Call For Judgement 401 - Mon, 09 Jun 1997 19:49:03 -0400
Subject: The Madness of Scientists
Initiator: Alfvaen
Judge: ThinMan (selected Jun 08, 1997, 12:17h EDT)
Judgement: TRUE


It is possible for a Scientist to become a Mad Scientist, although e will then be unable to exercise any of the usual privileges due a Scientist.
Initiator's Comments:
I reproduce here the relevant text of Rule 596, "Mad Scientist".
> There is an Office of Mad Scientist which has one seat. The holder of
> the Office has the title of Scientist, but e is not a member of the
> Ackanomic Research Guild. This Office cannot be filled by any other
> Scientist, and when a Player takes the seat of this Office e must say
> publicly; "They laughed at me back at the Academy, the fools!
> Bwahahaha!" Or words to that general effect.

> This Office can only be filled or transferred as follows: If the seat is
> vacant, it is filled by the last Player to take possession of any
> Frankenstein Monster. If no such player exists, the seat shall be filled
> by Election for Office.

> The Mad Scientist's duty is to create Blueprints for, and build,
> Frankenstein Monsters. Being an outcast from the Scientific community, e
> has none of the other usual privileges associated with being a
> Scientist, this takes precedence over rules that would grant em duties
> and privileges beyond those assigned em in this Rule.
In the first paragraph, the rule states that a Scientist cannot fill the office of Mad Scientist. However, in the second paragraph it states that in the event of a seat being vacant, it is filled by the last Player to take possession of any Frankenstein Monster. It is entirely possible for the player specified by that sentence to be a Scientist. And since the default precedence decrees that later sections of a rule have precedence over earlier sections, the first paragraph's restriction may be violated under the conditions specified by the second paragraph.

The third paragraph states in no uncertain terms, and with precedence over other rules, that a Mad Scientist will not be able to exercise any of the duties of a Scientist. So even if a Scientist is able to become a Mad Scientist by the means specified in the second paragraph, e will lose the privileges due a Scientist, including the ability to create Blueprints for non-Frankenstein-Monsters.

Judge's Comments:
Alfvaen is correct that R596 reverses itself in the second paragraph by providing a means of transferring the office -- mandating one, in fact -- by which it is possible for a Scientist to obtain the office of Mad Scientist. The second paragraph takes precedence by R102.

The Ackanomic Research Guild is specified and described by R593, which has precedence over R596 by the numerical method (R102). R596 thus cannot prevent anyone who is already a member of the Guild from becoming Mad Scientist.

Alfvaen is again correct in arguing that the third paragraph of R596 has precedence over R593 and R595 with repsect to the Mad Scientist not receiving the privileges of a Scientist. I know of no other rules which grant privileges to Scientists in particular.

The sticking point, to which I feel a need to address myself, is the following question of Ackanomic law: are the duties and priveleges of officers tightly bound to the offices, or attributable to the players who hold the offices? That is to say, when R596 says the Mad Scientist does not receive any of the privileges of a Scientist, does it mean only that they are not conferred by the Mad Scientist office, or does it mean that the player who holds the office does not receive such privileges at all? The letter of the rules, as well as some degree of legal precedent, indicate the latter. The CFJ statement is therefore true.

Call For Judgement 402 - Wed, 25 Jun 1997 20:21:38 -0400
Subject: Azpiazu
Initiator: /dev/joe
Judge: Alfvaen (selected Jun 08, 1997, 12:22h EDT) (declined)
2nd Judge: Vynd (selected Jun 08, 1997, 17:22h EDT)
Judgement: FALSE at Sat, 14 Jun 1997 11:16:28 -0400
Appealed by: /dev/joe
Judgement: FALSE


The Blueprint for Azpiazu, a Frankenstein Monster, does not exist.
Initiator's Comments:
Sorry, I don't have time to write all this out, but see e-mail on both sides of the issue by myself and other players in the thread with "Azpiazu Blueprint" in the subject line.
Judge's Comments:
Despite /dev/joe's lack of reaoning, he is clearly trying to get at the idea that the Blueprint-under-construction was not, actually, writen such that all further parts would be rejected. He claims that by arbitrarily stating that all further sentences were inb conclict with the first sentence, the first sentences does not create any actual conflicts. One of the examples of a conflict given in Rule 597 is "a self-contradictory blueprint." In my opinion, nothing could be more self-contradictory than Blueprint which claims to be in conflict with itself, except perhaps a Blueprint that claims to be in conflict with itself even though it isn't. Seeing as how Azpiazu's Blueprint-under-construction is either one or the other of these self-contradictory Blueprints, I feel it was legal and correct for Alfvaen to put forward the actual Blueprint for Azpiazu.
Appealer's Comments:
If Azpiazu was/would be a self-contradictory blueprint, the one part that has been added to it is the part that causes a conflict, and therefore it was rejected.
Malenkai's Bronze Torch Comments:
We don't have to judge the previous Judge's reasoning, (although we do have to judge whether or not adding the Cheez-Whiz part would lead to a self-contradictory Blueprint).

Here are the counter arguments to some of the arguments, real and imagined, on this thing, as well as the counter argument to the self-contradictory claim.

The section from rule 597 that gives the Blueprint-under-construction's (BUC) content its legal force is:

> If any Part is in conflict with a prior attached Part, (i.e. the two
> Parts would give the Monster mutually-exclusive attributes, (one says
> "the monster is blue," the other "the monster cannot be blue.") or
> would lead to a paradoxical or self-contradictory Blueprint) the new
> Part is rejected, withers, and is discarded.
So, the rules say if the content of the BUC is "the monster is blue", that content is given the legal force to reject, via Rule 597, parts such as "the monster is not blue". Similarily, rule 597 gives the Cheez-Whiz part legal force in the same manner.

It has also been argued that Blueprints not meeting certain criteria (such as describing the behaviour of gadgets, etc) cannot be created. However, rule 597 has precedence over any rules from which these arguments are derived, and rule 597 *does* describe a procedure under which these, indeed any, sorts of Blueprints can be created (assuming the procedure is followed, of course). This procedure was followed by the Mad Scientist, including the required accent, thus it was created as described in the rules. The argument that the rules do not give the *Blueprint* the authority to make the Cheez-Whiz part have its effect miss the mark, because rule 597 already gave the *BUC* this effect, proceeded becasue of this effect, and now we are past that part in the process described in rule 597. As for the argument that 'Blueprints with parts in conflict with the rules are destroyed', that is not exactly how it works. In any case, the Cheez-Whiz part is not in conflict with the rules.

The problem with these arguments, then, in a nutshell, is that rule 597 is allowing the BUC to establish this conflict, the argument is that *Blueprints* cannot. By then, it doesn't matter unless the Blueprint was not created as described in the rules, or some rule destroys the Blueprint. That is not the case.

As a corrollary to the preceeding, the argument that the Cheez-Whiz part would lead to a self-contradictory Blueprint is false. Once the Cheez-Whiz part is added, further parts cannot be. Hence, the procedure in 597 halts the construction and leads to the Cheez-Whiz Blueprint we have, not to a contradictory one. We know when we add this part that this will happen, thus we know that it will not lead to a contradictory Blueprint.

