[Note: The following manuscript was submitted anonymously to the offices of the BWG. We decided to run it because we believe that the ruling class of Ackanomic, whatever else they may do, seem to believe in the freedom of the press. It does, also, seem to fit the criterion of a Historical Dissertation.]
On July 25, a day that will live in infamy, a harmless-looking Proposal called "Senate Resolutions" passed. It had been submitted by ThinMan a week earlier, and was assigned the number 2241. It gave the Senate the power to make swift changes to the Rules, with what looked like sufficient built-in safeguards, such as the automatic impeachment of any Senator who voted for such a Resolution(to prevent abuse), and a once-per-calendar month limit for each person eligible to submit such Resolutions. Even noted Ackanomian Niccolo Flychuck said that he could not demonstrate that the Senate could attain "dictatorial powers" with the Proposal.
The first inklings of suspicion should have come when the proposal passed, with a clear majority, but also with three bonus votes cast for it, by /dev/joe, Malenkai, and ThinMan--who each also bribed Tammany for it to pass, and who, as the membership of the Vulcan Party, also added that Party's Univy Vote to the tally. But the fact that only three players voted against the Proposal only shows how thoroughly all were duped.
Almost immediately, Senate Resolution 101 was submitted by Senator /dev/joe, and the rest of Ackanomic saw the loophole that had been left: The new Rule 411.1 was not prohibited from amending itself. SR 101 abolished all the other safeguards that had been built into the Rule, and inserted new ones. The Supreme Court could not affect SR's with Acts of Justice; Senators could not be impeached without a Senate Vote confirming it. /dev/joe accompanied this Resolution with a speech that declared the Senate's intention to "[take] Acka back to something that resembles Nomic". The Resolution passed, /dev/joe, ThinMan, and Vynd voting for, and only Robert Sevin voting against.
Impeachment Papers were almost immediately submitted against the three affirming Senators, many of them overlapping; ThinMan himself retaliated by submitting one on Robert Sevin. All of these IP's failed, though the public voting seemed to be in favour; perhaps they would have succeeded had the Senate not been able to vote them down. The Senate was now entrenched as a Tyrannical Ruling Elite.
On July 29th, Alfvaen founded The Rebellion. A few others joined publicly; others preferred to work from behind the scenes, giving aid and advice, without letting their alliances be known.
On July 30th, SR 102 was submitted by Malenkai, and the real plan became clear. Rule 411.1 was to be amended so that the Senate would not be the deciding body after all, but the Vulcan Party. The Vulcan Party already occupied half of the Senate seats, and the tiebreaking vote was held by the Speaker, Malenkai, another Vulcan. But instead they tried a roundabout way of avoiding the vote entirely; Malenkai declared the vote tied(at 0-0), and in his prerogative voted FOR to break the tie, and then reported the voting results. The validity of this procedure was challenged, and eventually the judgement was passed to the Supreme Court.
Now all seems quiescent. The Vulcan Party(now seen as the real Tyrannical Ruling Elite)is waiting on the results of the Call For Justice to determine whether or not their takeover was successful. The Rebellion is waiting on the full-fledged resumption of the Proposal queue to fire its own volley. So all seems quiet...but it is only the calm before the storm.
But our world may be different from that of the Ancients, and so may necessitate different areas of study. It may be that the Ancients had more bandwidth than they knew what to do with, and so the question of how it may be used more efficiently, let alone more inefficiently, never arose. (For philosophical reasons, I doubt this, however.) Perhaps the subject was simply taboo. In any event, I shall in this essay endeavour to enumerate the various kinds of Bandwidth-Wasting Gizz.
To begin with, we must first define our terms. "Bandwidth" is the easiest. It is a simple measure of the rate of data transmission, data in this case having its simplest definition, as opposed to "information", as anything that is transmitted through electronic means. The more data that is transmitted in a period of time, the more bandwidth is consumed. No value judgement is involved, merely a simple calculation.
The other two terms are more subjective, and related. The term "information", referred to above, may be considered to mean the data which is "relevant". Relevance will vary depending on the particular forum, of course, and even from thread to thread within that forum. (A thread may be irrelevant to its forum, all the posts that make it up relevant to the thread. But I digress.) "Gizz" may be considered to be that data which is not "relevant", and the bandwidth is consumes is thereby "wasted".
