Issue 8, November 3rd, 1995



Welcome to Thring Weekly Issue 8 - the first issue of Thring Weekly for a _long_ time. I blame the fact that I've been Speaker for most of the intervening time, a role which doesn't leave much spare time for Thring-related activities. (Well, it could have, but then my study would have suffered even more.)

A lot has happened since the last issue (which was published on July 5, almost 4 months ago). I hope to write an account of Thring "Game 3" for a future issue, so I'll just mention here that after Game 2 crashed with a "Rule 219" CfJ judged TRUE, there were extensive discussions on a "New Initial Ruleset" for Thring which, however, was only adopted (and play started again) in early August. Anarchy has just recently won Thring "Game 3" and is now the Speaker in Thring "Game 4".

In that time, Thring has gone through some highs and lows; at one stage, as some statistics reprinted in this issue will show, there were as few as 2 Players voting on proposals, and only 7 Players altogether. After a minor "membership drive", the number of both Players and active players has increased, though there is still concern about the low level of involvement.

In any case, this issue is both looking back and forward. The centerpiece is an article with Don the Prodigal Yank (as e is known in Thring), shortly to become our new Cartographer; e describes, amongst other issues, eir hope that goals will be set (or are being set) that Thring Players can aspire to. Also in this issue are, as already mentioned, statistics (reprinted from posts to the Thring Mailing List) about both Proposals (and Voters on them) and Calls for Judgement: who the concerned (from one viewpoint) Thringers are. Finally, the column "Forgotten Proposals" has been replaced (it became apparent that it would never catch up with the game) by the first instalment of "Repealed Rules"; it is hoped that eventually all the rules repealed in Thring (so far) will be listed in issues of Thring Weekly.

What about next issue? I have plans for a large issue to come out on December the 1st, celebrating the first anniversary of Thring. As part of that issue, there will be a survey of all past and present Players of Thring (who choose to reply), strictly anonymous (unless otherwise requested): it will be distributed soon to give you all time to respond. :) Depending on how active I am before then, there may be another issue before then, with a Brief History of Thring "Game 3" ... otherwise, Issue 9 could well be a "Bumper Issue", possibly in two parts, of heretofore unthought-of (nigh-inconceivable) dimensions. (Primarily "longness", I guess :)

So welcome back, and let's hope that Thring keeps on surviving and growing.

Luke Schubert the spontaneous,
Sometime Thring Weekly Editor.

Interview: Thring's (Soon-to-be) New Cartographer

(by Luke Schubert)

Don the Prodigal Yank is one of the most senior Players of Thring who's still active. E joined as a Player shortly before March 27; e then left on June 13, shortly before Game 2 ended, and rejoined as a Player on September 14. E is certain to become the Cartographer in the current election for that position (being the only candidate) and has already been ably fulfilling the duties of that Position as Acting Cartographer. E is also a candidate for Thring Lotto Commissioner in that ongoing election. E has been active in discussing and proposing throughout eir time as a Player, and has made valuable contributions to the collective philosophy of Thring in this way.

E (ok, he really) is also (one learns from eir Geek Code) an engineer by profession and married; I'm told that he lives just outside Melbourne: Melbourne, Florida, that is.

[Note: In the below "transcript", TW denotes your humble scribe, the Thring Weekly interviewer, and DPY denotes Don the Prodigal Yank, following a custom of referring to Thring Players by their Player Name and epithet. Almost no editing has been carried out.]

TW: Good afternoon, and thank you for agreeing to answer these questions.

DPY: Good evening to you (or at least it was when this arrived) and you are welcome, of course.

TW: As our readers may know, you left the game of Thring as a Player shortly before it was halted due to Rule 219, and rejoined some time later. If it's not too personal a question, why did you leave Thring and why did you return?

DPY: Thring, at that time, had become bogged down in a series of (to me) fairly uninteresting arguments about tiny inferences in the ruleset. Bear in mind that June is a long time ago with my poor excuse for a memory. But I also recall that the rule which was the cause of the game-ending CFJ ("Chaos, you want Chaos?) was one of, if not the only, proposal of mine that passed. (whiner!) I just wasn't on the same page as the rest of the players, then.

I came back because I missed it and because I liked the direction the ruleset had taken - actual rules about 'play' rather than meta-rules.

TW: Which proposals and/or rules of Thring have been your favourites?

DPY: I love the Evil Empire, my hat is off to whomever. The Evil Emperor was my tribute.

TW: Which have been your least favourite?

DPY: Well, there's a bias operating here. I have very few rules of my own, so I'm leary of the Smite rule.

TW: How are you finding the duties of Cartographer (and/or Acting Commissioner of Land Development)?

DPY: It's too early to tell, but there are some things I'd like to do as Cartographer - automating movement, etc. Right now I'm kind of busy, but I'd like to have something done before this game is over.

