Friday, October 01, 2021

Proposal: Synonyms Redux [Appendix]

Timed out 4 votes to 3, which amounts to Unpopular as a proposal which would “change the text of a Core, Special Case or Appendix rule if enacted cannot be Popular on this basis”. Failed by Kevan.

Adminned at 03 Oct 2021 20:54:22 UTC

Replace the rule Synonyms with the following:

Terms that have designated synonyms are tracked in the Synonym Table below. Terms in the Primary Term column are interchangeable with terms in the corresponding Synonyms column, and vice versa. Terms are not case-sensitive, and different forms of a term (plurals, verb tenses, spelling variations, etc) are considered to be the same term. Synonyms are separated by commas.

{| class="wikitable"
|+Synonym Table
! Primary Term || Synonyms
| Citizen || Player
| Drone || Emperor

If a votable matter includes a directive such as “Add S as a synonym for T” or “Rename S to T”, where S is the Synonym and T is the Primary Term, the Enacting Admin must perform the following atomic action:
* If S is already a Primary Term, replace S with T in the Primary Term column. Otherwise, add a new row to the Synonyms Table with T as the primary Term.
* Add S to the Synonyms column corresponding to the Primary Term T. If doing so would cause two or more Primary Terms to become synonymous with each other, undo and abort this action.
* Replace all instances of S throughout the Ruleset with T.

A dynasty may provide extra theming by using alternative terms for words like “Citizen” and “Drone”. When a new Dynasty is started, the Ascension Address may specify new replacements for any Primary Terms, under the following conditions:
* The newly chosen term(s) may not appear anywhere in the ruleset outside of the Synonym Table, with the exception of rules which are being repealed as part of the Ascension Address.
* The newly chosen term(s) may not cause two or more Primary Terms to become synonymous with each other.
The term(s) must also be replaced everywhere else in the ruleset outside of the Synonym Table.

If a term in the Synonyms column appears anywhere in the ruleset, any player may replace it with its corresponding Primary Term at any time.

If at any point a Primary Term has no synonyms, any player may delete that row from the Synonym Table. Additionally, if a row in the Synonym Table contains only words that do not appear anywhere else in the ruleset, any Citizen may delete that row at any time.

This allows more freedom in defining flavor terms, and improves the mechanism for changing/renaming terms. The big idea is that we won’t have to walk on eggshells with our terminology to account for cases where the replacement does/doesn’t pass (eg. taking care of all the side effects of renaming “self-kill” to “withdraw”). This way all Synonyms eventually resolve into their Primary Terms wherever they appear.


Josh: he/they

01-10-2021 21:10:16 UTC

I don’t think we should have the term ‘self-kill’ in the ruleset.

Zack: he/him

01-10-2021 21:26:07 UTC

It can be removed later, the point of having it be a synonym now is just so there aren’t issues during the period where both terms are being used.

Zack: he/him

01-10-2021 21:37:19 UTC

I just removed it anyways, I think your proposal should cover the consequences this time.

Clucky: he/him

01-10-2021 21:51:53 UTC

I don’t think having multiple synonyms for the same term is really a desirable feature. There should never be any real question to “what do I call players”—you just look at the term for a given dynasty. Its just that sometimes we’ve found that its useful to be able to refer to “players” in a way that doesn’t change, hence the need for Synonyms

Zack: he/him

01-10-2021 22:19:38 UTC

The point isn’t to have multiple words for things that we use interchangably, it’s just to make that there’s consistency I how rules and game state are interpreted if there are multiple terms for something. The idea of having multiple terms for flavor reasons was honestly only an afterthought.

Clucky: he/him

01-10-2021 22:41:27 UTC

but we already have that consistency with the existing rule. Which gets the job done well enough i’m not sure the reason to change it, especially when it adds around 200 words to the ruleset.

