[MUD-Dev] Community Relations

Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no> Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no>
Fri Jan 21 02:19:28 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000

Travis Casey wrote:
> 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.

I am not convinced that the distinction is that large. You have a right
to stay in my forest, and I cannot deny you that, unless you disturb my
work. You similarly have the right to use my beach, I cannot deny you
that. You probably have the right to pull your boat up on my land for a
shorter period of time. Etc. Some of this does not hold in the US, but
it certainly holds here. (Especially if traditions kick in.)

> 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.

Oh, it does matter, because your private space is regulated by law. Our
liberties are more limited than we usually like to believe in our
everyday lives. A private space isn't a free state within the state as
some MUD admins like to claim. That's what I tried to address, maybe too

> > 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
> people.

Well, I have been shoved into the ground and then kicked between my
legs, does that qualify as gently? :( The thing is, the police has
enough to deal with, so you have to sue. Most people accept it as you
get more hassle than money from suing, but they cannot do anything
legally no. Only to protect property, themselves or other people, AFAIK.
I doubt that a person that refuse to leave a place can be removed

I am not allowed to hit a burglar over his head with a heavy object
either. I honestly think that would be reasonable, but... no luck.

[examples that you are responsible for what happens even if you
explicitly forbid access to private spaces]

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

No, they were examples of how we are limited even if we take measures to
reduce accessibility.

> > 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.

That's a given.  I am after all living in a different country!  I have
little interest in US laws, so you may assume that I refer to what I
(think I) know about norwegian law.

> 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.

It is a legal term; "knew or should have known", would "ought to know"
be better?  If you claim that you didn't know, then the court may decide
that you are so utterly clueless and irresponsible that they have to
send you to prison in order to save the rest of the community from more
grief. ;)

> 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.

Err? Pardon me?! I have a right to observe other people in public
spaces. What do you think journalists do? And there are many publicly
accessible spaces in which the owner can be held responsible for what
happens in them? Hidden organized monitoring and especially recording is
restricted yes, even in private spaces?

Basically, you are more likely to be held responsible in a MUD because
you assume the role of an editor... If child pornography is stored in
your system somewhere... :( At least, I assume that as a possibility,
and I won't know until the supreme court has settled the issue, which I
hope never happens.

> 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.

Says who?  What kind of "right"? Why doesn't your rights end where mine

> 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?

Most people know their friends telephone and don't spend their life in
said restaurant so this is not a common situation, and common or very
dangerous situations is what law deals with. So maybe the analogy is a
bad one? I don't think law reflect some kind of higher ethics in this
case. Sometimes it does, sometimes it does not.

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

Well, maybe you should stick to metaphors... :P

> 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

No, Matt basically did, and I figured that was the basic issue.  What
kind of restrictions are there morally, ethically and if you want,

> -- 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.

Caricatures may make things more visible. Legally, yes, most likely, but
you can get away with lots of nasty thing legally. In moral and ethical
terms, no way. Not just because someone interpreted what a player said
as abusive.  I find it 100% acceptable for a worked up player to yell
and whine for a while if the admins screw up. If the admins then choose
to ban that player then I think he is doing it not because of the
yelling and whining, but because it makes the mistake very real and very
visible. That is not high standards in my book. Someone that kicks other
people for a couple of hard words is basically not fit for having the
kind of power over other people that a MUD affords.

> Using a free mud is free of charge.  

Let me put it this way. If a telecom company sets up a free mud, but
charge for connect time is it then free? I don't think so? Does it
matter if some other company (possibly owned by said telecom) sets up a
free mud. It costs money, and the mud owners get nothing, so even if
they think it is free because they loose money on their investment that
doesn't make it free to me. As a player that is what matters.

Then add the fact that many muds are dull for the first 30 hours, and
intentionally so. You invest 30 hours with the expectations of being
paid back with entertainment later. As you can tell I don't think
"money" is the most important issue when it comes to adding up costs! (I
wonder if Matt considers money to be real, or is it imaginary?)

> 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.  

Yes, indeed, if the government owns the railway.  That's a good reason
for quarrelling over subway fees. 

> 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.

You have to eat. You don't have to do dishes, your most likely saved
money, time, energy when adding up all costs.

> > 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.

The implication of private was that you had less responsibility, yes?
The implication of public is that you have more responsibility, yes?

> Nowhere have
> I said that mud admins don't have a greater responsibility than their
> players.

So basically, bad treatment of a player is worse than bad treatment of
an admin?

> > 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.

Well, in Norway they are not.

> 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.

Phone lines were not a necessity for businesses until phones existed.
The same argument can be made for MUDs and any other communication
technology. You depend on what you get used to.  For some reason
something as volatile as money is considered to be more
substantial/important then personal relationships...

> >> 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."

I hope this relies upon some kind of notion of reasonable? 

> >> 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.

Yes, certain rights are established as common practice and get covered
in laws etc. Parks and other open public spaces are used for lots of
things. Several aspects of business are also regulated by common
practice. (In Norway anyway). This also applies to private property. If
someone has always (past 30 years) walked over my property and it is
inconvenient for them to change their behaviour, then it has become a

> Would you argue that a business is not private because it allows
> people to walk in without an invitation?

It is privately held, but that is basically not different from being
owned by the local district? Is it?

> 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.

*grin* Well, maybe most of this disagreement is over definitions. 
Public accessible is what matters for me. If you mean "established as
common grounds" such as the mountains, well ok, that is a different
issue and lots of long (hundreds if not thousands of years) traditions
kick in. Besides I am not particularly interested in the legal
technicalities, but the basic ethical issues. Let me toss out some

Example: In terms of copyright, which there is some international law
on, there is indeed a difference between "invitation only" and "open
house". Invitation only is private, open house is public. You can get
away with watching a rented movie with your friends, but not with a set
of random people.

Another example: In terms of censorship on movies, single bought ticket
is "public" thus censored. A film club with membership is "private" and
you can show what you want because such clubs are typically focused on
movies as art, the public can handle the sex and the violence, it is not
considered to be regular entertainment.

Public/private, it all depends on which area of law you are dealing

> 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?

No, but it would be wrong if they had written the content of said page.
Or if you had made them invest a lot of effort in reviewing it, giving
you advice, with some expected future benefits, such as fun. Or indeed
if prevented a person from communicating with his most recent love!

Right/wrong is not so much in action as it is in consequences... *shrug*

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

Good!! :-)


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