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Guide to the Security Council

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Guide to the Security Council

Postby Wrapper » Sat Dec 11, 2010 1:23 pm

The Security Council
What it is, and how to write & pass a resolution


Welcome to the Security Council. This forms one half of NationStates' World Assembly, and has a distinct set of powers and method of operation from the other body, the General Assembly. Unlike the real-world United Nations Security Council, all World Assembly member nations are part of the Security Council, and are able to participate in it - authoring, debating and voting on proposals.

This Guide aims to give an introduction to the Security Council and how it operates, as well as some suggestions on how to write and campaign for a Security Council proposal.

Index:


Note: Feedback should be posted in this thread.
Last edited by Sedgistan on Mon Oct 24, 2016 6:00 am, edited 10 times in total.

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Postby Wrapper » Sat Dec 11, 2010 1:26 pm

The Security Council


History

The Security Council is a branch of the NationStates World Assembly. It was set up in June 2009, when it was split from the General Assembly (which beforehand was known simply as the World Assembly) due to the incompatibility of Commend & Condemn resolutions with the existing General Assembly resolution categories.

In July 2009, a new Security Council resolution category was introduced - Liberations, as a response to demands from NationStates players for a tool to combat region destruction.

Initially, Security Council resolutions were submitted into the same 'queue' as General Assembly resolutions, but this was quickly changed following objections that this was holding back the General Assembly. In February 2010, the two branches were fully separated, allowing them to vote on proposals concurrently.

In the time since, several potential expansions to the Security Council have been discussed; these can be found in the Technical forum.

Powers

As mentioned above, the Security Council can pass three types of resolutions:

  • Commendations - A resolution to recognize outstanding contribution by a nation or region.
  • Condemnations - A resolution to express shock and dismay at a nation or region.
  • Liberations - A resolution to strike down Delegate-imposed barriers to free entry in a region.

Other proposal categories are likely to be introduced in the future, to expand the Security Council's powers - please see the Technical forum to keep abreast of these changes.

Debating in the Security Council

Proposal authors will usually post a thread in the Security Council forum for discussion; one will always be posted for any proposal that gets to vote. These threads are where World Assembly members come together to discuss the merits of the proposal, from the drafting stage through to voting. Threads for proposals that were voted on are subsequently archived in the WA Archives forum for posterity and ease of reference.

Debates in the Security Council are a mixture of out of character (OOC) and in character (IC), depending on the preference of the poster and the context of the proposal being debated.

The Guide

This guide is intended to act as an introduction to writing and passing resolutions in the Security Council. It is by no means definitive, for any guide that attempted to include every bit of advice would be so long as to be unreadable. It has been written to complement the other pinned threads in this forum, especially the Compendium of Mod Rulings & General Advice within the SC.
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Postby Wrapper » Sat Dec 11, 2010 1:32 pm

Commending and Condemning


Why we commend or condemn

Before writing a Commend or Condemn resolution, you have to decide why you're doing it. There are a few common arguments which are used to justify these resolutions:

  • The Security Council should recognise those whose actions align with the principles of the World Assembly.
  • The Security Council should acknowledge those who have a significant/unique impact on NationStates.
  • The nominee’s actions need to be immortalized for future generations to learn from.

Whether you choose one of these reasons, or go with another, the reason should underpin your resolution. You can find a list of reasons why nations/regions have been Commended/Condemned in the past here.

A couple of points you should be aware of are:

  • Should a nation be condemned if they want such a distinction?
  • Should a nation be commended if they do not want such a distinction?


The first one, while still repeated, has been controversial due to the desire to nevertheless recognise deplorable actions. A strong counter-argument to it is this:

Balawaristan wrote:It is clear that condemnation, like punishment, is not intended to produce some desired response. We may take the analogy of a violent criminal. Should we not condemn his actions, and even put him in prison, on the off chance that he wants to go to jail anyway, likes the attention of a trial, and we are only boosting his ego and popularity? This is absurdity.


The second argument is harder to refute - however, if the nominee is being commended to 'immortalize their actions for future generations to learn from', then it could be argued that the Commendation is for the benefit of the NationStates community, rather than the nominee. However, without their support, it will be extremely hard to pass a Commendation.

