Call For Judgement 461 - Tue, 09 Sep 1997 17:18:47 -0400
Subject: Precedence of Precedence Paradox
Initiator: Guy Fawkes
Judge: /dev/joe (selected Sep 09, 1997, 17:18h EDT)
Judgement: FALSE
Appealed by Vynd
Judgement: FALSE


The legality of a Vacationing Evil Overlord of Ackanomic (retired) entering Vulcan Headquarters (assuming they are not already in Vulcan Headquarters) appears equally legal and illegal.
Initiator's Comments:
This is an example of what can happen when blanket precedence clauses are used without consideration of their ramifications, and one of the reasons I urged Vulcan not to attempt to make a "permanent Rule," since such a Rule almost certainly would involve blanket precedence.

The relevant portions of the Rules:

From Rule 1:

>Members of Vulcan and Evil Overlords of Ackanomic (retired) are always 
>permitted to enter Vulcan Headquarters;

and also

>If this rule conflicts with any other rule, then this rule shall guide 

From Rule 255:

>The only thing a player on vacation may legally do is take himself off 
>vacation and send public messages.

and also

>This rule has precedence over any rule which conflicts in whole or in 
>part, with any of its provisions. 

It is self-evident that Rules 1 and 255 set forth contradicting guidlines on the legality of an Evil Overlord of Ackanomic (retired) entering Vulcan Headquarters while e is on Vacation. Rule 1 says e may do it; Rule 255 say e may not.

It is also self-evident that each Rule says of itself that it takes precedence over all other Rules.

So, unless their exists some means of determining which Rule, of 1 or 255, takes precedence over the other, the player action in question seems equally legal and illegal, and this CFJ should be ruled TRUE.

The relevant portion of Rule 102, which attempts but fails to resolve this conflict, is quoted here:

>Two or more rules may conflict with each other about a point of Ackanomic law. 

>In such a situation, if the rules other than this one specify a single, 
>coherent, unambiguous method for resolving the conflict then that method is
>applied to determine which rule or rules take precedence with regard to 
>that particular point of law. Otherwise, the rule with the lowest rule 
>number takes precedence. 

This means of determining precedence between Rules 1 and 255 fails because both Rules 1 and 255 contain the blanket precedence clause. In short:

Rule 255 deals with, among other things, the legality of performing actions on Vacation, and a very specific part of precedence law. The precedence law issued by Rule 255 (Rule 255 takes precedence, period.) conflicts with the precedence law of Rule 102. However, Rule 102 says that if the conflicting Rules (other than 102) contain a means of determining precedence, then that means applies. In a conflict between Rules 102 and 255, then, Rule 102 is removed from the equation, and Rule 255's precedence guideline takes precedence over the precedence law of Rule 102 -- in precedence cases involving Rule 255, Rule 255's precedence guideline guides play.

The same argument shows in precedence cases involving Rule 1, Rule 1's precedence guideline guides play.

Rules 1 and 255 conflict with regard to whether it is legal for a Vacations EOA(r) to enter Vulcan Headquarters. They also conflict with regard to which precedence guideline guides play. They are in unanimous agreement, however, that the precedence law of Rule 102 cannot take precedence over the precedence laws expressed in Rules 1 and 255.

We are left then, with conflicting location law, and a conflicting precedence law, and the one precedence Rule capable of resolving the conflict failing to have enough precedence to do so. Paradox.

Judge's Comments:
The first part of Guy Fawkes's reasoning is correct. Rules 1 and 255 conflict with each other over the legality of the action described in the statement. They also conflict on the issue of resolving their conflict. Rule 102 also has something to say about this conflict, and indeed conflicts with those two rules about how to resolve the conflict. It states:

Two or more rules may conflict with each other about a point of Ackanomic law. In such a situation, if the rules other than this one specify a single, coherent, unambiguous method for resolving the conflict then that method is applied to determine which rule or rules take precedence with regard to that particular point of law. Otherwise, the rule with the lowest rule number takes precedence.

It is true that in a conflict between rule 1 and rule 102, rule 1 wins, and in a conflict between rule 102 and rule 255, rule 255 wins, in both cases because the second sentence of rule 102 allows the other rule's precedence statement to hold. However, when rules 1, 102, and 255 all disagree about some point (how to resolve the *other* conflict in rules 1 and 255, as well as how to resolve the conflict among conflict resolution methods in all three rules) Rule 102 leads to a different result. The "rules other than this one" are rules 102 and 255, and they don't agree on how to resolve the conflict, so we follow the "Otherwise" clause. The rule with the lowest rule number takes precedence.

While it is possible to apply rule 102 to rules in pairs, I find that it is not reasonable to do so when more than two rules conflict. Indeed, it is entirely possible for rule 102 to assign non-transitive precedences when you consider three rules pairwise -- consider if rule 197 claimed precedence over rule 198, rule 198 claimed precedence over rule 199, and rule 199 claimed precedence over rule 197. If you consider these rules pairwise, rule 102 would allow the precedence claims to stand, and not resolve the case when all three rules conflicted on a single point. Thus I find that the only reasonable interpretation of Rule 102 is that it *must* be applied to all the conflicting rules at once, rather than considering them pairwise or whatever, when three or more rules conflict. [I'll note that the possibility of such non-transitive precedence has been considered at least as far back as when I was a member of the Nobs party... for this reason, we left the "two or more rules" wording in this rule when we were drafting proposals to change this part of the rules.]

So I must consider all rules that are in conflict. Rule 835 (Locations) agrees with rule 1 that the player would be able to enter Vulcan Headquarters (because rule 1 defines VHQ as a Common Location). Rule 1309 would conflict if VHQ was dangling, but it is not and was not at the time the CFJ was submitted. However, on the issue of precedence between rules 1, 255, 835 (and with or without rule 1309), exactly three rules have something to say. Rule 1 says it takes precedence. Rule 102 says (as above) that rule 1 takes precedence. Rule 255 says Rule 255 takes precedence. In the conflict between these three rules over what precedence system should hold, again rule 1's system is favored in two out of three cases. While it still is not absolutely clear which rule takes precedence, I find that the relevant rules are 2-to-1 in favor of rule 1 having precedence, and thus it is not "equally" legal and illegal as the statement of this CFJ proposes. Furthermore, if there is any game custom to consider in this area, it is that rule 102 would be called upon to resolve any otherwise unresolvable conflicts, making the legal and illegal cases even less equally likely.

Appealer's Comments:
I think there is no real dispute about the existance of a conflict, and what exactly the paradox that is claimed to exist is, so I won't spend much time going over it. Rather, I will attempt to show why I disagree with /dev/joe's reading of the Rules.

/dev/joe is claiming that since "rules other than this one" [Rule 102], cannot resolve the conflict, then Rule 102's statement that the lowest numbered rule takes precedence dictates that Rule 1 has precedence over Rule 255. I agree with this entirely.

What I think /dev/joe is overlooking is the fact that Rule 102, while stating that this is what should occur, lacks the power to make it happen. By claiming that Rule 255 must yield to Rule 1, Rule 102 comes into conflict with Rule 255's precedence clause. Rule 102 is saying that Rule 255 does not ahve precedence over everything, while Rule 255 is saying that it does. when we go to resolve this conflict, we find that Rule 255 clearly has precedence over Rule 102, so Rule 102 fails to actually dismepower Rule 255 in this situation. Certainly he fails to address this issue in his reasoning.

Instead, /dev/joe presents us with an arguement as to how he must deal with all the conflicting rules as a whole, rather than resolving them individualy. It's a good arguement, I can't say I am totaly convinced but let us assume he is correct for the time being, and examine the last paragraph of this justification for a FALSE ruling. Here /dev/joe admits that, even when one deals with the conflicting rules as a whole, it is still not absolutely clear which rule takes precedence. This right here should, in my mind, probably be enough to call for a verdict of TRUE, but /dev/joe asserts that since two of the three rules would allow the act which is supposedly equally legal and illegal, it is more legal than it is illegal and the statement is FALSE. Frankly, I don't really see how this follows from any of /dev/joe's earlier arguements as to how to resolve the conflict. He admits that the conflict is not in fact resolved, which certainly implies that the paradox in the rules remains. As far as the opinion that when two rules say something is legal and on only disagrees that means that something is more legal than illegal, well, an opinion is all that it is. I cannot see anything in the rules to back such an assertion up. There isn't anything explicit on the matter in game custom either, but I would direct the justices' attention to recent debates over the meaning of the phrase "The Vulcan party" in the former Rule 1, and whether or not "least paradoxical" was a valid criterion on which to base a judgement.

