Your chances of getting killed by a Major Mitchell's cockatoo are low...
Two articles from the Southern Journal this evening.
Firstly, Kanglia on our ally, the Union of Democratic States:
A Brief History
The Union of Democratic States was founded in late 2015 by The Noble Thatcherites. I myself moved into the UDS in 2016, and already found a bustling and thriving community. The region itself was based heavily in regional law (I spent much of my early days writing legislation) and was marred by very consistent Constitutional Conventions (think Grand Councils, but more frequent). The UDS was still very successful, however, and quickly jumped onto the NSGP scene. Key NSers such as Kuriko & Arkadia Universalis were extremely influential players in the UDS, with Kuriko founding the UDSAF, which I would take over in early 2017. Ark was the region's first Delegate, and to this day maintains an important role in the OOC administrative team in the region.
In late 2017, after long-standing good relations between the UDS & TSP, the Treaty of Democratic Unity was authored and passed through both regions. This is one of my proudest accomplishments as a member of the region.
I would leave the UDS later on in 2017 to join the South Pacific, and NS entirely in early 2018. In my absence, Thatcher also left the region and moved to Europeia. Khevo remained in the region, citing the “very open, close-knit community.” After going through another Constitution and revamping the executive and renaming it the President, the region would elect North plegia as the first “President” in February of 2020.
That would lead us to the present day. Currently, Phoenix Coalition is in his second term as President, having just won reelection with 69% of the vote. The Legislative branch is led by Glaciosia, Speaker of the Senate, and yours truly as the Chairperson of the General Assembly. The Union of Democratic States Armed Forces, or UDSAF, has seen a revitalization under the watchful eyes of Comlogical and myself, and the region as a whole is in the best state that I can remember. Although the drop off from the Drew Rush was significant in terms of total nations, the activity levels in terms of both active citizens and members of the RMB have increased significantly. Overall, enthusiasm is very high for the region, and a large part of that can be attributed to one man, the WA Delegate of the region, Dome Artan.
The PIG: How EndoBacon Captured the Region
Not long after I returned to NationStates and the UDS, I discovered a nation by the name of Dome Artan. Dome was already serving as a Senator in the region. Shortly after encountering him did I realize that he was an incredibly quick individual, understanding of how the region operated or at least should operate. Also, shortly after my return, it was announced that Dome would become the new WA Delegate of the region, a position that Asdersland had held for 469 days. Almost immediately, Dome implemented the program Promoting Influence Growth or PIG for short. With a cute pig mascot named Hamlet, the Union’s levels of endorsements grew exponentially. At the time of this writing, the region is ranked 7th for most World Assembly Endorsements(NS goes by average per nation of course.) This rapid growth is thanks to Dome’s hard work, and Dome himself admits he was heavily influenced by TSP’s own endorsement program.. “However, I was still pretty new to NS! I wasn't sure what exactly I was supposed to be doing as Delegate”, Dome said, even though you’d never know his NS “youth” by talking to him. Dome followed by saying that he “did the logical thing and looked at the feeders, especially our good friends in TSP.” This led him to the SWAN program, which left him, as he put it, “entranced.” The PIG program followed, with Dome also admitting that establishing the program with any hint of unique elements to it was incredibly difficult. It is undeniable that this program has been effective, with the number of endorsements for both the Delegate and other members of the region skyrocketing since the program’s creation.
Visiting the Union
Thanks in part to the Drew Rush, the UDS has grown rapidly in terms of activity, with the RMB, main discord server, and RP servers bustling more than ever. The Unioncraft server, dedicated to Unionists and friends who play Minecraft, has also thrived recently. When asked why the UDS should be a destination for TSPers Dome notes the similarities between both regions in terms of NSGP, with both regions being “staunchly democratic and defender” and that visiting from both sides “can only benefit our regions.” Thatcher notes that TSPers should consider visiting the UDS for “our shared heritage.”
As for the aforementioned Unioncraft server, of which Thatcher is an admin, it came out of the interest of many citizens to start a Minecraft community based off of a spawntown. This server however is open to all friends of the region. As Thatcher says, “Unioncraft has an open community where anyone is allowed to join so long as they subscribe to the mission of the server and pledge to obey server rules.”
When asked what makes visiting and becoming a part of the UDS so reasonable, Khevo responded that it all translates to the culture. “[T]he culture of a UCR is much different to that of the GCRs, and I feel the smaller size and relative lack of history makes it easier to simply join in and get involved at a high level.” Khevo is entirely correct on that statement as well, it’s very easy to get involved in the UDS, thanks to the extremely friendly community, and the welcoming and easily accessible government structure. But even if you’re just looking to visit, the open and all-inclusive nature of the UDS ensures that you’ll have a good time!