In another note, the difference between this case and the case of CFJ 342 was that the part in question referred to the "Blueprint", and thus was trying to obtain its legal force via the Blueprint rules, not rule 597 (or set of a conflict in the wrong part of the process). The part from the Tickle-me-Elmo was:

> At this Tickle-Me Elmo the Blueprint is constructed, (and is a Blueprint)
> and no more Parts may ever be added to it.
Indeed, it refers to the constructed Blueprint, or possibly the Monster itself, providing the basis for CFJ 342's ruling that this part did not, via rule 597, prevent further parts from being added to the BUC for TME. The Cheez-Whiz part does not have this weakness, and thus any parallels to CFJ 342 are inappropriate.
/dev/joe's Bronze Torch Comments:
Gist of my argument: The B-U-C "All sentences that follow this one are, or describe, attributes of Azpiazu, and they conflict with this one." either does not conflict with many reasonable (ok, rather unreasonable, but possible) following sentences, or it is self-contradictory.
> The section from rule 597 that gives the Blueprint-under-construction's
> (BUC) content its legal force is:
> > If any Part is in conflict with a prior attached Part, (i.e. the two
> > Parts would give the Monster mutually-exclusive attributes, (one says
> > "the monster is blue," the other "the monster cannot be blue.") or
> > would lead to a paradoxical or self-contradictory Blueprint) the new
> > Part is rejected, withers, and is discarded.
> So, the rules say if the content of the BUC is "the monster is blue",
> that content is given the legal force to reject, via Rule 597, parts
> such as "the monster is not blue".  Similarily, rule 597 gives the
> Cheez-Whiz part legal force in the same manner.
I *still* contend that the the sentence "All sentences that follow this one are, or describe, attributes of Azpiazu, and they conflict with this one." does not necessarily conflict with any following sentence. It doesn't actually *create* a conflict by specifying that it does, any more than the sentence "the monster is blue" actually makes some monster be blue, during the phase when it is a B-U-C. And there are plenty of sentences such as "Azpiazu is blue, and this sentence conflicts with the preceding sentence." or even just "Azpiazu is blue." which could follow it and not conflict with the first sentence.

If, however, you insist that this sentence *does* conflict with any sentence that could possibly follow it...

> It has also been argued that Blueprints not meeting certain criteria
> (such as describing the behaviour of gadgets, etc) cannot be created.
> However, rule 597 has precedence over any rules from which these
> arguments are derived, and rule 597 *does* describe a procedure under
> which these, indeed any, sorts of Blueprints can be created
Agreed. This argument (that the blueprint fails to be created because it does not describe Azpiazu's behavior) fails.
> As a corrollary to the preceeding, the argument that the Cheez-Whiz
> part would lead to a self-contradictory Blueprint is false.  Once
> the Cheez-Whiz part is added, further parts cannot be.  Hence, the
> procedure in 597 halts the construction and leads to the Cheez-Whiz
> Blueprint we have, not to a contradictory one.  We know when we add
> this part that this will happen, thus we know that it will not lead
> to a contradictory Blueprint.
If that sentence causes conflict with all possible later sentences to be added, it causes the blueprint to be self-contradictory because that sentence is already self-contradictory -- it claims to conflict with following sentences which either do not exist [conflict] or which are guaranteed to not conflict with it, by rule.

Finally, perhaps the most important argument, is that blueprint for Azpiazu, as published, is self-contradictory. Its one sentence claims that sentences which follow it do something (describe attributes of Azpiazu), yet there are no such sentences. The rule prevents any part from being attached which would create a self-contradictory blueprint. If this is indeed the blueprint created by the rule, then that part would result in a self-contradictory blueprint, thus, the part was rejected.

Supreme Court's Comments:
Let us first be clear what actually entails a conflict. Rule 597 spells this out: the Blueprint Under Construction must either describe mutually exclusive attributes, contain a paradox, or contradict itself. It is the last case that is important here.

Now, there are three related arguments running through this CFJ. Let us examine them in turn.

I. A sentence cannot create a conflict by merely saying it does.

The court agrees with the basic sentiment in this argument. However, if one sentence claims that it conflicts with a second sentence, and no such conflict exists, then clearly the first sentence is wrong ... which means that the Blueprint Under Construction is contradicting itself.

For example, if the sentence "Azpiazu is blue" was brought to the Mad Scientist, it would clearly not be in conflict with the first sentence, and therefore the Blueprint Under Construction would contain a contradiction. Thus the second sentence would have to be rejected.

(It is important to remember that when the Mad Scientist attempts to graft a new sentence that creates a conflict, it is always the new sentence that is rejected, even when the "source" of the conflict seems to be a prior sentence.)

II. Not every possible second sentence would conflict with the existing Blueprint.

/dev/joe gives the clever example: "Azpiazu is blue, and this sentence conflicts with the previous one." However, the prior argument still holds here. Claiming twice that a conflict exists still does not automatically create one. This sentence agrees with both claims of the first (it describes an attribute, and asserts that it is in conflict), and thus fails to actually be in conflict with it. Thus the Blueprint Under Construction contradicts itself, and this sentence would also be rejected.

An obverse example would be: "This is the second sentence of Azpiazu's Blueprint, and it conflicts with the previous one." This addition would actually vindicate the first sentence's claim of there being a conflict, because it does not (contrary to what the first sentence says) describe an attribute of Azpiazu. But then, of course, the Blueprint is self-contradictory on the face of it.

Clearly, any additions to this Blueprint Under Construction must either validate the claim of there being a conflict or not. Either way leads to a self-contradictory Blueprint.

III. The first sentence should have been rejected itself, because it refers to sentences that do not exist.

The Court agrees that this is the most important argument to consider. Once again, the alleged Blueprint Under Construction reads: "All sentences that follow this one are, or describe, attributes of Azpiazu, and they conflict with this one." Which seems to say that the empty set (i.e., a statement zero sentences long) conflicts with it. This would appear to require that some kind of statement is embodied in the empty set, for else how could a conflict be created? This situation does not admit easily to a clear-cut answer.

However, first note that the sentence does not actually state that there are any following sentences, merely that all the ones that do follow 1) detail attributes of Azpiazu, and 2) conflict with the first sentence.

Consider a similar example: "All sentences that follow this one are written with chartreuse ink, and are anagrams of this one." If nothing followed such a sentence, there would be no contradiction. The sentence is certainly superfluous, and perhaps even misleading, but not, technically speaking, false.

In mathematics, it is recognized that the empty set is always a subset of any given set. Likewise, the Court feels that the set of sentences following the first one in Azpiazu's Blueprint Under Construction (i.e., the empty set) is also a subset of the set of all sentences that conflict with the sentence in Azpiazu's Blueprint Under Construction. Therefore, said sentence does not, in and of itself, create a contradiction, and was successfully grafted.

The Court thus finds that the Blueprint for Azpiazu does indeed exist, and upholds the original verdict.

