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The Anatomy of the Coup: How Francos Spain Won

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Unibot III
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The Anatomy of the Coup: How Francos Spain Won

Postby Unibot III » Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:47 pm

THE ANATOMY OF THE COUP
How did Francos Spain take over the Pacific?


Many people have asked "why" Francos Spain couped the Pacific, but few ask "how." I wanted to research the details of Francos Spain's coup (August 28 2003) and find out, just how was it done?

(I promised Kazmr IRL that I'd get around to doing this, so here it is! Belatedly.)

This was not the first time that the Pacific had been couped. Over the course of 2003, the Pacific was home to frequent instability. 1 Sudetenland, InfernoIce, and -Ukraine-, all former delegates (indeed it was supposed they might be the same individual), had a reputation for despotism. When -Ukraine- was deposed on May 21 after a short reign of terror, Olongapo and the "Free the Pacific movement" believed they had secured the region's future as an open and independent democracy. TheDoc was the winner of the first elections hosted by Olongapo and rose to office in June. His 'vice,' The Savage Lands took the delegacy on TheDoc's behalf twice in August due to TheDoc's absences, a server error, and to respond to a threat to the delegacy posed by Nextarian. TheDoc's unreliability later became a central theme of the NPO's propaganda to justify the August Revolution.

During this time, a community forum and the Pacific Army, an active defender force, operated.

A careful projection based on the account's population figure, suggests the account, "Francos Spain" was created July 6, 2003 ± 1 day. * It seems likely that this was not the player's main account, but rather a puppet nation stashed in Spain for the time being during July/August - a region that the player controlled. 2 Wayback Archives suggests that the puppet, Francos Spain was not not relocated to the Pacific nor did it trade endorsements there until sometime between August 14-August 19. Unistrut cites a very similar timeframe when he writes Francos Spain "was the founder of the region "Spain"** and was residing there just three weeks before he rose to the delegacy." An additional corroborating voice is a Pacific native at that time who noted Francos Spain began trading endorsements on Aug 18 after a server crash.3 In his own words, Francos Spain said he traded endorsements over the "course of several weeks." During his brief time in the Pacific before his coup, Francos Spain did apparently join the community forum and post once - but only once.

This means that in the span of just a few weeks (2-3), this latest resident was able to tart and swap endorsements to become delegate of the Pacific. The events of August 27, however, decided the fate of the region.

August 27

18:00 GMT: Players first note that Francos Spain is encroaching on TheDoc's endorsement levels. At this time, Francos Spain was leading TheDoc, 387-385. A two endorsement margin.
21:39:10 GMT: TheDoc ejects Francos Spain, but later unbanned Francos Spain - which was a crucial mistake on his part.4 5
23:13:46 GMT: Francos Spain leaves the Rejected Realms for the West Pacific. 6
23:32 GMT: The Rejected Realms updates. ***
23:41:29 GMT: Francos Spain moves back to the Rejected Realms from the West Pacific. We call this tactic, "update surfing."

August 28

See here, an image of the Pacific - mere moments (fifteen minutes) before the Pacific's democracy is ended forever.

08:00 - 08:14 GMT: Francos Spain probably moved into the Pacific from the Rejected Realms in this short span of time before update.****
08:14 GMT: The Pacific updates. Subsequently, Francos Spain takes the delegacy from TheDoc.
10:20:29 GMT: The Pacific's WFE is updated by Francos Spain. ("Tyranny has been deposed. Let a new era of peace, freedom, and justice for the Pacific be rung in.") The new World Factbook Entry's celebratory tone and the absence of a link to the Pacific's forum is an initial source of concern and frustration with natives. 7
14:36:19 GMT: With the endorsement margin currently sitting at 391-382 for TheDoc, natives widely assumed that TheDoc will retake the delegacy. This proves overly optimistic. 8

August 29

Just prior to update in the Pacific, Francos Spain bans three key high endorsers...

08:02:06 GMT: Francos Spain banjects TheDoc just prior to update.
08:11:06 GMT: Francos Spain banjects Amanda Angel just prior to update.
08:14 GMT: Francos Spain banjects Morcoland just prior to update.
08:14 GMT: The Pacific updates.

