NATION

PASSWORD

The World Assembly Reference Guide

A carefully preserved record of the most notable World Assembly debates.
User avatar
Ardchoille
Retired Moderator
 
Posts: 9842
Founded: Apr 18, 2004
Democratic Socialists

The World Assembly Reference Guide

Postby Ardchoille » Sat Apr 18, 2009 11:01 pm

Compiled, linked, decorated and otherwise brought into being by

HOTRODIA

(and he did it before he even became a mod!)

NOTE: Some of the links here are still being updated. Green ones are the old forums; blue ones are this forum.

WA FAQ | List of Passed UN Resolutions | Rules for WA Proposals/Repeals | WA Chat

____________________________________________________________________________________________

The World Assembly Reference Guide
____________________________________________________________________________________________


Welcome to the World Assembly Reference Guide, where we have more information than you probably wanted to know about the NationStates WA. Regardless, it should be very helpful in finding whatever information you need when it comes to WA matters. Of course, if you feel something is incomplete and should be added or updated, just let me know by telegram or in the comments thread and hopefully we can arrange to add the information. Below is a series of reference guides by yours truly on various topics of interest, first a general guide to how you can use the WA, followed by examinations of specific areas of interest in the WA. You'll notice that there's a brand-spanking new guide on the subject of Moderation. My treat.

A Practical Guide | Roleplaying | National Sovereignty | Compliance | Moderation

Now that you've read all that stuff about the WA, here we come to the nitty-gritty, down-to-business, concise and helpful entry. It's all about how to actually make that resolution you've always wanted. And remember, friends don't let friends make laws irresponsibly.

Policy Analysis and Construction

Well here we are at the end of the guide, and it's time to give credit where credit is due. The guides have my name on them, and I do deserve some credit, but I'm far from the only one who has contributed. Many of the people I've debated with, collaborated with, and associated with have been of significant help in providing us with the information contained on these pages. There are way too many to name here, but they are WA forum regulars, regional Delegates, NS Moderators, and even newbies who made us think. They have my gratitude.
Ideological Bulwark #35
The more scandalous charges were suppressed; the vicar of Christ was accused only of piracy, rape, sodomy, murder and incest. -- Edward Gibbon on the schismatic Pope John XXIII (1410–1415).

User avatar
Ardchoille
Retired Moderator
 
Posts: 9842
Founded: Apr 18, 2004
Democratic Socialists

Re: The World Assembly Reference Guide

Postby Ardchoille » Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:41 am

[center]

____________________________________________________________________________________________

A Practical Guide to the World Assembly
____________________________________________________________________________________________

[/center]


This guide is intended to give players a basic grasp of the NationStates World Assembly. Accordingly, I’ve structured this guide with a general audience in mind. The format consists of basic questions and the answers to them. This is not intended to be a guide for newbs or for experts. It is intended to be relatively concise and useful to the average player.

Table of Contents

A. What is the NationStates World Assembly?
B. Why do we have the NationStates World Assembly?
C. How does the NationStates World Assembly relate to the NationStates game engine?
D. How do member nations use the NationStates World Assembly?
E. How can I do those things?
F. Why join the NationStates World Assembly?
G. Why resign from the NationStates World Assembly?
H. How can I use the NSWA page?
I. What can I do when the NSWA passes a resolution that I don't like?
J. What are some further resources for information about the NSWA?
K. How can I get my proposal passed in the NSWA?

A. What is the NationStates World Assembly?

The NSWA is an international legislative body that exists within the construct of the online political simulation game called NationStates.

B. Why do we have the NationStates World Assembly?

Because Max Barry, the creator of the NationStates game and author of Jennifer Government, wanted to have it and decided to code it into the game.

C. How does the NationStates World Assembly relate to the NationStates game engine?

1. The NSWA has a unique status among the thousands of international organizations in NationStates. It is part of the structure of the game, rather than being purely roleplayed like the other organizations. While the NSWA may involve a great deal of roleplay, that is not its entire focus.

2. When the membership of the NSWA passes a resolution, that resolution is coded into the game and alters the national statistics of all the nations whom are currently in the NSWA by moving them in the direction indicated by the category and other characteristics/variables of the resolution.

D. How do member nations use the NationStates World Assembly?

There are many ways to use the NSWA. The individual items listed are rarely the sole focus of a member nation. Most members have multiple reasons for engaging in these activities and engage in several of the activities.
[indent]
1. Effect Statistical Changes

Some players use the NSWA to get their national statistics the way they want them. The most common method of using the NSWA for this purpose is the resign/reapply approach. Member nations will resign when a proposal that would change their national statistics in a way that they don’t like reaches quorum and then reapply when a proposal that would change their national statistics in a way that they do like reaches quorum.

2. Gain/Maintain Power

Some players use the NSWA to gain or maintain in-game power. Because the WA Delegate of Founderless regions automatically has access to Regional Controls, including the Eject/Ban function and the World Factbook Entry, some nations will seek out the Delegate position in order to increase their own power and influence in the game. Once these nations have achieved the Delegateship, they might try to maintain their power by ejecting those WA member nations whose endorsement counts are above a certain number that they and/or their allies choose. Delegates of large regions can command huge numbers of votes in the NSWA, which is also a possible source of power and influence.

3. Effect Roleplayed Changes

Some players use the NSWA as a tool for roleplay. For those who actively roleplay their nation, the NSWA’s legislation can be used to start a new roleplay or inject new life into an old one by roleplaying the changes that occur in a nation or the life of the people in response to NSWA legislation. Others might use NSWA legislation to create additional bodies such as the IRCO or UNSC that are then roleplayed by interested players.

4. Debate Related Issues

Some players use the NSWA and the issues it addresses to debate. Often, regional message boards, the WA forum, and regional or organizational offsite forums are used to debate the merits (or lack thereof) of a piece of legislation that has been proposed to the NSWA or is up for vote. These debates can cover a multitude of philosophical, legal, ethical, and moral issues. Some players might become involved in the NSWA simply to join in the debates that occur over issues and legislation.

5. Promote An Ideology or Principle

Some players use the NSWA (its forum and its legislation) to promote an ideology, usually their own. Players have tried to use the NSWA to promote almost every ideology you can think of, including economic systems such as capitalism, socialism, and communism, political systems such as democracy, autocracy, or technocracy, and various others such as environmentalism, National Socialism, pluralism, or relativism. Some of them have even managed to succeed in promoting their ideology or principle.[/indent]

E. How can I do those things?

It all depends on your own membership status. Some activities don’t require a membership status and others do. Some activities require very specific membership status (ie. Delegate).
[indent]
1. Can I debate related issues?

You can join in the debates on the WA forum (and on most offsite regional or organizational forums) without being a Delegate or even a member of the NSWA. However, you should keep in mind that some people may question the relevance of your opinions if you are not a member.

2. Can I promote a principle or ideology?

You can promote a principle or ideology with or without membership in the NSWA. If you are in the NSWA, you can promote an ideology or principle by submitting proposals and/or passing a resolution. If you are not in the NSWA, you can still promote your ideology or principle by working with a person (or persons) who is a member to craft their proposals and resolutions in a way the suits your needs. As noted previously, you can join in debates without or without being a member and can promote your ideology or principle in that manner.

3. Can I gain and maintain power?

You can gain or maintain power if you are a regional WA Delegate, especially one in a large and/or Founderless region. You acquire this position by having the most number of endorsements in your region at the time of the update. If there is a tie in the number of endorsements between multiple (two or more) nations, the nation that has been in the region longest becomes the Delegate. Being a Delegate means that you have an extra vote on resolutions for each endorsement you have. Also, Delegates have the ability to Approve proposals in the proposals list and help them to reach quorum.

