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Uan aa Boa wrote:Government post
This seems an appropriate moment to announce the appointment of Canaltia as Voice of the Forest. This new role involves preparing regional updates and working with the ambassadors to make sure they get to the intended audience.

I'll start collecting info for the next update. When do we want the next update? I think New Year's might work well.

Palos Heights wrote:How do we not have one for Oatland?

Ruinenlust, Uan aa Boa I'll take Oatland.

Done!

Dear friends, I would like to announce that Palos Heights is our ambassador to Oatland!

Thanks, bud. :-)

If anyone else is interested, please let me know.

Ruinenlust, Foreign Affairs

P.S. Palos, I will respond to your excellent post above later when I have some time.

Candlewhisper Archive wrote:I'd note that my nation is 8th for Influence and 45th for Residency, primarily by endorsing anyone who endorses me and by being high profile.

Influence is primarily a function of endorsements, so non-WA nations have a hard time accumulating any significant amount, as do nations that don't do the whole auto-reciprocation thing.

I'd argue that in general that's a good thing-- we want people to join the WA and endorse each other.

Candlewhisper Archive wrote:I'd also note that Influence can be spent for various things like banjection, but I guess that the threshold is low enough that no delegate is going to drop below that number.

The only person in Forest authorized to banject is Errinundera, for whom doing so costs nothing.

Candlewhisper Archive wrote:I's also note that any nation that goes on a journey to another region for ambassadorial or social reasons is going to find their residency reset, and their Influence rapidly plummeting.

Right - but their influence decays as fast as it grows. If you can describe someone's influence as "rapidly plummeting" when they leave the region, you could to the exact same extent describe someone's influence as "rapidly shooting up" when they join Forest as a non-WA nation. :P And the longer you've been in Forest, the more time you can stay out of the region before losing enough influence to be unable to vote again.

Candlewhisper Archive wrote:I'd suggest that if you're looking to identify "citizens" then the best thing to do would be to go with self-identification, and to stipulate that the nation should not self-identify as a citizen of any other region. Policing that beyond that probably isn't worthwhile.

But how do you determine that in a poll? That's how many regions do it when they vote on offsite forums, but I'm pretty sure no one wants that here.

In the end, an influential requirement may seem strict, but-- we already require WA status for Forest Keeper voting. If you're not willing to join the WA on either your main nation or a puppet, and are okay with not voting for Forest Keeper at all (I'm not in the WA, so I can't...), then I don't think it's too much to ask to say that you need to be in the region for a couple years.

The New Bluestocking Homeland wrote:Yeldan Nature Preserve -- here for 1,751.66 days (10th in our region for Residency) and Land o Birds -- 20th in the region for Residency, with 1,054 days -- don't make the 2000 mark (not to mention the people Uan's already mentioned).

Not to dismiss your other arguments, but I think it is important to note that the reason those two nations have not reached the influence requirement is because they are both often un-logged-into for long periods of time (if you don't log in for over 10 days, your influence stops increasing). Both would be well over the cap if they were even twice as often logged into. Yeldan Nature Preserve is on vacation mode and appears to be set on an automatic-login timer of some sort of exactly 45 days. That doesn't make me inclined to think it deserves the vote just because of long residency.

Palos Heights wrote:

I'm going to say something from another perspective here regarding our "too many meaningless embassies". While it is true that there are a number of regions that we have embassies with that we do nothing with, does the fault lay 100% with those regions? Are we not culpable of also neglecting those regions as well? It's easy to put the blame on others and say that X region or Y region haven't done anything with us, but what have we done to interact with them? You can argue that these regions who approach us and want embassies with us have a responsibility to reach out and justify their embassy, sure, but if we just sit here waiting to be wooed by proactive regions and make them do all the work, well, (and to be crude to make a point) then we're the NationStates equivalent of a dead fish who just lays there.

I mean honestly, why would any region want to have embassies with us if all we do is smack-talk the ones who want to form relationships with us for being young or "meaningless" and then sit on our laurels and have one or two events a year? We joke about this region being filled with issue editors and authors, yet what do we do to cultivate that amongst nations who join or our embassies? There are major players in both RP and the WA, yet what have we done to share our expertise with others? N-Day and Z-Day come by every year and yet, what coordination did we have with our embassy regions for both events? On Z-Day, we were high on the charts for final standings, yet what did we do to help out our embassy regions, let alone the regions with whom we have Treaty's with?

