Duncan Richer

Imperial Nomic


The Infrequent Ackan

Past Issues:

 1 (28/11/1997)

 2 (3/12/1997)

 3 (10/12/1997)

 4a (18/12/1997)

 5 (6/1/1998)

 6 (10/1/1998)

 7 (17/1/1998)

 8 (31/1/1998)

 9 (7/2/1998)

 10 (14/2/1998)

 11 (21/2/1998)

 12 (28/2/1998)

 13 (7/3/1998)

 14 (12/3/1998)

 15 (20/3/1998)

 16 (28/3/1998)

 17 (4/4/1998)



Volume 1, Issue 18

April 11, 1998

This issue's slogan:
"The Ex-Official Newspaper of the Presidency of Ackanomic"

In this issue:

  1. Editorial
  2. Apologies and Retractions.
  3. Poll Question #5 Results
  4. More Ackanomic News
  5. Meaningless Statistic of the Week #3
  6. Party Chess Report
  7. Sub-Game Summary
  8. Advertisement





A week after the queue tweaking, and Ackanomic is as high volume as could be expected. Fortunately, the citizenry have been calm about this new found freedom, and none have yet seen fit to abuse the privilege of submitting proposals.

The injection of new players into the game has provided some interesting proposal spread as well. Attila the Pun, IdiotBoy and JT have all been infusing the Proposal Queue with their own new brand of Ackan changes. Hopefully enough will be accepted to lighten the hearts and improve the spirits of these new arrivals and recent returns, without too many acceptances which could create chaos and paradoxes.

The Infrequent Ackan is also glad to see the recent trend towards increased competition in the Newspaper publishing business within Ackanomic. When the paper was founded, its goal was to act as a comprehensive summary news source for Ackanomic. Since then, it has branched out into Subgame coverage, and interviews, in an attempt to provide a broad-based service to the people of Acka.

Now that we have seen the introduction of papers run by /dev/joe, else...if and The Gingham Wearer in the last few weeks, I would expect competition to increase, and the quality of journalism to increase along with it. Unfortunately there is as yet no mechanism for judging this journalistic quality, but it is hoped that in the not too distant future the press will be encouraged by some form of Treasury subsidy, to give the best and brightest in the business the time needed to develop their craft.

In other editorial news, Slakko's term as President ended on Thursday, rendering the office vacant and leading to The Gingham Wearer, the newly appointed Count Tabula, calling for nominations. There will no doubt be a number of well-qualified candidates for this post, all of which will claim to be able to represent Acka in the best way possible.

When you consider your votes, you should ask yourself who has the best vision for the future for Acka. Questions to consider would include: "Who has done the most recently to shape the way Acka is growing and developing?" "Who is most committed to change as the basic principle on which Acka was founded and must continue to develop from?", and, of course "Who gives the best Stripe ceremonies as President?"

Here at the Ackan we would like to think that these questions will make you think of the most recent President, Slakko. The job was done, Functional Officers appointed without fear or favour, lavish Stripe Ceremonies provided, and all at no cost to the taxpayer - Slakko even drew no salary for being President! So, when voting comes up next week


Now, the usual reminder from the Editor: Letters to the Ackan are always welcome. We will publish contributors within reason, because our aim is to provide Ackans with a comprehensive news and opinions service. This includes opinions contradicting the paper, so feel free to criticise editorial comments.

If you want your opinions heard, or letters published, please send them to dcr24@cam.ac.uk.


Send a stamped self-addressed email to the address listed above, marked "Acka: Ackan" and we'll do our best to get back to you.

Have another good Ackan week - banna willing we'll be back next week.

Editor, The Infrequent Ackan 


Apologies and Retractions

The Ackan apologises for omitting K 2's name from the list of those with a Harfy proposal accepted. The sub-editor involved has been sold to the Newspaper run by else...ifian Enterprises for a hefty fee. And then shot in the foot, just for good measure. The last fact checker has also been sold to the same newspaper as that sub-editor, but, because of eir previous good behaviour, e was not shot. Just slightly mauled by Eddie, the paper's pet Goose, who is not at all Chartreuse.

If you know where a newspaper can get hold of some decent ammunition, at rock bottom prices, please let us know. It will save us a lot of trouble in the long term.

The Ackan heartily apologises for any damage or difficulties caused by these errors and/or omissions.


Poll Question Results

The results are in for Poll Question 5, issued in last week's paper, which was:

5. The queue was tweaked this week. Did the queue frobbing affect your proposal plans, and if so how?

(a) - No, my plans stayed the same.
(b) - Yes, I submitted less controversial proposals.
(c) - Yes, I submitted fewer modest proposals.
(d) - Yes, I just submitted fewer proposals in general.

