[Beyond the Borders] Q&A with Moon, Former Prime Minister of The South Pacific





Q&A with Moon, Former Prime Minister of The South Pacific






Sopo: Where did you get your start in NS and how did you get to where you are today?

Moon:
I first found NS way back in late 2017, when I was looking for…something, and stumbled upon the site. I guess it looked interesting enough to me, because I created Neocity the same day and started doing what everyone usually does; answer issues, chat with other fellow 14-year olds on the RMB and write horrible GA drafts. Funnily enough, the first region I moved to after founding was Europeia, where I did pretty much nothing. I CTEd soon thereafter, maybe in early 2018.

Fast forward to early 2021, and I was going through a bit of a rough time in real life. TLDR I decided to do something to distract myself and found this wretched site again. I thought, “hey, let’s give this thing another try and see how long I can last without getting bored”. I forgot the password I had for Neocity and I didn’t know that you can get the site to send you a new password, so I created a new nation and spawned in TSP. I joined the Discord server, a bunch of ministries and the South Pacific Special Forces, and the rest is history.

HumanSanity encouraged me to run for Minister of Media after the previous Minister decided to not run again, and that’s how my service in TSP’s Cabinet began.

Sopo: You recently concluded your time as Prime Minister of The South Pacific. What made you decide to seek that office? How would you reflect on your term now?

Moon:
Circumstances, really. I was the Minister of Defense at that time and I think it had been a month into the term when HS resigned. I didn’t actually think of running for the position until someone off-handed said that they thought I would be a pretty good Prime Minister if I decided to run. After thinking about it for a bit, I found that pretty green-blue masking the PM gets too good to resist and decided to throw my hat in.

As for how I did, I would say it was a quiet and unassuming term, compared to HS’ preceding, very successful tenure in the position. TSP had entered into a sort of slump by the time I took over, with a lot of people gradually losing interest in the political aspects of our region and domestic government participation reaching some pretty damning lows. I spent the majority of my term trying to fight against that slump and to get people interested in things again, with most of my focus on trying to keep the ship afloat and not let everything go to hell. I also worked with USoVietnam to reform our player integration practices, which is probably the thing I’m most proud of.

I enjoyed the most working on foreign affairs issues with Sandaoguo (Glen) and HS, who hopped aboard later on as a FA advisor. Before this, I used to view FA as this complex, meaningless thing with no end in sight. Being the PM helped break that misconception of mine and I really enjoyed interacting with other regions and working with them to accomplish various goals and agendas. My favorite part was the long discussions me, Glen, HS and sometimes Roavin would have about various happenings around Gameplay, as we tried to discern why a particular action was taken by someone and how it would impact TSP and our interests. Those conversations helped me learn a lot and grow as a player, and I still go back and fondly look back at those months-old conversations, like a creep :p

At the end of the day, you can say that I was more of a transitional leader than a wildly successful and revolutionary one, which is fine with me. There’s a lot of things I would’ve done differently if given the chance to redo, but overall I’m pretty satisfied with what I’ve accomplished.

Sopo: During your tenure, you proposed a Great Council. Could you tell us how that came to be and what you hope is achieved through it?

Moon:
The idea for the Great Council wasn’t something that I initially pondered deeply upon. I think I was slightly drunk at that time and venting to HS about how inactive the region was and how I felt frustrated feeling like I was the only one giving a crap about what happened to the place. Things just flowed from there and we ended up with me proposing a GC half-jokingly and HS saying that ‘a GC wouldn’t be a terrible idea at this point’.

After I reached a more sober state, I decided to actually follow through Slightly Drunk Moon’s words and reached out to a couple of regionmates to see what they thought of the idea. I got generally positive responses from them, so I decided to take a leap of faith and started drafting an Assembly resolution for calling a GC, with HS, Glen and Kringalia’s help. A couple of weeks later, this thread was posted in the Assembly subforum.

As for what I expect out of it, well that’s a bit complicated. My original goal when I proposed the GC was to make people acknowledge that there were serious problems with how we did things, and not pretend that the slump we were going through at that time was a seasonal affliction and all would be well with time. I wanted to shake the entire region out of that reverie and make them realize that maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea to reexamine our current system and ask ourselves the question, “Are we on the right track?”. I think I’ve managed to achieve that, as people now have generally accepted the premise that it’s alright to introspect as a region once in a while and not be afraid of any incoming, unknown change, as evidenced by the resolution passing the vote by a comfortable margin.

