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Posts Tagged ‘MicroWiki’

Robert Lethler revealed as Sebastian Linden

Sebastian Linden, Steward of Rudno, shocked the MicroWiki community yesterday evening by revealing that he had been the creator of and true identity behind “Robert Lethler”.

Robert Lethler was the name used by an individual who claimed to be the leader of “Erusia”, a micronation which through its claims of an impressively active political system and developed socialist culture was able to achieve a high level of diplomatic influence over the early MicroWiki community.

From late 2008 to mid-2010, Lethler acted as one of the main architects of the MicroWiki community, serving both as an administrator of the website and holding high office in the Grand Unified Micronational.

In July 2010, a dossier – co-authored by none other than Sebastian Linden – exposed Erusia as entirely fictional, and Lethler as a fake persona. Lethler departed the community, leaving behind rumours that his guidance of the community had been a socio-political “experiment”.

Other than three subsequent, brief returns to the community’s Skype rooms – the last of which was in March 2012 – “Robert Lethler” disappeared from history.

Linden’s surprise announcement yesterday evening that he had been Lethler all along was verified when he logged into an old Skype account previously used by Lethler. Numerous other pieces of evidence were put together in support of his claim, conclusively proving that Robert Lethler had been Sebastian Linden all along.

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On the Grand Unified Micronational and what plagues it

Article by His Grace Bradley, Duke of Dullahan

This is not a work to discourage micronations from formal association or to harass, attack or demean the GUM. This article is written out of the pure observation of someone who studies public administration and has seen trends that make the governance and maintenance of an organisation structured like the GUM impossibly hard. In this article I try to explain some trends and developments in both the macronational and the micronational world which might explain the hardships organisations like the GUM face.

We must never shy away from taking a good look at the works we joined or constructed. Even the oldest institutions and oldest buildings need mending so now and then. Forgoing a sharp critique of what is in front of you due to prestige and history is ignorance. Should we turn a blind eye to the errors and shy those who wish to aid an organisation then we are no better than the leaders of the OAM, who ignored clear signs even if they were shown by members.

To this end I will write about the history of the GUM, the functions it had and served and what it inspired. But also what difficulties it faces in today’s world. I ask all who take their time to read this to reflect on the GUM and the analysis I put forward and please draw your own conclusions.

The GUM, its history, significance, and prestige

The GUM was an organisation that bound together those who wished to communicate with each other. It became a club of high professionalism, learning and prestige. If you joined it you were of the higher classes of micronations who proved to be serious and stable. The GUM in this solved problems of diplomacy and allowed members to speak about and try and resolve issues in the community better and faster than could be done on the wiki.

For many the GUM was a learning ground. During its refounding it modelled itself like its previous incarnation with the vision of spreading professionalism, aiding in a formal diplomatic venue for micronations and offering a way for faster communication. The shear prestige that the biggest influential nations brought to the organisation in all its incarnations as well as its accomplishments in peacekeeping and development of micronations brought it great success. But here we can see the cracks happening.

What people sometimes forget is that a large part of the community wasn’t on Skype; Skype wasn’t even in the picture yet. The OAM was the biggest forum and organisation; it gave, like the GUM, a platform to communicate and share information with each other, something the Wiki couldn’t do. This was the most relevant and prestigious part of contribution these organisations gave the community.

Changes in activity and the role of conflict

The GUM never drastically evolved or faced the problems it had. Without it people felt there was no place for serious or professional diplomacy and discussions on their micronational development. But in times that it existed the most active days were those with conflict. I do not like to pad myself on my own shoulder but the State of Sandus and the Kingdom of Wyvern’s feud with each other was something that kept the community active, especially the GUM which was once a fighting ground for control between factions that disliked each other. These conflicts, which are not limited to the Wyvern-Sandus conflicts, gave purpose to the organisation. It gave relevance to an organisation that was being out competed by other venues that were less organised.

It was in our community’s culture to have conflicts, fights and arguments over nothing of importance. The admins and the GUM often called for peace and the return to calm micronational development. I once spoke with Emperor Jonathan Augustus of Austenasia regarding this topic. He seemed to notice that when we as a community began to disvalue conflicts and see them as idiotic child’s play on the internet, the inactivity rose sharply. Look at the Ideological conflicts, Black Marches, Yablokogate & the Leadership Scandal. These were the most active periods of time. The ‘’New Era’’ is one of the longest lasting and boring eras, and with it the GUM is faltering ever more.

