[MUD-Dev] Community Relations

Travis Casey efindel at io.com
Wed Jan 19 13:31:17 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000

On Wednesday, January 19, 2000, Koster, Raph wrote:

> Actually, I was speaking of the admin's responsibility towards his players.
> If he wants to run a psych experiment, a mud devoted towards driving players
> insane, a mud to experiment with poor management, etc, then he had better be
> warning players away with huge banners. If he's not explicitly trying to do
> that, then he had better cut out that behavior. To my mind, when you open a
> public facility of ANY sort, you are then responsible for it on many levels,
> regardless of whether he is trying to maximize playerbase size. The fact
> that playerbse size WILl increase if the place is well-managed is
> coincidental: you manage it well because you owe it to the players to manage
> it well, because you have created a public space. If you want to make a
> private space, then don't tell anyone about it. If you opened a public space
> in order to get an ego-boo, get over yourself and realize what you've done.

Is a mud a "public facility?"  Not all places that allow the public in
are "public facilities" -- for example, most businesses allow the
public in, but are private, and have the full authority to throw
people out who are causing problems.

I think we're getting away from the original idea here -- that of
players who are insulting.  If you walk into a store and start
insulting managers and clerks, do you think they'll let you stay long?

(They might *if* you were also buying a lot of things... but in the
case of a free mud, the concept of "buying a lot of things" doesn't

> Players are people. Just because they are people far away on the other side
> of a lot of wires and computers and routers does not mean they are any less
> of people. Treating people capriciously in the real world is wrong,
> especially when you have power over them. Treating them capriciously in the
> virtual world is also wrong. Admins have power over PEOPLE, not just
> characters. Those are real feelings over there.

> A mud admin who advertises his mud is asking real people to come into a
> virtual space he created. If he does it for the purpose of knowingly
> tormenting them, abusing them, or causing them pain, then that is
> reprehensible. If he torments them, abuses them, or otherwise puts them
> through emotional pain out of ignorance, it can be forgiven, but he had
> better realize quickly that they are PEOPLE.

I agree with all of this -- however, the people who are visiting the
mud should also realize that the admins are people too.  Just as a mud
admins should not abuse the players, the players should not abuse the
mud admins.  Players who do abuse the mud admins (or anyone else on
the mud, really) should expect to be quickly shown the exit.

> It is no longer your house, in the case of a mud. Rather, it's actually
> public parkland. You can choose to take it back, but it is still public
> parkland until such time as you do. And to my mind, that changes the nature
> of the equation.

I disagree; if I open a business, I may allow the public in, but that
does not make my business public parkland.

To give a closer analogy:

Let's say I open a gaming store, and, like many gaming stores, I
decide to have a room in the back with several tables that people can
use for games.  I even "host" a few regular games, with volunteer GMs
running them in return for some sort of privileges or discounts.

Now, if someone comes in and starts using one of my tables to run a
poker game, I have every right to throw him out.  If a group of people
come in and decide to just sit around one of those tables and chat, I
can throw them out.  *Those tables are there for a specific purpose;
they are not for the general public to use as they please.*

And, to get back to the original point, if someone comes in, sits down
at a table, and starts insulting one of my volunteer GMs, or one or
more players, I have every right to throw that person out.

In the same way, a mud exists for a specific purpose (or purposes).
The mud administrators, far from running a public park, are running a
set of gaming tables where they've provided GMs and adventures.
Anyone who acts in a way that is disruptive to that can be thrown out.

> Ugh. If a park administrator, restaurant owner, mayor, or president runs his
> restaurant, park, city, or country in a capricious, vindictive, arbitrary
> way because it makes him feel good, we usually call him a jerk. He may be
> the one who put in the effort, time, and possibly money, but I, for one, am
> still going to tell him he is being a jerk by playing with people that way.

I agree with this as well.  I don't agree with Matt that mud owners
can act however they want -- but neither do I agree with the idea that
a mud is a "public space."  It's a private space which the owner has
chosen to allow the public into, for certain purposes.

       |\      _,,,---,,_        Travis S. Casey  <efindel at io.com>
 ZZzz  /,`.-'`'    -.  ;-;;,_   No one agrees with me.  Not even me.
      |,4-  ) )-,_..;\ (  `'-'
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