4. Can I effect roleplayed changes?

If you are a member, you can effect roleplayed changes by getting a resolution passed (which will then be roleplayed by many member nations in some form) and/or by establishing an organization with a resolution. If you are not a member, you can still effect these roleplayed changes by working on a proposal and getting another person who is in the NSWA to propose and pass it. Or you could simply roleplay compliance with all WA decisions despite not being a member. Due to the fact that free-form roleplay is practiced on the site, you can pretty much roleplay however you want. Just keep in mind that nobody will roleplay with you if you are too silly or annoying.

5. Can I effect statistical changes?

You can effect statistical changes by submitting a proposal and passing it as a resolution. You have to be a member of the NSWA to do this. If you are not a member of the NSWA, it is possible that you could help effect statistical changes by writing a proposal and having another person who is in the NSWA propose and pass it. However, the passage of the proposal would not affect you as a non-member.[/indent]

F. Why join the NationStates World Assembly?

Nations have many different reasons for joining the NSWA, and often a nation will have multiple reasons for joining. As mentioned before, some nations join because their national statistics will be changed in a way they like by an upcoming resolution. Other nations become concerned about or frustrated with the general direction the NSWA is going and join in order to change the direction of the NSWA. A few nations join simply because they were bored one day and decided to try it out. Other nations who are in a Founderless region might join the NSWA to help protect their region from invasion.

G. Why resign from the NationStates World Assembly?

As with joining, Nations have many different reasons for resigning from the NSWA, and often a nation will have multiple reasons for resigning. As mentioned before, some nations resign because their national statistics will be changed in a way they don’t like by an upcoming resolution. Often, a nation will resign in protest of or in anger at a particular piece of NSWA legislation that they find particularly egregious for whatever reason. Other nations become concerned about or frustrated with the general direction the NSWA is going and resign because they no longer feel that the NSWA is of any benefit. A few nations simply become bored with and/or tired of the NSWA and leave. Other nations who were once in a Founderless region and had joined the NSWA to protect their region from invasion might leave the NSWA once the region has a Founder once more.

H. How can I use the NSWA page?

That depends on what you want to do and your membership status.

Whether you are member or not, you can use the NSWA page to view the list of passed resolutions and the list of current proposals. In addition, you can view the lists of all member nations or all Delegates. These two lists are often used for conducting telegram campaigns for or against proposals and resolutions. For conducting said campaigns it is often helpful to provide a valid link to the proposal. To do this, some nations might tell you what page on the proposals list it currently resides in. However, this changes as time passes, so the URL used initially will no longer be accurate. Fortunately, as Hirota helpfully illustrated here, there is another way to link to proposals without relying on page numbers.

If you enter a URL of:

Code: Select all
http://www.nationstates.net/page=UN_proposal1/match=gambling
into your browser, you will get a list of all the proposals which have gambling within them. Change whatever you have after "match=" to a relevant keyword for your proposal, and then you have a nice lazy link.

If you want more than one keyword, have each on divided by %20 rather than a space. So, if you wanted to look for all proposals which ban gambling, rather than just gambling proposals, you would enter a URL of:

Code: Select all
http://www.nationstates.net/page=UN_proposal1/match=ban%20gambling


If you are a member, you can use the NSWA page to vote on resolutions.

If you are a member and have at least two endorsements, you can use the NSWA page to vote on resolutions and submit proposals. (When submitting proposals, keep in mind that your proposal text can be no longer than the allowed 3,500 characters with spaces. For more details, see this thread in Technical.)

If you are a Delegate, you can use the NSWA page to vote on resolutions and approve proposals.

If you are a Delegate and have at least two endorsements, you can use the NSWA page to vote on resolutions, submit proposals, and approve proposals.

I. What can I do when the NSWA passes a resolution that I don't like?

There are a variety of ways to deal with the passage of a resolution you do not like. You may even do several of these things to address the resolution you don't like.

1. As noted before, you can resign from the NSWA before it passes to protect your nation from the statistical changes that would result from the resolution and rejoin after it has been coded. Many players resign permanently in protest because they disapprove of the direction the NSWA is going in with the resolution. There are also many players who wish to avoid the ill effects of NSWA membership on their nation while retaining the gameplay benefits of NSWA membership. These players generally create a puppet nation and join the WA with it rather than their primary nation. (You can create a puppet nation by going to the NationStates Main Page and clicking on the Create Nation link.)

2. Because the NSWA exists in both the realm of game mechanics and the realm of roleplay, you can also deal with a passed resolution you disagree with using roleplay. Many nations choose to roleplay some clever legal maneuvers (like defining the word "the" to mean "cheese"), thereby nullifying or making negligible the effects of the legislation they find objectionable. Another common trend is roleplaying the effects of the resolution in your nation to demonstrate a flaw in the legislation. Some nations choose to roleplay complete non-compliance with NSWA legislation, which means that they choose to roleplay as if the NSWA has no affect on them. While such persons may do what they wish in their own roleplay, the practice of ignoring NSWA legislation in roleplay is generally considered extremely bad form and often called godmoding. Prepare to be derided or ignored if you roleplay complete non-compliance. The only nation I've seen get anywhere with such a roleplay is the very respected Sophista, and even they received some serious criticism for their action.

For more detailed information on complying with WA resolutions, click here.

J. What are some further resources for information about the NSWA?

There are several player-written resources available for anyone to use, many of them on NSwiki, the most commonly referenced being the UN Timeline, a very good listing of resolutions both passed and failed, old and new. A small number of players have created large PDF files for information on resolutions, one of which is the Vademecum for the Perfect UN Ambassador. If you just want to know about WA Committees and organizations, see this detailed and comprehensive listing of them. For a wider variety of informational resources on WA resolutions, see here. For those interested in learning about the WA forum, there is A Short Guide to Posting in the WA Forum and A Practical Guide to the WA Forum contained within A Comprehensive Guide to the NationStates World Assembly.

K. How can I get my proposal passed in the NSWA?

Getting your proposal onto the list of WA resolutions is generally not an easy task. It requires you to get enough approvals for your proposal to reach quorum (6% of all Delegates approving), which generally means that you will need to mount a telegram campaign in which you telegram a large number of Delegates and ask them for their approval and/or support. If your proposal reaches quorum and/or is in the queue to be a resolution at vote, it will be voted on by the general membership, at which point the content and format of your proposal are especially critical, because it needs to be written in such a way that a majority of WA members will vote FOR it. In most cases of successful proposals, nations post a proposal draft on the WA forum or an offsite forum that other nations then help them refine into something the will be acceptable to most nations.

If you're interested in getting an idea of what your chances of successfully repealing a resolution would be, check out Safalra's guide to resolution safety.
Ideological Bulwark #35
The more scandalous charges were suppressed; the vicar of Christ was accused only of piracy, rape, sodomy, murder and incest. -- Edward Gibbon on the schismatic Pope John XXIII (1410–1415).

User avatar
Ardchoille
Retired Moderator
 
Posts: 9842
Founded: Apr 18, 2004
Democratic Socialists

Re: The World Assembly Reference Guide

Postby Ardchoille » Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:43 am

______________________________________________________________________________________

Roleplaying and the World Assembly
_______________________________________________________________________________________


Introduction

What is roleplay?

In the context of NationStates, roleplay is basically a typed representation of your nation that is in-character and performed mostly in the NationStates (NS) and International Incidents (II) forums. For a more lengthy explanation, read the NSwiki article on the subject.

How do I roleplay?

Because the roleplay in NationStates is free-form and the Mods don't police roleplay (except for violations of the TOS like spamming and flaming), you can technically roleplay however you like. That said, the community of users on the site has developed its own set of methods and conventions for roleplay that you would probably prefer to adhere to for the most part. More on that later.

