Returning players! Wiki accounts were reset in late 2014. If you haven't played since then and wish to edit the wiki, you'll need a fresh account.

FAQ

From BlogNomic Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

General

What is BlogNomic?

It's a Nomic - a game whose rules are changed by the players as the game progresses. Using weblog posts, players submit proposed changes to the game, suggesting whatever they like, and the other players cast votes in comments to that post. If enough vote in favour of a change, we update the rules (which are kept on this wiki page) and carry on playing. Whenever anyone wins the game, we reset the rules, pick a new theme and start again.

For a general overview of how the day-to-day game works, read our New Player Guide.

Can I join in?

Yes, the game is always open to new players. You don't have to wait for a new round to start, you can jump in halfway through one. Here's what to do:-

  1. Click this registration link to create an account on the BlogNomic blog.
  2. Email Kevan to confirm that you're a friendly human who wants to play the game, and what name you've just signed up with. When your account has been verified, you'll be able to post to the blog.
  3. Make a post to the blog announcing your arrival and your formal intention to become a player.
  4. Wait for an Admin to take your request and process it - when you've been added to the list of active players in the sidebar, you can start casting votes, making proposals and playing!

(Yes, this process is a bit clunky - as of January 2015 we're having to deal with a large number of spammers who create accounts and immediately start posting spam, so we've had to add a manual verification step.)

Do I need to have my own blog?

No. Players were required to have a blog in the very early days of the game, but that rule was eventually repealed, and BlogNomic is just a nomic that happens to be run within a blog, these days.

The ruleset seems very daunting - is it always like this?

No, the game restarts periodically. Whenever anyone wins a round (known as a "dynasty"), the ruleset gets cut back to the very basic proposal-making rules, and the winner gets to pick a theme for the next dynasty.

How much time does the game require to play?

It can vary from dynasty to dynasty, and from player to player. Regular players usually check in at least once a day, but it's possible to play just checking in every few days. The core game broadly assumes that players will check the blog at least once every two days (being the time beyond which proposals "time out" and can enact without reaching quorum), but generally the game respects less active players - proposals usually only enact if more than half of players are in favour, so if somebody missed the vote then they would have been in a minority even if they objected.

How much time you give to the game depends on what you want to do. If you're just voting on proposals and taking a few game actions, that can be ten minutes a day, either checking in once a day to catch up, or quickly responding to new posts as they are announced in the BlogNomic Twitter feed. If you want to discuss proposals in detail and write your own, that can take as long as you like.

And each dynasty has its own rules for whatever gameplay is going on, which will reward different levels of activity. Being a Nomic, that aspect of gameplay is naturally as quick or as complex as its players want it to be. If a particular dynasty seems a little too fast-paced, you can always propose to slow it down, to see if any other players agree with you.

How will I know when the next dynasty starts?

You can be alerted by email - just subscribe to our Ascension Alert Service (or join by email), and we'll send you an email when a new dynasty starts.

Alternatively, point your RSS reader at the Ascensions RSS feed and whenever anyone posts an Ascension Address (ie. whenever a new dynasty begins), you'll be told about it.

How long does each dynasty tend to last?

About a month.

How do I leave the game?

If the game is looking overwhelming, boring or you just haven't got time to play it right now, you can ask in a comment or post to become "idle" - this will remove you from the game, and let you come back at some point in the future by asking to be unidled. Players idle out automatically if they don't do anything for seven whole days, but if you know you're not going to be playing any more, it's polite to let the other players know, so that the voting mechanisms aren't counting your presence towards quorum.

(Players can actually leave the game entirely by posting a blog entry asking for that to happen, but nobody's ever done that.)

How do I become an in-game admin?

Submit a proposal asking to become one, once you've joined the game. (Have a look at Rule 1.2 in the Ruleset.)

Blog

I'm having trouble registering. Help!

Have a look at the list of users on the BlogNomic front page - pick an admin and try to contact them by some other means (some will have profile links that click through to their web pages) to let them know that there's a problem.

How do I get the blog to recognize my posts as being proposals?

When you're writing or editing the post, select the "Categories" tab and choose the "Proposal" category. Your post will then gain the appropriate formatting and appear in the pending list in the sidebar. It is not necessary to type "Proposal:" in front of your subject, the blog software will add it automatically if it is in the correct category.

How do I get the name on my posts to match my BlogNomic name?

Change your screen name in your profile. Click My Account at the top of the page while logged in to edit your profile. Note that once you're a player, you can (at least at the time of writing) only change your name legally via proposal.

How do I get the dotted boxes around text, in proposals?

Just put a <blockquote> tag before it, and a </blockquote> tag after it.

It'll look something like this.

