OpenGeofiction

More Commonia-related things

Posted by Yuanls on 6 June 2016 in English (English)

I've just added more to the Commonia wiki page concerning Commonian factions. I see a lot of potential (and potential abuse) of this system of factions. I'd like to hear what you think about the political situation of Commonia and how it impacts on the rest of the world.

I also remembered that Commonia is supposed to be an official AN mandate. Clearly the AN hasn't been doing a good job at keeping order, unlike Agarderia, which was under AN mandate 2000-2006 and now is back on its feet. This raises questions. Is it even feasible for the AN to even attempt to stabilise an area the size of Brazil when the terrain is often Vietnam-like? Knowing all the trouble the USA got into in Vietnam, how does the AN cope? Would this serve as a major criticism of the AN?

Tangent: The AN was formed out of a dispute between 2 organisations in 1966. This sounds a bit mundane and slightly unrealistic to me, knowing that the League of Nations and the United Nations were only formed when people realised that world peace was a priority. Surely we could alter this to tie in with a Commonia related incident-the date is about right and in my opinion it's far more realistic that way.

Let me know what you think

Yuanls

Comment from Ūdilugbulgidħū on 6 June 2016 at 23:36

Commonia isn't going to be easy to work out - so well done for taking it on. All in all, what you've added fits well into what I'd thought about Commonia before: its big, its diverse, and its very, very messy.

To what extent is the AN involved in Commonia? Its hard to say, but as you've written, the AN isn't doing a very good job. Maybe there is a 'lack of will' to fund the AN's work in Commonia, given that Commonia has so often in the past either rejected or exploited AN aid? Something like that. I agree the date for AN foundation would be much better earlier, following a major conflict. Written about elsewhere before I think, but its hard to mine things out of old diary entries/wiki talk pages. We need to bring this together.

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Comment from Luciano on 7 June 2016 at 00:00

I will second what Udi has said, without too much additional comment. I think what you wrote does a great job at explaining e.g. the more developed, "American" look of the northern third of the country - perhaps there are multiple capitals, with one at Thompson (IIRC, this was proposed as the national capital in an earlier discussion including Joschi81). Perhaps the rump "fascist" government has a capital at Guanliao (Bureaucracie)?

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Comment from isleño on 7 June 2016 at 06:50

I like it as well, but personally I wouldn't recommend focusing much on the history of Commonia right now.

As Udi mentioned, Commonia is still a very, very messy part of the map. Sooner or later it's going to need a huge amount of cleanup... reworking, rethinking, reevaluating, etc, to make it more coherent and realistic. It's possible that large segments of history may need to be changed in major ways. It's even possible that much of it may need to be completely thrown out and rewritten from scratch. So for anyone wanting to write history at this point, my suggestion would be to focus on parts of the map that can provide a more stable and secure foundation for your creativity. :-)

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Comment from BMSOUZA on 7 June 2016 at 07:31

I dont want to be rude but I dont know why write history or create administrative levels in Commonia. I see this country only as a test-place, where newbies can create or edit everything...

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Comment from isleño on 7 June 2016 at 09:20

@BMSOUZA - Eventually I think most of us would like to see the whole world enjoy a rich and interconnected history, including Commonia. How to get there is definitely a hard question.

It's true, Commonia is a test place for newbies... but it's a lot more than that, too: there are also random cities moved there by admin from unauthorized locations, areas where people have come together to produce some great collaborative work, as well as a handful of regions developed by individuals without much coordination with others. So we could say that Commonia is a number of different things, all at the same time. This mixed identity is part of what makes Commonia interesting, but also makes it difficult to deal with, haha. :-)

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Comment from Ūdilugbulgidħū on 7 June 2016 at 09:48

Commonia is one of the most interesting places in OGF because, as well as being the 'landing site', it gives space for unexpected and interesting things - things that can lead onto other projects, countries etc. The admin boundaries, some of the main map features - jungles, mountains, deserts - and perhaps the history too - are there to guide new mappers in mapping in a more coherent way. That is partly intended to reduce the level of 'clean-up' that will be needed in the future. I think they also add some scale to the OGF map, which is one of the hardest things for new users to get to grips with. Although its important that experienced mappers do some things in Commonia too, what I sometimes struggle with is individual mappers taking control of parts of the country, rather than just areas the size of cities. But then I look again and see something interesting developing - and as long as mappers in Commonia are aware that what they map there can be changed by someone else in future - as can the history - that could all work out fine. But as more gets added we do move towards a consensus about some things, I think.

