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Blog Entries posted by jerdge

  1. jerdge
    Keeping it short: I never understood why people consider their and everyone's treaties like they were pieces of a domino. I am talking of the idea of engaging "this" alliance or "that" one because of the defensive treaties that would be activated, trying to bring as much firepower to your side while you try to limit the firepower activated on the other side.
    While it may seem right from the perspective of the single treaty, if you look at the whole picture it means that you use people's treaties against them and - this is clearly the corollary that makes the entire thing fall apart - you admit that others can use your treaties against you.
    Treaties are agreements that you signed for your own purposes and to support your direct counterparts. If some party that is distant in the treaty web started some conflict and you find yourself entering on this or that side depending on the order in which treaties are "activated", well... something is definitely wrong.
    An alliance shouldn't let their Foreign Affairs be dictated by those that can best manipulate the treaty web, but they should rather operate with their objectives in mind. This isn't necessarily "realpolitik" - you can still pursue an honourable and "losing" stance (or whatever else you fancy to role-play) - but it's just self-determination: you do what you want to do, you defend/attack what you want to protect/destroy.Your true allies will understand when you can't help them (or rather: their allies) because it's incompatible with your decisions.
    In short: your treaties are yours, not anyone else's.
  2. jerdge
    Source: The Fall of the Mushroom kingdomI thought that Mushlim jokes were intended to satirize stereotypes about Muslims, not really Muslims themselves. Am I wrong? Tamerlane, your take?
  3. jerdge
    While perusing the GPA in-game member list I stumbled (again, but you wouldn't know) on Wikichang of Sheldonnopolis, our "dear" long-term ghost.
    His feat must be made known, as you don't always meet a 750-ish NS ghost with 532 days of Alliance Seniority!
    (He never exited Peace Mode, and in fact he has never been in War Mode since his inception in CN. Really an hippie! )
    Too bad that I can't relay to you any of his thoughts or beliefs, as he never answered to any of the PMs we sent to him...
    Terrible jokes aside, if you know of other extremely long-term ghosts please share your story.
  4. jerdge
    The GPA HoF announcement is too old and I left my spade at home, but I don't want you all to just have that puny little war to keep you busy...
    Round one of the GPA voting on her Hall of Fame saw several people take really many votes, and the race to get to the second (and final) round was really close for many of them. Alas, we couldn't carry everyone into the HoF and some really deserving names had to be excluded this year too.
    I am anyway pleased to unofficially inform you that we picked the twelve nominees for the second (and final) round of votes. Six of the following fine people will enter the GPA Hall of Fame this year. I am sure that some names will be recognized by many.
    I actually ran a random number generator to put these names in random order.
  5. jerdge
    Source: Just an ordinary DoW
    Sorry (or you're welcome) if this is short, but my time isn't much either.
    Standards, you (both/all) say? That's a discourse that may have a leg to stand on if covered with IC propaganda and hypocrisy (which are nothing bad by themselves, anyway).
    But I suspect there was an OOC tone to that exchange. As a casual observer from a neutral point of view I saw any standard that we (as a community) may have had going down the drain years ago. The ancient Pacifican Hegemony already didn't respect much the players (e.g. EZI), and what standards they maintained were mostly just form. After the inter-reign of the DH-SF rivalry the form was thrown out of the window as well, when every pretension that this is "politics" was erased by the lulzy "it's just an horrible game let's grief these idiots" attitude. Any narrative was finally erased by (for example) the intentionally story-less "Everything. Must. Die." and the intentionally lulzy "for Dave!" wars.
    Incidentally, note that respect for players didn't come back at any time (e.g. personal attacks on Hoo/Kait).
    Please don't talk to me of standards. Please.
    (Sorry for the rant, you may now go back to your regularly scheduled click-click-click, I go back to my boring other pastimes... )

