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Rules for GA Proposals

PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:45 am
by The Most Glorious Hack
GA Proposals are attempts to introduce new legislation to member nations. By submitting a Proposal, you are stating that you have found something in the NS world that needs to be addressed and you are attempting to do so by forcing a change to all members. For this reason, GA Proposals must be more than just rhetoric. While they need not be written like real world international treaties, they do need to be more than just your opinion. Essays belong in the General Forum, not the WA floor.

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

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

Types Of Violations

  • Game Mechanics

    Game Mechanics violations are attempts to change how the WA works. Generally, these are Proposals that should be threads in Technical. Anything that requires and adjustment to how the game does things, or requires a change of code falls into this category. Requiring "proper" spelling, adjusting the number of votes needed for queue, creating a universal WA currency, and forming a "secondary WA" are all examples of this. Another example of this is forbidding WA action at a future point in time -- you can't make your Resolution "Repeal-proof" or prohibit types of legislation.

    • Army, Police, SWAT, etc

      The WA doesn't get an army. Nor does it get to form The World Police. This is pretty clear: don't do it.

    • Ideological Bans

      Okay, so you hate capitalism. That's nice, but you can't ban it. Just like you can't ban communism, socialism, democracy, dictatorships, conservatives, liberals, Christians, atheist, or any other political, religious, or economic ideology. While it should go without saying, this is up to the Game Moderator's discretion. You may consider the banning of slavery an oppression of your "economic ideology", we do not.

  • MetaGaming

    MetaGaming is a difficult to understand category at times, especially since it often shares jurisdiction with Game Mechanics violations. Essentially, a MetaGaming violation is one that breaks "the fourth wall", or attempts to force events outside of the WA itself. Proposals dealing with Regions, with other nations, Moderators, and requiring activities on the Forums are examples. This also includes proposals that try to affect non-WA nations.

    • Creating Stuff

      Committees may be created, as long as certain things are kept in mind: nations do not sit on committees, they are staffed by mystical beings that instantly spring into existence and live only to serve on said committee. Committees are also bound by the above MetaGame rules. Also, keep in mind that Committees are additions to Proposals; they shouldn't be all the Proposal does. NOTE: Acronyms for Committees must not be used to brand a proposal.

    • Optionality

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

  • Format

    Remember where I mentioned needing more than rhetoric? Yeah, this is what I'm talking about. This also includes Repeals with no argument, Proposals that are questions ("Don't you think we should...?"), and Proposals that are just too incomprehensible to make sense of. I realise that not everybody speaks English as a first language (or at all, for that matter). Unfortunately, NS is a game in English. If you cannot compose in proper English, seek the help of somebody (hint-hint, run it through an online translator and post here for clean-up). A Proposal won't be nuked for the occasional typo, but if I have to spend a good chunk of time trying to figure out what's going on, it'll be nuked.

    Proposals written entirely in other languages are out, too.

    • Real World Violations

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

    • Category

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

    • Repeals

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

      Furthermore, simply stating "National Sovereignty" is not sufficient grounds for a Repeal. Since such a stance could be used on every single Resolution, it is little more than saying "I don't like it."

      Also, Repealing on the grounds of an old Resolution violating the current rules is not sufficient. Many old Resolutions were in existence before this rule set (or the Enodian rules) were in effect; some were in effect before Moderators existed. On a more practical side, Repealing because a Resolution violates the rules is itself a MetaGaming violation: the laws do not "exist" from an In Character standpoint.

    • Amendments

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

      • House of Cards

        "RECALLING Resolution #3, #4, #34, #36, #67, and #457..."

        This is becoming problematic. If those Resolutions are repealed, you've gutted the base of your own Resolution. Also, we start to run into issues for new proposals.

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

    • Strength Violation

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


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


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


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

    • Jokes

      "The Right To Arm Bears" isn't funny any more, okay? I don't care that we have 'Freedom of Humor'. That Resolution doesn't give you the right to make joke Proposals.

  • Grossly Offensive

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

  • Bloody Stupid

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

  • Honest Mistakes

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

  • Duplication

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

  • Contradiction

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

  • Branding

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

    "Co-authored by The Most Glorious Hack"

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

Illicit Activity Outside of Proposals

  • Excessive Pimping

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

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

  • Proposal Stealing

    If it can be proven that you've simply copy and pasted somebody else's Proposal and submitted it as your own, it'll be deleted, and you may be ejected from the WA as well.

Schedule of Offences

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

Exceptions to the Above

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

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

Closing Remarks

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

- The Most Glorious Hack
NationStates Game Moderator

Last edited by Frisbeeteria; 21-10-2008 at 23:48. Reason: Explicit plagiarism definition
Edited by Sirocco to make it more GA-specific on the 8th of July, 2009.
Edited by Ardchoille July 28, 2010, re branding with acronyms.
Edited by Flibbleites March 29, 2011, re [nation] tag and Branding.

Re: Rules for WA Proposals

PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:49 am
by The Most Glorious Hack
General Assembly Proposal Categories
There seems to be some confusion as to what the existing WA proposal categories do, so I'll try to describe them in more detail here. Note that any reference to "government" refers to the governments of WA member nations, not the WA itself. References to "Personal" and "Civil" Freedoms are identical and completely interchangeable.


A resolution to increase the quality of the world's environment, at the expense of industry.

