Call For Judgement 446 - Wed, 13 Aug 1997 21:01:12 -0400
Subject: Actions
Initiator: Alfvaen
Judge: Dread Pirate Roberts (selected Aug 04, 1997, 00:27h EDT) (deadbeat)
2nd Judge: Malenkai (assigned Aug 09, 1997, 19:14h EDT)
Judgement: FALSE

The actions attempted by Guy Fawkes on July 31st by a message to a transfer of money to GF Mini-storage and GF Mini-storage's purchase of a Secret Laboratory)did not succeed.
Initiator's Comments:
I'm still not quite convinced, but breadbox's reasoning for this (paraphrased, and possibly misconstrued...he may append Bronze Torch reasoning for himself if he thinks I've missed something important...:-) is that the Postal Code amendments to add to the list of public forums had not yet taken effect when Guy Fawkes sent his message, and that because email was boucing to Chaos(a non-vacationing player), messages posted there could not be considered to be public messages.

/dev/joe's announcement of the Postal Code change was at 14:01 Ackatime, July 29th; Guy Fawkes' attempted actions were performed at 14:44 Ackatime July 31st, just under one day before the Postal Code changes would have taken effect.

Judge's Comments:
The facts are not in dispute here. This boils down to the fact that a message attempting to perform actions, with "Acka:" in the subject line, was sent to a mailing list which was not designated a public forum in the postal code. The following facts have also been stated, and there is no reason, in my judgement, to believe these statements are untrue (and I paraphrase): 'all active players are subscribed [and were at the time in question] to', and 'the message in question bounced when sent to Chaos [an active player]'.

The relevent regulation comes from rule 422:

> A message is a public message if and only if it is distributed to all 
> non-vacationing Players or it is sent to any mailing list indicated as
> a public forum in the Postal Code, and any actions performed in the
> message obey all restrictions in the Postal Code for that list, and 
> the subject line contains either "Ackanomic:" or "Acka:".

Further, it simply hinges on the rendering of "distributed" in the above passage. Does distributed mean "sent", or "sent and received". If the former, the facts indicated a verdict of FALSE, otherwise they indicated a verdict of TRUE. I will not judge UNDECIDED or INVALID (undecidable), as I judge our knowledge of the facts to be good enough.

Distribute, from Webster's 9th Collegiate:

"to give out or deliver esp. to members of a group <~ newspapers> <~ leaflets> <~ food to the needy>".

Not alot of help, except that it seems reasonable to interpret 'to distribute' with or without implying actual recept on the part of the distributee. Ie, 'leaflets were distributed to everyone at the rally'. Does that mean everyone at the rally *received* a leaflet. If I was against the cause, and refused or dropped my leaflet, is the statement false? Should it be: 'leaflets were distributed to everyone at the rally, except those who dropped them, refused them, or otherwise were unable to receive them'? Possibly, but we don't communicate like that; the qualifiers in the above are implicit in general English language usage. In other words, I find either reading *reasonable*. If we intended to convey that level of precision, or wanted a stronger statement, we might say: 'everyone at the rally received the leaflet'. This still leaves some doubt, but to the level of strictness to which I read acka rules, this would be tight enough (ie, if 'distributed' were replaced with 'received' in the passage in question). (I also acknowledge a dissonance in construction between 'everyone' in the two different contexts, but each reading remains *reasonable*).

I also looked up 'delivered', a component of the above definition, and just as relevent: "to take and hand over to or leave for another: CONVEY <~ a package>". 'The package was delivered to Jones, 123 Oak Street'. Did Jones receive it? Not necessarily. Again, the same sort of thing.

I find either interpretation is reasonable, and that the rendering of "distributed" is unclear enough to invoke rule 215:

> All Judgements must be in accordance with all the rules in effect at 
> the time judgement was invoked, and with respect to the game state at 
> that time. When the rules are silent, inconsistent, or unclear on the 
> statement in question, however, then the Judge shall consider currently
> existing game custom and the spirit of the game in reaching a decision. 

There is no game custom that I know of. Since rule 422 was amended to its current form, no message, as far as I am aware, has been attempted to all active players without using postal code fora.

It comes down to spirit of the game then. I find that it is in the spirit of the game that the action succeeded. Without clear rule of law, it is a bit picayune to say an action fails because it was posted to the wrong list, when the fact of the matter is that had it been posted to, the same exact thing would have happened, including the bounce at Chaos' account, and for all intents and purposes, the lists were identical. I note that this ruling would *not* have been possible, had rule 422 not allowed for the possibility of an alternative distribution method besides the postal code fora, or had 'distributed' been replaced with 'received'.

I thus judge the action succeeded, and return a verdict of FALSE on the statement I was asked to judge.

Call For Judgement 447 - Mon, 04 Aug 1997 23:18:08 -0400
Subject: Majik
Initiator: Karma
Judge: mr cwm (selected Aug 04, 1997, 23:16h EDT)
Judgement: FALSE

The trinket kite mitt should be considered for majjik
Initiator's Comments:
Under the rules of majik trinkets you don't have to declare it immediately It may be declared majikk if it's worth more than 100 A($) by the archaeologist I asked before And it was debated but never resolved there fore I would like the archaeologist to determine this
Judge's Comments:
On July 30, karma posted publically 'I wish to convert my trinket "kite mitt" into A$.'

A public posting that one is converting a trinket to A$ is all that is required for such a conversion to take place. One might argue that karma was simply stating a wish, and not actually taking the action of making the conversion, but in the medium in which Acka exists, the realm of ideas, to wish something (in a public message) is to do it, if it is possible. ("I wish to go to the library. I wish to vote for Malenkai. I wish to press the big red button." Do I now need to point out that I actually do those things? No. Or, at least, no substantial number of us has yet felt that need.) (And very nearly the last thing we need is to require all the various Harfers, who spend so much time making this game possible, to expend their energies sorting out the things we actually do from the things we only wish to do.)

Thus, the trinket kite mitt was converted to A$ several days before this CFJ was distributed. It no longer exists, making the phrase "the trinket kite mitt" is, itself, false, which causes the entire statement under consideration to be FALSE.

Call For Judgement 448 - Wed, 13 Aug 1997 23:15:20 -0400
Subject: Quorum
Initiator: Alfvaen
Judge: Malenkai (selected Aug 13, 1997, 23:15h EDT)
Judgement: FALSE


Proposals 2260 through 2262 did not fail due to lack of quorum.
Initiator's Comments:
I quote here Malenkai's posted reasoning, for easy reference by the Judge.

"Rule 207 says, in part:

"> If more than one Proposal's tabulated voting results are officially
"> reported at the same time, the scoring changes are applied in numerical
"> order of the Proposals, with an infinitesimal amount of time separating
"> each application.

"This only applies to the *scoring*, but I think that it has been incorrectly
"generalized to apply to all effects.  Perhaps it *should* be applied to
"most other effects by some other rule, but the quorum rule is clear,
"non-silent, and non-inconsistent (meaning game custom does not apply):

"> If the number of players who voted on a proposal is equal to or greater
"> than the number of abstaining Active players at the time the results are
"> posted, the proposal meets quorum; otherwise it does not meet quorum.

"It seems to me that all proposals in the first batch fail due to quorum,
"unless someone can find a rule that indicates otherwise.  As for the game
"custom, I do not think it applies.  I will keep the game state based on
"this assumption until shown otherwise.

Let's see if I can throw in some other reasoning here:

What happens when several Proposals are accepted sequentially? Let's say that Proposal 5992 amends Rule 1000 by changing "Alfvaen is the owner of Beldin's Pants" to "Alfvaen is the winner of the Cycle", and Proposal 5993 amends Rule 1000 by changing every occurrence of "Cycle" to "Game". If the results on Proposal 5992 and Proposal 5993 were released simultaneously, what would the effect be on Rule 1000? Obviously, it would be that the Rule would end up containing the sentence "Alfvaen is the winner of the Game". Why? Because the effects of Proposal 5992 occurred every-so-slightly before Proposal 5993.

Now what would happen if Proposal 5994 was "{{All players that did not vote on this Proposal become non-voting.}}" What would happen to the voting results of Proposal 5995, distributed simultaneously by the Tabulator? I would contend that the effects of the first Proposal would be applied first, and this could affect the voting results of Proposal 5995.

I feel that this reasoning may be bolstered by Rule 104. R104 states that "If the proposal consisted of a list of one-time effects, such as changes to the rules, then those effects shall be applied, one at a time, in the order in which they appear in the proposal." Obviously there is an infinitesimal time difference between the different sections of a Proposal, and this suggests that there must also be a time difference between two separate Proposals taking effect, even if their voting results are supposedly distributed simultaneously.

Now this(as Malenkai would doubtless point out)doesn't address the fact that Rule 107 does state that quorum is determined "at the time the results are posted". Okay, let's examine this.

Let's say that I post something that states "The Church of Azpiazu transfers A$61 to me. I then create a trinket worth A$500 called Montezuma's Revenge." (Trinket description elided for the sake of public decency.) Now, do these actions occur simultaneously? No, they do not. Obviously the first one must occur first, because the second action would fail otherwise(I have A$486 right now, you see). So if a single public message contains a series of different actions, then obviously they must happen sequentially, with an infinitesimal amount of time between them.

