An Interview with Khevo, an Honored Unionist

An Interview with Khevo, an Honored Unionist
By: Guess and Check, Editor-in-Chief

Welcome to Everyday News’s second interview! This interview was of Khevo and was conducted from December 2020 all the way to this April! Editing was minimal, as a disclaimer. But before we go any further, more on the interviewee:

Khevo joined the Union soon after its founding in 2015, and they’ve played an integral role since then. As a founder of one of the Union’s most well known political parties (The Commonwealth Party or NCP) and multi-term Prime Minister, legislator, and Minister, Khevo has had an extensive history and a ganguartan impact within the Union. Currently, they continue service to the Union as Chancellor and Administrator, whilst working and making a name for themself in other Defender regions like The Rejected Realms and The Free Nations Region.

Khevo was a joy to interview, and I’m honored to have had the chance to do so. We talked a lot about his opinions on various Union-relevant matters, his personal likings, and some other things. It’s a pretty swell interview, and I hope you enjoy it and learn more about them in the process like I did!

Without further ado, the interview:

Guess and Check: So I guess the first question is, how are you doing right now?

Khevo: Pretty good! Last few weeks have been up and down as I’ve tried to balance schoolwork, other responsibilities, and NS, but it seems to be heading towards manageability again.

Guess and Check: Glad to hear you've been doing well! Hopefully the upcoming break will be an easy time for both of us. :D

Speaking of NS, what are some of your involvements? As in, what major positions do you hold throughout NS?

Khevo: I’ve somewhat stepped out of elected government in the UDS to allow our exciting new members to get involved, but I try to still remain involved through my roles in the Judiciary and the Chancellery, as well as just as a general presence in and around the region.

Elsewhere my main involvement is in The Rejected Realms - been hanging out there for a while, joined the RRA a few months ago, and became Speaker in October! I also help moderate FNR’s discord, though I’ve stepped back a bit there recently as well.

Guess and Check: Darn, those are some really interesting positions- you seem to do a lot! Infact, if I may ask, what do you think is your most favorite NS position ever that you were able to serve in and why?

Khevo: Honestly, I’m not totally sure. I loved both my “Ethan-spotting” days as Attorney General and Justice and the extremely effective Senate I led as Speaker in early 2018, but I think my favorite NS position was being Chairman of the NCP.

It wasn’t exactly a major regional position, but we built the party from the ground up, starting as the major underdog and growing to become the largest in the region. In the role I also had the chance to help multiple notable citizens, both past and present, gain their first roles in Union politics.

Guess and Check: Definitely all quite interesting! Political parties especially, since I never personally interacted with one in regional politics as I'm sure is the same with other regional newbies. But then a question is to be asked: why did you found the NCP originally? And do you believe it was successful in fulfilling its original goal/purpose?

Khevo: Have to say, I think a good chunk of it was simply the thrill of being the underdog at a time when the Liberty Party was run by the two largest figures in Union politics.

It was very much a people’s party - founded with the aims of promoting the people’s voice and their right to choice, information, and equal opportunities - but not per say a populist one. Ideologically, the parties really weren’t too different - as I mentioned in my 2017 lecture, they worked cooperatively rather than attempting to reflect the real-world liberal-conservative split in a game where it wasn’t really relevant. I do remember that one difference we stressed was that the Liberty Party would require its members to vote as one block, with repercussions for not doing so, while the NCP, though often recommending a certain choice, would leave it to the individual to make their own determination.

I do think the party was successful in fulfilling it’s original purpose - quite a few nations found their footing in the regional government with the aid of the party and the voice of the people remained influential in regional decision-making.

Guess and Check: Your party seems to have been a very sensible one. I'm glad you felt satisfied with it in the end!

You stated that parties "worked cooperatively" rather than apart, which seems to be a great way for a political party system to work. That being said, since you've seen a Union both with and without political parties, what in your opinion is a better government? One with or without political parties? And what do you believe will be the future for political parties in Union politics?

