InterNomic Judgement Archive

Judgement 1 (Sep 16, 1996, 04:03h EDT) -
Initiator: Ackanomic
Judge: Imperial Nomic 14
Judgement: TRUE, without comment


Proposal 306 was accepted.
Initiator's Comments:
Rule 209 tells us that:

A proposal passes if and only if all votes cast on it are in favor.

Proposal 306 recieved three votes. The nomics of Ackanomic, Agora, and Fascist 14 all voted FOR. Thring abstained, and therefore did not *cast* a vote. The only possible interpretation that the rules allow tells us that P306 was accepted.

Judgement 2 (Oct 08, 1996, 12:21h EDT) -
Initiator: Agora
Judge: Thring
Judgement: TRUE


Proposal 311, if it is a Proposal, violates Rule 204.
Initiator's Comments:
Rule 204 says that a Proposal must contain exactly one Rule Change.

Rule 106 says that a Rule Change is either creation, amendment, or repeal of a Mutable Rule, or a Transmutation.

Proposal 311 contains no transmutation, nor does it contain an amendment of a Mutable rule. Instead it seeks to amend a Rule which is not Mutable (though it may become so later). Under the current Rules, this is not a Rule Change.

Judge's Comments:
Reasons: One possible mitigating factor might be that Rule 210, "A rule change takes effect at the moment the proposal containing it is adopted" is relevant here; but the Judge finds that Rule 204 "Every proposal shall contain exactly one rule change" means that the rule change has to be valid at the time the proposal is made. Otherwise, we agree with elJefe.

Comments: In Thring, we had similar situations; in some cases, the proposal was considered to be a "proposal to enact", and the enacted rule would then carry out the specified rule change. It seems clear that "Proposal" 311, however, is an attempt to amend an Immutable rule.

Perhaps a suitable amendment to Rule 204 might provide an effective way to amend immutable rules; otherwise it's going to take a _long_ time.

Judgement 3 (Jan 05, 1997, 08:47 EST) -
Initiator: Agora
Judge: Agora
Judgement: FALSE


The proposals 301 till 318 have all passed
Initiator's Comments:
Rule 109 says:

109. All proposals shall be voted on. They will be adopted if and only if they receive the required number of votes.

Remark that this rule does not specify what KIND of votes (in favor, against or abstaining) the proposal has to receive, it just has to receive the required NUMBER of them. It takes precedence over rules 110 and 209, so their attempts to make proposals pass or fail for other reasons automatically fail.

So a proposal passes if and only if it receives the required number of votes. Did proposals 301 till 318 do so? The rules do not give a required number of votes, so any such requirement is trivially met, and thus proposals 301 till 318 passed.

Judge's Comments:
The Rules do not define what it means for a Proposal to "receive" a vote. We are thus free to interpret the word in the most natural way.

In real-life referenda, we generally think of a question as "receiving" votes cast in favor of it, and "not receiving" those cast against. The opinion of this Judgement is that a Proposal "receives" a vote just when that vote is legally cast in favor of the Proposal.

Rule 109 states that the Proposal is adopted iff it receives the "required number" of votes. Rule 109 leaves it to other Rules to specifying this number. Currently Rules 110 and 209 do the necessary specifying, requiring all votes to be in favor for adoption.

By this standard at least one of the Proposals referred to has failed (recently 316 and/or 317), and so the Statement is false.

Agoran Rules require the commentary of all members to be forwarded:

Comments of Player favor

What does it mean for a proposal to "receive" a vote? A proposal doesn't in general have a mailbox, for instance, so it can't receive a vote in the same way that a player can receive a message. If I cast a vote FOR a proposal, it seems uncontroversial that that proposal has received my vote, has gotten my vote. Is the same true if I vote AGAINST the proposal? That seems much less clear. "You get my vote!" for instance, seems to mean that I will vote FOR you. It seems at least plausible, then, that a proposal receives a vote, simpliciter, if and only if that vote is FOR the proposal. (Of course, there are qualified variants with other meanings: it is clear what it means for a proposal to receive a certain number of votes AGAINST, for instance. But when the type of vote is not specified explicitly, I think most competent speakers of English would interpret "receives the required number of votes" to mean "of votes FOR". Of course, it may be an open question whether a speaker making that interpretation is finding the default value of the phrase, or on the other hand is saying "well, although e said something else, e must have *meant* to say 'votes FOR'".

