International Incidents (New Player? Click Here!)

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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International Incidents (New Player? Click Here!)

Postby Santheres » Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:29 pm

Welcome to International Incidents!

As a board, International Incidents is fundamentally dedicated to nation-based roleplaying that involves your "NationStates country" (the country bound to your account or expressed by your account) and any roleplays which have the intent to possibly involve others, often in an antagonistic manner (conflict, though not necessarily war). This doesn't mean you won't find a wide variety of types of threads here, but if you're asking yourself, "Should I post in II or NationStates?" ask instead, "Do I want this thread to have the potential to involve others or otherwise invoke a plot which spreads beyond my country?" If the answer is "yes," it likely belongs here.

For many members of the NationStates roleplaying community, those who enjoy playing as their country and various aspects of it, International Incidents and NationStates will often be considered your home. While other boards - such as Factbooks & National Information, Global Economics & Trade, and NS Sports - focus on specific aspects or nuances of your country, a vast majority of roleplayers will find themselves spending most of their time in II or NS. It should be noted here, however, that while there can be significant overlap (both in thread types and player communities) between International Incidents and NationStates, time has allowed for distinct communities to arise in each; there will be differences between what most often is best placed in II and what is most often best placed in NS. Some of this simply involves the player acclimating to their surroundings; don't worry, you'll catch-on soon enough!

This thread is something of a continuation of both Jenrak's "Welcome to International Incidents" and Euroslavia's "The International Incidents Stickies." While this thread will endeavor to be a new player's gateway to getting involved in International Incidents, don't hesitate to read-over the prior iterations as they can be invaluable in learning about the context of the roleplaying community and its history.

If you have any questions, you will want to use the Questions thread pinned at the top of the forum.

Good luck and good fun!

(Original poster)
Last edited by Santheres on Sun Jan 02, 2022 5:33 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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Postby Kyrusia » Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:33 pm

Basic Terminology
  • Original Poster (OP): The Original Poster (or "OP") is the owner of a given thread. In International Incidents (as well as other roleplaying boards), thread OPs of non-discussion threads have the right to prohibit players from posting (and request Moderation enforcement if said player continues posting) and the right to request Moderation remove any post, lock, or (re-)open their threads.

    • Co-OP: Typically an OP-appointed member of the thread or organization which the OP has given limited powers to post on their behalf. Co-Ops may come and go due to player disputes, leading to possible conflicts with the provenance of authority any given "Co-OP" may have. Further, while discouraged, sharing of accounts does occur; simply being on an account that has once logged-into the OP account does not satisfy this requirement. As such, Moderation does not acknowledge any power to thread Co-OPs; thread Co-OPs may not request posts be removed, the thread to be locked, the thread to be (re-)opened, or request to have a player banned from the thread. Moderation requires explicit requests from the thread OP, not by-proxy or otherwise by any other party. This does not prohibit any player from reporting actual rule-violating content, merely that Co-OPs are not granted any form of power bestowed via thread ownership.

  • In-Character (IC): In-Character (IC) is any post or thread which is being written from the perspective of a fictional character, body, or organization which is distinct and different from the player. There is a respected divide between In-Character and Out-of-Character in the roleplaying community; Out-of-Character knowledge or impetus should not cross into In-Character posting and vice versa. For more information, see Meta-gaming (below). Simply because something is In-Character does not mean violating the rules is acceptable.

  • Out-of-Character (OOC): Out-of-Character (OOC) is any post or thread which is being written-by and utilized by players as players, not as a fictional character, body, or organization. There is a respected divide between In-Character and Out-of-Character in the roleplaying community; Out-of-Character knowledge or impetus should not cross into In-Character posting and vice versa. For more information, see Meta-gaming (below).

  • Secret In-Character (SIC): Secret In-Character (SIC) is any In-Character post which is hidden or should not be known by other characters and labeled as such. This may include things like encrypted communiques. A player having their character know such information without approval of the player controlling the SIC material may be guilty of meta-gaming.

    • Implied Secret In-Character (ISIC): A separate form of SIC, Implied Secret In-Character (ISIC) is any In-Character post which another character has no reasonable way to know about. This may include things like a whispered conversation or a Top Secret document in another room. A player having their character know such information without approval of the player controlling the ISIC material may be guilty of meta-gaming.

  • Tech Level: A country's tech level(s) is the relative level of technology (or technological advancement, aesthetic, style, or type) utilized during roleplay and/or the relative continuity of the nation in question. For more information, see Tech Levels (below).

Tech Levels
  • Past Tech (PT): Strictly speaking, Past Tech encompasses any piece of technology or continuity which is set before the present (or contemporary era). This ranges from pre-history to yesterday. Some exemplar aspects include: bow and arrows, spears, and Bronze Age technology; Middle Age fortifications, societies, and knighthood; lines of soldiers with muskets, cap-and-ball weapons, and the frontier; as well as trench warfare, airlifts, and recent historical anachronisms. At times, depending on a country's tech level, elements of Past Tech may be incorporated in other tech levels, especially Fantasy Tech/Fantasy and Modern Tech.

  • Modern Tech (MT): Modern Tech is typically understood to mean the current level of technology (and/or continuity) which is analogous to the real world. This varies, however, between players and player communities and may, further, include a variance in definition and execution. This can mean that to some, Modern Tech means strictly attempting to portray a country which could fit into the real world with minimal conflict, to a country which exists on a nigh-infinitely large planet ("NS Earth") and thus bound by a different set of rules than reality. Some exemplar aspects include: modern tank warfare, both carrier- and dreadnought-based naval combat, neo-imperialism and neo-colonialism, as well as resource wars. See the NationStates Modern Tech Advice and Assistance Thread for more information.

  • Post-Modern Tech (PMT): Post-Modern Tech is typically understood to mean any piece of technology or continuity which is generally beyond the scope of Modern Tech, but before the moment a country has developed faster-than-light (FTL) technology. Some exemplar aspects include: pervasive use of the Internet, nanotechnology, and cyberpunk aesthetics. There is a degree of overlap between both the continuity and aesthetics of Post-Modern Tech and Future Tech; there may also be mingling of certain forms of Post-Modern Tech and Modern Tech, depending upon player and player community. See the NationStates Post-Modern Tech Community Thread for more information.

