OP/ED:Is it "Cool" to be a Delegate?

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Here’s your boring picture. It’s boring because this is an OP/ED post. But at least it’s not the typical OP/ED pictures of the authors, where they’re smiling or proping their head up with their index finger leaning on the side of their face as their glasses go crooked, or looking all intellectual as they hold a pen. Nah. You just get a surely Todd here. Nothing special.

OP/ED:Is it “Cool” to be a Delegate?

In various lunchrooms and near watercoolers across the NS World: In this special OP/ED edition of Free Press News Service, we get right down to our base, the reader, and ask his or her thoughts on how the term “delegate”, especially game-created region (GCR) is viewed across the NS World (mostly because it’s late at night and the author is a little tired of reading the infighting across various threads here).

Hear us out. Let’s go back to summer of 2008, which was, more or less, another summer lul in activity. Back then, we simply had five feeder regions, The Rejected Realms, and Lazarus. Of those seven regions, just three had legitimate regular delegate elections (TNP, Lazarus, TWP). Others had ways one could become a delegate by a vote (TSP, The Rejected Realms) but the means to do that were rather cumbersome and at times very, very difficult to pull off. Still other regions (TEP, TP) had no elections or regional input as to who the delegate would be whatsoever - it was more or less handed down from nation to nation at the digression of the current delegate.

Enter the Summer of 2013. We have two more game-created regions (Balder and Osiris), each which have their own regular delegate elections. They join the likes of pretty much every other game-created region (TNP, TEP, TSP, TRR, Lazarus, TWP). This begs a few questions: 1. Why the sudden shift, 2. How does this impact the game, and 3. Is this a good thing.

The author could go into detail and pull up relevant facts here and there that support a certain set of claims, but it’s late and it’s an OP/ED column - no one reads these things anyway unless they’re using the bathroom and don’t have anything else to read, so they take the paper in with them and eventually work their way down to the back of Section C after fighting with their colon. Let me cut to the quick. The sudden shift, in my opinion, is a result of the blending of NS Society. TEP, for instance, was motivated to change after being couped. A rag-tag group of natives and important figures from other regions came together and more or less refined their government, adding in regular delegate elections. TSP was cut from a similar piece of meat: a coup prompted a change in their election system, which was at first resisted by older players, but then further refined, resulting in what we have today: regular delegate elections. These players gleaned on successes from the past, creating a creole of their own past government with good ideas from other ones. Osiris and Balder were formed by a conglomeration of players where regular delegate elections seemed instinctual. Some helped out in TSP or TEP, or some simply were well-versed in other governments or history. Even The Rejected Realms, which had been ruled by Kandarin for many years, initially had some trouble in dealing with a power void, but then, after attracting new players to the region, succumbed to regular delegate elections.

Is this exactly how it happened? Well no; it’s purely circumstantial. I’m drawing correlations here, but in reality there are a lot of factors that go into these big governmental shifts. I could just as easily blame this on things like influence and put up the sub-par argument I’m coming up with right now. Anyway, the net result is a lot of governments with different things about them, but core traits being fairly similar. Is this a bad thing? That depends on what your values are, I suppose. Let’s shift gears. Has the delegate pool been watered-down as a result of this sudden influx of delegate elections? Could be. But then again it’s made things more interesting in some regions. People who couldn’t have been delegate five years ago due to politics or some other silly reason are now able to do so this day and age. Even so, one can’t really argue that delegates ‘aren’t as good’ as they were back then - there are plenty of examples of ‘bad delegates’ back then as there are within the past few years. So I don’t subscribe to that point of view. If anything, I like the fact that more people can become delegate of a GCR these days. It doesn’t make it less special; on the contrary, because we have many dynamic GCR’s these days, perhaps it makes it more special due to how often delegacies can change.

But think on this: do we really see a lot of delegate changes? I mean, yeah, we’ll see delegates come in and come out. But do we often see a real bonafide new person at the helm as often as we should? In many regions you’ll find a ‘musical chairs’ sort of system where 3-5 guys are pretty much the go-to-guys to become a delegate, based on a number of factors: loyalty, longevity, trustworthiness, and, yeah I’ll say it, influence (as it relates to the game). Is this fair? Is it right? Or can it actually be different than this?

I got this a little bit when I was delegate of The East Pacific. I’ve heard it called “Planet Todd” or “Todd’s East Pacific” in the past. It sort of made me cringe because it’s really not me running the place. It’s all the people around me. I didn’t want to have the region thought of as a one-man show because that’s totally not fair to the people inside it or the people around me who did a whole lot of work in the region with me. And those people are capable of becoming a delegate and running the show too - there’s no magical thing that happens to a player where they suddenly have an epiphany and start immersing themselves in politics, kissing babies, etc. But it seems to be that unless the person removes themselves from the equation totally, they become a default. And that’s not a bad thing for a region to have, but for that region to grow it’s going to need new people to step up, make some changes, and yes, occasionally make mistakes. People pretty much seem to know what they’re getting when they get a TEP Todd delegate. People don’t really know what they’d be getting if they got someone from their legislature to lead the helm, for instance. And the unknown is what causes intrigue and curiosity, something that can help accelerate a community.

I’m not trying to pick on any region here. Truth be told, I could probably change the situation around and make it fit many GCR’s these days. Is it a bad thing? Well, no. Like I said, it helps to have a few of those people in the core to keep one’s region going well. But it does make me wonder. Is this system that we seem to have in place a good one? Have I totally misinterpreted the entire GCR delegate system and am I a doofus for doing so? Or is there some change we could implement to make things more… dynamic?