliver a good reversal issue.

Some research:

US:
https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/hi ... opment.htm
https://www.carolinapoliticalreview.org ... the-senate

UK:
https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/wha ... -of-lords/
https://www.parliament.uk/business/lord ... ords-does/

Australia:
https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament ... the_Senate

So what do Upper Houses do, that is beneficial?

1) They represent minority voices that could get overlooked in a system where majority is everything.
Or to put that less charitably, they allow a government to be undemocratic in the name of "common sense".

2) They look back at passed legislation, and review and re-examine it, whereas the lower chamber is more focused on the next big thing. Without an Upper House, nobody is reviewing and reconsidering existent legislation.

3) Holding the government to account, acting as a check and measures against a government that might otherwise instigate harmful or immoral policies while it has a majority. This is a big thing in the US, for example, where (TRUMP/OBAMA) had their (CRAZY EXCESSES / ATTEMPTS TO ENACT NEEDED CHANGE) (HELD ACCOUNTABLE BY COMMON SENSE / TIED UP IN UNDEMOCRATIC BUREAUCRACY) by the Senate. Pick from the options according to your tastes there, guys.

I think there's enough there to create an argument for reversing the Upper House abolition, and thus an Issue.

If a good writer can give me an issue that presents a coherent and convincing argument for reinstating an Upper House, I will get it straight in as my next edit.

Surely it can be done, guys!
Last edited by Candlewhisper Archive on Tue Apr 27, 2021 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Trotterdam
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Postby Trotterdam » Tue Apr 27, 2021 5:32 pm

And of course, for any of those advantages, it's dubious not only whether they're actually desirable, but also whether bicameralism is even effective at providing them, let alone the only method.

Candlewhisper Archive wrote:1) They represent minority voices that could get overlooked in a system where majority is everything.
Typical implementations are pretty effective at representing the interests of certain specific minorities enshrined in the Constitution (typically, provinces with lower-than-average population compared to other provinces). They're actually pretty bad at recognizing and helping any other minority groups (such as, following the previous example, a group that makes up 20% of every province but doesn't have a full province to themselves).

Also this is making the assumption that the representation rules for the upper house are different from those of the lower house, which is certainly a common detail of bicameral systems, but not inherently implied by the definition. Also, it would be possible to use the "minority-favoring" representation rules for the sole house of a unicameral system as well, though that would come at the expense of democracy (since there is no longer any single legislative body that's actually elected proportionally).

Candlewhisper Archive wrote:2) They look back at passed legislation, and review and re-examine it, whereas the lower chamber is more focused on the next big thing. Without an Upper House, nobody is reviewing and reconsidering existent legislation.
Any parliament consisting of more than one person, even if all of those people are in a single house, is going to have multiple people "reviewing and re-examining" legislation before it gathers enough votes to be passed. Having a second house might somewhat increase the amount of consideration a proposed law gets before being passed, but still only to a finite amount. Once a law has been examined and approved twice (once by the lower house and once by the upper house), then it's not the upper house's job to continue "reviewing and reconsidering existent legislation". If you're still not happy with the result and want to reexamine a law for a third time, or if you want to change an old existing law, then you have to start the process over from the beginning and submit a proposed alteration to the lower house (which you can also do in a unicameral system).

Candlewhisper Archive wrote:3) Holding the government to account, acting as a check and measures against a government that might otherwise instigate harmful or immoral policies while it has a majority. This is a big thing in the US, for example, where (TRUMP/OBAMA) had their (CRAZY EXCESSES / ATTEMPTS TO ENACT NEEDED CHANGE) (HELD ACCOUNTABLE BY COMMON SENSE / TIED UP IN UNDEMOCRATIC BUREAUCRACY) by the Senate. Pick from the options according to your tastes there, guys.
At least, assuming that the upper and lower houses are controlled by different political parties. If they happen to both be controlled by the same party (which will often be the case if both of their members are selected by public elections, since it's the same people voting), there's little to stop that party from doing what it wants.

A similar result can be gotten in a unicameral system by requiring a supermajority rather than just 50% approval for important legislation (it's harder to do stuff, but enough people voting for something will still make it happen, "common sense" doesn't enter into it), and by staggering elections so that only a fraction of the seats in the parliament are replaced during each election cycle, so that the government is less dependent on the fleeting whimsy of whoever won the last election (for example, holding elections every 2 years for representatives who then serve 6-year terms, with one-third of the available seats being reelected in each election). Both of which are also sometimes used in bicameral states (staggered elections are most commonly found in the upper house, but Argentina uses it for both houses).

PS. I like to read those options as "CRAZY EXCESSES" ... "TIED UP IN UNDEMOCRATIC BUREAUCRACY". Just that you occasionally get a desirable result doesn't mean the system works :)




Personally, I thought even the original issue for abolishing the upper house did a rather poor job of explaining what an upper house actually is, and why you might or might not want one. #560 assumes you have two houses, but never actually explains what the difference between them is, just assumes that the upper house is inherently "elitist" just for having the word "upper" in its name. (Certainly some upper houses have elitist selection processes, such as some seats in the British upper house being assigned to hereditary nobles rather than elected representatives, but that's by no means universal or even all that common. Most upper houses are fully elected, even if the election process works differently than for the lower house.)

