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Myths and Modern CN


Xiphosis

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The title is broad and you could probably write a decent sized paperback on it if you took the time, so I'm only going to address a few that crop up fairly often. They're the assumptions, generally commonly accepted things that are - in my opinion - founded on bull.

1) Disbandment. Might as well start with the big one.

The myth generally goes as follows; disbandment is immoral, because it's what Q did and it's done when you gang bang alliances with vastly superior numbers, and it serves no purpose other than killing the game.

The reality is, disbandment was around before Q and - usually - reserved for larger alliances that constituted more of a continuing threat [like NAAC, for example]. It was a legitimate war tactic up until Q got a monopoly on using it and pushed it on several AA's that could put up no legitimate fight; this sullied it in most peoples eyes as a bully tactic used by cowards.

The other big myth about disbandment is that it kills the game - not really true. A culture of kiss-ass-or-die did a lot more damage than disbandment ever did - this is a case of two things happening roughly at the same time in great volume, and thus being linked, even when they were unrelated. The two things, in this case, being the degradation of politics/leadership quality around the same time the use of disbandment increased rapidly.

It's important to make clear the two are not linked, though. The majority of uses of disbandment during the "Q Era" were done, not for the security of the alliances involved as beforehand, but for personal thrills. When you do anything for shallow reasons, it makes the entire process devoid of any point or legitimacy.

The decrease in leadership quality/general comes from the aforementioned kiss-ass-or-die culture that got held in place for a long time, along with a lot of old guard ending up apathetic [this is still going on] and not teaching newer generations of players what standards should be - although, not necessarily what they were. What's a good CB now is not what it would've been in 2006 and that's, despite what many would think, not the end of the world. Even then leadership looked for reasons to go to war and CBs were still their excuses to do it - as the game evolves, so do the excuses.

If disbandment eliminates a continuing and routine threat to your alliance - regardless of side, creed, etc. then you have every right in the world to eliminate the threat. "But it kills the game!" I can already hear, and not so. How many of you did time in prior alliances? I'd guess the majority. How many of the alliances you were in sucked? Total shells of inactivity and poor leadership?

We have roughly 140 alliances. There is no harm in weeding out a lot of them. Will some of their members quit? Sure - but the good ones, the ones who make for good members and good leaders will move on. And they will better the alliances they join. It has a positive domino effect. More than that, it means that leaderships have to actually take their jobs and decisions a lot more seriously - right now, there's a general assumption that the losing side gets white peace. I doubt that would be the case if the situations were reversed - I certainly don't think most of the Karma, BiPolar or PB sides would've gotten white peace had we lost, but it's become the 'standard.' But there's consequences to that being the case, namely, there's no incentive to think anything through. DoW whoever you want, for whatever reason you want - what's it matter if you lose? You'll walk away without a slap on the wrist. The really crap leaders never get their ass handed to them on a platter anymore, and we see a lot more of them as a consequence. Disbandment has it's upsides.

2) Karma. Hot point of reference as far as propaganda goes these days - "Guess we see what you're all really like when you get a little power" is a fairly common refrain now, and has been since the war ended to be honest - long before PB. There's a general sense that Karma stood for white peace, and changing how the game operated, and such. The thing is, people forget how many alliances were involved on the Karma side. 103, for the curious. Ascribing any one or two beliefs to 103 alliances is impossible - you can't assign a general belief set to most blocs, much less 73% of CN. I wouldn't even bother addressing this if I didn't think below the propaganda some people really felt this was the case - that Karma really did stand for those things, and that the actions since constitute hypocrisy or a betrayal of it.

For that crowd, you need to realize a few things about how the coalition operated - for one thing, it didn't. It was a fairly out of control beast, and most every thread Archon posted on the OWF [or LM, or whoever] was at best proofread/commented on by maybe 13 people before it went up. We had coalition forums; most people were either too busy, or too sick of arguing, to actually use them. And you couldn't keep up with every thread that went up anyway. Cram even 50 alliances onto one board in the middle of a gigantic life-or-death war and 'active' becomes a major understatement.

