Index ← 3316 CFJ 3317 3318a → text
==============================  CFJ 3317  ==============================

    djanatyn is a Player.


Caller:                                 G.

Judge:                                  scshunt
Judgement:                              FALSE



Called by G.:                           29 Apr 2013 17:55:07 GMT
Assigned to scshunt:                    05 May 2013 19:37:59 GMT
Judged FALSE by scshunt:                12 May 2013 12:33:06 GMT


Caller's Arguments:

On Mon, 29 Apr 2013, Kerim Aydin wrote:
> On Mon, 29 Apr 2013, omd wrote:
> > > Assertion A:  While Machiavelli tries to make it clear that e is
> > > something on behalf of someone else, the fact that this is ISID means
> > > Machiavelli is misleading us... the registration has not actually been
> > > published by djanatyn.
> >
> > Arguments: There is a long history of precedent favoring act-on-behalf
> > in general, e.g. CFJ 1719.
> Which, given regular changes to the ruleset, should be re-evaluated with
> the current Rules.  In particular, the "reasonable limits" citation of
> CFJ 1719 should be examined, and the meaning and applicability of the first
> sentence of R2170 (added in 2008, so possibly in reaction to the general
> goings-on around the time after the cited CFJ).

To which I'll expand: the prime example of permissiveness in CFJ 1719 was
partnerships (now gone) and Deb & Bob (where two players act as one, not
where one player acts for two).  The "general permissiveness" for one
person acting as two has historically required explicit mechanisms to be
defined for Agora recognizing them (e.g. powers of attorney, executorship,
and so on).  This is our current regulation on the matter (R2170):

       The Executor of a public message is the first-class person who
       sends it, or who most directly and immediately causes it to be
       sent.  (Upon a judicial finding that the Executor of a public
       message cannot otherwise be determined within reasonable effort,
       the judge SHALL as soon as possible publish a judicial
       declaration specifying the identity of that message's Executor.)
       The executor of an action performed by announcement is the
       executor of the announcement.

This (to me) implies executorship is regulated, or at least strictly
defined, and there is no current mechanism in the rules for transferring


Gratuitous Arguments by omd:

Partnerships, including the implicit ability to act on
behalf of them, were originally recognized by CFJ (by you in CFJ
1622), with the only rules backing being the general ability to create
"binding" agreements.  The precedent is no longer sufficient for
partnerships to register because "person" is now explicitly defined,
but the idea that artificial persons and, more importantly in this
case, power of attorney are natural parts of a legal system remains.

Also, partnerships are not quite gone - Rule 2328 (Public Agreements)
still exists and assumes that such agreements can implicitly act by
power of attorney.

A possible counter-argument is that, just as acting on behalf has
historically been explicitly defined, with the definition assumed to
override the existing implicit one, Promises now fulfill a similar
role and should override generalized acting on behalf.  But Promises
work fairly differently from the usual notion of power of attorney.


Gratuitous Arguments by Machiavelli:

If I remember correctly, it was
previously judged that the sender of a message is the person who
authorized it to be sent, regardless of whether or not e actually saw
the message and consented specifically to its exact content; and that,
furthermore, something like "I authorize X to act on my behalf to do
A" is a synonym of "I authorize X to send a message on my behalf
stating that I do A". scshunt's judgement contradicts this previous
judgement; I think a new definition of "sender" fitting this new
judgement would be "the person who gave eir informed consent to the
exact content of the message".


Judge scshunt's Arguments:

The cases before the court are all driven by the same underlying issue: is it
within the power of a person to give another individual the authority to act
on their behalf of Agora.

As the outcomes of the inquiries 3315 and 3317 materially affect the
disposition of criminal case 3316, I will defer my analysis of that case until
after I have analyzed the other cases.

The facts of the case appear to be as follows:

1) A person, known as djanatyn, stated in a Discussion Forum "In Agora, I
hereby authorize [Machiavelli] to act on my behalf for the next six months or
until I declare otherwise."
2) Machiavelli subsequently published a message which included, with
parentheticals omitted, the statement "djanatyn registers".

The cases 3315 and 3317 are related but have subtly different meanings. 3315
asks whether an agreement exists that would allow Machiavelli to act on behalf
of djanatyn to register em, and 3317 asks whether or not djanatyn successfully
registered. The mechanism of registration is "publishing a message that
indicates reasonably clearly and reasonably unambiguously that [the player in
question] intends to become a player at that time." (Rule 869) As such, it is
conceivable that djanatyn may be construed to have published such a message by
way of Machiavelli without actually granting Machiavelli any ability to act on
eir behalf.

The Court shall therefore begin its focus on CFJ 3315, to determine whether or
not an agreement exists as described in the inquiry. The first question is
whether djanatyn's statement can be found to constitute an agreement under
Agoran law, as without that necessary predicate, we cannot accurately evaluate
the rest of the inquiry.

The word "agreement" appears six times in the text rules. Similar terms such
as "contract", "memorandum of understanding", "lease", "terms of service", or
"license" do not appear. Four of the appearances of the word "agreement" are
in R101, all of which relate to an individual's rights against being bound or
limited a binding agreement. The Court concludes that these occurrences in
R101 has no bearing on this case. In particular, as with most of R101, much is
contemplated that is not necessarily present in the rules, so R101 does not
imply that binding agreements are necessarily recognized by Agoran rules.

