==============================  CFJ 1288  ==============================

    The Bank transfered 100 stems to me on April 3, 2001.

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Caller:                                 Hooloovoo

Judge:                                  Steve
Judgement:                              FALSE

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History:

Called by Hooloovoo:                    04 Apr 2001 00:02:42 GMT
Assigned to Steve:                      07 Apr 2001 00:11:20 GMT
Judged FALSE by Steve:                  13 Apr 2001 00:47:27 GMT
Judgement distributed:                  13 Apr 2001 19:35:56 GMT

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Judge Steve's Arguments:

0. Acknowledgements

I would like to acknowledge the valuable contributions made by Blob,
Elysion, Crito, harvel, Kelly, Macross, Murphy and Ziggy to this
Judgement.

1. Facts in evidence, definitions, introductory remarks

As ever, it is well to begin with the facts. Payroll Clerk lee's
announcement contained the following statements (see the Evidence
section), which I've numbered for convenience:

(1)  The Bank owes Hooloovoo 50 Stems.
(2)  The Bank owes Hooloovoo 50 Stems.

(3)  The Bank satisfies the above debts.

It will also be well to have the relevant definitions before us.

Rule 1596 defines a 'debt' as follows:

      A "debt" is an obligation arising under these Rules for one entity
      (the "debtor") to make a transfer of one or more Properties to
      some other entity (the "creditor").

Rule 1598 defines a 'Notice of Transfer' as follows:

      A Notice of Transfer is a message which sets forth the intent
      to transfer one or more Properties from one entity (the
      "transferor") to some other entity (the "transferee"). A valid
      Notice of Transfer must additionally:

      (1) specify one or more Properties all of which are owned by
          the transferor;
      (2) be sent by the Executor of the transferor, or by a Limited
          Executor of the transferor with the authority to execute
          transfers on behalf of that entity with respect to all of
          the Properties involved; and
      (3) describe a transfer which is not otherwise prohibited by
          the Rules.

      A transfer of a Property occurs only when its Recordkeepor
      receives a valid Notice of Transfer.

Two questions are raised by the CFJ: how many debts to Hooloovoo were
there? And how many transfers to Hooloovoo did the Bank make as a result
of lee's message?

On the first question, there is a consensus among the participants in
the discussion. Since a debt is an obligation arising under the Rules,
one cannot create a debt by stating that one exists. In this case, the
Bank's obligation to pay Hooloovoo 50 Stems arose under R1940, and there
was only one such debt.

Most of the discussion focussed on the answer to the second question.
How many transfers to Hooloovoo were effected by lee's message? Three
different positions emerged during the discussion. I shall discuss each
in turn.

2. The 'Zero Transfers' view

This was the view I advanced in my proto-Judgement. The argument I gave
there was that lee's statement (3), "The Bank satisfies the above
debts." was insufficiently specific to meet the requirements for
validity of a Notice of Transfer in R1598(1).

The advantage of this view is that it sets a precedent which requires
Recordkeepors to be absolutely clear and explicit about what transfers
they are making. The disadvantage is that it overturns some two years of
game custom which has seen the Payroll Clerk, and other Officers,
satisfy Bank debts using such language.

In any event, I was dissuaded from this view by the counterarguments
advanced by Kelly and Crito. Two different considerations tell against
the view. Firstly, anti-formalism. This principle has been articulated
most recently in my Judgement of CFJ 1263:

      As a general principle, it is a bad idea to be too nit-picky about
      the precise forms of words used to effect game actions.

At least in the case where the debt exists, there is no disagreement
that a statement

      S: "The Bank owes A 50 Stems. The Bank satisfies this debt."

satisfies the requirements of R1598, even though the word "transfer" is
not used. The intent to transfer is clear enough from context, as is the
Property being transferred.

Secondly, there is no principled reason to look only at (3) to discover
the elements of a Notice of Transfer. lee's whole message should be
considered. As can be seen from the above, (1) and (3) taken together
have the same form as S, and so clearly satisfy all the requirements of
R1598. So lee's message effected at least one transfer. (The question of
whether (2) and (3) together effect another transfer is taken up below.)