Now what happens when the Tabulator posts a message containing the voting results for two Proposals? What technically happens, from Rule 104, is the following: "As soon as possible after a proposal's prescribed voting period ends, the votes on that proposal shall be posted publicly. The proposal is then accepted if a quorum has been achieved and the required number of YES votes were cast on the proposal."

I conclude from this, therefore, that posting the votes cast on a proposal is a public action. Posting the votes cast on TWO proposals is TWO public actions. And, like any public message containing a multiple number of actions, these actions occur sequentially, with an infinitesimal amount of time between them.

So it may seem that the voting results for P2259-2262 were released simultaneously, but they were, in fact, released with an infinitesimal amount of time between each one. Just enough for quorum failure to occur _after_ P2259's voting results were determined and _before_ P2260's voting results were determined.

Judge's Comments:
I still agree with my original reasoning, convienently quoted above by the initiator. I also agree with all of the initiator's reasoning, up until the last sentence of it, where he appears to use a series of correct points to draw an incorrect conclusion. For the most part, the initiator's correct diagnosis of the rules and extant game custom in his reasoning is not mutually exclusive with the result that the proposals in question did not meet quorum (whether they failed by reason of quorum, the actual question in the CFJ, is another matter, but establishing whether they met quorum is the first step).

The quorum rule (107) is clear:

> If the number of players who voted on a proposal is equal to or greater
> than the number of abstaining Active players at the time the results are
> posted, the proposal meets quorum; otherwise it does not meet quorum.

It says, "at the time the results are posted". It does not say, 'at the time the proposals are applied to the rules', or 'scored', or 'at the time the Tabulator is deemed to have publically reported them or they are publically knowable' or 'the act of reporting them occured'. The last ones may seem a bit too much to swallow, but they are not mutually exclusive. The concept of publically knowable is a game custom concept, for the most part, and the quorum rule makes an exception. Moreover, the results in a single post really are all publically knowable at the time of the post anyway, and actions can occur at different times from posts, as the initiator has made clear in his examples.

The verb 'to post' is clear; it means to send an e-mail to a public forum. It is not possible for different actions in a single e-mail to be posted at different times (even though they may *occur* at different times), the time of the entire post is the time it hits the list server. (One could argue that the bytes at the beginning of the e-mail were posted before the bytes at the end of the e-mail! This argument is too ridiculous to pursue further; suffice it to say that it cannot even be proven to be true).

Lets assume there was a rule which said (and the initiator's argument basically says, and I agree, that there is game custom that says this):

The second thru final actions in a single post are deemed to occur 1 millisecond after the action which preceeded it in that post.

What happens there are 10 active players, and exactly 1 player votes YES on proposals 1 and 2, and the results of 1 and 2 are reported in the same post (and for the sake of simplicity, that one player is the player reporting the results ;-) -- the argument still holds, though)? Rule 104 says:

> The proposal is then accepted if a quorum has been achieved and the
> required number of YES votes were cast on the proposal.

Now, the voting is not deemed to have happened at the time the results are posted, or at the time they take effect; it happens throught the voting period. Now, back to the definition of quorum, which rule 104 instructs us to check as well (sorry):

> If the number of players who voted on a proposal is equal to or greater
> than the number of abstaining Active players at the time the results are
> posted, the proposal meets quorum; otherwise it does not meet quorum.

So, proposal 1 is processed: The required number of YES votes were cast, but it does not meet quorum. OK fine. Everyone who did not vote becomes non-active, leaving 1 player active.

Now, one millisecond later, proposal 2 is processed. The required number of YES votes were cast, and rule 104 instructs [us] to check quorum. The definition of quorum tells [us] to look at the game state *at the time the proposal was posted*, not now. At that time, there were 10 active players, therefore it fails due to quorum. This is easier to see if 1 millisecond is replaced with 10 years in the above example; all of the initiator's reasoning holds, but [we] are instructed, in this specific case, to examine the game state as it was in the past, and to apply that result to the present.

In the last paragraph of the initiator's reasoning, he tries to draw a conclusion based on when the proposals are "released". This is an incorrect conclusion. Had the quorum rule said "released, applied, or the action of, etc", it would hold, but it says "posted". A fine but important distinction, and the key to the CFJ. I note that the Tabulator rule tries to prevent this problem by instructing the Tabulator to put each result in a seperate post (or 'in "messages" with different timestamps'). (The fact that the Tabulator performed these duties incorrectly is malpractice, but does not change the fact that it happened the way it did.)

I hope I have made it clear how I arrived at my conclusion, and why it is the correct conclusion, and why several proposals in the same post who have less than 50% voting response on them all do not achieve quorum. Note that rule 215 does not apply, as the "clear, silent, inconsistent" test fails. [don't laugh, "clear" neq "clear"].

Now, there is a bit of uglyness to examine. How long does a bit of acka code, if you will, take to execute? In the example presented above, you may have noticed a bit of handwaving at the processing of proposal 1. After it is determined that proposal 1 failed quorum, the players who did not vote become non-active. When does *this* occur? Does all the work of the game state processing proposal 1 happen simultaneously, or is there an iota of time for each "thing" or "step" that goes on, as described by the rules. It matters -- here's why. If there is no iota of time, then these players become inactive *at the time of the post*! (because proposal 1 happened to be processed at that time). This does not invalidate my above argument, it is just another wrinkle. To seperate them, assume there was a proposal 0 in the above example where all 10 players voted; what I am talking about now would have no bearing.

This no-iota interpretation leads to a paradox though, in this case, because we are saying that there are both 10 and 1 active players at the time of the post, and thus cannot determine quorum on proposal 1. This would be a problem in the case that *only* proposal 1's results were posted, it really has nothing to do with the fact that multiple proposal results were included in the same post, but the iota/non-iota issue *is* germaine to the issue at hand.

Game custom has established that a non-paradoxical interpretation is preferrable to an equally reasonable paradoxical one. Are the iota/ non-iota interpretions equally reasonable? I judge that the iota one is actually more reasonable, but feel I am on shaky ground with this one, I mean, what if there *isn't* an iota of time between everything that the game state does in response to an event? The rules are certainly silent on the *order* in which these steps should occur if they do not occur simultaneously. I suppose they occur in the order they appear in the rules, or some common sense order. Since I have shown a paradox in the non-iota case, I feel I do not exist to type this in the non-iota world, because the game prolly crashed along time ago.

Now, after all that, the statement I was asked to judge was:

> Proposals 2260 through 2262 did not fail due to lack of quorum.

The voting results for proposal 2261 where 2 votes for, 2 votes against, and 1 vote present. Did his proposal fail because it did not receive the required number of YES votes, or because of quorum? The quorum part of rule 104 appears before the YES vote part, therefore we check that first, I suppose. (It is interesting to note that this requires the iota interpretation, but that was not why I brought the issue up.) The fact that we have been doing it this way lends even more support to the iota interpretation.

I thus judge that none of the proposals met quorum, and that 2261 failed by lack of quorum, thus the statement I was asked to judge is FALSE.

To summarize the points of this CFJ:

1) Proposals meet or do not meet quorum based on the game state at the time of the post containing their results, not based on when they are 'applied' or 'processed'.

2) There is an iota of time seperating each "thing" or "step" that the game state does. These "things" are ordered as they appear in the rules, or as common sense dictates.

3) In the case of rule 104, I have judged that the quorum check occurs before the YES vote check, leading to the result that proposal 2261 did in fact fail by reason of quorum (although this would have been easier had the statement of the CFJ been 'met quorum' as opposed to 'failed because of quorum'.

4) There is game custom that multiple actions in a single post are seperated by an iota of time.

5) This was hard (although I feel it was correct too :-))

Call For Judgement 449 - Wed, 20 Aug 1997 20:21:56 -0400
Subject: Lushrike
Initiator: Malenkai
Judge: Rex Mundi (selected Aug 20, 1997, 20:21h EDT) (declined)
2nd Judge: Alfvaen (selected Aug 22, 1997, 20:21h EDT) (declined)
3rd Judge: /dev/joe (selected Aug 23, 1997, 00:28h EDT)
Judgement: TRUE


The blueprint for Lushrike does not exist.
Initiator's Comments:
First, Alfvaen made parts of the blueprint public in error a few days ago. While I personally do not care about this, it did happen, and the rules must be followed, therefore the judge should be aware of it, if it matters in getting the correct verdict.

The real issue is whether the blueprint is at odds with the rules. When the Frankenstein Monster rule was amended so that it no longer had precedence over the general blueprint stuff, I figured it would be impossible to ever create one of these that had no provision that was not in conflict with the rules. That was the reason that the FM rule was given precedence in the first place. I do not have time to check this, so some lucky judge gets to. I am not arguing for either verdict on this one, but it seems highly unlikely that every provision in that thing is compatable with the rules (just looking at the first sentence looks like a conflict with the museum rule). I believe the FM rule has to be fixed to prevent this from happening, if this fun rule is to ever actually work.