________


I think it's worth noting that until this point, the Pacific didn't really seem to appreciate the significance of Francos Spain's rise to power.

At the time of Francos' usurping of the delegacy, the Pacific Army was busy with a deployment in Glen Falls against Empire of Power. They appeared naive to his intentions and slow to respond. Provided he was ruthless (and he was), Francos Spain had all the means he needed to maintain a hold on the Pacific indefinitely after August 28 - there should have been "alarm bells" ringing days prior to and after then, but it's striking to see just how little urgency there was on the RMB regarding the situation until after the first round of ejections of high-profile members began. But by that point, it was mostly too late already.

What we know of the player behind Francos Spain is that prior to the events in August, he was a "mid-level" invader (Farker/Puddist) and an associate of the USSR community. To me, this is consistent with this player's behaviour - his methodical tarting, his 'update surfing', and the anonymity he cultivated - all activity that suggests a professional: someone with considerable experience with game mechanics.

________


August 30

The nation, Poskrebyshev was founded on this date. He quickly amassed a ton of endorsements and served as Francos Spain's second-in-command. Given the timing, this leads a lot of credence to the theory that Poskrebyshev was a real life friend or dorm-mate of the player behind Francos Spain.

Its at this point that Francos Spain begins communicating on the Regional Message Board, mostly to demonize the Pacific Army as meddlers and spammers. Until then, he had been dead silent - never responding to complaints of his action. The recent deletion of the Savage Lands for rules violation added fuel to the propaganda fire, giving Francos Spain something to claim as representative of the Pacific resistance's credibility.

August 31

At this point, it appears as though Francos Spain had banned either 103 residents or 4. :P While the Pacific Army claimed a hundred and three, Francos Spain claimed four in a NetworkRadio interview he did on this date.

It was also on this date that [violet] refused to intervene in the crisis in the Pacific. ("If the Pacific leaves Francos Spain in power, that is their choice.")

September 01

The New Pacific Order is founded on this date, although the forum does appear to have been linked on the Pacific's WFE till Sept 02. The NPO's earliest members were InfernoIce, Poskrebyshev, and BertramStantrous. 9 I must admit it surprised me to learn how intimately InfernoIce was involved with the August Revolution. He was one of the first players to create an account on the NPO forum, before even Poskrebyshev. Given the association between Francos Spain and Ukraine (a region he later founded) and the supposed association between InfernoIce and -Ukraine-, I often wonder if the player behind -Ukraine- may have been the same player behind Francos Spain.



Notes
________________________________________

* I'm confident within 96.8% that Francos Spain was created between July 5-7. Here's the distribution of that population dating analysis:
Image
** I don't think The Angry Spaniard is Francos Spain. I believe The Angry Spaniard refounded Spain, Sept 15 2003. That would be after Francos Spain's time in Spain. The Wayback Archives' records for Spain are spotty, so unfortunately I haven't been able to corroborate Unistrut's statement that Francos Spain was housed in Spain, nor have I been able to identify the founder nation at the time of Francos Spain's residency. Read more about Spain here.
*** Reploid explained that TRR probably updated as late as it did due to server errors.
**** There's gap in the Wayback Archives for both TRR and TP during this time period. What I can say for sure is either Francos joined the Pacific more than two hours in advance of update or less than fifteen minutes. I believe the latter is far more consistent with his methodology which showed considerable knowledge of how update operated.
Last edited by Unibot III on Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:44 am, edited 7 times in total.
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Unibot III
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Postby Unibot III » Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:49 pm

Hope the Mods don't mind, someone suggested I make its own thread for this and I thought that was a good idea because it'll make it easier for folks to find when they're referencing it.

I'd be delighted to answer any wonky or non-wonky questions you might have about the analysis.
[violet] wrote:I mean this in the best possible way,
but Unibot is not a typical NS player.
Milograd wrote:You're a caring, resolute lunatic
with the best of intentions.
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Postby Mallorea and Riva » Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:59 pm

Unibot III wrote:Hope the Mods don't mind, someone suggested I make its own thread for this and I thought that was a good idea because it'll make it easier for folks to find when they're referencing it.

I'd be delighted to answer any wonky or non-wonky questions you might have about the analysis.