Call For Judgement 403 - Tue, 10 Jun 1997 22:30:39 -0400
Subject: Azpiazu
Initiator: Vynd
Judge: Calvin N Hobbes (selected Jun 09, 1997, 23:40h EDT)
Judgement: TRUE


The creation of the Frankenstein Monster Blueprint for Azpiazu did not require any Processing Chips.
Initiator's Comments:
Rule 597 Frankenstein Monster states in it's first paragraph that it has precedence over all other rules that generaly deal with Blueprints. Also in it's first paragraph, thre is the statement that Blueprints for Frankenstein Monsters can only be created as specified in that rule (597). It is my reasoning that these two clauses, taken together, mean that the Frankenstein Monster rule completely supercedes Rule 594 Blueprints, when it comes to creating Blueprints for Frankenstein Monsters. Since 597 describes the only way in which Frankenstein Monster Blueprints can be created, and asserts it's precedence over the other rule generaly describing the creation of Blueprints, 594, then nothing in Rule 594 applies to the creation of Frankenstein Monster Blueprints. This is true even in this specific case, where Rule 594 calls for the consumption of Processing Chips in the creation of Blueprints, and Rule 597 does not specificaly contradict this requirement.

If this were to be judged TRUE, Alfvaen would be getting some number (1, I think), of Processing Chips back.

Judge's Comments:
There is very little, if anything, to add to that very good reasoning.

R102 is the rule used to resolve conflicts. R497 claims that its blueprints must be constructed according to what it says specifically in the rule (first paragraph: "[...] which can only be created as specified in this Rule."). That method is a different one from R494, meaning that R497's definition is now in contradiction to R494: using processing chips would not be creating a blueprint only in accord to R497 (as it requires). Since R497 claims precedence, by R102 it gets it.

R497 outlines requirements for a blueprint. It does not require processing chips. Hence no processing chips are required to create an R497 compliant blueprint.

Call For Judgement 404 - Sun, 15 Jun 1997 20:14:38 -0400
Subject: I Am Still Utterly Mad!
Initiator: Alfvaen
Judge: Bascule (selected Jun 11, 1997, 20:17h EDT)
Judgement: TRUE


Alfvaen will remain Mad Scientist even if Azpiazu is transferred to Malenkai and the Cycle ends as a result.
Initiator's Comments:
[This reasoning has been pre-processed by Zee Bad Transylvanian Accent-English translator(which, however, is still in beta-testing).]

I was somehow operating under the assumption that I would lose the office of Mad Scientist when I completed a Frankenstein Monster. However, upon rereading zee relefant rules, I have come to the conclusion that there is no basis in the rules for this assumption.

I quote from Rule 596, first:

This Office can only be filled or transferred as follows: If the seat is vacant, it is filled by the last Player to take possession of any Frankenstein Monster. If no such player exists, the seat shall be filled by Election for Office.

Zis quite clearly delineates how the office is to be filled if it becomes facant, but how may it become so? If it were to be vacated when the Monster was completed, it would be mentioned at the end of Rule 597, which deals with the sequence of efents when the Monster is completed:

viii) The Mad Scientist shall exclaim, "It's alive! <name> IS ALIVE!"

ix) The <name> Monster is awarded to the last Player other than the Mad Scientist to have dug up and delivered a Part that was successfully attached (i.e. not rejected) to the Monster. This Player then owns the <name> Monster.

x) If this Player also submitted the last Part in the case where any additional Parts would have been rejected, that Player shall also win the current cycle, be awarded the honorary title of Angry Villager, and be awarded a Silver Pitchfork (a non-unique ownable entity).

xi) The Blueprint is hidden away and may never, ever be used again to create another Monster. If the <name> Monster ever ceases to exist, its Blueprint instantly crumbles into useless dust.

This regulates the transferrence of the Monster upon its completion, the possible end of cycle, etc., but makes no mention of the transfer of the office of Mad Scientist. I am thus forced to conclude that the office of Mad Scientist can only be vacated by the normal means--resignation, impeachment, etc.

So I vill get zee chance to create a new Monster!!!

Judge's Comments:
Alfvaen said it all.

Call For Judgement 405 - Fri, 13 Jun 1997 23:19:19 -0400
Subject: Lost Trinkets
Initiator: two-star
Judge: Alfvaen (selected Jun 11, 1997, 20:21h EDT)
Judgement: FALSE


Inky Bloater Decoy 6 is Somewhere Else.
Initiator's Comments:
I believe it was stated when I lost this trinket that it was transfered to the treasury. While trinkets generally act as named bundles of A$, this is one case where that does not hold. Rule 505, section III states: "Whenever the Rules specify that a Player should lose A$, and do not indicate where those A$ should go to, or specify that they should be destroyed, they shall go to the Treasury instead." There is, however, no analogous sentence for trinkets in Rule 506 (Trinkets), nor anywhere else I could find. Therefore Rule 500.2 comes into play: "At any given time, each ownable entity is either owned by one named entity or Somewhere Else (unowned)."
Rule 940 (Beldin's Pants) currently states: "The creator of Beldin's Pants loses 1 Trinket every Thursday at noon." I take this to mean that I cease to own any trinket lost in this manner, and it goes Somewhere Else by 500.2. (The upshot of this is that if this CFJ is judged true, we have a very small leak in the economy that should be patched.)
Judge's Comments:
Rule 505, section II states : "The Treasury is a named, unownable entity that serves as a storing house for entities that belong to no Player, except for those entities for which the rules explicitly state are not in (or considered to be in)the Treasury." (Exceptions to this seem to include the Evidence Room, the Museum, and Buried Treasure, of course.)

Now, there is nothing in Rule 506 to make Trinkets an exception to this Rule. However, it does also say that a Trinket is transformed into money when its owner publicly announces it, and as far as I can tell fails to announce any other conditions. Interesting, though, section VI of Rule 505 mentioned that, while any non-mimsy Tradeable entity that a player owns can be donated to the Treasury, a Trinket "is transformed into its value in A$ upon donation".

Rule 500.2 indeed states an entity which is not owned by any player must be Somewhere Else. I note that the only entities in the Rules that are ever referred to as being Somewhere Else are entities like the Chartreuse Goose, the Great Trombone, Beldin's Pants, etc. I would contend that game usage seems to be that Somewhere Else is somehow reserved for such unique entities, even if this is stated nowhere in the Rules.

I believe it was contended on the public forum that the Treasury and Somewhere Else are synonymous. I think that it is possible that they serve the same function, but may nonetheless still be regarded as distinct. On the other hand, entities that are Somewhere Else tend not to be explicitly described as "not in the Treasury", so perhaps the two overlap, though the Treasury being a larger set than Somewhere Else is perhaps more likely than the two being entirely identical.

So it seems that either the "lost" trinkets are either in the Treasury, or Somewhere Else, and the latter case seems to imply the former. While it is not stated what happens to trinkets in the Treasury, I find the donation rules interesting, in that trinkets are different from other entities in what happens to them when they go into the Treasury. I think that game custom may be in favour of the interpretation that when any trinket goes into the Treasury, it is converted back to A$.

Thus I believe that the "lost" trinkets have gone into the Treasury, and there been converted back into Ackadollars. Thus they no longer exist, and are certainly not Somewhere Else, which is reserved for entities that exist.