Finally /dev/joe wraps up by seeming to say that interpretations of the rules where the stated action would be equally legal and illegal are unlikely because game custom calls for Rule 102 to resolve such conflicts when they are otherwise unresolvable. This is simply not true, for it is Rule 102 itself that calls for Rule 102 to resolve these conflicts. And whether it is game custom or the rules that call for the use of Rule 102, that certainly doesn't mean that Rule 102 is actually capable of resolving such conflicts.

Thus, /dev/joe appears to be telling us that since the conflict is supposed to be resolved by Rule 102, it is. He does not explain how Rule 102 does so, indeed he states that it is not really possible to tell which Rule takes precedence, essentially admiting that there is a paradox. His judgement of FALSE, so far as I can see, is based purely on an interpretation of the situation in which the act in question is not equally legal and illegal, but rather somewhat less illegal than it is legal. As I have already stated, I see no justification for such a stance in the rules or in game custom.

/dev/joe did raise some interesting points as to how the rules tell us to go about resolving a conflict such as this, points which I accepted for the sake of my earlier arguement but which I would like to address now. I think /dev/joe is entirely correct when he says that the conflicts must be looked at as a whole, not as seperate pairs of rules in conflict. Since this seems to be what he is trying to base his later arguements on, although I admit I do not see the connection, I wanted to address the issue myself. In a situation like this, say the example /dev/joe gave above, Rule 102 would normaly just go to rule numbers and that would be the end of it. This situation is actually more complicated, because one of the conflicts can be resolved thourhg the use of other rules, the conflict between Rule 102 and 255, and thereby render the other conflict unresolvable. It is here that /dev/joe's "all at once" principle is crucial, because it allows us to say that since ALL the conflicts have not been resolved, then we are allowed to move past the "use other rules" clause of 102 to the "lowest number precedence" clause and resolve the conflicts. The problem is that it still doesn't WORK. Rule 102 simply lacks the power to impose this solution on Rule 255. every time we get to the point where it does so, by resolving the conflicts as a group rather than seperately, it reintroduces the same conflict, which is then resolved, which then reintroduces the same conflict, etc... Thus the conflict is never actually resolved, indeed one could assert that it is paradoxicaly both resolved and not resolved at the same time. I think it would be more accurate, however, to simply say that if resolving a conflict has the effect of recreating the conflict, then the conflict is not in fact resolved at all. In either case, we are left with the fact that Rule 255 and Rule 1 are in conflict, and there is no way to resolve the conflict. So long as this is true then it appears equally legal and illegal for a evil overlord of Ackanomic (retired) who is on vacation to enter Vulcan HQ, and thus this CFJ should be judged TRUE.

Supreme Court's Comments:
The Court has decided to uphold the original verdict, although for noticeably different reasons than the original judge. In brief, the Court disagrees with the argument that Rule 102 cedes precedence to Rule 255 whether or not doing so results in an ambiguous chain of precedence.

Rules 1 and 255 are in conflict regarding what certain players are permitted to do while on vacation, and also on which of the two rules should guide play. Because of this conflict, Rule 102 asserts that Rule 1 should take precedence, and thus Rule 102 also comes into the conflict.

The first paragraph of Rule 102 (quoted in full in the original judge's reasoning) permits the rules to specify methods of determining precedence on a given point of law, but only if it is a "single, coherent, unambiguous" method. Rule 102 reserves the right to enforce the numerical method any time an alternate method fails in this regard. Now Rule 255's alternate method (which can be described as "when in doubt, I take precedence") is certainly unambiguously stated, and it may even appear to be an unambiguous method when taken out of context. But that is not the issue; the entire ruleset - or rather, the entire ruleset minus Rule 102 - must provide a method that is unambiguous. On many other points of law, the ruleset as a whole, minus 102, unambiguously states that Rule 255 has precedence, and on these points Rule 102 allows that precedence to stand. However, on the point of law that is the topic of this CFJ (can a vacationing Overlord enter Vulcan HQ?), the ruleset is ambiguous as to who has precedence. Rule 102 therefore states that the rule with the lowest number must guide play, and that we must disregard any contrary claims. With this statement, of course, Rule 102 comes into conflict with Rule 255. However, Rule 102 is given the precedence to do so, as it has the lower number. (Note that Rule 102 would not have the precedence to override Rule 1, but these two rules are never in conflict: they both state that when in doubt, Rule 1 has precedence.)

The initiator of this CFJ argues that Rule 102 cannot override Rule 255 in the final step described, because Rule 255 claims precedence over Rule 102, and Rule 102 does not contradict this. The Court feels that if this were true, then Rule 102 would not be attempting to override Rule 255; the fact that it is indicates that Rule 102 does contradict Rule 255's claim of precedence (and the numerical method dictates that it succeeds).

The Court has also considered the argument that because Rule 102 exempts itself from consideration of whether a conflict is unresolved, it also exempts itself from the ability to take precedence by the numerical method. This argument hinges on the reading of the sentence: "Otherwise, the rule with the lowest number takes precedence." If this sentence's subject was interpreted as the rule with the lowest number in the set of "the rules other than this one", then Rule 102 would never give itself precedence in a conflict. But then this would also mean that the sentence would always be asserting only that Rule 1 took precedence, since Rule 1 is always the rule with the lowest number in the set of "the rules other than this one". Rule 102 would then be useless in any precedence conflict that did not involve Rule 1. On the other hand, interpreting the sentence's subject as the rule with the lowest number in the set of "two or more rules [that] conflict with each other" is much more helpful, sensible, and in accordance with previous game play. Since the Court sees this interpretation as clearly preferable, it maintains that Rule 102 can and does empower itself to take precedence by the numerical method.

Having shown why the Court disagrees with the interpretations of Rule 102 that the above arguments put forth, it now offers evidence to indicate that its interpretation is in fact the one that has been guiding game play. On July 1, 1997, Bascule quit Ackanomic while on vacation. Rule 101 permitted him to take this action; Rule 255 forbade it. This example has many parallels with the subject of this CFJ, as they both involve a conflict with Rule 255 and what was at the time the lowest-numbered rule, a rule which also contained a blanket precedence clause. But at the time, no one questioned that Bascule's actions were legal and successful, and the Court maintains that this is because Rule 102 was interpreted in the manner it has outlined above. (As an aside, it should be noted that Rule 102's first paragraph was altered between the time of Bascule's quitting and the submission of this CFJ. Specifically, proposal 2234's amendment allowed rules beyond the conflicting rules (and other than Rule 102 itself) to provide an alternate method of determining precedence. Since the rules that provide alternate methods of precedence are just the conflicting rules themselves in both cases, this amendment does not invalidate the parallels between the two situations.)

Finally, the Court would like to point out that although it maintains that the situation of a vacationing Overlord attempting to enter Vulcan HQ is definitively either legal or illegal, it has not stated which. The above arguments seem to show that it is clearly legal, since Rule 1 successfully takes precedence. However, Rule 1 states that an Overlord is always "permitted" to enter HQ; this is not necessarily equivalent to "empowering" a player to change their location while on vacation. Since the interpretation of this does not affect the verdict of this CFJ, the Court will not rule on this issue unless and until it is asked to do so.

Call For Judgement 462 - Tue, 09 Sep 1997 17:24:15 -0400
Subject: Priests
Initiator: Alfvaen
Judge: Red Barn (selected Sep 09, 1997, 17:24h EDT)
Judgement: FALSE


Guy Fawkes is no longer a Priest.
Initiator's Comments:
A Priest is ordained as a member of a Church. While the Rules are silent on the matter, it seems to me logical that when a Church ceases to exist, that any players who were ordained Priests in that Church would not remain Priests. The same case would also occur if a Priest left a Church, IMHO; it would seem silly for a player to remain a Priest in that case, and the situations seem analogous. Also, a Priest who left one Church, retained eir status, and was admitted to another Church, would still be a Priest, despite not having been ordained by the founder of eir Church. All this seems counterintuitive to me, which may or may not mean anything, but since the Rules don't say anything on this matter... There is also an analogous situation in the loss of the position of Swinger when a player leaves a Party.

At the very least, if a person may still call emself a Priest while only a member of a Cult, then e should not have the abilities that the Priest of a Church has.

Judge's Comments:
The rules specify no means for players to stop being priests other than excommunications, thus it doesn't happen. This is analogous to such left-over game state as rule-defined entities still remaining in existence, though not in effect, when the aliens abduct their rules.

