Index ← 3568 CFJ 3569 3570 → text
===============================  CFJ 3569  ===============================

      If grok had not deregistered, e would have issued trust tokens to
      both Aris and G. by eir vote on Proposal 7899.

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Caller:                        G.

Judge:                         Alexis
Judgement:                     FALSE

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History:

Called by G.:                                     03 Oct 2017 22:50:31
Assigned to Alexis:                               03 Oct 2017 22:59:59
Judged FALSE by Alexis:                           04 Oct 2017 19:44:15
Motion to Reconsider filed:                       05 Oct 2017 21:49:43
Judged FALSE by Alexis:                           11 Oct 2017 21:40:31

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Caller's Arguments:

grok's deregistration makes this a little less relevant but I can't figure 
out the answer and I want to know.  (It's pretty clear in R2452 that grok 
would have had to be a player "when the Assessor resolves a Decision" and 
e deregistered before Proposal 7899 was resolved).

grok voted "Endorse Aris" on Proposal 7899.  But Aris voted "Endorse the 
Arbitor", who was G.

Who if anyone would get grok's trust token(s) were grok still a player?


Caller's Evidence:

Rule 2452/2 (Power=0.5)
Trust Tokens
(excerpt)

      When the Assessor resolves a Decision to adopt a proposal, then
      any player who cast a valid vote on the Decision and was
      endorsed by another player's valid vote on the Decision is
      issued a Trust Token by the endorsing player.

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Judge Alexis's Arguments (original):

The question here hinges around the definition of "endorsed". Rule 2452 
states:

       When the Assessor resolves a Decision to adopt a proposal, then
       any player who cast a valid vote on the Decision and was
       endorsed by another player's valid vote on the Decision is
       issued a Trust Token by the endorsing player.

As G. submitted, grok voted "Endorse Aris" on Proposal 7899 and Aris voted 
"Endorse the Arbitor". At all relevant times, G. was the Assessor and this 
is not in dispute.

G. submitted arguments that could argue in favour of multiple 
interpretations, but ultimately, the first place to look is at the 
definition of a valid vote, found in Rule 955, since Rule 2452 requires 
endorsement "by another player's valid vote". It is clear that on any 
Agoran decision with an Adoption Index, including the one at issue, the 
valid votes are FOR, AGAINST, and PRESENT.

How does this line up with conditional votes? Rule 2127 defines:

      If a vote on an Agoran decision is submitted conditionally (e.g.
      "FOR if  is true, otherwise AGAINST"), then the selected
      option is evaluated based on the value of the condition(s) at
      the end of the voting period, and, rules to the contrary
      notwithstanding, is clearly specified if and only if the value
      of the condition(s) is/are determinate at the end of the voting
      period.  If the option cannot be clearly identified, a vote of
      PRESENT is cast.

      Casting a vote endorsing another voter is equivalent to
      conditionally casting a vote whose value is the same as the most
      common value (if any) among that voter's valid votes on that
      decision.

This presents some difficulty, as Rule 2127 does not actually expand the 
definition of a valid vote provided in Rule 955. As a result, a 
conditional vote cannot be considered to be a valid vote at the time that 
it is cast, although Rule 2127 indicates that it is evaluated to one at 
the end of the voting period.

Unfortunately, there is an additional wrinkle. According to Rule 683:

      An entity submits a ballot on an Agoran decision by publishing a
      notice satisfying the following conditions:

      [...]

      4. The ballot clearly identifies a valid vote, as determined by
         the voting method.

Per established precedent, the correctness of a ballot submission is 
evaluated at the time of its submission. grok's vote of "Endorse Aris" did 
not clearly identify any of the three valid options, to wit, FOR, AGAINST, 
or PRESENT. Therefore the ballot was not even valid to begin with, and so 
there is no way for it to have resulted in an award of Trust Tokens.

Consequently, I judge CFJ 3569 FALSE, claim the CFJ Reward of 7 shinies 
for doing so, and Drop the Mic.

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Judge Alexis's Arguments (on reconsideration):

I submit the following thesis, entitled "On Conditional Votes and Trust 
Tokens":

TL;DR (aka abstract): Conditional votes work, but with two caveats. First, 
they operate prospectively and, when cast, their value is determined by 
looking into the future to the end of the voting period. Hence, they are 
indeterminate. Second, the default of PRESENT does not work at all, 
meaning that the validity of a conditional vote is also indeterminate. 
Also, CFJ 3569 is FALSE because Trust Token endorsement must be direct.

