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DispatchMetaGameplay

by The Federated Bailiwicks of Verdant Haven. . 106 reads.

Government Transparency Report #10 - Dec 2020

December 23rd, 2020

Greetings, and best seasonal wishes to all my fellow Forest citizens!

My time in office, much like this year, seems to be drawing on somewhat longer than anticipated, but unlike the year, this government doesn't have a specific end of term in sight. I figured it best to reiterate the nature of our ongoing governmental situation to be sure folks understand what is going on, and to lay out some plans as we go forward into the new year! First though, an important announcement that I am delighted to be able to make again this year…

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The 2020 Forest Photo Contest is Underway!

Mount Seymour has got our annual Forest Photo Contest up and running! This is one of our biggest annual events, and brings together residents of Forest with our allies across NationStates to enjoy some of the beauty that our world has to offer. Our four categories this year are:

Trees
Light & Dark
Seasons
2020

The contest is held on our offsite forums, and we've already had some stunningly beautiful entries submitted. The contest is open for submissions through January 18th, and all the details, plus links to the submission threads, can be found in the official dispatch!

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Forest Photo Contest 2020

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2020 has undoubtedly been a year like no other. The general consensus is that it’s been crazy if not outright terrible. But with the holidays and the new year just around the corner, 2020 is finally coming to an end. Before we move on to a hopefully smoother 2021, though, there’s one last thing that needs to be done: the sixth annual Forest Photo Contest!

Here's what you need to know:

🌲 We have four categories once again this year:

  • LinkTrees (this category is permanent each year)

  • LinkLight & Dark (photos that display astounding lights and/or shades)

  • LinkSeasons (photos that represent one of the seasons or a certain time of year)

  • Link2020 (any photo that resonates with or represents this crazy year)

🌲 You may submit up to 12 photos total. You may choose how to divide those among the different categories, but please do not submit more than 12.

🌲 Please post your photos in the appropriate thread on our forums, located Linkhere. You may also submit photos via a link to an image hosting site in a telegram to Mount Seymour.

🌲 The photos must be taken by you, but can be taken at any time (not just during the contest).

🌲 Anyone in Forest or in a region which has an embassy with Forest may submit photographs for the Contest.

🌲 Timing:

  • Submissions will be open from December 18 at 00:00 GMT (7:00pm Dec 18 EST) to January 23rd at 23:59 GMT.

  • Voting will begin on January 23rd at 23:59 GMT and end January 30th at 23:59 GMT.

🌲 Voting will take place on a Google Form. Needless to say, please no puppeteering!

🌲 The photographers with the top three photographs in each category will have their photos acknowledged on our RMB, on our World Factbook Entry, and potentially in our next foreign update. A banner will also be created with a collage of the top photos to applaud the winners, and participants in the competition will be encouraged to add it as their nation's custom banner. Forest's flag will also be changed to the 1st place photos in each category for a week after the Contest.

Now it's time to head out and start photographing! Good luck to everyone!

Any questions about the Contest should be directed to Mount Seymour.

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Read dispatch

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Dude, What Happened to My Government?

Please forgive the unusual silence of late – we are in an extremely unusual situation with regards to our regional government. I am extremely grateful for the words of support that have come in from numerous parties regarding this situation, and even more grateful for the fact that Forest is such a mature and excellent region that it handles such disruptions with dignity and aplomb, even managing to pull off historic accomplishments in game-wide events while lacking some of the most important tools that would usually be at our disposal.

I have written this before, but it is entirely worth reiterating to ensure everybody sees it and understands the actual reasons for the unprecedented delays we see in the electoral process:

Only our Founder is able to initiate the electoral process. This is not just for legal reasons found in our Constitution, but because this is how the game and website are programmed. While it is possible to resign office without assistance, we literally cannot appoint new officers or assign them powers without the Founder's intercession. It requires "Executive" authority to take these actions, and the Founder is the only one with that authority. If the present government resigns, and the Founder lingers on without acting, there will be literally no governmental authorities or regional officers active in the region. That would be an incredibly messy and vulnerable situation. As it always in the best interest of a region to have officers rather than not, myself and the current Regional Officers are continuing in our duties until such time as the Founder returns to take the necessary action, or CTEs and causes executive authority to devolve via game rule to our World Assembly Delegate.

