Sir Xecrio Pendragon Esquire
[hr]The Security Council and Condemnations
Badges of Honour or of Shame?
Written by Maowi[/hr]
There are three types of action the World Assembly’s Security Council (SC) can take against a nation or a region. A Liberation of a region prevents it from being passworded, and can be used to free a region from occupying raiders or offensively as a way of taking practical action against a region worthy of public censure. Commendations, as the SC page will tell you, are resolutions “to recognise outstanding contribution by a nation or region” - and finally, Condemnations, the subject of this article, are resolutions “to express shock and dismay at a nation or region.”
Whether these statements refer to in-character, in-game actions or to out-of-character conduct - or indeed which of the two they should refer to - will inevitably vary according to who you ask, and whatever general consensus there is has changed over the SC’s decade-long history. A common theme among early Condemnations is that of denouncing non-compliance with General Assembly (GA) resolutions. SC #17, ”Condemn Omigodtheykilledkenny,” criticises their bad-faith exploitation of loopholes in GA resolutions to avoid complying with the clear spirit of the law. (To wrap up the resolution, the author, prolific SC writer Unibot, humorously declares the SC to be “certain that publicly displaying these deplorable activities to a crowd full of curious, bushy-tailed delegates is the best method for curtailing them,” revealing a certain tongue-in-cheek attitude inherent in the SC from its very conception.) In similar vein, SC #20, also by Unibot, condemns Greater Tezdrian for roleplaying participation in the slave trade in blatant disregard of GA law, as does SC #24 for Great Nepal. Although this is not unheard of now, the rare mentions of the GA in SC resolutions tend to be occasional asides about non-compliance in Condemnations or a list of important GA resolutions passed by the target of a Commendation. Hugely more important in more recent times, and the key focus of most SC resolutions, are the target’s interactions with the world of NationStates gameplay, especially the military gameplay scene.
In fact, the now-repealed SC #1, ”Condemn Macedon,” was indeed based on the target region’s raider activities. It has since been replaced with a far more fleshed-out Condemnation authored by Kuriko. But initially, such Condemnations were scarce. Interestingly, the second example of a nation or region being recognised by the SC for raider activities was a Commendation - SC #12 explicitly mentions Todd McCloud's raiding prowess in one clause. However, it is presented only as one point among many; the first extant SC resolution based solely on the nominee's raiding activity was SC #52, "Condemn The Black Hawks." A more detailed, thorough resolution than SC #1, it has nevertheless had to battle through several repeal attempts, given the existence of a second, definitely superior and up-to-date Condemnation of The Black Hawks, SC #217. Around the time of that resolution's passage and onwards, Condemnations of raiders and raider regions started to come thicker and faster, and are now the staple of SC Condemnations: six of the last seven Condemnations passed by the SC are based on raiding or contributions to important invasions and coups.
This all begs the question: what is the purpose of the SC Condemnation, beyond the short, ambiguous tagline NationStates provides us with? Are they supposed to be out-of-character rebukes for despicable, treacherous behaviour that falls short of demanding action from the moderation team? Are they badges of honour for achievements which would jar with the in-character nature of Commendations, such as raiding or roleplaying an evil persona? A good example of the former is SC #33. This Condemnation of Durkadurkiranistan II - their first of two - refers to their use of the practice known as "endotarting," with outside help, to remain World Assembly Delegate of The North Pacific after their allotted term was over, as well as ejecting hundreds of nations from the region. The Condemnation badge on their nation page with a link to the Condemnation text would then serve as a warning to anyone who would then interact with them in the future.
That reasoning has several flaws to it. Given the existence of many Condemnations written with humour in mind, or for rewarding nations for their contributions to gameplay, such as this Condemnation of Chan Island for, of all things, their authoring of issues, the Condemnation badge in and of itself cannot be taken as a warning sign. It takes clicking the badge and reading through the resolution to understand why that badge is there and what it tells us about its recipient. Moreover, one has to question whether the SC is the best tool for addressing anything like that. The World Assembly is a roleplay institution, and getting out-of-character opinions in there just complicates matters unnecessarily. If a person or region is genuinely harmful to the community, more direct measures such as regional proscription or blacklisting are more effective at keeping them away from other players among whom they can spread toxicity or foment tension. There is nothing wrong with an eclectic variety of SC Condemnations, but to a significant extent, the light-hearted or completely in-character Condemnations among them undermine the more serious ones, which are perhaps less suited to the SC.
In any case, whichever you think the SC is best for, the ship has long sailed. This cannot be undone without a mass repeal campaign that would leave us with very, very few extant Condemnations. With this in mind, serious Condemnations for acts that are reprehensible both in- and out-of-character perhaps merely serve to aggrandise the recipient, viewed by them as a badge of honour on a par with the rewards for years of excellent gameplay granted by other Condemnations.