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The Admin Tower / CalRef Development Journal 27
May 17, 2022, 04:32:21 PM
Dot 3.3.0 Endotarting Update

Luca, didn't you just post an update?

Oh, you got me there. I was planning on bundling this feature with the next one I'm working on, but I feel like the next one will take me several weeks to finish, while this one is done now. So let's have some free stuff!

Sadly, I will say that as of this update, I'm following through with the forecast I gave in the 3.1 update. As of now, all remaining auto response messages like being thanked are being restricted to only interact with the CalRef server. For everywhere else, they are now deprecated. Ah well, they had a good run. What's next?

Originally, Dot was created to provide CalRef an in-server ability to endorse all the World Assembly nations within Refugia. It's been about two years since then and it never happened, such that it became a bit of a meme. After I got the CalRef VI work off my chest, I felt I had a mental road map to getting this feature out and, naturally, that meant I couldn't rest until I made it. With an absolutely minimal amount of testing, I'm done as of yesterday.

Cross! Cross! Cross! Cross!

There is (finally) a new command called tart.  This command pulls all of the nations that you have not endorsed as of NationStates' last Major update (21:00-22:30 PST), or at least after Nightly has processed it, and compiles it in a way you can easily use.

The nation you would like to get information on is a required argument for this command. The output is an embed of nations, hyperlinked to the closest anchor to their endorse button, and paginated by discord buttons below the message. To the right of the navigation buttons is a link to the web sheet, a procedurally generated webpage which presents the same information, but without leaving your web browser. So you can use whichever platform you find easier.

The web sheet contains two methods, the first is an assistance button. This is a button whose name and link will change with every click. On Chrome and Edge, you can hold ctrl and click the button until it has cycled through all the nations you've missed. Regrettably, Firefox does not permit this functionality, but you can still left-click, endorse, back-button, and repeat if you find it convenient. The second method is a table of buttons for all nations you have yet to endorse, which you can ctrl+click through individually. With every click, the button will turn green so you can visually keep track of where you are and not lose your progress.

The discord message's buttons may be operated for up to ten minutes after the command has been called, after which they will deactivate. Similarly, for privacy's sake, the generated webpage (which already has a hashed name) will be deleted from the server an hour after its creation.

To activate, you can say for example, I cast tart Refuge Isle to bring up all the nations in Refuge Isle's region that it didn't endorse by the previous Major.

Setable Autopins

Whether you'd like to give your users more control over their chat environment, or have a hard time determining which shitposts are worthy of being uselessly pinned, there's now a feature to handle that for you. The autopins feature allows a message to be pinned if it receives a requisite number of 📌 emoji reactions within a reasonable amount of time after being posted. Similarly within that time, if the message falls under the required number of reactions, the message will be unpinned.

You may be thinking that looks familiar. Quite so! But now server admins can control it with the new setting added to set, called set autopins. With this, you can toggle this behaviour on or off, or set the threshold to something equitable to the population of your server, or change it as it grows or shrinks. The default state of autopins is off, so if you previously enjoyed this feature, you'll need to set server preferences to use it again.

This feature is the first of a series of updates that will be coming out in the coming months to improve server features and accessibility. Dot will be shifting away from empowering NationStates-specific services, and more to empower server admins who want to make things easier and more pleasant to their members and staff.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed an bug in button interactions where someone other than the operator would cause an interaction to fail for a button that wasn't theirs.
  • Fixed an bug where running timer without a base would invocation error.
  • Fixed an issue in buy/sell where the database got very laaaaaarge.
  • Fixed an bug in set where certain subcommands would fail in barebones server configurations.
  • Fixed and issue in WA where disruptive tabs appeared in the stats areas on mobile.
Report all errors to the local authority.
CalRef VI

What? We're Still Doing These?

Why, yes.

As it turns out, expecting that even constant small updates could replace periodic larger ones was very short-sighted. In previous upgrade phases, we rolled out everything at the same time and surprised people with it, but that's not really in my power to do anymore. There's too much stuffs. Between this and the 3.0 update for Dot, I've spent about eight to ten hours working on the server or coding things for it, every. single. day. for the last month. So, there's probably some level of obligation for me to talk about it. So here we are, hope you enjoy.

Regarding Carbon

The name "Carbon" has been tossed around for well longer than it ever should have been; however, at this point, I am pleased to announce that I have now accomplished what the G20 could not: Removing Carbon.

This server was thrown together four years ago in a more or less rushed situation, as I got the sites back up after the domains were yoinked. I wasn't super knowledgeable about how network administration worked back then, so the result was poorly structured and put together. But it did work and that's what mattered.

Still, the issue was that a lot of the transferred-in software was old as hell and aging rapidly in a time where the systems it needed to run on were increasingly unsupported. These forums, for example, were intensely modified from the standard SMF base, in a determined attempt to keep our forum software modern and relevant when so many other admins sell their soul to subscription-based, closed-source, proprietary software solutions like TapaTalk. The creation of Dot required systems that were current and modern, and that finally forced the issue of bringing everything up to (then) 2021 standards if we wanted to grow.

During the CalRef V update, many systems were transferred off of Carbon and into a newer server of similar hardware specs, called Hydrogen. Regrettably, the forums and wikis could not be taken out of their functional time capsule, no matter what I tried at the time. There were just too many modifications to account for. Consequently, Carbon remained until last week when I finally completed the last of the migrations.

So, for real now, farewell Carbon and rest in carbonite. Thanks for serving us for four years, but your monthly fees will not be missed.

Overview: Hydrogen

Without needing to divide resources, hydrogen was roughly doubled in specs, including using DigitalOcean's newest CPUs, such that even Nightly is able to run about 30% faster. Because the capacity has been so dramatically expanded, Hydrogen now runs all of the administration's sites and services, while all of the hosted sites remain on Xenon. For fun trivia, Calamity Refuge is now on its ninth server and sixth domain, in a freshly minted Debian 11. With some hefty security upgrades that makes the server more resilient to a variety of different attacks, we now boast a better security rating than my government.

The CalRef Network site has gotten a fresh remodel during this upgrade phase, and you can scroll to the bottom of the page and see an overview on these two servers, and that's where any additional ones we'll use in the future will be as well.

The Wiki that was used for the original CalRef RPs and side projects (OldWiki.CalRef) is now deprecated.

It turns out that running an alpha build of wiki software that came out in 2014 has some drawbacks eight years later. It was split for, among other reasons, some privacy concerns regarding our past members, but retained because a lot of the content there is still the basis for how we theme some of our modern stuff, especially in Refugia. So, we're solving both the privacy issues and continuity issues by transferring the article texts and imagery, sans-history and user information, directly into the modern wiki, at Wiki.CalRef. You can visit any time, but registering an account still requires you to contact an admin directly, as previously directed.

Forum Changes

Functionally, the thing that made this update possible was that SMF development has resumed after about a five two year hiatus. The much-awaited 2.1 update made vanilla a lot of the functions that we had put a whole load of effort into modifying in. Such revolutionary breakthroughs include native support for IPv6 addresses. In 2022. Eight years after CalRef first modded the functionality in the database, and seven years after IPv4 exhaustion actually occurred in North America. But this is a welcome reversal from the previous developer line of "Just block access to all IPv6 users". But our rickety homebrew setup couldn't be transferred off of Carbon previously, so I'll take it.

Other abilities gained include the tag, which I previously wrote in as [floatleft] and [floatright] -- no need to keep that anymore. With the native float tag, you can simply use and . You can also provide more detailed specifications such as , to mark what width the floated item should not exceed.

