Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Story Post: POINT OF ORDER

I will begin by ruling this Point of Order to be Well Taken, as this is indeed a significant matter of controversy.

Now, I shall examine the situation at hand. As I’m sure many Honourable Members are aware, the center of the dispute is the interpretation of rule 2.15; in particular the parenthetical “voting icons in comments to Coups for which no Political Capital was spent will be ignored for the purposes of this rule”. The rule also states “Any Honourable Member other than the Speaker may Support or Oppose this attempt by spending 1 Political Capital and posting a FOR or AGAINST voting icon, respectively, in a comment to the Coup”.

The first issue that is in need of resolution is whether or not a Coup is, in fact, a Votable Matter. According to the rules, “A Votable Matter is a post which Honourable Members may cast Votes on, such as a Proposal, a Call for Judgement or a Declaration of Victory.” In conjunction with the definition of a Vote as “a Vote that is cast in accordance with Rule “Votable Matters””, this indicates that Votable Matters are the only things which can be voted on. Thus the definition indicates that, roughly, “Some posts are Votable Matters; these posts can be voted on,” rather than, “Some posts can be voted on; we call these Votable Matters.” Given that there is no indication that a Coup is a Votable Matter, I thus conclude that it is not, and accordingly that the rules relating to Votes and EVCs do not apply. The use of Voting Comments in the rules relating to Coups are incidental.

Now we must turn to the issue of the original statement. It seems clear from 2.15 that the spending of PC is linked to the posting of a single Voting Icon, and not to making a comment containing one or more Voting Icons. Fortunately, the exact Voting Icon used is irrelevant, so we may assume that it is always the first available Voting Icon in a post. Thus we turn to the heart of the issue: how do we interpret “voting icons in comments to Coups for which no Political Capital was spent will be ignored for the purposes of this rule”?

In particular, the question is whether the prepositional phrase “for which no Political Capital was spent” applies only to the premodified noun head “icons” or the noun head “comments” in the prepositional phrase “in comments”. Grammatically, the sentence is ambiguous; it could be either. However, given that the earlier sentence of the rule—-which should be highly persuasive, given that the disputed parenthetical applies to that sentence—-refers to individual Voting Icons, it seems rather absurd not to evaluate Voting Icons on an individual basis. One spends Political Capital on a single voting icon, not on the comment containing it.

I will confess that my initial reading of the rule suggested the interpretation that multiple voting icons in a single comment could count as long as one was paid for. However, upon close reflection, I believe that the alternate suggested interpretation is much more closely in keeping with the intent of the rule.

Thus I rule that the prepositional phrase “for which no Political Capital was spent” modifies the premodified noun head “voting icons”, rather than the noun head “comments”. Accordingly, Voting Icons for which no Political Capital is spent are ignored.

Adminned at 25 Feb 2013 06:29:40 UTC

As most have probably noticed there is a notable disagreement in the way the line “voting icons in comments to Coups for which no Political Capital was spent will be ignored for the purposes of this rule” within the rule “La Revolución”. One party feels that it reads that the “for which no political capital was spent” refers to the phrase “comments to coups”. If this is true then you most only spend 1 political capital on a post and you can vote as many times as you feel like clicking. The other party feels that “voting icons in comments to Coups for which no Political Capital was spent will be ignored for the purposes of this rule” refers back to “voting icons”  as “in comments to coups” was just clarifies the subject which is “voting icons”. This means you must spend 1 Political Capital for each voting Icon. I am personally of the second part but I await your decision.

Comments

RaichuKFM:

02-20-2013 19:32:49 UTC

I, for one, think they are both valid interpretations of the sentence structure by itself. However, I argue that when adding in context of the rest of the Rule it refers to the icons when its states “for which no Political Capital was spent.” One cannot spend Political Capital on a comment, only on a Support or Opposition. As such, I contend that the interpretation that one must spend one Capital per valid icon the only logical interpretation when taking the Rule as a whole.

