============================== CFJ 1289 ==============================
The ACO submitted by Tim to create the contest "Agora the Beautiful"
Called by Razl: 18 Apr 2001 22:03:34 GMT
Assigned to G.: 21 Apr 2001 18:18:28 GMT
Judged FALSE by G.: 28 Apr 2001 02:13:47 GMT
Judgement distributed: 03 May 2001 15:30:00 GMT
Rule 1553/10 (Power=1):
> A Contestant may quit a Contest at any time by so notifying the
Rule 1533/10 (Power=1):
> An ACO shall only be valid if its contents are not in conflict
> with this or other Rules. An ACO that is not valid shall never
> be Executed.
Judge G.'s Arguments:
First of all, let me state for the record: The following clause, cited
in the Callers's Evidence, is an example of severe legislative overkill
and is, I believe, a poor way to manage conflicts:
(from Rule 1533):
"An ACO shall only be valid if its contents are not in
conflict with this or other Rules. An ACO that is not
valid shall never be Executed."
This unfortunate phrasing allows a Contest to exist for a long time,
and produce enjoyment for many Agorans, but a "sore loser" might find a
tiny loophole or unused conflict between the initial SLC and the Rules
that would not have changed the Contest's outcome in any way, and may have
been changed in the SLC itself. Under the current text, said conflict
could be used to invalidate the entire Contest. Further, under this Rule,
this current CFJ practically requires a judge to comb every aspect of the
initial SLC for loopholes, or risk having a judgement thrown out due to a
minor loophole that was previously unconsidered.
Furthermore, this clause is not even protective in the first place!
It would be trivial to make a non-conflicting initial SLC, then change it
into a conflicting SLC after the execution of the ACO, and this would not
cause the Contest to cease to exist. There are many less dramatic and
more effective methods of dealing with conflicts, which would allow the
Rules to keep their primary position in Agora. For example the simple
statement "If Rules and SLCs conflict with each other, the Rules shall
have precedence in resolving them" would be more than enough.
While I have no choice but to use Rule 1533 as it is written, I wish to
set the precedent of interpreting it as narrowly as possible, and I
suggest that the invalidation of an ACO should be used as a rare, last
resort and subject to the most stringent of scrutiny. I believe that it
should only be used in the instance that a substantive conflict actually
occurs. For example, if one section of an initial SLC creates a
contradiction with the Rules, but that section can never be "activated"
(and the conflict can never occur) because it is nullified by another
section of the SLC, I would judge that no conflict exists.
Using this standard, I shall only focus on two places in which the
initial SLC of the Agora the Beautiful Contest seems to blatently
contradict the current Ruleset, rather than institute a witch-hunt for
I shall deal first with the potential conflict not raised by Caller
Razl, as Razl's argument may be better examined after setting the
following groundwork. The first potential conflict is as follows:
(From Rule 1617):
"No Player shall ever be made part of the Jurisdiction of the SLC
of any Organization without eir consent. This takes precedence
over any Rule that would permit a Player to be involuntarily
made part of the Jurisdiction of such a SLC."
However, a method of a Player becoming a Contestant in the Agora the
Beautiful Contest, according to this Contest's ACO, is:
"by notifying the Contestmaster [...] The Notification list
(Section 4 of the regulations) is a list of valid ways in
which players may notify the Contestmaster of their desire
to become a Secondary Contestant."
The Notification list consists of various forms of abuse or argument that
have been used recently in the game, and may have been made without the
intention of being a notification of entry into the Contest. (The
difference between "Secondary Contestant" and Contestant is trivial and
not considered here).
It is possible from this statement that the writer of this ACO intends
said "Notifications" to be valid even if the posting Player would deny any
intention of joining a Contest. In fact, one suspects that the more
loudly or rudely a Player denies being such a Contestant, the more it
would confirm to the ACO writer that the protestor is indeed a Contestant.
In other words, it is POSSIBLE to interpret this clause in the ACO as an
attempt to enter a Player into a Contest against their consent, which
would conflict with Rule 1617.
