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Journal TheSandBox's Journal: PROPOSAL #00: The Rules of The Back Yard 81

The following Proposal shall be open for debate for 5 days from the time posted to TheSandBox (till ~00:40 Pacific / 08:40 GMT on Jan25, 2004). Voting shall remain open for a period of no less than 3 days and require >= 75% of votes and approval by The Empress to be The Rules of The Back Yard.


The Back Yard is "Solemndragons backyard" region (1). "The Holy Empire of Solemndragons chosen" (2) is the founder and Empress of The Back Yard. The Sand Box refers to voting members of The Back Yard.

SECTION 1 - Membership

        Article 1 - Members of SolemDragon's Back Yard region do not need to be voting members of The Sand Box.

        Article 2 - Membership in The Back Yard is open to Nations asking for the password. Ask the Empress or a Referee.

        Article 3 - Members of The Back Yard can only be removed by a Proposal to Remove a Nation.

        Article 4 - Proposals to Remove a Nation must pass by a majority vote and must be approved by the Empress.

        Article 5 - Throwing sand at other nations in The Sand Box is prohibited.

        Article 6 - Nations may take a vaction from The Back Yard or cease involvement and still remain members (3).

SECTION 2 - Voting & Proposals

        Article 1 - Voting is to be performed by non-anonymous posting to journal entries in TheSandBox (4) with one vote per person, not one vote per nation.

        Article 2 - Multiple accounts on SlashDot may not be used to hold multiple Nations and submit multiple votes. Abuse may be sufficient reason for removal from The Back Yard.

        Article 3 - Any member of The Back Yard may propose a bill.

        Article 4 - Proposals must be seconded by another member of The Back Yard.

        Article 5 - The Empress or her Sand Box Referees will post proposals to TheSandBox journal.

        Article 6 - Proposals will generally start debate on Monday with debate lasting till Wednesday night or 3 days time from the time posted to TheSandBox.

        Article 7 - Voting will proceed at the discression of the Empress or a Referee and last for at least 2 days, or as otherwise designated in the proposal.

        Article 8 - Votes on proposals may be either "Yes," "No," or "Abstain." Nations that do not vote are not counted as any of the above.

        Article 8 - The Empress must approve any proposal ratified by The Sand Box.

        Article 9 - The Empress may veto any proposal for any reason with no recourse.

        Article 10 - Proposals become law in The Back Yard immediately after approval by the Empress, or as defined in the proposal.

        Article 11 - Proposals to modify The Rules must pass with >= 75% of votes and must be approved by the Empress.

        Article 12 - Proposals that do not fall under Section 2 Article 11 must pass with a majority of votes, unless a greater percent is specified in the proposal.

        Article 13 - Proposals that require unanimous concent must be voted on by all members of The Back Yard with roll called by The Teacher. See Section 3 Article 7.

        Article 14 - Unanimous concent proposals must be open for debate for at least one week.

        Article 15 - If all nations have not voted on a unanimous concent proposal after one week from the start of voting, then voting is closed and final.

SECTION 3 - Referees, Offices, Ministers, and The Teacher

        Article 1 - Referees are appointed by the Empress.

        Article 2 - All members of The Back Yard may be Referees or officers, except The Back Yard Delegate to the UN.

        Article 3 - Referees serve at the discretion of the Empress and may be removed at her discression.

        Article 4 - Referees have access to the SlashDot account "TheSandBox" for official Sand Box business only.

        Article 5 - The Referees must maintain at least one active Journal Entry in TheSandBox for discussion by members.

        Article 6 - Officers and Ministers may be appointed for any reason by the Empress.

        Article 7 - The Teacher is appointed by The Empress for the purpose of calling roll in unanimous consent proposals.

        Article 8 - The Roll will be updated by the Teacher any time a proposal requires unanimous consent and includes any member of The Back Yard.


        Article 1 - The Back Yard Deletage to the UN is choosen by a plurality of UN members of The Back Yard using the endorsement system in NationStates.net and may not be a Referee.

        Article 2 - The Back Yard Delegate to the UN only represents UN members of The Back Yard and does not represent the totality of The Back Yard.

