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The Rejected Times: Issue XLVI

Talk about regional management and politics, raider/defender gameplay, and other game-related matters.
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Unibot III
Negotiator
 
Posts: 5428
Founded: Mar 11, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Unibot III » Thu Mar 05, 2015 4:29 pm

Bhang Bhang Duc wrote:Post Norion there was the First Constitution: a lot of it was written or influenced by a nation called Freedom and Pride. Guy had a talent for legislation, but had zero social process skills. Basically the Delegate couldn't go to the toilet without permission from the off-site government. Looking back I think this was F&P's way of running the Delegacy by proxy - there was no chance of him ever becoming elected Delegate, mainly because he was intensely disliked by the majority of TWP members.

The Dominion came next - Neenee seized the Delegacy, supported by Biyah and Zeta One. The Dominion lasted about a week before Neenee resigned and Berm took back the Delgacy. He instituted a Council of Reconciliation (of which I was a member) to try and find the root cause of the coup and look for ways to re-unite the region. Biyah basically plea bargained Neenee and Zeta out of trial, saying he alone was behind the coup. He then stood trial, more than ably defended by Enegro Montoya, who got him off. Used TWP's laws and constitution to clear him.

The result was a constitutional crisis - the formation of the second constitution was in reality a battle between those who wanted total off-site control of the Delegacy (F&P and a few others) and those who wanted the role to have more freedom. The result was a stalemate, broken by the appearance of the Triumvirate - Eli, TAO and Biyah. Eli ejected quite a few high endo nations from TWP (including myself) and brought in Vlagh (Ivan Moldavi) and Unistrut to form a new government. Their involvement caused Biyah to join the Government in Exile under Shasoria. We then had about 9 months of negotiation to reunite the region. The Third Constitution gave the Delegate independence from the off-site government and that has been pretty much the case ever since.


This isn't anything different than what I wrote, I just didn't think the particulars of each constitutional crisis would be that relevant to an article mostly about modern day TWP.
Last edited by Unibot III on Thu Mar 05, 2015 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Pestarzt the Traveller
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Founded: May 05, 2013
Ex-Nation

Postby Pestarzt the Traveller » Thu Mar 05, 2015 4:32 pm

It matters because it contextualizes the reasons behind the regional culture.
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Belschaft
Minister
 
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Founded: Mar 19, 2008
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Belschaft » Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:42 pm

Good writing, but utter contempt for factual accuracy.

In other words, typical Unibot.
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Feux
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Founded: Mar 20, 2012
Iron Fist Socialists

Postby Feux » Thu Mar 05, 2015 6:09 pm

Belschaft wrote:Good writing, but utter contempt for factual accuracy.

In other words, typical Unibot.

Which part(s) would that be.
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United RussoAsia
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Founded: Jan 22, 2015
Ex-Nation

Postby United RussoAsia » Thu Mar 05, 2015 6:33 pm

Almost all of it.
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Consular
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Founded: Apr 10, 2013
Democratic Socialists

Postby Consular » Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:27 pm

Pestarzt the Traveller wrote:It matters because it contextualizes the reasons behind the regional culture.

Indeed. Where Unibot sees mess or disorganisation, we see a system that has evolved naturally over years of experiences. TWP hasn't imposed a pointless strict constitution on itself because that would be fundamentally false to who we are as a region. Everything we have has grown organically rather than been shoved down our throats through wordy nonsensical laws.

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Bhang Bhang Duc
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Ex-Nation

Postby Bhang Bhang Duc » Fri Mar 06, 2015 1:30 am

Pestarzt the Traveller wrote:It matters because it contextualizes the reasons behind the regional culture.

Exactly! Plus the events I described took place over a three or four year period. Your article tries to paint TWP as being in a constant state of coup and counter-coup during this time, whereas the region had long periods of stable government.
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RiderSyl
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Founded: Jan 16, 2014
Mother Knows Best State

Postby RiderSyl » Fri Mar 06, 2015 1:44 am

Bhang Bhang Duc wrote:Your article tries to paint TWP as being in a constant state of coup and counter-coup during this time, whereas the region had long periods of stable government.


Factual inaccuracies in TRT? My goodness, next you'll be trying to convince us that there's snow in winter!
Last edited by RiderSyl on Fri Mar 06, 2015 1:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Corvus Corax
Chargé d'Affaires
 
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Founded: Aug 16, 2014
Ex-Nation

Postby Corvus Corax » Fri Mar 06, 2015 5:14 am

When you read The author's texts you can enjoy it only if you read them like a fantasy novels. Wizards, Dragons and Magic doesn't exist but if you imagine hardly you may get all these miraclous things living... In your mind.

I have no such kind Imagination. :(

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Todd McCloud
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Todd McCloud » Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:06 am

*reads the title* Whoah, you drew that? Nice
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Corvus Corax
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Founded: Aug 16, 2014
Ex-Nation

Postby Corvus Corax » Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:36 am

Todd McCloud wrote:*reads the title* Whoah, you drew that? Nice


Yes I draw that. It was my last finished work before addicting to this game. Fully. I can always link others works from the Internet for my loysy raid reports, but I can also subscribe my own loysy drawings with my own name.

Mikko Niemi a.k.a. Cora

PS. My Little Pony is currently under my control. Again. How hard it is make a region in NS, if places like The Rejected Realms can hold that high piles for The man, who cannot care less... and whom natural place would be on the Fields, not in the off-site cabinets.

Yes. It is personal, but it isn't that in bad way. He wastes his time just like I do with my own. I want just show him his natural place in this game. Nothing else.
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The Rejected Realms Media Corporation
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Founded: Jan 27, 2013
Father Knows Best State

PART ONE OF TWO

Postby The Rejected Realms Media Corporation » Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:12 pm

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Issue XXXIV | March 10, 2015


Index

Part One -

"Kryozerkia in Her Own Words," by Unibot.
"Security: You’re Doing It Wrong," by Unibot.
"There’s A New Speaker in Town And He’s Got A Lot To Do…"
"WALL Of Silence An Issue In TNP Elections," by Gruenberg.
"The Osiris-TRR Non-Aggression Pact Returns!"

Part Two -

"GA Regulars Wild About Late-Term Abortion," by Omigodtheykilledkenny.
"TRR Launches Tournament of Allies"
"Getting High Stats in NationStates," by Dr George.
"TSP Great Council Embraces Reform"
"Why Is The North Pacific The Largest GCR?," by Starrie.
"A Higher Standard of Gameplay," by Xoriet.




Kryozerkia in Her Own Words
INTERVIEW | UNIBOT, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Unibot interviews Kryozerkia, NS Moderator, on the invasion of her region and the administrative kerfuffle that followed...

Unibot: How did you come across the invasion of Zhaucauozian Friendship? What were your immediate thoughts when you saw it?

Kryozerkia: I received a "woe-is-me" whinier-than-four-wet-cats-in-a-burlap-sack telegram about meadows being violated and over-the-top dramatic proclamations about mangled daffodils from the region's delegate, Three Weasels. So, I decided to take my once in a blue moon glance at the region, wondering, "Wha...? What is the delegate on?". Once seeing it, I was perplexed because TW is obsessed with endorsements because insane IC-RP reasons. If you've seen their posts to the WA forum, you'll understand.

Unibot: There were mistakes made in how moderation was handled with regards to Zhaucauozian Friendship – how did these mistakes arise?

Kryozerkia: The obvious answer is, not seeking answers before acting. I hadn't had a coffee and was faced with a snivelly delegate. It was all "region first because reasons". Me no function good coffee without.

Unibot: NationStates operates with a very open and transparent moderation system, but does this transparency make moderation too difficult for moderators?

Kryozerkia: The only difficulty comes from people abusing the system. Especially when the person believes they're being persecuted because the response isn't the answer they want. This attitude spawns mod-shopping and frivolous requests for "second opinions". Aside from that, it's not terribly difficult. Having specific threads for "discussion" helps keep the reports focused and allows us to be efficient

Unibot: Some have brought up the issue of a lack of information – does the game fail to inform players enough about how our game mechanics work?

