Index ← 2210 CFJ 2211 2212 → text
==============================  CFJ 2211  ==============================

    It is POSSIBLE to perform game actions via the #really-a-cow forum.

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Caller:                                 root

Judge:                                  omd
Judgement:                              TRUE

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History:

Called by root:                         07 Oct 2008 15:30:13 GMT
Assigned to omd:                        09 Oct 2008 03:13:09 GMT
Judged TRUE by omd:                     22 Oct 2008 22:27:42 GMT

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Caller's Arguments:

The forum in question has been made public, so at face
value this should work.  However, per R478, "Any action performed by
sending a message is performed at the time date-stamped on that
message."  Since IRC does not (to my knowledge) date-stamp messages,
actions sent to the forum are never performed.

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Gratuitous Arguments by ais523:

Well, email date-stamps messages multiple times, and I have a pending
CFJ on that too. Also, most IRC clients will timestamp messages when
they are sent or received, much the same as most email relays will.

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Gratuitous Arguments by Murphy:

The statement of intent was buried 300+ lines within a Registrar's
report, thus did not clearly communicate intent to act.  See Steve's
Spam Scam (anyone got a CFJ number?) for precedent.

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Gratuitous Arguments by ais523:

The 301st line of the Registrar's Report was also buried 300+ lines
within a Registrar's report, and yet clearly constitutes part of the
report.

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Gratuitous Arguments by Murphy:

I do think the Spam Scam precedent shoots this down, though.  The "spam"
in this case was directly related to the nature of the buried action,
but it was still buried hundreds of lines into a message not obviously
intended to perform any action other than publishing a report.

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Gratuitous Arguments by Machiavelli:

Registrar's reports generally contain information about playerhood,
not intent to perform dependent actions. This is reinforced by the
fact that "I intend, . . . ." appeared under the header "Left in
2006:", implying that "I intend, . . . ." left in 2006, rather than
that the Registrar did in fact intend . . . . In addition, almost
certainly, those players who read "I intend, . . . ." interpreted it
as not actually announcing intent, as at least one of them surely
would have objected otherwise. Finally, an IRC channel would not make
a good public forum, as players can't possibly be in an IRC channel
constantly, unlike a mailing list, which a player can be subscribed to
constantly; and IRC messages are limited in length and generally
scroll out of view relatively quickly; not to mention that IRC
channels are occasionally ill-defined, as in the case of a netsplit:
the channel becomes two channels, with some people on one channel and
the rest on the other. (irc.freenode.net isn't even a server,
actually; connecting to it just puts you on an arbitrary freenode
server.)

I'm not even going to go into the fact that most who saw this as a
successful intent would have objected.

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Gratuitous Evidence by Machiavelli:

The following was in the middle of a Registrar's report:

> Left in 2006:
>
> a  Kolja       kolja_nomic@yahoo.de              3 Feb 04   19 Jan 06
> a  RedKnight   redwallknight@hotmail.com        21 Jul 02   19 Jan 06
> v  Goddess Eris taral@taral.net                  3 Apr 00   13 Dec 06
> v  Maud        m.slone@gmail.com                20 Apr 99   13 Dec 06
> v  root        kellyia@udel.edu                 13 May 01   18 Dec 06
> I intend, without objection, to make the channel #really-a-cow on the
> IRC server irc.freenode.net:6667 an Agoran public forum.

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Judge omd's Arguments:

There are two reasons why the outcome of this CFJ could be FALSE:
either the intent was unsuccessful, so #rac did not become a PF, or it
did, but it's categorically impossible to take game actions on an IRC
channel.

First, CFJ 1125.  There are two reasons Steve's Spam Scam failed,
according to CFJ 1125.  One is about the misleading claim of identity
in the message in question, but ais523's message was perfectly clear
as to identity.  The other argument is this:

> The message can be divided as follows:  A large amount of "irrelevant"
> material; a statement of intent to propose; the text of a potential
> proposal; a statement of intent to adopt two proposals Without
> Objection.  But is that extra material really irrelevant?  Since it was
> sent to the PF, we must evaluate it for significance wrt to Agora. And,
> indeed, it is significant for its intent to distract Players from
> reading the other parts of the message.  So it modifies all parts of the
> message, including the statement of intent to propose.  IMO then, it
> becomes an  integral part of the "indication" which it renders obtuse
> and obscure.  As such it is not a "clear indication" as required by
> R1483.

