GUM activity raises wider concern

MICROWIKI – A decline in activity amongst the membership of the Grand Unified Micronational organization has reignited ongoing concerns of a wider decline in the MicroWiki community.

A trend that had not gone unnoticed by community participants anecdotally was reinforced as fact by the latest quarterly statistics report released by GUM on October 20th.  That report saw a 40% decline in respondents, from 26 member micronations in the 2nd quarter of 2017, to just 16 in the latest quarter ending September 30th.

The decreased activity in GUM, as well as community Skype chat rooms, is a regular topic of discussion in the weeks since then.

One prominent MicroWiki participant, Kit McCarthy, referenced the trend as the primary motivation for taking an indeterminate leave of absence from micronationalism. “I’m spending too much time flicking between windows on my laptop to see if anything’s happening, when, invariably, it’s not,” he said a statement on October 21st.

For John Marshall, the decline is a self-fulfilling prophecy. “When I post stuff and get no responses or replies or feedback, I’m not inclined to continue to post,” he voiced in reply to Suzuki Akihonaomi’s efforts to identify the root of the problem. Others, such as Marka  Mejakhansk, see the situation as part of the natural ebb and flow of Internet micronational activity, a reality since the turn of the millennium regardless of community.

Yet, things may not be as discouraging as perceived. A recently returned member of the community, Akihonaomi, on October 29th, began publishing activity statistics for the MicroWiki forums in a wider effort to address the decline. While the forums only received 228 posts in September, October was more robust in terms of activity, with 377 posts. Comfortingly, the increase was not the direct result of a tunnel-visioned discussion on the activity woes; however, it masked another concern – a largely flat trend in the number of new users and discussion threads.

Meanwhile, unsubstantiated rumour suggests GUM may in part be the cause of the decline. “It would seem that some individuals do not wish to return to the [MicroWiki] forums until the GUM is completely dead … if the GUM dies, several users will return to active status” postulated Akihonaomi while referring to a purported protest movement against the organization.

Such rumour aside, as one of the remaining relevant, active, intermicronational organizations, GUM at the very least is a bellwether for the community’s activity. Regardless of any such protest, the organization continues to draw membership applications, including two that were on yesterday’s Quorum meeting agenda. That it has not passed any substantive resolutions beyond the purely administrative since the end of July is not alarming, given that such periods of uninspiring usage are not uncommon for any intermicronational organization.

As for the MicroWiki forums, versus long-term trends, the perceived drop in activity is not significant, suggesting concerns are misplaced. Post-per-day averages in September and October, based on Akihonaomi’s reported statistics, remained 2- and 4-times the long-term post-per-day average of 3.18, respectively. A cursory view of the forums through November indicate another, relatively, healthy month.

That the bottom of activity in the community is so much below that recently seen appears to validate the natural ebb and flow cycle to which Mejakhansk referred, as opposed to a more concerning structural problem.

Occitania to stifle secession attempt

BABOUGRAD – Caught off-guard by the attempted secession of its state of Sezentrania, the Occitanian government has obtained court action to restore constitutional order; however, its moral authority to quash the secession may be wanting.

A recent addition to the federation, Sezentrania joined Occitania on October 19th, and reportedly consisted of a single citizen, Daniel Lee, the state’s founder, on October 20th. Despite being its founder, the federal government refused to allow Lee to act as the state’s governor, instead designating the federal legislature, the Vergadering, as the state’s administrator.

Within a week, Lee’s desire to be part of the Occitanian state had waned and on October 27th, he unilaterally declared Sezentrania to be an independent state, something that the federal government only learned of when it happened across a wiki page profiling the Free Democratic Republic of Sezentrania.

Occitania’s government has quickly moved to denounce the secession as illegitimate, stating its contention that as Lee was not the governor of the state, he had no mandate to declare independence. “This is a real coup d’état and a real constitutional affront,” the government said through state media, “There can be no question of self-determination because this action is one-sided.” It stressed that it was open to a solution to the dispute over Sezentrania’s status so long as it was compliant with the federal constitution.

