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Europeia in a Million Posts
"The Rise of the Forum"
Written by Maowi
(Europeia - August 5, 2019) - As the Ministry of Culture unveils plans to celebrate the millionth forum post with fitting panache - the 1,000,000 Post Palooza will include Europeian Hunger Games, a mock trial of HEM for heinously deleting the very organisation that brings you this article, and of course a healthy dash of first-class memes - it is interesting to explore the development of Europeia's forum over the twelve or so years during which it has been the heart and soul of the region. Europeia is a uniquely forum-based region; indeed, a person's actual nation is hardly a staple aspect of their identity and role within our regional community. Consequently, to look at the forum's gradual evolution to reflect and in some ways shape Europeia's character is almost to examine the qualities which have made Europeia one of the most, if not the most, successful user-created regions in NationStates.
In March 2007, 24 hours after founding Europeia, HEM created the forum using popular forum software InvisionFree. In his own words, he "worked to keep the forum super simple so new members could get involved." This is a dilemma that Europeia has struggled with over the years as the wealth of activities and opportunities it presents has caused the growth of the forum to a rather intimidating morass of fora and sub-fora. Indeed, HEM raised this very discussion in the Grand Hall only this July, prompting debate about the organisation of the forum and the potential nesting of the various ministries into a single forum. The results of the poll showed that almost half of respondents found that, as newcomers, the complexity of the forum made them struggle to get involved. It must also be considered that these data only represent the people who persevered and eventually got their heads around the workings of the forum; there must surely be a significant number of people who gave up on the forum at first sight, who therefore did not respond to the poll and constitute the loss for the region of potentially active community members. Although the size of the forum is a reflection of something very positive (namely, the multitude of possible entry points for newcomers wishing to get involved), serious thought must be given - and has indeed been given - towards ensuring that newcomers actually feel able to make use of those entry points.
But to hop into our time machine and return to HEM, way back in the dark ages of March 2007. The forum he first set up on InvisionFree had a red skin and was significantly smaller than the forum we know and love today. By mid-July of that year, however, the rule of King HEM, stripped of his monarchical powers, gave way to the formation of the Republic and, to the relief of many strained eyes, the monarchist red skin was replaced with blue. Inevitably, the forum began to grow gradually larger, until, in May 2009, it looked like this:
Two years and two months in, Europeia was home to 472 nations - a little over half its population today, even as we suffer from a depleted supply during the so-called summer slump. Even so, Europeia's interregional power (as assigned by the site) was listed as 'high', anticipating the status it would come to acquire as among the most influential regions across NationStates, notably regarding the World Assembly and its role in the World Assembly Legislative League.
The forum continued to evolve. In March 2010, it gained a beautiful banner branding Europeia as 'the Land of Peace, Freedom and Equality'.
Despite lacking the precious Oxford comma which all Europeian Broadcasting Corporation writers are forced to love, it demonstrates that the values we prize today - peace and prosperity, freedom and indeed encouragement for everyone to get involved in the running of the region, and a sense of equality, companionship, and also independence - have been an integral part of the region for many years.
Two years later, a sense of patriotism is beginning to be evinced on the forum as the Europeian flag graces it with its noble colours.
This forum, from August 2012, is a little closer to the forum in its current state. Since then, however, the forum has been moved to ZetaBoards before being hosted on XenForo, where it currently resides. Europeia has definitely changed over the last seven years, the Executive split being one significant modification to regional government. Of course, this is natural for a region of Europeia's size, as older residents leave the region (or even NationStates) or become less directly involved in day-to-day governance and as new blood comes in. But somehow, Europeia appears to have retained much of its character, helped along by its several well-established institutions and a few long-standing residents. This consistency and depth of tradition, joint with a flexibility for individuals to make their own way and make an impact, is something worth celebrating as we toast the millionth post. The festivities will be underway very soon; to make sure you maximise on the jollity, remember to sign up for Europeian Hunger Games. May the odds be ever in your favour!
Edit: correction as pointed out by Sopo