Call For Judgement 476 - Fri 28 Nov 1997 00:13
Subject: Grapefruit Juice
Initiator: Alfvaen
Judge: /dev/joe (selected 97-11-29 00:21)
Judgement: FALSE


The legality of Alfvaen creating Right-Handed Grapefruit Juice cannot be determined with finality.
Initiator's Comments:
This is a Paradox Win CFJ.

Alfvaen and Malenkai simultaneously, by the Beldin's Pants rule, achieved a winning condition. This is not prohibited by the Rules in any way(Rule 603 takes pains to avoid it, and the other rules specify a single player, but it is codified nowhere).

However, Rule 666 declares that "_The_ winner" (emphasis mine) is given, among other things, a Right-Handed Grapefruit. Rule 668, "Eggs And Fruit", declares The Right-Handed Grapefruit to be a unique entity. Rule 500.3, "Entity Uniqueness", states that "If there are several unique entities of the same type, the oldest one survives and the rest are destroyed."

If Alfvaen and Malenkai both win simultaneously, and are both awarded the Right-Handed Grapefruit simultaneously, then there is no way to determine which RHG is the oldest of them. So "the oldest one" is a meaningless term in this case. The Rules do not provide sufficient information to determine whether both RHG's are destroyed, neither, or one of them, or, in the latter case, _which_ one.

So whether Alfvaen possesses a Right-Handed Grapefruit or not can not be determined with finality, hence neither can eir capacity to create Right-Handed Grapefruit Juice.

Judge's Comments:
Alfvaen argues that if he and Malenkai are awarded RHG's simultaneously:

The Rules do not provide sufficient information to determine whether both RHG's are destroyed, neither, or one of them, or, in the latter case, _which_ one.

However, the rules do in fact have a clause to cover such a situation. It's in rule 405, "Speaker", in the clause describing the Officer in charge of random things:

When the rules require one of a set of distinct objects to be chosen or operated on without specifying how one is to be chosen, the Officer in charge of random things shall choose one of the possible choices at random, with equal probabilities for all possible choices.

If indeed Malenkai and Alfvaen have been awarded RHG's simultaneously, then Malenkai should choose one of them at random to survive, and as described in Rule 500.3, the rest are destroyed (just one other in this case).

Call For Judgement 477 - 29 Nov 1997 17:11
Subject: Renumbering
Initiator: /dev/joe
Judge: Balsamic Dragon (selected 97-11-29 21:57)
Judgement: FALSE
Appealed by Vynd (John McCoy)
Judgement: TRUE


Proposal 2389 did not succeed in renumbering rule 2000 to rule 0.
Initiator's Comments:
Rule 1 states, in part:

The game state may not be altered in such a way as to cause the customary interpretation of this rule to be changed.

The customary interpretation of rule 1 includes, among other things, the global precedence over the rest of the rules numbered 2 & above, and the internally-described immutability. Renumbering rule 2000 to become rule 0 would give it precedence over rule 1, which would result in the last paragraph of rule 1 to cease to have any effect. Clearly if rule 1 becomes easily amendable, and ceases to have precedence over higher-numbered rules which claim precedence over it, then the customary interpretation of rule 1 will have changed. Thus, the change in the game state of renumbering rule 2000 to rule 0 is prohibited by rule 1.

Judge's Comments:
There is a definate difference between the customary interpretation of a rule and the effect which that rule has on the game state. Renumbering the rule does not change the interpretation of the rule, since the rule number is not a part of the rule, and the text of the rule is unchanged. Nor has the changing of the rule number modified that way in which that text is to be interpreted. However, simply because a rule says that it has a certain effect, does not necessarily mean that it has that effect. Otherwise rule conflict would shut the game down.
Appealer's Comments:
Essentially, I am appealing because I am not satisfied with the reasoning of the original judge. While it is sometimes the case that the actual effects of a rule differ from the effects traditionaly attributed to it, I do not see why this matters in deciding this case. I would say that there is complete agreement between the actual and customary effects of Rule 1. It is also quite apparent that the proposed renumbering of Rule 2000 would have changed the interpretation of Rule 1. This is what is forbidden by Rule 1, but the original judgement does not address this central issue in problem.

I also must disagree with the idea that changing a Rule's numbering does not change its interpretation. Since changing the number associated with a Rule changes that rule's precedence over other rules, this clearly change's the rule's interpretation. In thist particular case, changing Rule 2000's number even more clearly changes its meaning. Rule 2000 states that "If this rule ever has a number less than one, then it takes precedence over all other rules, including rule 1." Clearly then, giving Rule 2000 a new number that is less than 1 would alter its interpretation, for Rule 2000 itself states that this is the case.

All of this is moot, however. For the simple fact is that, as /dev/joe says in his reasoning, renumbering Rule 2000 to 0 would alter the state of the game, and this alteration would result in a change in the way Rule 1 is interpreted and thus is forbidden by Rule 1.

Supreme Court's Comments:
The rule entitled "Evil Overlords of Ackanomic (retired)" states, among other things: "No rule may be amended or otherwise changed so that, if it conflicted with this one, it would guide play instead of this one." Renumbering Rule 2000 to 0 would have just that effect, and therefore this action is forbidden.

Admittedly, rule 303 takes pains to point out that a rule's number is "associated with the rule, but is not considered part of the text of the rule itself." The Court does not agree, however, that one can then conclude that renumbering a rule is not changing that rule - only that it is not changing that rule's text. The Court therefore believes that the reasoning it supplied for CFJ 465 is still applicable, and cites it as precedent for the interested reader.

Penalty to original Judge: 1 point.

