What does "OR" mean to ILCA?

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by drLaser, Mar 20, 2004.

?

If a rule allows "A or B", does this mean:

Poll closed Jan 1, 2005.
  1. Things that are A and things that are B are allowed, as well as things that are both A and B

    8 vote(s)
    53.3%
  2. Things that are A and things that are B are allowed, but things that are both A and B are not allowe

    7 vote(s)
    46.7%
  1. drLaser

    drLaser Member

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    In a private letter to drLaser, an interesting question was raised. The letter is reproduced below with the consent of the author:

    --------------------------------
    From: Finn Hassing
    Date: Thu, 18 Mar 2004 19:46:05 -0500

    Dr Laser:

    I have studied the clew tie-down design consisting of stopper balls spaced with plastic tubing. While this seems like a good way to reduce friction, the legality of the design is questionable in my mind - as the rule book states "simple balls or tubing", which strictly interpreted, would not allow "balls and tubing."

    Can my mind be put at ease before I invest time and money in implementing this design.

    Finn Hassing
    177009
    -----------------------------------

    The clew tie-down rig Hassing refers to is the one described in the (ILCA members-only) article titled "drLaser's Clew Tie-down" published in the "Maintenance & Fitness" and "Class & Racing Rules" sections of the drLaser web site.

    The related ILCA Rule is:
    3(g)ii. The clew tie down may be passed through simple balls OR
    tube/tubes to reduce friction.



    Clearly, the linguistic question is whether the OR is an INCLUSIVE or
    EXCLUSIVE "or" (as posed in mathematics).

    Using set theory notation, does "A or B" mean
    A U B (the "inclusive" case)
    or does it mean
    (A U B) - A ^ B (the "exclusive" case) ??

    Or in plain English, if a rule allows "A or B", there are two possible ways of interpreting this:
    1. Things that are A and things that are B are allowed, as well as things that are both A and B; or
    2. Things that are A and things that are B are allowed, but things that are both A and B are not allowed.

    What does "or" mean to ILCA's World Council?

    In the case of Rule 3(g)ii, the "drLaser opinion" must be obvious, since such a tie-down rig is published as a legal rig in the drLaser web site since 18 May 2002. But a general discussion is important for correctly (and consistently) interpreting ALL such ILCA rules where the word "or" is used. And there are many!

    Shevy Gunter
    Member, ILCA-NA
     
  2. vtgent49

    vtgent49 Member

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    Shevy,

    Or vs. And/or

    A quick search of the rules for the term(s) "and/or" shows me that this term is often used to clearly state the inclusive.

    see 3(b) v, ix, x and 3(f)iii, etc.

    I'd say, that since the term "and/or" is often used, not using it in the example you proposed, 3(g)ii, has to be interpeted that "or" is the exclusive case. Had the term "and/or" never been used, the "or" question could be open for interpetation.

    Using this type of logic also would lead one to conclude that 3(g)ii clearly states that one ball cannot be used but "balls" can be, since it states that "tube/tubes" can be used.

    JMHO (and sorry)

    Al Russell 66451
     
  3. ChrisSmith

    ChrisSmith New Member

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    I would have to agree with Al that 'or' is to be taken as the exclusive 'or'.

    BTW Shevy, your idea that minimizing the area of surface contact reduces the friction probably isn't true. In general, the resistance force from friction (both static and kinetic) is not affected by quantity of surface area. And in fact when surface area becomes very small and subsequently pressure between the two substances (the beads and the boom, in this case) increases greatly, second order effects can contribute to make the resistance force actually INCREASE.

    There are exceptions, like iceskates, where the great pressure caused by the small surface area of contact actually melts the ice providing a very low friction condition.
     
  4. drLaser

    drLaser Member

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    Al Russell writes:

    > Shevy,
    > Or vs. And/or

    The quickest reply is:
    > Al,
    > Or vs. Either...or

    That is, the meaning of "OR" can not be determined by the mere EXISTENCE of references elsewhere in the Rules to some "AND/OR" format. Because then, by the same talken, one could find references to the "EITHER x OR y" format in the rules, and claim that this constitues proof that "OR" was intended as an "inclusive or".

    We can not just consider ONE ALTERNATIVE in the language at the expense of the others to make linguistic points. Life and language are not as simple as that.

    A more detailed analysis of ALL such qualifiers in ALL rules is required, not just such one-sided linguistic contrasts.

    How should you go about it?

