Obvious Rule Patch

Yes, this is an actual Magic card.note 

"That said, you can’t create a focus item that helps you create other focus items. It’s... uh, it’s a magic thing. Just doesn’t work."

When game designers block Loophole Abuse by corking the loophole with a new rule, instead of eliminating or changing one of the rules that leads to the loophole.

Games, of various types, are about rules. They may have intricate backstories, multi-layered plots and other such. But in the end, they're about rules. Rules define what are legal moves and what aren't (even Calvinball, which just doesn't have the same rules all the time). Rules create fun.

Sometimes, rules can interact in ways that developers didn't intend, allowing players to play the game in ways the designers did not intend. This is called "Emergent Gameplay" and is typically considered a good thing. But at other times, it leads to Gameplay Derailment in the bad sense.

The obvious answer is to change the original rules, but this isn't always possible. Say your game is two weeks from shipping. One of your testers has just come to you with a horrifically game-breaking scenario, a way for a player to game the rules so that their powers spiral out of control and Curb-Stomp Battle everything in their path. And the rule interaction is very complicated; you can't just tweak a few things to bring this back into balance. In order to truly fix the problem, you would need to rebuild a number of rules, test those rules and so forth... and miss your ship deadline. What do you do?

Or maybe your game is out there already. Thousands, maybe millions of people are playing and enjoying it. Then some Power Gamer figures out how to game the system and auto-win with some horrific combination of moves. You certainly can't "uncreate" the game once it's out there, nor can you radically modify the rules so that particular combo doesn't work, because that would fundamentally change the game and honk off millions of customers. What do you do?

Make an Obvious Rule Patch. That is, create a completely arbitrary rule that forcibly prevents the particular interaction from happening, while having as little effect on other rules as possible. Doesn't matter if it sticks out like a sore thumb even to someone who hasn't played the previous version.

Note that issuing an Obvious Rule Patch for a competitive multiplayer game too soon can damage the evolving Metagame, which can often bring potential Game Breakers back into balance. And just so we're clear, "Obvious Rule Patch" refers to the rule that obviously exists solely to patch up something rather than the something that "obviously" needs a rule patch. "Rule" here is a simple adjective - the Patch is the focus, and the Obviousness is what makes it this trope. For the obviously needed patches, see There Should Be a Law. Sort of.

This sometimes is a result of Executive Meddling - showing once more that despite the negative press it gets, the trope is not always a bad thing.

Compare and contrast Nerf. May, if the situation is enough of a corner case, result in That One Rule. May also be used to avert Misapplied Phlebotinum by expressly banning certain applications. This is the eternal nemesis of the Rules Lawyer.


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    Board Games 
  • The "ko" rule in Go exists purely to prevent infinite loops.
    • Additionally, in Chinese Go, the "superko" rule is there to patch out all the other very rare repeated positions the normal ko rule misses. When the board repeats without the ko rule being violated in Japanese go, the game ends in a "no result" (with the komi rule below, this is the only way a draw can happen). This is very rare because usually one of the players will be willing to give up control of the area to score elsewhere.
    • An even better example is the komi rule. Since black moves first, it often begins with sente, where the player makes a series of moves the opponent must defend against. The rule gives white somewhere between a 4.5 and 7.5 point advantage in most tournaments. When the percentage of black wins rises significantly above 50% in tournaments, the amount of komi is adjusted to keep things even.
  • In previous rulesets, the objective in Arimaa is to move one rabbit to the opponent's home row or prevent the opponent from making a valid move. Some players decided that they were much better than the AI and sacrificed all their rabbits before winning the game without any pieces on the board. Later rules added a change, where you win if your opponent no longer has rabbits.
  • Examples in Chess:
    • A major rule change in chess was allowing a pawn to move two squares on its first move. It was soon noticed that this allowed a pawn to "slip past" an enemy pawn which would otherwise have been able to capture it. Since the two-square rule was only meant to make the game faster and not to alter strategy, the en passant rule was introduced to patch the hole: if a pawn slips past another like this, the opposing pawn is allowed to capture it on the square that it skipped over. (The option must be exercised immediately or lost.) Unavoidably, the two-square rule has changed chess, but en passant has helped to limit this.
    • Chess does not out-and-out ban infinite loops like Go, but a player has the option of declaring the game a draw if the same position occurs three times with the same person to play. More complex loops are prevented by the 50-move rule: a game is drawn if 50 moves pass without a pawn being moved or a piece captured (these, being irreversible, are the key signs of progress in a game). Players can also agree to a draw at any time (and will generally do so when both sides are at an impasse).
      • The 50-move rule was once subjected to a really obvious rule patch. It was discovered that certain positions can be won but require more than fifty moves (without captures or pawn moves) to do so. To take care of this, the rules were changed to list these positions and specifically exclude them from the 50-move rule, allowing players to win the game in such positions instead of drawing. This was abolished in 1992, because it was found that there were far too many such positions to continue patching the rules like this, so it was declared that if you ended up in such a position, it was your own fault.
      • Chinese chess, Xiangqi, is less forgiving of perpetual checks. If you check five turns in a row without pause, you lose the game. However, in Xiangqi, the general's movement is limited to a small area called the palace, so if you really can't figure out how to checkmate him, you deserve the loss.
    • Also, the rules were updated to say that a King and Rook had to be in the same rank to castle. This is normally how it's done, but a joke puzzle (requiring the king and rook to castle vertically, which could only be done if you promoted a pawn to a rook and then noted that the resulting rook had not moved before and was thus eligible to castle) showed that the loophole existed.
      • This wasn't the only case of a joke puzzle exposing a loophole and forcing the rules to be changed. In one example, a player can cause checkmate by advancing a pawn to the final rank and promoting it to a piece of the other player's color. The opponent then can no longer escape checkmate by having their king capture said piece. The rules have since prohibited changing a piece's color upon promotion.
  • In Shogi, almost all games end in checkmate. However, there's a situation which was not originally thought of where it can be impossible for either side to achieve a checkmate if both kings enter the opposing side's promotion ranks. This is called "entering king," and is regarded as one of the only possibilities for a stalemate. If such a position arises, arbitrary rules on counting the amount of pieces 'owned' by each side and assigning a point value to them were created. If either side has less than 24 points, then they lose. If both sides have enough points, then the game is simply replayed over again with the starting move switched to the other player.
    • Another situation arrived in professional shogi matches. The rule used to be that if a player caused a repetition of moves three times in a row, the game would be considered a draw. (This would happen through one player dropping a piece, a sacrifice occurring, and then an endless cycle of sacrificing and replacing the same piece.) However, one shogi professional found that he could avoid this rule by switching the type of piece he played every other move, so that the repetition did not occur three times in a row. Under those rules, there was nothing that could be done and play continued with the same moves being made until the defending player finally got fed up and tried something else, allowing the instigator to go on and win. The rules were hastily changed so that if an exact same board position (including pieces in hand) happens four times, regardless of sequence, then it's an automatic draw. (Note that this is different from perpetual check, which results in an auto-loss for the instigator.)
  • In Japanese Mahjong, players need at least 1 yaku to win a hand. The Tanyao yaku is particularly easy to get with open (containing called discards from other players) hands. This has caused many players to call tiles left and right in order to finish their hand with Tanyao as their only yaku for a pitiful point value, much to the annoyance of any opponents denied a bigger scoring opportunity as a result. This has led to a controversial House Rule known as "kuitan nashi" which only allows Tanyao on closed hands.
    • Another one is the agari yame House Rule. Normally, if the dealer wins a hand, an extra hand is played which does not count towards the total number of hands in the match, and the dealer keeps the dealer button for the extra hand(s). With the agari yame rule in effect, the extra hand is not triggered if the dealer wins on the last hand and they are in first place. This is to prevent a Springtime for Hitler scenario - in the Japanese variant, it is not uncommon for the player who ends in first place to receive a large bonus (of ranking points in league or tournament play, or cash in gambling play). Thus, on the final hand without agari yame, if the dealer is in first place, they might be better off not winning the hand to end the game and secure their first-place finish, while winning the hand would trigger an extra hand, during which they would have to risk being knocked out of first.
  • The Finnish board game Afrikan tähti (Star of Africa) had a small flaw in the original rules - the game could become unwinnable for one or more players because of the cost of travelling by sea and the possibility of getting robbed or finding the titular diamond on one of the islands. After 50 years of unwinnable games and House Rules, the sea travel was patched to resolve the formerly unwinnable situations by making sea travel free if the player has no money but only 2 spaces at a time.
  • The Battlestar Galactica board game has had a few. In the base game, the secrecy rules were essentially a patch for the core mechanic, since the game breaks if players are allowed to openly discuss their card plays. The first expansion included replacements for a particular skill card to fix a degenerate human strategy, and an overlay for certain spaces of the board to fix a degenerate Cylon strategy. It also introduced an execution mechanic, which revealed the loyalty of the executed player, who would then 'respawn' as someone else. But their loyalty didn't change, which meant that human players began willingly jumping out of the airlock to prove themselves. This was patched in the next expansion by making executed players draw another loyalty card.
  • Later releases of Arkham Horror, as well as later versions of the rulebook included with some expansions, explicitly ban certain cards and/or types of cards from being the initial draw. The effects of the banned cards could easily render an already deviously difficult game impossible to win before the players had even taken a single turn.
  • The first expansion to the Game of Thrones board game, and the subsequent second edition, added ports to some territories to bar a common strategy where Greyjoy would scuttle the Lannister fleet and bottle up Lannisport on the first turn, more or less denying them the sea for the remainder of the game.