  • Future Tech (FT): Future Tech is typically understood to mean any piece of technology or continuity which exists beyond the moment a country has invented faster-than-light (FTL) technology, specifically transportation/travel. Some exemplar aspects include: multi-system star-states, alien species, (neo-)imperialistic or (neo-)colonial cultures, and general space exploration. There is a degree of overlap between both the continuity and aesthetics of Post-Modern Tech and Future Tech, as well as certain situational caveats for what constitutes Future Tech - often situations where a country is soon to receive/invent FTL technology, either natively or via gift from another star-state (a process sometimes called "uplifting"). See the Future Tech Advice and Assistance Thread for more information.

  • Fantasy Tech/Fantasy (FanT): Fantasy Tech/Fantasy is typically understood to mean any piece of technology or continuity which contains elements of the supernatural or occult, magic, or certain "punk" aesthetics. Some exemplar aspects include: magic and the occult, wizards and witches, werewolves and vampires, high/low fantasy settings, and steampunk. Fantasy Tech/Fantasy is also sometimes included as situational amendments to other tech levels, meaning that players may, at times, incorporate fantastical elements into other tech levels; the acceptability of such (and the execution thereof) will vary from community-to-community and player-to-player.

Thread Tags
  • ATTN/Attention: A thread tag which typically is meant to attract the attention of a region ("ATTN: Exampleland"), nation ("ATTN: Examplestan"), or organization ("ATTN: Example Alliance").

  • CLOSED/OPEN: Thread tags which indicate whether players may or may not post freely to a given thread. "Closed" indicates a thread that is not open for players to post; also may be used in conjunction with other tags, such as "INVITE" or "APP ONLY" to indicate how players may become involved. "Open" indicates a thread that is open to players immediately and anyone may post in them.

    • APP/APP ONLY (Application): A thread tag which indicates players must apply (typically in an OOC thread) and be approved by the thread OP (or thread Co-OP) before they can post in the IC thread.

    • INVITE/INVITE ONLY: A thread tag which indicates players must be explicitly invited by the thread OP (sometimes with limited permission from thread Co-OPs) before they can post in the thread.

    • SEMI-CLOSED/SEMI-OPEN: Varies. Typically a thread tag which indicates some manner of prior approval by the thread OP is required before a player may post.

    • TELEGRAM/TG: Often applied in tangent with other tags as "TG," such as "TG for Interest," "Closed/TG," etc. Tends to indicate that the thread OP wishes interested parties to send a telegram if they desire further information about the thread in question or wish to be involved.

    • **** ONLY: Where "****" indicates some organization(s), nation(s), region(s), etc. A thread tag which indicates only the aforementioned parties may post in the thread.

  • IC/OOC/SIC: See "Basic Terminology."

  • Interest: A thread tag which is typically used to draw the community's attention for the purpose of gauging whether there is enough interest in a particular thread idea in order to gauge whether the thread OP wishes to create an IC thread. Such threads are typically OOC and lead to an IC thread, though sometimes they may be OOC and be transformed into an IC thread once a certain threshold of interest is met.

  • MATURE: A thread tag which typically indicates a given thread (or post) may contain potentially sensitive material, such as violence or implied sexuality. Using the "MATURE" tag does not mean a player can post material which violates the PG-13/Offensive Material Rules. The utilization of the "MATURE" tag is purely a kindness to other players who may not wish to read/participate in such a thread.

  • Sticky: While not necessarily a thread tag, a sticky is a thread which is permanently pinned to the top of International Incidents (or any board on the forums) by Moderation. Typically such threads include pertinent information for a board. Read them.

Community Terminology
  • Bump/Bumping: The posting of a brief message (sometimes just "Bump") in order to boost a thread up to the top of the first page of a board. Sometimes understood to mean "Bring Up My Post." This should not be done in excess, as it may constitute spamming. Once every twenty-four hours or once the thread has fallen off the first page - whichever is the longer time period - is acceptable.

  • Closed/Open Canon: "Closed" or "open" canon (and continuity) is a distinction made based upon the way players interact-with and determine the existence of their nations in the overall, fictional world. "Open canon" is defined as a canonical world in which no application or acceptance is required for the player's nation to be considered to canonically exist; an example would be "NS Earth" as commonly seen in Modern Tech. "Closed canon" is defined as a canonical world in which application and acceptance is required in order for the player's nation to be considered to canonically exist, often by a central authority (such as a player or group of players); "closed world regions" and/or "closed roleplaying groups" are examples of "closed canon." Such is not to be confused with mere threads which happen to be closed, open, or require application approval to participate.

  • Closed World Region/Closed Roleplaying Group: A roleplaying region or player group, typically controlled by a central authority (a player or group of players), which requires application acceptance for the player's nation to be considered to canonically exist. Such CWRs/CRGs are considered "closed canon" and often self-limit interaction outside of the CWR/CRG in some way. The amount of limitation can often vary, with a wide range stretching from "all actions undertaken outside of the CWR/CRG are considered non-canonical" to "outside actions are considered canonical based upon individual player discretion." Such is not to be confused with mere threads which happen to be closed, open, or require application approval to participate.

  • DEAT: A severe punitive action, beyond a simple warning or ban; a slang term describing the deletion of a player account, often understood to have arisen as a typo for "DEAD" as folded-into "delete." See "'NS Summer' and other assorted silly trivia" for more information.

  • Delete-on-Sight/DOS: Considered the most severe punishment Moderation will execute against a player, to be declared "Delete-on-Sight" or "DOS/DoS" is to be permanently banned from NationStates. A player that returns to the site beyond their DoS declaration is deleted without warning or notification. It is typically reserved for the most severe violations (such as spamming obscene material) or for players with extensive records that have consistently refused to adjust their behavior and adhere to the rules.

  • Embassy/Embassy Thread: An embassy thread is a style of thread where players open their country to requests of embassy or consulate establishment from other nations (other players), often with reciprocal arrangements. Such typically include applications, a list of restrictions for foreign embassies, requirements for the same, and may contain other information pertinent to diplomatic endeavors. Embassy threads belong in Factbooks & National Information.

