Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Call for Judgment: [Appendix] Divergent gamestates

Timed out and failed, 3 votes to 3. Josh

Adminned at 10 Dec 2021 17:34:00 UTC

Replace the paragraph

For gamestate which is tracked in a specific place (such as a wiki page), any alteration of that gamestate as a result of a Soul’s action is (and can only be) applied by editing that data in that place. One wiki update may contain one or more alterations, or one alteration may be split over multiple updates, as long as it is clear what is happening and the alterations are otherwise legal. The wiki merely represents the Gamestate tracked there, and is not the same thing. In the event that the Gamestate and its representations are different, any Soul may correct the representations to comply with the Gamestate.

with

For Gamestate which is tracked in a specific place (such as a wiki page), there is a distinction between the Gamestate and the representation of the Gamestate (such as that page). If a Soul’s action would cause the Gamestate to change, then that Soul must update the representation of the Gamestate to reflect that change if it is possible for them to do so by editing the data tracking the Gamestate in the place where it is tracked. One edit may contain one or more alterations, or one alteration may be split over multiple edits, as long as it is clear what is happening and the alterations are otherwise legal. In the event that the Gamestate and its representations are different, any Soul may correct the representations to comply with the Gamestate.

The sentences

For gamestate which is tracked in a specific place (such as a wiki page), any alteration of that gamestate as a result of a Soul’s action is (and can only be) applied by editing that data in that place

and

The wiki merely represents the Gamestate tracked there, and is not the same thing. In the event that the Gamestate and its representations are different, any Soul may correct the representations to comply with the Gamestate

suggest different conceptions of the relationship between gamestate and its representations. If gamestate can ONLY change by updating the representation, then the gamestate and its representation should NEVER diverge (unless the divergence occurs through some non-action, but it’s hard to imagine what that might plausibly be). As it stands, there are numerous problems with saying that the gamestate CAN ONLY change through editing its representation, because a lot of the rules, including this paragraph, assume that the change and the update may occur at different points in time. For example, Rule 1.1 states that “If the Ruleset does not properly reflect all legal changes that have been made to it, any Soul may update it to do so,” presuming that the wiki update not only follows but is legally authorised by the proposal that caused the rule change.

This proposal therefore favours the interpretation that the gamestate and its representations can diverge. There is an obvious problem with this, being that a change might go unnoticed and therefore not be made by anyone to the representation for a long period. Therefore, someone relying on the representation alone might be led astray. For example, an admin might forget to update the wiki to reflect a rules change, so anyone reading the ruleset would be getting an inaccurate representation of the rules. However, the corresponding problem exists in the opposite case. Once a proposal is enacted, it is perfectly reasonable for players to assume that the stated effects of that proposal have in fact taken effect; it seems just as problematic to say that they would be wrong if the admin had, for instance, made a typo in an update.

To give another example, suppose that a proposal was enacted that would increase everyone’s Bucks by 1. My Bucks would go from 10 to 11. However, the enacting admin fails to update my Bucks, leaving them at 10. I then go to buy a Spanner for 5 Bucks, updating my Bucks to 5. According to the “changing the representation changes the gamestate” interpretation, my purchase of the Spanner would be illegal, since the proper adjustment (setting my Bucks to what should be its true value of 6) was not made to the gamestate. In fact, every subsequent action changing my Bucks would be illegal, until the error was caught and fixed. This is a trivial example, but it is conceivable that days or even weeks of dynastic play might be invalidated by a simple accounting error of this sort. This is presumably the opposite of the intention of this paragraph, According to the “representation is different from the gamestate” interpretation, on the other hand, the fix is simple: the in-itself unproblematic purchase of the Spanner takes effect when I updated my Bucks to 5, and then anyone who notices that I’m short 1 Buck can simply add it to my total later. No actions are invalidated.

CfJs, naturally, could be used to resolve cases where divergences between gamestate and its representation are particularly significant, but the vast majority of such divergences are easily and unproblematically fixed.

Comments

redtara: they/them

08-12-2021 16:25:59 UTC

Note for transparency: I just changed the category of this post from Proposal to CfJ. I did this within the 15 minute window from the posting of the post. However, since I had the edit window open for some time prior to the posting of the post, it was about 40 minutes after the timestamp of the post was set. As far as I can tell the change is legal, since the rule in question refers to the time of “posting” rather than the time as recorded in the timestamp.

Josh: he/him

09-12-2021 11:03:22 UTC

against I’m grateful that this is raised and agree with the prescription of the problem.

My opinion on the matter is that it should be resolved the other way - that the gamestate should not be considered to have a platonic version and that the tracking entity should be considered effectively a game board - one which can be wrong, and can be corrected, but which is nevertheless its own authority and which acts as the system of record for the game.

I’m also not completely sure that this needs to be a CfJ, as it doesn’t strike me as a particularly urgent problem to fix.

redtara: they/them

09-12-2021 12:27:45 UTC

Well, I do think the ruleset contradicting itself about whether gamestate and its representations are identical or not is necessarily urgent even if there’s no specific circumstance which needs to be resolved.

Brendan: he/him

09-12-2021 15:30:50 UTC

for Waffling.

Brendan: he/him

09-12-2021 15:31:15 UTC

(I’m waffling on this, I mean, but it’s been 24 hours, I feel obligated to at least cast a provisional vote.)

Jason: he/him

09-12-2021 17:49:56 UTC

for

lemon: she/her

10-12-2021 12:08:01 UTC

for i think i agree with this perspective over the opposite one described by josh above. i agree that gamestate trackers should function like a game board, but to say that that board can’t have an invisible “true” gamestate but can at the same time be wrong and subsequently corrected… seems 2 me like either it’s a contradiction or it requires an unintuitive understanding of what Gamestate is

Kevan: he/him

10-12-2021 14:51:30 UTC

against Per Josh. There’s scope to write the gamestate rule so that Bucks/Spanner action is taken as “I hereby deduct $5 from my Bucks, whatever they actually are” rather than “I hereby set my Bucks to exactly $5, if and only if my Bucks are $10”. (It may even be already plausibly taken as that.)

Brendan: he/him

10-12-2021 16:55:41 UTC

against CoV, swayed by Kevan.