    Game Shows 
  • One of the more famous examples of this trope came in June 1984, when CBS' Press Your Luck invited Michael Larson as a contestant. Unbeknownst to the producers, Larson had spent several months in advance viewing tape recordings of Press Your Luck and recognized looping patterns on the "random" lighting indicator for the game's Big Board, realizing that he could maximize his winnings by memorizing the patterns, and predict when the light landed on the space with the largest jackpot. During his appearance — to the amazement of the host, the studio audience, and especially the people in the control room — Larson used his technique to burn through two episodes' worth of gameplay and earn over $110,000 in prize money. CBS initially withheld the winnings, but relented when the producers realized that he technically played the game as established. The production subsequently put the Big Board through several alternating patterns. When the show was revived as Whammy on GSN, the new computer controlled board for the show was advertised as being "Larson-proof."
  • For the "test" hour-long shows of September 8-12, 1975 and the first few weeks of November, The Price Is Right had no rule about how far the Big Wheel (which determines who proceeds to the Showcases) had to be spun. The current rule (at least one complete revolution) was instituted by the end of November 1975, added when one contestant just tapped the wheel and made it spin three spaces.
  • One of the more common obstacles on the obstacle course in Double Dare (1986) was "Icy Trike", in which contestants were required to ride a tricycle across a slippery surface to grab a flag at the far end. While the idea was for the contestants to either pedal or push themselves along with their feet, many teams from the first series in 1986 chose instead to put one foot on the back of the tricycle and propel themselves with the other foot as though riding a scooter, shooting across the "ice" in just over a second. Starting with the 1987 series, contestants were told that they had to sit on the tricycle or they would have to start the obstacle over (at least one team either forgot or ignored this rule and forfeited the grand prize).
  • On Wheel of Fortune, several of these have abounded:
    • According to one recollection, there was initially no rule saying that the puzzle had to be solved exactly as it appeared on the board; this was supposedly added the day after a contestant was ruled correct despite transposing the names in the answer "Tweedledum and Tweedledee".
    • Free Spin was originally a wedge that automatically awarded a Free Spin token upon hitting it, which a contestant could turn in after any lost turn to keep control of the Wheel. After several instances where contestants managed to hit Free Spin repeatedly and bank up several Free Spin tokens — which would then, invariably, lead to the contestant hogging the Wheel by turning in Free Spins the second they lost their turn — they changed it to just a single token placed over a random dollar amount. (Free Spin was ultimately Retired in 2009.)
    • The category "Same Name"note  always had the word "And" spelled out. After 99% of contestants called N-D-A first, they patched this by making the category use an ampersand in its place. Oddly, since the early-mid 2000s, the category has reverted to spelling out "And" with increasing frequency, and the producers seem to be okay with contestants calling N-D-A first now.
    • Similarly, the original Bonus Round rules called for picking five consonants and a vowel to see how many would be revealed in a blank puzzle, then alloting 15 seconds to attempt solving it. After about eight years in which nearly every contestant picked some permutation of R, S, T, L, N, and E (usually in that order), they finally began providing those letters at the outset and asking the contestant for three more consonants and a vowel, but also making the puzzles slightly harder and cutting the time limit to 10 seconds.
    • In relation to the above, a cash prize of $25,000 was introduced in the bonus round in 1988. When nearly every contestant chose it over the cars, precious gems, annuities, or sometimes Undesirable Prizes such as a "shipboard party" or a do-it-yourself log cabin kit, the prizes were changed to a random draw from five envelopes at the onset of the seventh season. This, in turn, was changed to a 24-envelope wheel in 2001.
  • On the original run of Card Sharks, the "Money Cards" required betting on whether the next card in a line of playing cards would be higher or lower, and progressing until all the cards were cleared or the contestant ran out of money, whichever came first. After several contestants got screwed over by the next card being of the same value (most notoriously with one contestant who found all four treys in a row), the latter part of that run and the 1986-89 revival changed this so that uncovering a card of the same value resulted in neither a gain nor loss of money (referred to in-show as a "push").
  • Jeopardy!
    • In the original Art Fleming-hosted incarnations (1964-74, 1978-79), all contestants win or lose received their winnings; however, some contestants who felt they had won enough money or had no chance to win simply stopped playing. To encourage more competitive play when the show was brought back with Alex Trebek in 1984, only the winner receives his or her full winnings while the two departing contestants receive Consolation Prizes (or since the early 2000s, $2,000 for second place and $1,000 for third).
    • For almost all of the show's history, ties for first place outside tournaments meant that the tied contestants were declared co-champions, and both returned the next day (unless one of the contestants had met the five-day champion limit, which was abolished in Season 20). After a spate of ties in the start of season 31 — most likely due to superchampion Arthur Chu offering so many ties during his run — the rules were changed so that ties for first are broken by a tiebreaker clue (which is also how ties are broken in tournaments).
  • In the 70s version of Match Game, the part of the show with the highest cash winnings was the head-to-head match, where the contestant chose a celebrity panelist to match a single clue. But for years, contestants were almost always picking Richard Dawson, as he did have a good track record. So by "Match Game '78", a "Star Wheel" was added, in which the celebrity was determined by the spin of a wheel (it also gave the contestant a chance to double their winnings). Ironically, the first time the Star Wheel was used, the star it landed on was... Richard Dawson.
  • In the 2014 season of Intervilles International (a.k.a. The Biggest Game Show in the World), the Russian team was abusing the format so much that the rules had to be changed mid-season. Normally, in each episode teams compete in 5 games to score points, then they must climb the Wall of Champions from a starting position determined by their score (more points means better starting position). The winner of the episode is the team who can climb the Wall fastest. The Russians specifically trained athletes to climb as fast as possible, so they could win even from a bad starting position. The other teams were so upset that they convinced the producers to demote the Wall into a bonus round such that two winners were announced at the end, one who won the other games and one who won the Wall. But the participating countries could choose to broadcast the season according to the new or the old rules, so in the Russian and French broadcast the Russian team won, while in the Hungarian and Egyptian broadcast the Hungarians won.
  • Pyramid:
    • The 70s versions became stricter for clues in the Winner's Circle until they were set in stone around 1978. Hand gestures became illegal shortly after The $10,000 Pyramid premiered when they discovered many clue givers were doing these. As the show continued its run, the rules also changed to disallow direct synonyms and to curb overly descriptive clues such as propositional phrases. "Red China" was allowed as a clue for "Communist Countries" on an early episode and Tony Randall got away with the verbose "Stuffing in the little bottles of pills" as a clue once. On a later episode, he could have said "Pill bottle stuffing" with no penalty.
    • When the "Mystery 7" bonus card was first used in the 80s versions, the category was in plain sight. After a year and a half of teams almost always choosing it first, the rules changed for it to be hidden behind one of the six categories with its theme not revealed until after the subject was played.
    • The "7-11" card also in the 80s versions offered the contestant the option to play for $50 per word instead of going for the full $1,100. Not too many people chose the former and in early 1985, the option was dropped for good.
  • Password:
    • Shortly after Password Plus began airing, antonyms became illegal clues in an effort to encourage more thinking for otherwise easy passwords. This was dropped on Super Password.
    • Alphabetics, the bonus round used for Plus, allowed the contestant to play for a reduction of the grand prize if a celebrity gave an illegal clue (each deducted 20% from the jackpot and the password remained in play no matter how many illegal clues were given). When brought back on Super Password, this changed to an illegal clue throwing the password out and the contestant losing the chance to play for the jackpot. This was likely done to prevent celebrities from intentionally giving illegal clues if stuck on a word, which wasn't uncommon on Plus.
  • On the Chuck Woolery-hosted version of Lingo, the Bonus Round had teams guessing five-letter words, with each correct guess earning one draw from a hopper full of numbers, in hopes of completing a 5-in-a-row "Lingo" anywhere on a Bingo board which already had some numbers marked off. Doing so at any point won a prize package. However, one team managed to get only one word right, and another got no words right, so some changes were made in Season 2 onward. First off, the pre-marked board was rearranged so that a "Lingo" could be made in only one draw; doing it on the first draw won a larger prize package, doing it on the second or later draw won a smaller one, and failing to do it won $100 per correct word. In addition, teams were awarded a "bonus letter" (i.e., the right to call for another letter in the word at their discretion) for each "Lingo" made in the main game, thus giving them a little more leeway if they got stuck on a word.
  • Originally on The Joker's Wild, a contestant who spun three Jokers won automatically. On one occasion, a champion managed to do this on the first spin of the game, thus meaning that their opponent never even got a chance to play. This was patched on the next episode by adding a trivia question for any contestant who spun three Jokers.