    Personal attacks or EZI aren't the focus of this entry, anyway: I am talking of fair play. Fair play would (should) arguably lead to respecting the game and to maintaining standards so that the game remains acceptably meaningful for everyone that's interested in that. But you don't get that if people disrespect and trample all over the other players, and point and laugh at any attempt to play the game as a game of "politics".
    When power is in the hands of those that find the game stupid and worthless, good just as an occasion to vent their lesser instincts, and their friends support them just because they're "friends" (i.e. for OOC/RL reasons that have nothing to do with the game mechanics), you obviously don't get fair play anymore. Everything becomes acceptable and the whole game becomes an extension of external dynamics, which inevitably leads to the irrelevance of any "standard".
    CN hasn't any scarce resource we can fight over. It's driven by the raw grab for power for the sake of it, by made up ideology/beliefs and by grievances. When the drive becomes completely OOC - power is a tool to grief, ideology is a mockery and grievances are RL-based - you get what we have now: the lack of any standard or fair play.
  6. jerdge
    Source: Which ally will act first?
    I take inspiration from Rush's posts (there are many others before and after that one) to try discuss what CBs are, what they represent in CN and what part they play in the fun we have (or don't have) when playing this crazy game.
    First of all, what is a CB? Most would probably disagree on the details, but I think that most of us can agree that a CB is some incident/offense that is cited as the reason some party is going at war for. For example, the attacks on a nation protected by the MK were the CB of the last big war.
    Note that this definition doesn't in any way mean that the CB is the "real" reason someone goes to war for: it's just the reason that is cited as such by the attacking party.
    Also note that this definition doesn't necessarily mean that the reason is sound either. Just to inject a bit of reverse Godwin's Law, let's remember Germany's terrible CB for their attack against Poland in WWII: if crappy CBs got used in Real Life we can certainly (OOC) accept them in CN too (of course, making all sorts of complaints is fair game from an IC/RP POV!)
    I definitely disagree with the theory that a CB doesn't need to be sold as "just" by the party acting on it: justice is necessarily implied when you talk of a "casus belli", simply because that's what that expression is meant to mean. MK's "Save Dave93" CB was probably a bit too evidently done in jest, but it was anyway formally a "real" CB as the DoW and a large part of their public discourse was, at least initially, centered around the defence of their sovereignty. Considering the joking attitude, that would have probably be too weak for several others (it would have just looked as a way to dress a CB-less aggression with some mockery), but it was IMHO OK for the MK's "lulzy" style (which, like it or not - and I can personally appreciate it in little quantities only - is legitimate gameplay - we don't have to be "realistic").
    Examples aside, it wouldn't make us any good to reduce our terminology to a newspeak-like blob with limited expressiveness, especially considering that we can use other better suited terms for what other we want to say (e.g. "reason", "conspiracy", "imperialism", "warmongering", "defence", "anticipatory attack"... Whatever you want to say.)
    It's not difficult: call it a CB if it's one!
    I thus totally disagree with Rush that there are only "weak" CBs and that their quality isn't important. As Bama put it in that very discussion, controversy is necessary for our fun and, should lazily-manufactured CBs (or the complete lack of them) become the norm, we would all quickly become quite bored of our discussions about wars (which are a large part of the activity on these forums). "Stupid" CBs can maybe work, at times, but there's a level of stupidity beyond which any and every debate becomes simply absurd. Cross that line and you'll lose a significant part of the fun associated with global conflicts.
    There's also no need at all to give up on having meaningful CBs, as they're really cheap to obtain. CN is largely based on imagination: it doesn't really take that much of an effort to make up something to justify what you want to do anyway, especially as often there's some suitable "raw material" (= not too ancient incident) already around, and/or it's relatively easy to bait/provoke others. If I am not mistaken the LSF recently intentionally provoked NoR exactly to get the war they wanted: I don't see why anyone else can't cause/fabricate/exploit some other incident as well.
    If purely strategic reasons are all you can come up with, instead, just go with them and be happy. But please don't call them a "CB", or at least be ready to accept that people will criticize you from an OOC angle if you try to do that: they're right. If your purely strategic reasons anyway work to convince your side/allies, you'll be fine... And "being fine" (victorious) isn't a necessary goal for playing, anyway (be my guest and go with your own style).
    On the other hand, if your adversaries openly explain their attacks with purely strategic reasons, it doesn't make sense to (OOC) cry foul for their lack of a CB. There's no rule in the game about CBs being necessary to act, and an OOC criticism would in this case be unfair. Just avoid looking stupid and confine your criticism in the IC/RP realm.
    (I hoped that I explained my POV without too much unneeded blah blah... )
  7. jerdge
    Source: Declaration from Vox Populi
    Seriously guys, let's stop with the "awww treaties with a/the/some different/other power cluster are bad" argument. Treaties are tools, and establishing bonds with people of the "other" coalition can also be done to (try) erode their group. The thing can be criticized, but only in context: it's not bad by itself.
    How do you think that Q lost its preeminence?
    (This rant isn't aimed at Aza specifically, BTW.)
  8. jerdge
    I found some of OsRavan's points to be very solid, and my general approval of his post caused me to write this entry. Unlike the original thread this is OOC (the rationale in OsRavan's post probably came from an OOC angle as well, anyway).
    I don't want to write a wall of text and I'll limit myself to "briefly" (lol) touch three main points, which IMHO have much to do with the debate over "lapdogs". They're the Imperialism "Temptation", the divide et impera method and the Prisoner's Dilemma mechanism.

