Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Proposal: Once More Unto

Timed out, 1-2. Failed by JonathanDark.

Adminned at 21 Mar 2024 16:55:35 UTC

Add the following as a subrule to the Appendix rule Clarifications, called Imperatives:

An action is ‘’‘optional’‘’ when it may be performed at the Seeker’s discretion, although it may be subject to other restrctions around time and circumstance. A move is optional when it uses the terms ‘may’, ‘is permitted to’, ‘can’ etc.

An action is ‘’‘obligatory’‘’ when the Seeker is compelled to perform it. When a Seeker is required by the ruleset to take an obligatory move then they may not undertake any other action, dynastic or core, except for voting, carrying out admin duties like resolving votable matters or rendering players idle or unidle, or other obligatory actions, until they have carried out that obligatory move. Rules that define obligatory moves use langauge like “should” or “is required to”. If it is discovered that a Seeker took an obligatory move out of order (i.e. after an optional move that they should not have been able to take due to an obligatory move having been outstanding), but it is also found that the outcome would not have varied had the moves been taken in the correct order, then it may be considered that no infraction has taken place.

An ‘’‘obligatory restriction’‘’ is a rule that sets out something that a Seeker may not do. It uses language like “should not”, “may not”, “cannot” or “is not permitted”. It violates the rules to knowingly carry out any action that carries an obligatory restriction. An obligatory restriction takes precidence over an obligatory action (i.e. where an obligatory restriction makes an obligatory action impossible to perform, the obligatory action must not be performed and may be considered not to be obligatory for the purposes of restricting other actions from being performed).

An action is ‘’‘mandatory’‘’ when a Seeker is required to perform it ‘‘and the game, to some extent, cannot continue until they have done so’‘. A mandatory action uses terms like “must” or “shall”. A rule that defines a mandatory action should set out what happens when that action is not carried out, but as a baseline, if a mandatory action is required to occur then no subsequent action that is dependent on that mandatory action occurring (i.e. an action whose conduct or effect would vary based on the performance of the mandatory action) may be carried out.

Repeal the subrule Imperatives, from the Keywords rule in the Appendix.

I hate dumping this many words into the ruleset for something that should be intuitive, but we repeatedly see that it isn’t - that the term “should” in particular is frequently used to compel a player when what it actually means - both in common English usage and as defined by the BlogNomic glossary - is that it is an optional recommendation. This attempts to collapse that ambigity by codifying what I perceive as the natural use of the terms in the game context.


Kevan: City he/him

19-03-2024 12:44:37 UTC

If players are sometimes using “should” to mean “optional recommendation” and sometimes using it to mean “compulsory”, that’s probably going to continue whichever way we define it - the current fail state is at least the safer one, that it results in minor scams rather than accidentally illegal gamestates.

The existing ruleset also needs a pass where it’s still using “should” in the recommended optional sense.

But it would be good to have a clear obligatory-action mechanic by some name! My feedback on the actual mechanics of that here would be:

* The paradox when being tasked with two obligatory actions at the same time, and both being illegal to perform first. (You can perform the first one illegally and seek forgiveness, but only by breaking Rule 1.1 to get there.)

* “may not undertake any other action, dynastic or core” might be too broad on core, for fully invalidating votes and admin actions. In practice I suspect the only core action we’d care about blocking is declaring victory. Maybe enactment for the sake of admin advantage, but I doubt there’s much advantage there, and it does risk a knock-on effect from proposals being illegally enacted.

* The “no subsequent action that is dependent on that mandatory action” line reads as redundant to me - isn’t this already true for any dependent action? Perhaps I’m just missing the type of use case you have in mind here. It also looks like this rule shouldn’t have the “not” in “may not be carried out”.

Josh: he/they

19-03-2024 13:08:12 UTC

Thanks, have made edits on the bullet points. (For the record I think that this proposal is careful to avoid situations where a missed ‘should’ creates an illegal gamestate - and where it does that’s probably desirable - it may require a change in the way we conceptualise of ‘should’ rules but that’s the name of the game, sometimes.)

I think the dependency line is just about ensuring that sequencing matters - that if the Emperor ‘must’ post the activity report at noon then the game stops until they do so.

Zack: he/him

19-03-2024 13:25:22 UTC

“Should” has unambiguously been exclusively a recommendation, not a requirement or compulsion, for as long as I’ve been a player per Imperatives.

Josh: he/they

19-03-2024 13:40:31 UTC

@Zack The entirety of Fair Play uses “should” and if you think all of that stands, either legally or culturally, as a recommendation then I’m afraid you may have misread the intent.

Kevan: City he/him

19-03-2024 14:16:04 UTC

Fair Play are recommended shoulds with explicit added heft that DoVs that openly rely on them will probably get voted down, and players may get booted out for going against them. A lot of Fair Play is subjective or unrecoverable from, and would be tricky to resolve if reframed as “a Seeker cannot” where the supposed action could not have legally occurred in the first place.

