Surface and Orbit Authority

Draft Proposal: Game Lifecycle

This is a draft proposal for how we decide to end a game, and how to start a new game. To summarize the idea in plain English:

No more frequently than once a week, and only when called for, we vote on whether to end the game. If we decide to end it, then we vote on create the new game, setting up the scenario however they want, and coordinates with whoever’s running the server to get it going.

I’ve never done this before, so I’m sure I’ve messed up the format or something. :slightly_smiling_face:


Title: SOA Got Game
Adoption Index: 2.0

Add the sections to the end of the article titled “Servers”:

The Game Author

The Game Author is an office, responsible for creating a new game for the purposes of Starting a Game.

The Game Author’s duties include:

  1. Providing the Space Master with a save game file and, optionally, any server configuration parameters not defined by the Official Configuration.

  2. Verifying that the Official Server is successfully running as their authoring intended, and any communication/coordination with the Space Master necessary to accomplish this.

  3. Sending a public message declaring that the game has been started. The Game Author implicitly vacates the office by doing this.

Two weeks after the election, the Game Author resigns. If the duties have not all been fulfilled, a new election for Game Author is initiated.

Ending a Game

This article has a power of 2.

When any member desires to end the game, they must send a public message that clearly identifies the Official Server, and that they would like to end the game. Members then vote on ending the game. Votes “FOR” are votes for ending the game. Votes “AGAINST” are votes to continue the game. This decision has an adoption index of 1

If the vote outcome is “FOR”, then a Game Author is elected. No immediate changes are made to the Official Server, unless otherwise specified.


Title: Space Master Additional Duties

Add these weekly duties of the Space Master office:

If any member has declared that they desire to end the game, the Space Master is responsible for the Decision & Voting process.


Title: Allowable Mutations

Modify the “Continuity” section of the “Space Master” to read (without emphasis):

The Space Master must take all steps necessary to ensure that the data created by the official server is protected from accidental deletion or modification, and may only deliberately modify or delete the official server’s data if they publicly announce an intent to do so between three and 14 days earlier, unless the modification is performed through ordinary gameplay, or is allowed by another rule with an equal (or greater) power.

(Emphasis included only to identify the intended change.)

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I went off and thought about it a bit. First, the high notes:

I really like the framework of a one-shot office whose job, whenever filled, is to set up a scenario. This is nicely structured for that, and mostly does what I think you intended - well done! I chewed on it a bit, and having the Space Master as an operational office (responsible for keeping the server up) and the Author as a creative office (responsible for developing and deploying scenarios) is kind of classic, and it lets people take a shot at it without having to take responsibility for the server itself.

I’d be strongly tempted to roll this into the “Official Servers” article as a set of new rules, on the assumption that that proposal will probably pass, rather than adding a new article for it. The new rules you’re adding govern the lifecycle of that server and create additional duties for the Space Master, and having them co-located with those rules probably makes them easier to read and to reason about.

Second, style and spelling:

If the Charter contains an article titled “Officers & Offices”, add this section to the end of it:

The odds of that rule being repealed between now and whenever this proposal comes up for vote are low enough that I’m not sure the conditional really buys you much. If you have some reason to believe otherwise, by all means leave it - it doesn’t do any harm and it’s not hard to interpret, it just isn’t clear to me how we might arrive at the alternative case.

The conditionals in the various server rules proposals up for vote right now are a bit more scoepd: I thought there was some risk that the Official Servers revision 1 proposal would not pass and that some of the server-configuration proposals would pass anyways, and I wanted to ensure that the follow-on proposals that set specific server configuration values were safe (in the sense of doing nothing) if they passed without a server to configure. That’s turned out to be overkill, and Official Servers has unanimous support right now - thank you, everyone, for your faith on this! - so that machinery will probably go unused.

If the Charter does not contain a “Space Master” role, amend this rule proposal to specify “Chair” instead of “Space Master”.

This follows from the above point.

I didn’t quite catch on to this last night when we were talking about the mechanics of this, but because this is a draft, and because the proposal that creates the Space Master’s office is up for vote right now, this conditional might not be needed. If you’re not submitting this until that proposal’s resolved, you can resolve the conditional yourself and write in either Chair or Space Master before submitting the proposal.

If any member has declared that they desire to end the game, the Space Master is responsible for the Decision & Voting process.

This isn’t strictly necessary - the “Ending a Game” rule in your proposal imposes the same obligation and is clearer about how it works. It is nice to have an office’s duties all lined up in one place. If the Game Author is defined in the same article, then it’s probably readable enough - and if it isn’t, we can fix it.

The Election Procedure for the office of Game Author is begin.

Beg pardon?

I assume the missing text is the core of this rule. Most of the text in this draft appears to repeat articles 5.1 (which defines offices) and 5.3 (which obligates officers to perform their duties).

Contunuity

“Continuity.”

The voting process for ending the game follows the Adoption Majority voting process with an adoption index of 0.5.

A minority decision like this is an interesting choice. What’s your reasoning?

This rule will also need to be power 2 or greater:

Articles with power less than two cannot define the adoption index of an entity.

Article 6.9.

