Case Study: Cobrasphere
Lo and behold, we have reached the third case study. This time featuring Cobrasphere. It’s key to note that in the case of Cobrasphere and RFI, they both did not exist when this supposed stagnation was cemented. However, they both bear considerable responsibilities with regard to the state of current foreign affairs. I covered RFI last time, so I’ll cover Cobrasphere now. They are primarily low tier nations and are the most dominating force in that area. They are more active on discord and in-game than many alliances that belong to other spheres. So, how could the state of politics be their fault, if at all?
Activity is not politics. This is an age-old lesson in CN, perhaps best explained by MI6 and DK, two alliances with much different cultures, memberships and FA strategies, but who both ultimately succumbed to political pressures in one way or another, while other very active alliances (Umbrella, NPO) were able to dominate the game. Cobrasphere does not benefit politically from their activity, because the activity that they display is not conducive to working toward common goals or coalition building.
This comes down to ideology primarily. I’m going to look at how their ideological positions relate to various areas of their approach to politics. Each of these plays a role in the political position of the Cobrasphere and their own ability to alter anything with regard to the overall landscape. The foundations of their ideology are mainly centered around militaristic actions and war. They would call this Laytonism most of the time. Since they are focused on aggressive actions rather than a more diverse portfolio of actions, it fundamentally affects how they interact with all other alliances. They typically view other alliances as inert, scared of war, and as sippers of the haterade. These are all somewhat justified views, as these case studies have and will show, but things are a bit more complicated than that. And being “right” in your analysis does not necessarily result in effective politics.
Let’s talk about their public relations. As a whole, their PR strategy is centrally concerned with revenge, having the last word, and stern independence. The side effects are evident. Cobrasphere has always been willing to argue on the Open World Forum, but mostly they split their posts between three major strategies: First, they focus their efforts on general bickering and derision aimed at alliances that they hold responsible for the current state of affairs. Secondly, they harass alliances or individual members who engage with them. And third, they support one another. In these three endeavors, they often include blatantly false information. So why Tevron, why do you seem to think that Cobrasphere’s posting on the OWF has an actual political effect?
Based on personal discussions with a variety of leadership across the spheres, OWF posts are the biggest view that most alliances have into how this sphere operates. And that is because these behaviors are predictive. Praise the sphere? You will be ignored at best. Engage with them critically? You will be harassed by at least four or five of their members. In a world where critique of your actions and debate have genuinely been a source of entertainment for those who use the OWF, Cobrasphere displaces that with their combativeness. Since they do not rely on an épistémè that allows for mutual understanding of what specific terms mean: (For example, not understanding the word “until” as inclusive of a given day, or not understanding two rounds as the time equivalent. You can read about it here: https://cybernations.fandom.com/wiki/Snake_Eyes_War ). This extends rather clearly into their OWF posting. Specific examples would highlight individuals in a negative light, so I will not provide them at this time, but I would suggest reading the three largest, most recent threads with large Cobrasphere presences and counting the number of misunderstandings that seem to occur between the people replying to one another.
This kind of posting is not consistent across the sphere, but it is prevalent in an abundance of its members. Only a few examples (Johnny Apocalypse/TDT, Kapleo, Lyanna) are the exceptions to a rule that is largely a cloud of negativity and toxicity that often misrepresents and harasses both individuals and alliances. Incidentally, Cobrasphere understands criticism against them and their conduct as reflective of a desire to silence them. The truth is that their critics would like them to behave differently. This goes hand and hand with another tendency of Cobrasphere politics, namely the frequent victimization of their individual alliances and sphere. It is rare to find a situation that involves COBRA or their allies in one way or another that does not involve them being the victim of an unjust act, usually at the hands of CLAWS or FTW in recent years. These OWF practices color the political perception of COBRA as a combative alliance that is unwilling to cooperate and that will frequently make enemies out of anyone connected to their grievances in order to exploit the potential PR possibility. By repeating their combativeness with the same alliances, which other alliances do not have issues working with, it highlights that the source of these problems are tied to the sphere itself and prevents political maneuvers with the Cobrasphere. Who wants to work with someone who can’t even bury a hatchet?
With regard to Discord, their behavior is slightly different. They do not have a consistent conduct policy and have frequently exposed the public to a variety of content, some of which would be characterized as ableist, sexual, or targeted harassment. Their individual members tend to follow conduct rules on other servers thought. It is not a huge cause for concern, individual members can only be as curbed from undue behavior as far as an alliance government allows, but it does affect their image as well. Personally, I think these matters are not integral to their image, but there are surely some who may object.
Finally, their in-game activity is focused on war, raiding and forcing micros not aligned with them to disband, most notably in their recent extermination of JDA, who had been lied to over the course of the Snake Eyes War and thus did not choose to optionally enter upon the battlefield. These small acts are inconsistent with their opposition to curbstomping, but also drive non-like-minded micros from planet Bob, paralyzing micropolitics into a singular sphere outside of a pair of protectorates scattered across the world. Of course, this issue is, broadly speaking, an outcome of the concept of "fun" itself. Where are you to find "fair wars" at all? I am curious to see how LH's micro thrives or dies in its already clearly antagonistic relationship to the broader microsphere, which is highly aligned.
To sum up, Cobrasphere has an active and thriving community that could potentially dish out some political action, but they do not have any ability to build a coalition, which is based on a combination of factors, the most significant of which are mainly their ideology, inability to agree to similar terms as other alliances, public relations strategy and their general negativity. There have been some recent mutterings of change in the Cobrasphere though, so perhaps there is hope in the areas that are most inhibiting to political development. Next up are the remnants of Aftermath and the non XX part of the beer-o-sphere. We typically call them the ex-moralist spheres in discussions I have had. Looking forward to your responses.
Edited by Tevron