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Serving Rule 9.1.8 - Huh???

Discussion in 'Rules / Tournament Regulation / Officiating' started by petert1401, Aug 10, 2009.

  1. petert1401

    petert1401 Regular Member

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    This evening I was spending an idle few moments browsing through the Rules of Badminton when I noticed what seems to me to be an inconsistency. I'd be grateful for any opinions from you umpires out there.

    The service rule, 9.1.8, states that in a correct service:
    "the flight of the shuttle shall be upwards from the server’s racket to pass over the net so that, if not intercepted, it shall land in the receiver’s service court (i. e. on or within the boundary lines);

    and rule 13.1 (Faults) states that:
    It shall be a fault if the service is not correct

    Surely this says that if I make a serve that would have landed out if it hadn't been intercepted, then it is a fault, even if the receiver chose to return it?

    In other words, the umpire is at liberty to call a service fault because the serve would have landed out if the receiver had not intercepted it.


    I don't suppose it's ever happened, but don't the rules say that it could?

    Grateful for any umpires opinions...
     
  2. Capnx

    Capnx Regular Member

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    in your statement, "if" and "even if" are not the same. "if" is conditional, indicating if A happens, B will happen: If I win the lottory, I will buy the car. So if I do not win the lottory, I will not buy the car. (If A, then B; If Not A, then Not B)

    but "even if" is not conditional: If I win the lottory, I will buy the car. But even if I do Not win the lottory, I will still buy the car. So here, buying the car doesn't depend on winning the lottory.

    correct serve: If not intercepted, it shall land in the service court.

    so the correct serve is dependent on the service NOT intercepted. Once it is intercepted, the service ends and game play begins. The umpire has no say in the service once play starts.
     
  3. chris-ccc

    chris-ccc Regular Member

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    To prove that the Service is "OUT", it must be allowed to land "OUT"

    .
    It appears that Capnx, who answered the question, is a mathematician. ;););)
    Yes, it's QED (Quod Erat Demonstrandum = Proof As Required).

    To prove that the Service, and/or any other shot, is landing "OUT", the shuttlecock must be allowed to land "OUT" (i.e. not tempered with).
    .
     
  4. FlyingGorilla

    FlyingGorilla Regular Member

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    It says IF NOT INTERCEPTED, thus meaning if not played. So really, it's saying that unless the receiver plays the bird, hence making it a rally, the shuttle must land in the service court. If it's out/short/fault, but the opponent plays it over the net it's considered played.

    Furthermore, the rules go in order of sequence no? I mean Rule 9.1.8 comes before 13.1 therefore by priority of issue, it is implied that the bird must land in order to be considered a fault or good. The umpire simply calls it after the bird lands, or before it is struck dependent on the racket position; ie above the waist.
    The umpire might call faults during rallies due to an extra contact on the bird by the teammate or an illegal strike/contact. But, I'm quite sure that a fault must land in order to be considered as such, making it up to the receiver to make the initial judgment (in/out).

    Helpful?


    Furthermore, i completely agree with Capnx.
     
    #4 FlyingGorilla, Aug 11, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2009
  5. alexh

    alexh Regular Member

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    I'm with petert on this one. There's a difference between conditional (formal logic) and hypothetical (natural language). It's certainly open to interpretation, but one reading of the rules is that the umpire and/or service judge should be able to watch the serve and decide whether it's legal before the receiver hits it. (Whether or not you served correctly should depend only on what you did; it shouldn't be a function of how anyone else on the court acts.) Therefore we're talking about a hypothetical situation rather than a clause in predicate logic.

    An analogy: you could say that you're driving too close to the car in front when, if the car in front were to stop suddenly, you would hit it. A traffic cop might look at how close you are to the car in front, make a judgement, and book you for dangerous driving. They can make that judgement without needing to see you actually crash into the other car.

    ----

    Of course, no set of English language rules will ever be completely unambiguous. In practice, everyone knows what the rule is really supposed to mean, and an umpire would never call a "hypothetical" service fault of this kind. But I agree that the wording of the rule isn't quite right.
     