As for what’s next, I surprisingly don’t have any set plans in my mind. Yes, I do have some ideas of mine that I would like to propose during the GC, but apart from that I’d like to keep an open mind regarding any good-faith proposal that gets put forth out there and consider its merits as fairly as I can.

Sopo: What are your hopes for TSP going forward?

Moon:
I’m quite optimistic about the incoming Cabinet that’s about to succeed mine. We’ve got two proven leaders in Qvait/Jay and HS, very exciting new talents in Eggaria/Rosaferri and Esfalsa/Pronoun and returning veterans in Ebonhand/Griffindor and Belschaft. Overall, a really solid Cabinet that can lead TSP out of the transition and towards great things, especially with a GC happening in the backdrop.

Domestically, I hope that we continue improving our player engagement and integration practices with the Frontier/Stronghold update in mind, as well as build up an unique regional identity that allures suitable new players to stay put in the region and allures prospective contributors from elsewhere to here. There’s also a pretty cool radio program in the works (my sincerest gratitude to Europeia for that :D) that I hope we’ll see more of in the coming months!

Externally, I hope that we’ll continue being a leader of the defender faction and utilize our unique status as one of the five feeders to forge mutually beneficial relationships with regions we have shared agendas with, something I think we’ve done a bit less over the last couple of years due to understandable reasons (i.e focusing more on factional integration due to the non-traditional path to our inclusion in it). Otherwise, I think we’re in a pretty good spot FA-wise and I expect the same to continue under Jay/HS’ leadership!

Sopo: I understand that you've written a number of Security Council resolutions. What inspired you to get involved with the SC? Which resolution has been most meaningful to you?

Moon:
Initially, it was the desire to see a close friend get the shiny badge that they absolutely deserved. I think it was in April 2021(?) when I saw a post in the SC Ideas thread by a XKI resident suggesting HS as a candidate for a Commendation, and Quebecshire and Lenlyvit agreeing with them in subsequent posts. I guess I had some interest in how this entire SC thing worked, because I reached out to HS soon thereafter to get his thoughts about a Commendation and started working on it when I got his permission to do so. I liked the entire process of digging deep into a nominee’s time on this site and talking with their contemporaries to get a better sense of the magnitude of their achievements far more than I should’ve. I was hooked, you could say. When Commend HS passed pretty comfortably, I decided that since this was something I liked doing and was half-decent at, I would continue doing it until I got bored. Five resolutions and a year later, here I am, still writing things for the SC.

As for which one’s been the most meaningful to me, that’s a tough one to answer, since I shockingly like everything I’ve written pretty equally :p If I had to go out on a limb and choose one, I would say Commend Pope Hope for various contextual stuffs. From the way that resolution came to be to the interesting bits of history me and Grea Kriopia discovered together while researching for the resolution (we even managed to interview the original founder of Nasicournia, someone who left the site in 2003, while doing so!) and the fun we had incorporating subtle references and inside jokes into the draft, I really enjoyed every part of the process there. The fact that it was for someone a lot of people believe to be the greatest defender in history made it all the sweeter. It also happens to be the most uncontroversial resolution I’ve passed yet, so more things to remember it by!

Sopo: As a member of The Grey Wardens, you serve as a Warden-Lieutenant as well as their ambassador to Europeia. What has your experience been in TGW? How has it differed from TSP?

Moon:
I joined TGW a couple of days after I returned back to NS, if my memory serves me correctly. I remember reading the Gameplay forum out of curiosity one day and stumbling upon a report Matthew had posted on it. I guess there was something in there that made me go “Wow, they look like cool peeps!”, because I ended up joining the organization soon after that. I wouldn’t join the SPSF until after another two weeks, so TGW ended up being the place where I learned how to defend.

