Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Call for Judgment: Trade Disagreement

Reached quorum 6 votes to 2. Enacted by Kevan.

Adminned at 19 Jan 2023 08:50:26 UTC

In the rule “Trade”, replace “Trading may only be performed by a Settler if they can indicate a blog post or comment made since the most recent Production of Resources where the other Settler whose Stockpile would be altered has explicitly agreed to this, specifying the items traded.” with:-

Trading may only be performed by a Settler if they can indicate a blog post or comment, made by the target Settler with whose Stockpile they intend to Trade, since the most recent Production of Resources, where that target Settler has explicitly agreed to this, specifying the items traded.

For all attempted past trade actions which would have been invalid under this reworded version of the rule, consider them to have been invalid and for the trade actions they describe not to have happened.

Josh took a trade action on the grounds that their own comment of “Hey, this reminds me: did anybody hear the story about that time that Kevan explicitly agreed to trade me two Stone for one Rye?” counted as “a blog post or comment made since the most recent Production of Resources where the other Settler whose Stockpile would be altered has explicitly agreed to this”.

I don’t believe that this is a comment where I have explicitly agreed to anything, but I’ll give Josh the floor on it.


SingularByte: he/him

18-01-2023 10:25:29 UTC

So, my initial comment in the discord was “Yeah, I don’t think I see it either. A comment made by someone else is not one where the ‘Settler whose stockpile would be altered has explicitly agreed to this.’”

It does feel like it might be a possible reading, but a very weak one. Cutting away all the fat, it can be boiled down to “A settler must indicate a post/comment where the other settler has explicitly agreed to this trade”.

I don’t believe that a comment simply stating there’s been an explicit agreement meets that bar since that comment is not “where the settler has explicitly agreed to this” (or “where the other Settler whose Stockpile would be altered has explicitly agreed to this”).

Josh: he/they

18-01-2023 10:27:37 UTC

The argument is simple, for me - the current wording contains an ambiguity that both this CfJ and my own proposal patches in the same way, a fact that I will interpret as a tacit agreement that the ambiguity exists, even if we do disagree on whether the eye of the needle is quite large enough for the whole camel to go through.

The ambiguity in question is that the current wording only requires that we check “Is there a comment or post” (it does) and “in that post, does the target agree to be subject to the trade” (also yes, albeit fictionalised).

Does a fictionalised explicit agreement count as a type of explicit agreement? I don’t see how it could not - a fits entirely within the set of b. My action was therefore legal and should not be reverted, and those wishing to ensure that it doesn’t happen again should vote for the fix proposal rather than the CfJ that reverts a legal move.

(As an analogy, if Kevan had agreed to the exchange on the discord, and I made a post reporting that fact and used that post as a justification to make the trade, would it be legal under the current wording? I’d argue yes, under the current wording, and that the fictionalised version is therefore equally legal.)

In short: a comment that tells a story in which “the other Settler whose Stockpile would be altered [...] explicitly agreed to this” is still a comment in which the required event occurred. This is a neat scam that I used early rather than late to avoid distorting the outcome too massively; it’s likely that all I’ve really done is to fool’s gold myself a bit. I argue that no reversion necessary, and we should all just vote for the fix and move on.

Josh: he/they

18-01-2023 10:29:56 UTC

@SB I’m wary of your “cutting down the fat” argument, as it feels like you’re pushing for an authoral-intent read rather than a letter-on-the-page read; to be very clear, I have no regard for the intent of the rule, only what it says, and to me it leaves a very clear gap between the clauses of its test:

* Is there a post or comment; and
* Does that post or comment contain something that indicates the target’s explicit agreement.

SingularByte: he/him

18-01-2023 10:43:35 UTC

@Josh Hm. I am seeing your point. Your argument is basically that the word indicate doesn’t need the post or comment to actually exist, just that you need to refer to such a comment existing? I’ll have to think on it some more.

Kevan: he/him

18-01-2023 11:57:07 UTC

I don’t think we can say that for any rule which is expressed as “does a post, comment or wiki edit show that a player has done something”, stories about fictionalised versions of those players are a subset that carry equal weight if we don’t explicitly rule them out.

