We hope you enjoy this fourth edition of The Cable, our newsletter which aims to build communications between our embassies. Please share this with your region-mates by posting a link on your RMB!
What an exciting August! Update benders upset defenders. Approval removal raids were ran. We ended up wiser through TourAdvisor, and got to dissect an embassy collector. TV vs dinners polls found out the winners, and - now we've got news from The NewsStand.
But if you're just thinking, "I don't care about any of this. Why did I get a notification?", then this section is for you.
Get your MS Paint set out, and get creative! We'd love to show off your artistic skills in a future edition of The Cable. Have a go at hand-drawing a circle, and filling it with a flag. It's surprisingly difficult. Don't worry if you make a 'balls up - being bad at it is half the fun. I won't tell you how many "circles" I drew before I managed this one. It doesn't have to be your own flag, it could be anybody's. The NS-verse is your oyster. If you find you get the hang of it, maybe you could write a countryball strip. As motivation, we'll gift a Legendary card to the best (or worst) entry. Go on, give us a giggle!
On 27th August, some unusual raids occurred. Raiders swept in to certain regions, endorsed a resident (making them delegate), then left again with no noticable damage.
This unusual behaviour can be explained by looking at the WA Security Council approval process. Before any proposed SC legislation can be voted on*, it needs to be confirmed as "legal" (ie it complies to these rules), and it needs to have 6% of all delegates "approve" that the proposal should go to vote.
On the day, legal proposal Repeal: “Commend Evil Wolf” was in the queue, awaiting approval. With a total of 1044 delagates across NS, it needed 63 approvals to make it to the voting floor. A number of Gameplayers objected to the proposal (you can read why on the drafting thread). If they could somehow remove the delegate approvals, the proposal would never even go to vote. And that's where the raids fit in.
If a delegate suddenly stops being delegate, then any approvals they made are automatically withdrawn. By endorsing a resident and making them the new delegate, the raiders were removing the old delegate's approvals from the proposal. Effectively, they were trying to deny people the opportunity to vote.
Despite the raids, the proposal was approved. The vote went the raiders' way though - the proposal was heavily defeated.
This approval removal technique has been used before, for example to try and prevent Repeal: “Liberate Iran” reaching the voting floor.
So how do you defend against approval removals, which impact both executive and non-executive delegates?
The bigger the endorsement gap, the harder it is for the raiders. For example, if the delegate has 4 endorsements, and the resident with next highest has 3, then 2 raiders is enough to change the delegacy. But if the resident only had 1 endorsement, it would need 4 raider endorsements to change the delegate. So you could introduce a strict endorsement cap. But that limits the rate of influence growth for non-delegates.
The new delegate will only be delegate for 12 hours, as without the temporary raider endorsements, the original delegate will be restored at the next update. So you need to figure out who will be delegate at the time the approvals process ends, and ensure that your approval is registered. It takes quite a lot of organisation to put right.
Maybe the only real solution is a technical one (see the discussion here). One that gets coded into the game by the site Admin team. But it would need to be carefully thought through. Changing the way the approvals process works could introduce all sorts of unintended consequences. Possibly an automated telegram telling the ex-delegate that their approval had been removed could be the simplest technical solution to the problem. That way, people could at least make informed decisions as to what they should do.
*This is the technical process. For there to be any chance of your proposal becoming law, draft your proposal on the forums first!
Belarus saw street protests this month. Lukashenko, president of Belarus for 26 years, claimed to have 80% of the vote in the recent presidential election. Thousands believed the vote was rigged, that Tikhanovskaya was the winner, and so protested. Lukashenko appealed to Putin for help. We asked: who will hold the power in Belarus on 1st September?
At the time of writing, Lukashenko is still at the top. There were a lot of cynical voters in this poll, with 55% saying Putin would be in charge! And of course, NS's Generalites had a lot to say on the subject.
2007 toyota corolla, Bamnong, Charlie snpp, Colin advance wars, Demonos Ministry of Foreign Affairs, East Mospolinten, German roadblock, Graag Brom, Honsiki, Iron Rangers, Jordanistani, Kenmoria, Khwhp, Lightford, Mars 2, Mathuvan Union, Mpia, New hyannisport, Ostrovskiy, Porotia, Quruqlik, Sail Nation, Siberian socialist state, Smiley Bob, SomethingIsWrongHere, The peoples caribbean union, Trenaka, Trumpslandia, Valentian Elysium, Voxija, When U Die
While stuffing my face with takeaway food in front of the TV, I started wondering which was more important, Fast Food or TV?