The results of this poll were a surprise: Despite the queue's tweaking nearly doubling the number of proposals in the voting queue at one time, the vast majority of respondents claimed that the frobbing had no effect on the result.

80% of all responses were (a), with 22% split between (b) and (d), leaning towards (d). One therefore wonders whether or not the sudden increase in the rate of proposals can be ascribed purely to the new arrivals, or whether, in fact, proposals are so heavily submitted by a minority that only 22% of the populace is a sufficient proportion to cause the huge proposal wave we now see.

The random guaranteed A$5 value Trinket this week goes to JT for responding. The actual presentation will be made in a separate message.

Next week we will bring you another Poll Question designed to keep Acka interested, and also with the traditional minimal guaranteed reward. It only costs a moment of your time to enter, and you could win something - three people already have in The Infrequent Ackan Poll Competition!



More Ackanomic News

Another Gold Stripe Holder

This week, Tamson House played host to the one Stripe Ceremony to occur. Alfvaen, as Speaker and hence ProConsul, awarded Slakko eir first Gold Stripe, for achieving a Blue Cross Rank of at least 60. In fact, as this was only shortly after the expiration of Slakko's term of office as President, eir Blue Cross Rank was bolstered by the recent acquisition of a Blue Cross Bonus.

It may not be long before another Gold Stripe is awarded. Calvin N Hobbes is quickly accumulating Blue Cross Rank, and is within 10 of achieving a Gold Stripe. A Blue Cross Bonus would immediately provide the required gain - perhaps some incentive for Calvin N Hobbes to move into politics?

New Player Crazy, but neither French nor Scots Right Now

New player JT was caught by the glare of the spotlights this week in response to having one of eir proposals rejected. A visibly shaken JT was seen criticising the rules for costing him points, and was hoping that such a criticism would have the bizarre effect of actually making it all better.

Acka Science Researchers have investigated this strange claim, and pronounced it genuine. According to Prof. Moe Nonlineardynamics, new players are surrounded for their first three weeks by an apparently impenetrable "anti-point shielding". When activated, this shielding can counteract point, trinket, even A$ loss, but it can only be activated at most three times.

Prof. Nonlineardynamics warned that excessive use of the field could have long-term side effects. "Repeated usage of the anti-point shielding over a period of a couple of days can produce extreme levels of anger, irritability, and, in extreme cases, a combination of insanity and nationality conversion. The long and the short of it is that this field has the disturbing capability to turn ordinary people into Crazy French-Scotsmen." It has been suggested that these anti-point shields should come with a product warning, but, as yet, no acceptable wording has been agreed upon.

Suggested wordings include "Warning: If Highlands accent develops, discontinue use immediately and seek medical advice", and "Warning: Complaining about the rules has been linked to Gerard Depardieu impersonations."


Booming Land after Land Boom

Despite a long period of experimentation with Republican-style government, including a Senate and Presidency, local government has long been overlooked in Acka. All that was fixed this week when the Town Hall was finally erected. However, this creation was not without a cost. The extreme pressure caused by the addition of a lavish building in the previously seismically active Downtown Library area of Ackanomic led to another Earthquake.

Fortunately, this Earthquake was significantly less damaging than the previous case, resulting only in the moving of one player's House (Hubert), and plots of land belonging to one player and one undead (Hubert again, and Antimatter). The ghost of Antimatter has not been contacted regarding the problem, but may regard it as trampling on its ancestral rights of haunt. The Ackanomic Building Inspector declined to comment.

Financial Follies

The Activity Index has been generally in decline through the week, with only one day of significant gains. However, the Positivity Index continues to rise as a large proportion of proposals left to the vote are accepted, and by increasingly large margins.

Plans are up to curb short-term speculation in the market, with the planned establishment of a forced commission for dealings through the Treasury. While a fixed system has yet to be decided upon, the general consensus is that inter-player trading must be encouraged to produce a more useful Stock Market.

First Trinkets, Now Gadgets

After last week's ludicrous prices for Trinkets, this week saw some Gadgets up for Auction the subject of serious bidding on the part of a number of "financially endowed" Ackans. Joe Java was seen walking away from an Auction with a Good Ballot Stuffer, the first of its kind. With its noted ability to cancel out all Evil Ballot Stuffers in a single election or hearing, it was always going to be a popular purchase. However, the final auction price of A$341 stunned almost everyone.

