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by The Office of TSP Minister of Media. . 194 reads.

The Southern Journal - September 2021 Edition

The Southern Journal
The Official News Outlet of the South Pacific


September 2021 Issue

On the 25th of July, Holy Free (Tin), the previous Minister of Culture, resigned, citing real life commitments. This started a special election for the position of Minister of Culture. Immediately, nominations were opened for the position, and at the end, two candidates would run; Doge Land, who had previously run for the position back in June, and New Quebecshire, more commonly known as Quebecshire, who had relatively recently joined the South Pacific but been involved in other regions such as The League. Rabbitz also initially accepted a nomination, but chose to retract their candidacy later.

Doge Land ran a campaign which mostly detailed events they were going to plan, while New Quebecshire's campaign emphasised gameside engagement, recruitment, and inter-ministry releations. While Quebecshire was disadvantaged in that they only ran after being nominated by HumanSanity despite not being in the Ministry of Culture, they still defeated Doge Land overwhelmingly, winning 90.5% of the votes.

Meanwhile, on the 11th of August, HumanSanity proposed a recall motion for Purple Hyacinth, then Chair of the Assembly, citing extreme levels of inactivity. In 14th August, this went to a vote in the Assembly of the South Pacific, which ended up passing. This triggered a special election for the position of Chair of the Assembly.

In the special election, Tepertopia (Anjo), the OWL Director and Deputy Chair, and Belschaft, a longtime member of the South Pacific, ran for the now-vacant position. Anjo's campaign focused on technical work to help in work as Chair, increasing gameside presence and activity. Belschaft's campaign was instead a joke campaign, with the motto "Feel the Schaft", and included spinning a specially-designed Wheel of Subversion no more than once a day, banning the author of this article from using pikathink in the Assembly (:pikathink:), starting a Great Council each week and dissolving the Ministry of Media (to put the Minister of Media Emodea out of his job, something which he very much welcomes).

On the 26 of August, the election results were announced by Election Commissioner Kringalia. Anjo ended up winning the election and assumed duites as the new Chair immediately upon.

The Ministry of Media wishes the best for these two officials and hopes that their tenures in their respective positions be prosperous and successful.

On July 30th, the independent news outlet NationStates Today released Linktheir July 2021 edition of the Power20, a bi-annual publication listing 20 players considered to be influential in the Gameplay scene. Chosen by a panelist of 14 notable figures from different spheres of influence, the list represents the most notable leaders of Gameplay over the preceding six months, rating them by their ability to be actively influential in the community, regardless of whether they exercised that ability or not.

Among the 20 chosen in the current list, four of them are current TSPers who were selected for their extensive efforts and are actively contributing to the betterment of the region in various capacities.

Flag of HumanSanity

HumanSanity – Power20 Silver

[box]Within the space of just a few months, HumanSanity has served as a highly successful Delegate of 10000 Islands, been commended by the World Assembly, and been elected as Minister of Defence of the South Pacific. These achievements testify to his immense influence in the world of defending, and are backed up by his leadership on the resolu-tion Liberate The Embassy and spearheading of the Partnership for Sovereignty bloc in the Security Council. HumanSanity's foreign-affairs acumen is acute and he nearly always has a take worth reading on Gameplay's biggest issues.

Better known for his time in Renegade Islands Alliance and 10000 Islands, HumanSanity has solidified himself as one of the faces of defending and regionalism over the last few years. Starting out more than a decade ago in 2010, he has consistently proven himself to be one of the most brilliant region builders this game has ever seen, with his work in both XKI and RIA in various positions (including as an Officer, WA Delegate and Chief Executive in RIA, and a Senator, Minister and WA Delegate in XKI) considered to be extremely vital for the commended regions’ enviable success. He left XKI shortly after his stint as WA Delegate there ended in early 2021 and came to TSP, where he quickly rose to be an Officer in the South Pacific Special Forces (SPSF) and was elected the Minister of Defense with overwhelming majority. Although a relatively new TSPer, HumanSanity has already started making his mark on TSP, as the SPSF under his command has turned into one of the best military forces in NationStates, and his persevering and vocal push for reforms in regional institutions marks his status as a current significant contributor to the region.