Call For Judgement 478 - Mon 1 Dec 1997 02:39
Subject: Grapefruit
Initiator: Slakko
Judge: Niccolo Flychuck (selected 97-12-01 21:51)
Judgement: TRUE (without comment)


If Malenkai and Alfvaen have jointly won a cycle, then neither of them received a Right-Handed Grapefruit as a result of winning that cycle.
Initiator's Comments:
Rule 666 (c) states:

The winner is given the title of winner of the cycle, and a Right-Handed Grapefruit and a Champion's Cloak are created in that player's possession.

As Alfvaen and Malenkai are both winners, neither of them qualifies as The winner (as to be The winner implies that a player is a winner and no other player is a winner). Therefore, the events described in Rule 666(c) were not applied, and hence the statement should be judged TRUE.

Alternatively, in the event that Malenkai and Alfvaen have not jointly won a cycle, then the premise which begins my statement is FALSE. As the statement is of the form (statement 1) implies (statement 2), if statement 1 is FALSE then by the rules of logic the statement as a whole is TRUE (a falsehood can truthfully imply anything). Therefore this statement should be judged TRUE in the event that Malenkai and Alfvaen have not won a cycle jointly.

Call For Judgement 479 - Wed 3 Dec 1997 20:00
Subject: Taken out of context
Initiator: breadbox
Judge: Fortunato (selected 97-12-04 16:07)
Judgement: TRUE


If Proposal 2436 passes, then immediately following the Undead 23 Skidoo will be destroyed.
Initiator's Comments:
I believe this should be judged True, but as it turns out there are a couple of issues here. Proposal 2436 contains the sentence: "Undead who exist for 90 days {{(or more)}} decompose." Now, Rule 346 states that "rule text in double curly braces {{eg, this}}, shall be applied exactly once, then shall be deleted from the rule." It is my understanding that the self-deleting text is not applied in its context, but is taken separately. That is, upon the passage of the proposal, the text "(or more)" will be applied exactly once, not the entire sentence. This will have no effect on the game state.

But, it is also my belief that despite this, 23 Skidoo (et al.) will still qualify as having existed for 90 days - though not exactly 90 days - and will therefore decompose.

Judge's Comments:
First, let me say that I wouldn't mind this getting appealed if anyone thinks I mis-interpreted game custom. This seems to be the best interpretation of how the {{ }} Rule should work.

In the example, "Undead who exist for 90 days {{or more}} decompose", it is my belief that the statement should be applied once with the braced text, and then the {{or more}} should be removed. Any amount of time (even infinitesimal) afterwards, it should be harfed as "Undead who exist for 90 days decompose".

In addition, any undead which has existed for more than 90 days would necessarily have existed for 90 days, so the {{or more}} would make no difference.

Call For Judgement 480 - Thu 4 Dec 1997 17:12
Subject: Frobnotzing
Initiator: Slakko
Judge: Vynd (selected 97-12-04 17:30)
Judgement: FALSE


If an unbroken, non-gyrating Pyraic Frobnotzer were to have its + node attached to the noun phrase "Pyraic Frobnotzer" in the phrase "the Pyraic Frobnotzer is destroyed in a magnificent gout of golden flame" in Rule 594.19, and its - node attached to the noun phrase "The Ackanomicon" in the phrase "The Ackanomicon is a powerful book of magic" in Rule 940, and then set gyrating an infinitesimal amount of time later, without any further attachments being made, then The Ackanomicon would be destroyed one week after the Pyraic Frobnotzer described in this statement was set gyrating.
Initiator's Comments:
Rule 594.19 states:

When a Pyraic Frobnotzer has been gyrating continuously for one week, the following happens: If the Pyraic Frobnotzer's two nodes are attached to two noun phrases which are both plural or both singular, and the two noun phrases do not share the same occurrence of the same word, then those two noun phrases trade location within the Rule set, and the Pyraic Frobnotzer is destroyed in a magnificent gout of golden flame.

However, when the Pyraic Frobnotzer is to be destroyed, the rule change either has already occurred (if you interpret the last statement as implying an order of events), or is occurring at the same time. What does it mean for a rule change to occur? Clearly the rules must have changed at the instant that the rule change occurs, otherwise the rules have not changed. There is no "halfway house" for a rule to inhabit, it must either be changed, or not be changed. Hence, at the instant that the Rule says "the Pyraic Frobnotzer is destroyed in a magnificent gout of golden flame" the rule has been changed to read "The Ackanomicon is destroyed in a magnificent gout of golden flame". Hence The Ackanomicon is destroyed and the Pyraic Frobnotzer is not.

Judge's Comments:
I judge this to be FALSE. Rule 594.19 states that if a node is attached to a Rule, and that rule is "amended, repealed, or modified in any way" that node becomes unattached. The above statement, while extremely verbose, does not rule out this possibility from occuring during the week after the Frobnotzer began to vibrate, and if this were to occur then the changes would not take place and The Ackanomicon would not be destroyed.

It is interesting to note that, if the nodes in Slakko's statement were to remain attached, then his statement would be true. The changes described in the statement are legal, in that 594.14 has the power to alter Rule 940. As the changes are described in Rule 594.14 before the fiery explosion effect, the changes would occur before anything went up in smoke. Once the changes were made in Rule 594.14, the result would be the destruction of The Ackanomicon. It is not entirely clear if this would be The Ackanomicon described in Rule 940, or Rule 940 (The Ackanomicon) itself. In either case, however, I find nothing in the rules that would prevent the destruction from occuring.

Call For Judgement 481 - Sun 7 Dec 1997 18:51
Subject: Paying for extra heads
Initiator: The Gingham Wearer
Judge: else...if (selected 97-12-07 21:52) (declined)
2nd Judge: two-star (selected 97-12-07 23:15) (deadbeat)
3rd Judge: Malenkai (assigned 97-12-10 23:15)
Judgement: FALSE


else...if received A$50 from the treasury an infinitesimal amount of time after complaining about having to pay for an extra head.
Initiator's Comments:
Judge's Comments:
The rule (presumably) in question, rule 1129, has not changed, except possible renumbering, since CFJs 329 and 330 established the customary interpretation of the part of the rule in question. To quote from CFJ 329:

> ... it is true that a voluntary purchase or transfer of currency is not 
> considered a penalty under current custom ...