  6. petert1401

    petert1401 Regular Member

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    Thanks alexh, I was beginning to think it was just me being obtuse :rolleyes:

    That's a nice explanation. We all know what the intent of the rule is, but it's ambiguously worded and (if you're a pedantic so-and-so like me) open to interpretation.

    Next club night I'll take my rule book along and, if my partner takes a service that was going out, I'll call a service fault & see what happens. Should be interesting! :D
     
  7. Capnx

    Capnx Regular Member

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    I don't want to be difficult, but the example you gave is not really applicable as the way the rule of the badminton is written.

    Code:
    "the flight of the shuttle shall be upwards from the server’s racket to pass over the net so that, [b]if not intercepted[/b], it shall land in the receiver’s service court (i. e. on or within the boundary lines);
    the badminton rule states that unless it is intercepted, the serve is considered good as long as the birdie lands inside the court.

    the car example, the correct analogy would've been unless you actually hit the car, your driving is considered good as long as you drive within your own lanes. traffic laws gives the cops the right to stop traffic as they see fit, but I don't think badminton gives the same power to the umpires.

    now if you really want to be anal about the rules, lol, the order of the action matters: the flight of the shuttle... (1) pass over the net, (2) if not intercepted, (3) shall land in the court.

    so in order for the serve to be correct, it has to: pass over net and land inside the court if not intercepted.

    so for the serve to be INCORRECT: either it does NOT pass over net, or it does NOT land inside the court if not intercepted.

    so, the umpire cannot call a fault if the shuttle has passed over the net but is in midair and has not yet landed or has been intercepted.
     
  8. chris-ccc

    chris-ccc Regular Member

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    Don't see how you can prove that the shuttlecock is "OUT" if it hasn't landed "OUT"

    .
    Don't see how you can prove that the shuttlecock is "OUT" when it hasn't landed "OUT".

    Btw, it's not only when your partner hits/returns the shuttlecock with the racket; Even if the shuttlecock is going "OUT" but on it's way was prevented from landing, for example it hits his/her body/clothing/shoe/etc..., the umpire would not award you and your partner the point.
    .
     
    #8 chris-ccc, Aug 13, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2009
  9. FlyingGorilla

    FlyingGorilla Regular Member

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    I completely agree with Capnx.
    Quite sure it sounds correct to me. I don't think, nor have I ever seen an umpire call a fault in the air or after the service return (unless they did something else like a racket fault...or net contact...foot-line fault or a striking fault)

    I'm quite sure the rules are dependent on the players and not independent of; for example if I was to strike the bird during a rally and I've hit it hard and beyond my opponents back lines, but my opponent plays it, the umpire will not stop the rally in favor of my opponent unless he judges it for himself and the rally ends.
    Same goes with service, until the shuttle lands, the judge will not make a call. It's up to me to judge the service as in/out, and then appeal or wait for the umpire to agree/disagree.
     
  10. petert1401

    petert1401 Regular Member

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    I, of course, don't. ;)

    I said in my post that started this thread that I didn't suppose it had ever happened, but that the wording of the rules was ambiguous enough that maybe it could.

    The point has since been made that the intent of the law is obvious, but that's not really the issue - the issue is whether it allows for misinterpretation.
    My argument was not that the umpire will not stop the rally, but that the umpire could stop the rally.

    So far in this thread, we have three people who think that the law is not ambiguous, and two who think that it is. That, for me at least, is enough to show that the law is not as clearly worded as it could or should be.

    Time to wind up the thread now I think, or we're going to go round in circles. Thanks for everyone's opinons.
     
