OpenGeofiction

Commonia

Posted by Yuanls on 5 September 2016 in English (English)

Having looked once again at Commonia, I got slightly depressed. (You'll feel the same way if you take a look) So I decided to express my depression by working on the Commonian wiki article. I've added an 'economy' section, which talks about illegal Commonian activity including human trafficking, forced labour, the Commonian drug industry and the Commonian Confederation's weapons exports. I've also talked about the AN's failure to control illegal activity inside Commonia. Perhaps this is a link to how we cannot control what is mapped inside Commonia.

I've got some questions to ask you. Feel free to answer any of them.

  1. Has your country, rebel group or terrorist organisation bought any illegal Commonian weapons? (You can say yes, even if your country doesn't admit it)
  2. Does your country have criminal links to Commonia?
  3. Have any companies admitted to using Commonian labour to make its stuffs? (You can say yes even if the company doesn't admit it)
  4. Has your country ever bought raw materials in Commonia?
  5. Does your country have companies operating in Commonia?
  6. Is there an OGF equivalent to the fairtrade standard or a World Trade Organisation?

If you've got points you would like to discuss, leave them below if you wish.

Comment from Reece202 on 5 September 2016 at 23:43

I've been considering there to be a few Calliesanyan owned/financed mines somewhere in the southwest (probably in Annosimia or West Equatorial), but I haven't fleshed out the concept enough to put it on the map.

As well, Calliesanyo has a policy towards funding and supplying Babelic speaking ethnic groups (Babels?) which is probably prolonging tensions in the region. We try to keep those activities quiet though, as to avoid problems with other nations.

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Comment from BMSOUZA on 5 September 2016 at 23:53

Well... Goytakano Mafia is known as contrabandists... I would not say Goytakanya buy weapons in Commonia because there is a weapons factory in Goytakanya, but the Mafia is "important", hehehe

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Comment from dryerlint on 6 September 2016 at 00:05

On the topic of "bad mapping" within Commonia, what do you guys think about adding a "mapping controversy" section to the Wiki page? The idea is that Commonian governments and hacker groups are altering public maps to make themselves look more rich and powerful. It would be a nice way to "explain" the issues/inconsistencies within the country (like giant motorways and massive billion-person cities).

This was brought up a while back, but we never really got a concrete answer IIRC.

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Comment from Ūdilugbulgidħū on 6 September 2016 at 09:04

I agree. Commonia definitely needs some more deletions/amendments/reworking. But it could be worse.

@ Yuanls.

I like your wiki additions. There must be a lot of black market trading going on. Is there, for example, drug production hidden in the jungle?

Is there an OGF equivalent to the fairtrade standard or a World Trade Organisation?

This is a good question; if there is, it hasn't been developed yet.

@ dryerlint

adding a "mapping controversy" section to the Wiki page?

Interesting question. To the Commonia page, or generally? I don't remember seeing a discussion on this before. In a way this changes OGF from being like OSM - an aim to map the world in an accurate and usable way - to something else. I'm not sure that has ever been decided; there is the freedom to map and be creative in the wiki.

No one can visit any of these places to check the mapping is accurate ... so its all in the mind (or wiki) whether what is on the map is an accurate representation of what is imagined to be there, or not. 'CopymapRightⓂ' could explain some of it, and yes, if there are hackers changing the maps that could explain some of these inconsistencies. Opinions may differ - I'm not sure a concrete answer is possible.

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Comment from kingfries on 6 September 2016 at 10:18

Pasalia here: Has your country, rebel group or terrorist organisation bought any illegal Commonian weapons? (You can say yes, even if your country doesn't admit it) - No, Pasalians buy their own weapons.

Does your country have criminal links to Commonia? - Not at all. Maybe the usual ,criminals use it to store their money' or something like that, but not on a governmental level.

Have any companies admitted to using Commonian labour to make its stuffs? (You can say yes even if the company doesn't admit it) - That might be, although not to extreme extent.

Has your country ever bought raw materials in Commonia? - Yes, most certainly large amounts of Ore (and Oil, if theres any. Pasalia needs huge quantities of Oil, so anyone want to make a Oil trade deal, btw?)

Does your country have companies operating in Commonia? - Don't think so, no.

Is there an OGF equivalent to the fairtrade standard or a World Trade Organisation? - I don't know actually, but that sounds like a good idea. (Even tho in RL I always buy the cheap cocoa and fruits because I dont feel like spending a fortune on stuff like this).

