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Everything posted by jerdge

  1. After having looked at my bookshelf I realized that all those essays and works of literature would be utterly useless in such a situation. I don't even possess any dictionary! I should probably just pick the five hugest ones, in the vague hope that the children could make some use of the paper to light fires... Which is what they'd probably do with them anyway, now that I think of it. At any rate, my (terrible) list: • The Lord of the Rings • Chinese cuisines • Learn Democracy • Dune • Physics
  2. Five books wouldn't survive the following return to a primitive way of life: they'd be irrelevant IMHO. The question tells us something about the people that reply, though. I'll think about my list.
  3. jerdge

    The Zombie Rises

    Cryptic and short... What happened to the true Myth?
  4. jerdge

    Mind == Blown

    A lot of programming in your life.
  5. jerdge

    "Weak" CBs

    That's one reason why people make up/push weak CB's, though. If someone is foolish enough to give out a legitimate CB, the war never expands. So at least making up CB's adds something which every game like this needs: controversy. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think you just said that people push weak CBs to give the other side a better opportunity to gather support. While this may have happened, at times, I think that the very most of times people don't bother coming up with anything better just because they think they don't need it for their ends. Involving the intended main target(s) has usually been done via preempts, rather than with provocation/baits.
  6. Thanks for your reply, My Dear Shantamantan! That is what I did: this entry links to Azaghul's post and it shows at the bottom of the page when you browse the thread. I just changed the title because I considered the standard "From: ..." title to be (as usual) a poor indication of the topic of the blog entry.
  7. 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

    "Weak" CBs

    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... )
  9. jerdge

    In Praise of VE

    Well I am not sure what you're talking of but I definitely have zero ability to do anything, considering that I basically haven't time for CN anymore. I just had a uncooperative drive and I had a few minutes to waste while the system tried to fix it, but now I am back to RL business. (Not that this is anywhere near the point, though... )
  10. jerdge

    In Praise of VE

    Quite the opposite, he addresses your points with specific arguments and examples, whereas you insist with generic statements that you don't even bother to document (let alone "prove"), at the same time implicitly and explicitly accusing him of being intellectually dishonest. I think that your ideas are clever and that you are an intelligent poster, but your absolute refusal to give Shatt credit and to approach his posts openly is handicapping your contribution to the discussion, which is a loss for everyone.
  11. OK I think I called for it. Or MK since they allow us to do whatever we want and get away with it. GPA=MK enablers What have we done. Well I wrote "not interested in CN politics" but you're right that that is a poor description. I should have said "not interested in taking any side in CN politics".
  12. (Pre-emptive apology to OsRavan for the heavy cutting of his original post.) 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...
  13. Welcome back, Nin'.
  14. Welcome! You will soon realize that this little world of ours is full of nice and mean people. Just like Real Life. I hope you enjoy your stay.
  15. That's my point, Rush. Your "wanton destruction can't be honourable" argument is a RL correlation, or at least it looks like that to me.
  16. My point is not about people playing IC. I could care less. My point is the arbitrary use of "classy" and "honorable" because they represent a clear permeation of OOC morality over in-game realities. There is no "classy" and "honorable" in war, especially within the game. Senseless slaughter is (as it should be because its a game), a part of the IC reality of Bob. The very way war is fought is indicative of that. Wars are not fought to defend. The game offers no strategy mechanisms for a defensive war. Wars are fought to damage your enemy as much as possible even when you are the "defender" There is NEVER... in any situation, honor and class in simple destruction. Wait... You couldn't care less about people playing IC, but you explain what should or not be "part of the IC reality of Bob". Why should we take your angle on role-playing as superior? People can legitimately associate "class" and "honour" to whatever they please. Celebrating war, combat and even (what for us modern people are) atrocities, at the same time condemning disloyalty, isn't intrinsically incoherent: during the history of humankind there have been countless RL groups and cultures that practised atrocities and praised loyalty. Atrocities are also often committed without the public being really informed/concerned. Just think of terrorists and Nazis. Or consider that attacks that were bound to kill civilians have been justified/rationalized (and even cheered) even in modern democracies (WWII - or all recent conflicts, for that matter). OOC originated "class" and "honour" aren't arbitrary either: it's just that a game's "make believe" can't be completely invented from scratch, and people pick or discard RL concepts as they see fit for their own amusement. This is "as it should be because it's a game".
  17. Rush, if we play IC, why can't we imagine that IC mentality/values are just different from the RL ones? CN isn't much realistic, after all.
  18. Dang it. Thanks Mogar.
  19. I'm unsure about which genre this blog entry would belong to. Ktarthan help me!
  20. By the way, why «Et Tu, Single White Female?» (Apologies if it's supposed to be obvious.)
  21. White Chocolate isn't wrong: when a party you're in a deal with is involved in a war it isn't really easy to remain neutral whatever you do. Unless you made it clear in advance that you will suspend any deal until hostilities are resolved, which is what all people should do IMHO (to save everyone's time - and blogs!)
  22. jerdge

