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by The Inhospitable Ski Slopes of Agalaesia. . 405 reads.

The Rejected Times: Issue LIX

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Issue LIX | August 2020

Editor-in-Chief: Agalaesia
Deputy: N/A

Index

The Truth Behind the Attempted Balder Coup | Feature | WRITTEN BY Bormiar | EDITED BY TRT STAFF
Behind the Mask | Cartoon | DRAWN BY Catalyse
Ranking the GCRs: Result Revealed | FEATURE | WRITTEN BY Nequedum | EDITED BY TRT STAFF
The Worst Forum Skin Contest Returns | FEATURE | WRITTEN BY Agalaesia | EDITED BY TRT STAFF
An Interview with Outgoing Delegate Dead I Jack | INTERVIEW | WRITTEN BY Western New England | EDITED BY TRT STAFF
An Interview with New Delegate of the Rejected Realms Sarah | INTERVIEW | WRITTEN BY Lansaka | EDITED BY TRT STAFF
A Conversation with Issues Editor Candlewhisper Archive | INTERVIEW | WRITTEN BY Agalaesia | EDITED BY TRT STAFF
Kyorgia gives the NS world a tour of the norwegian culinary kitchen while talking about whatever came to his mind as he wrote it | RECIPE | WRITTEN BY Kyorgia | EDITED BY TRT STAFF

The Truth Behind the Attempted Balder Coup
FEATURE | WRITTEN BY Bormiar | EDITED BY TRT STAFF

On March 5th, Fooooooooo released Balder Bugle Issue VIII, which informed NationStates of a Balder coup attempt perpetrated by contemporary Minister of World Assembly Affairs Griffindor13. As its name may suggest, Balder Bugle is not a regional newspaper whose claims belong to the author alone (like the Rejected Times). The Balder Bugle is “a publication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Realm of Balder”, the equivalent of a foreign update. Balder Bugle’s vague statement revealed only that Griffindor “[conspired] to overthrow Balder's elected Delegate, King North East Somerset”, before skipping to a very detailed account of the punishments. Upon further prodding, Fooooooooo personally revealed that “Griffindor13 proposed creating a private Discord server to coordinate military operations to ‘secure the Delegacy’ through unlawful means... Griffindor plotted to use his government position to gradually lobby for a series of initially small and then larger increases in the endorsement cap”. NationStates Today also wrote Linkan article on the event, but the article did little more than echo Balder Bugle’s announcement. The article may have some bias, given the affiliations of its author, J.S. Talleyrand, who has been highly influential in the Land of Kings and Emperors, a region closely associated with Balder.1 Balder Bugle has previously had and may still have treaty relations with NationStates Today.2

Despite the little information we were initially given, Griffindor unilaterally attempting to overthrow the government seemed plausible. Unlike other game-created regions, Balder has been the target of many empty coup threats over the years, such as the recent Popular Front for a United Balder. These could be inspired by the frequent criticisms of the region from prominent gameplayers. In an “Ask Me Anything” thread by Cormactopia Prime, an extremely influential retired player, Cormac frequently shared aspirations to “liberate” Balder, declaring that “the state of the region is just depressing”. Roavin, a prominent member of the South Pacific and the Order of the Grey Wardens, is well known for his dislike of Balder, having frequently criticized its (alleged) stagnancy and endorsed couping it. He gave TRT an excellent explanation for his dislike of Balder, which may give context to Griffindor’s and other would-be revolutionaries' motivations. The summary, available in the footnotes, cites a facade of democracy, a kangaroo court, Balder’s alleged imperialist rhetoric, and extreme security policy such as its proscriptions.3 Despite the diplomatic pressure usually put on endorsing a coup of a game-created region, neither of those players have received much diplomatic consequence for their words. In TRT’s recent “Ranking the GCRs” survey, Balder did exceptionally worse than all others. The popular criticism of Balder might have served to justify Griffindor’s attempt at democratizing Balder.

Furthermore, Griffindor (a member of the South Pacific, a democracy) has had experience which led him to believe in democracy. When detailing his Balder history in an interview with TRT, he explained how he helped to split a unicameral (one chamber) appointed legislature into a bicameral (two chambers) legislature where the lower house (Odelsting) would be open to all upon application. This allows any player, appointed or not, to be in the legislature. “I noticed a marked increase in activity on the forums (which is normally dead) as a result of the changes making governance closer to the people”, he added without prompt.4 He gave the impression that he truly believed in democracy.

Griffindor is allegedly no stranger to clandestine activities. In February 2018, Griffindor’s legislator (equivalent of citizen to most regions) status in the South Pacific was Linkremoved for using multiple legislator accounts, the other account being Lavoret. It is reasonable to consider both accounts owned by different players, especially because NSHistory logs show both players’ nations (Lavoret and Ebonhand) being in the World Assembly at the same time.5 As Glen-Rhodes (Sandaogao) clarifies in the thread, “the allegations aren’t that they’re the same person”. They likely believe that Griffindor was requesting that Lavoret vote certain ways, thereby voting through Lavoret. Griffindor informed TRT that he “was kinda bitter” after losing Linkan appeal, and ended up in Balder after deciding to move to a different region. Griffindor denies the allegations against him to this day.

On the surface, it appears like Griffindor, a convicted criminal and democracy fanatic, unilaterally attempted to execute a military coup of Balder via increasing the endorsement cap. No wonder the media reported it as such. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Griffindor was not the only conspirator in the Operation Heimdall plot, as Balder’s announcement and NationStates Today’s subsequent article may lead you to believe. “Operation Heimdall”, as it was named, was coordinated by Ebonhand (Griffindor), Eriadni (Aquila), Adriatican (Dmofadriatican), and Bowzin.6 Aquila, Bowzin, and Griffindor were ministers, while Adriatican was a Deputy Talman, the equivalent of a deputy speaker.7 On January 28th, Discord logs show Bowzin approaching Griffindor to invite him to a newly-made Operation Heimdall server, where they would plot Balder reform.8 The screenshot also shows Bowzin implying that he previously recruited Aquila. Both Aquila and Griffindor confirm being recruited to Operation Heimdall by Bowzin.9 Adriatican was recruited by Griffindor.10 Bowzin, then Minister of Interior Affairs11 but soon Statsminister (Balder’s head of government)12, is clearly shown to be the catalyst behind the Heimdall plot.


