Saturday, January 21, 2012

Call for Judgment: Because apparently everyone else is either too lazy or doesn’t understand concept “lose”

Timed out. Passes 4-2. Enacted by Clucky

Adminned at 23 Jan 2012 18:56:04 UTC

Add the following to the list of clarifications in “Numbers and Variables”

Invalid values for game variables can never be used, even if the values stored in the GNDT remain valid. (for example, if X appears in a formula referring to a value that is a non-negative integer, X must be used as a non-negative integer)

Set Clucky’s Wealth to 500, his Firepower to 10500, and his goods to “-”. Remove omd from his list of former partners and remove clucky from omd’s list of former partners. Do this even if Clucky is idle. If Clucky performs any actions which modify his stats in the GNDT between the time this CfJ was posted and when it was enacted, Clucky must be set to idle and may not unidle until a new dynasty starts.

In order for Clucky to have lost -1 Wealth, the concept of “-1 Wealth” had to exist. Because wealth is a non-negative integer, it has been raised that the concept of “-1 Wealth” cannot exist.

The clarification is added because this needed clarifying and to make sure future cases are resolved the same way.

The reset is done out of standard Etiquette. I’m willing to not fight the “-1 Wealth” thing but would’nt have stolen the license if it didn’t work. The other two clauses prevent me from idling to avoid the reset, or from doing anything with my gigantic values while waiting for this to pass.



01-22-2012 00:10:12 UTC



01-22-2012 00:13:49 UTC

against I don’t like the proposed rule - there are plenty of cases where you might want to have a negative value in a formula whose result must be non-negative.  Rather, the clarification should be that you cannot “gain” or “lose” a negative amount.


01-22-2012 00:20:31 UTC

Last Dynasty I Scouted for a Route which I thought could be very useful. As it turned out, that Route sucked. Should I have asked for my Cash back, and for that Route to be deleted from my pool?


01-22-2012 00:22:38 UTC

But you can. Refer to my post on Bucky’s proposal about how you can lose debt. Anything that you can have, you can cease to have (i.e. lose). All gain means is “add” and all lose means is “subtract” so saying you can’t “gain” a negative amount is like saying you can’t add -3 to something.


01-22-2012 00:24:03 UTC

@Ltn_Koen If you had intended to use the route for some purpose and people decided “no that’s an invalid interpretation of the rules” then yes.


01-22-2012 02:57:27 UTC

against because it contains stuff that should be in a proposal.


01-22-2012 03:26:54 UTC

There is a “disagreement as to the interpretation of the Ruleset”. This clarifies that disagreement. It is exactly what a CfJ should be used for.


01-22-2012 03:42:37 UTC

Gain and lose do not quite mean “add” and “subtract” - you lose Wealth, but you subtract a number.  Even in real-world cases where amounts can be negative (and Wealth cannot), the language semantics of owning currency more closely resemble the semantics of having possession of objects, where it would be meaningless to lose a “negative object”, than the mathematical semantics of maintaining a number.  Thus, although “I have -5 dollars” is understandable as “I owe 5 dollars”, you would always say the latter, not the former.

On the other hand, there is only one thing losing -1 Wealth could mean, the ruleset is arguably requiring that you do so, and it’s reasonable to interpret it in a way that makes it effective rather than nonsensical.


01-22-2012 05:23:18 UTC

I’m confused. First you say its meaningless to have a negative object, then you admit “-5 dollars” is completely understandable. So it seems to me it is perfectly meaningful to lose “-5 dollars” and you are just grasping at straws to figure out why my scam didn’t work instead of manning up an accepting my plug.

This isn’t about what you would normally say, this is about what words mean. To lose X dollars means for -X to be added to your dollars total. Its as plain and simple as that. If it is something you can have, it is something you can lose. You just need to look no further than the balance sheet at most companies these days to see that it is possible to have -X dollars in profits


01-22-2012 05:44:19 UTC

Also “to gain X of a numeric value “V” means to add X to V”


The rules can change, fine. But unless you want to take the “negative wealth can’t exist” argument you can’t claim that my move wasn’t legal and thus shouldn’t punish me for it.


01-22-2012 06:02:01 UTC

So looking at past rulesets for how this has been handled the past I found stuff like ruleset 75 which dealt with spending energy. There was nothing that stated energy was non-negative, but the “game variables defined to hold numeric values can hold only non-negative integers” clause held (which didn’t outlaw negative energy, just outlawed storing it). I donno if anyone tried to use “This can only be performed by a Colonist adjacent to a Large Tree. The Colonist may spend (4x) Energy to add x Wood to the Colony Stockpile.” to spend -16 energy to subtract -4 wood from the Colony stockpile. GNDT logs have been cleared sense then.