Roleplay Possibilities

Most people don’t realize the potential for roleplay based on the NSWA, and in my experience the RPers who do their thing in NS and II tend not to have such a great attitude towards the NSWA, possibly because it is an organization that tries to limit their warring abilities through environmental legislation that may hurt their nation’s economy and other restricting legislation such as the resolutions "The Wolfish Convention on POW," "Banning the use of Landmines," "Children in War," and "The Eon Convention on Genocide".

With the advent of the "Humanitarian Intervention" resolution and the convening of the Pretenama panel to investigate genocides roleplayed by various nations in the NS and II forums, it is becoming apparent that WA-related roleplay is expanding into new territory. Previously the WA-related roleplay was very rare, extending only to a few random nations occasionally referencing the WA in some way in their roleplay. The WA-related roleplay began to pick up momentum later with the advent of the "World Assembly Space Consortium" resolution and subsequent roleplayed organization being formed and the momentum continued with Sophista’s defiance of "The Law of the Sea" and the resulting dodgeball war. One of the older examples of WA-related roleplay is in the UN Stranger’s Bar, a place where WA delegates come to hang out when they’re not critiquing legislation.

With the passage of the ill-fated and oft-cited "Promotion of Solar Panels" resolution, a vibrant roleplay called World Assembly in the Dark began in which nations dealt with the effects of the resolution. Recently, there has been more of trend towards roleplaying noncompliance with WA resolutions. Some nations, such as Omigodtheykilledkenny, have devoted significant efforts to exploiting loopholes in WA legislation in order to get around them, in this case the Creative Solutions Agency.

Possibilities for the WA Forum

To my knowledge, the possibilities for RP in the WA forum are fairly limited. For the most part, the roleplaying in the WA forum consists of roleplayed statements issued by a nation in response to a particular piece of legislation, idea, or debate topic. You can give your representative to the WA any personality you like and you can have multiple representatives issue statements if you like. Generally someone can have, for example, their Minister of Defense issue a statement regarding a proposal that would affect the nation’s ability to defend itself and have another representative while having their Minister of Commerce issue a statement regarding a proposal that would affect their economy. You could also have multiple representatives to the WA with one being a Deputy to the primary representative. For a list of representatives hosted on the forum, see the second Meet the Reps thread (recently moved due to technical difficulties to this thread). For a list of representatives from the NSwiki, see this link.

Recently it has become more common to roleplay an office in the WA building, and to roleplay the "procurement" of office supplies and other assorted items from the offices of nations leaving the WA. Descriptions of the various WA offices can be found here. A description of the WA Building and its various levels and facilities can be found on the NSwiki at this link.

Possibilities for the NS Forum

One possibility for a WA-related roleplay in the NS forum is the construction of a thread in which you play out a scene in which your government addresses a passed WA resolution, perhaps even several resolutions. You can also take a slightly different tack and do a roleplay that shows through the lives of your citizens how a passed WA resolution benefited, harmed, or didn’t affect your nation. The NS forum could also be used to do the character-based roleplaying involved with one of the many WA-related organizations, such as the UN Old Guard.

Possibilities for the II Forum

One possibility for a WA-related roleplay in the II forum is a war in which a WA member nation deals with the limitations imposed on war by the NSWA’s passed legislation. Another possible roleplay to conduct in the II forum is a roleplay of the defiance of WA legislation. While such defiance is hardly generally encouraged, it could result in a good roleplay if executed properly. Other possibilities include roleplaying IRCO missions and interventions by the Pretenama Panel.


Roleplay Conventions

As with most communities, the roleplaying community of NationStates has developed a set of conventions governing roleplay that are generally adhered to. There are a number of conventions aside from the more basic conventions such as having a narrative or dialogue structure and reasonable spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Conventions in the WA Forum

Most of what goes on in the WA forum is debate over the merits of passed or proposed legislation. Generally the debates are In-Character (that is, roleplay), but sometimes Out-of-Character (that is, non-roleplay) observations are made to clarify or support a point. It is considered good form to make the distinction between your comments as a nation and your comments as a player clear. A lack of such a distinction often leads to misunderstanding and hostility, which are not things we like to encourage here. In terms of etiquette, it's considered polite to post a copy of your proposal here if you want support for it and use diplomatic language when addressing other representatives, though this is not required. There does not seem to be much agreement over the proper way to conduct a WA debate, and given the lack of standardization you might find other posters doing long, rambling, pretentious posts, humorous roleplayed dialogues, or massive point-by-point debating posts.

Conventions in the NS Forum

The conventions are found in the stickied posts in the NS forum, namely the the NationStates Forum and OOC: Want more respect on the forums? threads. These threads contains good examples, helpful tips, and a wealth of information for players who want to get involved in roleplay.

Conventions in the II Forum

The conventions are found in the stickied post in the II forum, namely the consolidated International Incidents Sticky. There is a huge amount of information in that thread, so you may not want to try to read it all at one time so it won’t overwhelm you. Try to check out all the links at least once and see what's going on in the world of II roleplay.


Roleplay Help

Suggestions

My general suggestions for those of you who are interested in getting involved in WA-related roleplay is to read the stickies and all threads they link to. Doing so will help you get a feel for how roleplaying is conducted here. I would further suggest that you browse the forums for a few days to watch a variety of roleplays in action and get a first-hand feel for how they work. You may also want to check out some of the offsite WA-related forums established by players, such as the United Nations Organizations forum.

Mentors

Below is a list of the names of nations that have volunteered to help with WA-related RP. You may want to contact them for help getting started in WA-related roleplaying or help with a particular roleplay you are planning.

Ecopoeia
Texan Hotrodders

If you wish to have your name added to or removed from this list, please contact me.
Last edited by Ardchoille on Mon Apr 20, 2009 6:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
Ideological Bulwark #35
The more scandalous charges were suppressed; the vicar of Christ was accused only of piracy, rape, sodomy, murder and incest. -- Edward Gibbon on the schismatic Pope John XXIII (1410–1415).

User avatar
Ardchoille
Retired Moderator
 
Posts: 9842
Founded: Apr 18, 2004
Democratic Socialists

Re: The World Assembly Reference Guide

Postby Ardchoille » Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:44 am

[center]

____________________________________________________________________________________________

National Sovereignty and the World Assembly
____________________________________________________________________________________________

[/center]


I have written this as a guide to national sovereignty discussions in the World Assembly. It is intended to familiarize players with the various concepts and perspectives that relate to national sovereignty in the NSWA.

Does National Sovereignty Exist in the NSWA?

The answer to that question depends largely on our own preconceptions about what constitutes sovereignty and is complicated by the interaction between game mechanics and roleplay. Many people incorporate a variety of these perspectives and/or concepts into their views. Keep in mind that this has been simplified for brevity.

Statistic Control

For some people, national sovereignty is having complete control over their national statistics. For them, national sovereighty is a quality that you have or do not have, and there are no degrees to which national sovereignty exists and/or does not exist. In their case, there is no national sovereignty if you are a member of the World Assembly and are affected by the stastistical changes wrought by the NSWA.

Policymaking Through Daily Issues

For others, national sovereignty is the ability of their nation to make its own policy through daily issues. For them, national sovereignty is a quality diminished only by an inability to make policy in a particular area. Even if they are members of the World Assembly, they are still allowed to make their own policy through daily issues and thus they still have national sovereignty.

