[MUD-Dev] Motivating people

clawrenc at cup.hp.com clawrenc at cup.hp.com
Mon Jul 28 18:25:40 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

In <Pine.LNX.3.91.970724173005.64e-100000 at uni-corn.demon.co.uk>, on
   at 11:45 AM, Greg Munt <greg at uni-corn.demon.co.uk> said:

>My game has been shrouded in politics from its very inception;
>politics  is why I started writing a mud in the first place ...

An obvious and probably well known (by now) point:  politics is a
shitty reason to do something.  You'll never end up getting what you
want, especially with this sort of reactionism as the attemp instead
of being a "I want to create XXX", is now, "I want to create something
that is not YYY."

>...The details of this are

Without knowing the details I've normally found that the fact of the
deatils is unimportant, but the root cause and character of the
details is immensely important as otherwise the net effect will be to
recreate the whole thing over again on a new turf.

>...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.

Which is the telling point.  You have a group whose common identity is
not a shared interest in a project, but a shared identity in having
something NOT be like something else (in this case the old game). 
Think of it this way: its not a group formed to create something.  Its
a group formed to ensure that what's created is not like XXX.  

There's very little creativity which can come out of concentrating on
what not to do.

>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.

ie Your group population does not match the intended game population. 
Unless you can persuade them to be very pan-determined they're going
to push for their own home camp.  This is very much a taste of what
Keegan calls "assumed orthodoxies".  All your people assume and
"think" Tiny.  Everything is then Tiny based, Tiny derived, and fits
within the Tiny model and world-view.  

Problem is, that's not what you want.  You either need to inject new
people who do not have that mindset, who are members of the other
camps, or you need to persuade your existant members to be

Aside: I also suspect that a clear statement of purpose and goal was
not established at the start of the project.  Once you have such a
statement it can be used as a metric to measure later proposals and
changes against.  Does this new thing further advance us toward our
goal of XXX, divert us down an entertaining side road, or does it take
us in the other direction?

>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.

This can't be a surprise.

>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*. 

As you've probably noticed by now, I actively feed, prompt, cajole,
and poke this list into regular life.  Sometimes I do it directly with
posts of my own, sometimes imports from newsgroups, or digging up old
interesting posts that never got fully dealt with, or any of a variety
of other tactics.  You have to think of yourself as a leader -- its up
to you to keep pumping life into the thing, grabbing people by the
nose, telling them to look at things, talk about things, getting them
interested, get them to talk about what interests them.  Sometime I
exchange more email with list subscribers off the list than on...  Its
a chunk of work, but without it this list would have been dead a long
time ago.

Note: Yes, I need to do this now.  I just don't have time.  Sorry.

>I've been told privately, that almost
>total apathy should be  expected in everyone except for the mud's

Without the above sorts of goading activities, then yes. 

>That I need to give people  'involvement' and 'stake-holding',
>before I can legitimately expect them  to realistically contribute a

Involvement, yes.  Stake-holding, no.

>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*...

Okay, they have the responsibility.  What are they supposed to do with
it?  Where can they do it?  What can they actually *create*, *do*? 
Without them actually being able to go out and use that responsibility
to *do* something they're going to do the only "fun" thing that's left
to them: leave or turn on each other -- and it sounds like you have

>Am I expecting too much?

If you expect that the project will proceed without your constant
involvement and leadership, yes.  If you want a good role-model, read
up on how Churchhill "ran" the British war effort during WWII.  He was
anything if not a persistant bullish meddler with his fingers in every
single pie he could find.

>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?

If he his actual activities align with your base purpose, who cares? 
If they don't, then indicate the base purpose again, indicate that
accordance is required, and fire or keep him on the basis of his
sgreeing to further the base purpose or not.

>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.)

I'd say so.  It certainly has made for a more interesting mix here.

J C Lawrence                           Internet: claw at null.net
(Contractor)                           Internet: coder at ibm.net
---------------(*)               Internet: clawrenc at cup.hp.com
...Honorary Member Clan McFUD -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...

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