  • Almost as soon as pinball was invented, players shook, jostled, and even lifted the machines to score more points. Hence, the now-famous tilt mechanism was invented to penalize players who were too rough on the machines. Pinball machines nowadays weigh up to a quarter of a ton, so a grade above that, a "slam tilt," was created later to more severely punish a player who plays so vigorously that it could harm the machine or bystanders (including the player).
  • There is a technique that can prevent a ball from draining that, if a ball is headed down there from the side, involves holding one flipper up and banging on the underside of the machine. Doing it right causes the ball to pass back up through the gap created by the flippers, allowing the player to continue a game, indefinitely if mastered. Manufacturers responded by installing nails at the bottom of the machine to give anyone who tried this a nasty and bloody surprise. Safety regulations now prevent this, but this technique is one of the few that will immediately disqualify a player in all major tournaments (the other one being the aforementioned slam tilt).
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean, the pirate ship and Kraken on the playfield are surrounded by two large transparent plastic shields (dubbed "sneeze guards" by some players) to prevent airborne pinballs from landing in the mechanisms.
  • In KISS (Stern), the ball rolling out of Gene Simmons's head is designed to drop out in a random direction, with some horizontal spin. There were so many complaints when the game first came out about the ball taking an unpredictably curved path into a drain that the game was patched to return the ball to the plunger with no consequences if the ball drains in the next three seconds after coming out of Gene's mouth.
  • In The Avengers, the Black Widow ramp makes a steep incline, then a sharp 90-degree turn to the left at the start. Getting the pinball through this turn was soon discovered to be an amazingly difficult task, as the ball was far more likely to bounce back down instead of making the turn. In 2016, Stern distributed a patch that made it such that simply triggering the switch at the beginning of the ramp counts as making the full ramp.
  • People playing Star Trek (Stern) were letting the timer run out in the timed modes, due to how the game counts a timed mode as being complete when time runs out, even if the player does absolutely nothing the entire time. A patch in 2014 made two changes to discourage stopping and waiting: First, the timer would freeze if there has been no attempt to score for five seconds, then unfreeze when the ball gets moving again; and secondly, the game now has a medal system, where bronze, silver, and gold medals are given out with the player's third, sixth, and ninth successful shot for each mode, with a large point award given out for each medal after the ball drains.