This thesis and judgment is written as a reconsideration of CFJ 3569. The 
statement of the CFJ is "If grok had not deregistered, e would have issued 
trust tokens to both Aris and G. by eir vote on Proposal 7899."

The context of the CFJ is as follows: grok voted :Endorse Aris" on 
proposal 7899, but Aris's vote was "Endorse the Arbitor". G. was the 
Arbitor at the end of the voting period. In effect, the CFJ is asking 
whether grok's endorsement was effective of endorsing G. as well for the 
purpose of Rule 2452.

I originally judged CFJ 3569 to be FALSE, finding that Rule 683's 
condition requiring that a "valid vote" be clearly indicate meant that 
conditional votes failed altogether; since a conditional vote does not 
clearly indicate a single valid vote. A number of arguments were raised in 
response, leading to a Motion to Reconsider. I will summarize the critical 
arguments below:

From G.:

- The judgment cited precedent that the correctness of a ballot is 
evaluated at the time of its submission, but did not specify which 
precedent, most precedent being around informally conditional actions 
(e.g. "if I own an X, I do Y with it")
- Rule 2127 is explicitly intended to define the effect of conditionals 
and get around the usual definition, by defining what "clearly specified" 
means in the context of a vote. This could operate either by deferral of 
the determination of clearly specified, or by operating retroactively.
- Even in absence of the above effects, Rule 2127's default of PRESENT 
would apply to a ballot cast conditionally, so that such a ballot is at 
least evaluated in the instant to PRESENT.

From myself:
- If Rule 2127 had retroactive effect, then it would create the 
possibility of retroactively changing the outcome of another proposal, by 
making a vote conditional on a vote on a different proposal; if the latter 
was a conditional then retroactively changing it could also retroactively 
change the first vote. From this, paradox could arise.

From Aris:
- Present conditionals are well-understood to succeed, under the general 
built-up framework of interpreting conditional actions, as such a 
conditional always identifies a vote.
- A ballot is a textual entity, containing a conditional that should be 
evaluated when the ballot is evaluated, i.e. when the decision is 
resolved. The ballot is merely a notice of something in the future.

To begin, I will first point to Rule 217, which states "When interpreting 
and applying the rules, the text of the rules takes precedence. 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." In regards to contiditional votes, it is clear 
that all of the augmenting factors point to conditional votes functioning 
in some fashion: game custom certainly establishes that they do, as do the 
best interests of the game. Past judgments on conditional voting are in 
line with them functioning at all, and common sense (into which one can 
likely subsume legal principles of statutory interpretation) imply that 
Rule 2127 (the rule defining conditional votes) would not exist if it did 
not have some purpose.

So the question then is, what does the text of the rules state? CFJ 3465 
is the strongest precedent I am aware of regarding ballot evaluation. In 
it, I successfully argued to the H. Judge nichdel that the correctness 
(note: this is distinct from validity) of a ballot was evaluated at the 
time of its submission.

I will reiterate the critical arguments here. Rule 683 states "An entity 
submits a ballot on an Agoran decision by publishing a notice satisfying 
the following conditions:" followed by a list of conditions. The term 
"notice" is, in this context, undefined by the rules. Per usual English 
interpretation, in this context, "notice" simply means a document.

Rule 683 is clear that the mechanism to submit a ballot is to publish the 
notice. Publishing is defined by Rule 478 as sending a public message. It 
follows that if, at the time of publication, the notice does not satisfy 
the conditions set out in Rule 683, no ballot is submitted. The fact that 
the notice may later satisfy the conditions is immaterial, as the notice 
is not being published at that point.

So can conditional votes generally satisfy the conditions? The condition 
at issue is "4. The ballot clearly identifies a valid vote, as determined 
by the voting method." The definition of valid vote was discussed at 
length in my previous reasons, and I will not discuss them here. Absent 
confounding factors, then, it would be clear that the published notice 
must indeed identify a valid vote. I do agree with Aris's arguments that 
the general rules regarding conditional actions apply here. There is 
nothing disallowing a notice which is conditional, at the time of its 
publication; assuming the conditional is effective per the precedents on 
conditional actions, such a notice does identify a valid vote once the 
conditional is resolved.

