VP Congress - Updates & Help Wanted!


Already Looping
Dec 19, 2017
Hey all,

The VP Congress Guide has been updated, and this should be the last major update; I believe I have accounted for all of the problems that were encountered since the last time I updated.

I encourage you all to read it, as it covers everything I'm going to summarize below and more: https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/vox-populi-congress-guide.678962/

Here are the highlights of the changes:

It is no more! No ratification votes shall take place. Balance changes made outside of the VP Congress will require the approval of a lead developer, but do not require a proposal to implement. They can be reverted by community proposal if they are disliked enough.

Rules for New Proposals and Counterproposals
Have been clarified, sorted into categories, and added to. The most significant change is that multiple proposals affecting the same area of balance can be required to be combined, and large proposals affecting different areas of balance can be required to be separated.

Quorum Raised
Proposals now require 25 votes in favor to pass (up from 10) in addition to a plurality of votes. This limit was based on the surprisingly large amount of community interest in VP Congress voting.

Implementation Difficulty and Sponsorship Limits
Sponsors must register in the Sponsorship Registration thread prior to sponsoring proposals. This enables the community and VP Congress management to know what their coding abilities are and whether their sponsorships of a proposal are valid.

If a sponsor chooses to register as an Open Sponsor, they are willing to consider working with you to implement your ideas should they get approved by the community. Reach out to them in the Vox Populi Congress Proposal Workshop thread, on the Discord server or by conversation!

Each proposal will now receive an Implementation Difficulty designation as well as an evaluation of what coding skills are required to implement the proposal. For example:

Implementation Difficulty: Easy (Database Changes)
Implementation Difficulty: Medium (DLL Changes)
Implementation Difficulty: Hard (Database Changes, DLL Changes, UI Changes)

The threads will also be tagged with the [Easy], [Medium] or [Hard] thread prefix.

Individual sponsors are now limited to sponsoring 5 Medium or Hard difficulty proposals per VP Congress Session, unless they request a special exception. They may sponsor unlimited Easy difficulty proposals.

After reaching the limit of 5, they can continue to sponsor proposals, but any proposals they sponsor will also need a backup sponsor in order for their sponsorship to be valid. For this reason, sponsors planning to sponsor a lot of proposals should plan ahead and specify which five are their top priority. The [Backup Needed] thread prefix has been added to indicate proposals who are in need of a backup sponsor.

Lastly, sponsorship can no longer be done prior to the Sponsorship Phase, except for [Fast Track Accepted] proposals, which have a thread prefix as well.

Supermajority Requirement
I don't want to limit the community's choices if they overwhelmingly want a major change which takes the mod in a new direction. However, the following proposals will require a supermajority vote of 75% or more to pass, because of how significantly they shift the game's balance:
- The addition of a new civilization
- The addition of a new victory condition
- The addition of a new era
- The addition of a new policy tree or ideology
- Anything else with a similar impact, determined by judgement call

(If multiple counterproposals are submitted, this will be handled with a lengthier voting period followed by a Yea/Nay vote for the winning option.)

New VP Congress Management
With this hopefully final major update to the VP Congress system, I am happy with how it's progressed. One issue has remained for me in running this: it is difficult to organize everything and make all judgement calls about the rules on my own, especially when I'm also overseeing the implementation. There have been schedule delays, and personally I risk burnout if I continue handling everything personally in the future (particularly if I'm also sponsoring proposals, or real life obligations get in the way).

I will now take @Stalker0's advice and delegate some of the judgement calls on proposals and game balance to members of the community that are more passionate about game balance than I am. :)


The Magi System
The Magi are three members of the Vox Populi community chosen to serve for one year of Congress sessions (four sessions). Each Magus is chosen by the Host via an application process during the June Playtesting Phase of each year.
Three members, rather than a single assistant, are chosen for a few reasons: to ensure a variety of perspectives, to distribute the workload to avoid burnout, and to ensure there are several people able to fulfill the tasks.

Would you like to be a VP Congress Magus? Please submit an application using the link below!
But first, read to the end of this post to see what the position entails (including the selection criteria).

Responsibilities by Phase
All Phases
- Vote on Magi Votes within 24 hours (72 hours during the Implementation and Playtesting Phases).
- In the event that the Host is temporarily unable to perform his duties, the Magi collectively function as the Host for VP Congress purposes. This may be done by the Host's request, or if the Host is absent and fails to respond to prompting for 7 days.
- Respond to questions and appeals from community members. If any Magus thinks that a decision is worth revisiting as a result of new information or a change in perspective, they should call a Magi Vote.
- Using their expertise of game balance, respond to questions from community members seeking to design or critique proposals.
- Process Sponsorship Registrations (edit the main post in the thread to add new valid sponsors).
- Manage own workload and deliberations. The Magi may pass rules to manage these by majority vote, which will be enforced by the Host upon request.

Proposal & Counterproposal Phase
- Scrutinize new proposals, counterproposals, and amendments and ensure they're compliant with the Congress rules.

- Work with proposers to make sure the text of the proposal is clear and sufficient background information is provided for the community to understand the current state of things and how they're being modified.
- Edit proposals which fail to meet a Formatting Requirement (including renumbering proposals when one is withdrawn or vetoed).
- Unilaterally veto or require changes to proposals which fail to meet a Formal Requirement.
- A Magi Vote is required to do this for proposals which fail to meet a Judgement Call Requirement.
- Designate proposals as approved for fast-track acceptance with the [Fast Tracked] thread prefix.