Kryozerkia: It has been noted as a weak spot, but is being addressed. Some excellent ideas are being refined at this time.

Unibot: You’ve moderated the World Assembly for some time; some have questioned the speed, prominence and most especially, the consistency of the secretariat in the General Assembly as of late (especially with regards to how legal questions are answered). Are these concerns valid, and if so, what can be done to improve the relationship between the secretariat and the General Assembly?

Kryozerkia: We used to be a smaller team. It was just Ard, NERV, and I who'd review the legality challenges, now we've got more input and more opinions. Mall, Mousebumples, and Sedge are regular contributors. We've got more hands on deck. As a result, there's greater discussion and analysis than before.

This is easily addressed with presenting rulings in a "single voice".

Unibot: What do you think are the big challenges that moderation are going to have face in the coming months?

Kryozerkia: It's difficult to say. There are always challenges. I can't say certainly either way. My crystal ball is in the shop.

Unibot: Thank you so much for your time, Kryo. If you’d like to say anything to your readers, feel free to make a final comment!

Kryozerkia: The bird is the word. *nods*

P.S.,

Image

This is one reason it took me a while to answer. Been taking care of this darling from the day she hatched. She's a month old now.




Security: You’re Doing It Wrong
How Regionalism Can Fail to Protect Regions
EDITORIAL | UNIBOT, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Unibot discusses how The South Pacific can learn from Operation Brave Little Toaster...

The article’s title is a bold statement – it suggests that what we consider to be good security policies and good institutional practices for maintaining a safe political environment are in fact misguided and may even perform badly. The argument that I will present to you is based on my observations as a long-time member in The South Pacific.

After the long, happy, if not quiet reign of Fudgetopia, The South Pacific has had the misfortune of undergoing two very public, very dramatic coups of their delegacy: first, Sedgistan and Crazygirl would coup The South Pacific in 2011, and more recently, Milograd would turn rogue in 2013. It became increasingly clear that the “Ministry of Security” was inadequate as a security institution – cabinet ministers would go inactive for long periods of time, leaving the region defenseless – and after the creation of the SPA, the Minister of Security’s attention was divided between building the army and keeping the region safe. Milograd and Belschaft would propose the creation of a “South Pacific Security Council” (later renamed the Committee for State Security) during March 2013; two years, six general elections and one coup later, the CSS (as it has come to be abbreviated as) is a beloved institution in The South Pacific – but does it live up to its praise? I’m not so certain.

Evil Wolf, in some private logs, writes “the easiest way to take TSP is by elections.” Belschaft seems to agree, especially when he spoke with Tsunamy in mid-2014 about “[bringing] reliable people into TSP over the next four months, ready for the next general election;” the logic here is, as Belschaft says: “we need to hold the Delegacy. It's that f----g simple.” He adds, noting to Cormac Stark, that “[he] wouldn't need many, just 2-3 trustworthy and reliable people from TEP, Balder, Osi,” to pursue such a process. Todd McCloud and Belschaft would organise what would be come to be known as Operation Brave Little Toaster. Leaked logs show Todd McCloud detailing how and in what ways votes would be imported into The South Pacific for the purposes of “liberating” it. For those with “multiple forum accounts” and whose IP addresses are well known, the so-called “cosmopolitans,” Todd McCloud’s instruction manual orders them to apply for citizenship in The South Pacific as their main account, appearing “slightly interested” in The South Pacific. For those whose IP addresses were less known, the so-called “regionalists,” Todd McCloud’s instruction manual orders them to apply for citizenship under a false account and pretend to be a “newbie” who is “new and curious” and naturally wishes to, as Todd McCloud puts it, "mingle" with others.

Operation Brave Little Toaster serves as a cautionary tale to all democratic regions that security isn’t just related to endorsements, or who has endorsements or who is a threat to the delegacy in terms of endorsements, but instead, that security has a political dimension – who obtains citizenship? Who is participating in the region? The political participation of some, this suggests, can be a threat to the security of the region and the fair and legitimate practice of democracy; regionalists have always assumed this, while cosmopolitanism has been leery to accept the idea of entryism (while also promoting diversity and open borders) but entryism is an objective fact and a problem that all regions need to address, because naturally, as Brave Little Toaster demonstrates, it is possible for a group to organise with the intent to insert themselves into the political fabric of an unsuspecting region and influence its legislative, executive and even, its judicial spheres of governance. We already know regionalism’s traditional response to entryism: close borders and entrust the leadership and the security of the region with “trusted” and “loyal” members, who maintain a World Assembly account in the region and represent the cultural, social and political majority of the region. I would suggest, however, that regionalism’s practices can fail to protect regions and a distinctly cosmopolitan solution may be needed to prevent entryism.

It would have been simple enough for me to have ended this article a paragraph ago, and instead have argued that the Committee for State Security had just been staffed by the wrong people – that its membership reflected the traditional political order and they had vested interests in maintaining a particular political environment which personally outweighed their commitment to maintaining The South Pacific's constitutional commitment to democratic practice. To some extent, this is true: Belschaft was privately running an operation to manipulate The South Pacific’s elections, while simultaneously holding membership in the Committee for State Security. According to Belschaft, he approached two other members of the Committee for State Security about Brave Little Toaster; one of those members was Tsunamy and the other has never identified themselves (a concern in and of itself). Neither of those members reported Belschaft’s plans to the other members of the Committee for State and Security.

Sheer untrustworthiness, however, is not the major problem here though; I wouldn’t argue that the Committee for State Security failed to protect the region from Brave Little Toaster because its members were all corrupt, seedy types. In the case of Brave Little Toaster, I believe the Committee for State Security's failure may have been its ignorance. I’m not sure that the other members of the Committee for State Security understood, recognised or appreciated the fact that what Belschaft was planning to do was wrong and threatened the security of The South Pacific. Tsunamy himself is a self-described “regionalist,” who very strongly believes that putting The South Pacific first amongst one’s priorities is of the utmost importance and even he didn’t appear to be phased, in his leaked conversation with Belschaft, that Belschaft intended to bring in “reliable people” from The East Pacific, Balder and Osiris. You would think that that would have rung warning bells for Tsumany to hear that political outsiders were being contracted to join The South Pacific and vote in The South Pacific’s elections. After all, what interests would The East Pacific, Osiris and Balder have in the political order in The South Pacific that couldn’t be considered outsider influence?

On the contrary, I believe the Committee for State Security was naïve, it trusted the wrong people and, more importantly, that this is a chronic problem with the Committee for State Security: it regularly trusts the wrong people and doesn’t know who to trust and who not to trust. This puts the Committee at a strategic disadvantage because while they find it difficult to ascertain who they can trust and who they cannot, those who intend to disrupt the political order in The South Pacific do have trusted political contacts and know who they can trust with their plans (barring Cormac Stark); for example, Belschaft made a strategic decision to approach particular members of the Committee of State Security and even commented to Tsunamy that Brutland and Norden and Aramanchovia (other committee members) would uncritically support the executive and its use of the law. When you know little about those who you can’t trust and those you can’t trust know a lot about you, you are naturally at a major disadvantage. Knowledge is therefore key to regional security.

Regionalism in the case of The South Pacific has failed to value outsider knowledge and that’s where, I would argue, the Committee for State Security has failed to protect The South Pacific. Regionalism suggests rather naively that the primary way to protect a region is to maintain a political order where the in-group is trusted, socially-integrated members and everyone else is excluded as a outgroup – what we find over time then is that members who solely maintain membership in said region are more likely to be appointed and elected into executive positions and the security apparatus. The result of these regionalist policies is that experience abroad is dismissed locally as irrelevant and even characterised as an undesirable characteristic for public officials. Thus, in the case of the Committee for State Security, appointments have favoured residents who have mostly maintained their political career to The South Pacific and therefore have little knowledge of players abroad and thus have few experiences to draw on to make better judgements which impedes on their ability to ascertain whether particular players may or may not be engaging in entryism against their region. Regionalists native to a region may not understand how entryism works, they may try to judge the trustworthiness of players based on their likability instead of their history and they often resent the accusation that they are out of touch with gameplay and consider this an “elitist” intrusion on their better, local judgement. Giving value to outside knowledge, after all, can shift power to others beside themselves and not everyone is comfortable with making this shift.

