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by The Interstellar Commonwealth of Toerana. . 249 reads.

The Rejected Times Issue LXVIII - A Spotlight on User Created Regions

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Issue LXVIII | April, 2021

Editor-in-Chief: Toerana
Deputy Editor-in-Chief: Crowheim & Minskiev

Index

The Lackluster State of R/D

Opinion | WRITTEN BY Crowheim | EDITED BY Dyllypoly

Every so often, NationStates R/D falls into a rut where one side always comes out on top, there's a lack of variety in the organizations active, and things are generally in need of a shakeup. It is my opinion that we're in one of those tough spots right now - however, as it always does, the cycle will continue and things will become competitive and interesting once more.

The last few months have been marked by dominant performances by defender forces - most notably The Grey Wardens and their Libcord allies. Meanwhile, the various raider and independent organizations have struggled for wins when they find themselves on the opposing side of these forces, often requiring large coalitions of many regions and organizations to be even semi-successful in tags, occupations, and most other raiding activities. For proof of this, one simply needs to look at the titles of TGW's reports thread on the NSGP forums, featuring flashy taunts directed at the raider side.

But how did things become so lopsided? Ultimately it can be attributed to strong leadership from TGW and other defender factions, along with declining investment in R/D from the raider side. First Warden Tim, theorizing on why The Black Hawks in particular have struggled so greatly in the past few months, stated in Libcord, "...[it] extends to what a closed off social club Council tends to be, as has been evidenced by a lot of active Hawks who have left TBH in frustration at the regressive policies of Council (Felt, Luca, etc)."

There's another factor at play on both sides, though, and that's the increasing consolidation of both factions, raider and defender, into centralized groups. As mentioned earlier, raiders often require large coalitions to pull off wins, while defenders are centered in Libcord and oftentimes carried to victory by the Grey Wardens - and recently, by very high turnout from The League and their defense forces, who have only rather recently re-entered Libcord.

Ultimately, it's an interesting place to be - but not if you're an active R/Der, as one might find themselves bored of the current state of the game. However, the past indicates that things will never stay stagnant for too long, so we'll see where R/D finds itself next.

Why Hasn't the Assembly Taken Out the Rubbish Yet?

Opinion | WRITTEN BY Tinhampton | EDITED BY Dyllypoly

The Regional Holidays Act provides for one holiday in April: Regional Foundation Day, intended "to mark the creation of the region and honour the first inhabitants of The Rejected Realms." With that in mind, consider: what was the centerpiece of the Rejected Realms' cultural calendar this April?

Not the event you were thinking of, more than likely. In the same month she was elected to the role, Officer of Culture Grea Rejectopia laid out her first monthly Culture Calendar, placing Earth Day at its heart. What Earth Day sets out to commemorate is both too obvious to be listed here and sufficiently popular that - after some Rejected nudging - Verdant Haven, Foreign Minister of Forest, urged residents of Forest to take part in our observation of the day. This is the kind of buy-in you just will not get from an event seeking to congratulate Max Barry for updating his website.

Among other activities, those posting on our RMB were urged to share their favourite facts about the environment; the Delegate, Speaker, and all four Officers hoisted environment-themed flags; a special "Theme Thursday" was organised on Discord where users were invited to upload an environment-themed avatar*; Thepeopl, TRR's long-time pollster, organised the fourth and last in a series of polls about environmental issues; and the WFE turned green, for obvious reasons. That Budgie Snugglers - known to all and sundry as Nakari - was forced to postpone her special edition of Popmaster to its usual Saturday slot did not matter.

Regional Foundation Day, billed merely as "TRR's Birthday Bash," took a back seat as usual in the meanwhile. The only regional holiday to have been legally designated as such with less than 60% support from voting citizens, its inaugural celebrations in 2019 were marked by a special TRR-themed Werewolf game run by Marilyn Manson Freaks as well as a forum thread entitled Sixteen Years: Memories of TRR that attracted nine commenters. Two had nothing more substantive to say than "You're fired.", however, and one made little more than a crude remark (at best) about what it meant for the region. Celebrations in 2020 were virtually nonexistent.