Roleplay Control

For some players, most of whom feel obligated to abide by the conventions of good roleplay by not godmoding, their ability to control completely their nation's policies through roleplay is what constitutes national sovereignty. Because the text of a NSWA resolution functions in the realm of roleplay and it is considered by the community to be godmoding to ignore that text, and for these players national sovereighty is a quality that you have or do not have, and there are no degrees to which national sovereignty exists and/or does not exist. In their case, there is no national sovereignty if you are a member of the World Assembly and are affected by the roleplay changes wrought by the NSWA.

Policymaking Through Roleplay

For many players who are NSWA members, most of whom feel obligated to abide by the conventions of good roleplay by not godmoding, their ability to set their nation's policies through roleplay is what constitutes national sovereignty. Because the text of a NSWA resolution functions in the realm of roleplay and it is considered by the community to be godmoding to ignore that text, these players have their national sovereignty diminished to some degree when the NSWA passes legislation. For these players, national sovereignty only extends so far as the NSWA has not legislated on an issue.


Common Mistakes

Here are some of the more common mistakes that are made in national sovereignty discussions.

RL UN=NS WA?

Occasionally the WA forum gets treated to a diatribe on how the RL (real-life) United Nations works. Usually such diatribes are immediately followed by arguments that the NationStates World Assembly should work the same way as the RL United Nations. Sometimes the persons will even cite the RL United Nations Charter, or use other RL United Nations resources to back up their claims. Unfortunately for such persons, NationStates is a role-playing game, and does not recognize RL resources except as aids to debate (whether over appropriate role-play conventions or ethical and legal concerns).

Power of the NationStates World Assembly

Far too often persons will enter the WA forum and argue that the NationStates World Assembly does not have the power to enact the legislation that has been passed. As it happens, the NationStates World Assembly actually does have that power. If you are a member of the World Assembly during the period in which the resolution is coded, then the national statistics for your nation are changed according to the nature of the resolution. This is built into the very structure of the game, and there is nothing that can be done about it. However, if you are not a member of the World Assembly during the time period in which the resolution is coded, your national statistics are not changed. Even so, you are expected to act as if your nation is in compliance with the legislation for the purposes of role-play. One can role-play defiance of the legislation, but be prepared to do a proper job of it or be accused of wanking or godmoding (follow the links for explanations on wanking and godmoding), and possibly derided and ignored altogether. One fairly common and widely accepted method of roleplaying defiance of resolutions is to take advantage of the often ambiguous and/or undefined nature of the resolutions and define certain key terms such that the effects of the resolution are nullified or made negligible.



Arguments Related to National Sovereignty

I have been here for some time now, and have noticed that national sovereignty is a topic that is oft-debated and hotly contested here in the World Assembly forum. Many arguments get thrown around and it can often seem like there are as many arguments on the issue as there are people debating it. However, I have identified several common threads in these arguments, and think it would be useful to compile them in one handy guide to national sovereignty discussions. Hopefully, someone will actually read this guide before going on at length about how terrible the World Assembly is for violating their national sovereignty, and thereby save us all some time. There is no one absolutely correct argument that I know of, so keep this in mind in your future discussions on the issue. You may have simply agree to disagree with other posters and leave the issue of national sovereignty alone.

Debates over the appropriate scope of national sovereignty take many forms. Some are related to the IC (In-Character) aspects of NationStates and others are related to the OOC (Out-Of-Character) aspects of the game. Often terms such as domestic and international are used to indicate different types of policy, legislation, or law. Most arguments support a particular degree to which national sovereignty should be upheld or not upheld, but some persons will hold to multiple arguments (or versions thereof) so it can become difficult to pinpoint a person's position on the issue. There are other arguments than those which are listed below, but I have only included the more commonly used arguments on both sides of the issues.

Arguments Related to Game Mechanics

Below are two common arguments related to issues of game mechanics. One of the arguments is for limited national sovereignty, and the other suggests that national sovereignty does not exist in the NSWA.
[indent]
Daily Issues Argument

One of the more common OOC arguments for national sovereignty (limited or extensive) is that having the NationStates World Assembly legislate in certain areas is redundant because there are already daily issues that allow the nations to make legislation on that issue. Many proponents of this argument have also said that such redundancy takes the fun out of the game, which is deciding how to run your own nation.

Fatalistic Argument

A common OOC argument for the sovereignty of the NationStates World Assembly is that due to the nature of game mechanics, it already by its very nature violates national sovereignty. Essentially, persons using this argument often suggest that because of the fact that the passage of a resolution by the NationStates World Assembly always impacts your nation (as indicated by the FAQ), you give up all national sovereignty upon joining the World Assembly, and therefore it is useless to try to assert the sovereignty of your nation if you are a member.[/indent]

Arguments Related to Legal Scope

Quite possibly the most common issue to come up in debates on national sovereignty is the issue of legal scope, particularly the question of where the NSWA's proper jurisdiction lies.
[indent]
Legalistic Argument

The Legalistic Argument is a fairly common method of dealing with national sovereignty issues. Proponents of this argument hold that there are two types of legislation; domestic and international. The general thrust of this argument is that because "it's the World Assembly, not United Sentient Beings" (to quote myself), the World Assembly is a body that is international in its scope, and international only. Persons taking this position usually believe that unless the NationStates World Assembly is legislating directly on an international issue, it is violating the scope of its legal authority.

International Justification Argument

This is one of the most popular arguments that is used to justify the NationStates World Assembly legislating on what others might consider a domestic issue. Proponents of this argument will generally state that the NationStates World Assembly is well within its rights to legislate on domestic issues if there is an international justification for doing so. For example, outlawing abortion in one nation would probably lead to women immigrating or emigrating (depending on your perspective) to other nations in order to have abortions. Thus many proponents of this argument would say that because the domestic law is extremely likely to have international consequences, it is within the scope of the NationStates World Assembly to set international law that will address this issue.[/indent]

Arguments Related to the Goal of Unity

Of late I have noticed an increasing tendency on the part of those who address national sovereignty to debate the issue in light of the goal of acheiving unity through the NSWA. (That goal is implied by the name of the United Nations.)
[indent]
Unity Through Sovereignty

Some proponents of national sovereignty have suggested that because of the difficulty involved in and the negative consequences of the NSWA mandating policies for its member nations (due to the overwhelming diversity of biological, technological, cultural, political, and economic needs of those nations), the NSWA should respect national sovereignty in an effort to respect the diversity of the membership. Some have also suggested that respecting national sovereignty would decrease the rancor that many conservatives and capitalists feel towards the NSWA, which would lead to a more unified, rather than divided, body of nations.

Unity Through Universal Policy

Others suggest that the way to improve the unity of the membership is through mandated universal policy that would truly provide a unified framework for the member nations and make them more homogenuous and friendly towards each other. Some have suggested that all who oppose the NSWA's policies should leave the NSWA and that such action would benefit the NSWA by removing the division caused by competing beliefs about policy, thereby creating a truly unified NSWA.[/indent]

Arguments Related to Self-Determination

Below are the primary arguments on national sovereignty that are related to the issue of self-determination, which is essentially the ability to determine one's own course of action.
[indent]
Self-Determination Within the NSWA

Some people suggest that in recognition of a nation's right to self-determination, the NSWA should respect national sovereignty and allow member nations to make their own policies. Such persons often have differing perspectives with regard to the degree which they believe national sovereignty should be upheld due to the right to self-determination.

Self-Determination Without the NSWA

Others suggest that the nations already have the complete right to self-determination, and that they exercise this right by joining or leaving the NSWA. Such persons usually hold to the Fatalistic argument as well, though not always.[/indent]

Arguments Related to Passed Legislation

Below are the arguments on the issue of passed legislation. These arguments seek to establish a perspective's correctness by appealing to historical precedents in the law set out previously by the NSWA.
[indent]
Passed Legislation as Precedent for Sovereignty

Some people who wish to promote national sovereignty in the NSWA suggest that because of previous legislation that either respects of promotes national sovereignty (examples are "Rights and Duties" "National Systems of Tax" "Right to Refuse Extradition" and "Right to Self-Protection"), the NSWA has clearly endorsed national sovereignty as a valid legal and political concept within the NSWA and national sovereignty should be respected as such. Some take this line of thought even further and suggest that national sovereignty should not only be recognized as a valid legal concept, but also implemented consistently by the NSWA in its policies.

