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  1. (Parsing/Documentation) Document the way parsing lists are made

    A general observation: it seems that parsing involves a lot of list
    building & modification. There's a list of items in scope, a list of
    player-selected items that need disambiguating between, and the
    multiple-object list containing all items selected by the player.
    That's at least three lists, and ideally each of them may need
    authorial tinkering: adding an item here, removing an item there,
    printing the contents for debugging, fiddling with the results of an
    ALL, etc. And then Jon has apparently found about three subspecies
    of disambiguation, creating a dedicated rulebook for each in his
    extension; I still can't…

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      This suggestion makes some assumptions that are not completely right: for instance, scoping is not managed as a single list but rather addressed recursively. That said, we appreciate that the current system is insufficiently clear and consistent. Reviewing Disambiguation Control seems like a useful step.

    • (Parsing) Add ways to affect whether [things] is accepted

      I wanted
      to remove all of the grammar lines using the "[things]" token; this
      required having to completely remove a number of commands and re-
      introduce all of the grammar lines which didn't use "[things]".

      A bit more ambitious solution to that specific problem would be to be
      able to declare actions as being able to accept multiple nouns (i.e.,
      move this from the grammar to the actions themselves). This would also
      give more flexibility to allowing "[things]" to be qualified with
      properties (as mentioned elsewhere in the proposal), but I suspect it
      would be tricky to make this work…

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      • (Parsing) Ability to refer to the list of things which is currently being disambiguated

        This might involve canceling disambiguation entirely because
        items should be considered equivalent; removing specific items from the
        disambiguation list, while continuing to consider others; and the ability
        to add or subtract from the "likeliness score" of an item, rather than
        having one Does the player mean rule control its likeliness completely.

        Rule for disambiguating when every object under consideration is
        destroyed: say "It no longer matters which is which.".

        Rule for disambiguating when an object under consideration (called
        candidate) is inactive: remove candidate from disambiguation list.

        In a modified way, we might take this on. We propose to add a…

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          We think that it might be useful to have a look at Jon Ingold’s
          “Disambiguation Questions” extension, which does some of these things, and see whether some or all of its
          features should be adapted for the main language.

        • (Parsing) Ability to create commands that resolve to an action + specific object

          To
          quote the suggester:

          Often a situation arises where I want to understand a form of player
          input that doesn't match an existing grammar line, but I don't want to
          have to define a whole new verb just to recognize that one command.
          You can kludge around this like so:

          Understand "turn stereo down" as a mistake ("[trystereoadjusting]").

          To say trystereoadjusting: try setting the stereo to 2.

          ...but what's really needed is a companion to "Understand as a
          mistake," that allows for understanding commands which actually do
          produce actions in the game world.

          Understand "turn stereo down" as a command…

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            1 comment  ·  Admin →
          • (Actions/Problems) Give problem message for non-functional "for two turns" with out of world action

            With the syntax:

            Check requesting the pronoun meanings for 2 turns: say "Bad memory?"

            The issue:

            Rule never fires (nor should it.) A problem message should point out that out of world actions require zero turns, or, ask the author if she instead meant 'for the second time'.

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            • (Bibliography/Babel Treaty) Default Story Creation Year to compile year

              The variable 'story creation year' is automatically available in I7 but defaults to 0 if the author does not set it. Is it possible to have this default to compile year?

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              • Add phrases for writing and appending indexed text to a file

                The current phrases accept only text, so to output indexed text one must store the value in a global and use a substitution or else drop down to I6.

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                • (Parsing) Allow OOPS to be turned off

                  The option to remove OOPS mistake-handling from the parser's
                  behavior, with a line such as

                  Use no oops command.

                  (And/or one might want to be able to assign a different word this function,
                  for ease of foreign language translation.)

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                    planned  ·  0 comments  ·  Admin →
                  • (Parsing) A way to restart the command sequence

                    That is, a way to abandon the current action(s) and begin command
                    processing all over again with a new input. The activity "after reading a
                    player's command" is already capable of modifying the command text, but
                    that happens before the command is converted into an action, and well
                    before action processing starts. So at present, something like this is
                    impossible:

                    Instead of taking a candle, reparse the player's command as "get lamp".

                    For instance, in an extension to deal with new player input, you might have
                    determined that a player has used a recognized noun and a recognized verb,
                    but…

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                      This is always likely to be tricky, and the user of such a feature would
                      need to keep in mind that earlier rules might already have changed the
                      model world, or printed text; so the current action would not be magically
                      undone, but only abandoned part-way. However, we agree to explore this
                      suggestion; it might further be possible to give the player multiple commands
                      to perform, using a full stop between commands (but not a slash as found in
                      test commands).