This year's offering of playlists, historical quizzes and pull events of Crazy Girl's card may be better, but it is not much bigger; it is certainly much more nondescript than Earth Day was. Most importantly, it is not quite - and was almost never by Grea Rejectopia described as - Regional Foundation Day. Even if Regional Foundation Day ceases to be an officially recognised regional holiday, the Rejected Realms' government is more than capable of promoting any regional birthday parties. But the fact that these have received substantially less government attention over the past three years than a holiday which the Rejected Realms had never observed until 2021 (and which few had expected it to commemorate even this year) suggests that our regional holiday priorities may be somewhat out of sync - at least legally.

During the debate on whether to establish Regional Foundation Day, former Delegate Catalyse prophetically warned that there was no "point in adding another [regional holiday] just for it to be ignored or forgotten about." Earth Day 2021 alone has had a great impact upon The Rejected Realms and those who live there; it should be clear that citizens who want us to observe a late April holiday that will provoke thought, engagement, and interregional cooperation ought to push for Earth Day to replace Regional Foundation Day in law.

*Disclosure: The author of this article won the Theme Thursday event in question after changing her avatar to Theresa May, she of "hostile environment" infamy.


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The Auctor Founder Coup

News | WRITTEN BY The Python | EDITED BY Dyllypoly

At major update on April 3, 2021, Auctor, a 40-nation region run by Tinhampton, ceased to exist. Why? What happened?

Auctor was a region founded by Verate in June 2020. Tinhampton was delegate of the region and, as she stylised herself, Madame President. Verate was inactive for a long period and thus for a while Auctor was founderless until Verate revived their nation earlier this year. However, on April 3 of this year, Verate banjected every resident of Auctor and then left, meaning that the region would cease to exist that update. Tinhampton was quick to respond, founding the region Sophia as a new home for ex-Auctor residents.

When the region ceased to exist, a few concerned players attempted to refound the region. Grea Kriopia was the fastest among these and successfully refounded it under the alias of Atrone. Tinhampton then joined and was made a regional officer, after which the region was passworded. The community now lives on in the region of Sophia.

Other regions, such as The League, quickly responded and published statements condemning Verate's actions and recognising Sophia as Auctor's successor. Verate later sent a statement regarding their motives to Tinhampton, which was posted in Auctor/Sophia's Discord server. In it, Verate recognized their impact of their actions but defended them nonetheless, explaining that they needed to detach themselves from NationStates and that any drawn-out process would simply keep them there longer. You can read Verate's full statement below.

Hey Tin,

I'm aware how this looks, and I know I've probably upset some people, but I did not do this without some serious thought.

First off, it is unfair to me, you, and the region that I maintain founder control of a community you have worked so hard to build and keep alive. Since returning, it has never truly felt like my region anymore, and I just did not feel invested in it like I used to.

Second, I need to leave NS for good, and my concern for the security of the community is one factor that has kept me thinking about this game. During my time away, I felt guilty not being around to keep the region safe, and it wore on me until I decided to log back on. Then I got sucked back into the game and it has interfered with my personal life. It is extremely important for my own well-being that I remove any excuse to return.

Last, you might be wondering why I did this without consulting you first. Had I done that I would have had to engage in discussion of either attempting a refound or giving you the founder nation. This would only serve to further perpetuate NS as a distraction in my life, and my name would have continued to encroach upon a community that you have done far much for than I ever did. I didn't want to empty the region, but I know you are well-liked, capable, and creative. And I knew the community would stay intact. So I just ripped off the band-aid all at once, and got it over with.

You are welcome to relay whatever you like of this message to everyone else. I wish you best of luck with Sophia. You are a great leader, and your region has a bright future.

Regards,

Verate


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The League Rebrand

Opinion | WRITTEN BY Grea Kriopia | EDITED BY Dyllypoly & Tinhampton
Originally founded back in 2016, The League of Conservative Nations - now rebranded as The League - has been making waves throughout Gameplay in their efforts to shake off past controversies and start fresh.

The primary controversy centered around allegations last July of problematic content and poor moderation practices in The League’s Discord server, with evidence of specific instances dating all the way back to 2018. These allegations came from The Union of Democratic States, who then closed their embassy with the then-League of Conservative Nations after the region failed to address their concerns both privately and publicly. The League would go on to lose embassies with The East Pacific and The Free Nations Region as well in what quickly became a public condemnation of their behavior.