The time may come when we need more blue areas - but its still a long time before the space in Commonia gets 'used up'.

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Comment from Yuanls on 7 June 2016 at 16:27

I do think that we need to write history for Commonia-we can't just pretend it doesn't exist!

But I do agree that Commonia is massively incoherent and chaotic, which would mean putting off a detailed historical outline for the time being.

However the only thing I would propose would be a rewrite on how the AN was formed. I think it could have been set up as an international organisation to keep peace and restore government in areas affected by the Great War. Set up in the late 50s, its role expanded as countries recovered from the war, but as internal division and conflict resumed in Commonia in the 1960s and 70s, all advances there were wiped off the map and from then the AN has only mandated portions of Commonia.

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Comment from isleño on 7 June 2016 at 18:23

My personal feeling about Commonia is that it's really not a good place for newbies to learn about OGF. Often times the wide open spaces don't seem to promote a focus on quality details and realism, and many of the most prominent "unexpected and interesting things" (huge geometric shapes, big sloppy sketches, straight-line motorways running for hundreds of kilometers) are things that will need to be deleted someday. I think they also tend to set a poor example for future new users to follow, and can give the erroneous impression that this site is for low quality mapping.

I think a better environment for new users would be more like Gobrassanya, where the smaller size and higher density force people to "think small" and focus on a single city, or a single town, or a single neighborhood. Not only does this help people learn about scale more effectively than in Commonia, but it also helps them realize that OGF isn't just motorways and place names... it's all about creating details. And on that level, there's actually quite a lot of room in Gobrassanya. It's still a very long time before the space there gets 'used up'.

Occasionally we've seen speculation about the possibility of transitioning Commonia (or large parts of it) to some other status, bringing an end to the giant blue blob. This could be accompanied by creating additional small blue territories in various parts of the world to give new users a better introduction to OGF, as well as opening up large purple territories (such as Commonia itself, and/or other locations like UL099) where people can work on a huge country together, but with a more coherent/realistic/stable framework than Commonia can offer.

But so far there hasn't been any consensus, and such ideas would obviously have to respect the handful of people who are invested in actively mapping Commonia, and ensure that their needs are addressed. But such a scenario would provide a great opportunity to clean up Commonia in a much easier and more efficient way, and bring it up to a higher level of quality, than could ever be possible in the ongoing chaos of a giant blue zone.

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Comment from isleño on 7 June 2016 at 18:32

As for the AN, its history reflects the fact that some people don't want war to be so prevalent/overwhelming in the OGF world. So for now, my suggestion would be to leave it as is, at least until the history of the war in question is better developed (is there any information about this war, anywhere?)... Alternatively, it wouldn't be hard to create an organization for keeping peace and restoring government in war-affected areas (the Postwar Reconstruction Authority, or something?) and let it be one of the organizations included in the founding of the AN.

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Comment from Ūdilugbulgidħū on 7 June 2016 at 20:07

Firstly, its absolutely true that having good quality mapping encourages more good quality mapping - Gobrassanya is a great example of that. But people need time to learn, and a place to make mistakes. I think it would be a premature to prevent new users doing things they might later think twice about, once they've got more experience. A place like Gobrassanya is a better environment, but a lot about it is already set, so there isn't the freedom to fail. At the end of the day, it isn't hard to delete straight line motorways, move or delete experimental grid cities. In a way, it does look bad - but is it worse than the places where there is very little mappiong (except perhaps roads), or no mapping at all? For most people it takes a long time to develop skills to map consistently, and it is still hard to create interesting stuff. But there is Interesting stuff in Commonia - mainly not big stuff, but hidden away in small corners. That could all be used, and expanded, some day. I find the de facto takeover of some areas - by users who don't collaborate, in particular - a bit harder to accept. But that is a freedom too, in its own way, I suppose.