With Lee being the only resident of Sezentrania, the argument by the federal government that the secession is not a question of self-determination appears fleeting at best. While it is a fact that Lee did not follow constitutional processes, his decision as the sole resident of the state is, arguably, the practice of self-determination in action.

More questionable is whether the federal government has moral standing to oppose the secession of Sezentrania. On October 27th, Occitania announced its support for the unilateral declaration of independence issued by the Spanish state of Catalonia. Catalonia declared independence, in violation of Spanish law, following the results of an unconstitutional referendum in which a minority of its residents participated. With its own territorial integrity is threatened by similar action, Occitania’s government now underscores the importance of constitutional law and minimizes the right of a local populace to exercise self-determination.

Finding itself in Spain’s position, Occitania has today obtained a court judgment appointing another one of its state governors, Ivanna Minaïeva, as Sezentrania’s prefect, tasked with enforcing the federal constitution and cracking down on the secession movement.

Gotzborg closes latest chapter

LONENBERG – More than seven years after it returned from a three-year hiatus, Gotzborg will again enter an official, indefinite, period of dormancy.

One of Micras’ older micronations, Gotzborg had a history of spurts of activity – first, from its founding in March 2004 until April 2007, when it went on hiatus, and then from 2010 to 2013, upon its return. Since 2013, Gotzborg’s activity waned to the minimal levels it sees today, consisting of at-most a few largely administrative-related forum posts each month.

That lack of cultural and government development and ideas is largely a consequence of the micronation’s demographics. When Gotzborg was first active from 2004 to 2007, its citizens were mostly in university. Those who returned post-hiatus had long since graduated and embarked on their careers, limiting their participation further. The key leaders in recent years – Sinclair and August Charles II, Gotzborg’s founder and king – have also become increasingly busy with their macronational commitments.

To that end, both decided that the upcoming expiration of Gotzborg’s web hosting package was a natural end point for the micronation. While a return in the future is not impossible, no such eventuality is openly expected.

The micronation’s Micras territory, which largely encompasses its constituent realm of Victoria, is planned to be transferred for safekeeping to Stormark, which already protects other Victorian historical entities. Stormark will remain the protector of Gotzborg’s Micras territory until any return to activity.

Work to secure Gotzborg’s archives and facilitate the Micras territory transfer will continue between now and when the web hosting package expires in mid-December.

Editor’s Note: The Coprieta Standard was founded, and named after a city, in Gotzborg; however, it will continue to publish despite its home micronation being inactive, much as it did during Gotzborg’s first hiatus.

Locally-developed game launched

LUCÍUSU – The first computer game to be developed based on a part of Micras culture since the turn of the millennium has been released.

The Ballad of Old Lake Morovia: Part One was developed by Passio-Corum founder and leader Queen Esper (formerly known as Opyeme Time) and incorporates the story of fictional-pirate Captain Ismael Hatch, who plundered the Strait of Haifa on Micras. In the game, the user, playing Hatch, is a pawn of the Lake Morovia Blockade Fund who learns of dark, insidious forces that control the Strait while on Black Hatch Island.

The game was developed using RPG Maker MV and is available for download on both Windows and Linux.

It is the first major game developed based on a Micras theme since the popular Control of Destiny Series that incorporated the Shirerithian religion of Soloralism nearly 15-years ago.

IMO invokes past name, desires new success

KALTSSTADT – A new UN-style intermicronational organization has launched, hoping to succeed where others have failed. Borrowing the name “United Micronations” from past endeavours, it remains to be seen if the organization can shirk the YAMO label.

As the (at least) seventh intermicronational organization to carry the name, the United Micronations finds itself struggling against the failed reputation of its predecessors. That struggle may be lessened by a comparatively-unique approach: an annual in-person summit that will complement more routine Internet-facilitated communications. Such an event may develop stronger interpersonal relationships between micronational leaders and add longevity to the organization.

The first summit is tentatively scheduled for Normanton, United Kingdom, from June 26 to 28, 2018. The member states, of which there are 10 as of press time, will discuss diplomatic, economic, and integration topics, as well as the more specific threat of North Korea’s nuclear programme in the likely scenario that it is still a concern.

