Vyktory prepares for growth, renewal

[Submitted: The Vyktoryan Times]  With the current state of the Commonwealth of Vyktory being of desolation, depopulation, and disrepair, King James I is correct about being worried about the future state of the nation, especially after his own inactivity and procrastination placed the nation in such a state.

His Majesty, while stopping short of making a concrete plan, has decided to attempt to recruit more citizens, to create more activity, and to work on a robust economic and political simulation to entice people to immigrate. Vyktory’s recent application to join the newly founded Micronational Economic Group is a key tenet of this new simulation, with the King planning to use the MEG‘s online portal to underpin the economy.

The political simulation will run on a macro-level, with each person running their own party and attempting to gain seats in the national parliament. His Majesty will be making full use of the seat calculator that Carl Jackson of Safiria created back in April.

The nation’s sports teams are also a focus of the reforms, with new logos for Vyktory Dragons, the Vyktoryan FA, and the Vyktoryan Football League having been obtained at a cost of US$20.

Only time will tell if this will restore the nation or place it further into disrepair, but for now, His Majesty remains dedicated to the cause.

Our own enemy to retention

OPINION – A recent discussion at the Bastion Union forums reflected on the topic of retention of new micronationalist, specifically with respect as to why it is so difficult to engage and retain those who decide to make the leap into that well-established community.

Retention itself is a topic that is regularly on the minds of micronationalists, though it is often second place to the driving issue of recruitment. Yet, it is inevitably as important as its predecessor, even if in planning it seems to be forgotten. For without an effective retention strategy, recruitment is merely a means by which micronations momentarily stave off their inevitable demise. In my near-fourteen years of participation, the micronational government that devises and executes a thoughtful retention strategy, successfully or not, for new immigrants is unfortunately a rarity rather than the norm.

For a tiny community whose talent can create entire cultures, write legislation that can rival that of macronational bodies, and develop functional bureaucracies, micronationalism does a terrible job of figuring out how to keep people around. That inability afflicts all of micronationalism equally – just a matter of days ago, the secessionist micronation of Bromenia disbanded after three-quarters of its population lost interest; meanwhile, the simulationist Bastion Union group of Micras micronations has only retained one new participant in recent years.

The Bastion Union discussion is a first step to recognizing the roots of the retention problem, though it is far from evident that any plan to combat it will follow. The discussion itself provides a prime example of a key reason why newcomers may be turned-off from sticking around – specifically, petty grudges. Just four replies into the discussion, Carl Jackson (posting under his HIH Prince Daniel character’s user account) had already bickered that “micronations got a hell of a lot less fun when [Jezza Rasmus] rolled in.” An intended constructive discussion sidetracked by petty nonsense in less than an hour. Calling that crass would be generous.

This was neither the first nor will it be the last such episode between those particular parties that others have had to endure. And the example is not limited to those individuals, as there are many other personal grudges that afflict micronationalism, but rather I reflect on it specifically given its seemingly ironic timing and location. Why would anyone want to stick around to endure such vanity? Indeed, only last month, Stellus Yastreb, a valuable contributor to Shireroth for years, announced the end of his participation as a direct result of becoming the target of personal ridicule and attacks due to expressing his opinions on the secession of the Apollonian Confederation from Shireroth in an interview with this news service.

Perhaps this bickering is not merely the result of the trollish desires of the participants, but also in part a ramification of some disconnect with the simple reality of micronationalism: it’s just a hobby! Creators understandably become defensive over their micronations (or ideas) as do those who work so hard to further develop an existent one; however, some lose sight of the hobby-factor and become purely enraged at any perceived threat to their ‘dream’. This alone presents an incredible barrier for a newcomer who simply desires to explore his or her creativity. Afraid to rock the boat for fear of a harshly personal reprisal from some of those in the existing core of veterans can effectively neuter a newcomer’s interest in becoming involved in a micronation to the point where he or she can take “ownership” of a project to maintain long-term interest.

Why invest one’s personal spare time in a hobby that demonstrates that it can eat people alive as effectively as any macronational political stage? How can a newcomer to micronationalism develop the requisite sense of belonging that encourages long-term participation, if he or she cannot even be confident that one will not be treated like absolute filth by veterans for espousing a contradictory opinion, when so many have been treated like such for lesser reason?

In a perfect world, where the bickering and vanity were a phenomenon of some era long past, retention would nonetheless still face hurdles that must be overcome. After all, few micronations have any clearly-stated expectation or orientation guide for newcomers to use as a basis for their participation, and just as few provide a clear definition of the roles made available to participants. For example, “Minister of Finance” sounds self-evident to the acquainted, but without clear expectations or responsibilities, demotivation can quickly creep out from the shadows and swallow the newcomer whole. “They’ll figure it out, just like we did years ago,” is a complacent attitude that brews defeat for retention efforts even before any plan makes it out of the gate. Baptism by fire is a brutish means of developing newcomers, and it will burn more alive than the community can afford.

We must not however lose sight that how we treat one another is being watched by both newcomers and those who lurk around our discussion forums and social media wondering if they should bother joining the community. Not only is this realization critical to recruiting new blood into the community, it is critical to retaining members, both new and seasoned alike. It is their retention that will allow the community to survive, thrive and remain an interesting endeavour to all.