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Chan Island
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Chan Island » Wed Apr 28, 2021 6:25 am

Candlewhisper Archive wrote:Okay guys, let's workshop this whole reversal issue on abolishing the Upper House.

42% of democracies have a bicameral system, apparently. Most of those believe that to be broadly a good thing. Seeing why that is will help us deliver a good reversal issue.

Some research:

US:
https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/hi ... opment.htm
https://www.carolinapoliticalreview.org ... the-senate

UK:
https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/wha ... -of-lords/
https://www.parliament.uk/business/lord ... ords-does/

Australia:
https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament ... the_Senate

So what do Upper Houses do, that is beneficial?

1) They represent minority voices that could get overlooked in a system where majority is everything.
Or to put that less charitably, they allow a government to be undemocratic in the name of "common sense".

2) They look back at passed legislation, and review and re-examine it, whereas the lower chamber is more focused on the next big thing. Without an Upper House, nobody is reviewing and reconsidering existent legislation.

3) Holding the government to account, acting as a check and measures against a government that might otherwise instigate harmful or immoral policies while it has a majority. This is a big thing in the US, for example, where (TRUMP/OBAMA) had their (CRAZY EXCESSES / ATTEMPTS TO ENACT NEEDED CHANGE) (HELD ACCOUNTABLE BY COMMON SENSE / TIED UP IN UNDEMOCRATIC BUREAUCRACY) by the Senate. Pick from the options according to your tastes there, guys.

I think there's enough there to create an argument for reversing the Upper House abolition, and thus an Issue.

If a good writer can give me an issue that presents a coherent and convincing argument for reinstating an Upper House, I will get it straight in as my next edit.

Surely it can be done, guys!


Yes, it's about time we staged a collective intervention to sort this out.

In my opinion, the arguments themselves are not really the problem. As you have pointed out, the arguments for and against having an upper house are well-trodden ground with a lot of space for nuance. People who want their will or a majority will to be passed quickly and effectively will choose to stay unicameral, meanwhile those who value deliberation, enshrining some kind of minority's rights and arguments will choose to have a second chamber.

Add those 2 perspectives, then one or 2 choices ranging from full autocracy to some very out of the box solution, and hey presto we have ourselves the reversal issue we have so desperately craved.

100% worthy material for writing an issue.

The biggest problem in my view is finding a situation that calls for that debate at all.

You see, fundamental structural groundwork like bicameralism only ever really changes during times of great upheaval or even revolution. The reason why is obvious, and consistent- the people who get in power thanks to whatever system is in place are always hesitant to change it. After all, if the system worked so spectacularly for you that you are number 1, why mess with it? Won't it just guarantee that you stay in charge, and that your successor will probably not be too vastly different from you? The only thing that really changes that equation is mass social unrest- if you know that your head will be on a spike if you don't change things, you suddenly are going to be in a hurry to do just that- or be replaced by someone who will.

The United States for example instituted bicameralism in the wake of a rebellion against the British Empire. Putting a pin in that one (Britain's system is always a complicated byzantine story), we see the same happens again and again. Germany's bicameralism was put in place in 1949 after WW2, and the concept hasn't been touched since. Very similar story for Japan. Russia's bicameralism was written into the constitution after the Soviet Union collapsed. Same picture in every African and Latin American country that springs to mind. India's constitution was adopted in 1949 just after independence, yet its 104 subsequent amendments have not questioned the logic of 2 houses.

Denmark offers a glimmer of hope. But in the 1950s they... did the reverse, they merged the 2 chambers. So not a very viable case study to look at.

Even Switzerland, which famously has a very, very malleable constitution amended by frequent referenda has not really had any challenge to bicameralism since at least 1874, and if I went to look up would probably find it to be older. And this is a country that decided to rewrite and make a new constitution in 1999, just cos they wanted a shiny new one for the new millennium.

So now let's try to figure out a situation that could create this issue. In my mind, the following are the only ones that really apply:

1) A group of petitioners/a crazy person/someone etc demands it. A variation is that it just comes up.
Boring and contrived. The less said the better, but bear in mind it is a route that can be used.

2) The country is experiencing genuine upheaval, and you are being forced to reconsider the entire apparatus of state or get overthrown in a revolution. A variation is that a foreign power has taken over after a war.
Here the problems are many manyfold. We cannot threaten the player with losing power. No matter what option the player chooses, the issue would be forced to have to keep @@LEADER@@ around. In addition, we cannot just go "surprise, you've lost a war or civil war!" on the player either, that's the sort of giant dramatic event that you'd probably be seeing coming. Hell, the editors are unwilling to contemplate my issue drafts of a mere small rebellion but that's off track. And who's to say people are so upset that they want the entire system changed? Why, anyway? These things don't just happen by magic, again, things that a player would like to think themselves as being able to spot in advance. At best, this would need to be preambled by possibly the most miserable and unfun chain the site's ever seen, at worst it would be an atrocity on player autonomy.

3) You are the revolutionary leader drafting a new constitution.
While a fun idea, that can never fly with someone who's had a nation since 2003. Apart from that one issue that says the leader's predecessor was killed by terrorists, no issue has dared touch on the circumstances of their ascension to power. No issue has ever existed that didn't presume you were the leader of the nation, and for good reason.

