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Treaties


Xiphosis

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Let's talk about treaties - the bread and butter of politics, as it stands, second-only to IRC in terms of importance if you care to be relevant or "plugged in" at all.

It strikes me as amazing to see how times have changed since I started out here. By way of example - when we started our alliance, you could still get by without getting raided or rolled without treaties. We were offered a protectorate by VE, but actually turned it down, it just wasn't necessary and the idea of having a Big Brother politically bothered me a lot (I later conceded because we got our $@! kicked for picking a fight, and VE turned out to be offering nothing more then a one-sided MDP, but I digress haha). There was no real danger in going on your own so long as you had a decent diplomatic team - hell, IRON stayed independent of either 'side' of the web for a good long while and never got bothered much, as did GPA.

What we've seen happen more and more, though, is that people have signed treaties for poor reasons. Alliances world-wide sign treaties with people they don't trust, people they don't like, and people who do things and help people they find completely repulsive. It's kind of absurd when you think about it, but people like being able to list all their allies and thump their chest with pride at what an excellent amount of NS has their back, or they're "friends" with, even if it's nothing but paper.

Every leader on CN, right now, has a mental list of who he can trust to have his back and who he can't if it really hits the fan hard, and this more or less epitomizes the problem. In a decent world people would have the strength of character to man up and cancel on alliances when the relationship fails; and so often it does long before we ever see the treaty disappear in AP. Do a mental checklist with me real quick - when the last time you talked to each ally you have? Did you enjoy the conversation? Are you comfortable around them or do you hold back? Do you still agree with what they're doing, if you ever did? Are they allied to people you can't stand?

Last point that needs to be made is about the cancellation trend - the unfortunate by-product of cowardice and poor ally selection. This is so Kindergarten-level politics that it fries my brain that people still don't get it, but listen up - if you sign a Mutual Defense Pact, guess what? You just agreed to defend them. Period. There's no ifs, ands, or buts about it. If you can't handle that, you need to drop out of the political game, now. Seriously, go write up your resignation, I'll wait. People have been doing this more and more to save face and infra for a while now, and you know what? You wouldn't have to if you didn't ally scumbags. It's that simple.

Ultimately, this is what it comes down to. As the old saying goes, "Pick your battles well." If you ally someone, you should be well, well prepared to stick it out with them.

Edit: Darnit. One more thing - stop naming every treaty you sign. In fact, pick one, and don't name the rest - all it does it make us care less. Also, your puns aren't funny. Seriously.*

* I realize the irony (hypocrisy) in me, of all people, criticizing this. I blame Z.

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The most effective alliance leaders keep their closest allies in private, with or without treaties. They keep tabs on their potential enemies through the formality of publicly announced treaties.

The complexity of the treaty web is more about keeping track of where everyone will fall in any given scenario. It has little at all to do with friendship.

I do, however, agree with your sense of morality, even if it is mostly irrelevant in defensive and offensive treaty commitments.

edit: also, cheers :)

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"The most effective alliance leaders keep their closest allies in private, with or without treaties."

You keep them in private, you announce them in public as a warning. :P

"They keep tabs on their potential enemies through the formality of publicly announced treaties."

I wish. There was a time when this was useful (we employed it a bit, once upon a time), but since people nullify even MDPs these days, it's not very effective anymore.

"The complexity of the treaty web is more about keeping track of where everyone will fall in any given scenario. It has little at all to do with friendship."

Precisely the problem. People are choosing their side based solely on self-preservation (or in other words, cowardice) and not based on the reason for any given conflict or friendship.

"I do, however, agree with your sense of morality, even if it is mostly irrelevant in defensive and offensive treaty commitments."

Not sure how true that is. I'm pretty comfy as is with all my allies, and we all stay in touch and discuss the days events (joint IRC channels are ftw with this). I'd say letting your morals influence who you treaty is probably the single most effective criteria anyone could use when selecting what should amount to an extended family... if you're doing it right.

At the end of the day, this is one big version of Pokemon with some horribly inflated egos. You tend not to stack your party with Pokemon you can't stand, and you don't play unless you want to have some fun. There are exceptions, but it's a miserable existence.

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Precisely the problem. People are choosing their side based solely on self-preservation (or in other words, cowardice) and not based on the reason for any given conflict or friendship.

What else is there but self-preservation in a game like this? I have been trying to figure that out for some time now and still not sure how to answer.

As for real friendship as the basis for a treaty, especially if you mean real life friendship....that is extremely dangerous and has created a lot of problems in alliance and international politics. If you have not been betrayed yet by someone you think is a "friend," it's just a matter of time if your alliance and leadership presence keeps growing.

In a roleplaying game like this, not all friends here are the friends or even the enemies you think they are and people find lying to be much more acceptable than they would in real life since they are just players and this is just a game.

As for having treaties based on the merits of a conflict, that is a rare luxury, such as when we are building coalitions preparing for a war. Oftentimes, you will find yourself bound to participate in a war by treaties you believe in, but not how the wars started. That whole damned treaty web thing, like when some itty bitty protectorate one of your friends has screws up and another alliance or coalition uses that as a reason to destroy your friend..and then you by extension.

Yeah, it sucks, but no one is safe, which I suppose is part of what keeps the text-game adrenaline junkies coming back for more.

Just don't get frustrated and remember to keep this all in the perspective of a game. In other words, lying and deceit is a huge part of planet bob politics, and it's what keeps so many active in upper level politics.

The best ones just don't get caught or pinned down.