The Chief Cheese, Alfvaen, was quite happy with the result. With a 10% commission due to em as Auctioneer, e will no doubt be considering the introduction of a lot more Good Ballot Stuffers while the demand is still there.



Meaningless Statistic of the Week

Another Issue - Another Meaningless Statistic. This week: Retracted Proposals. Are those who change their minds likely to be those with lots of acceptances, or are they the kind of people who will never know quite what they want to say?

This week we are looking at the players who have done the most to say "No, I didn't quite mean that, let me try it again." If there was a Retracted Cross available for 20 Proposals, then many players would be eligible. Let's have a look at some of the top contenders for such honours.

Niccolo Flychuck is far and away the most retracting player, having decided to withdraw an astounding 46 proposals from voting consideration. An achievement worthy of not only a Retracted Cross, but also two Non-Silver Stripes. To be fair, though, these 46 are a small fraction of Niccolo's overall proposal count, which includes 107 acceptances and 83 rejections at tmie of writing.

The next most retracting player in all-time terms is not currently a player. Malenkai changed eir mind on 33 occasions for second place in our retracted league table. However, Malenkai's retractions were from an even larger array of proposals than Niccolo - with Malenkai having 298 acceptances and 97 rejections.


Two other players, both still current, are the only others who would qualify for a Retracted Cross if it exists. They are Slakko, with 27 retractions, and Alfvaen, with 21. Again, both have been heavy proposers, with Slakko's retraction rate running at a significant but not overwhelming 24%, and Alfvaen's even lower.

The rest of the Top 10 retractees are rounded out by pTang1001001sos with 19, Chaos and Guy Fawkes on 16 each, snowgod on 14, Bascule on 11 and /dev/joe on 10. The smallest proposer amongst this group is Bascule, who only submitted 15 non-retracted proposals for an astounding retraction rate of over 42%.

So, does retracting make your proposal success better? It would be hard to say. Some long-standing players have done exceptionally well to maintain both a high acceptance rate and a very low retraction rate. ThinMan is the case that comes most to mind, with an acceptance rate in excess of 80%, and only 6 retracted proposals out of over 55 submitted.

Meanwhile, others have used retractions to most likely bump up their acceptance rate. Alfvaen's 21 retractions have no doubt reduced eir rejection count, leaving em with a healthy 71% acceptance rate.

This has been Number 3 in an occasional series of Meaningless Statistics of the Week. We hope you enjoyed it - feel free to send feedback to dcr24@cam.ac.uk.





Party Chess Report


This week saw even more craziness in weights. After the Chess-Umpire admitted that "some mistakes" had been made, itself after some prodding from the Gingham Wearer, steps were taken to prevent a future occurrence. These steps revealed that what originally looked to be a 3-way tie for Swinger weight supremacy actually had Niccolo leading by 5 and 6, on 103 to Slakko's 98 and The Gingham Wearer's 97. The new system should be completely up and running, properly tested, in time to ensure that the Swinger Weights for the next Swingpoint Calculation are verifiably correct.

Meanwhile, in actual play there was just as much turmoil. The Gingham Wearer finally used the promotion capacities of Demons to their full devastating effect, converting two of them into Rooks in the one Play, and thereby checking both Alfvaen and Slakko.

Fortunately for Slakko, this check was not fatal, as there was a single escape route for his King. If Alfvaen had not been checked, then a two-Atomic Play play would have seen Slakko out of trouble a little more easily. However, the escape from check cost Slakko more Swinger Weight, dropping em just below Alfvaen. It will be interesting to see the Weight effect of Alfvaen's response, if indeed e somehow finds a successful response to the trap that The Gingham Wearer has sprung.

Meanwhile, the trap had the beneficial effect for The Gingham Wearer of boosting eir weight to 133.5, clearly a record under the current Weight calculation system, and one that looks as if it will stand for some time. It is unlikely that anyone will be able to prevent The Gingham Wearer taking maximum Swingpoints on Monday, reducing the battle to the minor placings.

But even these minor placings are now of more interest. With the passing of "Swinger Swingpoint Simplification", all non-zero-Weighted Swingers are eligible for Swingpoints. Further, with a new Swinger appearing this week (Koxvolio taking over the HARF party Swingership), the top prize has increased to a record 8 Swingpoints per fortnight.

So keep watching - with a Free For All due to start on Tuesday (further objections not being in evidence) things are likely to stay crowded for some time to come.