Passed Legislation as Precedent for Universal Policy

Other take the opposing position that the historical precedent for mandating universal policy is stronger than the precedent for sovereignty, citing the much larger number of resolutions that do not respect or promote national sovereignty (examples are "Abortion Rights" "Definition of Marriage" "Right to Learn About Evolution" "The Sex Industry Worker Act" and "Ban Trafficking in Persons"), but instead operate using universal policy. Such persons generally conclude that universal policy is the more recognized model for legislation, and should be recognized as such. Some take this line of thinking even further and suggest that universal policy should be implemented consistently in NSWA policies.[/indent]


Validity of the National Sovereignty Argument

Frisbeeteria, the author of the Rights and Duties of WA States Resolution, has done an excellent examination of the relationship between national sovereignty the NationStates World Assembly, which can be found here. I am reposting it here with some format changes, as it includes an analysis of national sovereignty as it relates to international law and game structures, rather than the mostly descriptive methods that I have employed. All of the text you read after this point was written by Frisbeeteria.

It has become fashionable once again to discard or belittle arguments of national sovereignty as somehow unworthy of notice. "Yet another WA member who hasn't read the FAQ" seems to be a common slap in the face of new posters. Let's examine this in a bit more detail.

Does the WA have the power to override National Sovereignty?
Yes. Unquestionably. The FAQ makes that abundantly clear.



Does the WA have the right to override National Sovereignty?
Yes and no. Matters of international importance and consequence are rightfully the province of the WA. Who makes the determination of what is or isn't a matter of international importance? The WA Ambassadors of the WA member nations choose that among themselves.

There is no grand scheme by which the WA can rightfully do anything at all, unless the membership grants the organization that right. It is the duty of WA member nations to send a representative who is capable of presenting his or her own national interests, while at the same time considering the validity and effect of those interests on other members of the international community. These members must consider and decide whether the proposal or resolution in question should qualify as the rightful property of the WA. If so, they should present their case. If not, they should vehemently oppose it. National interest MUST be given weight in any ambassador's decision.

Does the WA have the duty to override National Sovereignty?
In cases of international importance that transcend national boundaries, perhaps. Some would include most Human Rights proposals into this category. Others might consider Environmental or Free Trade as paramount. There is no single criterion that any given nation is required to follow in determining their duty to the WA, and Ambassadors should not be chastised for failure to share common values. With more than 37,000 WA member nations, it is absurd to think that every one will agree on any given issue, much less the phrasing and language of its presentation. The value of such duty is a variable which can only be set by the member nation.

Does the WA have the obligation to override National Sovereignty?
Absolutely not. The WA can always decide that an issue is not worthy of its consideration, or rightfully belongs to the member nations. The WA also has the ability to change its mind at a later date, as member nations come and go. Consequently, all previous resolutions may now be repealed, assuming some member can create a compelling case to do so.

On what legal basis can the WA override National Sovereignty?
Rights and Duties of UN States provides the legal precedent for sovereignty in Articles 1-3, while at the same time recognizing the legitimate claims of the WA in Articles 2, 3 and 11. In many ways, this is a restatement of the core [OOC] rules of the game, while providing a critical [IC] justification for doing so.

In passing this resolution, the WA has explicitly recognized the concept of National Sovereignty. Thus, under international law, national sovereignty arguments are legal and permissible as legitimate in any argument. As previously stated, those arguments do not in and of themselves provide justification for the passage of a resolution or a repeal, as the WA always retains the power to decide for itself what it worthy of consideration.


Conclusion
On this basis, I maintain that it is legally incorrect to dismiss all such arguments as groundless. The usage of the language, as in all WA discussions, is vital. One must consider the context as well of the content when using or deriding words like right, power, duty, and obligation. Perhaps a bit of guidance towards the correct word or phrase would serve the WA community better than abrupt dismissal of the claim.
Ideological Bulwark #35
The more scandalous charges were suppressed; the vicar of Christ was accused only of piracy, rape, sodomy, murder and incest. -- Edward Gibbon on the schismatic Pope John XXIII (1410–1415).

User avatar
Ardchoille
Retired Moderator
 
Posts: 9842
Founded: Apr 18, 2004
Democratic Socialists

Re: The World Assembly Reference Guide

Postby Ardchoille » Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:45 am

Compliance in the World Assembly


As members of the World Assembly, we all have to address the issue of our nation's compliance or noncompliance with the resolutions passed by the body. Compliance occurs in a variety of ways, so keep in mind that not every nation will comply in the same way you do. More on that later.

The Nature of Compliance

If we're seriously going to address the issue of compliance, we have to get a sense of what compliance really is. Compliance has two general forms:

Spirit of the Law

The first form of compliance is complying with the spirit of the law. You can be in compliance with the spirit of the law by enacting the policy proposed by the resolution; you can be in noncompliance with the spirit of the law by only adhering to the letter of the law while disregarding or twisting the spirit of the law.

Letter of the Law

The second form of compliance is complying with the letter of the law. You can't avoid this because all WA resolutions are made law in member nations via the Compliance Ministry, and you are thus in compliance in the sense that those laws are now part of your nation's recorded/written law.

Reasoning

A number of reasons have been cited by various nations for choosing either to comply or refrain from complying.

Statwanking

One of the more common reasons that has been used by those choosing to comply and by those choosing not to comply are the stat changes that your nation experiences as a result of a resolution. Some believe that the stat changes are adversely affecting their nation, and as a result they might leave the WA when a resolution comes up that will cause a stat change that they don't like. Others believe that the stat changes are good for their nation and they choose to remain in the WA to take advantage of those stat changes.

FAQ wanking

Another common reason used to justify compliance is the claim that the FAQ says that resolutions are binding on all member nations, and so compliance is a given; others claim that the FAQ does not justify compliance.

Roleplaying

One of the most prevalent reasons given by WA members for compliance or noncompliance is the impact compliance would have on roleplaying their nation. Some feel that the roleplayed consequences would be disasterous for their nation and choose to roleplay noncompliance for that reason. Others feel that there would be positive or interesting roleplay consequences and so they choose to roleplay compliance.

Game Mechanics

The frequently-cited changes that occur in your WA nation's stats after a resolution passes are the game mechanics form of compliance.

The Nature of Stat Changes

These stat changes are related to the Category and Strength of the particular resolution that passed. If a Human Rights resolution passed, your Civil Rights rating increases. If it is a Strong resolution, then it will have a more marked effect on your stats than a Mild resolution would have. The same principle applies with other Category and Strength variables.

Stat Changes as Compliance

These stat changes are often the basis for the frequent assertions that noncompliance is not possible, and it is often suggested that because of the connection that is generally made between game mechanics and roleplay that roleplayed noncompliance does not make any sense.

Avoiding Stat Changes

These stat changes can be avoided by resigning from the WA before a resolution you don't like passes and rejoining after it passes. It is a hassle, but some feel it is worth it.

Gameplay

The less-used and infrequently discussed form of compliance is the answering of daily issues in accordance with WA resolutions. This can be done in cases where the topic of an issue has been addressed by the WA.

Compliance Using Issues

It is quite possible to answer some of the daily issues to fit with passed resolutions. You can increase healthcare spending to simulate the implementation of "RBH Replacement" or let homosexuals get married in response to the resolutions that promoted legalization of such unions. I've only known one person to do it, but it is an option.