However, in the absence of a specific attempt to hold a Player against
their will, there is no evidence that the Contestmaster will favor an
interpretation that creates a conflict. Exhibit 1 sets up a NECESSARY
condition for becoming a Contestant, but not a SUFFICIENT one; namely, it
neither allows nor prohibits the consideration of consent required in
1617. Consider the following statements A-C, assumedly made by a Player:
A. "Syllepsis is a newt-neck. This statement is made in order to
become a Contestant in the Agora the Beautiful Contest."
B. "Syllepsis is a newt-neck. "This statement is NOT consent for me
to become a Contestant in the Agora the Beautiful Contest:
C. "Syllepsis is a newt-neck."
Case A would clearly enter a Contestant in the Contest. It contains
both Notification ( by the ACO) and Consent (by Rule 1617). Case B
contains Notification, but explicitly denies consent. As long as such a
statement prevents a Player from being entered into the Contest, Exhibit 1
does not conflict with Rule 1617. The ACO does not forbid Players from
Case C is the most interesting, as it raises the question: in the
absence of additional information, should a Statement on the Notification
list be construed as Consent? If so, can a Player then claim that no
Consent was given, and retroactively not have entered the Contest?
It is true that, as a general principle, consent should not be assumed
but given. However, this is not true for all aspects of Agora (does a
Player's lack of posting consist of "Consent" to become a Zombie?) And it
is further possible that a Player gave prior consent in a private
communication to the Contestmaster. Determining whether the Player in
Case C has given consent will need to be dealt with on a case-by-case
basis, or at the very least require a specific set of circumstances which
does not, at present, exist (however, see Note 1, below).
For now, since the ACO does not explicitly forbid Case B, it is possible
for a Player to explicitly WITHHOLD consent to becoming a Contestant.
The possibility of an explicit way out is enoug to remove the conflict.
Now to Caller Razl's original claim. The claim is that the following
line in the ACO:
(EXHIBIT 2) "A Contestant of the Agora the Beautiful Contest may not
cease being a Contestant until the Contest has ended."
conflicts with the following clause:
(From Rule 1539: "A Contestant may quit a Contest at any time by so
notifying the Contestmaster."
However, given my argument surrounding Exhibit 1, that no Player may join
the Agora the Beautiful Contest without consent, there are AT LEAST three
ways of interpreting Exhibit 2 so that it does NOT conflict with the
(1) It is possible that this Exhibit 2 is only directed at the
Contestmaster or perhaps at other entities: that is, it indicates
that the Contestmaster, or some other outside agency/other
contestant is not able to cause a Contestant to cease to be a
(2) Since I have made it part of my judgement that Players need to
consent to join in the first place, the Contestant simply
withdraws eir consent to be bound by the SLC, and this withdrawal
comes into effect before Exhibit 2 is applied, yielding no
conflict. The Player leaves the jurisdiction of the SLC, and
Exhibit 2 is never applied to em.
(3) It is possible that, if a Player consents to join, e
also consents to give up the right to quit. Take the following
quote: "I consent, by joining, to not
cease to be a member of this Contest until its SLC allows it, even
if the Rules permit said ceasing." Any later statement attempting
to quit would be against the initial consent not to quit, and
(using the same principle that it is illegal to "take back" votes)
it may be illegal to "take back." The ability or
inability to implicitly or explicitly "sign away one's Rights" is
not addressed in Agoran Rules, although perhaps it should be.
Without an attempt to apply Exhibit 2 to a specific instance, it is
unclear whether one of these three interpretations, or some other
interpretation, would apply. But any one of them *might* alleviate the
conflict cited by Razl. By my earlier assertion, that the invalidation of
an ACO should be a last resort, for the moment I give this ACO the benefit
of the doubt, that it does NOT conflict with the Rules for the purpose of
executing the ACO. It will depend wholly on how a specific attempt of a
Player to quit the Contest is viewed.
If a later judgement specifically allows the "Notification List" to be a
necessary and sufficient condition for joining, WITHOUT the consent of the
joining Player, this Judgement may need to be revisited.
But until then, I Judge this CFJ to be FALSE. Therefore, this valid ACO
was executed by its submission to the Public Forum, as per Rule 1533.
Murphy is a commie mutant turnip.