    Reality Television 
  • The Amazing Race
    • Limits on how many Roadblocks a racer could perform were instituted after Season 5, after the three women who made the Final 3 that year performed a total of three Roadblocks combined.
    • In Season 1, teams were only allowed to buy one set of plane tickets, and weren't allowed to switch, even if they found a faster flight or their original flight was delayed. This was changed on the very next season, and multiple flight bookings has become an important part of the Metagame ever since.
    • The first two seasons had no rules in place for when a team's car broke down. These were instigated in Season 3 after several time credits were issued in Season 2 (including one that saved Blake and Paige from an elimination, which they received after Paige threatened to sue).
    • After Season 3, it became standard on selling tasks, where teams had to reach a certain amount of money made, for each individual item to have a minimum amount it could be sold for. This was after Ken & Gerard completed such a task by selling massive amounts of fruit for what would average out to be very low prices, and repeatedly going back to the stall to get more to sell.
    • After All-Stars, where two teams horribly exploited the ability to take locals along on the leg with you to help with navigation and other tasks, bringing locals along in your vehicle was made against the rules.
    • After Nat & Kat on Season 17 were Genre Savvy enough to take detailed notes throughout the race in anticipation of the Final Exam Finale, Season 19's Final Exam Finale instructions specifically forbade the use of notes. (There was no Final Exam Finale in Season 18.)
    • Other minor changes were made to keep teams from taking advantage of loopholes, such as buying cellphones from locals (which Rob & Brennan did in Season 1) or switching their damaged car for another team's car at the Pit Stop (Dustin & Kandice in Season 10).
  • In Survivor:
    • The hidden immunity idol mechanics were changed. First making it so that you could play it after the vote. Then, putting the limitation that you couldn't use it beyond the final six because it more or less gave Yul a free ride to the final three, since everyone was afraid to cast a vote against him for fear of the idol being played. Then, changing how the clues were hidden due to Russell's obsessive idol hunting. (Except they appeared to have forgotten it in Redemption Island and later; or later players were just that good to have found them in the first couple episodes.)
    • After "Purple" Kelly and NaOnka quit in Nicaragua, the rules were amended so that quitters can be banned from sitting on the jury if production felt it was appropriate. And typically, you can guess that unless you're trying to pull a Thanatos Gambit or are having a severe physical or mental breakdown, that'll probably be...never.
    • Reducing the eligible age to 18. (Although this hasn't really affected gameplay; several contestants have been below 21 in the game since China.)
    • Not using the "purple rock" tiebreaker (where, in the event of unresolved tie, elimination is by random chance with everyone but those voted for at risk and those with immunity) in the final four, because the one time it was used in Marquesas, Paschal was eliminated without having a single vote cast for him in the entire game.
      • Tiebreakers in general; although the spectre of drawing rocks (Blood vs. Water confirmed that they do still use it outside the final four) causing people to betray their alliances to avoid it. You'll notice that for some reason, people are quite afraid of forcing a tie outside of the final four that can't be solved by a simple re-vote (such as John changing his vote for Laura in Samoa, Russell being voted out first from his tribe in Redemption Island, and Cochran turning on his tribe in South Pacific).
    • Supposedly, someone smuggled something into the game in their luxury item (or used their luxury item in a rather creative way) to have fire.
    • In Season 2, Australia, contestants could bring a personal item. Colby brought a Texas flag that doubled as a tarp... It, along with all the other shelter items, got snatched mid-season.
    • The Final Two became the Final Three. While not all fans like this, Probst says that this was so people would have to face a competitor and not just drag The Load into the finals. Chances are, everyone's thoughts towards Courtney in Exile Island (intending to bring her to the finals because everyone hated her) made the producers think. Probst has pointed out there have been plenty of seasons where everyone complained the final two was a wash anyways, one of them conveniently being Exile Island. This didn't stop Earl from claiming the first unanimous victory against two disliked players in Fiji and Boston Rob from pulling the two dumbest and laziest players to the finals in Redemption Island, but most other seasons have had closer votes in the final three.
      • This was also done as a result of Fan Dumb complaining about "Blowout" final twos because people had on many different seasons said that the winner was pretty obvious, nobody would've voted for [insert second place winner here], and the final tribal council was essentially just Padding because it was obvious that [insert winner here] had it. Or people just pulling What Measure Is a Non-Badass? when the fan favorite or most likely winner finished fifth-third place and a person deemed "undeserving" won.
  • In the American Big Brother:
    • After Season 3 where the jury voted 9-1 in favour of Lisa, the Jury was reduced to 7 and sequestered away from the game and unable to watch the show. The reason the jury voted in such a way was that they saw what Danielle was saying about them in the diary room and was angered.
    • The Power of Veto was made into the Golden Power of Veto note  permanently after Season 3.
    • Another veto example - Backdooring. In season 5, the houseguests realized that you had to pick the veto players yourself so you had full control over the players in the competition. So in order to get rid of Jase, the houseguests made up a plan and nominated two people who would have used the veto on themselves, or their other alliance members who'd have used the veto anyways. They then proceeded to pick players for the veto who would use the veto on their friends or were in on the plan and would use it anyways and evicted Jase without even letting him have a chance. The rule change was that Houseguests actually had to draw names out of a bag and only if they picked a "Houseguest's Choice" Token could they choose themselves.
      • This has been changed again as of Season 15. Houseguests now pick players out of a box instead of a bag, presumably after Frank was accused of intentionally dropping the bag of chips & palming the "Houseguest's Choice" Token in Season 14.
    • A very subtle example, but notice that the houseguests are cutting with plastic knives. This was because of a Season 2 incident where Justin held a knife to another houseguest's throat and said "Would you mind if I killed you?"
    • If someone is expelled or leaves when evicted players go to the jury, their vote at the end is given to the viewers and is used as a tiebreaker.
  • In Top Shot, if one team has more contestants than the other team due to eliminations, the weaker team can choose who to bench from the stronger team. This inevitably leads to the stronger team's perceived best shooter being benched. There's a rule that the same shooter cannot be benched twice in a row specifically to avoid making a strong shooter sit out most of the series.
    • In one season, one team was losing so badly, they had to alter the rules to ensure the game was still equitable, because one team outnumbered the other 2:1 before the green team revamp was scheduled.

    Web Original 
  • TV Tropes: The admin notes on BFG and BFS say not to write "Big Fucking Gun" anywhere in the article. After some Rules Lawyer put "Big Freaking Gun" instead, a second line was added saying, "Obvious Rule Patch: Or 'Big Freaking Gun'. Or 'Frigging'. Or any other such expansion of the acronym." A second patch had to be applied later after another Rules Lawyer added a paragraph Backronyming it.
    • After a troper adds a list of all the puny characters that Hulk will smash, many tropers who edited the page edited it for the sole purpose of expanding the "Puny character list" to the point that the other entries pertaining to him such as his tropes along with his appearances in other medias are forgotten in favor the former. Thus this entry is eventually removed to prevent the continuous decline of his own page quality.
  • Common in Nuzlocke Runs when done in generations past generation three (where the run originated), particularly when those generations add features that would trivialize certain aspects of the run, such as the Dex Nav in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire making it easy to get ideal first encounters.

Fictional Examples

  • In the original Dragon Ball series, one of Goku's opponents, a monster named "Giran", almost throws Goku out of the arena. However, Goku manages to save himself from "loss by ringout" because he gets his flying cloud to save him at the last moment. This causes a problem because Giran, of course, claims this was an unfair move, and the referee is having trouble deciding whether or not this should be allowed. The referee consults with the overseers of the rules off-screen, and the referee returns and finally says...since clouds are a natural part of the environment, it wasn't illegal for Goku to use one to stop his own ring-out. However, Goku is forbidden to use the cloud again (and the implication is that this is now a new rule; no future fighters can use clouds to stop being thrown out of the ring). Giran is disappointed at not being immediately given the victory, but upon learning Goku can't use the cloud a second time, he smirks and says, "That sounds good. I can live with that."
  • During a filler episode of the Davy Back arc in One Piece, the Straw Hats are pitted against the Foxy Pirates in a game of Pirate Dodgeball, which comes with an absolutely massive rulebook full of an absurd amount of rule patches (including a rule for accidentally swallowing the ball.)
  • In High School Dx D, Rias voluntarily bans Issei from using his personalized spells during a Ratings Game. Not because they're overpowered, but because Dress Break and Bilingual (which allows Issei to communicate with a girl's breasts via touch) are humiliating for the victim.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In Reaching for a Dream, after Naruto cheats in the first round of the Chuunin Exam by punching out another examinee and stealing his test, Ibiki declares anyone else who does it will be failed automatically. His reasoning is that Naruto had the balls to come up with it himself, everyone else would just be copying him.
  • In Wind Lord Naruto is banned from using his Sempuken in the prelims after his first use drills a massive hole all the way to the outside. There may be no actual rules but no one is interested in having the building come down on their heads.
  • In Zero Interface after a trio of students accidentally cause Ranma (and via their bond, Louise) to enter Neko-ken and go on a rampage, a notice is sent out that "Any student caught antagonizing anyone's familiar will be immediately expelled. Also, all feline familiars must be left in their owners' dorm rooms. No exceptions." Given that both Ranma and Louise proved capable of cleaving through steel while using Neko-ken, it's hardly surprising.
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, trainers are allowed to face a special challenge when they fight a gym leader of facing the team they use against trainers with seven badges. If they win, the resulting badge functions as eight badges so they can skip straight to training for the region's Pokemon League. After gym leaders had to deal with endless trainers thinking they can take on the challenge with untrained low level Pokemon, a new rule was added so that if a trainer enters such a challenge and loses, they can't challenge any gyms for a year. As a result, the only trainers who do said challenge are generally veterans of other regions who don't want to waste time gathering another eight badges, or skilled trainers unable to travel around their home region for whatever reason.
  • In Fate Revelation Online a concern among more savvy players is that Cardinal will increase the game's difficulty in response to Shirou and Ilya's game-breaking streength. To avoid this and encourage other players to become just as broken Kayaba introduces the "Titled Players" rule, which grants especially powerful players perks and excludes them from balancing.

