============================== CFJ 1344 ==============================
Proposal 4243 was adopted.
Barred: Sir Toby
Called by root: 11 Feb 2002 22:08:39 GMT
Assigned to Steve: 14 Feb 2002 17:21:45 GMT
Judged FALSE by Steve: 14 Feb 2002 23:37:30 GMT
At 04:21 PM 2/11/02, Goethe wrote:
>> Rule 955, in part:
>> If the Voting Index is greater than the Adoption Index for the
>> Proposal, or if both equal Unanimity, and there were at
>> least three votes in favor of the Proposal, then that Proposal
>> is adopted. Otherwise, it fails.
>Denied. I read this sentence about 55 times before noticing why, every
>time, I read it naturally with the last two conditional clauses together.
>The English construction spells it out. Notice where the "if's" occur
>that match up with the final "then." There are two Ifs, not three. This
>clearly maps out a precedence of:
> If (A) or If (B and C) then X.
> If (A) or If (B) and If (C) then X.
>and not the gramatically incorrect:
> If (A or If B) and C then X.
Judge Steve's Arguments:
Proposal 4243 was an Ordinary Proposal. Two Oligarchs voted FOR it and
one abstained . The question to be decided is whether the provisions
of Rule 955 prevent the Proposal from being adopted in these
I confess I am not an expert on grammar: the technical arguments
advanced by harvel and Goethe concerning reiterated conditionals, the
placement of commas, etc. are over my head. I can rely only my own
commonsense and feel for the language.
It's my view that grammar alone in insufficient to resolve the question
of how Rule 955 is to be interpreted. It seems to me that the second
paragraph of Rule 955 is just ambiguous. Goethe proposes that we read
it as follows:
(1) If (VI > AI) or if (VI = AI = Unanimity and there were at least
3 votes FOR) then the Proposal is adopted.
harvel proposes this reading:
(2) If ((VI > AI) or (VI = AI = Unanimity)) and there were at least
3 votes FOR, then the Proposal is adopted.
Thus, on Goethe's reading, the '3 votes FOR' condition applies only
in those very rare (historically, perhaps even non-existent) cases
where the Adoption and Voting Indices of a Proposal are both equal to
Unanimity. Since P4243 is not one of these cases, the Proposal would
have passed, despite having only 2 votes FOR. On harvel's reading,
however, the '3 votes FOR' condition would apply to all Proposals,
and so P4243 would have failed.
Two considerations tell in favour of harvel's reading. Firstly there
is the amendment history of Rule 955. Prior to the adoption of
Proposal 3721 on April 16, 1998, the second paragraph of Rule 955
read as follows:
If the Voting Index is greater than the Adoption Index for the
given Proposal, or if both equal Unanimity, then that Proposal
is adopted. Otherwise, it fails.
As can be seen from the comments accompanying Proposal 3721 , the
insertion into Rule 955 of the provision requiring at least 3 votes
FOR was made in order to encourage the expenditure of Voting Tokens on
casting votes on Proposals. (At the time, many Proposals were passing
with only one vote cast FOR, Quorum being met by declarations of
Presence, which were free of charge.) The clear intent of P3721 was
that this requirement should apply to all Proposals, not just those
where the Adoption and Voting Indices were both equal to Unanimity, a
situation, as noted above, which in practice never or almost never
Of course, there is a long tradition in Agora that intent does not
determine how a Rule is to be interpreted. In cases where Rules have
clearly and unambiguously had effects contrary to the intent of those
who wrote them, Agoran Judges have repeatedly affirmed their commitment
to the text as it is, not the text as it was intended to be. But in
a case like this, where a Rule is ambiguous, I can see no harm, and
some good, in inquiring into historical and contextual factors which
may help make one of the proposed readings seem more natural and
appropriate than the other.
A second consideration that tells even more strongly in favour of
harvel's reading of the Rule is the existence of a precedent very
similar to the current case. Proposal 4067, like Proposal 4243, was an
Ordinary Proposal. Two Oligarchs voted FOR it, and two abstained. 
The Assessor held that R955 applied to the Proposal, which therefore
failed. This determination was not challenged; the same considerations
I therefore Judge that the Statement is FALSE.
Judge Steve's Evidence:
 Assessor's Report of results for Proposals 4243-4245
 Proposal 3721
 Assessor's Report of results for Proposal 4067-4071