Khevo: I don’t expect political parties to return in the UDS, nor do I believe they should. I think our experiences with parties (both real-life and in the region) over the past few years really soured the concept for many of us, including myself. We’ve been able to manage rather well without them for some time, and though, as I noted, they can help people get involved, we’ve seen many newer members quickly rise through the ranks without parties as well. Though their presence had some merits, the region is best without them.

Guess and Check: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense! Political parties tend to be divisive. Now, speaking of newer members, what brought you into the Union all those years ago? And what encouraged you to become more involved in government?

Khevo: Thatcher and I actually just recently went back and found the recruitment telegram that I received the day Khevo was founded - and honestly, I’m still not totally sure what exactly drew me to the region! A few days earlier, I had founded what was technically my first-ever nation (now long-since abandoned) and spent a few days in 10KI. For a newer, younger player, its sheer size was overwhelming. The UDS had less than 10 nations at the time, and I think it appealed to me as a smaller community that I could take a larger part in and enjoy. It’s grown quite a bit since then (of course) but it still has some of that smaller-community feel.

I think my interest in getting involved in government was tied to my real-life interests. I found NS in the middle of U.S. primaries (by googling Trumpian States of America as a joke) and would often chat with my teacher about our shared support for Bernie’s campaign. I joined the UDS just days before the first-ever regional election, and so I was excited by the chance to immediately try my hand at government.

Guess and Check: Well, that's a pretty interesting NS story! Most people tend to just search up NationStates and get dragged in somehow or the other, it seems you took the initiative and jumped right in after finding it. And now four years later, you're still a rising star in NationStates with an already extensive resume! :eek:

So, given both your expertise in various fields as well as your historical knowledge of the Union, what would you say would be the single greatest challenge the Union faces today and how do you think th Union can overcome it eventually?

Khevo: I feel recruitment would be the immediate answer that comes to most Unionists’ minds when hearing that question. Instead, though, I think the real challenge is something tied closely to that - retention. Yes, recruitment is important, but it doesn’t matter how many nations we bring in if we don’t convince people to stay for the long haul. Doing so is the best way to help the region grow more noticeably rather than being propped up at approximately the same number of nations solely by the continuous sending of stamps.

I believe the Union can and will overcome this, but it’ll take effort. To me, the most crucial thing is clear - while of course we do have a roleplay community and other options, for years now the Union’s culture has essentially been its Legislature & the legislative process. It’s the centerpiece of our region, and while that’s perfectly fine, it’d do us well to add to that - add a wider variety of activities and events to keep people engaged outside of the legislative chambers.

Guess and Check: Recruitment and retention definitely seems to be a problem- and honestly your analysis of the Union's culture is also one I agree with. What "activities and events" would you personally suggest to help bolster the Union's culture beyond legislative work?

Khevo: I’ve admittedly never been great with culture, but I’d work on both more- and less-often-held events - developing a culture is just as much about the small, everyday things as it is the large-scale activities. TRR, for example, has both smaller, more casual events multiple times per week, occasional contests held every so often, and larger events such as Rejectmas which are held much less often - all of these are very popular. I think the Union Day celebrations and Isles’s trivia nights are great starting points, so we should take the chance to expand on them and add more. We could also add certain discord games (such as Werewolf, for example, again a TRR favorite) that give people casual things to do on the discord server outside of the legislative chambers.

Guess and Check: That definitely makes sense- small cultural events help to build up community and could definitely engage people beyond legislation- and it seems to be already working!

On the topic of challenges to the Union, what do you believe is the greatest challenge the Union has ever faced in in-character terms (or as close as you can get, given the IC/OOC mix that was present in previous governments)? And how did the Union overcome it?

Khevo: Without a doubt, it’d have to have been the infamous ConCon. Of course, it came about as a result of the government’s implosion, so it started on a poor note. From there, we faced numerous testing moments both within and outside of the ConCon itself and people lost motivation, leading the convention to drag on and causing the regional population to dwindle.

