A fundamental discussion on roleplay events and World Forum activity

We need to talk about roleplay events and about the World Forum.

Why do we need to talk about this in my opinion? Because I need feedback. I am unsure what the community expects, whether I am stressing myself too much or too little. I am unsure, whether some of the established concepts simply do not work anymore or need an update. I really hope, that y’all have some input for me and that this discussion will bring a change to how we approach roleplay events in the future.

I’ll start this topic by providing you my personal assessment of the current situation around this topic and then I will ask some very general questions to get the discussion started. I hope to be able to propose some changes based on your reactions and whatever ideas come to my mind in the next few days.


1) Some assessments

1.1) The Football World Championships

Sports in roleplay are always existing. You can go to any NationStates roleplay community and you will find some sort of world cup currently in its planning stages or execution. Just now we’ve had Izaak’s Keanu & Hurley hosting a rugby world cup again, but we’ve also had Olympics by Besern or Ryccia already, a basketball world cup by Bzerneleg, a rally race by Izaak and probably even more tournaments like this by other roleplayers. Kringle is working on a tool we could use for those tournaments in the future as an alternative to dice or Xkorinate.

The most important roleplay sports event we have, if I may say so, was introduced by Qwert in 2017 however: The Football World Championship (FWC). Just like in real life, football does connect people and as such it doesn’t come as a surprise, that whenever registration opens, the tournament slots fill up quickly.

After a successful debut, I took over the world cup for two or three years before handing over the roleplay to others due to them winning the previous tournaments. In the “off-season”, Qwert and I worked on a history of the Football World Cup, which was supposed to receive a huge update as of last year, when I had the idea (and I felt the community agreeing with me), that we can or should account for more realism in the FWC history and the fluctuation in the playerbase.

Now we have had almost two years without any world cup due to time constraints by other roleplayers. I also didn’t push for them to do anything, because firstly no one should be exactly forced to host an event like this, secondly I had very little time especially last year myself and lastly working on this revised FWC history has been (and would still be) a lot more work and a lot less fun than I originally anticipated.

Still, it didn’t seem to me, anyone is missing anything at the moment or that there is a huge drive from within the community to keep the FWC alive (apart from one or two roleplayers asking, if I’ve finally finished the new stats, so they can claim one of the placeholders for themselves).

1.2) Cultural festivals

In 2021 I thought, introducing something fresh to the roleplay community would be a good idea, especially as one noticed with the world cups/sports events, that people did not really tend to write a lot about them – which goes kind of against the point of having a roleplay tournament in my opinion, because preferably it should not all be just stats or all just posts by the hosting roleplayer.

As such the idea of a cultural festival was born, in which players would need to invent a series, a movie or a staging for a musical performance. I dubbed it the “Southern Gate Festival” and “Pacivision”. While interest wasn’t too low, truth be told, it was still quite below my expectations. And while the first edition of the SGF as well as the 2nd edition of Pacivision really ignited some fire in the community, I couldn’t sense an excitement that was matching mine when I introduced the ideas to the community. A definite low-light for me was last year’s Pacivision Song Contest. It had its reasons, why it went down the way it did, but it saddens me nonetheless.

1.3) The World Forum

The World Forum was originally supposed to be a little model UN. Well, actually, something between the UN and just a discussion forum for policies. The roleplayers, who focused on developing the WF, will have eventually made it less and less of a forum and more like the UN, which was criticized IRP.

IC-ly and OOC-ly the WF was also criticized for being as slow as a huge tanker, as ineffective as its IRL counterpart, potentially not even as fun. The election process and the drafting of resolutions take a long time, have gotten quite complicated and in the end don’t really turn into results affecting the roleplay much/at all.

The WF seems like a nice thing to have, a good/better alternative to drafting World Assembly resolutions over on gameside, an arena to have IC debates on policies or semantics, but overall it seems to me, that having the WF as an active roleplaying instrument, is seen as a liability, something to purposefully overlook, forget and, if necessary, target some hate against to profile one own’s nation.

2.) Summary

From my point of view, we seem to have turned the wrong way at some point, but I don’t know where, why and how.

I only know the following:

It cannot be, that we have roleplay events that we try to hold annually, that don’t interest the community sufficiently enough to actively participate in them.

It cannot be, that those roleplay events – especially the FWC or anything around the WF – stop working and being played out, if us roleplay moderators don’t find the time, mood or creativity for them.

It cannot be, that we have the very same events now over on the NationStates Roleplay Forum hosted by other members of TSP. Not because they are not allowed to host such an event or rather make use of the NS infrastructure instead of our regional one, but because we literally compete against those off-site events. We are the roleplay community of TSP. We want new people to join this wonderful space and not stay over on off-site. This cannot work, if we have official TSP-RP events outsourced there.