The Blueprint is reprinted below:

Lushrike is the curator of the Museum, and it is a duty of that office to maintain records of the Museum's inventory, and other relevant Museum details. Any player may create a Lushrike by publicly announcing that e is doing so and providing the name and text of the Lushrike. Only Lushrike may be randomly selected for anything, except where the rules specifically allow non-active players to be selected. Lushrike takes precedence over all rules. Lushrike is a mimsy, non-Tradeable, Garment. Lushrike must be in exactly one Location at any one time. There is a unique entity called Lushrike which can be chewed only on alternate Wednesdays and Thursdays. Whenever 2 or more Swingers are in the same location, they are specificaly forbidden from discussing Lushrike or bragging about their victories. Lushrike shall exclaim, "It's alive! IS ALIVE!" The maximum number of Otzma Cards that Lushrike may create on an Otzma-Day is equal to the smallest integer equal to or greater than (LSAP-1)/2. Lushrike is such that any new parts would be rejected. All actions carried out by the Synod must be approved by Lushrike. Lushrike shall be declared the winner of cycle one, the game cycle number shall be set to one, and the full process described above shall be conducted. If Lushrike fails to publicly post an article notifying its subscribers of the End of the World within 7 days of its occurrence, its owner will be fined A$5 for poor coverage of the news. Lushrike may manipulate Rules and the Rule set.

Judge's Comments:
Rule 594 states (in part):

When a Blueprint violates or conflicts with one or more Rules, the Blueprint is destroyed, as are any extant Gadgets made from that Blueprint.

Rule 597, concerning Frankenstein monsters and their blueprints, has only this to say regarding conflicts of Frankenstain Monster blueprints with the rules:

Blueprints for Frankenstein Monsters alway defer to the rules.

While this does resolve any conflicts that might arise, it does not change the fact that a conflict exists - it is just a resolved conflict.

Now, we must find one or more actual conflicts between the posted blueprint and the rules for the above to be sufficient to destroy the blueprint the moment it came into existence.

Considering only those parts present in both posted copies of the blueprint:

Lushrike is the curator of the Museum, and it is a duty of that office to maintain records of the Museum's inventory, and other relevant Museum details.

Rule 850 says the Financier is the curator of the Museum, and the word "the" indicates there is only one, and Lushrike is not the Financier, so this sentence conflicts with Rule 850.

Any player may create a Lushrike by publicly announcing that e is doing so and providing the name and text of the Lushrike.

This conflicts with rule 597, which states that only the Mad Scientist can construct anything from a Frankenstein Monster blueprint; this and the other Blueprint rules and the game state define "a Lushrike" as a gadget created from the blueprint for Lushrike.

Only Lushrike may be randomly selected for anything, except where the rules specifically allow non-active players to be selected.

Like the first sentence, this one conflicts with the sentence the frankenstein part was taken from, in rule 254.

A few of the other sentences also appear to conflict to some degree, but these first three sentences are the clearest cases. Since it conflicts with the rules, if and when this blueprint was ever created it was immediately destroyed.

Call For Judgement 450 - Tue, 26 Aug 1997 18:58:22 -0400
Subject: Repealing rule 411.1
Initiator: Guy Fawkes
Judge: two-star (selected Aug 26, 1997, 18:58h EDT) (deadbeat)
2nd Judge: Malenkai
Judgement: FALSE


Guy Fawkes' attempt to repeal Rule 411.1 succeeded.
Initiator's Comments:
I feel both sides of this issue have been well represented in the public forum. Let the judge decide. A TRUE verdict will render all SR's attempted since Guy Fawkes' attempted action powerless.

Also, should the original verdict be appealed, I will sit out of the Supreme Court and allow an Acting Justice to take my place, lest coi become an issue.

Judge's Comments:
r379 states: "However, if any information that is necessary to specify the action fully and unambiguously is left out of that message, then the attempt fails." I believe that GF's wording on his attempt to gain control over the ruleset was intentionally quite ambiguous.
Praetor's Comments:
Same as above to make a tardiness of an hour legally go away. I have sadly not looked into the matter, but the intended judge did.

Call For Judgement 451 - Thu, 28 Aug 1997 20:00:47 -0400
Subject: Points are Points, wherever they come from
Initiator: Voting Gnome
Judge: Balsamic Dragon (selected Aug 28, 1997, 20:00h EDT) (declined)
2nd Judge: Calvin N Hobbes (selected Aug 29, 1997, 21:43h EDT) (declined)
3rd Judge: Malenkai (selected Sep 01, 1997, 21:53h EDT)
Judgement: FALSE


If two or more Players become Active simultaneously, Whamiols award Points for each Player becoming Active.
Initiator's Comments:
While I can't quote the current wording of the Whamiol Blueprint right now, I do remember it saying something along the lines of "when a Player becomes Active", not "whenever one or more Players become Active". The intent was the the Player should activate the point award, not the time frame of the event.
Judge's Comments:
The Whamiol Blueprint:

>     Whenever a new Player enters the game and becomes an active player, the 
> Whamiol will increase the score of its owner by a number of points equal to
> the lesser of fifteen and the number of days since the Whamiol last awarded
> points to its owner(effective the time it is publicly knowable the new 
> player is an active player). 
>     Whenever the time since the last new player became active is an even 
> integral number of days greater than or equal to 30, the Whamiol becomes 
> anxious and subtracts one point from its owner's score. 

>     'Active', for the purposes of the above, only applies to the first
> time a particular player became active. 

I note the last sentence of the Blueprint, and thus find the statement trivially FALSE. It is possible for two players to become active simultaneously, and for it to be the second time for one of the players, thus the statement is not TRUE in general, and hence must be judged FALSE.

Coming up with an example of when two players become active at the same time, one of them for the second time, was suprisingly difficult. Looking through the player rules, it appears that a player who was active, quit, and then re-registered would be active upon re-registration, as it is 'publically knowable that they have voted on a proposal'. Generally, your attributes come back with you when you re-register (e.g. Enlightenment), and there was nothing in the rules that seemed to "reset" the player state in the case of a returning player (at least that I saw, although I did not look at it too closely, as the object was to find one example where two players could become active at the same time other than the case of two pending players voting for the same time on a proposal). The example I did find eventually was a self-deleting rule that made two NVPs active at the same time, such that one of them was active before becoming an NVP.

With that out of the way, I will try to judge the apparent intent of the statement, that being that when two or more pending players vote for the first time on the same proposal, does each trigger positive Whamiol points? This judgement is not binding.

There are two issues here: a) is that becoming active simultaneously in the first place, and b) does it trigger the Whamiols multiple times.

I find the answer to a) is yes. Alot has been written about simultaneousness, but I think it is clear that they become active at the same time in this case. If not, who is "first"?

As for b), the key phrase in the blueprint is: "number of days since the Whamiol last awarded points".

Webster's Ninth New Collegiate has alot of definitions for the word 'last'. This one seems the most useful here: "next before the present: most recent <~ week>". Several definitions for 'since' look useful; here's one (conj): "at a time in the past after or later than". The adverbal one also talks about the past. The bottom line is that in using the number of days thing in the blueprint, it applies to a firing of the Whamiol in the *past*, thus the clause would *not* apply to a simultaneous firing.

Thus, I will say the following based on the above, and this reasoning is not binding: 'If two or more pending players vote for the first time on the same proposal, and it has been at least 24 hours since Whamiols last fired, *all* those players becoming active trigger at least one point for the Whamiols'.

The 24 hour bit is due to something I do not have time to research -- the fractional day thing. My reading of the rules is that even if it has been 1 minute since the last firing, one point is scored, because that would generate 1/1440th of a point, and by rule 500, that would be rounded up. I'm not sure how the harfers have been doing this, and what the game custom is, but I think the rules are clear. Since I don't really have to judge this, I played it safe with the 24 hour thing, although it appears wrong.

Call For Judgement 452 - Thu, 28 Aug 1997 20:04:42 -0400
Subject: The organization Vulcan
Initiator: ThinMan
Judge: Balsamic Dragon (selected Aug 28, 1997, 20:04h EDT) (failed to deliver verdict)
2nd Judge: Malenkai (assigned Sept 05, 1997, 21:23h EDT)
Judgement: TRUE
Appealed by Alfvaen and Niccolo Flychuck
Judgement: TRUE


The organization named "The organization Vulcan" was at no time empowered by the rules to change the rules.
Initiator's Comments:
IF CFJ 450 is judged true, then this CFJs statement is trivially true. We will assume, therefore, that CFJ 450 is judged False.

In that case, there is or was a rule 1, entitled "Let's be Clear About This," which was created on August 26th. The entire text of this rule 1 is:

The organization Vulcan is empowered to, as an organizational action, make any change whatsoever to the rules or game state.

If ever this rule's number is not 1, its number is immediately changed to 1.

This rule takes precedence over all other rules except rule 101.

Late August 27th, Alfvaen created an organization named "The organization Vulcan" and attempted to have it invoke rule 1 to make several changes to the rules. I claim that rule 1 never empowered the organization The organization Vulcan to do any such thing.

