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.

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.

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.

MicroWiki logo competition underway

MICROWIKI – Micronational artists have a chance to leave their mark on one of the more active community forums as MicroWiki has begun a six-week competition to replace its current logos.

“The current logo is a bit rubbish,” said Kit McCarthy, its creator, tongue-in-cheek. “Everyone uses that same globe icon.”

So what’s in a logo, in the eyes of the MicroWiki administration team? The successful submission will be “stylish, clean and modern, but quirky and distinctive” according to the competition guidelines published by McCarthy. Whether the logo appears on the forums or on the wiki, it must maintain a consistent brand image. Importantly, the logo cannot be interpreted as politically-biased or micronation-specific. For those with a festive personality, the submission may also include seasonal variations, such as for Christmas.

Everyone with an interest is eligible to enter the competition by October 1. Each entry must include a forum header image, a wiki logo, and a favicon.

The MicroWiki administration team will prune submissions down to a shortlist that will ultimately go to a public vote, though a timeframe has not been published for that phase as of press time.

Ecological stewardship declaration celebrated

Following on the Alcatraz Environmental Treaty of 2015, micronations have begun signing onto a new environmental agreement en masse. That agreement, known as the Micronational Declaration on Ecological Stewardship (MDES), first adopted at MicroCon 2017 last month, aims to promote environmentally-friendly practices in signatory micronations.

The MDES brings together micronations that are concerned with humanity’s negative impact on the health of world ecosystems, aiming to galvanize a group effort to minimize it. That effort is especially motivated by a perceived failure of macronational governments to prioritize ecological stewardship, as well as the continued denial of anthropogenic climate change by others.

Calling for “more dramatic action … to minimize the negative effects of climate change,” the MDES seeks to empower micronations to recognize their ability to improve their local ecosystems, whether through waste diversion, ethical treatment of animals, avoiding the use of genetically-modified food crops, or preventing the proliferation of invasive species, among others.

Supporting that empowerment, the content of the declaration largely focuses on outlining local strategies that micronations can implement to improve their ecological stewardship. Strategies fleshed out in the declaration include ways in which to reduce waste, carbon dioxide emissions, and water pollution. It also encourages micronationalists to recognize an animal’s right to life, liberty and reproductive freedom, except where the animal is designated for food slaughter, threatening to humans, other animals or property, or an invasive species.

According to the Flandrensis government, one of the MDES’ most vocal supporters, the declaration was the fruit of a six-month discussion between twenty-five like-minded micronationalists from all over the world. “[The MDES in combination with the Alcatraz Treaty and other ecological charters] lays out a blueprint for reasonably addressing the topics of climate change, water conservation, biological diversity, and more,” it said in a press release.

Practically speaking, while loudly critical of macronational government inaction of ecological stewardship, the wording of the MDES makes it more an example of similar inaction than a reasonable blueprint. Quick to direct their condemnation, the signatories have agreed to a text that is wholly non-binding, with language limited to merely “encouraging”, “advising” or “urging” compliance. There is no expectation or requirement for any signatory to report on its efforts to improve ecological stewardship, let alone enact any of the included strategies.

Beyond being an exercise in political grandstanding, it is unclear what, if anything, the MDES will actually achieve, despite it being much celebrated and receiving strong support from influential micronations such as Flandrensis. As a follow-on to the Alcatraz Environmental Treaty effort, it may arguably prove to be underwhelming.

MCS policy faces new scrutiny

HUB.MN – It has been almost three years to the day since the MCS adopted its last major systemic reforms; however, change may again be on the horizon for the nearly-seventeen year-old intermicronational organization.

The increasingly-dominant presence of large micronations such as Shireroth, Stormark, Natopia and Alexandria, as well as the division of the community into two major alliances motivated Giles Melang to put forward a proposal that, if adopted, would limit the total Micras territory any one micronation can hold. The proposal is unique in that MCS Charter reforms are usually driven by the opposite desire to reduce minimum requirements so that micronations can retain their assigned territory longer through bouts of low or inactivity.

