Sunday, November 11, 2012

Call for Judgment: Invisible Gamestate

Fails 1-6.— Quirck

Adminned at 15 Nov 2012 12:55:10 UTC

This isn’t about the DoV. Sorry if it caused any consternation.

One of the items on the laundry list is around the question of whether there can be aspects of the gamestate that are “invisible”, i.e. not tracked anywhere specific beyond tracking effects back through proposals and gamestate changes.

The issue has come up a number of times recently. The argument against invisible gamestate (as argued by Kevan and others) is twofold: that the gamestate can only be edited as specified by the ruleset, and therefore the gamestate has to be reflected in the ruleset in order to be valid; and that invisible gamestate is undesirable because it can lead to silent, passive effects dropping off of peoples’ radars and re-appearing many months or years later.

I tend to argue in response to the first point that rules 1.4 and 1.6 specifically allows for proposals to directly amend the gamestate without requiring such amendments to go through the ruleset (1.4: “Any Editor may submit a Proposal to change the Ruleset or Gamestate”; rule 1.6 “Any CfJ that specifies neither changes to the Gamestate or Ruleset”), and as such invisible gamestate is both expressly permitted and ultimately governed by the ruleset (i.e. invisible gamestate has to come via a proposal or CfJ). My response to the second point is that, while the desirability of such an outcome is debatable (and I personally think that if someone gets “In two years, I will have achieved victory” into a proposal, and keeps track of it for two years while everyone else loses attention, deserves to have it work), that doesn’t undermine the legality of a right that is more or less explicit in the ruleset.

So this CfJ has the following effect: by its passage, it records in the invisible gamestate that certain aspects of the gamestate can be invisible, as permitted by the ruleset; and that record derives its authority from this CfJ as permitted by rule 1.6 of the ruleset.

A proposal suggesting that time-dependent invisible gamestate modifiers be blanked at the end of each dynasty may be in order, however.



11-11-2012 13:30:16 UTC

Gamestate: Any information which the Ruleset regulates the alteration of.

Would it be fair to suggest that the ruleset failing to mention invisible gamestates means they do not exist?  There doesn’t seem to be any regulation of the invisible gamestate whatsoever.

Tentatively voting against

Josh: HE/HIM

11-11-2012 13:42:03 UTC

Hmm, I think you imply that there should be a different, discretely defined invisible gamestate that is separate from the visible one; but actually it’s all the same gamestate, which is regulated by the ruleset, but some of it is invisible. The notion of invisibility comes from the fact that proposals can directly edit the gamestate, and doesn’t require that to be tracked anywhere.


11-11-2012 15:55:32 UTC

Right, if there was an invisible “Bob wins on 1/1/2014” effect hanging around, then it could still be altered via proposal. In contrast, the gamestate doesn’t include things like the existence of France (the real-world one; the one currently defined by Rule 2.3 is a separate legal fiction that just happens to have an obvious correspondence).

Requiring tracking may be going too far in the opposite direction (something limited to the current dynasty and otherwise reasonable could accidentally fail to exist because we forgot to define how it’s tracked, though that’s reasonably easy to fix via CfJ). I think blanking hanging effects on a change of dynasty is the right way to go (if we later discover we need an exception, we can add it to the core rules at that point).


11-11-2012 16:34:25 UTC

I agree that there is nothing in the ruleset preventing untracked gamestate, but that doesn’t make it any more desirable.
But this is a nomic; if someone proposes “In two years, I will have achieved victory”, it’s fine by me as long as they manage to pass the proposal.

Besides, this Call for Judgement doesn’t do anything: if there can’t be an invisible gamestate, then you can’t record anything in it, and if there already can be an invisible ruleset, “invisibly recording” that it’s true is moot.
Therefore, this Call for Judgement arguably doesn’t specify any changes to the Gamestate (well, either the change is invalid, or inexistent); and rule 1.6 states
“Any CfJ that specifies neither changes to the Gamestate or Ruleset nor corrections to any gamestate tracking entities may be failed by any Admin.”


11-11-2012 16:57:36 UTC



11-11-2012 17:23:17 UTC

I agree with this CfJ and vote against .


11-11-2012 18:24:05 UTC


Kevan: HE/HIM

11-11-2012 22:07:46 UTC

I think some forms of the “invisible rule” proposal are legal, but break the game by killing off subsequent proposals in the queue - a proposal only stops pending and becomes enacted once we have adopted all of its effects, and we don’t move onto the next one (the “oldest pending proposal”) until we’ve dealt with the previous ones. It’s fine for a proposal to say “repeal rule X, then wait three years, then repeal rule Y” - it will just kill the rest of the queue for three years (all subsequent proposals will “somehow [end] up being pending for more than 7 days” and fail after that time).

(A proposal of “3 years after this proposal enacts, repeal rule Y” seems unrelatedly problematic, for trying to enact part of itself after it has already finished enacting. There is, as I read it, no mechanism for an admin to update the ruleset to reflect instructions from a non-pending proposal, the same way that it would have no effect to say “3 hours before this proposal enacts” or “when this proposal fails”.)

Invisible “in two years, I achieve victory” rules seem like a terrible and not particularly cunning idea. A variant of “any of the currently active players may declare victory in any future dynasty if they are the only such player active at that time” or “if five players make a comment of ‘SURPRISE!’ on any future DoV then that DoV fails” could be plausibly supported in some dynasties, and zero fun for anyone else.

against because “invisible rules are recognised as legal by this invisible rule” seems like an unhelpfully facetious way to resolve the issue.


11-12-2012 07:01:04 UTC

I see no problem with invisible gamestate, but if there are ever any large implications of such things, perhaps we could keep a “notes” page on the wiki about them?


11-12-2012 17:08:44 UTC


Kevan: HE/HIM

11-13-2012 11:04:40 UTC

Out of interest, what do people see as the advantages of invisible rules? I can see that it makes writing some proposals easier if we can create informal, short-term effects (“within 48 hours of this proposal passing, the Emperor may award a point to three players”), but is that it? Skimming the archives I can only find odd examples like “if a named mechanic exists in the future, add the following rule, but not until then” and “although the ruleset would normally consider this proposal to be of a certain type, it shall never be considered one”.