What I suggest is a uniquely cosmopolitan solution to entryism: smart power. The simple notion that information is vital to a region’s security which in turn means valuing outsider experience with others as an asset to a security apparatus, instead of considering outsider experience as “dirty” or “dubious”. This means a security apparatus should not simply be a project between those who solely have experience with their region alone, but should instead include voices of those with experience abroad. By expanding the category of “those a region can trust” beyond the regionalist definition to include those with an extremely valuable wealth of information regarding NationStates, a cosmopolitan security apparatus would be able to determine who is potentially an entryist and selectively, and judiciously reject those applicants from the region.

Not every regionalist community is plagued with the same security problems as The South Pacific, however; as we can see in the case of Balder, where the regionalist structure is only a convenient political order to protect support for its elites –in all reality, its elites are as cosmopolitan as anyone and therefore, their executives are keenly aware of who they can trust and who they cannot– North-East Somerset, in particular serves as head of intelligence for most of the imperialist world and therefore comes as a huge asset for Balder. Likewise, The North Pacific has often trusted well informed gameplayers like Eluvatar and McMasterdonia with membership in their security council and The East Pacific’s citizens are widely integrated with the rest of NationStates through social media and therefore, may be in a better position to make these kinds of discretionary judgements on players and their trustworthiness than The South Pacific’s local elites. In the future, I hope that the Committee of State Security and The South Pacific’s governing security apparatus can be improved in a way that takes the assets of its players and uses them to protect the region, instead of considering outside experience as simply a reason to distrust players. To do so, I think, involves embracing this cosmopolitian notion of smart power, as I have argued it here; an appreciation for information on the rest of NationStates and the value of cosmopolitian knowledge.




There’s A New Speaker in Town And He’s Got A Lot To Do…
TRR pursues constitutional reform.
COMMENTARY | TRR STAFF

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"It's fantastic to be back in the Speakership after almost four years," writes Guy.

Guy was recently elected speaker in The Rejected Realms, 5-3, against the incumbent, Opressed Ones. Although Opressed Ones was a relatively popular speaker, Guy convinced voters to trust the speakership once more with his leadership. It’s expected that Opressed Ones may contest a seat in The Rejected Realms’ cabinet with the upcoming general elections in April; after all, Opressed Ones did receive an approval rating of 81.8% during the Office of Human Resources’ midterm polling which suggests that the public was widely supportive of his efforts.

Guy has already implemented one of his campaign promises: new official threads for statements to the delegate and to the speaker – threads where assembly-goers can ask questions to the delegate in a manner not unlike Question Period (for those familiar with Westminister practices).

He was very enthusiastic to be working as speaker once more when The Rejected Times spoke with him earlier this week after his re-election…

“It's fantastic to be back in the Speakership after almost four years, and I keenly look forward to serving the region in this capacity again,” writes Guy. “Many changes and improvements to how the Assembly runs have already been made, with the focus being on going about the Speakership in a consultative approach -- making sure that citizens feel like they have a say in the running of their Assembly. I'd like to thank those who have placed their confidence in me; and I wish all the best to Opressed Ones, who has been a great Speaker -- the region still has a lot to benefit from his contributions.”

The first major task for the new speaker, along with negotiating the passage of the recent Regional Message Board (which established what is and what is not a legal use of the suppression feature) has been, of course, the long awaited constitution reform which was introduced by Unibot and is expected to run all month long, in part to celebrate Constitution Day (March 17) and the fundamental role that the constitution plays in the region.

“What is incredible to me is just how right our founders got it when they first drafted the constitution,” adds Unibot, Delegate of The Rejected Realms in a recent member statement, “and thus it comes with not only great honour and privilege, but great difficulty to embark on a mission to improve on what has been a remarkable success.”

The constitutional reform is focused on four broad areas: (1) creating term lengths and reforming the citizenship council to ensure its membership does not stagnate, (2) establishing a bill of rights and freedoms, (3) creating fixed term lengths to bring some stability and consistency to the position of speaker, which currently serves until their resignation, inactivity or they are successfully challenged by another reject, and (4) the constitutional reform is also concerned with incorporating some of The Rejected Realms’ values on regional sovereignty and self-determination into the constitution. Phew! What a mouthful that was.




WALL Of Silence An Issue In TNP Elections
COMMENTARY | GRUENBERG, SENIOR REPORTER

The complete inactivity of the World Assembly Legislative League (WALL) has once again come into focus during the special elections in The North Pacific, the largest regional member of the organization that also counts Europeia, Balder and the International Democratic Union as signatories. The Democratic Republic of Tomb, winner of the election to replace McMasterdonia as delegate, admitted in his campaign platform that there "hasn't been much success" from WALL since it was constituted six months ago in September 2014, and pledged to promote it and work in consultation with the other delegates involved to raise activity levels.

WALL has achieved absolutely nothing since its inception, with no WA proposal progressing to vote from its drafting chamber, no coordinated campaigning efforts, and no joint Dispatches issued. Europeian delegate Mousebumples has posted an unfinished course of her "WA101" series of confused politicised sermonising, but did not get beyond Lesson 3 after seeing increasingly minimal response. And despite being presumably concerned with "Legislative" matters - though any actual statement of even general aims has thus far escaped the organization - WALL has failed to come up with a position on so much as one single resolution since it was formed.

Given that WALL's purpose and mandate remains totally unclear, that its chief architect (former TNP delegate HMS Unicorn) is on sabbatical from the game, and that such pan-regional pacts have never typically been successful in the history of the WA, Tomb's pledge to turn around the supertanker appears optimistic, but it is also unlikely to be an election pledge that will be of much consequence in a region that, despite an immense supporting cast of Ministers and Deputy Ministers for WA Affairs, gives the WA little consideration.




The Osiris-TRR Non-Aggression Pact Returns!
COMMENTARY | TRR STAFF

Image

Osiris and The Rejected Realms have returned to a state of non-aggression with their mutual ratification of the “Non-Aggression Pact between Osiris and The Rejected Realms.”

Sound familiar? You’re not suffering from déjà vu, don’t worry. A septemberish haze had fallen over the sinkers last year when Pharaoh Cormac Stark declared that Osiris intended to close its relations with The Rejected Realms in response to the latter’s attendance to the Lazarene Regional Sovereignty Conference. The decision to repeal the Non-Aggression Pact remarkably came only a hundred and seventeen days after it came into force; but nevertheless, the repeal, titled, “Termination of Relations with The Rejected Realms Act,” would pass smoothly 10-2 in the Deshret, ending relations for the meantime between Osiris and The Rejected Realms.

Pharaoh Tim Stark, however, has been keen to seek a rapprochement with regions whose relations with Osiris were cancelled during the Osiran-Lazarene War – all a part of a pledge of his administration to turn a new diplomatic leaf for Osiris and bring some stability and credibility to its diplomacy abroad.

“I'm pretty excited to see this Non-Aggression Pact once again in place,” Tim tells The Rejected Times over a good match of chess (Tim won). “I think it really marks the culmination of the efforts to repair Osiran Foreign Affairs after the Osiris-Lazarus Kerfuffle, and am of the belief that it'll be of benefit to both signatories involve.”

The new non-aggression pact uses a similar text as the old, discarded non-aggression pact – in fact, most of its clauses were used verbatim. The clauses guarantee that both regions will recognise the legitimacy of each other’s constitution, in addition to their laws and their duly-elected government “thereto” (an aside: only in government literature would a human being elect to use the word, “thereto”). The document also requires the governments to respect each other’s rule over their respective homelands, while refraining from couping one another’s region or supporting third parties to accomplish the same thereto (see?). One addition to the new agreement’s language, however, is a clause that requires the agreement to remain in force for at least six months after its signing to ensure the agreement is more permanent diplomatic fixture.