Flag of Roavin

Roavin – Power20 Silver

Returning from somewhat of a hiatus, it is clear that Roavin knows he can influence almost anything in Gameplay if he wants to. In his recent term as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the South Pacific, he oversaw a détente with Balder and was a leader in the resolution of the quorum raiding dispute with The North Pacific. Despite no longer being in the region’s Cabinet, Roavin remains a respected figure in TSP, defending, and Gameplay at large.

Also known as the Tetris Overlord of NationStates or Curious Observations (reminder that Curious Observations was indeed right), Roavin continues to be one of the most well-known TSPers out there. Starting out relatively recently in 2016, he would rise to prominence as TSP’s then-Minister of Military Affairs, where he quickly turned the SPSF into a formidable force to be reckoned with. He was surprisingly selected by Benevolent Thomas to succeed him as the new First Warden of The Order of The Grey Wardens, and would waste no time to turn the fledgling organization into one of the best contemporary defender military under his inspiring leadership. He would also continue contributing to TSP, serving as the Prime Minister a record five times and spearheading several major reforms in the region, with the empowerment of the CRS, comprehensive judicial and transparency reforms, and the creation of the Legislator Committee (TSP’s citizenship authorization body) standing out in particular. He was one of the leading figures of TSP’s official alignment shift from independent to defender in 2019 and was recently commended by the World Assembly for his impressive work across several fields, including defending, region-building and technological contributions. Despite no longer being in the Cabinet, Roavin remains a widely-respected figure in TSP, continuing to work for the betterment of the region in a behind-the-scenes capacity.

Flag of Quebecshire and his nation in TSP, New Quebecshire

Quebecshire/New Quebecshire – Power20 Silver

(While New Quebecshire was selected for his work in The League and NationStates Today, his ongoing tenure as the Minister of Culture of TSP lands him a spot in this article.)

The defender world's rising star, Quebecshire has stormed onto Gameplay and involved himself practically everywhere. He has brought his region, The League, all the way from out-of-character disfavor to broad Gameplay relevance, and has built its military from nothing into a consistent and formidable presence on the defender scene. Quebecshire himself can always be seen with his fellows in the LDF at update, but he is not just a representative of his region: As a member of the NSToday staff and a constant commentator in Gameplay discussions, his influence is pervasive.

A relative newcomer to Gameplay who has quickly risen up to be one of defending’s leading figures, New Quebecshire remains a shining example of someone raising themselves up above after hitting the rock-bottom not too long ago. Starting out in 2016, Quebecshire would go on to found then-[region]League of Conservative Nations
(now The League) along with some of his friends. He would dabble in defending as far back as 2017, serving as the Chancellor of FORGE, an inter-regional defender alliance which at its peak consisted of over 30 regions and included regions like The Union of Democratic States and The Region With No Banks. Following FORGE’s dissolution, New Quebecshire would spend the next couple of years mostly isolated from mainstream Gameplay until 2020, where OOC moderation concerns led to TL’s embassy being closed with the UDS and the region being ostracized from the wider community. Not deterred from the controversy at the slightest however, he started to reform his region and its image, making steady progress in the way and restoring TL’s previous good name. He would also oversee the rise of the League Defense Force, TL’s regional military force, as one of the most consistent and skilled organization in the game and would expand upon the region’s diplomatic ties by opening embassies with regions like TSP and 10000 Islands, and negotiating an alliance with The Communist Bloc. While a relative newcomer to TSP like HumanSanity, New Quebecshire has already started to make his mark on the region, serving as a successful Deputy Chair of the Assembly to former Chair Purple Hyacinth and recently being elected the Minister of Culture following Holy Free’s resignation due to real-life concerns, a role they’ve so far performed admirably in.[align]

Flag of Witchcraft & Sorcery

Witchcraft and Sorcery – Power20 Bronze

Better known as W&S, Witchcraft and Sorcery has developed his influence through his leadership in the South Pacific. In January, he commanded the defender counter-operation that led to months of tension over the North Pacific’s quorum raiding practices. As Minister of Defence, he became the face of TSP’s military gameplay. Following this with a term as Prime Minister, with vocal opinions on matters in the Partnership for Sovereignty, W&S has cemented himself as a major political figure both in TSP and in defenderdom overall.