3. The 'One Transfer' view

This view was advanced in the discussion by Macross and Murphy. The
intuitive idea behind it is that the reference in (3) to "the above
debts" is a reference to actual debts only. Since all agree that there
was only one actual debt, lee's message only satisfied one debt. Hence,
there was only one transfer.

On this view, S counts as a Notice of Transfer only if there really is a
debt from the Bank to A. If there is no debt, then the reference to
"this debt" is empty and no transfer occurs.


4. The 'Two Transfers' view

This view was defended by Kelly and Crito. Their disagreement with
Macross and Murphy is the crux of the argument as I see it. The idea
behind the view is that S succeeds in transferring 50 Stems to A, even
if it turns out that there is no debt from the Bank to A. The argument
for this conclusion is that S sets out an intent to transfer, and is
specific about what Property is being transferred. Hence it qualifies as
a Notice of Transfer. Since (2) and (3) taken together have the form of
S, lee's message actually contained two Notices of Transfer.

Tempting as it is, however, this argument fails. It crucially fails to
consider the effects of R1598(3):

      A valid Notice of Transfer must additionally:

      (3) describe a transfer which is not otherwise prohibited by
          the Rules.

If any other Rule prohibits the transfer, then S cannot be a valid
Notice of Transfer.

Is there such a Rule? Yes, there is: Rule 1470, which states that:

      The Bank shall not transfer Currencies except when specifically
      authorized to do so by the Rules.

There is consensus that only one debt from the Bank to Hooloovoo
existed. Any transfer of Stems to Hooloovoo beyond that needed to
satisfy this debt is unauthorized by the Rules, and hence prohibited by
R1470.

In reply to this argument, Kelly has objected that the first paragraph
of R1470 does authorize the Payroll Clerk, in eir capacity as
Recordkeepor of Stems, to make transfers of Stems from the Bank, when it
states that:

      Each Recordkeepor of each Bank Currency shall be a Limited
      Executor of the Bank, with the authority to execute transfers of
      units of that Currency, from and on behalf of the Bank.

I don't think this is sufficient, however. The second paragraph of R1470
prohibits the Bank from transferring Stems except when it is
*specifically* authorized to do so by the Rules. The first paragraph of
the Rule does not provide this specific authorization. Rather, it
provides only a *general* authorization. Specific authorization comes,
for example, from the requirement to pay a debt, and is given later in
the Rule.

This is the best way to make sense of Rule 1470. If we read the
authorizations granted in the first and second paragraphs as being of
equal generality, then the prohibition in the second paragraph of the
Rule makes no sense, for it comes out as "The Bank shall not transfer
Currencies except when specifically authorized to do so by the Rules,
which it is always is as per the above." Why qualify a prohibition with
a condition which is always true?

The general/specific distinction, by contrast, not only gives meaning
and effect to the second paragraph of the Rule, but makes sense of the
use of the word 'specifically', which otherwise would be serving no
purpose in the Rule.


5. General conclusion and Judgement

The general conclusion is inescapable: A Notice of Transfer from the
Bank, made for the purpose of satisfying a debt, is valid only if the
debt exists. The Macross/Murphy view is therefore correct: lee's message
contained only one valid Notice of Transfer from the Bank to Hooloovoo.

The Statement is therefore FALSE.


6. Concluding remarks and suggestions

It appears that, notwithstanding our efforts so far to the contrary, we
do not yet have a functioning pragmatic Currency system. The principles
of such a system are:

(1) Recordkeepors ought to be able to assume that Notices of Transfer
    are prima facie valid.

(2) Recordkeepors should not be required to check the validity of each
    Notice of Transfer that is made before recording it.

(3) If it is discovered that a transfer has been made in error, it
    should be corrected by making a later, reversing transfer, and not
    by assuming that the transfer never occurred.

The inclusion of R1598(3) in the definition of a Notice of Transfer has
smuggled platonism into the heart of our supposedly pragmatic Currency
system. A Recordkeepor cannot assume that a Notice of Transfer is valid.
E must search the Rules to determine that no Rule prohibits it. And if e
makes a mistake in this determination, the effect is that no valid
transfer ever occurred. We are familiar with the defects of such a
system.