Old age, no change, relevance issues and commitment

We see that organisation cultures are important. The GUM has a culture in its standards, behaviours and way of doing things. We can all see that it’s difficult to change the GUM and that has always remained the same in how it does things, even if the organisational structure is different. One of the cultural aspects that is the same but hurts it the most is the Chairman. The Chair is seen as the leader of the GUM and is tasked with the administration of the GUM. With this task the members see it as the Chair’s job to set the agenda, to set in motion activities and programs. The commitment of the members is low, it will also never increase. We tried hard, but to avail. Chair after Chair try and fail. We all try to change this, but a culture isn’t easily changed, especially when the ground cause is a world that is different than it was once.

Look around us, the world is faster and micronations on the Skype-part of this community are growing older, more busy. The youngsters do not always have the time either nor do they have the skills that we do. Look at who run the GUM or who guide the GUM from the sidelines. It is us, what these new ones call the Old Guard. If something is wrong with the GUM, Austenasia steps in and takes over to guide the GUM back to stability.

But should we? Isn’t it time that we let the GUM die and reform it into something that was tried once before? You see in the macronational world organisations and governments are having trouble with the governance of society as well. The complexity of the society has increased and the spread of data, information and knowledge is growing every day. Facebook, the Forum and Skype all provide venues where people can converse, enter into debates or share their development and news. In such a world the GUM makes itself obsolete. What relevance does the GUM hold? We have chats on Skype for informal diplomacy and chats/debates. We have the forum, wiki and Facebook for sharing our news and getting information, and we can use Skype for formal discussions as well. Why the need for structure in a society that moves from the traditional structures of hierarchy to complex networks?

The problems with reforming

Like I said earlier, forming a network out of the GUM in which the institutions are dropped is hard to keep as people desire to rebuild the old and try and give an old concept new life. Besides this it has been tried and then the relevance of the GUM slows down even more as other venues offer the same thing. But is perfect activity in a GUM network or discussion room bad? That is the question we need to ask ourselves.

To me it is simple. I have no time for the GUM and it adds nothing for me. Its surveys are meaningless if nothing is done with it, same goes for the guides. Quorums are barely even followed by half its members and many more wish to leave out of dissatisfaction. The Chair is the only person trying to pull the cart forward but no one pushes to help. Commitment is low and will remain this way. We must see reality. In a changing world where complexity and IT has changed the world of communication so drastically, should there be a GUM?

In conclusion

To recap, the GUM is an old institution that has lost its relevance and has its age-old problems still with it: lack of commitment, inactivity, losing more and more Old Guard and not able to address the lack of relevance for the organisation. With an evolving world of technology and communication we must face the facts that Discord, Facebook and informal Skype venues as well to some degree the Forums offer the same and even more then the GUM does; there are no commitments, people can put in what they like and take what they need at any time without the fear of being thrown out because of inactivity.

My suggestion is to make it a serious professional platform for sharing ideas, discussions and professional diplomacy. The Chair could be its admin, not its leader nor the leader of the executive branch. This might condemn the GUM to more inactivity, but it will solve the issues that are slowly killing it. Hierarchy in an organisation that only functions on the fuels of prestige and not purpose will eventually die.

 

 

Relations with Delvera break down

30 August 2017 1 comment

The past few weeks have seen diplomatic relations between the Empire of Austenasia and the Grand Republic of Delvera reach an historic low, primarily due to the inflammatory behaviour of Delvera’s leader, Consul Callahan.

Earlier in the month, Emperor Jonathan I was invited to take part in a discussion hosted on Facebook Messenger with Dylan Callahan, Consul of Delvera, and delegates from two micronations who are also members of the MicroWiki community.

Being unable to attend the first scheduled session of discussion due to urgent personal reasons, the Emperor noticed that he was referred to in a document drawn up by the others in a way that was disrespectful to his office as Austenasian Monarch. Upon pointing this out, he was met with a tirade of abuse from Callahan, who claimed that his inability to attend the earlier session resulted in the standard courtesy of correct styles of address being waived.

Callahan was eventually calmed by the intervention of Rev. Joseph Marx, a longstanding friend of the Emperor who was also present in the discussion group. Another document drawn up was then reviewed, which referred to the participants as all belonging to “micronations”, despite the policy of Austenasia to never refer to itself – or others it recognises as sovereign states – as such in official documents.

Callahan then criticised the Emperor’s decision to raise this issue, and referred to Delvera itself in terms which seemed ambiguous in regards to the Delveran government’s attitude to its own independence.

Upon unprovoked rudeness from another member of the group, the Emperor decided to leave it as not worth his time.