For another thing, there were a lot of disparate groups brought together in that side. The cultures weren't even remotely the same a lot of the time; much less the beliefs and policies every individual AA held to. Faces were unfamiliar, as well, for the majority. Archon was not the Overmind, nor was LM, they were just shepherds trying really hard to give some sort of direction to point an unprecedentedly large coalition in.

Now, I'm not saying it wasn't about 'changing the way CN works' for a lot of people involved - I certainly heard and saw it said plenty during the war, both in public and in the coalition chans. And I don't doubt the sincerity of those involved. All I'm trying to illustrate is that to take the loudest or most memorable ideology espoused by part of a group and apply it to all involved is disingenous - if you have 5 people in a room and 3 are Christian, you don't assume the other two are as well.

We all have different ideas of what's appropriate, justified, etc. and in Karma's case we had ~ 105 separate ones. People showed up to pile on Q while they could, and the one time they felt they had a chance of driving the last nail into the coffin, that is the only central motive/idea that can be accurately and honestly assigned to the Karma side.

Side-Note: As I'm often left defending disbandment to fellow leaders/allies/etc, it's often suggested that instead either harsh reps ought to be imposed, or otherwise all terms should be dropped because wouldn't it be fun to encourage more wars? It seems obvious. But I find it really disagreeable - I've paid reps before, it's a pretty shameful process - and ours only lasted one month or so. NPO's lasted, I think, a little over a year.

That's a long, humiliating thing to put any alliance through. Sadistic, to be honest. But at the time of deciding NPO's terms, that was deemed by the majority to be the more moral course of action - that disbandment was some unforgivable thing. And this confuses me, because it seems more honorable to give your enemy a viking funeral than torture/enslave them for a prolonged period of time.

I don't think no terms is the answer, though. There's a certain underlying arrogance in the suggestion that alliances - regardless of CB, regardless of conduct - should be given no terms that I find bothersome. It's the assumption that next time, you'll win. That because your opponents suck now, and are on the backfoot now - that they'll always be. Maybe there's a notion that a change from crap to quality coalition-wise happens over several wars - that you'll see the change coming, and adjust, but for now there's no danger.

This ignores a pretty fundamental feature of CN, though - randomness. So many actions that happen every minute of every day on this game are utterly unpredictable, even moreso when it comes down to alliance-wise decisions. There's no saying that an intelligent reformer doesn't take over your most vitriolic opponent and whip them into shape - no telling where the next FA genius comes from, or any other important variables.

But there's more arrogance, and short-sightedness, at work in that kind of thinking. Say you're hit by the same alliance in three separate wars. Each time that alliance hits you citing either a PIAT or even, nothing. You issue white peace every time, considering it 'good enough' that you've won, and happy for the chance to repeat the war. The fourth time, however, they put you on the backfoot - and they don't show any mercy as you've done. Here you have failed at the primary job of any alliance leader, or any alliance council - security.

Alliances exist as a means of communal defense, leadership exists to see to the construction of defenses [this is why we build nations and teach people how/when to fight, after all, as well as sign treaties]. If you allow arrogance to betray your alliances security, then you have failed at the premise your job is based on - in my opinion. That's why I've said a lot over the years that if I consider an action necessary to the long-term security of me/my allies, then I will do that action, no matter how horrific or abnormal it is for the period of CN it's done in, and sleep soundly having done my job. CN is full of humans and humans are not logical - nor is our culture the majority of the time. The right, logical, smart actions will not always - or even most of the time - be the actions that are most popular with the general public.

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Moreso then white peace I always prefer seeing a clear surrender statement to end a war. I also flat out hate reps, unless the alliance in question has pulled something unusually dumb like TOP/IRON pre-empting CnG or Doomhouse attacking NPO without any form of a CB. In a case like this even still I prefer moderate reps compared to the mamoth style terms set to the NPO after Karma. Regardless of your own security I think its better for the game to not lock out whole influential Aliances for 6 months to a year. Then again I'm just a player of the modern post karma age so perhaps with more years of experiance I would see things differently.