Bowzin was the origin of the Heimdall plot

Operation Heimdall was not a military coup as was led to believe in Balder’s announcement. Griffindor seemed more interested in democratizing Balder via legal, legislative means, such as the aforementioned creation of the Odelsting. As Aquila told TRT, “Griff definitely was keen on the reform process, but he was more concerned with legislating such a thing. All of my conversations with him were about what bills we wanted to pass, and trying to democratize in a way that Onder and NES would agree too [sic]”. Griffindor confirms this, stating, “I intended to give the Odelsting (which was comprised of all willing citizens) more power and allow them to be able to control more aspects of day to day government (akin to the parliament of the UK where the House of Commons has nearly all the power, and the House of Lords and queen have no where [sic] near as much). My rationale was that the Lagting (upper house) was for the long serving and trusted members of the region was meant to protect the region from changing too fast or too radically. The king was further envisioned to be more of a figurehead with the Statsminister running day to day affairs”. Discord logs since the creation of the Heimdall server confirm this.13 In discord logs provided during Griffindor’s trial, North East Somerset asks Griffindor how he intends to legislate new power for the Odelsting when the Crown (i.e. North East Somerset) can veto any change to constitutional law, and Griffindor suggests that North East Somerset would eventually reach a compromise with them.14 This strategy is unlikely to have worked, even if they hadn’t been discovered. Such a plan is simply too reliant on the people you want to make less powerful.

That being said, the co-conspirators did say things that suggested they intended to use military force if all else failed. In a private discord chat, Bowzin and Griffindor both agreed that a “separate military server” may be required “if it comes to getting the delegacy secured in the future”.15 According to the defense (the equivalent of a prosecution to most people) in Griffindor’s trial, Griffindor said “This term we should work with the king to increase endocaps; ideally to in the hundreds, but baby steps first”.16 This is presumably how they would overthrow North East Somerset if need be. Other evidence provided by the defense (prosecution) was extremely flimsy, though there is merit to the idea that Griffindor may have tried to coup eventually.

When North East Somerset found out about the Heimdall server, he appears to have requested that its conspirators confess to treason and declare loyalty to the Crown. In exchange, the players would be granted immunity. This is ostensibly a legal requirement per section 3.1.b of the Criminal Code. The law, provided to me by North East Somerset, specifically states that “any party, upon having made a reasonable attempt in a timely fashion to disclose [information regarding treason], shall have impunity of this offense”. The law appears to read as though anyone who leaked the activities receives immunity, while those who did not leak it but chose to cooperate still do not receive immunity, because that would not be made in a “timely fashion” or be a “reasonable attempt” at all. They were given immunity regardless, likely in order to facilitate their cooperation.

Aquila was indifferent (as he was with the entire debacle) to receiving immunity.17 Unlike his friend, Adriatican was not happy about the agreement. In a conversation with Griffindor, Adriatican explained that he and Bowzin were “forced” to condemn Griffindor’s actions and swear loyalty to the Crown. “NES has essentially rendered [Griffindor] unable to call a witness involved, as we would either have to perjure ourselves to side with [Griffindor] and get kicked out, or recant our condemnations to side with [Griffindor], and get kicked out”, he tells Griffindor. “He very much blackmailed us, or at the very least, seriously leaned on us in a way unbecoming of the Crown. [...] He forced us to choose between our collective citizenship and political careers, or the guillotine, and I’m honestly disappointed in myself, that I didn’t choose the latter”.18 19 While the accusations directed at North East Somerset may be exaggerations, it is a major flaw of the judicial system in Balder that witnesses would be granted immunity in exchange for signing a statement that didn’t allow them to testify.

Aquila moved on from Balder easily, settling in The Black Hawks and The Communist Bloc. As North East Somerset said to TRT, “Aquila just gradually went inactive, lost interest. He was never really involved much to begin with.” Adriatican gave a bold farewell address, where he denounced Balder’s royalty and declared the courts corrupt.20 He goes on to resign from all positions within Balder, including citizenship, and offers that other Balderans join his new region, whose name was edited out of the post. Adriatican later unsuccessfully tried to come back to Balder, demanding an apology, for whatever reason. Some have the theory that Adriatican is the player behind the Popular Front for a United Balder, an attempt at invigorating a coup of Balder.21 They deem the post, dated to April 23rd, was a response to a denied citizenship application from April 16th.22 The distinct poetic language is similar to the language used in the post where Adriatican announced that he was leaving Balder (available at the bottom of the article). For example, both posts describe the Crown as “smothering” (using that exact word). The tone and poetic language of both posts are extremely similar, so it’s certainly possible that they are the same player, despite the lack of hard evidence. Adriatican denies being behind the nation.

As you know by now, Griffindor did not get off as easy as Aquila and Adriatican. Rather than admit to treason, Griffindor attempted to protect their conspiracy. In an act of desperation, he piled up a series of major lies, which the defense (equivalent of prosecution) had a field day with. These lies include false implicating Danst in Operation Heimdall, and claiming that there was not a discord server, rather a three-way group chat between Adriatican, Danst, and him.23 Danst had ceased to exist when Griffindor implicated him, and Griffindor knew this.24 Griffindor admits to this lie and apologizes for it.25 Griffindor also falsely claimed that Adriatican recruited him, rather than the other way around, which assisted the defense (i.e. prosecution) in arguing that Griffindor was the main catalyst and leader of Operation Heimdall26, though that claim is dubious.