  • Factbook: Derived from The World Factbook (CIA World Factbook). A thread, dispatch, website, etc. that acts as a repository for various forms of information about a given country, often functioning as an expression of worldbuilding. These can exist in a variety of formats, ranging from those similar to the aforementioned CIA World Factbook to a collection of narratives which provide insight into a country - or anywhere in between. Further, the information provided may be given as "In-Character," and thus can be "known" by any character, or may be given as "Out-of-Character", and thus cannot be "known" by any character; if unsure, ask before making an assumption. Not everyone has a factbook, though many players have notes on their countries in some form; expectations for players to have a factbook vary from region to region, player group to group, and even between tech levels. Factbooks belong either in Factbooks and National Information or on a nation's splash page through use of the factbook/dispatch feature gameside.

  • God-mod(ding)/Godmod(ding)/Godmode: To describe what happens to another player's characters, forces, etc. without the player's consent; refusing to take losses; having absurdly powerful characters, military forces, or technology; having a state's geography (or other features) designed in such a way as to provide an undue advantage. Examples include describing how a missile hits another player's ship, describing casualties or fatalities of another player's characters, or saying another player's character dies. Doing such is a violation of community standards, but not against the rules. Players should allow for the other player to describe the "effect" of any event (such as a military engagement) unless they have their permission to describe such. May also include any activity which otherwise violates community standards, broadly speaking. See "What Godmodding Is 3.0" for more information.

  • Ignore: Players cannot be forced to roleplay with any other player. Ignore (or the "IGNORE Cannon") is invoked when a player refuses to roleplay with another player; this may be simply in a single thread, or wholesale. In the case of the latter, typically means the player ceases to recognize another player's country as existing.

  • Moderator/Mod: Often an inclusive term describing any member of the NationStates staff which serve to enforce the rules, punish players when required (as with warnings, bans, or other punitive actions), and perform general forum maintenance (such as moving threads, splitting threads, and locking threads). More specifically, a Moderator is one subset of several different staff positions, sometimes referred to as "Moderation/Administration" loosely. See "All About the Mods/Suggest a Mod!" for more information.

  • Meta-gaming/Metagaming: To use Out-of-Character information for In-Character gain without the other player's permission. An example would be to use information you (the player) are aware of from reading a Secret In-Character post and allowing one of your character's to know the information.

  • Nation Maintenance Thread: A style of thread which consists of short stories, periodicals, or vignettes involving a player's own nation, and set in the same. Often used as a means of worldbuilding, concept exploration, or "maintaining the nation" as active - hence the name.

  • Newb(ie): A new player. See "How to Avoid Being a Novice" for more information.

    • Noob(ie)/N00b(ie): A player which repeatedly violates community standards (such as god-modding or meta-gaming). Typically used in a derogatory manner. Please note, using such may constitute flaming.

  • News Thread: A style of thread in which the player (or players) roleplay through presentation of In-Character news articles, stories, editorials, etc. Typically such come in two forms: regional news or domestic (national) news. Regional news are In-Character threads which, typically, may be posted within by anyone in an indicated roleplaying region, while domestic (national) news are strictly for a single nation. Domestic (national) news threads belong in Factbooks & National Information, only.

  • Number-wank(ing)/Numberwank(ing): An attempt to use numerical superiority without justification for the purpose of increasing player/country prestige, power, or numerical advantage. Examples include having an unnecessarily large population while not acknowledging the drawbacks of such, having an infinitely-large armed forces, or having an amount of military forces in an engagement far beyond what is considered acceptable for a given thread.

  • ORBAT (ORder of BATtle): A list of military forces (soldiers, equipment, assets, etc) within a nation's armed forces or what will be utilized in a given thread or post.

  • Power-game(ing)/Powergame(ing): While there is nothing wrong with an In-Character desire to win or competitive roleplaying, powergaming describes an attitude in which a player's sole (or primary) purpose for roleplaying is to defeat another Out-of-Character player vicariously through In-Character actions. This can often be conflated with a form of godmodding, such as that a player will godmod by ensuring their nation is surrounded by absurdly treacherous (and otherwise unfeasible) terrain in an attempt to always defeat another player in a conflict so that, Out-of-Character, they can never be said to have lost (powergaming).

  • Setting Thread: A style of thread in which a given setting is created collaboratively by participants for common use by its contributing participants. An example would be a city set in a player's country, but one in which the original poster allows other player's to create destinations and locations within it (such as malls, museums, etc.) for use in other threads; most often, the setting thread itself is merely a repository for applications for constituent locations and for worldbuilding of the setting itself, with participants having some license (which may vary from thread to thread and player to player, defined in the thread itself) to use the relevant locations in other threads.

  • Storefront: A type of thread in which a nation, corporation, or other entity trades/sells products or services to others, be they individual characters, nations, corporations, or other entities. Examples include an arms manufacturing corporation selling weapons, a shipwright designing and selling naval vessels, a fast food company offering foreign franchises, etc. Storefronts belong in Global Economics & Trade.

  • Tag/Tagging: The posting of a brief message in order to indicate a player is interested in a thread. Please note, posting of just "tag" constitutes "tag spamming," an actionable offense. Players should utilize the "Bookmark Topic" feature (bottom left of every thread).

  • Worldbuilding/World Building/World-building: The creative process of designing a fictional world, typically a player's country and related concepts. This includes designing a country's culture, political structure, economy, religion(s) or spirituality, history, language, social customs, etc., and, more generally, designing the details of any given, fictional concept (from corporations to naval vessels, firearms to fashion, etc.). Generally has overlap with concepts such as "conworlds" (constructed worlds) and "conglangs" (constructed languages).
Last edited by Santheres on Sun Jan 02, 2022 5:33 pm, edited 31 times in total.

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Postby Kyrusia » Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:34 pm

Questions and Answers

Q. What is International Incidents?
    A. International Incidents is one of three primary roleplaying boards in the National and International Roleplaying forum category, the others being NationStates and NS Sports. International Incidents (or "II") focuses primarily on occurrences with a degree of potential international weight, such as conflicts, disasters, weapons tests, and a variety of other things. Even so, things like diplomatic meetings, conferences, and a wide variety of character-based roleplays are welcome.
Q. How do I roleplay?
    A. All roleplaying boards on NationStates are fundamentally based on freeform roleplay; that is to say, insofar as what you are roleplaying adheres to the rules, it is acceptable. Simply put, roleplaying in most threads is turn-based: one player will post a series of actions of a scene, then another player will respond, rinse and repeat. The ultimate goal is to write a collaborative piece of fiction with yourself and other players as the authors - to tell a story together. If you would like further assistance, please feel free to peruse the guides, each listed below.
Q. What does "voluntary consent" mean?
    A. Voluntary consent is, ultimately, the backbone of NationStates roleplaying. Simply put: no player can force another player to do something against their will. This includes: roleplay with them, change their country, surrender their country after the loss of an In-Character conflict, adhere to community standards, etc. Fundamentally, a player can do with their country as they wish, insofar as what they wish to do does not violate the rules. This is a two-way street, however.

