Index ← 1459 CFJ 1460 1461 → text
==============================  CFJ 1460  ==============================

    The public message sent by Goethe on April 1st created a requirement
    for at least one Officer to act as soon as possible [after the


Caller:                                 G.

Judge:                                  Maud
Judgement:                              FALSE



Called by G.:                           04 Apr 2003 17:40:26 GMT
Assigned to Maud:                       24 Apr 2003 20:11:39 GMT
Judged FALSE by Maud:                   01 May 2003 01:02:14 GMT


Caller's Evidence:

Message in question:

Precedent in CFJ 1439:


Judge Maud's Arguments:

I cannot read the fiery letters used by Goethe in eir public message of
1 April, 2003.  In CFJs 1451 and 1452, root held that a communication
may include some instructions or clues for its interpretation.  I concur
with this view, and further hold that the instructions must not be
unreasonably excessive.  For instance, following the instructions of
a purported communication such as

   I announce my intent to remove the first n listed proposals from the
   proposal pool, where n is the minimum of 5 and the number of
   counterexamples to the Riemann hypothesis,

accompanied by a list of 5 or more proposals, would require unreasonably
excessive effort.  A more traditional example of a message requiring
unreasonable effort to interpret is

   I cast a number of votes for proposal "Zig-Zag Lemma" equal to the
   number of times since 1996 that Michael and Kelly have voted with
   equal strength on a proposal using at least five but not more than
   forty of the words in a proposal from 1995.

But syntactical, semantical, or mathematical complexity is not necessary
for interpretation to require unreasonable effort.  Translation from
language to language can be very difficult, even for humans.  I
recognise the existence of limited free machine-translations services,
and as part of a devious program to introduce experimentation, or at
worst badly-concocted examples, into judgements, used a certain
Adams-referring translation service (which for the record does not
translate Turkish) to obtain the following sequence of sentences:

   (1)  I cast seven votes for "Free Language"
   (2)  J'ai moulé sept voix pour "la langue libre"
   (3)  I moulded seven votes for "the free language"

It is no surprise to anyone who knows anything about the history of
machine translation, which I hereby declare to include all past and
present Agorans, that such iterated translation tends not to shine when
confronted with synonyms requiring semantic analysis for disambiguation.
But this makes even the first translation suspect, and I claim that a
native speaker of French would not find sentence (2) obviously
announcing intent to submit seven votes in favour of "Free Language".
I realise there are native speakers of French who are Agorans, and I
invite corrections on this claim.  However, if false, its falsity would
not diminish the probable truth of the claim that machine translation is
not necessarily meaning-preserving.

More generally, if one does not understand a language, the effort
required to understand a purported communication in that language might
be unreasonably excessive.

This is a rather roundabout way of saying that submitting a purported
communication to an officer in a language one has no reason to believe
that officer understands, and which, as it turns out, the officer does
not understand, violates the Gricean maxims

   (4) Avoid obscurity of expression.  and
   (5) Avoid ambiguity.

Such a purported communication does not communicate, and so it would not
be unreasonable to hold that the purported communication is no
communication at all.

I therefore hold that an Agoran player need not regard, nor be required
to act upon, a message written in a language e does not understand,
whether or not it is sent to a public forum.

As a consequence, an officer who does not understand the language of
Goethe's public message of 1 April, 2003 could not be required to act
as soon as possible afterward due to that message.

I submitted a request for players who were officers on 1 April, 2003 to
tell me whether they, in fact, understood Goethe's message; all
respondents indicated that they did not.

I therefore find the statement of CFJ 1460 to be FALSE.