Call For Judgement 406 - Mon, 16 Jun 1997 00:22:31 -0400
Subject: CFJ 394 revisited
Initiator: mr cwm
Judge: Mr. Lunatic Fringe (declined)
2nd Judge: Vynd (declined)
3rd Judge: Calvin N Hobbes (selected Jun 14, 1997, 11:12h EDT)
Judgement: FALSE


A judge returning a verdict of TRUE on a CFCJ with the statement "mr cwm has broken the rules" is a game action appearing equally legal and illegal.
Initiator's Comments:
This is the same statement as CFJ 394, the Judge's reasoning in which, although setting a precedent for an extremely useful category of statements, namely, the indeterminate, I find rather unsatisfying in that it does not address the problem at hand.

Consider that reasoning: it declares the CFJ FALSE because the statement published in is is not untrue, but is, rather, indeterminate. But what happens if we accept that the statement is indeterminate? Why, it must be untrue, since it claims to be untrue, but we have just accepted it as indeterminate. So if it is indeterminate, it must be untrue, and by the same reasoning presented in the initiator's reasoning of that CFJ, if it is untrue it must be true, etc.

Really, though, I didn't get to know the Chartreuse Goose very well before it left for Bascule's. I've got a nice room prepared for it, now.

"This is a Paradox Win CFJ"

Judge's Comments:
CFCJs, by R710 (Criminal Justice), say that:

"Except as detailed in this rule, it shall be like the Call for Judgement in all ways, including how it is submitted, how judges are selected, how it is appealed, etc."

Which must be taken to mean that CFCJ have the same options of judgements than CFJs, since R710 does no redefine the legal rulings. Hence for a CFCJ, by R214 (Possible Judgements), the legal rulings are TRUE, FALSE, UNDECIDED and INVALID.

The paradox that mr cwm so skillfully outlines in CFJ394, and to which he refers the judge of this one, is that of a criminal action paradox. As he proposes in CFJ394, the sequence of actions that took place lead to a paradox. It is neither TRUE nor FALSE that the newspaper's owner has committed a crime. Thus any CFCJ which would put presented on the grounds outlined in CFJ394 would have to be ruled UNDECIDED or INVALID. Excluding the INVALID possiblity (which is arguably a trivial one), the judge must return a ruling of UNDECIDED on such paradox.

Hence, a ruling of TRUE in the CFCJ mentioned in the statement of this CFJ, would be an incorrect ruling. It would not be both legal and illegal. This means that the statement of this CFJ is false.

Call For Judgement 407 - Sun, 15 Jun 1997 20:47:48 -0400
Subject: Continuous Creation
Initiator: Robert Sevin
Judge: Bascule (selected Jun 14, 1997, 01:38h EDT)
Judgement: FALSE


Rule 714 (Cow Town Hotel) continually creates the Hotel named Cow Town.
Initiator's Comments:
Rule 714 says "This rule establishes a Hotel named Cow Town.". It does not say that it establishes the hotel only when the rule is created, therefore I conclude that this statement must always be in effect, and therefore it is continuously establishing the Cow Town Hotel. On the other hand, two locations can't have the same name, so this rule might be in conflict with other rules.
Judge's Comments:
Rule 714's _intent_ is clear; the phrase "This rule establishes a Hotel named Cow Town" was intended to create just one location. Given that the initiator's literal reading of this statement could lead to the counter-intuitive conclusion that it creates an infinite number of hotels that should be renamed according to rule 348, this statement could be construed as unclear. Through the game custom that this rule has created only one location, and that it does not make sense to create something that already exists, I judge false.

Call For Judgement 408 - Tue, 01 Jul 1997 18:49:10 -0400
Subject: They Might Be Amung Gods
Initiator: Rule 2059
Judge: Calvin N Hobbes (selected Jun 15, 1997, 15:07h EDT)
Judgement: TRUE at Wed, 18 Jun 1997 21:18:55 -0400
Appealed by: Malenkai at Wed, 18 Jun 1997 21:31:33 -0400
Appeal Judgement: FALSE


fnord's objection to Malenkai's rank of "GOD" application shall prevent Malenkai from obtaining that rank.
Initiator's Comments:
I certainly wondered, along with fnord, what would happen. Since no one but a "GOD" may change rule 2059 (unless precedence in the rules makes that provision false), and no one may become a "GOD" except as described in rule 2059, here we are.

It does seem like the rules submit the CFJ, and the rule 405 requires the Speaker to perform tasks that are required, but for which the rules do not assign a doer. I do think that rule 2095 is the initiator though, if that is possible, and the Speaker is Platonically required to "observe and report" on the change in the game state. That is always up for debate too.

As for the actual statement, the rules are "unclear" on that. The statement I have "observed" seems reasonable. This is called creating game custom on the fly ;-)

Judge's Comments:
R2059 states:

'If anyone has an objection to this player becoming a "GOD" they may publicly say so and the matter will be brought to a CFJ.'

It says _nothing_ of the consequences. Is the objection itself sufficient grounds to deny "GOD" hood? It does _not_ say that there must be an objection to the eligibility of the player to get "GOD" hood, just that there is an objection to this player getting the status, which are two different things. So what would the CFJ be on?

The process in R2059 seems to be in two step. First the application to the Speaker, where the credentials are sent containing all the appropriate documentation. We might reasonably assume that the Speaker will need to check the credentials and requirement given to him for eligibility, as a prerequisite to making the public announcement. In the second step, that formalized request can then be objected to by a player. The objection is to the distributed notice from the speaker, not the requirements -- and how could the requirements that were sent (as opposed to requirements that _could_ be sent) be objected to, since they need not be sent publicly, and the rule actually requires only a private message to the Speaker.

It continues by saying that the matter (ie: the objection to this player becoming "GOD") must be brought to a CFJ. What is the CFJ on? It would be there to officially record the objection. The CFJ has no other legal muscle granted to it by R2059, nothing to rule on but the objection raised. Was an objection raised? The very lack of detail makes the CFJ little more than an official rubber stamp to that objection.

There is an existing body of game custom regarding public objections by players, how they are handled and what their effects are. In a currently existing rule, R421 (CSRR), simple straight forward public objections are sufficient grounds to deny something from taking place. R421 makes no allowance for the appropriateness of the CSRR report, just as R2059 makes no allowance for the eligibility of the player making the request. If in doubt, the effects of such objections should be the same.

Appealer's Comments:
CFJ 409 was judged FALSE whilst CFJ 408 was judged TRUE, on basically the same question arising from rule 2059. CFJ 409's verdict and reasoning was publically knowable before CFJ 408 was publically accepted by the Judge.

I do not think that there can be much argument that rule 2059's wording in regulating this matter is open to a wide variety of reasonable interpretations; indeed, I find the reasoning of the Judge of CFJ 408 perfectly *reasonable* given the rule's ambiguous wording.

However, CFJ 409's reasoning is also *reasonable*, given the openness of the wording of the rule. I would argue then, that any sort of interpretation on this matter would be arbitrary to some extent, regardless of the good faith of the Judges, which I do not doubt in the least in either case.

CFJ 168 has establised how to handle this case, namely that the first such verdict delivered holds sway, because it establishes the appropriate game custom which must be used on the latter cases by rule 215. Given that there was no obvious error or debate in the matter of CFJ 409, it is the game custom that must govern the interpretation of rule 2059, hence a verdict of FALSE is indicated here.

I point out that the question has been raised that rule 2059 was not accepted after all. In that thread, which I have not judged, neither CFJ 408 nor 409 were ever *filed*, hence you are not reading this.