Relationships take work. Being an example for others takes work. The requirements we have for embassies works, and the spirit of Forest shows that we're open to all kinds of relationships with other peoples. The only thing not working is how we approach the embassies we do have. We've argued and debated a great deal over the past year and a half (since I've been here) regarding embassies, and to reference what Uan aa Boa mentioned, even closing some long-standing regions. At the time, there were a few regions that were absolutely dead, and many influential nations here argued against closing embassies because things might improve. I ask you, in the time since those last arguments, what has anyone done to improve those regions?

I'm not saying this to be accusatory, I'm saying this to prove a point: we do not do enough for the embassies we do have and arguing about who or what justifies a region to have embassies with us is pointless if we do nothing with them moving forward. Personally, I think one of the reasons why the government positions have such high turn-over is because they are trying to juggle so many responsibilities that the rest of the region should be picking up the slack with, and that starts with foreign affairs.

So what I propose is this:
>No region can obtain an embassy with us until we have someone who has accepted the responsibility of ambassador with that region.
>Every ambassador is required to do monthly updates on their region here and do monthly updates on their embassy region there.
>Every ambassador is responsible for stimulating inter-regional camaraderie through posting on the RMB and inter-regional events that they are responsible for organizing. (i.e., Texas hosts a March Madness Bracket every year, the ambassador to Texas is responsible for drumming up support here to take part, all ambassadors should aim to get participation from their embassy region in our annual Photo contest)
>Responsibility for lack of activity will be placed at the ambassadors feet, not the region.
>If these stipulations are met and the embassy region still derelicts their duties, then we can re-consider our relationship with them.

We hold our embassies to such high standards, maybe it's time we hold ourselves to the same.

With that, if there is a region that needs an ambassador, I'm open to rejoining the public service as needed.

By and large I agree with this, though I don't think it impacts how we decide on new embassies. It's a separate issue that's equally important and equally troubling.

We can often come across as a self-interested king in the embassy world, with new embassies pandering at our feet and offering presents in return for the grant of an embassy. I think it's part of why many of our new embassies seem strained or not quite sincere. We do have ourselves to blame in part for this.

Palos Heights wrote:N-Day and Z-Day come by every year and yet, what coordination did we have with our embassy regions for both events?

On N-Day we were in a joint faction with three of our allies: The International Democratic Union, Yggdrasil, and Oatland. I made quite a point of involving our embassies.

Ruinenlust, Lord Dominator, Uan aa Boa, Canaltia, and 6 othersSeagull, Cosona, Altmer dominion, New Ladavia, Catterland, and Rivienland

Rejectionville

Cosona wrote:The Bar on the corner of every region doesnt seem to have an ambassador, is there any chance that I could take up that role?

I'll arm-wrestle you for the position.

Chan Island, Lord Dominator, Canaltia, Seagull, and 3 othersCosona, Syllabun, and Catterland

Turbeaux wrote: Government Post
Does anyone have ideas for photo contest categories besides trees? Last year there were "nature in unexpected places", "weather", and "sunrise/sunset".

I would personally like an "after dark" category.

I would love to do a nighttime category. What about "earth"? That is, soil, rock, geology (something Areulder proposed last year), etc.

Then, to echo last year's Nature in Unexpected Places, we could do some topic of purposeful human-nature interaction, maybe?

Palos Heights wrote:Take the "after dark" idea and make it "moonlit night". Who can do the best moonlit picture?

I think that general is better than specific for the most part. "Moonlit night" is a bit too narrow of a category imo.

Lord Dominator, Canaltia, Cosona, and Syllabun

Mount Seymour wrote:I would love to do a nighttime category. What about "earth"? That is, soil, rock, geology (something Areulder proposed last year), etc.

Then, to echo last year's Nature in Unexpected Places, we could do some topic of purposeful human-nature interaction, maybe?

I think that general is better than specific for the most part. "Moonlit night" is a bit too narrow of a category imo.

"Moonlit night" is actually quite restrictive. What if someone submits a night photo that does not involve moonlight? I love the "earth" idea! How about calling it "Terra Firma"?

I don't really have any general ideas for human-nature interaction. Also, I placed in "Nature in Unexpected Places" with a photo that did not involve human-nature interaction.

For human nature interaction, we could do cites and how people pets and the wildlife that surrounds us forms our ecosystem.

New Ladavia wrote:For human nature interaction, we could do cites and how people pets and the wildlife that surrounds us forms our ecosystem.

"Urban Zoology" perhaps?

Cosona wrote:The Bar on the corner of every region doesn't seem to have an ambassador, is there any chance that I could take up that role?