Call For Judgement 463 - Tue, 09 Sep 1997 17:26:54 -0400
Subject: Changing the rules
Initiator: Red Barn
Judge: mr cwm (selected Sep 09, 1997, 17:26h EDT)
Judgement: TRUE


Changing the rules is impossible for Vulcan.
Initiator's Comments:
Look at CFJ 452...

>Judgement: TRUE
>The organization named "The organization Vulcan" was at no time
>empowered by the rules to change the rules.

One could argue that this is no longer the case, but that argument is trivially disposed of, so I won't.

This is a Paradox Win CFJ. I quote rule 601/6:
A call for judgement whose statement alleges that further play is impossible, that changing the rules is impossible, or that a player action which would affect the game state appears equally legal and illegal is a "Paradox Win CFJ." Only those CFJs so specified by the rules are Paradox Win CFJs. When it ceases to be legal to appeal a particular Paradox Win CFJ, if the final verdict is true, and the player who submitted the CFJ is a voting player at that time, then that player wins the cycle.

It says nothing about changing the rules being UNIVERSALLY impossible. Tsk, tsk.
--- end CFJ. ---

Judge's Comments:
... but I deny that this is a Paradox Win CFJ (which may be the proper subject of another CFJ). It doesn't have to say UNIVERSALLY, because that's what "impossible" means, unless it is qualified somehow. (Anyone for "further play is impossible for my great-great-grandmother"?)


--end reasoning.--

Call For Judgement 464 - Tue, 09 Sep 1997 22:01:26 -0400
Subject: Vacation Paradox
Initiator: Vynd
Judge: ThinMan (selected Sep 09, 1997, 22:01h EDT)
Judgement: Retracted


It appears equally legal and illegal for a player who has been on Vacation for less than 2 days to leave the Game of Ackanomic.
Initiator's Comments:
Yeah, this is kind of cheap, and typical of my play in general :). My thanks to Guy Fawkes for putting me on the right track with the Vacation rule, I hope that at the very least his CFJ is judged true. This is, so far as I can tell, a Paradox Win CFJ, although I am not at all positive it is TRUE.

Now, down to buisness. Rule 255 states that "The only thing a player on Vacation may legaly do is take himself off vacation and send public messages." It goes on to say that an exception to this is that a player who has been on vacation for less than 2 days may not take themselves off of vacation. This effectively means that a player who has been on vacation for less than 2 days can take no game actions whatsoever, at least so far as the Vacation rule has any say in the matter. Finally, Rule 255 says that it takes precedence over any rule that in conflicts with, either in whole or in part.

Rule 101 states that a player "always has the option of leaving the Game of Ackanomic." it also states that it takes precedence over all other rules.

So here we have a conflict between Rule 101 and Rule 255. Both Rules claim precedence, however. Rule 102 would seem to resolve this conflict, by saying that the rule with the lowest number takes precedence if there is no other way to resolve a conflict. However, Rule 102 does not take precedence over rules 101 and 255, and is in conflict with rule 255, since it claims that rule 255 doesn't have precedence over all Rules (and specifically does not have precedence over Rule 101). Since there is a conflict, and Rule 255 has precedence over Rule 102, Rule 255 holds sway. The end result of all of this is that Rules 101 and 255 are in conflict with each other, with no method to resolve the conflict. One of them says that it is legal for a player to leave the game at any time (more or less), the other says that it is ilegal to leave the game, or anything else, durring the first 2 days of vacation.

The only arguement against this I have been able to come up with is based on the fact that Rule 101 only states that a player always has "the option" to leave the game, as opposed to saying that aplayer actually may leave the game at any time. If my statement was about all vacationing players, it might be FALSE because most of those players would have the option of quiting, by announcing they have returned from vacation, and then leaving the game. For a player who has been on Vacation for less than 2 days, however, it is not possible to return from vacation, and I feel that this removes any option the player might otherwise have of leaving the game.

Call For Judgement 465 - Wed 17 Sep 1997 18:12
Subject: Rule Numbers
Initiator: ThinMan
Judge: two-star (selected Sep 17, 1997, 21:32)
Judgement: FALSE
Appealed by ThinMan
Judgement: TRUE


The action of changing Rule 1's number is forbidden by Rule 1.
Initiator's Comments:
Rule 1 forbids that it be "changed in any way." I claim that changing rule 1's number is one manner of changing rule 1, and is, therefore, forbidden by rule 1.

There is some confusion on this matter; principally, I think, because rule 303 specifies that rule numbers are unownable entities. Balsamic Dragon has asserted that from that specification it follows that rule numbers are not, in fact, any part of the rule they are associated with, to the extent that changing a rule's number in no way constitutes changing that rule itself. To my knowledge, there is no other indication in the rules or game custom that rule numbers are so totally divorced from the rules themselves. There are, however, numerous indications to the contrary.

I begin with the selfsame rule 303 that seems to have caused the confusion. Here are the first two sentences of section (I), the second being the one causing all the fuss:

Each rule has an effective ordinal number, hereafter referred to simply as the rule's number. Rule numbers and proposal numbers are unownable entities.

Rule 303 indicates that each rule "has" a number, but it then goes on to say that rule numbers are unownable entities. So what does it mean for a rule to "have" a number? The following definitions, taken from Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary seemed to be the ones that would most likely be applicable:

1. to hold in the hand or in control; own; possess.
2. to possess, hold, or contain as a part, characteristic, attribute, or associated feature.

The judge should, of course, consider any other possible definitions of "have" that he considers possibly applicable, but none of the (many) others seemed to me to be anywhere near as reasonable.

Suppose definition (1) is the correct one. Although "unownable" is used in many places in the rules, it is never defined. The customary definition comes from the English definition, "cannot be owned." The second sentence of rule 303, which says that rule numbers are unownable, would thus override the first sentence, and therefore rules wouldn't actually have numbers after all. I think I am safe in asserting that any interpretation of the current rules that indicates that rules do not have numbers is incorrect.

That leaves definition (2). Is it also inconsistent with the second sentence of rule 303? I don't see why it should be. I see no reason why an entity cannot be an attribute or feature of another entity. Definition (2) is, in my opinion, the interpretation of rule 303 that has been customary since the beginning of the game when the current rule 303 was rule 107 (immutable). The entityhood of rule numbers seems pointless to me, but I see no reason for it to have changed the fact that rule numbers are attributes of rules.

The judge will also find examples in the proposal and S.R. archives which demonstrate that, at least at the times of those proposals and S.R.'s, changing a rule's number was accomplished by amending or otherwise changing the rules.

If we accept, then, that a rule's number as an attribute or feature of the rule, it follows that changing that number does indeed constitute changing that rule in some way. Changing rule 1's number is therefore forbidden by rule 1.

Judge's Comments:
The initiators reasoning hinges on the interpretation of the the sentence "Each rule has an effective ordinal number, hereafter referred to simply as the rule's number." in rule 303, particularly the meaning of the word "has" in this sentence. While I agree that there is no basis for considering a rule to own its number, it seems that the initiator is playing a bit of linguistic slight of hand in simplifying definition (2) to "contain as an attribute." It could just as easily be interpreted as "hold as an associated feature." For example, a kaa of land may be said to "have" a building with there being no implication of ownership or containing. Rule 303 is silent as to which interpretation is correct, so we must look to game custom for an answer.

Certainly it is possible for an entity to contain another entity. Rule 500 defines rules and the ruleset as entities, and that the ruleset contains rules is implicit from the definition of "ruleset." Another example is the case of towers, which "a player adds to a building they own." However, in this case there is neither a clear implicit nor explicit definition of a rule number as part of a rule, so I am judging this cfj FALSE. I think that the general game custom on containership is stonger then the fact that we may interpret proposals that say "Amend rule y by changing its number to z," as they are intended. I agree that keeping rulenumbers as entities makes little sense, but here we are.

Appealer's Comments:
Two-star has given some attention to my argument, and rejected the proposition that rule numbers are parts of their rules, I am not clear on exactly what interpretation he advances in its place, however. He implies that he may be considering rule numbers to be "an associated feature" of a rule, though he does not outright say that that is the case. He has not, however, indicated why his apparently preferred definition indicates a verdict of False.

I do not necessarilly agree with two-star's assessment of my preferred interpretation of rule 303, and I also think that it is at least unclear that his preferred interpretation indicates a verdict of False. In particular, there is precendent in Ackanomic for renumbering of rules constituting changing the rules. For instance, P1412 changed what was then R491 (which governed allowable rule changes) so that renumbering rules was a "rule change" specifically allowed of proposals. This was brought into play in proposal 1444, which, among other things changed rule 786's number to 595 _as a rule change_. This aspect of changing rule numbers as a valid rule change has been employed many times since, as well. Although renumbering rules is no longer formally specified in the rules to be a rule change, no alternative interpretation has been specified or even suggested until, perhaps, P2304, the reason for this CFJ.

