CFJ 911

"A Currency directive of the form
  'One Voting Token shall be placed in each Treasury for each 200
   marks in that Treasury.'
 shall, for a negative value of Marks (less than -200) in a treasury,
 place a negative amount of Voting Tokens in that treasury (assuming
 that Voting Tokens exist and are a currency)."


Judge:        KoJen
Justices:     Michael (C), Andre (J), Steve (S)

Judgement:    FALSE
Appeal jdgmt: FALSE

Eligible:     (Andre), Antimatter, Blob, Chuck, Crito, elJefe, favor,
              General Chaos, Harlequin, KoJen, Macross, Michael,
              Morendil, Murphy, Oerjan, Steve, (Vanyel), Zefram

Not eligible:
Caller:       Swann
Barred:       -
Disqualified: Vanyel
On hold:      Andre


  Called by Swann, Mon, 17 Mar 1997 18:11:54 -0500 (EST)
  Assigned to Vanyel, Thu, 20 Mar 1997 09:43:32 +0000
  Vanyel defaults
  Re-assigned to KoJen, Fri, 4 Apr 1997 09:27:59 +0100
  Judged FALSE, Wed,  9 Apr 97 16:13:37 -0400
  Published, Mon, 14 Apr 1997 09:30:39 +0100
  Appealed by Oerjan, Mon, 14 Apr 1997 14:12:38 +0200 (MET DST)
  Appealed by General Chaos, Mon, 14 Apr 1997 08:08:16 -0500
  Appealed by Morendil, Mon, 14 Apr 1997 16:31:26 +0200
  Appeals process begun, Thu, 17 Apr 1997 09:15:04 +0100
  favor (J) appoints General Chaos, Fri, 18 Apr 97 10:02:03 EDT -0400
  Steve SUSTAINS judgement, Wed, 23 Apr 1997 16:09:34 +1000 (EST)
  Michael SUSTAINS judgement, Wed, 23 Apr 1997 12:00:00 +0100
  General Chaos defaults
  Andre appointed as Justice, Wed, 30 Apr 1997 09:28:10 +0100
  Andre calls for REJUDGING, Fri, 2 May 1997 20:41:22 +0200 (MET DST)
  Final verdict to SUSTAIN judgement of FALSE
  Published, Tue, 6 May 1997 11:44:13 +0100


CotC's judgement: SUSTAIN

The Judgement of the CFJ is incorrect because it neglects to address
the fact that a Currency Directive does not (more correctly, did not;
Currency Directives are now a thing of the past thanks to the "Power
to the people" reforms) induce a change to the state of Treasuries
directly.  Not all changes in Currency holdings need to be as a result
of Currency creation or transfer.

The relevant rule is that which specified the action of Currency
Directives.  This states that a Currency Directive has "the effect of
specifying the Currency holdings contained in an Entity or Entities'
Treasury or Treasuries."

There is no other restriction on the form of what a Currency
Directive's specification of currency holdings might be.  Note that a
Currency Directive might have even specified that a Treasury hold some
irrational number of a Currency.  (The MUQ rule for Currencies would
then round the holding to be a (possibly negative) multiple of the
Currency's MUQ.)

So, given our normal understanding of English, how do we interpret the
specification "One Voting Token shall be placed in each Treasury for
each 200 marks in that Treasury", given that the Rules do not
constrain it in any way?

I argue by analogy with the real world.  If one received a message
from one's bank saying that one was to receive 1 FroBozz for every
$200 in the account, then those people with negative balances would
not expect to receive negative FroBozz.  This may seem loose and
rather woolly, but we have no precedents in the game for this sort of
wording.  Currency Directives allow a great deal of latitude to their
proposers; indeed they seem quite a prescient foreshadowing of the
ideal embodied in the 'Power to the people' reforms: proposals should
take effect as they specify.

In my opinion, if one wanted a Currency Directive to bring about
postiive and negative totals of VTs, the correct wording would be:

"Each Treasury's Marks are converted to VTs at a rate of 200:1."

The MUQ rule would then ensure that VTs were held in multiples of
their MUQ.


Speaker's judgement: SUSTAIN

In the matter of the Appeal of CFJ 911, my ruling is to SUSTAIN
Kojen's Judgement.

However, I do not support KoJen's reasoning for his Judgement.  I
agree with Morendil's objection that Currency Directives are not bound
by the Rules for transfers.  Hence Kojen's argument that the
specification of a negative balance by a Currency Directive would have
been impossible because it would have required a transfer smaller than
the MUQ (because negative) is specious.  It is my view that a Currency
Directive could in theory have specified a negative balance.  The
question is whether the one in this CFJ would have succeeded in doing
so.  My view is that it would not, for the reasons set out below.

