Monday, April 26, 2010

Proposal: Removing Empty Threats

Self-killed. Josh

Adminned at 27 Apr 2010 03:34:58 UTC

Rename rule 1.10 to “House Rules”. Remove the following sentences from it:

If any of the rules are found to have been broken, a proposal or CfJ may be made to remove the perpetrator from the game, and bar them from rejoining.

* A Voter should not “spam” the BlogNomic blog. What counts as spamming is subjective, but would typically include posting more than ten blog entries in a day, more than ten blog comments in a row, or posting a blog entry of more than 1000 words.

* A Voter should not make a DoV primarily to delay the game by putting it into Hiatus.

In the following sentence of Rule 1.9:

The Declaration of Victory may be resolved after 24 hours, or after 12 hours if the Returning Officer has voted on it.

change the numbers to 48 and 24, respectively.

Two things here. The first being that I’ve spotted a few occasions in which one player has pointed out something called a “bannable offence;” this seems odd to me, as the idea of BlogNomic actually banning a broadly legitimate player isn’t plausible. Even if it was a situation that we found ourselves in, however, it doesn’t need to be hardcoded into the rules; we can ban by CfJ whether the rules explicitly say so or not. Some of those provisions are dubious as well; the prohibition against spam has subjectivity written into itself, and the rule against junk DoVs is unenforcible, as dressing a DoV to make it look earnest but misguided is fairly trivial. For those reasons it seems better not to be encumbered by a hard list of rules. The CfJ mechanism is pretty good for dealing with antisocial behaviour.

The second is lengthening the timescales on DoVs. I know that Ornithopter has a better fix in the pipeline, but given that this is a short dynasty I’d feel more comfortable if it was safely on the books. It can always be edited later.



26-04-2010 18:44:29 UTC

imperial I’m a bit dubious about the first change here. OK, the rules probably aren’t enforceable, in that anyone could disguise, say, a delaying DoV as an honest attempt to win from an implausible scam. However, the fact that it’s in the rules, in theory should make people obey them; removing unenforceable rules is tantamount to assuming that people will cheat. (For instance, in a dynasty about core rules scamming, I would feel no compunction against repeatedly DoVing to hold up the game if it helped me, were it not for the rule explicitly asking me not to.) Perhaps it might make more sense to add it to the FAQ, though, along the lines of “this behaviour is unwanted and will probably get you banned or slapped down by CFJ”; or added as a recommendation rather than a strict rule.


26-04-2010 18:48:16 UTC


Josh: he/they

26-04-2010 18:50:50 UTC

The thing is that the list doesn’t differentiate between things that could be done innocently, things that have been acceptable scams in the past that we’ve just got bored of, and things that are just plain overt antisocial behaviour. The first lot should definitely have a place in the ruleset, but don’t need an unfriendly belligerent ban warning attached - and that’s what I perceive rule 1.10 being for, in future.

The second group can probably go into this rule but really need more of a ruleset-fix approach; for example, your scam was ruled out by a fix to rule 1.5, rather than adding a line to this rule about categories.

The third group shouldn’t be defined, though, because attempts at defining anti-social behaviour really only weaken that definition. If we have a player being disruptive in any way, then we should be able to ban them using a CfJ; having a rule that expressly defines situations in which a player can be banned invited the response: “It’s not in rule 1.10 so I assumed that it was okay.”

Kevan: City he/him

26-04-2010 19:11:27 UTC

Spamming and frivolous DoVs are disruptive and frustrating for other players - I’d rather head them off in advance, than have to sit through a churn of new players using them to pull one scam each before being told that actually we’d rather they didn’t do that. Nomic is all about the rules; if there’s an unspoken social rule that spamming or a purely-delaying DoV is over the line and the regulars would never do it, we should draw that line where people can see it.

Yes, you can skirt around junk DoVs by phrasing them convincingly, ensuring that if you get any personal advantage nobody else spots it, and making sure that you don’t crow “and then I made a DoV to stop Josh from mining for 24 hours!” in the aftermath. It’s sneaky, but seems on about the same level as any other scam where you mislead the other players. “Junk DoVs must be performed and discussed very carefully and you’ll probably feel guilty about it” seems a better rule than “you can make all the junk DoVs you like, and boast about them afterwards”.

