I've been sitting around for weeks watching the current situation unfold, contemplating everything that could happen or should happen. Other than the occasional comment on here or in chat, I've largely remained isolated from this because I haven't had a strong opinion on most of what is being proposed.
I've always said that the game's structural elements need changed, and worked my ass off (for a year or more?) to try to get enough people to agree on a common solution, as did Duke and several others. Inevitably, too much of the game thought everything was fine and change wasn't necessary. I think overall, the sentiment is a lot different now.
Like with any major proposal that addresses game reform, the process starts off with a bunch of different camps each wanting a different variation or flavor of something similar. In this case, an overwhelming percentage of the population wants change, but opinions vary from outright destruction of the game to a ConCon to modest reform to a reboot to nothing being changed at all. This is normal and predictable. If it's going to become anything other than sentiment, however, then something's gotta give.
This challenge we face isn't that inherently difficult to solve in terms of outlining and agreeing on a solution to pursue, especially once all of the patently irrational or unfeasible angles are eliminated from the equation. That really hasn't happened yet because there has been so much noise that people can't think straight. I can sympathize. But now that I've had time to collect my thoughts and think everything through, I'm here to do the game a solid and point out what can and needs to happen.
First of all, here are the six main camps we're seeing right now:
- Outright abolition of the game
- Abolition of the game without a plan; restart/solution to come after
- Abolition/reboot of the game with a plan
- Constitutional convention
- Reform within the status quo
- Status quo
And here is the current results of Bacon King's poll, broken down into these six groups as best as I can tell based on user commentary on the board. Some individuals can fall into multiple categories; for this, let's just assume that this reflects the primary desire of each person:
Now, I could just be abrasive and shoot down four ideas in one paragraph by saying that they're stupid, unworkable, won't solve the problem or otherwise won't garner the support needed to enact, but that would probably piss a lot of people off. Plus, who doesn't love a good dissertation from me? Instead, I'll do my best to minimize the number of people I piss off by going through the process of elimination.1) Outright abolition of the game
- Not gonna happen. Why not? Because I won't let it happen. Combined with the weight of other influential Atlasians who feel the same, this idea would never even make it out of the Senate, but if it did, it would promptly be laughed out of the regions by a combination of active players (both old and new) and our zombie hordes (see #3 below, as it is related). My track record of getting what I want is mixed, but my track record of making sure others' bad ideas don't come to pass is pretty darn good, and that's just when I'm a lone wolf. To the probably 10-15% who want this: stop being bitter, or leave. The game doesn't end with your boredom of it. Some of y'all have been around way too long, anyway. This group probably won't be happy with any change except this, so it's best to just ignore them and move along to convincing the other 85-90% of the game. 2) Abolition of the game without a plan; restart/solution to come after
- See #1. The idea isn't inherently as jaded or ignorant as Option 1, but it essentially creates the conditions where the return of the game isn't guaranteed. All of the various factions in a post-abolition environment would feel like they have the ability to ransom the concept of the game for what they want; "we won't go along with this if our demands aren't met". Of course, everyone would be on a level playing field if they had any sizable coalition, so games of chicken would ensue. Think about the length of past ConCons - now imagine the game doesn't exist at all for months, or even longer. Rushing into something as major as abolition of the game without a plan is foolish, pure and simple.3) Reform within the status quo
- Impractical. This seems to be more popular among our newer players. Now I am a bit jaded (not nearly as bad as those who want to blow everything up permanently or plunge the game into total structural insolvency, but I digress), but I have plenty of experience with reform attempts within the current confines of the game. If the goal is to pass simple, conventional, milquetoast constitutional amendments and/or statute in order to change the effectiveness of the game, then it's almost certain not to work. For those who weren't around then, I managed to push a reform idea (Fix the Regions Amendment) that would have consolidated the game into 3 regions from roughly 30% public support to over 60% public support in a few months. When the amendment got to the regions, it passed in 2 and failed in 3. Turnout was bad in that election due to holidays, granted, but there are plenty of other examples out there that have seen the exact same fate.
The nature of what it takes to change the game is challenging, which means that pushing through reforms as constitutional amendments is going to be very difficult indeed. Practically every idea being proposed right now must pass through this route at some point, however, so it's worth noting that only the most popular and organized ideas will survive the challenge.4) Status quo
- Barely anyone supports this as of now, but it is worth addressing because the status quo supporters tend to grow as a uniform idea for reform becomes clearer and clearer. It barely registers as of right now in polling, but it'll likely grow quite a bit once any solid plan begins to take shape. I think most of us are aware why the status quo will not work. There are too many offices, arguably too many regions, and a constitutional amendment process that is practically unworkable except when an idea has >80% support during the times in which people think the game is functional (or is just a really badly-written piece, as history has shown us time and time again).
So what's left?
Outright abolition of the game Abolition of the game without a plan; restart/solution to come after
- Abolition/reboot of the game with a plan
- Constitutional convention
Reform within the status quo Status quo
Wow, that was easy! With only two reasonable options left, the pathway forward seems clearer than when we started this dissertation. Now, these two ideas may seem independent of one another, but I do not believe that to be the case. When you filter through the noise and look at where people would likely fall, you go from the chart above to something like this (not yet factoring in potential bitters who default to status quo later on):
I personally signed the ConCon petition today - despite it not being my preferred option for change - because I see potential in it regardless. If we are to reboot the game, then logic suggests that we will reboot it as something different than what it is currently. Otherwise, the same structural problems that exist (mentioned before in some cases; in other cases, not) will just creep right back into the game.This is why I propose the following:
we initiate a ConCon as soon as possible. At the same time, the Senate begins working on an amendment that will mimic Fix the Regions Amendment in terms of how it would have been enacted: the amendment will state that once the ConCon is complete and a new framework/Constitution for the game is adopted, then game then automatically undergoes a statute reboot to wipe the slate clean. The latter would likely be completed before the former, but each in and of itself would likely take weeks at minimum to resolve. In other words, something normally used for nominal reform while keeping most things the same (ConCon) can be used as the vessel for paving the way to create a new game.
This would require:
From a realistic standpoint and not an idealistic one, there are two solutions going forward that can occur: one is a reasonable and thoughtful process in which we change the game into something different by having a formal process to plan it ahead, and then wipe the old away once it is finalized. The other is that we remain divided and the status quo wins by default. As such, I encourage those in support of both a reboot and/or a ConCon to sign up with this coalition, so that we may get the show on the road and not act like idiots in the process. The first act is signing the ConCon if you have not already done so. We can haggle about all of the finer points once we're there.
- 50% of voters + 1 in 3 regions signing ConCon petition
- 4/5 regions ratifying the statute reboot
- 2/3 of the ConCon agreeing to a new framework/Constitution
- 4/5 regions ratifying the new framework/Constitution