GRC Economic and Military Rankings (COMMENT PERIOD)

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Re: GRC Economic and Military Rankings (COMMENT PERIOD)

Postby Bachelot » Wed May 09, 2018 12:59 am

Okay, so apparently there are two discussions going on about the rankings. The public one, which is here. And a private one somewhere else involving thirteen RP Committee members, where non-members have no opportunity either to see the points that are made or to respond to them.

Is anyone else finding this whole set-up bizarre, given the comparatively small size of our forum RPing community?

In my view, the rankings process should be as transparent as reasonably possible, with everybody able to see what is going on and participate. At some point, of course, somebody is going to have to made a decision about what the outcome is going to be, but I really feel the main discussion should be on the public forum and that the decisions should be made through a process that is as consensual as it can reasonably be. This has been done previously.

I am already concerned that in other parts of the game, the transparency we have had in the past has been undermined. Only a few days ago, I raised an innocuous and perfectly legitimate query about a Cultural Protocol update being accepted that actually broke the conditions set out in the rules. In response, I received an officious pm in my inbox from Moderation, insisting it is not allowed to raise such queries on the thread and threatening sanctions if it happens again. Was the RP Committee involved in formulating this response? I honestly don't know what the RP Committee is involved in and what it isn't, because it hasn't been made clear and there has not been great communication. What this seemed to demonstrate, though, was quite a worrying over-defensiveness and opposition to reasonable transparency.

So to be frank, my worry is that we are going to get to a point where the rankings update process goes the same way as the Cultural Protocol approvals process, with the key discussions taking place between a small group of people in private, the rest of the community effectively shut out and folk who raise questions getting jumped upon.
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Re: GRC Economic and Military Rankings (COMMENT PERIOD)

Postby CCP » Wed May 09, 2018 12:59 am

Kubrick wrote:When will the conclusion on the objections to several rankings be made public?

In about 6 hours.
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Re: GRC Economic and Military Rankings (COMMENT PERIOD)

Postby CCP » Wed May 09, 2018 7:10 am

Earlier in this Consultation, some players voiced concerns about the Rankings of several nations. As the GRC, we committed to reviewing the Rankings of relevant nations and conducting Reassessments if appropriate. The results of our Reassessments are listed below and in the updated OP. Also provided below are detailed explanations of the methodologies we used to conduct this review.

Finally, some players have requested specific guidance regarding the use of aircraft carriers and nuclear weapons in Role Play. As the GRC we have sought to make public such guidance which you can find quoted below and featured in the introduction section of the OP.

On behalf of the entire GRC we'd like to thank all players for their very useful contributions during this Consultation.



Aircraft Carrier and Nuclear Weapons RP Guidance

The subject of aircraft carriers, nuclear weaponry, and nuclear submarines is a hot topic. It is the GRC's view that aircraft carriers, nuclear weapons, and nuclear submarines are viable (not necessarily likely!) for all nations of Terra so long as their acquisition, maintenance, and use is very well RP'd. In general, we believe Role Play should realistically reflect the prohibitive cost in time and resources required for such strategic armaments. Therefore our guidance and advice is that Great Military Powers and Very Strong Economies should generally experience protracted difficulty when seeking to acquire and maintain such armaments; Regional Military Powers and Strong Economies should generally experience prohibitive costs and delays when seeking to acquire and maintain such armaments; while lesser powers and smaller economies should experience daunting, near-insurmountable challenges when seeking to acquire and maintain such armaments. Acquisition of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons from rogue powers and Black Market sources may reduce acquisition costs if realistically Role Played, but such sources generally should not in any way reduce the prohibitive maintenance costs associated with these armaments.


Rankings Reassessments

Vanuku: Very Strong Economy (up from Strong)

Earlier in the Consultation the question was raised of whether RP Quantity is now being considered when determining nations' Rankings. The answer is yes.

During this Reassessment, we have used four elements when determining Rankings: Player Assertion, RP Quantity, RP Quality, and External Events. None of these elements are determinative in and of themselves, meaning that each Ranking is based on the balance of these four elements taken all together. However when nations are lacking in one or another of these elements, other elements must be sufficiently compelling to compensate if maintaining or increasing a Ranking is desired.