Safiria releases new licence plates

AŇIRA (CS) | A year-end initiative by the Safir government has resulted in the creation of several eye-catching licence plates that have received acclaim throughout the micronational community.

The licence plates, designed by Carl Jackson and released between December 18th and 24th, include one for each of the micronation’s nine mainland states, as well as a special-issue diplomatic plate. The plates are predominantly stamped according to the Safir government; however, certain states, particularly Evari and Umaront, will use printed lettering.

The Safir release follows an equally extensive release of licence plates by Austbard in August of this year, which represented the second year in a row that that micronation has led development of these unique symbols in the Micras community. Senya, the Gong Federation, and Høgmårk also released licence plate designs in 2014.

Click through the gallery below to view the licence plates released by these micronations this year.

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2014-12-28 19:15 MST – This article has been updated to include the Gong Federation licence plate released on December 24, which we were made aware of after the article was originally published.

Nominations underway for 2014 FNORD Awards

HUB.MN (CS) | With the year coming to a close, nominations are being called for the Micras Sector’s 13th annual FNORD Awards, which will be awarded on January 8.

The FNORD Awards were started in 2002 by Scott Alexander and are one of micronationalism’s longest-running community award galas.

This year’s judging committee includes Jack de Montfort, Joe Foxon, and Carl Jackson, who will be responsible for selecting the award winners from nominations across fourteen separate categories. Those categories include awards given for annual achievements in various areas, such as economics, journalism, and best new idea. Also to be awarded is the community’s most prestigious award, the Odlum Award for Overall Achievement, which is given to a veteran micronationalist in recognition of long-term contributions to the community.

Nominations for the various award categories will be received until January 1 and can be posted in the appropriate thread at Hub.mn.

One-on-One: Carl Jackson

CS: Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself and how you came to become involved in micronationalism?

CM: I’m Carl Jackson, founder of the Safirian Empire among other things. I’m a 20-year-old autistic hikikomori from Florida. 🙁 I discovered micronationalism in 2010; how I discovered it I sadly don’t remember, other than that it involved a political simulation with some British friends for about a year before that.

CS: You’re the founder of the Safirian Empire, which has been existent on Micras in one-form or another for about half a decade now. Would you provide our readers with a brief introduction to the Empire and perhaps share your inspirations for its culture?

CM: The Safirian Empire is a large star empire centered on the planet Daia, approximately 7500 light-years distant from Micras; its current incarnation has existed for about a hundred years, while the Safir civilization in general is several million years old, according to known records. (These are in-game years.) Traditionally, Safir culture is quite aesthetic, with a particular love of uniqueness and impermanence; their decision-making, meanwhile, has normally been by consensus — owing to the safir’s psionic nature — but this has been disregarded by the last few Safir Empresses, who have had to rule by decree given large-scale governmental apathy (OOC: the fact that it’s a one-man nation *laughs*). I’ve drawn inspiration from Heian- to Edo-period Japan, as well as various works of fiction.

CS: I’ve noticed that Safiria focuses closely on sport; however the overall goals of the micronation beyond that aspect seem murky at present. What does the future have in store for Safiria?

CM: The goals for the future are to flesh out Safiria’s history and worldbuilding, and concoct some form of government that both fits the Safir worldview, etc. and can work for a one-man nation as well as a many-person one.

CS: Let’s touch back on the topic of sport. You’ve been heavily involved in micronational simulated sport for many years, whether it was baseball, football, or gridiron football. In your opinion, how does sport benefit the Simulationist community and the individual micronation?

CM: Through sports, micronations and -nationalists of all different stripes get to interact with each other, even when they wouldn’t otherwise. It helps that it’s fun. *laughs*

CS: Earlier this year, you were made Kaiser of Shireroth under the Royal moniker of Trantor IV, and unfortunately you had an arguably rough brief reign. Almost a year later, can you share with us your thoughts on that episode of your micronational career?

CM: It was a complete train wreck, and I can’t believe it’s already been a year. Next question?

CS: If you were approached by a newcomer to the community who wanted to found a new micronation, what advice would you give?

CM: Get your footings first before trying to go it alone. New-person micronations rarely if ever last.

CS: As a participant in the Simulationist community for the last half-decade, what is your fondest memory to date? What about your deepest regret?

CM: I don’t have any particular fond memories, and my deepest regret would be either acting stupid right when I joined up… or Trantor IV.

CS: Any final thoughts?

CM: I wish I could go back to 2010 and try again. 🙁

FNORD recipients announced

HUB.MN (CS) | FNORD Award committee chairman Ric Lyon has announced the recipients of this year’s annual instalment of the prized Micras community awards.

Read moreFNORD recipients announced

Annual FNORD Awards elicit numerous nominations

HUB.MN (CS) | An abundance of nominations have been made as the premier annual awards ceremony for the Micras Community prepares to enter its twelfth year, with the presentation of the much-envied honours scheduled once again for Emperor Norton Day on January 8.

Read moreAnnual FNORD Awards elicit numerous nominations