Indeed, the interpretation that changing rule numbers in fact constitutes changing the rules is still a current one. Among Vulcan's actions when it had dictatorial power were at least two instances of "changing the rules" by renumbering a rule. These actions have been harfed as if they were sensical, and no one has objected to them on grounds of such not constituting rule changes. They have, in general, been accepted as having been successful (which distinguishes them from Guy Fawkes' attempt to assume dictatorial power).

Two-star even appears to agree. He said in his reasoning that "I think that the general game custom on containership is stonger then the fact that we may interpret proposals that say 'Amend rule y by changing its number to z,' as they are intended." I do not think that game custom on containership is very strong at all, but the fact that we can and do interpret proposals as two-star described indicates that we consider renumbering a rule to constitute changing that rule. I can only assume that in his fervor to counter my specific argument, two-star overlooked this strong alternative indication that the CFJ should be judged True.

Supreme Court's Comments:
The arguments given in favor of a rule's renumbering not being a change to that rule are, essentially, extrapolations from one possible interpretation of relatively unrelated rules. No other arguments, such as examples of game custom, have been offered to bolster that interpretation's applicability; the argument seems to be entirely that since rule numbers are their own entities, changes to them do not necessarily constitute changes to the associated rules.

As the appealer has pointed out, however, there is no compelling reason, based on normal English usage, to prefer this interpretation. The example that the rule set is also an entity, and certainly changing or renumbering a rule constitutes a change to the rule set.

Since the rules do not specifically exclude either interpretation, the statement must give way to the strong game custom that renumbering a rule is a change to that rule. One piece of evidence in favor of this (which should be enough, as the Court cannot find any evidence favoring the counter-interpretation) is provided by Rule 305 ("For Personal Glory..."), which requires rule changes to be recorded under the rule that was changed in the official copy. Rule renumbering has been recorded in this fashion, along with all other rule changes, since this rule was first created.

The Court therefore has chosen to overturn the original decision.

Call For Judgement 466 - Fri 3 Oct 1997 01:04
Subject: Itch
Initiator: Alfvaen
Judge: Vynd (declined)
2nd Judge: Niccolo Flychuck (deadbeat)
3rd Judge: Malenkai (selected Oct 11, 1997, 9:51)
Judgement: TRUE


Onieros had a case of the Itch just before ThinMan's last Phoebe post.
Initiator's Comments:
According to Rule 909:

If it is ever the case that there are three (or more) players who consecutively found Phoebe's matchbox, but failed to post her wisdom, then conditions are right for an outbreak of the Itch. When conditions are right, any player who was the third most recent person to find Phoebe's matchbox will develop a case of the Itch.

It is indisputable that, during this most recent August and September, fnord, breadbox, Niccolo Flychuck, and Guy Fawkes consecutively found Phoebe's matchbox but failed to post her wisdom. Guy Fawkes may no longer be a player, but the other three still are, so it is also true that it is the case that there are three players who consecutively found Phoebe's matchbox but failed to post her wisdom. Thus, conditions were right for an outbreak of the Itch at any time after Niccolo Flychuck lost Phoebe's matchbox on September 9th.

Similarly, while ThinMan was in possession of Phoebe's matchbox, Onieros was the third most recent person to find Phoebe's matchbox.

Rule 909 goes on to say:

There are three known cures for the Itch. Any player who has been afflicted with the Itch for 3 consecutive weeks will then recover. Any player who posts a poem of 5 lines or more in praise of Phoebe, the Steel Flea, recovers immediately, unless they are the Poet Laureate, in which case the poem must be at least 15 lines. Finally, if any player, in accordance with this Rule, posts the wisdom of Phoebe, then all players afflicted with a case of the Itch immediately recover. It is customary for these players to be extremely grateful towards the person who cured them.

Onieros only became the third most recent person to find Phoebe's matchbox when ThinMan obtained it on September 29th, less than three weeks ago. E posted no poems in praise of Phoebe in the time between then and ThinMan's post, which cured him, but unfortunately infected Archie Leach.

Essentially, the issue here is whether Vynd's wording works as he no doubt intended, or whether he needs to add another clause to include only the most recent drought of Phoebe wisdom.

Judge's Comments:
The rules do not allow the judge to consider intent when interpreting them, except in the case where intent falls under "spirit of the game", and the conditions of rule 215 are met. Rule 909 is not unclear, silent, or inconsistent on the matter in question, so those conditions of rule 215 are not met.

Alfvaen has described the interpretation of rule 909 required by rules 101 and 215, and the facts are as presented, hence the statement I was asked to judge is TRUE.

I will take this opportunity to point out that it would be fairly easy to change rules 101 and 215 to put intent or common sense higher in the food chain, but, despite holy wars about strict-constructionalist interpretation of the rules, no one has ever bothered to attempt to do this, for whatever reason.

Call For Judgement 467 - Sun 2 Nov 1997 16:39
Subject: On Ice
Initiator: Alfvaen
Judge: Balsamic Dragon (selected 97-11-03 19:39 EST)
Judgement: TRUE


norpan was not On Ice on October 31st.
Initiator's Comments:
This is the question that P2343 is designed to render moot, but I'd like to have the matter cleared up before then, since it has potential game effects (i.e. it affects the date norpan can be removed from the game if e does not return), and the Proposal probably won't fix that. (Maybe I should have put in some self-deleting text that would have done that...ah, well.)

norpan posted the following message on September 10, 1997:

Due to an enourmous amount of work right now, I am putting myself on vacation. I hope to be back in October.

Rule 255, "Vacationing", states the following:

A player should specify the expected duration of their vacation. If the duration is not specified when they go on vacation, it is assumed to be 14 days. If the period specified is longer than 60 days, it is assumed, and recorded, as 60 days. If the period specified is shorter than 2 days, it is assumed, and recorded, as 2 days. It is a duty of the Registrar to keep a record of the expected duration of vacationing players.


If a player is still on vacation when their expected duration expires, they are put "on ice", and it is a duty of the Registrar to announce this fact publically. A player on ice is still considered a vacationing player, and their on ice status is removed at the same time they return from, or are removed, from vacation.

The question is whether or not norpan specified the expected duration of eir vacation, and, if so, what that duration was.

If norpan did not specify the duration, then the EDR was set to September 24th, and e became "On Ice" on the 25th. [BTW, I have always assumed that Vacation return times were not specified any more finely than to the day, so that a person would not become "On Ice" until the very beginning of the day following the EDR.] In this case, the CFJ should be ruled as FALSE.

If "I hope to be back in October" is to be interpreted as specifying a date of return, there seem to be two possible dates specified: October 1st(as in "I hope to be back at the beginning of October")and October 31st(as in "I hope to be back by the end of October"). The CFJ should be FALSE in the first case, and TRUE in the second case.

I have been harfing according to the last case, and P2343 is based on that assumption as well. However, if it can be decided differently, it should be settled now.

Judge's Comments:
Alfvaen's reasoning makes sense to me, and I think that we should give norpan the benefit of the doubt as to his statement.

Call For Judgement 468 - Sun 9 Nov 1997 01:58
Subject: Playing Pieces
Initiator: Alfvaen
Judge: Fortunato (selected 97-11-09 22:25 EST)
Judgement: TRUE


Alfvaen, as current Swinger for Metamorph, may choose his initial set of five playing pieces[to go with the King, which of course he cannot choose].
Initiator's Comments:
Here's what Rule 1230.2 has to say:

2. Managing the Game

B. Each Office of Swinger receives one King, and five playing pieces. Each Swinger may choose any five pieces which are defined by a PartyChessPieceDef rule, as long as their total material value does not exceed 30. These pieces are created in the possession of the appropriate Swingers, free of charge. Initially all pieces are off-board.

C. When a new Office of Swinger is created, it receives one King and five playing pieces, as described in 2.B.

D. Whenever an Office of Swinger is destroyed, all Party Chess Pieces owned by that office are destroyed. No re-imbursement is made for the destroyed items.

Mr. Lunatic Fringe was appointed Swinger for Metamorph on July 18th, 1997 (though he didn't "accept" until July 19th, so the action may not have occurred until then, but that's another CFJ, if anyone cares). E left the game on August 13th, without ever having chosen the five pieces as in 2.B. above.