Concerning the specific case of the Vanuku economy, Player Assertions were Lean Positive, RP Quantity was Moderate, RP Quality was High, and External Events were Positive. Before explaining our assessments of the other three elements, I will explain how we reached the RP Quantity assessment and why it is important. Generally speaking, we have endeavored to view each nation through the eyes of its players. This means that if players tended to say their country was a poor, chaotic, thoroughly corrupt failed state (say, for instance, Tropica), we have searched for confirmation of that assertion rather than seeking to contradict it. RP Quantity is important because the only way for us to confirm players' assertions is to read their RPs. If there are no RPs, then no confirmation can be conducted, and therefore any assertions remain unsubstantiated. In regards to the Vanuku economy, while assertions by Vanuku players and non-Vanuku players were mostly positive, the number of such assertions did not compare favorably with the extremely high volume of Economy RP from Very Strong Economies like Indrala or even Strong Economies like Valruzia. However, in our efforts to confirm rather than refute Player Assertion, we do acknowledge that both Indrala and Valruzia had more to prove as rising powers, whereas Vanuku was a legacy power in the Very Strong Economy Rank, and therefore was simply seeking to maintain its standing.

Regarding the other three elements: Player Assertions regarding Vanuku's economy tended to be only Lean Positive rather than unambiguously Positive. This was due to three major disruptions of the Vanuku economy over the last century: the mass labor strikes and resultant legal controversies near the start of the six month period, the Orderist protests near the middle of the six month period, and the violent restoration of the monarchy toward the end of the six month period. All of these were large mitigating factors in Vanuku's otherwise nearly uninterrupted economic growth over the last century. Importantly, this Lean Positive view of Vanuku's economy was not only self-serving: it was heartily attested to by foreign players in historic nemesis Istalia who asserted dynamic and staggering economic growth following the normalization of relations between the two Great Powers. Regarding RP Quality, it was nearly uniformly high as is the norm in Vanuku. External Events, like developments in the economy of now-close trading partner Istalia and political developments (some positive, some negative) in foreign capitols of allies and nemeses with whom Vanuku has become deeply intertwined, were generally resolved in Vanuku's favor. This latter on account of Vanuku's aggressive and imposing military stance. On the role of the military in Vanuku's economy, a word of caution: A critical risk for the Vanuku economy currently is the Vanuku Defence budget which now sits at about 15% of GDP. This is many times higher than real-world super powers. Such high defense expenditures are unsustainable due to the symbiotic and cross-pollinating nature between a nation's military and economy. The Vanuku government will need to reassess its budget structure over the next six month period if it hopes to maintain its preeminent place in world affairs.

The earlier Ranking assessment took the view that Very Strong Economies, being transnational in nature, must do more than merely coast along in order to maintain their overwhelming influence in global markets. In this Reassessment, we agree. However, we differ with the earlier Ranking assessment merely in the weight we give to the efforts made by Vanuku Economy RPers, relatively few though they may have been. The Economy RP that did occur was uniformly high-quality, fairly realistic in acknowledging challenges as well as victories, and voluminous enough to demonstrate that Vanuku's RPers do not expect the Vanuku economy to rest on its laurels.


Trigunia: Average Economy (down from Strong Economy); Regional Military Power (no change)

For the Trigunian Military, Player Assertions have been Positive, RP Quantity has been Above Average, RP Quality has been High, External Events have been Lean Negative.

During the six month period, Trigunian politics has been marked by an often deadly ideological tug-of-war between Metzists, Monarchists, and Nationalists. These competing factions have lead Trigunia through constant convulsions in almost all realms of society. One exception is the military. While Trigunia's Military RPers willingly accepted some draws and nearly a loss or two, their RP Quality was Above Average-to-High and their interest in foreign capitols never waned. During the Lyonya administration, the gaff-prone president re-energized the country's foreign affairs and employed the military and state security services to lethal effect against enemies of the state. This latter policy was followed in almost lock-step by nearly every other administration in Rodshyadam over the six month period. While the military's force projection capacities were little-tested during the period, foreign powers were impressed enough to back down when called to order by Trigunian officials: tensions with Kazulia, Dorvik, the Keris-Makon region, and Dovani upstarts Ostland, Statrica, and New Englia were all abated by little more than a mere word from Rodshyadam authorities. The Transitional Republic has staked out a policy of cautious internationalism with headline-catching overtures to Tragunia's sometime-nemesis, Kazulia. It remains to be seen over the next six month period whether Trigunia's newfound openness brings increased influence to the military or whether Rodshyadam will be swallowed up in the mix as just another pawn of Kazulia's geopolitics.

