Index ← 3483 CFJ 3484 3485 → text
=============================  CFJ 3484  =============================

      If proposal 7847 were resolved as passed right now, it would 
      succeed in reenacting rule 2166 at power 2.0.

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Caller:                      Aris           

Judge:                       ais523           
Barred:                      G.
Judgement:                   TRUE

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History:

Called by Aris:              3 May 2017
Assigned to ais523:          4 May 2017
Judged TRUE by ais523:      11 May 2017

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Caller's Arguments:

I feel that this entire argument about rule re-eanactment is an
overreaction. As I understand it, game custom says that rules are to
be interpreted according to common sense. Although we seem to suspend
that principle for scams and some other situations in which someone
has something to gain, we should generally be following to it. It kind
of worries me that we seem to care right now solely about a textual
interpretation of the rules. It is fairly clear that rule 105 is
intended (and perhaps even intends, if such things are possible) to
allow for the re-enactment of rules. It is our responsibility as
players to interpret its directives in such a way as to accomplish
that goal.

There are many ways that Rule 105 could succeed in re-enactment. The
power could be assigned to the repealed rule before its re-enactment,
or afterwards. I think what we should probably understand is that the
rule is called back into existence already at the new power, in the
same way an enactment works. The rule does say that "A repealed rule
identified by its most recent rule number may be reenacted..." and
given that it specifies no procedure, it makes sense to use the one
specified for enactment. The prefix re- implies that something is done
again, and one would suppose that you do it the same way as the first
time. Further the requirement that "Any ambiguity in the specification
of a rule change causes that change to be void and without effect"
seems to be intended to apply to ambiguity in the amending instrument,
not in the rule itself. The paragraph that sentence is contained in
seems to confirm this, saying "an inconsequential variation in the
quotation of an existing rule does not constitute ambiguity for the
purposes of this rule, but any other variation does." This suggests
that it restricts instruments, because the rule itself makes no
"quotation[s] of an existing rule". Common sense suggests that one of
these interpretations must be correct.

I remind the honorable judge of eir responsibility to interpret the 
rules in accordance with their common sense meaning and intent.

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Gratuitous arguments by G.:

The clause in proposal 7847 reads:
      Reenact rule 2166, Assets (Power = 2), with the following text:

That parenthetical (power-2.0) in the Proposal causes unclarity.  Is 
it specifying a new power, changing a power after re-enactment, 
attempting to set the power during re-enactment, or stating that the 
old version was Power=2 (well, probably not that last one)?

Rule 105 states:
      Any ambiguity in the specification of a rule change causes that
       change to be void and without effect.

this "any ambiguity" has been interpreted quite strongly; for example, 
wrongly specifying a version number can cause failure.  Therefore 
strictness in Rule changes overrules "common-sense" bending, 
specifically for Rule Changes.

If this is judged TRUE, I'd ask the Judge to clarify what order to put
the following entries in the Amendment Record for the FLR:

- Re-enacted(N) by Proposal 7847 (and at what power?)
- Amended(N) by changing Power to 2 by Proposal 7847 (from what?)

and what clause and mechanism allowed the power to be set there, 
R105(a) (by inference to the enact mechanism), R105(c) (taking the 
power from the repealed rule)  or R105(f) (setting the power)?  
Because it's genuinely ambiguous to *me*.

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Judge's Arguments:

This is really a CFJ about the nature of rule 105. There have been many
arguments made already on this case, and I don't fully agree with any
of them, so I'll set out my opinion "from scratch".

The part of this argument is to decide whether re-enactment is a
special case of enactment, or whether it's its own process that follows
different rules. This is complicated somewhat by the way in which rule
105 is worded; is it attempting to define words, or to use them? The
current wording of 105(b) is very clear, as a definition of "repeal";
you could change it to any other word (with no rules meaning) and it
would still work, e.g.:
{{{
      (b) nkep a rule.  When a rule is nkepped, it ceases to be a
          rule, and the Rulekeepor need no longer maintain a record
          of it.
}}}

On the other hand, rule 105(d,e,f) are clearly using the normal English
meanings of "amend", "retitle", and "change", because they don't
attempt to define those words at all.

That brings us to a grey area: 105(a) and (c). The processes of
enacting a rule and of re-enacting a rule have many details specified.
However, despite defining the specifics, they don't define the
generics; 105(a) talks about properties of the new rule, but it never
explicitly specifies that a rule is created. The most reasonable
behaviour here is to infer that rule enactment is a process which
creates a rule and/or causes something other than a rule to become a
rule, based on the normal English meaning of "enact". It's clear that,
before rule 105(c) was added, unqualified references to "enact" in
proposals and the like were referring to the process in rule 105(a);
there's nothing else they could have referred to, and any attempt to
enact a rule by any other means would have failed unless it had a
sufficiently high power to overrule rule 105, thus there's only one
plausible reading of the word. This wouldn't necessarily be true in
situations which weren't trying to change the rules, such as agora-
discussion posts and CFJ arguments; they could use the word "enact"
more freely.

