Monday, April 06, 2009

Call for Judgment: Retroactivity of law fixes

Timed out with 7 votes against, and none for. Failed by Kevan.

Adminned at 10 Apr 2009 04:06:45 UTC

This is a bit pre-emptive, but at some point, the proposal Fix (or something like it) should pass. If that happens before the current votes in the Act 4 Voting thread are counted, then we will have some votes that are illegal under the new law, and I’m having some problems parsing it.

That the nominations were legally passed is not in question, but can they be legally counted? The act of counting nominations is, after all, a separate from the act of casting them; the rule only says that “the Scripter (or Scripters if there is a tie) who receive the most valid votes in each category have their Popularity adjusted as specified, for that category,” but does specify that voting must be closed before this amendment can take place.

The position of this CfJ is that proposals should never be retroactive and should never affect the legality of an action already legally undertaken. If it should pass, then the following should be added to the glossary, under the heading Retroactivity:

A proposal may under no circumstances have any retroactive effect. If an enacted proposal does have an inadvertent effect on an existing, legally undertaken action, then that action is considered to be exempt from the provisions of the newly enacted rule.

If this CfJ fails then it may be assumed that there are some limited situations in which a rule can render an outstanding action illegal.


Josh: he/they

06-04-2009 09:02:02 UTC


Kevan: he/him

06-04-2009 09:38:11 UTC

against While normal proposals shouldn’t (and aren’t) ever taken to have a retroactive effect in this way, I think we’d have some problems if we painted ourselves into the corner of “no retroactive effects ever” (particularly with the “inadvertent effect on an existing, legally undertaken action” - if you propose to take away my scam winnings, are you affecting my previously-legal action?).

Josh: he/they

06-04-2009 09:43:08 UTC

Yes, but not inadvertently. And that proposal wouldn’t have any retroactive effect; it would essentially propose a new action, the action of taking away the winnings that had previously been earned.

Kevan: he/him

06-04-2009 12:12:47 UTC

Fair point, although “inadvertent” is a very slippery word, if anyone involved in the proposal can say “oh, but I meant to do that” to stop something from being exempt.


06-04-2009 12:50:15 UTC



06-04-2009 13:02:49 UTC

I think Josh raises a valid point for the counting of votes, but I think the issue of retroactivity should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis because it does not usually come up very often.  There needs to be a CfJ that asks whether retroactivity applies to this case.

In this case, though, my opinion is that it should not take retroactive effect because the proposed rule merely says that Scripters *cannot* vote on such scenes.  It says nothing about votes that have already been cast.  Therefore, any votes that have already been cast at the enactment of the proposal remain votes.


06-04-2009 16:18:29 UTC

Not voting here, but the best plan to me would be to allow only CfJs, not proposals, to perform retroactive changes. (Still better would be to explicitly modify the gamestate to simulate a retroactive change, rather than make a retroactive change; that’s what most nomics with a strict no-retroactivity rule do. So you don’t take away a scam win, you simply change the control, rules and theme of the dynasty back to its original owner, ruleset and theme…) After all, CFJs are for fixing screwed-up gamestate, proposals are for changing the rules. I’d also be happy with a glossary entry that says that proposals don’t change whether anything before they passed was legal or possible unless the proposal specifically claims to do that.


06-04-2009 19:11:00 UTC



06-04-2009 21:20:33 UTC

“If this CfJ fails then it may be assumed that there are some limited situations in which a rule can render an outstanding action illegal.” has no effect, by the way, as established in Purplebeard’s Evil Dynasty.


06-04-2009 23:34:37 UTC


Darknight: he/him

06-04-2009 23:56:22 UTC

umm.. anyone note that josh voted against his own CfJ?

Josh: he/they

07-04-2009 02:57:45 UTC

Rodlen - of course it has no effect. Aside from the fact that a failed CfJ can have no effect (which was established long before Purplebeard’s Dynasty), it is deliberately worded (“may be assumed”) to ensure that is can have no effect under the most liberal interpretation possible.

Darknight - a CfJ should propose a fix to the issue that it is addressing. For the reason that Rodlen has highlighted, that means that the side of the argument that requires a ruleset change has to be the positive position of the CfJ, regardless of the fact that I personally disagree with it.

arthexis: he/him

07-04-2009 05:22:02 UTC



09-04-2009 04:56:17 UTC