Index ← 2101a CFJ 2101 2102 → text
==============================  CFJ 2101  ==============================

    Equity case judgements violate R101(iv).


Caller:                                 Sgeo

Judge:                                  omd
Judgement:                              TRUE

Appeal:                                 2101a
Decision:                               REASSIGN

Judge:                                  ais523
Judgement:                              FALSE



Called by Sgeo:                         20 Jul 2008 23:15:30 GMT
Assigned to omd:                        25 Jul 2008 07:19:33 GMT
Judged TRUE by omd:                     09 Aug 2008 18:14:19 GMT
Appealed by Wooble:                     09 Aug 2008 18:49:35 GMT
Appealed by G.:                         09 Aug 2008 19:06:14 GMT
Appealed by Murphy:                     09 Aug 2008 20:46:49 GMT
Appeal 2101a:                           09 Aug 2008 20:59:43 GMT
REASSIGNED on Appeal:                   20 Sep 2008 18:52:34 GMT
Assigned to ais523:                     20 Sep 2008 18:52:34 GMT
Judged FALSE by ais523:                 20 Sep 2008 20:52:35 GMT


Caller's Arguments:

        iv. Every person has the right to refuse to become party to
            a binding agreement.  The absence of a person's explicit,
            willful consent shall be considered a refusal.


Judge omd's Arguments:

First, literally, this statement makes no sense.  Rules generally can
only be violated by persons, or, at least, there is no way I know for
a contract, equation, or any other kind of thing to violate a Rule.
Furthermore, I am of the opinion that Rule 101 categorically cannot be
violated, except perhaps for the last paragraph.  When a right or
privilege applies, any Rule or action that purports to conflict with
it is simply ineffective, not illegal.

But obviously the caller is asking whether Rule 2169's "the judgement
is in effect as a binding agreement between the parties" is in
conflict with R101, so that the right to refuse to become party to a
binding agreement can be applied.

Rule 1742 says:
      Contracts are binding agreements governed by the rules.  Any
      agreement made by one or more persons with the intention that it
      be binding on them and governed by the rules is a contract
      (unless it would automatically terminate as a contract).

Clearly, if a contract is made to be "governed" by the Rules, then the
Rules can do whatever they want to it.  Contracts are not normal game
objects: the precedent is that they are primordial things, and it
would be entirely possible for Agora to recognize contracts
"adjudicated through the Rules" or some such thing, in which case
proposals and Rules would be ineffective at modifying them.

But R1742 contracts are _governed_ by the Rules.  The Rules can create
a new contract and assign some parties to it.  They can modify an
existing contract, or paint it white.  The only question is whether
there is a rights issue.

To quote Rule 101:

        iv. Every person has the right to refuse to become party to
            a binding agreement.  The absence of a person's explicit,
            willful consent shall be considered a refusal.

         v. Every person has the right to not be considered bound by
            an agreement, or an amendment to an agreement, which e has
            not had the reasonable opportunity to review.

Since Rule 101 is intentionally vague, you might think that an
amendment to a contract that adds new terms would also count as a
"binding agreement", because it's effectively the same thing.  But
Rule 101 (v) explicitly mentions amendments to agreements, so Rule 101
(iv) should be interpreted such that only new agreements are covered.

Therefore, one way for Rule 2169 to avoid the rights issue is to have
equations come into effect as amendments to the original contract.

The next question is whether Rule 101 (iv) applies at all with
Rules-imposed contracts, i.e. do I have the right to refuse to become
party to an equation?  The second sentence is irrelevant; it covers
what happens if I neither consent nor refuse to become party.  So I
think it's pretty simple.  Every person has the right to refuse to
become a party to any binding agreement.  Equations are binding
agreements.  Rule 101 is much more powerful than Rule 2169, so yeah,
the right applies here.

With respect to the second sentence, some would argue that posting this

  I agree to this contract.

implicitly constitutes willful consent to become party to any
equations on the issue.  I think it does, but I will not opine on
whether this is the case, because Rule 101 requires explicit consent.

"I agree to this equation" is explicit consent.

"I agree to all equations that may arise as a result of contracts I'm
in" is explicit consent.

"I agree to this original contract" is not explicit consent.

Therefore, not only do people have the right to become party to
equations, they are by default NOT party to them, and do not become
such unless they explicitly agree.  CFJ 2101 is TRUE, although the
aforementioned loophole could be exploited to avoid R101.


Gratuitous Arguments by omd:

> Therefore, not only do people have the right to become party to
> equations,

Refuse to become party, that is.


Appellant Wooble's Arguments:

I intend, with 2 support, to appeal the judgment in CFJ 2101.  It's
reasonable to think that 101(viii), 101(iv), and game custom in nomic,
not just in Agora but going back to Suber's publication of The Paradox
of Self Amendment, combine to create an implied ability to completely
cease to be a participant in Agora by announcement, releasing a person
of all obligations under Agoran rule and contracts given authority
under that rule.  This ability would mean that a person's right to not
be bound by an agreement is not violated by Equity judgments binding
em as long as e chooses to participate in Agora either as a player or
in the general sense. Any precedent to the contrary should be ignored
as it doesn't take into account the history of nomic, the best
interests of the game, and common sense which says that game-imposed
obligations cannot, in general, be applied to non-participants by the
definition of what it means to play a game.