Alfvaen was appointed Swinger on November 5, 1997, still with no pieces chosen for his Swinger Office. 2.D. does not apply, because Metamorph remained in existence as a Party in the meantime, so its Office was not destroyed, only vacant. The question is, does Alfvaen have the right to choose the five initial pieces?

An Office of Swinger is created when a Party is, and may not be filled immediately, so obviously the King and five pieces need not be immediately defined. But the rules seem to be ambiguous as to when they must be defined. I'd like this clarified.

Judge's Comments:
My reasoning is more or less in accord with Alfvaen's. It seems that the Office of Swinger received the option to choose five pieces at its creation, which was not exercised until he did so. If this were not the case, it would cause anyone who did not immediately define their five pieces to lose their chance to do so.

Call For Judgement 469 - Sun 9 Nov 1997 19:16
Subject: Scoring
Initiator: Slakko
Judge: Vynd (selected 97-11-09 22:28 EST)
Judgement: retracted


Slakko's score should have been 7 after e made his French-Scotsman style Rant.
Initiator's Comments:
Rule 205 says that score changes only occur simultaneously when a rule explicitly states that they do. Rule 207 makes no mention of explicitly declaring its score changes to be simultaneous. Therefore, each score change resulting from this rule should be treated as a separate event, one occurring an infinitesimal amount of time after another.

Therefore my score should have been affected as follows:

-7: non-Modest, non-Grandiose proposal rejected.
+3: voted YES on rejected normal proposal.
+3: New Player Soft Penalty
+7: Penalty counteracted by Crazy French-Scotsmen Rule
+1: Score raised to next highest prime by Crazy French-Scotsmen Rule

This should have changed my score from 0 before Proposal 2345 was rejected to 7 after the Rant.

Call For Judgement 470 - Thu 13 Nov 1997 02:38
Subject: Retracting
Initiator: Slakko
Judge: /dev/joe (selected 97-11-13 8:49)
Judgement: TRUE


Proposal 2347 was retracted.
Initiator's Comments:
If the wish to commit an action is considered equivalent to an action, as the result of CFJ 447 clearly states, then surely stating that one "will retract a proposal" is just as equivalent to stating that one "is retracting a proposal". Therefore Niccolo's statement that proposal 2347 "will be retracted" should have been interpreted as him saying "I am retracting proposal 2347".
Judge's Comments:
I concur with the initiator's reasoning.

Call For Judgement 471 - Fri 14 Nov 1997 21:33
Subject: That message
Initiator: Alfvaen
Judge: Malenkai (declined)
2nd Judge: Slakko (selected 97-11-17 20:33) (declined)
3rd Judge: two-star (selected 97-11-18 23:22)
Judgement: TRUE
Appealed by Malenkai
Judgement: TRUE


Red Barn buried a Majik called Big-Nosed Kilroy on October 13th, 1997.
Initiator's Comments:
Red Barn posted a message with the subject "Trinket Creation" on October 10th, 1997, which described, among other attempted actions, the creation and burial of a Majik called Big-Nosed Kilroy. Malenkai pointed out later that day that none of the actions succeeded, since(then)it was impossible to take a public action in a message whose subject was not prefaced by "Acka:" or "Ackanomic:".

On October 13, 1997, Red Barn posted a message with subject "Acka: Redo", in which he states:

I repeat the attempted actions in that message, in the order in which I attempted them earlier.

The context(which includes a quote of Malenkai's response)makes it clear which message "that message" refers to, i.e. "Trinket Creation". The "Trinket Creation" message does unambiguously(and in great detail)specify a sequence of attempted actions. Therefore I contend that the attempted actions in "Acka: Redo" were specified fully and unambiguously, and furthermore did not fail for any other reason(since the game state did not change between the two posts to make the actions impossible).

Therefore, at the time "Acka: Redo" was received by the server, the actions specified in "Trinket Creation" were performed, and Big-Nosed Kilroy was buried.

Judge's Comments:
I judge true, based on a vague sense from sort of looking at the postmaster rule that it should work.

I intended to have enough time to do this right, but they shifted my weekend back three days at work, so what with a dentist appointment, an extra chorale rehearsal, and a friend of my family in town in the last couple days I didn't have time. I realize I havent been pulling my weight here lately. I've kinda gotten out of the rhythm of things. I'm bad.

Appealer's Comments:
My opinion was that the first message did not exist at all in the acka game state, therefore there was no "that message", therefore there were no "attempted actions", therefore some of the referrants in the above passage refer to things that did not exist in acka, and therefore the above quote is vacuous, and therefore what it attempts to do fails (or failed). [above in this paragraph refers to Alfvaen's comments in the CFJ reasoning].

How can one repeat attempted actions that did not exist? It would be one thing if the actions failed because he did not have enough money the first time (but it was otherwise a legal message), but in this case the *message* he refers to never existed, with mail filters on acka mail it was not publically knowable, therefore a referral to a non-PK thing has no meaning to me, or to the rules, I would argue. Its like saying: 'I perform the actions listed in /home/malenkai/acka/actions.html', or I perform the actions listed on the back of my tee shirt.

This reasoning is a little different than the discussion of the ambiguity of the phrase "that message", as you discuss, and it is important to point out that it is an entirely different argument. My argument is based on that fact that "that message" does not exist in the nomic game state, or rather, that its contents are not publically knowable (for example -- filter on arrival as per the postal code, then double delete in the mail client).

A note on game custom: Alfvaen harfed it as TRUE and I harfed it as FALSE, based on our independent interpretations. So how it was harfed does not appear to set a precedent. If it comes to "spirit of the game", I would argue that allowing official action statements to refer to content written in extra-nomic media is a bad idea, thus indicating FALSE in SotG.

Supreme Court's Comments:
The description of the original message as being "extra-nomic media" is misleading, if not inaccurate. The absence of "Acka:" in the subject line meant only that it was not a public message. A great deal of Ackanomic business is done in messages that are not public, and the Court's opinion is that such messages are nomic, rather than extra-nomic, messages. This Court does not consider Ackanomic voting to be extra-nomic, for instance, even though it is conducted via non-public messages. Business with the Clerk of the Courts is routinely conducted via non-public messages as well, and the Court does not consider such messages as being extra-nomic. The condition of being a nomic message is determined by the content of the message, not by its subject; that the rules give special significance to public messages does not mean that non-public messages are extra-nomic. (As an extension, the Court observes that private messages have no special requirements as to their subject, so filtering one's email based on the requirements of the Postal Code could be an unwise practice, especially for many of the Officers.)

That aside, the fundamental question is then: under what conditions, if any, a reference in a public message to data located elsewhere can constitute a full and unambiguous specification of that data (as per Rule 373).

Clearly it is possible to give a reference of sufficient precision to specify just about any referent without any chance of the referent being mistaken. This might, for instance, require referring to data content at a specific time (i.e., "the actions listed at http://my_server.acka/actions.html at 10:57pm on 12/2/97"). It is possible, therefore, to be absolutely clear about what data is being specified. The Court is satisfied that Red Barn's message adequately specified to which information it referred.

The remaining question is whether such a reference can be construed to make the data unambiguous. The Court believes that in this case it does. There is no rule-based justification for the claim that Red Barn's first message did not exist. It is true that it was not a public message, that it could potentially have been filtered out, and even that it was not publically knowable. The Court maintains, however, that there is a distinction between these conditions on the one hand and ambiguity on the other. The meaning of Red Barn's statement is clear, despite his reference to a non-public message.

Malenkai's hypothetical examples of a web page which can be altered at will, or a distant T-shirt, impose unrealistic obstacles of a practical nature upon accessing, and thus disambiguating, the data. Such issues are not applicable to the particular case before the Court. Red Barn may have been guilty of thoughtlessness or unsporting play, but his actions met the requirements of the rules.

Penalty to appealer: 1 point.

Call For Judgement 472 - Sun 16 Nov 1997 18:38
Subject: Scoring
Initiator: Slakko
Judge: mr cwm (selected 97-11-17 20:39)
Judgement: TRUE


Slakko's score should have been 7 after e made his first French-Scotsman style Rant.
Initiator's Comments:
The French-Scotsmen rule refers to a penalty being counteracted. Rule 207 describes a number of different score changes that result from the adoption or rejection of a proposal. However, it does not specify that multiple score changes it describes are supposed to be considered as a single change. Further, the explicit mention of "multiple score changes" resulting from a single proposal being put through simultaneously implies that, while they may occur simultaneously, they are separate changes happening at the same instant in time.