Organized by the Kingdom of Catan, a founding member, the summit will be accessible to the press and public who can purchase tickets for a fee of £1-10, and based on the tickets advertised, it will include an evening gala.

Underlying these efforts is the ever-present concern that the United Micronations will not survive long enough to see that June date. Public details on its operation are currently limited; however, a key part of its growth and stability, the election of a Secretary-General, will occur sometime after the close of nominations on September 22, according to a media report.

Novapara hopes for renewal

FORT FUCA – Just weeks ago, Novapara, well-known for its professional-looking infographics and software initiatives, was placed into hiatus by its founder and leader, Mr Xavier. Yet already plans are underway for its re-birth in 2018.

A one-man micronation, Novapara ultimately met its demise on August 26 when Mr Xavier ran out of motivation to invest time in a project that had struggled to attract other participants to share the workload. The ensuing indefinite hiatus, however, became more finite today, though the same challenge remains to be overcome.

“The primary contributor to the failing government is the lack of people running it, ” Mr Xavier said in announcing a timeframe for Novapara’s return.

In order to attract others to the micronation, a “first half-year” agenda has been released, divided into three 2-month periods. The first two months will be dedicated to required maintenance on the Novian website, including its interactive citizens portal. Those efforts would be followed by work on the constitution and internal organization in months 3 and 4, while the last months will be spent creating new national identity and domestic products. Specific attention may also be paid to the expansion of the Novian Bank and its NovaPay financial services portal.

As for when the community may see the reborn Novapara, it is hoped that early-2018 will provide more favourable scheduling conditions; however, it was nonetheless cautioned that the attempt at planning a revival may still permanently fail.

Spat overshadows MicroWiki community

An effort to advance micronationalism has instead caused a diplomatic spat between two leading MicroWiki nations that has gripped the community as it descends into pettiness.

The growing war of words between Austenasia’s Emperor Jonathan Augustus and Delvera’s Consul Dylan Callahan, and other officials in their governments, originated in an unlikely venue: the Congress of Colo. That intermicronational organization billed itself as an effort to “bring stability … through structured diplomacy, economics, and sovereignty;” ironically, it instead spawned the current turmoil.

The spat, which became public through state media in each micronation on August 30, is largely a result of scheduling conflicts and semantics on the part of each side as opposed to any objectively serious issue.

In the former case, Callahan felt slighted by Augustus when, despite “months of advance notice, reminders, and suggestions [that Austenasia name more than one delegate],” Augustus, his nation’s sole delegate to the Congress, was unable to attend its first meeting. His absence caused the meeting to fail to meet a quorum, irking Callahan. That frustration increased as Callahan’s follow-up inquiries regarding Austenasia’s further participation reportedly went unanswered. In his defence, Augustus cited urgent personal matters for his absence.

When Augustus was later provided with a draft of what would become the Resolution on Micronational Sovereignty, he felt insulted as the document did not correctly cite his customary title as Emperor. He was further incensed by a re-draft to fix the error, when he read that it referred to the Congress participants as “micronations” as opposed to “sovereign states.” When he objected to the perceived semantic slight, Augustus, writing in his state media blog, noted that Callahan replied rudely which led to him promptly withdrawing Austenasia from any further involvement in the Congress.

Initial platitudes calling for further discussions to resolve the spat were customarily extended by both Austenasia and Delvera, but proved meaningless as the conflict boiled over onto the MicroWiki community forums and permeated state media in each micronation. The latest accusations include a Delveran agent attempting to engineer Augustus’ overthrow as monarch, Augustus abusing his power as owner of MicroWiki to censor Delveran state media, and vulgarity on the part of an Austenasian official. Practically-speaking, it has become a “tit-for-tat” situation in which each side strives to find fault with the other’s latest assertion and score credibility points before the wider community audience.

That semantics over the correct use of “micronations” as the term applies and impatience over missed appointments, plus the ensuing clash of personalities, have so severely undermined the relationship between the two micronations suggest that it was not viable in the first place. To that end, Austenasia announced today that it was cutting relations and communication with Delvera. As of press time, Delvera had not made a similar decision.