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The long term consequences of forcing disbandment outweigh the short term of wiping out a foe. How long were all the ex-NAAC, ex-LUE, ex-GOONS, waiting for an opportunity to strike? Several years. You're vastly underestimating loyalty one has to their alliance mates and their flags. By disbanding people, you are creating a culture of fear and hate towards your group, simply because forced disbandment is so out of fashion for so many years that there is an evil stigma to it, as you yourself mentioned. After NAAC died, they didn't just pack their bags and go home (Well some did, but they aren't important) They joined GR and NpO and assorted alliances and waited for the day that NPO and her allies fell. Ditto for LUE and GOONS. You yourself saw what VE was capable of doing after it was forced to disband. It plotted for literally years to avenge itself against NPO, GGA, and GOONS. Each fell for their own reasons, but VE was there the whole time.

Also, disbanding someone because of personal thrill vs. pragmatism doesn't exactly make a difference to the one being disbanded.

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Can you state any examples of a forced disbandment by the "league" side of the MDP web ever, since you stated it was a viable tactic, the first example i can think of was NAAC, and as a member of AEGIS, i can tell you Emperor Whimsical is completely correct, we despised NPO and company for disbanding our ally.

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iirc NAAC disbanded by their own decision. Pacifica never fought NAAC in GWIII and Polaris (iirc) actually had terms. NAAC just hated Polaris so much they would rather disband than submit to Polaris.

as for forced disbandment, i have always been of the opinion that you can't force anything on CN, much less force an alliance to disband. Those who disband do so because they do not wish to submit to the enemy and would essentially rather die than surrender, or do not give much of a damn about their alliance at that point and would rather pack it in sooner rather than later.

now onto the "kiss ass or die" culture. that appears to be standing true today. hell, your own alliance is guilty of that charge by essentially telling DT we should get on our knees and take it in the face by CSN for no damn reason other than CSN is on the winning side. If you find this kiss ass or die culture is so bad then why the hell are you personally cultivating it? (not stating that you are the sole cause/pusher but you are personally involved in continuing it instead of attempting to stop it)

why are so many in GOD of the attitude of "kiss our ass or we kill you"? it appears that you cannot honestly think it is that bad if you and your alliance are a main pusher of this attitude and culture.

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iirc NAAC disbanded by their own decision. Pacifica never fought NAAC in GWIII and Polaris (iirc) actually had terms. NAAC just hated Polaris so much they would rather disband than submit to Polaris.

I was in the NPO in GW3 and spent two weeks fighting against a high-ranking NAAC government member, so I can say with a high degree of accuracy that you're incorrect.

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iirc NAAC disbanded by their own decision. Pacifica never fought NAAC in GWIII and Polaris (iirc) actually had terms. NAAC just hated Polaris so much they would rather disband than submit to Polaris.

as for forced disbandment, i have always been of the opinion that you can't force anything on CN, much less force an alliance to disband. Those who disband do so because they do not wish to submit to the enemy and would essentially rather die than surrender, or do not give much of a damn about their alliance at that point and would rather pack it in sooner rather than later.

now onto the "kiss ass or die" culture. that appears to be standing true today. hell, your own alliance is guilty of that charge by essentially telling DT we should get on our knees and take it in the face by CSN for no damn reason other than CSN is on the winning side. If you find this kiss ass or die culture is so bad then why the hell are you personally cultivating it? (not stating that you are the sole cause/pusher but you are personally involved in continuing it instead of attempting to stop it)

why are so many in GOD of the attitude of "kiss our ass or we kill you"? it appears that you cannot honestly think it is that bad if you and your alliance are a main pusher of this attitude and culture.

Uh...Hi. I just agreed with you. two posts above yours. Can we not make this about DT's terms?

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I was in the NPO in GW3 and spent two weeks fighting against a high-ranking NAAC government member, so I can say with a high degree of accuracy that you're incorrect.

i apologize. NPO fought NAAC to a limited degree as did FAN and i think 1 other alliance though i could be wrong.

