The Future of the Gameside Community

The Future of The Gameside Community
By: Guess and Check, Editor-in-Chief




So we are BACK again with another Everyday News Article! It’s only been multiple months since the last one, so this is quite an enjoyable feat!

Now, some people may be wondering why I am writing about the gameside community (a.k.a. the part of our region that avoids our regional Discord/forums) considering it’s doing so well right now. I mean, our Regional Message Board is at its most active in a long while. We have constant small events like polls and songs of the week going on (<3 to those who submitted suggestions), consistent engagement, and overall just excellent gameside integration.

Well, first of all, I am not planning to run for a second term as President. So I feel it’s important to discuss the future of our gameside bunch, as I may not be around in the next term of Cabinet to advocate for gameside Unionists. I’m also worried that in the long-term, the Union may slip back to mistreating its gameside community.

So I’m here to talk about the reasons why the Union may go back to sucking at interacting with its gameside players (based on its previous history), why that’s really an issue, and what to do about it.

Here we go.

THE DUAL MINDSETS

So what are, exactly, the things that could catalyze the Union returning to gameside mistreatment? Well, it’s basically two perspectives that used to be prevalent amongst the Union’s government. These mindsets, having been deeply ingrained into the Union’s functions for the past few years, are what the Union needs to continue fighting against if it wants to continue gameside development.

Before I get into the two mindsets, two things. First, these mindsets are not coming from a place of malice. They’re just a consequence of a region choosing to utilize Discord/forums as its primary method of communication. Second, the Union is currently in the process of subverting these mindsets. I’m just reviewing them because they are the prime ideals that can cause us to revert to our past regional self.

MINDSET #1: OFF-SITE SUPREMACY

The first perspective is that the off-site Union communities are more important than the game-side community.

This idea is harmful because, at its worst, it purports that the game-side community isn’t really a community at all, but rather just an unimportant place where non-forum people tend to gather. It is an isolating standard that splits the gameside from the rest of the region, to the point wherein a year ago, the in-game Union was almost an independent region from the off-site Union.

At its best, this idea of off-site superiority encourages any resources to be spent in service of developing the off-site communities (government and roleplay), with little focus given to the gameside community. This envelops the gameside community in inactivity, as the government is typically the entity who gives our gameside Unionists the opportunities to do regional things. If the government doesn’t care, no one will.

One may ask where is the evidence of this mindset. To this, I raise a few questions (particularly to older Unionists). When was the last time a President posted a major announcement in an in-game dispatch? What was the last newspaper that consistently posted things to game-side as well as Discord or the forums? What was the last real event, ignoring polls, that gameside people could attend without touching Discord or the forums?

The answers to all or most of these questions are probably at least a year or more ago, ignoring mine or Die Kron’s Presidencies. This serves the point - the Union tends to focus on the Discord/forums because that’s where it sees most of its regional activity (although ironically, the gameside tends to be more active than the main Discord nowadays). As a result, there wasn’t much going on in the game-side area of the Union, until the recent six-month effort to change things for the better.

MINDSET #2: GAMESIDE = RECRUITMENT

The second mindset is that the gameside region is a mere recruitment pool for the region. A way for the Union’s government and roleplay communities to grow - nothing else.

This mindset is a corollary to the previous mindset. Considering the Union’s past tendency to ignore the gameside community, it makes sense that any gameside interactions in the past would have a catch. Otherwise, why would the government interact with a community it doesn’t truly care about? In this case, the catch is to pull gameside Unionists into becoming more involved in the region.

As a brief disclaimer, this isn’t a bad goal at all. Every region’s government seeks more resident involvement. This objective mainly becomes a negative when engagement efforts are done solely for recruitment, in lieu of and not in addition to gameside community development.

When examining the Union’s past, it’s clear that the Union’s engagement efforts have tended towards the negative outlook. For example, the legislative in-game polls in early 2020 we used to have were awesome ways to get Citizens more involved by voting on regional law… but the entire point of these polls (or at least the way they were marketed) was to hopefully draw Citizens into full government. Or for another example, our dispatch legislative archives have become vestigial despite existing for the gameside community. Why? Because they serve no purpose in recruitment or engagement, and therefore have had no urgency to be maintained in following the second mindset.