Kevan: he/him

01-10-2021 22:45:41 UTC

It’s unnecessary to ask an ascending Emperor to remember to manually garbage collect anything that was renamed during the previous dynasty: allowing anyone to remove a column when none of its words appear anywhere in the ruleset any longer would do the job.

It’s a bit confusing to be using the same table for both “this is what Player and Emperor are called this dynasty” and “we renamed Coins to Florins last week, but will forgive you if you still call them Coins in a proposal”. (Clucky seems to have overlooked this second aspect, from his comments?) You’re taking out the existing “A dynasty may provide extra theming by using alternative terms for words like “Citizen” and “Drone”.” preamble, and it’d be good to put an updated explanation in its place.

Clucky: he/him

01-10-2021 23:32:49 UTC

Maybe I’m missing something about how this works due to the added complexity but how does it accomplish that? Is the idea that you’d add a “Coins/Florins” entry to the table that lasts only the length of the dynasty?

Zack: he/him

01-10-2021 23:59:43 UTC

I changed the phasing of the proposal, I hope that answers some of y’all’s concerns!.


02-10-2021 02:13:42 UTC


Clucky: he/him

02-10-2021 02:45:28 UTC


Raven1207: he/him

02-10-2021 04:08:51 UTC


lemon: she/her

03-10-2021 06:00:54 UTC

against makes the rule way longer & i dont see The Point

Kevan: he/him

03-10-2021 08:16:01 UTC


It’s a lot of words, but the basic idea seems okay to me - that if we rename Coins to Florins, later proposals don’t have to do the “players can pay Coins to do stuff, replace that word with Florins if the earlier proposal enacted” dance. The rule’s wording is maybe a bit on the formal mathematical side, though.

Josh: he/they

03-10-2021 11:09:02 UTC

I can’t work my way through this but I’ll defer to Kevan and try to pick it up in effect imperial

Zack: he/him

03-10-2021 11:27:47 UTC

Sorry for making it so dense. I tried to keep the wording as close to the current Synonyms as possible, but I also wanted to be explicit enough that renaming a term would be as simple as saying “Rename X to Y” and the rule itself would take care of the overhead.

Kevan: he/him

03-10-2021 12:22:11 UTC

What situation is “If doing so would cause two or more Primary Terms to become synonymous with each other, undo and abort this action.” meant to prevent here?

If we had consecutive proposals of “rename Coins to Florins” and “rename Coins to Pfennigs” (which seems a fair way to vote on what to call the game currency, if the Synonyms rule is bulletproof) and both of them enacted, it would be fine for all three terms to be synonyms for each other, wouldn’t it?

Zack: he/him

03-10-2021 12:46:56 UTC

I guess I was trying to prevent chains of Primary Terms being synonymous with each other by having the Primary Term for one thing as a synonym for another thing. But, now that you mention it, I don’t think that clause will ever do anything bc the atomic action already accounts for renaming terms which are already primary terms.

In your sample, if a proposal says “Rename Coins to Florins”, the Synonym Table would look like:

Florins || Coins

And if we then said “Rename Coins to Pfennigs”, that would be lexically equivalent to “Rename Florins to Pfennigs”, so the synonym table would look like:

Pfennigs || Coins, Florins

Kevan: he/him

03-10-2021 13:09:07 UTC

Ah, got it. Although it being equivalent (with no instruction to always use the synonym?) means that an enacting admin could still treat it - intentionally or carelessly - as still saying “Rename Coins”, and abort the action when they hit the step that says to add a new “Pfennigs || Coins” row.

If there is an ambiguity there, that’s going to make it harder to work out what “really happened” when (as is not unlikely) an admin forgets about this rule and doesn’t update the Synonyms table at all.

Zack: he/him

03-10-2021 13:38:13 UTC

That’s a good point, though I don’t see it being a huge issue though unless we go around renaming things left and right. Also, if someone says something like “replace Coins with Florins throughout the ruleset” and it gets replaced but never added it as a synonym, if people accidentally keep calling them coins we can just CFJ to add the synonym without having to blanket uphold any game actions.