Is there a BlogNomic RSS feed?

Yes. There's an Atom feed and an RSS feed. There's also an RSS feed purely of Ascension Addresses, should that be more to your taste. Or another one composed exclusively of comments.

If you're using LiveJournal, you can add the LJ feed to your friends page. And Twitter users can follow @blognomic.

Are there any quirks I should know about?

  • Blog posts are timestamped to the time at which you started writing that post: if you click "Make a New Post" at 12:00pm and spend half an hour crafting a proposal and submitting it, it will appear on the blog timestamped as 12:00pm rather than 12:30pm. So if you're taking your time over a proposal, it's best to write it in another window or a text editor and paste it across when posting. Alternatively, the timestamp can be manually corrected just before submission, in the "Date" tab (note that it's UTC).
  • When you're writing a new blog post, the "Quick Save" option doesn't save your post for future publishing, it posts it for everyone to see. If you're writing any sort of gamestate post (like a proposal or CfJ), you shouldn't use the "Quick Save" button, as it means your half-written version will be posted and reacted to.
  • The "Alert me when a new dynasty begins" profile setting hasn't ever worked.
  • The Private Message "Sent" folder doesn't seem to work; when you send a message, no record of it is stored there.
  • There is a config setting ("Log Email Console Messages") that allows email sent through ExpressionEngine to be read by users with admin privileges. This is normally turned off (and dynasties with private communications tend to use Private Messages instead, which aren't logged in the same way), but players should be aware that it could be turned back on. A message on the email box warns that emails may be read by admin, even if the setting is turned off.

Why has my "sticky" post disappeared?

Posts can be marked as "sticky" if a player wants them to remain at the top of the blog, rather than being bumped down by later posts. Strictly speaking from the perspective of ExpressionEngine, though, "sticky" just means "if this would show up on a page, put it at the top" - if your post is more than a week old, it will have dropped off of the front page, and won't show up any more. (Rule 1.10 will usually prevent you from just changing the timestamp to bring it back, but a legal solution is just to make a new sticky post that links to the old one.)

What does the "arrow" voting icon mean?

The arrow icon, represented as http://blognomic.com/images/vote/arrow.gif, was used in the ruleset of a couple of dynasties in 2009 - it was a supplementary vote that meant "this proposal has good flavour text or theme", and the then-ruleset awarded points for arrowed proposals. Although most dynasties do not use the arrow icon, one or two players still use it as a shorthand for "good flavour". You can use this icon by typing :ARROW: in a comment or post you submit.

What does [unfamiliar phrase] mean?

Some players use terms which aren't explicitly defined by the ruleset, such as "self-kill" or "CoV". Some of these are explained on the Blognomic Jargon page.

Wiki

How do I register to edit the Wiki?

Click the Create account link. To keep spammers out, the registration process asks you for the "wiki signup password" - if you're a logged in user whose blog account has been approved, this password is visible on every page of the BlogNomic blog, at the bottom of the right-hand sidebar.

The wiki isn't reflecting changes, what should I do?

  • Double-clicking the refresh button should solve your problem (in Mozilla or IE).
  • If you are registered and logged on, click on the Preferences link at the top of any page in the Wiki, then select "Misc Settings" and check the box before "Disable page caching". Save your settings.

How do I track changes in the Wiki?

At each page you want to track changes for, click on the watch link, usually on the top of the page. Alternatively, when you edit a page, you can check the Watch this page box, near the Save page button. That will mark that page for tracking.

Afterwards, the my watchlist link will keep track of changes in those specific pages.

How do I create a new page?

The easiest way is to search for your desired page title in the search box - if the page doesn't already exist, the search results will start with an invitation to create such a page. (eg. "Create the page "Hello world" on this wiki!") Click the red link in that text to create the page.

Talking to other players

How can I contact other players privately?

If you click on a player's name in the sidebar or at the top of a comment or the bottom of a blog post, you can send them an email (if they have not opted out of receiving email from players), or a "private message" sent through the ExpressionEngine blog system. Some dynasties use the private message system to communicate secrets between players and the Emperor.

Note that it is possible for blog admins to read emails (but not private messages) sent in this way. This option is usually switched off, however.

How can I join the Slack group?

Since August 2015, several players have been using Slack to discuss the game. This can be found at https://blognomic.slack.com - it requires an invite to join, but any human can request one at http://blognomic-slack.herokuapp.com, and non-players are welcome.

How can I join the IRC channel?

If you know how to use IRC, just join #nomic on irc.slashnet.org. If not, just visit this page or this page to chat. Type "/nick yournickhere" to change your nickname.

As of 2015, this IRC channel does not seem to be particularly active among BlogNomic players.