Comments of Player Swann gb485@cleveland.Freenet.Edu:

I agree with this, I'd also add the following:

If there are to be judgements in Internomic based on Game Custom in Internomic (I don't have the rules in front of me. But I suspect they are.) I suspect that there's already one developed, not jus vis a vis Internomic, but because with any nomic still so close to Suber's initial set has an implicit Game Custom-- especiallaly in a nomic of nomics-- based upon the assumptions the players bring into such a nomic, despite the minor textual varaiants. When a nomic made of experianced nomic players begins with something this close to Suber's original, I think it begins with a Game Custom based on the player's common experiance with nomic, and when an unclear rule appears it can be dealt with not just as past experiance in this one game dictates, but as past experience in prior nomics dictates. (Note, I'm only arguing this in cases where the Ruleset is still closely tied to the original.)

NB: The InterNomic Rules do not currently mention Game Custom as a standard of judgment. Rule 213 merely says judgments must be in accordance with the Rules.


Comments of Player Murphy

IN rules 110 and 209 place restrictions on the nature of votes received. Do those restrictions count as restrictions on the number of votes received, in the sense that they both require there to be zero AGAINST votes received? If not, then 109 takes precedence over both, by IN rules 111 and 211.

NB: Rules 110 and 209 do not use the term "received", and the natural interpretation of the word, as above, implies that 109 accepts the requirements of the other Rules as to number of votes for adoption. -elJefe

Judgement 4 (Jan 11, 1997, 16:22 EST) -
Initiator: Agora
Judge: Thring
Judgement: FALSE


Voting members of Internomic may vote exactly twice per proposal.
Initiator's Comments:
206. Each voting member may vote exactly once per proposal. Nonvoting members may not vote.

Per Internomic rule 114 (permissibility of the unprohibited except for rule changes), this says that each voting member *may* vote exactly once per proposal, but it does not necessarily prevent them from voting twice; after all, it doesn't prevent them from voting zero times.

Judge's Comments:

Thring finds the statement for judgement to be false.

Thring notes that this verdict may have no legal force as we are uncertain as to the change in the official status of a current statement for judgement if a new game is started due to a win of the old one, as may well have occurred.

Thring's verdict was reached as follows.

The claim would seem to rest on the interpretation of the phrase "may vote exactly once" in the first sentence of Rule 206. There would seem to be two possible ambiguities in this phrase

Firstly, what is meant by the word "may", "can", "can only" or "must"?

Quoting from the Webster dictionary for "may" as a verb the relevant three clauses seem to be

>   1: have the ability to : CAN
>   2a: have permission to {you ~ go now} : have liberty to - used
>       nearly interchangeably with can"
The above definitions support the first meaning.
>   5: SHALL, MUST - used in law where the sense, purpose, or
>                    policy requires this interpretation

Whereas this one supports the latter two. It may be relevant that Internomic rules are phrased and interpreted somewhat like laws.

The second ambiguity concerns whether the phrase should be parsed as
 "(may vote) (exactly once)"
or as
 "may (vote exactly once)"?

The caller is pushing for an interpretation where "may" means "can" and the phrase is parsed as "may (vote exactly once)". E argues that with this parsing "may" cannot mean "must" or "can only" since this would exclude members from voting no times.

Thring notes that the idea that a member must vote on all proposals is no less contrary to expectation and custom than the idea that a member might vote two times. Whilst game spirit cannot actually be invoked to argue against the statement, nor can it be used to argue for it. For this reason, Thring would be inclined to ignore this argument even if this were the only way to parse the phrase.

However, Thring anyway believes that the phrase is better parsed as "(may vote) (exactly once)" with an implicit conjunction between these two sub-phrases, and that the use of "may" is closest to "can only." Thring reads the phrase as "has the ability to vote only as long as they do so exactly once" and finds this reading to forbid voting twice.

Judgement 5 (Jan 15, 1997, 22:38h EDT) -
Initiator: Ackanomic
Judge: Agora
Judgement: TRUE


Ackanomic has won the game of Internomic.
Initiator's Comments:
Ackanomic has achieved a score of 100 points by invoking R114 to change it's score. R202 tells us that the winner is the first nomic to achieve 100 points.

The game ends when a nomic achieves 100 points. The winner is the first nomic to do so. The liaison from that nomic becomes moderator, and all scores are reset to 0. A new game is then begun, with all rules and proposals retaining the status they had at the end of the game.