-Submitted by Judge Goethe
Note 1: (this note IS part of the Judge's Arguments)
I believe that accepting the Agora the Beautiful "Notification List"
alone as a necessary AND sufficient condition for entering a Contest would
be an extremely dangerous precedent to set. In its current form, the SLC
aims at mild censorship of slightly obnoxious behavior, which may or may
not be desirable. But if this example were permitted, why not the
following: "Any Player who casts a Vote FOR Proposal X is considered to
have notified the Contestmaster that e agrees to enter the Contest and pay
the Contestmaster 1 VE"? It could even be argued that the Notification
List could be secret, and Players could enter the Contest without their
awareness. This is a state of affairs, clearly, that should be avoided,
as it could have a chilling (or extremely enflaming) effect on the game.
I believe that if a statement has a single clear purpose (whether
action or simple communication of an idea), it should not commit a Player
to a secondary Rules-sanctioned action such as joining a Contest, unless
either (a) the Rules explicitly allow such a double meaning or (b) both
the communicator and the communicatee have an a priori agreement
concerning the double meaning. This second caveat is provided so as not
to forbid "hidden" communications to cause Game Actions, PROVIDED that
all communicating parties agree ahead of time.
This note is advisory at this juncture, as there is no test case
before the court to determine how a Contestmaster should treat "implicit"
consent. As much as anyone, I am a supporter of learned and non-damaging
discourse in Agora, and I encourage ideas to decrease the annoyance caused
by some recent exchanges. However, the existence of an Organization which
"traps" Players based on actions not intended to trap is not in the best
interests of the game, and I am a strong believer that no Player should be
forced into an SLC against their will.
Judge G.'s Evidence:
Rule 1617/1 (Power=1)
Changing the Jurisdiction of an Organization's SLC
The Jurisdiction of an Organization's SLC shall only be changed
in accordance with that SLC and with the Rules. If there are no
provisions for changing such an SLC, then the SLC can not be
No Player shall ever be made part of the Jurisdiction of the SLC
of any Organization without eir consent. This takes precedence
over any Rule that would permit a Player to be involuntarily
made part of the Jurisdiction of such a SLC.
The Agora the Beautiful Contest ACO
(message submitted to the Public Forum by Tim, delimited by ####):
This is an ACO (Application to Create an Organization).
I hereby create the following Organization, Class Contest, entitled "Agora
I am the Contestmaster of this Contest.
The Regulations (SLC) of the contest are the "- - - - -" delimited text
- - - - -
Agora the Beautiful Contest Regulations
1. Agora the Beautiful is stable
a. The Regulations of this contest may not be changed.
b. The Contestmaster of the Agora the Beautiful Contest may not change
c. A Contestant of the Agora the Beautiful Contest may not cease being a
Contestant until the Contest has ended.
2. Ending the Contest
At any time the Contestmaster of Agora the Beautiful may announce Intent
to Dissolve the Contest. This Contest dissolves three days after the
Contestmaster's announcement of Intent to Dissolve. All players who are
Secondary Contestants at the time of the announcement are required to
transfer one Indulgence to the Contestmaster within three days of the
announcement of Intent to Dissolve the Contest. Any Secondary Contestant
who fails to do so gains 2 Blots.
3. Entering the Contest
a. Any Active Player of Agora may become a Secondary Contestant of the
Agora the Beautiful Contest by notifying the Contestmaster (no Entry Fee is
required). The Notification list (Section 4 of the regulations) is a list
of valid ways in which players may notify the Contestmaster of their desire
to become a Secondary Contestant. Such Notifications may be posted to any
Public Forum or to the agora-discussion mailing list.
b. Any Active Player of Agora who is not a Secondary Contestant of the
Agora the Beautiful contest may become a Primary Contestant of the Agora the
Beautiful contest by stating the desire to do so. A Primary Contestant of
Agora the Beautiful may become a Secondary Contestant by notifying the
Contestmaster in one of the valid ways listed in the Notification List.
Such Notifications may be posted to any Public Forum or to the
agora-discussion mailing list.
c. Both Primary and Secondary Contestants are Contestants of the Agora
the Beautiful contest.
4. The Notification List
a. Any demand of or request for an apology
b. Any claim that a player has insulted another player
c. Any threat of leaving the game of Agora in response to some game
d. Any insult of the intelligence or character of a player
- - - - -
I sign this application.