    The "Imperialism Temptation" (see: Offensive Realism) is just the tendency of any power to achieve hegemony to increase its security. To my understanding, during "Pax Pacifica" the NPO continuously worked to isolate and to neutralize every possible rival. After their fall, a turbulent multi-polar period saw the eventual rise to power of the MK/DH power cluster. The fall of SuperFriends is still relatively recent and the core of the (currently) major power cluster doesn't really look that unbreakable (at least from an outsider's perspective): I am thus uncertain whether we're really living the end chapter of the after-Pacifican era, or we're still in the midst of that turmoil. I don't presume that I know.
    What serves the point of this entry is anyway just that every alliance and bloc has always tried to achieve security either by being/leading a credible claimant to the hegemonic throne - if they thought they stood a (good) chance - or by attaching themselves to someone more promising (either to wait for a better chance or just to stay around). This isn't "being a lapdog" because of some psychological defect (otherwise we'd "all" be defective wait maybe we are), but it's just "playing by the unwritten rules" of CN politics.
    One method to pursue hegemony is to divide your rivals. Everyone tries to do this (or they should) and those more successful in it are usually those that emerge at the top.
    An hegemonic core will always tend to keep its enemies divided - that's obvious - but they'll also most likely try to prevent their friends too from getting "too close" one with the other. Friends are rivals as well!
    This means that the "tolerated" standard is a prevalence of bonds with the core and a minimal presence of bonds between different proxies. Friends that became "too active" in creating bonds with other proxies of the main core will start to be considered too independent, and they'll likely become a target in the future. Note that they might not be military targeted, as political manoeuvres might be enough to keep them isolated and/or to bring them to "reason".
    Again, alliances or groups that have limited links with everyone but the core hegemony aren't "lapdogs by vocation": they're just aware of the invisible limits to their political action, and/or they can't cross that line (at least for now).
    A third very important concept is the very powerful Prisoner's Dilemma. Simply put, there's a high risk in being among the first that go against the hegemony, and you need to make a lot of effort to successfully topple it; it's much "better" to wait for a credible alternative to build up and to then join them. The end result is obviously that stagnation generally reigns for long times, with (relatively) short periods with more action (see: Karma). I think that the long period without a clear hegemony that followed Karma is more the sign that the grab for power was more difficult then expected, than the sign of an intrinsic instability of the overall political system.
    But, do I have any conclusion?
    Well, I'll start with some negatives.
    I disagree with Prodigal Moon that "lapdogs" are the result of a need for "social approval". Social approval is a powerful glue - a tool - but not the drive (it's not a goal).
    I disagree with Roq that points of contention get pushed aside because there's no will to be independent. They get pushed aside - and they may be stored away for future use, for what I know - because people don't want to fall from the hegemon's grace and to burn to make a point, but they want to increase their influence and eventually, if and when it will seem possible, make the hegemon burn to "make their point": it's realpolitik, not "being structural followers".
    I again disagree with Roq that the lack of an "appropriate King of the Mountain mentality" is the issue here. While indeed there are alliances that (for realism) don't aspire to become the hegemon, everyone wants to be safe. The combination of mechanisms that "block" CN politics (if it's blocked for real) is what I tried to sketch above. It's not a lack of ambition as we definitely have a lot of parties with a lot of ambition.
    The "positive" conclusion is that the above drives/mechanisms work better because CN is "old", and being on the receiving end of a beating is now much worse than what it was years ago, hence people are less inclined to take risks and more inclined to just attach themselves to the hegemony. This is not true in general, but it's mostly correct on a scale wide enough to severely affect the game.
    I personally think that a few political inventions may change this situation (not the "current hegemony", but the mechanism that tend to produce stable hegemonies in general). They're not easy to perform (if they were they would have been already performed!)

    People may try to devise new political constructions centred on cooperation instead of rivalries. Creating structures that ensure the safety of your group(s) without the need of becoming an empire would help others to join your cause - or rather: to become a part of a cause with you - without the fear of being later put in your black list. Because there wouldn't be any "you" and "me" anymore.
    People may continue to try foster multilateral interaction at every level. An hegemony can exercise control only up to a certain extent, and they simply can't really prevent everyone from creating links if the dynamic is too fast and widespread. In a certain sense, working to sterilize the links of your current "enemies" can be counter-productive in the long run, as compared to working to extend and increase your (or even everyone's) bonds.
    The Prisoner's Dilemma is instead very difficult to overcome. We'd need structural changes to the game that made it possible for the runner ups to close the gap with the most powerful nations/alliances/blocs in a reasonable time. Unless the treasuries inflation and the tech gap are properly addressed, we're in for a long wait on that aspect. It is anyway still possible to work to break the unity of "the 1%" and to try to have the stat hegemons spread among multiple actors. I wouldn't tell you how to do it even if I had ideas on it (which I don't have).
    The path (at times attempted) to try befriend neutrals with "strong" top layers is instead doomed to fail, due to two very good reasons: neutrals aren't interested in CN politics, or they wouldn't be neutral; often they can't fight very well, and/or they aren't really that well equipped - wonders and money - and they'd just inflate one party's NS and self-confidence.)