R114, which reads

"Whatever is not forbidden is allowed, except that changing the rules is only permitted when another rule allows it."
grants Ackanomic the right to change it's score as it desires to. No other rule prohibits arbitrary score changes. In fact, score changes are hardly regulated at all. The only other rules that mention points, or scoring are:

R201 - All members begin with 0 points.
R306 - Whenever a proposal is accepted, the member nomic that proposed it gains two points.

Neither of which prohibit a nomic from changing it's own score.

Judge's Comments:

Rule 114 says:

114. Whatever is not forbidden is allowed, except that changing the rules is only permitted when another rule allows it.

If we interpret "allowed" as merely meaning something is not against the Rules, then the first part of the statement is utterly tautologous and without meaning. Judicial construction seems to require that the entire Rule be given meaning if possible.

As Player Favor of Agora has remarked, 'When dealing with purely within-Game entities like points, what could "permitted" or "allowed" possibly mean other than "possible"?' Given the precise words of the Rule, I conclude that Ackanomic's change of Points was "allowed" and therefore possible.

I notice another possible loophole in Rule 114, as worded: it says that "changing the rules is only permitted when another rule allows it". However, another rule (113) does allow changing the rules. Thus changing the rules is permitted.


In accordance with the above, I hereby declare that the Rules have been changed by enacting the following rule:

216.  The Rules may not be changed except as specified in the Rules.

      Anything regulated by the Rules may only be changed as specified by
      the Rules.

      No rule change shall take effect earlier than the moment of its
      adoption (or that of the proposal which included it), nor have any
      retroactive application.

      No game move shall have retroactive effect.
NOTES: This is not a proposal, but an actual and immediate change to the rules; thus it need not be voted upon.

The number "216" is not part of the rule, and if for some reason this number cannot attach to the new rule, then the new rule has whatever number is assigned it by the rules, or no number.

I might have gone further, but now hopefully nobody can.

JUDGEMENT, continued:

The following text is part of Agora's judgment, as specified in our Rules:

Blob writes:

I, for one, am rather swayed by elJefe's argument about the impossibility changing the scores, in spite of it's permissability (or it syllablicity!) I realise that Agora's game custom says otherwise, (I would have argued in favour of this stance, had I have been here when the issue was raised), but I do not see that we necessarily have to adopt the same conventions in Internomic.

Ergo, I would judge this CFJ to be FALSE

Oerjan writes:

My suggestion is to judge it TRUE. After all, as you have pointed out (I never remember such things correctly), this is consistent with Agora Custom and CFJs on the issue - we apparently lost the argument when it was raised here.

It seems that Ackanomic also has custom that absent any Rules everything in the game is possible.

So far, none of the Internomic members seem to have taken the opposite view in their own handling of this problem of unregulated entities. So it seems only natural to judge this TRUE if that is what all member nomics would do in a similar internal situation.

favor writes:

I seem to have missed the posting (I assume it was posted somewhere?) of the permitted-versus-possible distinction. It's probably just a matter of taste (to use Steve's phrase), but I think I'm agin it.

When dealing with purely within-Game entities like points, what could "permitted" or "allowed" possibly mean other than "possible"? I suppose it *could* mean "impossible but legal-if-only-you-could-do-it", but that seems like a highly nonintuitive concept, and only if there were some pretty explicit hint of such a thing in the relevant Ruleset would I accept it as a natural interpretation of the Rules.

Let's see, a good argument on the other side of the coin: perhaps we can see R114 as part of a "Bill of Rights" of the Internomic; a promise that the Rules will not unfairly punish certain actions. In the case of R114, a promise that a Player shall not be deemed to have violated the Rules unless e has done something that the Rules explicitly prohibit. Hence "allowed" meaning "not punishable". R114 tells us that would will not, for instance, be punished for constructing a Perpetual Motion Machine; it says nothing about whether or not such things are possible. But that only makes sense with extra-Game entities, where we have some other way of knowing what's possible and what isn't. Without using R114, how can we tell whether or not adjusting your own score is possible? R114 seems to be our only clue, so I think we have to listen to it...

