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                               CFJ 876

"Rule 1003 prohibited Proposal 2627 from taking effect."


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Judge:       Steve

Judgement:   FALSE

Eligible:    Andre, Chuck, elJefe, favor, Kelly, KoJen, Michael, Steve
             Zefram

Not eligible:
Caller:      Morendil
Barred:
On hold:     Murphy, Oerjan,  Swann
Defaulted:   Jtael

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History:
  Called by Morendil, Sun, 7 Jul 1996 15:22:47 +0100
  Assigned to Jtael, Mon, 8 Jul 1996 12:05:55 +0100
  Jtael defaulted
  Re-assigned to Steve, Wed, 24 Jul 1996 10:08:57 +0100
  Judged FALSE by Steve, Thu, 25 Jul 1996 18:54:58 +1000 (EST)
  Published, at time unclear

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Judgement: FALSE

Reasons and Arguments:

I am asked to consider whether Rule 1003 prohibited Proposal 2627 from
taking effect. Here is Rule 1003:

Rule 1003/2 (Mutable, MI=1)
No Coercive Proposals

      Proposals whose obvious and direct intent is to coerce a Player
      into voting against eir conscience shall not take effect even if
      adopted, any Rule to the contrary notwithstanding.

In effect, then, I must consider the truth of the claim that the
obvious and direct intent of Proposal 2627 was to coerce some Player
into voting against conscience.

At first I thought that this might be partially an empirical matter,
and I toyed with the idea of calling for public submissions from those
Players who voted on Proposal 2628, asking them whether they had voted
against the dictates of their conscience, and, if so, whether they
felt they had been coerced into doing so. However, while that would be
interesting to know, the wording of R1003 makes it irrelevant: it
concerns the *intent* (strictly, the 'obvious and direct intent') of
Proposal 2627, not its actual effects. If it could be determined with
certainty that the obvious and direct intent of Proposal 2627 was to
coerce Players into voting against conscience, then R1003 would
prohibit P2627 from taking effect, even if the Proposal completely
failed to actually coerce any Player into voting for Proposal 2628
(they might have voted for it for completely different reasons, say, a
desire to recognise Chuck's outstanding contributions to the game by
rewarding him with a win).

So, the evaluation of the Statement lies entirely with the obvious and
direct intent of Proposal 2627, and not with the motivations of those
who voted on Proposal 2628. Here's Proposal 2627:

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Proposal 2627 (Steve, AI=1)

A Win By Indirect Self-Reference I

[Comment: This Proposal, and the one following it, exploit a loophole
in R1561: while a Proposal which offers a bribe to vote for itself is
without effect, nothing prevents a Proposal from offering bribes to
vote for another Proposal. Thus, a pair of Proposals such as these can
get around Rule 1561 by each offering bribes to vote for the other. In
the best tradition of scamming, I propose to close the loophole as
part of the execution of the scam.]

Be it therefore resolved that a Rule be Created, entitled "A Win By
Indirect Self-Reference I", with the following text:

      Upon the Creation of this Rule, the following events occur:

(i)   Chuck and Steve both become Immaculate Players, if they are not
      already Immaculate. Any change in Blots which occurs as a result
      of this Rule is detected and reported by the Tabulator;

(ii)  Chuck and Steve both win the game, with Chuck becoming
      Speaker-Elect.  This Rule takes precedence over any Rule which
      would make a Player other than Chuck the Speaker-Elect upon his
      winning the game.

(iii) Every Player, with the exception of Chuck and Steve, who cast
      exactly one vote FOR and no votes AGAINST the Proposal, proposed
      by Steve, the adoption of which resulted in the creation of the
      Rule entitled "A Win by Indirect Self-Reference II" receives 3
      Extra Votes from the Bank.

(iv)  Every Player, with the exception of Chuck and Steve, who cast
      exactly two votes FOR and no votes AGAINST the Proposal,
      proposed by Steve, the adoption of which resulted in the
      Creation of the Rule entitled "A Win by Indirect Self-Reference
      II" receives 5 Extra Votes from the Bank.

      All transfers of Extra Votes which occur as a result of this
      Rule are detected and reported by the Assessor.

--------------------------------------------------

It is evident from the Proposal what its obvious and direct intent is:
it is, in the first place, to secure a win for Chuck and Steve, by, in
the second place, offering a substantial bribe to Players to vote for
Proposal 2628. The question we must now face squarely is whether the
offering of this bribe constitutes coercion to vote against
conscience.