United steaks of america said "nobody is gonna choose TV 'cuz this days is ded". Well, it's not quite dead yet - just under a third of voters chose TV over fast food. Which makes me wonder what they're eating in front of the TV…?
Actorius raven, Aethelia, Ahr1541, Aleixandria, Altai federation, Belowski helper, Colin advance wars, Cyborg ia, Dumb r tags, Eripolis, Faither, Fcn orange star, Federation of Sarawak, Ganja autonomous zone, General murdock, Graag Brom, Intellectual beauty, Khwhp, Kitty kingdom founder, Merri creek, Minimark, Neue deutsche Kaukasier, New formed korea, Nicopole, Nister, Polish soldier, Random Country 453632, Revanch, Rolamo, Savannaland, Seven Seas, SomethingIsWrongHere, Sstrayaa, Team Lennox, Team Leo, Teerbekistan, The annoying doggo, The Gold Mines, Trumpy America, U s eh, United steaks of america, Verenigd nederland, Weuland
United steaks of america had a point. While I'm binge watching several seasons of a Netflix show, I still think of it as "TV", although there's none of the scheduling or adverts that old fashioned TV had. But I don't think of YouTube as TV (despite the ads). The content is too varied. So if we had to choose one, which would it be?
I was genuinely surprised at the overwhelmingly large number of votes for YouTube. At 85%, YouTube is clearly a bigger part of most voters' lives than Netflix. Is this because YouTube is "not TV"? Is it because it's free? Is it a generational thing? I'd love to know more about why people voted this way. Please share your thoughts on the RMB!
Aethelia, Aleixandria, Alwerider, Armenasia, Brinckerhoff, British columbia-alberta, Coasta sol, East Mospolinten, Eckie-Cola, Explodeingtnt, Federation of Sarawak, Graag Brom, J-O-E, Kemalia, Lakeriddeat, Luxtand, Nister, North American Imperial State, Nuroblav, One World States, Random Country 453632, Sail Nation, Seven Seas, The peoples caribbean union, Uhay, Voxija, When U Die
The Ambassadors Reception: You took my breath away with that impressive feat of embassy building! Now presumably these aren't your first nations. How long have you been playing NS for?
Nelson Wilbury: I have been on NationStates for almost 5 years. Charlie t wilbury jr is actually the only nation for my partner in crime. She's an IRL friend of mine and I just asked her to help out with a "project" that I had been working on lol. My main is [REDACTED] but I'd rather keep that private haha.
AR: Don't worry, that's a secret that I can handle with care. What kind of things do you usually get up to on NS? (eg, social, roleplay, etc)
NW: I did some raiding a few years back and then took a gap, though more recently I've had strong interests in liberation and defending. It's crazy how things change over the years. Though initially I joined NationStates to roleplay and write resolutions as practice for Model UN, I served as a delegate for quite sometime in an active region of roleplaying natives, and I've been known to make the occasional post on NSG in the past. Currently I'm running for a high regional office in the region I'm active(ish) in.
AR: Why did you choose the Traveling Wilburys as a theme?
NW: Well over quarantine I've become quite the hippie. I've started taking a more minimalist approach to life, become increasingly spiritual, and I've grown out my hair and embraced a lot of late 60's countercultural ideals. With that came a shift in music taste and a strong interest in George Harrison specifically.
AR: The region was created almost three weeks before you sent out embassy requests. Was it always the intention to do the embassies, or did this idea come later?
NW: That was the eventual intent. I just had to come up with the way to effectively create the embassies and then wait out the throttle before I did.
AR: It looks like you must have reached almost every region in NS. Did you filter any out before you started? (For example, you may have chosen to ignore founderless regions).
NW: We think we're going to go back and filter our regions that have things like "fascism" or other key words in the name. We have no interest in groups that promote hate, but truthfully we forgot to go through our text files and do so beforehand.
AR: Logistically, it's a big challenge to make this many embassy requests. How did you go about it?
NW: I have a browser extension that cycles through regions in a list and uses ajax to send an embassy request to one per each keystroke I make.