More evidence that the Rules should talk only about what's possible and what happens, and avoid all this silly stuff about what's legal and what's punishable! *8)

Judgement 6 (Mar 14, 1996, 15:43h EST) -
Initiator: Agora
Judge: Pumpkin Patch
Judgement: FALSE


A Liaison can not act in Internomic on behalf of eir member Nomic unless said action is permitted by the rules of the member Nomic.
Initiator's Comments:

Judge's Comments:
*the pumpkin patch rules false on isfj 6. After carefully considering the various issues involved our patch is divided. However the clear consensus is that if a liason acts for their nomic it is the responsibility of the member nomic to self police their liason's actions. We feel that a vote of true would allow a nomic to repudiate their liason's actions and cause untold confusion and disruption. If there are concerns that a liason may act inappropriately we believe a separate rule ought to be passed which allows for a short period of time within which a member nomic can speak up in internomic and undo what the liason has done.

Judgement 7 (May 03, 1997, 15:05h EDT) -
Initiator: Ackanomic
Judge: Thring
Judgement: TRUE


Once it has cast it's vote, a nomic may not change them.
Initiator's Comments:
On May 3, 1997, Henry Townser, liason from MicroNomic II, posted the following message to, in an attempt to change the votes of his nomic, which had been previously cast by the old liason, Pascal.

>Received: from (
>[]) by (8.8.0/8.7.3) with ESMTP
>       id KAA28611 for ; Sat, 3 May 1997 10:02:11
>-0800 (AKDT)
>Received: from (Cust84.Max5.Boston.MA.MS.UU.NET [])
>       by (8.8.5/8.8.5) with SMTP id LAA25384
>       for ; Sat, 3 May 1997 11:01:58 -0700 (PDT)
>Message-ID: <>
>Date: Sat, 03 May 1997 14:11:24 -0500
>From: Henry Towsner 
>X-Mailer: Mozilla 3.01Gold (Macintosh; I; PPC)
>MIME-Version: 1.0
>Subject: Internomic votes
>Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
>X-UIDL: edeaea015d99ae3889bfe352468d5adc
>If MicroNomic can legally change its votes, it votes AGAINST 332, FOR
>333, and AGAINST 334.

I contend that this is an invalid game action because it violates R206 and R207. Specifically, R 206 says:

>Rule 206/0 (Mutable)
>Each voting member may vote exactly once per proposal. Nonvoting members
>may not vote.
There is aa definite implication in R206 that once a nomic has cast a vote on a proposal, it may not do so again. So what consitutes casting a vote on a proposal? For this, we only need read R207:

>Rule 207/0 (Mutable)
>Voting members may vote either for or against any proposal by sending
>their vote to the moderator by the end of the voting period on that
>proposal. The moderator may not reveal any votes until the end of the
>voting period. Any voting member who does not vote has abstained.

It is accepted game custom that by sending a vote to the list, it is alos sent to the moderator. Pascal's first attempt at voting on these three proposals fulfilled the requirements of R207, and in doing so brought R206 into play, forbidding the second vote casting by MicroNomic II.

The judge has no choice but to rule this CFJ true.

Judge's Comments:
Due to a lack of convincing arguments (apart from being ungrammatical) against this statement, Thring returns a verdict of TRUE. In addition to the valid reasoning attached to the original SFJ, see also rule 323, which forbids changing the game state (including, in particular, votes) unless explicitly allowed to by other rules.

Judgement 8 (Jun 22, 1996, 17:41h EST) -
Initiator: Ackanomic
Judge: MicroNomic II
Judgement: TRUE


The Moderator is not Liaison for InterNomic, nor is e InterNomic.
Initiator's Comments:
This seems trivially True to me, but an SFJ was requested.  I'll
include some of the comments I made on the Internomic list:

> As moderator of Internomic, I am hereby changing the attitude of
> Internomic towards Agora as Enemy.

This fails.  From rule 335:

> Any member nomic may declare any other member nomic to be an Ally,
> Neutral or Enemy at any time by having their liaison publicly announce
> the change on the Internomic mailing list

Rule 332:

> InterNomic's Liaison to InterNomic is InterNomic.

Rule 214:

> All business to be conducted with a member nomic shall be conducted
> with the liaison to that nomic. No entity may be liaison to more than
> one member nomic.

The Moderator is liaison for Ackanomic. It cannot be construed
that eir actions were possible on behalf of InterNomic.


> But is there not an impliaction [sic] that the moderator acts on behalf
> of Internomic?  I am the only acting participant in internomic that is
> singularly sentient and am the "referee" of the game.  Game custom could
> be construed as making the moderator and internomic synonymous.