    Some examples include... While one cannot force another player to accept losses in a conflict, it is considered poor form to refuse to acknowledge them when the cause to such is roleplayed well and otherwise acceptably; refusing to acknowledge losses can lead to other players refusing to roleplay with a player as they may be perceived as powergaming. Another example follows in that a given player may not wish to follow a given community standard; while that is acceptable, that same player cannot force other players who do acknowledge such to roleplay with them if they choose not to roleplay with a player that does not follow the same guidelines and standards as themselves.
Q. I want to go to war with someone. How do I do that? Is there a button?
    A. There is no inbuilt "war" mechanic in NationStates insofar as roleplaying is concerned. There is no button to press on another nation's page to instigate a conflict. Instead, wars are simply another form of collaborative fiction; this means that if you wish to declare war on another player, you should discuss this idea with them, generally to decide on a rough outline of how the conflict might go, who might be involved, and what some goals (or even victory conditions) for the conflict might be. Communication is important and can often be conducted through an interest thread or telegrams. Keep in mind, players cannot force other players to roleplay with them - this includes war.
Q. What are community standards?
    A. Community standards are a set of guidelines that the community - in this case, II - has crafted over the years. They act as markers, especially for new players, to guide them to roleplay and create in a manner which is least likely to lead to Out-of-Character conflict with other players. Even so, they do not need to be adhered to, as players can roleplay however they desire insofar as it adheres to the rules - no one can change that.

    That being said, many community standards have been developed with the intent of helping to curtail poor player behavior - such as godmodding and meta-gaming - and many adhere to them, to varying degrees, and often encourage other players to do so as well. This is related to the nature of voluntary consent and the "two-way street" that it is: while "Player A" can flaunt community standards, "Player A" cannot force "Player B" to roleplay with them if "Player B" decides they dislike said flaunting of community standards. Further, specific community standards often vary between board, tech levels, and even sub-communities; equally, their may be significant overlap.

    Community standards are not rules; they are not enforced by Moderation. As an example: while godmodding may be poor player conduct, it is not against the site rules.
Q. What about my gameside statistics?
    A. Roleplayers often employ one of two (though a mix is not unheard of) bases for their In-Character, roleplaying statistics (population, Gross Domestic Product, military size, etc.): in-game (gameside) statistics that can be found on players' nation splash page, or ones devised entirely through manual calculation, creation, and development. There is no rule that players must use one versus the other; players are encouraged to use what they feel most comfortable with using. That being said, different communities and sub-communities do have preferences: some Modern Tech regions enforce a population cap (a limit on population size of a player's country), thus forcing manual development of other statistics, while this can be compared to Future Tech where statistics such as this are often not required - or even asked about - by other players in specific, with generalities often being acceptable. Ultimately, players tend to experiment until they find a balance they like and which their most common roleplay partners accept and appreciate.
Last edited by Santheres on Sun Jan 02, 2022 4:59 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Reason: removing reference to mentors

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Postby Kyrusia » Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:35 pm

Please keep in mind that some guides and resources are catered to specific tech levels. Standards expressed may vary considerably.

Rules, Moderation, and Technical

Tech Level Threads

Current and Previous International Incidents Stickies

Other National and International Roleplaying Stickies

Guides on Warfare

Guides on Statecraft, Worldbuilding, and Characters

Other Guides

Offsite Resources
Last edited by Santheres on Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:06 pm, edited 43 times in total.
Reason: adding You’ve Just Joined an RP Region and/or Group. Now What?

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Postby Kyrusia » Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:37 pm

Set Up Instructions

Jenrak wrote:
Getting Set Up

This is a basic, foolproof guide on getting set up. The purpose of this guide is the bare bones checklist on how to get set up, how to start roleplaying, and how to get in touch with the community. We (staff and Mentors) strongly encourage you to read our guides, our food for thought articles, and to look at the 'Welcome to International Incidents' thread in its entirety.

What is Role-playing? In short, it's collaborative story-telling. You are writing a story with others on the forums about your nations and the people in your nations. That's it! If you don't want to do that, you will not have a great time in International Incidents. This is very much a writing and reading based forum, so you must like writing and reading!

So, how do you start? Here's my recommended system for getting started. If you follow these steps, you will have a good base for setting up an RP.

What you want to do is to have an answer to every single question that I pose at the end of each step. If you can't figure it out, don't proceed!

1. Figure out what sort of government your country will be. Countries are very different, and what their ideologies are and what their form of government is can influence your foreign policy. If you're a monarchy, for example, you might be more tolerant of slavery. In comparison, a democracy might not (but it's still something to consider!).

Question: What is your form of government? Who speaks behalf on your country?

2. Figure out where you want to go. We have two main region types: passworded (Closed) and non-passworded (Open). If you are new, you will best be off in an open region. You can find some information on active open regions in this thread, or through the Mentors (you'll notice by their bright green jackets). You'll want to send off telegrams to founders and delegates of open regions and ask them on requirements for entrance. Being in an RP region not only encourages you to build your country with a devoted community and make new friends, but will also help you hone your own writing abilities through continued interaction!

Question: What region is your country in?

3. Figure out a starting story. Since it's collaborative writing, you want to have a story that lets a lot of people join in really easily. Things like diplomatic balls, international conflicts, a civil war, or the passing of a controversial bill are all examples where other representatives of other countries can provide their input. Don't be afraid to be cliché or worn; what matters is that you get the hang of RPing with a group of people, and then you can be creative! My go-to scenario is usually a small civil war where the previous government is overthrown, that way I can make another RP for a follow-up diplomatic ball where I can comfortably introduce all my characters. Try something like that!

Question: What is your first story going to be?