Noncompliance Using Issues

It is also quite possible to answer some of the issue to contradict WA resolutions as a means of noncompliance. You can use your issues to eliminate healthcare spending or outlaw homosexual marriages in contavention of WA resolutions. A lot of people seem to practice this particular form of noncompliance.

Roleplay

The stuff that you write about how your nation is dealing with the passage of a resolution is roleplayed compliance (or noncompliance, as the case may be).

Free-Form Roleplay

Free-form roleplay is practiced on this site, so you can roleplay what you like and with whom you like. You can roleplay having massive spaceships or being sentient potatoes, and you can even roleplay outright noncompliance with WA resolutions. As with most things, some people are going to accept how you roleplay and some people are not. Even among “serious” roleplayers there are sometimes disagreements over whether or not a particular technology or strategy is appropriate roleplay. It happens. Just deal with these disagreements appropriately and you’ll be okay.

Roleplay and Game Mechanics

Roleplay does not have to derive entirely from game mechanics. If your nation page says you’re a Conservative Democracy, you can still roleplay your nation as a Liberal Autocratic Socialist State (a fictional category, but a valid possible form of government). Just keep in mind that a lot of folks like other roleplayers to have a certain level of connection between the nation page and roleplay, even if it is not a perfect 1:1 correlation. For example, my nation is in the Anarchy category, so I roleplay it as an anarcho-socialist federation, a form of anarchy. Most people don’t bat an eye at this even though I don’t roleplay the other thing on my nation page about having order through biker gangs, or certain other really weird issue effects that don't fit with my roleplay.

The Nature of Roleplayed Compliance

From a roleplay standpoint, resolutions are made law in all member nations. This leaves you with plenty of options for roleplayed noncompliance. Just like in real life countries, the law can be flouted, remain on the books but lack enforcement by the government, or it can be nullified by another part of your nation’s law. Maybe even a combination of those three approaches could be used. Just be aware of the possibility of other nations putting diplomatic pressure on you to comply. If you want to roleplay compliance with resolutions from the start, just have your Parliament (or whatever your legislative body is, if you have one) pass a law that reflects the text of the WA resolution, have your government enforce the law, or have your citizens voluntarily do whatever the resolution said. You can even roleplay that the WA Gnomes brought you into compliance. As with noncompliance, you have options, and they can be used in combination with one another.

Taking Advantage of Roleplayed Compliance

Sometimes there is a chance to roleplay taking advantage of the way WA resolutions are written and complying in such a way that a seemingly harmful resolution can turn out to very beneficial. For example, did the WA ban product X in member nations? That can be turned to your advantage if you get rid of all of your product X by selling it to other nations for exorbitant prices. That's just one example; be creative and innovative. There are many ways of making compliance interesting and fun so that it doesn't become all boring and mundane.

Noncompliance Using Loopholes

The text of every resolution has certain qualities that allow nations to roleplay the use of loopholes to get around complying with the spirit of the law. For example, the resolution "WA Taxation Ban" only protects the citizens of WA member nations from taxation, which leaves us with a rather large loophole allowing the WA to tax people who don't have citizenship in their nation, corporations, and governments. Another example is the resolution "Abortion Rights", which because of its vagueness allows for all sorts of good/bad limitations on abortions by the determined member nation.
Last edited by Ardchoille on Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ideological Bulwark #35
The more scandalous charges were suppressed; the vicar of Christ was accused only of piracy, rape, sodomy, murder and incest. -- Edward Gibbon on the schismatic Pope John XXIII (1410–1415).

User avatar
Ardchoille
Retired Moderator
 
Posts: 9842
Founded: Apr 18, 2004
Democratic Socialists

Re: The World Assembly Reference Guide

Postby Ardchoille » Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:46 am

[center]

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Moderation of the World Assembly
____________________________________________________________________________________________

[/center]


Introduction

In the context of the NationStates World Assembly, the Moderators perform several functions. They make sure the WA forum runs smoothly by making sure the thread for the Resolution currently at vote is stickied, and police the debates if they get out of hand. For more information on the rules for this section of the forum, see here (scroll to the end of the post for WA forum rules). The Game Mods can and often do remove illegal proposals from the proposal list and eject nations from the WA for rules violations, as well as making rulings on the legality of proposals that are questionable. (For more general information on Moderation, see the Guide to the Moderation Forum.)

But the main point of WA Moderation is not to punish people for breaking the rules, but rather to help make the WA an enjoyable experience for the players that is consistent with game mechanics. That's why we have the very helpful list of rules that helps players avoid flooding the proposal list with bad proposals, and an explanation of the submission categories, a Case Study of Deleted Proposals, to help players get a sense of what proposals get deleted and why they get deleted, and informational stickies (like these :)) written by players that they think will be helpful to other players as a reference.

Also, the Moderators are often helpful and informative, as you can see here, here, and here, as well as being open to interesting questions from players as evidenced here and here. The Moderators are generally perfectly willing to debate and discuss issues with players rather than stifling discussion, as you can see here, here, and here.

Moderator Rulings

When a proposal is subject to the review of a Mod or several Mods, they make a ruling, or a decision as to whether it is illegal or not. There are several ways they can do this, using the rules, precedents, or fiat.

As Frisbeeteria pointed out, Moderator rulings are not something to be requested lightly. You should first get the opinion of other legislators (for example, this case and this case), and if you still cannot agree on the legality of a proposal, you might try to get another legislator with no stake in the outcome to review it, and if you still can't agree on the legality of the proposal, you can choose to either abandon it or ask for a Mod review of it.

Rules

The vast majority of proposals that get deleted for illegality are straightforward violations of one or more of the Proposal Rules. A Mod sees that the proposal broke a rule (or several) and gives it the axe. For example, a proposal saying "the game should have a better color scheme with black and orange" would obviously break the rule against proposals that try to make changes to the game.

Precedents

Sometimes the legality of a proposal is more subtle than a straightforward rules violation, especially in cases where a new form of clause construction has been employed. In these cases, precedents are sometimes used as the basis for a ruling. Precedents are previous Moderator rulings that articulated a principle or interpretation of a rule that are applied to new proposals when determining their legality. For an example of a Moderator ruling citing precedent, see here.

Fiat

On a very rare occasion, a Moderator will make an entirely new ruling that does not depend on either a straightforward rules violation or even a precedent. This can be quite appropriate, since new situations often call for new responses, and the WA is constantly in a process of developing new methods and approaches to legislation, but happens only rarely. In fact, it seems that the Mods are reluctant to rule by fiat.

Player Involvement

Players like you and I are able to participate in the WA Moderation process to some degree in a number of ways because the Moderators allow us to do so. This ensures that a very diverse range of viewpoints and voices impact the course of various rulings in the WA. One example of players helping to find illegal and/or silly proposals and discussing them can be found in this thread. Players can also make suggestions for changes to the WA, as you can see here and here, and the suggestions will be given due consideration. The set of categories ended up being expanded because of a variety of player suggestions such as this, and while they did not come out exactly how the players had requested, they did add to the game and represented a great deal of effort on the part of the Moderation team in making the game better for players.

There have been several cases of Moderators actually requesting player input, for example on decisions regarding the WA Proposal Rules or decisions regarding the Stickies in the WA Forum, and players can of course question rulings and/or appeal them if they see the need. Just remember that when appealing a Moderator ruling, it's much better for you to be polite and reasonable, as you can see here and here.

