Index ← 3906 CFJ 3907 3908 → text
===============================  CFJ 3907  ===============================

      I have violated one of the quoted pledges.


Caller:                        Gaelan

Judge:                         Aris
Judgement:                     PARADOXICAL



Called by Gaelan:                                 25 May 2021 19:31:51
Assigned to Aris:                                 28 May 2021 00:12:08
Judged PARADOXICAL by Aris:                       05 Jun 2021 21:46:27


Caller's Evidence:

> On May 22, 2021, at 5:45 PM, Gaelan Steele via agora-business  wrote:
>> On May 22, 2021, at 5:44 PM, Gaelan Steele via agora-business  wrote:
>> I pledge to violate this pledge, with a time window of one hour.
>> (There has to be a paradox protection for pledges somewhere, right? Right???? But I can't find it, so let's find out)
>> Gaelan
> wait, oops: I pledge to violate this pledge, with a time window of one day.
> Gaelan


Judge Aris's Arguments:

Gaelan pledged "I pledge to violate this pledge,
with a time window of one day." (Eir other pledge,
which may or may not exist, is substantively equivalent
for the purposes of this CFJ.) A day passed. Did Gaelan
violate this pledge?

There are two possibilities.

1) Gaelan created a pledge that refers to itself,
causing an infinite loop. In this case, the CFJ is

2) Gaelan's purported pledge does not properly specify
actions to perform or refrain from performing, since
determining the actions results in an infinite loop.
In this case, the CFJ is DISMISS.

Another way of looking at it is that this all depends
on whether the action can have a parameter. In other
words, can I pledge, for all Y "I pledge to take an
action X, such that X accomplishes Y"? Can I never
pledge this? Or can I only pledge this if it's clear
what sort of X accomplishes Y? This is determinative
because Gaelan's pledge can be translated to "I pledge
to take an action X, such that X violates this pledge".

I think it's clear that "I pledge to not violate the
rules" is a valid pledge. We have a reasonably clear
notion of what sorts of things violate the rules.
I think it's equally clear that, as G. pointed out,
"I pledge that the sun will rise tomorrow" is invalid,
given that the sun rising is not an action taken by
any Agoran (unless Helios happens to be a player).
The question in this case is, would the
pledge "I pledge not to do anything that would
cause the sun not rise is valid" be valid?
That's harder to figure out.

"But Aris," you say, "you haven't looked at the
text. Surely the text solves this problem and you're
just making things more complicated than
they need to be." Alright, let's look at the text.

Rule 2450/10, "Pledges", says "If a consenting Player
makes a clear public pledge (syn. Oath) to perform
(or refrain from performing) certain actions, then
breaking the pledge is ILLEGAL".

One thing is certain: pledges must be clear.
Unfortunately, this doesn't resolve the case. The
relevant question is whether the "certain actions"
must be clear. That is, do I need to know the
specific actions that would violate the pledge,
or merely the categories of actions that might.
The text can be read either way. Textually,
I would say that these interpretations are
equally plausible.

Can we resolve this problem through game custom?
If we error trap anything that can cause a paradox,
we will have no paradoxes. Does game custom
say this is a good or a bad thing? The answer is
unfortunately rather mixed. For many years,
Agora had a way to win by paradox. In such a system,
I would guess that  while people tried to prevent
paradoxes, they would be tolerant of the notion that
they might arise anyway. Then that win method
was repealed. Agora went through a period where
paradoxes didn't help anything, simply making
the state of the game more confusing. In this
period, judges avoided paradox wherever possible.
Then, we reenacted wins by paradox. Now, it
is culturally unclear whether paradoxes are to be
avoided or embraced in judicial interpretation.

However, there is one norm that is abundantly
clear. Actions cannot be structured to be
paradoxical in and of themselves: if an
action is specified in a way that resolves
to an infinite loop, it is not taken at all.
For instance, "If this sentence is false, I..."
doesn't work. When taken, an action must be
fully and completely specified.

One final point about game custom. While it is
not necessarily the most persuasive factor,
Agorans in general take a fairly
math/logic/programming view of the game.
In this view, allowing things to be defined
parametrically seems natural. Nevertheless,
I do not feel this is a strong enough basis
that it determines the result of the case.

If game custom does not resolve the matter, is
there another guide? Let's look at the
best interests of the game. At first,
I avoided looking at the best interests
of the game when conducting this analysis.
After all, it seems fairly unclear whether
allowing paradoxes to arise is in the best
interests of the game. Are they fun or
destructive? However, there is another way
of applying the best interests of the game.
It is indisputably in the best interests
of the game for interpretation to be
congruent with the spirit of the rules. If
we assumed that all paradoxes were
impossible, we wouldn't have a PARADOXICAL
verdict or wins by paradox.

Pledges aren't error trapped in the same way
other things are. The action specified by a
pledge isn't a final action being taken by a
player, it's an abstract specification of what
sorts of things a player is or isn't allowed
to do. We do allow paradoxes when something
isn't error trapped and an infinite loop can be
created. Given all that, I conclude that pledges
can be parametric and Gaelan's pledge was
validly specified. This case is PARADOXICAL.

I have some final notes. First, we need to
resolve the cultural dissonance between
a model that is built to accept paradoxes
and one that is built to avoid them. Note
that neither of these models suggest that
we should go around legislating in a way
that causes paradoxes. The question is
more how high a standard judges should
apply before deciding that things
really are just paradoxical. Currently,
Agora doesn't seem to have made up its mind,
and that can't go on.

I will also say that I am not at all convinced
that this CFJ provides grounds for a win by
paradox. Is this a "a CFJ about the
effectiveness, possibility, or legality of a
change in the gamestate"? I'd guess no,
but that's a CFJ in itself.

Finally, if you disagree with my ruling, feel
free to discuss. I wouldn't mind if such a
close case led to a moot (or even a
reconsideration, if you can convince me I got
this wrong).