Monday, February 16, 2015

Call for Judgment: ASUM Contradiction

Failed with a quorum of AGAINST votes, 1 vote to 6. Failed by Kevan.

Adminned at 16 Feb 2015 20:23:51 UTC

Assign the Subject of the ASUM subroutine that executed here the Command Role of Diplomat, replacing any existing Command Roles that that Crewmember might have. As an exception, if that Crewmember’s Command Roles have changed since this CFJ was created, this CFJ does nothing.

Kevan just processed an ASUM subroutine as removing Diplomat, but not awarding it to anyone else. The definition of “ASUM” says “The subject of this subroutine is immediately given the Command Role of Diplomat.” I can’t see any rules that contradict this; “Command Roles” says “No more than one Crewmember at a time may be assigned a given Command Role.” but this doesn’t prevent a Crewmember being assigned a Command Role if they already had one.

“Command Roles” implies that a Crewmember has at most one Command Role by making it a GNDT field. Thus, any existing Command Role for the subject of the ASUM should have been overwritten.

I note that Kevan can fix the GNDT to match the Gamestate directly, but seems to think that something else happened, so I’m making this CFJ to challenge that intepretation. I can’t see any way in which an ASUM wouldn’t lead to someone ending up as the Diplomat.


Josh: he/they

16-02-2015 11:25:01 UTC

against Your proposed fix has no more legitimacy than the problem it purports to solve. If a Crewmember can only have one role then there is no clear prioritisation as to which rule takes prudence. Much more likely to my mind, however, is that the lack of a clear prohibition makes it possible for a Crewmember to have multiple command roles, and as such the target should have simply gained Diplomat in addition to what they already had.


16-02-2015 11:47:07 UTC

@Josh: That’s like saying that a rule saying “You can set a player’s Points total to 5” would have no effect because a player already has a Points total and they can’t get a second Points total.

Even with your reasoning, though, the new Command Role would be added due to specific-overrides-general.

Here’s the relevant wording:

“Some Crewmembers have a Command Role, tracked in the GNDT as a text string and defaulting to blank.”

In other words, the Command Role is a string-valued GNDT field. It’s certainly possible to set it to a given value, even if it already holds a value. That’ll just cause the old value to be overwritten.

Josh: he/they

16-02-2015 12:02:27 UTC

A text string isn’t an arbitrary array of characters and the GNDT is not gamestate - it is a tracker that reflects gamestate.

The real problem here, though, is that all positions taken are to some extent justifiable and derive from a defensible interpretation of existing vagueness in the ruleset. This CfJ didn’t attempt to resolve that vagueness by clarifying the ruleset or it’s wording, it just mandates that one interpretation is correct and directly supplies an outcome accordingly. BlogNomic has no explicit concept of precident; even if this passes, what prevents the issue from arising again?

Although I disagree with your interpretation, I think that if this CfJ collapsed the ambiguity and fixed the ruleset to make it explicit then I’d be tempted to go for it. This, though, is just too ambiguous, and too squarely aimed at short-term personal gain against an objective, to be worth supporting.


16-02-2015 12:18:20 UTC

This isn’t intended as personal gain, it’s intended as what I think is the only reasonable reading of the ruleset as-is. (I interpret “tracked in the GNDT” as implying that ambiguity in what is tracked should be interpreted such that the GNDT is capable of tracking it.) I don’t know who the ASUM subroutine was aimed at, so I don’t 100% know what change to the gamestate will come out of this.

(There is some amount of personal gain involved, in that I’m highly curious as to who the ASUM target was, and this would let me discover it as a side effect; additionally, this aggressive use of ASUM might become useful in the future.)

The fact that there’s clearly ambiguity is why I submitted the CFJ. I was under the understanding that the way BlogNomic resolves disputes is to submit a CFJ that people vote FOR on if they think it will not change the gamestate, and AGAINST otherwise. If the CFJ passes, then a) a majority of players think that the interpretation it suggests is correct, and b) all players (including the dissenters) come to an agreement on what the gamestate now is. I don’t think that would need rule changes, and in fact core rule changes are normally done by proposal rather than by CFJ. Has the practice changed since I was last playing?

