Past Judgements

This page is maintained solely for historical and referential purposes.Although these judgements may be used by Judges for to guide in current decisions, they are not binding and are not considered to be part of the current ruleset (see Rule 211).

Each judgement will have the text as written by the responsible Judge, the Judge's name, and the parties involved in the dispute.  In the case where a judgement is the result of an overturned judgement, the prior overturned judgement will be included following the primary judgement.  All relevant information concerning the overturned judgement (including the voting record of the players) will be given as well.

Judgement Invoked on 3/28/98 by Paul Wiegand:

I am invoking judgement for John Lombardi to be considered inactive.  I
know that he is currently out of town.  Further, he has abstained 4
consecutive times.  This is more than the three required by rule 304,
albeit they were all prior (or during) the rule's being adopted.  This is a
fuzzy area, but I will let the judge make the decision.

John can re-activate himself when he returns.

Judge:  Don Corcoran: <TIME ELAPSED>

Judge:  Harry Culpan:  Ruled against the invoker:

My judgement on this matter is that John cannot be ruled Inactive.  While
he does meet the criteria dictated by Rule 304, the three abstentions were
"voted" before the rule came into effect.  This would therefore preclude
John from being rule Inactive, based on my interpretation of Rule 107 which
precludes a rule from having "retroactive application."  I will endeavor to
explain my reasoning.

Since Rule 304 came into effect on March 27, nothing that occurred before
this date can be used in determining a player's status.  (Indeed, Erik's
statement to move himself to Inactive status, which was communicated prior
to the passage of this rule, could be ruled illegal as well - although I
will not do so.)

Based on my interpretation of Rule 107, the phrase "retroactive
application" has two meanings.  The first is that no rule can alter
history.  For example, if a rule passed which stated that no one named
Harry could vote on a proposal, this would be a legal rule.  But if it went
further to adjust the game history by removing all my prior votes, this
would be clearly illegal.

A second interpretation is that no rule can take effect retroactively,
i.e., that the rule is considered to be in effect prior to the time of its
passage.  This interpretation is more subtle and requires more thought.

First, let me present the counter to my judgement, espoused most eloquently
by Paul.  As I understand his argument, "retroactive application" refers
specifically to the alteration of game history, as given in the above
example.  Further, in his mind, the situation he calls for judgement on is
not a case of retroactive application of rule 304.  Rather, it is simply
using game history to alter the current state of the game.  As an example,
he pointed to proposal 303, which we agreed would not be illegal - although
it did make use of game history.

As I interpret it, when John cast his abstentions (or, more specifically,
failed to cast a vote at all), the only consequence of this insofar as John
was aware, was on the vote itself.  He was unaware that the vote could lead
to his being ruled Inactive as a direct consequence of his lack of a vote.
This, to me, also falls under the phrase, "retroactive application",
because a rule is causing a direct effect for John in the present based on
actions taken prior to the rule's passage.

My criteria for determining whether a rule has "retroactive application" is
this:  If a rule which uses game history to alter the current state of the
game, would likely cause a player to want to reconsider his past actions,
then this rule is having retroactive effect, rather than just using game
history.  As examples, compare this situation with Paul's proposal 303.  In
this proposal, Paul suggested establishing a Cash Bank which would have a
fixed sum determined by looking at past history.  This rule is not having
"retroactive application" in my mind, at least, because - in theory - its
application would not in any way cause a player to want to reconsider his
past moves.  A player's actions in the past are not effected in any manner
by this proposal.

The situation with John, however, is different.  It is reasonable to
suppose that, had John been aware of the consequence of his abstentions in
the past, he might have been more communicative.  Thus, this would seem to
have "retroactive application", based on the criteria I spell out above.

Thus, past game history may be used in the current ruleset.  If this use of
game history might cause a player to want to rethink his past moves,
however, then this is having "retroactive application" and is therefore
illegal.  This is why Paul's proposal 303 would be legal, but declaring
John to be Inactive at this point would not be.

I hope my above judgement (verbose though it was) is clear enough.

Judgement Invoked on 4/9/98 by Paul Wiegand:

I invoke jugement to rule Steve Koehler as inactive by rule 304.

Rule 304 was adopted on 3/27.

Steve abstained from the vote on 305 (3/27-3/29), 306 (4/2-4/4), and 308
(4/6-4/8).  This meets the 3 vote constraint by rule 304.

Judge:  Erik Dutton: <TIME ELAPSED>

Judge:  Brett Pfingston:  Ruled in favor of the invoker:

Concerning the  jugement to rule Steve Koehler as inactive
by rule 304:

I rule that Steve Koehler is inactive.

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This page last updated April 12, 1998.