    Rule 3(g)ii is a "positive" or "passive" (i.e., permissive) rule, and comparing it to other rules, we should probably just ignore all rules where the "OR" is used in a negative statement (as in: "can't do X or Y"). In these cases, that BOTH X and Y are banned is clear.

    We must also ignore all those cases where the Rule Makers have explicitly used the form "EITHER x OR y (OR Z)", which clearly signals that the "exclusive" interpretation of OR was intended in these cases.

    We must similarly ignore all rules that explicitly use the term "AND/OR" which clearly indicates the "INCLUSIVE OR".

    We should also generally exclude all rules in which "OR" implies only one of its arguments - not as a regulation but - simply by virtue of the fact that the coexistence of two arguments of "OR" is PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE (because they can't occupy the same space, the same screw holes, etc., at the same point in time). Such cases do not relate to what A MAN-MADE RULE attemps to permit or ban.

    We can then consider all the remaining rules where the word "OR" appears, analyze each, and see if a pattern develops about the intended meaning of "OR".

    This is the only reliable approach that can be binding - at least in the short term.

    Shevy Gunter
    Member, ILCA-NA


    PS. Chris's point about "friction" can be addressed elsewhere if it is raised as separate thread. We should not dilute this important topic with side issues.
     
  5. vtgent49

    vtgent49 Member

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    OK,

    I agree that this needs work to develop an interim solution to the question. And for now I'll be "devil's advocate" if need be.

    A summary: I stated the use of "and/or" led one to conclude the use of "or" was intentionally in the exclusive sense. Shevy countered that the use of "either/or" was equal proof that the opposite was intended, that "or" was the inclusive intent, such that a complete analysis of the use of "or" alone was needed.

    I do agree that I was too simplistic, and that the process Shevy described may be needed, even with all the qualifier's as defined by Shevy. I didn't do this yet.

    But what I did do, is a word search for all the "either/or's" and have a list, (of only 5) that I will attach below. What I think, as of now, is this list of "either/or's" actually supports my theory that the use of "or" alone was intended to be inclusive, not exclusive, as I had stated. This is based on the fact that none of the "either/or's", after excluding the physicall impossible one, refer to any item where we might all know that only ONE of the choices is allowed. E.g. "The key ....may be held in the key way with either tape, elastic or velcro". This doesn't seem to mean that our choice is "one of the above", vs. two or more of the above? (ignoring for a moment how odd that would be to use all 3). The others are equally "non-chalant" (if I may), such as tieing the end of our main sheet twice?

    Admittedly, this is still inconclusive, for all the reasons Shevy states, but it may be useful, as a step in the process, however inderect. I agree, that "non-chalant" is unacceptable, at any level of interpretation of the rules. And I will do the "or" only search one of these days, and will hold my Vote til then or later.

    For those who care to read on:

    vi. The key may be straight or bent, and it may be held in the key way with either tape, elastic or velcro.
    ii. The tail of the mainsheet may also be knotted or tied to either the base of the mainsheet block, the hiking strap, the hiking strap support line, or the hiking strap shockcord.
    (d) A shockcord may be attached between the aft end of the hiking strap and to either the traveller cleat, or the hiking strap eye straps at the aft end of the cockpit.
    ii. The outhaul control line shall be tied to either the end of the boom, the outhaul fairlead, the sail, or a quick release system, and shall pass at least once through the boom outhaul fairlead.
    (a) The Laser shall be raced with either one or two persons aboard. When two persons race a Laser they shall race together throughout the entire race or series of races without alternating at the helm.

    Al Russell 66451
     
  6. drLaser

    drLaser Member

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    It is clear that the use of "EITHER x OR y (OR z)" implies the exclusive interpretation. We gain nothing by retstating the obvious.The examples above support NOTHING but the definition of "either/or" itself. They are as useless as reporting the "and/or" cases. (I leave aside the issue of whether the form "either/or" SHOULD have been used in the rules above.)

    Oviously, I have done the suggested search for "or" terms in the Rules long ago. I would not be writing about it otherwise. My only questions are, upon such analysis:
    - Whether common sense will lead all Laser sailors to the same conslusion, and
    - Whether ILCA will see itself "above" what may be obvious.

    Shevy Gunter
    Member, ILCA-NA
     
  7. drLaser

    drLaser Member

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    And just to keep the discussion going, here is a BIASED sampling of the rules containing the word "OR"....