Therefore my score around the time of my first rant should have been affected as follows:

-7: non-Modest, non-Grandiose proposal rejected.
+3: voted YES on rejected normal proposal.
+3: New Player Soft Penalty
+7: Penalty counteracted by Crazy French-Scotsmen Rule
+1: Score raised to next highest prime by Crazy French-Scotsmen Rule

This should have changed my score from 0 before Proposal 2345 was rejected to 7 after the Rant.

Judge's Comments:
I have a somewhat uneasy feeling that I have missed something, because I find Slakko's argument so convincing that I can't imagine why anything would have happened any differently. But I can't very well judge it FALSE on those grounds, so TRUE.

Call For Judgement 473 - Thu 20 Nov 1997 09:35
Subject: More than Human
Initiator: ThinMan
Judge: Red Barn (selected 97-11-20 19:30)
Judgement: FALSE
Appealed by Vynd (without comment)
Judgement: TRUE


Pumpkin Patch Nomic may not become a member of Metamorph.
Initiator's Comments:
The principle rule applicable to this situation is rule 1015 (More Than Human). Here is the relevant excerpt:

"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."

First, I claim that neither rule 1015 nor any other rule provides a method for any non-player entity to become a member of any organization. They certainly do not provide any means by which a non-Ackanomic entity may become a member any organization. Even if R1015 permits such entities to _be_ members of organizations, there is no means or provision for them to switch from being non-members to being members. This in itself is sufficient to indicate a verdict of true.

Second, I also claim that Pumpkin Patch Nomic is unable to express its consent to the public forum. A majority or even a consensus of the players of that nomic might agree that they want the nomic to join Metamorph, and some representative could post a message to the public forum on their behalf. A representative could even claim to speak for the Nomic. The Nomic itself, however, is an inanimate collection of players, rules, customs, and current and past events; the nomic itself is unable to express anything. Niccolo implied that the Patch's liaison to Internomic should be recognized as the voice of the Nomic, but the Internomic rules have no jurisdiction over Ackanomic internal affairs, and the Ackanomic rules in no way equate the Patch's internomic liaison or anyone or anything else with the Patch itself.

If Pumpkin Patch Nomic cannot express its consent to the public forum and the rules do not allow any method for such an entity to become a member of an organization, then not only can the Patch not join Metamorph, but Metamorph is also not empowered to have it as a member.

As an aside, I note here my belief that Ackanomic organizations are different with regard to expressing consent for the purposes of R1015, for the rules provide a specific means by which Ackanomic organizations may perform actions. PPN is not an Ackanomic organization, however, thus those rules do not apply to it.

Judge's Comments:
I'd be tempted to rule FALSE simply to create the precedent of interpreting this thusly, but if the rules are clear enough to permit objective ruling (read: It's not game custom), I'll do so.

The term Official Reply, capitalized, is moreoreless undefined. So. Custom. FALSE.

ThinMan's Bronze Torch Reasoning:
The issue boils down to this:

(1) Rule 101 forbids that the Game State be changed except as described in the rules.

(2) The membership of an Organization is an aspect of the Game State, thus Pumpkin Patch Nomic becoming a member of Metamorph would constitute a change to the Game State.

(3) If Rule 1015 describes that change sufficiently that rule 101 is satisfied, then this CFJ should probably be ruled false; otherwise it must be ruled true.

It is my firm belief that rule 1015 does not describe any change whatsoever to the game state. Others disagree, so the Court must decide.

I advise the Court that in my opinion, interpreting rule 101 so as to allow PPN to join Metamorph will greatly weaken the relevant provision and open the door to a variety of scams of the type once justified under the auspices of former rule 115.

Supreme Court's Reasoning:
Rule 1003 specifies the methods by which an entity may gain membership in an Organization:

> Any player may request membership in an Organization. The
> Organization may then grant the request as a public action. When a
> request for membership is granted, the player becomes a member of
> the Organization.
> A player-sanctioned Organization may, as a public action, give a
> particular member the ability to grant any request for membership in
> that Organization, without waiting around for the consent of the
> rest of the members. A player-sanctioned Organization may also, as a
> public action, establish an open admissions policy, which means that
> anyone can join that Organization at any time.

Note the first paragraph applies strictly to player entities, but the second paragraph is universal. It specifies two methods whereby any entity may become a member of an Organization. The existence of these methods therefore satisfy the requirement of Rule 1015. (Note that Rule 1015 only requires that a method exist whereby the entities may join an Organization; it does not require that the method be available specifically for the Organization owning the More Than Human.)

However, one aspect that is common to all methods is that the entity in question must first request the membership. There is no provision by which the Organization may take the initiative and offer membership.

Rule 419.3, which gives other nomics an Ackanomic "voice", states:

> Whenever it is necessary to know a fact about another nomic which is > a member of Internomic, the Ambassador will send an official query > requesting the necessary information to the Internomic Liasion of > that nomic, and forward the reply from that Liasion to > Ackanomic. Whatever reply is given by the Liaison will be accepted > as the Official Reply of that nomic.

Does this rule gives Pumpkin Patch Nomic the ability to request membership? Is it "necessary" to know if they wish to join MetaMorph? The Court finds that it is not.

If the game state could not be determined without knowing some fact about another nomic, then knowing that fact would be "necessary". If the rules requested that the nomic choose between two or more options (such as with voting), the Court would also be willing to say that it is "necessary" to know that.

To allow Pumpkin Patch Nomic to request membership, without the rules calling for such a choice to be made, "necessary" would have to be interpreted so broadly as to be equivalent to "if the response could potentially alter the game state". Under such an interpretation, the Liaison would have to continually poll every Internomic member, to determine if they wished to request membership in any Organization owning a More Than Human. For each nomic that said no, the Liaison would then have to ask them again, since the option would still be available. Clearly this is an unreasonable interpretation of "necessary".

As an aside, the Court observes that the recent amendment to Rule 1015 has no effect on any part of this reasoning, meaning that the same verdict would have been reached with respect to the current game state (and PPN is not currently a member of MetaMorph).

As another aside, the Court notes that it is entirely possible that only Ackanomic Entities are permitted to join organizations in the first place. As this would lead to the same verdict, it was not explored in any detail; perhaps it will be in another CFJ.

The Court therefore overturns the original decision. Furthermore, the Court would like to remind the original judge that CFJs are not intended to be used as opportunities to turn personal whims into game custom, and sets a penalty of 5 points.

Call For Judgement 474 - Thu 27 Nov 1997 12:37
Subject: Winning
Initiator: Slakko
Judge: Balsamic Dragon (selected 97-11-29 00:15)
Judgement: FALSE
Appealed by Slakko
Judgement: FALSE


Malenkai did not win a Cycle of Ackanomic at noon Acka time on Thursday November 27, 1997 AD.
Initiator's Comments:
At 12:00m, 27/11/1997 AD, the Beldin's Pants rule read, in its entirety: Beldin's Pants are a Garment, initially Somewhere Else. Beldin's Pants may only be removed as described by the Praetor. Beldin's Pants are unique. Each recipient of The Parka gains 1 win every Thursday at noon.

To win a Cycle of Ackanomic is to achieve a winning condition. At no stage does Beldin's Pants refer to the win being of a Cycle of Ackanomic. It could equally refer to a game of Grab-a-Donkey, as in neither case is there contextual information necessary to settle it one way or the other. Similarly, it could refer to winning any kind of game as described elsewhere in the Ackanomic rules, be it PartyChess or a game in the Games and Contests Suite.

Alternatively, the trinket known as "win" was created before noon on Thursday 27th November 1997 (at 11:59:28 or thereabouts). It is equally difficult to distinguish whether or not the rule is supposed to refer to this trinket as it is to refer to winning any kind of winnable thing as explained in the previous paragraph.

Therefore it cannot be determined unambiguously that Beldin's Pants was referring to winning a Cycle of Ackanomic, and hence Malenkai did not win a Cycle of Ackanomic at 12:00m, 27/11/1997 AD.

Judge's Comments:
I will first address the question of whether the "win" referred to in the Beldin's Pants Rule could refer to any other kind of win described in the rules (of a game or contest, for example). The word "win" can be a noun or a verb. In the Beldin Rule, it is obviously being used as a noun ("gains 1 win"). I have done a thorough search of the rules, as well as all rule suites, for the word "win". The only times which the word "win" appears and is used as a noun are the following:

Rule 605/8
Winning is Inherently Amusing

" the current Cycle of the Game, if the Proposal which created the rule was non-Modest. This win, if it occurs, shall occur immediately after the score changes as a result of the Proposal being accepted are applied...."