The [youtube] tag is also a native feature instead of a modification now.

The [tt] tag, which I have used for ages to denote commands or code, and which was used heavily in the FTaWSotR RP, is deprecated by SMF. That's is unfortunate, so I've added a [key] tag to provide the same font, since tt is still a taken namespace.

All the previous tags, such as background, nation, region, box, sidebar are still in and good to go, and accessible through a new and much more pleasant post editor. Members also pick up the ability to do quick edits of their posts while remaining on the same page, leaving edit messages again and quick-quoting highlighted text in posts. Users, mods, and admins now have a more sensible way with dealing with IP addresses which made their way into accidental screenshots a couple years back.

Oh my god and we now have the ability to search content inside threads instead of the entire forum. You will observe the search bar in the upper right, which provides this functionality whenever you need it.

We now have a notification system, where users can be pinged on mention. For example, you can use @Luca and an alert will pop up in my upper left alert menu in the forum bar. This @ method is an alias of the new [member] tag, which you can also use if you wish.

Karma has been removed as a feature and, although we had this since the beginning, I feel like it was never really used much, except when Gabriel's was manually set to -6000 karma. So that's out, and has been replaced with a more modern-standard post "Like" system. As with mentions, you'll get notified whenever a member has liked a post you've made.

Dot 3.2.0: CalRef VI Update

A Dot update too? Sure why not.

Going forward, if you're interested in finding out about Dot, I'm shuttering the old forum thread that served as Dot's documentation and from here on out, everything you could ever possibly want will be hosted on Dot.CalRef. This site is also going to be linked in Dot's bio, future update posts, and there's even a handy link to the site in the "Network" button at the top of this forum's navigation. Every command is linked in the new docs site, with an MP4 video modal of every command being demonstrated. So, if you can't figure out how something is supposed to work, hopefully this will help.

This site also contains a privacy overview for the information that is collected by Dot. Or, more specifically, a declaration of things that are not. If you're interested in adding Dot to your server, you can do so by the large blue buttons that are at the upper right of these pages, or by the invite link that's been attached to Dot's bio.

The commands menu has been changed to provide hyperlinks to the relevant section of the docs for every command registered. The restored help command will also direct to the doc site.

If you've ever been curious about a region's population history history, or liked the graphing features of save, have I got some sweet news for you: You can now get that any time you want.
There's a new command now, called population, or pop. This command delivers a graph similar to that on regional history pages, providing the history of the region's population. However, with this tool, you can see much further back than NationStates' graph limit (2016), and instead see as far back as 2012. You also have the option to get the history of the current iteration of a region, or the entirety of the time the name has been used since 2012, across all refounds.

In both cases, you'll also be given the spreadsheet of the data, if you'd like to do something extra with it, yourself.

You can say I cast population Greece for the incarnation, or I cast population Greece, all for all the history of that namespace.

Minor fixes:
  • Fixed an issue in save, where XMLs were not being properly shipped with the zip file
  • fixed an issue in the wa command, where verification that NS was down wasn't triggering the right checks.

That's probably all for now.
Report all errors to the local authority.
The Admin Tower / CalRef Development Journal 25
May 02, 2022, 07:07:20 PM
Dot 3.1.0: Growing Pains Update

Hello all, this update is more of a "Part II" of the last update. But here goes~

When Dot was made, obviously her intended scope was the CalRef server. Over time, people asked if they could add her to other servers and I made adjustments to make that happen. The intended range then was still pretty small, like five servers and maybe 75 members. However, CalRef has grown, and so has the number of servers that Dot's in. And every time I go to improve something, it's basically a linear progression to make something as good as it can be in the current code structure before saying "Well, this isn't going to work anymore". Then there's nuking, paving and starting over with something that works a lot better. And that's what the last month of rewrite and improvements have been geared towards: Making Dot able to keep functioning better and pick up new abilities, as new servers decide they want her help.

A lot of the changes for this update are still mostly on my end and not a lot to be talked about here, but there are a few marked changes that we should talk about. I guess I'll get the bad news out of the way first and talk about the features that are going away.

Finally Impostor-Free
Dot's amogus feature, the sus minigame, has been retired as of this update. I very, very genuinely hope that you all have enjoyed it for the time that it's been around, which was quite a while. Apparently since last March, which is before I even started putting Dot's update post here on the forum.

Originally Dot's amogus mini-game was created as a shitpost I made up in a sleep-deprived delirium, based on some simple comprehension of save data and pre-preparing player profile concepts. Optimistically, I thought that it might get some use for a single month, but it kept getting used a whole lot for fourteen. However, I'm not going to re-write it for the structure we're moving into.

While everything was functionally working, this particular command is pretty poorly made. Its data generation and organisation methodology is also pretty barbaric. So rather than rewrite the 1,200 lines of code that make it up, since the joke of the game is thoroughly spent, I'm just going to let it go and work on adding things that are nicer.

Retired Chatbot Functions
Speaking of things that are thoroughly spent, I'm also retiring the F auto-response, the laughs in auto-response, and the ping or mention auto-response. Their admin options in set are similarly removed. Still active are the thanking and good/bad dot/bot and nods responses. However, it's almost certain that in a future update, those will also be retired or restricted to only CalRef/whitelisted servers.

The reasoning is that, while I still think the burden of responsibility for regulating conduct on a given server lies with that server's staff, the fact is that these auto-responses are easily (and frequently) abused by operators anyway, and can cause Dot to generate spam, herself. So rather than rework those into a complicated cooldown system, since Discord is already attempting to curtail message content access (which those require), it makes more sense for them to be cut.

Command Name Changes
I'm moving the commands local avatar into display for ease of my internal organisation. It's not strictly a do or die situation, but it makes things a bit easier for me to deal with.

For the same reason, I'm moving top endos into top.

You can use the command as you normally would.

New Error and Reporting System
I've noticed a lot of times in #simplebots or a couple other servers I'm in that have Dot, sometimes people get "Invocation Error"s and never mention anything. But that kind of error is different from "Information" errors like command not found or missing context. This one means that something's actually wrong with my code which is preventing the function from being used correctly. Sometimes it signals that no one can use the command at all. Previously, a lot of bugs would be fixed from me scanning through our #simplebots channel looking for problems, because people would probably only ping me for like 10% of serious issues. But since Dot's in a variety of larger servers and I'm not there, and since I've re-written....uh...maybe 80% of Dot this month? We need a better system.

Starting now, whenever you get an "Invocation Error" or a "Brain Explodes" error, there is a button for you to report it, (which you do not have to use (although it would be nice if you did)). If you do choose to report an error, it will be sent directly to CalRef, in a new bug report receiving area in floor-7. The bug report will ask what command you used when something broke, what happened, and how it can be reproduced (if possible). Sending it off will also attach what Dot thinks are the most relevant areas of the error log to send with it, to help make fixing it easier for me. Those reports look like this.

You can also manually trigger these reports by using a new "I cast report" command. I'm even fine with you using this to give feedback about what new commands you think would be neat, or what sort of improvements that could be made to an existing one. If your bug report or feedback directly results in an issue being fixed or a feature being added or improved, I'll send a message back through Dot replying to the original submission saying that the issue was fixed or the suggestion was accepted.

Assisted Recruitment Is Back
And this time, functions a bit differently. Namely by being a lot easier on my server.

One thing that I noticed while watching other people recruit with this function is that there was a habit to call for assisted recruitment (which delivered all current nations) and then they would spend like ten minutes sending the telegrams in that opening batch. This isn't super useful -- generally if you're not telegram number one to five in a player's inbox, they're already gone. So what I'm going to do instead is dump all current nations into the bin immediately, wait thirty seconds, give you whatever was founded in that time, and then start checking back at whatever interval you set from there onwards.

