I'm abusing the News page for a second non-NationStates item in a row. Sorry about that. It's especially annoying because there are several important NS features that are like 95% implemented, and just need me to finish them off. But am I doing that? No! I am selfishly spending my time on NON-NS things.
For example, this movie I co-wrote:
It's just been released as an advanced sneak on iTunes and On Demand, and is locked in a vicious struggle to the death for the #1 Indie Movie spot. It's also broken into the Top 50 for Comedies.
If you are in the US, you should totally rent it. I'm not just saying that because it would be awesome for my career. I figure there is at least a 50-50 chance that if you like a website I made, you might like a movie I helped make, too. So it's win-win.
Seriously, though, I am sorry about those delayed features.
As my day job, I write books. I'm not sure if you knew that. Anyway, my first novel, Syrup, is becoming a film, and now it has a trailer:
This doesn't have much to do with NationStates. So sorry about that. But GODDAMN, book becoming into film, that's pretty exciting for me. So I had to share.
A few nations are reporting a mild uptick in infection rates of a flu-like illness, it seems. But this is nothing to worry about. Everyone should remain calm.
Update: The illness seems to be more widespread than previously thought. But it's okay. The important thing is not to panic.
Update 2: It's time to panic. The infected are everywhere. Unless you take immediate action, they will destroy us all.
To assist efforts to contain the outbreak, we have made available Infection Charts for the world and for each individual nation and region. You may click on the labels (e.g. "Survivors") to add/remove a line from the graph, which is useful for identifying horrifyingly geometrical trends in the underlying data.
We have also established a Zombie Emergency Command Center for co-ordinating defense strategies.
Update 3: Oh, the humanity! The dwindling, infected humanity!
Here's what we know:
The fastest way to reduce the number of infected in your nation is to turn the military against them. This converts infected citizens into dead citizens.
The infected can spread between nations within the same region. In very infectious regions, it may become impossible for nations to hold off the zombies via military force alone.
Several regions have managed to contain the outbreak by having multiple nations research a cure. When only a small minority do research, however, this appears less successful.
Both the military and research options become decreasingly effective the fewer survivors you have.
Update 4: Well, the world seems to have divided neatly into regions where the infected population is small, controlled, and well cared for, and regions being devoured by endless zombie hordes. There's not much middle ground left out there.
But I have good news! The end is in sight! Cure research will soon make a solution available on a global level! This means...
The apocalypse will end in ended 53 days ago.
In the meantime, I present: The Z-Day Tally Board! Which regions will have the most survivors by the end of the apocalypse?
Update 5: The Z-Day Tally Board now also ranks regions by "Most Survivors with No Infected." Currently leading is Noctur, a safe haven for 110 billion people. But that's a fragile ranking! It only takes one infected to cross the border...
Update 6: It's over! It's over! At long last, the nightmare is over!
The "Survivors" numbers were starting to rise at the end there... so it's a happy ending! I mean, not for the dead. Which is 79% of the global population. But for everyone else, excluding those infected in overrun nations who will now starve to death, it's pretty happy! Happiness is relative.
Thanks for being a part of another April 1st on NationStates! For the next few days, infection data and charts will remain available via little "Z-Day" links on nation and region pages. Then they'll go away. So if you want a permanent record, you might want to screenshot that.
A complete log file of the crisis, which includes numbers for every nation and region in the world, hour by hour, will also be made available soon. This will be enormous and difficult for anyone to process, but it will be there. Because analysis is fun.
Should we do this again? I'm just putting it out there. Because this time, it would actually be practical to run a Z-Day on a regular basis... say, annually for Halloween. I think we would need to ramp up the potency of zombie exporters, since everybody would be better prepared for the apocalypse. But it could be done.
Special thanks this year to our moderators! They put a lot of work into this day each year, including BRRAAAAINstorming ideas, which I then just pick the eyes out of. So to speak.
And congratulations to those regions that managed to fend off the threat! The Z-Day Tally Board changed a lot at the end, as regions jostled for position. There were some devious moves. Some exchanging of moral virtue for higher rankings. But it's life and death. You have to make hard decisions.
Thank you for being a part of NationStates!
Update 7: 87MB zip file of Z-Day infection rate logs right here, if you're into that kind of thing.
REGIONS WILL FALL
Yes, it's all about the telegrams these days. As the new TG system creeps toward full functionality, rules and game features are changing, clicking into place—transforming, if you will, like how an innocent-looking car turns into a giant killer robot.
Today's announcement is about recruiting for regions via telegram. We've always had very restrictive rules around this, meaning that most of you probably haven't seen a recruitment TG since your nation was first deciding whether or not to make voting compulsory.
But this is about to change! It is now legal to send a recruitment telegram to any nation in the world.
So if you're ready to bask in the glory of having multiple regions compete for your presence, your time has come. If, however, this does not sound all that glorious, it's time to get acquainted with Filters, which are part of your new Telegram Preferences. Filters let you limit the number of telegrams you get and/or block certain kinds altogether.
If you're a recruiter, or interested in becoming one, please take a moment to check out the updated Telegrams FAQ.
Some new rules that may be of interest to you:
It's now required that when you send a recruitment telegram, you must tick the appropriate checkbox to flag it as such. (For the last few weeks, this has been encouraged but not mandatory.) This is so that your recruitment TGs can be auto-blocked by the recipient's Filters.
