Lazarene Gazette April 2022

New Rogernomics

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THE OFFICIAL NEWSPAPER OF LAZARUS
Issue 16 • 04/12/2022 • 3 Pages

EDITORAL: SUMMER IS COMING!
The Lazarene Gazette is expecting warmer weather in some parts of the world, and colder weather in others.
By New Rogernomics New Rogernomics

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Lazarus is rather sleepy once again, though this issue has found its way off a screen and onto the presses, at last, and just in time for spring, and maybe soon enough the beginnings of summer. Though the other hemisphere will be getting colder weather, so if you are one of those people, prepare to dress up warmly and find a decent book and fire to warm into.

In this issue, we have insight into the global trade fair that recently flooded the region with kittens, a general summary of past elections and goings on, the recent resignation of the last Prime Minister (or Managing Director) Domais, and general discussions on Lazarus in general.


What are you waiting for? Find a comfy chair, grab a cup of your favorite hot chocolate (maybe add marshmallows...mmm, tasty!) Scroll down! Read those special words with your special eyes! I hope you enjoy the rest of the Lazarene Gazette.



Kittens Flood Lazarus: Global Trade Fair
Special Report on the Event
By New Rogernomics New Rogernomics


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"Kittens in boxes were the prominent trade good of Lazarus, in the Global Trade Fair Event, as the region was flooded with the cute little pets, and by the end of the event there were 657 boxes of them, 4th largest number of them in the world. It was a puzzling event, as nations woke up to discover all kinds of goods, which they had forgotten about in warehouses. In fact, there seems to be a song coming along, where did the background music to "My Favorite Things" come from? Why am I bursting into song? There were...

"Stickiness on labels
And boxes with kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my tradable things..."

Where that came from is beyond me, and back to the news.

The region found delight at all the boxes of kittens, who are no doubt finding happy homes in Lazarus and bringing smiling faces and joy to children across the region, and elsewhere, as some boxes somehow were traded away to other regions, or worse destroyed. This most heinous of crimes, destroying a box that kittens are using. If you know of anyone who did this, make sure to burn them at the stake for heresy in face of cuteness.



Wang Yao Elected in Special Prime Minister Election:
Takes Office After former Prime Minister Domais Resigns
By New Rogernomics New Rogernomics



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The previously held election in Lazarus
The Speaker of the Assembly proceeded to open a special election to replace Domais, after they resigned due to a dispute with another member of the region and had a perceived loss of confidence in their role as Prime Minister. Wang Yao and Constie (John Laurens) were the candidates, with Wang Yao putting forward an extensive platform for his candidacy that won praises, and most likely contributed to his victory in the election. Wang Yao won 70% of the vote, 0.05% voted for the other candidate, and the last 23% of voters abstained. This was a major electoral sweep, not seen in some time in Lazarus.

When Prime Minister (or Managing Director) Wang Yao addressed the region after their victory, they described that they were "very humbled with the trust that have been put into me by all the ones who voted in favor of my platform", and appointed McChimp as the Director of Public Relations (or foreign relations), Ellenberg as Director of Internal Management (or internal affairs), and joWhatup to continue as the Director of the Regional Guard. Tinhampton was also appointed as Deputy Minister of Internal Management, in regard to being the Vice-Director of World Assembly affairs.

Managing Director Wang Yao did also attempt to appoint a Director of Shareholders and Recruitment, the former Prime Minister Domais, but this failed when it went to vote, not reaching the required margin of above 50% of the vote. However, in accordance with the mandate and regional law, the Chief Executive Officer (Delegate) is empowered to admit shareholders or citizens for this duration, unless another director is put to vote this term to serve.

Prime Minister: Wang Yao
Director of the Regional Guard: joWhatup
Director of Public Relations: McChimp
Director of Internal Management: Ellenberg
Deputy Director of Internal Management: Tinhampton


© THE LAZARENE GAZETTE 2022 PAGE1​


DISCUSSING GAME MECHANICS:
While not actually discussing it
By New Rogernomics New Rogernomics


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Disclaimer: This no way argues against the efforts of game moderators and administrators to do their best with the situation as is, nor is this against some more developed ideas and approaches to the game.

Given that this article could potentially cross a line, this article is somewhat discussing game mechanics, while not actually. Generally, this covers some ground of how the game is, rather than the specifics of how to do it a particular way, if that is at all possible. This does not refer specifically to raiding or defending, even though it references it briefly in conversation.

Firstly, when I talk about game mechanics, I mean how we as players decide to go about the game, regardless of whether there is some mechanical option or exploit found in the game. This can come in terms of the general concept of raiding and defending. This means do we protect some regions or go after others as they breach a line of gameplay community building, as with "fascist regions"? It can also come into the game in terms of what we accept as far as personality and behavior on a human-to-human basis, as what level of negativity, harassment, or even bullying, we accept, can determine how enjoyable the game is for the minority or the majority. If the gaming community as a whole comes to accept a position on interaction, then the rest can be expected to get into line with that point of view or perspective or be forced into by the reality of enough people accepting it as part of the game.