        Article 3 - UN resolutions may not conflict with The Rules, laws passed and ratified by The Sand Pit, or with Decrees of The Empress. When a conflict occurs, the UN resolution is void in The Back Yard.

        Article 4 - The Back Yard Delegate to the UN must register a complaint to the UN regarding any conflicting resolutions and reasons for the conflict.

        Article 5 - No UN resolution may negatively affect the standing of any member of The Back Yard. If a resolution does so, the nation(s) affected are free to disregard the resolution and are encouraged to submit a proposal to The Sand Box for official recognition and resolution of the conflict.

(1) Solemndragons backyard Region in NationStates.net is: http://www.nationstates.net/cgi-bin/index.cgi/target=display_region/region=solemndragons_backyard

(2) The Nation "The Holy Empire of Solemndragons chosen" in NationStates.net is: http://www.nationstates.net/cgi-bin/index.cgi/target=display_nation/nation=solemndragons_chosen

(3) This means you can take off, slack off, or otherwise limit involvement and we won't invade your nation or impose sanctions as as result.

(4) TheSandBox is an account on SlashDot.org: www.SlashDot.org/~TheSandBox

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

PROPOSAL #00: The Rules of The Back Yard

Comments Filter:
  • Amended versions of proposals shall not extend the debate time, unless the change fundamentally changes the nature of the proposal.
  • But my brain hurts now. I haven't seen so much mumbo-jumbo since I was parlimentarian of the my College SGA.
    • I tried not to get too carried away with the sections and articles...

      But I believed there were a few ideas that needed to be seperated into sections, and I thought of 4.

      Section 2 - Voting & Proposals got a little long because this is a bit of an involved process. I was not sure if the rules for voting should be covered in The Rules, or if they could be left to a lower document.

      One possiblity is to simplify The Rules and eliminate any specifics, which can be relegated to a lower document.

      I'm not sur
      • [OT]Actually, the US Tax code isn't part of the Constitution, because the government was never given the power to collect the taxes that it covers. Taxes have to be paid voluntarily, at least until the IRS sues you, and a judge rules that you have to pay up anyway.[/OT]
        • Isn't there an amendment regarding this? That would certainly be a part of the Constitution that would allow the government to levy taxes.
          • There certainly is an amendment that mentions taxes, it just doesn't make personal income taxes mandatory or force anybody to pay them. Businesses can be taxed, but federal income tax is (in a completely pedantic, non-real-world way) something that you don't have to pay. Various people have gone down the path of not paying them and been handed their asses by judges and the IRS, so most commentary along these lines gets dismissed as crackpot ramblings, even though it's true.
            • Okay, we're seriously offtopic here, and I'm not trying to flame or start a real hot debate. You just got me curious, so I looked up the actual wording, which is,
              "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."
              So, I guess that isn't the clearest, but I read it as allowing the government to levy personal income taxes; I can see how you might view that as maki
              • I had to go back and re-research this so I could remember why that argument is wrong. Apparently, there is (or was, based on writings and legislation contemporary to the amendment) a difference between income (money you earn from business) and wages (money you earn from an employer, who owns a business).

                There are some other arguments based on the fact that the 16th amendment wasn't ratified (about 20 states, in the end either said "no", changed the wording of the amendment, or voted in violation of some

  • ...except:

    Article 5 - Throwing sand at other nations in The Sand Box is prohibited.

    I won't throw sand, but the dump truck is mine, so don't try to take it away from me or I'm gonna go tell mom... ;-)
    • I'm gonna go tell mom... ;-)
      You better call Her Highness "Empress", or risk beheading. ;-)
      • Point to you! good job! mostly because you made me laugh!!! actually, highness is funny when referring to 4'10.5", so maybe just her occasional reclusiveness *grin* i dunno. Empress wasn't what i was expecting, but it's kinda neat. I promise to wear my hair in my best Queen Amydala styles; it's the right colour at least.
        • Yeah, and I KNOW you have a tiara for every day of the week. :-)

          As for making you laugh... does it count if I tickle you or do I have to use wit and humor? ;-)