One occurrence of "agreement" is R107, referring to the standard of a
description of a class of eligible voters. It clearly has no bearing on this

The remaining case of the word "agreement" in the rules is in Rule 2328, which
states "An agreement between two or more players is a person if all of the
following are true:" and lists a series of conditions. While this does not
provide any assistance in determining the nature of any agreement, it does
contemplate the existence of agreements explicitly, and recognizes that they
may be given personhood. Notably, since its enactment in March 2011, the rules
have not explicitly defined what constitutes an agreement, so Rule 2328 has
always been referring to a concept not entrenched in the game rules.

Rule 1742, Contracts, as it existed before its repeal on February 20, 2010,
stated "Contracts are binding agreements governed by the rules." and
explicitly contemplated the notion of a single-party contract. Noting again
that the word "agreement" failed to be defined, even the rules relating to
contracts referred to an external concept of an agreement.  Rule 2191,
Pledges, provided a form of contract requiring only one party.

There is little to indicate that the word "agreement" should be interpreted
disharmoniously with the interpretation it had in the Contracts era. The word
is hardly used primarily in legal or mathematical contexts (though it is of
great significance in the legal world) and consequently Rule 754, before its
repeal, would have provided that the word have "its ordinary-language
meaning". There is currently no guideline for interpretation other than that
provided in Rule 217: that "Where the text is silent, inconsistent, or
unclear, it is to be augmented by game custom, common sense, past judgements,
and consideration of the best interests of the game."

This suggests an extremely broad interpretation of "agreement". In particular,
given the lack of reference to agreements within the rules, it appears to be
that the interpretation of "agreement" in this CFJ and in the rules should be
given maximum latitude, so djanatyn's statement can be interpreted as an
agreement (such an interpretation being of questionable value for any purpose
other than the analysis of this inquiry, however).

The next, more significant question, is whether this confers upon Machiavelli
the power to act on behalf of djanatyn. This is not an easy question to
answer. While the rules are silent on this, the game's historical custom is
more than slightly confusing. CFJ 1719, in 2007, affirmed that a player could
send messages on behalf of another. Under the regime of contracts, actions on
behalf of another had long been permitted before the power of attorney was
codified. However, the power of attorney was repealed, as were contracts. An
additional mechanism, Promises, was created to allow one player to allow
another to act, and the mechanism of directly causing another entity to act,
rather than acting on behalf of the other entity, was used both in Slave
Golems and the long absentee dictatorship of the Prince of Andorra. CFJ 2334
is also particularly applicable, having ruled quite sweepingly that no
contract was necessary to authorize another to act on behalf of oneself, and
CFJ 2601 also relates in indicating that an individual could take an action e
intended to act on behalf of another without any rules-recognized agreement to
that effect. CFJ 1856 relates specifically to contracts, binding under the law
of Agora, and thus does not apply since Agora does not, at the present
juncture, recognize agreements to be binding under its own authority.

While the game custom is strong in this regard, Agora has, for what is
probably a longer period of time, forcefully rejected the notion that
something is possible without an explicit description, in the rules, of the
mechanism for doing so.

In order to provide an accurate ruling, the Court will return to first
principles. Rule 217 says that the text of the rules takes precedence. It has
already been observed that in order to register, an individual must publish a
message. The Court turns to Rule 478, which indicates that a person
'"publishes" or "announces" something by sending a public message.' While Rule
478 is strangely silent as to what relation exists between the thing announced
or published, and the message, it is not relevant in this case. The text of
the rules provides an exhaustive definition of "publishing" and, consequently,
no person can register, or indeed take any actions by announcement, without
sending a public message. The custom of the game in this regard fall to the
clear definitions found in Rule 478.

It seems worth adding, at this point, that this does not preclude a person
sending a message by an intermediary, as "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." While the message must travel via a public forum,
there is no requirement as to what other intermediaries may or may not be
present, in particular a person or computer program such as cron. The
definition of an Executor, in Rule 2170, is helpful in this context, but not
directly relevant.

Given the historical context of the term "to act on behalf of another", as
meaning one individual being permitted to, of their own initiative, cause
another to take actions, The Court will assume that there are no other
potentially-relevant agreements made by djanatyn and judge CFJ 3315 FALSE.

For 3317, it is additionally required to determine whether or not djanatyn had
sent a message via Machiavelli to the public forum. The evidence before the
Court indicates, however, that djanatyn has little or no knowledge of the
Public Fora, and there is certainly no evidence that e intended for eir intent
to register to be conveyed to Agora. As such, the Court judges CFJ 3317 FALSE.

The Court turns lastly to the criminal case 3316. The requirements for a
guilty sentence are the criteria laid out in Rule 1504, and which will not be
reproduced here for brevity. The Court must first address whether or not
Machiavelli did, in fact, make a public statement intended to mislead others
as to its publisher, the specific statement being that djanatyn registers. Of
note, there is no defence of fact. The requirement is that the statement was
intended to mislead. The caller argues that "Machiavelli tries to make it
clear that e is publishing something on behalf of someone else." The Court
finds that there is not sufficient evidence or argument that Machiavelli
intended to mislead anyone, particularly in light of eir arguments, and
accordingly harbours a reasonable doubt that criterion (a) is not satisfied.
Accordingly, the Court judges CFJ 3316 FALSE.