4) The reversal is tacked onto another issue.
Parliaments are still rife with extraneous concerns all around. Gerrymandering, electoral systems, politician's pay, location of the building and many more things make for fine things to write about. It wouldn't be irrational to have someone tack in and go "oh by the way, let's try this bicameralism thing". Which, while viable, still feels cheap as hell and a disservice.

Once we have the premise sorted, everything else flows from there. Or at least that's how it works in issue writing in my experience. Alas, before we have that in the bag, this will remain a nagging problem.
Last edited by Chan Island on Wed Apr 28, 2021 6:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
Conserative Morality wrote:"It's not time yet" is a tactic used by reactionaries in every era. "It's not time for democracy, it's not time for capitalism, it's not time for emancipation." Of course it's not time. It's never time, not on its own. You make it time. If you're under fire in the no-man's land of WW1, you start digging a foxhole even if the ideal time would be when you *aren't* being bombarded, because once you wait for it to be 'time', other situations will need your attention, assuming you survive that long. If the fields aren't furrowed, plow them. If the iron is not hot, make it so. If society is not ready, change it.

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Jutsa
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Jutsa » Wed Apr 28, 2021 8:01 am

Personally, I'm still kind of surprised unicarmeralism is even an issue at all, let alone its own policy.

I'd think that things ranging from cabinets to other MPs within a democracy would be left up to imagination and roleplay, much less instituted by an issue whose literal description is
"The @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ upper house recently voted down a major @@MAJORINDUSTRY@@ bill, provoking significant backlash in the lower house. Legislators have gathered in your office, and they’re now debating whether @@NAME@@ truly needs an upper house."

It's a shame we couldn't rephrase that issue to basically contain its own reversal, either. *shrugs*
Of course, not to knock on anyone else's work - it's still an interesting subject, to be sure, but...

Okay, I was going to complain that it just lets you totally upheave your entire parliament with the snap of a finger, but then I remembered this is nationstates. You can literally turn from capitalism to socialism, instutute ritual sacrifice, give animals the right to hold political office, kill off the elderly, and declare your nation as a sortition all in the span of five clicks of the button. So while Chan's points about bicameralism not really changing outside of revolutionary means may be true, please keep in mind that that has literally not been a problem in the world of nationstates in the first place.

For that matter, isn't it possible to reverse unicameralism - technically - by... er, at least becoming an autocracy, maybe also if you become a sortition? (Not really sure how that one works.) And now I'm really curious how cameralism relates to sortitions. Of course, not many would want to go through all of that just to bring back the upper house, but it was more just a point I wanted to bring up about how odd the whole thing is.

By the by, I'm still waiting for a tricameralist option if a reversal comes out.
Last edited by Jutsa on Wed Apr 28, 2021 8:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Daarwyrth
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Daarwyrth » Wed Apr 28, 2021 8:18 am

Well, putting in the reversal option as a "crazy option" like I did in my draft "@@LEADER@@ and the Lost Chamber of Vetoes" could be a way, but I do think that Chan's comments are very valid when it comes to writing an issue about reversing unicameralism. The uni/bi/tricameral nature of the parliament is inherently tied to its founding, or at least a major, significant overhaul of the constitution or after some great national upheaval. Yet an issue about a foreign invasion would be very invasive (pun intended) and probably would require an entire issue chain. You could look at the parliament being blown up in a terrorist attack, and then tie in something about having an upper house so that there can be a continuation of one if the other gets blown to bits, but I recall that when I drafted an issue about the parliament being blown up in the past it was noted as a little too big for a single issue, so you'd again have to tie in a chain.

Something that has been jumping around in my mind that, for some reason, the nation's constitution was burned/destroyed and it has to be reconstructed from memory. You could slide in a reversal option for unicameral nations, where you state that you'd restore bicameralism, but then the issue becomes why @@LEADER@@ would want to essentially make ruling more difficult for themselves, because from their point of view a unicameral legislature would be easier to pass laws through (as was also noted earlier).

The benefits and disadvantages of uni/bicameralism aren't the issue, I think, but it's primarily about creating a scenario wherein you'd be able to reintroduce bicameralism. Personally, I really like the approach of "@@LEADER@@ and the Lost Chamber of Vetoes", but then again, it's my draft, so I am heavily biased :p I do recall that Cretox State had a draft in mind about a foreign power (United Federation) threatening to bring democracy back into @@NAME@@ because of perceived authoritarianism with the abolishing of the upper house. I had a similar draft premise written up, that stated that the United Federation wanted to use that as an excuse to invade for resources that were found in @@NAME@@. Perhaps that's a direction to go into, or would it be a problematic approach?

I also read that the Upper House often has the exclusive power to ratify foreign treaties, so perhaps there's a scenario possible where @@NAME@@ is on the brink of a war, or other great calamity because the unicameral legislature is unable to successfully ratify a treaty with another nation? Perhaps a scenario involving Blackacre, and that the ratification of the treaty will have disastrous consequences for the relations between the two?
Last edited by Daarwyrth on Wed Apr 28, 2021 8:34 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Miku the Based
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Ex-Nation

Postby Miku the Based » Wed Apr 28, 2021 8:33 am

Terrabod wrote: I think any historical inaccuracies should be corrected even if some people don't like the truth, because giving an accurate picture of history (e.g. CWA's Tchaikovsky issue) is a historian's duty. The "x couldn't be gay because he's a cool guy" argument and its more subtle/insidious variations need to be challenged because it helps us to re-examine current prejudice as well as historical prejudice.