I see no evidence that this custom has changed since that time; I find that buying the head is a voluntary transfer of currency.

This brings up a couple of questions, that fortunately I don't have to deal with: 1) how does explicit game custom ever change, and 2) how do new players know what the (implicit) game custom is?

I see no other evidence that A$50 was transferred after the extra head purchase; so I judge FALSE.

Call For Judgement 482 - Sun 7 Dec 1997 23:49
Subject: Entities and things
Initiator: Malenkai
Judge: mr cwm (selected 97-12-07 23:49)
Judgement: TRUE


Non-human-player, Non-Acka things (or objects, e.g. other nomics), may not be members of Ackanomic organizations.
Initiator's Comments:
There are three separate arguments, only one of which need be accepted for a verdict of TRUE. I also note that this can probably be judged trivially TRUE based on the Supreme Court's reasoning on CFJ 473, but it seemed appropriate to get these arguments into the fold anyway (and they prolly should have been considered in CFJ 473, but were not). The first argument below should be sufficient; I present the others to hilight additional problems should the first argument somehow fail, and to suggest that we solve the problems with doing this before doing this. This does not address the problems with rule 419.3, which is another kettle of fish altogether :)

Note that the term 'thing' in the statement is intended to be construed as 'entity' in the English sense (as clarified by the parenthetical content) as opposed to 'entity' in the Acka sense. I'm referring to things that are not Acka entities, such as the Pumpkin Patch Nomic that is understood to be a member of Internomic, using the term 'entity' there would be confusing. For this CFJ, the term PPN shall be used as an example of such, but for the sake of this argument, PPN represents *any* entity/object/thing referred to in the CFJ's statement.

The rule that has been argued to potentially allow such joining is rule 1015 (quoted following in part). No other rules allow such:

> An Organization that has a More Than Human is allowed to have
> non-player Entities as members, provided that said Entities
> are capable of expressing eir consent in the public forum,
> or that the rules allow for some method by which said Entities can
> become members of Organizations.

Argument 1:

Can PPN be a member of an organization under the auspices of rule 1015 and the related org rules? Rule 1015 allows "non-player Entities as members". PPN is not a "non-player Entity"; in fact, it is not even an entity at all. Rule 500 defines what an entity is:

> Something is an entity if and only if the rules specify that it is,
> or it is defined by the Rules and Ackanomic tradition indicates
> that it is an entity.

The rules do not specify PPN as an entity.

A verdict of TRUE is indicated.

Argument 2:

'Entity' in rule 1015 has to be construed as an Ackanomic entity. A quick search of the other rules pertaining to entities, especially the 500 series, and consideration of game custom, leads one to that rendering. 'Entity', as used in the Acka rules, is an Acka-specific word (as opposed to an English one), meaning an Acka thing, basically. Where the term 'Entity' as used elsewhere in the rules clearly refers to Acka entities, there is no guidance in rule 1015 that indicates we should make an exception and construe the term non-traditionally to include things such as PPN.

A verdict of TRUE is indicated.

Argument 3:

One could argue that ExtraNomic entities, especially nomics, are Entities w.r.t. the Acka rules, or more narrowly, w.r.t. rule 1015. What do the rules say about ExtraNomic entities? Rule 501 entitled "ExtraNomic Entities" reads (in part):

> Other nomics may exist, although it is uncertain exactly where 
> they might reside (maybe in some of the smaller cells of the
> Gaol.) 

This sentence uses the weasel word "may", thus it has no meaning, and offers no clarification on the matter of ExtraNomic entities, despite the rule's title. The rest of the rule talks about import and export of entities, so it is irrelevant.

Even if we ignore this and grant that ExtraNomic entities are recognized by the rules, and further ignore the previous 2 arguments and allow 'Entity' in rule 1015 to be construed to include ExtraNomic Entities, (and this is an intense bending of the rules into pretzel-shaped Cheez-Whiz already), we have a reference problem.

Rule 500.1 says, in part:

> Each entity is either named (which means it has a name) or nameless.
> An entity is nameless unless the Rules specify otherwise. 

The rules do not specify that these assumed entities are named, thus they are nameless. There is no way to refer to them. This is an appeal to common sense -- something that cannot be referred to cannot be a member of an organization. An example of another nameless entity in Acka is the A$. This is like saying 'I bury the 357th A$ as a treasure'. It cannot be done in light of the fact that rule 1015 uses the term 'Entity'.

A verdict of TRUE is indicated.

I point out that it seems a bit silly to present this argument, given the amount of rule bending needed to even get this far, but this is more of an exploration of the problems with assuming 'Entity' can be construed to be anything in the ExtraNomic universe. They can remain nameless, in which case we cannot refer to them, or Malenkai's Loophole type ploys can be used (e.g. 'I create an organization named Pumpkin Patch Nomic'); or they can be named, in which case the game cannot be played, given the indeterminate nature of the namespace. (e.g., I'm sure there is an ExtraNomic entity called 'the Golden Frog', in fact, I just named my computer that :-). As my computer can express its opinion in the public forum (via a homebrew SMTP bot I wrote), perhaps it should apply for membership in an Acka org...)

Indeed, I think this sort of thing can easily lead to an unplayable game (and a crash in the sense of the PWCFJ rule), and I was looking for such when I discovered these arguments. Perhaps that opportunity will present itself later...