  • In Ender's Game, Ender's final battle as commander pits his Dragon Army against two armies combined, in an entrenched position. Ender discards all combat strategy and has his boys move as quickly as possible to exploit an Instant-Win Condition: the game ends when one army unlocks their opponent's gate — regardless of whether the opposing army is still active. Since nobody had considered doing this without defeating the opposing army first, the other team(s) doesn't manage to stop him. Ender is promptly told that starting in the next battle fought at Battle School, it will not be possible for an army to perform the victory ritual without first defeating or disabling everyone in the opposing army. Ender doesn't mind; he only expected it to work once.
  • Discworld
    • The Assassin's Guild Diary has School Rule 16: "No boy is to keep a crocodile in his room." Followed by rules 16a to 16j to counter various forms of Loophole Abuse, from the obvious ("16a. No boy is to keep an alligator or any large amphibious reptile in his room"; "16c. Nor in the cellar.") to the outlandish ("16h. No boy is to convert to Offlerism without permission in writing from the Head Master." [Offler is the Discworld's Crocodile God])
      • At around the time of the Diary, the Assassins' Guild School became co-ed, as seen in Night Watch. To avoid situations such as girls keeping crocodiles in their room and pointing to Rule 16's use of the word "boy", they added "For boys read girls, and vice versa" as a note to the list, which led to this:
        School Rule No.145 : No boy is to enter the room of any girl.
        School Rule No.146 : No girl is to enter the room of any boy.
        School Rule No.147 : (provisional) : It has been pointed out that our injunction to 'read boys for girls, and vice versa', can, if taken together with the two previous rules by someone with little to do but argue, mean that no pupil is to be in any room at all. This was not the intention. No pupil is to be anywhere except where they should be. A girl is defined as a young person of the female persuasion.
        School Rule No.148 : Regardless of how persuaded he feels, Jelks Minor in Form IV is a boy.
        School Rule No.149 : Arguing over the wording of school rules is forbidden.
      • This is surely a Historical In-Joke referring to Lord Byron. He wanted to keep a dog when he was at Cambridge, but college rules forbid it. He inspected the rules carefully and found there was nothing prohibiting pet bears, so he got one. It's unknown when Cambridge applied the highly-necessary patch. It is now a college legend that in that particular college, if a fellow wants to keep a dog, it will be defined as a cat.
    • In Unseen Academicals, since the rules that distinguish street football from association football are being written in one swoop, Ponder Stibbons finds himself adding a lot of obvious patches, including the offside rule. We're also told that one of the oldest rules in the street game, "The Ball shall be the ball that is known as the Ball", was a patch added when someone scored a goal with an opposing player's head.
  • In the Harry Potter-verse, there are around 700 different possible fouls in Quidditch, but Quidditch Through the Ages only lists the eleven most commonly seen. Most of the rest are obvious rule patches such as, "It is illegal to hit your opponent with an axe."
    • Quidditch Through The Ages also lists patches onto Quidditch, including the introduction of a standardized scoring hoop size. This was because the hoops replaced wicker baskets, which were tricky to standardize and led to teams deliberately putting grape-sized baskets on one end and "great wicker caves" on the other, or setting the baskets on fire.
  • Inverted in Animal Farm. The original commandments are altered to add loopholes so the pigs can indulge in the forbidden behavior. For example, the rule "No animal may drink alcohol" is changed to "No animal may drink alcohol to excess", and "No animal may sleep in a bed" is changed to "No animal may sleep in a bed with sheets". Then they claim the commandments always said that.

    Live Action TV 
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine informs us that the 24th Rule of Acquisition is "War is good for business", whereas the 25th is "Peace is good for business". It's never specified how much time elapsed between the two rules, but one can only surmise it was a very eventful period in Ferengi history.

  • In Mornington Crescent, the Offside Rule was added to the game to prevent people saying "Mornington Crescent" as an opening move, which was taking some of the fun out of it.

    Religion and Mythology 

     Video Games 
  • The Wipeout series has an in-universe example. Triakis systems, entering the FX 350 series with a re-purposed hovertank, did very well and won the last season handily, thanks to Reverse Inertial Dampening system that gave the fast, heavy craft disproportionately good handling. Race officials decided after the series that the RID system would be outlawed, and applied the ban retroactively, stripping Triakis of the title. Since the system was designed to give hovertanks the control fidelity to practically tap-dance, they accepted this with grace.
  • The Mass Effect franchise has another in-universe example with their version of Faster-than-Light travel. Several times in the backstory, and during the games, it is proposed to use spacecraft flying at relativistic speeds as devastating suicide-bombers. When experiments are made, however, the turians discover in-built failsafe mechanisms in the titular Mass Effect technology that make collision courses impossible, and cannot be bypassed. The block was put in by the Reapers to prevent their Mass Effect technology being weaponised against them.
  • During the course of Dangan Ronpa, Monokuma will add new rules to his Deadly Game to keep the misery going for as long as possible. The most blatant example being when someone asks what's stopping someone from simply killing everyone and thus becoming the winner by default. Monokuma apparently genuinely didn't think of that and immediately declares that anyone who kills more than two people at a time will be automatically executed.
  • In Virtue's Last Reward, the Nonary Game's rules are so vague and general that they need a lot of obvious patches. To name a few:
    • Zero III himself states that the fact that the Secondary Chromatic Doors can't be unlocked until after the Primary ones close serves solely to prevent easy cheating.
    • Anyone can go through Chromatic Doors back and forth, but first they must escape from the puzzle room that's beyond the CDs. This prevents the nine players from returning to the warehouse empty-handed: the AB games would be pointless if no one had the keycard to enter the rooms.
    • Zero III forces all nine players to play the AB game in the first round, but later on you find out that you can in fact not participate, which will make your vote default to ally. Sure, it puts you at a disadvantage, but it frees you from voting. Except it turns out that at least 1 out of 3 people who go through the CDs has to vote, or else the 3 of them die. This serves the obvious purpose of preventing everyone from not voting, which would grant them 9 BP after three rounds.
    • Anyone who has 9 BP or more can open the number nine door. So if you haven't enough BP, you just have to sneak out when someone else opens it, right? Wrong. If you cross the door and you have less than 9 BP, you die. So only people who have 9 BP or more can actually escape safely. This scenario is specifically talked about in-game.

    Web Comics 
  • In Chasing the Sunset, the rules are automatically patched.
  • This xkcd panel.
  • Penny Arcade parodies this with Scribblenauts. Tycho explains how the goal of the game is to get Starites, and you do so by writing the names of useful items (over 22,000 are available), which then appear. Gabe picks up the game and immediately writes "Starite". One appears and he wins. Note that in the actual game, doing this produces a fake Starite that's worthless. Except for the very last level.