In his trial, Griffindor and the defense (prosecution) mutually agreed that Crown Prince Onderkelkia would preside over the trial. Aexnidaral, the Attorney General appointed by contemporary Statsminister Bowzin (and later reaffirmed by Fooooooooo / Fuzzy), represented the defense (i.e. prosecution). He defended Griffindor’s charge of Deception using the aforementioned lies, and proposed a 7 week ban for the act, the maximum sentence for such a crime. His defense of the charge of Treason hinged almost entirely on a conversation between Bowzin and Griffindor on potentially “[securing] the delegacy” if it comes to that (see paragraph 8 ). The other major piece of evidence was Bowzin suggesting “This term we should work with the king to increase endocaps; ideally to in the hundreds, but baby steps first” (see paragraph 8 ), but that was merely circumstantial, as there are many reasons one would want to increase an endorsement cap as low as Balder’s. Aexnidaral also pointed to Aquila creating a “Balder Revolutionary Government” flag, and a channel entitled “#gameside-operations”, which he treated as some kind of “proof” that the conspirators created a military channel. The plaintiff, Griffindor, claimed that gameside operation channel was used for “attempting to create gameside activity amongst the population” (far more likely, given the title and lack of discussion in the channel provided from Aexnidaral), and that the channel was created before his aforementioned discussion with Bowzin. He describes the revolutionary flag as sh**posting and a joke. It’s most likely that Aexnidaral misled the court on those two pieces of evidence (as his job sometimes requires), and that the conversation between Bowzin and Griffindor is the only hard evidence they have. Aexnidaral proposed an 8 month ban followed by a year long ban from holding elected office.27

Griffindor, the plaintiff, countered the defense’s argument by sharing that the real plan was to create reform via legislation, as detailed above. This was clear. As the defense pointed out, that doesn’t change the fact that he allegedly planned to coup the region. He proceeded to provide strong evidence refuting some of the defense’s claims regarding the deception charge, notably that Griffindor was the ringleader of Operation Heimdall.28

It seems in Griffindor’s eyes, his trial was just as much a trial of him as it was a trial of North East Somerset and the Crown. He brought up the aforementioned statements from Bowzin and Adriatican, which Adriatican deemed as the result of “blackmail” (see paragraph 10). Adriatican believes this because he had to make his statement to qualify for immunity (i.e. not be prosecuted). Griffindor proceeds to accuse North East Somerset of baselessly requesting that Griffindor be removed from the Odelsting (lower court), as there had not been a resignation or court conviction at the time. When Griffindor’s removal from the court was later legally (it was not explained what made it legal) put to vote (before the conviction), the contemporary President Pro Tempore of the Lagting (upper court), Fooooooooo, joined the Odelsting. Griffindor suggests that the President Pro Tempore was an imported voter. 29

In a gargantuan 5000-word “Onderwall”, Arbiter Onderkelkia preferred the defense’s arguments, convicted Griffindor of treason and deception, and sentenced him to 6 months banishment from the region and a year’s banishment from holding elected office. The 6 treason and deception sentences are to be served concurrently, which gives Griffindor the absolute minimum sentence. 30

But it was not Adriatican’s words or Griffindor’s conviction or North East Somerset’s alleged crimes that are the most interesting part of the Operation Heimdall scandal. It’s actually Bowzin. Bowzin’s entire involvement in the affair is incredibly suspicious. Despite organizing the entire server, Bowzin was the only colluder in Operation Heimdall affair to get off without leaving the region or being punished. That means that he neither suffered legal nor major social consequences. This is likely partially because he leaked the Operation Heimdall event to North East Somerset, as confirmed by North East Somerset31, Onderkelkia32, and Bowzin himself33. Bowzin claims, in an address to the region, that he left the scheme because “[he] saw it began to spiral out of control, as they planned ways to ‘secure the delegacy’”34. That direct message35 (i.e. only Bowzin and Griffindor) discussion involves Bowzin’s own participation, and was crucial to convicting Griffindor. It was dated to January 31st, just minutes before Bowzin’s statsminister election began.36 The timestamp of the screenshot provided in the trial read as “Yesterday at 8:49pm”37, meaning that Bowzin either sent the screenshot to North East Somerset on February 1st (in which case there would be a ten day investigation before NES pressed charges), or Bowzin was saving the screenshot in hopes of later revealing it.

If Bowzin did wait before sending the screenshot to North East Somerset, that condemns him of a series of extremely corrupt wrongdoings. Among them, treason. He would not have qualified for immunity if per section 3.1.b of the Criminal Code, because he would not have disclosed the information in a “timely fashion”. If he didn’t wait (and frankly, he probably didn’t), that complicates things. If Bowzin both created the Heimdall server and leaked it, what was his motivation behind the server in the first place?

Therein lies the question of the Operation Heimdall scandal. Bowzin could’ve easily dispelled the discussions of military force, but instead he facilitated them by going along with Griffindor’s suggestions. He could’ve gone along with Operation Heimdall in order to fulfill his strong aspirations for a more democratic Balder, but instead he got rid of all his collaborators. “I have a hunch it was a setup from the start”, writes Aquila to TRT. “The only potential confirmation I have for that is this one specific conversation I had with [important Balder player] while this was going down. He mentioned Bowzin had joked about organising then exposing a coup attempt to gain favour with NES/Onder/the Lagting” (screenshot of their discussion below). The player who Aquila spoke to said he believes that Bowzin organized Operation Heimdall in order to get closer to the top.38 Adriatican agrees, writing to TRT, “[Operation Heimdall] was seemingly orchestrated by Bowzin, and NES, for their respective political gains”. This is corroborated by an RMB message (Linkscreenshot) by Bowzin in which he said, “I'll go ahead and just say it at this point, it wasn't under their noses for a single second” in the heat of an argument. “For a single second”. It’s difficult to prove that Bowzin intended to set up his colleagues, as that would require either seeing his direct messages with North East Somerset or entering his head. However, that quote from Bowzin is a heat-of-the-moment confession. It certainly raises eyebrows.