Once rule 105(c) was added, there were now two mechanisms to create a
rule. However, a plain "enact" in a proposal would still be referring
to the rule 105(a) mechanism; if the proposal does not specify a rule
number of a repealed rule, the rule 105(c) mechanism clearly couldn't
apply, leaving rule 105(a) as the only possibility. There'd be no
ambiguity there.

Anyway, the immediate point is that rule 105 doesn't
obviously/automatically override the standard English meaning of
"enact" (although it does end up overriding the meaning of "enact" in
proposals by making all other possible meanings meaningless in that
context). There's also a subtler point here: rule 105 itself is
somewhat unclear/ambiguous, and yet that doesn't cause rule changes to
fail. The "Any ambiguity in the specification of a rule change" clause
applies to the text that's used to trigger rule 105, i.e. the text that
specifies ("the specification") what change to make. What rule 105
itself does with that specification is clearly beyond the point at
which a high level of unambiguity is demanded (both based on a plain
reading of rule 105, and (if you disagree that the text is unambiguous)
on a rule 217 test).

So does the description of enactment in rule 105(a) affect the
operation of rule 105(c)? I can't see how it does. There isn't any sort
of conjunction used to connect the lettered paragraphs of rule 105, but
it can't possibly be "and" (otherwise each proposal would have to make
each sort of rule change at least once to do anything at all). "and/or"
is the most sensible reading here, but with a kind of implication that
each rule change only falls into one category at a time. (This is the
part of the judgement I'm least sure about; "A rule change is any
effect that falls into the above classes." isn't 100% clear that a rule
change can't be, say, a retitling that also changes a rule's power.
However, game custom, at least, is that each rule change has to fall
into exactly one category. Additionally, the other rule 217 tests tend
to favour an interpretation along these lines too, e.g. it'd violate
common sense if the only way to re-enact a rule would be to say either
"re-enact while enacting" or "re-enact without enacting", with "re-
enact" alone being ambiguous as to which of these it was.)

Seeing re-enactment as its own process, the next question is as to what
the resulting properties of the rule are. ID number and change
identifier are specified directly by rule 105(c), so those aren't
issues. Text is specified in a more ambiguous way; the rule gives a
default for if text is not specified, and doesn't directly say that if
text is specified, it is used. Proposal 7847 does attempt to specify
new text for the rule. I suspect that this succeeded; rule 105 is
giving permission, rather than doing the work itself, and I don't think
anything generally prevents sufficiently-highly-powered instruments
specifying the way in which a rule change is made apart from rule 105
itself. (That is, if an enacted proposal attempts to make a rule
change, and rule 105 doesn't disallow the sort of rule change in
question, it succeeds; rule 105 doesn't have to enumerate all possible
variables that can be specified in a rule change, although of course
omitting one which doesn't have an unambiguous default would fail.)

The remaining properties of a rule are its title and power. Proposal
3484 mentions the title that rule 2166 had. Does that unambiguously set
the title of the new rule? Well, "re-enact" strongly implies that the
new rule has the same properties as the old one, except for those
explicitly overridden. If the proposal had said something like "Reenact
rule 2166, Patent Titles", I'd have ruled that as too ambiguous to work
(is it incorrectly specifying the old title, or trying to specify a new
one?) If the proposal had said something like "Reenact rule 2166,
Assets, with title 'The Universe of Things'", I'd consider that to be
specified unambiguously; it's a little more ambiguous as to whether it
would actually successfully override the title of the newly re-enacted
rule, but it would unambiguously create the rule, as the ambiguity is
not the fault of the rule change specification. Luckily, the title
given by the proposal is the same as the rule's old title; thus, the
added information in the specification /reduces/ ambiguity, rather than
increasing it (without a title being mentioned, "no title" – a valid
state for a rule – would be another possibility worth considering).

The situation with Power is very similar. In the absence of any power
being listed, it's likely that the rule would be re-enacted at the same
power (assuming that the proposal had sufficiently high power; note
that when using the rule 105(a) mechanism, an underpowered proposal
will create an underpowered rule, because of a special case that
reduces the power, but using the rule 105(c) mechanism, the entire
attempt to re-enact a rule with an underpowered proposal will be
blocked due to rule 2140). That might be unambiguous, but proposal 7847
specifies a power, and it's also the same power that the rule
originally had. As such, the specification again serves to reduce
ambiguity rather than increase it; there's no doubt here that the rule
is to be created at power 2.