    My sampling is "biased" because it is OBVIOUS in these examples that

    - either the World Council would have no reason to have intended the "exclusive" interpretation of "OR",

    or (no pun intended by the use of that word again here)

    -the Wopld Council MUST have intended the "inclusive" interpreation of "OR".

    --------------------------------------------------

    3(a). "Turning Points is ... mast OR boom around which a moving control line passes"
    BOTH mast and boom are considered possible turning points.

    3(b)i. "natural OR synthetic rope..."
    A control line can surely be a hybrid of natural AND synthetic.

    3(b)iv. [Blocks] "in a cunningham, vang OR outhaul control system, shall have a sheave diameter of..."
    Shave diameter restriction applies to ALL systems, not to "either" the vang or the outhaul or the cunningham!

    3(b)v. "Optional blocks shall only have single OR double sheaves..."
    BOTH single and double sheave blocks are allowed. Rule does not say that your optional blocks must have EITHER all single OR all double sheaves!

    3(b)viii(b). "Optional deck blocks may be supported with a spring, ball, plastic tube OR tape"
    There is no reason why ALL of these may not be used together in any combination!

    3(b)x. "The free ends of different control lines... may be tied... to any deck fitting OR the centreboard... OR a rope loop..."
    Hell! They can be tied to ALL at the same time (if you want). Why not?

    3(b)xi. "To secure the mast in the event of a capsize, a loose retention line OR shockcord"
    This USED TO be interpreted as an "exclusive or", but mainly because no one had tried using both. Now, even Interpretation 2 explicitly notes that allows use of BOTH is allowed.

    3(c)ii. "mainsheet may also be knotted or tied"
    You can BOTH knot AND tie if you want.

    3(c)iii. "The block may be supported by a spring, ball, plastic tube or tape."
    You can use ANY comnination. Many of us have been using a plastic tube wrapped around with tape for ages!

    3(c)iv. "One mainsheet clam OR cam cleat... "
    You can have a clam on one side AND a cam on the other side, if you want.

    3(e)i. "cunningham... shall consist of... Optional blocks OR loops for purchase"
    You can use BOTH blocks and loops on the same cunningham.

    3(e)iii. "Additional purchases may be obtained... using any of... sail tack cringle, ... mast tang, ... OR the cunningham attachment point.
    THIS IS THE KILLER PROOF!
    ALL of these points may be used together to create purchase points.

    3(f)i. "outhaul... shall consist of... Optional blocks OR loops for purchase"
    You can use BOTH on the same outhaul.

    3(f)iii. "Additional purchases may be obtained by forming rope loops in the line or adding Optional blocks to the line,"
    You can have BOTH loops AND blocks on the same line.

    3(f)iii (Continued): "....... using the outhaul fairlead, the outhaul clam cleat, the boom, the mast OR gooseneck fitting."
    ALL can be used together in the same system.
    --------------------------------------------------

    The pattern is obvious in this sample, always pointing to the "inclusive or".

    Shevy Gunter
     
  8. Chris123

    Chris123 New Member

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    there should be a third choice in the poll: "It depends. The drafting of the rules is sloppy with regard to the use of 'or' and sometimes it (obviously, from context and common sense ) means inclusive or, other times it (obviously, from context and common sense) means exclusive or, and some of the time ya just can't tell.

    This is not a set theory problem, it's a well-known language problem in drafting contracts, by-laws, rules, and the like. Wouldn't the proper fix rather than create piles of analylsis around this be simply to tighten up the language by replacing each of the ambiguous "X or Y" clauses with either "either X or Y" or "X and/or Y".

    Don't say "Following a protest hearing the prevailing party may duct tape the losing party's mouth shut or stuff it with a rag."

    Instead, say one of the following, depending upon which you mean:

    "the prevailing party may duct-tape the losing party's mouth and/or stuff it with a rag,"

    "the prevailing party may either duct-tape the losing party's mouth or stuff it with a rag (but not both)."
     
  9. drLaser

    drLaser Member

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    I agree with everything you say, Chris.

    This does not lighten our agony. We are still waiting for ILCA to clarify this. The problem in countries where English is not the mother language is far worse.

    The underlying problem is that ILCA is not even constitutionally authorized to clarify this language by itself: strictly speaking, ANY change in the wording of the Rules is to be approved by 2/3 of the membership. (But we also know that the times when ILCA abided by its own Constitution and Class Rules are left far in the past.)