    A final "joke":
    Really? I challenge you to name whose I'd be the lapdog of...
  9. jerdge
    HoT very recently extensively referenced an (in)famous episode of OOC attacks against now gone players (quotes in the spoiler for the curious of you).
    I personally don't think that discussing the topic of OOC attacks in that thread was a good idea (not that it's HoT that started it), but I think that continuing to discuss OOC attacks is necessary.
    Simply put, the game staff has no jurisdiction over what happens off game and away from these forums, and at the same time we can't expect that everyone plays with fair play and respect. Either the players care, and they take the matter in their own hands, or no one will do it.
    But don't get me wrong: I disagree with the solution that HoT has been proposing with his posts, as I strongly believe that in-game means can't by design obtain anything in Real Life. You need to convince the players that avoiding offences is important, and you have to build a culture that it's intolerant against abuse.
    Moreover, a lot of players in every alliance barely follow most of what happens (IC or OOC) and they have the right not to be held guilty, and not to be harassed, because of what others did.
    Even if in-game means worked, and even if we could accept to harm innocent bystanders, what body would be in charge of "administering punishment", anyway? The treatment may be worse than the disease!
    Sorry for insisting (it's only every now and then, anyway ), but there are no shortcuts. Those that care about this issue should learn two things: that they can safely say no, and that they can help awareness spread.
    My humble personal experience shows that being the change is possible: although discontinuously, I have been an "annoyance" for hegemonic powers since 2007, and - what's more relevant - I've never feared to clash with "powerful" OOC offenders. Whatever the reason and despite the occasional threat, my fun and even my pixels are intact (and pixels are way less important than self respect, anyway).

    Say no to OOC attacks. You can.

    Credit - E. B. Sylvester ITT

  10. jerdge
    Source: NoR declares war on LSF

    Let's look at Prodigal Moon's post as players, i.e. from an Out Of Character POV. This game's politics is largely dominated by the needs of coalition-level warfare, which isn't good or bad in itself.
    However, I find it silly that coalition warfare is so much engineered with "treaty chaining"... A hits B and not C, to trigger what D, F and G do, while C and D pre-empt Z to prevent F and X to assist Y.
    How can this sort of Mikado be even slightly funny?
    As I will likely remain neutral for another long while (probably until the end of CN) I can just ignore the issue and have fun eating popcorn (which I'll definitely do), but you treaty-hoarders might want to think a bit more about it.
    When you don't know which side you'll be on in a coalition war, because your choice doesn't depend on the (good/bad) CB, or on the (friend/foe/indifferent) initial combatants, or on your interest, but just on the order that will be followed in the declarations... Sorry for you, but that means that something went really wrong.
    I am not talking of the "movers", which quite obviously pull the strings, but of the other people: this isn't the only way, you can choose another path as a few (too few) others already did/are doing.
    (Sorry for not citing any specific example, but any example would cause arguing because of the people named and not because of its meaning. I thus chose to just avoid making them.)
  11. jerdge
    Disclaimer: I am a known government GPA Cabinet member and a former GPA President, thus you can probably assume that my word carries a bit of weight when it comes to the Agency. I am anyway handling this affair from a player's POV rather than from an IC angle, and I can't currently really talk on behalf of the GPA, anyway, thus this isn't an "official" stance. Specifically, none of this blog entry has been arranged in the GPA.
    (This disclaimer isn't really one of those "I don't want any responsibility" ones. It's just me explaining where I am coming from with this entry.)
    Source: Some info on Dulra
    My and Roq's exchange started with his reference of some NAMBLA incident, which would have involved Rayvon and in which the GPA would have been reliant on VE's "muscle" to solve some situation with UINE (and Lennox). The GPA wouldn't have done anything and would have avoided any "hardline" stance. Relevant posts will follow in the first two comments (too many quote tags don't fit in one entry).