It cannot be, that there are roleplayers actively trying to improve or use the concept of the WF only for it to likely be a waste of time and nerves.

3.) Questions

Do you agree with what I said above? I know, my wording might have been a bit harsh here and there, but I did not intend to attack anyone and honestly, I just wanted to give you an honest insight to my emotions and overall thoughts on this topic too. I cannot sugarcoat everything everytime.

Do you have any constructive criticism to share?

Where do you see the roleplay moderators (not) filling their role adequately (regarding this topic)?

What thoughts and emotions were invoked by this topic in you?


Please comment below. I hope for a constructive, civil, but also honest dialogue.

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While your cirticisms all have love for the Roleplay and logic behind it, I do not understand how you want things to change from a sudden “I don’t like this”. If you could elaborate what changes would you like to see, it’d be very helpful.

You also have to understand that we’re past the COVID times, meaning that we got less free time to ourselves. I have school, some people have work, so on.

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I have no experience with the football tournaments hosted on either here or on NS, since I arrived after the last FWC had already started, but is this maybe because the TSPers participating in these NS-hosted events aren’t part of Pacifica or other roleplay canons? Things like the FWC, the World Forum, the SGF/Pacivision, etc. all have participation in the wider Pacifica canon through a roleplay nation as a prerequisite to getting involved with them, and it doesn’t seem unexpected to me that TSP members who wish to be involved with roleplay sports, song contests, and other such events without committing to full participation in Pacifica would join or host events on NS instead.

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I agree on a lot of things said here, and I’d just like to throw out an idea that I’ve had for a while. All nations on the map should automatically be in the World Forum. Our application system is slow, the voting is biased, and the fact is that an UN-esque organization can’t work without the membership of the entire, or at least most, of the world. Of course, you would still only be able to vote once, and those who believe membership in the WF doesn’t make sense can just say they’re not in it, but overall most people should automatically be members.

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The WF as an institution’s biggest issue is speed IMO. Speed of RP is important to Pacifica specifically, since unlike in other canons we cannot (or at least don’t) arbitrarily hold the date back to a specific time- Pacifica progresses in real time. A reform I could think of, is that we as a community immediately decide on whether a given time-sensitive resolution should pass, and then we can have the IC debate as flavor, while the roleplay dependent (or affected) on that resolution can move on after a couple days at most.

The other thing about the WF is that yeah, it kind of gets ignored. I think a large part of this is just that we as a community need to get better at holding our fellow roleplayers accountable for at least semi-realistic, and more importantly, consequential roleplay. I discussed this a little in my ranking topic, but the bottom line is that roleplays should have consequences. I think we need to be a bit more willing to sit down with a roleplayer and say “Hey. X is happening to your nation, and yet we are seeing Y happen, when Z should be happening.” If they decline to, say, have their nation actually act like it had been sanctioned, or had been recently capitulated in a war, that’s okay- have fun not interacting with the majority of the playerbase.

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For what it’s worth, I think collaborative and communal roleplay like the World Forum, the Football World Championship, or Pacivision can play an important role. I think it feels much easier to just throw out a flavor-of-the-week headline on PNN than to engage in ‘consequential’ roleplay — and not just for newer roleplayers. I know there are times when I’ve wanted to get more active in roleplay but feel like the current storylines are buried in PNN or spread across too many topics to keep track of. I think there’s something powerful about coming together as a community, not just jockeying over GDP or military strength rankings, but truly roleplaying together.

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Yeah. Pacifica does rely a bit much on PNN, significantly more than other canons rely on their versions. A1-0 and Aurora (when they were active) as well as the Extra-canon project Agrippa-259 all have roleplays mostly carried out in separate topics. This makes individual events way easier to follow and compartmentalize IMO, and makes finding information so much easier. I actually feel the need to commend @Kobegr01 for not only having a seperate news topic, making their posts easier to sift through, but also doing a narrative solo-rp, which Pacifica rarely sees. I think Pacifica could benefit from waning our reliance on PNN as the primary method with which RP is conducted.

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With all due respect, taking this kind of action to enforce consequences for economic sanctions of all things is an absolutely terrible idea for a number of reasons:

  1. Sanctions get tossed around constantly and for what would IRL be regarded as extremely petty reasons. It is entirely unreasonable to expect people to roleplay the total and lasting destruction of their economies, or even something as minor as a typical economic downturn, because of an event that happens every other hour in Pacifica and which people are inclined to impose at the drop of a hat.

  2. Sanctioning countries do not suffer consequences of sanctions in any capacity at all, so why should the sanctioned countries have to? My personal policy in this area is that if you did not trade with Pelinai enough for a halt on it to affect you, then you clearly did not trade with Pelinai enough for sanctions to affect me either. Until people start adhering to the realistic consequences of their own sanctions, I will be wholly against any attempts whatsoever to force people to accept the impact of sanctions imposed by others.