Steps up to them with the clipboard and the invoice that needs signing

You can use my pen.

Hands them a pen

Right there on the line at the bottom.

Indicates where they should sign

And date it.

Chan Island, Mount Seymour, Ruinenlust, Lord Dominator, and 6 othersRejectionville, Turbeaux, Canaltia, Seagull, Cosona, and Syllabun

Lake of fur wrote:Steps up to them with the clipboard and the invoice that needs signing

You can use my pen.

Hands them a pen

Right there on the line at the bottom.

Indicates where they should sign

And date it.

signs and dates embassy contract

Alright, when do I start?

Lake of fur, Ruinenlust, Lord Dominator, Rejectionville, and 4 othersVilouki, Turbeaux, Canaltia, and Seagull

Cosona wrote:signs and dates embassy contract

Alright, when do I start?

Gestures to the three cases of Rumplemintz at the base of the cedar

I just drop 'em off, collect a signature. What you do with 'em after that is up to you.

Tucking the clipboard under his arm he wheels the hand-truck away

Ruinenlust, Lord Dominator, Rejectionville, Turbeaux, and 3 othersCanaltia, Seagull, and Cosona

Rejectionville

Cosona wrote:Alright, when do I start?

Appears, uncomfortably close behind them, breathing heavily down the back of their neck

You can start by opening one of those cases and handing me a bottle.

You're not trying to horn in on my action, are you pal? See, me and the rabbit got an understanding, a business relationship, and this could be very profitable for me.

If somebody were to, say, move in on my territory, I would naturally take umbrage.

Hmmmm if anyone wants to preview just what little work I've done on my submission for the Forest writing contest, here's the link
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1PyXmPk21DG151zhSAaD90GUQdPYxLvW3qvsIgXZ8DCo/edit

All the liberals voting against the liberation 🤔

Lord Dominator, Canaltia, and Cosona

Interesting. It turns out that if you click on the “influence” display above a poll, and then click on the different levels of influence in the poll legend to grey them out, you can get a chart of just voters of certain influence levels.

Technically, we could use that to “set” our own influentialness level— let everyone vote, then only count based on the chart with low influence taken out. I believe the line between “medium influence” and “high influence” in the legend is about 1000, which I think would be just right for us.

Interestingly, the Sonindia poll would completely flip if only influential nations could vote. Even if any nations >1000 influence could vote, it would still have flipped to no. Many other polls do change a bit in the ways you would expect if you retroactively apply influence standards, though.

Re: using Influence, I'd also note that on the day I arrived in Forest, I had the highest Influence of any nation because it was Influence from 10,000 Islands, who are larger and quicker to endorse than here. My Influence from there then decayed faster than my Influence here grew, and I was at low Influence here for some time before reestablishing my position here.

Look at this graph though, and you'll see that while I crashed from 85000 down to 6000 and have since climbed back to 49000, I've never been below 2000, which basically means I've met the discussed Influence requirement from day 1 of joining this region.

I think that in mind, you may want to find some way of making it so that the Influence chart also has to have an upward gradient at the time someone is declared a citizen, as otherwise someone could come here from a few weeks in, say, the North Pacific, and then come here and be immediately and indefinitely over 2000 influence.

Mount Seymour wrote:Interesting. It turns out that if you click on the “influence” display above a poll, and then click on the different levels of influence in the poll legend to grey them out, you can get a chart of just voters of certain influence levels.

Technically, we could use that to “set” our own influentialness level— let everyone vote, then only count based on the chart with low influence taken out. I believe the line between “medium influence” and “high influence” in the legend is about 1000, which I think would be just right for us.

Interestingly, the Sonindia poll would completely flip if only influential nations could vote. Even if any nations >1000 influence could vote, it would still have flipped to no. Many other polls do change a bit in the ways you would expect if you retroactively apply influence standards, though.

Out of interest, do you have an idea of how many would qualify with a bar of 1000?

I favour improving the system, but not at the cost of the voice of the vast majority.

It's not that I'm in any way opposed to encouraging new regionmates to get involved in the WA and the RMB. It's just that I feel that -- for long-term residents, who've already proved they're to stay (at least for the foreseeable) -- getting involved in the region should be based on choice, not fear of losing their enfranchisement.

So I'd like to see an influence level set (at least in the manual way described) where it catches the somewhat active long-term residents at least.

Mount Seymour, Lord Dominator, Uan aa Boa, Palos Heights, and 5 othersTurbeaux, Canaltia, Cosona, Altmer dominion, and Syllabun

The New Bluestocking Homeland wrote:Out of interest, do you have an idea of how many would qualify with a bar of 1000?