The Non-Aggression Pact passes 9-3 in The Rejected Realms and 8-5 in Osiris.
Last edited by The Rejected Realms Media Corporation on Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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The Rejected Realms Media Corporation
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Founded: Jan 27, 2013
Father Knows Best State

PART TWO

Postby The Rejected Realms Media Corporation » Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:14 pm




GA Regulars Wild About Late-Term Abortion
"Reproductive Freedoms" named Best Resolution of 2014
COMMENTARY | OMIGODTHEYKILLEDKENNY, EDITORIAL ASSISTANT.

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To virtually no one's surprise, Reproductive Freedoms stole the crown for Best (GA) Resolution of 2014 this week, besting its nearest rival by nine votes. (And before readers scoff that nine votes ain't that much, only 55 votes were cast, meaning RF had a 47%-31% lead.)

The Best Resolution of the Year is an annual tradition in the General Assembly, where forum voters narrow down all resolutions passed in the previous year to just ten finalists, and from those determine which was the best of the bunch. Last year, the honor went to Repeal "Protection of Outer Space Act" -- and the prize must have involved a substantial cash payout, since the author of said repeal was never heard from again.

This time around, Reproductive Freedoms easily outpolled all other resolutions in the first rounds of voting, making the final round little more than a formality. The abortion-rights mandate, adopted last February, has proved enormously popular over the past year, with the General Assembly slaughtering two repeals in 2014, both by nearly 3-to-1 margins. Yet it's been skewered by critics who claim it is an across-the-board legalization of any kind of abortion, including late-term or forced abortions. Even moderates such as The Dark Star Republic (aka Gruenberg) have chided co-author Mousebumples for claiming to be a sovereigntist while at the same time supporting such an extreme pro-abortion bill. However, RF proponents argue that the resolution is a benchmark for women's rights, adding that critics shouldn't fuss about it so much, since it never specifically mentions "abortion," and that its allowances for "termination of pregnancy" could mean anything that ends a pregnancy, including a live birth (which deems the resolution a bit self-defeating, really, but there it is).

In second place was Mousebumples' Repeal "International Criminal Court", which was a favorite among sovereigntists who thought the ICC gave the WA too much power, despite protests from (once again) Gruenberg, who mocked the author for allegedly making sketchy claims in her repeal. (Seriously, guys, get a room!) The repeal turned out to be the go-to choice for those who wanted RF to fail, as several voters switched their votes to the ICC repeal in final few days of polling. Repeal "International Criminal Court" was just three votes behind RF before the latter experienced a sudden late surge and ended up trouncing all others. (However, as Mousebumples also co-authored RF, it would have been a win for her either way; she must have been celebrating that fact pretty hard on Sunday night, since she forgot to "stomp" the resolution that came to vote the next morning.)

In a (very distant) third place was Rules of Surrender by Separatist Peoples, which logged just four votes. The rest of the finalists never got more than two.

Regrettably, the winning author ceased to exist before the contest began, so the traditional "21 ACME-Deweaponizer™-Nullified-Gun Salute" in her honor had to be dispensed with, as did the "21 Defenestrated-Diplomat Salute," the "21 Flying-Pie Salute" and the "Paddling of the Swollen Ass with Paddles Salute" that typically follow.

Secretary-General Catherine Gratwick issued a statement thanking all those who participated in the polling and discussion for the contest, before cackling evilly and flying off on her broom, with a phalanx of Flying Monkeys in tow.




TRR Launches Tournament of Allies
Competitive Rock, Paper, Scissors Returns!
COMMENTARY | TRR NEWS

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"What will you choose?"

It was only last year when The Rejected Realms’ leadership considered the possibility of using simultaneous regional polls as a way in which regions could compete one with another in an interactive, dynamic and cooperative match of rock, paper, scissors. This month, The Rejected Realms has brought “Competitive Rock, Paper, Scissors,” back, due to popular demand – but with a twist: all of The Rejected Realms’ treatied allies have been included in what has come to be called the “Tournament of Allies.” Participants in tournament include The South Pacific, The Independent Order, Capitalist Paradise, Lazarus, Taijitu, Wintreath, International Northwestern Union, The Coalition of Democratic Nations and, of course, The Rejected Realms.

“It had to be brought, didn’t it, yeah?” jokes Unibot. “It was a wild success last year and I always intended to bring it back and on a much bigger scale. I love how different regions develop cultures around the sport. Rejects scream ‘REJECTS UNITE’ and debate strategy on the Regional Message Board. Capitalists over at Capitalist Paradise are particularly shrewd about their strategies. Plus, Coalition of Democratic Nations’s Komminland came up with an entire literature on how to best prepare the region for the match. Utterly brilliant!”

Thus far, the frontrunners for the tournament are Capitalist Paradise, Wintreath, International Northwestern Union and The Rejected Realms. Matches have been anything but dull. The Rejected Realms defeated The Coalition of Democratic Nations in what can only be said was an act of godly intervention – a quick switch by one voter within the final moments of voting. The Capitalist Paradise–Taijitu match too proved to be very dramatic with Taijitu’s polls tying, while a last minute switch protected Capitalist Paradise from also suffering from a tie – without a tie, Capitalist Paradise may have lost against Taijitu, which demonstrates the danger of building support for different options without coordinating the final moments of voting where one erring vote can tie the poll.

Currently, Capitalist Paradise and Wintreath are going head-to-head and that match is expected to close in an hour. Capitalist Paradise is currently supporting paper with a wide margin, while Wintreath is playing it close, with its support for ‘rock’ and ‘scissors’ tied. The match between International Northwestern Union and The Rejected Realms, however, is expected to close tomorrow – current voting suggests the conclusion will be tight with both sides keeping their options relatively tight, albeit with more staggering in the case of International Northwestern Union.




Getting High Stats in NationStates
FEATURE | DR GEORGE

Our resident issue guru discusses the secrets of getting high in-game stats...

Let me assume for the purposes of this article that you want to max out your Civil Rights, Economy, and Political Freedoms. The usual governmental form for (H, H, H) nations is Anarchy--more on that in just a sec. You really can get all three categories to 100% at the same time. I dare say it's impossible to keep them at 100% if you continue to answer issues unless you are EXTREMELY careful in the selection of what issues you choose to answer. I've achieved (100, 100, 100) a few times in my 10+ years of game play. If you stop answering issues, they will stay that way (unless you are in the WA), but you will fall behind nations in your peer group since you are frozen in time. I've left one nation of mine at (100, 100, 100) (and zero taxes to boot!) just to show people it CAN be done. Check out that nation, Haunted Roller Coaster.

Economy

Economy is the easiest category in which to achieve 100%. You would think that if you answered issues completely at random that you would, over the long term, be an Inoffensive Centrist Democracy (M, M, M), but that is apparently not the case. One of my best friends in NS creates "bot" scripts that can be programmed to answer issues in any way you could think to program them. He has stated that bots programmed to answer issues randomly will eventually end up with Frightening (highest level) Economies; the game has a bias towards increasing wealth. That doesn't mean that you can always answer economic issues as you please and you'll still end up with a Frightening Economy, however.

In NS, the meat and drink of Economy is deregulation, letting businesses do as they please. If you consistently deregulate the various industries of your Economy, it will grow very quickly and your tax rate will tend to go down as the government needs to take less and less from the Economy as a proportion of its earning to fund a government that isn't growing. If your government grows faster than your Economy, your taxes will rise. The issue for you is how far you are willing to deregulate? Are you willing to abolish minimum wage? are you OK with allowing slavery? will you practice unrestrained imminent domain and seize the property of landowners to built highways and the like? are you going to let your population eat your national animal? will you permit blood sports for the entertainment of your people? are you going to let furriers carry exotic or even endangered animals as part of their inventories? will you appoint a pro-business judge to your Supreme Court? will you allow businesses to fire strikers/"troublemakers" on the spot? will you bulldoze your rain forests in order to mine the uranium underneath? will you allow your industries to dump toxic waste just about anywhere? are you willing to practice "corporate welfare" and give industries free money from the government? These are all economic issues (most of them have other implications, too). The more and more of these and parallel issues you answer in the affirmative, the faster your economy will grow.

