Local Autonomy

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Post by Beathan »

Gwyn --

Masterfully done. I will respond at greater length when I have time to do so properly. For now, I will respond with a couple brief observations.

First, the "they live in another sim" argument is actually more forceful than your strawman. This difference is a very real difference in geographic space. People in Neufreistadt do not appear on CN minimaps, and vice versa. This will restrict intersim communication to some extend, increasing insim connections. This increase of sim-specific connections will have cultural and political effects that must be accounted for in our political system or people will eventually feel alienated or shortchanged. (In fact, I think we already see some of this in Ranma's posts.)

Further, even with the walls separating urban from rural life in Neufreistadt, there was nonetheless a thematic kinship. Just as any ethnologist would see the cultural distinctions between Neufreistadters, that same ethnologist would also see the basic cultural and social unity of the community. More likely, ideas of class or lifestyle would apply more than ideas of radical cultural distinctiveness.

I will grant that the cultural distinctiveness between the CDS sims will probably not be truly radical. However, I also expect that that distictiveness will be greater than the class or lifestyle distinctions within a sim. Neufreistadt may have grown up like a Bavarian city -- with a historical core surrounded by the trappings of modern German society -- but such cities in RL (and in SL) are still Bavarian.

CN is more thematically controlled than Neufreistadt. There is not a shift in time as we pass out of the walls. The entire Sim is frozen in history. However, by freezing CN in Republican/Imperial Rome, we also liberate ourselves by providing real avenues for certain "historic" activities that would be out of place elsewhere (especially in a German town with a prominent Church).

As we continue to grow, assuming we do not reject sim theme differences as a failed experiment, the general population will necessarily become more and more diverse overall (as an issue entirely separate from the RL diversity of the people behind the avatars). This diversity needs an outlet -- and the safest and most ready-to-hand outlet is local control of the details of local life under the more general and loose guiding hand of a unified CDS Federal government which involves itself in Federal concerns and new sim creation, leaving the daily life of each existing sim to those who live it.


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Patroklus Murakami
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Post by Patroklus Murakami »

I'd like to come at this from a slightly different angle. I think it's entirely possible that virtual world communities will develop different sets of values, will want to live in distinctively themed areas and 'govern' themselves to some extent; in fact, I think this is already happening in Second Life, but at much larger scales than the two sims of the developing CDS. We can see this happening at SL's 'national' level with the micronations that have formed here. The Goreans and Furries are two obvious (and usually antagonistic) communities which have their own distinct territories, culture and cultural values and, occasionally, some form of rule-ordered community. This is the kind of local autonomy that is likely to develop, and has developed, in Second Life. The notion that two communities of 40 each on separate sims but sharing the same history, government, populations etc are going to develop in culturally distinctive ways is stretching credulity in my opinion. I also think it's dangerous and unwelcome to start theorising separation and division in our community based on such weak bases as 'the sims are not physically (ha!) contiguous' or 'they have different themes'. Why not emphasise what unites us? We came to Neufreistadt, the CDS and now Colonia Nova for many reasons but surely many of them are common to us? I came for a sense of community (got that), the fact that I would have a real stake and some degree of 'ownership' in that community (check), the company of like-minded folks (got that too) and the chance to participate in an experiment in virtual world democracy and self-governance (you bet I got that!)

From talking to other citizens I get the impression that, in varying degrees and with other components included (the Bavarian theme, even the fog!) others feel the same way too. Isn't there more that unites us than divides us?

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Why am I jumping in again?

Post by Gxeremio Dimsum »

The recent flurry of posts on local autonomy seems an echo of the proposals I made several weeks ago for a different CDS constitution.
Without trying to offend, I would say that we in the CDS in fact have very little in common - no shared values that I can tell, little shared history for most of us, no concrete set of ideas about how things should be or how we should interact. Most people in the way they interact and how they think government should be here are much more reflecting their real-world national values than any set of CDS values. What unites us, in a sense anyhow, is that we are interested in being part of democracy within SL.
So the question for me, as it was earlier, is how best to spread democracy in SL and test its best forms and practices. I think the answer lies with a sense of national unity for where that has benefit (saving money and time where possible, providing support, cross-promotion, providing a mediation system for dispute resolution, etc.) while having a large degree of local autonomy.
The fact is, people aren't coming to the CDS because we've crafted some fine balance and solved the problem of how to govern cyberspace. They're coming to experiment and try new things. Pretending like we have something to gain by preserving rather than innovating is a waste of everyone's time.

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Post by Dianne »

I have a proposal that would go a long way towards settling this issue I think.

The elevation of the land in a sim is controlled by a multi-channeled greyscale *.RAW file. Now because the possible range of elevations is so great, there are at least two and perhaps three of these layers that correspond to "land below x metres" land above x metres" etc.

I'd be willing to bet, that the entire land elevation of Neufreistadt is on one layer and that simply moving it to the lowest layer would bring our elevation in line with that of Nova Colonia. By a simple edit of that file and then paying the nominal fee to have the two islands bump up against each other, we could make one contiguous continent as originally envisioned. The edge of Colonia Nova that faces N'Stadt is actually a perfect match with the exception of a few hundred metres in elevation.

It would change the entire scenario if one could simply walk from one sim to the other. I know that although many of my friends live there that [i:wytoblec]I have not even been to NC only once or twice ever[/i:wytoblec]. Even though I appreciate all the arguments to the contrary, there really *is* an impact from the separateness of the sims IMO.

If we really are the same community let's prove it by making it possible to move from one place to the other. If one theme really is better than the other let it gradually take over by spreading outward and merging with the other rather than trying to develop two communities in isolation.

Let's face it, community spirit and culture are our weak points. Do we really think we can keep two entirely separate themed sims going at once with no real commerce between them?

Wouldn't it be fun to walk home drunk from a Bachanalia in NC to ones house in N'Stadt??? :D

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Post by Ashcroft Burnham »

[quote="Dianne":138bu8yk]It would change the entire scenario if one could simply walk from one sim to the other. I know that although many of my friends live there that [i:138bu8yk]I have not even been to NC only once or twice ever[/i:138bu8yk]. Even though I appreciate all the arguments to the contrary, there really *is* an impact from the separateness of the sims IMO. [/quote:138bu8yk]

Hmm, that's odd: I don't find that at all. I'm always popping backwards and forwards between Neufreistadt and Colonia Nova. I like to meet new people in both places, and see new happenings in both. I have very much enjoyed watching the development of Colonia Nova, as well as developments within Neufreistadt. I find that many of the same people are often found in one as well as the other, and the atmosphere and culture of both seems to me to be as identical as can be measured.

I'm sure that the good residents of Colonia Nova would love to see you if you came and gave them a visit. It really is a lovely place.

Ashcroft Burnham

Where reason fails, all hope is lost.
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