Eventually, the Judiciary was one of the only remaining hurdles between us and the finish line, but progress was extremely slow. This’ll sound a bit cliché, but we overcame it by working together. One night, we simply decided we’d keep working until we worked out a functional solution, and a bunch of us pushed through to get it done. Once that was done, the end of the months-long effort to save the Union was finally in sight.

Guess and Check: That really does sound like it was a heroic effort- and I'm sure I speak for a lot of people when I say that we're glad you all pushed through it! So we've gone over a lot about your time in the Union, but now I am starting to wonder about you in a more general NationStates context!

So one thing I was wondering what other region would you get socially and governmentally involved in, if you had the time and will to do so? And if so, why? (Keeping in mind that the "region" in this case is one in which you don't have Citizenship in and it exists today.)

Khevo: Well, what I love so much about the UDS and TRR is that the community in each manages to be generally relaxed while also being incredibly engaging both IC and OOC. They’re also not strongly centered around specific RL political viewpoints and getting involved in the running of the region as a newcomer is both easy and encouraged. If I were to expand my horizons and get involved elsewhere, I’d be looking for those same hallmarks.

For me, the first two that come to mind in that vein are TSP and XKI. I’m finally at the stage where I feel I can comfortably slot into a larger regional community and I already have a large number of friends in each. Their governmental structures are similarly inviting and their strong cultures mean that there always seems to be something to enjoy.

Another potential future destination would be Refugia - Yes, it’s a bit smaller (though quickly growing!), but I’ve heard so many positive things about region and it fits with many of my wants in a region, so it’s one I’ll be keeping my eye on for certain.

Guess and Check: Definitely very solid choices for regions to get involved in! I agree with you that UDS and TRR tend to have very beautiful communities, and it isn't easy to replicate those kinds of communities elsewhere in NationStates.

So now if I may ask, what is the story behind your name- Dyl? Names often have interesting stories, so it'd be nice to hear what your name's tale is! ^-^

Khevo: Honestly I’m really not sure - initially I just used Khevo as my discord username, and sometime around the end of 2016 I changed it to Dyl. It then became permanent largely as a result of the Whitehall-Vasentius family, as I joined in early 2017 and used that. However, I’ve only really started to use it over Khevo in the past year or two as I’ve ventured out further into NationStates.

I think the likeliest cause for it ties back to Lia - a former Unionist and close RL friend of mine. We had joined some other non-NS servers, and so needing some other way to identify myself, I chose a short name, similar to hers.

Guess and Check: That's pretty swell to hear! Your name may have many variations, but the story behind it is pretty sweet. ;w;

Now, for these last two questions, we'll continue to focus on more real-life things, just to get to know you better! With that being said, what's your most favorite movie currently, and why? Pretty common question in these interviews, so thought I'd ask!

Khevo: It’d have to be Studio Ghibli’s Castle in the Sky - my brother and I saw it in the trailers before just about every movie growing up but never had a chance to actually watch it. We finally did not too long ago, and I’m so glad we did. It has a perfect blend of beauty, mystique, action, and adventure - all in Ghibli’s gorgeous animation style.

Guess and Check: That's pretty cool! I've always heard that Studio Ghibli's movies are awesome- they do look pretty neat! Glad to hear you had fun watching it. ^-^

Now, last question for the interview to know another thing about ya: What’s your favorite thing to do in real life, besides NationStates and why?

Khevo: There a few things I’d have to choose from, but I think it’d have to be coding: I’ve always been a lover of puzzles and I see coding as a real-world puzzle I can use to help other people. Though I’m not extremely experienced yet, I enjoy messing around with code and coded a game of minesweeper and even TRR’s entire voting system with what I know. Special mention to drawing fantasy maps and playing the ukulele too - both bring me a lot of thrill as well.

Guess and Check: Those are all pretty great hobbies; you're a pretty interesting person! ^-^.

And as I said, that was the last question! So thank you for taking all this time to let me interview you, Khevo! It's super appreciated and I enjoyed interviewing you!

Khevo: Thanks to you too - that was a blast! I loved that style of interview and appreciate that you reached out to me.

Guess and Check: It was fun! ^-^ Thanks for being an awesome person to interview.