========================= Criminal Case 1945 =========================
Wooble violated Rule 101 by alienating new players by insulting eir
Called by ehird: 09 May 2008 16:47:44 GMT
Pre-trial phase ended: 09 May 2008 16:57:02 GMT
Defendant Wooble informed: 11 May 2008 03:59:35 GMT
Assigned to ais523: 11 May 2008 04:55:54 GMT
Judged INNOCENT by ais523: 14 May 2008 19:18:38 GMT
The last sentence of Rule 101 states: "Please treat Agora right good forever".
I hereby claim that alienating new players by insulting eir religion is not
a right good forever treatment of Agora, because it could cause players
to leave, among other things.
Gratuitous Arguments by Wooble:
I argue for a verdict of UNIMPUNGED. A rule for the form "Please X"
is not infringed by a Player who does not do X.
Gratuitous Arguments by ehird:
I argue that "please X" actually means "X", just in a more polite form.
For example, a sign stating "Please do not litter" likely implies
consequences for littering -- it really states "do not litter".
This is, as far as I can tell, standard English usage.
Judge ais523's Arguments:
There are several things that must be established before a verdict of GUILTY
is appropriate; the two most important are whether the alleged act happened,
and whether the alleged act violated a requirement imposed by the rules.
First, to address Wooble's gratutious argument. I'm not sure about typical
usage in the US, but in British English "Please X", where X is an imperative,
is generally considered to be equivalent to "X", just more polite. (This is
standard usage; apparently, the 'please' is even present in court orders on
occasion, but this is second-hand knowledge and therefore may be wrong.)
Therefore, it seems reasonable to conclude that it is possible to breach that
sentence in rule 101 by failing to treat Agora "right good forever".
However, just because a breach is possible does not mean that it has actually
happened, or that it is possible to breach that rule using the method ehird
alleged. One potential problem is that the sentence "Please treat Agora right
good forever." is ungrammatical, because 'good' is not an adverb. Therefore,
the meaning of "right good forever" is sufficiently loosely defined that in my
opinion, it can never be clear whether that rule has been breached or not.
Combined with Wooble's unclarity about the meaning of the "Please", which
seems to be genuine (see discussion in a-d for additional evidence), it is
pretty clear to me that one possible appropriate judgement would be UNAWARE.
Supposing that rule did have a defined meaning (I will consider the strictest
meaning I can read into the rule, "Please treat Agora as well as possible
forever", because the same argument would apply but to a greater extent for
weaker meanings), it is still far from clear that the rule has been breached.
It is clear from context that "Agora" here refers to the long-running nomic.
What constitutes a good treatment of Agora? Although "alienating new players
by insulting eir religion" clearly has potential downsides to Agora, there are
other potential downsides for other potential courses of action, and I find
that in this case, it was reasonable to believe that Wooble felt the nomic
would be damaged if e did not take the actions e took. Therefore, because
alienating a new player by insulting eir religion is not necessarily a breach
of rule 101, then without further evidence being provided and a clearer CFJ
statement, UNIMPUGNED is also an appropriate verdict (although not for the
reasons stated in Wooble's gratuitous arguments).
As for whether the alleged crime actually happened, I don't think there is
enough proof that Wooble actually insulted ehird's religion; in the message
with which ehird initiated the CFJ (http://www.agoranomic.org/cgi-bin/mailman/
private/agora-business/2008-May/010501.html), a message by Wooble is quoted
which is clearly from context meant to be the message in which Wooble
allegedly insulted ehird's religion. Although Wooble's message does imply (by
referring to rule 2149) that ehird knowingly or recklessly lied in the message
of ehird's that Wooble quotes, ehird made several points in that message, and
any one of them being a lie would be enough to cause Wooble's message to be
true. Therefore, if Wooble believed, for instance, that ehird had
misrepresented the details of eir own religion, or was not the only member, or
was not a member of that religion, then Wooble would not be insulting that
religion (although in some cases would be insulting ehird); note that accusing
someone of lying about eir own religion is different from insulting that
religion itself. So INNOCENT is also an appropriate verdict.
Finally, there is insufficient evidence on public record to show that ehird
was in fact alienated (or, for that matter, that ehird was a 'new player';
appealing a CFJ in the message in which one joins, and then using TTttPF some
time later, lends evidence against the hypothesis that a player is entirely
new to Agora); assessing the mental state of a player is very difficult to do,
especially over email. As a result, there is insufficient information to
determine whether the alleged alienation actually occured, and so SLIPPERY
would also be appropriate, were it not for the fact that Wooble is INNOCENT on
Under certain circumstances, with very clear aggravating circumstances, it is
just about possible to breach rule 101 in the manner described (if it was done
with intent, and clear malice, to upset a new player rather than for any
effect on the game), so I am reluctant to use UNIMPUGNED as the judgement out
of the possible appropriate judgements; however, that is clearly not the case
in this situation. For several reasons, then, I rule INNOCENT.