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NationStates Modern Tech Advice and Assistance Thread

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]

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The State of Monavia
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Postby The State of Monavia » Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:23 pm

This thread seems to have taken quite a beating since I first weighed in on this topic two days ago and I credit Ghant for maintaining his dignified and restrained bearing in response to the flood of passionate vitriol we all just witnessed. In an effort to alleviate any confusion I might have caused, I want to review and clarify a number of points I made earlier and issue corrections in light of our latest point of order. I will begin with a remark that Lamoni mentioned:

After being a part of NS for almost twelve years, I can state with some certainty that roleplay threads rely on news posts a lot more now than they did in 2006. In my opinion, this phenomenon is mostly the product of three major factors: general laziness, older players finding their NS time constrained by RL commitments so that they wind up performing low-effort RP writing, and newer players copying the RP styles that are easiest to imitate. At the risk of alluding to specific persons, I have noticed that the present news thread craze took off after the hard MT community started emerging three or four years ago.


Now that this discussion has cooled off a bit, I can see why Yohannes and Lamoni took umbrage to my initial take on this matter. After critically reflecting on my own remark, I realize that I was projecting some of my own experiences onto others (a classic mistake if there is one) since I was unintentionally alluding to the fact that almost all of the RP posts I have made in the last year and a half have been pretty short and I have posted only one full-length IC piece in that time. Again, this was a mistake on my part and I hope it has not caused any lasting ill feelings among this discussion group.

This leaves me with the other two reasons I cited. The practice of newbies copying vets is a real thing, and I think it is a good thing because it is an effective way to cultivate new RPers. After all, it is probably the single biggest way I learned RPing. Laziness is a different matter. As impolitic as it was for me to cite it without offering any substantive justification, I have legitimate reasons for citing it as one of the reasons why news posting has high popularity among some specific RPers. I am talking specifically about folks who fit a specific profile:

  • Their idea of RPing is to post a provocative 100 to 300-word news post announcing some new law, human rights abuse, etc. that promptly draw a bunch of international condemnations and commendations (which they then frequently forget to respond to) before rinsing and repeating the cycle over again. For example, consider this thread and this thread, both of which belong to ex-nations.
  • They have a high time preference, want immediate IC reactions, and quickly lose interest in whatever they do after receiving a handful of responses.
  • They try to RP without performing any worldbuilding because they have zero interest in developing a canon. They just want their nation to throw its weight around, make waves, and gain attention in the IC arena.

Both of the ex-nations whose threads I linked were newbies at the time they made their posts, but a look at their posting history shows they were still posting stuff of this quality months or years later. Consequently, I hope nobody construes my remark about lazy RPing practice as an elitist attack against newbies or RPers trying to learn the ropes. On the contrary, it is a well-deserved critique of people who choose to avoid learning and growing as RPers over time.

Yohannes wrote:So basically what I am getting so far is: someone who writes creatively about their nation on the website NationStates, but only doing so by writing "news posts", writing their fictional nation's legal system, writing their fictional nation's economic system (and by writing, I don't mean copy pasting the general boring stuff from Wikipedia to create Wikipedia style factbook or the typical boring II Wiki article detailing how your nation is a great power amongst great powers in your closed-world region posts, but ACTUALLY writing creatively from scratch), writing about their fictional nation's political intrigues, and writing about the things happening in their nation, many things based from the knowledge they have in real life, is not roleplaying? They can also interact with others through all these channels yet they are still not roleplaying?


Let me restate Allanea’s point in a single sentence: worldbuilding and canon development qualify as roleplaying if they are written from an IC perspective with which other roleplayers can directly or indirectly interact.

But writing senseless (non-informative or which doesn't require much real life knowledge) ten thousand words about a king who marries his queen is the best form of roleplaying, right? So to be the best (and by the way, to be a real) roleplayer I should now start writing ten thousand words? If that is the best way to roleplay then okay. I will now try to be the best roleplayer by writing out ten thousand words about how my king marries her queen and then somewhere along the way he got backstabbed by his bodyguard and then Idk something just to make it 10,000 words. Oh, I will also add html coding to make it pretty and blocktext

Edit: Oh! Along the way I will also subtly diss people who don't write like me! Those news posters. Grrr. What a bunch of fake writers and roleplayers! Those economic, political, etc. worldbuilders who don't write long ass 10,000 words with other people! They are incompetent! They have no skill because they can't write 10,000 words post about their king and queen's marriage! Because they do rather storytell about their nation's legal or political or economic system instead of writing about their king marrying another nation's queen!


Nobody has said or implied any of these things here.

Allanea wrote:EDIT: This is a response to Monavia's post.

Yes and no.

I attempt, within reason, to be OOC honest with other players.

If someone wishes to receive information about what is happening, and what my plans or my characters' plans are, I think it is best practice to answer them truthfully (although plans may change).

On the other hand, I think it's common sense that an in-character report, whether this is a statement by a character, or a news post, or a press release by an organization, represents events from that entity's in-universe perspective. People are free to interpret these reports in any way they like.

I believe that - because to some extent RP on NS is freeform - it's entirely reasonable to keep one's cards to the chest on some things, within the confines of good faith. This is especially true when you serve as the 'host' of an RP where the other players are meant to uncover some manner of mystery, or where someone is being interrogated, or indeed in the sort of freeform war RP that occurs so often.

For example, when I roleplay interrogations, I understand of course that the characters I am interrogating may lie. But it would be unwieldy to the nature of a freeform RP if I knew the truth of the matter OOC!

[It's worth noting that metagaming can be brought up here. Naturally we all as people can do our best to avoid deliberate metagaming, but not all metagaming is even deliberate.]


Once again I am guilty of misinterpreting something you posted and writing something that did not accurately explain my point in responding to your previous post. I stand corrected.

Kyrusia wrote:
Yohannes wrote:Feel free to tell the forum moderators to delete my posts too if you like. I have made my points loud and clear!

Point of Modly order... Threads such as this, don't have the same privilege as roleplay IC/OOC threads or clearly roleplay-related topics (regional hubs, regional news threads, even surveys, etc.). While not a sticky, the purpose of discussion threads on the RP boards such as this, is discussion. If thread ownership powers were extended to them in the same way as the aforementioned, that'd defeat their purpose - much how it'd defeat the purpose of such being extended to community resource stickies like the "RP Help Thread."

In short: thread ownership does not apply to discussion threads of this form; that'd defeat their purpose. Posts that break rules, however, certainly can be removed by Moderator discretion.


Please forgive me for assuming that thread ownership is a universal thing in the N&I forum. I expressed an opinion without double-checking it against the information I remember reading in one of your information threads and wound up posting something that was factually incorrect.

Ghant wrote:[blocktext][align=justify]I realize that there's been some rather intense discussion in regards to the latest topic, and I'd like to wade in and provide some additional thoughts on what's been said.

For starters, I've never claimed, at any point in this thread, to be an expert, a guru, or any other sort of wizened individual when it comes to MT RP, let alone any other tech level on NS. All I am is one guy who's been RPing (by various means) for over 20 years, a decent amount of that time being on NS. As Kyrusia said, I don't "own" this thread in the same sense that I'd own an RP thread. I just started it, and I keep it going, for one reason. So that RPers can come together and discuss matters relevant to MT RP.

News posting is a matter relevant to MT RP. It's something that has been mentioned as being of concern in the past, by various individuals in various MT communities, especially when that's all that goes on, at the expense of traditional roleplays. Obviously, there's some great news posts out there, and news posting can be a better form of writing for certain subjects than traditional roleplaying. Things like policy analyses (compliments to Mac), economics and sports fit that mold.


In the interests of avoiding further confusion and hurt feelings, I hope you will be willing to disclose the specific concerns that these anonymous RPers have expressed. In the absence of this information I have done more than a little hypothesizing, often relying on my own limited experiences.

Lamoni wrote:News articles are an RPing tool, the individual player just has to ensure that they are not turning the tool into a crutch. If you are unwilling to put the time in to create a good RP, then you are also likely unwilling to put the time in to put up a good news article.


I think the general beef Ghant—and I—have with the news post craze is with overreliance on news posts in lieu of traditional RP posts to the detriment of traditional RP writing. I just wish I had used your eloquent phraseology when I posted my reply on Friday night. I could have saved myself some trouble.

Some of this just comes down to maturity, which can be a problem on a site where you have people as young as thirteen writing about their fictional nations, and how they interact with others. I know that at least three (maybe four) of the people discussing this problem are past high school age, have jobs, and are at a different stage of their life than those who might be new to NS are. Do you remember what you were like when you were thirteen years old? Not that i'm defending thirteen year olds [sic], but it helps to bear their still forming viewpoints in mind. Their viewpoints are like a jigsaw puzzle that is getting completed, but are still missing quite a few major pieces.


Thanks for bringing me back to reality. Sometimes mentors need mentors as much as anyone else. I had no real writing skills at thirteen, but then again, once I started RPing at fifteen I made a point of learning how to RP properly and improving my skills over time. For all my faults in those days (and I sometimes have many by the standards I have now), I did not engage in the specific behavior I described in my bullet list.
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Libraria and Ausitoria
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Postby Libraria and Ausitoria » Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:45 pm

At 13 I was hopeless and hopeful. (Now I'm hopeful and hopeless).

Lamoni wrote:Like L&A, I remain unconvinced that other players have to always be told a story by a character to make a fictional world believable. Just don't exclusively rely on newsposts as your main means of expressing the fictional world that you have created.

I'm always worried when people agree with me, I fear I must be doing something wrong.

Let's start from there. First I would like to support Yohannes' unexpected contribution. It is perhaps abrasive in style, and perhaps based on the false perception of an attack against all news articles, rather than the actual discussion about why the trend is happening, but neither of those in any way diminishes its value as there is a truth in it which needs to be examined. I think Yohannes' points are extremely well intended and undoubtedly important and concerning, because they seem to be based on a couple of important and concerning points.

