Motivating people

Greg Munt greg at
Thu Jul 24 19:07:55 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

I guess I'm delurking now. It just had to be done. This post deals with a 
subject I've not really seen discussed anywhere. I think it is quite an 
important issue in the design of muds - usually big projects, especially 
if they are scratch - where numerous people are involved in development.

Right. The situation I'm in now:

Staff of 3 levels of authority exist; the mud is running (if I could shut 
it down, I probably would, but it would disappoint numerous people), but 
it's running code that I haven't supported since February, due to the 
server being recoded from scratch (again!). There are few users (max 
these days, is probably around 2-3), and functionality approximating IRC 
(actually, it's probably not that complex). So. Nothing to administrate 
really. I guess it is up just to stop people forgetting about its very 
existence, more than anything else, that and it would be politically 

My game has been shrouded in politics from its very inception; politics 
is why I started writing a mud in the first place - revenge, anger, 
bitterness, all that. For those who never read my list introduction, 
posted all those months ago, I ran a Tiny, but due to what I perceived as 
betrayal by my closest friends, was kicked out of the admin team 
altogether, and have been banned from it for at least the past six 
months. The details of this are irrelevant.

Anyway, I am giving you this background because it is having a negative 
affect on game development. All regular users are dissatisfied users from 
the game I used to run; it is becoming clear that they don't want a 'new, 
original, unique' game at all, they simply want a better-run replica of 
the other game.

Why is this a problem? It is a problem because of the way I approach 
development of design ideas. There are various mailing lists available 
for discussing development of the game (of primary importance are the 
lists for game and website development), for which there are about 10-15 
subscribers. Discounting noise, there are two regular posters (apart from 
myself), one of which is also from the 'other game'. There is a strong 
Tiny bias throughout the discussions. It should be pointed out that one 
of the many objectives of the server is to provide a world, rather than a 
game, which will be interesting and stimulating to all types of player 
(using Bartle's JOMR paper as a model - are there any other information 
sources on the same subject anywhere?). Since the vast majority of 
subscribers are Socialisers, problems are arising.

Right now, one of my staff members is going around telling everyone he 
has resigned, and trying desperately to be promoted on the 'other mud'. 
He seems to have forgotten to tell *me* he has resigned, however. All of 
his talk about preparing emails for the lists, with lots of laid-out 
plans, information, etc, etc, all these have resulted in nothing.

My primary concern at the moment is the complete apathy of current 
subscribers. I do know that people like to lurk (I'm profoundly guilty of 
it, with respect to mud-dev!), but only ONE member of staff is posting 
*anything*. I've been told privately, that almost total apathy should be 
expected in everyone except for the mud's owner. That I need to give people 
'involvement' and 'stake-holding', before I can legitimately expect them 
to realistically contribute a thing. This, I agree with, for non-staff. 
But I do expect some sort of contribution from the staff, especially 
since there is not really a game to administrate, and posting to the lists 
is the only real way they can contribute to the game at *all*...

Am I expecting too much?

I've also been told that the staff member who is contributing, is doing 
so *only* to get promoted. How can I deal with this? If it's true, how 
can I keep motivating someone like this?

Would it maybe help to search out people with a more LP or DIKU bias, to 
subscribe to the list? (To counter-balance the Tiny bias.)

                           Wot, no Keegan quotes?
                                 A miracle.

More information about the MUD-Dev mailing list