Callahan was contacted in regards to resolving the confusion arising from his statements concerning Delveran independence, and claimed that his government’s “relationship with Austenasia is a top priority” and that he was “very hopeful for mutually beneficial relations moving forward.”

It was agreed that diplomatic talks should take place between the Empire and Delvera to resolve the outstanding issues. However, in that time, Consul Callahan has – instead of attempting to schedule talks with the Emperor – spent his time accusing the Austenasian national flag of being “cancerous” on the MicroWiki Forums and accusing the Empire of being unable to conduct diplomatic relations.

Where all this leaves the future of Austenasian-Delveran relations remains to be seen. Diplomatic talks are, in theory, still to be scheduled, but nothing yet has come of this endeavour.

Consul Callahan is best known in the MicroWiki community for a protest in December last year over the administration’s decision to uphold a ban on foul language being used on the MicroWiki Forums.

Dissolution of St.Charlian recognised

26 January 2017 1 comment

National flag of the Federal Republic of St.Charlie.

An Act of Parliament was passed last night which finally recognised the Federal Republic of St.Charlie to be defunct.

After Prime Minister Alexander Eastwood controversially took supreme power as Chancellor in August 2015, the St.Charlian government effectively ceased to function. After a year and a half of complete inactivity, Eastwood informed Emperor Jonathan I on Saturday 21st earlier this month that he considered the nation “defunct”.

Yesterday’s Foreign Affairs Act 2017, amongst other provisions, cites “the inability of the St.Charlian government to continue to function to the extent necessary to exercise sovereignty” as the reason for the Empire revoking recognition of the Federal Republic.

Although the inactivity of St.Charlie’s government has long been known, Chancellor Eastwood’s admission that he himself considers the nation defunct has been seen as the official death-blow to the country.

Alexander Reinhardt, arguably St.Charlie’s most famous politician, refused suggestions that he should declare himself monarch in an attempt to restore the nation’s sovereignty.

St.Charlie was founded as a Kingdom on Christmas Day 2000 by King Patrizio I, who ruled until overthrown in November 2008 by Reinhardt, who established the Federal Republic. For years afterwards, St.Charlie was known as one of the most politically and culturally advanced small nations in the MicroWiki community, with a population peaking at 150 and land claims around the world.

Austenasia entered into mutual relations with St.Charlie in August 2009, signing an official treaty of mutual friendship with the nation in December later that year, and the now Emperor Jonathan I met with St.Charlian leaders in 2011 and 2012.

A decrease in governmental activity had been noted in St.Charlie by early 2014, which the then President put down to many St.Charlian leaders having to spend more time on other commitments as they grew older. The Presidency was abolished by Prime Minister Eastwood the following year, who declared himself head of both state and government as Chancellor.

There has been reaction to St.Charlie’s ‘official’ demise from members of the MicroWiki community. King Adam I of Uberstadt and Lord Admiral Joseph Kennedy both reflected on how they had warned Eastwood that his reforms would damage St.Charlie, whereas Mercian diarch Richard Cunningham called it the “End of an era”.

The Lord Admiral’s Corner: On the revived Grand Unified Micronational

16 June 2016 1 comment
gum_nlogo

The logo of the new Grand Unified Micronational

This article is one of a series of editorials from Lord Admiral Joseph Kennedy known as The Lord Admiral’s Corner, where the Prime Minister will give his thoughts and opinions on issues affecting the micronation.org community. The opinions expressed in this series are the personal views of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Austenasian Times or the Austenasian Government.

I’ll admit, I was skeptical when His Imperial Majesty the Emperor told me of plans to revive the Grand Unified Micronational.

As a younger man, I was a very influential delegate from the now-defunct Ashukov Federation. I campaigned for the Chairmanship three times, though only the second one was successful. I was instrumental in the creation of the now-defunct GUM Library and established a committee dedicated to enacting a new Charter (which failed to accomplish its goal following the end of my term). I was as instrumental in attempting to revive the GUM as I was in its disestablishment as an organization; I was one of the first to advocate for its disestablishment and I served as the last Vice-Chairman of the old GUM under Adam of Adammia, my former rival and electoral opponent.

Eventually, I came to agree with efforts to revive the GUM for a few reasons: the lack of discourse between nations in this community and the rise of the very capable (with some exceptions) “new guard.” When the GUM was disestablished, there ceased to be a hub for intermicronational diplomacy, with the only other major organization remaining being the then-relevant and active Saint Josephsburg Economic Pact, which is currently planned to be dissolved by the remaining member-states. This community has needed something like this to revive discourse between numerous micronations and to ensure stability.

