Sunday, March 15, 2009

Proposal: Flavourlessness

Self-killed, failed by Kevan.

Adminned at 17 Mar 2009 02:11:43 UTC

Repeal Glossary Rule 3.1 (Typographic Conventions). If there’s any of the rule left after repealing it, repeal it again.

[ This is the rule saying that any italicised words in the gamestate are magically invisible. There are currently three rules that use italics, and all of them would be fine if the italic text was legally binding. Two of them say “For example” at the start of their example, which is an obvious enough way to do it.

This recent proposal from a new player inadvertently used italics for emphasis, although luckily their sentence still made legal sense without the emphasised word.

And I’m still not really looking forward to (a repeat of?) the scam where someone sneaks an italicised “not” into a large, boring proposal. Scams are fine, but exploiting a simple loophole that we’ve all known about for months doesn’t seem very satisfying to pull or to watch. I think we can live without the flavour text rule. ]



03-15-2009 12:12:53 UTC

I like the versatility of flavour text, as awkward as the scam potential is. If there was a more obvious way of marking flavour text possible, I’d be for that, so I can have messages at the start and end of proposals. As it is, I think this reduces my options for pointless commentary.

against (feel free to persuade me otherwise)


03-15-2009 13:04:11 UTC

I’m not sure what current consensus is on the legality of pointless commentary in proposal. I assume we’d reject a scam where someone said “Blah blah blah, for example, if I drink the wolfbane potion, I gain 5HP. But Bucky dies.” in pointless commentary, and then enacted the proposal and announced that Bucky had died, because that sentence existed out of context.

I did try proposing a redefinition of flavour text as “if more than half of the words in a sentence of a rule or proposal are visibly italicised” (so that a single italicised “not” wouldn’t be counted, and a single unitalicised word wouldn’t sneakily make a whole paragraph binding). Now that I look back, it perhaps only failed because of some paranoia about what an admin might be able to get away with when they enacted the change.

A completely formalised blog post system for separate “proposal” and “commentary” might be a good way to go, though - I assume we can do that if we dig around in ExpressionEngine, given that we already have special admin comments.


03-15-2009 13:21:37 UTC

And I don’t just mean hazy, friendly consensus in the first paragraph there - I mean that most players wouldn’t treat it as a specified change to the gamestate.

I suppose there are sharper examples where I quote my new dice-combat rule, then just launch straight into “If Bucky rolled a double-six, he dies.” and point out some earlier instance where he rolled a double-six.


03-15-2009 14:05:16 UTC

Hmmm. People posting proposals could be encouraged to post explanations of what the proposal does in comments, or elsewhere. And it’s true that examples don’t have to be outside of the Gamestate, always… but I can still see the use of explicit flavour text in the actual Ruleset.

Maybe a simpler version of your proposal to make flavour text only when it is most of the sentence, would be defining flavour text as where an entire paragraph is visibly italicised. It would be hard for someone to sneak an entire paragraph past every voter…


03-15-2009 16:19:36 UTC

against By far my favoured fix here would be to require something other than italics, which is less likely to happen by mistake and looks distinctively different. Maybe strikethrough, or italics <u>and</u> a different colour, or enclosing the comment between /* and */ like B Nomic does. Just not something that looks like emphasis.


03-15-2009 17:07:35 UTC

against per ais523


03-15-2009 17:15:10 UTC

against I like ais523’s idea


03-15-2009 18:08:23 UTC

I’m not sure we ever need flagged-up flavour text in the ruleset - if it’s an example, we can say “For example:”, and if it’s completely meaningless flavour (“Each pirate has zero or more Pieces of Eight, which are heavy-cut golden coins of the realm, arr.”), the extra words don’t do any harm to the ruleset.

If flavour text is only ever needed in proposals, then maybe a change to the ExpressionEngine blog post form would be enough of a replacement. I’ll take a look during the week.


03-15-2009 19:05:13 UTC



03-15-2009 19:33:15 UTC

Okay, looks like it’s pretty trivial to add a new custom field that always outputs as italics at the end of the proposal.

Self-kill:  against


03-15-2009 21:17:37 UTC



03-16-2009 22:11:10 UTC



03-16-2009 23:42:58 UTC

Self-kill means that the player who proposed it has decided to abandon it; it will automatically fail, so there’s no need to carry on voting. I imagine Qwazukee thinks it’s funny to carry on voting, or something.


03-16-2009 23:48:29 UTC

Feel free not to slander me, Kevan.

I really like the flavour text rule and don’t want it to be removed. I felt that I would show my explicit disapproval by voting against.


03-17-2009 00:10:51 UTC

Oh, sorry, no offence meant. You were also voting “against-plus-good-flavour-text-arrow” on self-killed proposals which had no flavour text, last dynasty, so I assumed you weren’t being serious when you arrived late for a self-kill.

Silently disapproving of something which the proposer has already self-killed for being a bad thing isn’t particularly useful. It’s also a bit easier for admins to notice a self-kill if voting suddenly stops, and stops with the proposer.


03-17-2009 00:20:23 UTC

Sarcasm is lost on Blognomic. I usually vote on proposals I dislike even when they’ve been self-killed, to show that I had an opinion. And I hated the arrows, so I used them on everything, as was permitted by the ruleset. In fact, all that did was theoretically support the proposers, so I don’t see what’s wrong with that.

If you think the task of adminning is too difficult for our current set of Admins, perhaps you shouldn’t shoot down others’ requests to become Admins. Or is that not what you meant?


03-17-2009 00:33:56 UTC

Aha, I always thought your sarcasm was at the expense of proposers who didn’t any write flavour text. Such are the dangers of Internet sarcasm.

I’m just saying that a no-comment vote against a self-killed proposal doesn’t - I think - achieve anything beyond making it harder to spot that the proposal has been self-killed (which really wastes the time of other voters more than admins).


03-17-2009 00:36:54 UTC

Like I said, it’s how I show my approval/disapproval. People should read all of the comments on a post before they vote, anyway.