  11. Capnx

    Capnx Regular Member

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    but you're basing the entire population's perception of the rules based on 5 ppl's reply on a forum's thread, lol. isn't this sample a little unrepresentative and very biased? lol

    the umpire could always stop the rally, but that doesn't make the serve correct or fault. the umpire can only stop the rally when in fact the service is fault.

    your argument is that based on the rule as it is written, the umpire has the option/power to stop the rally and deem the service fault because the service in mid-air looks to be not landing inside the court and has not been intercepted. But that is not the case.

    shall (according to Marrian Dictionary): (2) used in laws, regulations, or directives to express what is mandatory

    so there is nothing ambiguouse about that. for the service to be correct, the shuttle must not be intercepted and it shall (mandatory to) land inside. the umpire cannot call a service fault unless the shuttle lands.
     
  12. ctjcad

    ctjcad Regular Member

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    Just wondering..

    ..if the wording of the law/rule seems ambiguous or "not as clearly worded as it could or should be" to you and others who think the same, how would you re-word it so it'll make it less ambiguous or more clearly worded as it could or should be??...:confused:
     
  13. Gollum

    Gollum Regular Member

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    I vote we petition the BWF to recast the Laws in first-order predicate logic. Almost nobody will understand them, but at least all possible ambiguity will be removed. :D

    As the Law stands, Peter's argument doesn't make sense. "if not intercepted, it shall land in the receiver’s service court". This is straightforward material implication; it readily formalises to "A -> B", where "->" is the logical operator "arrow", with truth table TFTT. In order for Peter's argument to work, this conditional must be falsifiable for a correct service; but it can only be false when A is true and B is false -- i.e. when the serve was not intercepted, and the shuttle does not land within the receiver's court (an incorrect service).

    Peter's argument can only work if we recast the Law as a counterfactual conditional: "if it were not intercepted, it would land in the receiver's court". Then we would have a Law that required the court officials to make judgements about something that hasn't actually happened: would the serve have landed out, if the receiver hadn't hit it? Strictly speaking, Peter's argument would be correct for this rewritten version of the Law.

    It would be difficult to demonstrate formally, owing to the problems inherent in formalising counterfactual conditionals, along with temporal and modal conditionals. We'd have to get into Possible Worlds theory, and hitch a ride with some wild and woolly logical system that no one really trusts. ;) Nevertheless, his natural-language argument would be correct.

    But as the Law stands, the conditional is not counterfactual, and therefore Peter's argument is incorrect. It would appear that the Law-writers have actually chosen their words rather carefully, and avoided saying "would". ;)
     
    #13 Gollum, Aug 13, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2009
  14. alexh

    alexh Regular Member

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    Let me state at this point that I don't have any problem with how the laws are written. I think anyone with an ounce of common sense knows what they're supposed to mean. But as an investigation of how language works, I find this debate fascinating, so I'm going to keep going with it :)

    From the point of view of formal logic, your analysis is correct. The ambiguity stems from that fact that most people don't actually interpret language in this way. Read again my "dangerous driving" example above, and look closely at how the word "if" is interpreted in such a context.

    See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indicative_conditional and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counterfactual_conditional I'm not an expert in such technicalities of linguistics, but there certainly appears to be plenty of room for ambiguity here.

    You've just proved petert's point very nicely! According to what you've written, if the receiver intercepts the shuttle then it's not a correct service. I'm sure that's not what you intended. See how easy it is for language to be interpreted in different ways!

    (I've never heard of the Marrian Dictionary. According to my handy Pocket Oxford, definitions of "shall" include "expressing future event...intention...condition...command or duty...likelihood or tentative suggestion"--plenty of room there for all the possible interpretations we're discussion. I don't think we can settle this argument by appeal to a dictionary.)
     
  15. alexh

    alexh Regular Member

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    I can tell you exactly what will happen. First of all the other players on the court will be confused, then later they will learn to hate you ;-) I suggest you keep the debate at a hypothetical level.

    Even when it has landed out, you can't "prove" it without a video replay. (Never mind trying to prove whether the receiver moved before the shuttle was struck, whether the racket was above horizontal at the point of contact, whether there was any hesitation between backswing and forward swing, whether a slice serve hit the cork or the feathers first...) All of this relies on human judgement, whichever way you interpret it.
     
