Look, at the end of the day this entire line of reasoning amounts to "but we can't actually talk about rules authority AT ALL because someone might decide not to follow the rules, and nobody can make them!" or its alternative incarnation as "no matter what the rules say, the players won't play by them, they'll force the GM to do things in a way that is acceptable to them. So we can't really care about rules/system!"That's a good example of what I am discussing. A parking rule is not binding in itself, it is binding because it is enforced. It's easy to see that we can park where we like - the rule doesn't make us park in accord with it - rather it is our concern to avoid a fine that secures our consent to the rule. (Or we may feel a sense of civic duty, etc.)
For RPG we often agree to process rules. Like this
Of course, I don't normally think about consenting or not to every roll (as John Harper reminds in a recent video). Our shared ethos is normative. Instead I give my consent as we enter the magic circle, thus adopting a lusory attitude that should (but is not guaranteed every time to) meet the lusory expectations of my fellow players.
- We know that sometimes we have different ideas about what should happen next, in circumstances where that will take what follows down different paths (the antecedent behaviour)
- We author a rule "In case of 1., you will roll 1d6. On 6, what you say goes. On 3-5, what you say goes and I get to add something. On 1-2, what I say goes."
- We come to a case of 1. You pick up 1d6 and roll it - a 6. What makes me go along with that? It's not the roll. It's my consent to the roll, due in very large part to the player-ethos we share that would make my behaviour that of a spoilsport (see Huizinga et al) should I now disregard this rule that we gave our prior consent to.
Again, we are perhaps in the end just agreeing (by disagreeing). I am absolutely talking about whether a rule is inherently binding or not. I gather from your caveat that you perhaps agree that rules aren't inherently binding. Have I got that right?
We're speaking to a conversation about rule zero versus every other rule in 5e, and I am saying that none of those rules are inherently binding. They are binding because of norms and penalties, anticipated benefits, etc, that bring us to accept/enact them for ourselves. This makes @Thomas Shey's argument exactly right: a GM could wield Rule 0 in an unhelpful way - any participant could wield any rule in an unhelpful way - but they do not because they don't follow the rule just because of the existence of that rule. They follow that rule because of (and in the way that satisfies) the shared-ethos and the benefits the group desire that rule to have.
Its a fundamentally discussion ending kind of argument that misses the entire point of the rules. Sure, they're subject to acceptance, but people DO ENTER THE MAGIC CIRCLE. They accept the rules, mostly as written, and they play the game! If they don't, we're not even having an RPG game play/design/theory discussion anymore, because no RPG is happening, or its a totally different one, or Calvinball, etc.
EDIT: Again, I think this was fairly well answered to in post 1627 above, please don't feel like we're beating the horse after it died, lol.