Index ← 3884 CFJ 3885 3886 → text
===============================  CFJ 3885  ===============================

      On or about 10:35:46 UTC on 4 Oct 2020, PSS published a
      self-ratifying report on the value of the instances of the Karma
      switch.

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Caller:                        Jason

Judge:                         G.
Judgement:                     FALSE

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History:

Called by Jason:                                  04 Oct 2020 22:10:43
Assigned to G.:                                   09 Oct 2020 17:47:39
Motion to extend filed:                           15 Oct 2020 22:17:47
Judged FALSE by G.:                               23 Oct 2020 13:47:27

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Caller's Evidence:

Possible "report":
https://mailman.agoranomic.org/cgi-bin/mailman/private/agora-official/2020-October/014273.html

Rule 2162/12 [Excerpt]:

      A type of switch is a property that the rules define as a switch,
      and specify the following:
      
      1. The type(s) of entity possessing an instance of that switch. No
         other entity possesses an instance of that switch.
      
      2. One or more possible values for instances of that switch,
         exactly one of which should be designated as the default. No
         values other than those listed are possible for instances of
         that switch, except that, if no default is specified, then
         rules to the contrary notwithstanding, the "null" value is a
         possible value for that switch, and is the default.
      
      3. Optionally, exactly one office whose holder tracks instances of
         that switch. That officer's (weekly, if not specified
         otherwise) report includes the value of each instance of that
         switch whose value is not its default value; a public document
         purporting to be this portion of that officer's report is
         self-ratifying, and implies that other instances are at their
         default value.

Rule 2379/0 (Power=1)
No News Is Some News

      If the rules define a report as including a list, then while that
      list is empty, that report includes the fact that it is empty.


Caller's Arguments:

For a switch report to be self-ratifying, it must "purport" to be the
switch portion of the officer's report. While the document itself does
not contain any text suggesting it is a report, the subject line does,
which may be enough to make the document purport to be a report.

The content may or may not qualify as being a report. The empty document
omits all instances of the switch and all values, which, if it was a
report, would imply that all values of the Karma switch have a default
value. However, this may contradict Rule 2379, since Rule 2162 could be
read as requiring a list of non-default values, even though it never
explicitly requires a "list". That would imply that no empty document
could ever purport to be a switch report, since it would either need to
include a list of non-default values or the fact that such a list is
empty.

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Judge G.'s Arguments:

A "message" isn't explicitly defined by the rules, the closest thing is
here in R478/38:

>      A public message is a message sent via a public forum

So the actual definition of "message" uses its common definition.

This leaves the question open: when using email to send a message, are the
message's headers are part of the message, or are they metadata (i.e. an
envelope) containing the message, but not part of the message itself?
Time to bring out R217.

Common definition:  Person A sends me a physical letter.  Person B asks me
"what was Person A's message?"  I would respond with the contents of the
message.  The postmark, stamp, and other details of the envelope would be
pretty much irrelevant to answering (though may provide context or
identifying information if I ask "which message?", so they are still part
of the metadata for the message)  So common definitions would say the
message is the contents (body of the email) not its headers.

Past Judgements/custom:  CFJ [I-haven't-found-it-yet] found that a message
sent to two fora simultaneously (i.e. with two fora in the To: or Cc:
headers) is a single message.  But those messages will have different
headers by the time they are delivered, so calling the headers "part of"
the message would contradict the precedent that there's only one message.

Common sense:  While a "message" isn't explicitly defined, the
"publication" is specific in R478/38:

>      To "publish" or "announce" something is to send a public message
>      whose body contains that thing.

Therefore, you cannot "publish" anything that's outside of the message's
body.  It would be really weird to say "I didn't publish the headers of
the message but I published the body, but the headers are still part of
the public message".  It makes much more sense to say "I published a
message consisting of the body, and the headers associated with the
message provide evidence of when/how I did so".

Good of the game:  In places of the rules where headers of a message are
called out explicitly (subject line in R2614/5, 2463/3, date-stamp in
R478/38) it breaks nothing to say "this is envelope information of the
message, not the message itself".  And it's better for the game to assume
the common sense interpretation above: that "public message" and
"published message" are the same thing (it's really confusing otherwise).

Therefore, the finding is that a "public message" consists solely of its
body, and the metadata headers are associated with the public message, but
not "part of" the message.

So then, turning to the definition of "public document" in R2202/9:

>      A public document is part (possibly all) of a public message.

If the public message is the body only, then a public document does not
include its headers.  So if a document must "purport" something (i.e.
allege to be a report) that allegation must be in the body of the message.

Since that is not the case here (the only possible purporting is in the
message's headers, not its body, so the purporting was not actually
published or part of a document), this CFJ is FALSE.

Falsifian offered the following gratuitous arguments in response to a
draft of this judgement:

> Surely this isn't universal? E.g. if I went out of my way to spread a
> message over a subject and body, and made it really clear the message is
> supposed to be both together, wouldn't the subject then be part of the
> message?
>
> In your envelope analogy: if an eccentric person scribbled the first
> part of a message on the envelope and the second part on paper inside
> the envelope, I think that would be a message. (Stretching the
> definition further: if I hid a message in the arrangement of books on a
> shelf (maybe first letters of the titles), it would still be a
> "message", just a hidden one.)

In such situations, there's a distinction to be drawn between legal and
common definitions.  A message is permitted (legally) to refer to things
outside the message.  For example, the body can say "The Coopor's Monthly
Report is contained in the subject line" and the subject line might say
"Nobody has any barrels".  To support this, we've allowed words like
"specify" to be satisfied by a message that indicates information outside
the message itself.

In practical terms, it's a matter of semantics whether that envelope is
"part of the message" or "outside information referred to by the message",
and neither answer would be wrong.  However, in an Agoran legal sense,
limiting the message to the body has a distinct and useful practical
effect of establishing precedence and limiting the scope of "writing on
the envelope", i.e. requiring legal langauge such as the "purporting of
reports" to be within the body (to count as being part of the document)
greatly aids clarity of communication and is for the good of the game.

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