Opinion | The Case Against Fixed Endorsement Caps

As of August 2020, there are only two Game-Created Regions (GCRs) that utilize a flexible endorsement cap as opposed to a fixed cap, The North Pacific (TNP) and The South Pacific (TSP).

In TNP, the Security Council set the endorsement cap “at least 50 endorsements from the Vice Delegate or less than 75% of the Delegate’s endorsement count (whichever is lower).” As of the update on August 31, Prydania held 1129 endorsements, meaning the endorsement cap was 846, the highest among any GCR.

In the case of TSP, the Council on Regional Security (CRS) pegs the endorsement cap at 85% of the CRS member with the fewest endorsements. As of the update on August 31, PenguinPies had 598 endorsements, which means the endorsement cap was 508, the second-highest behind TNP.

After these two regions, the next six GCRs use fixed endorsement caps, four of which add tiered caps based on whether a nation is endorsing the Delegate. In the case of three GCRs, the most common endorsement cap is less than 100.

Game Created Regions by most common endorsement cap (descending order)

RankRegionEndorsement capConditions
1The North Pacific846Flexible; as of August 31.
2The South Pacific508Flexible; as of August 31.
3The East Pacific400
4The West Pacific250If endorsing the Delegate.
5Lazarus130If endorsing the CEO.
6Osiris55If endorsing the Pharaoh.
7Balder15If endorsing the King.
8The Pacific10
Setting Flexible Endorsement Caps

There are reasons both for and against having a flexible endorsement cap. In 2020, NationStates experienced two surges thanks to Reddit and Drew Durnil. In the case of the latter, the boom made enforcement of a fixed endorsement cap troublesome, leading TSP’s CRS to implement a soft moratorium on cap enforcement due to the large number of nations who were benignly violating it, and inevitably implement a “dynamic endorsement cap” in June 2020 with Regulation Two.

The flexible endorsement cap also addresses the summer lull that NationStates typically experiences and adjusts accordingly whenever the endorsements of TNP’s Delegate or TSP’s least endorsed CRS member decrease. By having a flexible endorsement cap, a region’s security institution does not need to discuss as often whether to raise or lower the endorsement cap.

The logo of The South Pacific’s Southern World Assembly Initiative (SWAN) program.

One drawback of implementing a flexible endorsement cap is calculating whether a nation is violating the cap. In the case of TSP, an automated dispatch of the Southern World Assembly Initiative (SWAN) can quickly calculate and determine whether a nation is violating the endorsement cap, allowing the CRS to respond in a timely and effective manner.

Another issue is conveying to a region’s residents what exactly the endorsement cap is and when to be concerned about it. TNP’s World Assembly Development Program (WADP) and TSP’s SWAN both state how many endorsements a nation can have. As a reassurance, the WADP issues a notice whenever a nation gets close to violating the endorsement cap, and TSP’s World Factbook Entry includes a link to the endorsement cap, whatever it may be for any given day.

Regions that enforce fixed endorsement caps or are considering implementing a cap should move toward the implementation of an endorsement cap that is flexible like the ones in The North Pacific and The South Pacific. A flexible endorsement cap is just as enforceable as one that is fixed and allows for the cap to increase or decrease based on a region’s level of endorsements at any given time.

Jay

Jay has been on NationStates since 2012, residing in The South Pacific since 2014 and actively participating in the region's forum-side roleplay community. He is also involved in that region's government as a legislator and a member of the Ministry of Regional Affairs. He is a guest writer for NationStates Today.