[MUD-Dev] Community Relations

Travis Casey efindel at io.com
Wed Jan 19 21:54:27 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000

On Wednesday, January 19, 2000, Ola Fosheim Grøstad wrote:
> Travis Casey wrote:

>> 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.

> The librarian can tell you to get out of the library if you refuse to
> shut up, yes???

Yes, he/she can.  There are some limits on public spaces -- but those
limits are in place to ensure that everyone can enjoy the space.  An
owner of a private facility can have you removed for any reason, or
for no reason.

To put it another way, "causing problems" is more general for a
private facility -- your simply *being there* can be considered to be
causing a problem, even though you're not preventing anyone else from
doing anything.

> But you cant throw people out, not here, and probably not over there
> either. You can tell them to go, but only the police are allowed to use
> force.

Purely a semantic distinction; in common parlance, if I call the
police to remove someone from my establishment, I have thrown them out
-- it doesn't matter that I didn't physically do any throwing.

> UNLESS using violence is less damaging than whatever they are
> doing.

Gently removing someone and violence are two distinct things -- or
else bars would not be able to legally have bouncers remove rowdy

> You are not allowed to deny people access because of their skin
> colour, sexual habits etc in places that are open to the public, in a
> closed private space you obviously can! However the space being closed
> and private isn't enough. If I have a well on my property, with a
> warning sign and a fence and somebody falls into it, I am still
> responsible. It was accessible. It should have been covered and locked.
> Similarly, I am not allowed to set up death traps in my house to catch
> thieves!

Have I said you should be able to?  Please argue against my points,
rather than a caricature of them.

> If you run a mud and you should have known that people were using it for
> exchanging child pornography and you did nothing about it, you can in
> fact be held legally responsible.

That depends on local laws.  I'll note as well that the first part of
your sentence does not logically go with the second part -- if you
*should have known*, which implies you didn't know, then you can't do
anything about it.  Now, it could be argued that you have a
responsibility to know, but that's different from knowing and not
doing anything.

Also, this implies that a mud is a private space -- if it were a
public space, I would not be within my rights to monitor private
transactions between people in it.  Thus, you are, in fact, arguing
against yourself.

>> 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?

> If I was a regular customer and had reason to complain and it didn't
> create trouble for all the other customers... YES!  However, being
> thrown off a MUD is more like being thrown out of social housing complex
> and the country in which that complex is located. You interfere with the
> person's private life, his social sphere.

I don't agree.  There's an old maxim -- your rights end where mine
begin.  I have the right to control access to a space I own; the fact
that you happen to meet people there does not affect that.

To put it another way -- if you're abusive to the staff of a
restaurant, and the manager chooses to bar you from entering on that
basis, does the fact that you meet friends there mean that he's
interfering with your social life and cannot do that?

>> (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
>> apply.)

> So, why do you compare it to a business that sells lots of things if it
> is a bad analogy??

I don't think it's a bad analogy; I'm merely pointing out that it's
not a perfect analogy.  Imperfect != bad.

> The Palace was free last time I used it. Does that mean that they are
> morally free to treat people like trash? What about MUDs that make money
> from in-world advertisements? Are they free and beyond moral
> obligations? Besides, I don't see why those lousy 10USD should make all
> the difference.

I have no idea what The Palace is, so I can't comment on that.  And,
at no point have I said that a mud's staff can treat people like trash
-- only that a mud is not a public place, and they do have the right
to expel people who are abusive towards the staff (or towards anyone
else).  Again, please argue against my arguments, not against your own
caricatures of them.

> Besides, using a MUD is not free. That somebody loose money on it, does
> not make it free. Players do work, they do unpaid betatesting! I pay for
> phone lines, and connectivity. I also loose time, and time is money.
> Etc...  A free pizza delivered on the door is free, takes no time, not
> additional costs etc. (Just trying to point out that free and free and
> free are different things)

Using a free mud is free of charge.  One can equally argue that a
park is not free because you have to pay to get there, and that you're
spending time there.  One could also argue that a free pizza is not
free, even if it's delivered -- you've argued that time taken to enjoy
something is money, and it takes time to eat a pizza.

>> mud admins.  Players who do abuse the mud admins (or anyone else on
>> the mud, really) should expect to be quickly shown the exit.

> I don't really think it matters what players _should_. That's rather
> pointless. You should expect whatever can be expected from a section of
> the population. If you open a free playground you are assuming a greater
> responsibility than those that happen to see it and make use of it. 
> Even in the legal sense.  That's the basic issue here.

The basic issue where?  It's not germane to my points -- that a mud is
a private space, not a public space, and that mud admins should be
able to bar people who are abusing them from their mud.  Nowhere have
I said that mud admins don't have a greater responsibility than their

>> 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.

> "right"?  What kind of right?  You don't need a reason legally to deny
> people access or to tell them to leave.

Exactly.  I don't need a reason, because it is my right.

> You can deny people access
> because of their shoes if you want to, but is it reasonable?

No.  Again, however, I have not said that mud admins should throw
people out on a whim.  Please argue against my arguments, not against
your caricatures of them.

> You are
> focusing on the wrong issue, that is what controls legal businesses in
> general. Is it acceptable for a phone company to cut off your phone
> lines, severely harming your business, just because you yelled at their
> operator for screwing up badly?!

This is an extremely poor analogy.  Phone companies (in the US in general,
at least) are monopolies, and therefore have greater restrictions put on
them.  Further, while phone lines are a necessity for a business, I
find it hard to believe that anyone could seriously consider access to
a particular mud to be a necessity for a person.

>> In the same way, a mud exists for a specific purpose (or purposes).

> And all purposes are acceptable?

Did I say that?  No.  My point was that if using the mud's resources
to do something else, the mud admins have every right to ask that
person to leave, and if he/she will not leave to "throw him out."

>> Anyone who acts in a way that is disruptive to that can be thrown out.

> That can happen in a public park too. Why this abuse of analogies?

What analogy am I abusing?  I specified the analogy that I did because
a wider range of behaviors can be considered "disruptive" in this
situation -- e.g., you can't throw people out of a park for sitting
down and quietly talking to each other.  You can throw people out of a
business for doing that.  (Granted, it's not likely that a business
owner will do that in most circumstances -- but he/she can.)

>> 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.

> It is certainly private if it is by-invitation-only. However, most MUDs
> are no more private than a web page. And, as I have tried to point out,
> there are significant limits even on private spaces.

Would you argue that a business is not private because it allows
people to walk in without an invitation?  Would you argue that my
house ceases to be a private space if I decide to hold an "open house"
while I'm trying to sell it?  A public space is *not* simply a space
that the public is allowed access to.

Using your analogy with a web page -- if a web page is public, is it
wrong to put up a CGI that denies access to it to certain people,
because those people have abused that page in the past?

And, again, I have not said there should be no limits on how mud
admins may behave.

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

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