[MUD-Dev] Community Relations

Rahul Sinha rsinha at glue.umd.edu
Thu Jan 20 18:40:24 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000

On Wed, 19 Jan 2000, 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.

Take a mall, that is owned by a company Foo Inc.  Foo Inc's office
building is not locked up during business hours, so people can come in,
but the rules governing it are very different than the rules governing the
mall it owns.

The legal dividing line (IANAL) is the intent.  While Foo Inc assumes that
people with appointments with poeple working there will enter its office
building, it assumes that anyone will feel free to enter the mall.

But I believe it is important to note that this is not the issue.  In
either location, throwing them out because they are Iranian (or Dutch) is
illegal.  If I can prove that I was thrown out because of my
race/religion/national origin/etc. then they have violated the law and Bad
Things happen to them...

With a special exception for private residences, you _have_ an obligation
to not act on that list of "non-discriminables".

How does this relate to a mud?  Well so far a mud has not been ruled
(legally) as "space", but it is a service, and so is bound by those rules.
It is important to note that those rules apply to free organizations as
well as those that charge for money.

On the other hand, so far we are not discussing systematic discrimation
on the basis of the legally protected attributes.  So we are not
discussing the law.  Now we get into morality (yay).

Is it _right_ to be capricious?  Note that the question is _not_ whether
you have this right or not.  You do.  (unless you are banning all the
Bahiains (a religion) from your mud, in which case you need help) The
question is, do Good Mud Admins do this sort of thing. (as any true BOFH
could care less about morality, and to some extent, legality)

Since legal proof is not involved, you (no one in particular, the
generalized happy MUD-DEV-reading admin) have nothing to prove, public
relations being totally beyond they scope of my post.  From my point of
view, if you intended the mud to be used by the public, you should only
ban if they violate the user agreement, or so endanger the mud community
(not in terms of life and limb, though those are included by all means,
but the community in abstract) that you feel it is justified.

But that last clause says it all.  This is wholly up to you.  Ideally
you post all the offenses that you feel are important enough to warrant
action (in the name of fairness) and try to avoid punishing folk for
unlisted items (if they err, add it and the second strike earns them the
penalty) but that is up to you.

If it seems that I am saying that any and all conduct is up to the admin,
that is because it is.  We have rules about police conduct because they
have power over us, without our individual consent.  Inherently the
players are consenting to your administrating their characters, or else
they would not have arrived.  This is a situation where every person who
chooses to be a player enters individually into a Lockean social contract
(one you can cancel at any time) and so the "form of government" has more
legitimacy, regardless of its features, than any that has every existed
IRL anywhere...

One caveat: user agreements are sometimes refered to as contracts.  Be
wise, protect your right to be a BOFH and then you are safe from the law.
And ye shall earn what ye reap; if you abuse your players they will leave.


oh yeah, and these are all my unfounded opinions, feel free to flame, just
send them directly to me...

	Rahul Sinha
Computer Science/ Government,
University Of Maryland College Park
AIM: qui dire	ICQ: 9738191	(301)935-5542

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

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