In this depiction of the events, Bowzin may have assisted North East Somerset to conduct a sting operation against those who may have been seen as a threat to the Crown. Bowzin would’ve found the players who he knew expressed anti-Balder opinions, feign sympathy and agreement, and proceed to suggest reform. It was Bowzin who recruited Aquila and Griffindor. It was Bowzin who formalized Operation Heimdall by creating the server. He simply had to bide his time until one of the players messed up. Bowzin then provided the direct message (i.e. just Bowzin and Griffindor) logs which were crucial in convicting Griffindor. This scenario possibly implicates not only King North East Somerset, but also Crown Prince Onderkelkia, the Arbiter in Griffindor’s trial, as he works closely with North East Somerset. That would make Griffindor’s trial phony and unfair.

The other scenario is that Griffindor or Aquila discussed reform with Bowzin, and, in what could only be called opportunism, Bowzin decided to inform North East Somerset of a “coup attempt”, intended to weaken the Crown. Bowzin created the Operation Heimdall server, formalizing the idea of reforming Balder. He then waited for Griffindor to slip up, and they would have the evidence to convict. As his plan had come to fruition, Bowzin informed North East Somerset of the coup attempt. In protecting North East Somerset’s power, Bowzin would’ve likely solidified trust from North East Somerset during the early days of his statsminister service. This is by far the most likely scenario, as it is devoid of wicked conspiring with questionable likelihood for success, and fits all the evidence perfectly. It is also a textbook case of oppurtunism consuming a player.

Bowzin declined to speak with TRT. I invite him to comment again.

The NationStates Gameplay community was left completely in the dark on the Heimdall scandal. We were spun a misleading story of a fanatic attempting a military coup alone. The story is far more tame, complex, and fascinating. It is the story of a proponent of democracy making a bold, unlikely-to-succeed attempt at reforming his region via legislative means, who screwed up badly along the way. His first mistake was proposing a militaristic contingency plan. His second mistake was putting so much trust into an opportunist. He was not, however, a prospective couper.

-----

Further reading and footnotes can be found here


By Catalyse

RANKING THE GCRs: RESULTS REVEALED
FEATURE | WRITTEN BY Glacikaldr| EDITED BY TRT STAFF

In Issue LVIII, we asked our readers to respond to the latest survey of our ‘Ranking the GCRs’ survey series. The author also made an effort to reach out to the Delegates of the included Game-Created Regions (GCRs) to see if their regional governments would like to encourage citizens and residents to take part as well. Unfortunately, due to arguably foreseeable difficulties with trying to maintain order over a team of monkeys, we were forced to close the survey early at 53 respondents. In future, we will use an alternative survey host such as Google Forms. Thank you for your understanding, and thank you to everyone who participated. At 53 respondents, we had a very similar turn-out to 2018, achieved over a much shorter time frame.

PLEASE NOTE: percentages reflect comparison to 2018 survey.

The North Pacific - 0.8204 (+14.90%)
The South Pacific - 0.7586 (+8.84%)
The Rejected Realms - 0.7262 (+5.86%)
The Pacific - 0.6556 (+8.18%)
The East Pacific - 0.648 (-12.43%)
The West Pacific - 0.645 (-11.16%)
Osiris - 0.552 (+2.99%)
Lazarus - 0.5252 (+24.75%)
Balder - 0.463 (-15.97%)

[The Overall Perceptions Index is collected by finding the sum of the performances of all of the feeders and sinkers in all of the survey’s following indices, divided by the highest potential score (50). The OPI provides an overall picture of how GCRs performed on average throughout the survey.]

Our readers' perceptions surrounding GCRs have become more nuanced. GCRs are already held to a high standard among the interregional community, but it appears that encouraging comparisons between one another through this survey has encouraged stratification. The OPI appears to highlight first, second, and third world distinctions — albeit at a higher standard than what would appropriately accommodate the wider interregional community. Yet, this does not paint a complete picture. There are outliers. For example, perceptions on Lazarus appear to be slowly repairing within the context of its new government, while perceptions surrounding The East Pacific — the previous leader of the pack — appear to have tanked since the last survey. This can be explained away by claiming that The East Pacific is still marred by relatively recent controversy. Further, with our readers perceiving Yuno as the best Delegate in our last survey in 2018, the unsavoury treatment of Yuno by The East Pacific is likely to have also played a part in the region's lower rating this time around. Overall, all regions besides Balder scored over 0.5 — with Lazarus and Balder near swapping their perceptions among our readers since the last survey. GCRs are, for the most part, perceived in a positive manner by our readers.

PLEASE NOTE: categories are scored out of five.

The North Pacific - 4.18 (+22.22%)
The Rejected Realms - 3.98 (-1.97%)
The South Pacific - 3.86 (+13.86%)
The East Pacific - 3.52 (-9.28%)
The Pacific - 2.98 (+22.63%)
Lazarus - 2.94 (+26.18%)
The West Pacific - 2.82 (-16.07%)
Osiris - 2.77 (-2.12%)
Balder - 2.22 (-21.83%)

The Acceptance and Tolerance category appears, for the most part, informed by perceptions around the political systems and perhaps even the internal separation of powers within the GCRs' regional governments. Here the first, second, and third world distinction plays out near perfectly, classing Lazarus among a second class distinction with a very noticeable improvement since 2018. While it is clear among all these datasets that GCRs are held to a high standard, a difference of 1.96 between first and last, The North Pacific and Balder, highlights that our readers can likely observe — or perhaps have even experienced — issues among the regions scoring in the lower end. Needless to say, if each included region were only to action change in one area in light of this article, I would hope that each region strives to improve their perceptions within this category over all others.