Josh: HE/HIM

02-20-2013 21:44:06 UTC

I’ve elaborated my position at greater length in the original thread, but ultimately I feel like the wording speaks for itself. We don’t judge rules based on intent, we accept that wording errors can create unintended effects; that is part of Nomic, and this is an example of exactly that.

RaichuKFM:

02-20-2013 21:48:42 UTC

I’m not saying we should judge the clause based on intent; I’m saying we should judge the clause as it is in the Rule, not as it is by itself, seeing how such an interpretation is ambiguous.

Josh: HE/HIM

02-21-2013 16:55:50 UTC

I would like to council the Speaker to observe caution when resolving this Point of Order, as it refers to a rule that no longer exists in the same state as it did when this question was posed, and any answer may draw meaningfully on that distinction.

Larrytheturtle:

02-21-2013 20:29:10 UTC

There were changes but I don’t think they effect this decision

RaichuKFM:

02-21-2013 20:31:22 UTC

The point is probably rendered moot now, but Josh is worried the way this is interpreted may make my Coup valid.

Josh: HE/HIM

02-21-2013 21:33:09 UTC

Only if they’re worded in such a way that they can be interpreted as having general application beyond the basis upon which the Coup should be decided. If the decision here is actually comprehensive enough to hand you the win then obviously that’s fine, but as you may be aware, I’m quite alert to the accidental effects of specific wording.

scshunt:

02-25-2013 13:46:35 UTC

I will begin by ruling this Point of Order to be Well Taken, as this is indeed a significant matter of controversy.

Now, I shall examine the situation at hand. As I’m sure many Honourable Members are aware, the center of the dispute is the interpretation of rule 2.15; in particular the parenthetical “voting icons in comments to Coups for which no Political Capital was spent will be ignored for the purposes of this rule”. The rule also states “Any Honourable Member other than the Speaker may Support or Oppose this attempt by spending 1 Political Capital and posting a FOR or AGAINST voting icon, respectively, in a comment to the Coup”.

The first issue that is in need of resolution is whether or not a Coup is, in fact, a Votable Matter. According to the rules, “A Votable Matter is a post which Honourable Members may cast Votes on, such as a Proposal, a Call for Judgement or a Declaration of Victory.” In conjunction with the definition of a Vote as “a Vote that is cast in accordance with Rule “Votable Matters””, this indicates that Votable Matters are the only things which can be voted on. Thus the definition indicates that, roughly, “Some posts are Votable Matters; these posts can be voted on,” rather than, “Some posts can be voted on; we call these Votable Matters.” Given that there is no indication that a Coup is a Votable Matter, I thus conclude that it is not, and accordingly that the rules relating to Votes and EVCs do not apply. The use of Voting Comments in the rules relating to Coups are incidental.

Now we must turn to the issue of the original statement. It seems clear from 2.15 that the spending of PC is linked to the posting of a single Voting Icon, and not to making a comment containing one or more Voting Icons. Fortunately, the exact Voting Icon used is irrelevant, so we may assume that it is always the first available Voting Icon in a post. Thus we turn to the heart of the issue: how do we interpret “voting icons in comments to Coups for which no Political Capital was spent will be ignored for the purposes of this rule”?

In particular, the question is whether the prepositional phrase “for which no Political Capital was spent” applies only to the premodified noun head “icons” or the noun head “comments” in the prepositional phrase “in comments”. Grammatically, the sentence is ambiguous; it could be either. However, given that the earlier sentence of the rule—-which should be highly persuasive, given that the disputed parenthetical applies to that sentence—-refers to individual Voting Icons, it seems rather absurd not to evaluate Voting Icons on an individual basis. One spends Political Capital on a single voting icon, not on the comment containing it.

I will confess that my initial reading of the rule suggested the interpretation that multiple voting icons in a single comment could count as long as one was paid for. However, upon close reflection, I believe that the alternate suggested interpretation is much more closely in keeping with the intent of the rule.

Thus I rule that the prepositional phrase “for which no Political Capital was spent” modifies the premodified noun head “voting icons”, rather than the noun head “comments”. Accordingly, Voting Icons for which no Political Capital is spent are ignored.