That’s not hard, mechanically: write the article-wide power as “This article has a power of X except where otherwise specified” and include a “This rule has a power of Y” clause in the rule itself. This is mostly a safety feature to stop casually-enacted rules from breaking the proposal adoption process, and can probably be repealed. I sincerely hope we never develop Agora’s tradition of rules-lawyering and surprise dictatorships that make this clause necessary there, and I probably should have pruned it from the initial charter.

unless allowed by another rule with an equal (or greater) power.

Power controls precedence, so a rule with higher power would override this anyways, but it’s nice to be clear. I assume this is meant to interlock with something in the proposed “Starting a Game” rule?

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Thanks for the feedback and suggestions!

I’ve edited the draft to take into account most of your points (hopefully!), there were a couple areas where I wasn’t quite sure though.

The “Ending a Game” section didn’t mention who was responsible for running the election. The intent was to make the Space Master the one responsible, rather than the Chair. Is this a good way to accomplish that?

(Regarding the “Starting a Game” section)
I did this as a section so that it could be referred to from multiple other places, and centralize the process for starting a game, to make it easier to update in the future. I’ve updated it, does it look better? I think technically it could simply say “A Game Author is elected.” but that feels vague?

Haha. That I totally misunderstood how adoption index math works? :smiley: I’ve changed it to 1, which I hope means simple majority?

The article this is being added to has a power of 1, and I’ve added a power of 2 to this section. Does the power definition of the enclosing article need to be modified to state “unless otherwise specified” too?

Yeah, I wanted the Game Author article to have only a power of 1 still, yet still be able to allow specifically for modifying the game files. Does this accomplish that in a reasonable way?

@SurprisingEdge This is a very interesting approach to the task of spinning up a new game and thinking about how to define the player experience you are going for. I actually do like this in the sense that on person is going to take charge and iron out all of the details for a new game including some of the in-game logistics of moving or building new assets in the world etc. and just defining the rules and concept. I imagine that in actual practice the process would be very collaborative but it is good to have one person who wraps it all up in a tidy package and carries it through to the end.

I agree with @derspiny about seperation of duties as well.

I have a question. I read it a few times to see if I miss understood it. It seems that members vote for to elect a game author and not to approve a new game. I don’t think I have a problem with that but I just want to make sure I understand.

With this approach in mind this is quick process of how starting a new game should work (assuming I understand everything).

  • Someone posts an idea for a new game.
  • A few people start talking about it.
  • A vision is formed.
  • A person says they will outline a description of the new game.
  • That person submits a proposal to become a game author for a new game. Included in that proposal is an outline of the new game and how it works.
  • Election is held. The new game author is elected.
  • Game author assumes duties and creates the official description, rules and creates the game file. (This could be collaborative as well.)
  • The game is started.
  • Everyone joins and has a good time.

I was worried at first that someone could become a game author with no plan and just implement some nonsensical game. But after further review I think this approach works well.

There is an implied assumption that everyone is acting in good faith and following un-codified norms. I think we should expect that. In other words, we can’t totally eliminate the possibility that someone will try to abuse the process. We just need some simple safety valves that limit what one bad actor can do. I think this proposal accomplishes that, as long as the members are paying attention.

@David_s You’ve more or less got it, with a couple points I want to clarify.

Yes, that’s the intent. I felt it would be overly complicating and overly formalizing things, at this point, to have separate votes. If the Game Author puts together something that people don’t like, people can vote to end the game. :man_shrugging: As such, if the Game Author goes too far out on a limb, their game won’t run for long.

Missing in this list is voting to end the game, which realistically could happen any time before “Election is held. The new game author is elected”. I kind of see two scenarios being likely:

  1. People get bored with the current game, vote to end it, then elect a game author.
  2. Someone proposes an interesting idea, so people vote to end the current game not because they’re necessarily tired of it, but because the new one sounds more interesting.

Yes, that’s true, though voting to end the game provides a bit of an “escape hatch” if a Game Author “goes rogue”.

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Something about rules I learned the hard way: you can’t make rules that prevent bad actors. While the authorial tone I used writing the initial charter is very legalistic, I actually think the rules are more useful as, respectively, a vehicle for setting and communicating expectations, and a way of describing what to do when those expectations are violated.

The charter gives us tools we can use to kick people out if they’re bad actors, because “remove someone from the group” is an important social safety net - but we’d do that anyways, either explicitly or by fragmenting into subgroups that exclude people, even if the charter didn’t include mechanisms for it. The same is true here: this proposal appears to create an obligation for a newly-elected Author to do some authorin’, but that obligation is only effective because it sets expectations for everyone, not because the words have explicit power.

In that vein, the real safety net for this, in my view, is that we have the option not to elect a Game Author candidate who has no plan. The office can sit un-filled while we hash it out. This is the rules managing the expectation by creating a clear checkpoint for everyone to say “yes, I’m into this” or “no, I’d prefer not to,” explicitly - or to opt out of the conversation safely, with a clear understanding of how that will affect people’s actions.

In other words, your point about safety valves is very astute. Well done!

If we hit this, it’s also an excellent time to discuss the option of running multiple games, either before or during the vote to end the current game. Again, this is the rules functioning to manage expectations, by creating an explicit space to discuss the options.

Alright! :smiley: If I’ve been following along correctly with updates and such, I believe this draft is ready to join the next round of proposals for voting, unless anyone has any further changes they’d like to pitch for.