I'm not sure where you are getting "game custom" as a justification
for assuming that the Moderator is equal to Internomic.  What specific
body of "game custom" are you referring to?

=From rule 102:

> A nomic is a game in which the rules are changeable by those who play
> it. The entities which play this nomic, aka "Internomic", [...]

The Moderator is not a nomic; the term is defined in Rule 102.
Internomic is.  The Moderator is not Internomic.

As Dr. West pointed out, Internomic acts as its rules direct it to.
It is a nomic, not a person.
Judge's Comments:
Nowhere in the rules is the moderator given any authority to act on behalf of Internomic. The only entity which can act on behalf on Internomic is Internomic. (This could lead to a problem if Internomic wins...)

Judgement 9 (Dec 09, 1997, 19:45h EST) -
Initiator: New Rishonomic
Judge: Pumpkin Patch Nomic
Judgement: TRUE


New Rishonnomic (with 2 n's) is not a voting member of Internomic.
Initiator's Comments:
The crux of this matter in the interpretation and application of proposal 349 which read as follows: Ammend R215 by replacing the string "Rishonomic" with the string "New Rishonnomic"

It was pointed out by several human entities that this proposal contains typos. Some comments were that since 'ammend' means nothing at all we can safely ignore it. Other suggested that we should interpret it as 'amend'.

It was the latter interpretation that was chosen. Once that interpretation was chosen a decision has been made to interpret an unword as a word, where the intended word was clearly obvious to everyone.

I argue that there are two only two possible cases here:

I. We interpret the text as if it was written correctly, in which case 'ammend' is interpreted as 'amend' and New Rishonnomic is interepreted as New Rishonomic. Since both terms were well known in the Internomic context at the time this proposal passed. The sudden appearance of another nomic whose name happened to coincide withthe typo should not affect the interpretation of the rule, unless one wishes to set a dangerous Game Custom where entities change the interpretation of rules by taking unilateral action.

II. We interpret the proposal literarlly, in which case it had no effect at all. It failed to amend to R215.

In either case New Rishonnomic is not a voting a member.

Judge's Comments:

Submitted this Pumpkinian Season by the Denizens of the Pumpkin Patch or
Their Pod Replacements, within unanimous garden assembled, who shall
hereafter be denoted by the string "the court," where the string "the"
shall variously be replaced with the string "this", as context demands,
thus:  "the/this", "this/the".

 This Statement for Judgement has raised a number of crucial issues. It is
the indefatigable opinion of this court that the question regarding said
crucial issues cannot be answered adequately or enjoyably, without
substantial gratuitous discourse on various common nomician theories of
interpretation, the temporality of rulesets, the nature of reference in
nomics generally and Internomic specifically, and other sundry topics.
Ergo, our argument shall run thusly:

  I. The distinction between "common-sense" and "literalist" styles of
play found misleading. A more satisfying approach to interpretation

 II. The question "did a typo in Rule create a new nomic" answered in the
negative. The nature of game entities and games as entities considered.

 III. The question "did the phrase New Rishonnomic in Rule come to refer
to a nomic by that name created after Rule was enacted" addressed in most
proficient fashion. The special nature of Internomic deemed crucial to the
resolution of this issue.

 I. On the feeble and useless distinction between "common-sense" and
"literalist" styles of play.

 In the early stages of the debate over this issue in Internomic, some
 reference was made to "common-sense" and "literalist" approaches to
 playing nomic, with many of those who would characterize themselves as
 common-sensicalists claiming that "New Rishonnomic" obviously referred to
 New Rishonomic while self-styled "literalists" upheld New Rishonnomic's
 status as a player as a necessary by-product of the letter of the law.

  Each of these camps labors under its own peculiar and sad delusions.

1.  The common-sensicalist voice cries out, It's a typo for God's-sake--we
all know what it means so let's ignore and get on with the excrescent
game! Of this voice we would simply ask, get on with doing what, exactly?
Remove this kind of quibbling over rules from nomic and you have no nomic
at all.

