by Max Barry

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by The February Phoenix of Timothia. . 111 reads.

Huge Shoes to Fill

Operation: Reboot
- Huge Shoes to Fill -

To be clear, the Renegade Islands Alliance doesn't entirely belong to the people who are in it now. The RIA is not just a collection of nations and people who all have the same words next to that little flag on the left of your screen. The RIA is not a forum, the RIA is not a website, the RIA is not an RMB, and the RIA is not a link. We think of the RIA as the 100-odd nations that presently reside there: there's a whole lot more to this than that. Collectively, we aren't even close to the entirety of the RIA.

We live in a region of nations and ghosts. You could almost say that our forums are haunted by the friendly spirits of people that few of us were contemporaries of. Our main page reminds you of these ghosts almost immediately: there's a brilliant founder who's not here any longer and a commendation that few of us had a hand in obtaining. There are embassies that we didn't form, there are dispatches that we didn't write, and there is a nation count that we didn't do much to get to. Yes, we are the most modern version of the RIA, but we aren't the whole RIA. Pieces of the region still belong to those who put them there. Going over the LinkarchLinkives is a humbling journey. We see a region much like ours now: we see laws, we see RPs, and we see debates. We see citizens, spammers and senators. Every place we turn on those archives, bits of our own history pop up and blow our minds.

We don't exist in a vacuum. There were people here before us, and there will be people here after us. Some of us will be fondly remembered by the next generation of the RIA, and some of us will be virtually fogotten. Looking at the users on the forums, you'll see that the first person (Shiz, of course) has a legacy that we all know well. He is (was?) the most outstanding founders in all of NationStates, and I refuse to hear arguments to the contrary. Tierra, the tenth person to join, has her own record of excellence in recruiting and a reputation for being the most friendly RIA-er ever. But the nation that I would like to call to your attention is Gesing, the fifth person to join the forums. He would be active for about three years, over which time he made 615 posts: to compare, that means that he was about as active as Oxihydronia. He served as an defender, he discussed and debated several versions of the Constitution, and he was a dedicated recruiter. He spammed on the "Guess Who Will Post Next" thread. He seems like a model citizen who actively participated in the region. His story is probably similar to many of yours, and some day, when you CTE and your last login date is the most recent thing we have to remember you by... I hope that you can say that you were a citizen like Gesing.



You don't have to be earth shattering:

You just have to be here.

Why do I say all this? What does this have to do with the present? The reason I want to make a point of the RIA's history is to give us context. Context gives our actions purpose, reason, and value. We aren't just recruiting for our present, we are recruiting to honor our past. Our Constitutuion is probably the billionth constitution drafted by the region: even this is a subtle nod to our region's founding fathers. June 9th, 2004 was the day that our forums were founded, and that was almost a dozen years ago now. In that time, no nation has been able to crack the top ten in forum posts. In fact, out of the top 20, only four people are from "this generation" of the RIA. It is insane to think that, despite all of our activity in the 2013-2014 era, we still have unbroken records.

I think that we should break records. I think that we owe it to Aztazi Prime, Treason, Rhinocero, Unionites, and Yalansai - names of nations that pretty much none of us have ever met! There dozens more names, and each of them had an impact that went far beyond their post count. We owe it to them to break their records, we owe it to them to be active again. We should know their stories, and we should continue their mission. They worked hard to create a legacy, and I think it's only fair that we work hard to carry that legacy even further.

If I wanted to start clean, then I'd go found a region and start clean. I would start my own Proboards, I would start my own IRC, and I'd start recruiting. It would be an uphill climb, of course, but it would definitely be an interesting adventure to see how far things would go. The reason I haven't done that - and the reason that I believe all of you are here - is because there is an intangible about the RIA that we all love. It's the history, storied and glorious. It's the community, active and friendly. To be clear, the Renegade Islands Alliance doesn't entirely belong to the people who are in it now. We owe this region's existence to the one's who came before, and we owe those who will come after us the right to say the same thing.

LinkLibrary of Treason and Plot (the official RIA libraries)
LinkAztazi Prime

Quick disclaimer: because i didn't actually know many of the people that I discussed in this dispatch, I based my statements about them on information that is freely available on the forums. The RIA's history is obviously rich, and even more so if you look into it. If you find any errors with my post, then please point them out to me via TG.