4. Figure out the stakes of that story. You need to know what you want or don't want changed in your story. If it's a war, how much territory will you be able to lose? If it's a diplomatic ball, is there a type of person you want to meet? Setting limits means that you can establish a comfortable set of parameters for yourself so that you can attract people who won't just show up with a quadrillion battleships and declare war when you're having a diplomatic ball. Once you know what you will and WILL NOT tolerate, move on the next step!

Question: How does your story affect your nation?

5. Make an Out of Character (OOC) sign-up and discussion thread. These are super-helpful threads where you can pitch your idea, get an idea of who wants to join, what they're like, and what you aim to do. You are selling an experience to other RPers, and in turn they are selling their ability and interest to you! Also, this thread will also help if you need to talk about or to others about things that are going on in the actual thread.

Question: Who expressed interest in your thread?

6. Once you've figured out who's interested, who's not, and who's who, you should then figure out how to start off your story. Opening posts are super important because they're 'uncompromised' posts, meaning they aren't influenced by anything a previous poster wrote. Because roleplaying is about a bunch of players writing a single story together, the person who writes the first post sets the tone, the direction, and the themes for the whole RP. This is where you can get some ideas or look at some posts by International Incidents' Mentors, whose job is to aid you in topics like these. If you're lost, at least adhere to Who, What, Where, When, and Why (and How). Type it up in a processing program like Microsoft Word, Notepad, Google Docs (this is the best one, since it autosaves immediately), read it over for grammatical errors, and then make a new thread and post it!

Question: What triggers the event?

7. Lastly, pay attention to the responses! Since you are writing as people or groups reacting to others that are reacting to you, pay attention to what they are doing, especially if the person is widely considered to be a 'good' roleplayer by the community. Don't be afraid to pick up and steal some of their writing habits or mannerisms, because that's how you'll get better. Most roleplayers may write a bit slowly, focusing on building their own stuff before contact, so don't be afraid to do your own thing for a little bit before contact occurs. If they are in touch with you immediately (like a communique), you can respond instantly and get the action going!

No question here, you're already RPing! Congratulations!

Keywords: !setup, !step by step, !foolproof, !how to RP, !guide
Last edited by Kyrusia on Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Kyrusia » Thu Sep 22, 2016 6:05 pm

Thread Bans and OP Powers
When, How, How Not, and the Mods: A Guide

Thread bans. They are a sensitive topic to many (if not most), but one of the vital powers thread OPs ("original posters/opening posters") are endowed as a part of thread ownership. They help ensure the decorum of a player's thread, they help maintain civility, they help ensure that - when worst comes to worst - another player doesn't run roughshod over the OP's intentions for the thread; they are the hammer which gives the phrase, "Thread OP is god," its power and meaning. Even so, they are often handled inappropriately or misunderstood in their scope, often due to a misunderstanding of the very nature of thread ownership itself.

The purpose of this guide is to serve as a concise, one-stop-shop for understanding the fundamentals of thread ownership and the powers it endows players with, with a specific focus upon the power of prohibiting another player from posting in a given thread. This guide seeks to define thread ownership in an easy-to-understand manner, make note of its scope and limitations, and - importantly - help illustrate when it is time to involve Moderation. It will, further, help outline appropriate etiquette in both executing a thread ban, and in how to handle such a prohibition when it has been issued against you.

    This guide is a product of Kyrusia, Senior Game Moderator Emeritus, Former Overseer of the Mentor Program, and Former N&I Roleplay Mentor, with additional assistance, editing, and
    review provided by the Mentor Program and NS Moderation Team.

Thread Ownership
Thread ownership is a unique rule that is applied to what are commonly referred to as the "roleplay boards"; these include: Factbooks & National Information, NationStates, International Incidents, Global Economics & Trade, NS Sports (though there are special caveats), and Portal to the Multiverse. In addition, certain styles of threads (namely chill/chat location threads and a unique brand of roleplay thread) in Forum 7 also have the protections of thread ownership, but not all.

To quote the One Stop Rules Shop, thread ownership "[gives] creators the opportunity to maintain more control over their RP situations and environments. [...] We reserve the right to split out posts from threads in special circumstances where the player or players are breaking rules." In effect: the creator of a roleplay thread owns that thread, and may govern it as they see fit within the boundaries of the rules. By practical policy, this relatively simple provision has grown to grant thread OPs (and only thread OPs; this will be reviewed in more detail below) on roleplaying boards certain Moderator-enforced powers. Most players have an understanding of these basic powers, but they are as follows:

  • Removing (Splitting) Posts: The most common request thread OPs tend to make. Using the Spam Report / Remove Posts Megathread, thread OPs may request any post (excluding official Moderation actions, which may be removed or moved based upon Moderator discretion) be removed from their thread. This may be done for any reason, including no reason whatsoever. Don't like someone's post? While it is always preferred you attempt to reach a compromise with the player in question first, you may request it be removed. This applies to both In-Character and Out-of-Character threads. Contrary to the belief of some, however, these posts are not simply deleted; instead, they are split-out into the Evidence Locker as a means of maintaining a Moderator record of such actions.

  • (Un)locking Threads: Thread OPs may request their thread be locked using the The "Move, Merge, Gravedig, or Lock" Megathread; in turn, they may also request it be unlocked at a later date. The exception to this is the event in which a Moderator has locked the thread for a punitive or maintenance reason - such as spam or being in the wrong board.

  • Move Requests: A somewhat special case, but thread OPs may also use the The "Move, Merge, Gravedig, or Lock" Megathread to request their thread be moved to a different board. Most often this is performed where the OP meant to post the thread in one board, but accidentally posted it in another. Even so, this power is not sacrosanct: Moderation will not move a thread to a board where it simply does not belong.

  • Thread Bans: While individual players do not have the ability to warn other players or deploy the Ominous Redtext­­­™ (Don't even pretend!), they do have the power to prohibit any player from posting in their thread - commonly called a "thread ban." Much like with the power to have posts removed, this may be done for any reason, including none whatsoever. All it takes is a simple announcement (which will be reviewed in greater detail below) and the deed is done. In the event a player continues to post beyond this point, a thread OP may file a report in Moderation detailing such.