Judge's Comments:
From R1015 we see that "An Organization that has a More Than Human is allowed to have non-player Entities as members ... ." "Entities" (capitalization in the original) is a term that has had particular meaning in Ackanomic for a very long time, and in fact, is defined by R500/1 thusly: "Something is an entity if and only if the rules specify that it is, or if it is defined by the Rules and Ackanomic tradition indicates that it is an entity." To return a decision of FALSE, the rules must either specify that some Non-human-player, Non-Acka thing (or object, or other nomic) is an entity, or define some Non-human-player, Non-Acka thing (or object, or other nomic) that Ackanomic tradition indicates is an entity.

The rules do not specify that some Non-human-player, Non-Acka thing (or object, or other nomic) is an entity, nor can they, as such a thing would no longer be a Non-Acka thing immediately upon its specification in the Ackanomian Ruleset.

Nor do the rules define any Non-human-player, Non-Acka things (or objects, or other nomics) that Ackanomic tradition indicates is an entity. Neither interpretation of R501/4's phrase "Other nomics may exist ..." as "Other nomics might exist ..." or "Other nomics are allowed to exist ..." can be construed as a *definition* of a Non-human-player, Non-Acka thing (or object, or other nomic). Even if some Non-human-player, Non-Acka thing (or object, or other nomic) were found to be so defined, it would still need to be an entitiy by Ackanomic tradition before this CFJ could be ruled FALSE, and none are so indicated.

I believe this is in agreement with Malenkai's Arguments 1 and 2.

Call For Judgement 483 - Tue 9 Dec 1997 21:14
Subject: Organizational Actions
Initiator: Malenkai
Judge: Slakko (selected 97-12-09 21:21)
Judgement: TRUE
Appealed by Alfvaen
Judgement: FALSE


An Organization may change its name as an Organizational Action.
Initiator's Comments:
Not wanting to monopolize the names Pumpkin Patch and Pumpkin Patch Nomic assuming someone can fix the rules so that they can be used as nomics, I'd like to know the names can be changed before investing in organizational powers.

My current use of these names will not conflict with proposal 2473; the entities in that proposal will be nameless, as far as I can tell, and may run into the problems I presented in argument 3 of CFJ 482, but that is another matter (that is why I tried to present all those arguments).

Judge's Comments:
First, Malenkai's Reasoning doesn't look at all like reasoning to me. Just thought I'd let you know that.

However, let's not confuse this with the facts.

Rule 251 says:

A player may change his Ackanomic name, so long as the new name complies with all applicable rules.

Rule 1005 says:

An Organization can attempt actions. However, the process for an Organization to attempt an action is somewhat more complex than the same process for players.

I don't see anywhere in the rules where an Organization is forbidden from changing its name. Rule 1005 seems to imply that, provided an action is not specifically for players only and NOT for organizations, then the organization can attempt it. Therefore, given Rule 251 does not say that Organizations cannot change their name, I see no reason why an Organization may not change its name as an Organizational Action.

I hereby rule TRUE on this CFJ.

Appealer's Comments:
I am appealing this verdict. I refuse to believe that any action that may be performed by a player may necessarily be performed by an Organization. This may cause more problems than it solves, but I prefer to think that any action that the Rules do not specify can be performed by an Organization(or by any class of entity that includes Orgs, including "all entities")cannot be performed by an Organization. Otherwise, perhaps I should suggest that the Rebellion attempt to chew the Gumball.
Supreme Court's Comments:
Generally, it is not safe to assume that an action not explicitly forbidden by the rules is automatically permitted. (If it sounds to the reader that this contradicts "permissibility of the unprohibited", the reader is referred to the venerable warhorse that is CFJ 113.)

The procedure in Rule 215 is specifically available to players and no other kinds of entities. The rules do not provide any method for changing the name of Organizations in particular, nor is there a procedure that is available to a superclass of entities that includes Organizations. Organization therefore do not, at this time, have the ability to directly change their names.

Penalty to original judge: 1 point.

Call For Judgement 484 - Thu 11 Dec 1997 09:09
Subject: Trinkets
Initiator: Malenkai
Judge: Calvin N Hobbes (selected 97-12-11 9:12) (deadbeat)
2nd Judge: Balsamic Dragon (selected 97-12-14 19:29) (deadbeat)
3rd Judge: Niccolo Flychuck (selected 97-12-22 18:14)
4th Judge: Vynd (selected 97-12-28 20:22)
Judgement: FALSE
Appealed by The Gingham Wearer
Judgement: FALSE


Trinkets with a value of negative A$ may not be created.
Initiator's Comments:
I'll write even less for Slakko to critique this time :)

I don't know, a couple people have argued that it was not possible, we should at least find out.

Judge's Comments
I am returning a verdict of FALSE. My reasoning is that I think its the right verdict, and because I'm so busy right now that I'm wishing I never accepted this thing. This is, of course, in accordance with the rules as they existed on December 11th, and not the current game state.
Appealer's Comments
If this is judged false it causes the CRD to take place. The CRD applied retroactively meaning that it was never possible to create negatively valued trinkets.
Supreme Court's Comments
Let us start with the appealer's argument, which is that if this CFJ were to have a False verdict, then we would be in the thread in which Crisis Resolution Document 101 was issued. This document would, among other effects, retroactively make the creation of trinkets with negative values impossible, and therefore this CFJ's statement would still not be false. If this CFJ cannot be False, then apparently there is no possibility that CRD 101 was ever issued. This would seem to present a problem if the temporary wording of Rule 506, minus any retroactive effect of CRD 101, actually did permit negatively-valued trinkets. The reason for issuing CRD 101 only in the thread where this CFJ was judged False was, of course, to allow it to have effect only if such was necessary to begin with. But, the argument goes, this choice caused it to automatically remove itself from the realm of possibility. CRD 101 seems to have fallen through a sort of "causality loophole", never to be seen again. And so with CRD 101 definitely not applied, it might still have been possible to create negatively-valued trinkets - an issue that this CFJ suddenly cannot directly address - and so the crisis might still be with us. A troubling circumstance.

