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[DoE] Guide to: Understanding PTO's and ATO's

Day 1,997, 20:53 Published in USA USA by Department of Citizen Affairs

This article brought to you by Mercurius100 not only what a PTO and/or ATO is, but why they exist.

With Party President elections coming up on the 15th, there's a lot of articles, messages, forum posts and shouts that will be going around about PTOs and other related acronyms that are often not explained. For newer players, and some older players, this alphabet soup of terms might as well be some long-extinct language for the lack of sense it all makes. So with that in mind, ...

What is a PTO?

A Political Takeover (PTO), in the most general terms, is the manipulation of the game's election mechanics by an outside or minority individual or group to win an election over the voting power of the controlling majority of a country or a party.

We have had many similar events in real life elections. Stuffing of ballot boxes. Dead people casting ballots. Intimidation or violence to stop groups of people from voting. A PTO is just the eRep jargon for any similar type of election fraud.

In a normal fraud-free election, everybody has one vote to make their voice heard, and whosoever campaign won the support of a majority of voters wins election. A PTO prevents this, "winning" an election for a candidate whose ideas actually swayed only a tiny minority of supporters, or sometimes for an outside candidate who ran no campaign and has no actual supporters.

How do PTOs work?

How does a PTOer get votes without having actual supporters in a country or party? Many of the same ways real life election fraud works:

-Bribery. Gold/weapons/food for votes.

-Fake multiple eRep accounts. Multis in eRep jargon. "Dead" people voting.

-Importing voters from another party, or another country. Bigger parties or bigger countries with spare votes their own leaders don't need can tell some of their supporters to go vote elsewhere so they can have two parties, or they can conquer a country without an actual war. RL example: sending a busload of voters from one state where the election isn't close to a neighboring swing state.

-Lies, or attempting to confuse voters into voting for a candidate they actually don't support. RL example, John Smith is the favorite for an election. The opposition candidate changes his name to John A. Smith before applying to run for election.

Why do people try PTOs?

The general reason is because PTOers can't win elections through an actual campaign on qualifications and ideas. If honestly left up to voters, they could easily get no more than their own 1 vote to their name. But there are a few typical types of characters who choose to be PTOers instead of running fair campaigns.

-PTOers who want to destroy stuff. Example: the 5-year-old boy at the beach who goes around kicking over everybody's sand castles. He has neither the skill or patience to make such nice sand castles, so he destroys everybody else's so nobody can have nicer things than him, then enjoys teasing the crying 4-year-old girl who spent all day working on her castle.

-PTOers who are insanely jealous. Similar to the boy at the beach, they want to destroy what they can't have. But additionally they are jealous of someone else for what they have built with their time and effort. Example: high-school girls resentful that the boy they like asked another girl to the junior semi-formal plot to "accidentally" kick mud on her dress, spill punch on her, trip her when dancing, and maybe drop a bucket of blood on her to thoroughly ruin her night.

-PTOers who have to win at all costs. It doesn't matter that they are ruining the game for hundreds or thousands of other people, or if their actions leave the game in ruins, they must win. Example: your friend invites you over to his house to play checkers. You and your friend both know he is awful at checkers, he's probably the worst checkers player ever. You begin playing, and your friend takes the first piece, but even your friend knows he'll still lose in the end. So he can make sure he "ends the game as the winner" your friend stands up and knocks the board over. Your friend then douses the board, the pieces, and the rest of the house in gasoline and lights everything on fire. As you stand on the sidewalk he constantly gloats about how he "won" the game of checkers because the game can never be resumed and he was winning when it was stopped. You stare at his house as it burns to the ground.

Why are PTOs bad?

The vast majority of eRep players agree that PTOs are really bad. eRep is a game based on community. What is fun about the game is a result of what players have spent years of hard work building. PTOs by definition seek to steal what others have worked hard to build, or to destroy the underpinnings of a community. PTOers aren't building things, they aren't creating community, if they could build something and create a fun community that's what they would do. But not only can't they successfully build anything for themselves, they are so angry that they make it their mission to prevent anybody else from building things or being part of a fun community.