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Comment from isleño on 6 September 2016 at 15:34

Re: "bad mapping" in Commonia

At this point, the admin team seems likely to experiment with a change of status for Commonia in the not too distant future. I'm sure there will be more details and discussion to come, but for now I'd try to avoid investing lots of mapping/storytelling/wiki effort in the territory, as the situation there may be subject to change.

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Comment from Yuanls on 6 September 2016 at 16:46

Wow! Many answers and questions! Well if your countries have links with Commonia feel free to put your contributions into the Commonian wiki page and on OGF.

I think an international free trade organisation is a topic worth discussing itself. Maybe we could have another diary entry?

@isleno I guess I'll stop working for now. Any details on how much Commonia will change after the update or when the update will be happening?

@dryerlint

This is an interesting idea. It is possible, but it does blur the lines between our OGF world and a more OSM approach. Personally I like the idea but I don't know how well it would stand when put to the wider community.

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Comment from isleño on 6 September 2016 at 18:12

@Yuanls: There's no set timeline, but we hope to try offering smaller blue territories instead of larger ones, so Commonia may be "frozen" in reserved status for some time.

My personal (non-admin) opinion is that Commonia's problems are a lot deeper than just bad mapping. I think that if we ever want it to feel realistic, we'll need to figure out some coherent cultural/linguistic/historical foundations, complete a significant amount of cleanup work in order to reflect those foundations, and then establish a collaborative status to ensure coordination moving forward.

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Comment from BMSOUZA on 7 September 2016 at 02:44

Maybe some users can say I am a little stupid, but I think we dont need to care about Comonia. Comonia is only a test-country, to new users.

New users can create a settlement in a oasis with chinese names or try creating a 100km large metropolis with some african language. Only in Comonia, not in Gobrassanya or Midistland or Mecyna or other collaborative country.

I see Luciano and Udi creating vegetation map and rivers, now Yuanls trying to create a interesting wiki article, but new users will not follow rules in Comonia. Where new users can create their first settlements (be it a metropolis sketch or a small town)??? Someone think new users will consider some previous landcover or some history in a wiki article??

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Comment from Luciano on 7 September 2016 at 03:21

To be clear, in all of what follows, I am speaking as user, not as member of "admin"...

I have a lot of sympathy for BMSOUZA's comment. But if we're going to just have a "sandbox" where new users can try things out, what if we just went to allowing new users to occupy their own territories immediately - in fact, making it a requirement?

This is more or less how it worked when I first arrived here, but then the blue territories were developed and the waiting period implemented because of the administrative overhead of new users who would sign up, take a territory, make one edit, and disappear.

However, those kinds of new users only occasionally figure out the "blue territories" concept, anyway. Those kinds of new users will drop their junk anywhere they please and then disappear.

Therefore, blue territories don't matter to those kinds of new users.

On the other and, new users who follow the rules from the start probably could be allowed a territory from the start.

Thus, I would say that it seems to me we could simply eliminate the blue territories, turning them purple, and eliminate the waiting period.

The biggest single drawback would be a likely increase in the amount of work required by the admin team in "granting territories" and/or later "freeing up territories."

This could be solved by expanding the admin team and setting up clear lines of responsibility (i.e. maybe have admins commiting to "times of attention" - meaning they would be committed to keeping an eye on new requests for certain periods of time, and the schedule of available admins could be published somewhere).

Another option would be to try to semi-automate the granting and revocation of territories. This is possible with the right sort of script. But it would require someone with the right coding expertise taking it on, and as Thilo has commented sometimes, we have to be careful with modifications to the website design since it can make upgrades to the underlying OSM architecture more difficult.

Actually, there's not much an automated "territory-granting" script would need to do to the map - most of it would be in the wiki, where we store our who-owns-what territory info. Some kind of bot on the wiki could probably do the job.

Anyway, this is all just brainstorming.

In general, with respect to Commonia specifically, keep in mind isleño's comment - probably Commonia is going to change status at some point.

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Comment from Yuanls on 7 September 2016 at 20:03

@Luciano

Does that mean Commonia is going to be divided up into smaller countries and cease to exist? This could have some serious impact on the established and under-construction world history.

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Comment from BMSOUZA on 8 September 2016 at 02:22

Another time, I dont want to look stupid, but I still dont understand why Comonia "needs" to be so important to general users.

OGF world is always changing. There was a well developed country in OGF called Tamarindia, but its owner decides to retire from OGF. Karolia is another important country, but was literally transfered from one continent to other. Things like these makes me think: do not excessively care about "common" places and countries, or even so much links to neighbors...