TGW’s basically my second home at this point, and even if I leave the place, I don’t think I would be able to express enough gratitude at it for teaching me basically everything I know about NS. The community there is something you’re probably not going to find anywhere else; competitive yet relaxing at the same time, with most of the people being there for a veritable fun time, both for themselves and others. It’s also probably one of the most supportive online communities I’ve been in, with the peeps I’ve met there always willing to stand by my side and lend an ear when I was going through a difficult period IRL. So yeah, nothing but positive experiences there for me, although I dislike how almost everyone has borderline heretical tastes in foods and drinks. It seems to be a theme in seemingly every region I look at. Maybe there’s something with NS that messes with your tastebuds too…

I think the most obvious difference between TSP and TGW is that well, the former’s a democracy and the latter’s an autocratic military organization. TSP’s more open about its internal disagreements than TGW is, thanks to its egalitarian nature, which makes it possible for everyone to get involved with the region’s inner workings. TGW on the other hand is authoritarian, yes, but it’s also a very relaxed type of dictatorship, with Warden-Lieutenants and Warden-Constables being generally free to pursue their own projects to improve the Order with the First Warden’s approval. While it’s obviously not as democratic as TSP is, there’s a precedent of First Wardens taking feedback from active Wardens/Guardians/residents before implementing any sort of changes, so there are opportunities to make your voice heard there and I think it works really well in ensuring that any changes are meaningful and efficient in nature, and not just someone shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. But otherwise yeah, kind of different vibes from each other due to the fundamental contrasts in the governing structures of both regions.

Sopo: A little birdie told me you're a bit of an NS history buff. What's your favorite story from before your time that you've come across?

Moon:
Heh. I think my favorite one would be about the time the NPO, under then-Emperor Mammothistan, applied for membership in the Alliance Defense Network (the largest defender coalition in history with over 60 member regions, was active from 2003-2006 and engaged in open hostilities with the NPO) as a troll move, not expecting Pope Hope to accept it to troll them back. Neither party was willing to back down, so the ADN leadership had to spend a considerable amount of energy trying to convince its confused members that having the NPO in their fold wouldn’t be such a bad thing, while the NPO Senate had to explain to its angry populace about why they were joining arms with their sworn enemies. This went on for quite a while, before someone (likely from the NPO’s side) decided to pull the plug and put an end to this hilarious saga. Ananke, who was the ADN’s Secretary of State at that time, reminisced about this here.

I also liked Avakael and Kazaman’s accounts from their respective perspectives about the rise and demise of the Commonwealth, which I think many older Europeian peeps might recall. To me, that story’s such a perfect representation of how NSGP used to be more than a decade ago; an exciting, undeveloped landscape that still didn’t have the limits we’ve put on ourselves to ensure the enjoyability of the game for all, which made it a very dangerous place to be in.

Sopo: You're also a citizen in Europeia. What inspired you to join? How have you found Europeia compares to the other regions of which you're a member?

Moon:
Nostalgia, mainly. Like I’ve said early on, Europeia was my first NS region and even as I did stuffs in TSP and other regions, I wanted to come back to it someday. I decided to take the plunge early in this year and applied for citizenship, after the lovely Cove encouraged me to do so.

I feel like Europeia’s always been considered as the archetype of a ‘political’ region around the wider community, and from what I’ve seen this certainly rings true. The region takes its politics very seriously, as evidenced by the extremely impressive, if a bit intimidating, legislative system it boasts. Everyone’s also seemingly not satisfied with the existing status quo; they’re always looking for things to improve upon, no matter how small those changes might be, and are constantly asking themselves whether the region’s progressing in the right track or not. I found this near-constant mood of introspection to be extremely enjoyable; it means that in a way, instead of letting a select group of elite determine how the region will progress in an unchallenged fashion, the citizenry continually making their voice heard and being actively involved with the decision-making process, which is an amazing thing. I think the closest comparison I have for this unique brand is TSP, which is probably the most ‘political’ of all the feeders out there, but TSP is more laidback and focuses on the social aspects of the site, whereas Europeia obviously concerns itself more with political roleplay and similarly-related things.

Sopo: Finally, concluding your PM term in TSP, what's next for you? Any big goals in NS that you'd like to share?

Moon:
I don’t have much planned after this, surprisingly. I’m about to start my term as Refugia’s Councilor of Foreign Affairs soon, so most of my short-term focus is going to be on trying to get acclimated to the position and do cool stuffs in it. I also want to focus back on TGW and continue doing things in the organization, since TSP kinda kept me away from contributing meaningfully in it for a while. Apart from that, I’m aiming for that coveted ‘10x Security Council Resolution Author’ badge before the end of this year, as well as revamp the SC Ideas thread to remove the horrible Unibotian BBCode in the OP, so here’s hoping I can stop procrastinating and get around to it.

Thanks to UPC and PhDre for their help drafting the questions for this interview.
 

Istillian

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This was an absolutely brilliant read, thank you for your insights here Moon, I loved it!
 
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