- Designate proposals as [Easy], [Intermediate], or [Hard] to implement into Vox Populi (and list the required skill sets).
- Designate proposals as requiring a supermajority to pass.
- Make judgement calls on whether proposals need to be merged or separated.
- Supervise the mod's balance, and submit counterproposals when they feel an alternative should exist to be voted on.

Sponsorship Phase
- Enforce the Sponsorship Limit.
- Mark proposal threads as [Sponsored] or [Backup Needed] as sponsorships occur.
- Make judgement calls on whether proposals affect the same area of balance and should be included as a voting option.
- Decide the list of voting options for such proposals, as well as proposals that have counterproposals.

Voting Phase
- Via a Magi Vote, cast the tiebreaking vote when two or more options in a vote have equal vote totals.
- If a developer pushes a change to the mod on GitHub which affects the same game mechanics as a current proposal, and a lead developer approves it, vote on how to handle the situation.

Implementation Phase
- No additional responsibilities.

Playtesting Phase
- No additional responsibilities.

Magi Powers
Each Magus will have the following abilities, which only work in the Vox Populi Congress and its subforums:
- Edit posts/thread titles
- Move threads
- Lock/unlock threads
- Authority to make decisions in the "Responsibilities" section above

These abilities may only be used for their official role. Magi are not site moderators and are not permitted to act as such; they may not delete posts, enforce site rules, use Moderator Action: Moderator Tags etc. If they notice discussions getting out of hand, they should report it to the Host and/or hit the Report button on the relevant post(s).

Any use of these abilities for tasks outside of their role will result in immediate dismissal as a Magus.

Magi Deliberations
The Magi will be provided with their own channel on the Vox Populi Discord server for their deliberations. They will be publicly visible, but others will not be able to send messages there.

In addition, the #petitions channel can be used by any members of the community to post their questions, appeals, or comments, including requesting a review of any decision. Whether the Magi take up individual appeals is at their discretion.

Pestering, abusive behavior, bad faith appeals, etc. directed at the Magi will result in moderation action on the Discord server.

Magi Votes
During Proposal Months, any Magus may call for a Yea/Nay vote in the deliberation channel. This vote must be responded to within 24 hours by the other two Magi during Proposal Months, and within 72 hours otherwise. If necessary, the Host will step in if a Magus fails to vote on time.

Abstention is not permitted: Yea and Nay are the only valid options, and a majority of 2/3 wins, unless the vote is required to be unanimous (see below). However, the vote does not take effect until each Magus has had a chance to explain their point of view on the vote (if desired). The Magi may change or reverse their own decisions at any time with another vote.

If the Magi are unable to reach a conclusion because they lack knowledge about an issue, they should refer the issue to the Host, who will make a ruling.

If a Magi Vote is not unanimous and the Magi in the minority strongly disagrees with the outcome, they may petition the Host to examine the deliberations and make a ruling on the situation, but they should attempt to reach a consensus with the other Magi before doing so. Failure to do so may result in the decision being returned to the Magi for further deliberation.

Appeals by other members of the community are permitted, but the Host's reserve powers will typically not be used unless in his estimation, major errors are being made or the VP Congress System is not functioning to the benefit of the community.

Votes When The Host Has Been Temporarily Replaced
When the Host is unable to handle appeals temporarily, Magi decisions are settled by a 2/3 majority vote (except for proposals which require a Unanimous Vote).

Should the Host disappear indefinitely or permanently, the community will have to decide how to proceed with the VP Congress system.

Unanimous Votes
Certain votes must be unanimous:
- A vote for Fast-Track Acceptance of a proposal.
- A vote to veto a proposal because it modifies game mechanics which are currently bugged.
- Any decision-making vote which involves a proposal that was submitted by one of the 3 Magi.

If even one Magus disagrees with a unanimous vote, the vote does not pass. If a consensus cannot be reached, the Host will make a ruling. If the Host is not available, the vote fails until the Host can be reached.

Magi Composition
The Host shall select three people from the community who are highly active/dedicated based on two factors: merit and conflicting perspectives. The Magi System is intended to encourage debate by selecting members who have different views and opinions on game balance. This internal diversity (and the ability for the member in the minority to appeal the decision if they strongly disagree) is intended to result in better decision-making by considering more perspectives. However, there is still executive oversight should the deliberations get out of hand.

If possible, at least one Magus will be a developer with experience in coding, so as to be able to determine what proposals are feasible to implement. If this is not possible, the Host may need to intervene for such judgement calls.

Magi Selection Criteria (Merit)
- Able to be reasonably active in the community
- Able to check in at least once a day during the upcoming months: July, October, January, April (occasional exceptions are okay, and if you can only do so for 3 of the 4 months, you should still apply if you want)
- CivFanatics account in good standing (not known for violating site rules, picking fights, etc. - this will be checked!)
- Discord account & joined the VP Discord server
- Strong knowledge of Vox Populi's game balance
- Strong written communication skills in English
- Willing to make unpopular decisions
- Impartial
- Even-tempered; respectful of others, even if there's a disagreement
- Able to work with the other 2 Magi and the Host
- Able to explain perspectives and opinions in detail and support them with evidence

- Experience with coding or developing modmods, or knowledge of what is required to implement proposals
- Longer experience within the community
- Strong attention to detail
- Strong memory
- Strong interpersonal skills

Magi Retirement/Replacement/Incapacitation
The Host will select one or more Alternate Magi to step in for any kind of situation like this. If this is not possible, or the Host is unable to find 3 Magi, he will assume the remaining responsibilities himself.
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