The North Pacific - 4.39 (+6.30%)
The South Pacific - 3.82 (+7.00%)
The East Pacific - 3.55 (-3.01%)
The Pacific - 3.5 (+8.36%)
The West Pacific - 3.5 (-3.05%)
The Rejected Realms - 3.31 (+2.48%)
Osiris - 2.74 (+4.58%)
Lazarus - 2.6 (+15.56%)
Balder - 1.83 (-22.78%)

Activity is always a subject up for discussion in our community, and is very commonly phrased in terms of how GCRs compare among one another. Thus, these results are likely not to much of anyone's surprise. Not much can be said for activity that has not already been said already- and the last time the author made any comments on this matter, a diplomatic incident of grandeur proportions soon followed! It is worth noting that, in some instances, activity may sometimes be rated by the subjects of activity as well. For example, someone who writes newsletters will inevitably favour newspaper writing over RMB roleplay as a greater form of regional activity.

The North Pacific - 3.89 (+15.09%)
The Rejected Realms - 3.57 (+6.25%)
The South Pacific - 3.55 (-2.74%)
The Pacific - 3.51 (+5.09%)
The West Pacific - 3.48 (-6.70%)
The East Pacific - 3.09 (-16.26%)
Osiris - 2.93 (+2.81%)
Lazarus - 2.81 (+8.49%)
Balder - 2.53 (+15.53%)

Rating regional culture heightens issues with assessing our readers' perceptions around activity; still, stark comparisons — such as the apparent difference between The North Pacific and Balder — can be used to inform what is generally understood when looking to define an active cultural scene. Lower scoring GCRs can learn from others on what is generally understood as a thriving cultural scene and should be encouraged to expand and share their regional cultures as opposed to being shut down or demoralised by our readers' perceptions.

The North Pacific - 4.17 (+21.22%)
The South Pacific - 3.7 (-1.86%)
The Rejected Realms - 3.63 (+15.24%)
The Pacific - 3.19 (+7.77%)
The West Pacific - 2.89 (-29.17%)
The East Pacific - 2.67 (-13.59%)
Osiris - 2.31 (-7.97%)
Lazarus - 1.95 (+14.71%)
Balder - 1.82 (-19.47%)

Military presence is like the tide. The last tide carried with it the gusto of The West Pacific Armed Forces, yet it appears a few too many of their pirate ships may have actually ended up beached. Now the North Pacific Army thrives in our readers' minds, but for how long? The author would make a witty remark about the Rejected Realms Army and its emphasis on autonomy at this stage, but I just recently rejoined so I best refrain.

The North Pacific - 4.24 (+10.13%)
The South Pacific - 4.1 (+10.81%)
The Rejected Realms - 3.89 (+8.06%)
The East Pacific - 3.49 (-9.35%)
Lazarus - 2.93 (+37.56%)
The West Pacific - 2.65 (-11.07%)
Osiris - 2.48 (+0.81%)
The Pacific - 2.4 (+22.45%)
Balder - 1.93 (-20.25%)

This category was always contentious in the author's mind, but is no doubt in line with the ideals of the good majority of our readers. This comes through in almost every issue so this category best not have come as a surprise. It should remain clear that these are rights the Times believes our readers hold dear. Nevertheless, the results should come with very little surprise.

The South Pacific - 3.87 (+16.57%)
The North Pacific - 3.81 (+13.06%)
The Pacific - 3.48 (+31.32%)
The Rejected Realms - 3.42 (+6.54%)
The West Pacific - 3.25 (-7.67%)
The East Pacific - 3.21 (-11.81%)
Osiris - 2.74 (+2.62%)
Lazarus - 2.5 (+26.26%)
Balder - 2.35 (-9.62%)

Here is where embassy and treaty hungry GCRs shine the brightest, but risk shining the shortest if they end up signing onto just one too many! Here The South Pacific steals the lead, followed closely by many. The West Pacific and The East Pacific both take a hit, though the latter is likely related to recent incidents. Further, Lazarus sees rapid improvement on this front, which is by no means a shock.

The North Pacific - 4.16 (+21.28%)
The South Pacific - 3.69 (+13.89%)
The Rejected Realms - 3.35 (+2.13%)
The East Pacific - 3.2 (-9.35%)
The Pacific - 3.07 (+0.99%)
The West Pacific - 2.98 (-17.91%)
Osiris - 2.44 (-7.92%)
Lazarus - 2.29 (+13.37%)
Balder - 1.82 (-27.78%)

This category appears actualised by military presence but constrained by government stability. Types of treaties a region is likely to sign onto must have also carried significant weight. Here Balder takes its last last place under its current streak with another damning drop from to previous results in 2018 and 2014, starting out from an average perception of three out of five.

The North Pacific - 4.31 (+9.67%)
The Pacific - 4.07 (-8.13%)
The Rejected Realms - 4.02 (+7.20%)
Balder - 3.93 (-7.96%)
The South Pacific - 3.81 (+3.81%)
The West Pacific - 3.73 (-9.69%)
Osiris - 3.32 (+14.88%)
The East Pacific - 2.83 (-25.72%)
Lazarus - 2.56 (+16.89%)

Here GCRs perform well, for if they do not then the consequences are dire, and the subsequent government seeks to correct that mistake. Balder performs well in this category, finding a way to achieve a stable four out of five average among our readers' perceptions. What is new is The East Pacific’s drop, no doubt driven by recent controversy. The East Pacific's new government is now faced with the task of rebuilding its stability and trust.

The North Pacific - 3.78 (+12.50%)
The South Pacific - 3.72 (+19.23%)
The Rejected Realms - 3.63 (+5.22%)
The West Pacific - 3.59 (-3.49%)
The East Pacific - 3.57 (-12.71%)
The Pacific - 3.21 (+4.56%)
Osiris - 3.05 (+6.64%)
Lazarus - 2.95 (+34.09%)
Balder - 2.53 (-17.05%)

Where The East Pacific previously led thanks to Yuno, The North Pacific now claims first place through Prydania. A separate Prime Minister and Delegate is shown to work in The South Pacific's favour as they welcome in Amerion, but the most stark improvement is from Lazarus, which is a claim that the author is sure no one of our readers would question. Contrary to common belief, it is the democratic GCRs that appear to produce more popular and well-performing Delegates.