As a number of Players have remarked, we are in need of a clearer
metaphysics of Currencies than we currently possess. Two views seem to
me to be on offer, one which I call the Poker Chip view, and another
which I call the Numbers on Paper view, which General Chaos calls the
Bookkeeping view. These views are closely related, but they suggest
slightly different ways of thinking about the questions raised by this

The Numbers on Paper view emphasizes the numerical nature of Mark
balances. This makes it easier to see a balance of -200 Marks as a
multiple of 200 Marks, because of our familiarity with arithmetic for
negative numbers. This is a more abstract metaphor for thinking about
the metaphysics of Marks, and it tends to support a Judgement of TRUE.

However, my own preference (and it seems in this case that I have
little else to guide me), is for the Poker Chip view, which
understands a Mark, or any unit of Currency, on the metaphor of a
poker chip.  This seem to me to be appropriate, especially considering
Agora's origins as a face-to-face game, to be played around a table,
just like Monopoly. In all such games where money is used, physical
tokens are used to represent it. Now consider the situation of someone
playing such a game who incurs a penalty greater than the money e has
to pay it.  Some games have a 'can't go below zero' rule, some allow
debts to be incurred. Michael's Judgement of CFJ 912 establishes that
Agora is a game of latter kind, at least at the moment. So what
happens then?  Probably, the player is issued with an IOU. This might
take the form of a piece of paper with a number written on it, but
that need not be the case. The IOU might just as well take the form of
physical tokens similar to those being used to represent the money the
game, only with a different colour, or shape. The crucial point is the
IUO is a token of a different kind to that being used to represent
money holdings of the other players.  On the Poker Chip view, debts
are of a different nature to currency holdings, and should be treated
as conceptually separate.

Now we look at the Currency Directive in the CFJ. It states that "One
Voting Token shall be placed in each Treasury for each 200 marks in
that Treasury." On the Poker Chip view, Mark holdings will be viewed
as being represented by a certain kind of physical token, while Mark
debts will be viewed as being represented by another, different kind
of physical token. The Directive, however, applies only to physical
tokens of the first kind. It says nothing about tokens of the second
kind. Indeed, on the Poker Chip view, negative Voting Tokens are
viewed as being represented by physical tokens of a different kind to
those used to represent Voting Tokens. In order to replace a Mark debt
by a Voting Token debt, we should want to specify an additional
process, that of replacing Mark-debt-tokens with Voting
Token-debt-tokens, and the Directive does not say that this should
take place.

Therefore, it is my Judgement that the Currency Directive in the CFJ
would not have the effect of placing negative Voting Tokens in
Treasuries which previously had negative Marks. The Statement is
therefore FALSE as Judge Kojen ruled, although for different reasons
than the ones he gave.


Justiciar's decision (by substitute Andre):

As the Appellants, as well as my fellow Justices, whose Judgement I
(as well as the other Agorans) have already seen, have already said,
the argument of the Judge was wrong, in that the given Directive could
work directly, and did not need to include a Transfer.

Basically I agree with the Judgement of CotC Michael. The placement in
a Treasury of something for each 200 marks in that Treasury
specifically only applies to positive amounts of marks. This might be
argued from the common-sense meaning of 'for each' (which seems to be
the route taken by Michael), but I think it is even more convincing to
use the meaning of 'place': It seems very contrary to the meaning of
'place' to place a negative number of things.

Even though my opinion here come very close to that of the CotC (not
so much that of the Speaker, to me the difference between the two
situation is not a qualitative difference in the possession before the
placement takes place, but one in the change of currency possessions
itself), I will make a different Judgement. In my opinion, this kind
of case, in which a point is of central importance that is mentioned
by neither the Judge nor the Appelants the right route is to bring the
subject back in the normal judicial process to be looked at again.
Therefore I will judge REJUDGE, although I know that this Judgement
will not be of consequence, as the majority of the Court of Appeal has
already decided otherwise.

Thus spoken on Friday the second of May,


Original Judgement: FALSE

Reasons and arguments:

The hypothetical directive says "One Voting Token shall be placed in
each Treasury for each 200 marks in that Treasury."

So, assuming that a treasury has -200 Marks in it, what does this seem
to say?

It seems to say that -1 VT is "placed" in that treasury. This at first
appears to be OK, because R1600 stipulates the use of real numbers and
"standard mathematics", where negative numbers are as valid as
positive numbers.

But where does this -1 VT (which is a Currency) come from? They have
to come from somewhere, or they are created. Since the hypothetical
directive does not specify where they come from, we can assume either
that they came from the Mintor's Treasury, or they were created. But
if created, they must first go to the Mintor's Treasury (R1471). So
either way, the -1 VT was in the Mintor's Treasury before applying the
Directive, and a transfer is required.

However, R1477 says that the MUQ for an Extra Vote is 1. R1577 says
that amounts less than the MUQ cannot be transferred. -1 is less than
1. Therefore this transfer is impossible.


(Caller's) Arguments: (none)