2. The literalist voice cries out, The game is made of rules and rules are
 made of words--we must pay attention only to what the words mean in
 themselves, and ignore such distractions as "Intention." To this voice we
 would gently explain that theorists of language nowadays look on the idea
 of words meaning something in themselves with the same sort of poignant
 nostalgia that one might feel when talking with one's senile
 great-grandfather. But we needn't invoke Derrida or Richard Rorty to see
 that signs only mean things in relation to the sea of signs we call a
 culture, and that without the context of a culture our lower-case n's
(not to mention our upper-case R's) would be mere squiggles. The appeal to
 "common-sense" could be seen in this light as an appeal to the only basis
 for meaning we ever have: our conflict-ridden consensus about what words

 At the same time, however, the language-community of nomic players, from
whose consensus the language of the rules takes its meaning, represents
anything but a common-sensical approach to interpretation. And herein
lies the dilemma. While the hard-core literalist depends on an untenable
emphasis on "words in themselves," this dependence is part of the culture
of nomic, whose players enjoy taking legalism to the point of absurdity.

 The approach of this court will therefore be to deftly walk a tightrope
between literalism and common-sensicalism by relying heavily on the
assumptions or "metarules" of nomician culture, assumptions that demand
that the rules be interpreted as absurdly as possible.

 Here we might note an interesting paradox: for many the purpose of nomic
is to push the envelope of game-playing and thus to call into question
the very metarules on which the rules and nomician gameplay depend. While
this fact confuses the issue rather than bringing us closer to a ruling on
the SFJ at hand, it does give us the opportunity to pause for a moment to
gaze in wonder at the cosmic beauty of nomic.

 II. With this said, to the question at hand. First we must ask whether
the "extra" n in Rule created a new entity, the nomic New Rishonnomic, by
virtue of the fact that prevented the rule from correctly reproducing the
spelling of New Rishonomic.

 This question we can easily answer with a resounding "NO." Before
 outlining our reasons for this answer, let us first outline one argument
 that is not a reason for our answer. We would not assert that rules
cannot create entities. It is one of the fundamental properties of game
rules that they create not just some of the entities they regulate (as
might be accurately said of laws) but indeed practically all of the
entities they regulate. Because game rules both create a virtual world and
regulate the behavior of the inhabitants of that world, they fall
somewhere between laws of nature and statutes. Thus it is entirely
conceivable that a new name created by a typo or other unintentional
effect (not to imply, of course, that there is such a thing as intention)
would create a new entity. The history of the Pumpkin Patch, though the
Patch is only a small backwater nomic with a weak ruleset and players who
have little experience with state-crashing nomics such as the mighty and
all-self-important AGORA, may here provide us with a humble example.[1]
When a rule was passed amending all instances of the word "Pumpkin" to
read "Pepper," this rule did not have the power to amend the immutables,
many of which contained the word Pumpkin. In effect what was once one
entity--the Pumpkin--was almost split into two distinct entities: the
Pumpkin described in the immutables and the Pepper described in the
mutables.[2] The Patch understood that this outcome was entirely within
the purview of both the metarules of nomic, which dictate that the most
desirable interpretations are those with absurd consequences, and the
power of the rules to construct reality.

 Why then was a new entity called New Rishonnomic not called into being by
 the creative power of the second lowercase n?Because this new game-entity
 would have been identified as a nomic by the rule in question, because
 nomics are a kind of game entity defined with some precision by the rules
 and metarules of internomic, and because the new entity would not have
 fulfilled the requirements of this definition. If nothing else, a new
 nomic created solely by a rule's invention of a new nomic name would not
 be a game, and rules define a nomic as a game. A game must have at least
 one player and rules. A nomic created by the second lower-case n would
 have had neither.

Interestingly, the nature of a nomic as defined by the rules of
Internomic therefore provides a layer of reality outside of the reality
defined by Internomic's rules. Just as the need to prohibit multiple
identities sometimes sadly forces us to look outside of the tiny
playgrounds of our minds and write references to "real persons" into our
rulesets, the special nature of Internomic as a "game of games" forces its
rules to refer to entities that they have not created. We will have
occasion to return to this observation in moment.

 III. Some have argued that even if rule  could not create a nomic, it
 could still come to refer to a nomic called New Rishonnomic if such a
 nomic were to come into existence after the rule had been passed. Here we
 again confront a dilemma central to nomics, one which can occur only in
 rule-changing games. On the one-hand, rules must exist outside of the
 temporality of game time in order to regulate play. They must be applied
 equally at every moment of play, so that every rule can be understood as
 being preceded by a metarule that states, "As long as this rule is in the
 ruleset, it shall always and continually be thus." On the other hand,
 rules enter the ruleset in the course of play. They are born out of the
 very flow of game-time that they seek to transcend. Should we say then
 that we should at every moment seek out a nomic named "New Rishonnomic"
 to be the referrent of that phrase in the rule, or that the meaning
 of that phrase was determined by its history--by its meaning at the
 moment when the rule entered the ruleset?