The North Pacific - 4.09 (+21.01%)
The South Pacific - 3.81 (+12.06%)
The Rejected Realms - 3.51 (+10.03%)
The Pacific - 3.37 (+5.97%)
The West Pacific - 3.36 (-5.35%)
The East Pacific - 3.27 (-12.57%)
Osiris - 2.82 (+14.17%)
Lazarus - 2.73 (+33.82%)
Balder - 2.19 (-16.09%)

The last category again raises first, second, and third world distinctions. This data forms similar relationships to those found by the Overall Perceptions Index, besides from The West and East Pacific being the other way around. Interestingly, our readers value the performance of The Pacific's government over their Delegate's performance.

AN INTERVIEW WITH DEAD I JACK, THE OUTGOING DELEGATE OF THE REJECTED REALMS
INTERVIEW | WRITTEN BY Western New England | EDITED BY TRT Staff

1. When did you start playing NS and what region's have you been in?

I made my first nation more than 9 years ago in April 2011, when Vincent Drake told me about the game. My first region was European Union, and that was when it was one of the largest founderless regions. From there I started my own region with Benevolent Thomas called Fort Triumph. That was when I created Deadeye Jack and was my first foray into Gameplay and defending, but it didn’t last that long. From there I’ve been in Lazarus, Hogwarts, The Order of the Grey Wardens, and The Rejected Realms.

2. What previous positions have you held (Delegate of another region, former Officer of TRR etc.)?

Well in European Union I served in multiple positions (Premier Commissioner, Economics Commissioner) but they were mostly RP elected positions so they are quasi GP and hard to explain. I was an Officer in the Lazarene Liberation Army and briefly Minister Herald (Foreign Affairs) in Lazarus. Headmaster in Hogwarts. I was a High Constable in TGW for awhile and am currently a Commander. In The Rejected Realms before I was delegate, I first was Culture Officer for 6 months and then Foreign Affairs Officer for 6 months.

3. In your campaign you talked about stronger communication with Officers about their goals. Would you say that you accomplished this communication well and how did you do so?

I’d say it’s something of a mixed bag. Officer can be a high turnover position at times in TRR and it wasn’t any different during my term as Delegate. With every Officer I’ve had I talked to them about a base amount of stuff I wanted done and about other ideas they had and tried to support them as possible. That has led to some great regional innovations by some of the Officers that should become standard practice for future Officers, but I’ll always feel like more could have been accomplished and I could have done more to make it happen.

4. Another thing you mentioned in your campaign was getting newer and more motivated Deputy Officers. Did this idea lead to success in your opinion?

I’d say it didn’t really come to fruition in the way that I originally intended. We have had some good Deputies, some were old and some were new, but they weren’t always given concrete assignments to really get a chance to make their mark and shine. However I do think that there are some deputies who are ready to step into the role of Officer so that is a good thing. I would also say that even non Deputies took steps forward in getting involved in the government. One example would be the creation of the World Assembly Staff. Those staffers have been involved in many of the new things we’re doing out of that office and have knowledge and experience to carry it forward.

5. What was your biggest accomplishment as the Delegate of TRR? What are you especially proud of?

Well one thing I’m proud of (although maybe it’s a little selfish) is that during my Delegacy I set the record for most Endorsements in TRR ever. It got as high as the low 290s.

I think my biggest accomplishment as Delegate of TRR is overseeing the systematic expansion of our World Assembly community. I’ve long viewed the World Assembly as an underutilized driver of regional activity (not just in TRR but in many places) and had some ideas on how to make it work for our region.

It started with the targeted effort to elevate the quantity and quality of World Assembly resolution discourse through a variety of new programs. These initiatives were originally housed under the Outreach office through a basically autonomous WA-focused Deputy Officer, but the amount of work grew to be so much that in the April Officer elections I encouraged people to run for an Officer position solely focused on the World Assembly. This was a big deal because in modern tradition the Officer portfolios had usually covered Culture, Media, Outreach, and Foreign Affairs. Bormiar is the one that ended up with the WA Officer portfolio.

Right away we got to work building the bureaucracy of the Office through the World Assembly staff so it could become a mainstay of the portfolios assigned to officers. Under Bormiar, aside from all the initiatives we put into place previously and are still continuing, we’re now releasing our version of voter recommendations dispatches that lay out Pros and Cons, and these have been fairly visible on the first dispatch page.

I’d wager (maybe with some small bias) that TRR’s WA Community is one of the best in the whole game; 2nd maybe to only TNP’s. It’s something we should be proud of and keep pushing to be better at.

6. Overall, would you say you did everything you had in mind, or do you feel like you needed more time?

No I don’t think I was able to accomplish everything I wanted to. That’s life, though, I guess. There were some Foreign policy goals I wasn’t really able to advance. With more time I probably could have but there is nothing stopping the next administration from getting it done.

Overall I’m happy with the way my term went and think it was a good time to be a member of the TRR community, and you can’t ask for much more than that. Now it’s time for someone else to keep carrying us forward.

7. What are your thoughts on this next term?

Well A Leaf on the Wind (aka Sarah) has been one of our most active members and officers over the last year, and I think she will be able to bring that same energy and excitement to the Delegate position and will represent TRR well.

It’s hard to give a full outlook on the term because a lot of it is really dependent on the officers and we have elections coming up August 1st. Mainly I expect the next term will continue a lot of what the government was doing during my term, but maybe there will be someone running for Officer that comes up with a vision that injects radical new ideas and life into one of the typical portfolios.

8. What are your plans now? Will you be departing TRR, will you try out for another position , or will you take a break from responsibilities of NS?

I’m definitely not going to leave TRR. I love TRR and its community and most of my friends are there. I want to see it keep being successful and will contribute what I can to making that happen.

