[MUD-Dev] The Relationship between pkers andmonster AI?

Matthew Mihaly diablo at best.com
Thu Sep 16 01:16:02 New Zealand Standard Time 1999

On Wed, 15 Sep 1999, J C Lawrence wrote:

> On Mon, 13 Sep 1999 22:28:46 -0700 (PDT) 
> Matthew Mihaly <diablo at best.com> wrote:
> > The social contract is a transparent invention designed as a tool
> > to enable the majority to repress the minority. Muds have nothing
> > to do with social contracts. Muds are, by and large, autocracies
> > or oligarchies.
> Groups and societies by their nature as groups, require some sense
> of agreement as to common purpose or action among their members.
> Rarely is that agreement documented, explicitly agreed to, or even
> very well known.  Those agreements are the "social contract".  They
> are not unique to flat social structures and are present in
> autocracies just as well as small boy's clubs.  The only difference
> is in the content of the agreements, not their basic function.  

Hmm, well, I'm no longer sure I agree with what I said, or with your
point. What if you took, as an example, a mud where the admins took
absolutely no action for or against players. In this situation, I'm not
sure there has to be a social contract to survive, becuase the mud is not
working to any common purpose, but instead is probably filled with groups
who are opposed to each other on whatever grounds. Again, hypothetically,
maybe you have one group who firmly believes its in their right to player
kill the other players, and another group who firmly believes it is not in
the right of the player-killers. Let's also say that the mud is generally
defensively oriented, so that you can generally escape from the
player-killers. Now, where is the social contract? You might say that the
wishes of the admin, as expressed in the code are, but I would argue that
those are more akin to the rules of physics in real life.

> > I don't believe in them the same way that I do not believe in
> > God. I believe that the idea of God (or unicorns) exists, just as
> > I believe that some people harbor naive ideas about a social
> > contract, but I think that the idea of a social contract holding
> > any validity is laughable. I stop a red lights only because I
> > think it is my best interest. I regularly drive through stoplights
> > if I do not judge that there is any risk of a) runnning into
> > another car or b) getting busted by a thug in blue. An adult is
> > ruled by his conscience and judgement. A child is ruled by the
> > laws of others.
> The sad point of this is that for the groups to survive, the basic
> agreements etc of those groups must be pro-survival both for the
> group and the individual members.  Ergo, adherence to those
> agreements in turn is, quite literally, often in one's
> self-interest.  It has nothing to do with police or enforced
> justice, but the collective experience of the group as qualitatively
> expressed as mores.

I'm not sure this has anything to do with a social contract though.
Individuals acting in concert only by virtue of coincidence isn't evidence
of a contractual agreement, implied or explicit. It is late and I'm not
thinking all too clearly so I'm sure I'm probably missing some group of
instances where you are right, but generally I find that this isn't true.
If you can get away with something without getting caught, THAT is usually
to your advantage, conscience aside. It's the public goods problem of the
libertarians. How do you convince all farmers in a drought-stricken area
to kick in for a dam? Each one figures he can just not contribute, while
everyone else does, and still derive the same benefit. Without force, you
can't really make it in that farmer's interest unless you can appeal to
something along the lines of patriotism, or loyalty to the group.

> > The best government is a monarchy. The worst government is also a
> > monarchy. 
> Few can argue with a benign dictator.  As such a principle problem
> of government is ensuring the inheritors of power continue in the
> good traits of their predecessors.

Indeed, look at Rome. I think my point, though, was that a mud is and
should be influenced by the vision of the artist who creates or supervises
the creation of the game. I think it's also important for the creator to
have a direct and active hand in the world. It's the same principle as a
corporation, except that muds have shorter lives. Oftentimes, a mud isn't
intended to outlive the space of time that a creator may be interested in
running it for, and thus there is no need to think about succession (this
isn't always the case of course. I know that within a year or two, I will
look for someone to take over the running of Achaea so that I can do new

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