  3. This comes dangerously close to a community-sanctioned break of the consent rule. Sanctions are an entirely one-sided roleplay action that can be unilaterally applied to one roleplayer by another without any sort of consultation of the other party, and attempting to force the targeted roleplayer to engage with this action using an OOC-imposed block against community engagement would be tantamount to coercing them into engaging with an undesired roleplay and canonizing a predetermined outcome that they don’t want.

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Sports are quite labour intensive for big tournaments, so I think we should keep them less frequent, and focus more on smaller events to drum up a general both competency in hosting/running events and to keep interest up, I’m hoping to introduce something similar to the 6 nations into the regions if people are interested.

World forum I think has died a bit since we moved to the new forum, and now it doesn’t have its own dedicated space. Atm it’s drowned out in a hundred threads about players who are here today gone tomorrow, and I think it’s lost something since then. It was always slow before, but it atleast had some movement.

And Pelanai, tbf, sanctions get tossed around a lot because there is a lot of seriously dodgy and out of this world behaviour.

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In an ideal world, we would have regular roleplay events, where the general interest in participation is high and also the actual participation rate (at the very least through short posts on the event topic or PNN) matches that interest. The events have their host, but the community - if interested in keeping certain events alive - for themselves, for lore reasons and as an roleplay advertisement tool for people currently outside our canon or region - should not be fully reliant on one or two roleplayers for those events to keep appearing and working.

Now your point with people having less time is a valid point to be made. I mentioned how I have had little time myself. Next to that, maybe the actual interest in some of the events is not too high. That’s why, I would at least want to hear from the community, how they view the current situation or where they think we can/should deliberately cut (regular) events out of our roleplay. I don’t think, that that would make the situation much better for this community/canon or would be in any way beneficial, if we think about wanting our community to keep its slow, but steady growth, but at least we would have clarity on this topic. Hence why I opened this topic.

In the end, I just want clarity.

It doesn’t surprise me either actually. Due to map overcrowding, we limited, who can officially join our canon and retain their lore. Maybe this was an arrow to our knee regarding the topic I brought up, although I still believe that overall our map rule decisions taken were justified and overall had a positive effect on our lore/community.

Agreed to use the “embassy approach”.

Before that you said, we cannot/do not hold the date back to a specific time. Indeed I have never really understood either, why we didn’t, especially since I remember Qwert and myself mentioning over on the Discord a few times, that we could/should assume those debates happening in a span of 1-3 days, even if months have passed, but somehow we all never did so.
As for the quoted point, I find that idea interesting and would be looking forward what other people might think about this.

Agreement with this, but also with the points by Pronoun and Rob, that followed after that. I think, it is not easy to have a canon with common lore, maybe high activity, but still a low access threshold. The consent rule, the time roleplayers can put into roleplay, the complexity of roleplayable topics like war or the economy or sports can make or break the canon.
As such. I’m not sure, there’s a recipe to combine your, Pronoun’s and Rob’s points to a concept working perfectly. At most we could change our priorities regarding those three main categories.

For me I can say, that I (and also a few other older roleplayers iirc) already do ignore some stats or actions, if they just seem too crazy/too far off and maybe even delibarately decide to not interact with some nations. Due to consent rules, this is within every player’s discretion to do as much as it is under e.g. sanctioned player’s discretion to somewhat ignore everything.

Interesting point. Would you say, that therefore creating a definite common lore/history for those sport events might go too far? Or would you rather say, we should create some lore, but simulate most years while actively playing out tournaments irregularly?

Yes. Although I must say, the categorisation of the posts doesn’t happen without reason and is one of the main features of Discourse. The “wf” category is our replacement to a dedicated WF subforum.

I think a definite common lore/history for these events is great if we have it already, but I don’t think historically we need to go into too much detail. I think if we create a backstory we just generate data based on who we think would be ok. Like for example let’s say there’s a surfing world championship. I would say it’s ok to just go, there was a tournament in Besern in 1980, Keanu and Hurley, Brodlancia and Montacia are all known to surf let’s give them top spots.

I think it’s ok if we only do football world cups every 4 years, but I also think it’s ok if we don’t do it at regular intervals, and just do it when someone thinks they have enough time for it.

In-between those I don’t think it’s a bad idea to do small mini events with 4 or 5 nations in your local neighbourhood. For example there could be an annual Frastina football cup with like 6 of you. I think it would be more interesting for the players in your neighbourhood, and it’s less concentrated input. Could even be club sports so it doesn’t impact the international football rankings to save work. You could each throw a team in and start from the quarter finals, not bothering to simulate earlier stages.

Don’t stress the details, stimulate the fun.