Likewse, the "x is gay because he likes to wear girl clothes" or "y is gay because he has funny and eccentric mannerisms" argument is fallacious and need to be challenged at every level because it helps against historical revisionism and falshoods and heresay, along with pushing a false narrative that gays are more important and overrepresented in a population historically and presently then they really are.
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Trotterdam
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Left-Leaning College State

Postby Trotterdam » Wed Apr 28, 2021 9:02 am

Chan Island wrote:You see, fundamental structural groundwork like bicameralism only ever really changes during times of great upheaval or even revolution. The reason why is obvious, and consistent- the people who get in power thanks to whatever system is in place are always hesitant to change it. After all, if the system worked so spectacularly for you that you are number 1, why mess with it? Won't it just guarantee that you stay in charge, and that your successor will probably not be too vastly different from you?
While this is indeed a common attitude among politicians, the reality doesn't work that way. If you look at the US, they're constantly flipflopping between the Democrats and the Republicans being in charge. Politicians concluding that the system works because it got them elected is a shortsighted attitude that they'll end up regretting in four to eight years... but that's when their term in office has ended and it's too late to do something about it.

However, NationStates is another matter. In NationStates, the player (as represented by @@LEADER@@) always stays in power, no matter what the nation's electoral system is. It's possible for a player to change the contents of the @@LEADER@@ field to roleplay a turnaround election, but issues don't pay attention to that. This means that it's hard to make issues based on premises like "it looks like you might lose the next election, how do you prepare for that?" or "you managed to re-seize power in this election after the last several elections have been dominated by the opposition, quick, how do you ensure you keep your tenuous hold on power while you have it?". Sure, you can pretend the players' authority is in danger and hope that players roleplay along, but if even real-life politicians for which this is a legitimate concern tend to underestimate its importance, players for which this really isn't a concern are even less likely to take it seriously.

Chan Island wrote:The United States for example instituted bicameralism in the wake of a rebellion against the British Empire.
Yeah, but even then, they didn't come up with the idea out of nowhere. Britain was already bicameral at the time of the US revolution (yes, it was a particularly eccentric approach to bicameralism, but it was still bicameral), so even if the US changed some of the details to make it more democratic, of all the things that the US hated about Britain and saw as a reason to rebel against them, the bicameral system was one thing that they were actually pretty okay with.

I haven't researched how this extends to other nations which recently won their independence or had a revolution, but I suspect you'll find that the choice of bicameralism vs unicameralism will be remarkably stable even in the face of upheavals that change everything else about politics.

Chan Island wrote:4) The reversal is tacked onto another issue.
Parliaments are still rife with extraneous concerns all around. Gerrymandering, electoral systems, politician's pay, location of the building and many more things make for fine things to write about. It wouldn't be irrational to have someone tack in and go "oh by the way, let's try this bicameralism thing".
Sure, if bicameralism is actually a solution to the concern under discussion, rather than a non-sequitur.

If gerrymandering is a problem, then going "okay, let's still allow gerrymandering for the lower house but also institute an upper house that isn't succeptible to it" (see: Australia) is a rather questionable solution... though I guess someone could advance it as a comprimise solution.

Jutsa wrote:Personally, I'm still kind of surprised unicarmeralism is even an issue at all, let alone its own policy.

I'd think that things ranging from cabinets to other MPs within a democracy would be left up to imagination and roleplay, much less instituted by an issue whose literal description is
"The @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ upper house recently voted down a major @@MAJORINDUSTRY@@ bill, provoking significant backlash in the lower house. Legislators have gathered in your office, and they’re now debating whether @@NAME@@ truly needs an upper house."
I'll go on record as having argued against that issue back when it was being drafted, but, of course, I'm not the one who gets to decide.

Jutsa wrote:For that matter, isn't it possible to reverse unicameralism - technically - by... er, at least becoming an autocracy, maybe also if you become a sortition? (Not really sure how that one works.)
With how policies usually work in NationStates, this would result in your decision of "will I be bicameral or unicameral when I'm democratic?" still being remembered, even if it's currently hidden and does nothing, and revived when/if you later restore democracy.

Realistically, every decision that reinstates democracy would probably be followed up by an "okay, so what kind of democracy do you want exactly?" issue chain, but that would require a lot of existing issue options to be reviewed, and it's not how NationStates normally likes to do things.

For that matter, the same kinds of considerations also apply to other kinds of government. For example, #461 about succession in autocracies is also something that realistically would usually be considered shortly after becoming an autocracy (or at least after one autocratic dynasty has been violently usurped by another autocratic dynasty), but that's not how it's implemented.

Jutsa wrote:And now I'm really curious how cameralism relates to sortitions.
Well, it's clearly possible to have a sortition-based bicameral government where members for both houses are selected separately. I'm not sure why you'd want to, but that applies to democratic bicameralism too.

In theory, it would even be possible to have a hybrid government where members of the lower house are chosen by election while members of the upper house are chosen by sortition (or vice versa), and I can even see advantages of such an approach, although that possibility is unlikely to ever be implemented in NationStates due to the technical complications of tracking and respecting such a policy.