    WOTing on Schatt

    FYI being neutral is serious business... On topic: I don't dare insert myself in this discussion (or the wall-o-text mass could reach the critical point), but I'll have you all know that I have been reading it with great interest.
  23. jerdge

    You can say NO.

    Isn't that kind of my point? OOC cultural aspects can (and should) influence what's acceptable or not in the game, and people may also be unwilling to uphold relationships, if they're unacceptable for OOC reasons. good joke Do you mean that they have jurisdiction on off-game stuff? Do you know what "jurisdiction" means? What you do isn't nothing. exactly: nobody is going to say anything on the forums, they'll do the harassment on IRC because they cant get in trouble for it(unless it's in #cybernations) Seen from another angle, that situation works in favour of my vision: this place is an haven where OOC offenders are forced to shut up or to play by the rules of civility. That's a powerful weapon in the cultural battle to "occupy" this medium to defend one's vision. Occupy CN ITT! Save for the references to the MK, we're starting to agree here. I disagree with the place he decided to discuss that, and I partially disagree with his vision (see above), but I respect what he cites as his OOC motives.
  24. That was a good read, My Dear Shantamantan. Thanks!
  25. jerdge

    You can say NO.

    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 [ooc] Of course not, the only way to push someone out of the game nowadays is to harass them IRL until they flee to regain some sense of sanity in their personal lives. There's no need for war! [/ooc] Source: A Very Special TLR Birthday But that's a technicality and most certainly not the reason they left. [ooc]Obviously IRL takes precedence over the game, and these two were tormented endlessly while their daughter was missing and pretty much just because the guy they found had a nice looking car. They continued to be harassed IRL for a long time, Archon even deleted the threads to remove the evidence in case of litigation, and ultimately the two were run out of the game because MK would have never stopped harassing the piss out of them. And every single alliance who continued to hold a treaty with MK during and after that incident is equally responsible for enabling that savage, mob behavior. I will never forgive MK for what they did, and I absolutely believe they deserve to burn. Not just burn, eternal war. And every time they cry "Viet-MK!" and demand peace from "oppressors," everyone should point their fingers to the "bio-dad" incident and reply "No, up yours." Cancer doesn't deserve to be spared from endless rounds of chemo until it is totally and finally dead.[/ooc] Source: A Very Special TLR Birthday [ooc]I view what they did as, essentially, an unforgivable sin. There is no redemption for what they did. I'm OK with some of their members being granted peace on a case-by-case basis as long as they vacate the AA, but that alliance has fostered some of the most truly IRL immoral, illegal, unethical and downright evil activities. I disagree on the need to dive OOC as an acceptable avenue for "pushing the envelope." This is a !@#$ing online spreadsheet simulator, the object of which is to press buttons to make the other guy's numbers smaller. That is absolutely in no valid view of ethics an acceptable thing over which to IRL harass people over however many months it took before Kait and Hoo decided that it was better to leave and eliminate the never-ending harassment in their personal lives. This is a !@#$ing game. And MK is a cancerous tumor of a community that transcends the realm of this game to assault and harass players IRL. Maybe half of MK outright earned the right to be put under EZI, as I view anyone committing OOC, IRL harassment of this magnitude should be. As a counter example, take GOONS, an alliance I legitimately like a lot in an OOC sense. They are always pushing the envelope, but they do it pretty much entirely IC, which IS a valid route of pushing the envelope. They're my in-game opponents and oppressors, but OOC I truly love what they are doing, because it's the valid way to play the bad guy. GOONS brings something to the game, not to people's IRL doorstep.[/ooc] Source: A Very Special TLR Birthday
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