There are many styles in MT RPing, and I hope no-one would dispute that none of us are good at all of them (possibly because some of them probably contradict, and possibly because we can't even agree on what counts - I'd maintain the definition of "play" is having two distinct ideas interacting with each other, which gives RPing an astonishingly broad definition). This NS MT thread is being lead by those who talk about how to RP in the more story-like sense, which is natural as Ghant started it and people's ideas have a funny way of permeating the air, and I doubt anyone would disagree that Ghant is quite possibly the best person to lead such discussions. Other useful points of view on other aspects should also be welcome anywhere and I doubt anyone would disagree with that either, although if this particular thread turned into a technical discussion place, I'd hope that Ghant would set up an RP story methods topic anyway to continue the style of discussions here, which are (for me at any rate) very interesting and an excellent discussion ground to pick up and compare ideas on the subject. Although I would be extremely interested to take part in another MT Advice and Assistance Thread run by Yohannes for that matter.

(As an aside, it's interesting to see Allanea picking up on Valaran's point about news not necessarily being factually accurate worldbuilding. Personally I've found the most enjoyable ratio of worldbuilding:storytelling is about 2:1, as I'm better at the worldbuilding side).

[Edit: Dividing this into two posts, otherwise it's a bit unreadable.]
Last edited by Libraria and Ausitoria on Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:53 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Libraria and Ausitoria
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Ex-Nation

Postby Libraria and Ausitoria » Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:46 pm

Other than everything I've just agreed/disagreed with above, I also on reflection agree with everything everybody has concluded on every other subject since I last posted: after a bit of back and forth there's really not a lot of difference in people's opinions once we've cut through the crossed purposes and there's even less which is irredeemably contradictory. We all want NS RPing to do well. But now the fact that we're all agreeing so rapidly in response is what I find most worrying. There's no need to say people are being dramatic. You're right, but so what? Yohannes is quite right to point out that we're in danger of being exclusive, so in solidarity with Yohannes (and because I happen to be busy for a week anyway), I'm going to strop out of here, in the very best Ausitorian drama queen style, for ... a week!

More seriously, being overly elitist is always a danger, and I should know. (Everyone who has ever disliked me would back me up, except that they probably hate me - I know how to be elitist like nobody else I've ever had the misfortune to meet, and I'm just about to do it again - this time to show you the two opposed types). I'm concerned we're all in danger of agreeing with each other and thereby turning back towards becoming the exact exclusive narrow-minded elitist clique that we should all agree we don't want to be. Sometimes it is the response to being accused of elitism that is far more important than whether the accusation is justified or even concerning. When I come back I want to see everyone supportively discussing things they disagree on: there is nothing wrong with arguing for the sake of testing and developing new ideas - indeed it is utterly vital if we are to get better at things. That is how to be simultaneously expertist-elitist and inclusive: we all have a contribution to make and we will be better together if we disagree together. (And yes I know this statement is seemingly contradictory, but that's because it's two ideas interacting and playing).

So if you agree with this, pick something else to disagree with and we can get back to being an interesting discussion thread like how we were a week ago. Make a statement about something which you know will be contested and torn to pieces. Great ideas are forged in fire and among the stars in equal measure. Just remember to only attack an idea, and not the person making it; and then craft the shattered shards of the ideas into whatever you care to imagine. Flowers need places to grow.

And remember that you can't (or shouldn't) force people to do what you want even if you disagree with them, especially as it is difficult to know who is right.

(Forgive my elitist lecturing, I doubt I'm saying anything any of you don't already know, or disagree with, but I think it's worth throwing this explicitly into the cauldron of considerations).

Also, Yohannes, please come back here, I miss you already: never run away from a good discussion for longer than is necessary to galvanize the right impact. The question of how best to move ideas forward and imagine a better future is a never-ending battle to balance expertise with inclusiveness, and you, and everyone, should be part of it.

I.e., keep calm and carry on arguing inclusively.
Last edited by Libraria and Ausitoria on Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Forest State
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Postby Forest State » Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:33 pm

Just my two cents on news posts, from someone that hasn't exactly done a ton in II for a bit. Why are news posts being talked about as if they aren't as good as character posts? Now, I've written a ton of character based stuff, I even consider myself more skilled at that, but news posts are more effective in a lot of scenarios. Maybe it's just me, but I'd rather only read a character account when it's interesting and read a news post when it's something like policy, economics, etc.

Sure, there's newer players that write news post based threads that don't have a lot of worldbuilding, but would those threads actually be better if they relied on entirely character posts instead of news posts? I don't think writing quality and writing format are really connected, at all. If you look at Esquarium's news thread for example, there's a detailed oil crisis going on right now and it's being RPed exclusively through news posts. I think it's unfair to group it in with first timer threads with no worldbuilding, poor grammar, etc.

Unless I'm just missing what the debate is about.
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Shwe Tu Colony
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Postby Shwe Tu Colony » Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:56 pm

Forest State wrote:Just my two cents on news posts, from someone that hasn't exactly done a ton in II for a bit. Why are news posts being talked about as if they aren't as good as character posts? Now, I've written a ton of character based stuff, I even consider myself more skilled at that, but news posts are more effective in a lot of scenarios. Maybe it's just me, but I'd rather only read a character account when it's interesting and read a news post when it's something like policy, economics, etc.

Sure, there's newer players that write news post based threads that don't have a lot of worldbuilding, but would those threads actually be better if they relied on entirely character posts instead of news posts? I don't think writing quality and writing format are really connected, at all. If you look at Esquarium's news thread for example, there's a detailed oil crisis going on right now and it's being RPed exclusively through news posts. I think it's unfair to group it in with first timer threads with no worldbuilding, poor grammar, etc.

Unless I'm just missing what the debate is about.


The issue is not that news posts are plain & outright bad, but just that some folk are becoming over-reliant on them. News posts & live/character-based posts have their merits & disadvantages, & to use either one at the wrong time is still bad. Well, that's the verdict I reached based on the chatter I've seen overall, though this is the likely oversimplified claims that Ghant has had:

Ghant wrote:Where it becomes a problem for me is when that's ALL that's going on[...]

With news posting, I've found that you miss out on several rewarding merits. You can't really engage in character development, development of plots, establishing settings, exploring themes, or really engage in any of the complex nuances of writing literature[...]


Ghant wrote:[...] It's something that has been mentioned as being of concern in the past, by various individuals in various MT communities, especially when that's all that goes on, at the expense of traditional roleplays. Obviously, there's some great news posts out there, and news posting can be a better form of writing for certain subjects than traditional roleplaying. Things like policy analyses (compliments to Mac), economics and sports fit that mold[...]


I'm hoping I did my quotes correctly. But still, Ghant doesn't think that news posts are an abomination that deserve to be purged by fire, but it's not a good thing to overdo. I, for one, will admit that I might overdo my own character posts & almost never do news posts, but that's my own bias towards my characters over grand schemes...
Last edited by Shwe Tu Colony on Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:04 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Ghant
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:11 pm

Hello all,

Due to the last Discussion Topic becoming a contentious topic, I've decided that for this next topic, we should focus on something lighthearted. In fact, I thought about what the most lighthearted topic could possibly be, and then it hit me. So without further ado, the new MT Discussion Topic is...

Comedic Posts

Writing and Roleplaying are activities that are very important to a number of people on NS. It would be an understatement to say that people take it seriously. At its heart though, roleplaying is supposed to be an exercise in fun and creativity. Comedy is a good way to keep things in perspective, which brings us to the new topic. Comedic Posts are any posts that are written for humor's sake, not to be taken seriously.

I've often found that people get wound up really tight and get stressed out, not just on NS but in life. As a result I've always held the belief that laughing can go a long way in alleviating some of those conditions. That's where comedy comes in. I enjoy comedic posts a great deal, because generally they offer a break from the grind of N&I RP. For me this is especially true on April Fool's Day, when I go all out on comedic posting. For instance, I have an annual tradition for that day, the "April Fool's Day thread," where every year on April Fool's Day I start a "joke thread" for comedic purposes. I also write a news source called "the Nibbler" that lampoons or satirizes recent events in roleplaying groups that I'm involved in (complete with elaborate puns and tongue-in-cheek jabs).

Some people probably ask "what's the point of all that," but then you could just as easily say "what's the point of anything in the NS RP community. It can be something fun, interesting and, most importantly, different. Yet also such kinds of posts are a reminder not everything has to be serious...there's room for shenanigan's too! Just make sure it's not going to embarrass anyone (in the event that the comedy is at another writer's expense) and if the comedy is about or primarily concerns another writer than it's proper etiquette to speak to them and see if they're okay with it.

What about you? Have you written comedic posts before? Were they news posts, RP thread posts? etc. what were the general reactions to them, and what did you think about the creative process involved? Please share.
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The State of Monavia
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Postby The State of Monavia » Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:20 pm

I have never written posts designed to be specifically comedic in nature, apart from one semi-comedic war post that contained a truckload of deliberate godmoding. There was also one occasion on which I waded into a thread that was ostensibly meant to be serious, only to discover it devolving into an OOC dumpster fire. Thankfully I had the good humor to make a graceful exit. Usually my attempts at injecting levity into my posts take less overt, direct forms. For example, here is a bit from a post I made in 2011:

Philip Santoro was the last Councilor to arrive. He proudly upheld his title of Marshal of the Marine Corps, although the inter-service joke that Neufeld told the others was that the navy existed just to chauffeur around Santoro’s troops. The deployment of General Stanko’s division in the Prevanian Civil War only served as a validation of that idea, however flimsy it was.

“You’re a little later than usual—much like the rest of us,” said the Minister.

“Security needs held me up,” Santoro explained.

“Did you try to put your credit card through the reader again?” Mercer quipped, referring to the time when Santoro had used a credit card to push a coin through a vending machine slot after it became jammed in the entrance and then placed the card in the same pocket as his identification card. He had pulled out the wrong one and swiped the credit card through the reader, resulting in a brief denial of access before he turned the card around and realized what it was. “You can’t buy yourself access to this room like it’s some cheap country club.”

“This coming from somebody who calls ₮6,000 ‘a slow day at Buckley’s,’” Santoro retorted priggishly. He had been held up by traffic after leaving his office later than usual when a light bulb blew and sent shards of glass everywhere, forcing him to call in a janitor. As if that was not enough trouble for him, his desk was covered with classified files and the amount of time he took packing them away so that they were not lost or mixed up delayed the janitor, who had to stay outside until the files were locked in a cabinet.
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Ghant
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Wed Jun 06, 2018 6:15 pm

Hello all,

I've regretfully fallen behind on updating the thread with new topics for the last month, but worry not, as I intend on getting caught up right quick! I had planned on posting a couple of guides for discussion, the first of which is as comprehensive as one that I've ever seen on NS!

