Index ← 3818 CFJ 3819 3820 → text
===============================  CFJ 3819  ===============================

      Gaelan submitted a bid in the February zombie auction, or would
      have done so if the auction existed.


Caller:                        Gaelan

Judge:                         R. Lee
Judgement:                     IRRELEVANT



Called by Gaelan:                                 20 Feb 2020 19:35:09
Assigned to R. Lee:                               03 Mar 2020 00:23:54
Judged FALSE by R. Lee:                           03 Mar 2020 00:53:45
Motion to Reconsider filed by R. Lee:             03 Mar 2020 01:06:57
Judged IRRELEVANT by R. Lee:                      03 Mar 2020 01:06:57


Caller's Evidence:

My messages: 
I bid n coins in this auction, where n is 1 higher than the current 
highest bid. (AFIAK, this is 16 if CB’s bid worked and 13 if it didn’t.)
Crap, Jason’s bid came in as I was writing this message. […]
I retract my 52-coin bid, and bid n coins, where n is one higher than the 
current SECOND highest bid.

Falsifan’s arguments (submitted by the Caller): 

Note that I am assuming here that Gaelan did not bid in the auction,
since I believe e did not meet R478's standard of "...clearly
specifying the action", since the precise values of eir bids depended
on whether Cuddle Beam successfuly bid, and also on realizing that
Jason had not successfully bid, which we only figured out later. If
anyone is interested in calling a CFJ on this, e may want to link it to
the CFJ I called today ("Rance's master switch is set to Agora.”).

Caller's Arguments:

Falsifian claims that my actions are invalid due to their conditional 
nature. I believe this is a dangerous reversal of precedent.

As Falsifian notes, R478/37 states that a person performs an action by 
announcement "by unambiguously and clearly specifying the action and 
announcing that e performs it.” “Clearly” is a relative term, so therefore 
the rules are (ironically enough) “unclear” (R217/12) as to what exactly 
that means, and therefore we fall back to the four factors. 

I believe my actions were straightforward conditional actions, conditional 
on the current gamestate (even if the current game state is not currently 
known), of the sort that Agorans use all the time, usually without any 
trouble. Therefore, game custom supports TRUE.

The use of actions conditional on unknown state are a valuable tool for 
resolving ambiguities in the game state. Therefore, the best interests of 
the game support TRUE.

The ability to make conditional actions is admittedly not obvious from the 
text of the rules, so there is a “common sense" argument to be made for 
FALSE. However, game custom and the best interests of the game are so 
overwhelmingly in support of TRUE that I believe common sense loses out 

“Past judgements” are surprisingly hard to find—I looked through most 
judgements of the past decade containing the keyword “conditional”, and 
the few that addressed the legality of conditional by-announcement actions 
simply acknowledged their legality in passing. Specifically:
* The judgement of CFJ 3505 implies that by-announcement actions 
conditional on the past are fine, and even goes on to rule that sometimes 
future conditionals can be OK.
* The judgement of CFJ 3486 states (in passing) that {Actions may be 
conditional, but the conditions must be resolvable using the gamestate at 
the time the action was taken.}
* The judgement of CFJ 3479 states that "I submit the following proposal 
if it has no formatting errors” doesn’t work, but implies that conditional 
actions generally do.
* The judgement of CFJ 3270 states {
However, it has generally
been accepted that a player can, in reasonable circumstances, indicate 
they wish to perform a sequence of actions conditional on the entire 
succeeding; *this is especially convenient if the gamestate is in 
} (emphasis mine)
* The judgement of CFJ 2971 is an exception, stating that { "I register if 
some player is currently Rulekeepor", where the occupancy of the office in 
question is under CfJ, should not work since it is not clear. }. There are 
several things worth noting about this:
  * It does state that conditional registration generally works.
  * The actual question of the CFJ was about a different conditional, 
which was judged to work; the “Rulekeepor” example was simply part of the 
arguments. Therefore, it may not have faced much scrutiny.
  * Registration is not by announcement (then or now), but it uses similar 
phrasing that at least appears to be more permissive than normal by-
announcement actions.
  * This case is from 2011, which predates my Agoran involvement; 
therefore, I have no idea what the customs around conditional actions were 
at the time.
Therefore, I believe that past judgements broadly support TRUE as well.


Judge R. Lee's Arguments:

The statement of this CFJ asks about the legality of a certain zombie
auction bid. Per CFJ 3817, that zombie auction never happened. Whether 
that bid _would_ have been valid or not is still an open question, but the 
game state would be identical between the worlds of that bid's 
hypothetical validity and invalidity. So I judge CFJ 3819 IRRELEVANT.

For the sake of not answering the well-argued important issues, below is
the reasoning I would have used were I to judge the truth of the question.

1 - Gaelan attempted to bid on a zombie auction an amount that is "n 
coins, where n is one higher than the current SECOND highest bid". The 
issue is whether this bid, if the auction is valid, is itself valid.

2 - Agora has a long history of conditional actions, the legal source for
which is the definition of an action by announcement. A player may take an 
action by announcement by clearly stating that e does so, which leaves
room for conditionals that reasonable Agorans can clearly comprehend. The
specific action here is a bid. To quote rule 2550, "A person authorized to 
bid on an Auction CAN do so by announcement, specifying the amount of the 
Auction's currency to bid". If a player "clearly and unambiguously" 
announces that e bids, that's only one part of the story. E also needs to 
specify the amount of the bid in currency.

3 - To "specify" is to "identify clearly and definitely". I find that
Gaelan did not "specify" an amount of currency in eir bid because a 
regular Agoran would have to go to some effort to find the amount of 
currency that e bid, even if the validity of previous bids was not in 
dispute. The standard here is different from the generic "by announcement" 
standard. Regular conditional actions by announcement either happen or 
they don't. If someone announced, for example "I bid 50 coins if Gaelan 
has bid", the bid either happens or it doesn't, and the governing standard 
is the general by announcement standard of clarity. But in this case, the 
_amount_ was conditional. The intent to bid was crystal clear and not 
conditional, putting it beyond the "by announcement" standard and into the 
unique realm of rule 2550's mandate to "specify[] the amount of Agoran
currency". Unlike the dichotomous example of _whether_ or not someone took 
an action, this rule requires players to pick a number out of the vast, 
unbounded universe of numerals. Evaluation of Gaelan's bids, requiring 
(admittedly basic) algebraic skill and further mathematical and legal 
evaluation of previous numbers, is difficult enough that conditional 
numbers for auction bids can never count as "specifying".

4- Gaelan did not submit a bid in the Febuary zombie auction, whether or
not it existed.