Uh...Hi. I just agreed with you. two posts above yours. Can we not make this about DT's terms?

uh...hi. you discussed the portion on disbandment which is only part of what i posted. I am also not trying to turn this into a discussion on DT's terms and only used them as a very recent example of GOD's "kiss our ass or die" attitude which was the main point of the rest of my post.

also, since you posted first, i technically agreed with you not the other way around. and your discussion of disbandment is very different than what i posted on disbandment, so not really sure what this post is about at all since i really did not agree with you nor did you agree with me. since you discussed forced disbandment as if another alliance was actually capable of forcing another alliance to disband. I on the other hand discussed forced disbandment as a myth in and of itself by basically stating that no outside force is capable of disbanding an alliance. the only people capable of disbanding an alliance are those within that alliance.

so again, not entirely sure what this post was since you did not agree with me as our posts were two completely different views on disbandments and your post only discussed disbandment whereas mine also discussed the "kiss our ass or die" attitude.

but umm.... thanks for uh... replying?

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You never answered this question.

Yes I did, although I labeled it differently. By "encourage more wars" I was referring to an argument in favor of not levying terms, which I addressed in the paragraph beginning with:

"I don't think no terms is the answer, though."

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I agree with Xiph really. White peace should be reserved for peripheral wars or to be used for strategic purposes. Terms though should be kept light and should not be for a long duration as that will encourage more wars. Keeping even a couple of alliances under heavy and long (4+ months) terms would most likely detract from wars since the ones that are kept under those terms would most likely be the ones that would be the center of any upcoming opposition.

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Yes I did, although I labeled it differently. By "encourage more wars" I was referring to an argument in favor of not levying terms, which I addressed in the paragraph beginning with:

"I don't think no terms is the answer, though."

Not to go all socratic here but I have two questions that if you answer will help me understand your position better: Would it be fun to encourage more wars? How do you see white peace as an outcome of war effecting an alliances' future desire to war?

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This is a more thoughtful and less hot-headed side of Xiphosis then I am used to seeing. :mellow:

I don't think disbandment has been used often enough, to draw any definitive conclusions about the use of the practice. The problem with implementing it on a larger scale is if your hypothesis about it improving the quality or gameplay and the communities ends up being wrong you are not going to be able to repair the damage already done.

As far as reps go, if they is a reason for them beyond,"You lost." I don't really have a problem with them. The reps that go on too long(more then 3-4 months), and the absolutely vidictive/punitive terms(destruction of wonders/factories, forcing the top tiers to send off all their tech as reps) are the things that make reps intolerable IMHO. The last one is especially imbalancing on the game overall; has any AA that has had that happen to them ever recovered their relative tech strength? Out of the ones I can think of off the top of my head,Polar(NoCB), NPO(Karma) and TOP(Bipolar), none of them have recovered to their previous levels. If that practice continues, eventually there won't be any opposition at all at the highest levels, you will have an elite and then everyone else beneath them like peasants. I suppose anything in the name of security is justified though, right? :rolleyes:

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Not to go all socratic here but I have two questions that if you answer will help me understand your position better: Would it be fun to encourage more wars? How do you see white peace as an outcome of war effecting an alliances' future desire to war?

Would it be fun to encourage more wars? The process of starting them might be for an individual. It wouldn't be for the game. One of the major issues with the majority of the last few wars has been that no one can really get their heart into it - and that's relatively important. You want your side to want to run to the front and slaughter, horde style. If a war is started for a shallow reason - and one individuals pleasure is shallow - then the war will be shallow and lackluster.

How do you see white peace as an outcome of war effecting an alliances' future desire to war? I see it as making an alliance a lot less introspective about their reasons for war. If you roll into a war on a bad reason and get a boot on your neck for it, there's a lot of hell to be paid to the membership/congress/whatever. White peace makes you a lot more likely to continually and repeatedly go to war on any grounds, no matter how solid or not the grounds are, and I legitimately feel that's a bad trend for the game.