Handbook For Roleplaying Diplomacy
2nd Edition (2018)
A Guide by Monavia

At this time I'd like to welcome Monavia to talk a bit about his guide and share some of his thoughts on how it's applicable to MT RP.
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The State of Monavia
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Postby The State of Monavia » Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:01 am

Good day, ladies and gentlemen. Before I proceed with my remarks, I want Ghant to know that he pleasantly surprised me in selecting my guide as the topic for his first installment in this new series of discussions on roleplaying guides. I hope my remarks will do justice for whatever expectations he might be entertaining at the moment and enable you to understand my reasons for writing my guide and the purposes I want it to fulfill.

Introduction

The game of roleplaying a fictional country usually consists of writing narratives that describe the ways in which its characters and institutions want to interact with outside parties. Since roleplaying is the conduit through which we enable our fictitious countries to interact with one another, we can learn how to enjoy the country simulation genre by taking some time to study its principal themes and nuances. The stories we post about our individual characters matter a lot for a number of obvious reasons, but the main “point” of roleplaying as simulated nations is to interact with other simulated nations as institutions and to tell stories that explain those interactions.

Country simulation roleplay can take economic forms like trade or military forms like war, but it can also take political forms as well. Consequently, many of us spend considerable time and effort roleplaying diplomacy, which I will define for the purposes of this discussion as the business of making deals between governments or exchanging official state representatives. Over the years that have elapsed since I joined NS in June 2006, I have watched as veteran roleplayers volunteered their talent to the community by authoring guides meant to teach others how to make the more of roleplaying their countries. RP veterans wrote more guides on roleplaying war than any other single topic, while guides on writing factbooks were arguably the second most popular topic. Guides on statecraft, diplomacy, trade, writing, and other subjects varied a lot in terms of quality and relevance, but the praiseworthy intentions that spurred people to write them and solicit feedback represented an example that community-minded players will be wise to emulate.

Creating my Guide

Sometime around 2015 or 2016, as a number of moderators and roleplay mentors began making concerted efforts to organize this information in a fashion that made it convenient for others to access and benefit from, it occurred to me that there were a number of fairly general guides for beginners that addressed topics like nation and factbook creation, waging war, writing, and roleplaying etiquette but no general guides for roleplaying diplomacy, creating an economy, or designing a government. When I became a roleplay mentor in September 2016 (around the same time Kyrusia established the International Incidents New Player Thread), I began considering the idea of writing a guide for roleplaying diplomacy that would provide new players with a broad overview of the subject. Prior to that time, the only diplomacy-related subjects that other players cared enough about to write guides for were communiqué writing and embassy exchanges, so nobody had ever bothered to write about other diplomatic things that people like to roleplay, like hosting or attending conferences and negotiating treaties.

As I explain in my guide’s introduction section, these huge coverage gaps left a lot of player needs unfulfilled and therefore warranted somebody’s attention. After a brief phase of preliminary discussions with Kyrusia and a number of other mentors, I began writing my guide in April 2017 and aimed to have it finished by early May. I had some advantages as a result of past research I had conducted for worldbuilding and writing purposes (mostly wiki surfing and trawling through thousands of photos of real-life government documents so I could learn how to design convincing seals, coats of arms, and letterheads), but still found myself needing to look up a lot of new information to complete my project. I originally planned for my guide to be just eight or nine thousand words long (around the character limit for one post), but it soon grew long enough to require two posts as I kept adding information and inserting illustrative examples from my past IC posts to demonstrate the principles I was trying to expound.

Once it became apparent that my guide was too long and detailed to serve as a basic primer for new players, I decided that I would grow it into a comprehensive, one-stop player resource thread on all things diplomatic. I had already taken a number of steps down this road when I decided up front to explain the fundamental nature of diplomacy from an abstract perspective grounded in the practical realities of statecraft. In my quest to make each chapter thorough enough to stand on its own, I found myself consulting work done in other player guides alongside my normal research and tried to synthesize their differing perspectives. Even though multiple players had tackled the issue of writing diplomatic correspondence, none of them covered certain subjects within this particular topic and I recognized that there was a need to articulate some basic practical principles that even experienced roleplayers had a habit of disregarding or forgetting. I completed my 22,600-word guide in early July 2017 and obtained feedback from a number of players. Their remarks served as a basis for making my revisions earlier this week, as did some knowledge I have since obtained in the course of studying the subject further.

Using my Guide in MT RP

One of the principal lessons any roleplayer should learn from reading player guides is that most roleplaying conventions exist to serve practical purposes that are sometimes difficult to understand without obtaining a little experience. Even if you set aside OOC considerations and focus solely on the IC ramifications of certain practices, you will find that there are practical reasons why real-life diplomats do everything in certain ways and that these considerations can often carry over into fiction. There are reasons why embassies and legations are organized the way they are, there are reasons why professionals format letters differently from memoranda, cables, or E-mails in real life, and there are reasons why treaties are written in legalese and not plain language. In this respect, my guide’s value to the roleplaying community lies in its role as a helpful reference resource for people who are uncertain about how to make their IC diplomatic actions effective.

Those of us who have been on NS long enough to wind up mentoring newer players sometimes lose sight of the game’s core purposes. From its very beginning to the present, the basic “spirit” of NationStates has consisted of three things:

  • Simulating fictional countries.
  • Satirizing the inherent drawbacks of choosing extreme policy proscriptions in response to political issues.
  • Teaching kids new things about politics and public administration.

Although NS was (and still is) designed primarily for kids, the fact remains that kids grow up and adults can play too. It is perfectly normal (indeed natural) for adults to instinctively apply their knowledge of certain subjects to anything they roleplay and adhere to nuances that that kids might not notice or understand. I hope that my guide serves as a means of bridging that divide and hope that it can help some newbie in high school understand why some other player who has been around for several years and has a massive post count is acting a certain way when roleplaying diplomacy with him or her in an IC thread.

Apart from teaching abstract lessons and building a sense of community between roleplayers, my guide also serves a more concrete purpose in that it explains the nuts-and-bolts of both worldbuilding (e.g. character creation) and roleplaying (e.g. how to organize an exchange program, host a conference, write correspondence, negotiate a treaty, or use diplomacy as an IC foreign policy tool). In many cases I spent time explaining how and why certain practices make sense while others do not (e.g. there are reasons why a delegation attending a conference should not carry enough weapons to host their own NRA convention). I sincerely hope that roleplayers of all ages and backgrounds will find something useful in my content on such obscure topics as diplomatic gifts, insignia, protocol, asylum, extraterritoriality, paradiplomacy, and so forth. In some respects, most (if not all) of the ideas I articulate in my guide are applicable outside the MT roleplaying arena and should therefore prove helpful to roleplayers all across NS.

Conclusion

Thank you all for taking the time to read through my remarks on a guide that is already wordy enough! I hope the details I shared about the production of my guide will help you understand what my intentions have been in creating and maintaining it for the RP community’s benefit and what I wanted it to achieve. I eagerly await any feedback you feel inclined to offer and hope that you will share my guide with as many others as you can so that it continues to make an impact.
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FACTBOOKS AND LOREROLEPLAY CANONDIPLOMATIC EXCHANGE

MY GUIDES ON ROLEPLAYING DIPLOMACY, ROLEPLAY ETIQUETTE, ROLEPLAYING EVIL (COMING SOON)
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Ghant
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Postby Ghant » Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:55 pm

Well spoken, and thank you for sharing some insights into your guide. I have a few questions about both your guide and some of what you said here in this thread, and that generally has to do with communique immersion. What are your thoughts on diversifying communiques in order to create a better sense of immersion?

Take, for instance, the following post. It contains a number of different communiques all written by the same person (the Emperor of Ghant), yet each one is stylistically different, depending upon the recipient. The logic here is that the messages would be more formal if the recipient was a foreign Head of State, while others less formal if it were to close friends and family. Also the signatures (I try to have a different hand-written signature for each major character that submits communiques in II threads).

How important or necessary do you think this type of variation is?
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Postby The State of Monavia » Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:03 pm

Ghant wrote:Well spoken, and thank you for sharing some insights into your guide. I have a few questions about both your guide and some of what you said here in this thread, and that generally has to do with communique immersion. What are your thoughts on diversifying communiques in order to create a better sense of immersion?

Take, for instance, the following post. It contains a number of different communiques all written by the same person (the Emperor of Ghant), yet each one is stylistically different, depending upon the recipient. The logic here is that the messages would be more formal if the recipient was a foreign Head of State, while others less formal if it were to close friends and family. Also the signatures (I try to have a different hand-written signature for each major character that submits communiques in II threads).

How important or necessary do you think this type of variation is?


Immersion is one of the pillars on which suspension of disbelief rests in writing fiction, so I naturally support efforts aimed at enhancing it whenever possible. Variations in form, style, and the like are therefore appropriate and should be expected from experienced writers. I also appreciate well-engineered signatures and letterheads, as my formulary and posting history used to demonstrate before Photobucket pulled its stunts last year.

One major consistency I noticed in the messages you cited is that Emperor Nathan is fond of writing all of his messages in E-mail/memorandum format. This is generally common among NS RPers since most of us belong to age cohorts that are fonder of using electronic media to convey messages that were once the sole domain of snail mail (albeit with telegrams once being acceptable in the event the sender is far removed from the recipient and a matter is urgent). Nowadays most people under forty leave their pens and letterhead in storage and let their keyboards do the talking whenever they have to send something other than a greeting card.

From a literary perspective, there is merit in having our characters go paperless in PMT and FT settings to create a futuristic atmosphere. Memo-format correspondence is especially well-suited for serving purely informative purposes (like planning an upcoming event, conveying instructions, and so on) and for securely conducting certain types of business in real time. Nonetheless, there are certain documents—from love letters legislation—that seem more thoughtful, authoritative, or serious in hard-copy from than they would otherwise. For this reason, I make a point of using the format of each message my characters write to clue readers in about the sort of purpose it serves before they even get to reading the content.

Having answered your general question, I will take a moment to address the merits of the communiqué examples you shared. I believe that you knocked the ball out of the park in terms of wording your communiqués well, and given their IC context, I can also understand (and mostly agree with) your IC reasons for not using letter formats. On the aesthetic side, you probably should have downsized the large coat of arms you used as a letterhead on a couple of the communiqués simply for the sake of anyone who wants to read them on NS Mobile (I hate how long it takes to scroll through long posts on my smartphone). Your designs have a simply elegance that enables them to scale well and look good if you reduced them to half their current size (I make half-, quarter-, and eighth-sized editions of all my arms and try to use the quarter- and eighth-sized versions specifically for letterheads).