It's own thread is fine, a link in the NS History thread (if you haven't already edited one in) to this thread would be nice.
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Unibot III
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Postby Unibot III » Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:04 pm

Mallorea and Riva wrote:
Unibot III wrote:Hope the Mods don't mind, someone suggested I make its own thread for this and I thought that was a good idea because it'll make it easier for folks to find when they're referencing it.

I'd be delighted to answer any wonky or non-wonky questions you might have about the analysis.

It's own thread is fine, a link in the NS History thread (if you haven't already edited one in) to this thread would be nice.


Here's a link to the original post: viewtopic.php?p=33173487#p33173487

Thanks Mall! *thumbs up*
Last edited by Unibot III on Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
[violet] wrote:I mean this in the best possible way,
but Unibot is not a typical NS player.
Milograd wrote:You're a caring, resolute lunatic
with the best of intentions.
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Postby Queen Yuno » Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:35 pm

nice stats lol
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Postby Crazy girl » Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:50 pm

Thedoc did ban Francos Spain, but unbanned him later on.

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Postby Unibot III » Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:59 pm

Crazy girl wrote:Thedoc did ban Francos Spain, but unbanned him later on.


That's helpful, thanks! Savage Lands noted it wrong, I suppose. I'll update the analysis.
Last edited by Unibot III on Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Crazy girl » Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:01 pm

Pretty sure in that time you couldn't just ban someone, you always ejected and banned. Then you could unban the nation afterwards.

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Postby Unibot III » Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:04 pm

Crazy girl wrote:Pretty sure in that time you couldn't just ban someone, you always ejected and banned. Then you could unban the nation afterwards.


That makes sense, yes. It's really rather sad, while doing the analysis I couldn't help but think the Pacific was lost forever mostly because TheDoc was being nice and the Pacific community was rather trusting and busy helping someone else. It's like watching a slow motion car crash when you look at it, moment to moment.
Last edited by Unibot III on Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
[violet] wrote:I mean this in the best possible way,
but Unibot is not a typical NS player.
Milograd wrote:You're a caring, resolute lunatic
with the best of intentions.
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Postby Crazy girl » Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:06 pm

Hindsight and all that jazz.

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Postby Fratt » Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:15 pm

Crazy girl wrote:Pretty sure in that time you couldn't just ban someone, you always ejected and banned. Then you could unban the nation afterwards.


Elu actually noted this a few weeks ago.
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Postby Unibot III » Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:16 pm

Fratt wrote:
Crazy girl wrote:Pretty sure in that time you couldn't just ban someone, you always ejected and banned. Then you could unban the nation afterwards.


Elu actually noted this a few weeks ago.


D'oh, thanks Fratt.
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Postby The Noble Thatcherites » Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:27 pm

Wonderful read. Thank you Unibot! :clap:
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Beautiful.
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Nice data.

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Postby Southern Bellz » Fri Dec 29, 2017 7:03 pm

Good post

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Quite interesting. Over a decade before I got on NS though.
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Postby Gibraltarica » Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:06 pm

Impressed, but not entirely surprised, that Unibot went the extra mile with this. Good job. Well researched, good read.
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Postby Revolutionary Vanguardism » Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:49 am

A most fortunate takeover.

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Postby States of Glory » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:06 am

I'll admit, it's a little weird to think that Francos Spain, one of the most influential nations in the history of the game, could have just been a standard endotarter who eventually faded into complete obscurity had TheDoc shown a bit more backbone. I'm still struggling to wrap my head around it, to be honest. Just trying to imagine how different NS would be had TheDoc not clicked a particular button is giving me a migraine.
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Postby Unibot III » Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:41 am

States of Glory wrote:Just trying to imagine how different NS would be had TheDoc not clicked a particular button is giving me a migraine.


I KNOW.

Watching it happen in slow motion is like prying your fingernails out. Especially because the natives seem unaware that this is the destruction of what they know as their region, they're in the eye of the storm. As Crazygirl says, hindsight.

Francos recounts the process he used to take the Pacific...

Dan: How did you manage to achieve delegacy in such a large region without anyone knowing before hand? That is no small accomplishment, and we would all like to know how.

Francos Spain: I accrued endorsements over the course of several weeks via telegramming UN members in the region, which is the standard way any delegate of a large region comes to power. Like Thedoc and the Savage Lands before me, this was the route I took.