STOP PRESS: Alfvaen has surrendered eir Board Position as MetaMorph swinger, while failing to see that a piece purchase was capable of preventing the Check from continuing. The Gingham Wearer has now earned a second Stabber's Knife, tying em with Slakko for the lead in the Game of Party Chess. Keep watching for more breaking Party Chess news!

Sub Game Summary

Every week - every subgame going.

Abstract Crescent

The game of Abstract Crescent may be moving swiftly towards a conclusion now. With 10 rounds completed, two players are within striking distance of a one-round win. Both Hubert and /dev/joe are capable of unleashing a single sufficiently high points round to bring things to a close. However, this assumes of course that one of them actually wins the next round, a result far from certain.

Average scores appear to be gradually trending lower again, so we may expect a sudden jump up soon as a long-term pattern of play emerges. Alfvaen is currently the most consistently high player, while /dev/joe's low plays in the last couple of rounds have seen em streak into the leading position.

If you're not currently playing Abstract Crescent, and you want to be, then as Umpire I'm still accepting submissions from people who want to play. I'll be inserting them into the rolling congruences as soon as possible after I receive them, provided the game is not over first. So come and play Abstract Crescent! You'll be pleasantly surprised.


Game 3 of Fictionary started this week on a disappointing note. Slakko's first word, "gangrel" was correctly defined by two players, and almost correctly defined by a third. As a result, the round was declared over early, so everyone could go home and read through their dictionaries again.


However, Fictionary experts are wondering whether the turn was as bad for Slakko as common belief currently suggests. It is not that common for a Brainiac to receive points during a Fictionary round, and therefore one main objective is to limit the points that the other players earn. Five points net between eight players is an exceptionally low ratio, one which, under other circumstances, would have a Brainiac delighted.


Onward come the Virus chasers, and the game plods on. Game 2 of Viruses was started in December, and each round has been conducted in a spirit of speedy play. Yet here we are in April, and the game is far from over. Most recent results have seen two-star stretch eir Viruscount lead to 6 cells, acquiring a fourth Viruspoint. But this low Viruspoint score gives other players plenty of time to plan strategies to ensure that two-star's current success is merely transitory.

From a strategic point of view, it appears that /dev/joe is still the best placed of the current Virus players. E is still second in the Viruspoint standings, and remains just off the pace in the Viruscount battle. This combination of two high counts makes em the most dangerous player in the game. The Gingham Wearer's higher Viruspoint score may be slightly unnerving, but eir current run of low Viruscounts suggests eir challenge has faltered badly.

Those with low Points totals, meanwhile, are still trying to set up a decent stable growth pattern, something very difficult to achieve in Viruses. This has led to some interesting count changes over the past few rounds, a topic which may find its way into a future Meaningless Statistics column. So keep watching for more fun and antics on the Virus Board.

Word Un-Association 

Game 2's interesting start continues. No unique links were found for gilding to page, leaf being a common theme amongst successful Linkers. This has left Slakko in the lead on 3 points, with Attila the Pun the current Linker. Early days yet, with no significant pattern yet emerged.


Our bard appears to have gone to sleep again! rufus interrupted The Gingham Wearer's long tale with an explosion on the asteroid, but then promptly shut up himself and has refused to say a word. Many suspect e is asleep by now, with others waiting on the Barkeep's say-so to continue the tale. Sam is getting bored while waiting to continue the quest for the Sceptre of banna. The least we could do as conscientious bards is to let him get on with it.



The Ackan is still looking for more interviews. If you've already responded to our earlier queries but have not yet received your preliminary questions sheet, don't worry, we'll be getting in contact shortly to know how you're getting on.

On the other hand, if you have yet to respond to the Ackan call for interviews, and have held a public office in Acka for at least one month continuously at any stage in Acka's history, then the staff of the Infrequent Ackan would like to hear from you. Just email us at dcr24@cam.ac.uk with the keywords "Acka: Ackan" and say you would like to do an interview. That's all. If you are accepted (which, let's face it, is still pretty likely at this stage) then someone from the Ackan will be around to contact you shortly.

An additional advertisement, from the Campaign to Re-Elect Slakko:


Vote Slakko in the next Presidental Election. E didn't screw things up this term - and he won't do it next term either.

Voting will probably last for 3 days starting next Tuesday or Wednesday. Please remember - Vote Early, Vote Often, and most important of all, Vote for Slakko.








The Infrequent Ackan, first to you with Ackan news.

Copyright © Duncan Richer writing under the pseudonym of "Slakko", 11th April 1998.

Check us out on the web, at http://dcr24.quns.cam.ac.uk/Nomic/Acka/infrequent.html