[MUD-Dev] Re: (fwd) Re: POLL: Games ruined by bad players (Playe

Dr. Cat cat at bga.com
Thu Apr 30 18:49:14 New Zealand Standard Time 1998


> This is a direct parallel to a segment of the "POLL: Games ruined by
> bad players..." thread running right now on on r.g.m.* (and rapidly
> heading for the wallows): the financial and human cost of
> administration in capital, expense, and overhead.

Well the paragraph of mine you quotes was, if I'm not mistaken, part of a 
reply to someone who was replying to something I wrote, which was 
actually a post to that very thread originally (my first post to 
rec.games.mud.misc in several years) and that you reposted here to the list.

So if it's related in subject matter to that thread it's no surprise, as 
it's a descendant of that thread.  Interestingly my post there seems to 
have garnered almost no response in the newsgroup, although it did get 
some here.

> Do you have another solution than expensive mass human supervision to
> to UOL's reputed problem of K3wlD00dz,

Yes.  :X)

I said in an earlier post I wasn't going to do into this subject 
at length.  But basically I favor "inexpensive mass human supervision".
I have notions about how to make it scalable, effective, etc.

> Next, given that you do have a scalable affordable solution for such,
> you are then, if only by inference, "guaranteeing" a PG rated
> environment.  Is liability a concern?

Yes, it's a concern.  I've been following this issue, among others, since 
the days when BBSes and the big commercial online services were the main 
things in the online world.  I often lamented the notion that there was 
no "middle ground" defined yet by legal precedent, only the extremes of 
"let anybody post anything anywhere and claim you're a common carrier 
with no liability", or "review/edit everything and have liability for 
everything".  For a while it seemed like if you decide to review, 
categorize, or ban just some subset of the material on your service, 
trying to improve quality without going nuts trying to read everything, 
you might still get stuck with liability for everything, since the moment 
you excercise one iota of editorial control you're not a common carrier.

My apprentice dug up some encouraging legal precedent, though.  It turns 
out common carrier isn't the right model to strive for, but it's also not 
the only type of entity that's granted some freedom from liability over 
content.  Some ISPs are using bookstores as a model.  Bookstores aren't 
100% ignorant of the content they're conveying like a true common carrier 
(the Post office or the phone company), and they're allowed to apply 
subjective selection criteria in choosing which books to carry.  But if 
the author of a book writes something that's actionable, the bookstore 
isn't liable - just the author and/or book publisher.

I also developed some theories about "how not to be the one who gets 
involved in the precedent-setting court case".  Even if you win one of 
those, the time and expense involved is considerable.  But from observing 
the BBS world some clear patterns seemed evident to me about who got to 
be the test case and why.  And it's really not hard to avoid if you're 
shrewd and if you wish to do so.

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