2011 eRepublik Rebellion

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The logo used by most rebels in the 2011 eRepublik Rebellion.

The 2011 eRepublik Rebellion (also known as The Presidents' Rebellion or The Citizens' Rebellion) was a global protest, from the 2nd of March 2011 (Day 1,198 of the New World) onwards, by eRepublik citizens against the following three perceived issues: bad changes that the eRepublik team implemented, censorship and lack of communication between citizens and the team. The protesters specifically targeted Plato, the eRepublik official communication account, as the source of heavy censorship and total lack of communication between citizens and the team.


Background

The leaked Top Customers program documents.

The rebellion was primarily comprised of protests by citizens against frequent and unannounced changes implemented by the eRepublik team. In that period of time, these changes were generally unpopular and heavily argued upon. Because some of them were not announced before implementation, the protesters had concerns that various modules were bugged. There also was a general perception that team-citizens communications were practically nonexistent. This can be dated back to the implementation of eRepublik "V2" Rising, when many of the drastic changes to the game were generally perceived to be unwelcome, argued about and bugged. The protests were spurred even further by:

  • Rumours of the team implementing changes in order to heavily favour Gold-buying citizens;
  • Concerns that the "unified inventory and money accounts" project would again wreak havoc in the economy of the New World;
  • The usage of bots by the eRepublik team to buy goods from national markets and issue currencies onto the Monetary Markets;
  • Long and loudly demanded limit on the wellness packs;
  • Perception that the improvements of the media and the private messaging module were restrictive;
  • Planned deletion of organizations and with it destroying a great part of eRepublik history;
  • Innumerable delays in the implementation of phases related to the housing and hospital industry.

Therefore it can be safely stated, that the rebellion was not started because of one thing - the dissatisfaction and anger accumulated for a long time before reaching a breaking point, and the heavy and unfair censoring of the media and the forums did nothing to alleviate this anger; in fact it inflamed it even more.

Timeline of the Rebellion

Plato10goldupdate.jpg
On the 2nd of March 2011 (Day 1,198), Plato announced citizens that, in five days, "every citizen will be able to get, via donation or monetary market, a limited amount of Gold" via a pop-up message. Taking under account that until that day, the amount of Gold that could be obtained by a citizen was unlimited, and this method was not equivalent with the long-demanded limiting of wellness packs; and mainly after seeing the leaked Top Customers program and the other factors, a number of Country Presidents, as a sign of protest, put up a vote in their national Congresses to change their countries' New Citizen Message to an anti-eRepublik text. They were permanently suspended for disrespecting the eRepublik Terms of Service.[1]


 Part of the reason I proposed that law was the Jew and South African in me. Differentiating between customers; making non-paying customers a second class citizen. Might as well slap a yellow star on each of them and start putting up "whites only" signs. 

Prompted by strong anger towards the suspension, Jonathan Joestar created the IRC channel #Rebellion[2] on the Rizon server. The movement built support on IRC throughout Wednesday and into Thursday, when hundreds of citizens joined the channel. At its peak, there were around 1,100 users in the channel. From here, various anti-"admin" and anti-Plato articles were linked to and voted. Citizens partaking in the publishing of these out-spoken articles received Forfeit Points (FPs), later dubbed "Famous Points" or "Rebellion Loyalty Points", and temporary suspensions. The censorship hit unprecedented heights when not only 'rebellion'-orientated articles, feeds and forum posts were penalized, but also objective articles and anything even the most remotely related to eRepublik, the eRepublik team, Country Presidents or saying no to war[3][4][5]. It peaked with suspending a MoD gazettes that published "Hold Fire" orders in the official national military newspapers.[6][7][8][9]

The private presidential section of the eRepublik forum[10] was also broken in to when the password to the channel was leaked, and it was added to the channel topic for all to see. Tens of threads voicing dissatisfaction towards Plato and the eRepublik team were created in this forum, and many more in the public sections. The eRepublik Facebook group was then targeted, with citizens being called to rate it with one star and post negative comments. The eRepublik team later removed the rights to comment on the group and admins and moderators started to rate the game with five stars [11].

