=============================== CFJ 3831 ===============================
Murphy published a valid Notice of Honour today.
Judge: Publius Scribonius Scholasticus
Called by Aris: 25 Apr 2020 06:35:08
Assigned to Alexis: 25 Apr 2020 20:05:03
Judged FALSE by Alexis: 26 Apr 2020 18:41:54
Motion to reconsider self-filed: 26 Apr 2020 18:41:54
Judged FALSE by Alexis: 26 Apr 2020 18:41:54
Judgement entered into Moot: 19 May 2020 23:54:22
Moot resolved as Remit (Alexis recused): 31 May 2020 19:06:03
Assigned to Publius Scribonius Scholasticus: 31 May 2020 19:20:12
Judged TRUE by Publius Scribonius Scholasticus: 13 Jun 2020 16:52:52
On 25 Apr 2020 02:46:37 GMT Edward Murphy wrote in agora-business:
> This is a Notice of Honour:
> -1 kudo: ATMunn, randomly chosen zombie
> +1 kudo: PSS, testing the finger-pointing rules in an interesting way
In eir purported Notice, Murphy referenced kudos. Kudos are currently
undefined. It is unclear whether the Notice specifies players who are to
gain and lose honor, as required by Rule 2510, or instead specifies
players who are to gain and lose kudos. I think it's probably clear
enough, but that's ambiguous.
Judge Alexis's Arguments (mooted):
The requirement in Rule 2150 is, as Aris claims, to publish a notice
announcing which player gains and loses karma. The karma system is similar
to an earlier system which used kudos, and an even earlier one which used
props, so there is clearly some similarity there.
As two hypotheticals, we can consider whether Muphy's notice would have
worked if e had specified a) some rule-defined asset/switch or b) a word
that doesn't have Agoran connotations at all.
If Murphy's notice had specified ±1 coin, then it clearly would fail. The
notice would be specifying who gains and loses coins, something quite
well-defined, rather than karma.
If it had instead specified ±1 XP, then I think it would also fail. It is
not clear, in the context of the current Agoran rules, what "XP" is (and
to my knowledge, it has never been defined in a way that would make it
make any sense here; if that is not the case, for the sake of this
judgment, assume that it is). But it seems to me that it would be
unreasonable to interpret "XP" as "karma" in this context.
So the only way that Murphy's notice could succeed would be if "kudo"'s
history in some way privileged it to operate as a substitute for karma.
This might be possible if there had been a custom regarding it, or if the
use of kudos was recent history. But neither of these is the case, and the
modern playerbase cannot be expected to know the full details of Agora's
history. So I rule that this is FALSE as the notice does not clearly
specify that it is manipulating karma.
Gratuitous Arguments by G. (following moot):
As per CFJ 1500, even if a term was very recently defined under the rules,
it falls back to its common definition as soon as the term is removed from
the rules: https://faculty.washington.edu/kerim/nomic/cases/?1500
Now, in eir arguments for this case, Judge Alexis uses the argument that
"if [kudos] had been a term like XP (i.e. undefined in the rules), it
would fail." However, this argument does not consider the common
definitions of such terms (i.e. under R217). For example, for "XP", a
common-language analysis might say either "XP has no common definition or
meaning, thus fails" or "XP, in a gaming context, refers to 'Experience
Points', which makes no sense in this context so fails." So for "XP"
Alexis's arguments seems correct. But only following a common-language
analysis of the questionable term.
In the actual situation, the term used was "kudo/kudos". The dictionary
definition of the term is "praise and honor received for an achievement".
Given that this dictionary definition of kudos matches the term "honor",
the judge should analyze whether or not this word substitution, when
included in the otherwise correct "Notice of Honour" format, is enough of
a synonym for "karma" (as defined in the rules) to function correctly.