          • dragons is extremely ticklish but really hate being tickled, and i only own 3 tiaras, one of which is plastic. i intend to get myself a new one this year... i want a big rhinestone one, fit for signalling airplanes.
            • By Decree of the Empress, there are now only three days in a week. Every fourth week is a leap week. A leap week is four days long. That is all.
              • You're taking my name in vain! punishable by... removal of crumpet. Ethelraed, please take away his crumpet and provide him with bread-and-butter instead with his tea. *grin*
    • I move that Article 5 be changed as follows:

      Article 5 - Throwing sand at other nations in The Sand Box is generally prohibited, with the exception of "True Grit Day", when it is actively encouraged, and scoring based on the number of hits is collected.

      True Grit Day occurs on a random Wednesday of the empress' choosing, and may occur more than once a year, but not more than once each month.

      Anyone to second that motion?

      • Excelent proposal. Caffeinastan, a nomadic peoples, are quite used to living in sand, around sand, and with sand in all the uncomfortable places of our robes.

        This delightfull holiday sounds great and I second the proposal.

        El Jefe de Caffeinastan
      • It has been recommended that this article be removed from The Rules, in favor of legislation to this affect in the future.

        Please introduce this proposal at your earliest conveenicnerse... wheneverthehell you want to.

        El Jefe de Caffeinastan
  • Is this by simple majority of voters?

    Perhaps it should be 2/3 or 3/4?
    • Good question...

      For example the Declaration of Independance for the US was required to be 100% because all colinies shared the same land mass.

      How much of a participation can we expect? If only 1/2 of the members of The Back Yard vote, then The Sand Box has a small sample size of the population it governs.

      El Jefe de Caffeinastan
      • Which was why I proposed 2/3 or 3/4. Like drakaan mentions below requiring 100% participation won't get voting completed in a timely manner.

        Conversely, 51% seems a tad low to me. With a sentence of ejection I think we'd want a good representation of the region before we decide to pass something like this.
    • Majority (to me) implies more than 50% of votes cast. There wasn't any mention made of a requirement for a response from every member nation (and that's probably not reasonable, if voting is to be completed in a timely fashion). 2/3 or 3/4 is generally referred to as a supermajority, which might be a good idea, since full-on ejection from the backyard is a pretty harsh sentence...virtually speaking.
      • I was also concerned about this requirement. I'm trying to balance the envolvement of the obsessed (myself) with those just having fun with the system.

        I can only hope that unanimouse concent proposals will be few and far between, as they require lots of work for the Teacher, and Referees.

        Regarding Proposals to Remove a Nation, the issue is serrious. All proposals must be approved by The Empress so I believed that this is where oversight of The Sand Box comes into play.

        If we are to inhabit this Back Yar
    • don't vote till debate is done, or you will have voted for something that may have changed AFTER your vote...
      • Let me know if I am off base with your ideas, but I would expect voting to take place in a new journal entry with one post per nation, with each post referencing the nation the /. user represents.

        This way the Referee, Teacher, or Empress (whoever happens to be in charge of that issue or in charge for that week) only has to scroll through the posts, click the nation link to validate membership in the backyard, and register the vote.

        El Jefe de Caffeinastan
  • Count me as an "Aye."
  • We all think it is like cool and groovy and stuff as long as you don't forget to tip and leave our guns alone.

    • I propose that we eject the People's Republic of Bootiestan for having an unacceptably large private sector. Such a socialist government would make baby Jesus cry.

      Dissidentia is ranked 71st in the region and 107,169th in the world for Largest Public Sector.

      Oh, and Em sucks or something like that.

      Wait, this isn't a poll? Where am I? Who stole my cheese?
  • I was trying to think of similar rules that would pertain to a sand box and a back yard that were also funny.

    I kept this article in because I think the aim of this game is to role play and have fun. Since our region is a back yard, there should be lots of opportunities to have fun with this, and not get out of control on the realism.

    El Jefe de Caffeinastan
  • I just had another idea regarding voting. To assist The Teacher (yet to be appointed, if necessary) or the Referee in charge of a proposal, I would like to ask that official votes by post also include a link to the nation you represent.

