RavenBlack (ravenblack) wrote in nomic,

Starting rules

Not wanting to take over or anything, but since I was making vague unsettled noises about the starting ruleset (its rather unpleasant loopholes, and its unnecessary parts), I thought I'd toss out an opening ruleset as I imagine it should be. I've removed much of Suber's that I find unwieldy (what's with the integers?), but left in more than I would by choice (why start with winning and scoring conditions when you can easily add them later?) out of deference to the assumption that you were starting with the ruleset you had for a reason.

I'm not so much suggesting that this should be the ruleset, as using it as an example of what I would prefer. Suggestions, modifications, stealing parts into the ruleset you have, or outright rejection are all perfectly fine responses.

Without further ado...

Immutable Rules

PRIMARY. All players must always abide by all the rules then in effect, in the form in which they are then in effect.

SECONDARY. Rules are only changed when the rules explicitly dictate that they must be.

TERTIARY. Anything which is not prohibited or regulated by a rule is permitted and unregulated.

FORFEIT. A player always has the option to forfeit the game rather than to continue to play or incur a game penalty. By choosing to forfeit, the player ceases to be a player, and may have no further effect on the game.

MUTABILITY. Rules listed under the heading Mutable Rules are mutable. Other rules under the heading Immutable Rules are immutable.

PROPOSALS. A proposal may only describe any one of the following: (1) the repeal of a mutable rule (enacted by removing the rule from the ruleset). (2) the amendment of a mutable rule (enacted by modifying the rule's text as described in the proposal). (3) the transmutation of an immutable rule to a mutable rule, or vice-versa (enacted by moving the affected rule from the section of the ruleset it occupies to the end of the other section). (4) the creation of a new mutable rule (enacted by adding the new rule at the end of the mutable section of the rules). To indicate which one of these is to occur, a proposal's title must begin with one of the words REPEAL, AMEND, TRANSMUTE or CREATE.

ENACTION. A proposal is not enacted unless the rules dictate that it should be.

VOTERS. Every player is an eligible voter. Every eligible voter must cast a single vote with regard to every proposal.

VOTES. A vote may only be one of the following options: (1) FOR. (2) AGAINST. (3) ABSTAIN.

HINDSIGHT. No change to the rules may have retroactive application, nor may its stated effect be explicitly dependent on events before its enaction.

TITLES. Each proposal shall be given a title for reference. The title shall be chosen by the proposer, and must not consist of 'CREATE' and an existant rule title. When a CREATE proposal is enacted, its title except for the first word becomes the title of the new rule, unless the proposal's description explicitly states otherwise.

MAJOR CONFLICT. If a mutable rule and immutable rule conflict, the immutable rule takes precedence, and the conflicting part of the mutable rule shall be void.

CORRECTIONS. If a proposal has received fewer than two votes, the proposer may modify the proposal. If it had received any votes, the voter(s) may change their vote at any time before the final vote for the proposal is cast.

STAGNATION. It must always be possible for the rules to be changed.

Mutable Rules

ORDER. Turns are taken by players in alphabetical order by username.

SKIPPING. A player may, on their turn, opt to pass. If they do so, it becomes the turn of the next player.

FORCED SKIPPING. If a player has not made any action during 7 days of their being required by the rules to do so, they automatically pass any turns, and ABSTAIN in any votes.

DISAPPEARANCE. If a player has not made any action during 7 days after their turn is skipped, they are no longer a player. Unlike forfeiting, they may rejoin the game under any rules permitting joining.

TURNS. A turn consists of two parts, in this order: (1) making one proposal and having it voted on. (2) adding a number of points to their score, this number being calculated by adding 10 to the turn number, and multiplying by the fraction of FOR votes this turn's proposal received.

DEMOCRACY. If 50% or more of the votes on a proposal, after all required votes on it are cast, are FOR votes, the proposal is enacted.

STRATEGIC EVIL. The first two sentences of this rule are removed at the end of two full cycles of turns. The following sentence has no effect. Any players who voted AGAINST an enacted proposal receives 10 points upon its enaction.

MAKE IT GOOD. When a proposal is defeated (ie. is not enacted after all required votes are cast), its proposer loses 10 points.

JUST THE ONE. Players may never cast more than one vote on a single proposal.

VOTING ORDER. Votes may be cast whenever they are required. The player whose turn would occur soonest after that of the proposer and who has not yet voted is required to vote before any other player, at the other player's request. In Livejournal, votes on a proposal are made in the form of comments.

VICTORY BY SCORE. The first player to achieve 200 (positive) points wins.

