=============================== CFJ 3784 ===============================
Adopting Proposal 8277 would cause coins to be transferred from
Caller: Murphy or G.
Barred: G. or Murphy
Called by Murphy (maybe): 22 Dec 2019 18:25:03
Called by G. (maybe): 12 Jan 2020 15:38:15
Assigned to Aris: 12 Jan 2020 16:04:15
Judged FALSE by Aris: 18 Jan 2020 05:33:11
This depends on whether "I" in the proposal is interpreted as applying to
Agora, the author, or being ineffective due to ambiguity.
Proposal 8277 (Minor Giveaway), AI=1, by G.:
> I transfer 5 coins to each active player, in the order that they
> are listed in the most recent Registrar's Weekly Report.
Judge Aris's Arguments:
The first question presented is what the meaning of the word "I" is in a
The problem here is unconventional is that proposals, in their infinite
wisdom, generally choose not to use the word "I", or to describe
their actions in the way Agorans usually do. A player, generally speaking,
says "I register.", not "I am hereby registered." or "Register me!".
Proposals, being vested within the near boundless authority to modify
the gamestate as they see fit, limited only by their power and the strictures
of the rules, have little need for such niceties as stating that that they
perform their actions. They simply command that something being done,
without even a "please" or a "thank you", and expect to be obeyed.
However, in this case, a proposal (P8277, now enacted), has seen
fit to use the word "I". We are left to determine what e means. This
is relatively simple, given the way Agora generally functions. In Agora,
most acts are speech acts, and furthermore most speech acts are performed
"by announcement", meaning by a statement that their performer does them.
This tradition is so strong that any time someone publicly says "I do X",
people expect X to be an action, performed by announcement. "I" in this
context refers both to the agent of the action and the sender of the message.
In the rare instances where the rules state that someone may cause another
to perform an action, special language is used, such as "I cause Rule N to
repeal itself." or "Acting on behalf of A, A does X".
It's reasonable to consider actions performed by proposals in the same light.
It is as if, each proposal, upon being resolved as enacted, is called by
the rules to sit upon a grand throne and command changes to the game.
If a proposal fails to state that who is performing an action, Agorans are
sufficiently respectful to make the inference that the proposal is. Thus,
the proposal takes the place that a player would take for a by announcement
action, even if the relevant requirements are generally more relaxed.
It follows that a proposal, saying "I", generally refers to emself, since
e is the agent of eir own actions. G. has pointed out that proposals might
generally prefer to use the royal "we", as a marker of their vast dignity.
While I agree that might be preferable, such matters are ultimately for the
proposal to judge (with the humble guidance of eir author).
The above is enough to resolve the two CFJs now before me, but would simply
cause another CFJ to be called asking whether the proposal's action
is effective, so I will resolve that question in advance as well. I thus
hypothesize into quasi-existence a CFJ known as CFJ 3785.5, with the statement
"Proposal 8277 caused coins to be transferred." (Note that I do this purely
out of whimsy, and in no way expect the Arbitor to track CFJ 3785.5.)
Proposal 8277 did not, at the time e was adopted, have any coins. In fact,
the rules do not even allow proposals to possess coins, a notable oversight. As
determined above, e tried to transfer coins. The question remaining is
whether e succeeded in transferring the coins. Generally, when a person
says "I transfer A to B", e means that e transfers some item, A, which e owns,
to B. Without a doubt, there are cases where A might conceivably transfer
C's property to B. E might do so as C's agent, or simply through appropriation
(whether sanctioned by the law or not) of C's property. However, in such
a case it would be either explicitly made clear as part of eir statement
or its context. I find this case not to be so clear. Certainly, a proposal
could transfer coins from anyone to anyone else. E could even conceivably
state that e was transferring coins into existence. However, if e meant
that, e would most certainly make it clear. Proposals of good Agoran stock
are in general too well-mannered to appropriate the goods of others, and
so I believe the proposal was attempting to be charitable and was simply under
a misapprehension about the extent of eir own financial resources.
As a final matter, I note that most of what I've said applies to rules and
regulations as well as to proposals.
To review, "I" in a proposal refers to the proposal emself, and Proposal 8277
failed to transfer coins because e attempted to do so from emself, despite
having no coin holdings.
I judge CFJs 3784 and 3785 FALSE. I hypothetically judge CFJ 3785.5 FALSE.