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Sean Hunt
Attends University of Waterloo
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Sean Hunt

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In the appendix to a book on philosophy entitled The Paradox of Self-Amedment, Peter Suber proposed a game entitled Nomic, the gameplay of which consists (initially, at least) of changing the rules of the game. Unlike games such as Fluxx or Mao, in Nomic, every rule of the game is subject to change, including the rules about how to change the rules.

Originally designed for face-to-face play, It turns out that Nomic is fairly well-suited to the internet, and it's popped all over the place in various Internet communities. Almost certainly, the longest-running game of nomic ever played is Agora, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary with a reunion and everything. Agora has seen over 7000 proposals (usually, but not always, suggested changes to the rules) and 3000 calls for judgment. It has its own honours system and awards degrees for well-written essays relating to Agora or to Nomic generally.

Like any community, every Nomic develops its own individual characteristics and culture, and a defining feature of Agora is that it is much more like a (very whimsical) society than a game. This was recently put to the stress point when a player claimed to use a logic bug to kick every other player out and take dictatorial control. The original game of Nomic made discovering a paradox in the rules one of the two victory conditions, and Agora follows tradition by being generally welcoming of silly logic (although this was seen as a bit heavyhanded), including an instance "where a ruble was transferred back and forth infinitely many times and ended up in the Lost & Found Department, even though nobody had tried to transfer it there" (I swear that judgment made sense to me at the time).

The events following have been interesting, but the entire thing was just blown out of the water by the judgment delivered to (hopefully) resolve things. In an rather forceful attempt to unwind the rather murky logical underpinnings of Agora, judge Alex Smith (of Wolfram's 2-state 3-symbol Turing Machine fame) delivered one of the most comprehensive judgments in the history of Agora: more than 6500 words picking apart the logical foundations of the rules and, I'm sure, creating a precedent that will be much used in future incidents of a similar nature.

At the same time, the individual responsible is under criminal prosecution for violating the last sentence of Rule 101"Please treat Agora right good forever.", originally a joke thrown in as a reference to Discordian pope cards.

I'm continually amazed by the amount of effort that people (myself included) will put into this game, and also by the fact that all this effort can coexist with the utterly inane. Agora has a truly remarkable to take itself both entirely seriously and not seriously at all, and usually both at the same time.

By the way, Nomic is fun, although Agora is not for the faint of heart. For lighter fare, try BlogNomic.

(for those of you who think that the Agora website is kind of crappy, you're right. there's once again talk of updating it properly, but volunteers are generally lazy)
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Sean Hunt

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For those of you who happened to hear what the Conservatives happened to say about Justin Trudeau on television, here's the quote about Québec in context.

I'm really, really depressed that the same people in charge of those ads are (more or less) the ones in charge of the country.
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Wow, after watching the video, I just get so mad, why aren't ads like this illegal.  Also, why don't we put together a video of Harper stating his support for killing kittens.  Honestly, if you're going to entirely reverse the meaning of a statement, political discourse is finished.
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Sean Hunt

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This is rape culture. This is why everyone, and I mean EVERYONE needs to stand up to this. I'm sick of the fact that rape happens and is accepted as normal, and it's time it stopped.
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Sean Hunt

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This is just depressing.
 
This is a sad commentary on what was once a party that stood for something besides stopping whatever the other guys want to do.
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Sean Hunt

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Hello. I'm a nomic player. I'm not sure how to join; the rules don't say.
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Jonathan Rouillard's profile photoSean Hunt's profile photoOzymandias Haynes's profile photoAndrew M's profile photo
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Welcome to the game, Sean and Jonathan!
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Sean Hunt

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I'm glad to see a major voice for something other than Senate abolition right now. I was afraid it would go without much of a debate, because all the media these days seems to be convinced that everyone wants to see it gone.
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You'd need to open the constitution to abolish the senate right? That won't happen anytime soon.
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Sean Hunt

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What is this I don't even.
 
The best account of byzantine academic fraud you'll read all year: http://www.the-tls.co.uk/tls/public/article1243205.ece
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Sean Hunt

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Agora Nomic is experiencing a massive resurgence in activity. Now is a good time to get involved! Note that the website is somewhat out of date. Feel free to ask any questions (either to me personally or on the mailing list; Agora's a friendly bunch).
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Sean Hunt

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Vietnam demonstrates how computer science education should be done. Start everyone early, and offer those who are passionate about the subject limitless room to grow.
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Does anyone know a good PDF reader for Android? I can't find a good free one that has useful features like:
 1) Not crashing
 2) Not hanging
 3) Not deciding to randomly render text as incomprehensible gray masses

Continuous view rather than page-at-a-time view appreciated but not required.
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Sean Hunt's profile photoAnthony Williams's profile photo
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Wow, what are you trying to read? I haven't had a problem with it, having had problems with several other readers. I guess they all just have different bugs, that appear on different documents :-(
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  • University of Waterloo
    BMath, 2010 - present
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