==============================  CFJ 2962  ==============================

    A player with exactly 2 ergs remaining CAN destroy 1 erg in eir own
    possession via a fee-based action.


Caller:                                 ais523

Judge:                                  Murphy
Judgement:                              TRUE



Called by ais523:                       18 Jan 2011 19:15:17 GMT
Assigned to Murphy:                     04 Feb 2011 22:30:36 GMT
Judged TRUE by Murphy:                  05 Feb 2011 20:45:04 GMT


Caller's Arguments:

The issue here is that normally, game custom has it that attempting to
spend a fee to perform an action fails if that action is impossible. The
rules cause a bit of a quandary here; upon an attempt to perform the
action in question, rule 2283 attempts to destroy 2 ergs in the player's
possession, and the player attempts to destroy 1 erg in eir own
possession (due to rule 2284). This ends up as a strange timing issue;
the rules provide no guidance on the ordering of the two events, both of
which trigger on the same message; there's no contradiction here, just
two actions, one of which succeeds and one of which fails, with no info
as to which is which. So does the erg destruction succeed?

A tangential issue is that by doing so, the player makes an implicit
claim that they have sufficient ergs to perform the action. Is a
sufficient number of ergs to perform the action in question 2, or 3? I
can't even figure out if this is correlated or anticorrelated with the
answer to the possibility question.

Finally, if the action is indeed impossible, does anything happen at
all? Game custom has it that trying to spend assets to do something
impossible doesn't do anything at all (although that was under older
rulesets which had a different wording for the way fee-based actions
worked); but the action is possible before the cost for it is spent, and
I don't think there's a definitive game custom agreement on that.


Caller's Evidence:

Excerpt from rule 2283:
>       A rule which purports to allow a person to perform an action for
>       a fee thereby allows em to perform the action by announcement
>       provided that:
>          (a) in the announcement, e states that there is a fee for
>              that action, and
>          (b) the number of ergs in eir possession is greater than or
>              equal to the fee.
>       Upon such an announcement, a number of ergs equal to the fee is
>       destroyed in eir possession.
>       An attempt to perform a fee-based action is also implicitly a
>       claim to be in possession of sufficient ergs to perform the
>       action, and such a claim is self-ratifying.  If the claim is
>       erroneous but self-ratifies, then the action is deemed to have
>       occurred and destroyed all ergs in the possession of the
>       claimant.  Making such a claim falsely is the Class-2 Crime of
>       Assaulting the Batteries, but it is generally appropriate to
>       DISCHARGE such a crime if it is disputed within four days.

Excerpt from rule 2284:
>       - A player CAN destroy an erg in the possession of a specified
>         player for a charge of 2 ergs.


Gratuitous Arguments by omd:

It's possible that announcement actions are fee-based
actions with a zero cost, which would make this even weirder (the
rules would then list two different fees for the same action).


Judge Murphy's Arguments:

I interpret "gamestate" as including history (at least relevant
parts e.g. whether someone deregistered recently, and once that's
included, I see no good reason not to include all of it), and
ratification as implicitly deeming a legal fiction about history
from the time of the ratified document forward.

I interpret "upon" in Rule 2283 as indicating that the destruction
of the fee occurs after the action.  Hence, the order of events is

  1) the player makes an announcement satisfying Rule 2283 (a), and
  2) eir erg holdings satisfy Rule 2283 (b), so
  3) the action occurs (e destroys one of eir ergs) and then
  4) the fee is destroyed (whoops, can no longer succeed completely)

If "claim to be in possession of sufficient ergs to perform the
action" in Rule 2283 is interpreted as "sufficient for 4) to succeed
completely", then it is false.  If it then self-ratifies, then
(independently of "the action is deemed" etc.) the player is legally
deemed to have had 3 ergs, so the situation no longer pertains to any
of the cases at hand.

If "claim" etc. is interpreted as "sufficient for 2) to succeed", then
it is true.  If it then self-ratifies, then eir initial holdings are
not deemed to have changed, but 4) is deemed to have destroyed as many
of eir ergs as possible.

I choose the latter interpretation of "claim" etc., as it better fits
the wording of the phrase.  (Contrast "sufficient ergs so that the
fee gets paid".)

Finally, I find that "destroy 1 erg in eir own possession via a
fee-based action" can also describe performing some other action
with a 1-erg fee, or some other action with a 2-erg fee (which
destroys 1 of eir ergs and also the other of eir ergs).  Such
actions can exist, e.g. changing one's voting limit on an ongoing
decision whether to adopt a proposal.