Monday, June 11, 2007

Proposal: Veto Occasionally and Often

Self-killed. Failed by Kevan.

Adminned at 13 Jun 2007 01:55:08 UTC

[ I still can’t always remember exactly what ‘often’ means, and given that its definition is such a simple and arbitrary phrase, I don’t see why we can’t just spell it out, whenever we want to use it. (The single current usage of it in the ruleset would actually be unabusably fine as just “Once per day”.)

If we get a weird Dynasty where event timing is really important, it seems healthier to create new and custom-built jargon for it each time, than to occasionally reuse this particular old one. ]

Remove the definitions of “often” and “occasionally” from the glossary.

In the “The Commodities” rule, replace “Often, the Government may Advance Time.” with:-

Once per day, but not more than once every six hours, the Government may Advance Time.



11-06-2007 13:05:28 UTC



11-06-2007 14:00:20 UTC

against The whole point of defining things in the glossary is so we don’t have to spell out these phrases over and over again. Would the ruleset be better if we replaced all instances of Quorum with “Half the number of Corporations, rounded down, plus one”?


11-06-2007 14:29:19 UTC

against .  What Rodney said.  We use those terms for a reason.


11-06-2007 15:16:45 UTC

But Kevan is not proposing to ditch all defined terms, just “Often” and “Occasionally”.  Those particular defined terms are problematic because they’re common words that, in normal use, are not used in a techical sense (unlike, say, the word “Quorum” which is a term that people generally understand has a technical meaning and that therefore has to be used with precision).  Think of how many times newbies get tripped up on “Often” and “Occasionally”.


11-06-2007 16:34:00 UTC

Hmm….thinking long and hard about this one.

ok.  for


11-06-2007 17:07:56 UTC

against Using a defined word keeps the rules shorter. If we want a more specific time, or different timespan, we can specify it in a rule, and refer to defaults that are defined when nothing special is needed.


11-06-2007 17:48:25 UTC

I can’t think of any times off hand. In general, the use of a capitalized subjective unit of time in a objective ruleset clues new players in to the fact that it’s a keyword.

In any case, the whole reason we have this was because it used to be that we would just have “Once per day”, but people would just wait until midnight and then do it twice in a row. Or we would say “Once every 24 hours”, and everyone would have to wait until exactly 24 hours after the last time they did it. Often and Occasionally were made as a compromise. And I personally don’t want to back to the days when everyone waited for bizzare times of the day to make their moves.

If it’s too confusing, couldn’t we just hyperlink every appearance of Often/Occasionally to the glossary definition? Or could we just but Magic style reminder text after the first few usages?

Clucky: he/him

11-06-2007 20:07:47 UTC



11-06-2007 21:08:17 UTC

Rodney- as a matter of style, I agree that it would be better for the ruleset to capitalize defined terms, and better yet to hyperlink to the definition.  So, uh, admins should do that.  Also, when using a defined term in discussion or in other gamestate documents, it should also be capitalized to make it clear that you’re using a defined term.


11-06-2007 21:08:28 UTC

against No, I think Rodney’s right.

Kevan: he/him

11-06-2007 21:18:49 UTC

I don’t know how many new-player confusions are actually documented (or even noticed), but I know that whenever I find myself reading an unfamiliar or newly-proposed rule, I have to go and look up “often” or “occasionally” to check what the word actually means. (They’re obvious if you’ve got both next to each other, but in isolation there’s no reason why “often” can’t mean weekly and “occasionally” daily.)

I’d be happy if we could find two new words that instinctively meant “daily, but in some technical context; check the ruleset for the details” and “weekly, but…”, but I’m not sure those words exist.

Capitalising’s okay apart from the fact that these words are often at the starts of sentences. Hyperlinking or boldface would be an improvement (although the rules would still be clunky to read).

But reminder text isn’t really too different to what I’m proposing, given that (as far as I’ve noticed), the terms never get used more than a few times anyway. If we’ve got a rule with ten bullet points all beginning “Often, a player may…”, then we might as well have a single introduction of “A player may take each of these actions once per day, but not…”

Brendan: he/him

11-06-2007 23:57:46 UTC



12-06-2007 01:02:53 UTC


Amnistar: he/him

12-06-2007 01:42:16 UTC

Just as a note from what I’ve read…why not use the terms “daily” and “weekly” instead of often and occasionally?


12-06-2007 05:05:17 UTC

I will admit being confused by the often and occasionally words when I first started. Why not just use ‘daily’ and ‘weekly’ and define those?

Kevan: he/him

12-06-2007 09:58:45 UTC

The problem is that those words already have real-world meanings, so they’d definitely have to be capitalised or hyperlinked to make sure that new players realise they have a more specific meaning.

Perhaps wording them “daily action” and “weekly action” would work, given that the daily/weekly thing is only ever needed for specifying the time at which voluntary actions can be taken?

Clucky: he/him

12-06-2007 23:03:57 UTC

But I always felt that, like spivak, “Often” have the ruleset a more sophisticated feel than “Daily Action” =P

Brendan: he/him

12-06-2007 23:08:51 UTC

Mmm, I’d rather have a ruleset without either.  Reading spivak makes me feel like my internal narrator has the hiccups.

Clucky: he/him

12-06-2007 23:32:01 UTC

Don’t worry. You’ll get use to it.

Brendan: he/him

12-06-2007 23:33:58 UTC

Unlikely, as I started playing in January 2004.

Clucky: he/him

13-06-2007 00:12:49 UTC

Why is your member number so high then?


13-06-2007 04:07:59 UTC

Because e’s pre-switch.  E started playing before the terms existed, and hasn’t played at all since at least 2005.  This explains why he’s not used to said terms yet.

Brendan: he/him

13-06-2007 07:53:39 UTC

So if it’s so easy to get used to, am I an e or a he?

But Blognomic is less interesting when argumentative, so I’ll stop here.

Kevan: he/him

13-06-2007 08:53:50 UTC

I’ve been playing Spivak-using Nomics since 1996, and still find the usage inelegant (particularly because it’s usually applied a bit erratically). Maybe it’s time for my biannual Spivak repeal attempt.

I’ll self-kill this and propose the “daily action” thing, anyway.

against  against  against