I think we do need to try and regulate antisocial behaviour as it affects the game. Nomic always has an element of solitary plotting, and we shouldn’t force players to have to guess what the social reaction will be if they use spamming or date-faking as part of their ingenious scam. I think there’s a clear enough line between mechanical abuse of the game world (which a player would be uncertain about) and general antisocial behaviour (a player presumably wouldn’t be very surprised at a quick CfJ to block their account if they were posting constant hate speech).



26-04-2010 19:40:26 UTC


redtara: they/them

26-04-2010 19:43:49 UTC

“Should not” is non-binding anyway. against


26-04-2010 20:12:24 UTC



26-04-2010 20:22:18 UTC



26-04-2010 20:39:33 UTC

Never do two things in one Proposal. I would vote for the second part, but against because of the first one.

(not counting yet)


27-04-2010 00:07:16 UTC


Josh: he/they

27-04-2010 07:23:41 UTC

@ Kevan - Spamming and frivolous DoVs are disruptive and frustrating for other players - I accept this, but they hardly ever happen - I can’t recall an instance of spamming ever having actually occurred, and frivolous DoVs used to hold up play are unusual at best. Spamming is a particularly vexing one, as the wording in the rule that bans it is equivocal at best; if we’re going to define the situations in which a player can be considered to have transgressed, shouldn’t we actually define it? To me, when the rule itself relies upon subjective judgement to have any effect, then it might as well not be a rule. We have CfJs which are applicable in all subjective situations.

On the other hand, players who unintentially transgress one of these rules getting threatened with banning - even if that threat is never followed through - is an annoyance that has occurred several times in the last couple of dynasties.

When we have a perfectly functional CfJ mechanism, it seems like the prevention is worse than the cure.

Kevan: City he/him

27-04-2010 10:20:38 UTC

You’re right, it’d be much better to explicitly define spamming, so that someone plotting a tactic that involved multiple blog posts would know in advance whether it would count as “spam” (and would be guaranteed grudging impunity if they didn’t cross the line). It’s harder to do this with DoVs, but at least we can explicitly remove timewasting DoVs from the player’s toolbox - there was, I think, one case where a player reluctantly made a spurious DoV purely to stop someone winning, figuring that the option was there, and everyone being a bit grumpy about it was worth preventing their opponent’s victory. (Yes, you could still make a timewasting DoV with a clever cover story, but would be aware that if a quorum didn’t trust you on it, you’d have to work hard to defend yourself.)

Is there much unintentional transgression? I know Darth got some flak for posting repeated DDA bulletins, on the basis that an off-topic blog entry of interest to one other player was “spam” for the rest. I think that’s fine for a case-by-case “cut it out or we’ll CfJ you out of the game” warning.

Josh: he/they

27-04-2010 10:30:09 UTC

It may just be that I keep tripping over the terminology - as annoying as the DDA bulletins may have been, there was never even the remotest probability that Darth would have been banned, and rightly so.

Equally, I recall having been informed that I had committed a bannable offence when I innocently made a post whose URL didn’t match the title - an accident but not really banworthy. I recall that someone mentioned that ais’ victory in the last dynasty contained a bannable offence, too. As much as I opposed that DoV, I don’t think that banning was a plausible outcome.

Part of it is probably that we’ve never had a situation where we’ve actually had to ban anyone from the game. The term is, to me, the titular empty threat. The culture of BlogNomic has historically been that we don’t ban players for being annoying; I can’t think of a situation where we would do so other than behaviour which is actively malicious or malign, and in that situation the ruleset won’t really save us.

Anyway, that’s besides the point, as I think that the point of objection is the other removals

Josh: he/they

27-04-2010 10:34:10 UTC

Sorry, hit post too early…

Bottom line is, against s/k

Kevan: City he/him

27-04-2010 10:49:56 UTC

I think it’s just because “ban this player” eliminates any tactical use of the unfair-play tricks. We could say that unfair-play actions are retroactively undone, we could say that they automatically void any DoV that hinges on them, but as soon as we say that then it opens them up for tactical usage - faking a datestamp might trick my enemy, and I might get away with it, and worse case it just gets reverted and people shake their heads sadly at me. We need a strong worst case, so that people don’t even have to think about using these options tactically.