Along the way, I'm adding a button to cancel assisted recruitment when you get a report back. So if you want to make something your last batch, you can cancel it there without having to type anything. You can still end the session with "I cast r finish", just like you *can* still get the opening volley of nations by starting with a regular "I cast r" if you *really* want that.

Anyway, that's all for now. See you next time :jump:
Report all errors to the local authority.
Spam / Re: Spam Points
May 01, 2022, 04:37:00 PM
HumanSanity: 81
Emily: 64
Luca: 52
Argo: 26
Wasc: 10
FLP: 7
Ziz: 5
Dyll: 5
Fox: 4
Zuk: 2
Sueloc: 1
CalRef II: House Wren Parkour
CalRef II: New Sacrifices Daily
CalRef II: The Emotional Support Is Under The Sauce
CalRef II: Are you intimidated by my hair? It can be yours for the low price of all of this hair...
CalRef II: R O C K  C O N T E M P L A T I O N  A R E A
CalRef II: Mediocre Thursday
CalRef II: Good Friday
CalRef II: Fantastic Saturday
Christ II: Fantastic Adventures
Calamity Refuge

The Regional Map do be getting a bit thicc. There's 5-6 CTE nations that have gone within the last two weeks, so they did not get removed from the map as of the last update. If they come back before the next update, they will remain. But even if they get dropped, it seems like people are already starting to feel like their desired representations on a map can no longer be achieved because space is now so limited.

The map itself is also large and complex and takes quite a while to process updates, which is why I have increasingly put them off. For the last year and a half, the map was updated every month, but this last update did not come until just yesterday. A second, supplementary map would likely compound this difficulty.

The current situation has not been ordained by god or otherwise made inflexible. We have often made up laws, policies, or offices to help the good management of the region, and as this seems like a situation that looks like it needs help.

What sort of options appeal to us here? Should there be some kind of cartographer office created? Would anyone fill it, and would it be a Regional Councillor?

Like, subscribe, and follow me on instacart.
The Admin Tower / CalRef Development Journal 24
April 19, 2022, 07:17:31 PM
Dot 3.0.0: Rewrite² UpdateThe last time I put in this much work into Dot, it was last year during a ground-up rewrite to move functions into the command system. Unfortunately for present-day me, Dot's a little bigger now, so rewriting her takes increasingly long hours. But hey! here we are. Although most of this update is focused on just keeping Dot working by migrating to the 2.0 version of, I've also carried out a wide swath of work on Dot's performance and quality of life features.

I will hopefully be back with another update in the not too distant future with more improvements, but since I've changed so much, as least on my end, I'd like to get all this stuff off my chest and out of the way and go from there. For a similar reason, the famed assisted recruitment functions are temporarily disabled. You can continue using the manual mobile and desktop recruitment functions in the interim. If you notice any errors, let me know, some stuff was axed and rebuilt from scratch and hasn't been tested beyond what I've done the last few days.

For the purposes of this update post, I will consolidate all changes into three categories.

New Features
  • Avatar still displays a target member's global profile picture, so I'm adding a local avatar command to display what the user's server-specific profile picture is where the command is triggered. You can target another member per usual, or leave it blank to target yourself.
  • There is now a version command, to display whatever the current software details are for Dot,, Python, and the operating system on which Dot is running at the time. This command also shows the device name, as well as what the local time is there.
  • If you are like me...well, don't be, it's a really bad idea. But if you're like me, you'd like to be lazy when running your World Assembly development programs. And now we have a command to help with that. You can now use was X, where X is the target region, to get a list of all the World Assembly nations there in both a telegram batch response and pre-formatted table response. You can also use was not X to get the same thing, but for nations not in the World Assembly.
Despite these new features, Dot's source code is about 10KB smaller :heppy:

Feature Improvements
  • The Command menu's style has been adjusted for better accessibility. The version number, update post url, and taglines are no longer hard-coded.
  • GAR now has GA as an alias.
  • GA and SC now indicate if a resolution has been repealed, and links to the repeal if it exists.
  • GA and SC now provide per cent information with a newly installed thousands separator.
  • GA and SC now link to the target resolution when querying repeals.
  • GA and SC text preview lengths have been increased by 100 characters.
  • Roll now has grammatical cases for rolling one, two, or more than two numbers.
  • Welcome now reports the member's username to avoid the client-side caching issue where new members would be unknown.
  • Info has been rewritten to provide the target's local avatar and display banner (if there is one). The sidebar will be determined by the target member's top role colour in the server
  • Info now displays a target's creation date in absolute and relative time.
  • Info now provides discord account member profile badges, like Hypesquad teams and server boosters. Bots are recognised here as well.
  • Info now provides a user's activity details or custom statuses if there is no activity.
  • Save will now ship archives with a zip file of all original xml data for their RMBs and history pages, so if a superior utility is developed in the future, they can work with what I have to work with.
  • Study will now display graphs dynamically instead of hard-coded dates. Currently, this will be the last 120 updates (30 days), but this will gradually be expanded to three months once data builds up again.
  • Server Eyebeast message edits now only display the before message, length limit doubled, links made tidy.
  • Region now displays the target's last update timestamp.
  • Server now reports substantially more information about the current server or a relay server, including bot count, voice channels, emotes, stickers, roles, and locale.
  • GA, SC, Truesight, Telegrams, Server, and Server Eyebeast timestamps are now displayed as discord time objects instead of local server time.
  • Rewrote the economy functions and features to use a database system.

Bug Fixes
  • Fixed an error where set welcome active reported twice if welcomes are already on.
  • Fixed an error where timer died unexpectedly if the base nation was unknown.
  • Fixed an issue where buy and sell did not work with commas in the user input.
  • Fixed an issue where an insufficient funds error in buy did not report the correct number of obtainable shares.
  • Fixed an issue in GA and SC where unresolved BB code made the text difficult to read.
  • Fixed a bug in set farewell where a farewell message could not be reactivated if it were ever set and deactivated previously.
  • Fixed a bug in top endos where requesting more than 25 nations to be bolded would cause all of them to be bolded.
  • Fixed a bug in eyebeast nick changes where the feature never worked in the last two years and now does.
  • Fixed a bug where study was not displaying the newest stock prices.
  • Fixed an issue where an operator could not use commas in infinity donations.
Report all errors to the local authority.
CalRef II: I am irradiateable, I am a dirigible
calRef II: My AR-15 Surgical Mask
CalRef II: Revenge of the Trash Panda
CalRef II: You Can't Have Secret Sand
CalRef II: St. Kitts and Nieves
CalRef II: The Paragon of Heehaw
CalRef II: Tis a sad day for the men of Ireland when they need a bird to tell them a man is dead
CalRef II: I'm going to make it rain sliced bread
I think we may be looking at 3/a in a way that is different than how it has historically been looked at.
QuoteRRS 3. Member States are defined as World Assembly Residents that have resided within the Region for a period not less than seven days.

So the conditions for Member State status are:
  • Is World Assembly
  • Is a Resident
  • Has residency stat > 7
"Resident" is a term that is defined in RRS 2, as "Nations which reside within the Region, and are not barred from doing so".