  16. petert1401

    petert1401 Regular Member

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    OK, let's keep going :)

    ctjcad asked how I reword the rule to make it less ambiguous. At the risk of starting a debate about my proposed wording, I would rewrite from the existing :-

    9.1.8 the flight of the shuttle shall be upwards from the server's racket to pass over the net so that, if not intercepted, it shall land in the receiver's service court (i.e. on or within the boundary lines)

    to :-

    9.1.8 the flight of the shuttle shall be upwards from the server's racket to pass over the net so that it does not land outside the receiver's service court (i.e. outside the boundary lines)

    Removing the "if not intercepted" clause removes the ambiguity. If the shuttle does not land, then it cannot land out and the service is therefore "correct".

    The problem with the existing wording is that a mandatory event (it shall land) has a condition attached to it (if not intercepted). It is this dichotomy of a conitional mandatory event that causes the confusion.
     
    #16 petert1401, Aug 14, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2009
  17. Capnx

    Capnx Regular Member

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    i'm sorry if the way i try to explain it is unclear...

    lets go back to the specific rules:

    FAULTS
    It shall be a "fault":
    13.1 if a service is not correct (Law 9.1);

    so unless the service meets the requirments of 9.1, it is not correct and thus fault

    9.1.8 the flight of the shuttle shall be upwards from the server's racket to pass over the net so that, if not intercepted, it shall land in the receiver's service court (i.e. on or within the boundary lines);

    so the shuttle has to do both: (1)pass over the net and (2)if not intercepted, the shuttle shall fall inside the court.

    so it is fault when: (1) does not pass over the net or (2)if not intercepted, the shuttle does not fall inside the court.

    here, if not intercepted is necessary but NOT sufficient for the serve to be called either good or fault. it is simply a conditional clause. in order to determine whether the service is good or fault, it is necessary that the shuttle NOT be intercepted, but that alone is not sufficient, the serve must also land not inside for it to be fault.

    i do see a certain circular logic in that if you do not allow the serve to land, how can you say it is good or fault. but by ruling the serve in mid-air as good or fault, the umpire unduely determines the result of the service without there being the actual result of the landing of the shuttle. a better example would've been the movie Minority Report, lol, arresting someone for a murder he has yet to commit. in the same manner, i guess you can argue that the split second after the server serves and before the receiver makes contact, the birdie is in free flight and at that moment none of the rules apply: it has crossed the net, it is not intercepted yet, and it has not landed in yet. However, this holds true for all rallies right?
     
  18. Gollum

    Gollum Regular Member

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    Well, people can interpret language incorrectly in any circumstance, even when the language is unambiguous. That's a problem with people, not the sentence. :p

    Some natural language conditionals are not adequately represented by material implication, but this one is. You are wilfully interpreting a straightforward conditional as a counterfactual conditional, when nothing in the sentence justifies this. ;)
     
  19. Gollum

    Gollum Regular Member

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    However, there is an interesting point to be made here, which seems to be in your thoughts also: in natural languages, the link between syntax and semantics is inherently weak. Natural languages are neither sound nor complete, and consequently some amount of interpretation is always necessary.

    A natural-language sentence is always open to interpretation, but in some cases the correct interpretation is pretty clear. Nevertheless, if you truly wish to force it, you can always continue to argue for a perverse interpretation. ;)
     
  20. alexh

    alexh Regular Member

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    That's exactly the point: I don't think it's entirely a straightforward conditional.

    A simple conditional statement, as treated in formal logic, is something of the form "If A then B". However, what we have here is an instruction of the form: "Do X so that if A happens then B is sure to follow." It's subtle, but I really do think it's a different thing.

    No, I'm not trying to be perverse. I'm just trying to figure out how it is that this sentence feels ambiguous to me (and to petert). I think the intended meaning in this context is clear, but the same sentence structure used in a different context could cause problems.
     

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