Daarwyrth wrote:You could look at the parliament being blown up in a terrorist attack, and then tie in something about having an upper house so that there can be a continuation of one if the other gets blown to bits,
Bicameral systems generally require both houses to be functioning in order to pass legislation. Do real-life examples even have contingencies for what to do when only one chamber is in functioning condition, other than "wait until the other chamber is rebuilt before continuing legislative work"?

Daarwyrth wrote:Something that has been jumping around in my mind that, for some reason, the nation's constitution was burned/destroyed and it has to be reconstructed from memory.
Even if the original copy got destroyed, there are bound to be numerous other copies in other libraries and schools and courthouses across the nation. In fact, the original is extremely likely to be enshrined in some as-safe-as-we-can-make-it place and never actually accessed directly for something as mundane as a constitutional challenge in court.

If the original is lost, people would just get a bunch of the copies, confirm that they all say the same thing as evidence that they haven't been tampered with, and then reconstruct that as the official constitution.

Daarwyrth wrote:I also read that the Upper House often has the exclusive power to ratify foreign treaties,
That would just mean a bicameral government works no differently when it comes to ratifying treaties than a unicameral system, since they both only require the unilateral action of a single chamber to do so. If anything, politicians might use "hey, foreign treaties are the most interesting part of the government and we're being left out of it!" as an argument for abolishing the lower house because it isn't doing anything (that they care about) anyway.

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Postby Daarwyrth » Wed Apr 28, 2021 9:13 am

Trotterdam wrote:Bicameral systems generally require both houses to be functioning in order to pass legislation. Do real-life examples even have contingencies for what to do when only one chamber is in functioning condition, other than "wait until the other chamber is rebuilt before continuing legislative work"?

True enough, it was a on the spot thought, but the general idea was that there would be some sort of threat against the parliament. Contingency isn't the correct angle to it, but perhaps there is a possible route there towards a reversal of unicameralism.

Trotterdam wrote:Even if the original copy got destroyed, there are bound to be numerous other copies in other libraries and schools and courthouses across the nation. In fact, the original is extremely likely to be enshrined in some as-safe-as-we-can-make-it place and never actually accessed directly for something as mundane as a constitutional challenge in court.

If the original is lost, people would just get a bunch of the copies, confirm that they all say the same thing as evidence that they haven't been tampered with, and then reconstruct that as the official constitution.

The idea I had in mind was that for some reason all copies were destroyed/lost, but that would be something unprecedented and highly unrealistic, so not a great angle to use, yeah.

Trotterdam wrote:That would just mean a bicameral government works no differently when it comes to ratifying treaties than a unicameral system, since they both only require the unilateral action of a single chamber to do so. If anything, politicians might use "hey, foreign treaties are the most interesting part of the government and we're being left out of it!" as an argument for abolishing the lower house because it isn't doing anything (that they care about) anyway.

Fair point, yeah.
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Postby Chan Island » Wed Apr 28, 2021 2:43 pm

Daarwyrth wrote:Well, putting in the reversal option as a "crazy option" like I did in my draft "@@LEADER@@ and the Lost Chamber of Vetoes" could be a way, but I do think that Chan's comments are very valid when it comes to writing an issue about reversing unicameralism.


The draft does have a couple of worthy things going for it, and I would gladly see it as a new niche issue, but that's just the problem, it's niche. It's only really good as an immediate follow-up for someone who just chose to abolish the upper house. Someone who did so in 2016 meanwhile, not so much.

And as a general reversal issue, not so wonderful.

Still, a good offering and if nothing else I'd take it.

Trotterdam wrote:
Chan Island wrote:The United States for example instituted bicameralism in the wake of a rebellion against the British Empire.
Yeah, but even then, they didn't come up with the idea out of nowhere. Britain was already bicameral at the time of the US revolution (yes, it was a particularly eccentric approach to bicameralism, but it was still bicameral), so even if the US changed some of the details to make it more democratic, of all the things that the US hated about Britain and saw as a reason to rebel against them, the bicameral system was one thing that they were actually pretty okay with.

I haven't researched how this extends to other nations which recently won their independence or had a revolution, but I suspect you'll find that the choice of bicameralism vs unicameralism will be remarkably stable even in the face of upheavals that change everything else about politics.


This is the primary reason why I brought up Denmark. They are one of only a small handful I could find that saw any change to their numbers of chambers in parliament - and certainly the only immediately findable ones without a massive upheaval. But they went precisely in the direction we already have, merging their 2 chambers into 1.

Which brings us back to the primary problem. We need to find the scenario from which everything else can flow.

Trotterdam wrote:
Chan Island wrote:4) The reversal is tacked onto another issue.
Parliaments are still rife with extraneous concerns all around. Gerrymandering, electoral systems, politician's pay, location of the building and many more things make for fine things to write about. It wouldn't be irrational to have someone tack in and go "oh by the way, let's try this bicameralism thing".
Sure, if bicameralism is actually a solution to the concern under discussion, rather than a non-sequitur.

If gerrymandering is a problem, then going "okay, let's still allow gerrymandering for the lower house but also institute an upper house that isn't succeptible to it" (see: Australia) is a rather questionable solution... though I guess someone could advance it as a comprimise solution.