One of the most skilled R/Ders in NationStates right now, W&S – also known as my boss and the self-appointed Cards Overlord of the South Pacific – has come to represent the South Pacifican spirit like no other; defender, egalitarian, friendly and helpful. Starting out at XKI in 2014, he would quickly rise to be a Tactical Officer of Ten Thousand Islands Treaty Organization (TITO), its illustrious defender military, and a Senior Senator in the Council of 9, the region’s government. After leaving the region in 2016, he would join the newly rebooted TGW, where he would reach the rank of Warden-Constable and would gain reputation as one of the fastest defenders out there. It was during this time that he would come to TSP and eventually enlist in the SPSF, an independent military at that time. He would steadily rise though its ranks and become the Minister of Military Affairs in late 2019, the first MoMA after TSP’s official alignment shift into defender. Real life issues would force him to resign midway through his term, however, and he would remain inactive for the first half of 2020. He made a comeback in later 2020 with the revival of Founderless as a member of its Board of Directors and re-enlisted back in the SPSF. He would also get into the cards scene, where his meteoric ascent into top 10 in terms of deck value earned him the Best Newcomer Award in the 2020 Trading Cards Awards. Following the quorum raiding incident with The North Pacific, he would run for Minister of Defense uncontested in February of this year and spark the resurgence of the SPSF as one of the leading defender military organizations during his tenure. He would ride that high into a comfortable win over Islands of unity for Prime Minister in July, a role in which he has so far performed admirably in. He has overseen the declassification and release of the previous administrations’ discussions complying the Sunshine Act, has introduced a unified application process for all ministries and has been a leading voice for further reforms in the region along with HumanSanity and others. All in all, W&S continues to remain a key contributor in TSP for the present and the near foreseeable future.

On July 6th, Sedgistan (or Sedge) announced his Democracy/Autocracy (now Frontier or Gateway/Stronghold) change - one that had been in the works for reportedly five years. It revolves around UCRs choosing to either be a Frontier or a Stronghold while halving feeder spawn rates in an attempt to shift the balance from GCRs to UCRs.

Frontiers have executive power given to the Delegate and taken from the founder if there is one. Influence decays after six months like in GCRs. They must have at least ten endorsements per update, a Welcome TG set, and no password. However, 50% of new nations spawn in Frontiers rather than feeders. If there is one Frontier, it will get half of all spawns; if there are two frontiers, a quarter of all spawns, and so forth. With recruiting as slow as ever, this change seeks to let those willing to put work into a region kickstart their region.

NS might introduce a new Security Council resolution type (a little bit down the line) as well: the Embargo. An Embargoed UCR wouldn't have the ability to have nations spawn in it, and you cannot embargo GCRs.

Sedge expected Frontiers to fight over new nations through invasions, coups, Embargoes, or whatever they could manage. One idea that popped up was Frontier "colonies," established by regions to have nations funnel into that region without sacrificing security or to get more growth. Some have suggested a higher 20-endorsement limit, but 20 endorsements aren't easy to attain in a new region. Additionally, the change isn't supposed to gatekeep newly founded nations from growing UCRs and let the already-established UCRs have them. Some players don't believe Embargoes to be necessary - whether that's because OOC undesirable regions shouldn't be a GP problem or because they won't ever get used.

Strongholds are like most current UCRs except for two changes: Founders may appoint a successor to take over Executive if the Founder CTEs and that Founders may abdicate their position if there's a live successor. This option is for regions that aren't interested in R/D, although that raises the question of if you need to "consent" to R/D.

Regions default to Stronghold. However, switching over both ways will be possible. To switch from Stronghold to Frontier, a nation with executive power must confirm to change. If a Delegate makes this confirmation, there'd be a sizeable influence cost. Then, there'd be a two-week wait period before the change happens. Anyone with executive power can cancel it at any time during the waiting period.