Rule 2127 is, however, a confounding factor. As G. argued, it is clearly 
intended to get around the usual way that conditionals can act only in the 
present, and instead creates a form of future-conditional vote. Note that 
I must at this point reject Aris's argument that a conditional vote is 
evaluated at the time of the decision's resolution. Rule 2127 is explicit 
that the conditional is evaluated at the end of the voting period, and 
there is nothing in the rules or game custom to contend otherwise.

As G. noted in eir arguments, Rule 2127 states "If a vote on an Agoran 
decision is submitted conditionally (e.g. "FOR if  is true, otherwise 
AGAINST"), then the selected option is evaluated based on the value of the 
condition(s) at the end of the voting period, and, rules to the contrary 
notwithstanding, is clearly specified if and only if the value of the 
condition(s) is/are determinate at the end of the voting period. If the 
option cannot be clearly identified, a vote of PRESENT is cast." Of note 
is the fact that it explicitly attempts to take precedence over other 
rules (including 683) to define that "the selected option... is clearly 
specified" under the circumstances it provides when a conditional vote is 
made.

Does this apply to condition 4? After reexamining the circumstances, it 
appears to me that the answer is yes. While the language used is slightly 
different (option vs vote, clearly indicated vs clearly specified), and 
while some of those terms are terms of art within the rules, none is 
explicitly defined, so there is some leeway in interpretation here. Note 
also that 2127 itself uses "clearly identified" in the following sentence, 
indicating some looseness in terminology. In my original judgment, I had 
not considered this line of text in the way that G.'s arguments 
encouraged, and this represents the critical change in my reasoning.

Unfortunately, this still presents some difficulty, because the definition 
is prospective. The direct consequence of interpreting condition 4 using 
the definition specified in Rule 2127 is that the correctness of the 
ballot at the time of its submission is determined by looking into the 
future. The only potential save could be, as G. argued, the following 
sentence: "If the option cannot be clearly identified, a vote of PRESENT 
is cast." This does not directly bear on the outcome of CFJ 3569, but in 
the interests of completeness and avoiding simply postponing the 
controversy, I will analyze how to evaluate conditional votes below.

Having determined that a conditional vote is indeed valid provided its 
condition is determinate, the only remaining questions required to resolve 
this case is whether grok's vote had a determinate condition and whether 
Aris and G., who both cast valid votes on the decision, were "endorsed by 
[grok]'s valid vote on the Decision" (Rule 2452). It is clear that grok's 
vote had a determinate condition, making it valid, and it clearly endorsed 
Aris (regardless of how such it would actually be evaluated). So grok 
would have issued Aris a trust token. However, did grok's vote endorse G.?

Per Rule 2127, "Casting a vote endorsing another voter is equivalent to 
conditionally casting a vote whose value is the same as the most common 
value (if any) among that voter's valid votes on that decision." While 
this definition technically applies only to the point when the vote would 
cast, it would be unreasonable to interpret the meaning of "a vote 
endorsing that voter" as meaning anythong other than "a conditional vote 
whose value is the same as the most common value (if any) among that 
voter's valid votes on that decision." There are two reasonable ways to 
evalute this definition on grok's vote then: either it is an inherent 
property of the vote, or it is evaluated, like all conditionals, at the 
end of the voting period.

A quirk in the wording of Rule 2127 gives a hint. It defines endorsing 
votes as an equivalence with a specific class of votes, rather than merely 
defining what it means to endorse a player. Consequently, any conditional 
vote whose value is as described in Rule 2127 is an endorsing vote, 
regardless of whether or not the vote explicitly uses the word "endorse". 
The terms are interchangeable

Substituting this into Rule 2452, that would mean that grok issues a Trust 
Token to G. if "grok had a valid conditional vote whose value is the same 
as the most common value (if any) among G's valid votes on the decision". 
If we evaluate this at the end of the voting period, then a thoroughly 
absurd result ensues: not only would G. be issued a trust token, but also 
every other player who cast the same vote. As such, we must interpret the 
definition as applying to an intrinsic property of the conditional. Thus, 
we cannot consider Aris's vote when we decide whether grok's vote 
endorsed, G. and so it did not. grok would not have issued G. a Trust 
Token, meaning that CFJ 3569 is FALSE.

