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Fusion Power is NOW! (April 2018 SMACX Game of the Month)

Ok so "proofing" means looking for spelling errors, egregious punctuation, and maybe completely chopped up word sequences. Noted for next time.

I think the basic problem is that hackers shouldn't exist as a centralized leading organizational faction that sends out colony pods and builds city infrastructures. It's like asking Anonymous to run the World Bank. Hackers are fundamentally parasitic to the infrastructure of the Establishment. Or arguably, symbiotic, becase the line between white and black hat ops is just how happy you are with the Establishment. But SMAC doesn't have the depth of societal simulation to represent this sort of thing, so they just stick Roze in there and call her a faction leader. Essentially Neuromancer as flavor text.
 
Perhaps hackers have some kind of cyberattacking revolution where they seize control of most of the infrastructure of a society. Of course that's a rather different genesis than starting their own colonial society from scratch. The military aspect could be credible if the society has mostly given over to drone warfare. There's still a basic question of motive: why bother? Is it a sort of techno-communism? I'm not really seeing techno-anarchy as I think they'd be displaced by a more powerful and ruthless group. They'd need to have some kind of organizational agenda. Well clearly the "ideal citizen" isn't a communist worker or peasant, they wouldn't be defending the proletariat. Presumably they'd establish a technocracy, with the hacker as the supreme technocrat. They probably look down their noses at pure research scientists, so this is not the University.

I'm wondering if the hacker version of an "election" would be everyone competing to take over key infrastructure. Their ideology would be, "Only the best hacker can manage it." So that would make Roze a virtual warlord. Being "elected" in this way would perhaps be continuous and ongoing, in the ancient manner of "hey, you wanna be chief? Beat the current chief in single combat." The difference between a "democratic" society and a Police State might be the willingness to use lethal force to accomplish these ends. Even 1 person injured as collateral damage in a Democratic society, would be disqualification from office. But what's to stop someone from hiding all evidence of the crime? Well, perhaps so many hackers monitoring everything. What's to stop all of them from being "disappeared" ? Well perhaps nothing, but willingness to do so, would convert the society into a Police State.

CyberLaw might be essential for a society of hackers. Hackers can take action so fast, and affect so many broad systems, that the application of law as a matter of algorithm would have to be equally swift to keep up. For instance, imagine a futuristic Clean Water Act. Imagine the irreversible damage that could be done if the CyberLaw didn't intervene and shut down all the open toxic waste valves immediately.

I'm not seeing how the SMAC concept of Fundamentalism fits in with any of this. I suppose one could go for Asimov style cults of techno-deification, antigrav floating thrones and scepters and the like. As a social phenomenon, it would be quite a bit beyond selecting a Fundamentalist social engineering choice, getting a few plusses and minuses, and calling it good. Asimov's Foundation trilogy did a pretty good job of exploring the concept of techno-fundamentalism among other things. It of course was all deliberately engineered by the Foundation on various planets according to the laws of psychohistory.

The big plot hole I see in all of these musings, is can't some malcontent get ahold of the codes for a nuclear reactor or a Planet Buster in silo and make the whole society vaporize pretty fast? I'm not sure having a society where everyone aspires to be "the best possible hacker", is a sustainable society.
 
Hmmm. I like the idea of Roze as virtual Warlord - but it seems like she'd either be a very bad leader, or not hold office a week, there being only 24 hour as a day and limits to abusing Jolt Cola. -And as you say, it holds endless seeds of its own destruction the first d00dz tweaking and get lucky and reckless...

-You suppose it's feasible all the top hackers had gone really cyberpunk for speed of using the system interface and other advantages, and she figured out how to hack the hackers? IF she had sufficient control of a sufficient number of the elite, it might all become plausible that she's eliminated all dangerous internal rivals and could delegate administration reliably to the most talented people...
 
Another possibility is governance by collectives of hackers, in which case, no equivalent of a President would exist. Roze would just be a key functionary within her collective. Syndicalism is a political philosophy organized along these lines, related to Socialism, but distinct.

In fact, "Roze" could be the name of the collective, and no such person actually exists. c.f. Anonymous. "Roze" might be used as a puppet or virtual facade to interact with other human factions who still believe in distinct leaders.
 
That would be a little tricky to write, you know - a story tends to need a central protagonist, and it's possible for a group to act with cohesion/in concert without a central coordinator, but unlikely with as few as four people, and gets increasingly so, virtually impossible, with as few as 20 -there needs to be someone settling arguments and making final calls, or nothing gets done but fighting- let alone a whole society...

