============================== CFJ 2361 ==============================
If the Rules specify that a player is to receive a Note for
performing a required (i.e. a SHALL) action, and e fails to perform
it, the withholding of the Note is, for the purposes of R101(vi), a
penalty for breaking the SHALL.
Called by G.: 26 Jan 2009 19:27:07 GMT
Assigned to omd: 04 Feb 2009 07:39:23 GMT
omd recused: 17 Feb 2009 00:09:00 GMT
Assigned to ais523: 17 Feb 2009 00:09:48 GMT
Judged FALSE by ais523: 18 Feb 2009 14:18:50 GMT
This situation in general exists in the rules for a variety of duties
(officers, judges). The question is whether "withholding a reward" is
the same thing as "punishment". I consider this to be a possibly deep
philosophical issue that's not covered in the Rules, to be clarified with
a reward/punishment equivalent to Mother May I. But in the meantime (1)
where the rules are silent, we must not ignore R101; and (2) it's
specifically and directly relevant in the current system, where the
"exchange rates" of 2 Notes per removed Rest put the judicial and
economic system in a single common currency.
Gratuitous Arguments by Machiavelli:
If withholding a reward for an action not
performed is a punishment, we're all constantly being punished for
doing something we are not obligated to not do.
Judge ais523's Arguments:
The first question here is the extent to which the reward is correlated
to the actual performance of the action. Consider the following
a) A judge judges a CFJ on Wednesday. They receive a reward at the end
of the week. However, they could be assigned another CFJ later in the
week and get the reward from that instead.
b) Suppose instead the judge's time limit to judge the CFJ ran out in
Wednesday. Are they being punished for not getting the reward for the
week the CFJ was assigned to them, or for the week the judgement period
ran out in? What if they got a reward from a different CFJ in that time.
c) Suppose that an officer fails to submit a report, but that Notes are
repealed by proposal in the meantime. (Or maybe that a proposal to
repeal notes is submitted, but fails.) Is the officer being punished for
lateness by not being given the Note, even though they no longer exist?
The problem, it seems to me, is that failing to perform an action is
illegal now, but the withholding of the Note that would be the reward
happens later, at the end of the week, and anything could happen in
between. However, the fact that the "punishment" of withholding of a
Note happens later than the crime is not necessarily a problem; after
all, normal judicial punishments happen after-the-fact too.
Looking at the problem from another angle, there is a problem with a
lack of correlation between individual omissions and individual rewards.
Suppose a player holds two high-priority offices, and submits a report
for neither. They then aren't rewarded; but there isn't a withheld
reward for either office, as they wouldn't have got one anyway due to
their omission in the other!
The rules don't define what a reward or punishment is directly, although
they strongly imply that non-DISCHARGE criminal sentences are a form of
punishment, and the title of rule 2234 (which is not legally binding but
provides evidence of game custom) implies that contestmaster salaries
are a reward. Per rule 754, therefore, we have to rely on the common
English definition of "punishment".
Can the withholding of a reward be a punishment? In standard English
usage, yes. Importantly, though, this is only a punishment if the reward
was going to be obtained anyway. If someone's earning £1000 a month, and
is fined £1000 for a serious health and safety breach, they lose a
month's salary. That's a punishment, rather than the withholding of a
reward; it's gaining a reward and the reward's being cancelled out. If
their month's salary is instead withheld (probably illegal in the UK, by
the way), it comes to the same thing; it's still a punishment.
However, suppose someone quits work, and doesn't get their pay for the
next month as a result. That isn't a punishment for quitting, that's a
lack of a reward. The difference is that not getting a salary is not a
punishment if it isn't certain that you'll get it anyway. In a nomic,
where the rules could change beneath you before your salary gets paid,
or the salary could be withheld instead for another reason, or a Holiday
or a scam could interfere with your requirement to perform an ability,
or weeks might last for months unexpectedly (see B), it's hard to see
how an Agoran officer's or judge's salary could be seen as stable enough
to be a given which is fined away from the judge, instead of an
occasional reward for performing a job, especially as there is not a 1:1
correlation between rewardable tasks and Notes awarded.
Therefore, I judge CFJ 2361 FALSE; salary paid in notes is not
predictable enough for the withholding of it to be considered a
punishment, rather than the granting of it a reward. (Supporting this
fact but not strong enough to support a judgement in itself is that the
rules strongly imply that judicial sentences are punishments, thus
weakly implying that other things aren't.)
Gratuitous Arguments by G.:
Nitpick: DISCHARGE should be considered punishment too, at least for the
purposes of R101(vi). -Goethe