[BLML] Happiness is a purring cat [SEC=UNOFFICIAL]

Robert Frick rfrick at rfrick.info
Mon Sep 27 17:41:25 CEST 2010

On Thu, 23 Sep 2010 08:22:33 -0400, Thomas Dehn <blml at arcor.de> wrote:

> Robert Frick <rfrick at rfrick.info> wrote:
>> On Wed, 22 Sep 2010 22:17:35 -0400, <richard.hills at immi.gov.au> wrote:
>> > Arthur Hays Sulzberger (1891-1968), on journalism:
>> >
>> > "We tell the public which way the cat is jumping.  The
>> > public will take care of the cat."
>> >
>> > Richard Hills:
>> >
>> > [snip]
>> >
>> >>> On the other hand, if I was part of East-West pair B, and
>> >>> East-West pair C informed me that legally my Ave+ should
>> >>> have been an Ave-, then I would appeal against my own good
>> >>> score.  (Still no joke, consistent with my habit of often
>> >>> summoning the Director against my own interests.)
>> >
>> > Robert Frick:
>> >
>> >> and probably against the policy of trying to win that you
>> >> mention all of the time.
>> >
>> > Law 72A - Observance of Laws:
>> >
>> > "Duplicate bridge tournaments should be played in strict
>> > accordance with the Laws. The chief object is to obtain a
>> > higher score than other contestants whilst complying with
>> > the lawful procedures and ethical standards set out in
>> > these laws."
>> >
>> > Richard Hills:
>> >
>> > Sure my "chief object is to obtain a higher score".  But
>> > this is not my _only_ object.  Also required are the
>> > criteria "strict accordance with the Laws" and "ethical
>> > standards".  Neither are fulfilled if I knowingly accept
>> > an illegal Director's ruling which benefits my side.
>> Well, you are saying that somewhere in the laws there is something  
>> against
>> accepting an A+ you don't deserve. All I can find is that you accept the
>> director's ruling gracefully.
>> >
>> > What's the problem?
>> >
>> > Is the problem a Director who fails to realise that just
>> > as bridge scores are always zero-sum, so happiness about
>> > those bridge scores is on average zero-sum???
>> You seem to be arguing that feel-good rulings don't work. If you are
>> arguing that, it is a somewhat odd position to take. The reason they are
>> used is because they do work.  The reason we give feel-good rulings for
>> director mistakes is that they work.
>> Here, as I have already explained, the players who receive the feel-good
>> ruling are happy and the other players are usually blissfully ignorant.
>> Right, happiness also comes from overall position -- and that is  
>> zero-sum.
>> So the feel-good ruling does not hurt or help that. Also, Pair C is
>> blaming their lower finish on making mistakes, not the director.
>> Why am I explaining why feel-good rulings work? Don't we all understand
>> them? There is an art and philosophy to them that is an interesting  
>> topic
>> of conversation.
> I think it is time to word this in a more obvious way.
> Robert, what you are saying basically is that cheating
> is fine as long as you think it is fine. You then come up
> with lots of arguments how that cheating should be justified.
> "Oh, the people with whom I conspired were happy,
> thus the cheating was fine"
> "Oh, the people I cheated didn't notice, thus the cheating was fine".
> "Oh, I don't have to ínform opponents about my partner's
> unusual approach to bidding because I call that a tactical bid".
> "Oh, the British king was unpopular 250 years ago, thus my cheating is  
> fine".
> There exist games where such an approach is valid, even welcome.
> But bridge is not among those games.

Sorry to have not made my position clear. I think there are more important  
things than following the bridge laws. To me, it is important that people  
be happy. Following the bridge laws is a good tool for that. And if  
someone doesn't like a ruling that I give, and I can explain why that  
feeling is right, then it is a problem if they are unhappy, but I think  
they are the ones who have to adjust. So it is a complicated position  
about happiness. Which we could discuss in a non-witch-hunt atmosphere.

And a director would like to have everyone on his side. If you are  
directing in a room full of enemies, you will be crucified. So, for  
example, players should lead face down but I don't think it is wise to nag  
them about that. I have more important battles to fight.

And I think it is important to keep my job. Frankly, the advice to follow  
the laws no matter what the consequences for one's occupation (did Richard  
really say that?) is irresponsible.

So there are more important things than following the rules. This is a  
perfectly acceptable moral position almost anywhere. (And, following the  
rules is not always an acceptable defense -- people are supposed to do  
better than that.)

Then there is the issue that the current rules are not always followable.

More information about the Blml mailing list