“What’s next?” is something I’ve been starting to think about over the last month and really there are a million different directions I could go. I am looking forward to being WA mobile again so that I can participate in some defender operations. I’m probably super rusty now but it’ll still be fun.

Originally I thought I was going to take a mini break from having designated responsibility, but honestly that was misguided and against my nature. Recently I’ve thought of some really interesting Culture related projects, in the process of developing them I was getting pretty excited over it. So who knows? Maybe I will go back to my roots as a Culture Officer.

An Interview with Sarah, the New Delegate of TRR
INTERVIEW | WRITTEN BY Lansaka | EDITED BY TRT Staff; Agalaesia

How did you find NS?

Ooooh! This is a weird story, actually. I was converting to Islam and I was in a server call Muslim Chat. Someone else was considering converting and we talked a bit. After a while he said something about joining his online virtual family. And my morbid curiosity hit me, so I joined. And that's when I joined my first NS family server. Then I joined NS and the rest is history. For those curious that person was Scott/Tawks/OneTruePi

How do you feel about having been elected Delegate?

It’s exciting! It’s my first time being a Delegate and I’m excited to see what the next six months brings.

What are some of the first things you hope to do when you take office?

Set everything on fire!
No wait …
Honestly, no real big plans to start off. Just want to dip my toes in the water and take it slow. With officer elections being soon, I plan on waiting until the next team comes in before starting anything too big.

What do you hope to achieve as delegate?

I'd really like to achieve some growth in Outreach. I feel like there's so much potential in that office and I'd really like to polish it and let that shine. Used effectively, that office can contribute to our growth as a region and get people involved.

Do you have any major FA plans during this term?

I'd really like to work on strengthening the friendships we have. Making sure to maintain them and grow with them. Really focus on those relationships and fostering more goodwill between us both.

How would you deal with threats of foreign interference during your time as delegate?

I think it would depend on the level of threat. My first thing would be to consult the trusted advisors. In times like that it's important to not act rashly. Take a breather, assess the situation, and discuss with your team. Work together and come up with a solution. Call our friends if we need to.

What are your plans after your term ends?

I honestly have no idea. That's so far away XD probably to just be a citizen and get back jumping with the RRA. I don't see myself jumping into anything too heavy right off the bat. But then Jack said the same thing, and now he is running a very ambitious Culture platform. So honestly, who knows!

During your term, do you think you might be able to help boost World Assembly participation within the Rejected Realms?

I absolutely think so. I think one of the best and easiest ways to help with WA participation is by being an active face. Just being seen helps a lot. People are more likely to engage if you engage with them. I plan on using this term to really up my engagement in the WA forum threads, and hope that leads others to up their discussions as well.

How do you respond to the rumors that you will be handing out bread to every country upon your inauguration?

I didn’t know that rumor was going around! This is now a bread free region, tyvm.

Lemon bread or banana bread?

Banana bread, for sure.

A Conversation with Candlewhisper Archive, Senior Issues Editor
INTERVIEW | WRITTEN BY Agalaesia | EDITED BY TRT Staff

Candlewhisper Archives is a very accomplished issues author. He has written the greatest number of issues, and has edited many more. I recently had a conversation with him about his career as an issues editor and an issues author.

Aga: How did you start writing issues, and how did you become an issues editor

Candlewhisper: I started playing this game late, but was immediately struck by the limited number of issues in the game -- just over 400 at the time. I thought I'd see what the process was like to add a few, so made a few drafts in Got Issues. Also I whined a bit about how after that many years there ought to be at least a thousand issues in the game. I was told that there just weren't that many submissions of worth, essentially, and that editing took a lot of time, but that the main thing was that good issue ideas were only drafted infrequently.

Aga: Do you have a favourite issue?

Candlewhisper: I've written and / or edited so many issues now, and commented heavily on pretty much every issue since I've joined. Net result is that my fingerprints are all over the issue base, and picking a favourite might come across as being self-congratulatory. I've not got a favourite single issue, but my favourite type of issue are the ones where there's a serious topic delivered with humour and silliness along the way.

Aga: How do you deal with a writer's block?

Candlewhisper: I try and help people through it.

I don't really get writer's block myself, and I don't entirely get it. You just think of what you want to write about, and you write it. If you can't think of something, you just turn on the news, or click on a clickbait site, and an idea will be right there. You then read what you've written, and you make it better. I mean, writing ain't hard. Playing the violin, that's hard. Renal medicine, that's hard. Being nice to people, that's hard. But writing, you just have to move your fingers and put stuff down.

Instead, its more of a struggle to stop myself writing, and to do other things in life. Nationstates is all very satisfying, but it doesn't pay the bills or improve the world in any significant way. It's just my favourite waste of time.

Aga: Are there any changes to issues that you would like to see, including features and player-made developments?

Candlewhisper: Sure, but if I see those things, I change them. Or at least, I raise them with the team, and get to change them about two-thirds of the time.

Aga: What makes up a good issue?

Candlewhisper: I'm sure I've already written a guide on this!

Basically though: storytelling, relevance, humour.

Aga: What's your favourite type of issue?

Candlewhisper: My favourite types of issues are ones where you have to think about what is the right moral choice. Many issues present moral dilemmas, but even the most divisive dilemmas are often ones that players find easy to answer because they know their own moral position. Right to life vs female bodily autonomy, euthanasia vs not, issues like this are big questions, but most of us already know where we stand.

My least favourite type of issue are ones about monarchy. I mean, I see their need, but monarchy bores me stiff, and people seem way too interested in it for the 21st century.

Aga: What tips would you give to a new issues author?

Candlewhisper: Use Got Issues. Don't rush to submit.

Aga: What are your thoughts on people looking up the consequences of the issue before answering them? Do you think it kills the spirit of issue answering?