Then me, offering my opinion on barriers to entry into our various ministries and cultural enterprises:
The problem with ever-increasing skill and professionalism in our government and independent output is that newer players, especially those in younger age brackets (although, as a thirty-something I’m often shown to be miles less talented than some of our teenagers) have ever-greater hurdles to leap over to be able to compete with what has gone before, or even to meet the mark of the region’s expectations. Whether or not the region really expects such is actually besides the point. For every player inspired by the complexity of our creativity, there’ll be others who look at it and think they will never be able to contribute to something which looks and feels so professional. Our aspirational approach to media, events, government announcements - whatever - can become, rather than a beacon to draw players in, an artificial barrier to entry: as much a demotivator as motivator.
So, what can we do to prevent this? Well, firstly, I think it would be wrong to simply tone down our efforts. That we’ve achieved some amazing things with the time and talent of our players is not something to be ashamed of, but rather celebrated! At the same time, however, we need to be more understanding of less experienced and renowned players and give them a little breathing space to grow and develop.
I’ve tried to take this approach in my leadership of the Ministry of Regional Affairs so far, giving greater free reign to our writers, artists and event planners so that they can show what they can do, whilst also encouraging an understanding, proportional response from the region in how it gives feedback and criticism, as, indeed, I am doing now. We should not expect every article to be perfect, nor every festival to be Pacific Con. We should encourage newer players for their efforts and gently guide them towards ever-more-perfect works in the future by sharing our own talents and skills with them. We can maintain a culture of continuous regional improvement by allowing the less professional and artistically excellent to sit alongside our Mona Lisas and, in some ways, through a culture of shared development, allow them to reflect some of the glory themselves.
And if we can achieve this with our cultural efforts, then perhaps we can be more generous in our response to those seeking elected or appointed offices, balancing roles out more so that there are smaller, less vital roles which newer players can inhabit and make their own; where mistakes can matter less and be learned from more easily. There is no denying that some of our roles and structures are incredibly daunting and we shy away from handing them to newer players with good reason. Perhaps there are better ways we can apportion our government responsibilities so that newer players don’t already have to be brilliant to be considered? Let’s break down the barriers to entry, bit by bit, until our region can live up to its democratic promise more fully; allowing players of all kinds the chance to grow and develop into the South Pacifican leaders of the future.
You’ll never be rid of me, love.
Oh, I’ve just spent the most excruciating few days intensely rewatching so much LGBT cinema to try and get out this long postponed poll on the subject, and getting it down to twelve has been . . . difficult. Yet here I am, ready to set it up. Do wish me luck.
SOUTH PACIFIC INDEPENDENT NEWS NETWORK
Today in Culinary Corner...
• Who doesn't like chocolate chip cookies, soft and fresh out of the oven? SPINN has a cookie recipe that will bring that image to life in your kitchen.
Good, Insightful and Timely | Year 18 | 10 July 2020
SOUTH PACIFIC INDEPENDENT NEWS NETWORK
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Who doesn't like chocolate chip cookies, soft and fresh out of the oven? SPINN has a cookie recipe that will bring that image to life in your kitchen. Your Chef's Tip for today? The bottom of your cookies can burn quickly, so check your chookies constantly once they are in the oven.
• 300 grams of all-purpose flour
• 220 grams of granulated white sugar
• 200 grams of chocolate chips
• 187 grams of butter
• 11.5 grams of baking powder
• 10 mililitres of vanilla extract
• 6.5 grams of baking soda
• 3.5 grams of salt
• 2 grams of granulated instant coffee
• 1 egg
• 1 egg yolk
1. Mix in a bowl the butter and the sugar until they are well integrated.
2. Add to your mix the egg, the egg yolk and the vanilla extract.
3. Mix the flour, the baking powder, the baking soda, the salt and the coffee; then add them to the previous mix.
4. Add the chocolate chips and intetgrate them with the mix, which should not be wet or too sticky at this point.
5. Take the dough and form balls according to your desired cookie size*, then cover them with plastic wrap and let them cool in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven at 150ºF (302ºF).
7. Place your dough balls on a tray and bake them for around 10 minutes, until they have formed cookie-shaped circles and are soft to the touch.
8. Take your cookies out and let them cool down.
* A ball that weighs 15 grams gives you a small cookie; 30 grams gives you a medium-sized cookie; 60 grams gives you a large cookie.
If you like this recipe, make sure to try it and share a photo of your result!
The South Pacific Independent News Network (SPINN) is an independent news organisation established in 2003 whose goal is to provide good news, insightful commentary and timely information for the citizens of the South Pacific. Recipes shared in its publications presume personal responsibility or adult supervision in the kitchen, as well as adherence to local laws. The opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editorial Board. Content is published anonymously, unless is the author requests otherwise. The SPINN is in no way, shape or form associated with the Government of the South Pacific.
Make sure to upvote the dispatch and quote this post! There's a new recipe every Friday!
Quite. I’ve been stalling with polls like these while I agonise and watch Carol again (a film that did not make the final selection, unfortunately). I apologise to my lesbians out there, 073 039 109 032 080 111 112 112 121 and the like.
I did try to focus on less obvious films, so no Call Me By Your Name, Moonlight, Imagine Me & You, or The Half of It. An unexpected side effect of all of this research, the most I’ve ever done for a poll before, is that I am now much more well versed in the culture of the community, and that’s the tea, sis.