    For example,
    El Jefe de Caffeinastan [nationstates.net] votes "YES" on prop 23
    • I would second this. And if the vote doesn't conform with the specified format it does not count. This would just keep it easier to keep track of for everone involved.
      • Thank you. I'll make a few changes and introduce them under a new thread of this JE.

        El Jefe de Caffeinastan
        • actually this JE is pretty busy, may be I'll get a new JE going for the last 2 days of debate.

          The debate is turning up good issues and ideas. I like it!

          El Jefe de Caffeinastan
  • This is a debate thread for the above articles of the proposed Rules.

    I was not sure how long debate would take. Specifically, I don't want involvement in The Sand Box to take too much time away from people mildly interested in the game.

    I figured that one issue a week, max, with 3 days to debate, and 2 or so to vote, and a day or so off would be a good balance between going nuts with discussions, and maintainign a normal and healthy life away from the keyboard.

    Since prop 00 is a bit more important than m
  • Forgive me if this has already been discussed elsewhere, but "throwing sand" is pretty vague. While the government of Zapitronia certain intends to "play well with others," I can say with fairly high confidence that some of our private advocacy and action groups will attempt to subvert or pressure other governments in the region. Such is human nature, in its everlasting quest for beauty and justice. And the Zapitronia government is not going to do anything to stop these groups.

    Hypothetical example: whe

    • Caffeinastan fully understands your concern. Allow me to elaborate on the article in question.

      The article prohibits one nation from throwing sand at another nation, and has no affect on the actions of citizens within the borders of their nation.

      The effect is to discourage sand fights between nations. Caffeinastan should hope that disputes between members nations could be resolved with name calling, taunting, and tattling to the Teacher, Empress, or Referees instead of all out, open sand fights (with the
      • How about this: Throwing sand is exactly that; throwing sand. It is not throwing anything else, and acts of war and/or aggression will be taking place in a wide arena, so there's plenty of room for the rest of us to impose trade sanctions, etcetera...
        • Ok. Either way. I just thought it would be funny to mention throwing sand somewhere in the rules.

          So change it to say that throwing sand is allowed?

          El Jefe de Caffeinastan
          • er... no. Eliminate the throwing sand reference and we'll make it a separate issue. BY the way, i DO reserve the right to eject a nation, no questions asked, if they do something truly horrible, but i expect to have to justify it fully before the whole league, whom i expect to be pretty tough on me about demanding evidence. Etc.
            • Sounds good. I'll seperate into two different articles. One for Empress removal of a nation, the other for Proposal to Remove a Nation.

              I'll strike Article 5 from The Rules and later we can create a Proposal if the need arises.

              El JEfe de Caffeinastan
              • Hm. Maybe we need to start keeping revisions so folks can see what's changed? There are a lot of comments here that will no longer be relevant once revisions get made.... just a thought.
                • I was going to post a new copy of The Rules with all the amendments some time last night or tonight. Didn't happen last night, so I'll get it done tonight. I have a txt file of the rules as they are changed and I updated it last night with some of the changes. I'll that again tonight and then send it out. Would you like a new JE, or a new thread in this JE?

                  El Jefe de Caffeinastan
  • Section 2, Article 15 - If all nations have not voted on a unanimous concent proposal after one week from the start of voting, then voting is closed and final.

    I presume that this means closed, final, and unsuccessful because it wasn't unanimous?

    The other question was requesting clarification of "voting members". Does one have to participate with any regularity to keep up "voting membership" in good standing, or can you vote on what you care about, and ignore all the rest?

    The difference between this and th

    • That is exactly the clarification I hoped to make. The only difference between The Back YArd and The Sand Box, is a vote. If you ever voted, then there you go.

      As The Empress as staited, lurking is just fine. vote on only what you care about.

      That is also the reason the votes are limited to "Yes" "no" and "abstain". Simply not voting means you realllllly don't care about the issue.

      I was not sure how this section would affect passage of bills. If you don't vote at all, then your absence does not affect
      • Seems to me that since voting isn't compulsory, no answer would suffice to indicate that you abstain (by abstaining, no less! ;) ). I further propose allowing the modifier ", by Crom!!!" to either answer in order to indicate particular interest in an issue. Examples:

        Question: Do you think all nations should recieve free hubcap replacements?

