[MUD-Dev] Re: Administrative notes

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Mon Jun 2 19:30:50 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Sun 01 Jun, Adam Wiggins wrote:
> [Marian:]

> > > Again, implying that it's impossible to learn anything without having a
> > > teacher seems a bit strange to me.  How, pray tell, did we (humanity, that
> > > is) ever manage to learn anything since we didn't know anything to
> > > begin with? :)

> > Somebody who is really, -really- good can elaborate on existing knowledge.
> > And somebody who is really stupid, but lucky, can stumble on something
> > by accident. The price that has to be paid for being that good is high,
> > often too high for the community who has to pay to support this person
> > (so she can devote all her time to study her chosen subject)

> Okay, this is a bit different.  What you were saying before was that
> you can never be any better than mediocre without very specific instruction.

I think that, in a mud setting this is a suitable simplification. Not be-
cause it is necessarily true (though I think that indeed with instruction
you can become better in a skill than without; or at least get there much
faster.  But because it helps to shape a more interesting game.  If other
players can teach you skills,   or can decline to do so,  this allows for
interesting interaction between players. And possible encourages the for-
mation of guilds that  are more than conveniences,  but instead have real
meaning in the game.  I also strongly  belief that in a good game players
should be allowed to come up with entirely new skills  (though at a price
in time and resources that is decided by the implementors of the game).

> The above says that you can't advance yourself any higher if you're already
> the best person in the world at what you do, unless you devote a whole
> hell of a lot of time and resources to it, which I can agree with.

*smile* Great. We agree on something ;)

> For instance, I consider myself a vastly-better-than-mediocre programmer,
> despite zilcho formal instruction.  On the other hand, I don't necessarily
> invent new and exciting programming techniques every day or anything.
> Frequently I 'learn' a new techinque by seeing something done (ie, some
> rendering technique or whatever) - staring it for a bit and thinking, 'how
> did they do that?'  Eventually my brain puts it together and I figure out
> how I can do it myself.  So I've just advanced my own knowledge past
> 'maximum', but I can hardly credit myself - someone else came up with
> the invention, I just reverse-engineered it.

This means that you are not the best programmer yet :) And that you don't
spend that lots and lots of time and effort in improving your skills.

> By the same token, if I witness Bubba practising his Foo Stance, can't I
> try to imitate that despite my own Foo knowledge being less than Bubbas?
> Or how about if I read it in a book?  Granted, it would be about ten times
> easier if I just got Bubba to show me...but it is still possible.

Of course not. But if you witness him,  and are good enough at this Foo to
be able to understand what it means, doesn't it imply that he is, in fact,
teaching you. Of course your chances at success would be much higher if he
did show you ten times and helped you correct any slight mistakes you make.
But just watching somebody do something and attempting to imitate them is,
I think, also a form of teaching. Just not a very efficient one.
This is also the part where prior knowledge is of crucial importance. Not,
as it is usually done by requiring certain other skills to be learned, but
by defining your chances at successfully imitating what you see (and learn
from that).

Yes - at last - You. I Choose you. Out of all the world,
out of all the seeking, I have found you, young sister of
my heart! You are mine and I am yours - and never again
will there be loneliness ...

Rolan Choosing Talia,
Arrows of the Queen, by Mercedes Lackey

More information about the MUD-Dev mailing list