    SG
     
  10. Chris123

    Chris123 New Member

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    If two people (call them Alice and Bob) really felt selfless, and/or had nothing better to do, they could force clarity by finding some spot in the rules where it said "Frammis may be belayed with clothespin OR duct tape". They could enter a race. Alice could apply both clothespin AND duct tape. Bob could protest. They could agree that whoever lost the protest would appeal. All the way up. Then there'd be clarity. That's how famous constitutional cases come about in law.

    But wouldn't Alice and Bob be better served spending the time recruiting coaches for the Jr. program at their club? Or doing situps? Or practising roll tacks? Or perhaps in some secluded location, where, transported by wings of animal passion, etc. etc.
     
  11. drLaser

    drLaser Member

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    There's nothing that prevents either Alice or Bob from recruiting coaches for the Jr. program AND doing situps AND practicing roll tacks AND demanding that someone makes clear what "Frammis may be belayed with clothespin OR duct tape" means.

    I just came from the club. There, I took measurements for Finn, Pirat, Europe, Laser, Opti hull covers for an international sponsor who will foot the bill. Then did an on the launch ramp "measurement" to identify illegal rigs prior to three side-by-side clubs' Laser fleets - 40 strong - departed for an inter-club race. Then, instructed on the water three kids (13 to 17) who have just completed a "learn to sail course" on Lasers about the finer points of Lasering -- because their own instructor at the Sailing School was ill. Then bought my mom a mother's day present. Then corresponded with John Christianson, the designer of the proposed "clew tie-down sleeve", and wrote this.

    So, no! Alice and Bob would only be half-alive if they didn't care about - say - what they do or don't do to prisoners in Iraq, or about whether they should or should not say anything when someone steps in front of them at the McDonalds line, or when they can't figure out what "OR" means in the Class Rules of the one-design boat they sail.

    IMHO, of course.

    Best regards.
     
  12. Chris123

    Chris123 New Member

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    No question about it; my point was that resolving these ambiguities one at a time by by protest-and-appeal is pretty time consuming compared to somehow getting the ILCA to fix the broken wording, even by issuing "interpretations"
     
  13. drLaser

    drLaser Member

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    In fact, the "protest and appeal" approach is almost like proposing:
    "You make a left turn on a red light from a one way street to another one way street, and THEN we'll tell you whether we'll fine you or not!"

    Such irresponsibility in government should be unacceptable.

    SG
     
  14. LooserLu

    LooserLu LooserLu

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    Hi Shevy,

    that what you say is honorable but, could you agree, that in real live hords of lawers and judges are enough busy with it, to find exact this way´s around laws (with ambiguities in it) ?
    You know, I think, of course its better, that governement make better laws /correct laws, if the laws are not exact in that way it is practical needed. But if the governement does not make new ones, in any reason they have?
    Protesting is not the good way, but if it is the only practical way, to get any usable official answer in nearer future? Of course, then, at laserracing also, we are not far away from the reality of real society.

    For example: Putting this block(s)/or the shackle on the outhaul clam cleat and take my "big books-of-comments-to-interpretations" of the classrules and a lawer with me to the official race and make a protest, if the measurers say "no" to use my boat at race. (Provided, if any measurer say something angainst it...)
    And then, if I got an "official answer" (judgement form the official protest trial), make this answer public to get another side for the (in future becomming big) books of commenting the classrule interpretations ... Or what comes, if I forget to make the new "official" decision public, so that no other sailor has something of it ...

    But, if there is no protest, maybe "the governement" of our class says: "Assumming the year of racing, we got no official, serious critic (not lots of difficult protests) on our classrules, so what do "you few criticizers" want? - Go out, sailing!" - Like in real life,"something" must happen first (for example: lots of official protests of the racers), before that an official reaction comes.
    We can see it here, at TLF that is a (good) discussing-forum, but not the protesting-area at an official race. Where is the lot of communication from our elected ILCA-governement? Remember, what I cried at your thread, about the allowed numbers of blocks at the outhaul-clamcleat - until now, there is no official answer... is there one I have not seen?...What a "succses" in getting an official interpretation ... :-((

    It sems to me, time comes nearer, Chris123 gets right more and more - although: I don´t like protesting - I like sailing!

    Cheers
    LooserLu
     
  15. GeoffS

    GeoffS Member

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    But relatively common in case law...

    Some notable US examples:
    State v. John Scopes (aka "The Monkey Trial")
    Oliver L. Brown et.al. v. the Board of Education of Topeka (KS) et.al.

    Cheers,

    Geoff S.
     

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