Here we might find it useful to recall observations by some speech act
theorists concerning uses of language that are understood as actions in
the world: actions which change the state of the world. It has been
observed, for example, that when the officiant at a wedding says, "I now
pronounce you man and wife," these words are understood as doing far more
than simply describing a state. They *bring about* the state of
matrimony.A successful proposal similarly changes the state of the
ruleset, and a proposal to amend this rule resembles the pronouncement of
marriage even more by bringing about a change in the relation of nomics
to the institution of Internomic. The second lower-case n in "New
Rishonnomic" thus resembles a marriage between a man with a false name
and a woman, or perhaps a marriage between a woman and a woman pretending
to be a man. If a man stepped forward whose real name was the same as the
false name used by the imposter, would the woman then "discover" that she
was married to another man? Probably not. On the other hand, if the woman
pretending to be a man had a sex change operation after the marriage,
could we then say that the couple would "become" in the eyes of the law
the man and wife they were orginally pretending to be? I, for one, would
hope so. In other words, we must ask how the *act* of joining a nomic to
Internomic can be "false," and if it is false how and whether it can be
made to be true.

 In both of the above hypothetical examples, the crucial determining
factor is the fact that the speech act refers to an entity not fully
defined by the language of the speech act. The speech act points to the
individuals present at the marriage ceremony in spite of the imperfections
in its description of them. In the case of the assumed name the speech act
can be invalidated by the imperfection in its reference to the entities
involved, but it cannot be made to refer to an entity not present at the
ceremony. In the case of the male-impersonator, the accuracy of the speech
act's reference may improve over time, but only because the entity who
comes to resemble the "man" referred to in the ceremony was indeed the
entity originally pointed at by the word "man."

 Now an analogy to the real world is certainly not very convincing in the
 bizarro world of nomic. But in this case the principle underlying the
 distinction between the above examples is mandated by the rules of
 Internomic. As the court has already pointed out, by referring to other
 games the rules of Internomic acknowledge that other nomics have a
 reality independent of Internomic rules. The meaning of the rule thus
 depends on the
 state of a reality that exists outside of the wording of the rule. The
 meaning of a reference to a nomic in the rules is fixed forever: it must
 mean the nomic pointed at by the rule at the time of its passing. It is
 not our place to judge here whether this rule could point at New Rishonomic
 at the time of its passing. But we can judge that it can never point at
 any nomic created after the rule's passing. We therefore rule true on

 This interpretation does not deny that the rules stand outside of the
flow of history and apply equally at every moment of that flow. Rather it
acknowledges that the speech act of making a nomic a voting member can
only leap the gap between time and the transcendence of time by tying its
references permanently to the real entities (nomics) present at the
moment of its enunciation. Given that the rules demand that references to
nomics refer to real entities, to say that the same reference could come
to refer to a different entity would be to assert that the meaning of the
rule would change over time. If rule    were repealed and reenacted when
New Rishonnomic did indeed exist, then, yes, the reenacted rule would
refer to New Rishonnomic even though the wording of the reenacted rule
would be identical to that of the original. And this is the case because
the rules mandate that we see the meaning of references to nomics as
inhering in more than the words of the references.

Have a nice day.

The Patch

En Banc, the Supreme Court of The Pumpkin Patch, concurring en toto.


 [1] In case your feeble meat brains cannot perceive the blatant sarcasm
in this sentence, let the court make clear that if they so desired the
mighty vegetable minds of the Patch could easily reduce the ruleset of any
Internomic member to incoherence with the most casual of observations. Be
thankful for our beneficence.

 [2] This eventuality was prevented by a conflict in the Pepper rule with
the immutables.

Judgement 10 (Dec 09, 1997, 19:55h EST) -
Initiator: Ed Murphy
Judge: Internomic
Judgement: Judge Defaulted


Non-members of InterNomic may submit statements for judgement.
Initiator's Comments:
Judge's Comments:

Judgement 11 (Jan 1, 1998, 00:07h EST) -
Initiator: Ackanomic
Judge: FDC Nomic
Judgement: TRUE


"The Church of Odo on the Worm Hole" [sic] is a member of Internomic.
Initiator's Comments:

Rule 102 requires all members to be "nomics".  Then the rule
defines the term "nomic" as:

> A nomic is a game in which the rules are changeable by those
> who play it.