Secondly, on the AN and world wars there is some stuff on a world war in this diary entry, on the Commonia talk page and on Bhj867's talk page. Further back in time, there are plenty of earlier thoughts here and here. I don't know if those previous discussions have any bearing on deciding when the AN was formed, but to me it looks pretty logical that its formation would follow the end of a major conflict (or even before a conflict ended), and that that conflict probably came to an end in the early 1950's. I would say that could be added to the AN page now - but alternatively 'the PRA' is a good interim suggestion from isleño.

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Comment from isleño on 7 June 2016 at 21:06

Hmm... I'd say there's ample freedom to fail in the smaller blue countries. Zooming in, you can see many different mapping styles on display in Gobrassanya (some more successful, some less successful) and room for hundreds of new towns. The main difference between Gobrassanya and Commonia is that new users are forced to think carefully about where to map, and what to map, and how to map... and they're forced to think at a much smaller scale than in Commonia. In my mind, that's never a bad thing. And I believe that the huge unrealistic edits in Commonia are worse than areas with little/no mapping, because they give new users a highly visible bad example to follow, and they present a low quality impression of OGF to anyone visiting the site. The de facto takeovers in parts of Commonia are another symptom of dysfunction that we haven't seen much in the smaller blue territories. People who want to edit without interference from others should be encouraged to claim a green territory, and there are many of us willing to help them move their mapping there.

On the issue of war, I see a lot of discussion but not many conclusions. I think that the people interested in a war should sort out the basics of the war first, figure out who wants to host the war and who wants to fight the war, before writing the war into other articles like the AN. Does that make sense?

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Comment from compdude on 7 June 2016 at 21:24

As a relatively new user here, I must say that Commonia would not have been the best place for me to learn things like proper scaling and whatnot. Its emptiness just was a bit daunting to me. I instead decided to start out in Gobrassanya since it was much more developed, and much easier to just start out on making a town, as was suggested when I created an account here. And I made a town, Goitanwee, at a place which already was marked out with a place name (I'm not very good at coming up with names for stuff) and I took the street grid from nearby Laguna and used it as a reference for how big I should make the street grid be in downtown Goitanwee.

OTOH, Commonia had a freeway on it with a half-mile wide median (!) and a diamond interchange that was ~20 miles long. :O The freeway itself has been deleted since I first saw it, but the interchange is still there. Totally unrealistic, and a clear example of someone who did not understand the scale of the map.

Gobrassanya is really a much better place for new mappers to learn the ropes than somewhere like Commonia, where the big empty spaces are probably a bit daunting to many people.

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Comment from Yuanls on 7 June 2016 at 21:24

I'm going to make a Commonian Confederation page now, since I have nothing else to do. If there's a more appropriate infobox, I will change it but I'm using the country infobox for now. I've left the capital blank as I have yet to find a suitable host city for this role (I might end up creating one). Everyone is free to change (and if necessary) delete it.

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Comment from Ūdilugbulgidħū on 7 June 2016 at 21:46

That does all make sense. I guess we should get on top of the Commonian mapping issues sooner rather than later - I'll try and sort our some of those huge unrealistic Commonian edits again, especailly the 200km long highways, railways etc. I deleted or re-routed around half of them a few months back, but didn't finish it off (Luciano's challenge, etc...). Perhaps the bigger difference between the smaller blue countries and Commonia is that edits like that wouldn't last long before they were deleted or made to fit in better. Although - remember - not everyone makes multiple highways or big cities to start with, even in Commonia. I absolutely agree that people who don't reply to messages and who go on and alter/delete other people's work should not edit in Commonia. I've messaged admin about this before.

I think there have already been a few notable conclusions on wars, namely:

  • there was only one world war
  • the world war took place in the late 1940's - early 1950's

Requests were made for further or alternative suggestions on world wars in previous diary comments, but little came of it. I think you're right isleño in saying that an article on a war should come before the rest, but again, if no-one comments on diary entries, diary comments or articles until a long time later, it becomes difficult to know whether anyone cares one way or another, and that is difficult for something which has a worldwide impact. Assuming there was a global conflict (and for verisimilitude I think we do need to incorporate at least one), I'd suggest that rather than asking 'who wants to host the war' we should ask 'who doesn't want to be involved in the war' and assume that most countries, to some degree or another, were involved - as in the real world.