Judge Publius Scribonius Scholasticus's Arguments:
First of all, I think I should address a potential conflict of
interest with respect to CFJ 3831, that I am the recipient of the
karma in Murphy's message. I don't believe this represents a conflict
of interest because Murphy has subsequently acted to ensure that I
will receive this karma once and only once regardless of whether this
is found to have been effective. With regards to this, I also note
that the Honorable Arbitor did not view this as a conflict of interest
for the purposes of assignment and I was not barred from being the
judge by the caller, Aris, so others also seem to view this conflict
of interest as nonexistent. Now, let's get to the fun part!
Given the nature of these CFJs, I'm going to separately establish the
facts of each situation then make some general findings of law about
both. Finally, I will combine these to make the judgements on each.
In CFJ 3831, Murphy published a message, labelled as a "Notice of
Honor", purporting to increase the "kudos" count of one player and
decrease that of another player. The question before the court is
whether the use of the word "kudo" causes the "Notice of Honor" to be
In CFJ 3838, Grok transferred one "shiny" to G. The question before
the court is whether "shiny" should be interpreted as "coin".
In looking at how to interpret these words, we must determine some
general guidelines for interpreting the meaning of words. Rule 217
gives us a clear hierarchy for interpretation where definitions in the
rules take priority, and "game custom, common sense, past judgements,
and consideration of the best interests of the game" follow. In CFJ
1261, the Court held that where codes or other nonstandard systems of
communication create ambiguity, the messages using them fail.
Extending this, we could conclude that the use of intentionally
nonstandard language in a manner that creates ambiguity is
INEFFECTIVE. In CFJ 1500, the Court found that words should be
interpreted by their common language definition after a definition in
the rules has been overturned. The Court presently believes that this
is somewhat misguided: while the common language definition should be
used in any interpretation, the past definition in the rules and its
historical usage within Agora should also be looked at, where
reasonable, as part of the game custom criterion. In CFJ 1657, the
Court found that a term only assumes the special rule-defined meanings
it may have when strictly used in the form proscribed by the rules. In
CFJ 1885, the Court found that a criterion for analyzing the
effectiveness of messages should be the ability of a receiver to
understand. This criterion is also found in the jurisprudence around
foreign language use and message timing.
Synthesizing these precedents, we believe that the meaning of terms,
when not defined in the rules, should be interpreted according to
three sources of evidence:
1. Common-language definitions
2. Historical definitions and customary usage within the game
3. Responses to the message, as a proxy for analyzing the ability of
recipients to understand it.
This standard will allow us to communicate without unnecessary
restrictions or prescriptions arising simply from the use of specific
terms for ideas within the ruleset; as a result, this standard is in
the best interests of a game premised upon free communication and
artful language use.
Applying this standard to the case of CFJ 3831, we find that the
common language definition supports the effectiveness of the message,
as described by the Honorable Amicus Curiae G; that the term held a
similar meaning under a previous legal framework, according to the
Honorable Judge Alexis; and that the term was understood as sharing
the meaning of "karma" by the Honorable Caller Aris because e would
not have called such a CFJ if e did not reasonably believe that it
could be interpreted in this way. As a result, all the sources of
evidence suggest that the message was EFFECTIVE, and I assign a
judgement of TRUE to CFJ 3831.
Turning to CFJ 3838, we find that the common language definition does
not support the effectiveness of the message, given that "shiny" is
not generally understood to be a currency; that the term had a
directly analogous meaning in a previous legal framework, repealed by
Proposals 8004 and 8014, which, being recent, are likely in the memory
of a significant number of players; and that the term was generally
understood as intended to refer to a "coin" based off of the treatment
of the message by the Honorable Treasuror and the Honorable Caller.
As a result, the sources of evidence are divided on whether to find
this message to be EFFECTIVE, but given that Rule 2578 implies a broad
presumption of effectiveness in ambiguous transfers of currency, the
scales are tipped in favoring of finding that the message was
EFFECTIVE; therefore, I assign a judgement of TRUE to CFJ 3838.