    Web Original 
  • In Red vs. Blue, the Director of Project Freelancer argues that the outright torture he inflicted on the Alpha AI does not break any laws regarding ethical treatment of AI's, because the Alpha AI is a copy of his mind, so it can be argued that he was torturing himself, which there is no law against. The Chairman investigating him replies that that may be the case, but the laws are being extensively revised to take that into account, and he suspects the Director will have an entire section of the new laws named after him for this.
  • During one episode of Achievement Hunter's Let's Play Grand Theft Auto V, the gang is playing a game where they're supposed to hold on to an "flag" while flying for a few seconds to gain a point. During one round, Michael Jones gets his plane's wing clipped off and he crashes into the water below, survives and gets the point. The very next round, Ryan Haywood gets the "flag" and immediately dives into the water, in this case a lake bed. Geoff Ramsay allows the point to go through, but tells them that after that, no diving into the water.
    • Though, to be absolutely fair, Ryan is the master of Loophole Abuse in the team. He will force the others to enact this trope if there's even the possibility that he could bend the rules.
  • "Okay, new rule - no singing opera in detention, got it?"

     Western Animation 
  • In The Legend of Korra, there is a sport called pro-bending, in which two teams made up of one waterbender, one earthbender, and one firebender compete (the other bending disciplines have too small a population to compete). Korra, as the Avatar, is the only living person capable of bending more than one element. When she joins a pro-bending tournament as a waterbender but reflexively earthbends to block a shot, the referee calls "Foul! ...I think." After a brief recess, the officials apply the patch: the Avatar can compete, but may only bend one element.
  • One episode of Rocket Power had the group play a game that Otto thought up. Otto repeatedly makes up rules on the fly, eventually causing Reggie to snap and call him out in front of everyone else. This also shows the downside to this trope, because eventually everyone else stops playing because of the "rules" and eventually leaves Otto and Reggie basically trying to play "HORSE", which she uses as a distraction while making Otto do a complicated move to piss off and go surfing with Twister and Sam.
  • In Aladdin, in addition to a handful of other "addendums and quid pro quos," the Genie makes sure to specify, "Ix-nay on the wishing for more wishes!" which would otherwise make the three-wish limit meaningless.

Real Life

    Contests, Promotions, and Awards 
  • The International Obfuscated C Code Contest added a rule in 1995 that required all submissions to have source code at least one byte in length. Why? In 1994, "the world's smallest self-replicating program" won an award for "Worst Abuse of the Rules" by being zero bytes in size. Another rule, banning machine-dependent code, was added after the first winner in 1984 wrote the entire main program as a block of PDP-11 machine code.
  • The World Fantasy Award for Best Short Fiction is an extremely prestigious award intended for short stories, but was originally only defined as "speculative fiction under 10,000 words". That is, until 1991, when the judges selected Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess' "A Midsummer's Night Dream" issue of The Sandman, which is a comic book. Comics use pictures to do what would have to be done in narrative text, so they are able to tell longer stories than other media for the same word count. The World Fantasy Convention changed the rules almost immediately, relegating any future graphic novel submissions to the Special Award: Professional category. This means the The Sandman is the only comic book that ever has or ever will win this particular award. According to Gaiman, "It wasn't like closing the stable door after the horse had gotten out, it was like closing the stable door after the horse had gotten out and won the Kentucky Derby."
  • In 2011, UK supermarket chain Tesco ran a promotion that if whatever they had happened to be cheaper at its competitor Asda, they will pay you double the difference (e.g., an item that costs 8 pounds but is only 5 at Asda would earn you 6 pounds). However, the difference in prices could be big enough that shoppers would get back more money than they spent. Naturally, many savvy shoppers exploited this by finding products they didn't even need but potentially gave them the biggest profit and using that to do their actual grocery shopping. Tesco had since put the difference cap to 20 pounds.
  • In 2009 a large German electronics chain ran a promotion where you could buy any product without the Value Added Tax (currently 19%). It turned out, however, that a company can't just waive the VAT, they had to pay it nontheless. The products were just discounted by the amount of the VAT. Customers looked at their receipt and found that they indeed payed the tax, so they went back to the markets and got another discount for the taxes. Needless to say they added a clause for that in their next promotion.
  • During the Steam Summer Sale of 2014, Valve held a daily contest for one week where each Steam user was assigned a team color and people could earn points for their team by crafting the event badges through specific cards. Said cards could only be obtained by either getting them for every 3 votes made for the next batch of sales, trading them with other people, buying games on Steam, or buying the cards on the marketplace. The winning team would have 30 random people on that team obtain 3 games on their wishlists. An organized group on Reddit tried to rig the contest in a way that would allow each team to win at least twice in before the week was up, which meant that each team would only craft badges on specific days of the week to give their team a massive lead. While it seemed more "fair" for the people participating in the contest, Valve wasn't too happy about it since it meant that less people would be buying games and marketplace items, which also meant Valve would make less money. Valve introduced a new rule to the contest that would allow teams finishing in 2nd and 3rd place to win games as well in order to encourage people to spend more money and compete against each other.
  • In 1944, Barry Fitzgerald was nominated for both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor for his work in Going My Way (he won Best Supporting Actor... his co-star Bing Crosby won Best Actor). The rules were subsequently changed so that an actor could only be nominated in one category for a performance.
  • Silo Electronics, a local electronics store, once advertised on TV a sale of a stereo speaker system "for only 299 bananas." It's pretty clear they're using the word "banana" as slang for "(US) dollar," but people literally brought in 299 bananas, each of which costs way less than a US dollar, with Silo forced to accept the trade due to advertising laws. Silo, having lost about US$100,000 in a single day, became an example to other businesses seeking to advertise, to make sure they use the word "dollar" (or whatever currency their customers are most likely to pay in) instead of some slang term.