If that practice continues, eventually there won't be any opposition at all at the highest levels, you will have an elite and then everyone else beneath them like peasants. I suppose anything in the name of security is justified though, right?

That's true really - there is a major danger of an elite forming that's simply untouchable, and this is because of game mechanics if we're honest. The lack of update to the foreign aid model has been absolutely disastrous for the game - people work around it, but there's only so much working around to be done.

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The long term consequences of forcing disbandment outweigh the short term of wiping out a foe. How long were all the ex-NAAC, ex-LUE, ex-GOONS, waiting for an opportunity to strike? Several years. You're vastly underestimating loyalty one has to their alliance mates and their flags. By disbanding people, you are creating a culture of fear and hate towards your group, simply because forced disbandment is so out of fashion for so many years that there is an evil stigma to it, as you yourself mentioned.

Sure, but you're conflating two separate points I made in the post - alliance security, and what makes for a good CN culture. They're not always the same. Disbandment might be an awful idea for long-term security [and that's a factor that has to be weighed at the time] but I think it's hard to argue it doesn't lead to a better over all community.

Also, disbanding someone because of personal thrill vs. pragmatism doesn't exactly make a difference to the one being disbanded.

It does, however, make a big difference to the quality of leadership that survives. Do you want reckless thugs or do you want pragmatists?

Can you state any examples of a forced disbandment by the "league" side of the MDP web ever

No, however, I attribute this to the failure of the League/AEGIS sides to ever achieve a victory. I may be mistaken on this one, however, I seem to recall it being pushed for rather hard for NPO in GW1.

This is a more thoughtful and less hot-headed side of Xiphosis then I am used to seeing.

Are you used to seeing me? :|

The problem with implementing it on a larger scale is if your hypothesis about it improving the quality or gameplay and the communities ends up being wrong you are not going to be able to repair the damage already done.

This actually came up in a debate last night after I posted this, and I think people have misinterpreted what I'm advocating. I don't want one central grouping - PB, or SF or the like to just conduct a mass genocide. The group of 'smart' and quality leaders is not concentrated in any bloc, and likely never will be, so any collective decisions that involve retards will inevitably take out alliances that deserve a chance. I want the mindset in the game's culture overall to change regarding morality and regarding disbandment itself - regardless of side, creed, etc.

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A good blog, but I think it relies too much on the assumption security is the be all and end all of running an alliance in CN. I think community spirit outweighs it - and often that coincides with security. But at times that's not true - it's about what keeps your community playing and together, and manipulating the game to that effect.

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I think community spirit outweighs it - and often that coincides with security.

Not really - community can exist without everyone being on the same AA. \m/ had their forums up for quite some time after they disbanded simply because they came to that realization - they didn't need CN to be a community. But you do need an AA to protect one another in the game, so it really Is the point.

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Would it be fun to encourage more wars? The process of starting them might be for an individual. It wouldn't be for the game. One of the major issues with the majority of the last few wars has been that no one can really get their heart into it - and that's relatively important. You want your side to want to run to the front and slaughter, horde style. If a war is started for a shallow reason - and one individuals pleasure is shallow - then the war will be shallow and lackluster.

How do you see white peace as an outcome of war effecting an alliances' future desire to war? I see it as making an alliance a lot less introspective about their reasons for war. If you roll into a war on a bad reason and get a boot on your neck for it, there's a lot of hell to be paid to the membership/congress/whatever. White peace makes you a lot more likely to continually and repeatedly go to war on any grounds, no matter how solid or not the grounds are, and I legitimately feel that's a bad trend for the game.

Thanks for the explanations. I am intrigued by the 'shallow CB/shallow pleasure/shallow war' train of thought, coupled as it is with your judgment that white peace leads to shallow decision making. It is certainly true that white peace limits the impact of losing a war and thereby may have the secondary effect of making the decision to go to war in the future less difficult. Whether that decision being 'less difficult' constitutes 'shallowness' isn't at all clear imo, as the validity of a CB is quite difficult to determine. What I find distasteful about your argument is the clear 'might makes right' slant running through it. I'll take a moment to explain what I mean.

