Index ← 3926 CFJ 3927 3928 → text
===============================  CFJ 3927  ===============================

      If the above-quoted message had explicitly listed the types of
      stones that exist (and otherwise contained the same information),
      then despite the disclaimer, it would have been self-ratifying.


Caller:                        ais523

Judge:                         Telna
Judgement:                     DISMISS



Called by ais523:                                 04 Sep 2021 05:42:42
Assigned to Telna:                                04 Sep 2021 09:52:42
Judged DISMISS by Telna:                          05 Sep 2021 05:16:55


Caller's Evidence:

On Sat, 2021-09-04 at 01:23 -0400, Jason Cobb via agora-official wrote:
> I hereby publish the following collection notice (NOT a self-
> ratifying stone report):
> All stones are owned by Agora, and are thus immune. No escape choices
> are necessary.

Caller's Arguments:

Most triggers for self-ratification in the rules require the
thing that self-ratifies to purport to be something, e.g. a Ribbons
report self-ratifies only if it's purporting to be a Ribbons report.
However, assets are a separate case; rule 2166 states that the
recordkeepor's report lists all instances of the class of assets and
their owners, and that portion of the report is self-ratifying. In
other words, the trigger is whether something *is* an asset report, not
whether it *purports to be* one.

The Stonemason's only weekly duty, as far as I can tell, is to be "the
recordkeepor of stones". As such, I think any listing, published by the
Stonemason, of what stones exist and who their owners are is a
Stonemason weekly report by definition, even if it claims not to be.
(Specifically, I think the hypothetical collection notice posited by
the CFJ would be sufficient to satisfy the requirement in rule 2143 to
perform the officekeepor's weekly duties.)

As a side note: the actual message did not list what stones existed,
which I think is sufficient to make it not count as a weekly report; I
can't find anything in the rules that requires all the defined stones
to exist (they're indestructible but nothing forces them to have been
created in the first place). So this means, sadly, that I have to put a
hypothetical in the statement to prevent the CFJ ending up with an
obvious result on a technicality.

Judge Telna's Arguments:

The basis for this CFJ is that asset self-ratification is currently 
bugged. While all other cases of self-ratification in the ruleset apply 
to "a public document that purports to be a report", asset 
self-ratification instead simply applies to "a report". This 
(unintentional) difference leads to a number of problems. The first is 
that it maybe be possible for something to unintentionally be an asset 
report, and thus self-ratify by mistake. In this hypothetical instance, 
the CFJ posits that a list of all stones would self-ratify despite the 
document claiming to not be a self-ratifying report.

The core problem is therefore: Is it possible for a report to not 
purport to be a report?

While the Rules place a few constraints on what a report (or part of a 
report) can be, they infamously refuse to define what exactly a report 
is. This leaves the matter to be resolved by precedent and game custom. 
However, the precedent on this question is mixed and unclear:
  - In CFJ 3645, the caller argues that "A report occurs when an officer 
publishes certain information, whether they want it to or not." and "I'm 
inclined to think that the disclaimer is ineffective". These arguments 
were then accepted by the judge without further analysis.
  - In CFJ 3792, the judge (while discussing how self-ratification is 
intended to work) claims that "The important thing here is that, to 
publish a report, the Rules don't require the Officer to display intent, 
e.g. to say "I hereby publish the following report" as they would if 
they were publishing a report "by announcement".  Rather, the rules 
require that the person simply "publish all the information"." The judge 
then goes on to argue that an explicit purportation is still required, 
but relies upon the intended form of self-ratification when making this 
  - In CFJ 3798, the judge discusses a strict list of requirements in 
order for a part of a report to qualify as such. This includes "Each 
part must purport to contain the full set of information that is 
rules-defined as being that portion of the report". Note that this is 
not the same thing as a document purporting to be a report, but instead 
that the document must purport to contain the information that a part of 
a report would necessarily include.

How do we interpret these precedents? Nothing seems to dispute that a 
disclaimer is not enough to prevent a public document from being a 
report if that document contains all the information required to be in 
that report. So, what information is required to be in the Stonemason's 
report? Rule 2166 "Assets" has the answer.
"The recordkeepor of a class of assets is the entity (if any) defined as 
such by, and bound by, its backing document. That entity's report 
includes a list of all instances of that class and their owners. This 
portion of that entity's report is self-ratifying."
Put simply, the required information is a list of all assets of that 
class (in this case, all stones) and their owners. That would appear to 
be enough to resolve this case in the affirmative, but there is one more 

How do we tell the difference between a list of stones and a list of all 
stones? Only the latter qualifies to be part of a report.

The first thing to be made clear is that it is the recordkeepor's job, 
and no one else's, to make this distinction. Why should Agora be 
expected to duplicate the recordkeepor's work in order to platonically 
determine whether or not their list of assets is a list of all such 
assets? If it is not clear from the document itself that the list 
contains all required information, then it doesn't. So let's look at 
game custom - how do current asset reports that are commonly agreed to 
be reports handle this?

- The Referee and Treasuror's reports contains lists headed by "BLOT 
HOLDINGS" and "ASSET HOLDINGS" respectively. As these offices track 
fungible assets, they list each player (and other assetholder) and then 
how many of each relevant asset that player holds. In this way, by 
listing each possible owner and their holdings the report makes it clear 
that all required assets are contained within.
- The Notary's report gives a list of promises, headed by the line "The 
following N promises exist". This does not appear to claim to be a list 
of all promises, and yet we accept it as one anyway.
- The Stonemason's (intended) report gives a list of stones with no 
header. This also does not appear to claim to be a list of all stones, 
and yet we again accept it as one anyway.

For the Notary and Stonemason, clearly something else in the report is 
what provides the additional information that the list is a list of all 
relevant assets. That "something else" can only be one thing - the 
header at the top purporting that the report is a report. This header 
brings with it the implication that the information contained within the 
document fulfills the requirement to be a report: that the lists of 
promises and stones are in fact lists of all promises and stones.

The answer to our core problem is as follows: It *is* possible for a 
report to not purport to be a report. However, such a document must be 
*completely* explicit about what information it contains in order to 
qualify as a report. A simple list of stones on its own does not 
qualify, even if it happens to be a list of all stones - it must 
explicitly claim to be a list of all stones or Agora cannot be expected 
to assume it is one. Reports that purport to be reports imply through 
their purportation that the information carried in each part of the 
report is in fact the required information for that part of the report 
to qualify as such.

The document that this CFJ is about does not purport to be a report - in 
fact, it explicitly purports not to be one. This means that we cannot 
assume that a list of stones contained within is in fact a list of all 
stones. Can we get this information from elsewhere in the document? 
Well... we do not know. This CFJ is a hypothetical, and the document 
being posited does not exist in reality. Without being able to view its 
exact form, we cannot know whether the list of all stones would purport 
to be a list of all stones. This results in the case being ultimately 
undecidable. Accordingly, I see no other choice but to DISMISS.