While all conditions are met, the nation is a Member State and enjoys the privileges thereof. If a condition is not met or is no longer met, then they should no longer be considered to be a Member State. I think that the recent interpretation of looking at RRS 3(a) as a "these are the only circumstances whereby one can lose status" is faulty because it limits us to specific situations when we actually only care about the three criteria. So, it may be worth changing/axing both 3(a) and 3(b) to make the message more about needing all of the conditions to remain true for a Resident to maintain Member State status.
The Admin Tower / CalRef Development Journal 23
March 01, 2022, 09:14:53 PM

Dot 2.10: Adaptation Update
Long ago, in twinkledy twinkledy eight, one lone Arch-Administrator vaporised an entire forum by channelling raw html magic into a signature field. Naturally, it's no wonder that the distant admins of NationStates were spooked, despite Dot's great skill, and banned this practice of internet magic altogether. No worries, CalRef has never struggled to roll with the punches and change with the times -- it is possibly one of our greatest strengths. So, after a bit of an absence, I am back with a more rejuvenated development schedule and bring you this fine-tuned update.

The Return of Recruit
One thing you might have noticed is when the policy was floated to make the URL-based recruitment illegal, the recruitment command was dropped from Dot immediately. This command has now returned, although it operates with some restrictions. As requested, magic URLs are no longer used. Instead, you're expected to have Discord and the NS telegram page up. Dot will feed you the nations, broken into batches of eight (if there are more than eight new nations) when you check. Your template will also be posted so you can re-copy that if you need to. As before, you can use I cast recruit or I cast r to manually pull these nations.

Remember that a server admin will still need to set up a recruiter role with set. If you don't know what that means, it would be a good idea to flip through the docs.

This new system is slightly more inconvenient, especially for mobile users. To help, I've added a mobile version, which you can use with I cast m. The m command uses the same unified recruitment system, which means your template from recruit is the same one that will be used here, without having to set it again. Nations that you process with m do not repeat if you leave and someone on the desktop-oriented command pick up after you.
What makes the mobile command helpful is that each telegram batch is placed in its own separate embed. On mobile, you just need to tap and hold the embed for a second to copy it to your clipboard. So, ideally:

  • Run the command, then tap and hold the template to copy it
  • Switch to the NS telegram window in your browser
  • Paste the template, and close the window
  • Open a new window and go to the telegram page
  • Do not touch the message body so NS will pre-load the template every time
  • Tap and hold the addressees Dot provided to copy them
  • Switch back to the NS page, paste into the recipient box
  • Press send and re-run the command as needed.

In the desktop version, all batches are in the same embed, and you can just triple-click each line to copy that line to your clipboard and send. Both the new r and m commands can be used with automated check and ping intervals. As before, to run these commands on semi-automatic mode, use I cast r start X or I cast m start X, where X is the interval you'd like to use in minutes (between 1 and 10).

Timer Is Its Own Command
If you have been missing the timer function of the old recruitment command, that's returning as well, but in a much more useful way. On NationStates, the cooldown that you experience in between sending telegrams is a duration that is proportionate to your nation age. If you have a very new nation, your telegram cooldown is much higher (over a minute and a half for a batch of eight). If your nation is very old (even if the population is low), your cooldown is shorter (down to 40s for a batch of eight). Consequently, it doesn't make any sense for us to use fixed durations. So we won't!

As of this update, there's a new command called timer, with an alias of t. To use it, input what nation you'll be sending telegrams from by saying I cast timer base X, where X is your nation name. Dot will then look up your nation and give you an estimated timer based on your nation age, every time you use the command. So if you're still sending telegrams from your new nation a year from now, the timer will adjust to your gradually ageing nation and give you the duration you need at the time.

After your nation is set, you can use the timer by saying I cast timer or I cast t.

Top Endorsements
A brand new command in this update allows you to instantly check what nations have sent out the most endorsements in any given region. This is called the top endos command, and it's designed to make endotarting programs easier to manage and track, not only for Refugia, but all other regions as well. The output generated is an embeded list of the top 25 players, sorted by endorsements given, with an additional uploaded bbcode table for all nations' endorsements in the target region. You can use this table in forums, dispatches, RMB posts, and telegrams.

The bbcode table acknowledges ties, so if you have a nation in first place with 100 endorsements out, but three players with 99, all three players will be reported as being tied for 2nd. The next line will be 3rd and not 5th because I think doing it any other way is really weird. To use this command, say for example I cast top endos Refugia.

If you need to have a certain number of nations highlighted for some kind of competition or acknowledgement, you can use a , X modifier, where X is how many nations you want to bold in the bbcode table. For example I cast top endos Refugia, 20 will give the normal output, but with each cell in the top 20 rows of the bbcode table set to bold.

Minor 2.10 Changes:

  • Fixed a bug where Dot thought every member had every colour role on demasking.
  • Improved startup routine, recruitment that is unexpectedly terminated now resets.
  • Completely rewrote the stocks and study commands to be remarkably more efficient.
  • Added logos for FLIT, SKY, and SHIT stocks.
  • You can now use whole URLs in the truesight command.
  • The buy feature will now tell you the maximum number of shares you can buy in inadequate funds errors.
  • The base infinity message now invites users to check the leaderboard (in case they didn't know it existed).
  • Fixed a bug in the assisted recruitment system where switching operators quickly would duplicate the process.
  • Stocks update four times a day once again.
  • Fixed an error where not supplying arguments to the buy and sell commands would not trigger missing arg errors.
  • Fixed a bug in recruit where only puppets being detected would break automation.
  • Fixed a bug in welcome related to messages where a URL was not set.
  • Added a test option to set welcome and set farewell whereby an administrator may preview the welcome/farewell messages for a given server.
  • Substantial improvements to how frequently used functions work.
  • Fixed a bug in bank where a player who did not own FLIT stock would be unable to access their account.
  • Added NCS to the economy as stock I.
  • Fixed a bug related to start up routines that clear hanging recruitment loops.
  • Fixed a bug in set where setting a welcome URL did not support wizard enunciation.
Report all errors to the local authority.
Quote from: Zukchiva on February 24, 2022, 11:35:30 AM
QuoteWhereas no Member State has taken advantage of this dynamic in the three years the Region has existed,
This is probably not accurate anymore, considering Djorner.

Quoted. In the event of more than two valid candidates, instant run-off voting will determine the winner, where candidates are ranked by preference on the ballot and eliminated by fewest votes during each round of ballot counting.

   e. Elections are resolved in favour of the candidate with the most votes at the final round of ballot counting.
I would clarify here that this is in regard for each election; or in other words, there are separate elections for each seat. As it is, I think it could be misconstrued to say "we have one massive gigantic election and the top 4 candidates become councillors", rather than elections for each seat.

I say this while recognizing the wording in 10 dispels this interpretation, but would still be better to reword 11 for clarity's sake as it isn't clear what 11 means without reading 10.

Oh yeah, I had forgotten. It is kinda funny that although it had been three years without the staggered elections being used for their intended purpose, it happened as soon as that observation was written down.

Good points on all. I've modified the draft with these in mind, see if it suits you.
Spam / Re: A List of Things the Subject Has Been Set To
February 16, 2022, 02:58:12 PM
CalRef II: Flame of Urdu
CalRef II: Gandalf's Eye Bags (of Holding)
CalRef II: Stand and De-Liver
CalRef II: Today, We Are All Pokémon
CalRef II: Home of the Bunny Inspectors
CalRef II: A Face Like a Corncob Pipe
CalRef II: A Warm Cup of Teeth
CalRef II: Spinal Cracks Echoing Out of Your Throat
CalRef II: Data Is But a Passing Trifle
CalRef II: Electromagnetic Giraffe
CalRef II: The Moon Is Leaving Us, But Don't Take It Personally Because So Is Everything Else
CalRef II: Some have membranes, we have galaxy brains. Some have ribosomes, we have ribosomemores
CalRef II: Pretty Update
The Admin Tower / The 2021 Refuge Census
February 10, 2022, 10:17:12 PM

The 2021 Refuge Census

The Refuge Census is an annual project first created in 2009, where members may give feedback on our services, whether some of them need additions, modifications, or just need to go. We also study demographic changes due to new members joining the community and existing members ageing. Census data is generated through responses filled out by Refuge members during the week in which the survey runs. All results are anonymous, and there are no questions for which respondents are required to provide an answer.