How to write a commendation or condemnation

To illustrate this guide, an example proposal is used - Commend Examplestan. For this proposal, the justification will be "The Security Council should recognise those whose actions align with the principles of the World Assembly".

Once you've chosen to commend/condemn a nation or region, you should (as discussed above) decide on the fundamental reason (or in some occasions, reasons) for commending/condemning your nominee. You should then come up with a list of the positive/negative actions your nominee has done which can be used to justify that reason. Essentially, these will be the things about your nominee which are 'good' or 'admirable'/'bad' or 'contemptible'. You should aim to research as much as possible about your target - even if you're only commending/condemning them for a narrow range of ther actions, it helps to learn their complete history within NationStates. If you're commending, the best way of doing this is to ask the nominee themselves for information. Don't expect them to write the proposal for you, but presuming they want to be commended, they should be willing to provide you with information. The NS forums, regional offsite forums, friends/enemies of the nominee and NSWiki are all useful resources when researching a nation/region.

Example wrote:
  • Examplestan has written several World Assembly resolutions
  • Examplestan has written a helpful guide to the World Assembly
  • Examplestan has a cool flag
  • Examplestan has helped to negotiate peace between Socialistland and Capitalistan


Once you've compiled a list of what you like/dislike about your target, you need to sift through these reasons so that you only keep the strongest ones. There is a character limit on proposals, and massive walls of text are unpopular. You also don't want your commendation/condemnation being hijacked by people who focus on relatively minor points in your proposal at the expense of ignoring the more significant points abour your nominee. If your nominee has done a wide range of activities, you should divide the reasons up into groups.

Example wrote:
  • WA - Examplestan has written several World Assembly resolutions & a guide to the World Assembly
  • World Peace - Examplestan has helped to negotiate peace between Socialistland and Capitalistan
  • Discarded point - Examplestan has a cool flag


The next step is to explain why those reasons are actually admirable/despicable and significant. It may be obvious to you, but not everyone will agree with you. Be certain your explanations would provide insight to the significance of what the nominee has done to someone who may not be particularly familiar with a certain aspect of the game, eg roleplaying, raiding and defending.

Example wrote:
  • Examplestan has written several WA resolutions, including "A Ban on Bad Things" which helped to stop bad things happening,
  • Examplestan has written a helpful guide to the World Assembly, which has led to an improvement in the quality of proposals submitted to the World Assembly,
  • Examplestan's actions in negotiating peace between Socialistland and Capitalistan have helped to spread peace,


Finally, this can be put in proposal format, and given an operative clause:

Example wrote:The World Assembly,

Aware that Examplestan has written several WA resolutions, including "A Ban on Bad Things" which helped to stop bad things happening,

Noting that Examplestan has written a helpful guide to the World Assembly, which has led to an improvement in the quality of proposals submitted to the World Assembly,

Believing that these contributions have helped to improve the World Assembly, and that the World Assembly should recognise those who positively develop the organisation,

Recognising that Examplestan's actions in negotiating peace between Socialistland and Capitalistan have helped to spread peace,

Asserting that The Security Council should recognise those who help to spread world peace,

Hereby Commends Examplestan.
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Postby Wrapper » Sat Dec 11, 2010 1:39 pm

Liberating


Liberation resolutions were introduced as a way of combating region destruction carried out behind a password. A liberation resolution, when passed, will remove any delegate imposed password on the target region, and prevent a password being imposed in the future by any delegate of that region. They can not be used to remove founder-imposed passwords, or the founder's ability to password a region in the future. However, Liberation resolutions can still be proposed for regions that do have founders.

Liberation resolutions are usually - but not always - passed to combat a situation where a founderless region has been invaded and passworded - these are also known as "Retaliatory Liberations". This section of the guide is written primarily to help deal with this kind of situation.

If in doubt about whether a Liberation resolution is appropriate, this is a useful guide:

Image

Please note that this is just a guide, and not definitive instructions on how the Liberations must be used.

