Usually threads involving paperless conversations end up in a lot of shit-posting so per request of what my next blog should be about, what is paperless was suggested. Simply put paperless is having an alliance structured around the idea that you have no official treaties with the exception of protectorates.
Protectorates get an exception in this case because the point of a protectorate is to dissuade alliances from attacking the one being protected. If you look at an alliance in the 30's ranking and see they're protected by someone your far less likely to want to raid them. The power in the protectorates protection comes from its existence being known.
Now to the meat of it all. With VE's recent jump to paperless, lets focus on that for a moment. VE could become paperless and not move what-so-ever on the political spectrum if they so wished. They could still back up Rose in the next war, and Rose could back them up if need be. But in the same vein they're not honor-bound to fight a large war that doesn't match up to their desires. The problem with treaties is time, in my opinion. Usually in the phases leading up to signing a treaty the activity between alliances is very high, one side is typically courting the other in a manner of speaking. Once the treaty is signed there's a honeymoon period where everything is great and your talking. Then a few months in your like an old married couple who only seem to talk to one another when there's a fight about to happen. The romance is dead. This is what spawned the concept of paperless for me. Without that piece of paper, should relations fall off or have highs and lows, you can act on what is right for you at that time. You could fight more, fight less, and the repercussions of your actions are yours and not several other alliances.
Lets say an alliance your friendly with takes an action you don't like for war, you can support them, not, go against them. Should you support them it would be because you feel committing to a war you don't agree with is worth the relationship between alliances at this time. Should you not, you risk your relationship souring with said alliance. And obviously should you go against them you might face their wrath. You can make the decision based on what is right for your alliance, not because you committed to banging 7 months ago before they went bat shit crazy and starting RPing a snake, or something. I typically hate treaties that have been around forever, that you just keep because you have had them for so long. Don't act a certain way because you've had a treaty forever, act for what is best for your alliance and alliances you deem worthy of your support. What is best for your alliance can change quickly, and what alliances you support also can as well. Paper chokes this process. Paperless helps give you the option to pivot easier, however it's still not easy.
Paperless alliances require strong, active leadership. You have to keep up with lots of alliances simply for the sake that your friends one day might be against you on the battlefield the next (even if they remain friends). It's also a lot riskier. Should you make a major misstep and get your alliance dog-piled, there will be few people lining up to bail you out because there will be little political pressure for them to do so from outside sources. You won't get people trolling you for not honoring a treaty, or not supporting a side people believed you should like recent examples with Alpha (when tied to Rose/tS) and TKR (when tied to NPO was it?). This fits that paperless suits a proactive leadership style, and PnW-wise a proactive military style. You want to be the one on the attack.
I could go on, and maybe I will in a follow-up blog but lets try to wrap this one up. Paperless is very much like paper, it's just not out in the open like everyone else and you can change where you stand much easier. You need the right people to do it well, and need to be an alliance that stands by your word because that's all you have, your reputation. I find the best way to do it is talking to people about possible scenarios and where you stand so your friends and enemies alike know where you stand on issues, because your enemies might become your friends and vice versa quicker than you think. Or not. It's really up to you and your alliance, which is why I like this system more than the traditional.