Tragunia's commitment to its security services has come at a crippling cost however. Currently, the national government sets aside some 33% of GDP for military expenditures alone. Such a figure is out of all proportion to Terra and real-world norms and entirely unsustainable. Several Trigunian administrations made notable efforts to keep the economy afloat and growing despite the merry-go-round of political upheaval that has characterized the country over the last century. But no amount of subsidies, government rescues, trade treaties, or production incentives are enough to counter the crowding-out effect of the government's overwhelming military expenditures. In the medium-term, the military will continue to survive by feasting on the carcass of the domestic economy. But in the long-run, both scavenger and scavenged will perish, and the military will be dragged down right along with the suffering masses.


Lodamun: Average Economy (down from Strong Economy)

Regarding the economy, Lodamun Player Assertions have been Neutral, RP Quantity has been Low, RP Quality has been Mediocre, and External Events have been Positive. The only notable developments in the Lodamun economy's favor over the six month period have been the efforts of Valruzian diplomats and corporations to coax the Lodamun government out of its usual insularity.

Lodamun is listed as having the highest-value currency on the game system's exchange rates table. This has often been given as a justification for Lodamun's curious imperviousness to economic gravity when it comes to the Rankings. This enormous benefit of the doubt is unwarranted. In the real world, the highest-value currencies are the Kuwaiti and Bahraini Dinars and the Omani Rial. No one would suggest that those countries boast major global economies. However, the currencies of the world's biggest economic powers come in at about 6th, 26th, and 45th (the US, China, and Japan respectively). And that's only on the list of the 54 most highly-traded currencies. Add in the other ca. 150 countries of the world, and those three economic behemoths tumble hard and fast down the rankings. And yet no one would seriously suggest that because of their relatively weak currencies, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman deserve to be counted as their equals or betters in an Economy Ranking.

So too with Lodamun. By the four elements used for this Reassessment, Lodamun should by rights be reduced to a Weak Economy. However, we have decided to reduce it to merely Average to minimize disruption.


New Endralon and Kizenia: Strong Economy (down from Very Strong)

NE-K is clearly an advanced economy with global ambitions. However, most of its growth in the last century has been merely implied by related developments in military intervention, weapons manufacturing, export, and procurement, and pharmaceutical development. The purely economic developments reported have been limited to the Explorator auto manufacturer and they do not compare favorably to similar focuses in the Valruzian economy. Finally, the NE-K economy does not boast the dynamism of the Indralan economy nor the historical and military heft to underpin the global reach of the Istalian, Kazulian, and Indralan economies or even the Dorvik economy. If the volume of economy reports continues apace over the next century and if the RP shifts its focus to slightly favor economy RP over military RP, we expect NE-K to credibly compete for Very Strong Economy status at the next rankings.


Selucia: Strong Economy (down from Very Strong); Middle Military Power (down from Regional Power)