Surely I can’t write “do you remember that time when all active players used a FOR icon on this post” as a comment here and enact the CfJ per “A Settler’s Vote on a Votable Matter is the last valid voting icon that they have used in any comment on that Votable Matter.”

SingularByte: he/him

18-01-2023 12:16:23 UTC

The nature of the dispute is around the word “indicate” I believe.

I had actually been part way through writing my views in terms of the “where” clause literally restricting the post or comments needed to a subset which wasn’t being met, but stopped when I started to understand Josh’s argument.

It’s a different situation to votes, because they’re explicitly stating that a vote *is* the last valid voting icon. This rule however simply requires you to “indicate” a post or comment that meets the criteria, which is starting to boil down to a question of ‘Can you indicate a post if that post doesn’t exist?’.

I’m leaning towards no, but it does have more merit than I had expected.

Josh: he/they

18-01-2023 12:38:52 UTC

Actually, the voting icon example is sort of illustrative.

The voting icons are a layer of obfuscation - you can indicate that you are FOR a matter by using the voting icon; the voting icon is not itself the vote, but it indicates the voting intent, using a shorthand to do so. But what prevents you from using the red-cross icon to indicate FOR? Well, the ruleset: specifically, the appendix entry Voting Icons, which establishes very clearly the translation of the icon to the underlying intent. Obfuscation resolved!

This rule as written also carried a layer of obfuscation: rather than a post which is itself a statement of agreement to trade, the rule calls for a post which refers - as a distinct, separable artefact - to an amorphous intent to trade, which can legally and grammatically be demonstrated to be a separable entity from the required post. Unlike with voting icons, there is no other text in the ruleset that resolves that obfuscation! Therefore that obfuscation exists and the two may be considered separable entities, with all the potential for interpretation that exists.

The fact that Voting Icons exists as an appendix rule demonstrates that the ruleset acknowledges the gap between a symbol and its implied meaning, and expects that gap to be resolved by ruletext.

Kevan: he/him

18-01-2023 13:25:41 UTC

The appendix could go further and say that a voting icon only counts when made in a comment by the voting player, and that fictionalised “here’s a story about a different player using a FOR icon” comments from other players don’t count when a rule is scanning for the “last valid voting icon that they have used in any comment”. But it doesn’t go that far, it just says which icon is which.

I think that’s because it’s a given that when we talk about checking whether a player has done something past tense, it’s understood that we don’t include fictional stories written about that player.

[SingularByte] That sounds like it’s going further that Josh’s argument, in saying that a player can simply point to a passing cloud or a speck of dirt and say “to me, this is a very specific trade agreement and I will now act accordingly”?

Trapdoorspyder: he/him

18-01-2023 14:02:41 UTC

for I fully agree that this needs a fix. While the reversion to Josh’s action seems a little unfair, given that he did pull this one off fair and square, Josh’s fix without the reversions is going to take a lot longer to get resolved, and does theoretically leave the floor open for anyone to take advantage of it in the meantime, not just leaving the minor amount of resources gained to Josh.

Josh: he/they

18-01-2023 14:10:34 UTC

against Queue’s not long right now; I’m not sure that the time differential is significant.

Chiiika: she/her

18-01-2023 14:49:55 UTC

for I don’t like ambiguous scams - you shoot one of mine down some time prior iirc

Raven1207: he/they

18-01-2023 15:52:55 UTC


SingularByte: he/him

18-01-2023 15:58:25 UTC

So, my (seemingly incorrect) interpretation was the only way I could see the scam being even possible to be able to be pulled off. The current argument of how it works is losing me.

JonathanDark: Publisher he/him

18-01-2023 16:20:03 UTC


Part of me wishes that this CfJ would have been written to exempt Josh’s one trade action from being treated as illegal, just to give him credit for the scam, but I agree with TDS that the need to stop any further scams using the same method is more important. For me, it’s less about the time and more about invalidating all trade actions using this scam.

@Josh: If your Proposal “A Good Sturdy Lock” had contained text to invalidate all trading actions that used the scam, even if you exempted your own action, your case would have been stronger in my eyes.

quirck: he/him

18-01-2023 22:11:17 UTC



18-01-2023 22:22:29 UTC