The Church of Odo on the Wormhole is described by the rules of
Ackanomic as an Ackanomic organization, specifically it is a
Church.  It is not a game under Ackanomic rules.  Its
(potential) Liaison claims, but provides no way to verify, that
its Church Policy is a nomic.  It would seem, then, if this
claim could be verified, that the Church Policy, and not the
Church, might be eligible to join Internomic.

This SFJ brings up several points that may be of interest:

1) The spelling problem of "Worm Hole" vs "Wormhole".

2) Can anything just claim to be a nomic without a method to
verify that claim?  Do we care?  Should we just accept any

3) What procedures are available to an Internomic judge to
verify such claims, especially when, as a matter of policy,
the entity making the claims is intentionally keeping its
self-modifying ruleset secret?

4) How far does Internomic recognise the definitions of entities
provided by its member nomics?  Internomic seems to have accepted
the definition of "player" from its members' rulesets (e.g., the
case of New Rishonomic's rule-defined entity known as the Voting
Gnome).  Does Ackanomic's definition of the entity "The Church of
Odo on the Worm Hole" have any bearing on what that entity is w.r.t
IN rule 102?  (Note that under Ackanomic rules, "... Worm Hole" and
"... Wormhole" point to the same entity, at least they do currently).
In other words, do member nomics define part of the reality under
which Internomic operates?

5) Does having a self-modifying internal policy document qualify
something for nomichood?

For the record, here is Uri's e-mail requesting non-voting membership
for this entity:


Uri Bruck wrote:
> Malenkai,
> The Church of Odo on the Worm Hole is a game of nomic. It has a self
> amending Church Policy, most of which can't be revealed due to Church
> Policy.
> Church Policy allow the following section to be made public.
> "
> The Church of Odo on the Worm Hole will attempt to become a member of
> Internomic. Its representative in Internomic will be appointed by the
> Founder. Whenever a decision needs to be made in Internomic, the
> representative of the Church will forward all the relevant information to
> the Church mailing list and the members will vote. The numberof votes each
> member has, is the same as the number of votes each member has for a
> Motion. Whichever decision is reached by the vote is the decision passed
> by the representative to Intenromic, whether it be a vote on a proposal,
> or a judegmenet verdict.
> "
> So - I have appointed myself the Church Representative to Internomic, and
> as Liasion of the Church of Odo on the Wormhole Iam notifying you that
> said Church would like to become a non-voting member of Internomic.
> Niccolo Flychuck
> Founder and Liasion of the Church of Odo on the Wormhole
Judge's Comments:
If the claim is verified, then the Church is a nomic and the Church Policy is its ruleset.

Also "Liaison" vs "Liasion". Game custom (see the handling of "New Rishonnomic") holds that, as long as a misspelled term has only one candidate referent, then it refers to that candidate referent. For each of the terms in question, there has never been more than one candidate referent, AFAIK.

Yes, yes, and no. Questionable claims may be resolved by judicial investigation (as in the present case) or by legislation (e.g. "A claim of nomichood not accompanied by a copy of the nomic's ruleset is without effect").

I have taken steps to circumvent said secrecy, and I now attest that the Church Policy in question qualifies the Church for nomic-hood.

Each member nomic defines part of InterNomic's reality, but only its own part. InterNomic may recognize the Church as a nomic, even if Ackanomic does not formally recognize the Church as anything other than an Organization-of-type-Church of Ackacnomic.

Only if the members of the something have some control over the modification of the document. A document consisting solely of the text "Each Monday at midnight UTC, this text shall be modified by doubling the number in parentheses (1).", for instance, would not qualify.

Judgement 12 Jan 6, 1998, 21:56h EST) -
Initiator: New Rishomomic
Judge: Micronomic II
Judgement: Defaulted


New Rishonomic (N E W space R I S H O N O M I C) is a voting member of Internomic.
Initiator's Comments:
The thing is, we need to know. As for reference material, I can only refer the court to SFJ 9 and its verdict. I do not claim that the verdict on SFJ 9 necessarily requires a verdict of True on this SFJ, however, that SFJ discussed related points at length.
Judge's Comments:

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