As such, there's a lot of general confusion about rule re-enactment,
but this situation isn't it; the proposal in question is an exemplary
example of how to unambiguously specify a rule change. I suggest that
in this situation, the Rulekeepor should use an FLR annotation of the
form "Re-enacted with new text", as that makes it clear what mechanism
is in use here. (There's no need to mention the title or power, on the
basis that they have the values that would be expected based on the
previous version of the rule.)

TRUE.

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Judge's Evidence:

Rule 105's current text:
{{{
Rule 105/12 (Power=3)
Rule Changes

      Where permitted by other rules, an instrument generally can,
      as part of its effect,

      (a) enact a rule.  The new rule has power equal to the minimum
          of the power specified by the enacting instrument,
          defaulting to one if the enacting instrument does not
          specify or if it specifies a power less than 0.1, and the
          maximum power permitted by other rules.  The enacting
          instrument may specify a title for the new rule, which if
          present shall prevail.  The ID number of the new rule cannot
          be specified by the enacting instrument; any attempt to so
          specify is null and void.

      (b) repeal a rule.  When a rule is repealed, it ceases to be a
          rule, and the Rulekeepor need no longer maintain a record
          of it.

      (c) reenact a rule.  A repealed rule identified by its most
          recent rule number may be reenacted with the same ID number
          and the next change identifier.  If no text is specified,
          the rule is reenacted with the same text it had when it was
          most recently repealed.  If the reenacting proposal provides
          new text for the rule, the rule must have materially the
          same purpose as did the repealed version; otherwise, the
          attempt to reenact the rule is null and void.

      (d) amend the text of a rule.

      (e) retitle a rule.

      (f) change the power of a rule.

      A rule change is any effect that falls into the above classes.
      Rule changes always occur sequentially, never simultaneously.

      Any ambiguity in the specification of a rule change causes that
      change to be void and without effect.  An inconsequential
      variation in the quotation of an existing rule does not
      constitute ambiguity for the purposes of this rule, but any
      other variation does.

      A rule change is wholly prevented from taking effect unless its
      full text was published, along with an unambiguous and clear
      specification of the method to be used for changing the rule, at
      least 4 days and no more than 60 days before it would otherwise
      take effect.

      This rule provides the only mechanism by which rules can be
      created, modified, or destroyed, or by which an entity can
      become a rule or cease to be a rule.
}}}
Proposal 7847 (excerpt):
{{{
Reenact rule 2166, Assets (Power = 2), with the following text:

  An asset is an entity defined as such by a rule (hereafter its backing
  document), and existing solely because its backing document defines its
  existence.

  Each asset has exactly one owner.  If an asset would otherwise
  lack an owner, it is owned by the Lost and Found Department.  If
  an asset's backing document restricts its ownership to a class
  of entities, then that asset CANNOT be gained by or transferred
  to an entity outside that class, and is destroyed if it is owned
  by an entity outside that class (except for the Lost and Found
  Department, in which case any player CAN transfer or destroy it
  without objection).

  The recordkeepor of a class of assets is the entity (if any)
  defined as such by, and bound by, its backing document.  That
  entity's report includes a list of all instances of that class
  and their owners.  This portion of that entity's report is
  self-ratifying.

  An asset generally CAN be destroyed by its owner by
  announcement, and an asset owned by the Lost and Found
  Department generally CAN be destroyed by its recordkeepor by
  announcement, subject to modification by its backing document.
  To "lose" an asset is to have it destroyed from one's
  possession; to "revoke" an asset from an entity is to destroy it
  from that entity's possession.

  An asset generally CAN be transferred (syn. payed) by its owner to another
  entity by announcement, subject to modification by its backing
  document.  A fixed asset is one defined as such by its backing
  document, and CANNOT be transferred; any other asset is liquid.

  A currency is a class of asset defined as such by its backing
  document.  Instances of a currency with the same owner are
  fungible.

  The "x balance of an entity", where x is a currency, is the number of x that
  entity possesses. If a rule or proposal attempts to increase or decrease the
  balance of an entity without specifying a source or destination, then the
  currency is created or destroyed. Where it resolves ambiguity "Balance",
  without any currency modifiers, refers to an entity's balance of whichever
  currency is designated as "Agora's official currency", if there is one.

  Assets are always public. [To provide for private contract based assets later]
}}}

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