  • A very significant and serious example is gun laws in the United Kingdom. The most significant pieces of firearms legislation in the last thirty years have been introduced as a piecemeal response to rampage killings - for instance, the banning of semi-automatic long-barreled firearms in a calibre greater than .22 rimfire (not shotguns) following the Hungerford massacre, and the criminalizing of nearly all handguns following the Dunblane school massacre. Whether these were proportionate responses seems to depend on what side of the Atlantic you live on. Suffice it to say that each measure had cross-party and public support at the time of its enactment.
  • In many places, there are obsolete, oddly specific, and/or downright weird laws that are still on the books, many of which are clearly patches created due to some Noodle Incident or another.
    • One has to wonder what prompted lawmakers in San Francisco to prohibit elephants from strolling down Market Street unless they're on a leash, or wiping one's car with used underwear.
    • It's illegal to drive more than 2,000 sheep down Hollywood Boulevard at the same time. (So exactly 2,000 sheep is fine, but 2,001 sheep and you're in trouble.)
    • There's a law in the UK which specifically bans the operation of a hand-held digital voice recorder while operating a motor-vehicle. Can't help but get the feeling this was only enacted due to someone being a wise-arse with a particularly powerful police officer.
    • In Canadian law, it's illegal to give alcohol to a moose. You have to wonder...
    • It is illegal to enter Wisconsin, from the Minnesota border, while wearing a duck on your head. Begin Wild Mass Guessing...note 
    • In Arizona, it's illegal to allow your donkey to sleep in a bathtub on your front porch. Apparently this has to do with the fact that, since the bathtub was meant to be used as his watering trough, letting the donkey sleep in it violates the health code.
    • Probably done to pre-empt an incident, California required Google to include manual controls (steering, brakes, throttle) on their self driving cars before being allowed on public roads. After all, technology can still fail.
    • Thanks to a farmer objecting to a publicity stunt pulled by circus owner P.T. Barnum, in North Carolina it's against the law to plow a field with an elephant.
  • If stating what a law does sounds ridiculous (such as "you can't put an ice cream sandwich in your back pocket"), it's probably one of these. The given example came about because of horse theft, which is a crime (understandable, since it's theft). If an animal wanders onto your property, it's yours. So if you want a free horse, all you have to do is bait it in a nonobvious manner (such as allowing it to smell the food in your pocket), and walk home, allowing it to follow you.
  • The U.S. Constitution was designed to allow these, because the framers realized they couldn't flawlessly predict every possible circumstance that might face the country going forward.
    • Older Than Radio: The 11th Amendment was passed to fix a loophole in Article III which allowed residents of one state to sue other states in federal court when states were normally immune from suit. The people suing? The State's creditors.
      • That was the second rules patch. The first patch was when, after Chisholm (the creditor) got a judgment against Georgia (the state) in federal court, Georgia passed a statute declaring that anyone attempting to enforce the judgment would be "guilty of a felony, and shall suffer death, without benefit of clergy by being hanged."
    • The 12th Amendment changed the way people ran for President and Vice President after the elections of 1796 and 1800, which exposed multiple flaws with the old balloting system. Previously, a bunch of guys ran for president, and whoever got the most electoral votes became president, with the runner-up becoming VP. The 1796 election led to members of opposing political parties (John Adams and Thomas Jefferson) becoming President and Vice President, respectively, while the 1800 election was deadlocked on partisan voting. After the 12th was ratified, members of the electoral college vote separately for President and Vice President.
    • The 16th Amendment. Federal income taxes had always been permitted under Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17, and had even been ruled to be "indirect" taxes not subject to apportionment as early as 1875. However, one really really wonky 5-4 Supreme Court decision declared taxes on income derived from property (e.g. from renting land or from holding and selling stock) to be equivalent to a tax on the value of the property itself, and therefore a direct tax subject to apportionment. The 16th Amendment was drafted specifically to plug that loophole and re-classify all income taxes as indirect taxes regardless of the income's source.
    • The 25th Amendment: In 1967, after several presidents had died in office and their vice presidents assumed the office of president, this amendment finally made the succession official. Previously, if president was unable "to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President," with some ambiguity about whether the office of president came with the duties. Note that the 20th Amendmentnote  provides a procedure for a president-elect dying before being inaugurated or an election not being settled before Inauguration Day, but not his dying afterwards.
  • In 2008 when the State of Nebraska tried to implement a Safe Haven Law, it neglected to notice that their law did not define the term "child", thus defaulting it to the regular definition of "anyone younger than 18". 36 teenage children were driven in from out of state and abandoned at Nebraska hospitals, and the law was patched to include only infants later that year.
  • Prior to the 1970s, no U.S. state had a law saying two men or two women couldn't get married. Then two gay activists from Minnesota, Jack Baker and Michael McConnell, walked into a district court and applied for a marriage license. The clerk turned them down on the grounds that they were both male, so Baker took the case to court, pointing out that under the letter of the law, this was not grounds to deny them a right to get married. Baker's suit failed, but crucially the Supreme Court simply dismissed his case because they didn't consider it a federal issue, rather than setting any precedent. Cue social conservatives all over the country rushing to bring in laws explicitly banning gay couples from marrying. This caused a conflict with previous civil rights laws (especially the 14th amendment) and was resolved in a 2015 Supreme Court decision that found those laws unconstitutional.
  • In 2010, the polar bear was granted the status of Threatened under the Endangered Species Act...with a rider attached by Secretary of the Interior stating that the bear's new status couldn't be used to sue companies for greenhouse gas emissions. The environmental activist organizations that had planned to do just that were not amused.
  • The RCRA Mixing Rule for hazardous waste. Most hazardous waste determination is based on properties (flammability, corrosivity, or reactivity) or concentrations (0.2 mg/L of mercury means that it is toxic). Some genius had the idea that if you take oil and mix enough sand in it, it will not be flammable, and it won't exceed any concentration limits. Voila, a giant pile of non-hazardous waste to cart off to landfill. This led to the infamous mixing rule. Anything mixed with hazardous waste is hazardous waste no matter what its actual properties are, so mixing oil with sand gives a giant pile of hazardous waste that must be properly incinerated.
  • The British "Constitution" (see British Political System) has one obvious rule patch when Edward VIII decided to Abdicate the Throne in 1936. The Act of Settlement 1701, which regulates royal succession in the UK, pretty much stated the most senior descendent of a granddaughter of James VI/I would automatically be the monarch, but nothing was said about abdications. So when Edward signed his Instrument of Abdicationnote  on 10 December 1936, it meant nothing—the law said, "But Thou Must! still be the King." Parliament was quite eager to see him go, though, and had to pass a law to make this work. The law said three things: (1) At the time His Majesty signs this piece of paper, in terms of royal succession he is as good as dead; (2) No matter what any other law says, His Majesty and his descendents cannot become monarchnote ; and (3) We're not going to stand in the way of his marriage to Mrs. Simpson any more.
  • Ireland has a lot of constitutional patches.
    • At the time of the Edward VIII abdication crisis, Ireland was still a Commonwealth Realm which means they have to have the same succession rules as with the UK, etc. But Taoiseachnote  Eamon de Valera hated the British monarchy in general, and had been planning to remove the word "King" from their constitution (while retaining the King as the head of state so that they're still in the Commonwealth—Ireland was too dependent on Commonwealth trade). Edward VIII's abdication gave him a good chance to implement these plans, and he immediately tabled a constitutional amendment which did just that.note  Somebody told him immediately afterward, however, that the large body of laws that existed before Independence meant the King had more powers than those listed in the Constitutionnote , and removing most of the constitutional powers of the King does not mean the post of Governor-General is abolished. A law that was passed in the following year immediately declared that the aforementioned amendment covered all laws describing powers of the King, and assigned those powers instead to the Cabinet.
    • Ireland has delegated the power to issue adoption orders to an Adoption Board in 1952. Only some 25 years later the realized since the Board is neither a court nor filled with judges, any of their adoption orders may be constitutionally shaky. It's why the Sixth Amendment existed; it pretty much means "any adoption order made after 1937 pursuant to valid laws cannot be invalidated merely because it did not come out of a court or signed by a judge."
    • Due to the extremely strict interpretations of the government's and the legislature's treaty powers, constitutional amendments need to be passed, by referendum, every time when the government wants to enter into a treaty that causes some governmental powers being delegated to a multinational party. This include the EU or its predecessors (3, 10, 11, 18, 26 and 28), the International Criminal Court (23), or even just with North Ireland (parts of 19).
    • Some other parts of 19th amendment also leads to some citizenship issues, as it declares "It is the entitlement and birthright of every person born in the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, to be part of the Irish nation. That is also the entitlement of all persons otherwise qualified in accordance with law to be citizens of Ireland." This is originally used to placate those who wanted an unified Ireland, and is used to grant Irish nationality to people in Northern Ireland if those people wish to, but when Ireland itself became the center of birth tourism because that line is similar to the US Constitution's birthright clause... 27th Amendment it goes.
  • When Westboro Baptist Church announced their plans to picket the funerals of the Sandy Hook Shooting victims in 2013, Anonymous launched attacks that included a petition to have the church's status as a legitimate place of worship revoked, removing their protection of separation of church and state. While this was deemed unconstitutional, the Justice then added that, though he couldn't do that, it was possible for protesting to be illegal within a radius of certain events on a state by state basis. Cue several states that had suffered the WBC's hate speech banning protesting at funerals for several miles, effectively gutting the church's most infamous way of drawing attention to themselves.
  • Grandfather Clause. When whites regained control over the governments of Southern states after the American Civil War, they proceeded to set up many roadblocks to prevent freed slaves from voting. One of these roadblocks was the literacy test; if you failed the test, you were not allowed to vote (naturally it was almost always rigged so prospective black voters would fail). However (as noted in this political cartoon), many poor white voters also failed the tests. So the Southern governments added rules saying that anybody whose grandfather could vote before the Civil War would automatically be allowed to vote...which, naturally, never applied to black voters since almost all of their grandfathers were slaves.
  • An old Israeli fishing law had several clarifications added, including redefining "fish" as "any water animal, whether it is a fish or not a fish, including sponges, shellfish, turtles and water mammals".
  • The ATF used to define a machine gun as any firearm that shoots more than one shot per pull of the trigger. This was quickly changed to define a machine gun as any firearm that functions automatically after some enterprising rules lawyers tried to make machine guns with no triggers.