Liberations use the same format as Commend & Condemn resolutions. However, they tend to deal with a very specific series of events, rather than generalities, so it is vital to know the details of the situation, inside and out. This information can be found either by being one of the residents of the target region, by doing your own research, or by contacting someone who has done the Intel work on the situation. If you’re unfamiliar with the gameplay world for the most part, try parternering up with someone who knows it well.

What to include

Once you've ensured that you fully understand the situation in the region you wish to Liberate, you should make sure that the following information is included in your proposal:

  • The "who, what, when, how and why" - who invaded what region, when it was done, how they did it, and why. Essentially, the history of the takeover.
  • Natives - a controversial term, natives are generally considered to be "nations which takes up residence in a region without the intention of furthering the goals and aims of a foreign force". Usually you'll be liberating a region to return control of it to them. Therefore, you'll want their support, and you'll want to mention some of the natives who have declared their support.
  • A history of the region - if the target region was a thriving hub of activity beforehand, mention this. Even if it wasn't, it may have been existing in blissful isolation from the rest of NationStates, and been happy about this situation. Again, this should be mentioned if it's the case.
  • The record of the group of nations who have taken over the region. This is where you'll need advice from Gameplayers if you're not familiar with the actions of other regions. If the region you're trying to Liberate has been invaded by a region that has a history of destroying & re-founding regions, this should be mentioned in the proposal, along with examples of regions they've done this to.
  • Consequences of inaction - if the region isn't Liberated, what'll happen? This is a fundamental question that people will ask when wondering whether to vote for your proposal - you're basically explaining why you've pursued this Liberation. If you don't answer this within the proposal, you'll end up answering it dozens of time in the "At-Vote" debate, and in response to telegrams from curious nations. Evidence for your claims is obviously helpful - so any similar situations should be cited.

Operative Clauses

Most Liberation resolutions have an operative clause similar to this:

Example wrote:Hereby liberates @@region@@.


or:

Example wrote:Hereby removes password protection from@@region@@, and forbids any future attempts to password said region.


Recent Liberations have tended to go with the more simple version included in the former, rather than spelling out the exact technical effects of the resolution passing. If you are unsure whether a password has been imposed by a delegate or a founder, then the first clause is strongly advised.

Other types of Liberations

  • Preventative/Pre-emptive Liberations - these are Liberations of regions which are still under native control, but believe that they are sufficiently threatened by the prospect of region destruction that they need a Liberation of their region to deter it. These are usually controversial, as it is extremely hard to prove that a region is under threat of destruction when it is still controlled by its natives.
  • Liberations-to-invade - these are Liberations that are used to remove the password from a (usually founderless) region to allow it to be targeted for invasion. A proposal of this sort may be more likely to pass if disguised as a conventional 'retaliatory' or 'preventative' liberation.
  • Objective Liberations - these are Liberations that are passed for reasons other than protecting a region against/freeing a region from invasion. An example is the proposal "Liberate The Jedi Council" which aimed to remove the password from the aforementioned region to allow the members to return and eject a final resident to allow them to re-found the region.




As ever, previously passed Liberation resolutions can be used as inspiration.
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Postby Wrapper » Sat Dec 11, 2010 1:44 pm

Campaigning


Once you've written your resolution, you've still got a lot more work to do. Obviously, you need to start by submitting your proposal. You then need to attain quorum so that your proposal is voted upon. Finally, you need to ensure that it gets enough votes to pass.

It is always advisable to post your proposal in the Security Council forums before submitting it. While it is not required, it is a good way of getting feedback from the community on the quality and legality of your proposal.

Submitting

To submit a proposal you need to have a nation in the World Assembly and you need to have at least two endorsements from your regional colleagues. The page for submitting WA proposals is here.

When you’re submitting the proposal, the nominee is the person you’re targeting – don’t type your name in that box. Another important note is that BBCode is allowed in resolutions, but the BBCode is a little different between the forums and the game. For example, if you simply want a hyperlink for a nation, on the forums you would type “Examplestan”, but if you submitted that in your proposal, that would also display his full pre-title and a little miniature flag beside it, which can get cumbersome. If you use “[nation=noflag+short]Examplestan[/nation]” in your submission, that would act as a hyperlink without all of the decoration.