The information other than intent in ais523's message was not
irrelevant to the game: in fact, ais523 was required to publish most
of it, and the other bits (especially "Left in XXXX", in which the
scam was buried) are a traditional part of the Registrar's report.
Still, in this particular case that information *was* primarily
intended to distract, and for a description to be clear, a standard of
reasonableness must be applied.  As Rulekeepor, I could stick an
announcement of intent (for example, to ratify a report saying that I
won the game) into a SLR, and unless I was trying to ratify the SLR in
question, the chances that anyone would notice are slim.  It is not in
the best interests of the game to force someone to diff every SLR
against the last one to check for scams, and publishing such intents
in the middle of reports is not a good way to convey messages to other
players.  Although it is reasonable in theory for ais523 to intend to
cause fora changes in a report, e ought to have done it near the forum
section; sticking the intent in the registration history is
unreasonable.  Therefore, the message did not clearly describe intent
to perform a dependent action.

But a clear description is no longer required, as it was at the time
of CFJ 1125.  Rule 1728 (Dependent Actions) read, in part, as follows
at the time of ais523's scam:

     A player authorized to perform a dependent action (the
     initiator) CAN publicly announce eir intent to do so,
     unambiguously describing both the action and the method,
     including the required value for N.  A player (the performer)
     CAN perform a previously unambiguously described dependent
     action by announcement, if and only if all of the following are
     true:

So the action needs to have been unambiguously described, and also
probably unambiguously specified due to R478's definition of
announcement.  However, although requiring unambiguous specification
sets a high bar for explicitness of a message (see CFJ 1307), whether
an intent is explicitly worded is orthogonal to whether it is clearly
placed within a message; in this case, the intent was unclear but
unambiguous.

That is, except for the argument that #really-a-cow on
irc.freenode.net:6667 is ambiguous due to a possible netsplit.
However, there is no evidence of any practical problem ever caused in
the short life of #really-a-cow due to a netsplit, so we may regard
the issue as practically moot.

Then ... is it possible to take game actions on an IRC channel?  IRC
messages have neither datestamps nor a reliable record of their
progress between servers; in fact, it is possible for two reasonable
clients to receive messages in different orders.  (Note, however, that
this is not documented as having caused any issues in #really-a-cow.)

R478 says:

     Any action performed by sending a message is performed at the
     time date-stamped on that message.

This clause clearly does not apply to IRC messages.  However, that
does not mean actions taken over IRC are not performed at all; we just
don't have the (nonexistent, considering it's been basically ignored
since CFJ 831 even for emails) aid of the clause to tell us *when*
they are performed; and must yield to game custom, and to other Rules.
 Declaring a forum inoperable due to issues that are neglible in
practice would violate the spirit and possibly the letter of R101 (v).
 If there really IS a netsplit, or messages whose ordering is
important ARE received out-of-order, then that is a non-trivial issue
and the IRC server should be considered an ineffective forum due to
its unreliability.  The rest of the time, messages should take effect.

Obviously there is no specific game custom as to *when* IRC messages
take effect.  With emails, the standard is when the messages leaves
the sender's TDoC.  Since it is possible to spam an IRC server and
have it significantly delay your messages, this is inappropriate for
IRC.  Rather, the most "natural" time for an IRC message to take
effect is when it is sent by the IRC server to the other members of
the channel.  Because there are multiple IRC servers, relays, etc.,
this time may have a relatively low resolution (several seconds
compared to email's single-second resolution).

It is not against the best interests of the game to allow this crazy
forum to have been Public, because as far as I know the actions taken
in it while it was a Public Forum are well-known. So I judge CFJ 2211
TRUE, and submit the following proposal:

Require Clear Announcements (AI=3D3)
{
Amend Rules 478 and 1728 by replacing "unambiguously specifying" with
"unambiguously and clearly specifying".
}

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Judge omd's Evidence:

ais523's report:

> Left in 2006:
>
> a  Kolja       kolja_nomic@yahoo.de              3 Feb 04   19 Jan 06
> a  RedKnight   redwallknight@hotmail.com        21 Jul 02   19 Jan 06
> v  Goddess Eris taral@taral.net                  3 Apr 00   13 Dec 06
> v  Maud        m.slone@gmail.com                20 Apr 99   13 Dec 06
> v  root        kellyia@udel.edu                 13 May 01   18 Dec 06
> I intend, without objection, to make the channel #really-a-cow on the
> IRC server irc.freenode.net:6667 an Agoran public forum.
>
> Left in 2007:

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                              CFJ 1125

   Rule 1883 has not been repealed.