While there are limits on what we can do Constitutionally, I feel that the residents of Forest deserve more than just stasis, so I would like to propose an interim platform for what this government will seek to accomplish pending resolution of the present irregularity. As there is no way to know when this period will end (it could be tomorrow, it could be a year from now) it is difficult to commit to specific timelines or a given quantity of accomplishments, but I give my word that I will use whatever time I have in this position to work towards the following goals:

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Interim Platform for New Year

1) Drafting constitutional amendments to multiple clauses of the Constitution.

While under our current constitutional process these amendments cannot come to vote without Founder approval, we can have the text ready for immediate action when that becomes an option, either through Founder return, devolution of power, or other as-yet unknown measures. Among elements that warrant alteration, the following have come to the fore:

a. Granting of Executive Authority to the Delegate, for use in situations such as our present one – managing elections when the Founder is unavailable, and in an emergency. Our region is large enough that an unplanned devolution of the delegacy to an outside party is unlikely, which limits the dangers faced by smaller regions. Such authority would likely require a couple limitations being specifically added as well - one clearly stating that any activities by an Executive WAD outside the boundaries of approved circumstances are not legal (to avoid the risk of a Constitutional Crisis in the event of usurpation), and one providing for an Endorsement Cap. We could make the endo-cap kick in only in the event of Founder CTE, but if that's the case, I think we'll want some language basically stating that anyone who isn't the officially authorized (Constitutionally selected) WAD is not recognized, and must relinquish their position by any means necessary as soon as possible.

b. Reducing the power of the Forest Keeper to unilaterally appoint or seize the delegacy of the region. In a region of our size, there should be more than one person's input required to legally change the delegate. I currently envision that it should be handled by, at the very least, a committee of elected officials. I also would like to see the delegacy protected from constant change by more than just tradition. As currently written, the constitution permits to Forest Keeper complete fiat over the delegacy – a situation that becomes utterly absurd especially in the event of a Founder CTE, where the delegate will be the Executive authority of the region. This position must be more secure and lasting in nature.

c. The present constitution demands a number of immediate actions in the event of Founder CTE, which are not suitable to a region that has grown to our scale and success. We need to remove clauses demanding immediate locking of the region, demanding the destruction and refounding of the region, and which ignore or simply do not permit acknowledgement of the views of the citizens. We do have a plan for dealing with this scenario in the event of Founder CTE currently, but that would be necessarily ad hoc, and it would be better to have it in writing first.

d. A minor adjustment to the language in Article 4 making it clear that the term of a government runs from election to election, and doesn't simply end and leave the region without a helm. The current language is wishy-washy, and is what resulted in the unusual and somewhat chaotic interregnum last March. This would prevent such an occurrence.

e. A clause permitted the Forest Keeper to declare fiat creation of short-term, temporary embassies, for use in game events. This will preclude situations like we faced in the recent game events, where we were part of a larger alliance but couldn't legally form an embassy with the temporary region set up to coordinate things. Fiat power used to exist with very few restrictions, and was removed during a previous clean-up of our embassies clause. The recent scenario presented a valid counter-argument for why certain limited and [/i]time-constrained[/i] uses of fiat are valid, and it would be good to restore that, with proper limitation.

f. There is gendered language in use in some places in the constitution. This should be removed.

2) Continuing to be open about everything we do

It has always been a major tenet of this government that we are open and public about all the steps we take on your behalf. These transparency reports will continue, and I will aim to return to the monthly format previously in use.

2) Listening to input, and stepping aside gracefully when the time comes

It was never my intention to serve longer than two consecutive terms, and it continues to be my desire to step down and hold elections as soon as that is technically feasible. I do not want this turning into a dictatorship or a "president for life" situation – that is not what Forest stands for. I believe that even the most well-intentioned autocrat inevitably faces situations where the normalization of their power begins to make them think that their own opinion is naturally correct. I do not want this happening to me, and I will make a point of continuing to seek and follow input from all sides, and to act in the manner that benefits Forest – not myself. I invite all Forest citizens to reach out to me any time they have questions or concerns about a government action, or to make suggestions where they see action needed.

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Whatever holiday you prefer to celebrate, may your season be safe and happy. Know that you are loved. My telegram box is, as always, open! Please do not hesitate to reach out.

Kind regards,
Verdant Haven
Forest Keeper

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