I assume these messages are E-mails (not memoranda) so I have no quibbles about Nathan adding a closing, signature, etc. at the end of each one since an E-mail is an electronic letter. One of the rules I learned in college is that a memo format does not include a salutation at the beginning or a closing and signature at the end because the header already contains that information. Most E-mail systems typically embed letterheads in the message beneath the header whereas memorandum templates (especially in the corporate environment) embed letterhead content (emblems, logos, etc.) in the header. You hybridized the two formats by using a memo-format header in E-mail format messages. I am probably the only person on this site who will ever point out this stuff and all in all, you wrote excellent prose.
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Postby Allanea » Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:53 pm

From a literary perspective, there is merit in having our characters go paperless in PMT and FT settings to create a futuristic atmosphere. Memo-format correspondence is especially well-suited for serving purely informative purposes (like planning an upcoming event, conveying instructions, and so on) and for securely conducting certain types of business in real time. Nonetheless, there are certain documents—from love letters legislation—that seem more thoughtful, authoritative, or serious in hard-copy from than they would otherwise. For this reason, I make a point of using the format of each message my characters write to clue readers in about the sort of purpose it serves before they even get to reading the content.


Well, if there's nothing else we learned from some of the recent scandals in international relations, is that more and more diplomatic communications these days are in an electronically stored format. If you recall, there's been a series of scandals where the diplomatic communications of US and other countries' diplomats were leaked online. It turned out that even many of the things that we would assume would be in hardcopy-only would actually exist in an electronic format.

One thing to consider is:

How open or closed is your society?

Messages which are intended only for the eyes of a specific character or group of characters are more likely (though not always) to be delivered by hardcopy, sometimes by courier or even (in the context of military communications, for instance, or in some cases, certain commercial document) by armed escort. (Those bank vans you see in the streets are sometimes guarding not only cash, but also certain documents, which for a range of reasons can't be stored electronically).

On the other hand, many countries have laws mandating that certain government documents be kept available for researchers or reporter or simply citizens who file an information request. These countries will typically tend to have a large proportion of their communications in electronic form. Failure to properly store information and make it available for public request had been the center of a range of controversies in the Western world in the past decade.

For my nation, I follow the following structure:

1. Classified messages that absolutely have to be delivered in hardcopy are delivered by armed courier. (Naturally, countries that have a problem with an Allanean armed courier are not normally exposed to classified information of this grade in the first place). Another thing that I sometimes deliver in hardcopy is certain letters to foreign leaders like the King of Imeriata or the Elentari of Menelmacar, purely because these are often accompanied by gifts to the monarch, and it is more ceremonial that way.

2. Response to matters that are not important enough to gain the attention of senior leaders of the state is typically handled via an 'Official Statement from the Free Kingdom Ministry of Foreign Affairs' or 'Ministry of War' or any other relevant entity.. This typically is also an excuse for me to use my fancy logos. These fancy logos are also used for a variety of messages sent directly to a range of governments.

3. Dealing with entities that are hostile to Allanea, or which have a truly atrocious foreign policy or human rights record (these categories often overlap) is trusted to specific characters who have a record of witty, acerbic, and often extremely rude responses. In the real world diplomacy rarely uses such individuals and styles, and the appearance of Peter Nizhinsky typically is the realm of threads where the events don't really fully match our expectations of the 'real world' anyway. [But some truly rude diplomatic messages have happened IRL.]

4. For events which are judged important enough to merit an appearance from the King or Queen of Allanea, the appropriate fancy logos are dragged out (the Seal of House Blaken-Kazansky, or the various other appropriate seals if they operate under their capacity as the Emperor and Empress of Greater Prussia).


In some cases, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of War, or the Crown release a variety of videos, usually to address a range of populations. Famously, the Ministry of War has also released a rap video.
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The State of Monavia
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Postby The State of Monavia » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:45 pm

I produced a diplomatic roleplay seminar on the North Pacific Region offsite forum that might help advance this discussion a bit.

Allanea wrote:For my nation, I follow the following structure:

1. Classified messages that absolutely have to be delivered in hardcopy are delivered by armed courier. (Naturally, countries that have a problem with an Allanean armed courier are not normally exposed to classified information of this grade in the first place). Another thing that I sometimes deliver in hardcopy is certain letters to foreign leaders like the King of Imeriata or the Elentari of Menelmacar, purely because these are often accompanied by gifts to the monarch, and it is more ceremonial that way.

2. Response to matters that are not important enough to gain the attention of senior leaders of the state is typically handled via an 'Official Statement from the Free Kingdom Ministry of Foreign Affairs' or 'Ministry of War' or any other relevant entity.. This typically is also an excuse for me to use my fancy logos. These fancy logos are also used for a variety of messages sent directly to a range of governments.

3. Dealing with entities that are hostile to Allanea, or which have a truly atrocious foreign policy or human rights record (these categories often overlap) is trusted to specific characters who have a record of witty, acerbic, and often extremely rude responses. In the real world diplomacy rarely uses such individuals and styles, and the appearance of Peter Nizhinsky typically is the realm of threads where the events don't really fully match our expectations of the 'real world' anyway. [But some truly rude diplomatic messages have happened IRL.]

4. For events which are judged important enough to merit an appearance from the King or Queen of Allanea, the appropriate fancy logos are dragged out (the Seal of House Blaken-Kazansky, or the various other appropriate seals if they operate under their capacity as the Emperor and Empress of Greater Prussia).

In some cases, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of War, or the Crown release a variety of videos, usually to address a range of populations. Famously, the Ministry of War has also released a rap video.


There is a lot to like about the consistency and orderliness of your system. From a writing perspective, it helps to have a decision-making scheme like this to speed up your creative process (and if you noticed, I made a point of citing Nizhinsky by name in Chapter 8 of my guide). Speaking of your emblems, what is the story behind the paisley owl?
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Postby Roania » Sat Jul 07, 2018 11:50 am

https://discord.gg/febnCaH

A team of us have come up with a discord for all varieties of worldbuilding, on the principle that we're all facing many of the same challenges. We've got a good team of mentors and players, and we've been dry-running for the past two weeks. It's hardly a substitute for the NSMT server, but it might be a useful supplement.
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Postby Ghant » Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:21 pm

Hello all,

Last month I had the pleasure of being invited to participate in The North Pacific-Greater Dienstad Roleplay and Cultural Exchange. I had a lot of fun meeting new people and discussing the contents of my lecture. Big thanks to both the GD and TNP communities for hosting the event and providing others as well as myself with the opportunity to exchange insights and ideas concerning roleplaying.

For the June topics I would like to share a few of these event lectures for the benefit of this thread's readers. Please feel free to ask any questions that you might have, and enjoy the lectures!

Nation vs. Character Roleplaying
The Characteristics and Distinctions Thereof

Greetings all and welcome to this guide regarding the distinctions between nation and character roleplaying! I’d like to thank The North Pacific region for providing me with an opportunity to speak on this subject, as well as my fellow Greater Dienstad community members for agreeing to partner with TNP for this event. I hope that many of you will find the contents of this guide insightful and interesting.

I think the best place to begin is to explain what roleplaying is within the context of Nationstates. Roleplaying is essentially taking on the role of a fictional entity that exists in a fictional universe, and interacting with other fictional entities within that fictional universe for presumably recreational purposes. Since Nationstates is a site about fictional nations, the general idea of Nationstates roleplaying is to create a fictional nation, and interact with other fictional nations. The form that this interaction takes is where the distinction between nation and character roleplaying lies.

Nation Roleplaying

Nation roleplaying consists of creative works meant to portray any actions undertaken by a country at large. What policy does a nation have on a certain international issue? What actions are they taking to address said issue? Those questions are germane to nation roleplaying. A nation’s history, form of government and culture all have an impact on these questions (a process called worldbuilding, which is the process through which the fictional world that one’s fictional nation exists in is constructed).

Nation roleplaying takes on many forms and is conducted via several platforms. The most common form in my experience is news threads, where writers produce articles presenting the latest happenings in either their nations or the nations that they interact with, and how their governments react to those events. For instance, let’s say that Nation A is experiencing a popular uprising, and Nation B, which shares a border with Nation A, reacts to these events with alarm and concern. Conversely, Nation B’s government could support the uprisings.

Writers can take such an international incident and go more in-depth, writing policy papers, government communiqués and other documents that reflect the nation in question’s actions undertaken. World Assembly Commendations and Condemnations are often a reflection of these national policies, and at its base, the World Assembly is a form of nation roleplaying.

Besides writing on the International Incidents and Nationstates subforums, writers also utilize IIwiki in order to produce Wikipedia-esque articles that describe various qualities of their nations, as well as factbooks for quickly and easily accessible facts about their nations. Many of these tools are for the benefit of other writers interested in learning more about other nations and how their own nations might interact with them (will they support that nation, or be opposed to them, based on that nation’s policies and form of government).

The fundamental limitation to nation roleplaying (and hence why it’s called that) is that there is no point-of-view provided to the writing, so it takes on a sort of “general sense” of what the nation’s actions are. Presenting the ideas and opinions of characters would constitute character roleplaying, so nation roleplaying tends to take on a very neutral tone in the form of its presentation (though its not uncommon for a nation to exhibit the personal tastes and preferences of the writer behind the nation…more on that in a bit).

A common mistake that writers who are roleplaying nations make is “meta-gaming,” which in my opinion is the cardinal sin of roleplaying, akin to “betting on baseball.” Meta-gaming is where a writer blurs the lines between the fictional world in which their nation exists and the real world in which the writer exists, to the point that suspension of disbelief is broken, and other writers feel as though the meta-gamer is “imposing themselves” upon the in-game world. An example of this (from my own personal experience…I wish I was joking) is where a writer claims that his country hates communism because he himself hates communism. This is considered poor form, and against RP etiquette.

What a writer should do instead is, if they would like to have a nation that hates communism, explain why their nation hates communism within the confines of the in-game universe. Perhaps that nation has a historical reason for not liking communism, in the form of violent revolutions or wars that influence contemporary opinions. That’s an important and very basic key to nation roleplaying…strictly keeping the nation’s core aspects contained with the world in which it exists.