Selucia's foreign policy over the six month period was marked by reluctance to engage internationally. For the extended period of In Marea-Civis Sinistram governments, the party was riven by internal debates about the proper role of Selucia in Majatra and the world. Overtures by Istalia briefly coaxed Selucia into regional affairs through its membership in the Majatran Alliance. But what looked like an emerging regional power withdrew from regional politics over disagreements surrounding the Alliance's response to Deltarian elections. In Marea-Civis Sinistram lead a second foray into world affairs by successfully managing the extradition of the Sultana of Barmenia, Juliana Mede, for crimes against humanity. Mede was made to stand trial and let off with a light sentence, but the incident seemed to bear few implications for Barmenian-Selucio relations or for Selucia's wider Majatran relations. At the tail-end of In Marea-Civis Sinistram electoral dominance, Istalian shipbuilders Leonardi were contracted to aide naval construction for its Majatran ally, with the government's own stated motives being, "many years of inactivity have left our nation with almost no knowledge of new structures and techniques, and that is why we have contacted the Istalian Government in order to help us in building a new Insularian fleet." Note that 'Insularian' here refers to the Selucian province of Insularia. In other words, the new naval development wasn't even a national project, but rather a campaign bid by In Marea-Civis Sinistram in hopes of returning to office after having been turned out of power in the capitol. Apparently the Insularia project wasn't all for naught however: it was followed years later by an apparently home-grown aircraft carrier. While the government of the day noted its aspirations of using the new ship to help man the Majatran Sea, no reports have surfaced of such use and the ship has remained unmentioned since its launch.

Selucia's economy, in terms of Player Assertion, RP Quantity, RP Quality, and External Events, has been moderate to positive, but not overwhelmingly remarkable to any degree. It certainly doesn't demonstrate favorable competition with the likes of Indrala or Istalia, not does it compare favorably with the dynamism of the Valruzian or Vanuku economies or the strong political-historical underpinnings of the Hawu, Hutorian, Kalistani, Kazulian, or Luthori economies. By rights we believe the economy warrants merely Average Economy status, but we have left it at Strong Economy rank to minimize disruption.


Zardugal: Average Economy (down from Strong Economy); Middle Military Power (down from Regional Power)

Zardugal's RP Quantity for the six month period was Relatively Low, totaling less than 30 Forum Newspaper RPs vs. more than 500 in the case of Dorvik for example.

Zardugal's Economy RP tended to surround developments at the Maksimuma conglomerate, a sprawling multinational which boasted acquisitions of the entire Zardic arms manufacturing industry as one point. While such power over a nation's economy may be beneficial for a company's owners, it is almost never beneficial for the overwhelming majority of a nation's citizens, as Former Zardugal President Patro Kalo diagnosed during a 4360s Presidential Address. While the Zardugal administration successfully repulsed Maksimuma's iron grip on the Zardic economy, the fallout tended to over-correct the problem: instead of diversifying the economy and increasing domestic economic competition, the Kalo administration's aggressive stance caused Maksimumo to decamp from Zardugal altogether in favor of spreading operations over several foreign countries to avoid being vulnerable to rapid policy changes by a single government. As a result, we consider Zardugal's economy to have contracted rather than returning to its pre-Maksimuma health. There have been no indications that the Zardugal economy has recovered since Maksimuma's decampment, save the unstated implications of its partnerships with Majatran power Istalia and other members of the Majatran Alliance.

The Zardugal government's fierce focus on military matters tends to be turned inwards toward domestic security rather than outwards as traditional Regional and Global Powers tend to do. Over the six month period, this insular focus served the Zardic government well in its conflicts with the subversive Orderist sect, but the government did not pursue sustained efforts to project its military force far beyond its borders. In this regard, Zardugal does not compare favorably to Regional Powers Hutori, Malivia, or even Luthori. We have therefore chosen to return Zardugal to Middle Power Status.


Dorvik: Great Military Power (no change)

In the case of Dorvik, as we ask for every player, "please give us links." And seeing as how Dorvik literally has 47 pages of news articles for the six month period, good luck reading them all.:D Though our brains and fingers hurt from having to wade through an entire book of Role Play to verify it, we are convinced of Dorvik's Great Power Ranking.

Given Dorvik's more than 500 Role Plays over the six month period, if even 1% of those were about the military, that equals or exceeds most nations in the game. As the GRC, we have read enough to know that Dorvik's military Role Plays in fact far exceeded 1%. As the GRC, our view is that Dorvik warranted serious consideration for promotion just on sheer RP Quantity alone. However, when RP Quality, Player Assertion, and External Events are taken into consideration, for us as the GRC, the question moves beyond doubt: Dorvik deserves its Great Power Ranking.
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Re: GRC Economic and Military Rankings (COMMENT PERIOD)

Postby Zanz » Wed May 09, 2018 12:50 pm

I really like the format you used for this.