Rule 620/12
Chartreuse Goose

" ... If this judgement is not overruled, then the player who called for judgement is declared the winner of the cycle; the win occurring at the time it becomes illegal to appeal the CFJ under the current rules...."

Since both of these statements refer to winning the cycle, not a subgame, that is the context in which the Beldin's Pants Rule should be read.

The second question concerns the trinket known as a "win." Looking at the trinkets rule:

Rule 506/8

"...Other rules may also create and bestow ownership of Trinkets, so long as the rule provides for naming, describing, and valuing the Trinket...."

The Beldin's Pants Rule could not have bestowed the trinket called "win," since it did not describe or value such trinket.

Therefore, the only reasonable conclusion is that the Beldin's Pants Rule did, in fact, bestow a cycle win upon Malenkai and Alfvaen.

Appealer's Comments:
Balsamic Dragon's Argument stated that the only other instances where the word win appeared as a noun were in rules where it indicated that a cycle was won. However, e neglected to state that, in all such cases, the word "win" appears in a sentence following the phrase "winner of the cycle". Therefore, in all such other examples, there is a clear referent that the "win" refers to a win of a cycle. In the Beldin's Pants example there is no such referent, and hence it is inappropriate to ascribe the same meaning to "win" in Beldin's Pants as it has in Rules 605 and 620.

To quote from a public comment made by Vynd (paraphrased as appropriate):

While "win" seems unlikely to be refering to a sub-game because it is not in the context of a sub-game rule, it is equally unlikely to be refering to a Cycle because it is not in the context of a Cycle winning rule. (Balsamic Dragon)'s arguement that the word win, in the ruleset (as a noun), is (...) interpreted as meaning a cycle win is belied by the fact that every time a cycle win is discussed in the rules, it is clearly labeled as such. Even looking at (Balsamic Dragon)'s own examples of the use of the word win make this clear.

As Vynd has said, looking at the examples Balsamic Dragon provided us with shows that the term "win", when used almost immediately after "winner of the Cycle" indicates that a player has, indeed, won a cycle. However, this does nothing to determine the meaning of "win" in the instance of Beldin's Pants.

Balsamic Dragon's argument also makes a clear distinction between the noun "win" and the verb use of "win". I do not believe that the structure of the Ackanomic rules necessarily makes this distinction an appropriate one to make. Further, I believe that to limit the examination of the rules to instances of the word "win" is excessively restrictive.

It is widely accepted that a "winner" is someone who wins (verb use of win), and, equally, someone who has achieved a "win" (noun use). Therefore, "winner" brings with it an implied definition of both the verb and noun form of win, depending upon the context in which it is located. Looking for instances of the word "winner", we find a number of instances, as indicated in part of Alfvaen's reasoning on CFJ 475.

At this point I would like to include some of my own reasoning in my appeal to Alfvaen's FALSE decision of CFJ 475, to justify why Alfvaen's argument (which I have referred to) should not prevail on this CFJ either:

The instance of "Winners" in Rule 420 occurs within a note. Therefore, in the language of Ackanomic, it has no semantic meaning. Therefore it cannot be interpreted to mean "Winners of Past Cycles", as it cannot be interpreted to mean anything.

For an illustration, inclusion of a note [Winners are people who in real life have won an Olympic Gold Medal] would not have any effect on the definition of the term Winners elsewhere in the rules, because it is in a note and hence has "no semantic meaning".

Alfvaen's reasoning also claims that the instance of "Winners" in Rule 420.1 "only has the force of game custom". In repsonse to this, let me quote from Rule 101:

Game custom, spirit of the game, and linguistic interpretation are external concepts and are not regulated or part of the game state.

To avoid tautological statement interpretations, we must find that linguistic interpretation is not part of game custom. Therefore, whatever interpretation is given "Winners" in a situation where it has no semantic meaning cannot be considered part of game custom.

Therefore, Alfvaen's claim that the only instance of a word whose root is "win" implies that "win" means "win a Cycle" is erroneous. Consequently, there is no other instance of "win" without a clear referent in the rules, besides the instance in Beldin's Pants. Therefore, as there are a number of things to win in Ackanomic, which one this rule refers to is ambiguous, and hence the statement should be judged TRUE.

I therefore submit that CFJ 474 should be judged TRUE on appeal.

Supreme Court's Comments:
First of all, the possibility of the phrase "gains 1 win" referring to a trinket called "win" is pretty much ruled out, as it did not exist at the time the rule took on the wording in question. (See CFJ 415.)

Now, there appear to be three places in the rules outside of Rule 940 where the word "win" is used as a noun (excluding its use in the phrase "Paradox Win CFJ"). One is in Rule 1250.14 "Diplomacy", where it is something that can be claimed; this is consistent with something that can be gained. The other two were identified by the original judge, and in both of these instances it is an event - something that occurs. However, "win" is also used as a verb to refer to the same thing - the same sort of "win" - in all three of these cases. Nowhere in the rules is one sort of win referred to consistently as a noun.

What this tells us is basically what we already knew from standard English usage: that when someone "gains 1 win", they have achieved a winning condition - they have won something. The Court finds this interpretation of Rule 940 to be the most reasonable possibility.

This still leaves the question of whether it refers specifically to winning a Cycle. The Court finds that the evidence provided by the original judge for a customary interpretation of an unspecified win meaning a Cycle win to be rather thin. The Ackanomic rules have, since the invention of the Cycle, been careful to a fault to call a Cycle win a Cycle win. Rather, it seems clear that the detail of exactly what is won has simply not been specified. Rule 940 specifically states that exactly one win is gained, when there are potentially a number of possible wins available.

Therefore, we turn to Rule 405 "Speaker", which says:

> 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.

It may seem a bit unusual to consider "the set of possible wins", but this is consistent with the use of "win" as a noun in Rule 940.

If we wish to apply this clause to the current situation, we must first determine all of the possible choices. It seems reasonable to accept the limitation that one cannot win a game in which one has been, or is currently, disqualified from winning. (In particular, this means that one must be a participant in a game in order to "gain a win" in it.) We should also find acceptable the limitation that one cannot win a game that is not currently in progress. (This is not only reasonable, but without it, we would have to contend not only with the possibility of someone winning a game or Cycle for which a different winner had long since been declared, but also the possibility of winning games or Cycles that have yet to begin - which would make it patently impossible for the Officer in Charge of Random Things to abide by this interpretation.) Finally, we note that obvious: the game must be winnable - it must have a winning condition. This excludes games like Party Chess, which did not have a winning condition at the time in question.

So, given these restrictions, we find that we have a clearly defined method for determining the set of possibilities. When the Court applied it to Malenkai and Alfvaen on November 27, noon, it discovered that

(Note that although Malenkai is also a participant in the game of Ye Olde Rusty Lantern, he is the Barkeep/referee, and so is not qualified to win that game.)

Since Malenkai, the specific subject of the CFJ's original statement, has only one possibility, namely the current Cycle, the Court is upholding the original verdict of False. (Alfvaen's status, on the other hand, will have to await determination by the Officer in Charge of Random Things.) The Court penalizes the appealer 1 point.

Call For Judgement 475 - Thu 27 Nov 1997 12:47
Subject: Ending the Cycle
Initiator: Slakko
Judge: Alfvaen (selected 97-11-29 00:17)
Judgement: FALSE
Appealed by Slakko
Judgement: FALSE


The 16th cycle of Ackanomic did not end at noon, Acka time, on Thursday 26th November, 1997 AD.
Initiator's Comments:
Beldin's Pants states that recipients of The Parka gain a win. Gaining a win is not attaining a winning condition. Attaining a winning condition is a state which occurs immediately prior to a player gaining a win. Therefore, even if the word "win" in Beldin's Pants was interpreted as meaning "win a Cycle of Ackanomic", no winning condition would have been attained, and hence conditions described in Rule 666 as being contingent on a winning condition being attained would not have occurred.
Judge's Comments:
Rule 666 states the following:

Upon a Cycle winning condition being achieved, the following steps occur, in order:

a) Ackanomic play is suspended.

b) All Chartreuse Goose Eggs and Right-Handed Grapefruit are destroyed.

c) 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. If this results in his having two Champion's Cloaks, one of them is instantly transformed into a Badge of Glory.

Slakko's reasoning implies that being "given the title of winner of the cycle" is synonymous with "gaining a win", and the latter phrase is not synonymous with "achieving a Cycle winning condition".