In general, people know when one is doing something for them versus something using them. The reasons for this are unknown, but it is an observable phenomenon. So when the Union primarily interacted with gameside Unionists just to recruit them… said Unionists didn’t find the Regional Message Board a fun place to be, and therefore were not on it as often.

Either way, the end result of these two mentalities is inherently an inactive gameside regional community. Thankfully, something that the Union has been correcting for the past few months. But the question remains - what is the issue with an inactive gameside community? And why is ignoring said community of Unionists such a problem?

THE ISSUE SPOKEN

So there’s two main issues with having an inactive gameside community - and therefore two reasons that justify the current efforts to empower gameside Unionists.

The first reason is that ignoring or demeaning our gameside community alienates those players who primarily play on-site. The fact is that not everyone wants to use Discord or forums, and/or not everyone may want to use those platforms for NationStates. This notion doesn’t make these players lazy or lesser than anyone else, it’s simply a choice in how they play the game.

However, by simply not mistreating the gameside community, the Union rejects that valid notion. It implies that the only real way to participate in our Union is through off-site platforms, and anyone else who wants to participate just can’t.

And I hope these past six months have proven that concept, and therefore the mindset that justifies it, as wrong. Because while the Union

The other reason is that having an inactive gameside community only hurts our integration efforts. Which is ironic when one considers that pushing hard for recruitment on gameside matters is what led our on-site region to become inactive in the first place.

The reality is when the gameside community is developed for its own sake and benefit, the Union as a whole benefits. A potent example is my Presidential term. As a result of gameside integration efforts, the Union has had a couple of gameside Unionists apply for Citizenship, post on the Discord, and even run for Senate. We’ve had one amazing Unionist design our regional front page for Thanksgiving. We’ve also had amazing players recommend songs of the week for everyone to listen too. NONE of this would have been possible if the Union’s gameside community was dead in the water. But because of the work of so many people, the Union has seen the benefits of an active gameside populace.

This is ultimately why the Union should do everything it can to avoid returning to ignoring gameside Unionists. Failure to do so will cause the Union to miss out on so much growth and fun moments. We’ll be a worse off region as a result.

BUT OF COURSE, SOLUTIONS

So how exactly do we prevent ourselves from backsliding? How do we take the beautiful efforts of the past six months to continue growing the Union on-site? Well, there’s a few things I’m doing now as President that I think should be continued by future Presidents and Unionists. At least in the near future.

1. Treat the gameside community as a community

This is the crux of any gameside effort. If one doesn’t open their mind and see that the gameside community is just as part of our region as the roleplay or the government… then they’ll revert to just ignoring the RMB or focusing on recruiting from it.

It’s important to realize that our on-site area holds a great small yet growing community of its own. One that should be nourished, not ignored.

2. Hold gameside-friendly events

Events where anyone can get the same (or at least similar, if you exclude Discord Voice-Chats during game nights) experience are integral to hold. Games that have in-game chat features like tetr.io are great ideas. Holding polls, competitions, or various small events like creating musical playlists can also unite Unionists into one community, irregardless of what platform they use. This helps the Union ultimately be more game-side inclusive.

Now yes, it’s true that sometimes a Discord-exclusive event is necessary or easier to coordinate. Those are fine in my opinion, let’s try to be more inclusive of the RMB community when possible.

3. Talk on the RMB more

Coming and actively talking in the RMB is another way we can prevent the veil of gameside ignorance from returning over our eyes. For lack of a better word, it gives the Unionists who hang out on the RMB a face to those who reside off-site.

Now, I’m not saying force yourself to chat on the RMB if you simply don’t want to. But if you haven’t tried talking on the RMB before, why not give it a shot? You could end up learning a thing or two along the way, or at least just having a fun conversation with some peeps.

FINALLY, THE CONCLUSION

Well, I’m honestly a bit tired from writing a five page article, so I don’t have a lot more to say here.