MINOR CONFLICT. If two rules in the same section of the ruleset conflict, whichever occurs first takes precedence, and the conflicting part of the later rule shall be void, unless the precedence is explicitly stated to be otherwise.

JUDGEMENT. Any player may invoke Judgement, if they disagree with the legality of a turn, or application of a rule.
The player whose turn it is becomes the Accused. The player whose turn precedes the Accused's becomes the Judge. The Judge decides how the dispute is to be resolved.
The decision of the Judge may only be overruled if all players other than the Judge and the Accused agree that it should be before the next turn begins. If any other player agrees with the Judge's decision, the decision is implemented, the Judge and Accused lose those titles, and the game resumes as normal. The next player beginning their turn is an implicit agreement with the decision of the Judge.
If the Judge is overruled, the player whose turn preceeds the Judge's becomes the Judge. If the Accused becomes the Judge, the role of Judge automatically passes again to the preceeding player.

VICTORY BY DOOM. If the rules are changed so that further play is impossible, or if the legality of an action cannot be determined with finality, or if by the Judge's best reasoning, not overruled, a move appears equally legal and illegal, then the first player unable to complete a turn wins.
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Some notable things about why the rules I suggest are as they are, which show the sheer scope of my pedantry; if you guys are all for a more "spirit of the rules" than "letter of the rules" sort of game, please say so and I'll adjust my view accordingly.

"Other rules under the heading Immutable Rules" - without the 'other' there, the whole ruleset would be rendered immutable, since *all* the rules are 'under' the first heading.

ENACTION - looks like a fairly pointless rule, except that since this wouldn't be explicitly prohibited otherwise, it would fall under 'TERTIARY', and people could enact stuff willy-nilly. There should perhaps be a rule stating that players don't win unless the rules explicitly say so, also, since by the rules as stated, it allows anyone to just randomly declare victory under the 'TERTIARY' rule. Of course, that would be pretty pointless and not much fun, akin to declaring victory in Chess by tipping the board.

nor may its stated effect be explicitly dependent on events before its enaction - that was a reference to the possibility of proposals adding to a rule "everyone who voted for this gets 50 points" - since the 50 points would be dependent on the vote (before its enaction), that part of the new rule would be rendered ineligible under this immutable rule and 'MAJOR CONFLICT'.

CORRECTIONS - is perhaps superfluous, as is STAGNATION. Since there's a later rule stating that stagnation results in victory, and corrections is something that should probably be added in later.

DEMOCRACY - I don't see why the other starting ruleset has a requirement for unanimousness for a couple of cycles. If proposals are ruinous, they surely will be voted down either way? Aside from which, the other ruleset has that nasty glitch of requiring 'unanimous' without requiring 'unanimously in favour'. Shudder.

JUDGEMENT - I don't really like the JUDGEMENT rule, but I suppose something like it does have to be in place to begin with, because there are sure to be disputes.

VOTING ORDER - if votes are to be made publicly, this is an important rule, since whoever votes last can decide how to cast their vote based on the previous votes. If the votes are made 'blind' (eg. if they're collated by the ruleset maintainer, or another assigned role), then this is not necessary. The other ruleset, as I recall, had no indication of how votes were to be made, just that they should be.

In summary, I would actually like a starting ruleset even more sparse than this one, dealing only with the very basics; no winning conditions, no points, nothing but enough rules to control the modification of rules. It could probably also do with definitions of more of its terms. An example of the sheer simplicity that I tend to prefer can be found in the starting ruleset of a Nomic-like game I ran a while back, UnaNomic. Admittedly, it was made easier by using unanimous nondispute as a condition, rather than anything resembling democracy, but still, very few rules. None of the spurious mutable/immutable stuff, no scoring or winning, just enough rules to manage growth.

Notably present in Unanomic and lacking in both my (not actually very good because it's based on Suber) suggestion above, and Suber's, is a rule dictating who maintains the written record of the rules. Which is something that's really quite vital. Also defining how one becomes a player, and some manner in which scores, lists of players, and suchlike are stored.

As I mentioned, I'm not trying to take over, just to offer the benefit of experience. Some of which is mine, some of which is gleaned from others even more Nomic-veteran than I. Simplicity is key.

Of course, it's tricky now, since you have people willing to play under the current starting ruleset - any changes you make will have to be ratified, and you don't have a system in place for ratifying changes to the initial ruleset - do we vote? Does it require majority or unanimity? [grin] I suggest complete dictatorship over the rules by whoever started the community, until the game officially begins. All we can do is suggest, oh master or mistress whoever-it-was.