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Comment from Yuanls on 7 June 2016 at 21:58

@isleño I agree with your point on new users. I haven't been in Commonia much since I received my own territory last September. Looking again, I do agree that there are severe problems with Commonia which aren't going to get better anytime soon. The 'moat' around Charington needs some serious attention. We must tread carefully if we are to delete things, however as to not fall afoul of any mappers already in Commonia. On the other hand we could encourage the experienced OGF community to construct 'model' cities so that new users can expand and develop them, sort of similar to Gobrassanya. As for the 'mini empires', they're goimg to be hard to get rid of. Some of the mapping there, i.e. No Ways's state of Regan, is actually pretty good.

@compdude When I first came to OGF my first reaction was to find a free blank space and draw my maps in it. This took place in Commonia for reasons. Firstly it was the largest. It was sort of shouting 'Map here!'. Secondly, I did happen to look at Gobrassanya and I was pretty imposed by it. I didn't want to map badly and mess it up. As a result, I chose Commonia.

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Comment from Yuanls on 7 June 2016 at 22:11

@Udilugbuldigu I've amassed some knowledge about the war.

1.It was from 1947 to 1954. 2. It was mostly fought in Commonia and east Uletha. 3. It was fought between 3 factions: the fascist Commonian government, the communists and the democrats, backed by their respective power blocs. 4. Nuclear weapons were used. Several blasts were detonated either for display or tactical purposes. 5. The war drew into a deadlock later on. The 3 sides agreed to end the war and ended up with control of about a third of Commonia each. 6. Rebuilding work progressed in the 1950s and 60s, but further conflicts in the 60s and 70s destroyed any progress that had been made. 7.The civil wars ended in the early 1980s and Commonia has been in a semi-anarchy ever since and seen to the rest of the world as a lost cause.

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Comment from Ūdilugbulgidħū on 7 June 2016 at 22:50

@Yuanls I'll pm you so we can work on a wiki together. All sounds good, the only thing I think we have to resolve is point 2: if it was a world war, it should be global. There could be a centre of conflict in Commonia and east Uletha but there should be other ones. Of course there can be 'opt-outs' for neutral countries. or countries that avoided the main areas of conflict, I think as long as it is 'most' countries having some involvement (with 3+ 'major powers/powerblocks) it can definitely go somewhere.

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Comment from wangi on 8 June 2016 at 01:23

Good discussion. I think i'm pretty much agreeing with isleño. What might be good is presenting new signups with scenarios ("gamifying" it!) much like Luciano tried to do with colab Ardisphere...

"here's your 1km square, we'd like to see x and y in it, linking to z over there..."

Commonia is too chaotic, but i'm always surprised by how few take up Gobrasanya or Mecyna instead.

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Comment from Ūdilugbulgidħū on 8 June 2016 at 08:55

Well, every user is different. When I 'landed' I didn't want to do much in Gobrassanya or Mecnya in case I messed things up. Because Commonia was already 'messed up' there was no problem with mapping there - and I didn't feel constrained to map in English. It didn't take long to work out that those crazy Commonian highways - and some other 'non-real world' features e.g lakes - shouldn't really be there - and that's what I still think. It takes a bit of effort to sort them out. But if you, as experienced users. see things in a blue country like those highways, or interchanges - you don't think its someone's 'special project', it isn't recent - just change it to make it more realistic, or delete it.

In any case there are some pretty empty territories that are 'worse' that Commonia in terms of having roads and nothing else - e.g. here, here, here . New users scanning the map will see these places just as much as they'll see Commonia - I remember this myself - and will take a little while to work out that the blue areas are the free areas to map in. All the OGF map is 'highly visible' to someone looking at it for the first time. Great to have high quality in the blue areas, yes - but the overall quality is important too?

While I've always agreed with isleño that we need to get higher quality mapping wherever we can, I think we also need space for new users to practice - I see that there is plenty of space to create a small, focussed city in a place like Gobrassanya. But firstly I don't think creating a whole new city is the best thing for a new user to do. Small areas yes, but small areas that aren't part of a country whose 'themes' are already developed. Places to build a small town that has 'potential' to be part of a bigger, imagined place, whose ideas aren't already developed. That's why we need the size - and the anarchy - that is in Commonia. We have to be careful about constraining Commonian history and culture too.