Supreme Court's Comments:
The court has little to add as regards the reasoning of the appealer. CFJ 168 indicates that this CFJ should be judged False to be consistent with game custom set by the prior decision of CFJ 409.

However, the Court would like to add a few comments in regards to the actual question originally brought up by the CFJ and its decision. The first Judge's reasoning for considering CSR objections as applicable game custom states: "R421 makes no allowance for the appropriateness of the CSRR report, just as R2059 makes no allowance for the eligibility of the player making the request. If in doubt, the effects of such objections should be the same." To be precise, Rule 421 describes how players may object to a CSR, and then explains that CSR's that were not objected to are put into effect. In contrast, Rule 2059 only describes that a CFJ is produced, without specifying what statement is to be judged, and that only players who pass "the scrutiny described above" achieve deification. The ambiguity of the latter is not enough, the Court feels, to make an argument that game custom supplies an interpretation for Rule 2059.

Also, given the fact that this rule was proposed by a relatively new player, it seems entirely possible that the *intent* was for the CFJ to be issued on the matter of whether or not the player had actually met the necessary qualifications. Of course, this capability is already inherent in the CFJ process, but someone unfamiliar with Ackanomic might well be unaware of this. Note that this third interpretation would also result in a verdict of False for this CFJ.

Call For Judgement 409 - Sun, 15 Jun 1997 22:27:41 -0400
Subject: They Might Be Amung Gods II
Initiator: Rule 2059
Judge: Vynd (selected Jun 15, 1997, 18:04h EDT)
Judgement: FALSE


Mr. Lunatic Fringe's objection to /dev/joe's rank of "GOD" application shall prevent /dev/joe from obtaining that rank.
Initiator's Comments:
See CFJ 408. No one came up with a better idea, IMHO :)
Judge's Comments:
The Amung Gods rule, while it provides for this CFJ to be called if a player objects to a claim to godliness, does not actualy say that such an objection can prevent a player from recieving the status of "GOD." The relevant sections of the rule are quoted below:
>        2) A person has "GOD" status when they have been deemed enlightened,
> hold a  public office, have donated to any organization in Ackanomic and must
> have created at least one trinket or gaget. They must be a voting player, who
> has lost no CFJs in the current cycle.
>        3) To become a "GOD"  a player must meet the requirements above and be
> abel to provide documentation of the trinket or gadget, that they were deemed
> enlightened, and that they hold a public office. They must then submit a
> statement, along with the approiate documentation, to the speaker requesting
> the rank of "GOD". The speaker then must destribute a notice of this. If
> anyone has an objection to this player becoming a "GOD" they may publicly say
> so and the matter will be brought to a CFJ. All objections must be processed
> with in 5 days of the decloration of "GOD" request. If they are not,  all are
> rendered null and void.
>        4) When someone passes the scrutiny described above they are given
> "GOD" status with all the rights and privliges there of.
These are all the restrictions on how a player may become a "GOD." There is an additional restriction that can cause a player to lose their status of "GOD," but clearly that doesn't come into play here.

As you can see in the second paragraph quoted above, the rule provides for CFJs such as this one, to be called upon objection to a player recieving the status of "GOD." Nowhere does it say what effects such a CFJ would have, whether it is judged TRUE or FALSE. Thus, I believe that the CFJs delineated in this Rule have no effect, and cannot prevent a player from gaining godhood. Hence, a FALSE verdict.

Call For Judgement 410 - Wed, 18 Jun 1997 21:08:12 -0400
Subject: Changing a rule
Initiator: Robert Sevin
Judge: Techno (selected Jun 16, 1997, 00:18h EDT)
Judgement: TRUE


Repealing a given rule does not constitute a change to that rule.
Initiator's Comments:
Making something cease to exist is not an alteration of that object, IMO.
Judge's Comments:

Call For Judgement 411 - Wed, 25 Jun 1997 20:24:01 -0400
Subject: Losing CFJs
Initiator: Robert Sevin
Judge: CV1701 (selected Jun 16, 1997, 01:19h EDT) (failed to respond)
2nd Judge: ThinMan (assigned Jun 20, 1997, 19:38h EDT) (assigned to S.C.)
3rd Judge: Supreme Court (assigned Jun 23, 1997, 12:32h EDT)
Judgement: TRUE


The following two events are not equivalent:
Initiating a CFJ and having it judged false.
Losing a CFJ.
Initiator's Comments:
I'm not sure what it means to lose a CFJ, but I don't think CFJs are a contest that can be won or lost depending on the judgement given.
Judge's Comments:
It may be the case the the first sentence is the most sensible interpretation of the ambiguous second sentence. Or it may not. Regardless, the two sentences are certainly not equivalent.

Call For Judgement 412 - Thu, 26 Jun 1997 19:16:13 -0400
Subject: The Godfather Scam saga continues
Initiator: Alfvaen
Judge: Techno (selected Jun 18, 1997, 21:45h EDT) (declined)
2nd Judge: ThinMan (selected Jun 20, 1997, 20:03h EDT) (declined)
3rd Judge: /dev/joe (selected Jun 23, 1997, 12:25h EDT)
Judgement: FALSE


The Godfather did not properly ack Malenkai's wager on June 7.
Initiator's Comments:
The Godfather said that the odds of a public message being posted by a player other than Malenkai in the next 7 days was 530 to 1, and that Malenkai was taking the A$1 side of that bet, thereby betting that a player other than Malenkai _would_ post a message in the next 7 days. The message referenced in the Statement above quoted the header of a Proposal written by Malenkai himself, _but distributed by Acrobot_, and claimed that the message satisfied the conditions of the wager.

If, by CFJ 247, the Promoter is not responsible for the content of any Proposal e distributes, it follows therefrom that, especially in a case such as this(admittedly not mentioned anywhere in the Rules)where the Promoter's Proposal-distribution duties are handled automatically, the Promoter is in fact not truly the poster of any Proposals that e is not the author of emself.

If this is the case, then the message acked by the Godfather as satisfying the conditions of the wager was not posted by a player other than Malenkai, Thus the ack made by the Godfather was invalid, and Malenkai did not receive the money from his wager at that time. The conditions of the wager were amply satisfied in the next several days, but the Godfather was remiss in acking the wager once its conditions were actually satisfied, so it may be the case that Malenkai never got the money that was justly owed him by the Narfalone Family before its untimely demise. (Depending on when this Judgement goes through, of course, retroactivity will have rendered the point moot, so that we will be irrevocably in the thread where the Godfather's goof went unnoticed until it was too late.)

[And since a CFCJ has already been called against Malenkai on this matter, even though said CFCJ would not be voided by a TRUE judgement on this CFJ, I would go so far as to encourage the judge to dally and thus let retroactivity take its course, if e judge it TRUE.]

Malenkai's Bronze Torch Comments:
This CFJ should be judged FALSE, IMO, and I ask the Judge to consider the following comments. *Either* of two following arguments is sufficient to arrive at a FALSE verdict.

First, the initiator tries to apply the principle of CFJ 247 to this case, but that comparison is inappropriate. CFJ 247 pertains to the message (noun), and its content, meaning that a player sending a message to an officer for distribution is considered the author of the message, despite the fact that an officer other than the player distributed it.