Character Roleplaying

The same is largely true of character roleplaying, though its applications are inherently different. Character roleplaying consists of assuming the roles of characters presumably from a nation that you’ve created, and interacting with other characters, inanimate objects of things that a person can interact with. Within the scope of roleplaying on Nationstates, this usually involves “actions” being undertaken by characters, instead of by the nation at-large.

The variation that exists for character roleplaying is expansive, to say the least. A writer can present a multitude of characters ranging from government leaders, soldiers, people on the street, legislators, noblemen, etc. These characters can be portrayed as interacting with other characters also presented by the writer, or with characters presented by other writers in as many ways as people interact in our real world. Your creativity is the limit.

As per most narrative forms concerning characters, character roleplaying is presented by First Person and Third Person Points of View (POV). First person consists of writing as though you are the character intrinsically (I am doing this, this is me, this is my chair), while third person non-personal pronouns (he did this, she is doing this, they are doing that). Third person POV is by far the most common form of character RP on NS in my experience (though often, writers present the thoughts of characters in italics, such as Why does he always do this to me?).

Character RP and nation RP can achieve the same goal of presenting a nation’s policies and the actions that they take, but from the POV of characters. Take a nation’s head of state for instance. Let’s say a nation decides to invade another nation. In an instance of nation roleplaying, the reader would know just that…Nation A is declaring war on Nation B. Character roleplaying can delve deeper into that. The President of Nation A makes the decision to declare war on Nation B.

Why did the President of Nation A make that decision? What factors did he consider? Did anything happen in his past that influenced that? What were his thoughts, fears, ambitions? Those are the sorts of questions that can be answered with character roleplaying. For some writers, those sorts of questions and their implications are the most fun aspects of roleplaying not just on NS, but in general (the human experience).

Character roleplaying has its restrictions. Unlike nation roleplaying, which can take place in so many forms, is far more limited in terms of where it can be written. Roleplaying threads in International Incidents, Nationstates and Portal to the Multiverse (P2M) are basically the only places on-site where this can be done. While they can be social threads, or more serious “action” threads, that restriction exists due to the very nature of the RP form.

Fortunately, there is a greater deal of interaction with other writers to be had with character roleplaying. For instance, if I am roleplaying as Character A, and another writer is roleplaying as Character B, then we can write interactions, either as back and forth posts in a thread or by collaborating in a google document, which is great for back and forth dialogue between characters. Once the writers are done with that interaction, one can post it on the Nationstates forums (I recommend giving “writing credits to the non-posting collaborator, in the form of “this post was co-written with Suchandsuch”).

The same issue with metagaming exists with character roleplaying, if the writer makes the characters too much like themselves, or superimposes their characteristics, idiosyncrasies and preferences upon the characters that they’re writing. I believe it is harder to roleplay characters than nations for this very reason, that there’s a certain burden on the writer to present characters that the reader can separate from the writer.

This goes into fiction writing and character narratives, but basically the idea is to create a character that’s unique and authentic to the world in which they live. Where are they from? Are they rich or poor? Are they powerful, or just an average Joe? What are their fears and aspirations? What motivates them? The answers to these questions shape the character’s personality and worldview and will ultimately have an impact on how they assess situations that are presented to them.

The level of immersion that character roleplays can have on Nationstates is, as one can imagine, very deep. Complex storylines involving the moving and shaking of nations driven by the characters that hold power in those nations is one of my favorite aspects of roleplaying on Nationstates, and that’s what’s been keeping me engaged all these years.

Final Takeaways

It’s okay if you want to focus on either nation or character roleplaying, or dabble in both. The key however is to surround yourself with people that support your work, one way or the other. Identify communities that exemplify the type of work that you want to do, and can help you improve in the areas that interest you. What’s great about Nationstates is that there’s something for everybody. I’ve seen some phenomenal nation and character roleplayers over the years, and both have their rewards.

I hope you found this lecture on nation vs. character roleplaying helpful. Please feel free to ask any questions, make comments or voice concerns in this thread. Thank you for reading!
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Prydania
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Postby Prydania » Mon Jul 09, 2018 4:02 pm

Creating Mythology and Religion
A RP Seminar by Prydania from the TNP/Greater Dienstad RP Cultural Exchange Event

Introduction
Welcome to my RP Seminar on creating a religion and mythology for your RP nation.
It can be daunting to create a national mythology and/or religion, when one looks to the real world for examples. The texts of all major religions alone almost seem impenetrable due to their scope and size. The Book of Genesis in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, for example, is full of family trees, lineages, stories, parables, and so on. And that's all before we even get to Moses!
So yes. It can seem daunting. Do you need to work out a complex lineage of religious or mythical forefathers or gods just to lay the foundations of your hypothetical religion or myth? The answer is no. And I’m going to help it seem a little less imposing and broad.

I hope to touch on the following topics over the course of this seminar...
  • National Mythology vs Universal Religion
  • Scaling Everything Back: Creating the Kernel of Truth
  • Integration into the Wider Mythology of Your RP World
  • Universal Religion and Integration


National Mythology vs Universal Religion
We first have to contend with the overlapping terms “religion” and “mythology.” Simply put? All religion is mythology, but not all mythology is religious.
Now we can tackle the difference between national mythology (which may or may not be religious) and universl religion.

A national mythology speaks to its people. How the nation is born, who its forefathers were, and how their exploits gave birth to the nation in its present form. It will also contain, if it is also religious, how the god or gods of the nation helped shape it history and destiny.

A universal religion often has its origins in one culture or “nation,” but is instead focused on a “universal” truth for all of mankind.
That is not to say that universal religions are unconcerned with national character, but we will get to that later.

Real world examples of national mythology would be the tales of Norse or Greek gods (religious mythology), or the King Arthur legend (non-religious mythology).

Real world examples of universal religion are Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism.

Judaism and Hinduism fall somewhere between the two.


Scaling Everything Back: Using the Euhemerist Method
Most players fall into the trap of trying to create a mythology from the top down. They use modern-day examples of religion and mythology and attempt to build something that resembles them in their present state and work backwards to flesh out the religion or mythology's history.
There is nothing inherently wrong with this idea, but it can be very daunting for role players who have only now begun to give their mythology or religion serious consideration. After all, modern day myths are the way they are because of a complex serious of mythological synchronizations often spurred on by cultural diffusion via migration or war. And so these events will have to be kept in mind if you're starting with a myth in its present form and working backwards.
Religion can likewise be a bit of a hassle when working backwards. Most modern religions are complex belief structures shaped by centuries upon centuries of dogmatic evolution. Often evolving as a response to a changing world around them. Working backwards can likewise be as daunting here as it is with mythology.

It's for these reasons that I would recommend the Euhemerist Method. Euhemerism is the idea that a myth, religious or otherwise, has a kernel of truth at its centre. The Greek philosopher Plato explored the concept of Euhermerism in his work Phaedrus.

"Phaedrus: Tell me, Socrates, isn't it from somewhere near this stretch of the Ilisus that people say Boreas (god of the northern winds) carried Orithyia away?
Socrates: So they say.
Phaedrus: Couldn't this be the very spot? The stream is lovely, pure and clear: just right for girls to be playing nearby.
Socrates: No, it is two or three hundred yards farther downstream, where one crosses to get to the district of Arga. I think there is even an altar to Boreas there.
Phaedrus: I hadn't noticed it. But tell me, Socrates, in the name of Zeus, do you really believe that legend is true?
Socrates: Actually, it would not be out of place for me to reject it, as our intellectuals do. I could then tell a clever story: I could claim that a gust of the North Wind blew her over the rocks where she was playing with Pharmaceia; and once she was killed that way people said she had been carried off by Boreas..."

So the question is therefore “what’s the kernel of truth to your mythology?”

The key to developing mythology is working from the beginning. Create a believable historic event that impacted the early peoples of your nation and then develop the means by which it becomes extraordinary, or even supernatural, over time as the story is told and retold.

Ultimately you need to understand human motivations to fully understand what events could inspire our mythologies.

So what would motivate your nation’s early inhabitants?
  • Tribal security (ie protection of the tribe for purposes of resources and land).
  • Protection against the elements. Extreme environmental events can often lead a cultural memory that persists as mythology.
  • A quest for knowledge (often religious) elsewhere that inspires a journey.
  • Conflict as civilization marches on. The development of agriculture puts hunter-gathers in conflict with those who establish fixed settlements that become farms, towns, and cities.
This is by no means a definitive list. That being said? They can provide you with a good idea of what would would motivate people in early societies to pass stories on orally to the point where they could be mythologized. Before finally being written in their “definitive” mythological form.

Here are some examples from the real world, to better illustrate how the above events can inspire religious or mythological stories.

The Norse legend of Ragnarök, specifically the Fimbulvetr, is believed to have been inspired by either the sudden and rapid drop in temperature across northern Europe in 535-536 CE or the earlier shift in global climate that saw the then temperate Nordic countries get considerably cooler around 650 BCE.
Either way it's very possible that a rapid cooling of northern Europe, and the inhabitants' struggle to survive and thrive in the cooler climate, lasted as a cultural memory. One that would then inspire the apocalyptic Fimbulvetr winter from the Ragnarök story.


The Book of Genesis is a highly stylized retelling of events that occurred in 2nd millinia BCE Sumeria.
Cain and Abel is a retelling of the struggles between nomadic hunter-gatherers and civilization emerging around the first cities.
Noah’s Ark is the story of a great flood in Sumeria that’s been retold again and again.
The story of Abraham leading the forbearers of the Israelites out of Mesopotamia to eventually settle in Cannan is likely a retelling of religious conflict between competing sects in Mesopotamian city-states leading to a migration into the Levant.


King Arthur, if he does indeed have any basis in real history, was likely more akin to a tribal chieftain who unified Celtic tribes against Saxon invasion, rather than high medieval royalty. Camelot, if it did exist as a real place, was likely an earthen fort rather than an imposing castle.


Egyptian mythology claims that the sun god Ra fought the embodiment of chaos, Apep, daily. This is depicted in art as Ra atop a solar barge fighting Apep as a giant snake.
In this case archeologists have confirmed that fishermen on river barges shoving aside snakes figured heavily into early Egyptian art that pre-dates the development of the Apep/Ra story.
We see here that the daily realities of fishing on the Nile helped shape Egyptian mythology.
The daily tribulations of the Egyptian fisherman became the template for ancient Egypt’s story of light and creation battling against darkness and chaos.