However, before we panic, let us actually read the text of CRD 101, a little more carefully this time. The effect of CRD 101 was to create a Rule 100, of which the first two sentences were:

> This rule has precedence over all rules except that it defers to 101.
> The game state is adjusted, retroactively if necessary, as if proposal
> 2439 was not accepted.

(Rule 100 then goes on to make all the changes described by proposal 2439, and then amends Rule 506 to return to it the wording that explicitly requires trinkets to have positive values.)

Admittedly, the second sentence is not going to win any prizes for precision and clarity. However, the Court believes that, with a little thought, one can see that it does have an unambiguous meaning.

Were Rule 100's adjustments retroactive? Only if necessary. Necessary for what? Necessary to make the current game state effectively identical to one in which proposal 2439 was not accepted.

(The Court emphasizes the use of the term effectively identical. If the goal was to be completely identical, then Rule 100 should have described the outcome of the adjustments as being *such that* proposal 2439 was not accepted. The use of the words "as if" indicates that proposal 2439 is indeed still considered to have been accepted, even if the effects of its acceptance are made identical with a proposal that was rejected.)

Given this, then, did the adjustments have to be retroactive in order to have the necessary effect? There are interesting arguments surrounding such a question, which come close to philosophical issues (e.g., Platonic vs. pragmatist views of what constitutes the game state). However, to delve into them would take us too far afield, because the question posed is not the real question we should be concerned with. Rather, what we should be asking is: Did such adjustments necessitate retroactively forbidding any and all negatively-valued trinket creations in order to have the required effect? Because only in this case, and in no other, would CRD 101 be caught in the "causality loophole" described at the beginning of this reasoning, and cause the verdict on this CFJ to be forced.

Fortunately, the answer to this question is clearly no. Rule 100 may or may not have had to retroactively "undo" numerous trinket creation attempts that would have succeeded otherwise. There could be a number of other retroactive effects that Rule 100 may have had to take. But certainly none of the events that occurred would have made it necessary for Rule 100 to retroactively alter the rules to forbid all such creations. (Note that Rule 100 certainly did alter the rules in this fashion; the point is that it is more than sufficient for this change to occur at the time Rule 100 was enacted, and not retroactively to the time that this CFJ was issued.)

And so, with that red herring beaten into the ground, the Court is finally free to address the real issue, the question that this CFJ was actually intended to answer: Did the rules, as modified by proposal 2439, permit players to create trinkets with negative values?

Here is the relevant text of Rule 506 as it then stood:

> A player may tranform some or all of his A$ into a Trinket as a public
> action.  In order to fully specify this action, the player must state
> the name, description, and value of the Trinket to be created.  The
> creation fails if the player does not have at least as many A$ as the
> stated value of the Trinket.  If the Trinket creation succeeds then
> the player who created the Trinket is its intial owner.
> A player may create a Trinket by publically announcing its name,
> description, and value, as long as the player has at least as many
> A$ as the announced value. Upon doing so, the stated amount of A$ is
> transformed into the Trinket, and the creating player becomes the
> owner of the Trinket.

Clearly there is nothing here, or in the rest of the rules, that prevents a trinket from having a negative value. The question is entirely whether an attempted creation of such is legal.

The terms "at least as many A$" and "the stated amount of A$", the Court believes, unarguably do not forbid such values. The only question arises from the interpretation of "some or all of his A$". This phrase, on first impression, seems to strongly imply that the value must be positive, or at least non-negative. After all, if a player spends some or all of their A$, you would not expect them to end up with more A$ than what they started with.

However, the real problem is that "some or all" is simply not normally used to refer to values that can be negative. But it is here.

The Court has decided that if a player had a negative balance, say -A$100, and then created a trinket with a value of -A$100, then they would have in fact transformed "all" of their A$, and thus would have adhered to the rules in the process of creating a negatively-valued trinket. This interpretation conforms to a parallel situation in Rule 256, which states that when an inactive player leaves the game, "all of his A$ are transferred to the Treasury". If such an exiting player had a negative balance, the Court believes that this rule would still be effective. The ex-player's balance would become zero, and the number of A$ in the Treasury would decrease appropriately.

Whether or not a player with a positive balance attempting to create a trinket with an arbitrary negative value would qualify as transforming "some" of their A$ is questionable. However, it is also immaterial to the verdict of this CFJ, and to the determination of the current game state. It is clear that Crisis Resolution Document 101 was issued and accepted, and so if there were any negatively-valued trinkets that were successfully created, their effects were subsequently undone.

The appealer is penalized 15 points.

Call For Judgement 485 - Fri 12 Dec 1997 17:21
Subject: Similar to CFJ 394
Initiator: Slakko
Judge: /dev/joe (selected 97-12-12 19:32)
Judgement: FALSE
Appealed by Slakko
Judgement: FALSE


A Judge delivering a verdict of TRUE on a CFCJ whose statement was "Slakko has committed a Crime" is a player action affecting the game state which appears equally legal and illegal.
Initiator's Comments:
Liar's Paradox. Neither true nor false implies false implies true implies false implies true....

This is a Paradox Win CFJ.

Note that it is similar to CFJ 394, but excludes the possibility of a stable verdict other than true or false.

Judge's Comments:
If I had the luxurious time of a normal CFJ I would be much more long-winded, but since I'm playing Hubert against the initiator I'll be brief.

Slakko (implicitly) contends that his recently published self-referential statement is of indeterminate truth, as treating it as false makes it appear true, and treating it as true makes it appear false, and treating it as "neither true nor false" also makes it appear false.