The wager announced by the Godfather refers to another player *posting* (verb) a message. Mohammed *posted* the message in question, regardless of the fact that CFJ 247 will rule that it is a *message* by Malenkai, it is a *post* to the list by Mohammed. This is an important distinction. (The fact that it is the bot is not relavent on either side of the argument).


The second argument comes from the old rule 1060 itself:

> When the issue is resolved, the treasury shall transfer the money to the
> winner of the bet. Money in the account of the Narfalone Family
> belongs solely to the Narfalone Family and may not be transfered to any
> player by any means other than a wager.

> The Godfather is the only player permitted to speak or act on behalf
> of the Narfalone Family.  Players that object to his decisions are
> welcome to stop by the Narfalone Cement Factory and try on a pair
> of shoes.
The funny thing about this rule, and this has been known by some players for awhile, is that the rule never *says* that the Godfather has to *correctly* adjudicate the bet! Indeed, the first section quoted simply refers to the mechanics of the money being transferred on the "resolution" of the bet, whilst the second section refers to the arbirtaryness of the Godfather's decisions, with the statement to the effect that there is little recourse if someone objects to one of them. The language of these sections clearly leaves open the ability for the Godfather to adjudicate the bet anyway he pleases.
Judge's Comments:
The judge's reasoning in CFJ 247, which has developed into game custom, quite clearly makes the author of a message responsible for its content, while somebody else might actually *post* the message, in cases such as proposals.

I also note that the Godfather is not required to adjudicate the bet; however, I find it has no relevance on the verdict. "The Godfather did not properly ack Malenkai's wager on June 7" can still reasonably be interpreted to mean that the ack in question was somehow incorrect, or more simply "Malenkai had not won the bet by that time." But I find this statement to be false.

Finally, I note that there were plenty of other public messages posted by players other than Malenkai not long afterward, so even if he hadn't won the bet by that moment, he won it soon afterward. Here is where the "godfather doesn't adjudicate the bet" argument comes into play.

Call For Judgement 413 - Fri, 20 Jun 1997 19:54:55 -0400
Subject: Automated Voting
Initiator: Guy Fawkes
Judge: /dev/joe (selected Jun 19, 1997, 23:23h EDT)
Judgement: FALSE


Sending email to with subject line containing the string "Acrobot" and a message body containing the string "#vote " followed by the number of a proposal whose voting period has not yet expired and the abbreviation (y n or p) of a valid vote (i.e. the proper bot syntax) is not necessarily equivalent to sending one's votes to the Promoter.
Initiator's Comments:
This statement more or less says that if Acrobot didn't count your votes that you sent to it, and you didn't take the time to send those votes to the Promoter by some other means, then the Promoter is under no legal obligation to count them.

The rules require that votes must be sent to the Promoter in order to be counted, although they do give a deal of leeway in how they are to be sent. Sending them via private email works, as does sending them through the public mailing list (this assumes, of course, that the Promoter's email is not bouncing). Prior CFJ's even state that email is not the essential medium, thereby allowing Mohammed to use a cgi script to receive votes.

I maintain that sending one's votes to the promoter consists of two parts: first, the voter must attempt to send the votes, and secondly, the Promoter must receive them. Via private email, if the vote message bounces, one must attempt to mail them to the Promoter by other means. The rules do not take into account the difficulties that real life presents us: unless the promoter receives the votes, they were not legally sent to him. (One might think of the other case as sending one's votes _at_ the promoter.)

The Acrobot and the voting web page, though not dealt with by the rules, provide a convenient (at least for the Promoter, if not always for the voter) method of sending one's votes to the Promoter. When working properly, they save the officer much effort in receiving and counting votes. When not working properly, however, they may even impede this effort by impairing the Promoter's ability to receive votes.

It is publically knowable that mail sent to the Promoter with subject line "Acrobot" is not immediately read by the Promoter, but handled instead by the bot. Furthermore, the Promoter has no reason to read such mail unless he knows the bot is malfunctioning. Under normal circumstances, the bot is the Promoter's method of receiving votes, although other methods are still legal. When either through the fault of the voter or the bot's programming, the bot does not successfully receive the vote, and the Promoter is not alerted to this fact and somehow receives the vote manually before the end of the voting period, the vote was not sent to the Promoter.

The case that the vote was sent to the Promoter because he could have received had he known there was a bot malfunction in time is frivolous. By this same reasoning, one could post one's votes to an almost universally accessible newsgroup (say alt.test) and say that nothing impeded the Promoter from finding that vote had he known where it was in time. Also, take note of Rule 250, which I consider one of the most important rules of the game. "A player is a person..." _not_ an email address. Unless the _person_ who is the Promoter receives a vote in time, by whatever means necessary, it was not legally sent to him.

As a side-note, the whenever the Acrobot counts a player's votes, it sends email to the voter's address informing him of this fact. The absence of this notification serves as a good indication of when the bot failed to serve as the medium through which the Promoter receives his votes.

Apologizing for the long reasoning, I summarize this statement in that it is the voter's responsibility to make sure the Promoter receives eir votes by whatever means necessary.

Judge's Comments:
The acrobot is not regulated by the rules, so therefore it is Mohammed's own business how it operates. The bot reads some of's incoming mail and posts public messages that the Tabulator is required to post. Mohammed does not repost these manually. Therefore, I judge that Mohammed treats the bot as an extension of himself for the purposes of performing his Tabulator job.

I know "a player is a person", but in order to send and receive e-mail, a person has to use some sort of computer program. I see no reason to discriminate between the bot, other automated ways of sending messages (such as cron jobs which more than one Scholar has used for sending *ping* messages), and normal interactive e-mail programs -- all are computer programs under the control of the person who is the player.

When mail is sent to in bot format, the bot reads it and processes it. By the reasoning above, mail the bot receives is received by Mohammed. Thus I find the statement false; mail sent to Mohammed's email address in bot format is equivalent to mail sent to Mohammed, and the bot format is a clear way of describing votes. It is part of Mohammed's duty as Tabulator to count all valid votes received within the time each proposal is open for voting, and therefore it is his duty to watch for failures of the bot and account for them; this may mean posting corrections to the bot's posted voting results.

Finally, I note that the statement of this CFJ ends "equivalent to sending one's votes to the Promoter." The office of Tabulator is actually the one which handles voting on proposals; however, Mohammed had both offices at the time the CFJ was submitted, and the bot handles Promoter duties also, so it doesn't make a difference.

