I've been around CN for a while, though I have quit the game and come back now several times. Given the holes in my experience, I may simply be restating what someone else said, so if you are one of the select few who reads this blog, then pardon any redundancy that I may present.
From a CN academic point of view, my primary interest has been the organization of alliances. In CN, we essentially have two distinct ideas, "Meritocracies" and "Democracies", and a whole bunch of hybrids. Many people are familiar with this debate, trying to argue for one model over another, as core ideas. My personal point of view (and probably common throughout the cyberverse) is that there is some middle-ground, with at least military decisions being made up of a meritocratic model. However, I think that there is a potential in democracies that has not been fully explored, which will be the main content of this blog.
Ideally, a democracy elects people based on their performance. The collective decides what's best for them, and who is most capable of filling a particular role. That person gets elected, and then has to constantly prove that he is the best at that position, or else he will get voted out. Sounds great. However, because of this system there are a number of problems that are usually pointed out with democracies:
- Depending on the position and the nature of the membership, elections can sometimes turn into popularity contests, where people who are smart are marginalized, and those who talk loudest get the most attention. This can have the obvious effect of bringing in elected leaders who do not know how to properly handle their position. Also, it entrusts the membership to have a say in the direction of the alliance - especially for foreign affairs politics - when most of the members are not fully aware of the state of inter-alliance politics.
- Those who are in fact qualified for a particular position and get elected to that position, often do not have enough time to carry out their agenda, since elections typically happen once a month, or once every two months, and elections are time-consuming and inefficient.
- Some elected officials, once elected, don't do anything useful. Even in the best case scenario where they get voted-out in the next election, that is still a time period where nothing worthwhile can be done in that position, which can have an obvious negative effect on the alliance.
- Democracies have a tendency to lack the military organization to take on an alliance of similar strength. Since military organization is essentially meritocratic in structure, good military organizations in strongly democratic alliances can be a bit of an enigma.
If these problems didn't exist, then we would be looking at an alliance led in capable hands, that since they were not chosen by a single individual, by chosen by a collective, the chances that they are qualified for their position, (hypothetically) is greater than that of one chosen by merit. Mathematically, think in terms of statistics: the average of the choice of a single individual might be the same as the average of the choice of the collective (in terms of choosing someone to fill a position), but the variance of the single-choice individual would be much greater than that of the collective, thereby increasing the chances of selecting the improper candidate for a position.
But the problems still stand. So let's take a look at the alliances that are democratic, and seem to be successful. What do they share in common? Typically they've been around a while and/or they are based from a different community altogether. Here's what we can garner:
The ability to choose the appropriate candidate for a position is greater in these alliances due to the fact that there are more experienced players in them, or they all have more similar mindsets, so they all have something more in common to look for. The people in these communities are more familiar with the individuals running for a position, so they know who is running for a popularity contest, and who is taking the election seriously. Additionally, these alliances are typically very active, which can help compensate for some lack of military organization. In the older alliances, the more experienced members are a particularly vital asset, since they are more knowledgeable about the real aspects of the position.
Because of this community aspect in successful democracies, it is relatively easy to maintain a small democracy, but difficult to maintain a large one. The larger a democracy is, the harder it is to maintain a uniform community. However, there are a few possible solutions to the problems that democracies have. These are recommendations that are both original and some that I've taken from others. While they may detract somewhat from the ideals of democracy, in the long run, they may save the alliance:
- Restrict who can vote. This is not the real world, this is cybernations, and not all of the same assumptions apply. Some people have suggested that members cannot run or vote for the alliance until they have been in the alliance for a certain period of time (say a month, maybe two, depending on the alliance). This will help establish a more defined community, by weeding out those who take the time to stay in the alliance
- Extend the term of office. A term of 1 month is absurd - you can have one board of people one month, and an entirely new slate the next. There is no continuity to the direction of the alliance, which can be very detrimental to foreign affairs, costing the alliance valuable allies. Extending the term of office to two months is a first step, but I think that alliances should try extending terms to three or four months, at least. This will also help cut down on the inefficiencies in elections.
- Introduce more meritocratic elements in the military organization. Ideally, the top ranking military official should have the member nations well organized, and be appointed by someone, not elected. This is probably the most important post to the safety of the alliance, and a popularity contest would be the last thing anyone would want for this position.
- Education, education, education. People elect bad officials because people are not always smart. Educate them so they understand what's going on.
That's all I've got for now. I hope you enjoy.