Just a reminder that this article is not to say we aren’t doing well with gameside interactions - in fact I think we’re doing splendid all things considered. It’s just to say what are the things that could make the Union do worse with gameside-related endeavors in the future and how to avoid said things.

I also want to state that we should continue developing our off-site areas alongside our gameside areas. We shouldn’t ignore our off-site areas to focus completely on our gameside community. Treat both parts of our region as equal - we’ll be better off that way.

And to the gameside Unionists who read this (i.e. the ones who barely use Discord/forums), I do wanna say thanks for hanging out with us in this Union as we figure all this jazz out. Talking on the RMB with y’all is one of the funnest things I’ve done as President, and as a Citizen of the Union as a whole. I appreciate you all. ^-^

None of the opinions expressed here represent the opinion of the Union's government.
 

Thatcher

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Well done article, Zuk, and thank you for bringing this issue to the fore of regional discussion.

I agree with your description and assessment of mindset one that our onsite community cannot be ignored, however, I'm not sure you've fully proven your argument for mindset two. In the description of the past you give in paragraph four of that section, you cite the legislative polls that used to be posted onsite. Are you arguing that the governments of the past may have walked the walk of onsite engagement but failed to recognize that they were simply talking past the onsite community? They put up polls, but these were the wrong polls for that community, unreflective of what the people there would be interested in. Thus, this effort was just as bad as ignoring them. Is this what you mean?

If this is the case, then why do you later cite the lack of updating the dispatch office on legislative records as a problem? Is it because the government's philosophy of onsite engagement in the GA era was to use the people of the RMB by recruiting them to the government by legislative polls simply changed in the post-GA era to using the onsite community for new members just without the use of legislative polls, thus negating the use of an updated law library?

Thanks again for the article, I ask these question to clarify your points. The history of this region is a beautiful thing that has taught me a lot and deserved critical study of the motivations of the actors involved to learn lessons.
 
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Zukchiva

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Well done article, Zuk, and thank you for bringing this issue to the fore of regional discussion.

I agree with your description and assessment of mindset one that our onsite community cannot be ignored, however, I'm not sure you've fully proven your argument for mindset two. In the description of the past you give in paragraph four of that section, you cite the legislative polls that used to be posted onsite. Are you arguing that the governments of the past may have walked the walk of onsite engagement but failed to recognize that they were simply talking past the onsite community? They put up polls, but these were the wrong polls for that community, unreflective of what the people there would be interested in. Thus, this effort was just as bad as ignoring them. Is this what you mean?

If this is the case, then why do you later cite the lack of updating the dispatch office on legislative records as a problem? Is it because the government's philosophy of onsite engagement in the GA era was to use the people of the RMB by recruiting them to the government by legislative polls simply changed in the post-GA era to using the onsite community for new members just without the use of legislative polls, thus negating the use of an updated law library?

Thanks again for the article, I ask these question to clarify your points. The history of this region is a beautiful thing that has taught me a lot and deserved critical study of the motivations of the actors involved to learn lessons.
I didn't read this properly so I apologize for being two weeks late on this but here:

In short kind of yes. For the most part, if one doesn't do something with the interest of that community in mind, then why should they be interested in you? One-topic polls are great, but too many start getting boring, repetitive, and indicate you aren't interested in building up on previous polls or doing other things the community may want. It's why I continued songs of the week from Kron's term - it allows the community to be active in the region, and make it their own.

For the second part regarding legislative dispatches, it was more the on-site archive was initially a good idea with good intentions, but then it flunked because we were then stuck in this mentality that we should put our game-side efforts to recruitment only, and our legislative archives weren't really doing that. So what was the point in keeping them around in general? Maintaining archives is difficult work, so why waste effort on on-site ones? But I do think your explanation with the GA could be another reason these fell into disuse.

Apologies for not responding sooner. And sorry if I'm not making sense
 

Dome Artan

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Great article Zuk, and the effort put into it is astounding, I missed your presidency but from this alone I'm sure it was awesome!
 
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