[MUD-Dev] Community Relations

Marc Bowden ryumo at merit.edu
Tue Jan 18 08:05:03 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000


--On Tue, Jan 18, 2000 12:10 AM -0500 "Jon A. Lambert"
<jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com> wrote:

> 
> "Thy shall not insult or offend any member of the administration"
> and
> "Thy shall not insult or offend any player"
> 
> Note that the former is usually enforced with great enthusiasm,
> while enforcement of the latter is haphazard and oftentimes
> explicitly  non-existent.
> 
> Any thoughts as to why this is so?  
> 

  I believe it's because the majority of the people starting up
out-of-the box MUDs have very limited social experience, and mostly
as misfits or outcasts (usually by choice because it's trendy
nowadays to be a rebel just like everyone else or because they just
don't play well with others.) Emotionally immature, they only really
have one tool available - make the noisybadthing go away, or hurt it;
I suppose that depends on the exact degree of social dissonance which
they enjoy more. So they lash out to make it stop and (they believe)
make an example so people leave them alone.
  The same administrative "type" tends to ignore the playerbase for
largely the same reason - they're not him, so it's not that
important. It's much easier to work on code than play referee, plus
they don't feel all nervous and anxious when they deal with code as
opposed to people, who never do what they're supposed to.

> Do such policies introduce a "class" system into a muds social
> structure regardless of whether the administration is faceless or
> not?
> 

  A class system always gets introduced into any social structure -
it's human nature to form those kind of social divisions. In any MUD
or MUD variant there's always going to be in the players' minds and
us-or-them mentality; in fact, more and more lately, people sign on
to play on-line games...but not the ones we built for them. Their
games tend to be more of them trying to see how far they can push or
outwit the "evil" administrator/administration/anyonebiggerthanthem -
and evil in their personal context is defined in almost Randian terms
as "anything that prevents me from doing whatever I want."
  Kids *need* to have something to hate - it's pretty much all they
know how to do when they feel inadequate or frustrated, and we're
perfect targets. I'm sure there's not one of us here who's had to
fail out an "apprentice" or remove a "wizard" who was morally,
technically, or mentally unfit for the job and hasn't had a few of
them continue to hang around under many many aliases and try to "get
us back" for what we did to them, because it's *obviously* our fault.
  I use the term 'kids' not in the pejorative sense but as a
reference to the level of social awareness because the problem isn't
limited by age. Case in point, while reading the above paragraph a
name, face, or situation that fit the profile came to you unbidden.
I'm willing to bet not everyone's personal example fell within that
13-17 age range we all cringe at dealing with.
  
> 
> What is it about administration personnel that makes them so much
> more delicate and important when it comes to being insulted or 
> offended?
> 

  For the amateur (see above for a vastly oversimplified model)
administrator it's usually poor modeling behavior - pick a bad admin,
any bad admin. Now do what he does. For a smaller (I hope!)
percentage it's because they assume that their ability to use tar
-xvf and gcc means that they should be accorded instant respect,
adulation, and limber nubile slave women. If they don't "get what's
coming to them" from the playerbase, they feel more than justified in
handing out wholesale death.
  The professional now - and I believe that includes almost everyone
on the list - realizes that, as long as the kids don't cross the line
into profanity or character assasination, it's okay to let them vent;
they'll eventually expend themselves, get bored, and go back to
playing. I put up with an amazing ammount of crap myself, which
doesn't bother me because I realize that it's just immature bluster
and they'll eventually grow out of it. I do admit to encouraging
people who pick on people on my staff besides me to find something
else to do very, very soon, however - backing up and protecting the
dignity of your subordinate "wizards" is part of the job too, and
they deserve the respect.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
Marc Bowden - Soulsinger         Dreamshadow:The Legacy of the Three
  ryumo at merit.edu                                 206.246.120.2 3333
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