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                        We try, but there are some things that are surprisingly hard problems linguistically. Where there are specific examples of misbehavior, we are willing to look at them.

                      • (World model) Better conversation handling in the library

                        The current system is pretty rudimentary and hard to develop anything complex with.

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                          Planned, sort of: that is, we are working on an extension that could be bundled with Inform, but would not add bulk to the standard rules for those who do not want it.

                        • (Parsing) A way to order understand lines explicitly

                          As in:

                          Understand "[a beat]" as discussing (this is the understand discussing
                          rule). The understand discussing rule is listed first in the
                          understand rules.

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                            We will not adopt this exact syntax (there is no “understand rules”
                            rulebook, so the syntax would be misleading), but we are interested in
                            offering the author some way to manually override Inform’s assumptions
                            about the order of understand lines. We would be interested in suggested
                            syntax.

                          • (World model/Programming) Make Inform 6's Scope_reason visible

                            To facilitate some existing scope issues, Inform 6's scope_reason should be exposed at the I7 level, as seen in Ron Newcomb's "Scope Control" extension, here:

                            http://inform7.com/extensions/Ron%20Newcomb/Scope%20Control/source.txt

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                            • (Syntax) Translate the phrase body of "which description is..." into a state machine implementation

                              I think I briefly mentioned this a long time ago, but given the news
                              that closures will be added in a future version, I think it ought to
                              be restated in depth: I propose adding an NI feature to facilitate
                              writing "to decide which description is..." phrases, by translating
                              the phrase body into a state machine implementation based around a
                              closure.

                              (Caution: long technical discussion follows, some based on speculation
                              about I7 features yet to come. For now, this is just something to
                              think about, and possibly -- I hope -- refer back to some time after
                              this upcoming release.)

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                                1 comment  ·  Admin →
                              • (Namespace) Make compiler smarter about abbreviating object names

                                Have the compiler allow abbreviations where they're unambiguous but
                                choose the shortest match otherwise. For instance, if we have:

                                The car key is a thing.

                                And somewhere else:

                                The car is a thing.

                                Then could the compiler be made to assume that, since there's an identifier
                                called 'car', 'car' by itself always refers to the car and never to the car
                                key (although 'car' could otherwise be taken as a reference to the 'car key'
                                if 'car' had not been defined as a separate identifier).

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                                  1 comment  ·  Admin →

                                  This is a good idea but very difficult to implement; we will see whether it
                                  turns out to be possible.

                                  There are also possible hazards. At present, ambiguous names are resolved partly
                                  by seeing what names are closer in the source text; this is useful in resolving
                                  ambiguities between extensions and the main source. We are concerned that
                                  implementing this feature might introduce errors which the current implementation
                                  resolves correctly.

                                • (IDE) Skein accessibility

                                  Work to make the skein more accessible to visually-impaired users: currently it is not useful to them.

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                                  • (Programming) Allow conditionless definitions

                                    To allow definitions such as

                                    Definition: the orange is citrus.

                                    including no condition at all.

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                                      planned  ·  0 comments  ·  Admin →
                                    • (Programming) Clearing a list with "now"

                                      Be able to empty a list simply by saying

                                      now L is empty;

                                      rather than having to truncate a list to 0 entries.

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                                        planned  ·  1 comment  ·  Admin →
                                      • (Extensions/Website) Show which extensions aren't compatible with current build *VW*

                                        Have any extensions that don't work with the current build greyed out (or something similar) on the website so that we don't waste our time with them.

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                                          1 comment  ·  Admin →

                                          (Volunteer wanted.) This is something we’d be happy to see, if someone is willing to help with implementing appropriate notification features on the website and helping superintend. (There are several extensiony things we’d love to add to the website, all of which would need attention from one or more volunteers.)

                                        • (Output/printing) Add an activity for room name printing

                                          Would it be possible to make the printing of a room’s name (in bold, at the top of a room description) into an activity? –Or, perhaps more usefully, make the entire process of “printing a room description” an activity.
                                           
                                          I’ve often found myself wishing that I could refer to the printing of a room description as the context for printing a room’s name. Specifically, it would be nice to be able to create a rule for printing the name of a room that capitalizes it when printing a room description or constructing the status line, but not under other…

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                                            1 comment  ·  Admin →

                                            This would not be hard to do, but we have tried to be conservative about the number of activities created (and even so there is a very large number of them). Currently it is not too difficult to replace the single rule that generates this room title, so you can in theory create such an activity yourself if you wish.

                                            So the question here is whether this seems useful enough to enough people to be worth putting the extra bulk into the Standard Rules (and therefore also into the documentation).

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