Index ← 3805 CFJ 3806 3807 → text
===============================  CFJ 3806  ===============================

      In the attached message, I submitted a public petition to the
      ADoP, as described by Rule 2143.


Caller:                        twg

Judge:                         Gaelan
Judgement:                     FALSE



Called by twg:                                    30 Jan 2020 01:37:47
Assigned to Gaelan:                               09 Feb 2020 08:54:29
Judged FALSE by Gaelan:                           09 Feb 2020 20:54:54


Caller's Evidence:

I wrote:
> Gaelan wrote:
> Ooh, just occurred to me you don't have a Ministry set! That probably
> wants doing. I reckon Economy probably fits best, since the Ministries
> rule specifically calls out contracts ("private enterprise") as falling
> under Economy.
> Only the ADoP can do that though, which might be tricky with Murphy
> absent (hope e's ok). Proposal, or is this not that urgent?
> -twg


Judge Gaelan's Arguments:

According to the H. Rulekeepor’s GitHub repository, rule 2143/31 reads, in 
part: { If an office has a discretionary power, and a player publicly 
petitions the officer to apply that power in a specific case or manner, 
the officer SHALL publicly respond in a timely fashion. }

2143/31 does not state that petitions are made by announcement, so 
478/37’s "unambiguously and clearly” standard does not apply.

The word “publicly” is not defined, but is used throughout the ruleset, so 
I think it’s safe to say that game custom implies it means “in a public 
message,” as defined by rule 478/37. It is the opinion of The Court that 
we might want to explicitly define that at some point. Anyway, the message 
in question was sent to BUS, so we do meet that standard.

That leaves us with the meaning of “petition.” “Petition” is defined 
nowhere in the ruleset, therefore the text is “silent” (217/12) and we 
fall to the "four factors” of "game custom, common sense, past judgements, 
and consideration of the best interests of the game.”

A search of the archives since 2002 for the keyword “petition” reveals no 
sign of game custom; the word “petition” has never been part of any rule 
other than the new text in 2143/31 and its predecessor as a Herald-
specific mechanism, and neither mechanic appears to have seen any use. The 
word has, from time to time, been used in an informal sense in keeping 
with its common definition; I’ll get to that.

The H. Arbitor’s CFJ archive does have some cases including the keyword 
“petition,” but they all refer to pre-2002 mechanics of “petitioner” 
(which appears to be analogous to a modern-day finger-pointer or a Caller 
of a CFJ) and “petition fee” (which appears to be a fee required to create 
a proposal). Both of these terms have specific meanings distinct from the 
meaning of a “petition” in general, so they are not relevant here.

With no indication that game custom or past judgement gives “petition” a 
unique Agoran meaning, common sense would dictate that “petition” has its 
conventional English definition. Therefore, I surveyed a few dictionaries: 

The Merriam-Webster dictionary (on their website) defines “petition” (as a 
verb) as {
to make a request to (someone)
especially: to make a formal written request to (an authority)

The Oxford Dictionary of [British] English (as reproduced in Apple’s 
Dictionary app) defines “petition” (as a verb) as {
present a petition [in turn, defined as "a formal written request, 
typically one signed by many people, appealing to authority in respect of 
a particular cause”] to (an authority) in respect of a particular cause: 
the organization is petitioning the EU for a moratorium on the patent | 
[with object and infinitive]
- make an appeal to (a deity or superior)
- (Law) make a formal application to (a court) for a writ, judicial action 
in a suit, etc.

The New Oxford American Dictionary (as reproduced in Apple’s Dictionary 
app) defines “petition” (as a verb) as {
make or present a formal request to (an authority) with respect to a 
particular cause
- make a solemn or humble appeal to (a figure of authority)
- (Law) make a formal application to (a court) for a writ, judicial action 
in a suit, etc.

Wiktionary defines “petition” (as a verb) as {To make a request to, 
commonly in written form}. It defines “petition” (as a noun) as {
1. A formal, written request made to an official person or organized body, 
often containing many signatures.
2. A compilation of signatures built in order to exert moral authority in 
support of a specific cause.
3. (law) A formal written request for judicial action.
4. A prayer; a supplication; an entreaty.

The first three dictionaries all seem to imply that, in some or most 
cases, a petition must be “formal.” Wiktionary doesn’t in its verb 
definition, but does in its noun definition. While Webster does leave open 
the possibility that a petition need not be formal, the use of the word 
“especially” seems to apply that one generally is. Therefore, I find that 
the common English definition of “petition” implies a formal request. This 
is also consistent with the occasional Agoran usage, such as proposal 8132 
(“Website Ruleset Update Petition”) which, in a very formal tone, states 
the Honorable Rulekeepor update the main ruleset linked from the Agoran 
website each time e releases an SLR, and that e additionally post a copy 
of the official FLR on the website }.

The word “formal” itself is vague, but I believe that common sense 
dictates that a formal request would, at minimum, make clear that it is a 
formal request. Twg’s message does not meet that standard. For the sake of 
clarity, I do not intend to imply anything about what a “formal request” 
does entail, other than that it must identify itself as such; 
specifically, I do not find that petitions must be as formal as the 
proposal quoted above.

Finally, this is consistent with the best interests of the game: because a 
petition imposes an obligation on the officer being petitioned, it should 
be held to a reasonably high standard of clarity to avoid imposing 
obligations without the officer's awareness.

I judge 3806 FALSE.