Let us take the particular example of Ackanomic. At what level would we consider there to be no bandwidth wasted in the public forum?
At minimum, there would be no posts other than those mandated by the Rules. The Officer in Charge of Random Things would note weekly who received the Potato and which rule numbers the Aliens attempted to abduct; the Bond-Harfer would biweekly note bond dividends; and little else. For a true minimum, no non-officer would post at all, since it would not be required, or even cause an officer to have to post(by submitting CFJs or Proposals). I think there is little disagreement that Ackanomic would be mind-numbingly dull in such a state, but this is a state of minimum bandwidth usage. (For a true minimum, only posts such as "Potato: Ben; Aliens: 411" are necessary.)
Still, bandwidth is not truly "wasted" if what is posted is "relevant". So what is relevant to the game of Ackanomic? Let us say that any action that actually has a game effect is relevant, and thus any post consisting entirely of public actions(and whatever descriptive text is necessary)does not waste bandwidth.
Now let us presume that a player makes a post which consists entirely of a large number of repetitions of: "I create a trinket named Foo, value A$1, whose description is 'Bar baz quux'. I destroy Foo for money." It consists entirely of game actions, and is thus relevant, but few would disagree that bandwidth was in fact being wasted. Some other considerations come into effect--for instance, the net effect on the game is null for each of those pairs of sentences. But if the two sentences are separated by several months, then they become individually relevant. In this case, the game state has been changed for long enough that other actions become possible using the altered game state as a basis.
But it is still conceivable that actions can be performed that change the game state in the long term, but may still be considered to waste bandwidth. So perhaps it is not merely all public actions that are relevant, but also those which are used to play the Game of Ackanomic. This is a very subjective definition, but one that we might be able to agree upon. There is also some text which does not consist of public actions, but of, for instance, confirmations or denials by Officers as to the success of such actions.
Having determined what is not Bandwidth-Wasting Gizz, then we are ready to subdivide it into categories. The first level would be those public actions considered in the two prior paragraphs, that change the game state for an infinitesimal length of time and are immediately nullified, or change it in a way irrelevant to the playing of the Game of Ackanomic.
Beyond that is the second level, which consists of statements about public actions. Comments about the wisdom of performing said action(positive or negative), wishes that one had thought of it first, etc. There may be a sub-level in between of comments that are slightly more relevant than mere comments. Here would fit RFC's, which have no direct game effect but may nonetheless cause a Proposal to be a form that passes as opposed to fails, or keeps a Proposal from being submitted at all, and reasoning on CFJ's, which may influence the judge's decision but again has no direct game effect. The other type of comments may also prompt actions, but they may not, and it is probably impossible to distinguish them before the fact, and for simplicity they may all be grouped together.
Then there are those threads which do not concern Ackanomic at all. These form a third level of bandwidth waste, and the one that most people would agree should be dealt with. They may deal with peripheral topics, such as technical aspects of possible game extensions, or be entirely personal. Another sub-level, of slightly greater relevance, may consist of length philosophical discussions with some marginal relevance to a broad area of the game(i.e. economics), or Nomic in general.
The level beyond that, which we are thankfully free of on the mailing lists, is that of "Spam", which does not even have a specific intended audience in mind, but is sent mindlessly to anyone that can be found.
I will point out here one final complicating matter, which is that of treasure maps. It is not inconceivable that any bandwidth that is apparently wasted in fact contains treasure clues. However, we cannot determine this relevance beforehand, so it should not interfere with classification at that time.
This is not entirely comprehensive or satisfactory. Determining the level of bandwidth waste of a single message, or thread, is not always easy, and the divisions between the different levels of BW are highly arbitrary and subjective, so will not necessarily be agreed upon. Research into this exciting field still continues, and new discoveries will doubtless continue to be made.
The original document has somehow been lost to us, but we have been meaning to remind players of two-star's statement to the effect that any player who can find a particular date reference in a work on the Literature List is welcome to come to his house on that date, provided that you post the excerpt from the work that contains the date. A gift is promised. (We would also recommend that you not bother with Douglas Adams, who seems to have an aversion from including dates of any kind in his books. Whether a collaborative work counts as Literature may be undetermined.)
Go to the main Ackanomic page.The Den of Ubiquity / Aaron V. Humphrey / firstname.lastname@example.org