Dan: If that is the same way Thedoc and other delegates took the position, how come everyone is so upset at your delegacy? It seems as though you have been legitimate.

FS: That is what perplexes me. You see, several days ago, I had enough endorsements to become delegate. However, Thedoc noticed that I had gained more endorsements than him, so he ejected me. However when I came back to the region, I still had my endorsements, and as such, I became the new delegate. I, for one, believe in an eye for an eye, so I did to Thedoc what he did to me.

It's amazing what havoc two or three little nations can stir up if they want to.
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Postby Fauxia » Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:43 am

It’s amazing that an obscurity did this. I mean, imagine if an anonymous nation nobody’s heard of coup’ed one of the Feeders now. Do you think that would be possible?
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Postby Mallorea and Riva » Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:46 am

Fauxia wrote:It’s amazing that an obscurity did this. I mean, imagine if an anonymous nation nobody’s heard of coup’ed one of the Feeders now. Do you think that would be possible?

Not without massive outside support. The Feeders are too aware of their WA endo counts and too organized to allow a tarter to just take the delegacy. You could join the region and work your way up in the government and coup, but that's not the way Francos managed it.
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Postby Fauxia » Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:53 am

Mallorea and Riva wrote:
Fauxia wrote:It’s amazing that an obscurity did this. I mean, imagine if an anonymous nation nobody’s heard of coup’ed one of the Feeders now. Do you think that would be possible?

Not without massive outside support. The Feeders are too aware of their WA endo counts and too organized to allow a tarter to just take the delegacy. You could join the region and work your way up in the government and coup, but that's not the way Francos managed it.
Damn, I wanted to coup TWP...

(This is a joke :p )
Last edited by Fauxia on Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Unibot III » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:44 am

Mallorea and Riva wrote:
Fauxia wrote:It’s amazing that an obscurity did this. I mean, imagine if an anonymous nation nobody’s heard of coup’ed one of the Feeders now. Do you think that would be possible?

Not without massive outside support. The Feeders are too aware of their WA endo counts and too organized to allow a tarter to just take the delegacy. You could join the region and work your way up in the government and coup, but that's not the way Francos managed it.


Barring accidents! If NS History tells us anything, accidents do happen - especially at the wrong time to the wrong people.

A region like TNP/TEP/TSP/TWP with large security apparatuses have a pretty developed safety net to fall back on but, say, Balder would not be as adaptable to extraordinary circumstances.

Imagine if Rachel were to be suddenly ejected from the WA or deleted. Then Balder's leadership defaults to NES immediately, who is not particularly active:

Most Recent Government Activity: 3 days ago

Presumably, TNP and Euro would immediately begin piling in to support NES' account and prop them up. But it really would all depend on what NES did or didn't do in the next seventy two hours.

The delegacy would have lost fifty endorsements or so dropping from Rachel to NES. I think it's fair to say TNP & Euro could get near to closing gap. However, if Rachel has fifty more native endorsements, that means they're out there! In theory, an anonymous tarter who arrived in Balder early when the hammer dropped could out-trade an inactive vice delegate and take the delegacy over a few days. The real problem is regional influence, which Francos didn't face. NES would still have regional influence - loads of it. Francos ejected TheDoc by August 29, but I think it'd take a bit more than five months for the couper to eject NES; to expedite that process and keep their position, the couper would have to be running a very ruthless (and successful) barrage of unendorsement messages to the endorsees of NES.

It's a long shot, but there would be advantages in the couper's corner. Francos was able to criticize TheDoc for his unreliability and focus on knocking the resistance's credibility. There would be similar lines of discussion - accurate or not - to trot out in the case of Balder. Moreover, Balder's regime would receive foreign support that was distributed in a very partisan manner. Defenders would hold off helping - and independents might go overboard and give the couper fuel to use for his/her propaganda, which Francos pioneered in his fight against the ADN. This all would be, essentially, the Francos method: (1) take advantage of extraordinary circumstances, (2) tart, (3) stay quiet and anonymous during the initial takeover and then ridicule and delegitimize your opponents upon taking the delegacy, (4) exploit update mechanics.
Last edited by Unibot III on Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:46 am, edited 2 times in total.
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