OpenGeofiction

Thoughts about lost countries and countries with unknown status

Posted by SwissCrusader on 28 January 2019 in English (English)

I just read yesterday's article "No time for OGF, what future for my countries" by joschi81, and this has raised a few questions to me.

I have been thinking about the question of "lost countries" and also about those undocumented reserved territories (white on the territory map ) that create a breach in the logic of the map since they're kept untouched on the map, but on the wiki pages they say "yeah, don't talk about lost countries, they don't exist and never existed", not mentioning when they don't even have pages at all.

And this is something I would like to ask admins about.

But if you regular users want to add comments, feel free.

Border issues with lost countries

For example: I (Älved) have a western border with what used to be Zanyzzix (now UL079), an almost empty country with some badly designed bits, and an eastern border with Latania, a "lost country" with very good mapping on its whole territory. I suppose Latania is kept "in memoriam" of the mapper, but it isn't neither collaborative nor has a contact person.

Zanyzzix has been turned to green and I suppose will be erased forever, but Latania is kept.

There is a ~ 30 km gap where it would be good to join the roads between Latania and Älved, but "Latania doesn't exist and never existed" although we keep it on the map.

Countries with undocumented status

Not to mention other white countries which are marked as "possibly a future collaborative territory" (or not), and in some cases are not empty and regularly edited, but we don't even know their name and what they are. Example: the big UL099 (with New Ayeli city) in the north. Or UL106 (russian-like) which is unnamed and no wiki entries are present. What are their names ? Why is there some mapping on them but their status is white, not orange ? Are they lost countries or not ? Should we consider them in the geopolitical stories of our countries ? How to proceed in case of issues ? For example, if we want to request something about a reserved territory :

  • in my case: completing the road gap with Latania, or erasing the inconsistent mapped bits on Zanyzzix/UL079 since that mapping bothered the Neberly guy too, as he told me in PM

  • or in joschi81's neighbours' case: what is the status of UL141, who is the person of contact if there is an issue about Kalm, Isztianorszag etc if joschi81 abandons them, etc.

...then who should we contact about that ? how admins are more likely to react ?

Last question: in case the mapper goes away without signaling and the mapping is not complete => wouldn't it be good to set a rule that after 1-2 years or so, an abandoned map (or part of it) will be turned to collaborative for all nearby active neighbours ? or marked for withdrawal, depending on the context ?

I suppose this choice is up to the admins for each different case, but clarifying this information in the wiki would be of good help.

To sum up my questions:

1) - some documentation about what the statuses of these white "reserved" countries really are, and how should we proceed in case of issues with them.

2) - after what time of inactivity would you consider a country as abandoned and on which criteria would you decide to change its status to either withdrawal, collaborative, reserved, or whatever else.

3) - don't you think that marking countries as "lost countries" in the wiki when you actually keep them on the map without planning to remove them is somewhat confusing ? (for example: Zanyzzix/UL079 is a lost country = logical, since you withdrew it; Latania is a lost country = illogical, since you kept it) It would be more logical to keep those like Latania out of the lost country list, having the option to keep them reserved or to turn them into collaborative one day, and thus avoid this confusion in the wiki.

Thanks for reading.

(Note to self: I should come back one day and write a diary entry about my country too 8-)

Location: 54.540, 128.043

Comment from Luciano on 28 January 2019 at 22:38

You're basically asking the admin to put in a lot of time cleaning up and maintaining the wiki, in the name of improving the world's coherency.

Having a more coherent world is a great idea. But who's paying the admin to do this work? They're volunteers. Further, they all have their own projects, too, which they hold close to their hearts. They have their real lives besides. What time the admin team invests in OGF is more in the area of keeping the site running at a bare minimum, from a technical side, and fighting off the vandals and sockpuppets (which is more work than you might realize). Admin stuff.

Your move, community.

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Comment from SwissCrusader on 29 January 2019 at 00:36

No worries, no worries, I was just asking for information and trying to help... I guess I'd better remain silent and just map my stuff then.

Thanks for keeping this site online anyway. If you need money for the server someday, I'll contribute.

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Comment from Luciano on 29 January 2019 at 01:47

It was not my intention to shut you down, so that you would "remain silent and just map".

The last phrase I used was important: "Your move, community."

I actually want to see more discussion like this. What upset me was that you were using the diaries to ask admin to do stuff. That just comes across as complaining.

You're free to propose all kinds of projects. You can write stuff in your sandbox, advertise it in the forums or here in the diaries, and get community feedback. What I'd prefer not to see is a list of "admin needs to do X".

