by Max Barry

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by The One-Winged Etymology Shark of Erinor. . 125 reads.

Seraph's Delegate Blog - III - WA Members Assemble!


The Delegacy of the South Pacific

Seraph's Delegate Blog

It has been a busy few weeks since my last blog entry, both in Real LifeTM and in NationStates. I've had a brief holiday to visit family in Northern Ireland (and been slow-marinated in Northern Irish politics for the first time in a while - boy is that fun!), suffered no fewer than two stomach bugs in one week and been practically snowed in for the first time in my life despite having moved from the chilly climes of the North-East of Scotland to the South-West of England where it almost never snows. It's been strange.

In NS, my focus has very much been on endorsing new members of the World Assembly, voting in the General Assembly and Security Council and updating both the 'WA and endorsements' dispatch and the welcome telegram (sorry for mas TGing that - it was an accident!) to increase the number of nations engaging with this - all World Assembly stuff, really. There is, of course, a lot of work to be done in this area and that's mostly what I want to talk about today.

The first thing I want to discuss is our General Assembly vote - and everything else stems from that, really. The GA is the part of the WA which most ties into nation gameplay and roleplay. Decisions made in the GA affect the stats of member nations, albeit mildly, and the detail contained within resolutions fits with the kind of detail many players like to involve in their roleplaying of their nation. The GA is also an excellent place to get involved in debating in NS, as the legal depth that discussions go to and the complexity of the archive of existing GA resolutions means that there's a lot of material to work with. The General Assembly section of the NS forums is a hotbed of fierce debate which many players might be missing out on if that's their kind of thing.

As a feeder, the South Pacific has, I believe, a responsibility to open up this area of the game to new players (just like we must with all the other areas of the game) so that everyone has a chance to try out the various types of gameplay and involved that NationStates allows for. Unfortunately for the South Pacific, we have very few prominent members active in this sphere and our government often has little interest in the World Assembly outside of endorsements and the Foreign Affairs activity brought about by Security Council resolutions. I'll be the first to admit that I'm in this camp too. I find the World Assembly interesting in a general, outsider kind of way, but the only extent I have any passion for it at all is a passion to see others get passionate about it. It's for this reason that, as a region, we've historically based the delegates vote in the GA (worth as much as their total endorsements) on either forumside polling or, by leaving the vote as late as possible, the votes already cast on any given resolution by South Pacificans. This is democratic, in a way, and so fits with TSP's ethos, but it is not reall an informed democracy, because we're not engaging with each resolution as a resolution, nor are we encouraging our member states to investigate the debate themselves and draw their own conclusions.

In the most recent General Assembly vote on repealing a previous resolution protectin Biomedical Science, I decided to experiment a bit. I listened to the arguments of those lobbying me (and all delegates) from both sides and took a stance, I then changed that stance twice based on further arguments. At the point where I changed my vote, on both occasions, I flipped the overall result entirely because it was a reasonably close poll and my vote, worth around 500 votes at the time, was a pretty powerful one (although it pales in comparison to the 1,100-odd that Gladio II of the North Pacific enjoys). This taught me the power of the vote of a Game-Created Region (like the South Pacific)'s delegate and made me realise the importance of ensuring that it is used wisely and not merely at the whims of lobbyists. My thoughts galvanised further upon the failure of the Security Council vote 'Liberate Westphalia' which was lost by a margin of less than a thousand. Imagine if we had those endorsements to use, like the North Pacific do? Imagine if, as well as a powerful delegate vote, we had an army of WA-engaged players debating and influencing each other? I became determined: we have to engage with the World Assembly and encourage South Pacificans to do the same, but how?

As I've already said, we don't have many WA-engaged nations involved in prominent positions. As a result, any time the government or a delegate discusses the World Assembly, it has a very great risk of becoming a circular exercise, with nothing productive coming from it. I want that to change. It needs to change and I have taken the first step.

As well as talking about it in this blog and discussing it on the RMB and Linkin my office on our Discord server, I've reached out to some of the few active GAers we have, including Sandaoguo a member of the World Assembly's General Secretariat and Auralia, the author of the recent repeal and a former TSP regular. Their views on the debates within the World Assembly are not likely to coincide much, but they are both experts on how the General Assembly works and what it takes to get resolutions proposed and passed.

But that's not all! If you're an active part of the debates and resolution-crafting that goes on in the General Assembly, then I want to hear from you and I'd appreciate it if you started sharing your experiences about it on our RMB or Discord Server. I want TSP to be talking about the World Assembly more, discussing resolutions more and debating each other publicly so that the World Assembly as a whole is more visible and more enticing. It's a pretty small step, but I believe it's the first step in changing our regional WA culture so that we become a region as engaged in the WA as we are in military gameplay, festivals and foreign affairs (just as examples).

If like me, you're a novice to the World Assembly, then you might have a part to play as well. Join me on this journey into the unknown, to engage with something new and learn as you go. Together, we could be helping to shape the South Pacific of the future.

Until next time!