“We live in an age of, well, empires … through cleverness or sheer brute force (and popularity) [some can] extend their reach across the majority of Micras,” suggested Melang. Such a scenario unfolding, in his mind, would impede the progress of the smaller micronations, though admittedly he does not foresee it as an impending or given event. Rather, his proposal is meant to guard against the mere possibility in the future. To that end, his suggested territory limit on any one individual micronation is a generous one-half of the Micras map.

The proposal has generated wider discussion. “On Micras, anyone with a sufficiently narcissistic approach to the narrative development of their subject realms is free to bloat their holdings across the plant without reference to the inherently finite or cyclical nature of colonial power,” Krasniy Yastreb observed, proposing that the limitation instead apply to individuals than micronations.

Such an application is seen as a way to prevent one person from creating or controlling a majority of the Micras micronations, and therefore its territory, as their personal fiefdom. In such a lopsided situation, Yastreb worries that the amount of claimable land would run short for other participants and newcomers.”What is acquired is acquired forever, subject to the ruler’s activity level,” he suggested, referring to current policy governing forced territory reduction/removal by the MCS Administrative Council. Under that policy, the subject micronation’s population must maintain a minimum average of one post per two days, or similar wiki activity; failing to do so for three consecutive months may result in territory reduction or complete removal.

Like Melang, the current situation on Micras does not suggest that Yastreb’s worries are likely to become reality in the near future. Such a view is held by Barnaby Hands, a key member of the Administrative Council. “We’re far from reaching that problem yet,” said Hands, indicating his preference that the Administrative Council simply say to any person or micronation starting to dominate the map, “hey, leave some room”.

Other key members of the Administrative Council, including Chairman Craitman Pellegrino, have not voiced an opinion on the matter as of press time.

YAMOs remain relevant, argues Romanicus

For nearly two decades, micronationalists have decried intermicronational organizations as ultimately useless. With the founding of each new organization, micronationalists have with striking exasperation voiced “YAMO!” for Yet Another Micronational Organization. Many organizations quickly, or ultimately, fit the YAMO bill; however, Prince Romanicus of the Holy Confederation of the Violet Star argues that such organizations can, in fact, succeed from the outset.

Publishing his latest treatise on micropatriology yesterday, Romanicus suggests that the failing of any intermicronational organization rests on its inherent politically superficial nature. “Micronations have a very strong independent spirit … this means that by no means will any serious micronation allow another foreign entity to control its politics in any way,” wrote Romanicus. That legislation passed by an organization is only enforced locally if a member state government has the political will to do so further diminishes the organization’s relevance.

To fix this discouraging reality, Romanicus recommends that an organization be audience specific, catering to one or a combination of religion, ethnicity, cultural group, or ideology. Shared traits amongst the member states would promote unity and increase the organization’s relevance. It is also important, in his opinion, that the executive of the organization temper their dreams of close integration amongst the member states, as such impeding on sovereignty would discourage participation.

A successful organization, it is argued, will be one that admits only “serious” micronations, which Romanicus defines as one with a population of at least 100 individuals living in close proximity as opposed to a population operating within the confines of the Internet. “By no means am I criticizing simulationist or people without communities,” he said, “but to make YAMOs [worth] anything, micronations must be worth something as well.”

Importantly, Romanicus suggests, an organization must have a relevant purpose. Practical activities that he believes such an organization can focus on include fundraisers to support macronational government lobbying, the prevention of micronational war, collective security, and large-scale projects such as public works infrastructure development.

Finally, those involved in the creation and operation of the organization must not let themselves become disillusioned with the effort. “YAMOs exist in the way they are because of micronationalism itself, embrace them as our future for they are the vessels that micronations will use in the future to consolidate power in a hostile world,” he emphasized.