Finally, there is an issue of changing a blue country to another colour. People who map in blue countries are doing this under the impression that what they have mapped is 'common property', owned by the community. Taking that out of community ownership - even if it becomes collaborative ownership - changes the relationship between the mapper and the map. That's an important thing to think about before making any big changes in the ownership of the map in blue countries.

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Comment from bhj867 on 9 June 2016 at 04:22

I agree, this war should be much larger. With conflicts spreading into different theaters. Each amassing behind a cause or side.

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Comment from No Way on 9 June 2016 at 20:47

I see that I my activities are part of the discussion. I accidently landed somewhere on a non-sanctioned territory not realizing where I was at or what I was mapping. My work was then moved over to Commonia and I started from there.

My intentions were and are regional in nature. Therefore I started to map in a regionalized style. I am not an urban dweller so drawing an inner city is actually a bit more difficult for me although I have never lived far from the city and travel often. I just don't identify with intercity living and have always enjoyed driving the vast expanse of the USA.

I have so much vested in the mapping of Commonia that a "state" was drafted by the admins in the style of the state that I was creating, State of Reagan. I did claim a territory but have a hard time focusing on it when I keep thinking about what I have already created and how to improve what I created. It would be difficult to move the work around as the territory I claimed only has an eastern coast. So this is the quandary that I find myself in now.

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Comment from Ūdilugbulgidħū on 9 June 2016 at 23:26

@No Way - the difference between you and some other Commonian mappers is that you'll communicate with other people - which for some seems to be the hardest challenge!

State of Reagan fits into Commonia fairly well. As long as you accept that it isn't totally 'yours' if you map in Commonia - i.e. it is part of a bigger country which has its own 'themes' and history - it could work out fine. When you say it is a 'state', what do you envisage it being a state of? Commonia is not US - it is equatorial for a start, and it appears to be a lot more 'mixed' with no strong federal government. So Reagan wouldn't fit into it like a state fits into the US. As we all probably know.

However, I can see an alternative where you create a similar 'state' in what is now Freliberia, as a separate country (though if you look, there may be other Antarephian countries that are similar and could be potential associates). It doesn't have to have just one coast. You could create a large bay on the west side of Freliberia, or an inland sea, and then you'd have two coasts. As long as you didn't move your borders I don't think there would be any issues. What are the places you'd like to keep? The names? The towns and cities? The road network? I think all those could be moved to AN152d, Looks about the same size as Reagan too.

Just some thoughts.

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Comment from No Way on 10 June 2016 at 12:39

I did find a loophole in the ban on an air force for Commonia. I mapped a Naval Air Station in the middle of Regean pennisula in the Bellwood area.

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Comment from Yuanls on 10 June 2016 at 16:21

@No Way

That is perfectly fine! Although officially, Commonia has been demilitarised, this is poorly enforced and may factions maintain private militias. Reportedly, the Commonian Confederation even has an aircraft carrier!

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Comment from Ūdilugbulgidħū on 10 June 2016 at 17:53

Is this the one - in some sort of naval hideaway?

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Comment from No Way on 13 June 2016 at 21:25

No I didn't even know about that one. The Naval Air Station is actually in the middle of Reagan.

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Comment from Yuanls on 13 June 2016 at 21:43

@Udilugbuldigu

Wow where did that come from? Did you make it?

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Comment from Ūdilugbulgidħū on 14 June 2016 at 21:40

I'll hold up my hand, I suppose.

Btw good stuff on the 'Charlington Canal' - I had a go at filling in some of the rivers, south first, but got a bit rushed - and it shows - need to sort out things around Elbrun. Maybe a big tropical wetland around there. I have a plan for a 'more realistic' canal too. Also Duradura River needs to go to the sea, I can sort that some time if no-one else does, no probs.

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Comment from Yuanls on 14 June 2016 at 22:25

@Udilugbuldigu

Nice Commonia mapping I say! I like the secret military base!

Thanks, I've been intending to fix the canal for ages. Having rushed rivers in Commonia isn't a problem, mapping there doesn't need to be too high quality. But I can't see any sign of it being rushed, so it's ok. I kept the northern part of the canal to serve as an estuary for the Duradura river. I don't know where it went though. It seems to have vanished.

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