Please note that we now offer Telegram Templates as a way to send large numbers of recruitment TGs without needing to remember to check that box every time. Templates are free to use and have other advantages as well. More info in the FAQ.
When you tick that checkbox, you may notice it fills in the name of your region. This is to provide a handy "Move your nation to <region> now!" button, and prevent accidental spam. It means that when composing a recruitment telegram, your nation must be a resident of the region it is promoting. It doesn't need to stay there. But it must be in the right region while writing its recruitment telegrams.
Assuming the rules are followed, it's impossible to send more than one recruitment telegram for any given region to the same nation twice in 28 days. This eliminates the awkward situation where recruiters could accidentally double-up and break spam rules.
The Telegrams API is now online! This provides a free (albeit incredibly slow) method of sending telegrams via script for people who want to create their own automated tools.
At this point, the only major part of the new TG system not yet online is telegram stamps: you still can't purchase or use those. They will probably become available without notice in a few weeks' time, depending on how many bugs/exploits/catastrophic server failures we experience in the meantime.*
* Facebook has been attacking us. Seriously. Twice a day, they gather an army of several hundred servers and hurl forth 30,000 requests all at once. That's a lot of requests. Not for Facebook. But for us. Stupid Facebook.
The first part of the new TG system is in, and HOLY HELL BUGS EVERYWHERE. Not horrible bugs. Not the kind that makes data disappear. But still, bugs, requiring fixing. This is, of course, to be expected with any major new project, and not a sign that no-one here knows what they're doing.
So this is just a note to say the system is rolling out, but won't be completely online right away. In particular, we're going to take some time bringing in Mass Telegrams, in order to make sure we get that right. And by "right," I basically mean avoiding a global spam-based immolation.
Also! I realize that two posts in a row about STUFF YOU CAN BUY has struck some people as a little shady, coming after ten years of glorious anti-capitalism. Or six years of anti-capitalism followed by four years of ads. But this is it! This is our grand plan for self-sufficiency, I promise. We have lots of plans for new features and they are all free.
Thanks for your patience!
I can't even remember when we first began planning to overhaul the Telegram system. It was years ago. In the meantime, people have often asked, "How is the new TG system coming along?" and "When are we getting that new TG system?" and "My God, what do you people do all day?"
The thing is, the new Telegram system turned out to be kind of enormous. As in, hundreds of hours of work.
But it's finally here! Or rather, it's about to be! I'm posting a few days ahead of implementation so you know what to expect.
The aim of the overhaul is to make the core system better for everyone, to solve some difficulties we've had with regional recruitment messages, and to make available at a premium some extra features that we otherwise wouldn't be able to support.
In a few days, everyone will get:
- A stylish new not-so-2002ish look
- A "Sent Items" folder that holds a copy of every TG you ever send from now on
- A way to reply to a telegram that doesn't involve navigating to the sender's nation page, scrolling to the bottom, and trying to remember what you were talking about
- An "In reply to" link and a Conversation View, so when you get a telegram that just says, "I totally agree," you can see what the hell they mean
- An "Archive" folder with a capacity of 20 TGs, so your total capacity including the Inbox just doubled to a total of 40 TGs
- Icons that identify TGs based on type (regional recruitment, WA campaign, message from regional Delegate, etc)
- The ability to opt-out of TGs based on their type, including fine-grained control for blocking "all", "most", or "some" of each type
- A Telegrams page that doesn't automatically mark every TG as read but rather only the ones you actually, you know, read
- A way to delete a TG that's faster than clicking a little box, scrolling, clicking a button, and waiting for the page to reload
- The ability to address a single TG to up to 8 nations
If you purchase a Postmaster account in the NS Store (US$4.99), you'll also get:
- A "Deleted Items" folder that holds your deleted TGs for 24 hours 100 deleted TGs, in case you delete something but then are like oh crap no wait
- The ability to create 3 extra folders and name them whatever you like, like "WA business" or "Regional Plots" or "Forbidden Love"
- Folder storage capacity of 100 TGs (up from 20), meaning that altogether your Inbox, Archive, and three custom folders can hold 500 TGs
- Removal of site ads
- "Site supporter" trophy for your nation page
- Everything mentioned above
- No limit on TG storage; your TGs will never be automatically deleted
- The ability to create as many custom folders as you like
- A "Deleted Items" folder that holds TGs for 14 days
- 500 Telegram Stamps (see below)
If you purchase Telegram Stamps in the NS Store, you'll get:
- The ability to address a TG to a region or special group (e.g. "WA Delegates") and have that TG delivered to everyone in the region or group
- Delivery Reports showing who received your Mass TG and who blocked it
- The ability to use the %NATION% token in your message, which automatically expands out to the name of the recipient
- The ability to queue TGs for future delivery to nations that don't exist yet, by addressing them to a special group like "New Nations" or "Refounded Nations"
- (Recruitment TGs:) A button appended to your message that allows the recipient nation to move to your region in one click
- (Recruitment TGs:) Recruitment Reports showing who moved to your region after viewing your TG
If you are a World Assembly Delegate or Founder, you'll get:
- The ability to send TGs to your own region for free, i.e. with no Telegram Stamps
So that's why it took a while. I hope you'll enjoy the new TG system! Because if you don't, I really wasted a lot of time.
Questions? Find answers here!
Update (7-Feb-13): Modified how "Deleted Items" folder will work, based on discovery that feature did not work as intended and could not easily be made to.