============================== CFJ 3557 ==============================
My most recent attempt to flip the Floating Value to 22 was
Called by o: 04 Sep 2017
Assigned to Aris: 05 Sep 2017
Judged FALSE by Aris: 13 Sep 2017
Motion to Reconsider filed: 14 Sep 2017
Gratuitous Arguments by G:
The issue is that, the way the rule is written, it's unclear whether it
was IMPOSSIBLE or merely ILLEGAL.
Is there a "SHALL implies CAN by announcement" in the ruleset currently?
If not, is it in precedent, and does it mean the implied SHALL NOT is
a CANNOT, or merely a SHALL NOT? And does the timing of the report
publication (second time in a week) matter?
Floating Value is a natural switch. When e publishes eir Weekly
Report, the Secretary SHALL flip the Floating Value to Agora's
This case boils down an interpretation of the application of Rule 2152
("Mother, May I?") to Rule 2497 ("Floating Value"). The full text of both
rules is in the evidence below. To summarize the situation, the main questions
of the case are:
1. Can the Secretary ever set the floating value?
2. Can the Secretary set the floating value incorrectly?
The problem is that the rule never directly allows the Secretary to set the
floating value. Instead, it provides that "[...] the Secretary SHALL flip the
Floating Value to Agora's shiny balance." There are several interesting
precedents about whether SHALL implies CAN, all arising from cases called by G.
CFJ 2120 states (apparently in accordance with previous precedent which I
couldn't find) that, where there is a SHALL without any reasonable mechanism to
fulfill it, it implies CAN by announcement. This resolves question 1 in the
affirmative. The same case also ruled that where time limits are specified,
they apply to the SHALL, but not the CAN. This arrangement was specified to
cause the deputization rules to continue working, and is affirmed.
A second precedent comes from CFJ 2412. There, it was ruled that were
one rule says "SHALL" (but not CAN) and a second rule says "SHALL NOT"
(but not CANNOT) the implied CAN still works.
Neither of these cases address required circumstances other than time.
I think that given that this whole business is based on common law
interpretation of implications, the primary guideline is to figure out
what exactly the rule is implying. In cases like this one, where
the rule is essentially "X SHALL do Y correctly", the correctness
of the action is essential to its success. If the rule was attempting
to specify so complex a concept as 'X CAN do Y, and SHALL do so correctly'
it would have said so. Note that this is completely different from cases
where the rule specifies when the condition is one of encouragement (such
as making it mandatory to do Y within a certain time), rather than limitation.
Question 2 is accordingly answered in the negative. I note that while
this ruling is clearly against the interests of the game in this specific case,
it is likely to be helpful in many other cases. I judge this CFJ FALSE.
Rule 2497/0, "Floating Value", Power 1.0:
Floating Value is a natural switch. When e publishes eir Weekly Report, the
Secretary SHALL flip the Floating Value to Agora's shiny balance.
Rule 2152/7, "Mother, May I?", Power 3.0:
The following terms are defined. These definitions are used
when a rule includes a term in all caps, and provide guidance in
determining the ordinary-language meaning of a term when a rule
includes a term otherwise. Earlier definitions take precedence
over later ones. If a rule specifies one or more persons in
connection with a term, then the term applies only to the
1. CANNOT, IMPOSSIBLE, INEFFECTIVE, INVALID: Attempts to
perform the described action are unsuccessful.
2. MUST NOT, MAY NOT, SHALL NOT, ILLEGAL, PROHIBITED: Performing
the described action violates the rule in question.
3. NEED NOT, OPTIONAL: Failing to perform the described action
does not violate the rules.
4. SHOULD NOT, DISCOURAGED, DEPRECATED: Before performing the
described action, the full implications of performing it
should be understood and carefully weighed.
5. CAN: Attempts to perform the described action are successful.
6. MAY: Performing the described action does not violate the
7. MUST, SHALL, REQUIRED, MANDATORY: Failing to perform the
described action violates the rule in question.
8. SHOULD, ENCOURAGED, RECOMMENDED: Before failing to perform
the described action, the full implications of failing to
perform it should (in the ordinary-language sense) be
understood and carefully weighed.