Index ← 2778 CFJ 2779 2780 → text
==============================  CFJ 2779  ==============================

    On or about 22-Mar 2010, CFJ 2777 was  assigned to G.


Caller:                                 G.
Barred:                                 Taral

Judge:                                  omd
Judgement:                              TRUE



Called by G.:                           31 Mar 2010 17:46:38 GMT
Assigned to omd:                        08 Apr 2010 13:33:46 GMT
Judged TRUE by omd:                     09 Apr 2010 16:17:53 GMT


Caller's Arguments:

>From March 14 to March 21, the agora-business public forum was not sending
messages; in other words it was not possible to send a message "via" that
forum during that time.  During that time, public messages were sent via
the BAK list.  On March 21 the agora-business list began to forward messages
again, but at least one person, including G., were accidentally unsubscribed
from the list without their knowledge.  Within about a day of this occurring,
a message was sent by the CotC to agora-business, assigning the above case
to G.  The message was sent "via" agora-business to at least a subset of
players, but not all (and not G.).  Was this message a Public Announcement?

On one hand, for at least 24 hours after BAK generally went silent (which
includes the time the CFJ message was sent), G. had absolutely no reason
to believe that anything was wrong; a day or two of silence in the fora
is infrequent but not unheard of.  So G. had made every reasonable effort
to ensure e received messages, yet could not do so.  In addition, the fact
that G.'s loss-of-account meant e couldn't log into the archives simply
added to the illusion; it made it seem that "the site was still in transit
and deactivated" and that if anyone wanted to send a message, they would
be using BAK.

After time (say, after a few days) it becomes reasonable to expect G. would
become suspicious, and it would be reasonable to expect em to make an
effort to ensure e could receive messages by emailing the distributor,
or asking via BAK what was up.  As it happens, e started to wonder what
was up around March 24-25, but didn't really worry about acting on it
until Taral's message on March 27 [see evidence].  But for at least a
couple days, including the time of the message, it would be unreasonable
to expect em to act.  This suggests (either via R101 rights or R478) that
the message wasn't sent "via" the public forum at all.

On the other hand, G. was able to read the message within a certain
amount of time (by trivial resubscription after learning of the problem),
which in this case was barely enough time to avoid lateness penalties
for judging.  However, consider:  if it's held that being unable to
read messages "for a few days" doesn't deprive rights as long as it's
fixed afterwards, what happens to a scam depending on a delay in
informing others of a Without Objection announcement?  {see CFJ 1905
for the importance of determining whether a message was sent "via"
a forum versus just "to" a forum.)

I'm honestly not sure where the good of the game lies in this case.
De-publicing a forum due to a technical glitch that might not always
be detectable isn't desirable; but neither is allowing a delay of 3+
days between message sending and being capable of being informed of
its existence.


Caller's Evidence:

Private message from Taral to G.:
Date: Sat, 27 Mar 2010 17:50:26 -0700
From: Taral
To: G.
Subject: Agora mail thinks that my mail host isn't allowed to send mail
-- in the mean time, be warned that you might miss some things. :)

Message from Taral to BAK:
Date: Sat, 27 Mar 2010 18:00:31 -0700
From: Taral
To: Agora Nomic Backup List
Subject: BAK: Mail warning

I didn't update the SPF records when the mail server moved. So... some
people have been unsubscribed due to bounces. It's fixed, but will
take a few hours to propagate.

Rule 101/13 (Power=3)
The Rights of Agorans

      WHEREAS Agora, since its inception, has functioned not only as a
      game but as a society, and WHEREAS a society, to function, must
      balance its Rules with the natural rights of its participants,
      BE IT HEREBY PROCLAIMED that no interpretation of Agoran law or
      binding agreement may substantially limit or remove a person's
      rights as defined by this Rule, except through the explicit and
      legal amendment of this Rule.  This rule takes precedence over
      any rule which would allow or mandate restrictions of the rights
      contained herein.

         i. Every person has the right, though not necessarily the
            ability, to perform actions that are not prohibited or
            regulated by the Rules, with the sole exception of
            changing the Rules, which is permitted only when the Rules
            explicitly or implicitly permit it.

        ii. Every person has the right to initiate a formal process to
            resolve matters of controversy, in the reasonable
            expectation that the controversy will thereby be resolved.
            Every person has the right to cause formal reconsideration
            of any judicial determination that e should be punished.

       iii. 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.

        iv. Every person has the right to not be considered bound by
            an agreement, or an amendment to an agreement, or a Rule
            Change, which e has not had the reasonable opportunity to
            review.  For the purpose of protecting this right, a rule
            change which would otherwise take effect without its
            substance being subject to general player review through a
            reasonably public process is wholly prevented from taking

         v. Every player has the right of participation in the fora.

        vi. Every person has the right to not be penalized more than
            once for any single action or inaction.  However, this
            right is not violated by replacing part or all of a
            penalty with a different but comparable penalty, e.g. when
            the rules governing penalties are amended.

       vii. Every player has the right to deregister; e may continue
            to accrue obligations and penalties after deregistration
            but, if e wishes to ignore the game, such penalties shall
            not unduly harass em.

      Please treat Agora right good forever.

Rule 478/27 (Power=3)

      Freedom of speech being essential for the healthy functioning of
      any non-Imperial nomic, it is hereby resolved that no Player
      shall be prohibited from participating in the Fora.

      Publicity is a forum switch with values Public, Discussion, and
      Foreign (default), tracked by the Registrar.

      The Registrar's report includes, for each forum with non-Foreign
      publicity, sufficient instructions for players to receive
      messages there.

      The Registrar may change the publicity of a forum without
      objection as long as:

      (a) e sends eir announcement of intent to that forum; and

      (b) if the forum is to be made public, the announcement by which
          the Registrar makes that forum public is sent to all
          existing public fora.

      Each active player should ensure e can receive messages via each
      public forum.

      A public message is a message sent via a public forum, or sent
      to all players and containing a clear designation of intent to
      be public.  A person "publishes" or "announces" something by
      sending a public message.

      Where the rules define an action that CAN be performed "by
      announcement", a person performs that action by unambiguously
      and clearly specifying the action and announcing that e performs
      it.  Any action performed by sending a message is performed at
      the time date-stamped on that message.


Judge omd's Arguments:

While the message loss violated G.'s right to participate in the
fora-- as e could not be reasonably expected to realize that e was not
receiving messages-- invalidating or delaying the messages sent in the
interim would violate the right of all other players to participate in
the fora-- as they could not be reasonably expected to realize that
they were not successfully sending messages!  Accordingly, there are
no absolutes: while, if G.'s rights were the only ones involved, Rule
101 would force them to be respected, no matter how much the resulting
interpretation contradicts common sense and the best interests of the
game, here there are multiple conflicting rights and Rule 101 does not
specifically state which ones win.  Thus we can consider which
interpretation is in the best interests in the game.

Retroactive changes suck, and while, on one hand, the circumstance of
message loss is naturally time limited for most players-- and thus
limited in the potential damage to free speech-- on the other hand,
message loss might easily occur for a new player who is not as well
aquainted with the volume of traffic on the lists, causing messages to
be unsendable, potentially for a long time, without any reasonable way
for the players to notice or correct the error.

If there was any sign Taral had intentionally denied G. access to the
lists, the balance of rights would be far different, but here, it's in
the best interests of the game that all messages involved are
considered to have been sent when they reached the majority of

Of course, if there were any deadline violations involved, G. would be
not guilty/excused.