Questioning Proposal Legality

Sometimes players want to have a proposal deleted for some reason, whether it be for personal, political, or practical reasons. When that happens, players can submit Getting Help requests detailing how the proposal violates a rule, and then a Mod will decide whether or not the proposal in question is illegal. Players can also ask for a Moderator review of proposal drafts on the forum and explain why they think it is illegal. A good example of a player asking for a Mod review of a proposal they think is illegal can be found here.

Questioning Mod Rulings

On a rare occasion, a Moderator ruling on a proposal is controversial enough that a player or several players will appeal the ruling by offering an argument in support of reversing the ruling or altering the principle behind the ruling. The Moderators then consider the arguments and decide whether or not the original ruling was correct and/or to what degree it is correct. The final legality debate on the World Assembly Security Act (linked to earlier) was the result of the appeal of such a ruling.

We are fortunate to have Moderators on this site who are willing to admit their mistakes when they happen and deal with them appropriately. For example, in this post we see a Moderator making a recommendation for a ruling, and then after reading the resolution author's response and several other responses to it, the argument is withdrawn. Another, more recent example of such a questioning of a Mod ruling can be found here. The Moderators are clearly willing to listen to player opinions and change their decisions accordingly if approached reasonably, so don't be afraid to question a Mod ruling if you're willing to put some effort into doing so properly and politely.
Ideological Bulwark #35
The more scandalous charges were suppressed; the vicar of Christ was accused only of piracy, rape, sodomy, murder and incest. -- Edward Gibbon on the schismatic Pope John XXIII (1410–1415).

User avatar
Ardchoille
Retired Moderator
 
Posts: 9842
Founded: Apr 18, 2004
Democratic Socialists

Re: The World Assembly Reference Guide

Postby Ardchoille » Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:47 am

[center]

____________________________________________________________________________________________

WA Chat & Offsite Discussion
____________________________________________________________________________________________

[/center]


A lot of players like to discuss WA resolutions at vote or plan and draft their own proposals, and sometimes brainstorm ideas for new resolutions or repeals of old resolutions. To that end, in addition to this forum, there are a variety of places people go to discuss WA matters.

Internet Relay Chat

A common medium used to chat about things related to NS is IRC. You can access the discussions on IRC by downloading an Internet Relay Chat program. The most commonly used version is mIRC, but there are others that can be used if you would prefer. If you're not familiar with where and how to get an IRC program, try a search on Google or your preferred search engine for IRC programs. That should help.

Once you've downloaded the program, make sure you're connected to the server irc.esper.net, and then join the channel #unitednations and whatever other channels you are interested in. For more information on NS channels on IRC, see the Guide to IRC sticky in the General forum.

Offsite Forums

The other common medium for discussing WA matters is by way of an offsite forum. These offsite forums are meant to host a particular community within NationStates, and can be dedicated to regions and regional alliances, in-game political alliances and movements, economic alliances, and so on.

Regional Forums

Most regions of decent size (and some of rather small size) have an offsite forum, and generally they have a section of the forum where players discuss the WA resolution at vote and perhaps to write proposals for WA resolutions. While most of these offsite forums are provided by a free forum host like InvisionFree, there are other places you can get a free forum, and some players choose to simply make their own forum. Below is a sample of some of the offsite regional forums.
[center]
Antarctic Oasis | The Exodus | Equilism | Elite Conservative Circuit

The East Pacific | Wysteria | Gatesville | Anticapitalist Alliance | Jethnea

Hyrule | Texas | International Democratic Union | Africa | Change | England

[/center]
Focused Forums

Other forums are not based around a region, but a particular cause or activity within the World Assembly, such as proposal drafting, national sovereignty, environmental legislation, repeals, and so on. Below is a sample of such forums.

[indent]ACCEL[/indent]

The Alliance of Capitalists, Conservatives, and Economic Libertarians has
as part of their forum a place to work towards making the WA more friendly
to their economic ideals.

[indent]FAIRTRADE[/indent]

The FAIRTRADE forum is a place where you can come to draft WA legislation
related to trade and economics.

[indent]Green Think Tank[/indent]

The GTT forum is a place to work with others to find new ways of bringing
quality environmental legislation to the WA.

[indent]National Sovereignty Organization[/indent]

The NSO forum was created to help facilitate cooperation and collaboration
in acheiving the goals of sovereigntists within the WA.

[indent]Reclamation[/indent]

The Reclamation forum is a friendly pressure-free forum where you can draft
legislation and get constructive criticism and help from other players, many of
whom are experienced legislators.

[indent]Reveal & Repeal[/indent]

The R&R forum is dedicated to ridding the WA of bad legislation,
one repeal at a time.

[indent]United International Congress[/indent]

The UIC forum was created to help facilitate cooperation and collaboration
in acheiving the goals of international federalists within the WA.

[indent]UN DEFCON[/indent]

The UN DEFCON forum is a bunker where legislation concerning issues
of national security and defense is discussed and drafted.

[indent]UN Organizations[/indent]

The UNO forums are primarily for roleplaying the various WA committees
and organizations that have sprung up around the NSWA.
Ideological Bulwark #35
The more scandalous charges were suppressed; the vicar of Christ was accused only of piracy, rape, sodomy, murder and incest. -- Edward Gibbon on the schismatic Pope John XXIII (1410–1415).

User avatar
Ardchoille
Retired Moderator
 
Posts: 9842
Founded: Apr 18, 2004
Democratic Socialists

Re: The World Assembly Reference Guide

Postby Ardchoille » Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:48 am

[center]

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Policy Analysis and Construction
____________________________________________________________________________________________

[/center]


Since the primary focus of the NSWA is legislation, it’s no surprise that much of the work that goes on within the NSWA is related to policy. In order to facilitate the ability of players to deal with policy (in the form of resolutions, repeals, and proposals), I have written a guide that lays out the tools one needs to effectively and thoroughly address policy matters in the NSWA.

Analysis

The first thing that most of us do as members of the NSWA is to analyze policy. We do it when a resolution comes up for vote, when proposals are posted on this forum or offsite forum, and when we see a repeal in the proposals list. There are a number of factors to be considered when analyzing policy, and each will be addressed in turn. After we have analyzed the policy that comes out of the NSWA for a while, most of us give thought to writing a proposal/resolution of our own. All of the same considerations that apply to policy analysis are things you’ll want to take into account when constructing your own policy, so the below information is useful whether you are trying to write policy or critique it.

Mechanical

One of the most significant aspects of policies is their mechanical quality. What I am referring to is the relation of a particular piece of policy to the mechanics and rules of the NSWA. There are several questions to ask when considering the mechanical quality of a policy.
[indent]
Legality

One of the most important questions is related to legality. Is the policy legal by the rules laid out by the Moderation staff? If you are writing a proposal and are unsure of its legality, you may want to do a quick scan of the rules to be sure so that you don’t get an official warning for a rules violation. One item to keep in mind when analyzing passed resolution (especially early ones) is that the rules have changed over time, and what might be illegal under the current rules was quite legal at the time of the resolution’s passage. On the other hand, some of the resolutions were in violation of the rules in place at the time, and the violation was not caught in time to prevent its passage. (Some passed resolutions have been later deleted from the list because of these situations.)