I'd sure hope, as I said, we don't have to resort to this solution as it is a disservice. Because for the most part, the connections are tenuous at best, and complete non-sequitur is the most likely.
Conserative Morality wrote:"It's not time yet" is a tactic used by reactionaries in every era. "It's not time for democracy, it's not time for capitalism, it's not time for emancipation." Of course it's not time. It's never time, not on its own. You make it time. If you're under fire in the no-man's land of WW1, you start digging a foxhole even if the ideal time would be when you *aren't* being bombarded, because once you wait for it to be 'time', other situations will need your attention, assuming you survive that long. If the fields aren't furrowed, plow them. If the iron is not hot, make it so. If society is not ready, change it.

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Postby Daarwyrth » Wed Apr 28, 2021 2:47 pm

Chan Island wrote:The draft does have a couple of worthy things going for it, and I would gladly see it as a new niche issue, but that's just the problem, it's niche. It's only really good as an immediate follow-up for someone who just chose to abolish the upper house. Someone who did so in 2016 meanwhile, not so much.

And as a general reversal issue, not so wonderful.

Still, a good offering and if nothing else I'd take it.

Valid point! Even if our collective here comes up with a better premise I will still submit that issue, but then cut out the reversal option and keep the rest. Or keep the reversal option in and have it as an additional reversal. We'll see! But thanks for the kind words either way :)
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Postby Daarwyrth » Wed Apr 28, 2021 2:53 pm

Chan Island wrote:Which brings us back to the primary problem. We need to find the scenario from which everything else can flow.

I'm beginning to think that we'll indeed need an entire issue chain to justify a reversal option for unicameralism, because as you said, a big event would have to precede it xD

Because other scenario's would have to be like the one in Untecna's and mine draft, for example that @@LEADER@@'s party has an absolute majority or something and so there is a risk of being little to no democratic checks and balances. But that would be a difficult situation for nations with proportional representation, where such a majority would be impossible or difficult to obtain (as governments rely on coalitions to govern).

A realistic scenario would involve checks and balances I think, and the fact that bicameralism (or even tricameralism) offers better checks and balances, but the problem is, as USS Monitor also pointed, such a scenario would be boring, or at least lack excitement.
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Postby SherpDaWerp » Wed Apr 28, 2021 6:28 pm

If we're workshopping, I'll add my two cents.

Drasnia's[1] now-abandoned premise here is IMHO the best idea GI collectively has had. Because, as people in this very thread have stated, the only person who stands to lose from this situation is the {minority groups | the opposition | individual states} who have no hope of winning a majority in the Lower House, but could potentially win enough seats in the Upper House to have an impact - and that was the premise. A good Australian example of this is the Greens, who currently have only one seat (like, 0.6%) in the House of Reps, but nine (like, 12%) in the Senate. This is a party who benefits massively from having an upper house; they (or a NS-equivalent) are who should be complaining.

Largely, any attempt to condense every political opinion into two political parties is going to end up with some policies, popular and unpopular, getting left out. This is why smaller special-interest parties exist; every IRL country has them for a reason. There's never going to be a country that has a handful of large parties and still caters to every interest. So, while RP-autonomy is an admirable goal, godmodding is ignored for a reason, and I suggest we might not have to cater to people who say "but my parliament is perfect and represents everyone! you can't say we're ignoring <x> group!".

Another thing to tie in is #130 - a filibuster ban (no idea how common this decision is; it might be the case that it's too rare to make this part of a general-policy-reversal) is another thing that disadvantages {minority groups | the opposition | individual states}. As odd as the American system seems to an outsider, they've got some filibuster thing going on where like, 5 senators can stop stuff from passing without a supermajority? I think? So that system, bonkers as it is, is an effective way for minority special-interest groups to get their say. Anyway, between a Filibuster ban, a Upper House ban, and Devolution; you could make a pretty easy argument for less-populated provinces complaining that they don't get enough voice.

This can even work with proportional representation; maybe only 10% (IRL-wise, even that's probably generous) of the population is engaged in {mining / farming / <industry>} and actively voting for minority parties that represent their interests; so they get left out of parliamentary discussions.

The end premise I'm thinking of is "Special interest groups want representation in parliament, which they aren't getting without a mechanism like a Senate, filibustering, or specific checks & balances[2]. How do we fix this?". Please tear this idea apart, but I think it's worth considering such an issue with some policy prerequisites as an active method of reversing the No Upper House policy[3], among other options.

Some gimmicks that could be worth adding to this idea (or any idea that gets to the drafting stage):
  • #625 has heaps of options depending on what you've banned; this could have heaps of options complaining about different policies. You could have options saying "these inner-city-lefties are taking away our gun rights / oppressing farmers / oppressing miners / destroying jobs / ..."
  • Whatever status-quo-affirming option gets added in; a bit of a fourth-wall-break could be fun. Something like "Well, you'll always be the leader anyway"
  • Submitting this issue on Issues Author - yeah, that nation kinda belongs to some specific people but it also kinda doesn't, it's general, whatever. Just a thought, it probably depends a lot more on how the rest of this drafting process goes.
Finally, surely there's gonna be a bunch of Clear And Obvious No-Go's™ that have been discussed by the editors, just never publicly. (Although, most of them are pretty clear anyway.) It might be helpful to know what these triggers are, from the perspective of unprivileged authors writing the issue. If we can avoid making those blunders right from the concept stage, then we'll submit a draft that goes to "hmm, this might work", instead of going straight to "well, he said the thing, *delete*".