Besides, a text string is an arbitrary array of characters, by the normal dictionary definition, and that’s what the ruleset defines a Command Role to be. When sitting down to write this CFJ, I actually thought that an ASUM target would end up with two Command Roles if they had one already (thus the title), but upon carefully re-checking the rules, that turned out not to be the case.

I guess the crux of the argument is as to whether “The subject of this subroutine is immediately given the Command Role of Diplomat” is equivalent to “The subject of this subroutine has their Command Role set to ‘Diplomat’.” Given the definition of a Command Role, I can’t see any other reading. Do you have an alternative?

Kevan: City he/him

16-02-2015 12:41:48 UTC

The clause “Some Crewmembers have a Command Role” seems more relevant than the nature of its GNDT field - it’s not plural, so we only have two types of player, those with no Command Role and those with one Command Role.

The other reading is “the subject of this subroutine gains the Command Role of Diplomat, but wait, you can’t have two at once”. I don’t think it’s implicit that “giving” somebody a Role would naturally replace their previous Role; if Roles were physical objects (“subject is immediately given the Amulet of Diplomacy”) and we could only carry one each then this would seem obvious, and I’m not sure that Roles are that different, the way that we’ve written them.


16-02-2015 12:52:17 UTC

A rule that says to do something can’t just have no effect, unless some other rule contradicts it.

“Some Crewmembers have a Command Role”, which talks about crewmembers and command roles in general, is more generic than “The subject of this subroutine is immediately given the Command Role of Diplomat.”, which talks about a specific crewmember and a specific command role. Thus, by the rules (Prioritisation 3 in the Glossary), the more specific rule wins out, even if you think there’s a contradiction (I don’t).

In the case of physical objects, I think the same thing would apply; if a rule says you give someone the Amulet of Diplomacy, you give them the Amulet of Diplomacy. If someone can only carry one object at a time, then it depends on how that rule is worded. If it says something like “A player carrying an Object cannot be given additional Objects”, then sure, I can see your case (although that mostly comes under specific versus generic). If it says “A player can carry at most one Object at a time”, then the original Object gets lost, because that reading doesn’t contradict either rule.

All this normally never comes up because of this Glossary rule: “A Crewmember who has a choice in whether to take an action defined by a dynastic rule may not take that action if both of the following conditions are true: a) the action’s effects are limited to changing values tracked in the GNDT and/or similar gamestate-tracking entities (such as a wiki page), and b) the action would change one or more of those values to an illegal value.” I was under the assumption that Kevan didn’t have a choice in processing subroutines.

Actually, reading the relevant rules, he does: “As a daily action, the Computer may process the Subroutine at the start of its queue [...]”. So if we’re going with Kevan’s reading of what happened, Kevan’s attempt to process the ASUM was simply illegal, and should be reverted. (In this situation, we’d need a rules change to get the queue started again, probably by CFJ because a Proposal would almost certainly be Sabotaged.)

Kevan: City he/him

16-02-2015 13:12:07 UTC

Good point about it having been an optional action on my part that was triggering an illegal action: I’ve dialled it back.

Kevan: City he/him

16-02-2015 13:24:54 UTC

against Since it was illegal for me to have processed the Subroutine at all.

I’ll put up a CfJ to unblock the queue shortly.


16-02-2015 13:33:17 UTC

against I think I agree with Kevan here.


16-02-2015 14:50:37 UTC



16-02-2015 15:51:57 UTC

I agree with ais523 here, although I agree with Josh that I would have preferred a final decision instead of one that only fixes this time.

For the record a text string is an arbitrary array of characters. And ais523 interpretation of the rules is the most reasonable plain english interpretation.

Also, I think it leads to more fun gameplay.  for

Brendan: he/him

16-02-2015 17:51:46 UTC

against In favor of the follow-up.

Darknight: he/him

16-02-2015 20:17:42 UTC