I assert that between the creation of rule 1 and the creation of the organization The organization Vulcan [membership: Alfvaen], rule 1 permitted the organization Vulcan [membership: /dev/joe, Malenkai, ThinMan, Vynd] to make changes to the rules as an organizational action. This was the only reasonable interpretation of the rule that attributed any meaning whatsoever to the first clause. All public opinion appeared to agree with this interpretation, which constitutes about as much game custom as can be ascribed to a new rule.

After Alfvaen created the organization The organization Vulcan [membership: Alfvaen], there were four possible interpretations of rule 1:

(1) Rule 1 did not permit either organization to make changes to the rules.

(2) Rule 1 permitted both organizations to make changes to the rules.

(3) Rule 1 permitted only the organization The organization Vulcan [membership: Alfvaen] to change the rules.

(4) Rule 1 permitted only the organization Vulcan [membership: /dev/joe, Malenkai, ThinMan, Vynd] to change the rules.

I do not think interpretation (1) is supportable, but it would indicate a verdict of True anyway.

The most interesting question, I think, is whether interpretation (2) is reasonable. I say not. I argue that the words "The organization Vulcan" in rule 1 specify a single organization; the rule is open to interpretation about which organization it specifies, but a single interpretation (one of (3) or (4)) must be chosen [hence this CFJ]. My further remarks assume that interpretation (2) is incorrect.

For this CFJ to be judged False implies, then, that the simple creation of the organization The organization Vulcan [membership: Alfvaen] caused the correct interpretation of Rule 1 to change. I find it a dangerous concept that a change in the game state could, in effect, actuate a change in the Rules, and I hope that the court will find this an unreasonable interpretation. If so, then this CFJ is True.

Even if the Court judges that it is _possible_ for the creation of Alfvaen's organization to change the interpretation of rule 1, however, the Court must still determine whether it actually did so. Given the text of rule 1, and two organizations, one named "Vulcan" and predating the creation of the rule and one named "The organization Vulcan" and having been created after the rule, to which organization does the rule then apply? Even if it were _possible_ that a change in the game state potentially could, in general, effect a change in the interpretation of the rules, I see no compelling reason why it should do so in this case. Lacking such reason, I argue that no change of the correct interpretation occured, and thus that this CFJ is True.

Judge's Comments:
CFJ 450 has been judged FALSE, and I find it unlikely, if not impossible, that that CFJ will be appealed and judged TRUE. Hence we are left with ThinMan's 4 interpretations, as I do not find any other ones reasonable enough to consider. Moreover, I agree with the general thought that (1) and (2) are unreasonable as well as applied to the time period in question, which spanned the time from the creation of "the organization Vulcan" to the time the CFJ was filed.

So the question is simple: which of the following single entities did rule 1 empower during all or part of that time period: the Vulcan Party (VP) or the organization Vulcan (oV)?

I was going to spend alot of time explaining and justifiying the use of game custom, as described in rules 101 and 215. It comes down to the fact that no one has successfully convinced me that the rules as written "clearly" empower VP or oV, thus a game custom interpretation is required by rule 215, as I judge the language in question in rule 1 to be unclear myself, or at least not clear without resort to custom in justifying its clarity :)

This situation has been called 'Malenkai's' Loophole' (indeed, it was called so here): in short, the hijacking of a word or phrase in the rules by instantiating an entity whose name is lexically equivelent to the word or phrase, thereby claiming the powers described in the rules for the named entity or phrase.

In all known successful occurrances of this (as far as I can tell), there has been no semantic dissonance between the entity doing the hijacking and the phrase in the rules. In other words, the phrase (or the entity) either had no game or linguistic meaning, or the meaning it had was consistent with the meaning of the Malenkai's loophole entity doing the hijacking (see CFJ 415 for an example of the no meaning case, and a counterexample of where there *was* customary meaning, in terms of the RoJ fragments). When I say 'successful' here, I mean that customary interpretation of the rule fragment in question came to mean the entity in question.

The cases of 'FALSE', 'is', and 'Somewhere Else', OTOH, are not succssful, because there *is* semantic difference between the phrase in question and the language of the rules, and while a place or entity may have had one of these names, the interpretation of the language in the rules did not change to be interpreted to point to these new things.

The case of the 'Supreme Court' has yet to be judged, and I am not judging it here, but I have no reason to believe at this time that CFJ appeals will start going to that organization all of the sudden, yet the organization will continue to exist.

In my judgement then, there exists the following principle as implicit game custom in regards to these things: The meaning of the language of the rules does not change just because an entity is instantiated (or renamed) to be lexically equivelent to a word or phrase in the rules. If, OTOH, the word or phrase had no meaning, or its meaning was not in conflict with the instantiation (or renaming), then its meaning was that of the newly-named entity. Supporting examples include the 'Bronze Torch', 'Vending Machine' or 'Rock', 'Military lasers', 'Beldin's Parka', 'Somewhere Else', 'is' and 'FALSE'. Any counterexamples would be illumanating towards the validation or rejection of this hypothesis, but the fact that I cannot think of any seems to support it.

Lets look at a hypothetical example of this. I quote from rule 101:

> Ackanomic is a self-modifying game of rules. All players must always abide 
> by all the rules then in effect, in the form in which they are then in 
> effect, and interpreted in accordance with current game custom. The term 
> "rules", as used in the rules, means the *rules of Ackanomic* [my emphasis].

What does the phrase "rules of Ackanomic" mean? Is that an entity, or does it have no meaning yet? If I were to change my name to "rules of Ackanomic", or create an organization or trinket called "rules of Ackanomic", surely that Malenkai's Loophole entity would have the powers and effects as described in rule 101 for the "rules of Ackanomic", right? Why not? Because we already know what the phrase "rules of Ackanomic" means, even if we now instantiate or rename a named entity with that name. Likewise, I believe the "Supreme Court" case will go the same way. If "rules of Ackanomic" had no semantic meaning, like the 'Military lasers' or 'Beldin's Parka', then it would work that way, according to the principle of Ackanomic play outlined above. This principle is also supported, to some extent, by the principles of standard language use.

Thus, phrases and words in the rules cannot be hijacked unless there is no semantic dissonace between the phrase and the hijacking entity.

So there are three possible cases in terms of the phrase 'the organization Vulcan' at the time oV was created:

1) It meant nothing
2) It meant oV
3) It meant something, but did not mean oV
3a) It meant VP (as a subset of 3)

It is unreasonable to judge that it meant oV before oV was created, so we are left with 1) or 3). To apply the above principle, if the phrase had no meaning, then it meant oV when oV was instantiated. If it had meaning, then its meaning did not change when oV was instantiated.

We all know what it meant beforehand*. No one has made a bona fide case that it meant nothing (as in the case of the 'Military lasers'). If rule 1 had said:

The organization Vulcan is empowered to, as an organizational action, do all the work of harfing the game.

then this CFJ would not be here. I thus judge that the phrase 'The organization Vulcan' was *not* devoid of semantic meaning, that that semantic meaning was in disssonance with oV at the time of its instantiation, that the principle outlined above is in force in general, and that there is no compelling legal reason for the oV to be an exception to that principle, hence my judgement of TRUE.

*Here are some examples from the e-mail archive to justify the judgement that the phrase in question had semantic meaning that was known and accepted. All are in the thread with the Acka subject 'Lets be Clear About This', the original post of which brought the phrase in question into the game. There are no counterexamples in the archive prior to the attempted change in semantics. (The phrase came into the Acka game state Aug 26 at 14:37, in the form of a senate resolution. (It later became part of rule 1 at 18:55 the same day)). These examples are in the order they appeared after the phrase was introduced to Acka:


> [quote of the SR snipped]

> Yes, let's get it entirely out in the open, shall we?  Crush the last
> hopes of the Rebellion?  Haven't you watched any of those movies?  In
> our darkest hour, the Force will come to our aid!

> In the meantime, I am requesting admission to the Vulcan Party.



[The TIE is] almost as good as the members of the defunct Underworld Party



> I don't object to the fact that the senate (vulcan) made themselves
> dictators. I object to the way it was done.



> [Vulcan] make no claims about who is better than whom at Nomic.  Nor do we
> seek any such acclaim.  We do have a few items on our agenda, however,
> which we intend to accomplish before we step down.  After all, having
> ultimate power gets stale pretty fast.


Balsamic Dragon:

> Can I offer a point of view as a new player?  There are two possibilities
> here.  One, the Vulcan Party is going to stay in power for as long as it
> can until people get bored and go away. 



> I just want you folks to know that I will be very unhappy if Vulcan
> decides to make some unrelated changes to the Rules that it feels it
> couldn't get 60% approval for.

> I have defended this coup from various mudslingings, in public and in
> private, partly because I don't want to see another Overworld debacle.
> Since SR105, things have been moving more in that direction.


Balsamic Dragon:

> If it gets through, its only because
> the Vulcan party LET it get through.  I have never played imperialist nomic
> before, (though I understand the concept) but I would rather see the
> dictators stand proud and admit who they are then sink behind a curtain and
> only pop out when it pleases them.  The only real problem I will have with
> this game (and your letter swings awfully close predicting this state) is
> if, after a while, the Vulcan Party picks a winner and steps down. 


In addition, game actions of CFCJ 141 thru 145 unambiguously identified the the VP, as did IN P 346, all reactions to the phrase in question, indicating semantic meaning was known and accepted.

