Thursday, May 06, 2010

Proposal: Expectations and Consequences

S/Ked. Failed by Ienpw.

Adminned at 07 May 2010 07:20:00 UTC

Delete rule 1.10 and change the phrase “For the purposes of the Ruleset, excluding Rules 1.1, 1.2, 1.8 and 1.10” in rule 1.2 to “For the purposes of the Ruleset, excluding Rules 1.1, 1.2 and 1.8”

Add a new subrule 1.1 to rule 1, entitled “Expectations and Consequences” with the following text:

To be a Voter, a person must fulfilled the following expectations:

No Voter shall abuse or manipulate any of the systems Blognomic uses, including but not limited to the website, ExpressionEngine, the GNDT and the wiki, to disrupt, cheat, or commit crimes.

Each person may only play one Voter, and each Voter may only be played by one person. Every Voter is responsible for securing any accounts they may have on any of Blognomic’s systems.

If Voter believes another Voter has not fulfilled these expectations or has otherwise harmed the Blognomic community, they may make a CfJ to punish the perpetrator. As a last resort, this punishment may include permanently removing the perpetrator from the game, and prohibiting them from rejoining.

I’ve never liked our current “Fair Play” system in any of its incarnations. On the other hand:

1. This rule is more concise and clear.
2. It will cover anything conceivable, as opposed to a list of misbehavior we must constantly expect.
3. Trolls cannot glean potential ideas from it.
4. Makes banning a last resort, rather than the draconian current wording.
5. Shifts the burden onto CfJs rather than Proposals. Dynasties should be free to mess with Proposals if they choose, so things of this level should not be Proposals. 

Comments

Keba:

05-06-2010 16:22:18 UTC

Hm, I think the current Rule is ok. If someone thinks another Voter needs to be punished, he may post a CfJ.

I assume To be a Voter, a person must fulfilled the following expectations: could be problematic: If a Voter does not fulfil these points, he does not count as a Voter any more. Right? Not sure whether this conflicts with the current CfJ Rule, but I think every Player should be considered as a Voter at least for the Core Rules.

Generally, I don‘t see why we need to dramatic this problem.  against

Klisz:

05-06-2010 16:28:54 UTC

against  I don’t like how this automatically removes them from Voterhood.

Kevan: HE/HIM

05-06-2010 16:31:20 UTC

I think it’s better to have a clear list of illegal behaviours, than to clump it all together under the vague caveat of “don’t abuse systems”. Nomic is a game of devious ingenuity, and it’s better if players have a clear line drawn to show which actions we’ve explicitly ruled out as being possible but unfair - without the current Fair Play list, a clever scammer would have to decide whether a cunningly edited blog comment or a tactically delaying DoV would be “abuse” (and they can hardly post to the blog to check with other players, if it’s part of an ingenious scam they’re setting up). If they guess wrong, then either we have to clean up after them, or they have to face the disappointment of a later player pulling the same trick and getting away with it.

(I don’t know if you caught it, but some of this came up in a recent proposal from Josh. Which I should follow up on and tighten the spam wording.)

And yes, this new wording would actually be more draconian; by saying that these people stop being Voters, you’re effectively banning them automatically and permanently.

against

spikebrennan:

05-06-2010 17:28:37 UTC

against

Rodney:

05-06-2010 17:46:05 UTC

against S-K. I realize my wording wasn’t clear.

What I mean to say is “These are Blognomic’s rules. If you break them, or otherwise mess up the community, the players reserve the right to do something about it.” not “A player P only if f(P) returns true.” It’s been a while since I last wrote proposals and perhaps I omitted a few needful words.

@Kevan:

Nomic being Nomic is exactly why I /don’t/ like the current rule as written.

As I read the current rule, it says “If you can think of something, and it’s not listed in here, it’s completely cool.” Inevitably, someone will pull something that /isn’t/ listed in there, try it, and we have the same problem that we have the rule for: quasi-legal exploit shenanigans, and associated drama and nastiness.

The job of a rule like this is ro enforce those things the Ruleset alone cannot enforce. If someone illegally increases their Banana Points, we can turn that back, but we can’t say “Henceforth, EE has no bugs.” or physically prevent so-and-so from leaking ruleset-hidden information.

What I want is a rule that actually does that job, properly. A rule that catches all those behaviors, rather than nine vaguely-worded rules. Let me just pull out the ones I don’t like and grip about all of them:

“A Voter should not “spam” the BlogNomic blog. What counts as spamming is subjective, but would typically include posting more than ten blog entries in a day, more than ten blog comments in a row, or posting a blog entry of more than 1000 words.”

There are more ways to spam than this. How about images? How about one long word? How about a post with bizarre HTML that messes up the homepage? What about a humongously blog comment? What about this post, which is quickly becoming humongously long, unintentionally?

“A Voter should not deliberately exploit bugs or unexpected behaviours in the software running the game (ExpressionEngine, MediaWiki or the GNDT).”

What about avoiding bugs entirely and just hacking it? What about some script we’re using that someone “accidently” changes?

“A Voter should not edit their own blog comments once posted, nor those of any other Voter. “

Sure, but what about GNDT comments? What about Wiki comments?

“A Voter should not edit the “Entry Date” field of a blog post.”

What about any other important fields, such as, say, categories?

This may read like a long list of gripes, but I honestly don’t like this amount of vague-wording in a game which rules-lawyering is a valid strategy. Am I saying any of the above is OK? No. Will someone get banned if they tried the above? Probably, if they caused enough disruption. But is the rule doing its job in preventing them? No.