Co-OPs and Thread Ownership
Co-OPs are not endowed with thread ownership or any powers granted by such, period. Moderation does not care if the thread OP has written a post "granting" their Co-OPs the power to thread ban; thread OPs do not have the power to grant thread ownership (or its associated powers) to any other. The thread OP - the creator of the thread, explicitly - must lodge the request. Similarly, we sometimes run across a situation where the thread is created by a shared account; this can lead to understandable confusion, but to make this exceptionally clear: even if you have access to the OP account, you cannot make a thread ownership-related request with another puppet. You must sign into the shared account (We recommend not sharing accounts in the first place.) and lodge the request using it, otherwise Moderation will not act.

Why? Simple, really: drama.

It is an unfortunate fact on NationStates that Out-of-Character drama is bound to happen. What happens if a Co-OP and the actual thread OP have a falling-out, and the OP has forgotten to remove said Co-OP from their thread list? Does Moderation enforce it, risking the ire of the the thread OP, or do we review countless pages, trying to find where the thread OP "removed" that Co-OP? Neither of these options are particularly efficient, with the latter being needlessly burdensome for what should be a simple request. In the end, determining the provenance and/or validity of a player stating, "But the OP gave me this power!" is simply too much of a time-sink, and too much of a potential sticking point and catalyst for drama to justify the extending of thread ownership to anyone the thread OP decides.

Issuing Thread Bans: When, How, and How Not
Mentors often strongly recommend players make any and all peaceable and civil attempts to reconcile a sticking point: collaborate and reach a compromise regarding a post if it is not satisfactory, step away from the computer for a moment to prevent tension from escalating to actionable offenses, and generally - to quote the rules - "Don't be a dick." Even so, there comes a time where this may simply not be feasible, be it because the parties involved simply cannot reach a compromise, be it because a player has spent the thread OP's patience, or even because (as a simple fact) the thread OP may not wish to roleplay with the player in question. This is unfortunate, but it occurs and will likely continue to occur. Even so, it is often handled in a less-than-satisfactory manner.

If it has come to the point where, for whatever reason (Including none!), that a thread OP wishes to prohibit another player from posting in their thread, there are preferred ways to do it. Let's look at a few examples:

Example One wrote:Exampleland, do not post in this thread again. You are banned from this roleplay.
Example Two wrote:Exampleland, get out of my thread. Your posts are fucking terrible. LOL.
Example Three wrote:Exampleland, while I appreciate your attempts, I am afraid I am going to have to ban you from this roleplay and its associated threads. You have made numerous attempts to meet the requirements set-out in the OP, and each time they have not met either the stated requirements or my expectations. I understand you may be new to this, so I encourage you to read the resources provided to you to help get into and understand roleplaying.

Please do not post again.
Example Four wrote:Exampleland is a shithead, srsly. Don't post here again or I'll get the Mods. Seriously, fuck off.

Can you tell which one(s) of these work? Do you know which will result in Moderator action if a player posts after they have been stated? Take a moment and think on this before you read further...

The fact of the matter is, all of them work. Strictly speaking, all of these posts are valid in that they are thread bans and will result in a Moderator enforcing them if a player bypasses them, but that does not mean all of them are acceptable. Reviewing each example can help indicate why some ways of issuing thread bans are acceptable and others are not:

  • Example One: This is the bog-basic example of a thread OP issuing a thread ban. It includes no reasoning - something that is not required - and makes it clear the player in question is not to post again, ostensibly in the thread which it is posted (likely an Out-of-Character thread) and the roleplay itself (an In-Character thread). Most thread bans, as a matter of practicality, are assumed to cover both the In-Character and Out-of-Character threads, whether explicitly stated or otherwise. Even so, it does not hurt to be specific in this. When in doubt, specify.

  • Example Two: This is an example of a less-than-civil manner of issuing a thread ban. Strictly speaking, nothing in this example is actionable in-and-of itself, but can be seen as pushing toward the line of baiting simply by the amount of vitriol it contains. Were this the only post, it likely would not be actionable, but if Moderation sees a bunch of posts similarly chiding a player, it may be considered in bulk as baiting. There is no reason to chide a player so carelessly as this; it does not help them, nor does it help you. There is nothing wrong with being critical of a player's posts and their content, but there are better ways to handle it than this. Even so, again, thread OPs do not need to provide reasoning.

  • Example Three: This is the "critical" example with some reasoning provided - which, again, is not required. In this example, the thread OP gives cause for why the player in question is being prohibited; namely, their posts (be they roleplay posts, applications, or simple Out-of-Character chatter) do not meet either the requirements laid-out in the original post or the specific expectations of the OP. This post also, ostensibly, provides links to roleplaying resources which may help the player in question acclimate themselves to roleplaying on the forums - always a suggested addition if one intends to do such. It closes with, simply, "Please do not post again"; as we've already seen, the presumption here would likely be for both the Out-of-Character and In-Character threads for a roleplay. Even so, do not mistake the "please" here as implying this is a request, because it is not; "please" is clearly indicative, in the context of the post, of a courtesy extended to the player. If they had posted after this point, "please" or not, Moderation would have taken action.

  • Example Four: Because there is always one... While this "works" as a thread ban, there are a number of problems here. For one, the thread OP called the player in question a "shithead"; that is clearly flaming, a violation of the rules. Similarly, they told the player to "fuck off," which is also flaming. Sure, this may "work" in that if they post again, Moderation will enforce the ban, but Moderation will also bring-out the Ominous Redtext™ to smack the thread OP for flaming. If you're going to thread ban someone, don't do it like this.
As can be seen, while all of these examples may "work," there are preferred ways to handling thread bans. Not flaming the player in question should be pretty obvious, as should the fact that a thread OP does not need to provide reasoning for the thread ban. Moderation does not attempt to adjudicate as to whether a thread ban is or is not justified, only that it is executed by a thread OP and that in the execution of such, no other rules were broken. Furthermore, a bit of advice: if a thread OP wishes to provide reasoning to the player, they should strive to emulate Example Three; if reasoning cannot be provided without running the risk of violating the rules, they should strive to emulate Example One.

Thread Ban Lists
It is not uncommon for thread OPs to employ a ban list or "blacklist" that contains a list of players prohibited from posting in their threads. As long as it does not flame them or become a tool for harassment, this is acceptable, but... When a thread OP issues a thread ban, in the event Moderation ever need to become involved, timing is of the essence. If a player has simply been added to the ban list at the head of a thread, there is very little that can be used to indicate when this occurred spare the "last edited" time stamp of the original post. If they have posted before that time, there is very little that can truly be done; this is often why ban lists by themselves cannot be taken as definitive. Adding more names without any documentation only makes this more complicated, as previous thread bans take on the effective date of the "last edited" time stamp.