Minor vandalism also occurred in the eRepublik Encyclopedia.[12]

Throughout the day, Most heads of state and other representatives signed an anti-"admin" Charter,[13][14] blaming the eRepublik team of failing to listen to the general public and implementing unrequested and unhelpful features to the game which would "ruin [the] game even more", in order to "maximize the Gold usage". Side-by-side with this Charter, the Presidents made a mutual agreement to cease all wars and fighting in a stand against the eRepublik team. After that, the Presidents of many countries, including major ones like Spain and Poland declared a General Hold Fire in their countries.[15][16] In the meanwhile a few, non-signing countries went on with their attacks, like Romania on the no-war signing Hungary.


An independent forum[17] and several further IRC channels were established to provide some organization to a so far spontaneous and unplanned protest. On Friday, 03:00 (eRepublik time), a meeting was arranged with Belea2008, a member of the eRepublik team, and around 40 heads of states or representatives attending. The heads of states had four spokespersons, representing the main alliances, and the unaligned smaller countries, and painstakingly prepared a document, detailing the main points of the users' dissatisfaction,[18] signed by 43 Country Presidents, from all alliances and unaligned countries - a previously unheard-of cooperation in the eWorld. (Over 1,040 citizens were watching on in #Rebellion chatroom for information on how the meeting was going, a record-breaking attendance in eRepublik-related IRC channels) However, the discussion ended extremely quickly, with Belea declaring the discussion pointless, as the players had "non negotiable demands".[19]


Many of the Presidents present and the onlokers in the #Rebellion chatroom thought that Belea's declaration might have been an excuse - he apparently did not want to talk at all (if his behavior was anything to go by, as the chatlog shows) and when he found a convenient excuse to leave he took it. He firstly demanded that legitimate heads of states must not be attending (the banned presidents, who were the initial leaders of the rebellion[20]; also Presdents egitimacy comes from players, and lasts until impeachment); he then specifically demanded that certain persons, whom he did not like, to leave the channel[21] (he expressed this through SirMokeShag, the coordinator of the meeting); he then said nothing while Nalaja, one of the spokespersons, started the meeting with emphasis on the importance of communication; he then declared the negotiations over, not waiting even a second in order to anyone to react. The so-called 'non-negotiable' items that he cited as excuses were in fact the points that the rebellion considered the most important that must be talked of.[22]

The concerns voiced in the rebellion

The main issues of the protesters:[23]

  • Communication between the admin team and users. The whole starting paragraph in the signed document was about this issue, because the protesters felt this of paramount importance, in which the eRepublik Team so far has failed.
  • Limiting the wellness packs themselves, instead of the 10 gold rule, which the protesters did not feel an adequate solution to the issue. This point is what most eRepublik citizens demanded for long, and in every possible forum.
  • Bringing back the strategical options that admins removed from the game - as eRepublik advertises itself as a strategy game, it is quite logical to have strategical options in the presidents' disposal, while the NE rule, the removal of retreat option, the automatic battles, the cost of the battles, and the auto-activated MPP-s practically reduced the wars into no-brain, mindless fighting.
  • The economy was plunging to overproduction when the work as manager option was introduced and the bots that bought up goods did not solve this, only made the MM crash too, and currencies became devalued. Therefore it is obvious that in the interests of a self-sustaining economy the overproduction must be solved somehow.
  • General pardon for the protesters for the temp bans, perm bans and FP-s - excluding the multi and exploit cases. The reason is obvious - the well-meaning protests are always penalized at first, but it is the sign of the ruling powers' willingness to negotiate to dismiss some or all of the punishments - therefore generating a healthier, less anger-, and hate-driven atmosphere.

