[MUD-Dev] Character evolution

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Sat Aug 30 17:36:54 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Wed 27 Aug, Jeff Kesselman wrote:
> At 08:09 PM 8/27/97 PST8PDT, you wrote:

> >Harassment is a significant problem on many muds.  What ways have others
> >on this mailing list found to prevent it and deal with it?

I don't run a mud and have tried to prevent being made imm after I learned
I am not at all good at that job. Those times that I was, however, I spent
most of my time peacekeeping. Having an imm teleport in on a conflict use-
ually helped in people backing down and allowing both sides to yell at me,
rather than at each other,  helped too.  In those rare cases that  was not
enough I had to hand the entire conflict to a higher ranking imm who could
actually do something about it. I've only had to deal with one case of se-
rious harassment which ended up with the university of the offending play-
er taking legal actions against him. It was also the moment I stepped down
as imm on that mud.  Not because there was something wrong  with the other
staff of it, but because they just couldn't believe that somebody could be
so malicious that he'd tried to ruin somebody else's life. I have to admit
that I was partly amiss in that entire situation too,  but being unable to
find anybody who would take the situation serious  was too much to bear on
top of the stress of dealing with emotional and upset players all the time
I was playing.

> A major problem and there are many kinds of harrasment.

I'm not sure if there are many kinds of harassment. In the end it all comes
down to the same, only the methods differ.  One player uses mechanisms that
are  available in the game  to damage the game or life  for another player.
The victim is typically powerless to stop the actions  or is afraid that an
attempt to complain will be slapped down  with the remark that he or she is
whining or that the offense just sounds too silly  (e.g. following somebody
around whistling all the time is extremely annoying yet sounds silly)

> In the short term we have had to institute rules and "coips" really because
> so little in the way of community controls were built into DSO.  With our
> next generation product its been a heavy consideration at all phases of our
> development, from the combat system to the chat system. Were constantly ask
> can this be abused and how?"

I'm afraid that players will find ways to abuse game mechanisms no matter
how much thought is poured into preventing it. The effort must be made of
coure but in the end there will always be cases where the imms/imps/staff
of a game has to step in and put an end to a situation. Preferably before
things have gotten so far out of control that people are being damaged rl
by it.

> And to us harassment is abuse, Im not going to debate that. Others can have
> their own opinions.

> One mechanism that has been moderately effective is the muzzle, which
> prevents you u8from hearing anything a designated player says.
> Unfortunately there are 2 problems with this: (1) they can still harass
> though actions. (2) There is a minor but consistent problem with those who
> are not very confident i themselves being afraid of what might be said
> "behind their backs" while they cant hear it. In practice this is seldom ma
> real problem, but the perception prevents full us of the muzzle.,

I'm slightly opposed to something like this. Firstly because I'm not too
certain that it is very effective  and secondly because it puts a burden
on the victim  to take steps against being harassed.  This seems morally
wrong to me somehow.
And yes, harassment can be direct or indirect.  Talking negatively about
another player all the time is also a form of harassment that doesn't go
away by muzzling.

> We thing we have considered on and off is the  muzzle-vote, where if more
> then some percentage (i go for about 75% myself) of the people in hearing
> range have all muzzled someone then they actually lose the ability to speak
> in that area.  I not sure if this would work TU or not, its just a
> theoretical constrict at the present.

I think that if more than 3 people muzzle the same player that should be
a sign for the staff to seriously follow (snoop) that player for a time.
Another thing that might be helpfull is to give players a limited access
to a log command.  I.e. if somebody is harassing then the victim can log
whatever that person says and does in his or her presence. This will not
stop the action immediately  but it gives some hard evidence if it comes
to a hearing  about the harasser's actions.  Of course it should be made
very clear to the players that logging somebody else's actions is an ac-
cusation of harassment and that false accusations are no more acceptable
than harassment itself is.

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

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