The pre-historic Chinese had long been using stylized depictions of animals such as pigs, snakes, and fish in a coiled form to signify status. This eventually lead to those stylized designs amalgamating into the Chinese dragon, which became a symbol of Imperial authority.


The first non-divine Emperor in traditional Chinese history is Yu the Great, of the Xia Dynasty. According to the legend Yu pioneered flood control and became a great ruler as a result.
Now consider where the Xia are traditionally held to have lived. Along the banks of the Yellow River. The historicity of Yu and the Xia is almost inconsequential. Regardless we know that Chinese civilization developed along the Yellow River. It's therefore unsurprising that one of their earliest culture heroes, one of the few Emperors of China to have the epithet of "the great," is a man who supposedly figured out how to control the flooding rivers of which that early society was dependent upon.



Integration into the Wider Mythology of Your RP World
Successful NationStates national RP rarely, if ever, exists in a bubble. You are likely to have neighbours. Furthermore? You are likely to have at least a few nations on your map that roughly share the same culture as inspiration that you use. It’s when these issues arise that you want to consider how your own history and mythology integrates into the wider history of your RP world.

The first thing to consider is that you’re going to have to be flexible with everything you’ve created. That’s ok. RP is fundamentally a collaborative effort. The person you’re going to have to make adjustments to accommodate will likely have to make adjustments of their own.
Don’t feel so tied to your own ideas that you refuse to budge on any of them. Both you and the person you’re collaborating with should be working towards a stronger history and mythology for the entire RP community.

So after you’ve committed to being flexible? You’ll want to look for easy points of contact.
Let’s say you get a new neighbour on the map. You should reach out and attempt to work out a shared history of cultural exchange and warfare (warfare is, indeed, the most successful vehicle for cultural exchange in human history).

You’ll also want to consider looking for what I call “connective tissue.” Don’t be afraid to speak up if you see someone else talking about their own mythology. Even if they are not neighbours.
If there are elements in theirs that match yours? You ought to work with them to discuss a possible common origin to the similar myths.
The gods Týr, Zeus, and Dyaus occupy pantheons from Scandinavia to Greece to India, and yet they’re all based on the same proto-Indo-European deity Dyeus.
So don’t be afraid to reach out to your fellow RPers to reconcille similar mythologies. Even if you are a bit aways apart on the map.

Universal Religion and Integration
Back to universal religion. Universal religions are shaped by the cultural that births them, but they draw less on cultural myths and more on promoting a “universal” doctrine for all mankind, regardless of religion.
Often the central element of the faith will actually be stripped of original cultural trappings to appeal to as many people as possible.
This often coincides with the universal faith adopting elements of the culture or cultures it spreads into.

This is key. Often RPers who want to explore the spread of a universal religion view it as a matter of imperialism. Forcing a foreign belief system on a conquered population.
Often the opposite will occur, with the religion changing to accommodate native culture.

Christianity is the best example of this in the real world. It was born in first century Judea, but many of its Saints were based on European pagan deities. European artists depicted Christian stories, including those of the Hebrew Bible, using contemporary European art styles. This lead to pieces of art meant to depict events that occurred in the Middle East reflecting European cultural touchstones.
A European city even served as the headquarters of the largest unified Christian denomination up until the Reformation of the 1500s.

That is not to say that Christianity was subsumed by European elements, however. Christianity has been adopted by nearly every ethnic group in the world, and all of them have taken the Christian belief structure and have passed it through their own cultural filters.

Conclusion
Mythology and religion are collectively a huge, daunting topic. So much so that many RPers don’t even bother. This is truly a sad state of affairs, we mythological and religious world-building can lead to a richer and more realistic RP world.

Ultimately the best way to tackle this task to work backwards. Myth is an embellished story derived from human action. Human action is derived from motivation.
By understanding human motivation- what would have driven, inspired, and otherwise left a mark on your nation’s early peoples- you can begin to craft a history that you can than build up into a myth.

Thank you.
Last edited by Prydania on Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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The State of Monavia
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Postby The State of Monavia » Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:03 pm

Ghant wrote:[Snip.]


I have always preferred to calibrate my roleplaying to focus on the way institutions transform character-driven decisions into concrete actions. For example, I will often begin writing a reaction to something happening overseas by explaining how my decision makers learn of the event in question, then shift to focusing on their decision process before explaining how their decisions manifest themselves in the political arena. Some readers here might have seen me apply this model in posts like this one.

From my perspective, the hardest part of nation roleplaying (in terms of direct, IC player-to-player interaction) is learning how to cope with the limitations roleplaying my nation as a monolithic entity. I can accomplish a lot through narration alone, but it can be hard to rely solely on narration to tell background stories and communicate decisions when character roleplaying tools like dialogue and IC messages are also available. For instance, I find it a lot more convenient (and believable) to receive a communiqué from a character rather than a faceless author like a government-at-large. Likewise, I have found it unwise to drop a dozen consecutive paragraphs of worldbuilding narration on someone in an IC thread when I can rely on dialogue to tell the same story. At the risk of starting a slippery slope argument, there comes a point where a post gets saturated with so much worldbuilding that it sounds more like a factbook than a roleplay thread, and when that point gets reached, it changes the entire flavor of the thread.

When it comes to character roleplaying, I find that the best way to introduce a new character for the first time is to include a few sentences of basic biographical information up front and use it to sketch a narrative portrait. For instance, here is a slightly wordy example I wrote in 2011:

A trio of fantail goldfish swam around in a rectangular tank, ceaselessly circling a piece of lava rock and occasionally brushing aside the two guppies with whom they shared their abode. The water in the tank, which was agitated by a pump, glittered in the light of sunbeams that flowed through the windows of what was clearly an office. The room belonged to a consulting firm set up by Gary Culler, a retired diplomat who had set up his business in order to obtain an income that took some form other than a taxpayer-funded pension. He had aged since he left his post as an envoy to the Fegosian Union only two years ago, but at sixty-six he still had sufficient vitality to handle hundreds of customers in a lucrative trade. Only a few days earlier, a senator had solicited his advice regarding a question of trade policy, and the sagacious Culler was all too pleased to indulge his client’s request.

Culler’s short, moderately-muscled figure was seated in a brown leather chair opposite the fish tank. His icy blue eyes traced the movements of the poor guppies through a set of titanium-framed glasses, scrutinizing their attempts to avoid being roughly handled by the goldfish, which had yet to become accustomed to their new neighbors. Culler’s blanket of light gray hair did not have any of the grace that it once did; it certainly did not attract as much attention as the resplendent fish in his tank. While he could clamp down on the fast movements of politics and follow them with the tenacity of a pack of hounds, the fading of his hair was something which he preferred to ignore rather than accept. Like the goldfish who did not appreciate the arrival of the guppies only a few days earlier, he had yet to acclimate himself to all of the changes around him.


If anyone wants to read more about character roleplay, especially in regard to political characters, I recommend reading a certain post by Jenrak and a post by New Aeyariss that address this topic in depth.

Prydania wrote:[Snip.]


Having read your seminar post (and guides by Stormwrath and Lamoni on this same subject), I think that you have covered a lot of crucial bases. I want to shift the discussion towards two items that your post (and the other two) seemed to avoid covering: the process of creating holy texts and the universal religious trope of having holy role models that believers are encouraged to emulate.

Not all holy texts are created in the same fashion. If a religion emerges in a society that has low rates of literacy, especially before the invention of printing, the process of transmitting holy texts is limited by the supply of able scribes who can be employed to copy them (and of course copyist errors can be exploited by heretics to create new ideas and spread them around). For instance, the Bible comes in a lot more versions than the Book of Mormon as the latter was written in a literate society that had reliable printing technology. Regardless of what beliefs your fictional religion contains or how it is structured, it will probably have some sort of holy text (or texts) that have stories behind them.

Nearly all (organized) religions have official role models (i.e. “saints” and the like) who are held up as concrete, definitive examples demonstrating how various principles ought to be practiced. Not only does the work of creating historical role model figures offer roleplayers a character-driven form of worldbuilding to indulge in, it also provides them an opportunity to endow their fictional religions with additional depth. Fictional religious exemplars can be used as IC points of reference for other characters, or as plot devices in various settings and situations. I therefore advocate that any roleplayer who wants to create a fictional religion consider the potential ways in which such characters can benefit their project.
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Ghant
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Postby Ghant » Fri Jul 27, 2018 2:13 pm

The State of Monavia wrote:I have always preferred to calibrate my roleplaying to focus on the way institutions transform character-driven decisions into concrete actions. For example, I will often begin writing a reaction to something happening overseas by explaining how my decision makers learn of the event in question, then shift to focusing on their decision process before explaining how their decisions manifest themselves in the political arena. Some readers here might have seen me apply this model in posts like this one.

From my perspective, the hardest part of nation roleplaying (in terms of direct, IC player-to-player interaction) is learning how to cope with the limitations roleplaying my nation as a monolithic entity. I can accomplish a lot through narration alone, but it can be hard to rely solely on narration to tell background stories and communicate decisions when character roleplaying tools like dialogue and IC messages are also available. For instance, I find it a lot more convenient (and believable) to receive a communiqué from a character rather than a faceless author like a government-at-large. Likewise, I have found it unwise to drop a dozen consecutive paragraphs of worldbuilding narration on someone in an IC thread when I can rely on dialogue to tell the same story. At the risk of starting a slippery slope argument, there comes a point where a post gets saturated with so much worldbuilding that it sounds more like a factbook than a roleplay thread, and when that point gets reached, it changes the entire flavor of the thread.

That's an interesting perspective. Something I have often found to be true is that while the end result of an II RP reaction post usually consists of some concrete action taken in response to an incident, the course taken to arrive at that point is often quite different depending on the narrative choices of the writer. For instance, you referenced how institutions transform character-driven decisions into concrete actions. I often write about how character-driven decisions transform institutions, and the concrete actions that are a result of said transformation. That may seem abstract, but depending upon the nation in question, the institutions may be weak, and the characters strong enough to subject those institutions to their personal desires, and the policy would then be a reflection of that altered institution.