The less important section of the document:

  • The use of the aforementioned bots must be stopped - we all know that these bots exist, and wreaked havoc in the markets and MMs.
  • Freedom of speech - under this section was the free movement of newspapers again, as the eRepublik team expressed it long ago, that real free speech will never be allowed (cf the unmovable public debate rule).
  • Ability to appeal every ban or FP including forum ones and the questioning of the present Game Mods - eRepublik citizens expressed their views about the no-appeal system long ago, and their concerns about some of the present game moderators, and the deleting of those articles and forum threads were of course inadequate answer to those concerns. The eRepublik Team has not voiced anything in this matter, unless further bans are to be taken as answers.
  • Keep all organizations 'as is', or return them to full functionality - except voting and subscribing. The reasoning behind this is such: citizens don't feel that organizations are bad, quite the opposite - they want them to stay, as the rumored unified inventory will probably have the expected shortcomings. The only real problem with the orgs are the voting/subscribing, not their existence - and also admins have never said anything about the orgs' newspapers that contain valuable historical information, which would be gone if the orgs are deleted.
  • The functionality of the advertisement module, and the usage of the parties' gold
  • A really usable API, and the full battle stats - both is long asked, and would be absolutely necessary for the game experience.
  • Bringing back EI or a similar general announcement system that is available to every citizen in the homepage - and the use of it for announcing changes before they are implemented.
  • changelogs of the implemented new modules.
  • more focus on the development of the political module - eRepublik is supposedly not a war-game, but a social simulation - it should be developing all modules, not only the war one.

Rebellion in the Media

Anti-Platod seal of Indonesia
A variety of graphical images were used during the protests in articles and forum threads, portraying Plato as a dictator such as Hosni Mubarak, Colonel Gaddafi and Adolf Hitler. On top of this, it is estimated that hundred of articles were made in support of the rebellion, many of which were moderated by the team for breaching the eRepublik Laws or Terms of Service. Thousands of other articles, many simply reporting on the events as they happened, or making fun of them in the best traditions of eRepublik media, or even just remotely connected to the happenings were deleted as spam or flaming.[24][25][26]

Admin Censorship

There were numerous instances of members of the eRepublik team deleting articles, forum threads and warning for rebellious messages.

Many articles ranging from out-right rule breaking rants to just friendly articles saying let's have peace with the country next door were deleted during this time.

Pictures used during the rebellion

Aftermath

A image passed along many rebels to show that they consider the banning of presidents distasteful
A image also passed along many rebels to show Admins they want change.

The banning of the presidents

As a result of the rebellion, many Country Presidents were permanently suspended for disrespecting the eRepublik Laws, and Terms of Services. The presidents suspended include:

Grouth, President of Norway, was also suspended during the period of the rebellion, but was banned for multiple accounts usage, meaning it was not associated with the rebellion.


Further developments

In the days after the rebellion was heavily put down by admins, the owners/managers of the game (Alexis Bonte and George Lemnaru) came out with articles and answers to some of the concerns - neither of them unfortunately said much new information, only some generalities and promises;[27][28] and neither of them has shown any willingness to negotiate or talk with users about the concerns raised in the document ; and they steadfastly refused to even consider the unbanning of the presidents and other banned citizens. This shows that they still believe in the 'heavy hand' policy, instead of the 'openness and talk' one. Also, new missions were quickly implemented, all promoting war and NE, with strength and gold rewards, to entice the no-war signing protesters to give up their protests. On the forums, the heavy hand continued, and Plato is seekeing even more moderators for the forum.[29] It is painfully obvious that a user who becomes a forum moderator, cannot in fact answer to issues that would require a long negotiation with the game developers and the managers; they can only answer generalities, which does not help the communication issue still. It must be added that these forum moderators do answer in the Help section of the forum, but as it was neither a problem, it cannot be called an improvement in the communication issues. The forum is now moderated by all those who enjoy banning, and there is absolutely no appeal against their bans(There is no reference, but there is no appeal against forum bans, as everyone knows who was banned there) - which start at 10 days for anything, even for a simple signed comment. The cenzorship is now ten times worse on the forum as it is in the media - and it is stifling even there. Instead of communication, admins chose to silence all opposition, and put their minions in charge - and gave them free rein too...


