by Max Barry

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by The Nomadic Peoples of Damanucus. . 1,187 reads.

So You Want To Write A Resolution?

If you're reading this dispatch, then you're probably here for one of two reasons:
  • You're wondering what this is about; or

  • You want to try your hand at resolution writing.

If you're the latter, then congratulations on taking the brave step forward. In either case, read on, and learn.

WA resolutions, to put nicely, are a bit of an art form, but certainly not one that can't be mastered, given time, patience, and openness to constructive criticism. It also pays to be wary of the rules and conventions, as they can make or break a proposal.

And thus we come to the purpose of this dispatch. Listed below are resources that may be helpful while you're writing your draft. (Yes, we start with a draft, not a floor submission, although some do skip the drafting stage completely, as you'll come to see.)

Note: before I do list the resources, there are two branches of the WA, the General Assembly, and the Security Council. Each have their own set of resolution categories: the General Assembly deals with legislation of a sorts, while the Security Council deals with Commendations, Condemnations and Liberations. Make sure you know what you're sending where.

Most important resource you'll need are the drafting rules. Now, each Assembly has its own laws for drafting, and it pays to know what they are, as your resolution can and will be pipped if it breaks any of them. (And when I say 'pipped', I mean removed from the approval queue. Drafts aren't affected, as any illegalities can simply be written out during the draft process.)

General Assembly Proposal Laws
Security Council Proposal Laws

Each Assembly also has, by all kindness, a FAQ area. Most likely, as you write your proposal, you'll end up asking yourself, "Can I do this?" or "Should I do that?" or somesuch; ten-to-one guess, it's probably a question someone has already asked before (even a few hundred someones). These are a good next port of call, and will save a lot of embarrassment during drafting.

The General Assembly FAQ
Security Council Mod Rulings and General Advice (not so much a FAQ, but in part functions as one in that common questions/rulings are displayed here)

The next place you'll need to know about is Record of Passed Resolutions. You need to know about these, more so with the General Assembly than the Security Council, in order to avoid duplication.
There are three versions of these records. The game keeps its own automatically. There is also an indexed version in the forums, kept by some long-term players, plus there is an offsite index on NSWiki (which also indexes failed resolutions). Which one you use is entirely up to you.

General Assembly Record:
Forum record
LinkNSWiki index

Security Council Record:
Forum record
LinkNSWiki index

The last resource you'll need is probably going to seem a little unusual, but may be good in order to prevent making the same mistake twice. It's the list of silly and/or illegal proposals. This is where the pipped proposals end up. It can sometimes pay to read through these proposals and see how they went wrong, so as to avoid making the same mistake twice.

General Assembly's Silly Proposals
Security Council Silly Proposals


Now that we have resources for writing your resolution, now's as good a time as any to explain, in detail, how to go about writing a World Assembly resolution.

Step 1: It all starts with an idea

That is essentially what a resolution starts with: an idea. Or, moreover, an ideal. "What do I think the world should be (not) allowed to do?" Everyone has an opinion as to how the world should be, an "utopian ideal". And while you can't bend the world completely to your utopian ideal, you can contribute to the collective ideal with a single idea.

However, it's not as simple as that. In order to legislate on it, you need to know something about what you're talking about. Do your research first, look into the subject of your proposal, make sure you know what you're talking about. If you have no idea of what you're talking about, fellow representatives are going to run rings around you with criticisms and debates on the proposal, and you're left unable to respond to them, thus discrediting your proposal entirely.

But that's not the only reason why you do the research first. You need to know what you're legislating on so that you don't end up contradicting yourself in the proposal, or, even worse, legislating something that has absolutely nothing to do with what you're legislating on.

LinkWikipedia has a lot of information that you can browse through, but sometimes you'll need to get a little more specific, in which case use a search engine and have a look through what it provides (be prepared to sift through garbage though). For Security Council resolutions, make sure you look through the history and roleplays of the nation or region, and any nations or regions associated with them for some reason (this is especially true for raiders, where you'll have to look through a lot of regions' histories to find evidence).

Once you've done that, make sure you write down what you're intending to legislate. Rough ideas are usually a great way to start off with, and you'll see why in Step 2; you can write a more filled out draft once you have that down-pat.

Step 2: Make sure it's legal

And here's where the above resources come into play. Resolutions have to abide by the rules in order for them to be even remotely considered by the floor. That means you can't cover territory already looked at in another resolution (unless it is a repeal, and even then, there are limitations as to what you can talk about), even if you're opposing their primary objective—especially if you're opposing their primary objective.

Step 3: Put up a draft on the regional forum

You are, of course, free to ignore this step, but there is a reason why I suggest undertaking it, which I'll get to.

Put your draft up, in whole (title, category, and resolution body), in the Proposal Ideas sub-forum, in its own thread. (You'll have to do it on the game forum, so you'd best get used to doing it here first.) We prefer separate threads for individual drafts because it keeps opinions with the idea to which it is referring.