Call For Judgement 414 - Tue, 08 Jul 1997 13:29:23 -0400
Subject: Modest Proposals
Initiator: Robert Sevin
Judge: Atilla the Pun (selected Jun 20, 1997, 20:17h EDT)
Judgement: TRUE at Wed, 25 Jun 1997 20:46:11 -0400
Appealed by:/dev/joe
Appeal Verdict: FALSE


Proposal 2136 is not a Modest proposal.
Initiator's Comments:
The rule governing Modest proposals declares that (delimited by ') 'A proposal is considered to be Modest if and only if the author of the proposal prefaces the proposal with the words "This is a Modest proposal".' Proposal 2136 begins with (delimited by ') '{{This is a Modest proposal.' The two braces preceding the declaration of modesty makes this a non-Modest proposal.
Judge's Comments:
I can find no fault with Robert Sevin's reasoning; therefore, I find this CFJ TRUE. I will however note that Proposals 2133 and 2134, as well as Malenkai's Long proposal, are also non-modest.
Appealer's Comments:
The rules do not define a preface so game custom and standard english usage prevails. The interpretation of a preface as "the very first thing in a proposal" is unreasonably narrow. A preface is simply a part of a book (or proposal in this case) which comes before the main part of the text. In several books I picked at random in my own home, out of those that have prefaces, it could be just after the title page (before the table of contents), or just after the table of contents, or there could be more things after the table of contents but before the preface (one had a publisher's note there). Also, the proposal bribery rule also talks about a preface with the bribe in it -- they both can't come first, and it doesn't seem reasonable to me that game custom would prevent these rules from being used together. I think a more reasonable interpretation is that a preface is any text that comes before any of the changes described in rule 103 or before the actual rule-related part of a rule created when a proposal beceomes a rule in full.
Supreme Court's Comments:
The Court agrees with the appealer in that the presence of the double braces does not alter the fact that the proposal is prefaced with the words "This is a Modest proposal". As to the other issues brought up (such as whether a proposal can contain both a statement of Modesty and a Bribe), the Court leaves those for a later CFJ to decide.
Penalty to Original Judge:
1 point.

Call For Judgement 415 - Wed, 02 Jul 1997 18:13:47 -0400
Subject: Revenge of the Thargoids
Initiator: Alfvaen
Judge: /dev/joe (selected Jun 22, 1997, 14:03h EDT)
Judgement: TRUE at Sun, 22 Jun 1997 21:58:51 -0400
Appealed by: Malenkai at Sun, 22 Jun 1997 23:57:13 -0400
Appeal Verdict: FALSE


Alfvaen's Military laser 1-10 were turned into Pulse lasers.
Initiator's Comments:
According to Rule 2104, "More Blatant Elitism":

"If a player assumes a title which requires a score higher than their own, in addition to any penalties required by other rules, that player is deemed to have been ambushed by Thargoids in hyperspace and blasted into a million pieces, leading to the replacement of any Military lasers in the player's possession by Pulse lasers, and the loss of 1 point."

My score was less than 151, the minimum for "Dangerous", and yet I assumed the title "Dangerous", so I was ambushed by Thargoids. That out of the way, the question is whether or not "Military laser 1-10" satisfies the conditions of the sentence.

Representing them as an "array" is merely a convenience. I could also write them "Military laser 1", "Military laser 2", "Military laser 3", etc. Convention seems to dictate that these sort of trinkets, with a single "base name" and a numerical index, can be referred to en masse by pluralizing the base name, as "Inky Bloater Decoys". Therefore, I did in fact possess "Military lasers". As I have pointed out, the word "any" in front of "Military lasers" in R2104 implies that the phrase _should_ be considered as a plural, so the parallel between "Military lasers" and "Beldin's Parka" are weak. Thus, each of the Military lasers, that is, each of Military laser 1-10, in my possession, were replaced by Pulse lasers by R2104.

Judge's Comments:
This falls down to a game custom/english-language interpretation argument, and the situation here is very nearly identical to P2079, where a proposal operated on "Runestone of Jukkasjarvi Fragments", and everyone seemed to agree that this meant the trinket 'Runestone of Jukkasjarvi Fragment 1' and its friends. Cheap pulse lasers for everyone (good thing they are expensive to use).

I verified that Alfvaen's score was less than 151 when he wrote the statement; I found it to be 146 in the no-Azpiazu thread at that time (and somewhat less in the thread with Azpiazu).

Appealer's Comments:
From Alvaen's Reasoning:
> [The] question is whether or not "Military laser 1-10" satisfies the
> conditions of the sentence.
That is indeed the question, and I am going to argue that it does not. The sentence (actually phrase) in question, from the rule, is:
> leading to the replacement of any Military lasers in the
> player's possession by Pulse lasers
Alfvaen first makes an argument that the fact that he represented them in an array, for convienence, makes no difference. That is true. For the sake of argument, lets assume he created only a Trinket named "Military laser 1".

There are only two types of entities that can satisify the term "Military lasers" in the rule. Those with actual lexical equivelence, or those entities that, either by definition in the rules, or by custom, are in fact a type of laser, specifically, a type of Military laser.

There are no Military lasers defined by the rules, and of course "Military laser 1" is not actually a laser, thus we must examine the cases of lexical equivelence and custom.

First of all, there is [unfortunate] game custom that any noun phrase in the rules can be "pirated" by creating a Trinket with a lexical equivelent name. In the old days, this was called Malenkai's Loophole, and done with R115 entities. The most recent example of this before this case was the case of Beldin's Parka, in which a Trinket by that name was used to "pirate" the term in the Beldin's Pants rule. Clearly this custom is well established and generally accepted, but in all cases, the lexical equivelence was *exact*, and I argue that that is necessary for this sort of thing to work. The entity must be called "Beldin's Parka". For example, If I created a Trinket called "Beldin's Green Parka", would that apply in the Beldin's Pants rule? No, it would not, I think the lexical warfare between snowgod and Antimatter demonstrated that; demonstrated that "Beldin's Parka 1" would not apply either.

That leaves the initator to somehow establish, through custom, tradition, or common language usage, that the Trinket "Military laser 1" is *also* some sort of Military laser, or, failing that, something a little more than the lexical string "Military lasers", at least enough to satisfy the phrase in the rule.

I fail to see how this has been established. The Trinket is not a laser, and there is no specific custom or tradition surrounding lasers or the rule in question.

This leaves the initiator to look for general custom to apply to the situation, and I believe this is how the first Judge found TRUE, but I do not believe this is a proper application of custom.

The problem is that rule 2079, cited by the Judge, is the exception, not the rule. Given the custom and tradition of the Runestone of Jukkasjarvi treasure hunt, we know how to construe "Runestone of Jukkasjarvi Fragments" in rule 2079. Rule 215/101 requires that we find what was intended in this case. We know what that *means*. Custom has given those Trinkets the actual game *concept* of RoJ fragments.

The case comes down to then, can we project the specific custom that applies to the interpretation of rule 2079, to the general case, or to the specific case "Military lasers" in rule 2104. Certainly there is no custom or tradition surrounding the Military lasers of the rule, no Military lasers warfare or treasure hunt. Do we know what "Military lasers" *means*? Custom and tradition has *not* given any Trinket that contains "Military laser" the game *concept* of Military laser.

There is no other rule or custom that would allow the specific custom of rule 2079 to scope to the general case either, unless we assume, a priori, that the custom established in that specific case is automatically general. I think it comes down to "spirit of the game". It gives us the right interpretation in the case of rule 2079, but does spirit of the game give us that any Trinket with the string "Military laser" in its name is actually a Military laser? This is tantamount to saying that "Beldin's hooded fur pullover" would satisify the Beldin's Pants rule, and I think its clear that the *general* custom does *not* extend like this, hence a verdict of FALSE is indicated.

Supreme Court's Comments:
First, it is not unquestionable that the case of Beldin's Parka is completely applicable here. That case involved a single entity, identified as such in the rules, and by name.