In an effort to avoid the limiting of wellness packs - the very thing most players agreed on - admins changed the company market, by limiting the selling price to within 10 % of the buying/creating price[30]. After some days, it was proved that the measure wasn't useful in what limiting wellness packs concerns.

References

  1. http://forum.erepublik.com/showthread.php/108765-Monetary-Market-Change-and-Banned-Presidents!
  2. http://wbe02.mibbit.com/?server=irc.rizon.net&channel=%23Rebellion
  3. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wM3KgvUyDWPuYPDEectt2XscuKEVnaEDDhjmX_kQD2g/edit?hl=hu#
  4. http://img291.imageshack.us/img291/159/20110303124329.png
  5. http://www.erepublik.com/en/article/-andymiller-gone-et-uuml-nt-1702581/1/20
  6. http://www.erepublik.com/en/newspaper/ministerstwo-obrony-179170/1
  7. File:SA MoD Deleted.png
  8. File:SA MoD FP Message.png
  9. File:SA MoD FP Infringment.png
  10. http://forum.erepublik.com
  11. http://www.facebook.com/#!/apps/application.php?id=300511377223&v=app_6261817190
  12. http://wiki.erepublik.com/index.php?title=My_land&diff=422149&oldid=420506
  13. 2011_eRepublik_Rebellion/Charter
  14. https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1e9Vd3nImOaW_LM1LQU0xVXOtVKPv_QJhX9yGKrsKpRg
  15. http://www.erepublik.com/es/article/-rozkazy-orders-2-marca-2011-1198-day-04-30-erep-time-edit3-1695057/1/20
  16. http://www.erepublik.com/es/article/orden-del-presidente-d-a-1198-13-06-horas-er-time--1697507/1/20
  17. http://rebellion.freeforums.org
  18. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hX8qcG62sWiNpKj8WzdvYgmWYHP6r492sUiouFUJtYQ/edit?hl=en&authkey=CMjhxsYM&pli=1#
  19. https://docs.google.com/document/d/12apTO493q2U9aByRy3m8oTRH2XyruIsXKWzEjyeJcoo/edit#
  20. https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1e9Vd3nImOaW_LM1LQU0xVXOtVKPv_QJhX9yGKrsKpRg
  21. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1fpTYCSV36tlcBmRm326zml71CUvTAwC5qV-hT2GV8Jw/edit?hl=en#
  22. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1fpTYCSV36tlcBmRm326zml71CUvTAwC5qV-hT2GV8Jw/edit?hl=en#
  23. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hX8qcG62sWiNpKj8WzdvYgmWYHP6r492sUiouFUJtYQ/edit?hl=en&authkey=CMjhxsYM#
  24. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wM3KgvUyDWPuYPDEectt2XscuKEVnaEDDhjmX_kQD2g/edit?hl=hu#
  25. http://img291.imageshack.us/img291/159/20110303124329.png
  26. http://www.erepublik.com/en/article/-andymiller-gone-et-uuml-nt-1702581/1/20
  27. http://www.erepublik.com/en/article/alexis-answer-to-a-banned-cp-we-do-listen-we-just-don-t-always-do-what-you-want-1703529/1/20
  28. http://www.erepublik.com/en/article/advice-for-admins-en-hu-update-george-lemnaru-answered--1701295/1/20
  29. http://forum.erepublik.com/showthread.php/109196-Plato-s-Helpers-%28Forum-Moderators%29?highlight=plato%27s+helpers
  30. http://forum.erepublik.com/showthread.php/109545-Minor-improvements-in-sell-companies-system