TW: What would you like to see happen with and/or in the Thring Universe?

DPY: We need an Evil Emperor. I like the idea of goals, that is, good reasons to move about and *do* things. THIS and THAT are good examples of that, but I'm trying to think of something more permanent than points. The defense of Thring against the Evil Emperor might fit the bill. The problem with that currently is that the whole Empire can just be repealed...

TW: In which directions would you like to see the rest of Thring (and/or its basic mechanics) progressing?

DPY: I like Anarchy's ideas about restructuring the ruleset and, were I not so lazy, would have proposed something along those lines by now.

TW: I see from your Geek Code that you sometimes watch the X-Files. Is this related at all to your interest in Thring Nomic?

DPY: Trust no one. How do I know you're really Luke?

Actually, I was first attracted to the show because my daughter is named Jillian.

TW: Do you hope to, eventually, win a game of Thring and/or become Speaker?

DPY: No. Not that there's any danger of that.

TW: Thank you for your time.

[Note also that Thring Weekly does not endorse political advertising, but nice try. :]

Statistics about Proposals and Calls for Judgement

Statistics for Proposals during Thring "Game 3"

(or "new Thring" Game 1)

Week #  Date     Start #  Total  Pass  Fail  Voters  %age
1       10/08/95 [1]
2       17/08/95 494      12     7     4*    5/8     58
3       24/08/95 506      12[2]  7     4*    3/7     58       
4       31/08/95 521      7+1[2] 6     1*    3/7     75
5       07/09/95 528      4      4     0     2/6     100
6       14/09/95 532      2      2     0     3/6[3]  100
7       21/09/95 534      6      5     1     5/7     83
8       28/09/95 540      11     9     2     6/9     81
9       05/10/95 551      9      6     3     6/9     67
10      12/10/95 560      17     15    2     6/10    88
11      19/10/95 577      10     [4]


Most categories should be self-explanatory. "Date" is the date that the week started (always a Thursday); "Voters" has two numbers; the first is the number of Thring voters who actually voted on one or more proposals in that Week, the second is the number of Voters total when the Proposal was distributed (i.e. number of Players at that time -1, thus not including the Speaker). In the category of Fail, * represents the number of proposals that didn't meet quorum. (Whereas the number in that category represents proposals that were rejected.) Thus there was one proposal in each of Weeks 2, 3 and 4 which didn't meet quorum (usually because it was a proposal to change an immutable rule).

[1] This was the opening week of the new game of Thring, and the proposals from the last week of the old game were not distributed (partly because a player from that game was no longer a player).

[2] There were also 3 Appeals in Week 3, which is why the numbers don't add up; their record is not noted here. Also, Proposal 508 was wrongly distributed in Week 3, and then redistributed in Week 4; thus, there were actually 8 Proposals to be Voted on in Week 4.

[3] There were more players Voting than Proposals in this Week!

[4] At the beginning of this Week, Anarchy won and a new Game started. The statistics for this week will thus fall under "new" Game 2.

Comments on these Statistics

There has been an unusually high percentage of proposals passing (compared to the last game, at least), thanks in part to the (now-repealed) Rule 303. (See below.)

Other things to notice from the figures and/or graphs: When there were very few Voters, almost all Proposals passed; this is due to the old Rule 303 (which read something like: "Any Proposal with no votes FOR it shall be accepted") and also due to Rule 438, IMHO.

Note the dip in Voters & Proposals around Weeks 5 and 6. Actually, I think that the second graph (of Voters) "precedes" the first graph by a Week; Week 7 saw many more Active Voters and Week 8 more proposals. This is simply due to the timing of proposal distribution etc.

As mentioned above, there was a healthy recovery (in terms of numbers of Voters) around Week 7, to the extent that in Week 10 there were more Voters and more "Active" Voters than in Week 1. Thanks to all the new Players who were brave enough to grapple with an already complex Thring ruleset, and to all the more experienced Players for sticking with Thring through thick and thin.

There has also been a consistent number of inactive Voters; I appreciate that people are too busy to play, and understand this inactivity, but am concerned that it may affect the chances of being able to change an Immutable Rule. E.g. in Week 10, there were 6 Voters out of 10 possible; worse, if one of them had proposed an Amendment to an Immutable Rule (say), e would not have been able to vote on eir own Proposal. Thus, at most 50% of eligible Voters would have Voted, whereas Quorum for changes to Immutable Rules is 75%.

Number of CfJ's per player.

(Note that epithets are not listed below, partly because Adrian's and mine have varied somewhat.)

Player name           Number of CfJ's made.
Troy Porter           6
Adrian Corston        4
David Wilson*         4
Anarchy               3
Luke Schubert         2
Andrew*               2
Duncan Richer*        1
               Total: 22      

*: no longer a Player.

Repealed Rules, Part I

This column hopes to list as many as possible of the rules of Thring that have been repealed.

