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From the book: Online Deliberation: Design, Research, and Practice

PerlNomic: Rule Making and Enforcement in Digital Shared Spaces


The system presented here, called PerlNomic, allows its users (players) to modify the core of the system itself by making proposals in the form of computer code on which the community can vote; if accepted, the proposal is executed and the rules are changed. All rules are interpreted by a strictly ‘letter of the law’ judge: the Perl programming language interpreter.

The core ideas of the system are based on the game of Nomic, which was invented by Peter Suber and described in an appendix of his book (Suber 1990). The essence of Nomic is captured in the motto that ‘to play the game is to change the rules.’ The initial rule set outlines mechanics for play, but these rules are changed by play itself. Initially, players make proposals to change rules which are put to a vote. Points are awarded for successful proposals.

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