Sunday, July 05, 2009

Proposal: Problems Arising

Passes 6-2, for what it’s worth. - Qwazukee

Adminned at 07 Jul 2009 00:42:00 UTC

Change the Glossary text:

No action may be taken which could require setting a gamestate variable to an illegal value. (e.g. spending X of a numeric value that must be non-negative when the subtraction would result in a number which is negative).

so that it reads:

No action may be taken which would require setting a gamestate variable to an illegal value. (e.g. spending X of a numeric value that must be non-negative when the subtraction would result in a number which is negative).

One letter (w for c) can make a huge difference. For example:

“If a Tourist has not tanned within the last 7 days, any Tourist may decrease their Tan by 2.” I could not take this action, because it could be illegal (if I did it to someone with a Tan lower than 2, it would set their Tan to an illegal value). However, it works fine for anyone with Tan of 2 or more. This is fixed by this Proposal.

Even if you don’t like this example, you can see how the current wording could cause problems.


redtara: they/them

05-07-2009 06:38:50 UTC


Darknight: he/him

05-07-2009 06:51:07 UTC



05-07-2009 10:11:37 UTC


Clucky: he/him

05-07-2009 18:21:43 UTC

against We were over this when I made the proposal. Your example is broken because you don’t know what “require” means. That action could not require you to set your tan to an illegal value, because its a may—so you don’t have to.

On the other hand, changing it to would breaks the tanning rule. If you have 16 tan and you choose to go tanning for whatever reason, you *could* have it set to an illegal value. We don’t want people making it so that certain bad random outcomes are not possible and thus penalties previously associated with random actions (to keep them balanced) no longer apply.

So you are adding a possible problem and fixing nothing =)


05-07-2009 21:40:15 UTC

Here’s a better example of the issue:

“As a weekly action, a Tourist may “Count to Ten” by rolling DICE10 in the GNDT followed by a comment of “Counting…”. Then, if the result of the roll is equal to or higher than the Stress of that Tourist, the Tourist relaxes and decreases their Stress by that amount.”

Under the current wording, anyone with less than 10 Stress cannot Count, because it *might* force them to change to an illegal value (less than 0). This problem comes up a lot under the wording we have now.

If someone gets a bad roll like you suggest (under my suggested wording), then they cannot take the said action no matter what. So while they wouldn’t be applied a penalty for taking the action (there is no penalty attached to the rule, anyway), they won’t be able to repeat the action.

arthexis: he/him

06-07-2009 04:08:34 UTC



06-07-2009 13:34:33 UTC

for Clucky, your current rule is very badly broken indeed, because it, for instance, affects votes on proposals which would create illegal gamestate, because they could cause the proposal to pass. This way round means that people can take advantage of badly written rules, on occasion; the original proposal means that it’s entirely possible that a proposal (or even CFJ!) will fail due to a mixup in its wording, meaning we won’t be playing the nomic we think we’re playing. (Extreme and silly example: suppose I win this dynasty, and some time in the next dynasty someone sets a value to an illegal value by mistake. In theory, my DoV could indirectly cause that, by allowing for a new dynasty with different rules; therefore, by your “could” rule, my DoV fails.)


06-07-2009 15:19:39 UTC


Clucky: he/him

06-07-2009 15:25:08 UTC

That rule is broken Qwaz. It should clearly state that it gets set to zero if it would go below zero. Not my fault.

The problem isn’t taking advantage of badly written rules. The problem is that what you are supposed to do isn’t defined. There is no reason to say that if your value of stress is 7 and you decrease it by ten, it should be set to zero. Keeping it at 7 is a perfectly rational conclusion. We need some form of standard and Qwaz’s change loses our standard.

Maybe you could add the word “immediately” to fix it, but Qwaz’s change just makes bigger problems so I fail to see why we should pass it.


06-07-2009 16:51:20 UTC

Clucky: the problem with your version is that it can stop CFJs passing. It can stop dynasties ending via a valid DoV. It can even stop people voting on proposals. For instance, look at rule 2.5.1. With “could”, it stops proposals passing if the Tour Guide has no Shine Sprites. Would you really want a dynastic rule to mess with core like that?

That rule would, in arthexis’ most recent dynasty, have allowed arthexis complete dictatorship power, I think; he could have submitted a CFJ to do anything, and set up the various food effects to set values to illegal values if anyone tried to vote against it. (e.g. “When eaten, the eater reduces their Fuel by 100000 whenever a player votes against a CFJ authored by arthexis in the next week.”) I am tempted to pull a scam of this kind off if we don’t fix the rule very soon; I don’t think it’s quite possible in the current ruleset, but it probably will be before long because so many plausible rules lead to this sort of trouble. (I’ve already had to fix one such mixup via CFJ…)

If you really want to keep the “could”, please change “No action” to “No action defined by a dynastic rule”. In fact, I’m about to propose to do that anyway. BlogNomic is too long-running to be in imminent danger of destruction like this.

arthexis: he/him

06-07-2009 19:20:47 UTC

I think the compromise proposed by ais in his last comment is a fair one. I am inclined towards Clucky in this argument, because I think changing the wording is a bad bad idea. However adding “defined by a dynastic rule” can limit possible damages in case someone tries to exploit it’s wording.

However, I’d like to bring up a third point of view: Rule 3, the Glossary, says “This is always at the end of the Ruleset. Its only effect can be to clarify ambiguity.”

This means that, unless there is some ambiguity going on regardless if an action can or cannot be taken (involving illegal values), then and only then those words in the glossary kick in. However, the case we are dealing with can only occur when we consider the Glossary as binding from the start: if we don’t, there’s no ambiguity to solve and rules specify if an action is illegal or not.

The only way this can screw up the game is if someone somehow passes a proposal that MODIFIES the core rules by including setting values as part of their actions, or by creating a dynastic rule that entirely REPLACES core rule actions. Non-rules cannot lock you down from making proposals or CfJs


06-07-2009 19:29:55 UTC

arthexis: As an aside, does the “Its only effect can be to clarify ambiguity” clarify ambiguity? That’s something that’s been confusing me for a while.

arthexis: he/him

06-07-2009 22:10:01 UTC

Yes it does: otherwise, it would be kinda ambiguous to decide what the Glossary actually does.