Instructions for the NationStates Semester Exam are directly below. Please read them thoroughly
before beginning. Bear in mind that this is an online participant–observational exercise
. In plain English, at the same time as you are participating on the NationStates
website, you are also observing others and their activities. Be as creative as you like. However, the entire process is simple and largely intuitive. Are you having any difficulties on NationStates? You can telegram me at any of my three nations: here
, or here
. NationStates is an online gaming
- Create a nation As illustrations, you are welcome, if you are ever sufficiently bored, to look at the pages related to my nations: Ṣạdiyqiym Bərẹsəlōḇ–ʿẠkkō of Democratic Communist Federation (Spartakusland) (in The Antifa Luxemburgist Communist Collective with its own website), Ṭarīqaẗ ʾal–Bāhuwiyyaẗ of The Multiversal Communist Collective (in The Confederation of Traditional Socialist Nations), and The United Federation of Libertarian Communist Planets (in Revolutionary Communist Alliance). The dedicated website for my personal work on NationStates and similar sites, Libertarian Marxist Communist Social Fiction, includes separate pages on Ṣạdiyqiym Bərẹsəlōḇ–ʿẠkkō of Democratic Communist Federation (Spartakusland), Ṭarīqaẗ ʾal–Bāhuwiyyaẗ of The Multiversal Communist Collective, and The United Federation of Libertarian Communist Planets. You may, if you are interested, design your own national flag and submit it on the settings page. Also from the settings page, my suggestion is to select the mobile theme.
- Search for a region and join it (the first month of the term). When you establish a nation, you will be automatically placed into a region run by NationStates. I suggest that you quickly change to another region appropriate to your own nation or your own interests, but that is up to you. In my view, most of the better regions are run by ordinary members, not by NationStates. Make sure that the region and its bulletin board are active. Generally, larger regions—those with a lot of nations—are preferable to smaller ones. Post regularly on the board. A link to the board will appear on the main page of the region. Many regions operate Discord chat rooms, some regions have Steam chat rooms, and even fewer run TeamSpeak chat rooms. In such cases, the room will often be linked from the region’s main page. Unfortunately, some regions are dominated by immature people and bullies who do little more than flame one another, by control freaks, by trolls, or by liars. If you do not like a region, there is no limitation imposed by NationStates (or by me) on the number of times you can move to a new one. However, join an existing region. Do not create your own. Otherwise, your nation and your region would be essentially identical. Oh, and as soon as you establish a nation, you wiil be flooded with telegrams inviting you to join regions. Supposing that you like one of them, and it is active, you might choose to join it. Or you can simply ignore the invitations and find a region on your own. If, on the rare chance, you happen to be a Leftist like me (or even a “hard–core liberal”), I would suggest this region.
- If you want some help in figuring out your political philosophy, take the excellent 8values quiz. According to that quiz, I am a libertarian communist. With Spekr, which I also recommend, I scored as a libertarian socialist. Another useful online test is The Political Compass. On that test, as well as on The Definitive Political Orientation Test (really a rip–off from 8values and Political Compass), my result was left libertarian. In other words, my results on all of these tests were similar. Perhaps your own findings will also resemble one another.
In case you are interested, American right–wing “libertarianism,” later associated with the former politician Ron Paul (born in 1935) and with “anarcho–capitalism” (capitalism without a government), started with the U.S.–based organization, the Foundation for Economic Education
. These positions are entirely
unrelated to libertarian communism or libertarian socialism. Outside of the U.S., including in Europe and elsewhere, “libertarianism” more commonly refers to a collection of far–left–wing and communist viewpoints, sometimes referred to as left–libertarianism
. Liberty, to me, is only
possible through libertarian communism
. The diverse forms of left–libertarian communism or socialism are quite literally
any exaggeration—the most extreme left–wing positions in existence
. Though totally nonviolent
by temperament, I fully admit to being an extremist
. However, ethically, I never
push my views on anyone, especially
- Join the World Assembly. Vote on all resolutions as they come up (on the World Assembly page). Check the page every few days.
- Post a factbook/dispath in which you describe your nation (political and economic policies, philosophy, etc.). You can, at least partially, treat the factbook/dispath like a blog. Whether your nation reflects your actual views—fully, partially, or not at all—is up to you. As you regularly participate with others in NationStates, write about your observations or experiences in the factbook/dispath. Additionally, comment in your factbook/dispatch regarding the discussions of others, or your own discussions with others, on your region’s board. Toward the end of the project, describe, in the same factbook/dispatch, how your moral compass has actually been challenged, changed, etc. as a result of the experience. The entire factbook/dispath should be at least 1,500 words. For suggestions, you can see Ponderosa’s Guide to a Wiki Style Factbook or Guide to Creating Factbooks, Embassies, and Consulates. In your factbook, your may, if you wish, use BBCode (Bulletin Board Code). HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) will not work. For detailed information on BBCode, read any of these guides: NationStates BBCode Guide, BBCode guide, and Guide for Nationstates BBcode. In addition, you are welcome to create as many factbooks and dispatches as you like. I have several for all of my three nations.
