Class stratification is a concept familiar to leftists as it applies to real-world politics. Following our discussion from January 25 of cultural imperialism in NationStates, we can construct the argument that this concept can likewise be applied to the world of NationStates. In NationStates, class stratification obviously does not manifest as it does in real life, but this essay will use the term to describe a similar phenomenon that can be observed in-game.
Class society in real life is the stratification of people into different hierarchical classes: upper, middle, and lower; bourgeois and proletarian. One's social and political power is derived from their placement within these strata. In the same way, NationStates communities frequently divide themselves into several class-like stratifications, with the concept of "citizenship" reserved for members who have resided in the region for a legislatively prescribed period of time, who have registered and submitted an application on an off-site forum, or both.
These barriers to citizenship and enfranchisement deprive casual regional residents of political power. Impediments to political freedoms such as this create a divide in the regions that institute them: enfranchised versus the disenfranchised. The divide is perhaps strongest in regions that use off-site forums, where the split exists between forum-using nations, which are able to be involved in important regional decisions that are often not discussed or advertised on-site until after they are passed; and nations that do not use forums, which are cut out of regional policy decisions and frequently treated as second-class citizens by this forum-using nomenklatura.
When matters of importance are relegated to a forum that is used by a small percentage of a region's actual population, it becomes very easy for a faction of political allies to band together to sway regional policy in a direction that is beneficial to their interests—even if this is contrary to the best interests of the region or even the wishes of the majority of its residents, who can easily feel discouraged from participating due to the obstacles before them!
The Internationale has recently considered the efficiency of our nearly six-year-old voting system, in which votes for or against matters up for the vote are cast directly on the regional message board. Based on a legislative question raised by comrade members of The Internationale directly on the region's RMB, a ballot was formed to determine the future of voting practices: to establish an off-site forum, or to continue to use the region's RMB. The vote ended with 21 comrades in favor of a forum and 21 comrades in favor of the status quo—a stunning rejection of the forum proposal that required a two-thirds majority to pass.
Instead, The Internationale will continue the implementation of its own solution: all matters up for the regional vote are maintained in a single dispatch that is kept pinned to the regional World Factbook entry. The use of a single dispatch for this allows comrade members to bookmark this dispatch to check for new matters up for the vote. As new votes are added and old ballots end, results of previous votes are moved into a separate dispatch, with announcements of the results and a brief introduction of new matters up for the vote posted to the regional message board. Votes on items of special interest, such as the forum question or elections for Comrade WA Delegate, will also be announced through regional telegrams to ensure maximum participation.
By implementing this solution, The Internationale keeps the activity of its members focused on-site, rather than building two separate communities between the inhabitants of the gameside region and the elite users of an off-site forum. Rather than being a shoutbox for mindless comments, the regional message board instead becomes the hub of regional activity and camaraderie. In this, we live the words of Eugene Pottier:
We want no condescending saviors
To rule us from a judgment hall;
We workers ask not for their favors;
Let us consult for all!