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Called by:           Blob
Judge:               Crito
Judgement:             TRUE

Judge selection:

Eligible:            Crito, Steve, David

Not eligible:

Caller:              Blob
Barred:              -
Had their turn:      =D8rjan, Blob, Murphy, Peekee, Vlad, Kolja A.,
                   elJefe, Michael, Morendil, Elysion
Already served:      -
Defaulted:           -
By request:          -
On Hold:             -

======================================================================

History:

 Called by Blob:                     Sun, 25 Apr 1999 14:47:20 +1000
 Assigned to Crito:                  Mon, 26 Apr 1999 09:59:18 +0200
 Judged TRUE by Crito:               Fri, 30 Apr 1999 22:46:07 -0400
 Appealed by Steve:                  Sat, 1 May 1999 13:24:37 +1000
 Judgement published:                as of this message

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Judge's Arguments:

Well, time is running short, so it's time to call the Court into
session.  I hereby enter a judgement of TRUE.

Reasoning:

Issue 1 - "clear indication"

First, I wish to express my thanks to all those who participated in the
recent (and enjoyable) debate, for their assistance in helping me
clarify my thoughts on this subject.

Throughout the recent debate I had been focusing my attention on the
definition of "clear" wrt R1483, and it seemed to me that it was a
toss-up as to whether "clear" must apply to the entire message or only
to the imbedded statement of intent to propose.  Ultimately, however, I
was persuaded that this judgement hinged more  upon the meaning of
"indication".

The message can be divided as follows:  A large amount of "irrelevant"
material; a statement of intent to propose; the text of a potential
proposal; a statement of intent to adopt two proposals Without
Objection.  But is that extra material really irrelevant?  Since it was
sent to the PF, we must evaluate it for significance wrt to Agora. And,
indeed, it is significant for its intent to distract Players from
reading the other parts of the message.  So it modifies all parts of the
message, including the statement of intent to propose.  IMO then, it
becomes an  integral part of the "indication" which it renders obtuse
and obscure.  As such it is not a "clear indication" as required by
R1483.

Issue 2 - Identity

One other thing I noticed when reviewing the post is that nowhere in the
message is any Player of Agora identified as the sender of the message
or as the author of the portions relevant to Agora.  Even the archives
still list the unknown "janet"-whatever as the author.  We only have
Steve's word that it was e who sent it.  Now I don't doubt Steve's
honesty in this regard, but I tend to think that this should not be
sufficient to regard the message as legally having been sent by em.  We
have often required Players in the past to present evidence (i.e. copies
of messages with headers) that they have actually done something they
claim to have done.  Currently in Agora, the messages and their headers
are the only "physical" evidence we have available to us.  Consider the
following scenarios:

1.  I give my office-mate some text describing actions significant to
  Agora and ask em to e-mail that text to agora-business, using eir
  own account.

2.  Blob comes by to visit me here in Boston, and while I step out for a
  couple of minutes to use the facilities, e sends a message to
  agora-business using my computer which I have carelessly left logged
  on.

Neither of the above leave any "physical" trace of who really sent the
message to a-b.  It either requires relying on someone's word or
establishing a consistent method of dealing with the issue of a
message's source.  I think the latter serves the interest of the game
better and so I will attempt to use the Courts to establish such a
principle here.

A message can be considered to have been sent by a given Player if and
only if the message clearly identifies that Player as the author.  If
the "sender" specified in the message header is one officially published
by the Registrar, then that establishes the Player's identity
definitively.

The "spam" post fails this test and, in the opinion of this court,
should be deemed not to have been sent by any Player, further
establishing a reason to find a judgement of TRUE, not to mention having
implications for the other actions attempted within this message.

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Caller's Arguments:

On Steve sent a message with the following headers to nomic-business:

> Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 10:11:36 +1000
> To: agora-business@gecko.serc.rmit.edu.au<
> From: janet9981@yahoo.com
> Subject: Maximize your website's traffic!

This message contained the following text, deliberately hidden among
a piece of spam:

> I hereby submit the following Proposal, entitled "An Object
> Lesson" delimited by triple dashes, and request that it have an
> Adoption Index of 4. --- Rule 1883 is repealed. A Power =3D 4 Rule
> entitled "An  Object Lesson" is created with the following text:
> "This Rule was inserted into the Ruleset to warn against the
> dangers of, and to commemorate Steve's long and ultimately
> successful battle against R1883 (Adoption of Proposals Without
> Objection)."--- I hereby announce my intention to adopt "A
> Separation of Powers" and "An Object Lesson" Without Objection.

1483 states, in part:

    A Proposal is created whenever a Proposing Entity delivers
    some collection of text to the Public Forum with the clear
    indication that that text is intended to become a Proposal.

I argue that there was no "clear indication" that "An Object Lesson"
was intended to become a Proposal. Common sense tells us that a
message like this, hidden in a large body of unrelated text, is
anything but a "clear indication", regardless of what the message
itself says.

Since "An Object Lesson" never became a Proposal, it could not be
adopted Without Objection, and so Rule 1883 remains unrepealed.

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Evidence attached by the Caller:




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