- One of the objectives of the NationStates Semester Exam is to create what is called, academically, a concrete utopia. The word utopia, from the original Latin, translates as nowhere. It was Sir Thomas More’s way of saying that perfect places do not exist. Well, a concrete utopia presents a challenge to More’s pessimism. The idea of a concrete utopia is to propose a society which will practically solve some of society’s problems. The number of problems it solves is up to you. Write about how your fictional nation accomplishes that objective in your factbook/dispatch. In effect, you will be writing social fiction, a term which can be defined as addressing real problems through fiction.
- Respond to all, or to the vast majority, of the issues. (They are multiple–choice questions.) A new one is posted approximately every 5½–6 hours. If you are sometimes given an issue, and you disagree with all of the responses, you can simply press the “Dismiss this Issue” button. (On average, I personally dismiss roughly 20% of the issues.) The issue will then go away. You can also respond to all of a day’s issues at the same time. On the other hand, make sure you do not skip any days, or the older issues will simply disappear. In other words, you need to respond to the issues seven days a week.
- Beginning on the first month of the semester and continuing throughout the semester, post a message, at least once per week, on the NationStates forum. Make sure that your messages are relevant to the thread(s) in which you are posting. I can read your messages by clicking on the View Forum Posts button (which you will see as a Your Forum Posts button) at the bottom of the main page your nation.
- You are free, if you are interested, to participate in regional politics or governance (should that option be available in your region) or to engage in role–playing (commonly abbreviated as “RP”). My experiences with NationStates governance began in one region on January 16ᵗʰ, 2018, and in another region on June 5ᵗʰ, 2018, but governing structures widely differ from region to region. I have, in addition, never taken part in role–playing (though I have observed others doing it). Therefore, I would, most likely, not be able to offer you too many suggestions or assistance in either area. You would, for the most part, be on your own. To be clear, involvement in regional politics and role–playing are not required for the semester exam. For anyone who is interested, here are several role–playing activities I stumbled upon: A Modern World, The NSG Senate (applications taken here), Alliance for Change (associated with the NSG Senate), Party for Tradition and Justice (associated with the NSG Senate), Free Democratic Party (associated with the NSG Senate), Conservative Hellenic Union (associated with the NSG Senate), The Capital Wasteland Role-Playing Game, and The Grand Imperial Alliance. The following regions, among many others, focus on role–playing: Cobalt Network, Realism and RP (with a recruitment message on the NationStates forum), The Galactic Federacy, Commonwealth of Liberty, and Greater Olympus. (I know nothing or virtually nothing about these activities and regions.) Obviously, if you become involved in regional politics, role–playing, or both you can discuss your experiences in the factbook/dispatch mentioned above in number 5.
- On or before the due date (given in the syllabus), email me from your stumail.jccc.edu address to mine (mfoster followed by @ followed by stumail.jccc.edu). Include your first and last names, the name of the class (either “Introduction to Sociology” or “Social Problems”), the days and times the class meets per week, and the URL for your NationStates nation. I require stumail, since, according to college policy, I cannot use non–JCCC email accounts for grades. (The reason I did not create a personal email link is to avoid spam.)
- A general manual on NationStates rules is available at The One Stop Rules Shop. See also General Guidelines. Above all, please do as I say, not as I do: Remain completely anonymous on NationStates. Do not give out any personally identifiable information.
- Do not place anything in my physical on–campus mailbox or under my office door. (Things have gotten lost that way.)
- As you will find out, I am not shy about expressing my political philosophy. This project can allow you to talk back to me online.
- Avoid taking many people on NationStates that seriously. Some of them are just role–playing or posing.
- If you are curious , I am known on NationStates by a version of my actual Jewish name, Mōšẹh ʾẠhărōn hạ-Lēwiy bẹn Hẹʿrəšẹʿl or Mòşeh ʼAhàròn ha-Léwiy ben Herĕşel (Hebrew/ʿIḇəriyṯ and Yiddish/Yiyḏiyš, מֹשֶׁה אַהֲרֹן הַלֵוִי בֶּן הֶערְשֶׁעל [MP3]). My Arabic translation of the name is Mūsaỳ Hārūn ʾal-Lāwiyy ʾib°n ʾal-Šādin (Arabic/ʾArabiyyaẗ, مُوسَى هَارُون اللَاوِيّ اِبْن الشَادِن [MP3]). I do not, however, practice the religion of Judaism. Instead, I follow another religion. That religion shall, for ethical reasons, remain nameless on this page. Nevertheless, you are free, if you wish, to read about it on your own. My late father’s Jewish name was Hẹʿrəšẹʿl hạ–Lēwiy bẹn Šəmūʾēl (Hebrew and Yiddish, הֶערְשֶׁעל הַלֵוִי בֶּן שְׁמוּאֵלָה [MP3]), while my sister’s is Šəmūʾēlāh hạ–Lēwiy bạṯ Hẹʿrəšẹʿl (Hebrew and Yiddish, שְׁמוּאֵלָה הַלֵוִי בַּת הֶערְשֶׁעל [MP3]).
Ḥaməsāh (Hebrew/ʿIḇəriyṯ, חַמְסָה
Häməsa (Amharic/ʾÄmarəña, ሀምሳ
Ḥamšā (Syriac/Suryāyā, ܚܡܫܐ
or Ħamsa (Maltese/Malti), 5“A Semitic Hand Amulet.”Not Related to “Hamṣa” (Sanskrit/
), “Swan or Goose.”
Copyright © 2017– Mark A. Foster, Ph.D. All rights reserved.