Keep in mind that your Economy (what is shown) is not the same as Economic Freedom, which can be intuited from your form of government. I have (rarely) seen Anarchies (H, H, H) with Imploded (worst) Economies. Those nations have terrible Economies, but they allow their citizens full access to what they have. I have also seen the occasional Psychotic Dictatorship (L, L, L) with Frightening (best) Economies. These nations have terrific economies, but allow their citizens little or no access to it. With the Rift theme, you can now directly view the size of your Economy, which may be billions of your units of currency up to the quadrillions of your currency (expressed as thousands of trillions).

Civil Rights and Political Freedoms

Crs and Pfs are not identical but they tend to move up or down together. It is difficult (although not impossible) to have one high and the other low, hence you seldom see Iron Fist Consumerists (H, L, L) or Tyrannies by Majority (L, L, H), for instance. These freedoms are both involved with the extent you allow your citizens to disagree with you, the government. CRs tend to focus more on what you allow people to do to their own bodies, while PFs tend to be how much you permit individuals freely to vote and make decisions for themselves. Some stereotypical CRs issues include allowing citizens to smoke pot, allowing cannibalism, allowing gay marriage (and gay rights generally), permitting people to wander around naked or go to school in their pyjamas, and many more. Most of these positively impact PFs as well, to different degrees. Note, too, that NS often interprets support for police/military/spies to be anti-CRs, and cutting support for police/military/spies often raises CRs. The very first issue you answered, 000 Should Voting Be Voluntary?, is a PF issue; option 1, keeping it voluntary, is the high freedom option, option 2, making it compulsory, is a medium-low freedom option, and option 3, outlawing voting, is the low freedom option. If you are a democracy, expect to be deluged with issues allowing you to outlaw voting or making yourself the Evil Overlord for Life or becoming the deity of your nation. If you are a dictatorship, expect regular petitions from your citizens for Not So Much Dictatorship, Please and the like.

I view gun rights, religious rights, prisoner rights, freedom of the press, and freedom of speech as PF issues, although they have CR implications as well. For high PFs, allow your citizens to carry concealed weapons, don't tax religions, treat your prisoners with respect or even consider abolishing jails, allow complete freedom of speech, and do not interfere with freedom of the press. Wait, gun rights are HIGH freedom??? Yes, they are, even if in many countries their fiercest advocates would gladly curtail other freedoms. High freedoms don't necessarily correspond to contemporary notions of liberal vs. conservative, remember it's the tolerance for people to disagree with you (assuming you think having guns is bad). Religion is more tricky: you don't want to tax religious institutions, declare any religion your official one, and more, but you also don't want to go along with vile religions like Violetism, which would have you slaughter your firstborns on live TV, sacrifice homeless people, and the like.

Prisons

An important measure of real life freedom in a given country is how it treats its prisoners. If they are used as slave labor, used for involuntary blood donations, or summarily executed, you know that country is a low freedom one, and so it is with NS. But to achieve the highest levels of Political Freedoms and Civil Rights, you will probably have to abolish prisons, de facto abolish your criminal code, and disband your police. Virtually all Anarchies with Frightening CRs and Corrupted PFs have crippling crime rates (under the old measurement) or "it is unusual to find someone actually obeying the law" under Rift.

One time I took one of my Corporate Police States (L, H, L) and decided to shoot for highest CRs and PFs, which I was able to do with some effort. For a brief while, I retained the lack of crime from my CPS days even with Anarchic freedoms, but as the CRs and PFs began to sink into my national structure, I soon developed a crime problem and before long it was crippling. As I returned it to its former status as a CPS, especially as my CRs dropped, so did my crime rate. This nation, Dr George, used to be nearly unique in NS: under the former system, I was able to have Excessive or World Benchmark CRs and PFs, a Frightening Economy, no crime, no taxes and a decent environment. With the recent refactoring (see my previous article), that is no longer the case, so for the first time in years, Dr George is answering issues again. It seems unlikely that I'll be able to obtain all of my previous goals, but I want to try.

Final Notes

If you are still having difficulty understanding the issues and how to answer them, you may find it useful to follow the practices of a RL high freedoms nation, say, Sweden (which I would classify as a Civil Rights Lovefest (H, M, H) from the POV of NationStates, even though NS's Scandinavian Liberal Paradise (H, L, M) has a somewhat different take on the Scandinavian countries. Likewise, for low freedoms, you might pick a RL low freedoms country, say, Saudi Arabia.

NS now takes into account the freedoms of a nation in evaluating the impact of these choices. The same answer will not necessarily have the same impact on two different nations. Back to our old friend 000, Should voting be compulsory: the high freedom choice, #1, letting voting remain voluntary will likely have a serious impact on a nation that had previously stripped the franchise from its citizens (especially if it is a relatively new nation), while that same choice may have little or apparently none on a very high freedom nation (especially if it is an older nation). I find it especially frustrating when answering an issue that previously had one effect but subsequently had a very different effect.

For some issues, every choice enhances the economy or one or both Crs and Pfs. Others will degrade at least one of the categories with every choice. Most issues will offer a high choice, a low choice, and one or more compromise choices. Don't hesitate to use the Dismiss button if the issue is poorly written with likely unpredictable results or if none of the options raises at least one of the three categories.

Sometimes the issues will try to entice you away from the high choice by making its spokesperson a "village idiot" or otherwise seem unappealing. Other issues will hold clue words that tend to go along with enhancing or degrading the three categories. For the most part, if an answer to an issue characterizes it as "nature's way," that likely will enhance one or more of the three. "Ban," "outlaw," "reign in," "make," etc., tend to mark issues that will make one or more of the three fall.

If you are new to the game, you may want to create a second nation, called a "puppet," "clone," or "multy," to test the outcomes of issues, while being more judicious in answering issues for your main nation. Keep in mind that most issues can be undone by successive issues, with one exception: if you decide to eat your national animal, as of this writing, you will never again have that animal frolicking in your forests/skies/seas again, even if you later reverse that decision and outlaw eating that animal, no matter how good your environment is. I am hopeful this will change in the near future as I consider it to be a defect in the game.




TSP Great Council Embraces Reform
COMMENTARY | TRR NEWS

The 2015 Great Council in The South Pacific has closed – a rite of passage for some, a festival of legislative fun and folly for others – the Great Councils are opportunities for The South Pacific to consider brave new sweeping reforms to its Charter and Code of Laws. While the Great Council was expected to run through January only, organisers decided to extend the Great Council into February to permit more discussion time on the various topics, some of which proved controversial, if not heated.

Initially, the focus of the Great Council had been to pursue one of the Tsunamy administration’s major campaign promises: to better bridge the participation gap between the forum and the regional communities in The South Pacific. Tsunamy himself proposed two different proposals to establish a “bicameral” legislature where one Assembly voted in-game via regional polls and the other Assembly voted on the forum – nearing the end of the Great Council, however, the field of “bicameral” proposals under consideration narrowed down to two competing proposals. Hopolis’s compromise bill, the most popular of the bicameral proposals, sought to establish a new Assembly based in-game using regional polls, while Glen-Rhodes’s “Minister of Regional Affairs” proposal created a new ministerial position tasked with the role of bridging the gap between the forum and regional communities.

Ultimately, however, both proposals failed to reach the steep supermajority (75%) required for passage – Glen-Rhodes’s proposal rivaling “Commend Glen-Rhodes” in terms of drama with its razor-thin 0.93% loss. Critics of bicameralism argued Hopolis’s bill was too drastic of a change, while supporters of bicameralism argued Glen-Rhodes’s bill did not go far enough and some questioned the legitimate role that such a “minister” would play in The South Pacific. Don’t panic however! The South Pacific would later agree on a compromise between both parties which in some senses melded both proposals together in true southern consensus-building fashion. The newly created “Local Council,” a three person board, will be elected by residents in The South Pacific and assist the government in forging a stronger relationship between the region and the forum-based government.

While the subject of bicameralism proved divisive, voters did come together in the Great Council to support a number of reforms: the Bill of Rights was amended to expand upon the Freedom of Speech, while the old prohibition against court justices joining political parties was removed. Furthermore, procedures for future Great Councils (which normally prove to be “wild wild west” affairs) were codified, declassification provisions were expanded, and a rather hilarious ancient loophole was closed to ensure the Coalition could not be surrendered.