In November, following several months of relative silence in Gameplay, major moderation reform would come for The League - progress which was welcomed by observers of the original controversy. By January, The League’s Chief Consul, Quebecshire, was openly considering the region’s re-entry into the gameplay sphere. Finally, in February, the region announced their internal improvements were complete and began aggressively pursuing diplomatic connections, opening 16 new embassies in a month’s time with regions such as Spiritus and Conch Kingdom. It was also at this point that The League announced it would be revitalizing their defender military within Libcord after maintaining a defender-leaning stance ever since joining FORGE in 2017.

Such a rapid turnaround is by no means an easy task for any region to accomplish, but initial concerns of sustainability have been swept away by the enthusiasm with which The League has risen to the task. The League Defense Force (LDF) has become a regular fixture at Libcord updates and, despite only recently reviving, consistently brings 6 or more active updaters. This already places the LDF on the higher end of turnouts for active military organizations, and their presence has been a welcome addition to a period of high defender activity. While R/D militaries are certainly not the only measure of a region in the world of gameplay, the LDF shows promise for The League's future in military activity and influence, in addition to their overall high aspirations as a region.

Aside from their rapid foreign affairs expansion and equally-speedy return to R/D, The League has made conscious efforts to rebrand - trading their previous region name, The League of Conservative Nations, for simply ‘The League’ in order to better represent their region as a whole. Many members of The League's government stated that the move would be an investment in the region’s growth and future, consciously stepping away from issues of the past and aiming for a positive impact on the future. Physical region transitions can be extremely difficult and The League sustained mild population loss but has bounced back overall with the same energy they bring to other areas of the game. At any rate, their move has brought a more positive light to The League and helped solidify faith that their region has truly changed for the better.

In a fitting conclusion, The League announced earlier in April that they had reconciled relations with The Union of Democratic States after almost a year. The two regions plan to work together on a three-month period of initial consulates before considering moving towards further relations. All in all, The League has certainly had its share of ups and downs in gameplay but now seeks to move forward in a new direction, hopeful with a different name and a revitalized alignment.

A Sit Down with Thaempirial Leaders

Interviews | WRITTEN BY Toerana | EDITED BY Dyllypoly

Thaecia has recently entered the R/D scene with an impressive participation in both raiding and defending activities, seeing them lead a 157 hit tag raid, deploy 21 pilers in the occupation of Equestria, and participate in a number of liberations and sieges. We decided to sit down with the individuals behind Thaempirial Army and talk to them both about their roles and the importance of the regional military to Thaecia.

Firstly, we sat down with Andusre, Secretary of Defense in ICH's administration and one of the region's 2 founders.

Interviewer: Who/What got you interested in R/D?

Andy: I'd say what got me interested in R/D was primarily a sense of wanting to have something else to do on NS. The first time I ever tried R/D gameplay was in October 2020. I was serving as one of our Senators at the time but I was getting jaded & the work of the role was beginning to grind me down. This was long, long before Thaecia had its own military - at the time the idea of our own organisation was absolutely inconceivable. I joined the EPSA through my citizenship of The East Pacific and went on my first tag run with Atlae, Virgolia, Phil, Catiania and some others. I participated in that operation on mobile which, in retrospect, was a mistake but I still had a huge amount of fun, and Atlae & the other EPSA people were incredibly kind, encouraging and readily explained what I didn't understand. I went on a few other operations with the EPSA and, despite not fully understanding what was going on, I was having fun and wanted to try R/D out more, and that's really how I got interested & involved in it.

Interviewer: Speaking of ESPA, Thaecia is often compared to TEP as a region, and with both orgs taking an independent alignment, do you see the similarities continuing between the two regions into the military?

Well I don't think it's any secret that Thaecia & TEP are very close diplomatic partners who co-operate in a huge range of areas, and as you pointed out our alignment is one such area. I do see the capacity for even further co-operation between the two regions especially in R/D because the regions' interests significantly overlap: both regions have connections to defenders, to other independents and to raiders alike and thus I think there's a balance that both regions need to strike in their R/D activity to remain viewed as unaligned/independent; our regions can help each other out in R/D, for example providing extra updaters in an occupation/liberation; Thaecia & TEP have both helped each other out with respective delegacy transitions; et cetera. There's a huge number of areas where we collaborate with TEP, and our entrance into R/D I believe has strengthened and consolidated what was already an incredibly strong alliance.