Precisely what it sounds like. Any Environmental resolution will cause a hit to your industries while improving the environment. Any proposal written for this category should preferably talk about industry having to somehow pay for environmental improvements. Of course, this could be abstracted by saying that the government taxes industry more to implement an environmental plan of some kind.


Human Rights
A resolution to improve worldwide human and civil rights.

Moral Decency
A resolution to restrict civil freedoms in the interest of moral decency.

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

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


Free Trade
A resolution to reduce barriers to free trade and commerce.

Social Justice
A resolution to reduce income inequality and increase basic welfare.

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

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


The Furtherment of Democracy
A resolution to increase democratic freedoms.

Political Stability
A resolution to restrict political freedoms in the interest of law and order.

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

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


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

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

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

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


International Security
A resolution to improve world security by boosting police and military budgets.

Global Disarmament
A resolution to slash worldwide military spending.

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

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

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


A resolution to legalize or outlaw gambling.

Precisely what it sounds like. "Outlaw" will ban gambling (and eliminate the gambling industry) in all WA member nations while "Legalize" will allow gambling in all WA member nations.


Recreational Drug Use
A resolution to ban, legalize, or encourage recreational drugs.

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

Getting Additional Help

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

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

Written by Cogitation; September 24, 2004 and February 23, 2005
- The Most Glorious Hack
NationStates Game Moderator

Re: Rules for WA Proposals

PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:52 am
by The Most Glorious Hack
The original [Link to come]Enodian Laws[/url] and the [Link to come]Draft discussion[/url] have both been de-stuck and kicked over to the Archives.

In order to keep this sticky neat and orderly; comments, questions, and suggestions should be directed here.

Re: Rules for WA Proposals

PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:55 am
by The Most Glorious Hack
Hersfold wrote:Kind of a dumb question, but can we assume that the Enodian Guidelines are basically repealed at this point?

Essentially, yes. However, the Enodian Laws form the backbone to this ruleset. When I wrote my first draft, I cribbed heavily from Enodia's work. Indeed, the entire warning system we use was created by Enodia. The only reason I did this was because the rules needed to be recodified (there was new case law not addressed by Enodia), and since Enodia had left the game, he was no long able to stay on top of things, obviously. Rather than continually editing Enodia's post, it seemed high time to craft a new set of rules, and more codified ones at that.

I hate to think of this as an "out with the old; in with the new" situation, even though it really kinda is. However, that's why I moved Enodia's rules to the archive and linked to it in the third post.

So, while this is a defacto "repeal" of the Enodian laws, I prefer to think of it as a metamorphasis.

Re: Rules for WA Proposals

PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:58 am
by Frisbeeteria
New categories added:

Advancement of Industry

A resolution to develop industry around the world.[/center]

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

Area of Effect

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

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

Third, Protective Tariffs. This opposes international 'Free Trade' by adding protectionism for national industry.

Fourth, Tort Reform. Removes legal barriers from anti-corporate litigation, reducing government interference in business. Guess who takes the hit when industry wins?

Education and Creativity

A resolution to promote funding and the development of education and the arts.[/center]

Area of Effect

Artistic is just what you'd expect - government funding for the Arts. No more trying to sneak it in under human rights.

Educational - finally something for all you "Free Education" lovers. Of course, nothing is truly free, as you'll quickly discover.

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

Free Press allows the ultimate expression of your new-found educational and creative rights. Be careful what you wish for, though ...

Re: Rules for WA Proposals

PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 5:00 am
by The Most Glorious Hack
Just to avoid future confusion:


In other words, just because a rule doesn't match what you're doing word for word, try to use a little common sense, okay? I never thought I'd have to say this, but apparently I do.

Re: Rules for WA Proposals

PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 5:11 am
by Frisbeeteria
Why Amendments Are Illegal

Quoted from a post by Schwarzchild in the Comments thread

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

[OOC, unless you consider my modly persona to be IC]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Re: Rules for WA Proposals

PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 5:15 am
by The Most Glorious Hack
People have been wondering, and this isn't officially documented anywhere, so I figured I'd toss this in here.

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

DO NOT start a new thread each time you REDRAFT a proposal!

PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:17 am
by Kryozerkia
This is your friendly neighbourhood Mod reminding you NOT to start a new thread everytime you redraft or resubmit your proposal. The current thread you have on the issue is all you need.

Duplicate threads will be removed.

EDIT -- Since folks seem to be making duplicate threads for the same proposal, even after it's been defeated, I'll just re-sticky this reminder.

Be a bit creative, dammit!

PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 4:52 am
by Ardchoille
We've had a few too many cases of plagiarism lately. Didn't your mothers ever tell you that this is a Very Nasty Habit? You'll not only go blind, you'll get pointed at, laughed about and kicked out.

Please note this section of the proposal rules:
* Proposal Stealing

If it can be proven that you've simply copy and pasted somebody else's Proposal and submitted it as your own, it'll be deleted, and you may be ejected from the WA as well.

This applies to ANY copy-and-paste, whether it's someone else's proposal, an existing section from the Real World output of the UNnameable organisation, or any other place material is stolen from.

Plagiarism is stealing.


Editing your proposal

PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:45 pm
by Ardchoille
Max has just added a "Preview"button to the proposals submission process. Now there's NO EXCUSE AT ALL for typos, mis-spellings, etc ... is there? Anyway, please run your proposal through a spell-checker and preview it before you hit Submit, because the only way to change a submitted proposal is to find a game mod to delete it.