Friday, December 17, 2010

Declaration of Victory: Ragnarok

Failed by CfJ. -Purplebeard

Adminned at 17 Dec 2010 02:50:08 UTC

Two scams at work here, either or both of which may be pushing my luck, but here we go.

First, the CfJ. The rules on passing CfJs state that:

All Divinities may cast Votes on that CfJ to indicate agreement or disagreement with the position taken in that CfJ. Unfailed CfJs continue until they reach a Quorum of FOR Votes, a Quorum of AGAINST Votes, or if there is no hiatus going on, until four days have passed, and if there is a hiatus going on until two days have passed. After this time, if more than half the cast Votes are FOR Votes, the CfJ may be enacted by any Admin by updating or correcting the Gamestate and Ruleset as specified. Otherwise, the CfJ fails. A Failed CfJ has no further effect.

The vulnerability here is that the rule doesn’t specify what the four days are relative to; the posting of the CfJ, the start of the dynasty, my cat dying, anything. I’m interpreting it as four days having passed ever, and if this DoV passes (and even if it doesn’t) then that should probably be fixed fairly urgently.

The second scam is clearer. I created a child named “The first Divinity to Meddle with this mortal achieves Victory”, then meddled with it. As the child is gamestate, and its name is also gamestate, that means that its name is interpretable as a condition as well as a generic signifier. I successfully fulfilled its conditions and thus achieved my win.

This does rely on an acceptance of my interpretation of Purplebeard’s attempted birth block, but again, that should be pretty clear: if Svetlana was not gamestate then the CfJ against her was illegal and she should have just been removed. The CfJ existed at all because her status was debatable, and in that regard she should be considered to remain gamestate until legally removable.

Comments

Subrincinator:

12-17-2010 10:15:03 UTC

Oh my.  Very nice.

However, the names of Mortals are not part of the ruleset.

Is there precedent for something like this?  I’m not ready to vote it down, but I’m not confident that it’s legal.

Josh:

12-17-2010 10:20:02 UTC

The thing is that victory conditions don’t have to be part of the ruleset to be legal. The ruleset requires a Divinity to have “achieved Victory”, which is slightly nebulous, but does allow for non-ruleset based victories.

It’s uncommon - perhaps the closes precedents are proposals that bestow the state of victory on other players, bypassing the ruleset altogether, of which there have been several.

Josh:

12-17-2010 10:22:07 UTC

(Back in the early days, as well, you also had situations where players had built up a convincing enough lead that they successfully declared victory based on overwhelming advantage. Knightking’s first was one such.)

Purplebeard:

12-17-2010 10:33:30 UTC

I will agree to the first point. That is something we really need to fix.

On the second point, though, perhaps the simplest argument against it is that we’re only obliged to obey the Ruleset (per its first sentence), not the gamestate. The Ruleset defines a way for Proposals to alter the gamestate (like whether a Divinity has achieved Victory); it does not allow gamestate to alter gamestate.

against

I’d still argue that Svetlana was never gamestate, by the way. To allow an illegal action to change the actual gamestate sets a dangerous precedent. If we accept that, would you also accept that an illegal addition of “The Divinity named X has achieved Victory” to the Ruleset would be part of the actual Ruleset until someone removes it? I would say that an illegal action only changes the current representation of the gamestate, and not the gamestate itself. CfJs are just there to platonically confirm this, or decide a correct interpretation in cases of ambiguity.

Josh:

12-17-2010 10:47:37 UTC

The Ruleset defines a way for Proposals to alter the gamestate (like whether a Divinity has achieved Victory); it does not allow gamestate to alter gamestate.

That’s a slightly specious argument and one that undermines several past and potential game mechanics. I would argue, however, that the ruleset allowing the new mortal’s name to be anything specified by the admin adding it legitimises whatever that name is chosen to be. It’s logically inconsistent for that not to be granted legitimacy over other aspects of the gamestate; for example, the ruleset allows us to amend details in the GNDT (gamestate) which can then go on to affect other areas of the gamestate that are dependent upon those details. So long as the ruleset governs the way in which gamestate is constructed it is perfectly legitimate for different aspects of the gamestate to interact, sometimes unpredictable; stripping that away takes away a lot of the flexibility and joy that’s implicit in the concept of Nomic.

I’d still argue that Svetlana was never gamestate, by the way. To allow an illegal action to change the actual gamestate sets a dangerous precedent. If we accept that, would you also accept that an illegal addition of “The Divinity named X has achieved Victory” to the Ruleset would be part of the actual Ruleset until someone removes it? I would say that an illegal action only changes the current representation of the gamestate, and not the gamestate itself. CfJs are just there to platonically confirm this, or decide a correct interpretation in cases of ambiguity.

Mmm… no, I disagree with your last point. The CfJ is never there to “platonically confirm”, it’s there to ascertain. A clearly illegal action can always be reverted with no need for a CfJ, and the existence of a CfJ is an implict acknowledgement that there is a difference in interpretation that needs to be decided upon.

The difference is between an action that’s illegal and one that’s debatable. Inserting a clause into the ruleset at will is illegal and can be reverted; Subrincinator’s action on Svetlana possessed a logical consistency that was not directly, incontrovertibly, provably illegal within the ruleset, and thus has to go through the process of CfJ before it can be established as such. Otherwise we’re effectively declaring things illegal by fiat, and that way lies anarchy.

(For the record, your points 1 and 2 above seem to contradict one another. In the first you’re arguing for a strict legalistic interpretation of the ruleset, in the second you’re arguing for a flexible approach based on emotional sense. My responses are an attempt at a coherent philosophy between the two - that the ruleset should underpin all gamestate actions, but the interaction between legal gamestate elements can never be considered illegal provided that they are based on sound ruleset fundamentals.)