This will be a reply to the original post, since commenting on everything said so far right away is a bit overwhelming.

Sports and culture events
Arranging and managing them means a lot of work, especially while also trying to maintain the hype around them. I know it can be a bit disheartening when there isn’t a lot of engagement from players who singed up for them, but that’s not necessarily (or often not) why we sign up. We want to be a part of it and see how our nations fair primarily. Also, writing a participant reply to e.g. a match event might require lots of research, especially if you lack in e.g. the necessary vocabulary to believably describe a game of football (I’m one of them). In order to keep sports and culture events alive and have them occur regularly, I think we need to accept that not every iteration of the events will be getting the same amount of work every time (neither by host or participant). Hosting according to your own style and ability should be encouraged. If we want them to happen.

World Forum
The WF often receives unfair criticism of being slow. Yes, progressing debates takes a lot of RL time, but as I often point out, time does not progress that fast for the Assembly ICly. Also, drafting and adopting resolutions IRL isn’t done in a flash either. That being said, I get the frustration. I have on several occasions brought up an alternative: make the actual drafting process more OOC and only write those (ultra-)realistic resolutions when we really feel like it.

TSPedia (adding a new discussion point)
The wiki is a fantastic tool for worldbuilding and many of us truly enjoy it. The community has never had so much lore to dive into and never as many well-defined nations as now. But there’s a downside to it. It takes a lot of time. Time no longer spent on actual roleplays where our characters meet (or where we let people comment and react to sport events). I do believe that we see a lot less of those classical RPs nowadays compared to a few years ago.

4 Likes

On the WF, maybe we have a 4 day time limit on emergency debates and amendments such as sanctions etc, and then it goes to a vote regardless of whether it’s seconded, and goes to a vote over 3 days. That way everything is completed in a week.
Then for more major changes, like new legislation or formation of institutions we do the full formal debate, but maybe set a timeline of 11 days of debate with 3 days of votes. I think maybe we sacrifice a bit of quality for speed.

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I think we could probably simplify the WF too by just having binding and non-binding resolutions. Because I think there are like 4 kinds of resolutions right now, and that’s not really necessary. Also not easy to decipher how to write one, it should just be like a UN res, those are super easy to write.

WF timing

Only regarding WF timing because no idea regarding other mentioned.
Inspired strongly by concepts brought up by Flaming bolded here, as well as other comments:

The WFR’s voting might be improved if the timing of consequences (including: OOC literal voting and OOC literal timing of the WFR procedures; IRP activities/events arising from WFR’s) and timing proposal procedures (including: IRP element such as debates, voting, consequences and follow-up actions) were separate.

Immediate dilemma occurring is between OOC rewarding activity of the player versus IRP reflection of inertia/ineffectiveness.
OOC activity (as in OOC time for things such as introducing a proposal, voting time-frame, the “timing consequences” mentioned above) could be kept static.
IRP activity could be subject to revision. As in, when the debate takes place and when consequences of a WFR are manifested. This might be better elaborated with an example of a WFR IRP procedure taking 5 days to 1 month for those involved in it (such as characters involved which shouldn’t really be used for anything else at the time) to complete.
Additionally, it could be amplified by WFR consequences/results/events being effective as of (date 1-2 months away from the time it was proposed). I opted for it being applied into the future because it incentivizes involvement and introducd possibilities for event creativity and planning.


(written as caveman because tired, broke word should suffice)

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About the timing, is there a reason why we can’t all agree to have the votes be taken in a IC time period, which is independent from the OOC time it takes for the voting?

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Don’t think so

After reading through this thread I’ll chime in with a general reply (also to push the debate up as next Speaker elections are around the corner)

  1. World Forum resolutions
    I think that the currently drafting system is pretty good. In my opinion the real UN resolutions are often very vague and not really a natural thing to read, as most of that work gets done in the committees. Because we don’t really do that, we have differentiated, or rather Gianni did, between several different forms of resolutions. The fact that the resolution has to encompass the necessity among other things shows that the standard of the WF resolutions we have.
    An another point are the votes: I agree that the duration of votes are pretty long, which they have to be to get everyone to vote. However that makes the WF really slow. I think a reasonable compromise would be to put Standard resolutions immediately to a vote, with amendments and a debate possible afterwards and non-standard resolutions with a debate before the vote. With that the WF is quick in emergency situations whilst still realistic in non-emergency situations.
  2. Implementation of resolutions/sanctions etc.
    The other problem is that players often do not comply with sanctions, e.g. Akarina, in that case I think it would be reasonable to not RP/interact with them further. We all want to have a certain degree of realism here and a country where there have been nuclear bomb explosions, has been sanctioned to death basically, launching a space probe is highly unrealistic. We should use our collective right of not interacting to keep that level of realism. If the nations do hold that level then new interactions are possible.
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