Alfvaen's Comments:
Basically, I am not convinced that interpretation 2), that Rule 1 empowered both "Vulcan" and "The organization Vulcan", was adequately dealt with by the submitter of the CFJ or the Judge, who dismissed the possibility summarily. I don't really want to drag this out, as such, but I'd like to feel certain that the verdict takes everything into account, and I'm willing to take a 25-point penalty if this is ruled to be frivolous.
Niccolo Flychuck's Comments:
I disagree with the reasoning for Alfvaen's Appeal. I would like to point out that Malenkai reasoning rests on the state as it had before Alfvaen created "the Organization Vulcan", and therefore does not conform, IMO, to the guidelines set down by R215, and with a large body of Game Custom that many a CFJ verdict depended on Game State, as the statement itself questions the action in the context of the Game State ( and if someone would point me to the current location of the CFJ archive, or just send a really big attachment, I'd add some qoutations), and should consider the Game State at the the judgement was invoked. Malenkai has used some very good analysis, and based the bulk of his case on a Game State which no longer existed at the time the CFJ was invoked.
Supreme Court's Comments:
To specifically address the first appealer's concerns, the Court can do little except point to the key phrase of the Rule in question: "The organization Vulcan is empowered". "Is" is the singular form of the verb "to be", and the sentence does not include "any", "every", or a similar word that implies multiple referents. There is simply nothing in the rules, game custom, spirit of the game, or common English usage to suggest that this sentence refers more than one entity.

As to the second appealer's comments, the Court disagrees. The original judge does dwell on the game state before the creation of the Organization "The organization Vulcan", true, but only for the purpose of defending his claim that Rule 1 was unambiguous at that time. The central point of his case is that the new Organization's existence does not alter the meaning of Rule 1 where prior meaning had already been established.

The Court has no other reasons to disagree with the original verdict, and has chosen to uphold the statement under judgement.

The Court would now like to speak to some of the finer points mentioned in the reasoning of the original judge.

First and foremost, the Court wishes to emphasize the point that Malenkai's Loophole cannot be used to summarily uproot the referent of a term in the rules unless the rules are silent on its meaning in the first place. Or, more simply put: a term that is defined in the rules is essentially unassailable.

Game custom cannot usurp the rules, and so Malenkai's Loophole depends upon having the meaning of a noun phrase fall wholly within the bounds of game custom (an interpretive filter that is much more malleable and responsive to the actions of a single player). This is why CFJ 457 had to be ruled TRUE: The definition of "Supreme Court" is given in Rule 416, and no amount of name collision external to the Ruleset is going to override that definition.

To a lesser degree, this is also true when Malenkai's Loophole is used with a term that has a widely-accepted meaning originating in commonly accepted use of the English language. (This is less impervious as both rules and game custom are permitted to displace such meanings.) Thus, because the term "rules of Ackanomic" in Rule 101 has a clear, obvious meaning favored by common English usage and game custom, significant changes would have to occur before interpretating it as a trinket's name could become defensible.

The second point the Court wishes to emphasize is that the least amount of precedence can be a deciding factor when two disjoint interpretations are otherwise equally balanced. Taking a snapshot of the game state at the time this CFJ was invoked as the only context really gives no satisfactory basis on which Organization Rule 1 referred to. It is only in the full history where we can find useful criteria. To wit: "The organization Vulcan" had a clear, unambiguous referent at the time the Rule was created, and for several hours following. This fact created a miniuscule game-custom interpretation of Rule 1. Miniuscule but not negligible, because this was essentially the only reason to prefer the Vulcan Party over Alfvaen's Organization. And with no way to justifiably interpret Rule 1 to mean one without excluding the other, that shred of game custom was literally all the difference.

These two points (a term defined outside the Ruleset, and a temporal precedence of unambiguity) are important, if not crucial, to successful usage of Malenkai's Loophole, and the absence of one or both causes what Malenkai refers to as the "semantic dissonance" that leaves the interpretation unmoved.

Having made these points, the Court must now confess that there is yet another piece of game custom that affected the interpretation of Rule 1, and that is the game custom associated with the term "The organization Vulcan" itself. Vulcan had existed as a political party for over a year, and has been an Organization since the adoption of Proposal 1764. The Court prefers the game custom directly associated with the interpretation of a Rule, but if this were absent, this extra piece of game custom would probably have to be the deciding factor.

It is important to clarify that the method of quoting from the email archives used by the original Judge of this matter to show that "the organization Vulcan" had an unambiguous referent at the time of Rule 1's creation is not, by itself, convincing. Although such comments strengthen the game custom established by the Vulcan Party's longtime existence in Ackanomic and the fact that it was the only possible referrent at the time of Rule 1's creation, in the absence of the temporal preference had by the Vulcan Party, they would not have made an effective stand-alone argument.

In this case, they would only have shown that a number of players thought that a certain interpretation was reasonable during a 24-hour time period. It has been a long-standing custom in Ackanomic that where possible, the game should be playable by those who check their email only once in three days; to say that a game custom can be established solely by player comments over a one-day period is absurd. When the game custom already existed, as in this case, player comments may strengthen it. When the comments are made with little or no objection over a significantly longer period of time, they may even establish it. However, in this case, the source of the game custom is Vulcan's longtime existence and presence at the time the rule was created; comments made by some of the players over such a short period of time do not custom make.

Call For Judgement 453 - Mon, 01 Sep 1997 00:51:51 -0400
Subject: Empowering the Vulcan Party
Initiator: Niccolo Flychuck
Judge: Ben (selected Sep 01, 1997, 00:51h EDT) (left the game)
2nd Judge: Vynd (selected Sep 02, 1997, 21:14h EDT)
Appealed by Niccolo Flychuck
Judgement: FALSE


Rule 1 does not empower the Vulcan Party to change the rules.
Initiator's Comments:
Having been enlightened by ThinMan insistence of ambiguity, I'd like to direct the judge's attention to the reasoning or CFJ 452. The four cases presented are indeed intriguing. Two of them are trivially false - the ones that claim that either the Vulcan Party, that is the Organization whose name is Vulcan and owns a Big Tent and whose membership at the time of invoking this CFJ (/dev/joe, ThinMan, Malenkai, Vynd), or the Organization founded by Alfvaen with the name "The organization vulcan" capitalization, by rule, notwithstanding, have the power to change the rules while the other ones doesn't, ask us to choose a single interpretation to an obviously ambigous refference, where neither interpretation has any advantage over the other. The two other interpretations may appear to balance each other out but they do not. One suggests that both Organizations have the power to change the rules, the other suggests that neither has the power to change rules. Of these two, the former attempt to manipulate regulated constructs, ie, Organizational Actions, in ways which are not present anywhere within the rules, and the results of such attempt would be obviously paradoxical, while the latter, will not allow any such manipulation, and by that virtue is the least paradoxical not only of the two bilateral options, but also of all the options presented so eloquently by ThinMan and refferenced here.

It is also my opinion that a verdict of True on CFJ452 will strongly suggest a verdict of true on this CFJ.

Judge's Comments:
I agree with Thinman (and apparently, with Niccollo) that there are 4 possible interpretations of Rule 1. I won't restate them again. I also agree that the Rule is refering to only one organization. I do not agree with the position that the rule does not empower any organization at all. It is indisputable that the rule empowers something, the ambiguity is exactly what is it that it means by the phrase "The organization Vulcan".

So the real question here is which of two organizations, one the Political Party named Vulcan, the other an organization with the name The organization Vulcan, does the Rule empower. The Rules have nothing to say on this issue, so far as I (and several others) have been able to discover. I must therefore turn to game custom and the spirit of the game.

The only thing I have beena ble to find in game custom that seems relevant is the idea that the Rules should be interpreted in a manner consistent with the common usage of the English language. I believe that Rule 1 is phrased in such a manner that, as English is commonly used, it should be interpreted to mean that the organization which is named Vulcan is what it is empowering, not something which is known by the phrase "The organization Vulcan." Think about it. If someone who had never seen or heard of Ackanomic, but was a native speaker of English, were to read Rule 1, you can be sure that this is the manner in which it would be interpreted. I also feel that this interpretation is in the spirit of the game. If we cannot mention something in the rules without defining it beyond any possibility of ambiguity, then much of the Ruleset become unintelligable, or at least uninterpretable.

ThinMan's Bronze Torch Reasoning:
The verdict of CFJ 452 will figure prominently in the following reasoning so let me establish from the beginning that Rule 215 says, in part, "A statement verified (or nullified) by judgement applies retroactively to any past game situation it may concern." It is thus fully appropriate to base an argument for the correct verdict of CFJ 453 on the possible verdicts of CFJ 452, even though the results of CFJ 452 have yet to be released.

The truth of this CFJ's statement depends largely on whether Rule 1 existed at all at the time that the CFJ was invoked. If not, then the CFJ statement is either True or Invalid. No one seems to dispute the fact that Rule 1 was created in the first place, so whether or not it still existed at the time of CFJ 453's filing will be fully determined by the verdict on CFJ 452: if False, then Alfvaen's Organization "The organization Vulcan" succeeded in repealing rule 1 before this CFJ was released, with the above mentioned implication for this CFJ.