[1]: I messaged Dras a while back, shortly after his retirement:
Drasnia, in a discord DM, wrote:feel free to copy as much of my stuff on the forums as you'd like

[2]: Trott, you mentioned that single-house-nations always have these checks and balances. What's to say @@NAME@@ has these checks and balances? Maybe you could just keep it obvious and write an issue entirely about introducing those checks and balances, and then a crazy option can be reversing the policy? Again, it's a bit niche and could probably only be a once-off issue upon introducing unicameralism, but it's another angle that might work.
[3]: Y'know, the main reason this policy's getting more attention than other niche hard-to-reverse policies is because it's one of the few policies that are publicly viewable for a nation. If it just... wasn't visible, then noone would complain anymore! :p
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Postby Lord Dominator » Wed Apr 28, 2021 6:52 pm

Relevant note, but US bicameralism had very little to do with whatever Britain was doing at the time.

Originally, the House was elected directly elected by the people (white males over the age of 21, owning property was also a common requirement), while the Senate consisted of people appointed by the state legislatures. In theory, this gave the states their own representation, while allowing the Senate to serve as a check on the popular will (the US founders presuming the representatives to be much more responsive to public opinion that we do) as a side benefit. Also, it was a compromise between having a single house with representation determined by population in a state vs fixed representation. The Senate moved to direct election for a litany of reasons, most notable being the bad habit of state legislatures to never actually appoint a Senator or two.

I’m happy to explain further the related history, but it may be of interest to explore ideas of the two chambers hypothetically representing different interests in some manner - both the mundane like the original US reason or the fantastical (like the SW Senate, where large corporations outright have seats).

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Postby Trotterdam » Wed Apr 28, 2021 8:23 pm

SherpDaWerp wrote:Largely, any attempt to condense every political opinion into two political parties is going to end up with some policies, popular and unpopular, getting left out.
Duh, but it's possible to have a bicameral two-party state (the US is dominated by Democrats and Republicans in both the House and the Senate), or a unicameral multi-party state. It has much to do with the fussy details of your electoral system (or your two electoral systems, if you're bicameral), and isn't solved by bicameralism alone.

For your Australian example, I suspect this has to do with how the upper house uses proportional representation, while the lower house uses district representatives (the former method is well-known to be friendlier to small parties). However, there are also bicameral states where the lower house (Brazil) or both houses (theoretically, though I can't find any) use proportional representation, and unicameral states which use proportional representation (Finland). Conversely there are bicameral states where neither house uses proportional representation (the USA), and unicameral states which do not use proportional representation (umm, Ecuador, I think?), or even partially-proportional representation (South Korea has a unicameral legislature, but 253 of its seats are district representatives while 47 of its seats are elected proportionally).

Not that Australia's upper house is perfect as far as proportional representation goes: it's proportional per state (which is enough to help minority parties), but all states have equal representation even though they have different populations (which doesn't actually help minority parties much), something that tends to be a common trait of upper houses (but, probably, not universal).

That's really the problem here: while in any given real-life nation the upper house might be doing some things smarter than the lower house, or vice versa, and maybe they might even both have their advantages, there often isn't any reason why only a bicameral government can do those things, that's just how things happened to turn out. A smart reformist could look at the upper and lower houses and combine the best features of each into a single unicameral parliament, and probably not lose much of value. (A dumb reformist, of course, would just nuke one of the two houses and blindly keep the other without paying attention to how it actually works.)

The other point is that despite many nations in real life being bicameral, their exact workings aren't really as similar as you'd think (like I said, some nations use proportional representation for only the upper house, while others use proportional representation for only the lower house and may not even have citizens directly vote for the upper house at all), and so two bicameral governments don't necessarily have much in common just because they're both bicameral. That makes it hard to identify any specific advantages that are common to bicameral governments in general, rather than how bicameralism happens to be implemented in any particular nation.

I guess one thing that can be said is that since there's so much disagreement over what the best electoral system is, having two legislative chambers using different systems increases that chances that at least one of them will satisfy any particular person's preferences (but also decreases the chances that both of them will).

SherpDaWerp wrote:[2]: Trott, you mentioned that single-house-nations always have these checks and balances.
I said what?

No government system, unicameral or bicameral, always has checks and balances. The superficial trappings of any conceivable system can be perverted by a sham democracy into supporting the Glorious Leader's rule.

I just said that unicameral systems can have checks and balances, and can apply them in a way that is more consistent and less dependent on random luck (the upper and lower houses being dominated by opposite sides of the political spectrum) than a bicameral system.

SherpDaWerp wrote:[3]: Y'know, the main reason this policy's getting more attention than other niche hard-to-reverse policies is because it's one of the few policies that are publicly viewable for a nation.
Umm, no it isn't? It's a policy that the game tracks, which we know because the issue editors said so, but it's not visible on the policy page.
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Postby SherpDaWerp » Thu Apr 29, 2021 5:46 pm

Trotterdam wrote:Duh, but it's possible to have a bicameral two-party state (the US is dominated by Democrats and Republicans in both the House and the Senate), or a unicameral multi-party state. It has much to do with the fussy details of your electoral system (or your two electoral systems, if you're bicameral), and isn't solved by bicameralism alone.