Secondly, how regions treat each other or how much of opportunity regions give one another can matter as to how inclusive, diverse, and open a game community is. With recruitment unfortunately this is not the case in the current game community, as too much of a recruitment monopoly has been established. Efforts are being made to resolve this on a mechanics level, though even a mechanical change may not be enough. The reason I say this is because you have to go back almost a decade to when I was first starting out in the game to understand how things have changed for the worse, as far as recruitment. I was optimistic that the application of stamps would change the game, as smaller regions and new players would be able to put a little money aside to get a few nations to start out. How wrong I was in that interpretation.

This change can be highlighted in a few changes that differ Nationstates from other gaming communities:

  • KawaiiIcons_NoBG014.pngThe decline in manual recruitment, with emphasis given to stamps and API recruitment scripts has meant that unlike other multiplayer gaming communities, the concept of personal appeals is being overwhelmed by a flood of an inbox by either API recruitment or stamps. It does not matter how heartfelt a telegram, or much effort was taken by a player to urge someone to join a new region, as more than likely by the time they have sent it, the nation would have moved on to one of the big User Created Regions (UCRs) or have been taken in by a Feeder community. This has encouraged more than anything the rise of Nationstates forum initialized communities, meaning players that know each other on the main NS forum, which effectively ignores the whole recruitment system altogether, as it is forum-based friendships establishing a community - not the game recruitment mechanics.
  • KawaiiIcons_NoBG014.pngThis decline in turn has led to other un-anticipated side-effects, such as the death or decline of culturally significant or diverse regions, or new players simply giving up and leaving the game entirely. If we look at the game like a functioning eco-system, then the larger regions will dominate, as they have more resources, grow larger, and then seek out more and more players to expand, but there is a limit to how many players are available, which means that the growth of any large User Created Region means the quashing of a region that may actually increase enjoyment of the game.
  • KawaiiIcons_NoBG036.pngNationstates has no limit on how many nations may reside in a region, and no limit on how many stamps or recruitment messages a region may send in a certain space of time, except for a rate limit which does not do enough to stop the flooding of an inbox. As a result, the game does not provide an absolute guarantee that a new player may be able to send out a telegram and get a nation in return to their region, as due to what was mentioned earlier, they might send a telegram out, but the more technically aware and better resourced regions by that time have already recruited it. If the game was structured in such a way that regions agree to not send more than a certain number of telegrams each day, or there was a change to limit how much could be sent from one region for recruitment purposes, then it would increase the probability of a culturally significant or diverse region coming into the game.
  • KawaiiIcons_NoBG021.pngThe general lack of fairness, and lack of empathy for smaller regions and new players in the structure of the game, is the final result of this system. The regions that are doing great can simply sit back and grow from inertia or use their years or decades of expertise to "beat the system", either through their monetary means to buy vast numbers of stamps or through running API recruitment scripts on mass, and flooding inboxes to capacity with their recruitment messages. They also have established forums, and established discords, which they have had a long time to prepare, and improve upon.
  • KawaiiIcons_NoBG037.pngThis is basically a barrier which is not created on purpose, as I doubt you would find many players or regions that would say that no other region should be able to recruit but them, or that they hate new and interesting regions coming into the game, or the competition that might entail. Though the practical realities of the game I find have meant what I could have built, or any player could have built a decade ago is not possible now. This is sad, as I joined small to medium sized UCRs that by today's standards wouldn't be able to exist, as they were led by inexperienced players and made up of inexperienced players, and the effort was not put much into recruitment, as it was into region-building and culture building.
  • KawaiiIcons_NoBG023.pngAs a player today, the competing demands of recruitment would dominate, taking priority over actually developing a region that might actually convince players long-term to stay in the game. The problem that a lot do not always factor in, is player retention, as while a player may join a region, their enjoyment of the game determines their level effort or focus, or interest in either staying in it, or contributing their skills to it. For sure a major region that imitates real life politics may encourage people to stay for a time, as well as a region built up from a role-play on the main Nationstates forum, though what happens when those people get bored of that concept and want to create their own. More often than not, they find they can't, or nothing diverse or culturally different enough exists.
So, the result of the current game is many players either lose interest and leave, or just do the bare minimum of playing the game or participation in their region. This is challenge that cannot really be washed away by a game mechanics fix and requires players and regions agreeing to something together.