Attaining Quorum

The first stage of getting a proposal passed involves what we call attaining ‘quorum’. Your proposal needs to be ‘approved’ by at least 6% of all the World Assembly delegates within 3 days. Unfortunately, many delegates are lazy, and don't scan the proposals list. Additionally, there are others who will need persuading before they'll approve your proposal. While it is possible for proposals to attain quorum without any campaigning, this is rare.

It is therefore advised that you run a proposal campaign. This involves sending telegrams to delegates to inform of them of your proposal, so that (1) they can approve the proposal (2) you can find out which delegates aren’t so convinced on your proposal’s merit, and may vote against.

Some advice on writing a telegram campaign letter:
  • Write it in a separate document – so you always have a copy.
  • Keep it short and concise. Stick to a basic “who, what, where, why and how” paragraph. People will be annoyed by long walls of text.
  • Use proposal tags. They’re available, and link directly to your proposal, so save delegates from having to search through the queue for it. Just stick the proposal ID (eg: usertopia_1234567890) between [proposal] tags.


Here is an example of a proposal campaign telegram:

Greetings @@DELEGATE@@,

I’ve recently submitted a new proposal entitled “Commend Examplestan”.

Commend Examplestan” is a proposal to properly commend an active participant in the World Assembly. Examplestan has worked extensively in both the Security Council and the General Assembly, and has written a helpful guide to the World Assembly, which has helped many players since its publication. This proposal suggests that anyone who done so much to help the WA deserves recognition, and I hope you agree.

Your endorsement is vital to the success of the proposal, so please approve Commend Examplestan!

If you’re interested, the draft thread and the prospective debate thread is available here:
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=666

If you have any questions, suggestions or comments, don't hesitate to reply.

Yours truly,
Usertopia


Once you have the message written, you’ll be contacting delegates’ with it. There are many different ways of working out who to contact - some campaigners keep long lists of delegates and their voting habits. The easiest way, though, is to simply go to the “Delegate Votes” list for the current Security Council resolution (if there isn't an SC resolution at vote, use the list from the current GA resolution). This shows you a list of delegates (with links) who have voted recently. This means that they're active, and (to some extent) take an interest in the Security Council. Just open tabs for the delegates, and begin sending the campaign messages. However, you must remember that it is a delegate's right to opt-out of receiving lobbying telegrams. You must therefore check for the presence of the "No SC Campaigning" tag - delegates in regions with that cannot be contacted. Once you run a campaign once or twice you’ll remember which delegates don’t want to receive telegrams. It is also recommended to start your telegram campaigns immediately after you submit your resolution, so that you maximize the time for delegates to log on and get your message.

Please note that the new telegram system has made it possible to carry out mass-telegram campaigns either using the API or stamp - please see the FAQs for further information on this. All telegrams that encourages nations to vote on a World Assembly resolution or proposal must be marked as a campaign telegram. This applies regardless of your method of sending the telegram.

If your proposal attains quorum, make sure that you still get a few extra delegate approvals - because if it falls below the amount of approvals required, it will drop out of the queue.

Voting

If you attain quorum, your proposal will move to the voting floor for four days of voting by all WA members and WA delegates. In order for your proposal to pass, you need over 50% of the votes to be cast in favour.

The first few hours are often extremely crucial to a vote, as a lot of delegates like to "stack" the vote by voting early. This attracts the “lemming” or “I Follow the Majority” crowd’s vote. Therefore it is in your best interest to make sure you know which delegates typically vote early, and to try to convince them to vote in your favour. This is often discovered while contacting delegates for approval of your proposal. If you're not sure, you can either telegram the delegate, or lobby them on their off-site forum. If your proposal is failing, the list of Delegate Votes is once again useful. Lobby the delegates who have voted against your proposal, to see if you can change their mind. Try to be polite!

It is also recommended that you are active on the At Vote thread on the NS forums. Many delegates and WA members base their voting on the arguments made in that thread - so you should try and address any criticisms of your proposal there.

Finally, if your proposal doesn't pass, you shouldn't necessarily give up on it. Take on board the reasons given for voting against, and modify your proposal accordingly. If you re-submit in a month or two, you may be able to pass it.
Last edited by Sedgistan on Mon Oct 24, 2016 6:10 am, edited 12 times in total.


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