For your Australian example, I suspect this has to do with how the upper house uses proportional representation, while the lower house uses district representatives (the former method is well-known to be friendlier to small parties). However, there are also bicameral states where the lower house (Brazil) or both houses (theoretically, though I can't find any) use proportional representation, and unicameral states which use proportional representation (Finland). Conversely there are bicameral states where neither house uses proportional representation (the USA), and unicameral states which do not use proportional representation (umm, Ecuador, I think?), or even partially-proportional representation (South Korea has a unicameral legislature, but 253 of its seats are district representatives while 47 of its seats are elected proportionally).

Not that Australia's upper house is perfect as far as proportional representation goes: it's proportional per state (which is enough to help minority parties), but all states have equal representation even though they have different populations (which doesn't actually help minority parties much), something that tends to be a common trait of upper houses (but, probably, not universal).

I was just using Australia's system as an example of a system in which the upper house significantly benefits a special-interest party. Obviously implementing all these niches is far beyond the realm of possibility.

Trotterdam wrote:That's really the problem here: while in any given real-life nation the upper house might be doing some things smarter than the lower house, or vice versa, and maybe they might even both have their advantages, there often isn't any reason why only a bicameral government can do those things, that's just how things happened to turn out. A smart reformist could look at the upper and lower houses and combine the best features of each into a single unicameral parliament, and probably not lose much of value. (A dumb reformist, of course, would just nuke one of the two houses and blindly keep the other without paying attention to how it actually works.)

Well, yes. That's all true, but one of the points I made was that in whatever system - bicameral, unicameral, proportional, non-proportional, whatever - there is going to be some opinions that miss out. There's going to be a small group of farmers in a predominantly-urban nation who miss out. There's going to be a group of miners in a "environment-loving hippy nation" who miss out. There's going to be gun owners, there's going to be information tech magnates, there's going to be at least one group of people in @@name@@ who miss out on having their political opinions heard. And any player who whines otherwise - unless I'm missing something key here - I'd suggest is just godmodding and saying "yeah but I'm perfect!". Political systems are not perfect and I don't think they ever will be.

So, while any preexisting smart reformist might have made a system that works well, maybe <insert special interest group> are complaining that they're missing out (which is fine, because there's gonna be a niche somewhere that misses out), and they're pointing at, say, Ausblic's bicameral system as a system that benefits special-interest groups. They are making what is, essentially, an unreasonable request (You're ignoring us, restructure your entire political system so we get more say) but crazy options are not out of the realm of NS, especially when other speakers can propose different and more reasonable methods for getting their voices heard.

Trotterdam wrote:The other point is that despite many nations in real life being bicameral, their exact workings aren't really as similar as you'd think (like I said, some nations use proportional representation for only the upper house, while others use proportional representation for only the lower house and may not even have citizens directly vote for the upper house at all), and so two bicameral governments don't necessarily have much in common just because they're both bicameral. That makes it hard to identify any specific advantages that are common to bicameral governments in general, rather than how bicameralism happens to be implemented in any particular nation.

So maybe you can point at a specific NPC nation's electoral system and have someone say "I want that." It's still bicameralism, and it might even open the way to having more granular tracking of how @@name@@ is governed.

Trotterdam wrote:
SherpDaWerp wrote:[2]: Trott, you mentioned that single-house-nations always have these checks and balances.
I said what?

No government system, unicameral or bicameral, always has checks and balances. The superficial trappings of any conceivable system can be perverted by a sham democracy into supporting the Glorious Leader's rule.

I just said that unicameral systems can have checks and balances, and can apply them in a way that is more consistent and less dependent on random luck (the upper and lower houses being dominated by opposite sides of the political spectrum) than a bicameral system.

"always" in a reasonable, idealistic nation, - and that definition happens to include 99% of IRL nations. If we're assuming @@name@@ is somewhat competent, they're going to have at least attempted to get unicameralism in a way that works effectively instead of just axing one house. This is nothing but a not-entirely-accurate wording choice on my behalf.

And in any case; doesn't all this "yeah they could have a competent system, they could not, they could do (1), (2), (3), whatever" sound an awful lot like an issue? The latter half of that paragraph you cut asked that question. I know immediate-consequence "are you sure" issues are well out of fashion, but if we ask @@name@@ how they want to do unicameralism specifically, maybe an option can be "this is dumb", and maybe the extra detail in this issue (if @@leader@@ goes ahead) can resolve all this ambiguity about how @@name@@ does it.

Trotterdam wrote:
SherpDaWerp wrote:[3]: Y'know, the main reason this policy's getting more attention than other niche hard-to-reverse policies is because it's one of the few policies that are publicly viewable for a nation.
Umm, no it isn't? It's a policy that the game tracks, which we know because the issue editors said so, but it's not visible on the policy page.
Isn't it? I swear I've seen a nation with "No Senate" as a visible policy... welp. Ignore my joke, I'm clearly going insane. maybe I was thinking of the "no courts" policy? idk.
Last edited by SherpDaWerp on Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby The Finntopian Empire » Wed May 05, 2021 10:49 am

I am trying to write better issues but I don't know how, I have written quite a few issues but none of them have been published, is this normal? or am I bad at writing?

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