[MUD-Dev] Admins as Mortals twist

Koster Koster
Tue Nov 23 23:20:23 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

> -----Original Message-----
> From: J C Lawrence [mailto:claw at cp.net]
> Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 1999 9:36 PM
> To: mud-dev at kanga.nu
> Subject: Re: [MUD-Dev] Admins as Mortals twist 
> In other words your heirarchies are now informal instead of
> explicitly stated by the structures of your game or admin
> structures.  This doesn't change the fact or the nature of the
> heirarchies at all, just the methods for determining position.

Basic human psychology and anthropology.

> > Nearly every mud I have wizzed on has had some problem of this
> > sort, and I'm sure this idea would have some problems, but I just
> > thought of it now and perhaps you all can add to it to make it
> > better)
> My assertion is that the only real approach is to make the
> administration both invisible undetectable within the game world,
> and generally contactable only in the abstract outside of the game.

I have a counter-assertion, which is that you need to humanize your admins
as much as possible. When admins screw up (which they will) and when they
get corrupt (which they will) and when they abuse power (which they will)
players tend to be more forgiving of actual people than of a faceless

It's human nature to distrust authority. It's extra-obvious to distrust
authority that has godlike powers over your life. If said authority is in a
uniform and has no fixed name and is (worst of all) just an email address
out there in the beyond, the worst will be assumed about them.

Whereas if you know that they have a dog and like to collect stamps, you're
more likely to think of them as a person. And empathy is gained. And when
they screw up, you're more likely to forgive them.

This does NOT preclude professional distance between admins and players, to
my mind.

Why does this matter?

Because, frankly, it's a manipulation tactic. Managing a mud is often about
mob psychology. Getting them to trust you is the battle you fight all day
long, every day. Carefully personalizing yourself--even in false ways--is
gonna help you get there.

Machiavellian, I know.

Even more Machiavellian (and I used to do this on Legend btw) is to outright
inform the players (or lesser immorts) that you are manipulating them in
this and other fashions. :) It turned some of my imms into better imms and
managers and some of my players into better community standard-bearers.

> Raph's position as Designer Dragon at UOL is an interesting example
> of this last qualification AFAICT.  Purely because he is the only
> really observable figure there he becomes both an iconic grounding
> rod (heh!) and an apologist for the game -- BUT! and ths is the
> really interesting bit, he is retroactively assumed to be too
> distant from the real nitty gritty of the day to day running of the
> game ("The king doesn't care about what happened to your pet mouse.
> He cares about the kingdom") to really understand and know the minor 
> travails of players.  Its a curious dichotomy.

Even weirder now that I am not directly involved with the project (I dunno
if the list knew that--I am onto something new I can't talk about yet). I am
now retroactively blamed for a ton of stuff, and everything new that is
added is seen as a reaction against my previous direction, even if it is
something I espoused back when I was involved.

> Raph: The above is garnered mainly from fan-site readings.  I hope
> I'm not tooo too far adrift.  Comments?

Nope, you're not.


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