[Beyond the Borders] An Interview with Delegate of the South Pacific Anjo

An Interview with Delegate of the South Pacific Anjo
Interview conducted by Istillian
Edited by Maowi

On August 12, 2022 the Pact of Orohena between the South Pacific and Europeia was ratified, and with it came the fruition of new friendships between our regions. In the latest Foreign Affairs update published by the South Pacific, it was announced that Tepertopia (Anjo) had formally assumed the in-game Delegacy of the South Pacific on July 28. As such, the Europeian Broadcasting Corporation reached out to Anjo to both congratulate them on their success, and to discuss their experiences on NationStates and rise to the delegacy of the South Pacific (TSP).

We first queried Anjo on where they got their start on NationStates and how they got to to the position they are in today, to which Anjo responded, "I have a habit of sometimes listening to national anthems on [YouTube], and one day I stumbled upon one of 1984 Eurasia, which had a link to the uploader's NS [NationStates] nation in the description, and it sounded kinda cool so I decided to make a nation. I was founded in TEP (the East Pacific), but ended up moving to TSP after about a month of only issues-answering because it gave off the most welcoming look from the regions I looked at. I was mostly just a silent voter until then-Chair of the Assembly Purple Hyacinth made a public application process to become Deputy Chair, due to which I became her Deputy and stayed on as such for almost a year, after that I was elected as Chair myself twice. I also led the Office of WA Legislation (our WA department) for a couple months during my Deputy Chair tenure; after some RL [real life] interference earlier this year, I became OWL Director again after a series of resignations in the office - so my career in TSPolitics consists mostly of bureaucratic/administrative offices."

After gaining a background on Anjo's origins on NationStates, we asked them about their rise to the Delegacy. Anjo said, "When the Delegate elections started in July, I was nominated so I decided to spontaneously give it a go, and actually ended up winning after Penguin (the incumbent) had to drop out of the race due to RL matters. So yeah, that's how I ended up in the Delegate seat!"

As Anjo had mentioned that there were Delegate elections in TSP, and that they were nominated for it too, for an outsider to TSP we were curious as to what the election or appointment process to becoming the Delegate of TSP was, and asked Anjo for some insight in this area. Anjo answered, "The Delegate is elected in a two-round process, with one round of voting held on the forums and one held on-site. For the forum round, there's first a nomination and campaigning phase, where people can make their nominations/declare their candidacy and post their campaigns, which is then followed by an approval vote on all candidates, where only the registered legislators (basically what other regions often call "citizens") can cast a ballot. The two candidates with the highest approval ratings advance to the on-site round, which is a regional poll with voting restricted to native WA members, and whoever wins a majority of the vote there becomes the Delegate-elect. After the election, the outgoing Delegate and the Delegate-elect work together to ensure a speedy transition, and the new Delegate is considered officially inaugurated once they actually take the in-game position."

Although Anjo had already mentioned that they decided somewhat spontaneously to run, we pried on their ambition for the role further and asked if this was the only time they had felt that they wanted to run for the position, or if this had been a desire from before then. Anjo introspectively answered, "I think the ambition to become Delegate one day was always a bit there - I know this may sound a bit power-hungry, but the position always had this fascinating aura, being trusted to, y'know, not coup the region and all with those extensive de facto powers. The TSP position of Delegate as apolitical Head of State also fit my style of office, as I described, relatively well, although I figured the whole additional communication and social stuff would be a bit of a challenge for good old introvert me. I didn't think I'd take a shot at it so (relatively) soon - the Delegates I experienced before me were all seasoned politicians and long-time, well-known community members - but when I was nominated and was typing up my usual "I'm honored but respectfully decline", I realized that this might be one of the better opportunities I would get for running, as the usual obstacles weren't there; mainly, the university semester would just be over when the election concluded so I'd have lots of time to kill, and there were no other NS offices that'd conflict directly (before, I would have had to resign as Chair, but I really enjoyed that job so I didn't want to)."