This is certainly the longest delay I have ever had in providing feedback from a census in the ten or so years I've personally been running them. But life happens and sometimes apartments explode with water at 4am and you lose a bit of time (as well as timezone maps you were half finished with). Still, we have many reasons to rejoice for this round of results, and one of them is that we continue to break records in the number of censuses turned in each year.

In 2019, we had about the lowest turnout in a long while with only 16 responses. In 2020, we had 38 responses. This time it was nearly 50.

Most excitingly, we now have enough operational services for me to start asking about their quality and frequency in ways that may once again feel very familiar. Notably, we learned that there are a whole lot of people who do not know what one or more services are. This may not be as negative as I have always thought. For, not reflected in this chart, individual responses indicate that those who prefer forums and those who prefer chats live in the most different of worlds than any time since 2009. Members who are gameside only are more likely to look at the forum, and less likely to even know what the chat even is. However, so long as both worlds are content with the services provided to them, I do not see this as an issue.

Individual response observations include:

  • There is a direct disparity between people who use Dot and people who use the forum, in regards to the "two worlds".
  • There is even a disparity between people who use the discord server and people who use Vote.CalRef.
  • People who do not know what the discord server is are almost guaranteed to not know what anything else is.
  • If they do know about other things, they know about the voting site.
Additional Misc Observations:

  • There are a number of gameside only people from South America, and as many from Continental Europe.
  • Only the admins live in the Pacific timezone.
  • For the first time possibly ever, we have moved directly and substantially towards a more equal distribution of members by gender.
  • There has been a markedly strong rise in ace people.
  • The number of people who have at some point participated in Refugia's government is steadily rising, from only 15% in 2020 to 26% now.
Finally, and although I ended on this note last time, it still holds true. There are more Refugi than ever before, which is very quite incredible to me. I'm sorry to say that at this point, I don't even know who all of you are. But so long as you're happy and able to reach me or another admin or Councillor when there's a problem, then I'm very happy to have you along for our weird ride. I'll be working to make sure that we improve in the areas that it looks like you guys think need help, and I'll be trying to incorporate some of the suggestions that you've dropped in the census (including responses that did not make it onto the presentation).

Until then, please enjoy the graphic below, and thanks again for participating :D


In The Off Season, I Drive an Omnibus Election Consolidation Package


Whereas the current election scheme was designed to allow Member States who were unsuccessful in an election to run for a subsequent election and,

Whereas a single Member State has taken advantage of this dynamic in the three years the Region has existed,

Desiring a more streamlined election cycle that better facilitates a less harsh candidacy period and which does not dump unsuspecting Councillors into office without a proper debriefing of their station,

RRS 10 and RRS 11 shall be replaced entirely with the following content:

10. The succession of the Arch-Administrator is subject to the succession laws of Refuge Isle, and verified by the presence of an anchor stone and Administration Tower. The Arch-Administrator will call elections for all democratic Council seats according to the following convention:

Candidacy PeriodFeb 1 - 7Jun 1 - 7Oct 1 - 7
Voting PeriodFeb 8 - 14Jun 8 - 14Oct 8 - 14
Transition PeriodFeb 15 - 21Jun 15 - 21Oct 15 - 21

11. Elections will consist of a one week candidacy period where an eligible Member State may declare their intent to stand for office, a one week voting period where all Member States may vote for their desired candidate, and a one week transition period to acclimate the incoming Councillor with their roles and responsibilities. Terms officially begin the 22nd day of February, June, and October.

   a. Candidacy declarations must be given in one or more easily accessible areas as designated by the Arch-Administrator.

   b. Residents must qualify as Member States as defined in RRS 3 to be eligible for candidacy.

   c. Member States are prohibited from occupying more than one seat at any given time or occupying the same Council seat more than two times consecutively.

   d. In the event of more than two valid candidates for a single seat, instant run-off voting will determine the winner, where candidates are ranked by preference on the ballot and eliminated by fewest votes during each round of ballot counting.

   e. The election for each seat is resolved in favour of the candidate with the most votes at the final round of ballot counting.

   f. In the event of unexpected absences or positions that cannot be filled, the Arch-Administrator may act in that position's capacity, or appoint an individual who may serve in that position's capacity until the following election produces a regular appointment.
Authored by: Refuge Isle
Seconded by:
Hey all,

This is one is a little bit overdue, but I'd like to announce that Maddie will be joining the moderation team today, helping to keep a healthy and happy community. Maddie has been around since 2019 and one of the most responsible and competent folks who have ever helped run Refugia. She's an all around joy to talk to and work with, sharp as a tack, and she's been a vital insight into who and what might pose a threat to our community. I have no doubt that she is going to do great, and that we will all be better off for it.

Please join me in wishing her well and distributing congratulations :grin:
Spam / Re: CTRL+V
December 24, 2021, 11:28:27 AM
Spam / Re: A List of Things the Subject Has Been Set To
December 24, 2021, 11:24:31 AM
CalRef II: How Imma Gonna Be An Octopus About This
CalRef II: The Ultimate Evolution of the Hedgehog Is Victory
CalRef II: Magic Makes You Athletic
CalRef II: Ducks Don't Exist
CalRef II: Shake Those Babies!
CalRef II: Fingers Scatter Like Bowling Pins
CalRef II: Impossible Ability!
CalRef II: What Did The Twins Get For Berrios
CalRef II: Named After His Father's Shoes
CalRef II: Clickeh Button
CalRef II: [Honking Continues]
CalRef II: Dolphin Raider Strike At Britain
CalRef II: Weird, That Thing Appears To Be Eating The Sun
CalRef II: What Are Pirates But Cowboys With Boats
CalRef II: You Will Now Be Inspected for Shellfish
The Admin Tower / CalRef Development Journal 22
December 07, 2021, 11:07:05 PM
Dot 2.9: Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Recruitment Update
Okay well we're actually just going to go ahead and automate it now because why not.

Have you spent some 300 hours on Dot's recruitment but find that the time just slips by as you desperately try pretending to be a normal human by stuffing your mouth full of nuts, foraging around in the Canadian wilderness? Who wouldn't! But while you are getting distracted by succulent acorns, precious seconds are ticking by and your new recruit is getting picked up by some new hot shot who just bought $300,000 in stamps.

To combat my lack of mental expedience, there is now an automated method to carry out recruitment.

Access this feature by setting up recruitment as you normally would. Remember that an administrator needs to designate a recruitment role first, followed by individual recruiters setting their personalised templates. If you are unfamiliar, refresh yourself with the 2.7 update post.

Begin the automation by using I cast recruit start X, where X is the interval, in minutes, that you would like to work with. For example, I cast recruit start 5 will begin automated recruitment checks every five minutes. At the five minute mark, Dot will check for new nations. If there are any, you will get a ping in the channel so you will be reminded you're recruiting along with links to the new nations, broken into batches of eight, and with your template already loaded (if you provided one).

