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The alliance charter

Posted by Icewolf , 19 November 2012 · 479 views

So I've spent some time think about alliance charters. They seem to be around a lot, and are generally considered vital to what people consider "an alliance." Yet at the same time they rarely seem to make much headway in the world and for the most part we don't really think of them.

Ultimately, they seem to be a strange document. They are considered to define an alliance. They determine if it is democratic. They determine who makes decisions. In some cases, they are used to define who else should be regarded as an alliance (GOONS is a good example of this). For some, such as the LSF, they are pivotal in defining the character of the alliance in the way that they dictate decisions be made.

And yet, at the same time, they do surprisingly little. If you have an MDP with another alliance, the fact that they change their charter does not change the status of the MDP. The fact that they have to vote to go to war does not change the fact you will regard them as being in breach if they do not follow you to war. The inner workings of an alliance are not of relevance when you go and demand compensation for the fact that a member has just attacked you.

I do not think that a charter and the alliance are the same thing. You can change a charter and the alliance remains. If IRON were to become a democracy tomorrow, it would not change the fact that it is still IRON and is a continuous entity that existed yesterday.

Ultimately, I think the charter has nothing to do with the alliance. I think it is a contract between members as to how they will act. It is not their contract with the alliance as an abstract and the alliance is not tied to it. It does have an impact on how the alliance acts, but only because it controls the members and they control the alliance. It does not directly control the alliance.

That said, it is still important to have a good charter. By good I do not mean it must have a certain form of decision making or rights and duties. It must however be clear and unambiguous. It should make it clear how decisions are made. But most importantly, it should make it clear how items which are not in the charter are decided and dealt with, as ultimately this is also part of the member compact that exists in every alliance.




I think it's safe to say that the alliance defines the charter; the charter does not define the alliance. An alliance has its own character, ideals and so on which can be written down into a charter. It is probably necessary in this game to have a written charter, but IRL where the bonds between "alliance" members can be stronger, written charters aren't always necessary.
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Tidy Bowl Man
Nov 20 2012 04:20 AM
I think the problem with CN is that alliances have charters but seem to have very little concept of what defines their core values. Or at least it seems that way to me when I look around and wonder what alliances are about and what they believe in beyond their 'charter' and treaty obligations.

It's pretty obvious with alliances like GoONs and Nongrata as they are pointedly raiding alliances who love a fight. LSF is pretty easy, they are the commies of CN and so forth. But most other alliances, not so easy to decipher why they even exist or what they stand for.
I think a great many alliances have a set of core values and it is possible to find them. The trouble is that they don't come out much in the OWF because if you do express strong moral views you tend to get trolled. Most alliances keep their character slightly hidden away to shield themselves from this as it isn't too hard for trolling to become isolation. Isolation leads to defeat.

However it is often possible to discover their values by simply going to their forums, signing up as a diplomat and digging a little bit under the surface.

It is however also true that some alliances have limited values and care only to win. These alliances are often quite successful due to the free hand that gives you to move through the CN chessboard without having to worry about your actions clashing with a morality.

It is also true that a very common trait in all alliances values are survival. This leads to a gravitation towards the winning side even if the winning side does not match your views.


(RL BIT: this is not something that is limited to CN. I was talking to my Head of School a few days ago and he asked me what the values of the University are. He then said, "trick question, they aren't written down anywhere.")
(RL BIT: this is not something that is limited to CN. I was talking to my Head of School a few days ago and he asked me what the values of the University are. He then said, "trick question, they aren't written down anywhere.")


Strange response from him, I think. There are a number of countries that don't have a written constitution, but you can still find "unwritten constitutions" that are made up of the nation's history and legal code. Your university will no doubt have a set of rules and regs that will be, at least slightly, different from other universities. This will reflect the university's values whether your head likes it or not.

In fact, your use of "university" instead of "college" makes me wonder if you're from the UK. If so, then you are in one of the countries that doesn't have a written constitution.

Constitutions and charters are "state" (governmental) things. Nations are defined at a more fundamental level. The Kurds do not have a state, but they still recognize themselves as "a people", and a nation, that just so happens to exist across the borders of other sovereign states. Within "Kurdistan" there are a set of values that are different from the rest of Turkey or different from the rest of Iraq.
There are currently I believe only two countries that have no written constitution (to coin the widely used yet strangely inaccurate term). To say they have no constitution is inaccurate however. The United Kingdom has a collection of constitutional documents, the primary one would be the 1680 Bill of Rights. The fact that it has no written constitution is based on the fact that almost all modern Constitutions exist because writing down "we want to do it the way the England does it" isn't very effective. The one country you could do that was in was England, and then it could be superimposed onto Scotland and Ireland.

His point btw wasn't that the University is valueless (although its approach to recent issues suggests that it doesn't know what its values are). His point was a follow on from a discussion about how the University should deal with the online behavior of its students.

The issue feeding back into alliances is that the alliance is not defined by a charter...that is just the administrative loophole. The values are held by the members and expressed by the members rendering the outward display in a charter as unnecessary Further, in most successful and large alliances there is an umbrella of aims and values within them. Writing down the values in those alliances would be harmful as it would give one side an instant "we are right" an the otherside would mostly ditch the alliance. This is as opposed to the sides working to a common ground and building the community they share.
The charter doesn't matter until all of a sudden it does, then it can change the course of an alliance.

At least that's my experience.
The LoSS charter is mainly an information source for standards and "specifics", We have gov elections we know this, the charter just says when they will take place, we could change this but we'd just update the charter so people know, it has the gov structure, the challenge system and the various voting powers of the different groups

We could scrap the charter but we'd still have the same rules just written in different places, why not have them all in one

PS

Nice to know Wales doesn't have anything to do with it, as you mentioned England, Ireland and Scotland, do we now have laws?

I think a great many alliances have a set of core values and it is possible to find them. The trouble is that they don't come out much in the OWF because if you do express strong moral views you tend to get trolled. Most alliances keep their character slightly hidden away to shield themselves from this as it isn't too hard for trolling to become isolation. Isolation leads to defeat.

 

That's exactly right. I find the cultures between CN alliances are actually wildly more varied than an outsider judging CN from the OWF would think. The OWF has developed it's own cultural norms and faux pas, which some alliances fit in with better than others.

Unfortunately the alliances that don't fit in tend to shy away from the OWF, exactly because of the problems you mention and that creates a feed-back loop of enforcing a given set of standards and puts pressure on people to conform.

However all is not lost, because away from the pressure cooker of the OWF, alliances thrive under the radar and successfully manage to do their own thing.

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