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General Assembly 101 - Lesson One

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This course is something that I've wanted to do for months now in the hopes of increasing interest in the World Assembly and getting more people to participate in not only discussing and voting on resolutions but also in trying to draft their own. The course material was provided by the amazing Mousebumples, who is the World Assembly Delegate of our glorious ally Europeia and she has my eternal gratitude for giving her permission for its use here in Equilism. This course will consist of seven lessons, ranging from the history of the World Assembly to the rules and from evaluating existing resolutions to brainstorming and writing your own. This course is open to anyone on the Equilism forum, citizen or otherwise, and I hope to see many participants over the next month or two. Please feel free to leave any feedback or commentary that you have over the span of this course in the appropriate thread(s) or with myself through a private message.


Without further ado, here is Lesson One...




General Assembly 101

Lesson One

UN/WA/GA History & Basics

Written by mousebumples__984206t1.jpg Mousebumples


The United Nations started off when Maxtopia submitted the first UN resolution Fight the Axis of Evil. Now, I may be an Antiquity nation, but I certainly wasn't around back then. Neither were most players, I'd guess, since the resolution itself only got a grand total of 3 votes and is - I believe - the only resolution to pass (or fail) by only 1 vote.


Back in the "Olden Days," the rule was - you pass it, you live with it. There were no repeals back then ... and believe me, there was plenty of crap being passed on a regular basis. Of the first 25 passed resolutions, only 6 remained "in effect" until all UN resolutions were repealed with the passage of WA#1 - The World Assembly.


As many may know (perhaps more from storytelling than from experiencing it), as the 2008 April Fool's Joke, it was announced that Max had received a Cease & Desist letter from the real United Nations. Haha, very funny, absolutely hilarious joke, etc.


Except ... it wasn't a joke. (NS news posts) The Jolt forums are gone, but Antarctic Oasis (a fairly active UN region at the time) has made their thread on the subject public, for those that would care to peruse that.


After the World Assembly was created in April of 2008, things ran ... fairly smoothly for awhile. The re-creation of the World Assembly was a chance to start from scratch - and to finally be rid of a lot of those early (and awful) UN resolutions. Many of the quality UN resolutions were quickly resubmitted and generally passed successfully.


However ... in May of 2009, the admins came up with a Grand New Idea ... that was not met happily by many of the WA regulars. For starters, the entire concept of the Condemn and Commends (Liberations were not yet a part of what would eventually become the Security Council) contradicted a lot of the already-existing WA ruleset. More details on this controversy can be found here on the NS forums. This is [violet]'s forum announcement on the subject.


Eventually, the Security Council and General Assembly were split out of the World Assembly entity, but - originally - they had to share one proposal queue, as only one proposal would be At Vote at one time. The concept was that the two chambers would "take turns" being at vote. If there wasn't a different chamber's proposal in the queue, the next proposal in line would be At Vote.


This was frustrating to many proposal authors who grew sick of the lengthy proposal queue. In February of 2010 the separate voting "channels" were introduced, which helped a lot of the controversy die down. Of course, a lot of this is more because those who have no interest in the [insert chamber of choice here] could just ignore those votes ... more or less. There have been some calls for an "Abstain" button - to turn off the New Vote notification if the nation in question has no intention of voting on a particular topic, but that has not been added to the game thus far.


I personally believe that the quality of UN/WA/GA resolutions has gradually improved over time. Oh, sure, the are some quality resolutions scattered throughout the older UN archives, but there are also some doozies. (UN#3 - Education for All - has a one-line Description: To give every child under the age of 16 the right to a free education) I know that I can be ... pretty insistent on quality prose when it comes to voting and, as time allows, I like to assist other proposal authors with their text and phrasing. (And I know I'm not the only one who feels this way.)


What do GA Resolutions Do?


There are a number of ways to "play" the WA when it comes to evaluating a proposal or resolution.


Some players are what might be called "Stat-Wankers." They are those who want their stats to do a certain thing for a certain reason. They might be strong believers in education and want their education stats to be really high. Or, they might want to keep whatever WA classification that they've "earned" for their nation. These nations often don't care about the actual text of a resolution and instead look at the category and strength of a given resolution.


Different categories affect different stats. The details have long been hidden, but some impacts are fairly obvious. "Strong" resolutions are going to have a greater impact than a "Mild" resolution - which may be a good or bad thing, depending on who you're talking to. "Education and Creativity: Education" resolutions are - *gasp* - going to affect your nation's education scores. "Political Stability" resolutions are going to decrease your nation's political freedoms. "Repeals" are going to reverse whatever effects the original resolution's passage had on nations. (This is even true if your nation wasn't a WA member when the original resolution passed.)


Other players are "Role Players." They really think about the text - what it means, how it can be interpreted, and how to make it better. They often have "ambassadors" or "representatives" in the GA chambers that speak on resolution topics. They may include actions or "events" within the text of their forum posts that go beyond a mere statement of support/opposition, etc.


The "Role Play" rules within the GA are pretty straightforward - there is "mandatory compliance" with all GA resolutions. After a resolution is passed, gnomes go to each WA member nation and change your national laws to comply with whatever passed. However, there is a long and storied history of "Loophole Exploitation" when it comes to finding ways around resolutions that you may not personally care for.


Some loopholes are left in legislation intentionally. I often do this in my own proposals as I feel that there are some details that can be much better covered by individual member nations than by WA dictate. A common saying in the GA is "One size fits none." If you try to make all WA member nations the same, exactly, you'll often end up with a lower quality proposal that may not even apply to all WA member nations by the time you're through.


Mandatory Compliance


There's been a fair amount of discussion in the GA/Moderation over the past few months about whether or not compliance really is mandatory or not. I don't want to jump into the rules right here, but for those that are WA members, you'll remember that you get a TG notification from the WA, letting you know that your laws have been brought into compliance with XYZ resolution, whenever a new one is passed. (Or notifying you upon a repeal, as your nation is no longer required to comply.)


It's not uncommon for member states to try to loophole resolutions as best they can, to try to avoid complying with resolutions they find particularly distasteful - for whatever reason. It's also something of a game for some for certain nations. (*coughcough*) Kenny's nation even has a Creative Solutions Agency - started during the UN days - which is in charge of determining the best way around less than optimal resolutions.


Anyhow, more recently, there have been a few nations, who have been vocal about how they don't think compliance is mandatory, because IRL, nations are not forced to comply with UN resolutions and the like. This discussion brings back the whole NS =/= RL discussion that I'll go into more detail on in the next lesson. However, it also brings up God-modding, to some extent. I don't know how much you guys engage in RP, and I wasn't really planning to get into Godmodding in this lesson. However, a walk-through of WHY/HOW compliance is mandatory can be found here, from the NS moderation forum.


Interested in putting some of this basic information to work? Check out this dispatch for some questions for you to answer and suggested activities.

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I hope so!


Also, great opportunity to make this clear! For anyone who has read this and might be missing it, there is an assignment task in the dispatch linked near the bottom. You can leave your answers here or PM them to me. :)

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