The best argument I can find in favor of “losing” referring to only positive values is something like in ruleset 96 which states “Whenever a player spends or otherwise loses an amount of SP which is not transferred to another player or the Government, the Government’s SPs shall be immediately increased by that same amount.”. I’m fairly sure in the past we’ve only triggered these when a positive amount is lost (although Ruleset 93 states “Whenever this Zombie would lose a positive amount of Health, instead it loses 1 Health.”, showing precedent for needing to specify that a positive amount was lost). Note that Health was defined to be an integer while SP was defined to be a non-negative integer. This establishes precedent for not being able to lose Negative health because negative health doesn’t exist, but being able to lose negative respect or anything else that actually can be negative.

However, I’d agree that a statement like “Whenever a player gains respect” is intended to only apply when they gain positive respect and thus makes sense to only use “gain” and “lose” for positive stuff. However A) that isn’t how the ruleset is currently written and thus I shouldn’t be punished for a perfectly legal play and B) I still think its reasonable to discuss the merits of even having “Negative Wealth”


01-22-2012 06:38:39 UTC

There is only one thing “lose -1” *can* mean, if it is required to mean something, but I argue it is more reasonable to conclude it doesn’t mean anything.

The definition of “gain” does indeed contradict my suggestion of the ordinary language definition; whether that applies to “lose” as well is anyone’s call.  In particular, I believe the glossary makes it quite clear that “whenever a player gains respect” occurs whenever X is added to respect, regardless of sign.

“This establishes precedent for not being able to lose Negative health because negative health doesn’t exist, but being able to lose negative respect or anything else that actually can be negative.”

Doesn’t this suggest that you can’t lose negative Wealth?

As for the suggestion that I’m grasping at straws, well, I have an Agoran bias—as I linked in an earlier post, the position I’m taking is the one Agora decided on when I tried to perform a similar off-by-one negative gain scam a few years ago.  In that case, the language was “decrease by -1”, which I think is analogous to “lose”: they both usually mean “subtract”, but when a negative value is involved the value is not actually “decreased”, and the money is not actually “lost”.  Obviously this is not Agora, but surely Agora couldn’t be so unreasonable that the consensus there could only possibly be considered grasping at straws here… could it? ;)


01-22-2012 06:45:17 UTC

lose is the opposite of gain. I *hope* we can all agree on that.

As far as not being able to lose negative Wealth - that’s why I posted this CfJ =P


01-22-2012 06:51:26 UTC

Lose is not necessarily the opposite of gain if gain has a custom definition and lose does not.


01-22-2012 19:22:20 UTC

Gain doesn’t have a “custom definition” it has a clarification as to what it means. It makes the most sense that “lose”, because it isn’t defined elsewhere and in general means the opposite of “gain” is defined the same way. If there was a proposal that talked about a criminal being “alive” and someone made reference to a criminal being “dead” (without defining it) we could still survive on the assumption that “dead” is the opposite of “alive” and I don’t think anyone would assume “dead” meant “actually physically dead”. Yes, it would probably be a good idea to say “dead means not alive” but we can’t go back and change the rules. All we have is a definition of one word, its opposite undefined, and its opposite being used in the ruleset. Seems pretty clear that “lose” should mean the opposite of “gain”. After all, one could argue that is the actual definition of “lose”.

Furthermore, it is still *not* the case that the dictionary definition of “lose” prohibits losing a negative amount of something. We have precedent for gaining a negative amount of something, so it would be moronic to say you can gain a negative amount of something but not lose a negative amount of something.

Can we please stop making this about “whats best for me in this current game” and actually make it “what makes the most sense/is best for continued play of this nomic in general”?


01-23-2012 19:47:35 UTC

I hold that losing debt is not the same as losing a negative amount of Wealth. Debt is not negative Wealth, though we can see it, metaphorically, as such.

Debt is not even negative credit. And Wealth may or may not be credit. Wealth in the form of money is certainly credit you hold against a government. But Wealth in the form o material goods is not credit, therefore not “negative debt”.

But, supposing, just for the discussions sake, that Wealth is coterminous with credit, even so, losing debt is not the same as gaining a negative amount of credit. Imagine you owe $100 to someone. You can’t lose $101 debt and end up with $1 credit. What is going behind the curtains is that you have a **POSITIVE** amount of debt, and you are losing a **POSISTIVE** amount of it.

The problem with metaphors is that they don’t hold for all situations. And seeing debt as negative money is, certainly, a metaphor, not the real thing.



01-24-2012 02:51:08 UTC