To switch from Frontier to Stronghold, the Delegate can do the same thing. Spawnings stop on initiation. If the founder still exists, they will regain Executive status. If they do not, the Delegate at the time of the transition becomes Executive Founder. Can a password be set? It's unclear, but if so, then that'd spark another resolution type: Preserve. A Preserve prevents a transition (either way) from working if the region has no Executive Founder.

This change adds a "permanent" conquest of a Frontier by seizing its Delegacy and holding it for two weeks while transitioning. It also lets Frontiers who want to go back do that. However, for a founderless Stronghold, they'd need to transition twice to get a new Founder. Thus, a new idea: the Custodian.

The Custodian resolution type would appoint a nation as Custodian of a region. While the resolution is active, the Custodian nation would have executive status in a UCR while it's a stronghold but must spend influence to do things, like a Delegate. A Custodian wouldn't take effect if the region is a Frontier or has an Executive Founder.
The advantages of this change are that: it'd reduce the size of feeders, which would help the servers run better. It'd dilute GCR influence to make the game more balanced towards UCRs. It'd give a better R/D opt-out so that your region would be safe if you'd like. It'd reduce history-wiping refoundings, preserving history. It incentivizes making your region vulnerable to invasions for those that want to work to grow their region. It incentivizes raiding, something desperately needed currently. It makes R/D more "consensual," meaning that often people who leave their region vulnerable do it purposefully. And lastly, it gives the SC more bite.

Currently, this change would favor founderless regions with communities such as Japan, Forest, or The Communist Bloc, if they get Custodians, and mega-UCRs, such as Europeia, 10000 Islands, Europe, or Thaecia, provided they become Frontiers. However, many people from prominent UCRs opposed this change. They believe this change will sideline region-building in favor of military gameplay. It will make regional leaders pick between violations of their sovereignty or a poor recruitment situation, the latter of which will remain poor after this change. It will lure the inexperienced in with promises of growing their UCR while leaving it at risk of permanent destruction. Moreover, the proposed Embargo category, which has since lost its status as a confirmed addition, would be subject to joke proposals and petty region feuds. All while shifting the narrative of dealing with OOC problematic regions from moderation to gameplay.

All in all, this change seems like it'd shake up gameplay a good bit; whether that's a good thing or not, only time can tell.

Commendations and Condemnations were implemented as a means of recognizing the achievements of a nation or region, whether that be for work for the good of the public or in acknowledgement of work against calm and order to create chaos. Since then these proposals have recognized a number of nations and regions for their accomplishments, whether for good or for mischief. Some consider them to be more of a popularity contest than an objective recognition of merit, as not every successful career results in a successful proposal to grant that recognition to a nation or region.

What all proposals require firstly is a narrative, a story that spins a tale of the work of a nation or region and makes that candidate worthy of consideration. Commendation narratives are typically spun to make the nominee a hero or arbiter of public welfare, while all Condemnations are spun to depict the nominee as a villain or troublemaker. In order to make a strong case, you have to understand that the audience for your proposal is more than the sphere in which your nominee resides. Name recognition is not as universal as most would think immediately, and certainly their achievements might well be buried under disinterest in that nominee’s main area of work.

Furthermore, every nominee will have critics at the least, and enemies or rivals at most. Writing a proposal that fails to adequately highlight the worthiness of a nominee sets up a stage where your proposal can be rejected on grounds of insufficiency. Similarly, a proposal regardless of quality will likely pass in an author’s home region and potentially also with allies. The key is to focus on creating the perception, regardless of the flaws, imperfections, and mistakes made by your candidate, that this nation or region absolutely deserves this recognition.

In a proposal where the nominee may have a brash personality but has done many good deeds for NationStates and its community, the focus should be on the deeds and their effects, without whitewashing their imperfections. Writing a proposal that is a glowing presentation of perfection might be something that would disincline someone familiar with the sharper side of that nominee’s personality. This makes the need for emphasizing the good work and how these works benefitted the community and brought something good to NationStates rather than the nominee’s nobility of character fairly significant. Without falling into the easy trap of transforming a candidate into a saint who can do no wrong, write out the story from beginning to end of why your candidate is worthy of a Commendation. What they have done should be your focus, not how beloved a candidate may be.