To your second point about narrative exposition, I think it depends on the thread, the OP, and what you're trying to accomplish with the post. Typically what I will do if it's not my thread, but I'm involved in the narrative and it's my first post in that thread, I will talk to the OP about how important introducing my setting is to the story. An example would be the Titanomachy thread involving Greater Dienstad and Gholgoth. For my first post in the thread, I decided that it was necessary to introduce Gholghant, which up to that point had not made an IC appearance. I wanted to show to the reader this setting, what it was like, and establish it as a setting within the world of the story at large. Most importantly though, I wanted to show why the Ghantish were so concerned about the events of the thread up to that point, by presenting what the Ghantish had to lose...their home. You can read the post here.
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Havensky
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How to implement and enforce a Code of Conduct

Postby Havensky » Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:29 pm

Introduction
In the last year, there’s been a prevalence of regional Discords popping up all around the Nationstates metaverse. These have been great for building community, but they also have opened the door for… trolls.

Merriam Webster defines an internet troll as “a person who intentionally antagonizes others online by posting inflammatory, irrelevant, or offensive comments or other disruptive content.”

Trolls can decimate a community if you let them. They can sneak up on you. First it’s a few homophobic jokes, then some racist snark, and before you know it your regional discord is a radioactive mess of slurs, flame wars, and pretty much uninhabitable.

There is a defense, but it takes some work.

This is a guide for how to implement and enforce a Code of Conduct in your region and your Discord.

What is a Code of Conduct and why do you need it?

A Code of Conduct is a statement of expectations on how you should behave in any particular place. A lot of places you visit in real life already have codes of conduct written or otherwise. When you go to your house of worship, there are certain things you’re expected to do and not do. Using foul language inside your church/temple/mosque/what-have-you is generally frowned upon. When you go to court, you’re expected to dress up. When you go to a sports game, you might see a sign saying what activity fans shouldn’t do - alongside a number to call if somebody is breaking the rules.

With the internet, we have not established the same set of rules that are universally recognized. So, we have to spell it out for people. A Code of Conduct can be as simple or complex as you need it to be. However, most Code of Conducts have a “Do not be disruptive” as Rule Number One. The “Do not be disruptive” rule is flexible enough to cover all sorts of bad behavior and is a pretty simple one to remember.

The NS Mentor server has a pretty long Code for Conduct, but I’ve summarized it here.

Rules of the NationStates Mentor Program Server
- Rule #1 Do not be disruptive.
- Rule #2 Do not flame, troll, or otherwise insult other users.
- Rule #3 Do not spam in any form.
- Rule #4 Plagiarism will not be tolerated.
- Rule #5 All content should be maintained at (or below) a "Safe for Work" PG-13 rating.
- Rule #6 Any serious grievance against another user should be brought to the attention of server staff, not openly aired.



By joining this server you (the user) submit that you have read these rules and, subsequently, submit to the authority of their enforcement. You accept that actions may be taken against you in the event you violate such. This may include a reprimand or warning (public or otherwise), revocation of the ability to chat, a kick from the server, or a ban from the server (for a set period or permanently). You, further, accept that attempting to evade these punishments, or posting on the behalf of a muted or banned player, may result in your own muting/banishment.


That last paragraph is important. That line is what I call the “Not in my house” principle. You (the user) are in my discord (house) therefore if you misbehave I will kick you out (ban you.) If you want to go trolling, do it somewhere else.

The “Not in my house” principle

The “Not in my house” principle helps with a number of common arguments when dealing with violations.

But freedom of speech!?

Not in my house! Freedom of speech prevents the government from arresting you for something you say - aside from a few very limited exceptions. In my house, if you use a racial or homophobic slur you’re going to be asked to leave.

But I was joking!!

Not in my house. Don’t joke like that here.

Don’t be so serious!

This is my house. I can be as serious as I want to be.

Another good example of the “Not in my house” principle is the policy that exists in the NSFT server and is managed by NS Moderator Kyrusia. It goes like this.

For all intents and purposes, I own this server - within the boundaries allowed by the Discord Terms & Conditions of Use and "Community Guidelines" which serve as an extrapolation thereof. That means, if I really and truly don't want you here, there is nothing stopping me from banishing you from the server. The only thing that prohibits it are the internal rules and protocols established when this server was first created. This was my deliberate intent, as I do not like banning people, as I feel most players can be redeemed and their behavior corrected to be within the boundaries of the very same rules. At the end of the day, however, if I wished to ban the use of the letter "E," it is entirely within my rights as Founder to do so.


Additionally, their policy also includes:
Any player that proves themselves to consistently be combative (not harsh, combative, as in deliberately stirring stuff in the event any opposing opinion is raised), antagonistic to the spirit of the server, using this server for malicious ends, or in general being needlessly disruptive may face permanent banishment under the aegis of Rule #1. This is apparently necessary, as we are personally aware of several players using this server in some game of an apparent internecine nature.


For my own region of Gholgoth, it’s pretty straightforward.

Discord Policy: All users of this channel can be banned on the basis of violating standard safe for work guidelines, applying consistent patterns of bullying at targeted individuals, and engaging in wanton attempts to disrupt order. Misconduct on NS or on messaging servers affiliated with NSers can result in due disciplinary action by Gholgoth channel operators as well.


Short and simple. You start trying to bully somebody in Gholgoth you’re gonna be out on your badonkadonk faster than you can say Capitol Police.

My other favorite line in this type of policy is: Mods may remove users at will for any reason and will remove any user that the mods deems to be violating the Code for Conduct or are being disruptive.

A line like that says, “I don’t actually need a reason to remove you - but I will remove you if you become a problem.”

A word on enforcement

A Code of Conduct isn’t some magic scroll that wards off bad things. You’re thinking of the banhammer. A Code of Conduct that isn’t enforced is actually worse than nothing because it gives the appearance of safety when it isn’t guaranteed.

Enforcement can come a few ways.

When people enter your server, there should be a Code of Conduct pinned to at least one of the channels. (You can see NS Mentor’s one in the Directory channel). You can also alter your discord settings to force your users to join a channel that’s designed for new users. Alternatively, if you advertise your link on your region page you can place it there. The important part is that it’s obvious that you have a Code of Conduct.

When you see a violation decide if it’s a “Hey, knock it off violation’ or a ban-on-sight. Use your best judgement. If you use homophobic language, you’ll get a warning from me. If you post inappropriate pics, well you’re gonna get banned. Quickly.

If, after a warning, the behavior continues then the person is banned from the server.

You may have also noticed that last line in Gholgoth’s example. Misconduct on NS or on messaging servers affiliated with NSers can result in due disciplinary action by Gholgoth channel operators as well.

That’s right, if you act a fool in another server and one of us hears about it you'd be banned from Gholgoth. It’s our house and if you managed to get kicked out of Greater Dienstad than we probably don’t want you in G either.

But that’s madness!

Madness? No, this is Gholgoth!

Online communities tend to gain reputations over time. Sometimes, this is good because it brings new people into your group. Sometimes, it’s bad because you end up attracting trolls. Worse, if you have a reputation for being a trollish place - you’ll get lots of trolls. Gaining a reputation for enforcing certain standards tends to encourage that people maintain those standards.

If you have to ban somebody, you may feel less than stellar about it after the fact. I’ve banned people from both online communities and at real life events and it’s never fun. You question yourself. You feel like a jerk for doing it, but know that if you let this stuff fester things will get worse.

When you create a space for online discussion, you and those who share ownership are responsible for what happens there. By creating and enforcing a code of conduct, you can ensure that it’s a space that’s fun to be around.

How to set yourself up for success

- Be a hard target. Set your Discord server verification to at least require emails. Requiring emails helps prevents bots and it helps track down bad actors on Discord side. You can find instructions for how to do that here.

- Establish Roles: Discord can be pretty creative with role creation. The default is @everyone. You can then create roles for region members, guests, and moderators. You can then establish all sorts of permissions based on their roles. Discord’s instructions are here.

- Set up your content filters: You can use the moderation tab in your server settings to have Discord scan for explicit content for people who don’t have roles or for everyone.

- Never go it alone: Don’t be the only one with access to banhammer. Ideally, if you’re online during the day your partner (or partners) should be online at night. It also helps to talk things through with other people

- Don’t be shy: If you suspect a flamewar about to breakout, be very vocal about what will happen if people cause a problem. Tell people to chill, take a step back, and assume good intentions.

- Ask for help: It’s helpful to talk to other people who also manage communities, event if it’s just to vent. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Many of the NS Mentors manage servers and I personally am happy to help talk you through things.

In Case of Emergency
Sometimes, people really want to cause trouble and unfortunately the internet has given them all the tools needed to cause you some real headaches. If you suddenly find your server being bombarded with spam and bad pics, here are some ways to lock it down.

- Set your Discord Server verification to “Double-Table Flip”: This will require users to have a verified email, be a registered user for 5+ minutes, and server member for 10+ minutes and have a verified phone number attached to their Discord account. It makes it a pain in the butt for a new user to post, but it will stop the flood of new users.

- Disable posting for the @everyone role: Don’t want people to post until you assign them a guest/member role? Disable posting for @everyone. (This is how Gholgoth is setup.) This prevents people from posting until you verify who they are.

- Force two-factor authentication: Think somebody is trying to take over your discord account? By forcing 2 factor authentication, it’ll text you a code whenever you try to login and require that code to do so. That makes it much harder for somebody to take over your account.

- Report it to Discord: You can report abuse to Discord here and if your server is under attack it’s a good idea to do so.

- Worst Case Scenario: If you start to notice somebody posting explicit underage material you have an obligation to report it to Discord. Instructions for how to do so are here.

In Conclusion
Hopefully, all these precautions will prove unnecessary. The vast majority of people who are participating in NS are not trying to troll people on a regular basis. The problem is that a few bad apples can ruin it for everyone and so we have to do all this work.

Managing a community can be a lot of work and responsibility, but ultimately it helps gather the community together and it’s a lot of fun.

Good luck and stay safe out there.
Last edited by Havensky on Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Lamoni
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Postby Lamoni » Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:12 pm

That is a very good guide, Havensky. If Kyru hasn't made that a general NS guide yet, you should ask him about it.
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Ex-Nation

Postby Fecaw » Sun Oct 07, 2018 6:31 am

Tag for future use.