-What lines would you suppose the other factions are organized on? You can read up on how Alinestra Covelia and I dealt with that at the bottom of page three of Planet Tales, in What would Pravin Do? -seven connected stories for our first team GotM, on the premise that the leaders all got killed at a peace conference and stories related to the succession of new faction leaders, so we naturally had to generate takes on the governance structures of the original seven factions. Ali had the Morganites run like a corporation and the University like a faculty; I came up with nothing imaginative...
 
For writing, I think documentaries on The History Channel provide plenty of models for relating history without overwhelming emphasis on central protagonists. They do tend to adopt a fictitious "central character", someone who is living through the times described in the documentary. But they also have scientists and historians brain dumping all sorts of factual stuff, explaining what was going on, without any pretense that this has to be shoved into some "Star Wars" or "Lord of the Rings" narrative format. One could do "even more documentary" style to cover larger stretches of history, reducing human actors to minor characters or even non-characters, just little ants. But it takes some awareness of what one is writing, and why it would be interesting to anyone to read.

I have always thougth the narration of "full characters" in SMAC to be a difficult exercise, and recently I realized the game authors didn't even do it. They only provided archetypes and world building through quotes and cutscenes. You are left to imagine the full characters yourselves, they don't provide any model of doing this narrative work for you.

As far as realistic hacker collectve dynamics, they might need an Adjudicator to coordinate their actions. It would be a lot like our own Constitution, supplemented with Statutes and Case Law, but executing much faster. The point is, the hackers would be coordinating through some kind of common archive of rules. It would surely be distributed in the manner of a Git repository. Any particular portion would be vulnerable to tampering, but it could also be quickly repaired by cross-checking with other repository nodes.

The rules archive of a particular collective, might be literally the Executive of hacker government. Choosing Roze's collective to lead the hacker society, would be the equivalent of choosing Trump and his cabinet to be the Executive branch of the USA.

I'm not thinking the organizational dynamics of any of the other factions is particularly challenging to contemplate. The challenge would be how machines outstrip their traditional slow human decision making. We already see that in the present day, with laws unable to keep up with developments in computers and intellectual property.
 
I had to do a double take on your sentence. I thought it would have said with a leader. I mean frankly, as a computer programmer in real life, I have not proven to be a team player. I'm not interested in being managed, nor in managing the managers. I'm pretty sure I could manage others at this point, especially remembering simplified Management 101. "Everything you remember liking that someone did, do that. Everything you didn't like, don't do that." But as of yet I have no need of underlings, nor resources to provide for them. I'm still in the "if you want it done right, you gotta do it yourself" stage of bootstrapping.

Without a leader, would mean the hackers would have to be willing to coordinate with each other on a common base of code, without stepping all over what each other is doing. They would all be tweaking some kind of Adjudicator. They could indeed get pissed and leave the collective. Look at what's happening in Trump's cabinet right now, and they're not even hackers. Decisionmaking is decisionmaking, and humans are humans. Hackers differ only in how their decisions are codified and amplified.
 
Well, you know, even with a consensus code of conduct and agreement on a common goal, it's hard to imagine even just a handful of loners pulling together very well, for very long. Good point about the converse - it would take monstrously-impressive level of persuasiveness to manage the drama, let alone see anything productive accomplished.

What works for me with a bunch of borderline OCD gamers is to not even pretend I'm managing a democracy - then consult my people constantly as if it were and give them as much of what they want with as little threats, within the limits of our group goals/needs, as humanly possible -also a LOT of nagging- that's really the only way noblesse obleige works well, unless you read minds...
 
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Well at some point I wonder how much people have to "get done" in the future anyways? I guess someone's gotta keep the robots tuned up. Otherwise, how much is there really to do? Tell your robot to do X.
 
Derelict supply pod equipment to get it working? You'd think they'd rustle up more comm frequencies that way. Maybe they hack the doors of rovers to open so they can steal them.
 
...I think they might have to work for a living for a while, at least until someone managed to rustle up more comm frequencies - then I suppose they could trade various info management and sysop services for more physical ones - but Lordy, Lord; that there's some VERY unhappy hackers for the first few years...
 
Maybe when someone's 1st tech researched is Biogenetics, they start trying to reapply their job skills to the human body. So like, they figure out how to turn people funky shades of blue when they don't want to.
 
Hmm I don't think The Empath Guild gives you the sights and sounds of another faction leader's brain. It says, "Allows you to contact any leader, and gives you an infiltrator in every faction." Hmm actually that's pretty hand-wavy on how it works. It isn't The Dream Twister or The Telepathic Matrix. I take it back: if Roze hacked the hackers, that's quite a bit more powerful than The Empath Guild. That's actually like Mind Controlling everyone, so it's a bit like Economic Victory over her own faction!
 
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