At the bottom of this post is a button to acknowledge the report. Doing so tells Dot that you have cleared your queue and are ready to proceed. Dot will then sweep all old nations into the processed nations bin and start checking for new founds again. She will not check for new nations until you have cleared your queue, but if anything new comes up, she'll let you know without further input on your part.
You can use any interval you wish between one and ten minutes.

If you have not acknowledged the automated recruitment report within ten minutes, or if NationStates dies as it is wont to do, the recruitment will be deactivated so that Dot's brain doesn't explode.

When you have finished your recruitment session, simply type I cast recruit finished.

Minor 2.9 Changelog:
  • Fixed a bug where the sus game would not support wizard enunciation, leading to unintentional targetting.
  • Fixed a bug in sus where banishing one's self would not issue a payout or acknowledge banishing an impostor.
  • The save command now accepts region URLs instead of just the region names.
  • The roster command now reports the hex code of a role if the role's hex code is not default.
  • "F" is now a toggle setting in set.
  • The thanking module is no longer case sensitive.
  • Fixed a bug in the structure of set where certain setting would trigger accidentally when trying to adjust others.
  • Fixed a bug where add did not recognise wizard enunciation.
  • Fixed a bug where Discord no longer accepted the nation processing method in recruit. This also solves the "interaction failed" bug.
Report all errors to the local authority.
The Admin Tower / CalRef Development Journal 21
November 27, 2021, 07:40:16 PM
Dot 2.8: Slackers' QoL Update
Originally, I was not planning on making a development post for a series of minor feature additions, but it occurred to me that it has been an incredible four and a half months since the Recruitment Update came out back in July. Things have still been taking place since then, as you may have noted by the growing number of post-2.7 changes that wound up getting attached to that post. They are taking place even as of today, but I have been less than stellar about announcing them.

So here you are: An update that is largely dedicated to bug fixes and quality of life updates. Some of which you may know, and others you may not.

Infinity Leaderboard
This one has been out for a while, but in case you didn't know, there's a new function of the Infinity project, by the name of leaderboard, displaying the world's top donors to the Infinity Project. A future update may allow for server-specific leaderboards, but for the time being there are not enough contributors to warrant it. Incorrect username? Send in more planets; your username is updated with every donation. You can observe a demonstration here.

Invoke this function with I cast infinity leaderboard.

Remember there remains a standing offer of a permanent forum badge of for any player to donate :planet: 10,000,000. And judging from how explosively stocks are going, several people are well on their way.

If you're trying to build up your nation's endorsements, but have already endorsed everyone else in the region, pleasing news. There is now a function to help you with the rest. The slackers command locates all of the World Assembly nations inside a target's region who are not endorsing that target. If the number of returned nations is low, Dot will respond with an embed that has links to all the located nations, along with a text file attachment. The attachment has the names broken into lines of eight in case you wish to manually telegram them, asking for an endorsement.

If the number of nations not endorsing the target is very large, you will only receive the attachment along with the total number of WA nations not endorsing the target. You can observe a demonstration here.

To use, say something like I cast slackers Sylh Alanor.

Last, and absolutely least importantly, you can now use Dot to check the exact time a message was sent. As discord only provides timestamps down to the minute, this is a function to provide timestamps down to the second, for whenever precision at this level becomes a point of dispute. Demonstration available here.

You can use a full message's URL or just the message ID, it does not matter.

For example, I cast timestamp or I cast timestamp 914326034978054174

Minor 2.8 Changelog:
  • The region in the nation command now links to the region instead of just printing it.
  • The "WA Nations" information in the region command is no longer a function of Nightly, and is accurate at the moment you send it.
  • Fixed a bug in the recruit function that returned ">>> " when only puppets had been founded.
  • You can now use I cast r a for regions that have API recruitment (and therefore longer cooldowns) instead of the normal timer.
  • The roster function now returns members' sorted display names (instead of IDs sorted numerically).
  • The telegram command now has colour and table spacing.
  • Dot is now able to detect when the NationStates API is down instead of crashing because of it.
  • Setting a recruit template now works with the r alias.
  • The COOK stock in stocks now tracks posts on the Refugia RMB as input data, stock has been split.
  • A server's region has been dropped from the server command as Discord deprecated the feature.
  • The set command now supports wizard enunciation.
  • The nods autoresponse is now a settable server preference in set.
  • Removed the council vote command.
  • Removed the magic command.
  • The list command now only displays the dimension list.
  • The last updated timestamps for the map and rrs commands accurately work now.
  • Doubled on-message credits.
The Admin Tower / Refuge Censuseseeses (2013 - 2020)
November 17, 2021, 06:47:28 PM
[floatleft]    [/floatleft]Greetings,

As I was processing this year's Refuge Census, I recalled that it has been an oft-promised commitment to publish the previous years' results to the new forum, since posts before 2019 have been archived and are not viewable to new members. Pleasing news: I have now gotten to this section of my To Do list and can provide this information now.

Because the data is so ancient, and the reports page gets more and more undeveloped the further back in time you go, probably the bulk of this is not going to be terribly interesting. Particularly, the manner in which I asked certain questions was a bit dimwitted at points. Still, for those who have been curious about previous years, I have been able to locate reports since 2013, with their approximate verbiage at the time. Apparently, I have gotten less verbose over time, or more inclined to put stuff into charts without vocalising an analysis recently.

The ultimate goal of the census is to collect feedback about how sites and services are doing, and the bulk of the open-ended or long form comments are not released with the results. Surveys before 2013 were largely not as organised, and any metrics we used to collect feedback from 2009 - 2012 is no longer available, or at least no longer coherent.

The 2021 Refuge Census' results will be available soon and posted to this board in a separate thread. Until then, here's everything else:

The 2020 Refuge Census - Dec 03, 2020


As with last time, I have forgotten to post this here by a factor of months. So, for the permanent record for me to consult more accessibly later on, allow me to post the results of this last year's Refuge Census:

Thanks for everyone who filled out The 2020 Refuge Census. There were way freaking more responses to this that I've ever had before, by far. As a result of that, a lot of services that maybe weren't all that promoted, were entirely unknown to a lot of people. So. that paints a good map of what kind of work I need to do in admin now to get those more visible and accessible.

Since I've been doing this for a while now, I've also had enough information to look back over several years and see how things have changed over time. Those have been added to the bottom of the post.

Some other misc conclusions:
• Most people are new
• Most people plan on sticking around as far as they know
• The first person since 2014 said they have kids
• There's a lot more guys than you'd think. Or at least a lot more guys than I'd think.
• We are very very slightly less gay than last time - but still incredibly gay.

And, kind of heart-warmingly, more people self-identified as a Refugi that at any point since I started asking the question (In 2013?)

The 2019 Refuge Census - Jul 03, 2019

Hello! I have just realised that information about the 2019 Refuge Census was never published to the chat this year, and by gosh we need to fix that so that when I look for this information in 250 years, it will all be right here in Announcements.

The Refuge Census is an annual feedback project first created in 2009. We study the overall environment at CalRef, as well as changes in demographics as new members register and existing members age. For the 2019 census, we omitted questions related to the site's services and their implementation, as not enough services were available at the time of the survey. These questions are scheduled to return as normal next year.

This census ran from the 26th of June to the 3rd of July, 2019.

When the survey concluded, this was the statement that was released:
Quote from: WisdomThe Census is concluded.
Thank you to everyone who completed one, enjoy a big mental hug from me. The most notable observation is that we're gayer than we've ever been with only 37% of responses selecting that they were straight. We're also, on average, younger than any other time since I've been keeping track of these averages, for the last six years the average has been above 23, occasionally 25. This year, the average member is 20 years old. Men also outweigh everyone else less than ever before, whereas up to 2015, they made up some 75-80%, this year they account for 56%.