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Inyourfaceistan
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Guide to God-Mods

Postby Inyourfaceistan » Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:13 pm

Hello, I was pondering recent RP subjects and I realized that (forgive me if I'm wrong) there has been little spoken on God-Mods, what they are or why they are bad. So I figured I would write a little guide to how to recognize and avoid God-Mods.

Now, we have all seen the God-moddy threads made by players usually less than a month old firing 500000 ballistic missiles and having assassins barge in and threaten their opponents leader at gun point, but other than the one liners and the silly plot devices, what makes their thread God-moddy? What is a God-Mod?

Well to start, it seems the term "God-Mod" is a verb that comes from an earlier term "God-Mode" wherein a character in video games could go invincible, have infinite ammo, or even bend and modify the world around them (in the sense that said character is akin to a "god"). "God-modding", it would seem is then the act of "modding" or manipulating the world (in this case the RP) in the sense that only a supreme deity could. But, we all crafted our nations, built their geography and culture as if we were deities, no?
Well the difference comes in interaction with other players, the difference comes when such activity becomes so unfair or unrealistic that it is then plot breaking.

For the purpose of this discussion, a God-Mod is any action or element of writing & design that through unfairness, unrealism or other disputed means functionally breaks the plot of an RP.

This being said, in my opinion there are three major classes of God-Mods, and I shall discuss each further:

Control-Mods:

Probably the most common offense, a Control-Mod is when one player (or players) take control of another players characters or nation. It can be something as trivial as a single post to a serious offense of nation impersonating (in which case the mods would get involved) but in most cases it's the former. But long story short these are bad because they are controlling characters and assets which are not theirs.

Dictating losses - This is basically "firing the shot AND calling the hit". It's generally accepted that you have your characters "fire at" the other's players, and it's up to them to determine if they got hit/wounded/died, etc. (Within reason). To dictate losses is to control the fate of another players characters.

"The Examplestani missiles hit the enemy carrier! It blew to peices, killing 5000!"

Playing another nations character - Simply put this is writing for the other player's characters without their permission; be it directing the action of an established character or characters OR the creation of new characters/assets in their nation without their permission.

"The enemy soldiers retreated and fled in the face of superior Examplestani combined arms!"

Unfair infiltration - Placing or drawing from loyal assets inside another player's country without their permission or proper roleplaying of the infiltration. Its a form of control mod because it assumes action by the other player's characters, i.e. assuming the border guards fucked up or assuming someone signed off on a visa for hostile intel assets - which is effectively roleplaying them past-tense without the other player's permission. This one is more tricky because it walks the gray area between realism and cooperation/permission - such that it's likely that any nation "could get" spies or turncoats inside another nation, but without explicit OOC permission or roleplay through the proper channels its still unfair to the other player and in bad taste.

"Examplestani spies then came gushing out of the woodworks to help General Steve escape!"

Realism-Mods:

A realism-mod is one that breaks the plot by creating an unrealistic scenario, effectively changing the RP by introducing elements or distorting reality in a way that couldn't or shouldn't happen. This could be through broken time-frames, tech-mixing, implausible feats, invincible characters, "iWin buttons", etc.
Now it need by said that there is no standard of realism applied across NS, the standard is applied primarily by the OP and secondarily by the general consensus of players participating in that RP. So in a thread where realism is not a concern, unrealistic actions are neither unfair nor plot-breaking.

Warping - Coming in close second to dictating losses, maybe even first place most common god-mod has got to be warping. Far too often you see players just deploying multi-division formations overnight or characters showing up from halfway across the world in a matter of minutes just to overhear a conversation or interact with other characters. This one is bad because it breaks the dimensions of time and distance, and limits the ability of other players to conduct other actions or defend themselves in the time they should realistically have.

Tech-mixing - This is quite obvious - bringing in tech superior to that which everyone else is using. God-mods of this type can be bad not only because they break the plot and create unfair situations, but also because they often violate willful permissions - in many cases players attempt to bring PMT tech into MT threads, and very rarely will MT players consent to having PMT wank tech forced down their throats without their consent.

"The 6.5th gen fighters swooped in and fired at the enemy F-4 Phantoms with their 1,000km Mach 10 BVRAAM's!"

Physics-breaking - Pretty simple and all-encompassing, basically any action that can't happen because its not physically possible or even remotely statistically probable. So simple I don't think it warrants an example.

Meta-Mods:

Meta-Mods are anything that is unfair, unrealistic or breaks the plot because of OOC knowledge, reasons or circumstances. In other words using out-of-character to make it unfair for other players in-character.

Knowing the unknown - "The all seeing eye". This is what people most commonly call "metagaming", its knowing information that should be secret IC (or at least yet undetected) for no other reason than it its established OOC. Often times its newer players who don't know any better, sometimes its lazy players who think satellites solve everything, but rarely is it exceptionally malicious.

"General Steve knew that it wasn't just a civilian mailman, it was an enemy spy! [because his player read the other player's post]"

Dishonesty - "That wasn't there before!". Dishonesty is saying one thing, or establishing a fact OOC and then changing it or suddenly producing new information IC to create an unfair situation to other players. This is where you get equipment or formations that weren't posted in ORBAT's popping up overnight or worse yet a thread changing from an open-outcome to a pre-determined outcome without warning. Much more rare than other forms of God-mod but it happens.

S-400 system's that were not posted in the ORBAT come out of nowhere at start firing at established air forces

Slow-posting/ignoring - This is intentionally and willfully delaying a response to or ignoring a section of roleplay which affects elements of the plot important to other players. NOTE: this is NOT the same as just taking awhile to post or having IRL obligations or time split between other threads; this is specifically ignoring one element or sub-plot of the thread while spending ample and/or excess time responding to or opening new sub-plots on the same thread. This is an under-handed means of keeping another player stalled or "frozen" with their interests awaiting a necessary response to proceed.

Example: I was once in a thread where another player wrote five different posts all in excess of three long paragraphs responding to diplomatic messages and RP'ing internal politics while leaving me waiting to figure the effects of my SEAD attack, and by the time he gave me a 3-sentence response the thread had progressed so far in other subplots that my presence was basically nullified.




Important closing notes: Its important to realize that what constitutes as a God-Mod varies by thread, by OP, and by the group of roleplayers you chose to associate with and roleplay with. Its also important to realize that the key factor here is PERMISSION and COOPERATION. Most players are agreeable enough to work out a solution if you ask them, just as most will probably get pissed if you just do something to break the plot without permission. Conversely, if you see someone God-Modding the best thing you can do to avoid it is gently correct them on why what they are doing is unrealistic and/or unfair, and possibly approach them to work out a solution that suites all involved. Of course, some people cant be reasoned with, and if someone continues unfair behavior the best thing you can do is remove yourself from the situation and find other that respect your creative control and world-building authority.

Well that concludes my little "Guide to God-Mods", any thoughts, questions or concerns?


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"Inyourfaceistan" refers to my player/user name, "Inyursta" is my IC name. NOT INYURSTAN. IF YOU CALL INYURSTA "INYURSTAN" THEN IT SHOWS THAT YOU CANT READ. Just refer to me as IYF or Stan.

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The State of Monavia
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Postby The State of Monavia » Mon Oct 22, 2018 1:26 am

Godmoding is a subject that does not get discussed much in threads like this one, so your decision to mention it should offer us all a good change of pace. When I first saw your post I initially assumed that its contents were redundant since Euroslavia wrote an excellent guide on the subject a decade ago and made it pretty thorough. Once I actually read your post, I was very pleased to find that you have broken some new ground by addressing unfair infiltration, warping, dishonesty, and slow-posting since other posters have written little or nothing about them.

In my own experience, warping is the most pervasive godmode among NS RPers who are mature enough not to dictate losses or play characters that do not belong to them. Though I do not see many explicit cases of warping now, there were quite a few cases where I used to see RPers entering IC threads by stating they had warships on routine patrols that just happen to be close to the country hosting the thread. Stuff like this seems to qualify as metagaming in the sense that the player entering the thread knows he or she needs to have assets near the site of the action driving the story and therefore positions them in a location that is convenient for making the plot move a certain desired way. A less sordid form of warping involves RPers posting that they are dispatching planes, ships, etc. to a given location and having them show up almost immediately.
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Inyourfaceistan
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Postby Inyourfaceistan » Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:38 pm

The State of Monavia wrote:Godmoding is a subject that does not get discussed much in threads like this one, so your decision to mention it should offer us all a good change of pace. When I first saw your post I initially assumed that its contents were redundant since Euroslavia wrote an excellent guide on the subject a decade ago and made it pretty thorough. Once I actually read your post, I was very pleased to find that you have broken some new ground by addressing unfair infiltration, warping, dishonesty, and slow-posting since other posters have written little or nothing about them.


Thank you!

TBH I was hesitant to include slow-posting since 9/10 times the other player just has IRL obligations or other threads to respond to, and I hope I was distinct enough on the difference.

In my own experience, warping is the most pervasive godmode among NS RPers who are mature enough not to dictate losses or play characters that do not belong to them. Though I do not see many explicit cases of warping now, there were quite a few cases where I used to see RPers entering IC threads by stating they had warships on routine patrols that just happen to be close to the country hosting the thread. Stuff like this seems to qualify as metagaming in the sense that the player entering the thread knows he or she needs to have assets near the site of the action driving the story and therefore positions them in a location that is convenient for making the plot move a certain desired way. A less sordid form of warping involves RPers posting that they are dispatching planes, ships, etc. to a given location and having them show up almost immediately.


Yeah, warping is pretty common. I have had character RP's even where my guy steps off a plane in Country X and someone from country Y is already running up to him on the tarmac wanting to discuss a secret plot...


It's not French,it's not Spanish,it's Inyurstan
"Inyourfaceistan" refers to my player/user name, "Inyursta" is my IC name. NOT INYURSTAN. IF YOU CALL INYURSTA "INYURSTAN" THEN IT SHOWS THAT YOU CANT READ. Just refer to me as IYF or Stan.

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The Macabees
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Postby The Macabees » Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:43 pm

Good guide.

I feel that if there is ever an inkling of a bad faith, the RP is likely to suffer.

Stuff like slow-posting vs. having a life outside of NS comes down to being able to trust someone, and if you can't trust someone IMO then it's not even worth the RPing time.

And fwiw, not all godmod is done in bad faith. Some people genuinely aren't aware that they're doing something "wrong." But, especially with concerns like slow-posting, that is purposeful manipulation and that's the point at which I wash my hands and move on.

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