Category

Overlapping with the question of legality is one of category. Specifically, does the text of the policy match its category and strength/other variables. If it claims to repeal something, is it even in the repeal “category”? If it is an Environmental resolution that claims to deal with automotive pollution, does the effect read “All Businesses” when it should read “Automobile Manufacturing”? If you choose to write a Human Rights proposal that outlaws all forms of harm to sentient beings, should the Strength really be listed as Mild? These are the sorts of questions commonly asked with regard to the issue of category.[/indent]

Rhetorical

Another aspect of policies is their rhetorical quality. What I am referring to is the content of a particular piece of policy; what it says and how it says it. There are a few important questions to ask when considering the rhetorical quality of a policy.
[indent]
Meaning

One of the most important questions to ask is related to the meaning of the statements and/or clauses present in a particular policy, because the meaning determines the practical effect of the policy (in roleplay) to a large extent. If a policy states that the NSWA “urges people to wear funny hats,” then does that mean that everyone is required to wear funny hats or does it mean that the NSWA would really like everyone to wear funny hats? If you write a policy that states that our nations can’t outlaw abortions, does that mean that only laws specifically making abortion illegal are out of the question, or does it also mean that effectively outlawing abortion through impossibly high fees required by law in your nation for performing an abortion is out of the question? Keep in mind that interpreting the meaning of the text is vital to making claims about its practical effect.

Technical Matters

Something that can affect the meaning are technical matters, by which I mean grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and other concerns related to the conventions of language. You will probably want to be very careful of punctuation and grammar because incorrect instances of either can change the meaning of the text significantly. You can eliminate most errors by copy/pasting the text in a word-processing program and fixing whatever the program says you should fix. However, there are some errors that the program may not catch and the program may call certain items errors when they are not. Fortunately, such cases can easily be fixed by solid proofreading or are extremely rare. If you are not sure about a rule, you can check out a reference book on these matters at a local library or take a look at an online Dictionary for spelling questions.[/indent]

Ideological

Another aspect of policies is their ideological affiliation. What I am referring to is the expression of a particular political or economic framework in the policy. There are some questions to ask when considering the ideological affiliation of a policy which are very serious because often the policy will receive many votes based solely on its apparent ideological affiliation.
[indent]
Explicit Ideology

The first question, and the easiest to answer, is whether or not the policy has an explicit ideological affiliation. An example of an explicit ideological affiliation would be a resolution in which “increasing capitalism in the world today” is mentioned. Or perhaps a proposal that suggests “promoting the liberal agenda”. A repeal of a Free Trade resolution “in the name of environmentalism” would be another good example.

Implicit Ideology

The second question is whether the policy has an implicit ideological affiliation. More common examples of ideological affiliation in NSWA policy are implicit rather than explicit. You might find that instead of coming out and saying what the ideology that they are operating from actually is, policymakers will often use substitute terms and phrases that have a somewhat less controversial meaning. In the case of a repeal of a resolution for reasons related to capitalism, the phrase “economic freedom” might be used to give a more positive and appealing air to the policy. Slogans such as “workers of the world unite” are another excellent example of implicit ideological affiliation that can be used in policy.[/indent]


Practical

A fourth aspect of policies is their practical effect. What I am referring to is the consequences (intended or unintended) that come out of a particular piece of policy. There are a couple of questions to ask when considering the practical effect of a policy, which are spelled out below. These are very important considerations that are the cause for swinging many votes over the years.
[indent]
Intended Consequences

The first question we have to ask is what the intended consequences of the policy are. Does it try to promote peace and justice and succeed in doing so? Does it try to get us to slaughter all our firstborn children on live television by making a law that says we have to? Will the law actually cause what it intends to cause? In the case of a repeal that tries to repeal a resolution, the intended consequence will actually occur. In many other cases that might not happen.

Unintended Consequences

The second question we have to ask ourselves is what the unintended consequences of the policy will be. Does it have side-effects that are not intended? Will loopholes in the policy allow easy exploitation by member states? Does the policy actually have an effect opposed to its intended effect? What will really happen if you ban all guns in the NSWA? Will there suddenly be less violence in NSWA member states, or will violence increase as non-WA nations increasingly take advantage of their weakened defensive capability and conquer WA members. Will outlawing abortions truly help save lives, or will underground clinics and mass immigrations by women seeking abortions cause more trouble than the policy is worth?[/indent]

Construction

After we have an understanding of how to analyze policy in the NSWA, we can begin to apply that knowledge to making our own policy. Remember to keep in mind the considerations we used during the analysis of policy, but there are also additional concerns with constructing policy that need to be taken into account and/or clarified.

Defining the Purpose

When attempting to write any legislation, one of the primary considerations is one of purpose. We have to ask ourselves what we intent to do with the legislation and how we will write the legislation such that our purpose will be accomplished.
[indent]
Limiting Scope

One possible purpose in writing legislation is to limit the scope of the NSWA’s legal domain. In most cases, the purpose of the legislator is to keep the NSWA within the bounds of truly international concerns. Some might do this by attempting to repeal resolutions that they believe intrude into the proper scope of national authority. Another possibility is to write legislation that implicitly limits the power of the NSWA to further intrude into matters they see as properly in the scope of national authority.

Effecting Action

Another possible specific purpose in writing legislation is to effect an action on the part of a member state. This can be done by writing a resolution that specifically requires member states to take an action. The action could be making and/or enforcing a law that the legislation specifies or setting up a committee to handle a problem. Both are common approaches to NSWA legislation.

Promoting Principles

Yet another possible purpose in writing legislation is to promote a concept or principle within the NSWA. This can be done by using the legislation to gain explicit recognition of a concept in international law or by writing legislation that allows and/or encourages member nations to uphold a specified principle.[/indent]


Considering the Problems

There are several problems with writing legislation in the NSWA. Some of those problems are unique to the NSWA, and some are not.
[indent]
Opposing Ideologies

One of those problems for any legislator is the opposition of those who hold to ideologies that make them disinclined to support our position (whatever that happens to be) and make them inclined to make significant efforts to defeat the legislation. This is not to be unexpected. Every ideology in the WA has an opposition that will do those things or attempt to do them.

Game Mechanics

Another problem facing legislators lies in the area of game mechanics, specifically the limited set of categories available in which to propose legislation, the inability to target a specific nation for human rights violations or international aid, and several others mentioned in the Rules at the top of the WA forum.

Membership Demographics

Yet another problem is the general demographics of the WA membership. The majority of NSers and WA members are young people from North America, Europe, and Australia who are politically aware. These young people are very likely to be socially liberal and fairly socialistic in terms of their political beliefs. Most of the members of the NSWA are very young and are just playing NS idly and joining the WA because it seemed like a fun thing. Keeping the characteristics of the average voter in mind can really help you make your policy more likely to be voted for and implemented.

Extreme Diversity

Another problem that faces all legislators in the NSWA (whether they’re aware of it or not) is the amazing diversity we have on NationStates. There are nations composed of sentient penguins, nations with advanced spacefaring technology, nations with magical properties, nations composed entirely of sentient robots, and so on. This diversity, combined with the fact that we cannot write resolutions to target specific nations or nation types, make writing legislation for the entire NSWA a real challenge.[/indent]

Utilizing the Tools

There are a variety of tools we can use to write policy, and I’ll try to go over each in turn. For more specific tips to writing legislation, see the original World Assembly Resolution Writing Guide written by Sophista.
[indent]
Rhetoric

Rhetoric is the portion of the legislation that attempts to convince the voting members of the WA that the legislation is "a good idea." When writing any policy, the effective use of rhetoric is vital to getting the legislation passed by the membership of the NSWA. The legislation should express a laudable sentiment and state reasons for the legislation that the majority of voters will find compelling.

Clauses

The clauses of a resolution are the portion of the legislation that express action on the part of the WA. These clauses are the most important part of legislation. They define what the WA does. The effective use of clauses is vital to policymaking as they are the vehicle by which legislators ensure that the WA is taking action in a particular area or will take future action.[/indent]
Ideological Bulwark #35
The more scandalous charges were suppressed; the vicar of Christ was accused only of piracy, rape, sodomy, murder and incest. -- Edward Gibbon on the schismatic Pope John XXIII (1410–1415).


Advertisement

Remove ads

Return to WA Archives

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users

Advertisement

Remove ads