[MUD-Dev] Re: META: What are you looking for in this list?

Alex Stewart riche at crl.com
Thu Oct 8 03:02:31 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998


>   In a telephone call today, Raph raised the question of the purpose
> of the list: educational or research?  Translation: Is the purpose
> of the list to bring the rest of the field up to the current state
> of the art, or is it to advance the state of the art?  The two are
> of course related, but they are also different.  

Good question.  Judging by the content both currently on the list and in the
recent archives, I had rather assumed the goal to be primarily research and
development.  I do think this to be the far more interesting of the two
options.  Of course, we have people from a wide range of backgrounds working on
a wide range of current projects, as well, and the "state of the art" isn't
necessarily the same for everyone anyway, and in this regard I'm not sure such
a strong distinction can be made for the list as a whole.  For some people,
what's the "current state of the art" is an advance for others, and for still
others it doesn't even apply.

> It can be awfully exciting and interesting to work on the fringes,
> pushing the art out even further.  The problem is that we loose the
> people still in StockMUDWorld who then have no idea what we are
> talking about, why it is important, or even if it is interesting.
> In essence this is the problem of the isolation of the ivory tower
> (remember Prince Hal).

This is true, but at the same time, there are many other resources already
available for those not yet at the state of the art to bring themselves to that
point, and there are very few resources for those already there to discuss
issues of interest to those who are pushing the envelope.  One of the main
reasons I joined this list was because it appeared that it might be somewhere I
could actually get some valuable insight into the forefront of MUD development,
instead of just getting the same old info over and over again.  For this reason
I have to say I'm heavily in favor of a general "research" purpose (this is not
to say that other issues aren't welcome from time to time, however, just that I
would like to see continued discussion of advanced topics).

>   There's even a third possible purpose ouside of education and
> research: documenting the current state of the field.  For many of
> us writing networking code, a mini byte-coded language, algorithmic
> simulations, or whatever is no longer a concern.  Its old hat, we've
> done it a few dozen times and can do it nearly in our sleep.

I dunno, I rather feel that if you find some of these topics to be "old hat"
it's a sign that you're unduly limiting yourself.  I have been doing many of
these things for years and am still finding interesting new applications or
techniques, but anyway..

I do think, actually, that documenting the current state of the field is rather
necessary as part of the "research" purpose, ultimately, for the reason I
mentioned above that many people's "state of the arts" are different from many
other people's on this same list (and not merely because some people aren't "up
to speed", but for more significant reasons like a completely different
perspective born from a completely different background).  Documenting the
state of the art for one person may be pushing the envelope for another.

>   What is *YOUR* purpose and interest in this list?  What would you
> really like to get out of the list?

As I stated on the other thread, primarily, I am here to get insight into
issues (mainly technical issues) involving environments I'm not personally
familiar with.  I am very experienced with the internals and externals of MOOs,
somewhat familiar ColdMUD/Genesis, have done a fair amount of playing with a
couple of TinyMUD derivatives, have looked (briefly) at a couple of LP systems,
and am currently writing my own server, but I also know that this is still only
a small fraction of what people are working on, and I am very interested in
what people are currently doing with the technologies involved, problems they
have, issues that surface, solutions they find, new ways of looking at
problems, old ways of looking at problems which people have forgotten, etc.

I must admit that the social aspects of MUD environments don't interest me a
whole lot, and gaming doesn't interest me much at all.  I'm mainly a developer,
interested in developing virtual environments more than the societies within
them.

-R
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     Alex Stewart - riche at crl.com - Richelieu @ Diversity University MOO
                         http://www.crl.com/~riche
           "For the world is hollow, and I have touched the sky."




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