Additionally, there is a clear line that a PTO crosses that normal players recognize as off-limits. For a game like eRep to be enjoyable, and for anybody to want to actually play the game, there needs to be a certain level of stability. eRep is fun because of the metagame and the community that players have built. Destroying that community means the game is no longer fun to play for anyone, and creating an environment where anything new that is built will be immediately destroyed by PTOers means nobody would bother building anything new. In the end, the only thing PTOs can create are more PTOs. Players that create and contribute to the game will leave. The world will be left with only roaming groups of PTOers taking turns PTOing each other every single month, making sure nobody is allowed to have fun in any way. And eventually everybody will leave, except one PTOer who stuck it out the longest to "win" the game. One PTOer to sit on his throne in the playerless post-apocalyptic world he "built" where everything of structure and substance has turned to ash.

It's a choice every player has the power and the opportunity to make, a choice of what you want the world to look like in the future. Based on the choice I make here, if I "win" what will the world look like? Is it worth "winning" if it leads to everything being burned to the ground, the game being unenjoyable for everybody, and nobody being left? Or do we reject the PTO and "win" not by destroying but by creating fun for everybody, building new things, and supporting a thriving community?

The ATO. How to stop a PTO.

Paired with PTO in our alphabet soup is ATO. Anti-Takeover is our shorthand for the work we all do to stop PTOs, from the individual voter all the way up to the Party Presidents and Country President organizing and coordinating to protect the communities we have built in eRep. For those of us who choose to protect the fun eRep, with great communities and great metagame creations from players built up over years of gameplay in every country around the globe, this is how we fight.

We fight with our votes. Everybody only gets one, so we need every one to count.

We ask everyone who shares our desire for eRep to be a fun game for every player, now and in the future, to help us with your vote as well.

-Listen for what’s going on. Listen to the information that will be coming from your elected government officials. Articles, messages, forum posts, and shouts will be plentiful between today and election day. Know who to trust. President Artela and the members of her cabinet. Party Presidents, Congress Members, and other leaders from the Feds, USWP, AMP, WTP, and the many smaller parties who worked to build our eUS community into what it is today and work every day to protect it. Anybody but the American Freedom Alliance ( and their leaders, yes that is gasoline you smell whenever they are around, don't play checkers with them.

-Hold your vote on the 15th until as late in the day as possible.

-Come onto IRC to the #voting channel shortly before you have to leave eRep for the day to find out where your vote is needed. For a quick link use to get there in just 3 clicks. In #voting you will find people from eUS Homeland Security and leaders from all the big eUS parties who watch the PTOers work and know what party's community they are trying to destroy this month. Don't vote in your home party, check in #voting to see which party needs your help against those who want to see their community burned to the ground.

Help us keep eRep fun for everybody.

We play eRep because it's fun. We want eRep to be fun for everybody, from the oldest player to the newest. We want eRep to have a future, and for that future to be full of community fun. That's why we build things in eRep to make the game fun. That's why we work to create great communities in eRep. And that's why we work and vote for a game where people can build things, be a part of great communities, and have fun. We need your help to protect what has been built and what can be built next.

We need people to vote smart on the 15th

Hold your vote. Go to #voting. Find out where your vote is needed to stop the destruction of the PTO.

Let's make sure everybody can still have fun on the 16th.


Depak Chopra
Depak Chopra Day 1,997, 20:56

Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirst! \o/

Dogpyle Day 1,997, 21:03

Wowsers. Go Mercurius.


stewy Day 1,997, 21:04

i enjoyed the "RL examples"

Cynic Grim
Cynic Grim Day 1,997, 21:13

Vote Smart- Vote S-mart!

George Armstrong Custer
George Armstrong Custer Day 1,997, 21:45

very good

Ronald Gipper Reagan
Ronald Gipper Reagan Day 1,998, 02:29

Bia Pandora
Bia Pandora Day 1,998, 07:31

Good stuff.

