[MUD-Dev] Admins as Mortals twist

Sellers Sellers
Wed Nov 24 08:29:58 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

Raph wrote, in response to JC:
> > 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
> bureaucracy.

I dunno Raph.  I agree that all those problems will happen, but I'm not sure
I agree about 'humanizing' the admins.  I've toyed with the idea of making
all the admin-avatars interchangeable, so you never really knew who you were
talking to, only that you were talking to an admin.  Of course they could
tell you their name, but heck, they might be lying or give a general answer
or something.  

The point of this is to avoid the cults of personality (or anti-cults)
surrounding specific admins: "I'm looking for so-and-so; he likes me." Or,
"Forget it, I'm not talking to AdminX, he's not fair and has it in for me."
This also makes it possible to deal with admin turnover without any visible
effects in the game.  And when problems arise, it makes it easier to yank
one problem admin out for a while, and to deal with the players with a
united front.  
> 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
> 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.

I agree that putting a human face on the admins is necessary.  I just don't
think that the baggage that comes along with each of them having a unique
identity is worth the value gained.  I don't think the worst will be assumed
about them; I think this will even out -- the players' opinion of the admins
will pretty accurately represent the aggregate experience with the admins.
If most of the admins are not doing their jobs well, the good ones will find
it harder to work.  But if most are doing their jobs well, the poor ones
will be easier to bring up to speed behind the scenes.  

> Whereas if you know that they have a dog and like to collect stamps,
> 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.

That hasn't been my experience.  Personalized problems with individual
admins live long in the player memory.  Players hold grudges like nobody
else. :)  

Mike Sellers

MUD-Dev maillist  -  MUD-Dev at kanga.nu

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