As such, it is strongly recommended to not just use a ban list, but to make a distinct announcement each time a thread ban is issued against a player and then add their name to the list in the original post with a link to the ban announcement (ie. Exampleland, Banned May 7, 2017). This provides a directory of thread bans which can assist Moderation in the event their involvement is required and amounts to simple documentation of the action. (Moderators have to maintain documentation; it never hurts to give us the same courtesy.) This will save both you and Moderation a lot of time, as it provides a distinct and concise point of reference beyond which the player in question should not be posting.

Similarly, and this is more relevant in certain boards than others, but thread bans are Out-of-Character actions. Certain threads may have "In-Character blacklists," for an example; often these are employed in Global Economics & Trade storefronts or in certain alliance threads, noting that (in the former) said storefront will not be honoring business transactions from the state/corporation in question or (in the latter) that said state may not be granted entry into the alliance in question. These are not necessarily the same thing as a thread ban. Thread OPs should strive to be specific in these instances as to whether they are simply In-Character refusing to do business with them/refusing them entry for In-Character reasons, or if they intend to prohibit the player from posting in the thread entirely.

Getting Moderation Involved
All of this being said, the meat of this power arrives when a player simply refuses to take a hint. The thread OP has banned them in a distinct post, either simply or providing some manner of reasoning, and they have continued posting - either in the Out-of-Character and/or In-Character threads - and, thus, defying the thread ban. This is the point at which Moderation should be informed. Note the specificity: the incident should be reported to Moderation after the player in question has defied the thread ban.

Do not bother reporting an incident like this until the player has actually evaded the thread ban. If they haven't, there is nothing for Moderation to become involved in; reporting before that point is simply a waste of both your and Moderation's time.

That being said, this does raise a unique circumstance: puppets. Occasionally, a player that is banned from a thread may attempt to post past that thread ban with a puppet. In the event such occurs, thread OPs need to file a Getting Help Request with their suspicions, links to when they were banned from the thread, and any potential evidence they may have indicating as to why they suspect it may be the banned player. This should be done this way as Moderation respects the privacy of players, and does not make a habit of publicly outing puppets unless context calls for such. In the event a player is using a puppet to evade a ban, it may not even be publicly announced that action has been taken, but instead done privately via a Voice of Mod telegram. Even so, thread bans apply to players, not simply accounts.

As for what a thread OP (and thread participants) may expect in the event a banned player evades, typically it is a simple matter of escalation. Usually the player is told in an exceptionally blunt and clear manner to not post again or they risk warnings (or even Mod-imposed forum bans). If they continue, as expected, escalating action will be taken. Beyond such, as always, individual incidents are judged on a case-by-case basis.

So You Have Been Thread Banned
If you have been thread banned, the first thing you should do is calm down and not panic. These things happen. The reason(s) as to why is irrelevant to Moderation, so reporting the thread OP for banning you is pointless; they are permitted to do such for any reason, including none whatsoever. Secondly, do not attempt to evade the thread ban; if you've been banned, don't post there again. That is simply volunteering for the Ominous Redtext™.

That out of the way, it is recommended you review the thread up to the point at which you were thread banned. Was there a point of compromise that could have been taken? Could you have handled yourself differently? Could they? These are all often highly subjective questions, and the fact of the matter is that in many instances you may simply never know. If you do wish to inquire as to the reasoning for the thread ban, you may consider politely contacting the thread OP via telegram. The emphasis here is very much on "politely." Do not be accusatory, do not place blame, simply inquire as to the reasoning and ask if there is anything that could potentially be done to remedy this situation so you may continue in the thread.

Even so, you should understand that the thread OP is under no obligation to provide you with reasoning or let you back into the thread. Players have full control over whom they wish to roleplay with; if they simply do not wish to roleplay with you, there is very little that can be done about that. If you do not get a response, it is recommended you simply drop the issue there; sometimes walking away is the better part of valor in these circumstances. Certainly do not flame or harass them via telegram, Regional Message Board posts, or contact them in threads you are not banned from about your thread ban; this sort of behavior can readily escalate into harassment, an actionable offense. Similarly, by-passing a telegram block against you is an actionable offense, so it is not recommend you attempt such or attempt to use other players to do it for you.

In the event, however, that the thread OP does respond amicably and is willing to discuss the issue, keep a level head. Try and reach a compromise with them. Mistakes may have been had, but now is the time to accept them and move on in a more amicable, collaborative fashion. You may, if the thread OP is willing, also seek assistance from Mentors to help arbitrate the conflict as a neutral party; even so, Mentors are not obligated to do this, so do no make a habit of harassing them, either.

In the end, whether the thread OP lets you back into the thread or not, you should take the incident as a learning experience. Accept that mistakes may have been made and seek to correct them in future endeavors. Sometimes that is all you can do.
Last edited by Santheres on Tue Dec 29, 2020 10:28 am, edited 42 times in total.

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Posts: 10120
Founded: Nov 12, 2007