Most importantly, ten people self-identified as Refugi, the same number as was recorded in 2016. This is particularly great because of all the people who have left, just as many have come in and CalRef home, and I'm so happy about that.

Let's keep building this thing and going strong.

A census of CalRef members did not take place in 2017 because of an external census which happened off-site. A census did not take place in 2018 due to extenuating circumstances.

The 2016 Refuge Census - Nov 15, 2016

Thanks for everyone, once again, for taking part in the census.

A full breakdown of the use, quality, and demographic facts is here, in glorious high-resolution, so that you may see my formatting errors in vivid detail. Now, in no particular order, I'll begin to list some of the finds that I have noticed for the project this year.

The first is that CalRef's age, or combined average age is 0.1 years older than it was this time last year. This means that more young people responded to the census this year and reduced that average by more than time has advanced since the last census. Another item of note is the massive migration east. Where there were four respondents selecting the MST zone and one for EST in the last census, the registration is one and nine, respectively, for this one. There are now no members reporting that they have kids.

CalRef is as gay as it has ever been, at least by the Kinsey index, which is valued at 2.43, topping the previous record of 2.19 in 2010. There are more heterosexuals than in 2010, but by the strength of the submissions recorded between 3 and 6, the index is higher.

Another observation is a marked migration in chat theme preferences. When I posted this in 2014, Carbon was the most used theme among members. However, as of this census, it wasn't selected by any respondent. Instead, Stygium, a theme based around not being a theme at all, was the most popular selection, by far.

So, the last item would be suggestions for plans in the future. While the quality of services have not actually taken a hit this year, it doesn't look like a number of services are getting particularly good (or any) use, and this is probably because they are not particularly useful. Independently, there has been a sudden massive interest in doing a D&D/AIMhack or other narrative-creative-multiplayer D&D-style campaign among members. The shift from RP writing to creative multiplayer interactions in realtime is interesting and definitely something I'm interested in helping out with.

As a result, over the next few months, we're going to be working on another large-scale site update called CalRef III. CalRef III will be a sequel to the previous large-scale update, CalRef II. When these items are completed, a transitional period of downtime may occur for one to three days. A new topic will be posted into Announcements, which will have a complete list of the improvements and site changes. Some of the things we're planning in update include:

Closing out old, unmaintained subdomains
Structural forum changes
Rebuilding/renovating RadioRefuge
Moving all services to a newer, faster, more stable server
Focusing on regular and semi-regular Twitch/Youtube streams of Stuff and Things.
Upgrades to files.calref features

The 2015 Refuge Census - Nov 09, 2015

Thanks again for completing the census. The graphical results can be found here and a few thoughts on the data are below.

At current, there are a number of older members that are dealing with a number of things preventing them from being here. Consequently, the frequency of use index has dropped for this census period. However, there were far fewer people who didn't know what services we had. At any rate, I predict that activity will increase in January and remain relatively stable until the end of next August, where it will increase slightly again.

Due to the gallup "yea or nay" drawbacks, administrators received a 100% feedback score for nominal approval. This is why I put more stock in the AccuScore, which gives more weight to strength of yeas and nays and also includes indifferent responses.

No respondents selected economic or social conservatism, or conservative-leaning options this year.

The average age of Refugi have decreased by a third of a year, consistently falling.

The number of members that registered at long-lost SW satellite sites has decreased sharply.

The number of members who have self-reported Refugi status has increased sharply.

Artemis and more regularly scheduled Refuge Game Nights and radio events were relatively consistent suggestions for upcoming activities.

We have received a number of messages related to issues regarding moderators for the second census in a row and will be looking at reform options over the next month and a half, to take effect by the first of January.

That is all.

The 2014 Refuge Census - Oct 12, 2014

Thanks to everyone, once again, who contributed to the census and allowed me to complete this annual project. Believe it or not, the responses are actually useful and we actually look into them. We don't have nearly as much time as we did when we were kids (just like you all don't either), so this is helpful for telling us what areas we really need to work on.

To recap, last year respondents said that while the chat was the most-used service, it was also one of the more unstable because of intense lag, crashes, and dropping people out of the room. We agreed, and Aran was kind and awesome enough to take a screenshot of it, bulldoze it, and build an entirely new one in its image. Same familiar interface, but now it actually works (and has more features!).

This change increased the chat's use by several index points and three more quality points. (It's hard to see a change in quality when most of the responses are "Excellent" and it's already at 90% of the maximum rating). There was also a request to increase PDN length in the chat. In Cadence, the length is now 29 characters. In any XMPP client, the theoretical length is 1024 characters, but you will only be able to see it in that client. If you need more characters than that, we have bigger problems.

The forums were stiff, had no style, and lacked a host of features that they once had, so we brought SMF back with new, updated features, new themes and graphics, and better profile integration and support. This change increased the forum's frequency of use by twenty points, the biggest change of any service. Where it was ranked last by use last year, it is now ranking second. The forum's quality index has increased by 22 points, also the biggest change of any service.

These changes were a part of the mega update known as CalRef II, and I think it's fair to say it was a success.

So, for reminder / clarification, the frequency of use formula (which is the same as last year) takes equal weight to all answers. We lose points for members not knowing what a service is, and gain one for members at least knowing *that* a service is, even if they never use it. If, next year, we get more members and they use things, the number will be correspondingly higher. Less than half of the members did not know what one or more CR services were.

The Quality Index is a percentile, so if everyone says Service A is excellent, that item has an index of 100. This section received 98 more responses than last year, partially due to the addition of the "I don't use this service option". A service does not take damage from a member not using it, since that data is already collected in the frequency of use section.


You're right, it could. Let's discuss some of the suggestions you've mentioned this year.

Quote from: Survey 123Video chat? When do we get that?

Quote from: Response from SylaeThis has been a pretty consistent request over the last few years, coming from several members, so I thought I'd set aside a block of text to discuss why I don't support this idea.

My first and foremost concern is maintaining the welfare, privacy, and security of all members. A video-based interface opens a really big can of worms relating to issues with this. A lot of people, myself included, are hesitant about using webcams for video chat. Also, after discounting the staff who (most likely) wouldn't use video chat, there simply isn't enough coverage to ensure things stay civil. In addition, several members are underage, and while I trust that the adult userbase is mature enough to control themselves, anything untoward happening would essentially shut down the entire site.

A second concern is that of bandwidth usage. The current, text-based XMPP chat is set to limit each logged-in user to a maximum of 1 KiB/s. about 90% of the time, a connection sits idle, literally pulling 0 b/s. In fact, due to replacing the aged AJAX chat with Cadence, the Refuge's 95th percentile bandwidth use is comparable to that of a 56k modem. Sending a single HD video stream to a user would pull about 1.5 mbit/s each way. Not only would this incur a significant amount of bandwidth charges, it would place undue strain on the server (particularly CPU usage, one would have to combine multiple users' video feeds into a single stream, which is a hard task for a CPU).

But that's for HD video, what about a little 480p stream or something? Unfortunately, this is still ridiculous bandwidth usage when compared to the current chat, and in addition the finished product would be sub-par. I pride myself on the quality of work that goes into the Refuge, and offering a sub-par service is not something I am comfortable with.

I encourage all willing users to do video chats. However, I cannot directly support such a venture and would therefore recommend something like a Skype chat (or, more preferably, there are many peer-to-peer video chat options that save your privacy). I'd say the closest we'll get is the Mumble server.