With that resolved, how then should a conditional vote be evaluated? This 
is unfortunately a thorny issue. As I wrote above, whether or not the vote 
is valid is effectively determined prospectively, by looking into the 
future. Before digging deeper, however, I will draw attention to one key 
point: the question of a ballot's correctness (i.e. whether it meets the 
requirements of Rule 683) is independent from the question of how it is 
evaluated in an Agoran decision. Thus, I see two remaining questions: 
first, is a conditional vote with an indeterminate condition correctly 
submitted, or does it fail to clearly identify a valid vote? and second, 
how does one evaluate a conditional vote?

To address the first question, I quote again Rule 2127: "If a vote on an 
Agoran decision is submitted conditionally (e.g. "FOR if  is true, 
otherwise AGAINST"), then the selected option is evaluated based on the 
value of the condition(s) at the end of the voting period, and, rules to 
the contrary notwithstanding, is clearly specified if and only if the 
value of the condition(s) is/are determinate at the end of the voting 
period. If the option cannot be clearly identified, a vote of PRESENT is 
cast." The first sentence provides very clear conditions about when the 
option is clearly specified. What does the second sentence do in this 
context? Does it indicate that, when the condition is indeterminate, the 
selected option is clearly specified as PRESENT?

I think that this cannot be the case, because to do so would completely 
obviate the definition of "clearly specified" in the first place. Why 
would the rule state that an option is not clearly specified if the 
conditional is indeterminate, only to change its mind in the next 
sentence? This does not actually matter, however, because the first 
sentence contains a precedence claim and the second sentence does not. Per 
Rule 2240, this means that the first sentence takes precedence and, 
consequently, the second sentence does not modify it. If the condition is 
indeterminate at the end of the voting period, the vote is not clearly 
specified. Per the reasoning above, this means that the conditional ballot 
is not submitted.

What, then, is the meaning of the second sentence? The most reasonable 
interpretation, in context, is that it is trying to say that if the 
condition is indeterminate, then at the end of the voting period, we 
resolve it to PRESENT rather than attempting to evaluate it. If this is 
the correct interpreration, it is meaningless, because by the above we can 
never get to that point. There is an alternative interpretation: the 
second sentence is not providing for a way to evalauate the original 
conditional ballot but instead provided for an altogether new, 
unconditional ballot of PRESENT to be cast.

Unfortunately, this interpretation also fails to have any meaningful 
effect. The vote counting procedure is defined in Rule 955 in terms of 
valid ballots, and Rule 683 provides a clear definition: "A valid ballot 
is a ballot, correctly submitted, that has not been withdrawn. During the 
voting period of an Agoran decision, a player CAN by announcement withdraw 
(syn. retract) a ballot that e submitted on that decision." As Rule 683 
has a lower ID number than Rule 2127, by Rule 1030, Rule 683 takes 
precedence. There is thus no possibility of Rule 2127's "vote of PRESENT" 
actually being a valid ballot.

So in conclusion, the answer is that a conditional vote is valid if and 
only if the condition ends up being determinate. If it is not, the entire 
vote fails; PRESENT is not an alternative.

Finally, the question comes of evaluating a conditional vote. Happily, I 
see no reason why, for a valid vote, Rule 2127 should be anything other 
than what it straightforwardly says. Provided that the conditional is 
valid (i.e. determinate at the end of the voting period), it is evaluated 
as one would expect, at the end of the voting period. Prior to then, 
however, just like with the validity of the vote in the first place, the 
actual value of the vote is indeterminate.

What are the practical implications of this? First, it is important to 
distinguish between prospective and retroactive effects here. The validity 
of a conditional vote is not retroactively changed at the end of the 
voting period, when we finally are able to decide if it is determinate or 
not. Rather, the validity *in the first place* is dependent on the future. 
In some cases, this can create effectively-retroactive effects. For 
instance, a subsequent, otherwise valid ballot cast by the same voter, 
without withdrawing the first one, would enter the same indeterminate 
state of validity, since it is valid if and only if the first ballot is 
invalid.

This may present situations where the game may be difficult to play, but 
the concept of indeterminacy provides a shield in some cases. Rule 1023 
means that the validity of the vote is indeterminate before the voting 
period ends, since it cannot be determined from information reasonably 
available. Rule 2127 itself provides that if a conditional vote is 
indeterminate, it doesn't work. So, taking from the example in my 
arguments, if a vote on one proposal is conditional on a vote on another 
proposal ending later, then it necessarily fails because the condition 
will be indeterminate. Likewise, Rule 2162 protects against 
indeterminately-valued switches.

In conclusion, rules are hard.

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