[MUD-Dev] Re: Bruce Sterling on Virtual Community goals

Jon Leonard jleonard at divcom.slimy.com
Sun Oct 18 22:55:45 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998

On Thu, Oct 15, 1998 at 10:47:51PM -0700, J C Lawrence wrote:
> On Thu, 15 Oct 1998 19:14:54 -0700 
> Jon Leonard<jleonard at divcom.slimy.com> wrote:
> > On Thu, Oct 15, 1998 at 11:24:42AM -0700, J C Lawrence wrote:
> >>  He has a point, not only in comparison to MUD-Dev itself (MUD-Dev
> >> is a MUD!  No its not!), but to our more standard fare of MUDs:
> >> 
> >> http://www.wired.com/news/news/technology/story/15611.html
> > [Bruce Sterling's comments about virtual communities being an
> > oxymoron, and how peer review might help]
> > This reminds me of Eric S. Raymond's "Homesteading the Noosphere"
> > http://www.earthspace.net/esr/writings/homesteading/, which
> > discusses status among open source software developers, and how it
> > relates to getting software developed.  (The prequel paper is also
> > well worth looking at:
> > http://www.earthspace.net/esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/)
> Bah!  You're stealing my thunder -- I had it all planned to lead
> gracelessly into the Raymond mantra and the benefits of cooperateive
> development via your player base.

Oops.  :-)

The other possible lesson that we as a list should be collaborating
on code rather than reinventing wheels by the truckload.

I get the impression that many people on the list are writing their
own servers, often from scratch.  (I am.)  Would anyone be interested
in collaborating on a base server for experimentation?  There's got
to be a certain amount of drudgery that we can save each other.

Even if there isn't interest, figuring out a base feature set would be
useful, and I'd extract parts of my own server to match.  (I have a fully
RFC compliant telnet server, which I could disentangle from the rest of my
code, for example.)

If there isn't a clear idea of what would be a useful base to extend on,
that says something very interesting about the future of MUD design.

At this point I'm envisioning a collection of modules, so that features
that aren't interesting in a particular context can be ignored.  The
whole could be under something like the X license or even explicit public
domain, so that it would be useful for those considering commercial uses
as well.

Would anyone use such a thing?  Would there be any benefit over starting
with something like a Diku base (which I understand some have done).

> That really depends on the character and function of the venue.
> MUD-Dev is schizophrenic in that regard.  There is a very definite
> sense (for me) of timeliness and currency on the one hand (what
> exactly are we discussing now) as well as a sense of building an
> knowledge base via the archives which acts a little like a
> cooperatively built mountain that we all use as a springboard and
> return to for inspiration.  We're also very flighty, flitting from hot
> topic to hot topic with little sense of order or control.
> Some of the other lists I'm on, expecially those with more weighty
> topics and lower traffic are *much* more controlled, and almot
> implacable intheir pursuit of each item down to its bitter end.

I guess I feel that MUD-Dev is working, and it's very hard to think of
changes that might improve it.  Anything that would make it harder to
pose an interesting question or discuss some new insight would weaken
it.  It's true that it's not necessarily the best form for archive use,
though.  Maybe thread summaries would help, if people could be found
to write them.

Jon Leonard

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