Quote from: Survey 121It'd be nice if files.calref had a (short?) list of things I'd recently uploaded so that I could find them more easily. Oh! Or...! Since the links that thing generates are as long as heck, including (or a link to that tool) on the files.calref page would be awesome. I'd definitely use l.calref more if that were to happen.

Quote from: Response from SylaeI've had a few comments regarding files.calref, including a 'history' feature and integration with l.calref to make the URLs less horrible. These are both certainly possible, and I will look into getting a proof-of-concept available as soon as possible.

Quote from: Survey 126I'd say that the Minecraft server should be version 1.8, but we've already invested time and effort into how it exists as it is, and it's a minor gripe.

Quote from: Response from Aran
So, uh, I don't know how much you've heard of this, but the Bukkit project basically imploded.

Not sure what exactly is happening or why it's happening now, but apparently there is beef between Mojang and some of the volunteer developers, and there's been a DMCA notice from a former developer for a GPL violation, or something, and now nearly all the Bukkit devs resigned?

Anyway, it doesn't look good, and the 1.8 update might take longer or even require switching the server software.

Additionally, Minecraft has now been purchased by Microsoft, and the total extent of the effects of that are not yet clear, but it does seem like Spade on its current version is going to be it for us hosting Minecraft. If anything changes and Bukkit reemerges from its freefall, we will promptly update the server when the Bukkit version matches, because that is the only way we are able to host MC.

Quote from: Survey 119The option to kick Moderators for all regular members.


There are several other suggestions that need to be reviewed for a while longer before we make any comments on them. If you do not see your comment above, rest assured, we have. Just give us a couple weeks to find some solutions.

As you may have noticed, we have slightly higher ratings in staff approval this year. As before, nominal ratings are like Gallup, they take into consideration only responses that are positive and negative. AccuRatings, which I prefer, are like my services quality index, they give weight strong responses and indifferent responses.

I've updated/recreated previous year's data regarding sexual orientation. You can take a look at it here. As you can see, everyone will be straight in three or four years, statistically. :P

The average age of the Refuge is 24.16. years old. Last year, it was 23.88. This means that the Refuge is ageing slower than time is actually moving. So, thanks for keeping us young, new members. :P There are 53 more years between us than there were last year.

Most interestingly, we know that the Refuge is primarily composed of two "waves", which includes the original Refugi wave, and the 2012 SW wave. What we didn't know up to this point is that those waves constitute everyone who filled out a census. According to the responses, no members who registered between between 2010 and 2011, as well as since 2014 remained. If they have, they did not complete a census in this survey cycle.

79% of respondents plan on being "lifers". And 74% of respondents consider themselves Refugi who adequately belong here, with 21% on the fence.

The members who have been a part of an RP are now the minority.

There are, additionally, four interesting charts that discuss member's education level, offspring (or lack thereof), and social/economic ideology. While these are very pretty and fun to look at, they are all new this year, and I am more interested in seeing how they change over the next five years.

The 2013 Refuge Census - Nov 21, 2013


A big thanks to all 18 of you that completed the 2013 Refuge Census. This is the chart that I have created from Excel, the best program for numerical data since...paper.

The Frequency of Use Index gives accurate weighted ranks for each service based on its use and allows easy comparison to other services. So obviously, the actual number of something is fairly arbitrary, but the difference between two services is not.

The Quality of Service graph uses a similar index formula, and it is sorted by that number, but it's not included in the chart because you cannot compare other services to that number. This is because of all the people who took the survey, all respondents answered every question regarding frequency of use, equating to 144 responses. However, there were only 74 responses for the quality questions. And that's kinda what you would expect: If you don't know what a service even is, you can't accurately rate it. I was pretty surprised about the number of services that most of you didn't know about. Hopefully you do now, if not, pop those in you web browser and see if there's anything you might be able to use.

I am certainly glad to see that the Sopris server has the highest quality rating because we, literally, do nothing besides sit around and try to think of ways to make it better, so at least we can do that right. The chat is the second highest, which is also good because everyone who answered the survey used it. Sylae would still like to make it less glitchy in the coming months. Based off of their percentage of satisfaction, I should make note that blades.calref and money.calref are tied. I actually have no idea how Excel decided to put one over the other.

The "nominal rating" for quality of CR staff is the rating that you would see Gallup use. Do you approve of this person's job performance, yes or no. Because that is the standard for so many polls, it's on there, but I personally don't think that's an accurate form of measure because
1). It doesn't give weight to people who feel strongly in either direction 
2). It completely drops people who said "okay" off the planet since that's the neutral option that Sy decided to use for this question. So I created an "AccuRating" that weighs responses similarly to the way I weighted responses in Quality of Service, so I personally prefer this method of getting the real approval rating. For quite a while, Administration was leading with AccuRating and I'm honestly pretty surprised it ended up being tied the way it did. Administration was rated more moderately than the moderators who, ironically, were either strongly loved or strongly hated by respondants.

For the orientation poll, the percentage of straight and bi/pan has gone down this year, partly because of my next fact. This is the first year we've had both "unknown" and "asexual" responses. We've had those in the past, but not in the same year. Being straight is still the most populous category by far. For previous years' pie charts click here. I have included the average in the form of a Kinsey Index. A lot of you object to Kinsey, I do too, but last year Dantius complained not including it made it harder to track the general orientation movement of the Refuge.

The age chart should come as no surprise to anyone, especially since I did a short thing in the chat not long ago based off of my own knowledge of people's ages and their handy Facebook information. The responses in the census are much more legitimate and had a very small margin for error. I've decided to artificially add Dantius into the mix, since he is unable to take the census this year, being on a highly secretive engineering assignment in the Middle East. There are 406 years between us. Drupal thought it was very important I share that with you, so I have.

For those of you that posted recommendations for new features that you would like to see as well as suggestions and comments in general, I have posted those ideas in the mod board and we will see if we can make any of those happen, although not a lot of you answered that question (which is fine too, why fix what isn't broken). When it came to planning future events, you all overwhelmingly gave a statement that went something like this "It doesn't matter as long as we can all do something together". Which is kind of cool. I didn't expect that.

In order of number of responses, events that Refugi would like to see take place in the immediate future are:

  • A new RP - 6 responses
  • Artemis - 5 Responses
  • A Team Fortress 2 game session - 4 responses
  • Cards Against Humanity - 4 responses
  • AIMHack - 3 Responses
  • Some kind of Minecraft Group Event (1) or Building contest (1)
  • A RadioRefuge Show (1)

There was not enough variety in the geographic location question. We didn't want to make people feel like they had no privacy by asking for specific states and, as you might imagine, just about everyone registered as the US.

As far as "What is the purpose of the Refuge and what does it mean to you?" I didn't ask that as a way of saying "tell us how much you love being here". No, I wanted to toss that into this census because since 2008/2009, we haven't really had a good set definition of what we do and what our purpose is. Because I like data (obviously), it would be cool if I could quantify that, even though I knew it would be very unlikely I could get that to happen. I was wrong.

Over 70% of you, the same percentage that answered "yes" to "Do you consider yourself a Refugi?", gave a response that was along the lines of this mashed-up collection of response quotes:
QuoteCalamity Refuge is a small, but open community where I connect to awesome individuals that would other wise make communicating hard. It has an aspect of being a "Chosen Family", or unrelated people that act in all respects like a family, especially for those who would otherwise be without one. This place was and is a "refuge" for me, when I am in unknown territory in life. This was and has always been a place I can come back and seek shelter. The Refuge is a place for camaraderie, friendship, a place to share sorrows and successes and be free of judgement and, above all, to have fun.

That sounds like a pretty good purpose to me.

That is all.