CFJ 394 provided the game custom that "untrue" in the newspaper rule is interpreted as "false". I would rather interpret it as "not true", which can be different from "false" with respect to self-referential sentences like the one in question, but under either interpretation, the legality of Slakko's refusal is determinable.

"Is the statement false?" the game asks the statement. No. Thus the rule which makes the refusal to publish a retraction does not apply.

[In the interpretation I would prefer, the game asks "Is the statement true?" No. Therefore it is "not true", or untrue, and the refusal to post the retraction is a crime. If there is interest, I may submit a proposal which explicitly adds my interpretation of "untrue" to the rules, along with enough additional commentary to head off attempts like this before they even get started.]

Appealer's Comments:
Suppose the statement here is not true.
Then it is either false, or _neither true nor false_. Those are the only two possibilities left.
Yet saying it is false means that it is true.
Saying it is _neither true nor false_ means that it is false, which by the above statement is not true.

/dev/joe has not realised in his reasoning that while mu is determinate, it is neither true nor false, and hence evaluating the statement as mu makes it trivially knowably false (the third and final condition is failed).

Even if there is a flaw in the above Paradox Win CFJ, the "problem" spotted by /dev/joe is not it.

Supreme Court's Comments:
The statement of this CFJ is clearly false. Consider, for example, that the hypothetical CFCJ might be accusing Slakko of committing Zuriti'ili.

However, even if we set aside this possibility, the statement is still False. It is not illegal for a judgement to be the "wrong" judgment. When the Supreme Court overturns a judgment, that does not mean that the original judge has broken the rules, or has committed a Crime, no matter how wrongheaded the verdict may have been.

It is presumed that a judge will make every effort to return a verdict that is appropriate to, and consistent with, the rules and game state, and that its ramifications do not invite cognitive dissonance. However, the rules do not forbid the judge from doing otherwise - in a very real sense, they cannot. (The Court refers the interested reader to the appeal reasoning of CFJ 434 for elaboration on this issue.)

Penalty to the appealer: 1 point.

Call For Judgement 486 - Fri 12 Dec 1997 17:53
Subject: Ruling UNDECIDED
Initiator: Slakko
Judge: The Gingham Wearer (selected 97-12-12 19:38)
Judgement: INVALID
Appealed by Slakko
Judgement: FALSE


The Supreme Court can never issue a ruling other than UNDECIDED on a CFCJ that "Slakko has committed a Crime", provided that Slakko does not commit any Crimes after the submission of this CFJ.
Initiator's Comments:
From CFJ 406 we have that any CFCJs on the basis of Slakko's attempt to recreate the Liar Paradox in his public actions of December 12 1997 must be ruled UNDECIDED.

Rule 214 states that:

If the Judgement is Undecided then the CFJ shall be decided by the Supreme Court as if it had been appealed, except that the original Judge shall not be penalized for an overturned verdict on that CFJ.

Rule 710 states 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. Any changes to the CFJ procedure will automatically be "inherited" by the CFCJ procedure when they do not contradict the exceptions detailed in this rule.

No such contradiction occurs regarding Supreme Court Appeals.

Rule 217 states that:
After the fourth time a judgement has been returned on a single CFJ, it may not be appealed further.

These two bits are "inherited" by Rule 710, but do not themselves apply to CFCJs. The statement of Rule 710 described above takes the sections on CFJs which do not have analogues explicitly described in Rule 710, and make them part of the CFCJ rules. It does not mean that CFCJs are beholden to Rules 214 or 217.

Therefore Rule 710 implicitly states that:

If the Judgement is Undecided then the CFJ shall be decided by the Supreme Court as if it had been appealed, except that the original Judge shall not be penalized for an overturned verdict on that CFJ.

and also, with exactly the same priority (its authority derives from the exact same sentence in Rule 710) that:

After the fourth time a judgement has been returned on a single CFJ, it may not be appealed further.

All rulings on the CFCJ must be UNDECIDED in accordance with CFJ 406. Therefore, the Supreme Court must decide the verdict as if it had been appealed. It may not be appealed more than four times, however. Interestingly, though, decision of verdict _as if_ it had been appealed does not constitute another appeal. Therefore, all appeal limits are ignored, and hence, no matter how many UNDECIDED verdicts The Supreme Court issue, they must always decide the verdict again.

Slakko notes that this is a major problem. He was looking for a paradox win, and instead created an infinite loop.

Judge's Comments:
Rule 710 states:

"2) A CFCJ will be clearly labelled as such, to distinguish it from an ordinary CFJ. "

Hence the phrase this CFJ in the statement cannot be referring to the CFCJ stating that, "Slakko has committed a Crime", and it is unclear to what it is referring.

Appealer's Comments:
It is obvious that the phrase "this CFJ" in the statement is the CFJ referring to itself. As The Gingham Wearer has stated, it cannot be referring to the CFCJ. There is therefore only one possible interpretation - that it is referring to itself.
The finding of INVALID is therefore erroneous.
Supreme Court's Comments:
Never is a long time.

It is entirely within the bounds of possibility that a proposal (or some other method of rule change) could append self-deleting text to a rule that declared Slakko innocent of any and all crimes he may have committed - perhaps even retroactively, so that any possible crimes would be deemed to have never occurred. It would be a delinquent Court that subsequently returned a verdict of Undecided on the hypothetical CFCJ.

The original judge is penalized two points.

Call For Judgement 487 - Sat 13 Dec 1997 10:08
Subject: Enacting rules
Initiator: Slakko
Judge: The Gingham Wearer (selected 97-12-13 10:25)
Judgement: FALSE


Enactment of a rule covering an aspect of the game where previous game custom exists does not overrule that game custom when a CFJ is made pertaining to that aspect of the game.
Initiator's Comments:
Rule 215 states:
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.