However no topic, not even bicameralism, proved to be as fractionalizing as the subject of the South Pacific Special Forces (SPSF), The South Pacific’s army, whose failure to attract new members and consider new reform ideas left critics suggesting that perhaps it was time to retire the army altogether?

The debate would rage on with critics of the army arguing that there were systemic failures in how the army was set-up – measures to improve the army included building a code of conduct to restrict the army from regional griefing, restructuring the leadership of the army away from being an elected position, and demilitarising the army altogether, so that The South Pacific could focus on cultural and political affairs. Sympathisers and supporters of the army argued that the current failings of the army were less systemic and were simply the result of poor leadership and lack of recruitment. While the debate continued, QuietDad would resign as SPSF General and CrimsonTideFan would be recalled from his position as Minister of the Army for inactivity – leaving the SPSF with only two active members. Several proposals for reforming for the army were considered but none would succeed, barring the later success of an amendment which required the Assembly to generate a mid-term report on the continuing development of the army to suggest reform ideas and a plan of action.

What did The South Pacific’s delegate think of the Great Council, however? The Rejected Times did get to speak with him early this week when the subject was broached. While not a win for bicameralism, the council proved to be success for democracy and that in and of itself is an accomplishment to laud, Tsunamy argues.

“While the Great Council didn't achieve all of the goals I had hoped for, anytime the region can peacefully come together to discuss the major issues at hand is a win as far as I'm concerned,” writes Tsunamy. "Since the Great Council officially ended, we've already had another proposal floated that would help drive activity and government to the in-game region and I'm excited for the possibility." He adds, enthusiastically, "I hope that both the feeling of inclusivity and added government activity remain long after these discussions have died down.”




Why Is The North Pacific The Largest GCR?
FEATURE | STARRIE, SENIOR JOURNALIST

Starrie, our resident stat's guru asks the question of what makes The North Pacific, the largest Game-Created Region...

For the past few years, the population of The North Pacific has grown over other feeders:

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(date on x, number of nations on y)

Some interesting seasonal variations in population are apparent in this graph -- a dip near August, higher activity from October to June. However, it is clear that TNP is the largest feeder. This difference in population is made more readily available when we graph the number of nations in each feeder as a proportion of total feeder population.

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(date on x, proportion on y)

Since early 2011, the population of TNP has risen from 20% to around 22.5%.
Note the two spikes in TSP's population -- they correspond to puppets moving in and Milograd's coup.

If we look at just the WA nations in feeders, the disparity is even greater.

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(date on x, number of WA nations on y)

Also note that seasonal variation in activity exerts less of an effect on WA nations.

The proportional plot shows that TNP has around a third of all the WA nations, although it started out with no more than the other feeders back in 2011. Remarkably, its WA population seems to be still increasing proportional to the other feeders.

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(date on x, proportion of WA nations on y)

There are virtually only 6 events which can change the number of nations or WA nations in a region.

1. A nation immigrates into a region
2. A nation emigrates from a region
3. A nation is created
4. A nation goes CTE
5. A nation is revived
6. A nation changes its WA status

Notice that all nations revived and moved into a feeder are technically immigrants since they immigrated from sinker. However, we'll count them as revived nations rather than immigrants if they move into said sinker within a day.

Because the following graphs would be unreadable otherwise, they all show 100-day simple moving averages. Also note that data near the start of the graphs may be inaccurate due to missing data.

Due to the sheer number of graphs I've opted to show only the interesting ones -- the full collection can be found here

Here is a graph of the frequencies of these events in TNP. Created nations and CTE nations account for the vast majority of changes in population. Unsurprisingly, there are about three times as many immigrants as emigrants.

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The "internal" label refers to event 6. Obviously this event type does not influence total nation count and so is 0.
The proportional version of the same graph

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The rest of the feeders display pretty much the same characteristics, albeit with less stability.

This is a plot of the proportion of created nations from each region:

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Since nations are randomly spawned, as expected, each feeder has about a 20% share. Note that nations which are created and leave within a day are not counted, hence the visible anomalies. Therefore, this graph shows the ability of each region to retain newborn nations. TNP barely edges out other feeders like TP. However, since nation creation is such frequent event, even a slight advantage in retention adds up.

Since TNP has the most nations, it is unsurpising that it also has the highest rate of CTE -- about 80 events per day.
However, TNP's rate of CTE is actually disproportionately small compared to other feeders when you take its size into account -- it has 22.5% of the population, but only around 21% of CTEs.

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Also expected, TNP suffers from slightly elevated levels of emigrating nations. However, the level of emigration is still disproportionately small -- only 21.5% of emigrants leave from TNP.

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In recent months, TNP has reduced emigration even further.

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Perhaps the majority of TNP's population increase really results from revived nations and immigrants.

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Almost 40% of immigrants travel to TNP. Given how close the immigration rates of the other feeders are, this is surely not an accident.

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The number of nations which revive and return to TNP is similarly impressive, but due to the fact that this caterogy accounts for only a small fraction of nations, the effect is slight.

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When we only look at WA nations, the results are similar, but even more pronounced.

In TNP, immigration, creation, and internal changes produce about the same amount of WA nations. Note how losses from emigration closely match gains from immigration.

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By contrast all other feeders have a lower proportion of immigrating WA nations and lose a larger fraction to emigration.

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Interestingly, all graphs show internal changes in WA membership dropping around the start of 2013, and created WA nations rising at the same time. This suggests something which caused newly created nations to join the WA much sooner than they had previously.

Nations created in TNP (and lately, TP) are more likely to become a member of WA immediately as they join. Since the effect of newly created nations on the WA population is less significant compared to newly created nations on the total population, the effect is not as great, but still present.

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But correspondingly, a larger fraction of WA nations leave TNP, and this gap has grown. Still, consider the fact that over a third of feeder WA nations are in TNP, but it's rate of CTE is only around 28%.

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In addition, TNP takes in nearly half of all immigrating WA nations, a stunningly large fraction.

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And nearly half of revived WA nations too (though this contributes a negligible amount).

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Nations change their WA status within TNP -- these internal changes account for a sizable fraction of change in WA population. TNP nearly comes out on top again. However, note that graph counts internal changes, and not internal changes per capita.

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We can probably conclude that TNP's large population comes from its ability to retain new nations, its low emigration rates, and especially its immigration rates. Immigration is also largely responsible for TNP's WA population. And TNP's large population acts as a pool from which even more WA nations can be created.

So where exactly are TNP's immigrants coming from?

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A perfunctory glance seems to reveal that Balder, TP and TRR seem to be the most prominent sources.

But if we look at a proportional version of this chart, it seems that TNP isn't remarkable. Emigrants from Balder, TP, and TRR go elsewhere too. TNP is neither the most diverse feeder (TSP), nor the least diverse (TP). There are no outliers in sight.

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So it remains to be answered why TNP is such a popular destination. Perhaps it's a feedback loop, a large region attracting more and more nations. Or perhaps it's something less quantifiable, the government, culture, and life in The North Pacific.




A Higher Standard of Gameplay
OPINION | XORIET, GUEST COLUMNIST

Xoriet, former delegate of The East Pacific, argues where the "line" ought to be drawn between real life and in-game politics...

NationStates has long been home to an array of different players, the diversity of which creates a broad miscellany of individuals. The methods employed when playing are entirely dependent on the personality or motives of the individual in question, which further contributes to an overall atmosphere centered on the truth of change. There is no definitive foresight which envisages the twists and turns of the game. Gameplay is a specific personification of this actuality, as it is home to one of the more volatile communities. “Community” is not precisely the proper term in, as the term “community” inherently implies that there is a capacity to realize that some acts are inexcusable and cruel, which cannot be passed off as a joke, or excused by the identity of the person who has violated a specific line of acceptability.