I do think this proposal needs to give the existing “shoulds” a check over throughout the ruleset, if all of those clauses would otherwise become obligatory or legally impossible upon enactment.

Are you saying with the Emperor activity report thing that if the ruleset said “Emperor must make report at noon” and “Players may gain 1 coin as a daily action”, an hour-late report would mean that a 12:30pm coin gain was invalid? The coin gain doesn’t sound “dependent on that mandatory action occurring” to me, from that.

Josh: he/they

19-03-2024 14:36:33 UTC

@Kevan Fair Play has never been *treated* as recommended shoulds; I could not name a time that any of those clauses has been knowingly violated. We don’t have a much stronger taboo in the game.

(It is fair to say that they are mostly “should nots” rather than “shoulds” - as such this proposal doesn’t change that, or at least makes it explicit that they are prohibitions rather than advisory guidance.)

Zack: he/him

19-03-2024 15:03:22 UTC

@Josh You yourself have said to me that the fair rules are merely guidelines and are unenforceable so I’m getting mixed signals for you. And it doesn’t matter what the intent is if the ruleset is gospel, and the ruleset says shoulds are - recommendation.

Josh: he/they

19-03-2024 15:24:03 UTC

@Zack That is nakedly untrue; I have never once said that the fair play rules were guidelines. I said that they lack an enforcement mechanism but that was in service to the point that it is sufficient to expect that people will generally not break rules.

The same point serves here; culture eats text for breakfast.

SingularByte: he/him

19-03-2024 16:16:33 UTC

Just to throw my opinion into the ring, I think I do agree that the fair play rules are *technically* optional. As written, you can totally breach them without your actions being invalid. The main difference between that and other Should rules is that they also explicitly define consequences for failing to follow them (up to and including being removed from the game).

There’s literally nothing to stop anyone from making Shoulds work in the same way in dynastic rules. Stuff like “If you pull the lever, you should raise another player’s points by 5. If you do not, any player may decrease your score by 10 after no less than 8 hours.)

They’re also kept vaguer than most rules specifically to prevent weird edge cases. It’d really suck if you were to perform an action which is totally legal, only for someone to rules lawyer an actual Fair Play offence onto you. Keeping everything as Shoulds and Mays allows common sense to rule when most other rules can happily fly in the face of common sense when it’s advantageous to do so.

Clucky: he/him

19-03-2024 16:26:26 UTC

“Seekers should vote FOR on any Upgrade Request where they believe that the specified Snap does meet the specified Upgrade Benchmark” makes me worried about this.”

To me, the “should” there is a softer kind of obligatory than would be enforced by this rule. Yes people should vote on upgrade requests, but we shouldn’t block other actions if they don’t.

“You should eat more fruits and vegetables” and “you may have a bar of chocolate” does not mean “You must eat more fruits and vegetables before you have a bar of chocolate”. It just means you’re encouraged to eat more fruits and vegetables while you’re not encouraged (just allowed) to eat chocolate.

So personally I’d structure it more like

must = obligatory (‘don’t do anything non obligatory if you have pending obligatory actions’ is a good rule in my book)

should = highly encouraged (used to signal steps all seekers should be doing for a healthy game, but no penalties if you don’t)

may = completely optional (used to signal everything else)

Zack: he/him

19-03-2024 20:19:59 UTC

@Josh Here is where you said the fair play rules were guidelines. https://discord.com/channels/872395362336395324/872594105090310264/1208912937641840670

Josh: he/they

19-03-2024 20:21:53 UTC

Taken wildly out of context, sure.

Zack: he/him

19-03-2024 20:36:49 UTC

I may have misinterpreted your point but Ijust want to be clear I didn’t pull that out of thin air because I don’t appreciate the insinuation that I’m just making things up.

Josh: he/they

19-03-2024 20:46:54 UTC

Fair enough. I did use the word “guideline”, and you’re within your rights to have called that out.

The broader point being made is that text-literalism has histrocally only gotten so far, and the Fair Play rules are a good highlight of how that happens: the text as written offers a fairly weak prohibition on certain activities, but the game culture surrounding them make them almost inviolable.

Kevan: City he/him

20-03-2024 11:16:43 UTC

against for the issues and questions above, chiefly it making all the optional “shoulds” in the current ruleset compulsory or impossible, and it not being clear how we should apply the existing “musts” (I like the sound of Josh’s “the game stops until they do so” idea, but if that’s implied in the text here we shouldn’t be applying it to idling announcements and Mentors saying hello to their Mentee).

But more generally I agree with others that “should” isn’t the best choice for a compulsory-action keyword, when the word is also commonly used to mean that something is optional.

Clucky: he/him

20-03-2024 16:34:42 UTC