This is the last sentence of Rule 215, and hence any statements within it override all prior statements in Rule 215, as there is no conflict determination mechanism in Rule 215.

The WWWebster Dictionary, available from, includes the following meaning of clear when used as an adjective:
4b : free from doubt : SURE

This leads to the conclusion that an aspect of the rules where doubt exists is unclear, and hence that game custom and the spirit of the game are the areas for the Judge to consider in reaching a decision.

A player should only submit a CFJ in the following circumstances:
(1) Not all players agree on the meaning of a particular rule or section.
(2) A player is unsure of the meaning of a particular rule or section.
In both cases, said rule can obviously not be said to be free from doubt, and hence the rules are unclear.

Therefore, the new rule will be ignored by the judge, who must consider existing game custom instead.

The author of this CFJ notes that this would lead to a field day. I would like to see arguments explaining why it does not.

Judge's Comments:
One part of Slakko's reasoning is that:

"A player should only submit a CFJ in the following circumstances:
(1) Not all players agree on the meaning of a particular rule or section.
(2) A player is unsure of the meaning of a particular rule or section. In both cases, said rule can obviously not be said to be free from doubt, and hence the rules are unclear."

This is not the case. Rule 211 states that:

"Any player who has a question or complaint about any matter concerning the rules, the facts, or their interpretation may email their statement to the Clerk of the Court, who will then distribute it publicly."

This gives a third instance where a player would submit a CFJ. In this case a CFJ could be submitted on a question unambiguously described in the rules, made by a player because he was unaware of the particular rule mentioning it.

The statement is therefore not accurate in all cases which means I can only judge it false. However, I feel that this matter is not closed because a similar CFJ which was re-worded could work its way around that problem. I certainly don't want to be the one to judge *that*.

Call For Judgement 488 - Sat 13 Dec 1997 13:21
Subject: Receiving Secret Laboratories
Initiator: The Gingham Wearer
Judge: rufus (selected 97-12-13 14:22)
Judgement: FALSE


The organisation Shell#2 received a Secret Laboratory from the organisation Shell#1 when Else...if posted the following:

"I suggest that Shell#1 transfer the Secret Laboratory to Shell#2
I approve the suggestion
I suggest that Shell#2 recieve the Secret Laboratory from Shell#1
I approve the suggestion"

Initiator's Comments:
Rule 101 states that:

"The rules and the game state may only be changed as described in the rules."

However rule 101 also states:

"Whatever is not explicitly prohibited or regulated by the rules, however, is permitted and unregulated"

This is part of the rules and it is therefore permissible to change the game state or rules in any way that is not forbidden by the rules. Nowhere in the rules is it stated that an organisation without a trade license is not permitted to offer or accept gifts. Rule 1011 does state:

"If an Organization has a Trade License, that Organization may offer, accept, and retract trades on the Free Market, and give gifts."

This does not however mean that only organizations with trade license may do so. I think that the crux of the matter lies in the interpretation of the word "if". If you have a sentence reading:

"If an object is red then it is not black"

Then this does not mean that the only objects which are not black are red.

Judge's Comments:
Rule 515 "Trading and Gifts", defines how Players --and only Players-- may make trades on the Free Market. Rule 1011 "allows Organizations to buy a Trade License, and then allows Organizations with such a license to make trades in the same manner as allowed by R515. The Rules allow trade, and they regulate it; therefore, what the regulations do not allow is not allowed.

Call For Judgement 489 - Sat 13 Dec 1997 16:53
Subject: Annoying the CotC
Initiator: Slakko
Judge: Michael Wren (selected 97-12-13 19:45) (deadbeat)
2nd Judge: Supreme Court (selected 97-12-16 19:54)
Judgement: FALSE


CFJ 485 was retracted.
Initiator's Comments:
There are two reasons here. Either one should be sufficient for a verdict of TRUE.

Reason 1: There is nothing in the rules which prohibits prospective actions. It was clear and unambiguous that whichever CFJ initiated by me was first distributed by Malenkai after my message calling for a retraction was to be retracted one second after its issue. It was clear and unambiguous (yet to be determined at the time it was issued, but not ambiguous). Therefore it was retracted.

Reason 2: There is no proof that /dev/joe accepted judgeship on the CFJ before the supposed verdict was handed down. As such, he was not the judge, and hence the "verdict" did not in fact exist. Therefore, no verdict has been issued, and hence the retraction which occurred today after the "verdict" was successful.

End of Reasoning.

Malenkai's Bronze Torch Reasoning:
Since Slakko is going to appeal this anyway, and I don't really have much time, I am sending this straight to the Supreme Court. I will, however, add my comments as to why it should be judged FALSE.

Second argument first: Common sense and Ackanomic custom have allowed delivering of the verdict to indicate acceptance of appointment. C'mon people :) We also have to assume officers are doing their jobs when all the information is not publically knowable.

As for the first argument, the Court and I have disagreed on on the interpretation of rule 373 in in the past, so I'm not going to spend much time on it here: The first part of rule 373:

> Each attempt to perform an action either succeeds or fails.

When? The rules are silent on the issue, bringing about the imfamous GC and SotG from rule 215. Does game custom support prospective actions? I don't remember any, but the Court will have to fish through the archives to find out. If there have been, then this CFJ may be judged TRUE (but see below), depending on the nature of the specification of the action, and whether rule 373 existed at the time (attempts before rule 373 do not count).

If not, that leads to the question of whether it is in the spirit of the game to construe rule 373 to allow prospective actions. I argue that it is not, for the simple reason that it is a pain in the @$$ to deal with. What about: "One year from today, I chew the gumball", or "Tomorrow at exactly midnight, I say Hubert, or bid A$20 in the current auction". You get the idea.