Recently I have regrettably come to the conclusion that “community” is not a term that I can honestly attribute to describe the occasional attitude towards certain subjects. What brought this change of view on was the witnessing of repeated mingling of real life issues with in character people in political or personal attacks. To use sensitive private circumstances as a tool solely for radical discrediting and character assassination in any context is something so utterly inappropriate that there is no acceptable way to validate it. To then laugh it off as unobjectionable is perhaps even more devastating than the betrayal of a truly harsh reality. Topics that have been broached in the past and present, whether in posts or in articles which fit this category include: mental illness, sexual harassment, emotional abuse, and suicide.

Mental illness in particular is a subject which is invoked by many to describe another player. In a way, this is the most insensitive of the three aforementioned examples of what should be eschewed rather than utilized. Mental illness is something that affects many. It can be either a lifelong or recent disorder. Either way, it is one of the most unpleasant things a person can struggle with. To see terms such as “insane” “bipolar” “OCD” ‘schizophrenic” “retarded” used in an attack on another so very casually is distressing to those individuals whose lives have been torn apart by the onset or lifelong affliction of mental illness. Whether you think of it or not at the time, you aren’t just insulting the target of your jibe – you are essentially informing every person who suffers from mental illness by insinuating that they are less than human and utterly uncreditable simply because they have a disorder they did not ask for and cannot help. It is not in any way appropriate to believe that insinuating one person’s temper or erratic behavior is due to a mental disorder is not insulting every person who does genuinely and daily struggle from the adverse effects of the relational disorder.

Sexual harassment is a topic which so very often leaves irreversible scarring in a way that not even mental illness can compare to. The utter violation of one person by another is something which cannot be erased or forgotten, cannot be taken back. There is nothing that can take away the memory. Whether it happens in real life or over the internet, it is an experience which is never truly forgotten. Victims of sexual harassment and abuse as well as their friends and family who are also affected by their experience(s) can be either brought closer together or driven apart during difficult times in aftermath or in perpetuation of this appalling misuse. To use sensitive experiences such as this to attack others who had no involvement in the matter can be a deliberate character assassination. This in itself is a poor representation of victims of sexual abuse and might even raise the idea to potential or current abusers that it is perfectly fine if a victim can just “get over it like it was nothing so terrible, seeing as it is referenced so easily.” No literary device can possibly lessen the blow of an unwisely phrased mention of one of the cruelest things one person can do to another. Through misrepresentation, one is not bringing attention to ill treatment – it is an affront to other victims of the same and worse, and just as much to their friends and family who underwent the traumatic experience. There is no place on the forums in which sexual abuse is okay to reference to attack others who have not been part of the harassment in character.

Emotional abuse is yet another cruelty to use. Those who have suffered from emotional abuse gradually become withdrawn, antisocial, insecure, uncertain, helpless, and deeply unhappy. They may even become dependent on the person who has found it appropriate to use their power – misuse it, more accurately. They may be told that something is their fault which clearly isn’t, will likely be emotionally blackmailed, and certainly will be frequently told of their own uselessness. Again, to see this used as a character assassination is truly revolting. So many suffer from it, and so many will go down a dark and lonely path of isolation and misuse. As with mental illness and sexual abuse, years of therapy should one be so fortunate as to escape the cycle are required to recover even part of the person one was prior. Stating that one has emotionally abused another by saying nasty things publicly or privately? Sure, that may he hurtful in so many ways and is also not appropriate behavior. But the reality of acute emotional abuse and the resulting isolation and desolation of this time is far deeper and more destructive than most people realize. A few insults on the forum, even if they are unkind and insensitive, is not the least bit comparable to emotional abuse in relationships.

Last on the example list, we have suicide. Like both mental illness, sexual harassment, and emotional abuse – and potentially a byproduct of any of them –, suicide is a subject which touches on a truly tragic mindset. Suicide victims have chosen to give up their lives because they cannot fathom circumstances which seem hopeless or will harm others. There are people every day who choose to erase their lives because of hopelessness and despair. And yet it is implied, if not baldly stated, that another player should kill themselves to rid the community of their presence. This is more than an insult or a misrepresentation. Before you say it, perhaps it would be better to wonder what it would be like to have someone imply that you are worth nothing and are thus a loss. There is no greater heartbreak than knowing that a loved one felt such an acute despair that they chose death. The sheer magnitude of the viciousness involved in encouraging the belief that suicide is in any way beneficial is more appalling than any words I can summon can possibly express. To reveal the personal circumstances of another player who has admitted to it without their consent is equally cruel.

Knowing how deeply words can hurt others, perhaps it is time that people take a step back before they post content which suggests that mental disorders mean a person is worthy of contempt for something they cannot help, before they say that sexual harassment is okay to use in any context as long as a handful out of dozens can laugh it off, and before it is implied that violent actions which lead to the death of oneself is something that is okay to do. Aiming something at one person is never going to hit just the target. It will slap every person who suffers from it across the face and mock their circumstances without thought. Something that seems to be infrequently considered is that the person you are attacking politically with these circumstances is not a message from you to them. It is a message condoning, misrepresenting, marginalizing, and negatively encouraging circumstances which befall people and frequently disturb their lives. There are many things that can be used as an attack on others. And then there are things which are simply not acceptable when considering the many others out there who will see this attack and feel mocked.

I have, unfortunately, seen several distinctive examples of all of these being used over my last year in Gameplay, and it is by far the most noxious aspect of association between players. In the future, I recommend that such people consider the effect of mixing IRL and IC, and remember that there are people who suffer from what they so readily imply. Even if that person may have suffered from one of these themselves does not entitle them to use it to discredit another - especially falsely. Such behavior only adds insult to injury.

Consider the subject you are thinking about bringing up before you do so, and remember the truth of the circumstances which you may be about to type out. Remember the people who suffer from any of the above, and remember that they will not be amused or impressed by what you are posting. They will be hurt and they will be angry to see their circumstances so unkindly referenced and then considered acceptable to use untruly. A community may have disagreements, but they should not be so insensitive as to ignore the feelings of victims everywhere just to snipe one person or group they have issues with.

Perhaps the simplest way to amend the lack of community which can be felt from Gameplay at times is to improve the quality and content of posts, news services, and general methods of communication. There is little more disappointing in society anywhere than utter apathy and insensitivity to the general welfare of the environment and community.


Last edited by The Rejected Realms Media Corporation on Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Tim Stark
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Postby Tim Stark » Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:32 pm

Tim tells The Rejected Times over a good match of chess (Tim won)

I assure Gameplay that I did not play chess with that reporter. I would however, indeed, have won.

Also, brilliant article from Xoriet. Spot on with all of its observations and commentary.
Last edited by Tim Stark on Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Last edited by OnderKelkia's Polka Dance Team on Mon Jan 19, 2020 04:20 am, edited 3 times in total.


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PrussianEmpire
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Postby PrussianEmpire » Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:35 pm

Xoriet, you nailed it. You did one heck of a job.
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The contents of the above post represent the views of Exshaw, the Imperial Legion, the United Defenders League, the Founderless Regions Alliance, the New Inquisition, the Black Hawks, the North Pacific, the Alliance Defense Network, the Atlantic Central Command, Francos Spain, Dwight Eisenhower, and the 1998 New York Yankees.

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RiderSyl
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Postby RiderSyl » Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:39 pm

The first actual case of moderator abuse in recent memory, while not malicious, was incredibly serious. And... Kryo gets the softest interview ever. You even treated it like it was a slapstick comedy moment in a sitcom. "Oops, forgot me coffee!" "Oh, haha, whatevs!" The only serious question there was about the World Assembly's moderation, which had absolutely nothing to do with Kryo's mod abuse.

If I had a working printer right now, I would print this out and have lots of fun making it no longer look like printer paper. Basement bloggers do better. TMZ does better. My 6-year-old self did better. I have seen some pathetic displays by "media" in the past, but this takes the cake. I'm not even going to read the rest. I don't care if the meaning of life is answered in another one of these articles. That interview was such a stinking pile of wretched shit that nothing else could possibly redeem it.

I don't give a single fuck if I'm responding just like you want me to. Hey, mission accomplished. You did it, with a steaming pile of an interview. If that's your ammunition to rile somebody up, keep dipping your hands in the shit for me.