I have asserted in a previous Judgement, that of CFJ 756, what I
consider coercion to be: it is the use of force, or threats of force,
to compel the action of another. My opinion on the essential
correctness of this definition has not changed since I delivered that
Judgement. Moreover, this opinion was supported by the majority of the
Board of Appeal for CFJ 756, and so it has the force both of previous
Judgement and of game custom. I believe I am on solid legal ground in
employing this definition of coercion.

The only thing remaining to determine is whether, by offering Players
a bribe of Extra Votes to vote for Proposal 2628, the obvious and
direct intent of Proposal 2627 was the use of force, or threats of
force, to compel those Players to vote for that Proposal. It is my
Judgement that such an intent cannot be imputed to Proposal 2627.  A
clear intent to *encourage* Players to vote for Proposal 2628 can be
discerned in Proposal 2627, but the form of encouragement offered
falls a long way short of compulsion to do what is thereby encouraged.

It is my ruling that an attempt to compel can only be imputed to a
Proposal if the intent of the Proposal is to leave Players with little
or no choice as to how to act. It is my view that the acquisition of
Extra Votes, (certainly in these relatively small quantities, and
possibly in any quantities), while a worthwhile and valuable end in
the game, is not so urgent as to leave Players with little or no
choice as to how to act when faced with the possibility of either
acquiring or failing to acquire some Extra Votes, depending on what
they subsequently do. In short, it is my view that no Player was
compelled by Proposal 2627 to vote for Proposal 2628. Despite the
presence of the bribe in Proposal 2627, every Player had a genuine and
reasonable opportunity to vote against Proposal 2628 if they chose to
do so.  They had only to choose to forgo the bribe.

There is a further, powerful argument against the view that Players
were compelled by Proposal 2627 to vote for Proposal 2628. Other
choices beyond simply voting FOR or AGAINST Proposal 2627 were
available to each Player: each Player had the opportunity to take
steps to band together with other Players to defeat the Proposals
completely, thereby ensuring that they would not be relatively
deprived of Extra Votes with respect to Players who voted for them.
Each Player could have had a reasonable expectation that such efforts
might succeed. It was no part of the direct and obvious intent of
Proposal 2627 to prevent Players from engaging in such activities.
Indeed, it is entirely consistent both with Proposal 2627 and with the
past statements and behaviour of its Proposer that the intent of the
Proposal (though not, perhaps, so direct and obvious) was to encourage
Players to band together in this way.

Summing up: the evaluation of the Statement hinges upon whether it
could reasonably be claimed that the obvious and direct intent of
Proposal 2627 was to leave Players with little or no choice but to
vote for Proposal 2628. I have argued that both the nature of the
bribe offered by Proposal 2627, and the range of activities it allowed
to Players in response to it, ensured that each Player still faced a
genuine choice, free of compulsion, as to how to vote on Proposal
2628. I therefore Judge that the Statement is FALSE.

I wish to add: it cannot and should not be otherwise. For if the
offering of modest bribes amounts to coercion, then the acceptance of
modest bribes is acceptance under duress, one which mostly or
completely exculpates the accepter of the bribe of any moral
responsibility (and, therefore, perhaps derivatively, of legal
responsibility, for duress is a defence to many crimes). We should not
wish that every corrupt official, as e is dragged away to be bailed up
on charges of accepting bribes, should have available a defence which
says: "Well, they offered me a bribe. What choice did I have but to
accept it?" In the case of modest bribes, we all have a choice; we are
none of us coerced.

Evidence:

1. Rule 1003 (incorporated into the Judgement)
2. Proposal 2627 (incorporated into the Judgement)
3. CFJ 756 (available from the Archives)

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(Caller's) Arguments:

R&A : well, in spite of the annotation attached to Rule 1003, to the
effect that CFJ 756 (which unfortunately I haven't been able to
unearth) ruled that a "coercive" Proposal is one that makes a threat,
I do think that offering a bribe for some Vone on a Proposal _is_ a
way to "coerce a Player into voting against eir conscience".

I mean, nobody in eir right mind would Vote FOR a Proposal to award
someone else a Win with no strings attached, so a bribe to do so
certainly counts as a way to make em do something against eir
conscience. Further, the results of Voting on the Proposal have show
that it is as effective as a threat in achieving that result.

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