Consider the case in question. What if Malenkai goes bankrupt in RL, and his ISP cuts him off, and he never plays nomic again, leaving the CFJ and the action in an unread e-mail box. Then that action just sits out there, festering in gamespace. What if Malenkai resigns, (thus absolving himself of the CFJs in his queue) then rejoins and takes the CotC job again in a week, and Slakko submits a CFJ. Having put the action in Acka's crontab, if you will, cannot be undone, therefore that new CFJ would be retracted. While it is certainly possible to play the game this way, who wants to? I personally have very little time to play nomic, and personally feel it is out of the spirit of the game to have to deal with this sort of thing. If it comes down to a spirit of the game argument, I urge the Court to give good reason as to why this sort of gameplay is in the "spirit of the game".

Lets, for the sake of argument, presume future actions are allowed. In that case, was this action actually unambiguous? The time that it was to occur was ambiguous. The CFJ in question was ambiguous also. (There were two in the CotC's queue at the time, and the CotC is free to distribute them in any order e chooses). If they were unambiguous, how was it that I, as a nuetral officer, was able to affect the game state by deciding at what time the loss of point for the retraction occurred, *and* to which CFJ it applied? It was not clear to anyone out there as to what CFJ was actually being referred to. It was ambiguous.

Judge's Comments:
To begin with, the Court is in agreement with Malenkai's rebuttal of the initiator's second argument. So let us proceed to the main question: Can public actions be specified in advance of their execution?

(As an aside, it should be noted that CFJ retractions may not have been considered to be a type of public action at the time of Slakko's attempt, since there is a question regarding the retroactive effects of State of Crisis Resolution Document 101, and whether it was even issued to begin with. Fortunately, these issues are not of concern here, since the alternate possible wording of Rule 330 is prone to the same considerations as Rule 373 - if anything, it is less flexible about when a retraction occurs.)

The rules are, essentially, silent and/or unclear on this issue, so we turn to game custom and "spirit of the game". Considering the latter first, the Court emphatically agrees that prospective actions are not in the spirit of the game. Not only do they have remarkable potential to confuse the game state, but the entire history of the game reflects an assumption of Ackanomic being a game played in "real-time". Our Rule 371 was born out of a long process of dealing with the aftermaths of various Hubert situations, just for the purpose of being able to precisely pinpoint, when necessary, the time at which a player's actions are considered to have occurred.

In regards to the existence of game custom, there are in fact various examples of prospective actions being permitted to stand in the past. However, all the examples this Court is aware of predate (by a good margin) the creation of the Public Action rule, and the majority of them predate the earliest rules that even addressed timing issues at all. The Court believes that with regards to Public Actions, game custom strongly favors the notion that an action occurs at the time it is attempted.

Furthermore, these counterexamples of successful prospective actions nearly always consisted of specifying a precise time in the future (e.g., "I go on vacation as of midnight."). By contrast, in this case the initiator attempted an action that was to happen a specified amount of time after an independent event which had not yet occurred. A prospective action of this type can thus remain "dormant", and it is not possible to determine when it will finally happen until the named event finally takes place. As Malenkai points out, there is no guarantee of an upper bound, or "time limit", by which Officers will know that the triggering event will never happen if it has not already. This can effectively force them to continue to monitor the game state for the trigger indefinitely. Again, this is in strong opposition to the spirit of the game.

Even though the aforementioned counterexamples set no game custom that would have any bearing on the current case, the Court would like to take a closer look at one in particular, just to emphasize the point.

The example that comes closest to this case was part of Bascule's lengthy process of trying to win the second Cycle by achieving the Magic Number. (Note that at this time, one's score had to be exactly equal to the Magic Number in order to claim a win - overshooting did not count.) At one point, Bascule retracted a number of proposals before they had been distributed by the Promoter, in an attempt to lower his score the desired amount. This may appear to be extremely similar to this situation, but the parallels are superficial. Bascule, it must be emphasized, was attempting to retract the proposals at the time of his post, and not in the future, after they were distributed.

It is possible that the players at the time erred in considering his action to be successful. It is unclear if, under the rules at the time, a proposal existed as soon as it was submitted to the Promoter, or if it was created only when it was distributed. Regardless, this is not an issue in this situation. Our rules clearly state that a CFJ is incurred at the time that the Clerk of the Court distributes it, and not beforehand.

(Bascule spent several days after that, continually attempting to land his score on the desired value, and it was from trying to track the game state through his rapid sequence of actions that the players first began to appreciate the necessity of having rules that described when various game-state changes actually occurred. Proposal 1089 was probably the first major step in that direction. Further additions and clarifications eventually culminated in proposal 1714.)

Having found prospective public actions unsupported by game custom, and counter to the spirit of the game, the Court has chosen to return a verdict of FALSE.

Call For Judgement 490 - Sun 14 Dec 1997 06:23
Subject: Syntax and Semantics
Initiator: rufus
Judge: Balsamic Dragon (selected 97-12-14 11:58)
Judgement: FALSE


It is impossible to vote YES on a proposal.
Initiator's Comments:
Rule 106 provides that "Voting Players may vote either YES, NO, or PRESENT on each proposal, by sending their vote to the Tabulator." Either/or is a binary relation, so the valid votes are "YES,NO," and "PRESENT".
Judge's Comments:
Oh, please. Let's not be that silly.

To the extent actual argument is required, I quote from Alfvaen's post from yesterday:

"My dictionary(Random House, 2nd Edition, Unabridged)has the following pertinent definition of "either":

A coordinating conjunction that, when preceding a word or statement followed by the disjuctive or, serves to emphasize the possibility of choice.

So "either YES, NO or PRESENT" means no different from "YES, NO or PRESENT", it just emphasizes it. (Further, in the usage notes it says "As a conjuction, EITHER often introduces a series of more than two"."