In the case of a Condemnation, that is not nearly so important. A Commendation is recognition of the good a nominee has done. A Condemnation recognizes the perceptual evils of one’s actions. In this case, if they have flaws, those can actually serve to enhance the proposal. Condemnations are often written as knee-jerk responses to actions such as raids or disruption of regions without regard to the real history of a nominee. Just because someone offended you personally does not necessarily mean they have impacted the wider community so significantly that they are worthy of being eternally recognized. Condemnations are as much recognized as badges of honor as Commendations are recognized as public praise of a nominee. Before writing a Condemnation, consider whether or not the story of your candidate is compelling enough to warrant permanent recognition.

All proposals are stories that are spun out of facts to sell a nominee to the general public. The efficiency of the retelling of events has a place in whether or not a proposal will pass in the eyes of major regions. In a world where you are selling a nominee to an audience, you have to write something that highlights what a nominee has done in their time. Actions in this world are more Commendable or Condemnable than a personality. To achieve a proposal that does a candidate justice, the successful spinning of the tale of their deeds is a requisite thing. Laundry lists are uninspiring and fail to provoke the imagination.

If you want to write a Commendation or Condemnation for a nation or region, remember that you should address everything as if everyone in the world has no previous knowledge of this candidate. It is your job to introduce them to your nominee no matter how well known you might think they are. Start at the beginning and walk them through the story of a candidate’s good or bad works and why they impacted the community enough to warrant recognition. Your writing, assuming it passes, is the permanently documented testament to a nominee’s story on NationStates. Even a Repeal does not strike the original text from the records entirely.

Choose your nominee well, put thought, research, and effort into your draft, and remember that you are telling the story of a nominee from scratch without assuming that everyone already knows what you know. The tale of your nominee is the basis upon which their legacy will be recognized should it pass. Is the story you told one that you believe does your nominee justice in the recounting of their works? Write the story of your nominee in a compelling manner that sparks the imagination and inspires people to believe in that candidate. An insufficient or unimaginative proposal does not do a candidate justice if you lack the element of storytelling.

Witchcraft and Sorcery (also known as W&S) is currently one of the best defenders in the game, with a boatload of experience to boot. From a Tactical Officer in Ten Thousand Islands Treaty Organization (TITO), 10000 Islands' illustrious military force, to a Warden-Constable in The Order of The Grey Wardens, to being the Minister of Military Affairs/Defense in the South Pacific, W&S has seen and done all there is to do in military gameplay. He currently serves as the Prime Minister of TSP, having won the Cabinet election back in June following a wildly successful term as the Minister of Defense. Naturally Emodea, being the sadistic boss he is, decided to send the newly minted MoM Journalist Lebatrip (Floptop) to interview him. Floptop managed to catch W&S while he was leaving a S1 Eluavatar auction and convinced him to talk to them for a short while about his time in XKI and TGW, his idols and his ongoing Prime Minister tenure.

Floptop: You're a very renowned defender. When you first started out in NationStates why did you decide to be a defender instead of a raider?

W&S: I actually didn't get involved in military gameplay for almost a year, but defending was the natural choice when I did. I spent my first four years in the game as a member of 10000 Islands, and joining TITO made the most sense. I joined TITO in January 2014, but by then I had already been playing the game for 11 months. I had applied some months previously but was rejected because they thought I was an alt or something, from what I learned later. But to the real point of your question, I guess I've always enjoyed being the good guy. I stand up for what i believe in and I very much believe in protecting the right of all regions to self-determine. Except fascists. Fascists don't get rights.

Floptop: When you were starting out in Nation States who did you look up to?

