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==============================  CFJ 1798  ==============================

    Goethe is a coauthor on the Proposal Contests Fix Mk II


Caller:                                 G.
Barred:                                 omd

Judge:                                  Zefram
Judgement:                              TRUE



Called by G.:                           16 Nov 2007 05:06:15 GMT
Assigned to Zefram:                     16 Nov 2007 10:07:06 GMT
Judged TRUE by Zefram:                  19 Nov 2007 18:03:34 GMT


Caller's Arguments:

I contributed no text, had no wish to be associated
with it, and generally do not fit any definition of coauthorship.


Caller's Evidence:

On Thu, 15 Nov 2007, comex wrote:

> On Thursday 15 November 2007, Roger Hicks wrote:
>> I withdraw my proposal titled "Contests Fix" in favor of the version
>> Geothe & root are hammering out.
>> BobTHJ
> Ew :(
> Proposal: Contests Fix Mk II
> {{{
> Geothe is a co-author of this proposal.
> Amend Rule 2136 (Contests) by replacing point (e) with:
>      (e) is a dependent contract.
> Amend Rule 1742 by adding a new paragraph:
>      A contract CAN optionally be formed without two objections.  A
>      contract formed in this way is a dependent contract.  Any
>      player CAN dissolve a dependent contract without three
>      objections.
> }}}


Gratuitous Arguments by omd:

Goethe's name was not spelled correctly in the statement
of coauthorship in the proposal.


Judge Zefram's Arguments:

There is more than one meaning of "coauthor" that could be applied in
this situation.

The ordinary English meaning is approximately "a writer who collaborates
with others in writing something" (WordNet).  In this sense, it is a
stretch to say that Goethe is a coauthor of the proposal.  Although eir
comments had some influence on the primary author in eir composition
of the proposal, this is not usually considered to be coauthorship.
Collaboration in writing does not necessarily require direct contribution
of final text, a possible criterion that Goethe proposes, but I believe
it does require intent and some creative activity.  Goethe certainly had
no intent to participate in the creation of anything resembling BobTHJ's
proposal, and so in this sense is clearly not a coauthor of it.

The ruleset contains three uses of the word "coauthor".  The oldest is
in rule 1681 (having formerly existed in other rules), requiring that
a historical annotation on a rule must contain

                                                if the rule was
      changed due to a proposal, a reference to that proposal, its
      proposer, and any coauthors explicitly named in that proposal.

Rule 2126 has a similar usage awarding red VCs:

                      each coauthor named in the proposal gains one
           Red VC unless e gained a VC in this way earlier in the same

The third usage is in rule 1607, requiring that the promotor, when
distributing a proposal, state

      a) Its author (and co-authors, if any).

The reporting provision in rule 1607 appears to exist primarily because of
the effects of coauthorship that are instituted by rules 1681 and 2126.
I believe, therefore, that it intends to refer to the same set of
coauthors as those rules, despite lacking the explicit qualification
"... named in the proposal".  Given rules 1681 and 2126, therefore,
I find that the word "coauthor" in the rules generally refers to the
"coauthors (explicitly) named in the proposal" that rules 1681 and 2126
are concerned with.

We don't have an explicit rule regarding the criterion for being
a coauthor for the purposes of these rules.  We could interpret
"coauthor named in the proposal" as a subset of "coauthor" as defined
in ordinary English.  This has the disadvantage that game effects depend
on matters of authorship that are difficult to discern and which really
constitute a continuum without the sharp division that the rules call for.
This difficulty is mitigated by the "named in the proposal" qualifier,
which restricts the scope of the trickiness, but it can still result in
unrecognised errors in recordkeeping.

Alternatively, "named in the proposal" could be taken as the rules'
definition of "coauthor".  Precisely, under this interpretation "coauthor"
refers to anyone who the proposal names as a coauthor.  This is an
artificial definition, somewhat divorced from actual authorship, with the
obvious disadvantage that it smears innocent players (and potentially
non-players) with the authorial faults of proposals that they had
no part in.  However, it has the substantial advantage that it makes
"coauthor"ship immediately obvious, avoiding the need for officers to
guess at collaboration arrangements and avoiding any possibility of
having to backtrack.

Game custom appears to be that rulekeepors accept proposals' statements
of coauthorship at face value, without inquiring into their accuracy.
This eminently practical procedure supports the latter of my two
possible rule interpretations, so I find that this is indeed how the word
"coauthor" should be interpreted in the rules.  I interpret this CFJ as
asking about the rules' usage of "coauthor", rather than the ordinary
English meaning, and so I judge it TRUE.

It is, of course, also customary that proposals' claims of coauthorship
are honest.  We have often seen coauthorship credit where it was marginal,
with the named coauthor having not necessarily supplied any significant
amount of proposal text, but this seems to simply be a liberal view of
what constitutes collaboration on a proposal.  I am not aware of any
prior case where a coauthorship claim has been unequivocally false,
as in BobTHJ's proposal.

With the present version of rule 2149, the question arises of whether
factual claims in a proposal ever constitute part of a public statement.
The promotor's distribution of a proposal clearly does not constitute em
making the statements contained in the proposal, because e is merely
reporting the content of existing proposals, over which e has no
authorial control.  The submission of a proposal is more complicated.
The submission message generally has the semantic form "I hereby submit
a proposal with text "...".", which is clearly true regardless of
the text.  However, the submitter is not merely quoting a preexisting
text, but is presenting a (usually) novel text as proposed legislation.
The submitter is generally taken to have authorial intent regarding the
proposal's content.

Determining whether a proposal submitter can be prosecuted for false
statements in the proposal is beyond the scope of this CFJ.  I suggest
that this issue should be explored in a future CFJ, particularly if
attempts are made to abuse the coauthorship provisions of the rules.


Gratuitous Arguments by Zefram:

comex wrote:
>For the record, the proposal with the false coauthorship claim was mine.

Oh, oops.  Sorry, BobTHJ.  I misparsed the attributions in Goethe's