Now, why do we put proposal drafts up here first? Well, it stops us from making mistakes. We put it up here, and get region mates to comment on it first, before we present it to the drafting floor in the Assembly. As a region, we're more than willing to comment on a draft resolution, as long as you ask us to comment on it (i.e. post on the RMB that you've put a draft up here, along with a forum link). We'll also notice things that you may have missed. Don't be disheartened by what we say; we are trying to help out, and make it as good as it can be.

Make sure you edit the draft based on our suggestions as well; a good resolution caters to many ideals, and a resolution that has had time spent on it to improve it usually comes out better, more robust and more likely to stand on its own in the end.

(As a word for everyone, it'll probably take about ten to twenty attempts before you get your first resolution credit, so don't be put off by a resolution that fails to make it. Just keep trying.)

Step 4: Put the draft to the main drafting floor

Once we're happy with it here (don't keep it here too long; a week or two should be enough, unless we're really into making suggestions for it), then you can put it to the WA itself. Again, make sure you make a separate thread in the relevant assembly subforum (General Assembly or Security Council), and put the resolution, in whole, in the first post. It also helps to put the tag "[DRAFT]" in the thread title along with the resolution title, to indicate that it's a draft, and thus still a work in progress.

Once it's up there, make sure you keep an eye out on what is said, because again you'll be editing the draft based on these comments. Unlike the regional forum, however, where you need to put newer drafts as responses to the original (or label them clearly as older drafts in the OP), you can put newer drafts in the original posts on the game forum, and spoiler them so that they do not detract from what is being commented on. This is recommended procedure by everyone involved resolution writing, as it keeps everything in the one place, plus provides with a readily-accessible comparative history for everyone to refer back to.

(Once again, this step can be skipped, but it is done so at your own peril, as a bad resolution without a debate thread gets sent to the Silly Proposals thread. Additionally, while you may choose not to heed suggestions made by fellow Assembly members, it is done so at your own peril; we could name a few nations who have chosen not to edit based on suggestions made by representatives, and have dearly paid the price for their decision.)

Step 5: Time to submit

It is usually best to keep comment open on your draft as long as is necessary; you'll know when it is time to consider submitting when, after a week, a bump for comment does not result in additional suggestions. (Usually give a week for response after the bump; if none occur, then it is time.) So you head over to Submission and put the final version of your proposal in the relevant spots. (It usually helps to have the forum thread open in another window or tab, for fairly obvious reasons.) Press Submit, and hey presto! It's in the queue.

Now you can sit back and relax, and watch the approvals tally up, right? Wrong, very wrong.

Sadly, not many submissions make it to vote without some campaigning; even my own "Medical Provisions in Blockades" needed a little help (not much, surprisingly). So you need to be on the ball ready to go when it comes to campaigning your resolution.

Firstly, the campaign telegram needs to convince people to approve your resolution. Again, we can help out there, but it's usually best to send us a draft telegram and let us suggest improvements. Secondly, avoid comical telegrams for mass campaigning. It's fine and good when TGing to a nation you know and have agreed with regarding what is acceptable (for example, and I know the nation in question may not like me saying this, but Mousebumples and I have an agreement that our campaign telegrams can just say "Approve, Dammit!" especially when one has been involved in drafting the other's resolution), but for a mass campaign, it's far from suggested. Be formal, considerate, and convincing.

Thirdly, only campaign the delegates. One, they hold the power when it comes to approvals. Two, they also hold a fair slice of the power when it comes to voting, especially given that, in many regions, the delegate's position is one that is bestowed by agreement. Fourthly, do not campaign to regions that have the "No Campaigning" tags attached to them. This will mean that you'll have to go through the region pages first to check their tags, but it'll be worth it. I also strongly suggest not campaigning to any region that has the "Anti-WA" tags attached to them, as they can cause more problems than you need in regards to your resolution.

During submission and voting, you need to be ready to answer questions regarding the proposal, as well as support its necessity when it is debated, as these will happen. The resolution will be analyzed, scrutinized, debated, divided up, and generally put through the proverbial wringer, so be ready to stand fast your ground. (While I think of it, make sure, when you submit, to change the leading tag from "[DRAFT]" to "[SUBMITTED]" in the debate thread. When it reaches vote, provided a mod hasn't beaten you to it, change the tag to "[AT VOTE]".)

Step 6: Voting time

At this step, the process is now out of your hands. All you can do is argue for your resolution, and hope it passes.

There are, however, some techniques that exist that are used to influence the vote. One of them is what is called "stacking" or "stomping"; this is when a large number of votes from a group of nations are stacked for or against a resolution early in the vote, with the intention of influencing the voting habits of what are known as "lemmings" early on. I strongly suggest you do not, as the writer, participate in stacking, as it does not do your resolution any favours by doing so. Vote campaigns and counter-campaigns have also been employed during the vote, debating the good or bad points of the resolution. Again, I strongly suggest you do not participate in this as the writer; you did your campaigning at the submission level, so there is no need to continue it at vote. However, you must be ready to meet debates put forward in counter-campaigns with structured debate.

The Nomadic Peoples of Damanucus