W&S: Aersoldorf was the one who recruited me to 10000 Islands and I very much viewed him as my "NS father figure" for most of my first few years. I mean that in almost a literal sense - he could easily be my dad in real life. I spent a lot of time chatting in the "House of Aersoldorf" thread on 10ki's forum and it was through him that I gained a lot of confidence in the game. Benevolent Thomas taught me most everything I know about basic defender skills. He's the one that really gave me the motivation to become a great defender. I aspired to be like him. Maybe not in the "getting banned from 10ki" way, but definitely on the battlefield. HumanSanity sent me the first PMs that I remember in 10ki. It's funny how we've crossed paths so many times and now work with each other in the cabinet of TSP. He's someone I used to look up to in terms of engagement and motivation, and now I'm grateful to call him a friend and colleague. I'd say those are the three people I remember the most in terms of "who made an impact on me" in my first year or two of playing the game.

Floptop: How wholesome.

W&S: ^_^

Floptop: What made you want to run for Prime Minister?

W&S: I was honestly not going to run for the position at all. I served as Minister of Defense last term and I thought for certain I would only be in the cabinet for one term. HS nominated me for the position and I asked him in our legislators' chat why he thought I would be a good PM. His reasoning resonated me - let me see if I have it here. He said it way better than I could.

"... you're very active in the community on-the-ground (i.e. you're actually in the chat a good amount), which is important in assessing strengths/weaknesses of each area and also how it all works together, and makes you uniquely suited to Cabinet-wide agenda setting and coordination." Something about this resonated with me. I never run for something I don't think I would be good at. But this changed my view and convinced me I actually might do a good job, so I decided to give it a go.

Floptop: Well we are very thankful HumanSanity gave you the confidence to run.

Why do you think you won the office of Prime Minister by such a large margin?

W&S: I'm... not entirely sure. Even though in the end she ran on kind of a meme campaign, I thought Islas would get more votes. I don't want to speculate too much about it though - it could be a lot of things. But I'm incredibly grateful for the confidence the Assembly placed in me. It really has given me the courage I needed to make some of the hard calls I've had to make.

Floptop: Would you consider your time in TITO a net positive or negative for your long career in Nation States?

W&S: There are times when I consider it a positive and times when I don't. Ultimately it was very formative for how I view certain issues and it's helped me be a better advocate for defender unity across ideologies. It's no secret that 10ki and TITO tend to keep to themselves and hold some views considered extreme by "mainstream" standards. Having spent so much time there, I gained an appreciation for where they are coming from, and when there's a disagreement among defenders, I feel much better equipped to assess it with a balanced perspective.

Floptop: Would you say your time in The Order of The Grey Wardens gave you the necessary experience to be able to lead the SPSF?

W&S: My time in TGW quite literally saved my career. I was seriously contemplating quitting the game after I left TITO. I had a falling out with some other TITO officers and up and left 10ki, and I think that was the absolute low point of my time in NS. Tim-Opolis and Roavin took me in, and they along with Vincent Drake and Deadeye Jack set me on a path to leadership I don't think I would have taken without them.

Floptop: Why did you leave TGW for The South Pacific?

W&S: I've actually been a member of both orgs simultaneously. I was for a very long time. Leaving the Wardens had nothing to do with TSP - I was working on Founderless with some other folks and didn't want to split my time between three regions.

I guess the reason I haven't gone back to TGW is because a) i want to work on Founderless again at some point in the future and b) I'm just a little more moralistic in my ideology than TGW is.

Floptop: You've had a very long and successful career. What would you say to a new player starting in Nation States looking up to you?

W&S: Take your time. There's a bit of a learning curve, especially to those interested in gameplay and regional politics. Other than that, ask questions and get involved! There's always something to do.

Floptop: Thank you for the opportunity to interview you!

W&S: Of course! it's been my pleasure.

Due to some recent, unavoidable circumstances faced by our MoM Journalists, there would be no Regions Abroad for this month's edition of The Southern Journal. We're extremely sorry for the inconvenience and can only do nothing but reassure that this is a temporary, one-time exclusion; Regions Abroad will continue as usual from the next month onwards, showcasing a region based on the results of a d20 dice roll and introducing TSPers to a wide and diverse world outside.