Interview: What does your job as Secretary of Defense Entail?

Andy: My job involves quite a number of things. Broadly speaking, my job is a leadership role: I lead discussions amongst our leadership, I am held accountable if/when things go wrong, I keep track of our bureaucracy and documents, I screen people entering the military to prevent security threats (particularly with respect to opsec information), and more.

More specifically, it's my responsibility to organise operations when we're acting on our own. This is particularly the case for tag raids & detag runs, where more often than not I am the one who gets a spyglass sheet, picks out target regions, sets triggers (if applicable), and ping people asking if they're interested in coming along, and more. Damn, I'm really loving my lists in this interview amn't I xD Anyway, that's likely the most common task I do.

In cases where we are taking part in joint operations, I am responsible for making sure communication between the militaries is smooth & effective. Where Thaecia's FA goals are on the line with R/D ops, effectively communicating with the other military leaders becomes critically important.

Where we have a special interest in an operation, it's my job to essentially get as many Thaecian updaters/pilers present as we possibly can, for example our participation in Operation Boom Beach and the liberation of North Africa.

It is also my responsibility to ensure that the military is fully compliant with Thaecian law, which means abiding by the oversight and security procedures laid out in our military legislation, and if the military fails to comply with these laws then I am the one held responsible for it.
The last role I can think of - off the top of my head - is to collaborate with our Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The purpose of the Thaecian military is to pursue Thaecian interests abroad however we see fit, which invariably and inevitably overlaps with our Foreign Affairs goals. As I mentioned earlier for example, the military has been a good way of consolidating diplomatic relationships with regions like The East Pacific, 10000 Islands, The Rejected Realms, Europeia and more. As such, regularly keeping the military in line and on the same page as our MoFA is critically important to the continued functioning of the military.

Interviewer: How do you believe the military fits into Thaecia's overall Foreign Policy?

Andy: Sure! I think the way the military fits into our Foreign Policy is in two ways: expanding the ways in which we collaborate with others, and proving to other regions that they have a vested interest in essentially being our friend.

To address the first, our participation in R/D has opened so many new FA doors for Thaecia it's difficult to put into words. We've deepened our alliance with friends like The East Pacific, the Free Nations Region and The League, furthered friendships with others like Europeia and with the military's help paved friendships with relatively new partners like TRR, XKI and far more rarely regions like The Black Hawks & Lone Wolves United.

With respect to the second, our participation in operations (particularly the major occupations & liberations) have, in my opinion, helped make the case that Thaecia brings something more to the table in diplomatic relationships. Thaecia builds friendships & diplomatic connections with regions it previously thought inconceivable, and others get supported in their R/D activities and goals. The capacity for mutual benefitting is pretty much endless, and that wouldn't be possible without the military.

Interviewer: Thaecia has a unique system, which currently sees the Legislature oversee the military, with the ability to veto Ops, what is your opinion on military oversight and this Veto power?

Andy: I don't really mind the veto power that much exactly, but the legislature's oversight of the military is a source of absolutely endless frustration for me and many others. We have amendments to the law which governs Thaecian military gameplay in the process of implementation now which moves to a more practical, secure and easier system which upholds appropriate accountability of the military whilst not needlessly interfering in military affairs and frustrating the functioning of our organisation.

Interviewer: The Thaecian military is fairly new, do you believe that the government will be able to sustain interest in the regional military?

Andy: I do believe so! Quite a few of our "veteran" members who have been with us since the very start of the region have taken keen interests in the military. Many of these people have retired their positions in regional government and, tired of the politicking of regional government, are just wanting something kind of laid-back and a bit more relaxed. It fulfils that niche really well, along with providing other people who are still in the thick of regional government with something extra to do if so they choose. I think our military has also proven a really great way to integrate new people too: Requelizza is an example of someone who was an RMB lurker before they joined the military, where they found that they were really passionate and enthusiastic about R/D and is now one of the region's most active contributors. I really do see a long-term future for our military and that's something I'm really excited about.