One of the reasons the old GUM failed was because, for a time, the number of lower quality new nations was exceptionally higher than the number of higher quality new nations (and because, against my advice, Quorum would vote to let anybody in, but that’s another story for another time). As older nations began to die off, a void was opened that newer nations weren’t able to fill. Now, with the rise of nations such as Mcarthia, Roseland, Zenrax, and the return of Koss, the GUM has enough higher quality nations to not totally stagnate.

As a former Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Supreme Judge, I have some advice to give the members of the new GUM.

First of all, as dreadful as this might sound, I strongly recommend the newer delegates wait an election or two before seeking the office of Chairman. Now, I understand why you might dislike this advice because I once attempted to run for the Chairmanship against King Ciprian of Juclandia after only serving as a delegate for around six months. In retrospect, I was nowhere near experienced enough to lead an organization such as the GUM. Now, as a former Chairman I can tell you that the job is no walk in the park (as a matter of fact, I wouldn’t accept the position if Quorum unanimously begged me to). It’s extremely time consuming, doubly so now due to the increase of the Chairman’s mandate from three to six months. It’s also extremely stressful – one mistake and Quorum will ridicule you (especially if you’ve made political enemies and rivals, which I did and I’m sure most delegates will do). Numerous past Chairmen (myself included) have stories of the job being so stressful they quite literally broke down for a time.

Finally; please, for the love of God, don’t admit just anyone into the GUM as a full member. My personal recommendation is to refuse admission to any nation which hasn’t existed for at least six months (before anyone points out that Ashukovo was a GUM member from day one of its existence, Ashukovo was a successor state of a prior GUM member-state and all Ashukov politicians were seasoned micronationalists with at least six months of experience), doesn’t maintain active relations with at least five full member-states and can’t compose a decent MicroWiki article. That doesn’t mean you should shun most of these nations entirely (excluding lost causes such as joke nations and obvious fakes), just advise them to seek observership so more seasoned members can help them improve and then seek full membership.

I believe the new GUM can be a positive force in the modern MicroWiki community so long as the new delegates avoid the errors of the past. I will serve as an Austenasian delegate and will occasionally voice my opinion and vote in Quorum, but at present I don’t plan on seeking office in the GUM. I wish the new and old delegates the best of luck and offer them my wholehearted support.

HIH Lord Admiral Joseph Kennedy, Duke of Bohemia

Revival of the Grand Unified Micronational underway

15 April 2016 1 comment

The newly adopted logo for the restructured GUM.

Yesterday evening, a quorum was held by the Grand Unified Micronational for the first time since June last year.

For the past ten months, the Grand Unified Micronational (GUM) has functioned as a formal chatroom for heads of state, politicians and diplomats, having been reformed from an increasingly dormant international organisation.

Yesterday, however, Emperor Jonathan I and Lord Kit McCarthy raised the prospect of having the GUM return to being an international organisation for small nations.

With overwhelming support from the chatroom’s members, the Emperor – who is the current Chair of the GUM – called together a quorum, a meeting of delegates which was used to pass motions when the GUM was an organisation.

The members of the chatroom passed a motion agreeing to begin work on drafting a new reformed charter for a restructured GUM, which would learn from the mistakes of the past. Although several microstates and micronations were represented in the quorum, it was agreed that none would be considered member states of a revived GUM organisation until after the new charter was passed.

Although international organisations have recently become increasingly unpopular in the diplomatic community of small nations, there is support for a reformed GUM from a wide range of those in the MicroWiki community, for which the GUM functioned practically as a United Nations equivalent for much of 2009 and 2010.

It is hoped that the restoration of the GUM to an international organisation will help to improve ties between the older and newer members of the MicroWiki community, who are increasingly forming two separate factions according to many observers.

Interview with Lord Kit McCarthy of Amerdansk

Lord Kit McCarthy is Baron and Governor of the newly annexed Austenasian territory of Amerdansk,  and last year founded the RadioMicro media group and the micronation of Mcarthia (his house in Scotland). He is known for his public criticism of Lord Admiral Joseph Kennedy – most recently supporting concerns raised over the Prime Minister’s mandate – and is a prominent figure amongst the newer members of the MicroWiki community. The Austenasian Times has conducted an interview with Lord McCarthy:

Tell us a bit about Amerdansk. What’s it like; what interesting features does it have?

Amerdansk is a patch of land next to Mcarthia’s east border, sitting directly north of Government House – indeed, the President’s Office overlooks it. Mcarthia’s two free range chickens are frequently seen there, along with Mcarthia’s two cats.