    I'll start from the end, by addressing that last question from Roq:
    I can't answer for the GPA, but I can tell you that it would certainly depend on the situation. This is IMO is valid for any and every alliance which found themselves in a similar scenario.
    It is a known fact that the GPA has for long been little involved with the rest of CN, but consistently friendly with anyone she had some contact with; the Agency also has no mutual military treaties. All of this means that the GPA has little interest and no attitude for offensive campaigns, and also that she should never expect to be able to win alliance-wide wars.
    When openly provoked others may go for a military solution because it's their interest to do so, because they don't know how else to deal with the situation or just because they think it's the best way to make their point. The GPA would probably go through the diplomatic route, which would involve a lot of talks.
    I don't believe that there are many scenarios in which war is really necessary to explain to people that harbouring rogues isn't a good idea, thus I can finally answer to Roq that I don't think that the GPA would find it impossible to solve any other situation like the one he mentioned. According to my experience, people are reasonable and professional in handling such cases without any sort of unneeded confrontation.
    If the GPA really found herself being openly and intentionally provoked by another major alliance, through a rogue or in some other way, the issue would probably be bigger than just the excuse used to try trigger something.
    The matter is too vast to be addressed with a general solution, anyway: all I can say is that ad hoc solutions would have to be found for each case.

    Back to the discussion on Lennox's story, I'll try to avoid writing a long and nitpicking reply, but I'll just resume the main historical events. They're boring, but they show why I was irritated by Roq's recollection and interpretation of them, thus I consider it necessary to recall them to close that part of our debate.

    On 26.07.10 Lennox, a NSO member, spied away a GPA nuke.
    When contacted, the NSO government immediately denied having given any authorization. The GPA asked for a modest reparation (the nuke cost), which came out to be conflicting with NSO's policies about reparations. A negotiation then began over what measure had to be taken to correct the wrong, eventually ending with the NSO declaring that they wouldn't have protected nor helped Lennox if the GPA had attacked him. After a few days of wait, the GPA eventually decided to not attack him.
    I was Assistant MoFA at the time and I had access to the documentation (but I had been on vacancy).
    On 13.10.10 Lennox, another 2 NSO members and a Gondor nation attacked GPA nations, citing "NAMBLA" in their war reasons. Lennox tried to extort 2 tech levels in exchange for immediate peace (lol).
    The NSO booted Lennox and Gondor booted their member. The other two NSO members (one of which was Rayvon, pretty much unknown to me at the time) had just been cheated by Lennox; they peaced out and the GPA reached an agreement with the NSO about reasonable reparations (which shipment was never actually requested, and which I explicitly waived a couple of months later). Government members of a few alliances contacted the GPA offering support (you'd be surprised to know what alliances contacted us, but I won't make their names here). From the limited mention of them on our forums, VE was also aware of the situation, but I have no evidence of them offering support at that point.
    Lennox and the former Gondor member moved to the NAMBLA AA and continued to fight. After three days from the intial attack Lennox started asking for peace, at the same time moving to the Crimson Fists AA, at the time a newly created UINE Protectorate. Lennox should have been CF's government, but that was stalled while we were looking for a solution in terms of appropriate reparations. I think that Exodus was too involved at some point, but don't quote me on that. AFAIK Lennox joined Polaris only after having concluded a peace deal with the GPA (600 tech as reparations). The former Gondor member also peaced out with an agreement to pay 400 tech; this second peace was brokered by Polaris, which the other former rogue joined too.
    At the time I was still AMoFA.
    On 07.12.10 Lennox again went rogue against the GPA, again under the NAMBLA AA. That time he tried to extort 200 tech. We got some shots at him while he was on his way out of CN.
    At that time I was the GPA MoFA.
    Bottom line, while several parties offered support in case things became big, the GPA continued to pursue the rogues and to civilly talk with every alliance involved. Whatever support anyone might have promised, the Agency didn't use it to strongarm anyone into doing anything.
    It was a novelty for me to know that VE approached UINE explaining that they they would have responded in force in case they military protected the rogues against us, and I only now learn who was the non-GPA witness at the conclusion of our negotiations with Lennox. I don't anyway think that any of that should change much of my vision of how we conduct ourselves when we have some foreign issue to solve; especially as VE's declarations of unilateral protection weren't much a new thing at the time either, but there's no mention of them in any of the hundreds of posts and query lines I can dig on our forums over the whole Lennox "saga".
    I anyway apologize to Roq for having implied that he didn't know what he was talking of. I still believe that his interpretation of how the GPA operates, with or without external support, is wrong, but I acknowledge that the pieces of news he was building his interpretation over were basically correct. I was wrong on that, and I shouldn't have talked down to him.
    I guess this is a lesson for poor old me to not trust my recollection of details...
  12. jerdge
    For reason unbeknownst to myself I've been developing this desire to explain how you do the "real" Coffee (as I see it). And here we are!
    First of all, you need a "Moka" coffee pot, i.e. something like this thing:

    How you do it, tricks and newbs mistakes included:

    [Newb mistake] You don't get an aluminum pot. You get a stainless steel pot.
    (Strangely enough, aluminum will oxidize and develop stains that will alter the flavour of your coffee: never go for aluminum, get the steel.)
    Use 100% Arabica coffee only.
    [Trick] When you first purchase the pot, prepare your coffee (read the following), then throw it away. Wash (see #4), repeat and throw it away again. Drink from the third one on.
    [Newb mistake] You never wash the pot with detergents. Fresh water only. Detergents would wipe away the coffee traces from the interior of the pot, and your coffee would develop an unpleasant metallic taste.
    (Don't worry about "hygiene": your pot gets sterilized at every use - T = 100° C: no bacteria/virus can survive.)
    [Trick] Don't wash the pot after each use, but just before each use.
    Start preparing your pot by washing it with fresh water. [Trick] Use cold water for the water tank (A).
    Fill the tank with [trick] cold (tap/fridge) water, to just below the level of the safety valve.
    Fill the filter (B) with grinded coffee. (Do not use soluble coffee for heaven's sake!)
    [Newb mistake] Do not press the grinded coffee. You may gently shake the filter for the coffee to get evenly distributed.
    Screw the top (C) over the filter and tank, and close it tightly, without pushing on the handle.
    [Trick] Put the pot on the smallest flame/heater of your kitchen cooker, and set it at the lowest possible intensity (you want your water to be heated slowly). You may try to experiment a bit with higher intensities, but never go with the highest ones (or your coffee will have a burnt taste).
    When the coffee will start filling the top you'll hear a distinct noise. You can turn off the cooker then, or wait a few moments, but anyway remove the coffee from the heat source before the boiling starts (boiled coffee is meh.)
    [Trick] if your pot is large (over the size of 1-2 cups) stir the coffee to mix it well before pouring it out.
    If you don't plan to use the pot for a lot of time (20+ days) wash it (again with fresh water only). Repeat #4 before using it again.
    I might have forgotten something obvious: in that case please point it out for me (Cerridwyn: thanks in advance for your inevitable "peer-review"... )
    And now excuse me but I leave to have a cup of coffee...
  13. jerdge
    I am one of the GPA members that most speak with other people, and every once in a while I am asked if the GPA likes/dislikes some other alliance, whom we'd like to hit and such.
    The last time I answered to this, on the forums of another alliance, I came up with a bit of a wall of text that I think explains rather well my point of view on the issue, and which is also probably near to some of the best and most honest answers you can get from any long term true GPA member.
    It's not an official stance, though (if you want one, please ask our President).
    Without further ado, here is an adaptation of what I posted on that forum (I basically just removed an example, to shorten it a bit).
    Those of you that (like me) care about it can consider it "mostly" (not entirely) IC.