The problem is that the terminology is far from consistent through the relevant rules. Rule 603, "Winning by Points", does say "that player has achieved a Winning Condition". However, Rule 601, "Winning By Paradox", says "that player wins the cycle"; Rule 605, "Winning by Palindrome", says "[that player] the current Cycle of the Game"; Rule 620, "the Chartreuse Goose", says "A player who possesses the Chartreuse Goose may not win the Cycle", but also mentioned "winning conditions". Rule 666.n) says "If...the single winner of the last cycle would immediately win again...." Rule 667, "The Fat Lady", says "if a player wins a Cycle" and "a winner being declared".

Outside the 600's:

Rule 101 states:

A voting player may only win a Cycle by achieving a winning condition that is defined by the Rules. Non-voting players may not win Cycles of Ackanomic. A player may not win the Game of Ackanomic.

Rule 250 says "no person who is not a player a cycle." Rule 410, "Scorekeeper", mentions "a player winning a cycle by points". In Rule 597, "Frankenstein Monster", it says "that player shall also win the current cycle". Rule 850, "Museum", says "That player is then declared the winner of the Cycle. No player may win a Cycle more than once in this manner."

Rule 1320, "This is the way the world ends", states:

The End of the World causes the cycle to immediately end. The winner of the cycle will be the active or vacationing player who had donated the most A$ to The Round Earth Restoration Society at the time that the Earth was made round. If this selection method results in a tie, or the player who would win is for some reason ineligible to win the cycle, then the player who most recently became Enlightened out of those players who are tied will be the winner of the cycle. If none of the players who are tied for most A$ donated to The Round Earth Society are Enlightened, then the Speaker will randomly select with equal probability one of the players who are tied to be the winner. In any of these cases, the winner will receive the title of Prophet of Doom.

So, to proceed: it is traditional at this point to dive for the nearest dictionary(ies), and so I shall. Since there is really no official dictionary for word meanings outside of the game of Fictionary(where "win" would be a very bad ing word), I will use my personal favourite dictionary, Random House 2nd Edition, which should be close enough for these purposes. (And does not include "prophesy" as a noun...)

The only relevant noun definition for "win" therein(there is another one which applies to horse racing only)is: "a victory, as in a game or horse race." Not very helpful, so let's turn to "gain":

1. to get(something desired), esp. as a result of one's efforts
2. to acquire as an increase or addition
3. to obtain as a profit
4. to win; get in competition
7. to reach, esp. by effort; get to; arrive at

and a few others which did not seem relevant.

Let me digress for a moment to consider previous interpretations of Beldin's Pants. For instance, previously it said "gains 1 trinket". It said nothing about this trinket being transferred from another player, but that is how it was interpreted. This interpretation has not been disputed, and implies to me that while the Beldin's Pant rule itself may not describe its full effects(due to its forced brevity), it is possible to consider these effects as occurring in _whatever way it is possible_, under the Rules, for these effects to occur.

Thus, if it is necessary for a player to "gain 1 win" as a result, and _the only way_ under the Rules for that to occur is for that player to achieve a Cycle winning condition, then by implication that condition is achieved, and the opening clause of Rule 666 is satisfied.

If such were not the case, too, then, for instance, Rule 601 would not allow the cycle to end, because it does not describe a "Cycle winning condition", but merely says that a player wins the Cycle. So the criterion for Rule 666 must not be interpreted narrowly.

For a full judgement to be returned, the issue of CFJ 474 must be settled as well. (I encourage the judge of CFJ 474 to return a verdict of INVALID, due to the extreme similarity between these two CFJ's; it seems to me that the condition of CFJ 474 is subsumed under this one. If not, then this verdict should be taken into account.)

The question here is whether or not a "win" must necessarily mean "winning a Cycle of Ackanomic".

In the Contests & Games rule suite, as well as the Grab-A-Donkey rule, "wins" are referred to, but always in reference to the specific game. There is no question of ambiguity in Rule 1250.7, "Game of Pure Skill", when it says "Upon a winning condition being met and a winner being declared", or "The winner receives a standard Trophy." If there was, then any Cycle winner would receive a standard Trophy; such is not, in fact, the case. So the customary interpretation of "winning" will only apply to a subgame if a subgame is referred to specifically, or the reference to "winning" appears in the subgame's own rule.

The only other reference to "winning" I can find in a different context is "winner(s)" of an election in Rule 402, which also has a specific referent.

Finally, there is a reference in Rule 420.1, "Historian"--in square brackets, so it has no force but that of game custom--to "Winners". I do not believe that anyone can doubt this to refer to winners of Cycles of Ackanomic. So "a win", with no other referent, refers to a cycle win.

So I must rule FALSE; Malenkai and Alfvaen, the recipients of the Parka, each gained a cycle win at noon on Thursday, November 27th, and perforce must have achieved a Cycle winning condition in doing so.

{{[ End of judgement ]}}

Appealer's Comments:
In eir Verdict, Alfvaen stated that there was only one instance of a word with root "win" (in this particular case, "Winners") elsewhere in the ruleset which lacked a referent. Further, he stated that the interpretation of this was "clearly" that of "Winner of a Cycle" according to game custom.

Here is the last part of Alfvaen's reasoning:

>The question here is whether or not a "win" must necessarily mean
>"winning a Cycle of Ackanomic".

>In the Contests & Games rule suite, as well as the Grab-A-Donkey rule,
>"wins" are referred to, but always in reference to the specific game.
>There is no question of ambiguity in Rule 1250.7, "Game of Pure Skill",
>when it says "Upon a winning condition being met and a winner being
>declared", or "The winner receives a standard Trophy."  If there was,
>then any Cycle winner would receive a standard Trophy; such is not, in
>fact, the case.  So the customary interpretation of "winning" will only
>apply to a subgame if a subgame is referred to specifically, or the
>reference to "winning" appears in the subgame's own rule.

>The only other reference to "winning" I can find in a different context
>is "winner(s)" of an election in Rule 402, which also has a specific

>Finally, there is a reference in Rule 420.1, "Historian"--in square
>brackets, so it has no force but that of game custom--to "Winners".
>I do not believe that anyone can doubt this to refer to winners of
>Cycles of Ackanomic.  So "a win", with no other referent, refers to a
>cycle win.

Firstly, the text in question was part of the rule concerning the Historian, a note about details that were to be kept on a web page:

The duties are to maintain a WWW page of the History of Ackanomic. Content of the page is up to the Historian [but should include the comings and goings of political parties (and their agendas); history of Presidents, Senators, and Winners, notable historical events such as the Quorum Crisis, etc]. The Historian should maintain a copy of all Historical Dissertations.

I note that there is only one WWW page publicly known to exist in Ackanomic which contains the names of the Winners of Previous Cycles. This page is not maintained by the Historian, but rather by /dev/joe. If game custom were to indicate that the Historian should list Winners of Previous Cycles on eir page, then current game play contradicts current game custom, a state which I thought was impossible because "game custom" includes assumptions about the way the game is currently played.

Secondly, even if the term "Winners" as in Rule 420.1 above is interpreted as "Winners of Previous Cycles" then there is a problem. Rule 344, Notes and Comments, states that

A left square bracket in a rule or other text begins a note, which ends with the next following right square bracket, or the end of the rule or body of text, whichever comes first. [This means that notes do not nest.] In the Ackanomic language, notes have no semantic meaning, whatever their lexical content.

The instance of "Winners" in Rule 420 occurs within a note. Therefore, in the language of Ackanomic, it has no semantic meaning. Therefore it cannot be interpreted to mean "Winners of Past Cycles", as it cannot be interpreted to mean anything.

For an illustration, inclusion of a note [Winners are people who in real life have won an Olympic Gold Medal] would not have any effect on the definition of the term Winners elsewhere in the rules, because it is in a note and hence has "no semantic meaning".

Alfvaen's reasoning also claims that the instance of "Winners" in Rule 420.1 "only has the force of game custom". In repsonse to this, let me quote from Rule 101:

Game custom, spirit of the game, and linguistic interpretation are external concepts and are not regulated or part of the game state.

To avoid tautological statement interpretations, we must find that linguistic interpretation is not part of game custom. Therefore, whatever interpretation is given "Winners" in a situation where it has no semantic meaning cannot be considered part of game custom.

Therefore, Alfvaen's claim that the only instance of a word whose root is "win" implies that "win" means "win a Cycle" is erroneous. Consequently, there is no other instance of "win" without a clear referent in the rules, besides the instance in Beldin's Pants. Therefore, as there are a number of things to win in Ackanomic, which one this rule refers to is ambiguous, and hence the statement should be judged TRUE.

Supreme Court's Comments:
The Court refers the reader to CFJ 474 for the specific reasoning.

Penalty to appealer: 1 point.