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 Post subject: Erroneous' annotated guide to the SoK challenge system
PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:27 pm 
Imperial Communications Minister
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Given that we have had a recent influx of new members, and that some of the old ones seem to have forgotten some important bits of information, I thought I'd write up a quick guide to the Challenge system as implemented by SoK, with a bit more context than the charter provides. As always, the charter is the ultimate authority. Some of the contents of this document might just be my opinion, after all. :)

Challenges are SoK's way of avoiding problems inherent with static, appointed leadership. Some clans do elections. We believe that elections just end up causing unnecessary factions and divisions, and promote the growth of politicians rather than warriors. SoK is a clan built on bidirectional accountability. You are responsible to your superiors, but they are also responsible to you...and challenges are how that accountability is enforced.

What is a challenge?
Most simply, a challenge is a battle for honor between two or more members of SoK in good standing. A subset of challenges are called "challenges for position." This is the type of challenge the Charter mediates.

What is a challenge for position?
A challenge for position is a specific type of challenge used to change the course of leadership. If an officer of |SoK| believes his immediate superior is doing an unsatisfactory job, or has been subject to dishonor, he may challenge him for his position.

OK, what other kinds of challenge are there?
Outside the scope of the Charter, challenges may be used to settle any difference any member(s) of SoK have with any other member(s), or even just for fun. Roughly speaking, this is the in-clan equivalent of "you piss me off, I kick your ass." Or something like that. If the people involved agree to bind something to the challenge, that's fine...and it would be dishonorable not to follow through. This kind of challenge should happen all the time.

So about challenging for position...do I need a cause?
Simply put, no. You can challenge your superior for his position at any time and for any reason. But remember, if you win the challenge you have to follow through and actually take on the responsibility of the job that your superior is doing. There are three predominant reasons for challenging your superior for his position: #1, you believe you can do a better job than he is doing, #2, you believe he is weak as a warrior (lack of skill), or #3, you believe he is weak as a leader (lack of honor).

OK, so what DO I need in order to challenge my superior for his position?
In order to discourage challenges based solely on selfish ambition, the charter requires that you have the support of another qualified (see the charter) warrior in the clan. This person, your Cha'dich, is placing his honor on the line for your challenge. He is making a public statement that he agrees with your cause.
You also need a mutually-agreeable neutral observer. If you and the person you're challenging can't agree on an observer, one will be chosen for you as per the Charter.

What games can I use to satisfy my challenge?
If your challenge is charter-regulated (a challenge for position) you MUST use a Star Trek themed, multiplayer game. You have one...it's a requirement for membership (see Section I of the Charter). It is your responsibility to ensure that you have a game that you can make work...we can help you with this if a game you want to use breaks because of an OS upgrade or whatever. We have the experience and technical expertise to make just about any game work (Armada I and Legacy on Vista are the only exceptions I'm aware of). You and the person you're challenging need to agree on a game to use...if you can't come to an agreement, someone else will decide (see the Charter for specifics).
If your challenge is not charter-regulated, do whatever you and the person you're challenging can agree upon.

I don't think I can win...should I challenge anyway?
YES! Remember, a challenge is a battle to satisfy your honor. Even if you don't win, if you state your cause when issuing the challenge, you've sent a powerful message that the behavior you're challenging over will not be taken lightly.

What's this about substitutes?
Generally speaking, if you are capable of challenging but don't have a game in common with the person you're challenging, or are inexpert at that game, you may want to have someone else play in the challenge match for you. This implies considerable trust on both your part and the part of the substitute.

Why wouldn't the substitute just issue the challenge himself?
He may not be capable of it. Let's take the situation where I, a House Adjutant, wanted to challenge my House Leader, Colonel Worf, who only plays Bridge Commander. Let's say I only play Armada II. But, another warrior in our house, Warrior Kern, does play Bridge Commander. Kern is incapable of challenging either Worf or myself for our positions because of his junior rank (perhaps he joined very recently). However, if Worf is misbehaving, and both Kern and I have a problem with it, I can challenge him with Kern as my substitute.

What if I think someone who's NOT my direct superior needs challenging?
It is each person's responsibility to make sure that his superior is carrying out his duties, and doing so honorably. One of those duties is to ensure that his superior is carrying out his duties, and doing so honorably. In other words, if you believe that the Chancellor is not doing his job, and you've talked to your House Leader about it, and your House Leader refuses to challenge him, that is sufficient cause to challenge your House Leader (or to ask your House Adjutant to do so).

Some examples of non-charter-mediated challenges:
    * Racshaw thinks I suck at Armada, but I think I don't need any training (hint: he's right!). He challenges me to a match in Armada to demonstrate my inadequacy.
    * Kern insults my mother. I challenge Kern, because my mother is cool.
    * Megachirops thinks BoPs are overpowered in STO, but I assert that a good Fed cruiser can beat a BoP any day. He challenges me to a match in his BoP against my Fed alt's cruiser to prove his point.
    * Korr thinks that it's unfair that, despite being around for six months and being active ingame, he hasn't been promoted past W1. He talks to me, his house leader, but I'm dismissive. He challenges me for a rank increase.
In each of these cases, the challengee may opt not to accept the challenge...but if he does, he runs a risk of being seen as either dishonorable or weak.

Some examples of charter-mediated challenges:
    * Kahless, the emperor, is rarely online, and when he is, all he does is call people racial slurs and try to start wars with other clans by spreading false rumors about the Chancellor. An imperial guardsman, Commander Kobor, has warned Kahless about his dishonorable activities, but he persists. Kobor, supported by Commander K'tan as Cha'dich, challenges Kahless as being unfit to be Emperor. They agree to a time and to use ST:O as the challenge game. Colonel Ralph observes the battle.
    * Colonel Ralph, a house leader, is disaffected with the way Inzar, the Chancellor, is leading the clan. Ralph's House members mostly play Star Trek: The Awesomest Game, but Inzar is an ST:O fanatic and thinks ST:TAG is a waste of time, so he refuses to support or recruit from ST:TAG. Ralph, supported by Brigadier Worf, another House Leader, as Cha'dich, challenges Inzar for the Chancellorship. Inzar only plays ST:O, and Ralph does not play ST:O at all, so Commander K'tan agrees to substitute for him. Emperor Kahless observes the battle between K'tan and Inzar.
    * Tregrok, a house leader, only logs on occasionally. He has appointed no adjutant, and never recommends to the council that anybody in his house be promoted, so nobody holds sufficient rank to challenge him. Commander K'tan, the senior officer in Tregrok's house, brings the matter to the Chancellor, and the Council promotes him to Captain. He then challenges Tregrok for house leadership, with the support of Chancellor Turtle as his Cha'dich. Tregrok and K'tan agree to resolve the challenge in Armada II, and agree on a time, but cannot agree on a satisfactory observer. Since Turtle is involved in the battle, General Megachirops, the next most senior council member, selects himself as the observer.

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