Interestingly, these experiences seemed very similar to the respective positions in Europeia, such as when taking on head of government or minister style roles in the region. Moving on to their more specific responsibilities we asked what Anjo does in their role as Delegate on a day-to-today basis, and what they would want to do to enhance their role as Delegate in TSP in the future. "Well, day-to-day stuff is mostly helping the Local Council (our devolved gameside government) moderate the RMB (Regional Message Board) and answering resident telegrams. A recurring thing is also the monthly Endorsement Days challenge that is traditionally run by the Delegate - basically a mini-contest to see who can endorse the most nations over the first three days of a month. Something I plan (and will likely have started when this gets published, actually!) to do for more gameside engagement with the off-site government is to revive the "Delegate's Briefing", a bi-weekly summary of government activity and WA membership stats, which was created by Amerion during his Delegacy. In collaboration with our Ministry of Engagement, I also want to create a kind of RMB award system, where you can win cards for quality RMB activity. But I don't have any absolutely revolutionary plans, the Delegate doesn't have too much legal power anyway and my predecessors have mostly perfected the whole "gameside-forumside connection" role that the Delegate is expected to fulfil already."

As mentioned, Europeia and TSP are enjoying the recent ratification of the Pact of Orohena, and we were curious to hear about how this relationship would affect Anjo as Delegate, and their hopes for this friendship going forward. "Now, the most direct impact for me as Delegate will likely be the additional embassy cross-posting, but folks from UCRs (user-created regions) are generally more well-behaved than a newly spawned GCR (game created region) nation, and the Europeians that already have paid a visit to our RMB all left pleasant impressions, so for one I look forward to more nice interactions between our regions' residents there - I think this also really helps cement our friendship on a personal basis in residents' minds. More generally, I'm always happy to see regions become friends and stay such - especially if they already had a number of common friends, like in this case - as I believe that working together will almost always be a mutually beneficial thing, be it so that you can host bigger and cooler cultural events together or coordinate more efficiently on R/D [Raiding and Defending] matters (I have only rudimentary GP [gameplay] knowledge, so please forgive me if I can't speak too much about it)!"

It was great to hear Anjo's passion for their community here, and with so many highlights we asked what Anjo would say is the most important and most unique part of TSP, compared to other NationStates communities. "Hm, it's difficult to pin down for me, especially since I don't get around to other NS communities much. For me personally, - and I know this is a kinda weird answer for a literal political simulator community - I'm very much in love with TSP's consensus culture. While our structures resemble a typical majoritarian political system, in practice we take almost all decisions by very large majorities in the 80-90% range, and seldom have bigger fights (barring exceptional situations like the ongoing Great Council, but that pretty much exists to shake things up), whether in government or just in casual Discord chatter; I just think it's a refreshing break from RL politics while still being, well, politics!"

Noting the many players that have been around in TSP that are just such incredible people that add so much to the political and social culture there, we could see why anyone would want to thrive in the region too. Though despite this we wondered if Anjo were able to change one thing about NationStates what it would be. "I'm terrible at thinking of cool new features and there's nothing that currently really annoys me that I'd fix (save for maybe a grand extension of the NS API, for my programmer heart, but that's semi-planned already anyway as I understood it), so... maybe magically free up admin's time so they are free to put all more of their time into NS and make many new things (instead of me doing one) without having to worry about inferior RL matters too much...?"

Finally, beyond the Delegacy and their dedication for TSP's community, we asked if Anjo had any particular hopes or ambitions for the future. Anjo replied, "I'd really like to get more actively involved in WA resolution writing! It's the one area of the game that interested me from the very start, but so far I've always only been on the reactive side of things (critiquing already submitted proposals via OWL etc.). On a regional level, I'd love to join the Judiciary one day, but that will have to wait at least until my Delegate term is over, probably more since I've never really interacted with it yet... But all this could change quickly, one moment I can be fixated on this part of the game, and then the next, so perhaps I'm an evil cards overlord next time you hear from me!"