        Republic of Bootieville: yes

        Question: Do you think that Bootieville should be required to have male consorts in minimal attire in all entertainment establishment

      • If we aren't keeping track of who is or isn't an "active" voting member, then the abstain vote seems to me to be redundant.
        • Good point. I'll take it out.

          Any objectsion to removing the reference to "abstain" in the available voting options?

          El Jefe de Caffeinastan
          • no objection; abstentions are automatic. I think the question of membership can be settled this simply:

            EVERY member of the region is a member of the League of the Sandbox. The end. You can vote or abstain; either way, it will be counted. It will not count against you if you abstain. the goal is to create a somewhat minimalist regional government that allows us playing room without taking away our good cheer. It also creates a stage for acts of diplomacy.

            So, by being in the region, you have a vote.

    • Or the seperate issue of unamimous concent proposals...

      I expect that because of Sec 1 Art 6 which allows for extended absence from the game with out recourse, that there may be a call for a unamious concent proposal but several nations in The Back Yard will not be available for the vote.

      I would not want this to hold up passage of the bill if all the votes that are cast are unamious in favor.

      El Jefe de Caffeinastan
      • Ok, so in the case of a unanimous proposal, abstention (whether explicit or implicit) has no impact, right? Not sure how I'd word that, but it could be made more clear I think. That's a reasonable approach; if it's a unanimous vote, the way you prevent it is by caring enough to vote no.
        • I'll think about this and post a few possibilities for wording tonight.

          El Jefe de Caffeinastan
          • One is that by going into vacation mode, let the refs/empress know, and then if more than x% are absent- say, 3 or 4 nations (5%, roughly) are in declared vacation mode, voting is suspended on any proposal requiring unanimous consent, except in dire or pressing need, which will almost never happen because i say so.

            The other would be that if it were dire or pressing need, temporary measures could be passed, with the full measure waiting for the return of players.

            Should an abstention count as a vote? Prob

            • Good plan. I was trying to avoid the use of the word quarum in case steady involvement is low. Using a quarum on a per-proposal basis keeps things moving but keeps things from being run by a few.

              El Jefe de Caffeinastan
              • Should references to the quarum requirement in Section 2 list that there must be a quarum number listed in a proposal (no matter how high or low of a number)?

                El Jefe de Caffeinastan
                • nitpick: quorum

                  That's all I wanted to say...

                  • good thing you said tomething, because I was using textpad and didn't run spell check. :-)

                    I'll try to remember to cut / paste into OO.org and run a spell check before posting. Unfortunately, I own our nations only computers, and they all still run DOS 6.2.2 with Word Perfect.

                    Considering that most of our population is in the goat herding, goat milking, goat shearing, or goat dressing business, computers aren't demanded often.

                    El Jefe de Caffeinastan
  • -so say the delegation from the Republic of Roome
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    Budovice, Beerhemia--January 21, 2004--Beerolution's Prime Minister, Voiclav Baric, stood before select members of the press to announce the launch of an exciting new initiative called Animal Savegame(TM).

    Animal Savegame(TM) is intended to help those nations on the brink of losing their national animals. Harnessing the impressive advancements Beerolution's scientists made in the fields of cloning and deep freezing, th

  • But can we have an updated version with amendments(proposed and if seonded) before we vote off on it?

    Is it on your head?
  • On behalf of those I am destined to serve I basically agree with the points made. I am unsure about the percentage needed to pass a vote. Is 75% really necessary or could 66% be enough?
  • by Abm0raz ( 668337 )
    Just for the express purpose of preventing unanimous decision. Nothing else.

    • El Jefe thinks it is usually a good idea to keep people in check, as you mentioned. However this is the discussion JE for the unamended proposal. The amended proposal discussion journal is available here. [slashdot.org] A voting JE will take place Saturday (assuming no major complaints) for the purpose of ratifying The Rules proposal.

      But thanks for the properly formatted vote (I'm working on mining the journal entry with a quick perl app to make voting easy).

      El Jefe de Caffeinastan

I use technology in order to hate it more properly. -- Nam June Paik