A very small "for what it's worth" - I was disappointed to see Trigunia's economy overall dragged down at least in part due to the 33% military funding rate. I'd given up on ever doing budget/economics stuff because it is a clunky UI and because it's so rarely mattered (bear in mind that I argued for it to matter with the Particracy Realism Project and, since that flopped, here I am). I agree that funding levels ought to matter, but I've always taken that to mean that "realistic funding levels extrapolated from the RP undertaken by a nation and its players" - not the arbitrary number left over from who knows when that nobody looks at because it says BROKEN across the top of the screen. I think it's actually fair to say that Trigunia, given its recent unrest, would be spending quite a bit on its military. But given the nature of Trigunian industry (heavy industry, oil), I think that'd be more a driver of economic success than a detriment. Also please note that during the Lyonya administration we opened significantly to foreign investment with capital from both Indrala and NE-K flowing in, even despite the unrest.
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Re: GRC Economic and Military Rankings (COMMENT PERIOD)

Postby lewiselder1 » Wed May 09, 2018 2:33 pm

Bachelot wrote:Okay, so apparently there are two discussions going on about the rankings. The public one, which is here. And a private one somewhere else involving thirteen RP Committee members, where non-members have no opportunity either to see the points that are made or to respond to them.

Is anyone else finding this whole set-up bizarre, given the comparatively small size of our forum RPing community?

In my view, the rankings process should be as transparent as reasonably possible, with everybody able to see what is going on and participate. At some point, of course, somebody is going to have to made a decision about what the outcome is going to be, but I really feel the main discussion should be on the public forum and that the decisions should be made through a process that is as consensual as it can reasonably be. This has been done previously.

I am already concerned that in other parts of the game, the transparency we have had in the past has been undermined. Only a few days ago, I raised an innocuous and perfectly legitimate query about a Cultural Protocol update being accepted that actually broke the conditions set out in the rules. In response, I received an officious pm in my inbox from Moderation, insisting it is not allowed to raise such queries on the thread and threatening sanctions if it happens again. Was the RP Committee involved in formulating this response? I honestly don't know what the RP Committee is involved in and what it isn't, because it hasn't been made clear and there has not been great communication. What this seemed to demonstrate, though, was quite a worrying over-defensiveness and opposition to reasonable transparency.

So to be frank, my worry is that we are going to get to a point where the rankings update process goes the same way as the Cultural Protocol approvals process, with the key discussions taking place between a small group of people in private, the rest of the community effectively shut out and folk who raise questions getting jumped upon.


Again I shall respond to a number of points here.

Firstly, I feel you misunderstand the “two discussions” here, no offence intended. There is one discussion, which is between the GRC and the community at large, this thread, in which anyone and everyone is free to contribute. This is the only discussion per se. Prior to their first publication here we look over the rankings internally, but only to limit the amount of reviewing we need to do afterwards. This then stops once we publish our ideas here.

At this point, there is only one discussion. There are internal reviews conducted by the relevant CRCs — however if a CRC is still in disagreement in with a specific complaint or feels it would be better to decide on this issue as a group, the other CRCs may review it themselves. This is then the only other “discussion”, and we will then present our views. This is what CCP posted earlier. But this isn’t a discussion per se and isn’t an ongoing debate either, this is a singular joint review by the GRC. We could conduct this publicly, but this would be much more confusing to follow as we debate and change ideas, so prefer just to formulate a single response in private.

I think to characterise this as two discussions would be absurd, there are not two discussions taking place. There is an internal discussion BEFORE release, a public consultation and, if necessary, some CRCs may review any ideas put forward here in exceptional circumstances.

The idea that players cannot respond to these ‘private’ points is also unequivocally false, as we have published or thoughts in detail here and players are welcome to respond.