Interviewer: Do you believe that a military is important in this day and age for a region, particularly one interested in wider “Gameplay”?

Andy: Put shortly: I think a military can be a useful tool but I don't think it is necessary by any means.

On the one hand, I've found through my experience in Thaecia as we covered above that having a military can be incredibly useful if you want other people to pay attention to your region. It's not impossible that one organisation's participation could make or break an occupation/liberation, and your region being represented and contributing to the success of your faction at large can be incredibly beneficial from a Foreign Affairs point of view.

On the other hand, many regions first and foremost don't care about wider "Gameplay" as you put it. R/D and gameplay as a whole are very closely interwined so if your region has no interest in gameplay, I find it hard to come up with a reason to care about R/D either. As for regions which do care about gameplay, there are certainly other avenues to pursue your regional interests through, like the World Assembly (particularly the Security Council) to name one example. I think Europe is a good example of such a region: Europe remains one of the largest, most well-connected and relevant UCRs in the NS world but has no regional military, undoubtedly in large part due to the significant contributions of Europeans like Imperium Anglorum and many others in areas like the WA and issue-writing. So whilst it's definitely not necessary, militaries can be a really powerful tool to advance a regional agenda and one which I'd thoroughly recommend. Am I biased in that recommendation because I really enjoy R/D? Maybe :P

Interviewer: Where do you see Thaecia’s military going in the future?

Andy: As a fairly new org on the block, I think we have some work to do but I am still incredibly optimistic and excited for the direction we're going in right now. In terms of things we've still to do, I think training some of our folks (many of whom have never done R/D before!) to be proficient & effective R/D players is a key priority of mine - I think if we're going to build a successful and thriving new org, cultivating that new talent especially in leadership roles is hugely important and can only come through more training, experience and practice. We also need to work out a few quirks in our laws and procedures but those are minor considerations in the grand scheme of things. And of course, we must continue to use the military to further Thaecian interests both internally and with respect to our FA goals. I really think that so long as everyone keeps pushing a little bit at a time as we have been over the past few weeks & months, we'll be well-positioned to have a strong, well-connected military force with substantial resources to bring to the table of R/D, with the goal of ultimately building a better Thaecia & making our voice heard across gameplay.



Next, we interviewed Brototh, Thaecia's President and the Commander-in-Chief.

Interviewer: Who/What Got you interested in R/D?

Brototh: there was this region that pretended to be the successor to Thaecian democracy. Me and snow raided it. After a couple raids we Refounded it now it's a big Thaecian meme (AC). since then ive done r/d

Interviewer: What does your job as President Entail as part of the military? You are its Commander-in-Chief, but are also WA locked.

Brototh: pretty much just helping Andusre set up ops, providing some advice here and there, but mainly just day to day stuff like the promotions and whatever. It's pretty much his military which I respect so as long as he isn't off raiding with fascists I pretty much let him do what he wants. I am a benevolent dictator smh my head

Interviewer: Thaecia has a unique system, which currently sees the Legislature oversee the military, with the ability to veto Ops, what is your opinion on military oversight and this Veto power?

Brototh: coming from the girl who wrote the law it's very dumb lmao
It totally impaires on the military and executive's ability to work independently as a whole

Unless we're off raiding with fascists the legislature won't even veto us anyway, people have pretty much said words to that extent in the past

It's undoubtedly the worst law I've ever authored and I cannot wait for this section to one day finally be amended out

Interviewer: Do you believe that a military is important in this day and age for a region, particularly one interested in wider “Gameplay”?

Brototh: i mean bro take a look around
We on the forums now getting praised for the good work
People approach us for R/D and we've built up better relationships with our friends now we can cooperate with them like this
A year and a half ago nobody would want to talk to Thaecia because we were the one weird lame "ugh" region, now we're actually much more well respected, which is a great thing

Interviewer: The Thaecian military is fairly new and has seen widespread interest so far, with it being common to see large number of Thaecian updaters during big liberations and occupations, how do you plan to sustain interest in the regional military?

