Rob Speer on 26 Dec 2001 06:55:21 -0000

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spoon-discuss: Re: spoon-business: Paradox prevention proposal

On Tue, Dec 25, 2001 at 10:49:50PM -0500, Wonko wrote:
> <proposal>
> <title> The Paradox Prevention Proposal </title>
> <body>
> Create a new rule entitled "Paradox" with the following %%%% delimited text:
> %%%%
> If a proposal is passed which causes the creation of a paradox, the
> proponent of the proposal shall be awarded 100 points, after which all
> effects of the proposal besides the awardment of the win shall be erased and
> the proposal shall never have occurred.

I've been reading too much Douglas Hofstadter (just got to the chapter
in Metamagical Themas where he describes Nomic, actually!) recently to
let this one go unquestioned.

What if you can't tell whether a paradox has been created or not? What
if the awarding of 100 points triggers a paradox in an earlier proposal
which never would have been a paradox if the later proposal had not been
one? What if two proposals passed simultaneously create a paradox with
each other - or what if a recently-passed proposal causes a joint
paradox with a proposal passed in nweek 1, and that proposal since then
has affected the rest of the game?

More specifically, I think this very proposal could create a paradox of
immense proportions. If one proposal is passed as a direct result of
another proposal (say, a change in the number of votes required for a
proposal to pass), and the later proposal incidentally makes the effect
of the first proposal paradoxical, then the first proposal would have to
be erased. Then the person who passed it would get 100 points as a
result of the second proposal - but wait! The awarding of 100 points is
an effect of the second proposal which was an effect of the first! Since
the first proposal never happened, the second proposal didn't pass, and
the 100 points were never awarded, yet the original Paradox proposal
says that due to this paradox 100 points must be awarded. This puts the
fault of the new paradox on the Paradox proposal itself, which then eats
itself and gives Wonko 100 points, which incidentally he never got
because the Paradox proposal is deemed to never have passed in the first
place, and then you have a third paradox which is entirely unresolvable
and has probably destroyed the entire state of the game after the
Paradox proposal passed (or didn't).

On a more down-to-earth level, I think this proposal would have to
override rule 32 in order to have any effect, anyway. Plus, it says "all
effects... besides the awardment of the win" - but no win is awarded
according to this proposal.

Rob Speer