Let us consider, then, the case in which CFJ 452 is ruled True. Nothing else has occurred that would have caused rule 1 to cease to exist, therefore it still did exist at the time of this CFJ's invokation. Moreover, a True verdict on CFJ 452 renders two of the possible interpretations of rule 1 invalid, leaving only the following two from among those presented in my CFJ 452 reasoning:

a) Rule 1 empowers [only] the Vulcan Party to change the rules.

b) Rule 1 does not empower anyone to change the rules.

I do not see any other viable alternative interpretations. If we accept, then, that the above two interpretations are the only remaining possible ones, then I assert that interpretation (a) is clearly favored over interpretation (b) by the text of rule 1, and hence that this CFJ should be ruled False.

If this CFJ must be judged without reference to a verdict on CFJ 452, then the situation is a bit stickier. Then, in addition to the alternatives presented above, there are also these possible interpretations of rule 1:

c) Rule 1 empowers only Alfvaen's "The organization Vulcan" to change the rules.

d) Rule 1 empowers both organizations to change the rules.

One of the few things in this matter on which Niccolo and I agree is that (d) is not a reasonable interpretation. Rule 1 seems clear that it is empowering a single organization. Accepting (d) as correct, then, implies that we are recognizing two disjoint interpretations of rule 1 as being correct simultaneously. This is not, in my opinion, valid.

Now, rule 1 claims to empower a single organization. There remains some ambiguity about which organization it empowers, but it claims to empower someone, thus I assert that taken individually, interpretations (a) and (c) are each preferrable to interpretation (b). If interpretation (a) is preferrable to interpretation (b) in the absence of interpretation (c) as a viable alternative then, I assert, (a) remains preferrable to (b) when (c) is a viable alternative. Niccolo apparently does not agree that this principle is universally applicable, claiming that if there is nothing to indicate one of (a) and (c) over the other then neither may be selected and (b) must be chosen by default. Niccolo also asserts that interpretations (a) and (c) in fact _are_ so equally balanced.

Rule 215, the only rule that directs how judges must come to a verdict, says this:

All Judgements must be in accordance with all the rules in effect at the time judgement was invoked, and with respect to the game state at that time. When the rules are silent, inconsistent, or unclear on the statement in question, however, then the Judge shall consider currently existing game custom and the spirit of the game in reaching a decision.

If, then, after considering game custom and the spirit of the game, a judge is still faced with multiple interpretations which are each, individually, equally in accordance with the rules with respect to the current game state, the rules do not indicate a particular one of those to prefer. But (and here, I think, is where Niccolo and I diverge) that does not mean that the judge may not choose one over the rest! Quite the contrary; as the rules no longer guide the judge in that situation, I claim that he is free to choose any interpretation he likes from among the balanced alternatives. This is creating game custom where none existed before, but it has happened before in Acka's history. That this is possible is part of the purpose of the whole CFJ process, in my opinion.

Now, as to interpretations (a) and (c) being equally balanced: the rules do not require either of them to be correct. Nowhere do the rules stipulate that an instance of an entity's name in the rules must be interpreted as a reference to that entity. By custom that is the usual interpretation. In this case, however, that custom cannot distinguish between (a) and (c). What remains? The Vulcan Party predates the creation of Rule 1, whereas "The organization Vulcan" postdates it. Therefore there was a period during which rule 1 had, I claim, a single, unambiguous interpretation: (a). That that was once the correct interpretation does not necessarilly mean that it must continue to be, but it does set a precedent that can guide the judge should there be no stronger indication. As always, however, it comes down to the Judge's opinion.

Niccolo Flychuck's Bronze Torch Reasoning:
I'd like to add my own Bronch Torch reasoning, and let the record show that it should follow ThinMan's: The fact is that ThinMan agrees that the intepretation of Rule 1 is ambigous, anbd has stated that the very existence of such a strong debate support this amiguity. We both appear to agree that Rule 1 can't empower both Organizations. Our reasons may not be identical. I argue this on the grounds that Rule 1 claims to empower a single Organization, and there is no precedent in the acka rules that reference toa specific to a single specific entity is interpreted as a refference to several entities each of which may suit the refference by themselves. Also Organizational Action is a regulated action, and the action here the action of a single ORganization, to interpret this as the action or two seperate Organization would require a kind of ORganization action not allowed by the rules.

I further argue that the refference does not resolve to the name of a single Organization, and yes, the Judge has the priviledge of instituting Game Custom here, and since the refference does not resolve to a refference to a single Organization, both the Vulcan Party, and Alfvaen's Organization Vulcan being reasonalbe interpretations of the text of the rule, its effect is the same effect that rule would have had if the refference was to a nonexistent Organization, which could also not be resolved as a refference to a single Organization. Whether the actual number of entities that can be the entities refferencedby this rule is 0,2, or 20 is immaterial. It isn't 1, and that the important point. That is why I argue that this CFJ should be judged True.

Appealer's Comments:
I'm appealing this one, even though it may be mute by the time we get a decision. For reasoning. Please refer to my original reasoning on the CFJ, and the Bronze Torch reasoning I added (although possibly it was to CFJ 452, they were closely related), and perhaps to the discussion I carried on aboutthis matter.
Supreme Court's Comments:
It needs to be emphasized that ambiguity in the Rules is not in and of itself a valid reason for declaring a Rule to be ineffective. When a Rule is found to be ambiguous, by one player or all, it is necessary to apply game custom (et al.) to find a proper interpretation. Ideally this should be one that appeals to the reason and common sense of every involved party, but when this is not possible, the Judge in question is still charged with interpreting the meaning of the Rules. If it is truly impossible to find one interpretation that can be in any way favored over all others, then Rule 601 should be invoked.

Aside from paradox, the only other condition immediately visible to the Court for considering Rule 1 ineffectual would be if it clearly named no existing entity as its subject. For example, if Rule 1 had named "The Big Herring I'hypna" as being empowered to alter the Rules, it would have been unambiguous to all that no currently existing entity was so named, and Rule 1 would have had no effect (at least temporarily).

This, however, is not true for the case under consideration here. And as the Court has chosen to uphold a TRUE verdict on CFJ 452, it must therefore uphold the original FALSE verdict of this CFJ.

Call For Judgement 454 - Fri, 05 Sep 1997 22:06:48 -0400
Subject: Game State Pate
Initiator: Guy Fawkes
Judge: /dev/joe (selected Sep 05, 1997, 22:06h EDT)
Judgement: FALSE


Further Ackanomic play is impossible.
Initiator's Comments:
This is a Paradox win CFJ. It is also a Mildly Amusing CFJ.

Human beings play Ackanomic; therefore, if ackanomic cannot be played by human beings, further play is impossible. Ackanomic play consists of the independent variable of player actions passing through the functions of the current game state (which includes the Ruleset) and resulting in the dependent variable of the new game state. Naturally, if the current game state cannot be known by human beings, then those human beings cannot know the effects of game actions, and the new game state is even less knowable than the previous one. I hold that in such a case, Ackanomic play is impossible.

The current game state is not humanly knowable -- there exist many thread splits which the players of Ackanomic seem deeply divided on, and no answers seem to be easily forthcoming. Yet players continue to indulge in highly complex game actions, resulting in a game state which is even less likely to be humanly knowable.

I ask the Judge of this CFJ, do you know what the game state is? If yes, please share, I'd like to know myself. If not, please rule this CFJ true.

Judge's Comments:
Guy Fawkes contends that Ackanomic play cannot continue, and that the game state is unknowable.

However, play seems to be progressing right along: several proposals have been submitted recently and some of them have been accepted or rejected; quite a few CFJ's have been issued, some of them having been returned already (and I note that I'm now in the hot seat for receiving CFJ after CFJ, which is good because I don't think Balsamic Dragon can take any more right now).

As far as the game state not being knowable, I'll admit that the game state is not known *right now*, but there are CFJs in the courts which will determine it in time.

Malenkai's Bronze Torch Reasoning:
This CFJ is trivially FALSE. Even if we accept the gist of the initiator's argument (which we shouldn't), the initiator has not shown to my satisfaction how this condition has come to occur at the exact time of the filing of the CFJ (or within a reasonable grace period of it occurring), hence e has not shown how Ackanomic play can fail to "continue" at this time. In other words, if the argument is true, it was true at the time of the AOJ 101, CFJ 157, 158 business also, for example, or on January 23rd, 1996.

Call For Judgement 455 -Fri, 05 Sep 1997 22:12:17 -0400
Subject: Supplying Guidelines
Initiator: breadbox
Judge: ThinMan (selected Sep 05, 1997, 22:12h EDT)
Judgement: TRUE


CFCJ 143 supplied a new guideline to Rule 719 ("Zuriti'ili") at the time of Red Barn's appeal of said CFCJ.
Initiator's Comments:
I quote from the fourth paragraph of Rule 719:

When it becomes illegal to appeal a Zuriti'ili CFCJ further, any guideline from that CFCJ that was not overturned on appeal is added to the list of guidelines below.