Brototh: I mean it's pretty much what we do with everything, make it loud and public, as we have been doing on the forums, mention it a lot, people wonder what the fuss is, they join. Also what we did for one of the recent ops was go around and ask people if they'd be interested in trying it out, they were, they enjoyed it. Similar tactics can be employed but I am more than confident to say the military is a major success and we now have a stable base of consistently active soldiers. It won't be going anywhere cause we are very cool If worse comes to worst I'm sure we'll figure something out as the time comes but it isn't something we've had to think about once thus far

Interviewer: Where do you see Thaecia’s military going in the future?

Brototh: planet Mars bro, we're going with musk and refounding the solar system
nah but it is doing very good
I totally see it expanding more internationally and helping us get more friends

Only way from here on out is up, we'll certainly have some bumps along the way, but we'll get through em, Thaecia always does

Closing Remarks
Brototh: yea military bad pls disband raid Thaecia!!!! *mic drop*



Finally, we interviewed ICH (The Islamic Country of Honour), Thaecia's Prime Minister.

Interviewer: Who/What Got you interested in R/D?

ICH: Mainly the inception of Thaecia's Military. I wanted to try it out and was invited by Andusre for some practice ops among ourselves and that was a really amazing experience for me, after which, my interest in R/D started increasing and it still is as I learn more and more about it and participate in various ops.
Before the military was founded, I did take part in one or two ops after being asked to volunteer by Brototh
But I would say, my interest in it started growing mainly after TEA was founded.

Interviewer: What does your job as Prime Minister entail as part of the military?

ICH: The day-to-day operations of the Military are handled by the Tagus(Secretary of Defence) Andusre who is appointed by the Prime Minister and the President. My job as Prime Minister has been mainly to ensure, along with the Foreign Affairs Minister and the President, that the military’s agenda is in sync with Thaecia’s Foreign Affairs Agenda, since they both are connected.

Interviewer: Thaecia has a unique system, which currently sees the Legislature oversee the military, with the ability to veto Ops, what is your opinion on military oversight and this Veto power?

ICH: I have been pretty clear about this that there needs to be some reforms to the bill that governs the military, particularly when it comes to opsec. Both the Chambers of the Congress don't need to be informed about the ops, when having it authorised by one of the chambers is more than enough, I believe. And worth noting that, not all operations are planned well in advance, and some are planned with an hour or even a few minutes in hand, which means the idea of Congress being informed about the ops are not always practical. For example, how are we supposed to inform the Legislature before the update about the regions we'll be chasing? And even within the Executive, the President, the Prime Minister and at times, the Foreign Affairs Minister, get to be a part of the discussion when we decide on an operation. Adding another layer to this, is in my personal opinion, not needed but as long as it's the law, we'll have to abide by it.

Interviewer: The Thaecian military is fairly new and has seen widespread interest so far, with it being common to see large number of Thaecian updaters during big liberations and occupations, how do you plan to sustain interest in the regional military?

ICH: By focusing on training the newer members of the army and taking them on various ops, because as they understand the R/D mechanism more and more and take part in more ops, their interest in the military and the military game play will remain and increase with time, there's a lot to learn when it comes to R/D and once you are into R/D, it's very hard to get yourself out of it XD. And also, we will be encouraging more of our citizens to try out R/D through advertisements because this also serves as a way to engage the citizens more with the region, and people always love to try out new activities, R/D is definitely something they would want to try out.

Interviewer: Do you believe that a military is important in this day and age for a region, particularly one interested in wider “Gameplay”?

ICH: Yes, definitely.

Interviewer: Where do you see Thaecia’s military going in the future?

ICH: I see it playing a bigger role in our region than being just another Thaecian institution. It's safe to say its recent progress and successes have stunned many of us in the region, and from this point, the military can only look forward, and with proper training being accorded to the members of the military as well as advertisements being carried out to attract citizens to participate in the military, I don't see the progress of the military being stopped anytime soon.

Interviewer: How does the military fit into your overall Foreign Affairs plan, given its independent alignment?

ICH: It does play a key role in our FA plan, and through the military ops, we can maintain and strengthen ties with our allies and friends abroad, and at the same time, gives us the opportunity to interact with regions with whom we traditionally haven't had the chance to interact more, and given our government's objective of expanding ties with our allies and regions abroad, the military serves as a vital tool in helping the region fulfill that objective.

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