Gameplay

Why not have self-killed/vetoed proposals failable immediately?

This comes up occasionally, and is a contentious issue; here's a CfJ from January 2010 that proposed such a change. To quote a commenter:-

"A problem with removing self-killed proposals from the queue immediately is that there’s less incentive to get proposals right the first time, if you can just kill them off and try again straight away. It would actually make self-killing proposals the optimum strategy, in some situations - if my perfectly good proposal overlooked something, I could either wait for it to enact, get a slot back and propose a fix, or I could just self-kill it and propose a fully fixed version immediately, which may well enact sooner. There are some environments where this would be okay, but it isn’t great in a date-ordered list of blog posts that everyone has to read through, and where comments are split between blog posts.
Whether vetoes should be immediate is a separate issue, and comes up as a separate issue. For me, it seems odd that if your proposal was so bad or dangerous that the [Emperor] had to veto it, you’d get a pat on the head and your slot back. But if your proposal was merely unpopular, controversial or broken, you’d have to sit out until the queue caught up with you."

On the other hand, in a proposal to allow vetoes to be failed immediately:-

The usual reason stated not to do this is “why would we want to punish bad proposals by taking away slots, but rewarding terrible proposals by freeing up the slot immediately”? Well, I was around last time this rule was in place, and things didn’t happen that way; if a proposal is terrible, it’ll just get a load of AGAINST votes. The only times that vetos are needed are when proposals are reasonable enough to get a preponderance of FOR votes, but either a fatal flaw’s discovered last-minute (in which case the queue timing change is basically irrelevant), or the proposal doesn’t fit into the [Emperor]’s idea of the dynasty (this only comes up in dynasties like arth’s most recent, where the theme is secret; in such a case, punishing people for bad theme-guessing seems wrong). However, with such a rule in place, the veto gains another use: the [Emperor] (who can be assumed to be relatively fair, due to having no way to win) can return slots to players for the good of the dynasty (e.g. when a player is having lots of ideas towards the start, and needs feedback on them, but other players don’t like them protosing). This was used quite a bit in several of the dynasties where the “fast veto” was available, including [ais523's] first.

And in a comment to that:

Yes, this mostly meant “self-kill your proposal and the Emperor will benevolently veto it” in practice. Which was effectively just “self-kills can be failed immediately” with an extra step, and some wheedling and grumbling in comments if the Emperor wasn’t quick enough to veto a self-kill, or if they vetoed it but didn’t also admin its failure.
We may as well just say “self-kills can be failed immediately”, and take the pressure off the Emperor. I don’t think I’d want to see the game sped up that much, though.
(As for the “only times that vetos are needed” - there’s also the case where a proposal is found to be world-endingly broken within the first couple of comments. I’m sure you wouldn’t expect an Emperor to restrain from vetoing it on the expectation that it would go on to get plenty of unchanged AGAINST votes.)

In June 2010, a proposal passed which allowed vetoes to be failed immediately if the Emperor included the word "procedural" with their vote. It was repealed five months later by this proposal, its proposer reasoning that:-

When the fast veto is available, some players are going to think that they have the right to a new proposal slot if a proposal of theirs is found to be flawed (incidentally, if you think that this is always true, cut out the middle man and propose to allow insta-selfkills), and will grumble in the comments if the Emperor doesn’t comply, or responds too late to their liking. What message does the Emperor send by explicitly not giving them their slot back?

Do conditional clauses work?

Sort of, but not as fairly as some players expect them to. Players sometimes make proposals with conditional voting subclauses, such as:-

Repeal the rule "Swords". If a majority of players who voted on this proposal also made a comment of "REFUND", give a ploughshare to any player who lost a sword in this way.

The usual intention is that it's a straw poll for a knock-on effect which people may or may not like: the subclause isn't a safe enough no-brainer to have it happen automatically as part of the main proposal, but neither is it weighty enough to merit an entire follow-up proposal. The clause is a bit like having a secondary proposal, without having to make one.

Mathematically, though, this secondary clause could enact with only a small minority of players being in favour of it. If there are 9 players, then quorum is 5. If the above proposal attracted 5 FOR votes, it could be enacted - at which point the "majority of players" subclause would only require 3 players to have approved it. So the secondary clause could be enacted if 3 players were in favour and 6 were opposed.

These subclauses are generally accepted for very trivial rule changes, but risk having their whole proposal voted down for anything larger: players can't be sure what the outcome of the final proposal will be, and will vote according to how they judge the worst case.

(These will function more like secondary proposals if worded as "if a quorum of players also made a comment of...", but you risk the clause not triggering at all - even if a quorum of players would have wanted it - if proposal times out or reaches its own quorum before getting a quorum of subclause comments.)