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RONR Bylaw Glitch #2 (of 2): The Logic Bomb


jstackpo
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Well, a firecracker, anyway.

Paraphrasing a portion of Article VIII (page 588) in ELI5 terms....  If RONR says one thing and an association's rules say another, the the association's rules prevail.

The difficulty arises in the manner that the Article specifies where the association's rules are found: "...[in] these bylaws and any special rules that the Society may adopt."

The use of the word "and" is the logic problem.  It requires that the rules (that are inconsistent with RONR) are to be found in BOTH "these bylaws" AND "any special rules". It is quite unlikely that an inconsistent rule would be repeated like that.  Therefor there is a logical quandary and one can argue that RONR still prevails because the conditions for the association's rules to prevail ("BOTH...AND...") are not met if the rule is in only one place.

Replace "and" with "or" and the problem goes away.

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No, I have to disagree on this one.  For clarity, let's define the word "cromulent" to mean "not inconsistent".  So we have:

“The rules contained in the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the Society in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are cromulent with these bylaws and any special rules of order the Society may adopt.”

That's the desired behavior. In order for the rules to govern, they must be cromulent both with the bylaws and with the special rules.  Being uncromulent (inconsistent) with even one of the two means RONR does not govern.

So and is correct.  Using or would require a rule to be listed in both places to ensure it would supersede RONR.

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On 9/24/2019 at 8:13 PM, Gary Novosielski said:

For clarity, let's define the word "cromulent" to mean "not inconsistent".

That's a neat trick, but the word "not" has to be treated with more care than that, since the "scope of the negation" often encompasses more than than just one word or phrase.

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33 minutes ago, Shmuel Gerber said:

That's a neat trick, but the word "not" has to be treated with more care than that, since the "scope of the negation" often encompasses more than than just one word or phrase.

Then are you agreeing that the standard language for adopting RONR is incorrect?  It seems to me that the scope of negation here is just one word.

Would it be clearer to say "... and in which they are inconsistent neither with these bylaws nor with any special rules the society may adopt"?

I'm fine with the current wording, by the way.

 

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8 minutes ago, Shmuel Gerber said:

No, but I think I'd agree that if the standard language were what Dr. Stackpole says it should be, that would not be incorrect either.

It's hard to believe that the two could be equivalent, especially given the critical difference noted in RONR relating to and/or until the election of their successors.

The two words do not mean the same thing.

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3 hours ago, Shmuel Gerber said:

What are "ELI5 terms"?

"ELI5" is Internet/reddit-speak for "Explain Like I'm 5 [years old]" .    cf:  https://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/

Quite interesting (and usually correct) explanations of random topics. 

 

2 hours ago, Gary Novosielski said:

Then are you agreeing that the standard language for adopting RONR is incorrect?  It seems to me that the scope of negation here is just one word.

Would it be clearer to say "... and in which they are inconsistent neither with these bylaws nor with any special rules the society may adopt"?

I'm fine with the current wording, by the way.

 

I think Gary is on to it.  We would have to get down into the reeds of symbolic logic to straighten this out (I went there a long time ago, but have forgotten the route).  I would welcome an ELI5 explanation of where (the consensus seems to think) I went wrong in my original posting.

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8 hours ago, Gary Novosielski said:

It's hard to believe that the two could be equivalent, especially given the critical difference noted in RONR relating to and/or until the election of their successors.

The two words do not mean the same thing.

"And" can mean "in addition to", and it can mean "at the same time as". (Or in other words, "and" can mean "in addition to", or it can mean "at the same time as".)

If I say, "I saw a bunch of husbands and wives", I'm probably talking about two sets of people; but if I say, "I saw a bunch of husbands and fathers", I may well be talking about the same set of people.

In the first case, I doubt it would be clearer to say, "I saw a bunch of husbands or wives".

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