Candlewhisper: As someone who plays video games with a guidebook open in front of me in order to maximise exposure to "best content", I can't say that I object to people wanting to get spoilers. I think the key thing is that it should be someone's choice how much they look at spoilers, and that spoilering should be led by fans and players, not by game developers. You should never NEED a game guide to play, but having one shouldn't ruin the experience.

THE WORST FORUM SKIN CONTEST RETURNS
FEATURE | WRITTEN BY Agalaesia | EDITED BY TRT Staff

Just over half a decade ago, the Rejected Times ran "the worst forum skin" contest, in which the websites and forums of regions faced off in a bloody battle to determine which one is the worst. Linkhttps://www.tapatalk.com/groups/the_rr_and_rra/the-rejected-realms-worst-forum-skins-in-ns-histor-t2102.html

This year we bring back the contest, hoping that regions will fight to the death to be crowned the "owner of the worst forum skin on NationStates."

Here's How It'll Work

The contest will start of with a nominations phase. Every player can nominate two regional forums or websites to appear in an onsite poll.

To nominate a forum, please use the following form: Linkhttps://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf8iaQQUtngIOMUjGQRy57qS31mKI9i-rLiOQC9IGh_TDKEUg/viewform

Enter your nation name, and then enter the name of the region that you want to nominate, and then include a URL to the region's forum or website. You can only nominate two forums. THE NOMINATION PERIOD LASTS UNTIL THE 10TH AUGUST.

Once the nomination period has finished, TRT staff will look over all nominations, weed out duplicates and write a brief description about each one. Following that, all of the chosen regional forums will face off against each other in an on-site poll, where TRT will once again bestow the award of "worst forum skin" onto the region that wins. Updates will be posted in the TRT NSGP thread regularly.

Until then, good luck to all of the regions that may participate!

Kyorgia gives the NS world a tour of the norwegian culinary kitchen while talking about whatever came to his mind as he wrote it
RECIPE | WRITTEN BY Kyorgia | EDITED BY TRT Staff

Ladies, gentelmen and animals of all shapes and sizes welcome to the first instalment of a series of articles i have decided to give the simple name “Kyorgia gives the NS world a tour of the norwegian culinary kitchen while talking about whatever came to his mind as he wrote it”. In this article we will go over the classic Norwegian desert called “skolebolle”, this translates to “school bread” or “school buns”. Before doing my two minutes of research for this article i had no idea why it was named this way, honestly always seemed weird to me. We never even made it in school can you believe that! Anyway the main theory seems to be that the name comes from the 1950s after the war when the country was poor and people struggled to get enough food. Skolebrød was made in the school kitchens to give the students some more energy and calories in their day. Can you imagine living here before the oil adventure in the 60s sounds really bad.

Speaking of the oil adventure im reminded of a story my dad once told me. I have no references for this and im not about to fact check it but im gonna treat it as 100% facts. During the 60s and the 70s there was a big meeting between diplomats from norway, sweden and denmark to decide where the lines would be drawn in the north sea. On the day of the meeting the danish diplomat got piss drunk and showed up late. The norwegian and swedish governments took advantage of this and secured a bigger oil sector for themselves. Supposedly this was how norway got the oil rich ekkofisk field that started the whole petroleum adventure so suck it denmark.

Anyway back to the dish. What you want to buy from the store, because lets be honest if you have enough time to not only play this game but also read this article you are a student and dont have anything of this already, is:

  • 4 dl of milk

  • 50 grams of yeast

  • 100 grams of butter

  • 1dl of sugar

  • ½ teaspoon of cardamom

  • and about 1dl of wheat flour

Now for the egg cream also known as the best part that my sister wont eat for some reason and ruin the whole thing! The dough is not even that good its like opening your christmas presents and throw the playstation 4 in the garbage while you play with the wrapping paper.

  • 1 vanilla bean

  • 4dl of milk

  • 6 egg yolks

  • ½ dl of sugar

  • About 1 tablespoon of corn starch

The first thing you need to do is warm the milk up to 37 degrees celsius or 98 degrees Fahrenheit. My cooking teacher in middle school would always say that you just need to dip your finger into the pot and if you feel nothing its the right temperature. While if it feels cold or hot its obviously either too cold or too hot. Which is really weird since when its 30 degrees celsius outside it feels way too warm. Recently here in norway we have had a couple of days with 30+ weather and i have felt like i was dying during all of them how do people live in warmer countries without hating themselves. Next you dissolve the yeast into the milk and add cooled melted butter. Add sugar, cardamom and flour to the mix and knead the dough in a mixer. Let it raise until about double in size.

While you are waiting for the dough to raise i would like to talk a little about my history with this food. The first time i tasted this heaven on earth i was around 9 years old. My family had just moved from my home city until a city closer to my mothers parents and i was really missing my friends, one of my new friends in the city took me to the store after school and bought me one of those buns and it was love from the first juicy bite of the egg cream. This ritual continued for a while and we would go to the store at least once a week to buy one and then go home to my place to play runescape. We played every day for 3 years and i still only ended up with 75 woodcutting with that being the primary skill i focused on. What in gods name we did in the game to waste so much time i have no idea.

When the dough is double in size you will want to form it into small balls and and push a small hole in the middle (But not all the way through!). Then you let them raise some more on the baking tray while we start on the egg cream.

To start the egg cream you need to scrape out the vanilla seed and have them in a pot with milk, egg yolks, sugar and corn starch. Start cooking it on low heat until it thickens but make sure it does not boil! Cool the pot in cold water and stir sometimes.

i forgot to mention this at the start but its important: preheat the oven to 250 degrees celsius or 450 degrees fahrenheit

Put a good scoop of egg cream into the middle of each bun and bake them in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Let them cool out on a tray.

The next step is optional but would make them more authentically norwegian. Glaze it with icing sugar and enjoy probably one of the best desserts this great country has made. From my family to yours i hope you have a good day! xoxo

NOTE: The Rejected Times does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Rejected Realms or the Editor-in-Chief.

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