Paper 1

Author: Towsner
Date: May 30, 1998

On the Appearance of Recurring Themes within MacroNomic

Unlike most nomics, which are largely repetitive games, following the same "democratic" system, MacroNomic has chosen to beat a different path. Yet despite this choice, there are those who claim that the common practices between MacroNomic and other nomics are a sign of weakness on our part. As I will show, this is most certainly not true: they are instead demonstrations of the ability of MacroNomic to sort out the few good parts from a typical nomic, and use them ourselves, usually in a more flexible and efficient way.

Perhaps the one thing most common to nomics is the proposal. Even imperial nomics have proposals, and although imperial and standard nomics handle them somewhat differently, they are fundementally the same. However this apparant failing in the independance of MacroNomic actually shows one of its greatest strengths. For comparison, look at Agora and Ackanomic, the two largest internet nomics. Both of them have a number of things which are voted on besides proposals, and systems for doing it: referenda and hearings, respectively. However unlike Macronomic, neither has incorporated their proposal systems into it, (nor their justice/CFJ systems). In fact many Ackans strongly object to altering rules via hearings instead of proposals.

If proposals are the most common, then CfJ's are second. While both Ackanomic and Agora have added criminal justice as well, only MacroNomic has a panel of judges for the initial judgement. MacroNomic is also the only one to include two types of crime, and to (presumably and eventually) incorporate justice with referenda.

Yet another similarity, most games have officers (our Secretaries). But how many of those games began splitting up jurisdiction in the initial ruleset, instead of waiting until people were overburdened? In addition, the MacroNomic Secretaries are far more flexible, needing only the consent of the previous holder and the new holder to transfer it.

Finally, the concept of both an aid to new players and a university recur in several nomics. However no other nomic has integrated them, intentionally pairing the most learned players with the least learned to educate them.

The remaining question is why these themes appear in many, most, or even all nomics. There are two parts to the answer. The first is that all games of nomic take a great deal of inspiration from the real world, especially U.S. law. As Philo once said, it is much easier to understand what something is when it has the same name as something in real life, and works the same way. It is much easier to know what a referendum is than what a flabijuo is. The second part of the answer is necessity and convenience. For example, every nomic needs a way to work out rule disputes. The CfJ method is used for a number of reasons. The method needs to be simple, safe from catastrophe, and produce fair and accurate results. We could use a system which called for an outside mediator, or which was determined by vote, but none of these solve the problem as well as the CfJ system used by most nomics.
Active1 Votes
Philo: FOR
Towsner: NONE
JT Traub: NONE