    Other Rules 
  • The children's game Tag never had many rules in the first place. But if there's one rule that does get applied, it's going to be "no tag backs", meaning that you can't tag the person who last tagged you if you're "it". Considering most games of tag tend to descend into anarchy anyway, this only helps so long.
  • Even science and math have been known at various times to have Obvious Rule Patches. A couple of the famous ones:
    • Euclid's Elements, which was the geometry textbook for 2,000 years, begins by assuming some axioms and postulates that are obvious enough to make a solid foundation — with one exception. Euclid's fifth postulate is clumsy and not at all self-evident. Countless mathematicians over the years tried to derive the "parallel postulate" from the others instead of assuming it. But the old Greek's intuition was right. The postulate can't be proven or disproven that way; if you choose a contradictory postulate, you get a "non-Euclidean" geometry that's perfectly consistent but describes some surface other than a flat plane (to which Euclidean postulates apply).
      • Attempts to deduce the 5th Postulate did lead to the discovery of a number of equivalent postulates that, when added to the other four, also produce the normal Euclidean results.
    • Bertrand Russell essentially broke set theory with his paradox: is "the set of all sets that are not members of themselves" a member of itself? To escape this paradox, mathematicians had to put restrictions on what constituted a set. The current system basically says no set can be a member of itself — anything big enough to do that is too big to be a set, and has to be a "proper class" or some such. Some mathematicians find this unsatisfying, and the debate over whether there's a better solution continues. The underlying nature of Russell's paradox unfortunately indicates that any better solution will also need to be logically "patched".
    • Should the number 1 be counted as a prime number? There's a case to be made either way, and in fact it was widely considered prime for a while, per the classic definition ("a number whose only factors are itself and 1"). But 1 doesn't act like a prime in most of the ways we need primes to act; in particular, it has to be left out if we want the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic to work. Thus we now define primality in ways that are less intuitive but exclude 1, such as "a number with exactly two factors" (and hence, 0 is right out).
    • The cosmological constant was an obvious rule patch in Einstein's Theory of Relativity, originally added to hold back gravity from crunching space-time, because Einstein had a personal preference for a static universe. Later it was discovered that the Universe isn't static at all, but is actually expanding - so the constant was patched again, this time with good reason!
      • Except now the universe's expansion seems to be accelerating, and one proposed solution is at least very similar to the cosmological constant.
    • This is essentially why Pluto is no longer considered a planet. In 1992 when the Kuiper belt was discovered in the same region it became apparent that Pluto was not particularly special compared to many of the other objects close to it and defining Pluto as a planet would mean many more objects would also have to be classified as planets. This is actually the second time this has happened; in 1801, Ceres, a planet between Mars and Jupiter was discovered, but fifty years later several other planets where discovered in the same region, leading scientists to rename them asteroids and the region the asteroid belt. Classifying Pluto as a planet would at the very least mean reclassifying Ceres as a planet, but also probably most of the dwarf planets in both regions.
  • Caltrops are banned in all barracks on Fort Benning, Georgia.
  • "Catapults, Trebuchets, and Other Siege Machinery" are banned in the dormitory areas at Texas A&M University.
  • Many university codes of conduct include some nebulous provision like "other disruptive behaviour or material", or "simply because something is not listed here, students should not assume it is permitted", which usually have some history behind them.
  • The White House website under Barack Obama allows people to post petitions (the "We the People" system), and if a petition garnered 25,000 signatures, then it would get an official response. After people started posting obvious troll petitions (Such as "Build a Death Star") as well as divisive and somewhat disturbing ones (e.g. "deport Piers Morgan"note  or petitions to secede from the Union) but with enough signatures, the White House required 100,000 signatures for a response.
  • In programming, there's quite a few things one has to remember for filtering some things that will cause unpredictable or undesirable behavior. For instance, if you're dealing with null-pointers, you better make sure they're not null if they're being used. Some languages have an "exception handler" note , which is a kind of catch-all for this.
  • Happened even in Ancient Greece: Plato was trying to come up with a definition for "man", and eventually settled on "a featherless biped", a definition that many of his peers praised him for. Diogenes, seeing a flaw in the logic, proceeded to pluck a chicken, bring it to Plato and declare "Behold! I have brought you a man!" Plato's definition was quickly updated with "...with broad, flat nails".
  • "Kickstarter Projects cannot offer genetically modified organisms as a reward".
  • A quick google search for "Behind every sign there is a story" will uncover hundreds, thousands of Obvious Rule Patches, some with explanations lost forever.
  • Some insurance or warranties with disclaimers often include the phrase "acts of God" which is a catch-all for any event beyond human control, namely natural disasters. "Acts of God" are one category of what's called "force majeure" and "vis major" ("big force," French and Latin respectively), or "cas(us) fortuit(us)" ("chance case", the French is the same as the Latin minus case-endings). The distinction is "force majeure" also includes things of human origin for which the typical contractor can't be held accountable, like wars, railway strikes, and other social and political upheaval.
  • The Oxford Union, the student debating society at Oxford University, does not allow dogs, but is not permitted by law to prohibit guide dogs or police dogs from entering the premises. This is the reason for Rule 51: "Any Member introducing or causing to be introduced a dog into the Society's premises shall be liable to a fine of £5 inflicted by the Treasurer. Any animal leading a blind person shall be deemed to be a cat. Any animal entering on Police business shall be deemed to be a wombat. Any animal that the President wishes to exempt from the Rule shall be deemed to be a mongoose." There was an attempt a few years ago to have this rule removed on the basis that it discriminated against the blind, but the motion was overwhelmingly voted down by members in the best-attended debate of the term.
  • The Villains Wiki is supposed to be website that concerns about villains but many users kept adding characters that are not really villainous but just jerks so they could complain about characters they don't like (some such characters that made it onto the wiki include Patrick Star, Princess Bubblegum, and the Titans from Teen Titans Go!). As a result, these articles eventually ended up getting deleted and the mods added a new rule that only truly villainous characters are allowed in the wiki.