[MUD-Dev] Re: META: list "peerage"

&lt &lt
Wed Jan 20 20:06:51 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

On Wed, 20 Jan 1999, Koster, Raph wrote:

> Please forgive the extra layer of attribution, it arose from Caliban having
> to repost. Also please forgive the extremely "meta" nature of the post.
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Caliban Tiresias Darklock [mailto:caliban at darklock.com]
> > Sent: Wednesday, January 20, 1999 3:02 PM
> > To: mud-dev at kanga.nu
> > Subject: [MUD-Dev] Re: Levels versus Skills, who uses them and when. 
> > Reposting...
> > 
> > >-----Original Message-----
> > >From: J C Lawrence <claw at under.engr.sgi.com>
> > >To: mud-dev at kanga.nu <mud-dev at kanga.nu>
> > >Date: Thursday, January 14, 1999 10:47 PM
> > >Subject: [MUD-Dev] Re: Levels versus Skills, who uses them and when.

< Many words snipped. Good words too. Sad. >

> See now, this peerage, these deputy Ozzes... (Hey JCL, I didn't realize you
> were so short, and that you liked green so much...!) it'd be worth analyzing
> why they are peers in the first place. Posting volume (a very powerful
> factor in this case, IMHO)? Insight? And if insight, insight judged by who?
> Number of concepts/approaches/solutions/opinions that evolve into orthodoxy?
> Number of times they get cited by others as knowing their shit? Number of
> muds they have in the FAQ as "touchstones"?

As a relatively new lurker (I've posted twice), I can tell you that my
perception of the peers of the realm is basically based nearly entirely on
posting volume. As long as the posts aren't full of junk, posting a lot
makes you seem as if you have mastery of the subject, etc. I'm sure as
time goes on, my subconscious will sort out the "frequent posters of
valuable things" from the "frequent posters of not-as-valuable things".

> More frightening: how many list members never post, because they feel that
> they cannot compose a mail such as that? It also gets as the issue of what
> the nature of the list is. If the list is a research institution (which it
> is currently heavily biased towards) then that is fine. You want the
> contributors to be those who actively advance or elucidate the state of the
> art every time they open their mouth. The danger is that said state of the
> art never materializes because we're all too busy talking about it to
> actually make it happen. (I seem to recall one poster--was it John
> Bertoglio?--who stopped posting last time I made a similar comment, with the
> remark, "You're right, I am going to stop talking and start coding now.").
> There is also the danger, in a research institution, of getting too far
> divorced from reality, and ceasing to be relevant. And of course, there's
> all the lovely academic politics that probably ensue, the ossification of
> thought processes, the acceptance of assumed orthodoxies, etc.

Your point regarding talking rather than doing is a salient one. The only
mailing list other than this one which I've had any interest on was a list
on the philosophy of Epicurus. I was a frequent poster, and spent a lot of
time writing quality posts, etc. Unfortunately, with the volume of it
(similar to the volume of this list), it began to take an hour or two of
my day, every day, and that's too much time.

> The problem with NOT being a teaching institution is that the list is
> devoted to advancing the state of the art. And it's not going to advance
> unless the general caliber of endeavor improves as a result of the
> discussions here. At some point, somebody has to turn around and say to the
> general mud community, "Hey, you know what? We like, completely LICKED the
> problem of <insert topic here--uh, say, proper database backends for muds>
> and here's a detailed spec and what's more, you can use it in ANY mud
> codebase, check it out!" or else the general mud community will continue to
> develop at the current (slow) pace.

Improving the general caliber of muds is a lofty goal, and an unrealistic
one I think. Achaea is hosted with Mudservices, and if any of you are
familiar with the mailing lists associated with them, you know exactly how
incompetent 99% of mud admins are. I apologize if that sounds terribly
arrogant, but most mud admins not only lack the ability to solve or
implement solutions, but are unaware of the problem in the first place.

By way of example, I mentioned once in a thread that I think a well-done
player v. player combat system is the most intense experience one can have
in a MUD. A bunch of people wrote back saying things like, "You don't know
what you're talking about. Player combat is just a matter of getting the
best equipment and then typing KILL <whomever>." It had never crossed
their minds that combat could work otherwise.

It's lovely to talk about improving the quality of MUDs generally, but the
problem isn't the concepts used, it is the people running them, and as
long as any idiot can just download a code base and slap up a
cookie-cutter mud, that problem isn't going to go away. The barrier to
entry is just too low.

> they feel the same way. I feel that way regularly (the database discussion
> went miles over my head in many places). Then again, here's a separate
> dilemma: the peerage right now also seems to be the most active posters. I'd
> count YOU as one of said peers, in fact. So even this discussion about how
> the peerage dominates the list via intimidation & posting volume is
> happening only among the peerage. Maybe the rest of the list doesn't think
> it's a problem at all. Lurkers, what do you think?

Speaking only for myself, I don't find anyone intimidating. The main
reason, I think, is that while there are some detectable attempts by
people to big themselves up with jargon, I don't see much of it, and the
impression I get from most people who post here is that they're not about
puffing up their egos at the expense of others on the list.


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