=============================== CFJ 3730 ===============================
If no player activates Rule 2596 'The Ritual' in a certain week,
all players who are players that week have violated the rule,
which provides that (1) "Any player CAN perform The Ritual" and
(2) "The Ritual MUST be performed at least once in every Agoran
Caller: V.J. Rada
Judge: D. Margaux
Called by V.J. Rada: 06 Jun 2019 07:49:19
Assigned to D. Margaux: 12 Jun 2019 05:14:18
Judged FALSE by D. Margaux: 12 Jun 2019 14:19:47
I suspect that the text is not clear and therefore the four-part test
must be applied. I believe it is in the best interest of the game to
impose criminal liability for the violation of the Rules as much as
possible. I also believe that it is perfectly reasonable as a matter of
text to impose criminal liability on "any player" who by failing to act
in "performing the ritual" (despite being able to do so) leads to a
violation of the command that "the ritual must be performed".
I note that we don't apply American law here, just like we don't apply
Klingon law, unless it is specifically stated in the rules. Although
American law principles may be applied as a part of the four part test,
American law is of course occasionally atextual common law (or atextual
statutory interpretation). Agora specifically provides that the text
controls, precluding a test of "wrongness" in deciding whether something
is a criminal violation in the first place, appearing nowhere in the text..
Under Rule 2596 (the Ritual), “[a]ny player CAN perform the Ritual by
paying a fee of 7 coins,” and “[t]he Ritual MUST be performed at least
once in every Agoran week.” Under Rule 2152 (Mother, May I?), “MUST”
means that “[f]ailing to perform the described action violates the
rule in question.” During one particular Agoran week, the “described
action” (the Ritual) was not “performed,” and a player pointed eir
finger at all other active players for allegedly violating the rules
by their failure to perform the Ritual. The question is whether the
Cold Hand of Justice CAN (and MUST) be imposed on those players
consistent with Rule 2531 (Referee Accountability).
Under Rule 2531, a fine CANNOT Be imposed if (among other things):
> (2) it attempts to levy a fine on a person for an action or inaction
> which e (more likely than not) did not commit; [or]
> (3) it attempts to levy a fine for an action or inaction which is not
> prohibited by the rules . . . .
In my capacity as Referee, I offered a proto-decision on this
issue. At that time, my opinion was that the players' "inaction"
caused a rule violation, and, as a result, the CHoJ could be imposed
consistent with Rule 2531(2) and (3).
I now believe that reasoning is wrong.
Each players' "inaction" was a necessary (but not sufficient) cause of
a violation of the rules. But the Rules do not prohibit *causing* a
violation of the Rules. Indeed, there are a great many actions that
are necessary causes for any particular rule violation. For example,
G.'s action proposing the adoption of The Ritual rule was a necessary
cause of the violation of that Rule. It would be contrary to the best
interests of the game for causation of a rule violation to be
considered itself a violation of the rules. Indeed, the Rules
expressly prohibit a player from causing a zombie to violate the rules
(Masterminding), and that demonstrates that the Rules can
differentiate between violating a rule and causing a violation of a
In sum, although in this instance the individual and collective
"inaction" of the players did *cause* a rule violation, that inaction
was not itself directly prohibited by the Rules. As a result, under
Rule 2531(3), the CHoJ CAN'T and MUSTN'T be imposed, because doing so
would "attempt to levy a fine for an . . . inaction which is not
prohibited by the rules."