[MUD-Dev] an essay on PK

Matthew Mihaly diablo at best.com
Mon Sep 20 14:45:34 New Zealand Standard Time 1999


On Mon, 20 Sep 1999, Jon A. Lambert wrote:


> You are right, in the sense that one shouldn't continue to PLAY a mud that
> one finds offensive.  Sure one can post or send the admins opinions 
> of their game, but then it's in their best interest just to quit and find another 
> game.  That's why I've always believed it was good policy for a Mud to state 
> these things up front before the user goes through the trouble of generating 
> a character.  

Yes, I agree with this for the most part, though purely out of
practicality (why set yourself up to deal with the whiners?)


> If your policy is to allow strong language, rape, infanticide, blood, guts, sex, 
> slavery, drugs and gore tell the user up front.  Make them acknowledge the 
> policy by typing "YES" and redisplaying it until they do.  The original Sojourn 
> disclaimer was excellent in this regard, conceptually that is (although quite 
> a bit too legalistic and wordy).  Don't assume the user is familiar with your 
> theme or has accessed the mud via your web page.  

Hmm, well, we allow all of that (though not without bounds) provided it is
done in a way that contributes to the immersive feeling of the game (well,
not slavery, as we don't have any slave mobs and I don't think too many
players would be interested in paying me for the privilege of being a
virtual slave) but we don't have a disclaimer. The reason is that it may
frighten off some people who would otherwise get immersed in the world and
find it very enjoyable despite some things they don't like about it.

> That said, here's a hypothetical:
> Suppose one creates a mud game set in Germany during WWII.  We'll called 
> it Holocaust.  Players are expected to play death camp guards and SS 
> operatives.  The objectives of the game are to hunt down Jews, Gypsies and 
> other undesirables and to exterminate them for levels and experience points.   
> And they have paid especial attention to historical accuracy and realism.  And 
> they have all the proper disclaimers and parental warnings up front and readily 
> displayable.  Couldn't happen?  Well I know such single-player video games 
> exist.

Chuckle, that would be quite funny.


> 
> Now should someone bring such a game online, I think it is quite likely to
> for them to expect their ISP to be harassed, their game to be subject to 
> hacking attempts, denial of service attacks, attacked by reviewers in print,
> etc..  The cries of "it's only a game" and "free speech" will be unheard and 
> drowned by both legal and illegal attacks by those who find it offensive. 
> The administrators may even be subject to IRL death threats and attacks.

Yes, sadly, you are right. There are a large number of people out there
who don't really believe in free speech or expression.

> In the US, the government is not likely to crack down of your freedom 
> of speech and this sort of game may well stand up to any sort of "legal" 
> challenge.  However, an administrator who is under the illusion that 
> "legalities" form a barrier of protection against a man from picking up 
> a rock and using it for the flimsiest of moral reasons is quite naive.  
> Whether one believes those offended to be unenlightened, petty, ignorant,
> or wrong is largely irrelevant. 

Yes, you're right. They are unenlightened, ignorant, petty, etc, but it
doesn't matter really in terms of your mud.

 
> Admittedly that's an extreme example, and I only intend it for illustrative
> purposes of where "it's only a game" comes into conflict "real life morals" 
> in rather negative and peculiar ways.  Personally I wouldn't play such a 
> game, and wouldn't think much of the people who ran it or played it.

I would run such a game in theory (I say in theory because the enjoyment
I'd get from winding people up would not be worth the immense effort that
construction of an original mud takes), though it would probably be a bit
boring to me as a player.
--matt




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