I therefore make two suggestions: firstly, that the provisions of
R1598(3) be deleted from that Rule. This will give us the pragmatic
Currency system we desire. However, since this will also allow the
Payroll Clerk and the Treasuror to make valid but unauthorized transfers
of Stems from the Bank, my second suggestion is that we make the
intentional and unauthorized transfer of Stems from the Bank a heavily
penalized Crime. (The 'intentional' is important; otherwise, innocent
mistakes such as lee's in this instance might attract the penalty.)

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Judge Steve's Evidence:

1. lee's announcement of Salaries and Gratuities

http://www.escribe.com/games/agora-official/m1187.html

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Rules

Rule 1470/4 (Power=1)
The Bank

      There shall exist an entity known as the Bank. The Executor of
      the Bank shall be the Treasuror. Each Recordkeepor of each Bank
      Currency shall be a Limited Executor of the Bank, with the
      authority to execute transfers of units of that Currency, from
      and on behalf of the Bank. The Bank has Mint Authority. The
      Bank is the Mintor of every Bank Currency.

      The Bank shall not transfer Currencies except when specifically
      authorized to do so by the Rules.

      Whenever the Bank incurs a debt to any other entity, the Bank
      shall, as soon as possible and by its Executor or by one of its
      Limited Executors, either satisfy that debt by transferring
      appropriate Properties to the creditor, or dispute the debt by
      whatever means are appropriate in the situation.

      The authority to compromise or forgive a debt of the Bank rests
      only in the Treasuror. This power may only be exercised only:
      (1) pursuant to a properly-issued Order; or
      (2) Without Objection, at the Treasuror's discretion.


Rule 1596/5 (Power=1)
Debt

      A "debt" is an obligation arising under these Rules for one
      entity (the "debtor") to make a transfer of one or more
      Properties to some other entity (the "creditor").

      No debt shall be enforceable unless a notice sufficient to
      inform the debtor of the debt has been sent to the debtor. If a
      Rule requires a public notice of a debt be posted, the debt is
      not enforceable until and unless that notice is posted.

      A debt is satisfied when the debtor has transferred (or is
      deemed to have transferred) all the Properties named to the
      creditor (either as a single transfer or as the aggregate of
      multiple transfers).

      A debt is forgiven when the creditor of a debt sends a notice
      to the debtor that e is forgiving the debt. Forgiveness may be
      for the entire debt or for any part thereof. The effect
      forgiving a debt is as if the debtor had made a payment on the
      debt for the portion forgiven, except that no transfer of
      property takes place thereby.

      When a Notice of Transfer indicates a purpose to make payments
      upon debts owed to the transferee, but the Property transferred
      does not correspond to any debt owed by the transferor to the
      transferee, then the transferee shall either return that
      Property to the transferor, or retain them as payment against
      future debts, at the transferee's discretion.  Any Properties
      thus retained shall be returned to the transferor upon demand,
      and a demand for return made under this Rule causes the
      transferee to incur a debt to the transferor for those
      Properties (excluding any subset of those Properties properly
      applied to subsequently incurred debts).


Rule 1598/10 (Power=1)
Property Transfers

      A Notice of Transfer is a message which sets forth the intent
      to transfer one or more Properties from one entity (the
      "transferor") to some other entity (the "transferee"). A valid
      Notice of Transfer must additionally:
      (1) specify one or more Properties all of which are owned by
          the transferor;
      (2) be sent by the Executor of the transferor, or by a Limited
          Executor of the transferor with the authority to execute
          transfers on behalf of that entity with respect to all of
          the Properties involved; and
      (3) describe a transfer which is not otherwise prohibited by
          the Rules.

      A transfer of a Property occurs only when its Recordkeepor
      receives a valid Notice of Transfer.

      The effect of a transfer of Properties is to cause the
      transferor to cease to possess the Properties transferred, and
      simultaneously to cause the transferee to possess them.

      The Recordkeepor of a Property shall maintain a record of all
      transfers of that Property. E shall retain a record of each
      Notice of Transfer which e receives (whether valid or not)
      involving that Property. E shall retain this record of each
      Notice of Transfer for at least four weeks after its receipt.

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