What I was trying to do (again, perhaps underwording at the cost of clarity) was completely cover the required areas, such that we would have one, clean, rule and no longer have fighting over undrawn lines and unwritten rules. The areas I want to cover are those the ruleset itself cannot enforce: bugs and software exploits, people and their accounts, and hidden information. The clause at the end (“or otherwise harming the Blognomic community”) is in case anyone is doing something which, while technically legal, is ruining the game for everyone else.

If you read “systems” as “software and hardware” (it was this originally, but I unwisely changed it) you’ll see how I tried to cover Area 1. The second paragraph covers Area 2. As for Area 3, I figured future rules could have a clause to cover that.

As I can see, I apparently didn’t word this proposal right. If anyone has a better wording, please suggest one.

Rodney:

05-06-2010 17:51:37 UTC

Excuse me, but I’m on strange medicines and have been sleeping oddly, so I’ve missed part of what I wanted to say.

As for things like Hiatus-DoVs and gamebreaking ascension addresses, the ruleset has the power to fix those. We don’t need duct-tape the issue when we could weld it back together.

For example: Let the Emperor change only a few specifically defined Keywords, except not to one already in use. That should cover it.

TL;DR Version: I want a catch-all for everything the ruleset can’t enforce, and properly fix everything that it can.

Kevan: HE/HIM

05-06-2010 19:13:42 UTC

Simplifying the fair play rules right down to just “don’t abuse the software and hardware” seems much more vague than the current system. “If you can think of something not listed in here, it’s probably cool” becomes “If you can think of something that doesn’t seem too ‘abusive’ to the other players, it’s probably cool”. (Which is particularly bad for newbies, who will have no idea what the general consensus on “abuse” is.)

Say I’ve got a scam that will only work if I pose as ais523 on IRC, or change an off-site image that’s linked in a blog post, or create a fake wiki user page for Josh that misrepresents him - will I be applauded for my cunning, or punished for “abusing the systems”? It doesn’t seem very Nomic to say “eh, may or may not be abusive, up to you whether you risk it or not”. I think we can hammer out the existing list to cover the “what about X?” examples you raise (which seem more like oversights than vaguenesses).

Ienpw III:

05-06-2010 19:26:09 UTC

for For what it’s worth

Rodney:

05-06-2010 20:57:21 UTC

@Kevan:

Good point about nomicness, but I don’t see how the current system is nomicy, either.

Suppose I, right now, go into the IRC and impersonate ais523, and pull off a scam. What would we do? Would we let me off scott free, or would we ban or otherwise punish me? I would have no protection against some kind of CfJ lynching if it was a particularly offensive scam. I can even recall some certain players who had such a lynching attempted against them.

What I dislike about long lists of impermissible conduct is that they cannot be complete. Inevitably, some player will think of something, which, if we all knew about, would prohibit. But we didn’t think of it, and so said player must wonder whether or not to risk it. For a newbie, they might not even think there would be any risk at all.

What I want is a clear boundary that says “The game ends here and real life begins.” I don’t want a vague border that may or may not expand if you come near it.

Specifically, I’m thinking of PerlNomic’s Metarules, here. Check out “http://web.archive.org/web/20050504061015/www.perlnomic.org/4/index.cgi?file=metarules.txt”. Six clear rules, covering just about everything.

How about a compromise? Write some rule with text to the effect of “Loopholes, exploits, and creative interpretation of the ruleset is encouraged, being a real life jerk is not.” Append a list of concrete examples of what to do and not do. Mention that the players can call a CfJ on you if you repeatedly cause trouble.

I would accept the entire Fair Play rule as it stands if it was contained in such a format.

Galdyn:

05-07-2010 05:03:59 UTC

Isn’t the way a nomic is set up dependent on majority voting. Therefore i think that anything that someone does is only really wrong when the majority of players think it is wrong. This is represented in the ruleset because of the voting system. Also it is determined in CfJs.
Therefore I think that anything can be legal as long as a majority of voters think it is. Either case discussed here will not be able to stop some people from performing scams that the majority of players think is wrong. Either they do something that is not on the list. Or the ruleset does not specify any specific behavior and so they pull off a scam that in the spirit of the rule is invalid.

So, either way I do not think this will really change anything. The only way to really decide if some scam is valid or not is to have a CfJ afterwards determining that. That scam may than be added to the ruleset as illegal, if deemed necessary.

Kevan: HE/HIM

05-07-2010 08:54:10 UTC

[Rodney] Right now, impersonating someone on IRC is legal, but there may be an unpredictable social backlash to it (I’d guess that a DoV would grudgingly respect the legality). Under your rule, it’s not clear whether impersonating ais523 would be “abusing the systems”, and I’d expect a DoV to be full of arguments about whether or not it was legal. Your compromise sounds fine, and not too far from what we’ve already got - I’d support the Fair Play rules being a list of agreed precedents, of “here are the jerklike/unfair things that have happened so far in BlogNomic; these are not legal tools available to you as a player, don’t try any of these again”.

[Galdyn] The problem is that some things (like posting a load of spam to the blog, or making a DoV purely to freeze the game for 24 hours) can be very disruptive when they happen, so it saves time to have a piece of paper saying “hey, a quorum of players will definitely find this annoying enough to ban you”, rather than batting back every bold new player that thinks of it. Voting on the toothier stuff is fine and enjoyable, but I think it’s worth saving some time and exasperation by drawing up a list in advance.

Galdyn:

05-07-2010 12:42:28 UTC

@Kevan: ya that makes sense, i wasnt sure if what i was saying really made sense. But for cases that there either have been or definatly will be a quorum of voters who will not like it than I think it would be fine to specify that in the rules. As long as, like you said, say that this list is only what has either happened so far or been thought of, and that there may be things not on the list that will also not be liked.