    Q. Just for !@#$% and giggles - if you (GPA) were ever to decide to go to war or involve yourselves in politics - which "side" do you find yourelves more in support of - what alliances do you guys like / dislike - is there anyone you guys would love to roll ??
    A. The only side I've ever seen "supported" in the GPA is the GPA one. Our membership, while often aware of the general aspects of CN politics, usually doesn't know exactly what the "sides" are about and why they were formed in that way in the first place. At each war we always have people asking about the reasons behind it.
    As we don't have any FA preference, members usually end up liking/disliking other people for specific reasons. Our Ambassadors, for example, usually have a kind attitude towards the alliances they are assigned/went to, and at times there's some disliking that arises when someone else is perceived as being hostile towards the GPA.
    Without having any specific data/evidence at hand I'd say that many of us probably feel sympathy for the other neutrals or semi-neutrals (WTF, TDO, GOP, OBR, Pax Corvus, Créole etc.) but that's just a series of individual attitudes (which I am not even sure about) and not a characteristic of the alliance as a whole. Those of us that deal with foreign tech also like alliances that stay at peace, for obvious reasons of reliability.
    The GPA likes peace, for several reasons. Many don't spend that much of the time in CN (and couldn't thus very well cope with war); many others like nation building more than anything else (if you don't dislike math it's way more interesting than war, IMHO); others like the challenge of going alone and peaceful in an often violent environment, protected practically only by the "soft power" of our hard-earned reputation of trustworthiness; others again are RL pacifists, etc.
    Our culture is strongly against war and we wouldn't like attacking anyone else unless it was necessary to defend our way of life, thus there's nobody that "we would love to roll".
    Q. If you, as a neutral alliance, were to attack any other alliance in the game one on one, who would it be, and why??.
    A. As said above, in principle no one. I can tell whom we'd never attack no matter what: everyone that leaves us alone.
    I can also imagine that, in case we had absolutely strong and irrefutable evidence that someone is threatening us, if we could think that we may have a good chance at averting the threat with a first-strike attack and we had the reasonable expectation to not destroy our reputation, or to jeopardize our status among the alliances - well - in that case it would probably make sense to attack the threat military, and to be over with it.
    However, that scenario is absolutely improbable. For one we don't routinely go around collecting intelligence, thus we are unlikely to have any strong evidence about anything (people talk with us and you know there's a lot of gossip going around CN at any given time, but that's not the kind of thing that can give anyone any certainty).
    An enemy that we could put down with a pre-empt would also have to be weaker and unconnected, thus the very rationale behind an attack would logically fall apart: much better to let them attack and have that blame fall on them.
    Going on the aggressive wouldn't be taken well by many parties, a lot of which are absolutely influential. We have no desire to have an "imperialistic" FA - not only because it would be suicidal for a neutral, but mostly and especially because of the culture I was talking of above - and it would be terribly silly and counter-productive to have the look of having an aggressive/imperialistic agenda we're not even interested in.
    Finally, the GPA has a strong government but also a long tradition of democratic discussion. Were we attacked the President would have all the powers s/he needs, and the backup of all the alliance, but an attack on our part would need a long discussion that would never end in a great support for the action (most likely the opposite). This obviously leads to all the problems you can imagine about the opsec, the quickness and the internal political impetus that any aggressive action badly needs, to have a chance to succeed. The GPA is basically structurally unable to attack other alliances, and she will never have the will to do so.
    You can BTW take this occasion to ask other Questions. Be anyway aware that you'd be asking them to me, not "to the GPA".
    Finally, a small ooc "notice of service": this blog entry apart, I am going to mostly desert these forums from now on and probably for a while, just for lack of time. I doubt that many will notice it, anyway.
  14. jerdge
    WARNING: extreme romanticism below read at your own peril!

    In October 2005, I was on a short trip in Firenze (Florence), Italy, with my (at the time) girlfriend.

    Walking on the Ponte Vecchio we were looking at the windows of the jewelry shops that occupy both sides of the bridge, when our attention was attracted by a golden ring with seven stones of different colours. We both didn't much like yellow gold and we thus entered the shop to ask whether they maybe had a white gold version of it - you know, when you think: "I don't even know if I really want it, but I could at least ask... Why not?"
    Obviously they had it. It was a nice moment for a present thus I bought it on a whim (I am not good at keeping money in my pockets) and there it was, "just" another present for my girlfriend. Why not?
    Along the coming months we started joking about that ring, calling it "the engagement ring", and of course - long story short - the joke became more and more serious... Before an year had passed, at the end of September 2006, we married.
    Since then we jokingly say that the "engagement ring" had to have some magic in it, as it came to us before we knew of its real nature.
    At some point one of the stones of the ring went missing. While we would have had numerous occasion to have it repaired in any nearby jewelry, we tacitly thought that such a "magic" ring couldn't be fixed in just any jewelry shop.
    Again without a plan we recently decided for another short trip in Toscana, and there we found ourselves again on the Ponte Vecchio, in front of the same shop and with the same ring in our hands, almost six years later and on the eve of the fifth anniversary of our wedding. None of us had showed any anxiety to have the ring repaired, but as we were there we thought: why not?
    In and out, we had left the ring at the shop, with the agreement that the next morning the owner would have asked to the artisan what could be done to replace the stone.
    Magic of the ring? The artisan could buy the right stone with the right cut and by the evening of our anniversary we had the ring restored back to its full glory:

    And yes, this is your happy end!

  15. jerdge
    From the desk of the GPA Minister of Foreign Affairs.