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What else is there but self-preservation in a game like this? I have been trying to figure that out for some time now and still not sure how to answer.

Amusement, and personal gratification.

As for real friendship as the basis for a treaty, especially if you mean real life friendship....that is extremely dangerous and has created a lot of problems in alliance and international politics. If you have not been betrayed yet by someone you think is a "friend," it's just a matter of time if your alliance and leadership presence keeps growing.

Not the case. For one, I've yet to tell anyone on or off CN my real first name, as a personal rule. Most of my allies are headed by a single leader with two exceptions - FARK and RIA, and I've yet to have a serious problem with anyone in either's government, much less outright betrayal. The extent of any dispute so far was simple miss communication maybe a week ago and we both shrugged it off.

If it ever gets to the point where I think someones working against me, they won't be an ally for very long, but that's pretty unlikely because it's just not how we pick allies. I'd expect it if I allied willy-nilly (and the only time we did get double-crossed was when we allied just for power). I find it incredibly unlikely now though, too much hive mind going around ;)

In a roleplaying game like this, not all friends here are the friends or even the enemies you think they are and people find lying to be much more acceptable than they would in real life since they are just players and this is just a game.

Don't I know it, but then again we come to the "Scumbag" clause, and people would never put up with me for as long as my allies have if they were fronting.

As for having treaties based on the merits of a conflict, that is a rare luxury, such as when we are building coalitions preparing for a war.

You misunderstood what I meant by that, I think. I mean people rarely decide to enter conflicts for the stated, public reason. It's always either bloodlust, puppetry, or an ulterior motive. Few people come out and say what they mean or why they do what they do, and it's mainly due to having a thin skin for criticism.

Oftentimes, you will find yourself bound to participate in a war by treaties you believe in, but not how the wars started.

Aye, don't I know it, that's why one of my suggested criteria is whether you could also stomach supporting the people your allies ally.

Yeah, it sucks, but no one is safe, which I suppose is part of what keeps the text-game adrenaline junkies coming back for more.

Meh. I wish people would pay more attention to domestic defense rather than simply relying on layering external treaties anyway. It's such a cop-out.

Just don't get frustrated and remember to keep this all in the perspective of a game.

Don't gotta tell me. My emotional attachment to the game died with the UJW.

In other words, lying and deceit is a huge part of planet bob politics, and it's what keeps so many active in upper level politics.

It keeps all the wrong sort involved. It was one thing to lie and deceive back in the two-side era, it's a whole 'nother, scummier, ball game now. I have no respect for anyone who lies to isolate someone these days.

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I commented recently in a thread about this, as did GOD. I have never signed off on a treaty with anyone I wouldn't head to ZI for. I was more than pleasantly surprised to find my recent merger partners in Defcon maintain the same level on integrity. We are one of the few alliances out there to only have a few close allies.

If every alliance had the same integrity the treaty web would have a lot less lines and be a lot simpler. If you do cancel an MDP it should damn well not be because you realise they are going to war, if you don't like their actions don't sign the MDP. If you have already signed it and don't realise how bad the actions are then honour the treaty since you didn't have the intelligence (in terms of military or political information) to cancel it before you suddenly realise you might lose precious infrastructure pixels.

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The ironic thing is that if the VE was not as outgoing as we are, Xi would've never gotten that protectorate. ;) Don't worry though, you know as well as anybody that our treaty is safe. :D Well, I should say treaties, and you've signed off on the names for both too. :v:

Have we had complaints internally about the number of treaties we hold? Yes. But there's never any agreement on which one(s) to cancel. We've always been a diplomatic alliance, and we are in regular communication with most, if not all, of our allies. Heck, there's not a single time on IRC if Xi and myself are both on that we're not talking. Not every alliance shows its true colors in the first few months of relations and being allied to us, or they might have gov changes, or royally screw up and not take responsibility, etc. The point I'm trying to make is that alliances and the people who lead them change, if not in name then in character and actions. I don't have a crystal ball, I can't see the future, so maybe sometimes we're a bit too optimistic when we sign a treaty. The moment those relations break down is when the cancellation talks start, not a moment before. We don't make decisions on treaties solely because of what might happen. While we have been disappointed and shocked by allies' actions in the past, we've also been pleasantly surprised.

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If you can't trust an alliance to give you what you need when you need it, there's absolutely no point in even signing a treaty with them. Far too many treaties are signed for just military or political gain. If a ten man alliance can provide the trust and friendship you can expect of them, then there is really no reason not to forge that relationship in paper. As odd as it seems to put this old saying in here, size doesn't matter. Allies are allies, pure and simple.

I also consider it ridiculous to decide if you're signing a treaty with an alliance or not on the basis of who they are allied to already. Just the thought of it seems sickening to me. I can understand not willing to sacrifice your political status, but there is not a reason on this Planet Bob why you should sign a treaty with an alliance you aren't willing to do it for.

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I also consider it ridiculous to decide if you're signing a treaty with an alliance or not on the basis of who they are allied to already.

Why? That's a good judge of character to me. You can tell a lot about people by the company they keep.

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I also consider it ridiculous to decide if you're signing a treaty with an alliance or not on the basis of who they are allied to already.

Why? That's a good judge of character to me. You can tell a lot about people by the company they keep.

I agree that it says something about them, but it most certainly doesn't define them. Besides, if you're hindging your decision on that you have no business even thinking about allying to them.

Now, I agree that if they're allied to a number of people that despise you, you shouldn't be so hasty to write something up.

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