In RL, organisms/organizations pursue a policy of preservation/replication to their benefit and ultimately to the worlds benefit. It is through this process that simple uni-cellular organisms were gradually replaced by more complicated organisms, and so on till today when we have humans and the diversity of life we see around us. Or how tribes where gradually replaced by city states and then empires and nations, all dependent on the organization's ability to harness ever more complicated technologies. This policy of preservation/replication is very much driven by the 'might makes right' meme, or as they say, 'the strong will survive'.

This is great in zero sum interactions; you want the greater complexity to win out over lesser complexity, that is call progression. Many games are zero sum at their base level, like chess for instance; you need a winner and a loser. But I'd argue that this game is not zero sum but instead is optimally a positive sum game. Think of it like a league, like the NBA for example. In the NBA on the micro-level you have a lot of zero sum interactions, teams either win or lose games. On the league level however you need positive sum interactions, and hence you have a 'league commissioner' who attends to the league as a whole, you have salary cap policies so that smaller markets can stay competitive with bigger markets, and you have profit sharing where teams over the salary cap pay a tax which is shared throughout the league. All these measures are taken to ensure that the environment for micro-level zero sum interactions is sustained. Cybernations is our 'league', we need to sustain an environment for our micro-level zero sum encounters, and we can do this by limiting the negative repercussions of being on the losing end of those encounters.

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I know what you mean, however, I still think the deciding factor for an action should be the zero sum win of your alliance. If that burns CN out, then CN needs to be structured in such a way that it can't be burned out that way. Admin is the commissioner.

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Are you used to seeing me? :|

I meant your forum posts of course, and in those you usually seem irritated or angry for some reason. Text is a lousy medium of emotional expression however, so I hay have gotten the wrong impresssion.

Would it be fun to encourage more wars? The process of starting them might be for an individual. It wouldn't be for the game. One of the major issues with the majority of the last few wars has been that no one can really get their heart into it - and that's relatively important. You want your side to want to run to the front and slaughter, horde style. If a war is started for a shallow reason - and one individuals pleasure is shallow - then the war will be shallow and lackluster.

How do you see white peace as an outcome of war effecting an alliances' future desire to war? I see it as making an alliance a lot less introspective about their reasons for war. If you roll into a war on a bad reason and get a boot on your neck for it, there's a lot of hell to be paid to the membership/congress/whatever. White peace makes you a lot more likely to continually and repeatedly go to war on any grounds, no matter how solid or not the grounds are, and I legitimately feel that's a bad trend for the game.

Well I think you touch on a good point, in that peace without reps makes AAs less fearful of getting into conflicts. To me the idea of reps is silly though, after the amount of damage a losing war already causes. If you really are concerned about security, then a few more days/weeks at war should finish any of those concerns off. By the end of a war the losing side's damage output has to be minimal I would think.

The other thing about reps, even reasonable amounts is they are very demoralising to an alliance, after they have been put through the wringer on the losing side already. Even if an AA survives, it can seriously damaged by them. I will use TPF as one example, I don't believe they have ever gotten back to the number of nations they had at the time the Karma War broke out. This actually causes even more micros and splinter groups to form, and isn't that something you have been against in some of your public posts? It dilutes the leadership, etc.. Most actions don't have only positive results, they often have unfortunate side effects as well. Now not every AA is going to end up having these problems, I don't think TOP lost many members while they were paying BiPolar reps, but it does happen.

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Not really - community can exist without everyone being on the same AA. \m/ had their forums up for quite some time after they disbanded simply because they came to that realization - they didn't need CN to be a community. But you do need an AA to protect one another in the game, so it really Is the point.

VE is another example of this. We kept our forums open even after we disbanded much to the chagrin of GGA and NPO. They were the staging grounds for The Brigade, the Royal Dominion, and The Directorate. We also used the boards to remain in touch with all former members until we could find a chance to reform.

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