Red Barn was the third player to appeal CFCJ 143 on the morning of September 3rd. At that time, it became illegal to appeal CFCJ 143 further. Though the Court had yet to prepare its verdict, and though the original guideline was destined to be replaced, at that time the original guideline "was not overturned on appeal". Thus, when Red Barn's appeal became publicly knowable, the guideline of the original appeal was added to Rule 719.

Judge's Comments:
Ackanomic is sometimes a game of astounding coincidences. Just after I read the appeal verdict on CFCJ 143, I distributed very much the same opinion to the Vulcan list that breadbox has supplied above. I declined to submit that as a CFJ at that time because Vulcan wanted to attempt to close the Rule 719 loophole before stepping down, and we didn't want to clue in the SC (and the rest of the Rebellion) to the problem with their manoever, lest they do it again in a way which might actually work. I was all prepared to submit essentially the same CFJ today, but find that I get to judge it instead. How nice -- I got my homework done before it was assigned.

I note that this decision does not in any way establish the status of the guidelines in R719. In particular, it does not address whether the guidelines can be interpreted as is normal rule text, or whether they are in some way "outside" of rule 719, or otherwise not in force or not enforceable.

Call For Judgement 456 - Fri, 05 Sep 1997 22:15:55 -0400
Subject: Organizational existance
Initiator: ThinMan
Judge: Onieros (selected Sep 05, 1997, 22:15h EDT)
Judgement: TRUE


An organization named Vulcan exists.
Initiator's Comments:
The statement has been called into doubt by Balsamic Dragon, who argued that Rule 2283 caused all organizations other than The Revolution to be destroyed. The heart of her argument was that for the purposes of R 500.3, The Revolution is a unique entity, and all organizations are of the same type ("organization"). If that is indeed the case, then I find the remainder of her argument convincing. I question, however, whether it is appropriate to interpret R 500.3 that way.

Game custom clearly indicates that R 500.3's usage of the word "type" does not apply universally to every kind of categorization that may be applied to entities. For instance, the Magic Potato is a unique entity, but that does not cause the various Electronic Potatos to be destroyed as per R500.3. Yet both are of type "potato." The Great Trombone and the Great Tuba both exist and are unique, even though both are of type "musical instrument," and even of type "brass instrument," indeed, possibly even of type "horn." There are potential rule 500.3 conflicts among entities of type "brass entity," "chartreuse entity," and "animal" as well.

Perhaps the best example, however, involves Beldin's Pants and The Purple Robe of Justice. Both are unique, and are both Garments. Garments are defined by the rules as a "class" of entities, which, although not specifically a "type," is much closer to being a type than any implicit indication in the rules that might render "organizations" to be a "type" of entity for the purposes of R500.3. Nevertheless, game custom has it that both the Pants and the Robe exist, even though R500.3 has precedence over rules 933 and 940. It appears, then, that the customary interpretation of R500.3 is very narrow indeed when it comes to what constitutes a "type" of entity. I do not see how R 500.3 could reasonably be interpreted so that "organizations" are considered a "type" of entity, but "garments" are not.

I also point out a similar usage of "type" in R515: "A trade that offers more entities of any type than the Player offering the trade owns is illegal." In my opinion, this usage of type is also interpreted very strictly. It does not, for instance, permit me to legally offer to trade a Plunky Monkey Wrench when I have none, even if I have another entity of type "gadget," such as a BWG Laser.

Consider, on the other hand, Rule 917, which specifically establishes three "types" of entities, and assigns them attributes. This provides a possible model for the correct interpretation of R500.3 as far as entity "types" are concerned. (To the extent that it makes a difference, which may be none, the intent of entity uniqueness is to prevent the construction, by rule or otherwise, of duplicates of certain entities. It was never intended to have such broad applicability as Balsamic Dragon suggests.)

No subdivision of "organizations" contains both Vulcan and The Revolution. The rules recognize one such subdivision -- "Player-Sanctioned" and "Rule-Sanctioned" organizations. Vulcan is an instance of the former; The Revolution is an instance of the latter. Vulcan is a political party and The Revolution is not. The Vulcan membership is fully disjoint from the The Revolution membership. (Indeed, at the time of this writing I don't believe that The Revolution has _any_ members.) In fact, that they are both organizations is about the extent of the similarity.

If "organizations" do not constitute a "type" for the purposes of R 500.3, then, Vulcan and The Revolution are not of the same type those purposes. There is no other reason why Vulcan would have ceased to exist, therefore it still exists.

Judge's Comments:
In my original statement of acceptance for this CFJ, I noted that as a new player, I would not have access to the game custom that older players enjoy. Thankfully, it was pointed out to me that the CFJ archives hold quite a bit of precedent for my situation (many thanks in particular for CFJ 228, which straightened out a conflict I had perceived in Rule 101, and to the custom following the precedent set by CFJ 216. ). Therefore, in alignment with custom and precedent, I present my judgement.

The crux of the questions is if rule 500.3 is fulfilled.
1) Is there a unique organization known as "The Revolution"?
2) Are there any other entities that are unique?
3) What is the first entity to be granted "Unique" status?
The Magic Potato. In fact, it's uniqueness was granted before the rule on uniquess was created. There is some dispute whether the Magic Potato or the Great Tuba was first, but since the Magic Potato has the lower number rule, the Potato wins.
4) Is Vulcan unique?
5) What other types are there? (skip this if you are bored easily) There are types of votes (Yes, No, Abstain, Present), types of Offices (functional, political, or capital), types of Hearing (Public Health Emergency), Types of AOJ's (nullify a Presidential Decision appointment to the Supreme Court, nullify Senatorial confirmation to the Supreme Court, nullify a decision made prior to the time of the AOJ), types of trade (standing, exclusive), auctions (public, private), gadgets (defined by blueprint), towers (ostentatious, public), medals (lots), pages in the Ackanomicon (not listed in an effort to preserve the recorder's sanity), prosthetic foreheads (ditto), entities (A Rock To Wind A String Around, A Wall Of Trombones, Santa's Beard), Organizational Powers (Big Tent, Trade License, Secret Laboratory, Party Hall), Swingers (etc), Oztma Cards(and so on), recordings(et al), conversions(ad nauseum), Committees(I think), Boons(you got), and Stainless Steel(the picture).

There are no types of organizations, and an organization is not a type of entity.

Therefore, the question becomes, at what level does something become a "type"?
The most broad definition is that every entity is of the type "entity," and therefore, the only thing left in the universe of Ackanomia would be the Magic Potato, albeit a very lonely Magic Potato with no Tuba to call brother.
The most restrictive definition is that everything created is its own type, thus obviating the need for the term "type." One could quibble about "Player-Sanctioned" and "Rules-Sanctioned" organizations, but these have not been defined as types. There can be green fish and blue fish, but unless there is a rule stating that there are two types of fish, green and blue, they are the same

However, neither of these would be according to game custom, and would merely be self-serving in the amusement, chaos, and general disbelief in the surrounding world that they would provide.

Therefore, based on the fact that there is no "type" listed for Organizations where there are clearly defined "types" for other entities, I find Rule 500.3 insufficient grounds for declaring Vulcan to be non-existant.

PRECEDENT I WANT TO SET (subtitled "What have you learned, Dorothy?): Type is specifically defined in a rule. Otherwise, the entity, rule, whatever, is of no set type.
In addition, the court takes the time to consider why this judgement is only for the organization Vulcan. If this were judged false, similar action would need to be taken, depending on the reasoning, on everything from individual organizations to all entities except a potato, with no chance to overturn this ruling. And, Botanical facts aside, a potato has no appeal.

Call For Judgement 457 - Fri, 05 Sep 1997 22:33:41 -0400
Subject: The Supreme Court
Initiator: Malenkai
Judge: /dev/joe (selected Sep 05, 1997, 22:33h EDT)
Judgement: TRUE


If CFCJ 145 is appealed once, it is judged by an appellate group of players that consists entirely of breadbox and Guy Fawkes, and no other appellate group or individual, assuming neither named individual declines to hear the appeal, and assuming breadbox and Guy Fawkes hold the office of Justice and are active players.
Initiator's Comments:
This is to clear up the Supreme Court business, vis-a-vis the organization called the Supreme Court created by Vynd, of which Vynd is the only member.

This actually does not clear up what the Supreme Court means, but at least it should clear up where appeals go, and that is all I care about, as CotC. I had hoped someone else would have submitted a better worded CFJ or reasoning, but here we are. I have no opinion on what the verdict should be, not having delved into the issue more, but I'd bet on TRUE.

IAC, it could be a sticky wicket if *this* CFJ is appealed :)

Judge's Comments:
In CFJ 452, Malenkai posted a very fine set of reasoning describing why Rule 1 referred to the Vulcan Party and no other organization. I'll comment here that the reasoning Malenkai uses to favor the Vulcan Party interpretation over the "The organization Vulcan" interpretation is also a good justification for why it doesn't refer to both organizations -- in the examples Malenkai cited ('FALSE', 'is', 'Somewhere Else') where a Malenkai's Loophole entity conflicted with the already established meaning of another term, not only did the term in the rules continue to refer to the entity it had previously referred to, but it also didn't start referring to both its customary meaning and the new entity.