So here's a proposal: take away ALL references to "admin" in your write-up, above, and try to figure out what's left. Turn it into a constructive project. Get some people to help out and give feedback. Then, if it requires the admin team to do something very specific: reclassify a territory from "Reserved" to "Free" or whatever, then by all means, send the team a note and see what we have to say. Of course, we might say no - because we know of some other plan that some other person already has.

Many user-suggested initiatives have been approved and moved forward, including FSA, Udi's AN150h, all the small stuff users like wangi manage to achieve in Gobras City, etc. Think of it as bidding for a contract: if you show professionalism and community consensus in your proposal, why would admin reject it?

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Comment from zhenkang on 29 January 2019 at 06:50

I wish I can still raise such issues, but Isleno or Thilo will likely delete the diary entry on grounds that I am circumventing the wiki ban. There is a particular I will like to talk about: the world war (I intend to propose the general theaters and the belligerents' aims), but we are getting off topic, so...

The russian collaborative nation is previously known as Suria (and Chara), probably a confederation of sorts of Slavic/Russian nations. I hope I can send a proposal to admin to make it collaborative, since it has already been nicely divided, and invite soviet-style mappers who are interested. I hope that it will be like the USSR which still survived, likely due to reforms which China did. The owner of it has been banned or left OGF, and his mapping still remains.

However, I rather not take charge of it. I rather create a personal (possibly unofficial collaborative) project known as the Bai Empire, a Chinese (and East Asian) empire which will be pretty large and occupy TA119 and AN126. I have already laid some plans for it. The reason why I want it there is because it is near Meilan and other Chinese-speaking nations. The empire used to undergo exploration and colonised other states, explaining the Japanese influence onto the Axian peninsula.

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Comment from LemonKing on 29 January 2019 at 06:57

I fully understand your concern, I have had similar thoughts in the past.

Some of us tend to think admin as a kind of moral authority who is expected to set up strict and consequent rules, and when rules are unclear or admin is silent, we hesitate to take action in fear of being banned forever. Experience begins to teach me away from this kind of thinking. OGF is first and foremost a community; Contributing is a merit even when rules are accidentally trespassed or opinions conflict. Doing the wrong things is often a lesser sin than expecting others to do things for you.

My examples:

  1. I have a "possible future collaborative territory" as northern neighbour of Bloregia with no idea of how and when it will be edited. Frustrating, but I don't let it hinder me from editing the border and vaguely describing its history in the wiki. I may have to change something in the future, but good work in not likely to be asked for deletion, more likely others will adjust.

    1. My two eastern neighbours were silent for months and contacting admin didn't do any good. But finally, one (Ismon10) became active again and the other was replaced by an active user (blgmtn) and now I have had some fruitful collaboration with both of them.

So be patient, learn to tolerate lack of information and meanwhile do what you possibly can to improve the OGF world.

Wiki is a mess anyway and will not be cleaned up any time soon, but it is still nice to have for sharing and for community building, if you just ignore the lost and inactive bits.

Happy mapping!

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Comment from Luciano on 29 January 2019 at 08:13

@LemonKing +1

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Comment from Rustem Pasha on 29 January 2019 at 15:08

@Luciano, I'm all for the community being more active in proposing solutions to make the OGF world better in terms of coherence, organisation and other positive stuff but...

There were or still are several interesting proposals (including my own) from users which got a postive response both from the community and the admin team. Unfortunately realization of them requires admin permission or involvement. This is especially a thing while we talk about reserved countries in Uletha so talking here about community cooperation is at least a little bit off. It's a fact that community like OGF just can not function in the long term without active admins. Forgive me my bitterness but it is exactly how it works and until the admin activity will be bact to normal talking about ideas will be worthy only as an academic source because nothing will be implemented.

So in fact the most productive thing which an OGF user can do now is just shut up and go mapping.

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Comment from Thunderbird on 29 January 2019 at 15:27

Hello, I have not posted in a long time but I assure you I keep up on reading diary entries. I have recently gotten back into mapping, but my neighbor is the territory of someone I know who has less time to map than I. This person has plans to map, but has not touched his territory in months. I would hate to see a territory like this get taken away and become green again.

My point is this: Each inactive mapper/territory has a unique story. I think it would be unfair to take someone's territory away without giving them enough notice. Let the admins make these decisions with their best judgement.

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Comment from Yuanls on 29 January 2019 at 15:39

I've always taken that information, regardless if the country is 'lost', to be officially 'canon' unless it's overwritten, obviously incorrect or contradictory. I also border Latania, and I just treat it as if the user was still active. I'm sure the gap between Ävled and Latania can be filled in as you would map normally.

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