SINKER GOVERNMENT IN LAZARUS:
Discussion of Sinker Politics
By New Rogernomics New Rogernomics


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Sinkers are different from many Game-Created Regions (GCRs) and User-Created Regions (UCRs) in that each one has different challenges based on game mechanics, than a region that can rely upon new nations joining the region all the time, as in the case of Feeders, or as a result of recruitment to a like-minded region, as with UCRs. There are viable arguments for and against autocracy or oligarchy, as well as democracy, in such a situation.

What I would consider the positives of a democratic framework would be:

  • KawaiiIcons_NoBG035.pngElectoral accountability of low to high level government officials, and in the case of The Rejected Realms, this includes the Delegate. This has the added benefit of encouraging activity by showing citizens that there is an avenue for political advancement.
  • KawaiiIcons_NoBG011.pngShuffling of powers and responsibilities of citizens in a region, as some problems can exist in an oligarchy or autocracy where citizens stay in the same political role forever, as they might be terrible at their job, or worse okay at their job but would be fantastic somewhere else. If there is a static situation, the region and those at the top may never find out.
  • KawaiiIcons_NoBG015.pngCultural and political revolution from time to time, can be important for regional growth and development, as throwing out the old and bringing in the new, can mean bringing people out of the shadows to improve the region, when before they were bored with it.
  • KawaiiIcons_NoBG018.pngDevelopment of a strong civil society, though not always, can mean a fabric of support for the political institutions, fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution of the region, and possibly even a groundswell of support in case of an attempted coup, with the civil society having the means to overthrow an illegal Delegacy.
While these are great in principle, in practice there are complications, which lend to an argument against or towards modifying the democratic framework, for the right or wrong reasons. I could see an argument for a more authoritarian position in some scenarios, as with the following:
  • KawaiiIcons_NoBG038.pngElectoral accountability should not be confused with political instability, as just because someone in power does a tolerable job or even a bad job does not mean there is not someone worse waiting to take the reins or even destabilize the whole region. This is true of the risk to democracies of vote-stacking or otherwise rigging a vote in favor of a candidate, which while not technically illegal in most regions, is highly unethical. Without a civil society in a democracy, there would be no one to object or vote against such a practice and really have a hope of stopping such unethical actions. This lends an argument to a firmer hand in a region without a strong civil society, and for now has justified the basis of the Council of Lazarene Security, as in such a situation, citizens can be banned outright for such an effort.
  • KawaiiIcons_NoBG047.pngCultural and political revolution can be beneficial for a region, if it establishes a more active and more politically engaged region, as occurred with the establishment for a time of the People's Republic of Lazarus, and then the Humane Republic of Lazarus. It can also mean people lose out, and sometimes in a big way, as the People's Republic of Lazarus banned prominent members of Lazarus and raiders outright from the region, and in the case of the Humane Republic of Lazarus, provided a basis for resentment down the road. There was popular political will for change to another theme and constitution during the Humane Republic, but this effort at cultural and political change led to disaster. Had there been a firmer hand, it could have been stopped, as with the later civil war, though at the cost of democratic freedoms and assembly discussion.
This is not to suggest that a sinker should be dissuaded from democracy, though Sinker authoritarianism is not inherently evil, as there is a basis of risk in any system of government, either through abuse of power or by political manipulation of the masses to a negative end. For every elected Delegate, there is a risk of a coup d'état right behind them, as the running risk of democracy. While with authoritarianism, a firm hand can easily become a noose on the future of a region. Both arguments can be valid in a sinker, whether Lazarus, or one of the other sinkers people may be familiar with.


SPAM, SPAM, AND SPAMMITY SPAM

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What a lot of spam we had
By New Rogernomics New Rogernomics

In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, spam is defined as "unsolicited usually commercial messages (such as emails, text messages, or Internet postings) sent to a large number of recipients or posted in a large number of places", and implied to refer to sending or posting spam, including to a message board, and this is what Lazarus has seen for a few months.

There have been some efforts to spam in the past that were not that terrible, and just mildly annoying, though usually not to the levels we got in the last few months, where we had the following:

  • Single letter spam posts, where someone would post, "e" or some other letter,
  • Rants in full capitalization, describing how all the region is theirs now, along the lines of "ALL YOUR BASES ARE BELONG TO US", but not even in that comic fashion,
  • A region apparently devoted to "raid us", possibly run by one or two spammers and their puppets, not understanding the concept of raiding in Nationstates, meaning taking a Delegacy through the means of endorsing someone else to be Delegate, and it took a long time for them to grasp this concept - and understand that you can't endorse without a WA nation.
So overall, there has been some decline in the quality of posts on the Regional Message Board, as I do not seem to remember Lazarus having to remove or suppress this much spam in quite some time. Now for the comics and more.

© THE LAZARENE GAZETTE 2022 PAGE 2


COMICS AND MORE

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LAZARENE POLLS

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© THE LAZARENE GAZETTE 2022 PAGE 3​


 
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