As for Kryo, I don't blame them for the content in the interview. They weren't in an interview, after all. They just were in a casual chat.
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Ramaeus
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Postby Ramaeus » Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:46 pm

A brilliant and accurate article by Xoriet. :clap:
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KaelThas Quilor
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Postby KaelThas Quilor » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:29 pm

Not every regionalist community is plagued with the same security problems as The South Pacific, however; as we can see in the case of Balder, where the regionalist structure is only a convenient political order to protect support for its elites –in all reality, its elites are as cosmopolitan as anyone and therefore, their executives are keenly aware of who they can trust and who they cannot– North-East Somerset, in particular serves as head of intelligence for most of the imperialist world and therefore comes as a huge asset for Balder.

That is a complete misrepresentation of 'regionalism'. Regionalists do not have to be in one region only - the issue at hand is how they see their activities in each region. As your own test talks about, its in part a question of seeing oneself as a citizen of NS first, then whatever region(s) they're in, or the regions their in, individually, and then NS (if they see themselves as citizens of NS at all).

The issue is how they act in each region - a higher ideal, transregionally, or the specific interests of each region. I'm a committed and avowed Imperialist. But in Europeia, I have never really pushed for an Imperialist agenda, not as a voter, a commentator, a senator, a GA, MoFA or even President. Imperialism would not suit Europeia or be in its interests. By contrast - I'm a big fan of Europeia's democracy. But I've never pushed for (or wanted) TNI to adopt a full democracy, because constitutional monarchy is core part of TNI's identity and history, as is its Imperialism - trying to get TNI to become an Independent Republic wouldn't be in TNI's interests, etc.

I don't commit myself to higher ideals transregionally. My Imperialism is a personal view, rather than a political agenda - it means regions I found have a sense of Imperialism to them (Wolfram and Hart, Kantrias), since I as founder have a core place in helping to define interests and identity, but in other regions, I focus on what is best for that region. The same holds true for other regionalists that hold multiple citizenships.
Last edited by KaelThas Quilor on Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Benevolent Thomas
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Postby Benevolent Thomas » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:48 pm

I do think Syl has somewhat of a point about that interview, but he is really missing out by not reading Xoriet's article. 'Twas a quality article written by a quality person and I'm in full agreement. We should return to the days of calling each other assholes instead of digging deep into the gutter to insult one's mental status or other potential RL circumstances.
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Carta II
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Ex-Nation

Postby Carta II » Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:04 pm

Something about the TSP CSS article is very off to me.

Not sure if anyone else can put their finger on it, but I'll come back later unless someone beats me to it.



EDIT: Got it.

The CSS shouldn't worry about "trusting outsiders or insiders". It's designed to simply work with the law (albeit I'm out of touch on the exact relationship between the law and where the power of interpreting it lays in a security crisis nowadays) and to, other than that, trust itself. Ideally, it shouldn't be a very busy body to begin with.

Trusting the right people has to do with learning from mistakes and common sense. It's not a regionalist or a cosmopolitan issue, and the assertion that it is relies on a flawed premise that the CSS comprises well-intentioned, Gameplay-ignorant natives with more power than they know what to do with. In response to this, people offer to hold TSP's hand. These people learn who to trust from trials by fire: they're in the position of responsibility, and they shouldn't be "taught" by anyone how to do it.

Who the powers that be trust and don't trust when it comes to TSP's own well-being often has less to do with TSP's benefit, and more to do with that of whoever is getting trusted. This is a problem. Everything in The South Pacific's history after the Devonitians coup is defined by the consequences and continuation of this pattern: TSP was thrust out of isolation unexpectedly and is still figuring out how to adapt, and the ripples came with a lot of opportunities for others to give advice. I truly believe that, sooner or later, people ought to begin waiting for TSP to solicit guidance -- I've seldom seen TSP raise the alarms on their need for help first. It's no wonder that, on their own, they "don't know" how to when they need to.
Last edited by Carta II on Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:40 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Severisen
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Father Knows Best State

Postby Severisen » Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:23 pm

I agree with BT, and Xoriet's article is the jewel of the issue here.

But, I think it even goes deeper. It's more than that. Not only should we not attack others with these topics.... I mean, there of course needs to be rules of engagement. But more than just that, the point of the whole thing is that casually using such sensitive subjects as propaganda and political maneuvering, as well as character assassination is overtly reprehensible. The intended targets of such an attack are likely to be less impacted than those who also endured such circumstances. Essentially, it's a traumatic experience, or in some cases, circumstances beyond the control of the victim; it's not a weapon in your arsenal. It's one thing to become an advocate for those who endured the same circumstances as you. It's quite another to use those circumstances as a tool for leverage.

The environment in Gameplay...not on the field, but here in the forum, has become a toxic cesspool, and I'm disgusted by some of the things I've read. I reguarly read the forums, and used to make it a point to read just about everything in this forum in particular. I also frequent Tech and Moderation. But lately, it's almost as bad, or worse, than the real news. We need to hold ourselves to a higher standard. Don't engage in the muckraking. Don't try to go for character assassination with events that aren't even related to gameplay just because someone participates in gameplay. We're better than that, aren't we?

At the end of the day, each one of us is a human being behind a screen. Your words don't just hurt those at which you aim them. There's collateral damage inflicted, too. You might not have intended your comments to have that impact, but they can, and do. I may not have experienced these things first hand, but people I know, and love, have. By trying to make light of these situations...it's an affront to more people than you realize. Do not misread me; I fully expect people to ICly call each other out on IC actions. That's not my point. But let's keep it IC. Let's establish that higher standard of conduct. Be responsible with your words. Treat each other with respect. I think we all have that responisibility to each other. I think this issue is bigger than party lines, and I'd hope that such conduct isn't tolerated just because someone happens to be on 'my side.'

Thank you, Xoriet, for shedding light on this significant issue.
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RiderSyl
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Mother Knows Best State

Postby RiderSyl » Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:21 am

Alright, since Xoriet's article seems to be more interesting than an article answering the meaning of life, I decided to scroll up and read it.

Xor really did nail it in that piece.
This is not a circlejerk. This is not a bandwagon. This, right here, is a series of people of all sorts of alignments agreeing with something that should be obvious, but sadly, isn't always.

I suffer from mental illnesses, plural, and I was a victim of emotional abuse about a decade ago. I have many friends who suffer from mental illness. I know people that are victims of sexual harassment; My older sister is one of them. I know people other than myself that are victims of emotional abuse too. As someone who's seen how dark this world of ours can get, I can speak from a combination of my experiences and the experiences of those I've been blessed to know in my life.

You are currently looking at a screen. You're talking to the presentation of people. Every nation, every account, every sentence typed out is from a person. But this barrier between all of us, it means that even though sometimes the darkness does slip into our games, our websites, our forums.. Almost all of what you're going to experience on a daily basis in NationStates is NOTHING compared to what Xoriet listed. So no matter how much some of you may try to convince yourself, there is nothing you experience here that can justify using the dark shit in our world as your weapon of choice.

No political ploy, no agenda, no "karma", no revenge, no rival, no enemy, no emotion, no logic; There is nothing in any language that anyone can use to support it.

There's a lot of dark shit out there in the world.
There's mostly just a game being played in this one.
Last edited by RiderSyl on Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:25 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Ainocra
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Ex-Nation

Postby Ainocra » Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:38 am

Xoriet hit on the capstone with her piece indeed.

We should all try to remember that there are real people out there interacting with us. These are issues which touch all our lives and help define what it is to be human.
Too often we forget that words and ideas have a unique power all their own. I know everyone forgets that at times, I know I have; much to my chagrin.
I would hope we can all remember that in the future.

Very well done piece Xor
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Corvus Corax
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Founded: Aug 16, 2014
Ex-Nation

Postby Corvus Corax » Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:51 am

@Xoriet. Thanks for that writing. :hug:

It can be a real issue.
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United RussoAsia
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Founded: Jan 22, 2015
Ex-Nation

Postby United RussoAsia » Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:48 am

Corvus Corax wrote:@Xoriet. Thanks for that writing. :hug:

It can be a real issue.

It can indeed. Xoriet, you are the real reason to read this issue.
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