Each "ex-rule" has been given a number corresponding only to the chronological order of repeal. In the below listing, this number is followed by the original number of the rule, the wording of this rule, which proposal it was repealed by, when this proposal was accepted, and any comments made in that proposal (these denoted by "RComments"); finally will be comments (if any) made by the editor when collating them (denoted by "EComments").

There are 8 "ex-rules" below; there will be more next issue. There were another 10 rules repealed by 8 proposals before the "Thring Vacation"; in the between-game rule changing which took place then, it's hard to know how many rules were "repealed". If I get time, future Thring Weeklys will cover these next 8 and then the rules repealed in "Game 3".

Ex-rule 001 (was Rule 318)

That this rule be repealed immediately after it is accepted.

(Repealed by Rule 318, which was enacted on Feb. 13)

{EComments: I think this was when Thring was going through a slow patch ... in any case, it may have gained its proposer a few points.}

Ex-rule 002 (was Rule 335)

At the end of the voting period of a Proposal, the Player who made the proposal shall receive F^2 - A^2 points, where F is the number of votes cast FOR the Proposal and A the number of votes AGAINST.

(Repealed by Proposal 372, which was accepted on Apr 3)

{RComments: Rule 335 is completely excessive. It swamps out _every_ other current effect on points. Rule 211 would come back into play and things would become reasonable again. Although by this time it may be too late...}

{EComments: Rule 335 was itself an amendment of Rule 211, though Rule 211 did not in fact come back into play when Rule 335 was repealed. This repeal follows a few weeks of highly fluctuating scores and voting ...}

Ex-rule 003 (was Rule 336)

No Rule may discriminate against, or for, any Player on the basis of eir name, score, or Epithet.

Any Rule which does so discriminate is rendered null and void.

This Rule takes precedence over all Rules which do discriminate, including those which claim to take precedence over this one.

(Repealed by Proposal 388, which was accepted on Apr 10)

{RComments: Repealling rule 336 will allow the (more interesting) rules 340 and 341 to become active.}

{EComments: Well, rule 340 was more interesting, true. But then again ... A history of Rules 336 and 340 can be found in TW Issue 7 and earlier issues.}

Ex-rule 004 (was Rule 384, The "1001 Arabian Nights" Rule)

Any Proposal with a clear reference to a fairy tale, nursery rhyme or other popular children's story in its Name shall gain 1 point.

The Speaker shall decide if a Proposal is eligible for a bonus under this rule (and may choose to justify eir decision); this decision is treated as a Judgement for purposes of Appeal.

(Repealed by Proposal 406, which was accepted on May 1)

{RComments: This is to prevent flagrantly inappropriate titles being used to score cheap points - just like this one! [Proposal 406 had the title "The "Little Red Riding Hood" proposal"] Otherwise the use of any other sort of title is in effect a lost point.

{EComments: Ah well. It was fun while it lasted.}

Ex-rule 005 (was Rule 371, Clear Lead Ending)

The Winner is the first Voter to achieve a 100 point lead on the other players. When a game ends in this manner:

(Repealed by Proposal 414, which was accepted on May 1)

{RComments: 100 point lead? Ha! Not likely.}

{EComments: Rule 371 was itself an amendment of Rule 203. Its repeal actually left us with no (explicit) way to win the game, which together with the lack of any amendment of Rule 211, led to a stagnant game ...}

Ex-rule 006 (was Rule 372, Fair Scoring)

Upon enactment this rule will repeal rule 335.

(Repealed by Proposal 416, which was accepted on May 1)

{EComments: Proposal 416 had the title "Goldilocks' Mystery History". This whole chain of events arose through confusion as to whether a proposal to repeal, if accepted, became a rule itself ...As it happened, Proposal 416 became Rule 416, and possibly also passed a law.}

Ex-rule 007 (was Rule 220)

No player may submit more than 2 proposals per Nomic Week.

(Repealed by Proposal 420, which was accepted on May 24)

{RComments: Two Proposals a week - bollocks. We want three Proposals at least.}

{EComments: This promised to increase Speaker workload just when I became Speaker ... }

Ex-rule 008 (was Rule 340, The Random Discrimination Act:)

The wording of any proposal which mentions one or more player(s) by name, epithet or other identification unique to those player(s) shall be altered as follows.

Before posting the proposal to the voters the speaker shall change each occurrence of a player's name (or other identification) to the phrase "mystery player X". All players are forbidden from discussing the identity of "mystery player X" until the result of the vote on the proposal is announced. At this stage the speaker shall reveal the original wording of the proposal, which becomes the wording of the new law, if the proposal was passed.

(Repealed by Proposal 425, which was accepted on May 24)

{RComments: Please!}

{EComments: See above, Issue 7, etc. Rule 340 had led to the overwork of the then Speaker and some amusing but rather useless rules.}

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