    I was informed that a few hours ago an inexperienced GPA Recruiter (at his first tries) mistakenly went backwards and not forward into the new Nations list, in that way sending repeat PMs to 125 Rulers. Some of these Rulers had by then probably already joined other alliances.
    I wish to apologize to said people for the unintentional SPAM delivered in their Inboxes. Be sure that the crazy spammer has already been put at arranging Ikebana to pay for his devious sins.
    With that in mind, please enjoy the obligatory flower pron:

    GPA Worst MoFA Ever
  16. jerdge
    (Disclaimer: in this entry I talk of karma, not of Karma.)
    That old attack on the GPA keeps being mentioned three years after its end, and (almost) always to the detriment of those that participated in the aggression. It might be one of the purest examples of "bad karma" of CN, i.e. something that keeps coming back to bite, again and again, those that did it (not every one in the same measure, honestly).
    Also, few other extremely old events are referenced this often and with such "detail": one would think that the ideological impact of that war was bigger and deeper than what was initially thought. It was paradigmatic for the game.
    (Although let's be frank: most of us forum people definitely sound like retired fishermen when there's any occasion to revive really ancient stuff...)
  17. jerdge
    In response to Kalasin's "Couple of thoughts on homosexuality".
    God loves filth then?
    Jokes aside, as a former earnest catholic and religion teacher which eventually lost interest in religion, I consider Kalasin's blog entry very respectable in its intent - indeed we need to make distinctions among the very wide spectrum of "anti-homosexuality" groups - and ultimately very silly on a number of points.
    Unless one is given the bible from god her/himself I don't know how the text can be considered infallible, if (at the same time) the people that originally told/wrote it and those that later passed it on/translated it are all considered fallible.
    Why men and women's partnership would be "best suited" to raise children? Heterosexual couples that can't have/adopt children are in any way less "worth" because of that? Do children need a men and a woman to be raised? Are widows "lesser" parents? Why not have families with a man and several women? In many societies they think that that's good... Why not 2 females and 3 males, for that matter? What sex has to do with raising children, anyway? Unless one thinks that parents should have sex with their sons/daughters I don't see how the sexual orientation of parents has any relevance with their capability to raise children.
    Why is this world "fallen"? Where did it fall from?
    What is a "distortion in nature"? Who decides what is "natural and rightful" and what is "natural but distorted"? How does s/he decide that, and what do they base their authority upon, anyway?
    If "natural" is "good" (it isn't IMO) it has to always be good; if it's good only when it's good for other reasons then it isn't really good; isn't the "natural and rightful" label just an attempt to exploit the (undeserved) positive connotation of "natural" to support one's own convictions?
    If an almighty creator intended us to live in some other way, how comes that we're living in this one? Isn't s/he the creator? Isn't s/he almighty? (Sure, our freedom musts be respected to the point that we're free to be bombed, or to be interned in extermination camps, or to be raped as part of ethnic cleansing...)
    Sexual diseases did not come about and are not rising because of the "sexual revolution" of the twentieth century. Sexual diseases were much more common in the previous centuries, and AIDS's rise is especially explosive in Africa, anyway, in most of which the very concept of "sexual revolution" is probably not even known (especially in those parts of society - the poor ones - where AIDS's rise is most prominent). The idea that people didn't have promiscuous sex before the "sexual revolution" is of course wrong: what the sex revolution changed is that (some) people started to believe that they shouldn't need to hide their sexual activity. Homosexuality, by the way, "always" existed, it's not a XX century "byproduct".
    I have no idea about the rate of sexual diseases among homos compared to heteros. The spread of diseases among a population with a certain condition is anyway certainly not a good criterion to decide over the "morality"/rightfulness of that condition, otherwise we'd have to conclude that being a child, or an elder, is wrong. Countless other examples could be made.
    Christians should love sinners, at least for the very good reason that otherwise they couldn't love anybody, but christians (and most other religious people, to be fair) should also stop applying the concept of "sin" to other people. Everybody needs to understand that it's disrespectful to call "sinners" those that disagree with their (often highly minority and narrow) personal beliefs over aspects of life that don't affect/harm the rest of society. "Tolerance" is often just another way - albeit a benevolent one - to look down upon someone.
    Kalasin, as a former churchy myself I fully understand your position. I invite you to embrace the revelation that your personal judgment is literally the only compass you have to tell right from wrong - it's the only validation you have for your belief that the bible is infallible, for instance - thus you can live better (more rightfully) and more honestly (nearer to the truth) if you just become transparent about it. Following someone else's beliefs is not only silly, but impossible.
    You can be right/wrong much better by your own, and in fact you can't do anything else.
  18. jerdge
    I've been playing for a while with the idea of having my own blog (verbal diarrhoea etc.) and I finally decided: "why not?"
    The trigger was Kalasin's most recent entry, which I was preparing a reply to, eventually realizing that it was too long to be a blog reply.
    Blame Kalasin for this, then...
    Note that it's "A Neutral's Blog", not "A Neutral Blog": it isn't going to be always neutral on CN politics - and maybe I will never write on CN politics at all.
    Everything will be OCC unless explicitly stated otherwise.
    I am totally new to blogs thus I am probably sailing on a failboat. Who cares.
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