AR: Embassy collectors can come in for some flak, as if sending embassy requests was one of the seven deadly sins. Did you get any angry telegrams?
NW: We did get a few but I actually loved all the responses I got about people who liked the Traveling Wilburys! It was great to sit down and respond and have discussions via telegram over who our favorite Wilburys are, our favorite Wilbury songs, or even just who our favorite Beatles are. To answer those questions: George Harrison and Bob Dylan, Tweeter and the Monkey Man, and John as a Beatle but George as a solo artist.
AR: Where do you guys plan to go from here? Can we expect another storm of embassy requests? Or do you have another direction for the region?
NW: So requesting roughly 24,000 embassies is not an easy job, but following that we plan to use the API at the end of every day that we remember to, and request more embassies as regions are created.
🌍 TourAdvisor is the searchable, crowd-sourced guide of places to go in NS. Build the best browsable guide to the NS-verse by reviewing the places you've been, and the things that you've seen. Read our guidelines, and post your review!
An amazing thirteen new reviews were posted this month, bringing the total to thirty-eight. Covering pancakes, politics, poetry, and more, we got some great insights into the NSverse. A big thanks to this month's contributors, Atensi, Bribillichnoveroloriland, Roctaiciestahland, Sail Nation Travellers, and Traveling trader.
A thousand new regions* were created this month, seemingly in response to a raiding technique known as "update bending".
As covered by NationStates Today and The NationStates Chronicle, South Pacific was occupied by raiders during the month. Defenders tried to liberate the region with the largest defender force in NS history, but their efforts were thwarted by this technique.
Twice a day, NS updates. Each region is considered in turn. Amongst other things, the delegate is decided at this time, based on the number of endorsements each nation has. Raiders and defenders try to jump into regions seconds before they update. That means that there is little chance to eject them before their endorsements get counted.
The order in which the regions update doesn't change. But the exact time of update does vary. So to figure out the best time to jump into the target region, raiders and defenders use a "trigger". A "trigger" nation is placed into a trigger region that is known to update shortly before the target region. When the "trigger" nation gets updated, it's time to jump into the target region.
Now, the more nations (or embassies!) a region has, the longer it takes to update. And this is the feature that allows "update bending".
If you own a region that is just before the target region, you can move as many nations as you please in or out whenever you want. You can't do this with a region that isn't yours - that's known as "puppet flooding", and is against site rules.
So if raiders move lots of nations into such a region (the "bend" region), they can make the defenders' "trigger" longer. That gives raiders more time to eject defenders as they arrive in the target region. Alternately, they can remove lots of nations, making the defenders' trigger shorter. That means defenders are more likely to arrive in the target region too late to have their endorsements counted.
Chingis says: "The real question is the feasibility of actually getting said region. While I'll agree with Derps that talking about founding 17k regions *after* a raid is entirely disingenuous, it is, however, the case that it is possible to found regions in advance"
So when a few days later, 303 regions were created with names that started "0527...", at least 299 regions called "Cassiopeia...", a 100 or more regions called "Orion...", and a large number of others, it looked very much like the search for such regions is on.
* Many more regions were created for other reasons, but it looks like around a thousand were created specifically in response to this.
Thanks to Roavin for sense-checking this article.
We're around 150 embassies down this month, against an increase of about 1300 regions in NS.
Read all about it!
- NationState News August 31
- NationState News August 30
- The NationStates Chronicle - Issue #2
- The Hindu: Issue III
- The Monthly Tabloid:India Regional Newsletter (August 2020)
- The NationStates Chronicle - Issue #1
- Layem Times Issue 14
- The Hindu: Issue II
- The WZAF Gazette
- The Hindu: Issue I
- Region Name Times - August 16th - Volume XXIII
- CoL Times | Issue #3
- NS Today
- Daily Line
The Diplomacy Awards celebrate the foreign dignitaries that interacted with our RMB in the past month, either by making posts, or clicking 'Like'.
We've abandoned the "Board Award", because we all know that Colin advance wars, the King of Spamalot, will forever be the leader.
We can't say it straighter - you're the greater orator. This month's premiers of praises per post are:
Likes per Post
* Nations making multiple posts during the month are eligible for The Floored Award.
We think it is great to appreciate a state. This month's 'like' button bashers are:
We get really psyched about those who were 'liked'. This month's most praised posters are:
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