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Comment from isleño on 8 September 2016 at 08:00

@Yuanls: We don't know what might happen with Commonia, but I know admin would like to keep hassles to a minimum, wherever feasible. So my guess would be that even if Commonia ends up somewhat divided, a significant piece would likely be called "Commonia," so that anything written about "Commonia" would still refer to a country.

@BMSOUZA: I think it's different mappers with different interests. Some like imagining sports teams, others have fun conlanging, still others are obsessed with transportation. And some love history and international relations, which is why they enjoy creating these types of connections. That said, you're right that the OGF world changes in ways unlike our own, which presents some unique challenges: countries may disappear when their owners leave, countries may change when adopted by a new user, etc. That's part of the game... hopefully most people are aware of it!

@Luciano: For me, the most important goal with smaller blue territories is to transform the newbie experience from '7 days doing whatever you want' into '7 days actually experiencing what it's like to edit OGF.' (For those who haven't heard this before, I think 99.9% of the OGF experience is building small spaces and fine details, and new users should learn about that reality: the amount of time required, the amount of careful thinking involved, the importance of context, scale, quality, realism, and much more. By having new users experiment in small areas, in close proximity to other mapping, I suspect they'll be more likely to start thinking about all this stuff — and the sooner they start thinking about it, the better mappers they'll be.) So... even if we could automate territory assignment/un-assignment/cleanup, or divert more users to help assign/un-assign/cleanup territories for everybody who wants one, I still imagine there'd be great value in an initial phase where new users actually get a chance to experience what this project really entails, before jumping into a blank area of their own.

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Comment from Luciano on 8 September 2016 at 13:26

@isleño - I am completely sympathetic to your objectives - I think. But when you say: "transform ... '7 days doing whatever you want' into '7 days actually experiencing what it's like to edit OGF.'" You lose me.

If I had joined OGF and been required to operate in some narrow, collaborative constraint during some trial period, I would have said, simply, "nah, this site isn't going to work for me," and I would have moved on.

I say this despite agreeing completely that "99.9% of the OGF experience is building small spaces and fine details," But I needed to learn this on my own, while trying to bring about my own vision. I would not have survived by being forced to climb some meritocratic ladder of mapping competencies.

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Comment from Ūdilugbulgidħū on 8 September 2016 at 14:53

So ... if the idea is 'to try offering smaller blue territories instead of larger ones', we need some sort of compromise where the territory is big enough to retain that freedom to experiment at the same time as learning to 'edit small'?

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Comment from isleño on 8 September 2016 at 15:29

@Luciano: It's not "some trial period," it's 7 days. It's not "collaborative," it's still a blue country. And it's not a "meritocratic ladder of mapping competencies," it's just a few days editing within a smaller area. If someone doesn't have the patience to edit in a small country for 7 days while they wait to claim a territory, then they certainly won't have the patience to spend years filling out millions of details across a larger country.

@Udi: It looks like there will be a range of small blue territories in different sizes. We want to provide lots of options and see what works best.

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Comment from Yuanls on 8 September 2016 at 17:07

This cleared things up a lot-thanks guys. I hope the Commonia change goes smoothly. I would have certainly preferred Isleno's approach to this. I would have liked a small space to try out OSM mapping in. Even when I started mapping in Commonia my edits were only in a relatively small area

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Comment from Luciano on 8 September 2016 at 22:52

@isleño, As usual, I'm doing badly communicating, despite using so many words.

I'm not objecting to the small size of the proposed new blue territories. Indeed, I think I'd like to see new users constrained to even smaller areas - perhaps 10000 km sq max (about the size of Jamaica or Cyprus or Lebanon).

As a quibble on semantics - "7 days" = "some trial period." I mentioned before the idea of eliminating the 7 days trial period. I'm doubling down on that. I think the trial period (which happens to be 7 days right now) for newbies serves no useful purpose, currently.

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Comment from isleño on 9 September 2016 at 05:45

Thanks Luciano, I'll reply via PM. :-)

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Comment from No Way on 9 September 2016 at 17:51

Someone just removed the northern border of Reagan in Commonia. Luciano spent so much time creating the borders and now they are being deleted. I don't have access to JOSM at the moment so I cannot restore it. They also deleted coast features and restored back to a straight line.

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Comment from Yuanls on 9 September 2016 at 18:04

@no way

If it's a recent deletion, you might be able to go back and retrace the route before it refreshes. If it has already gone, you might be able to contact the user to clear things out. If you want to revert changes you'll have to get JOSM though.

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