[MUD-Dev] Community Relations

Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no> Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no>
Tue Jan 18 13:41:13 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000

I'm not an admin person and not really qualified, so I'll try to
restrict myself to stating the obvious. 

And I don't think there is much use in getting into the specifics
without getting the other parties viewpoint either. Most admins will
justify anything they do (I had no choice, it is my system, he asked for
it, it would have happened anyway...), and that's rather typical of
people that acquire positions where they can exercise.

I think there are at least 3 working approaches to control in a mud:

- empathic: those that are largely based on bonding and socializing.
Admins help you out when you first log on to the system, they
acknowledge your progression with kind words, do favours for you, spend
time explaining thing, try to establish peerage, exercise of power is
generally frowned upon.

- autonomous segments: IRC/Alphaworld, control is built into the
software, the world is segmented.

- fascist: the easy path, can be used to cover up design flaws, lack of
admin-training etc ;-) As most MUDs fall into this category you can
expect a large number of variations. Ranging from fascist anarchy (admin
solidarity, individual admins do whatever they like, and they are always
right) to bureaucracies with well-defined policies that are enforced
with rigour.

Then you have democracy and anarchy, but I can't remember any such
system that works.  Another possibility is to create smaller systems
where everybody has agreed upon some kind of prototype (such as fiction
or design goal), but I have no example. I am personally in favour of the
empathic/autonomous/peerage with no visible admin, but that assumes a
design without serious flaws...

Anyway, I think there is more than one ideal to choose from.  Some
players prefer stability and regularity and welcome the fascist
bureaucracy.  Others can't live with it.

Dundee wrote:
> I guess, the main thing that happened, a GM banned a player and referred to
> that player as an "idiot whiner" when she did.  The player was banned for
> The banned player's friend also demanded an apology, mainly for the GM
> "cussing" at the banned played.  I've read the log, it never happened.

> The banned player's friend pushed for an apology, lied about what had
> happened to other players, in-game and out.  Finally I just banned him and
> the idiot whiner.

Of course, from the players point of view it was merely reasonable

> General Issue:  What are we doing wrong that lead to this incident in the
> first place?

Mixing of admin and personal relations?  Bad selection of admins? 
Insufficient procedures to avoid bad decisions being made.  Lack of
clear policies? Making decisions based on local moral, rather than on
what matters for the global system?

Think about physical life situations.  Some people make a conflict
escalate, other people turn bad situations into situations which are fun
for everybody.  Of course, the latter is a rare skill.

> They made a big issue of the name-calling, but it's ok when they're
> basically doing the same thing to us.  I don't get that.

There is a difference between the prime minister saying "poor black
people are lazy cowards" and poor black people saying "politicians are
lazy cowards".

Basically humans strive for peerage, and deal out the same stuff they
receive. Unfortunately the estimate is fairly rough. If the two people
in the conflict judge the situation differently it will escalate.

It IS reasonable for those with less power to compensate when having an
argument with those in power. You can multiply the effect of what an
admin or a powerful player says with a factor of 100. 

> Main thing is, the guy would not let it go.  I mean, to the point of "Fine,
> you *can't* play here, then.  Been nice knowing you."

What you are talking about is "how to recover from a mistake", not "how
to gracefully deal with a conflict".  Basically an admin should use the
available tools, but to use them you need to understand the offended and
the psychology of the situation?  It doesn't sound like your admin

> Not
> just pushed - but lied to other players and generally caused as much
> disruption as he could.

Yes, that's his only source of power.

> My thought is we did the right thing to get rid of
> him.

Yes, but the real question is not how to deal with him, but what skills
do you require from your admins and what systems are in place to avoid
the admin-player conflict?


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