The land is accessed by a short narrow path through a wooden frame with various plants growing over it.
Much of the territory is actually covered in thick moss, which in summer gets extremely warm. In fact, two years ago, it got so that residents could see a little steam coming off!

Amerdansk: the Territory governed by Lord Kit McCarthy.

Why did you decide to offer Amerdansk to the Empire?

Mcarthia greatly respects the Empire’s position as a community leader, and on our first anniversary we wished to make something of a contribution. Therefore, the Mcarthian Parliament unanimously agreed to cede the land of Amerdansk to the Empire.

We also hoped that after the – ahem – ‘Austenasian Election Affair,’ relations could be improved between the two nations.

There have in the past been tensions between yourself and the Prime Minister, Lord Admiral Kennedy. Can you see this being a problem for your position in the Empire?

I would be lying if I said I approved of all the Prime Minister’s actions, and that is common knowledge. At times, I have found the Prime Minister to be offensive, and believe that some of his actions have been inappropriate for someone of his position.

However, he has been democratically elected, and no matter what issues I may have with him, if the electorate trusts him, I will of course support his position.

I have no desire to fight further, and hope that we can respect each other – accepting, but not dwelling on past events. So long as he is also prepared to accept that, I hope there will not be any further problems between us.

You’ve recently advocated for the Grand Unified Micronational to return to being a full-blown intergovernmental organisation. Could you tell us a bit about your reasons for this, and what you think it would take to be a success?

The GUM was fairly undeniably the most successful of all the micronational organisations, even considering its eventual demise. I have been discussing with a senior member of the community the possibility of the GUM once again becoming active in its previous style.

The community, I have long believed, needs some kind of focal point. Even disasters such as the MNTO brought the community together, and created activity (even if it wasn’t always the activity we wanted…). Despite their bad name, organisations are a good way of encouraging participation in the community, and helping us stay attractive to new and younger members.

I think that with genuine careful planning, and the support of major micronations, the GUM has a hope of becoming a ‘real’ organisation.

It is an unfortunate fact that most, if not all, organised micronational activity does not last forever. I suppose the essential reason for this is that micronationalism is for many a hobby, and is not essential to people’s lives. So what if an organisation collapses? However, this puts many off founding organisations.

We have to accept that there is perfectly good chance that the GUM would not survive again. However, I don’t think this should put us off. If it doesn’t work, it’s not the end of the world. It’ll have given us all something to do!

Any efforts however would face a dilemma – the GUM survived while it did primarily because it was full of extremely experienced, respected nations. However, in my discussions with others, it is clear that many would see a new GUM primarily as a project for newer nations. Concerns have been raised that younger micronationalists have no role model, if you will. People see a need, and I think I agree, for an organisation that would mentor MicroWiki’s younger members, and give them valuable political and professional experience.

But then, there is a problem. If an organisation is focused towards younger nations, many of the more experienced nations might not be so interested in joining. And if we don’t have the experienced members, long term success would prove much harder. A very careful balance would need to be struck.

Absolutely meticulous planning would be required, probably months’ worth, and all of the essential technical and legal infrastructure would have to be in place before the organisation began again. One of the major problems the Nollandish Confederacy suffered was a lack of this. All our activities revolved around self-management because the system wasn’t effectively working when the organisation began. Work was divided into two categories – elections (taking 80-90% of our time), and attempting to pass legislation relating to governance and management. We were inflated by unimaginable amounts of bureaucracy.

What should be happening ideally is that the members of an organisation shouldn’t have to bother with this. Administration should, as much as possible, be taken care of behind the scenes.

We couldn’t afford this in a new organisation. Elections would have to take less than no time, and the Constitution should mean that self-governing legislation shouldn’t be necessary. A new organisation would have to hit the ground running.

What happened with the Confederacy was that a complete lack of anything useful being done meant that no one bothered to even vote on all the pointless legislation. No one cared. What others and myself were trying to do later in the Confederacy’s life was introduce some kind of projects – there was a guide for new micronationalists, for instance, or a Confederal games. It was too late.

A new organisation would have to be kept simple. A simple electoral system would be a key example. I have found that organisation designers are somewhat in awe of very complicated electoral systems that might produce a decent result but are absolutely impossible to run. They were the death of the Confederacy, I am fairly sure.

So then, to sum up (and I apologise for a very long answer): a new organisation would have to have confidence, experienced members, a very wide support base, a balance between providing for experienced members and younger members, extremely careful planning, a pre-prepared infrastructure, and a simple governance system. Heaven knows that’s not all, but it’s a start, and if we can get that, I think we’d have a decent chance.

Thank you for your time.