The case here, however, deals with the phrase "any Military lasers". Now, it is entirely possible that this phrase could refer to a single entity, but it is equally possible that it refers to several entities. In fact, all of the below are valid interpretations:

* a unique entity named "Military laser";
* a unique entity named "Military lasers";
* all non-unique entities named "Military laser";
* all non-unique entities named "Military lasers";
* all entities that are known to be Military lasers;
* all entities that are known to be lasers AND to be Military.

Now, if the correct interpretation is one of the first four, then there is a single name, which the rule gives explicitly, and lexical equivalence is obviously a neccesary and sufficient test. If the interpretation is one of the others, then lexical equivalence is not quite so helpful.

The example of Proposal 2079 has been offered as precedent for this situation. Now, if lexical equivalence was required of this rule, then the phrase "all Runestone of Jukkasjarvi Fragments" would have to have been written either as "all trinkets named 'Runestone of Jukkasjarvi Fragment <N>, where <N> is replaced by a number" or as "the following list of entities: 'Runestone of Jukkasjarvi Fragment 1', 'Runestone of Jukkasjarvi Fragment 2', ..." etc., or some similar method.

Insisting on this level of specificity is overkill, surely. While there is nothing wrong with being absolutely clear, it does not seem that such detail needs to be mandatory. We are human beings, after all, not computers, and Proposal 2079 is already unambiguous to human beings in the form it was written. Everyone familiar with the game state knows exactly what it referred to.

Moreover, the parallels between the case under judgement and that of Proposal 2079 are manifold. We have a group of trinkets, differentiated only by a serial number suffixed to their name, that is referred to in a rule merely by stating the part of their names that is common to all. Proposal 2079 also does not mention that "all Runestone of Jukkasjarvi Fragments" does not refer to actual "Fragments" at all, but mere trinkets - which is very similar to what this CFJ concerns.

And yet, there is definitely some ambiguity as to what "all Military lasers" refers to (as the presence of this CFJ indicates). So, what's the difference?

Well, one difference is simply that the phrase "all Runestone of Jukkasjarvi Fragments" was not really put to the test. What if, a few days before Proposal 2079's voting period was over, someone had maliciously created a trinket called "Runestone of Jukkasjarvi fragment 3.14159"? (Or, for that matter, a trinket called "A newly-discovered fragment of the Runestone of Jukkasjarvi"? How about one called "All Runestone of Jukkasjarvi Fragments"?) If so, Proposal 2079 might have been the source of this CFJ instead. But since nothing like this happened, the proposal was unambiguous at the time it was applied. It also had the advantage of being entirely enclosed in double braces; thus it makes no difference now if someone were to create the above trinkets. The rule it created remained unambiguous for its full existence.

Proposal 2104 was not so fortunate. It continues to exist, and at every moment we must answer the question, "What entities are included in the term 'all Military lasers', when the rules are silent on the issue?"

At the time that Proposal 2104 became a rule, a trinket named "Military lasers" existed (and had in fact existed for three days). As there was nothing else that "any Military lasers" could reasonably refer to, and given the game customs we have, it has to be assumed that those three words can, and do, refer to this trinket. If we accept that that is the case, then we see that the rule precisely names the entity.

Such a trinket also existed at the time that Alfvaen, in possession of ten trinkets named "Military laser 1" through "Military laser 10", was ambushed by Thargoids. The rule cannot both precisely name a single entity and a group of completely different entities with the same words. Since the former applied first, it created the only game custom to be had. The Court has therefore decided that, because Alfvaen was not in possession of any entity named "Military lasers", his ambush did not result in any transmogrifications.

This decision may be seen by some as being unnecessarily harsh, or excessively dependent on legalese-style arguments, or just plain unintuitive and unsatisfying. What follows is written expressly to those people.

Already, the Court can hear your protests. "And just WHY can't the rule refer to both 'Military lasers' and 'Military laser 1' at the same time? It says 'ANY Military lasers', does it not? That wording is awfully inclusive, don't you think? And maybe we don't know just how inclusive it is, but surely, if it can include something named 'Military lasers', it can include something named 'Military laser 1'."

To which the Court must reply: if you feel this way, then how do you feel about something named "Military laser painted black"? Or "Hand-held Military laser"? Surely the extra detail doesn't alter the fact that it is unambiguously a Military laser. Right? So what about the "Military laser-gun", the "Military laser-rifle", and the "Military laser-emitting weapon"? What about the "Army laser", the "Marine Corps photon blaster", and "Private Pip's coherent-light emitter"? If none of the above phases you, then what about "Martial light weapon"? Does that refer to a Military laser or nunchaku?

For those who would argue that everything was fine until the words "Military laser" stopped appearing in the name, consider these potential new entities: the "Paramilitary laser", the "Anti-Military laser", the "Non-Military laser sight", the "Military laser power supply", and the "Music of the Military laser light show".

Where do you draw the line? More to the point, can you choose a place to draw it that is compelling enough that a majority of people will agree that it's reasonable? The Court chose to draw the line between syntax and semantics. If the rules aren't going to offer us any indication as to the semantics, then we are going to insist on a decision procedure that depends purely on syntax. In this case, lexical equivalence.

To which some may object: "I understand why you have to avoid semantics, but seeing that 'any Military lasers' includes 'Military laser 1' isn't an issue of semantics. It's a lexically equivalent name with a serial number tacked on. There's no interpretation involved, really."

But even this tiny leap is a semantic one. Why is it clear that this trinket is a laser? Maybe it's a 1 instead. Why not? What about an entity called "Green neon 1"? Is that a green tube of neon in the shape of a numeral 1, or the first in a series of neon atoms? Is a "Foam rubber 1" the first in a series of ineffectual contraceptives? You cannot assume the 1 in "Military laser 1" is merely a serial number without introducing semantics.

"But serial numbers are a game custom, because trinkets have to have unique names."

But this still introduces semantics. Applying game custom requires semantics and interpretation.

"What do you have against semantics, anyway? Just a moment ago you argued that we shouldn't write our rules as if they were for computers to read, and here you are acting just like one, by refusing to consider anything but syntax."

Normally, the Court has nothing against semantics. The Court strongly prefers semantics. The Court's main reason for existence is the interpretation of rules.

But the rules are no help here. As far as the rules are concerned, this three-word phrase is utterly void of meaning. Its semantic content is nil. And while standard English usage does give it meaning, in the absence of any rules to constrain or even direct, English gives it far too much potential meaning. The Court, therefore, rejects all attempts to assign characteristics to entities based solely upon their names, no matter how suggestive they may be.

"Well, if that's really how you feel, then why did you decide that that phrase refers to anything at all? If it is void of meaning in the eyes of the rules, then why shouldn't it just refer to nothing at all, until the rules are changed to provide it with a clear meaning?"

Because, there is a long-established game custom that when a rule refers to something that isn't otherwise defined, the first entity that comes along with a matching name is taken as what is being referred to. If you've read this far, then you can see that this custom has the potential to make life very difficult. But excising that particular custom could also be quite difficult, and in any case the Court is not empowered to flout game custom without due process.

As for the question of what would have happened had there been nothing in the rules or in the game custom to guide the interpretation of the phrase, the Court leaves that to a future CFJ.