=============================== CFJ 3800 ===============================
It is POSSIBLE for a player, having given appropriate notice and
received Agoran satisfaction, to clean Rule 2496 by replacing the
word 'result' in the phrase 'times the adoption index of the
result' with either of 'decision' or 'proposal', at eir option.
Called by Alexis: 25 Jan 2020 21:18:06
Assigned to twg: 26 Jan 2020 03:06:29
Judged FALSE by twg: 29 Jan 2020 18:14:59
[Arbitor's note: arguments pertain to CFJ statements 3800-3803]
Note that the first two are not strictly parallel to the second two, as
the first two are designed to avoid forcing the judge to interpret of Rule
2496, and allow a "either or, but I don't know which" judgment, while the
latter two are predicated on an interpretation and consequently focus on
A cleaning must, platonically, be limited in scope to fixes to spelling,
grammar, and similar. One of the items in scope for a cleaning is "whether
a synonym or abbreviation is used in place of a word or phrase". However,
I note that there is no direct requirement that there be no semantic
change introduced, other than by the fact that it must be a "correction".
The rule as written refers to the adoption index of the result, but
results (presumably synonymous with outcomes?) have no adoption index. It
is clear, that the intended interpretation is the adoption index of either
the proposal or the decision, but it is not entirely clear which one. At
present, however, there are no effects that can change the AI of a
decision, so it's a moot point, but it would become significant if there
So, it seems clear that the rule is ambiguous as-is, and that it would be
a correction to replace it with either "decision" or "proposal". Since
there are only two reasonable interpretations of the rule, it must be the
case that exactly one of these is a semantic change. The other would
certainly be a correction, by clarifying the rule. Is the semantic change
a correction as well? It would certainly resolve the ambiguity, so
arguably it is. My gut tells me that it would be a correction as long as
the rule was generally ambiguous; once precedent was established (and
noting that, because precedent has a direct impact on the interpretation
of a rule; a rule's interpretation may platonically change as a result of
the creation of a precedent, even an incorrect one) it would no longer be
(aside: this is a fascinating line of thinking I had not considered before
about the question of platonic interpretation).
I'd argue that "synonym" is the only ground of cleanliness under which the
change could be made, so in order to be valid, it must be changing whether
a synonym is used in case of a word or phrase. In this case, the change
would ostensibly be to no longer use the synonym "result" in place of
"decision" or "proposal", as the case may be. So what constitutes a
If the ambiguity were already resolved in precedent, as in the last two
CFJs, then we can argue that the words are synonymous in context, even if
they aren't ordinarily. But would it be too much of a stretch to extend
this argument to if, say, due to a splice error the rule read "the
adoption index of the prosion"? Could "prosion", a non-word but something
that could still be reasonably disambiguated, be seen to have a synonym at
all? I think not. This would arguably mean that replacing it with another
non-word would also be a synonym, since there is little reason to think
that replacing one non-word with another could affect interpretation. So I
think that the words must have some reasonable connection to be argued as
synonyms, regardless of the specific in-context interpretation.
If the ambiguity had not already been resolved, then we can't rely on the
above in any case, and we have to find another, less contextual way to
evaluate synonymousness. It seems clear that idiosyncratic Agoran
definitions could contribute to this, for instance when two words are
explicitly defined as synonymous. "result" is not defined by Agora; it is
however used as synonymous with "outcome" in Rule 2168.
What about plain-English synonyms? "result" can sometimes be approximately
synonymous to "decision", such as when referring to a legal case, but it
would be a stretch for it to be synonymous to "proposal". If we accept a
sufficiently broad definition, then "decision" would be an acceptable
synonym, possibly even if the rule had been interpreted as "proposal" in
the past. But in context of an Agoran decision specifically, I would think
it is too equivalent to "outcome" to accept it as a synonym for
So consequently, I think these are all FALSE, but I am far from certain.
Judge twg's Arguments:
In full, Rule 2221 ("Cleanliness") reads as follows:
Any player CAN clean a rule without objection by specifying one or
more corrections to spelling, grammar, capitalization, formatting,
and/or dialect, or to whether a synonym or abbreviation is used in
place of a word or phrase, in the rule's text and/or title; the
rule is amended by this rule as specified by that person.
The proposed actions in these cases rest solely on the definition of
"synonym", because (as the caller correctly identifies) none of the other
permitted justifications for cleaning apply here. So, how should we
interpret "synonym" in the context of Rule 2221?
In strict semantic usage, a "synonym" is a word with exactly the same
meaning as a specific other word. It seems uncontroversial to say that the
cleanings proposed here do not meet this strict definition. However, in
modern English usage, "synonym" can also be used for equivalencies in
meaning that are less exact. For example, "tongue" might be considered a
synonym for "language". This does not require the words to be exactly
interchangeable in all contexts, but merely for them to represent the same
or similar concepts.
The caller suggests, and I agree, that under this definition, "result"
could be synonymous with "decision". However, it is certainly not
synonymous with "proposal". Thus, the cleaning of Rule 2496 to replace
"result" with "proposal" would be IMPOSSIBLE given the current text of the
rules, under either definition of "synonym".
Now, we must consider the question of replacing "result" with "decision".
As the text of the rules is unclear on this matter, and I have discovered
no relevant game custom or past judgements to inform me, I am required to
base my judgement on common sense and the best interests of the game.
The text of Rule 2221 strictly curtails players' abilities to perform
cleanings. As well as specifically limiting changes to a short list of
permitted categories, the rule requires cleanings to occur "without
objection", the highest possible standard of Agoran satisfaction. These
are some very stringent restrictions, and for good reason: Rule 2221 has
Power 3.0, meaning that cleanings can cover almost any Rule in the
Ruleset. It would be downright foolish and irresponsible to relax them!
Given this, I believe the only possible conclusion that is sensible and in
the game's best interests is for the Rule 2221 restrictions to be
interpreted as narrowly as possible. Cleanings performed under the
category of "replacing words or phrases with synonyms" are IMPOSSIBLE
unless the words are exactly synonymous, which "result" and "decision"
are not. (To my knowledge, the most plausible candidates for such synonyms
would be words already defined as exactly equivalent by other Rules: for
example, "Call for Judgement" for "judicial case".)
I judge CFJ 3800 FALSE.