I respect your opinion, but I think that your characterisation of two discussions is incorrect or misinformed — such a system would be entirely bizarre and have no discernible purpose —, and that ultimately this is the only efficient way of doing things, without it getting very confusing, long and drawn out, and we are as transparent as possible here. The alternative would be to have the entire community make the rankings together, which is not exactly efficient. I don’t see the issue with the current system to be entirely honest with you, and it doesn’t seem dissimilar from the systems used historically in rankings processes.

Second, I would like to respond again to the issue of the “thirteen” Committee members. Not all members contribute to every debate and every decision. If anything, it’s five members assisted by deputies in some cases and RP Masters for specific things in specific relevant cases. I won’t repeat my points from my previous post, but I genuinely do feel that you have misinterpreted the interior structure of the GRC in this case and therefore disagree.

Third, I would like to clarify that the GRC has no knowledge of or role in moderation’s actions unless it is specifically relating to a task concerned with the GRC where we may advise or inform, so in the Cultural Protocol example cited we had no involvement in or knowledge of the act. I would suggest that you follow up this query through another channel, as we are completely unrelated to that incident.

So to conclude, I completely disagree with the interpretation of the rankings process as a private debate — we merely begin the discussion with our thoughts and then try our best to discuss this with the community at large and come up with a consensus. This is what we have done. There isn’t a second private discussion once the rankings are published.

I also disagree that the thirteen members are in some way inefficient or that this is too bloated, and while you’re free to make this critique, I do feel it comes from a lack of involvement in the internal runnings of the GRC. As I said, it’s really give smaller teams sometimes working together, and I think the structure is fundamentally different to the way you think ist works.

And finally, I completely disagree with your characterisation of the way the future of the rankings process is heading, and I don’t think this is in any large degree a different or new system compared with the historical way of doing things.

Again, we have no involvement in the cultural protocol message incident you cited and I would propose that you query this through other means.

Thanks for the feedback :)
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Re: GRC Economic and Military Rankings (COMMENT PERIOD)

Postby Polites » Thu May 10, 2018 11:57 am

Zanz wrote:I really like the format you used for this.

A very small "for what it's worth" - I was disappointed to see Trigunia's economy overall dragged down at least in part due to the 33% military funding rate. I'd given up on ever doing budget/economics stuff because it is a clunky UI and because it's so rarely mattered (bear in mind that I argued for it to matter with the Particracy Realism Project and, since that flopped, here I am). I agree that funding levels ought to matter, but I've always taken that to mean that "realistic funding levels extrapolated from the RP undertaken by a nation and its players" - not the arbitrary number left over from who knows when that nobody looks at because it says BROKEN across the top of the screen. I think it's actually fair to say that Trigunia, given its recent unrest, would be spending quite a bit on its military. But given the nature of Trigunian industry (heavy industry, oil), I think that'd be more a driver of economic success than a detriment. Also please note that during the Lyonya administration we opened significantly to foreign investment with capital from both Indrala and NE-K flowing in, even despite the unrest.


That's what you get for not using Siggon's spreadsheets.
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Re: GRC Economic and Military Rankings (COMMENT PERIOD)

Postby CCP » Thu May 10, 2018 1:39 pm

Polites wrote:
Zanz wrote:I really like the format you used for this.

A very small "for what it's worth" - I was disappointed to see Trigunia's economy overall dragged down at least in part due to the 33% military funding rate. I'd given up on ever doing budget/economics stuff because it is a clunky UI and because it's so rarely mattered (bear in mind that I argued for it to matter with the Particracy Realism Project and, since that flopped, here I am). I agree that funding levels ought to matter, but I've always taken that to mean that "realistic funding levels extrapolated from the RP undertaken by a nation and its players" - not the arbitrary number left over from who knows when that nobody looks at because it says BROKEN across the top of the screen. I think it's actually fair to say that Trigunia, given its recent unrest, would be spending quite a bit on its military. But given the nature of Trigunian industry (heavy industry, oil), I think that'd be more a driver of economic success than a detriment. Also please note that during the Lyonya administration we opened significantly to foreign investment with capital from both Indrala and NE-K flowing in, even despite the unrest.


That's what you get for not using Siggon's spreadsheets.


Thanks for this input @Zanz. We're gonna take this under consideration and consider possibly putting out some clarification and guidance on it.
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