Cubby Day 1,998, 07:33

Mazzy's finest writing yet. Great RL examples.
Oh, and end UNITY too. They're both whiny 5 year olds.

MazzyCat Day 1,998, 07:39

This is not my writing. Mercurius100 wrote this piece. 🙂

Cubby Day 1,998, 07:50

Doh! It does state that clearly. Not sure why I thought to attribute to you. I mean, there are no cat gifs, after all.

MazzyCat Day 1,998, 07:39

but thank you! 😃

KOSOVA Batoa Day 1,998, 07:39

good stuff x2

Ludonarr Day 1,998, 08:05

Go Merc, great article

Though all the "we must do this to keep things fun" that keeps popping up continues to give the eUS a faintly dystopian vibe.

nuno258 Day 1,998, 08:11


Dio Hostilian
Dio Hostilian Day 1,998, 08:55

Here's what I think about the current UNITY PTO (it is PTO, even if that is not that obvious, perhaps):

weasel2 Day 1,998, 09:17

I like the image of one PTOer on his throne, alone, surveying his kingdom of ashes. It's unfortunate that ending is apparently the goal and the more subtle pleasures of community and friends, supporting others as you would be supported and a little perspective, a little humor about what we are all doing here is not possible for some.

Lea 7700
Lea 7700 Day 1,998, 11:24

I am feeling so confused and deceived that I will not never vote again. Politics = poli-ticks

olivermellors Day 1,998, 14:29

“A Political Takeover (PTO), …… is the manipulation of the game's election mechanics ….”

You have defined PTO in a way that excludes the AFA. Far from manipulating game mechanics, the AFA insists on respecting and using the game mechanics including the game mechanic which controls grants of citizenship.

“……. bigger countries with spare votes their own leaders don't need can tell some of their supporters to go vote elsewhere…..”

The evidence that team eSerbia is actually doing this is remarkably thin. There is enormous evidence that the AFA will grant citizenships to eSerbians and just about anyone else. There is enormous evidence that a large number of players granted citizenship by the AFA vote for them. But, very little evidence that the country eSerbia is behind this.

I am not about to vote for the AFA anytime soon: they are led by someone whose style of play I dislike profoundly. That is enough for me. The PTO label adds nothing and is likely misleading to the people who use and who read it.

Whiskey Jack Day 1,998, 16:56

Comment deleted

Whiskey Jack
Whiskey Jack Day 1,998, 16:59

Great stuff! I would add that after a country is PTO'd, typically what happens is that the PTOers empty the country's bank account and raise the minimum wage drastically so that real citizens can't work because no employer can afford to pay the required wage.

Persian Punisher
Persian Punisher Day 1,999, 01:10


Everette Castle
Everette Castle Day 2,002, 00:42

Isn't it weird that the author complains about vote manipulation, like the 'bus' example, then blatantly tells people to come to IRC channels and only vote where your vote is 'needed'? Isn't an ATP just another form of a PTO?

Anthony E Stark
Anthony E Stark Day 2,002, 08:04

Can I ask, I'm relatively new. And I'm in no way affiliated with AFA.

But haven't they already succeeded at making the eUSA thoroughly undemocratic.

Basically what your saying is that at every level of government, we have no say in who gets elected.

Basically there is only one party even though we go by different titles, and the party leaders choose who gets to run.

This seems closest to the way China's government operates in real life. An Oligarchy of sorts, but where people can be pushed out and replaced but those decisions aren't made through democratic process, they are made by "anti-PTO" party leaders.

If I'm missing something, let me know. But isn't there a way to impeach a president, if RGR won. If we have evidence, of which it seems we have plenty, couldn't the admins do something about this.

I recognize that a PTO is a serious threat and that stealing from the treasury is problematic, I play on e-s-i-m where this has occurred a number of time in s-e-c-u-r-a.

But I'm not sure we aren't giving up too much to avoid it.

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