Appellant G.'s Arguments:

I support this.  The equity case process, when coupled with appeals,
means that any party has an opportunity to "review" an agreement amendment
imposed by equity, thus not conflicting with R101(v).  (Note that R101v
is written so that you don't have to agree to the amendment, just have
to have a chance to review it.  For example, an amendment that you vote
against in a majority voting process, or is imposed through equity, is
still binding to those who vote against it as long as the process gave
voters adequate time for review).  R101(iv) refers to becoming party to the
initial agreement, not the equity result; agreeing to become party
to the initial agreement as "binding" under these Rules means explicitly
agreeing to a process in the Rules for enforcing the binding, and that
is currently the equity process.  Otherwise the term "binding" has no


Judge ais523's Arguments:

First, this CFJ is moot for future equity judgements, as the relevant
rules have been changed, yet it is still of interest to determine what
happened with respect to past CFJs. Second, the case is obviously FALSE
because as equity case judgements are sometimes (indeed usually) not
partnerships, they are sometimes not persons, and thus incapable of
violating rules. There is still a rules point to settle, though, which
is whether equations made before the recent change in rules are

>From rule 101:
        iv. Every person has the right to refuse to become party to
            a binding agreement.  The absence of a person's explicit,
            willful consent shall be considered a refusal.

>From the version of rule 2169 in force at the time (which rule 101 took
precedence over):
      When an applicable question on equation in an equity case has a
      judgement, and has had that judgement continuously for the past
      week (or all parties to the contract have approved that
      judgement), the judgement is in effect as a binding agreement
      between the parties.  In this role it is subject to modification
      or termination by the usual processes governing binding

The case of all parties to the contract approving that judgement clearly
does not contradict rule 101(iv), as that would be tantamount to
agreeing to the new agreement. However, the case of the judgement coming
into force over time is more interesting. (In passing, I will note that
101(v) is not relevant here as the week's waiting time is adequate
chance to review the new agreement.)

Wooble's appellant arguments are not convincing here; although game
custom in nomic is important, it cannot override rule 101, due to being
less powerful, and especially as comex started this CFJ as part of a
minor scam; game custom is also that the literal meaning of rules are
especially important when scams are involved. I'm also not convinced
that in Agora in particular (unlike in some other nomics) buggy rules
are held to act as if they weren't buggy; for instance, the Caste rule
was buggy when first set up. The implied ability to completely vanish
from Agora may well exist, but actively preventing an equation taking
hold is quite different from passively not agreeing to it, and 101(iv)
is clear that the second course of action is sufficient to avoid a
contract, even if the first exists.

Goethe's arguments are more interesting; e is certainly correct with
respect to rule 101(v), and the discussion with respect to rule 101(iv)
is, at its heart, whether agreeing to the initial contract is also
agreement to any equations that may be produced with respect to that
contract. The important point here seems to be whether, and in what
form, rule 2169 existed at the time the players bound by the equity case
agreed to the original contract. If there is a rule in the ruleset that
implies that people can be potentially bound by an equation if they
agree to a contract, it stands to reason that a player should be aware
of this at the time that they agree to a contract, and thus are agreeing
to be bound by any equations that may appear as a result of it as well.
(The "explicit, wilful consent" required does exist here.) Again, if the
rule in question does not exist, then it stands to reason that the
player is not agreeing to equity judgements as a result, and therefore
unless they explicitly agree the contract to become equationable, or
explicitly agree to any equation, there seems to be no source of
agreement to the equation to satisfy rule 101(iv). So in the case of a
player agreeing to a contract, there are circumstances in which rule
101(iv) overrides the then-existing form of rule 2169 and prevents the
binding agreement binding them, and circumstances in which there is no

The case of non-player participants in contracts being bound by
equations is even more interesting, as for non-players the possibility
that they are unaware of the implications of rule 2169 also exists. (I
have heard that even some players do not read the Ruleset, but believe
that there is a strong presumption that all players are aware of the
Rules, and that ignorance of the rules is no excuse for defending a
player against criminal charges; also there is strong and more-or-less
binding game custom to this effect, and it is very hard for a scamster
to prove that they have not read the ruleset, especially as most scams
require a detailed knowledge of how it works.) As non-Agorans are not
even necessarily subscribed to a public forum, it seems quite possible
that a non-Agoran could join an Agoran contract yet be unaware of the
equity system, and therefore would not be agreeing to be bound by
equations created as a result of it. Thus I conclude that equations, by
default, are not binding under non-players under the old form of rule

As for the actual CFJ, I judge FALSE on CFJ 2101: the statement most
naturally reads as "All equity case judgements violate R101(iv)", and
there are certainly cases in which they don't.