Postby Kyrusia » Fri Jun 09, 2017 5:34 pm

Updates and Changes
  • New II sticky "stickied." Credit to Mentors for ongoing work, editing, and additions. Further credit to guide authors. — September 22, 2016 (Kyrusia)
  • Added anchors: #Modtor, #SrNIM, #NIMint, and #P2TMMint. — September 29, 2016 (Kyrusia)
  • Minor additions/clarifications made. — September 30, 2016 (Kyrusia)
  • Previously made more minor edits. Added new guide, Building and Budgeting Your Military. — October 5, 2016 (Kyrusia)
  • Moved Dealing with Gameplay and Raiding: An RPers Perspective to the previous sticky section. — November 6, 2016 (Kyrusia)
  • Removed retiring Mentor from list. Added new guide, Creating Scenario of a War RP. — December 3, 2016 (Kyrusia)
  • Added secondary navigation links in "The Terms," "The Mentors," and "Help & Resources" to make linking via anchor easier. — December 12, 2016 (Kyrusia)
  • Shuffled and re-organized parts of "The Terms": "Thread Tags" are now listed alphabetically and by relation, "OPEN" and "CLOSED" have been merged into one bullet point ("CLOSED/OPEN"), and "Community Terminology" is listed alphabetically and by relation. "Basic Terminology" is ordered based on introductory basics; "Tech Levels" are listed by rough, assumed chronological order, with the exception of "Fantasy Tech/Fantasy" that can be applied to various degrees in all tech levels. "Factbook," "Worldbuilding," and "Storefront" added to "Community Terminology." — December 19, 2016 (Kyrusia)
  • Added guides The Art of NationStates Empires (3rd Annual NS World Fair Essay) and Allanea's Brief Guide to Military Sustainment/Logistics; moved Guide for OPs: Running Threads to "Other Guides" section. Not sure why I put it where I did originally. — January 5, 2017 (Kyrusia)
  • Added guide How to Write Diplomatese. — January 20, 2017 (Kyrusia)
  • Added guide How to Create a Successful Religion on NS. — January 23, 2017 (Kyrusia)
  • Created anchor "SrP2TM" for Senior P2TM RP Mentors. Moved Cerillium and Swith Witherward to Senior P2TM RP Mentors; moved Maltropia to Senior N&I RP Mentors. Added Havensky and Mokastana to N&I RP Mentors; added Giovenith and The Armed Republic of Dutch Coolness to P2TM RP Mentors. — February 6, 2017 (Kyrusia)
  • Added guide Guide to Roleplaying Your Foreign Policy. Added new Mentor expanded specialities. Added #NSMentors Discord link with IRC link. — February 9, 2017 (Kyrusia)
  • Added guide How to Build a Thriving Roleplaying Region. — March 29, 2017 (Kyrusia)
  • Added "TELEGRAM/TG" to "Thread Tags" and a fundamental definition of "Tech Level" to "Basic Terminology." Silly Kyru. Also, while defined elsewhere, added "DEAT," "Delete-on-Sight/DOS," "Mentor," and "Moderator/Mod" to "Community Terminology." — April 28, 2017 (Kyrusia)
  • Added "Thread Bans and OP Powers / When, How, How Not, and the Mods: A Guide" to the overall sticky structure. — June 9, 2017 (Kyrusia)
  • Added guide How to Properly Write a Communiqué. — June 17, 2017 (Kyrusia)
  • Added guide 2017 Guide to Embassies and Consulates. — June 30, 2017 (Kyrusia)
  • Fixed errant "Senior P2TM RP Mentors" navigation link. — July 1, 2017 (Kyrusia)
  • Added guide Military Radio Voice Procedures. — July 3, 2017 (Kyrusia)
  • Added guide Monavia's Handbook for Roleplaying Diplomacy. — July 4, 2017 (Kyrusia)
  • Added guide War and Storytelling: A Guide to Roleplaying War. — July 11, 2017 (Kyrusia)
  • Added guide So You've Been Invaded... regarding regional raiding. — August 12, 2017 (Kyrusia)
  • Added guide Maslow's Cultural Pyramid: A Psychology Based Guide to Building a Culture. — August 17, 2017 (Kyrusia)
  • Shifted Lamoni to "Senior N&I RP Mentor" list; added Great Confederacy Of Commonwealth States to "P2TM RP Mentors" list with pending extended specialties. — August 28, 2017 (Kyrusia)
  • Added specialties for GCCS. — September 1, 2017 (Kyrusia)
  • Did some shuffling regarding the MT Advice & Assistance Thread and related links. — September 9, 2017 (Kyrusia)
  • Adjusted definition of "Bump/Bumping." Also corrected issue in "Thread Bans & OP Powers." — September 16, 2017 (Kyrusia)
  • Updated "Thread Bans" guide with appropriate link to the new "Move" megathread. — November 12, 2017 (Kyrusia)
  • Added guide "Categories of Govt Types/Freedoms/Economy and Post #s/Names." — January 9, 2018 (Kyrusia)
  • Added guide "Implementing and Maintaining a Code of Conduct for Your Region's Discord." — January 25, 2018 (Kyrusia)
  • Did some Mentor list shuffling following the Modification of Lamoni. — May 14, 2018 (Kyrusia)
  • Adjusted N&I sticky roster. — May 22, 2018 (Kyrusia)
  • Added Neu Engollon to N&I Mentor listing. Also removed depreciated IRC links in favor of Discord. — May 28, 2018 (Kyrusia)
  • Added Neu Engollon expanded specialties. — May 31, 2018 (Kyrusia)
  • Updated "The Terms." — June 1, 2018 (Kyrusia)
  • Updated "The Terms." — June 2, 2018 (Kyrusia)
  • Added guide How to OP Your Thread Effectively. — June 16, 2018 (Kyrusia)
  • Re-added Kylarnatia to the Mentor Program listing. Added expanded specialties. — July 15, 2018 (Kyrusia)
  • Did some shuffling with the other N&I RP stickies roster. — August 17, 2018 (Kyrusia)
  • Added Guide to Roleplaying "Hacking". — October 18, 2018 (Kyrusia)
  • Added Guide to Going Nuclear in Roleplay. — January 29, 2019 (Kyrusia)
  • Added Creating Mythology and Religion Guide. — March 18, 2019 (Kyrusia)
  • Removed painfully underutilized "Mentor 911" section. — April 11, 2019 (Kyrusia)
  • "Aquitayne" removed from N&I Roleplay Mentor roster. — May 13, 2019 (Kyrusia)
  • Added guide The Game of International Relations. — May 14, 2019 (Kyrusia)
  • Added Giovenith to roster of Senior P2TM RP Mentors. — May 19, 2019 (Kyrusia)
  • Added The NS Player’s Guide to International Maritime Law by Allanea to "Guides on Warfare" resource list. — August 26, 2019 (Kyrusia)
  • "Mincaldenteans" removed from P2TM RP Mentor roster. — November 6, 2019 (Kyrusia)
  • "Santheres" raised to Senior N&I RP Mentor. — February 12, 2020 (Kyrusia)
  • Added guide Some Brief Remarks on Roleplay Etiquette and Decorum by The State of Monavia — December 29, 2020 (Santheres)
  • Added guide You’ve Just Joined an RP Region and/or Group. Now What? by The Macabees, and removed some primary references to Mentors (minor references remain) — January 26, 2022 (Santheres)
Last edited by Santheres on Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:08 pm, edited 47 times in total.


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