Index ← 3747 CFJ 3748 3749 → text
===============================  CFJ 3748  ===============================

      Jason Cobb is guilty of the crime of Oathbreaking for the pledge
      that was made in this message.

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Caller:                        Jason Cobb

Judge:                         G.
Judgement:                     FALSE

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History:

Called by Jason Cobb:                             27 Jun 2019 15:05:56
Assigned to G.:                                   30 Jun 2019 20:04:28
Judged FALSE by G.:                               30 Jun 2019 21:45:57

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Caller's Arguments:

   There's nothing in Rule 2405 that explicitly says a pledge can't
   operate retroactively. Other than that, I have basically no idea
   what the result of this should be. 

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Caller's Evidence:

On 27 Jun 2019 10:59:58 -0400, Jason Cobb wrote:
> I pledge, for the next 5 seconds, not to make any Oaths. 


On 27 Jun 2019 11:05:56 -0400, Jason Cobb wrote:
> I pledge, for the _previous_ 24 hours, not to make any pledges.

Rule 2405:

   If a Player makes a clear public pledge (syn. Oath) to perform (or
   refrain from performing) certain actions, then breaking the pledge
   within the pledge's time window is the Class N crime of
   Oathbreaking, where N is 2 unless the pledge explicitly states
   otherwise. The time window of a pledge is 60 days, unless the pledge
   explicitly states otherwise.

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Judge G.'s Arguments:

If a sentence mixes its tenses, using explicit future tense and explicit
past tense, it generally comes out as nonsense (Dr. Dan Streetmentioner
notwithstanding).  For example: "I promise in the future to not have run
away yesterday" is just plain old ambiguous and fails to set up actions
or tests.

The rules language in question is:
 >     If a Player makes a clear public pledge (syn. Oath) to perform (or
 >     refrain from performing) certain actions...

After looking at several online grammar references, I reach the
conclusion that "I pledge to [action]" or "I promise to [action]" is a
future tense construction equivalent to "I promise that I will
[action]".  So the pledge in question has mixed tenses and is ambiguous
- too ambiguous to be clearly breakable in any meaningful way.

There are two alternatives given the ambiguity.  The first is simple:
to say the whole thing was a failed attempt to make a pledge and didn't
do anything due to the ambiguity.  Straightforward.

A second alternative disambiguation is that one tense dominates.  In
this case, it would be the past tense, given the explicit use of
"previous" in the pledge statement.  However, we could no longer read
this as a "promise to do something" because that is inherently future
tense and would remain ambiguous.  Rather, if this statement is
"translated" to be wholly past tense, the only reasonable construction
is "I promise that I didn't do X previously" instead of "I promise that
I won't do X previously."  In this case, it's a sworn statement of fact,
not a pledge - so if X did happen previously, it would be subject to No
Faking (if done to mislead), but not a subject for Oathbreaking.

Either way:  FALSE.

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