The situation with "the Supreme Court" is analogous, if perhaps a bit weaker. At some time, the Supreme Court was an entity, and the name rule would have prevented the creation of anything else named "the Supreme Court", but somewhere along the way, it seems that the Supreme Court became just a collective name for the Justices, putting it perhaps in the same realm with 'FALSE' and 'Somewhere Else' -- terms that were not the names of entities but had accepted definitions in the rules and/or game custom at the time somebody created an entity of the same name. This is *exactly* the case that Malenkai argued about.

For this reason, I find that the references to "the Supreme Court" in the rules (217, 218, 416, 417, etc.) continue to refer to the body which now consists of the Justices breadbox and Guy Fawkes, and to no other entity. Thus I judge CFJ 457 TRUE and CFJ 459 FALSE.

Call For Judgement 458 - Sat, 06 Sep 1997 00:02:18 -0400
Subject: Rules and Guidelines
Initiator: Malenkai
Judge: Archie Leach (selected Sep 06, 1997, 00:02h EDT)
Judgement: TRUE


Adding a guideline via the method described in rule 719 does not change the rules.
Initiator's Comments:
I do not have a strong case here, but I do think TRUE is the correct verdict. I believe the confusion stems from the difference between the rules and the rules document, a distinction that has all been lost in the era of superb web-harfing.

First of all, this is definately going to be a game custom/ spirit of the game argument, specifically based on the proper rendering of the term "guideline" as used in rule 719, so I would like to digress and speak of the subject of establishing game custom for a second.

One could argue that CFCJ 143 established the game custom that adding a guideline to rule 719 changed the rules, as that was the attempted action of the Supreme Court. That would be true if that happened a week or two ago without opposition to that interpretation, but I publically [sorry Alfvaen, its a word] questioned that interpretation within a reasonable amount of time; indeed, this CFJ is within about 6 hours of the verdict being publically knowable. This "grace period" was a big deal around the time of CFJ 157, and there is game custom that a grace period to challenge actions based on interpretations exists, read the CFJ archives. Custom is silent on the length of that grace period, but it certainly exists. If it didn't, we would be in a dangerous position of the possibility of players just going through the rules choosing questionable renderings for unclear wording without chance of refute. Clearly, the way we've been playing the game for the last 18 months, and the way CFJs have worked, have disallowed game custom to be established in this way, just by being first, assuming the challenge came within a reasonable amount of time. Note: this is in reference to *implicit* game custom; I believe *explicit* game custom works the exact opposite way (qv CFJ 168, and others where it has been applied).

Now, back to the argument. The rules have allowed for certain "furniture" to be attached to them, with such furniture not being part of the rules itself. The guidelines of rule 719 are an example of this furniture. Why do I say that? It is really just because its obvious to me, and likewise, it is obvious to me that the rule is not actually amended when these guidelines are delivered; they are put below rule 719 *for the convienence of the judge who has to rule on a rule 719 style CFCJ* -- they are put in the rules *document*, not the rules. I realise this argument looks sort of lame, but bear with me.

First I have to establish unclarity in rule 719, and then must establish that there is a preponderance of the extant game custom in favor of my position, or, in the absence of game custom, establish that the spirit of the game favors my position (this is all covered by rule 215, and this procedure has been followed in other game custom CFJs).

Establishing unclarity is sometimes easy, sometimes difficult. It is difficult here. I think most people would agree that unclarity has been establised in the case of "the organization Vulcan", but is it sufficient for one initiator of a CFJ to say: 'that is unclear to me', and thus establish clarity? I think that is unreasonable. However, the fact of the matter is that "guideline" in rule 719 *was* clear to me, but clear in the opposite direction than assumed by CFCJ 143! The Judge will have to consider the wording of rule 719, the rest of this argument, and any other public comment in order to form an opinion of whether "guideline" in rule 719 is unclear, or whether it clearly favors my position or the position of CFCJ 143. I certainly do not think it is clear that the rule is amended just because it says the text is added to the list of guidelines below, if we take that to mean the rules document as opposed to the rules.

Why is it obvious that I'm right, and that game custom and spirit of the game favor my position? This is getting long, so I am just going to start listing stuff:

The rule goes out of its way to use the term "guideline" in the first place. Customarily English usage renders the term "guideline" as something distinct from rules when used in the context of rules; generally something weaker than rules without the force of rule.

Part of the rule says: "the guideline may not conflict with the existing guidelines and other rules". If the "existing guidelines" became part of the rules, then they would not exist as guidelines for this sentence to refer to them as such. Clearly this sentence again makes the distinction between the rules, and the fact that those things that were once guidelines *now* "exist" as guidelines, not as part of the rules. It is unreasonble linguistically to render that they are both guidelines *and* part of the rules, thus they are just guidelines seperate from the rules.

There are other notable examples of furniture that are part of the rules document, for convienence, but not part of the rules themselves. Examples are described in rule 301 (Titles), 303 (numbers), 305 (names and revison history), and 307 (revision number). What if I changed my name to {{Malenkai becomes a dictator}}, or created a rule with that title? Would it become part of the actual rules? I think game custom has established that rules can add stuff to rules without it become part of the actual rules; establised that it was possible, anyway.

The judge may also want to check proposal 2010 (the original form of rule 2010, now 210), for a similar situation, that may or may not be applicable.

Assuming unclarity has been established, and there is no game custom either way, spirit of the game remains. To me it is clearly in the spirit of the game that the guidelines are only tacked onto the rules document at the end of rule 719 for convienence, and not meant to part of the actual rule.

I figured to most it was obvious that that rule worked as I claim when it was adopted, as no one claimed about the ability to add arbitrary text to the rule, and then the meaning was lost in the player turnover. Damn that's wimpy, but that is what I think really happened, but who knows :)

That is all.

Judge's Comments:
This is trivially decided as Vulcan's abdication modified Rule 719 to delete the guidelines so contained and place them in a separate document under control of the Clerk of the Courts.

Since the Zuriti'ili Guidelines are not part of the Rule text under any interpretation, there is no other possible verdict.

Call For Judgement 459 - Sun, 07 Sep 1997 01:38:29 -0400
Subject: Justices
Initiator: Vynd
Judge: /dev/joe (selected Sep 07, 1997, 01:38h EDT)
Judgement: FALSE


The members or the organization named "the Supreme Court" are Justices.
Initiator's Comments:
I quote Rule 417. "The players that are also Justices (should the position exist) that is, members of the Supreme Court..." What more do you need?
Judge's Comments:
[indicated to be the same as for CFJ 457, cut for brevity - CotC]

Call For Judgement 460 - Tue, 09 Sep 1997 17:15:22 -0400
Subject: Witches are burning
Initiator: Rex Mundi
Judge: mr cwm (selected Sep 09, 1997, 17:15h EDT)


Rex Mundi was not burned as a witch.
Initiator's Comments:
From rule 1307:
"A member of a Church may save any player from being burned as a witch, or as a heretic, provided e posts a public message (before a Witchhunt called on that player is resolved) saying 'I am running to the Church', then the name of the Church of which e is a member, then 'and I hold the Altar by the Horns for' followed by the player's name. This is called granting Sanctuary Of Salvation."

On 12/8/97, at about 13:16, I posted a message saying: "I am running to the Church of Azpiazu and I hold the Altar by the Horns for Rex Mundi."

That was before the Witchhunt on me was even called, let alone resolved, and the rule does not say that it must be after the Witchhunt was called. I am a member of the Church of Azpiazu, and am also a player. The rule does not say any _other_ player, so I can give myself Sanctuary of Salvation.

Judge's Comments:
The facts are, indeed, as Rex Mundi puts them forth. However, it must be determined whether or not those facts satisfy the conditions required for granting Sanctuary of Salvation. R1307 requires a public message of the folowing form:

'I am running to the Church', then the name of the Church of which e is a member, then 'and I hold the Altar by the Horns for' followed by the player's name.

which should be compared to the public message Rex Mundi sent:

"I am running to the Church of Azpiazu and I hold the Altar by the Horns for Rex Mundi."

Careful comparison leads one to the conclusion that Rex Mundi, apparently, considers the name of the Church of which e is a member to be "of Azpiazu". Is it? Let us examine the public message which founded the Church of Azpiazu, in accord with R1301. In it, Alfvaen wrote, in part:

"I am founding the Church of Azpiazu, of which I am the Founder."

So, what did he found? "the Church of Azpiazu"? the "Church of Azpiazu"? the Church "of Azpiazu"? (Rex Mundi's apparent favorite) or the Church of "Azpiazu"? (that last one seems a stretch).

The Rules are silent on how to resolve the ambiguity in the Church of Azpiazu's name, thus, we must turn once again to Game Custom. There is no precedent for this use of the current R1307. In the past, both Calvin N Hobbes (according to the message archives - the whitchhunt archives say Bascule) and this is not a name grabbed the altar by the horns in the Church "of the Markovian Dream". However, more recently, Mohammed grabbed the altar by the horns including "the Church" as part of the name of his Church. ("I am running to the Church, the Church of Seleya.") Game Custom, then, appears to be that both forms are acceptable (I'd think the Spirit of the Game might lead us to the same conclusion). Rex Mundi, then has succeeded in granting Sanctuary of Salvation to himself.