132 nations look as if they meet that threshold right now, though some of those may be based on decaying influence from other regions in the way described above. To give a couple of well known reference points Areulder and Darths and Droids miss out right now, but will reach that level by New Year.

I'd like to ask you, Palos Heights and anyone else troubled by influence thresholds whether you see a potential for compromise if we can drop the required influence to a lower level, or whether any reduction of the electorate is unacceptable to you.

Seeing that new criteria is now the most popular option on the poll I'd also like to ask people voting for that whether they can suggest what the actual criteria should be.

I'm really hoping that there's a consensus option around here somewhere...

Uan aa Boa wrote:132 nations look as if they meet that threshold right now, though some of those may be based on decaying influence from other regions in the way described above. To give a couple of well known reference points Areulder and Darths and Droids miss out right now, but will reach that level by New Year.

I'd like to ask you, Palos Heights and anyone else troubled by influence thresholds whether you see a potential for compromise if we can drop the required influence to a lower level, or whether any reduction of the electorate is unacceptable to you.

Seeing that new criteria is now the most popular option on the poll I'd also like to ask people voting for that whether they can suggest what the actual criteria should be.

I'm really hoping that there's a consensus option around here somewhere...

The thing is, I'm failing to see why we have to change the voting requirements at all. This seems like a thinly veiled attempt at limiting newer nations in our region from having an impact on voting for embassies because we have some new embassies that people might not be fans of. Coming a few weeks off the back of the midterm elections where voter disenfranchisement was such a big deal, I can't help but see some similarities here.

I mean honestly, what's the point of reducing the electorate here? Is it to strengthen the voice of people who have been here a while? Is it to try and maintain the status quo? Is it a Metternichian reaction to the changing RMB culture? Some of these numbers seem so arbitrary, so rounded, all because we get this mental image of 1000 or 2000 being a good number, yet at 1000 the person who brought back the Forest Map for the first time IN YEARS doesn't have a voice. How is that not broken? How is that fair? Like others have pointed out, having a high number means f-all if they come from a large feeder region and carry that over. In that case, then you have a vote coming from someone who knows NOTHING about the region while more RL influential and invested nations get shut down because people weren't happy with the direction some votes have gone.

I don't like having meaningless embassies. I don't like having Forest being used as a trophy. There have been votes that I've disagreed with here in the past, but to start limiting who can vote in a misguided effort to maintain "the Forest Way" is the biggest load of malarkey I've seen since Cook County wanted to pass a beverage tax "for public health reasons".

IT WASN'T FOR HEALTH REASONS

You want criteria?
You want thresholds?
I can compromise.
Month minimum residence in Forest. If people are still hung up about a bullshite number, whatever influence a newly-formed nation not in the World Assembly would have after a month in Forest is your minimum requirement. There you go.

If people take issue with the direction some things are going, rather than try to eliminate a problem, people should focus on assimilation instead. Things change, people change, and it can be tough to accept, but we need to grow from these experiences rather than try to prevent them from happening.

Lord Dominator, Canaltia, Seagull, Cosona, and 2 othersAltmer dominion, and Syllabun

Yep, that sounds good to me. A month in Forest sounds like a good criterion.

Lord Dominator, Sapnu puas, Palos Heights, Canaltia, and 4 othersSeagull, Cosona, Altmer dominion, and Syllabun

How do I have "Very High" influence? Is it because of my endorsement count?

I've remained rather quiet so far with this ongoing discussion because frankly I can't see how limiting voting to WA members, influence or whatever can be done in a fair way for various reasons that have been pointed out.

Honestly, if we want to engage more with embassy voting and have a list of embassies that better reflects how Forest genuinely feels it makes more sense to me to approach this from the opposite direction. Have something written into the constitution whereby if 6% (or whatever) of Forest residents agree that an existing embassy needs reevaluation it triggers a vote on whether or not to close an existing embassy down.

Sorry, still v. occupied at present. Will try to get better thoughts down on paper later.

Sapnu puas wrote:How do I have "Very High" influence? Is it because of my endorsement count?

That's exactly why it's very high.

That's the thing about influence. It's totally about R/D so you can get quite a ridiculous amount if you tart a bit, but for a nonWA it takes forever.

If we are going to limit embassy voting to 'influential' nation, you guys do realise that this would mean a more stringent requirement than voting in Forest Keeper election right?

I'm going to agree with Caracasus' suggestion on this one.

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