[MUD-Dev] Community Relations

Lovecraft dave at darkages.com
Mon Jan 31 00:53:05 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000

J C Lawrence wrote:
> A simple model:

* Non-Political *
The model doesn't state what status gives.  If it only gives unique
identification, such as luxurious clothing or wealth or other non-coercive
power points, then it sounds fun, but not political.  Asheron's Call's
allegiance system is similar to this, which is a good system.

* Political *
If it is a political model, and if there is implied responsibility with
greater rank, then historic (as opposed to romantic) feudalism or bureacracy
may develop.

Historic feudalism is better than barbarism and it is like an innoculation
to barbarism.  If you have your lord's protection, barbarians (as meaning:
any hostile outsiders) will not loot you.  However, the same locked loyalty
can overwhelm sense of justice, which many users demand.  The lord will
retain power with the aid of the vassal (appointee).  The appointee needs
the lord to retain power to retain his own power.  Just vassals will not
become unjust, but they will lose their positions more often than an unjust,
but highly loyal and highly effective, vassal.  This is not to say the
simple model is bad, but that it needs a few buttresses to counter act

Another variant of the historic feudalism is organized criminal law.  It's
the same function: replace "lord" with "leader" and vassal with "follower".
Replace "tribute" with "favors".

Hierarchic bureacracy may be the next--slightly more just--stable state of
the simple model.  If users cannot or otherwise choose not to use barbarism
(looting, I conquer you, you conquer me), the next stable state is an
inefficient body politic.  The underlings support their boss who keeps his
position in the hierarchy.  The boss has to continue to acrue rank points,
yet a wise boss has the aid of efficient underlings, who are paid through
their continued high-status existence.  Example:
User_A becomes Rank 5.
User_A appoints allied User_B, User_C, and User_D to Rank 2.
User_B, User_C, and User_D help keep User_A at Rank 5.  Their reward?
User_B, User_C, and User_D retain Rank 2.
This is fine for just users, but most any system is fine for just users.
For the unjust user, public manipulation becomes a good tool.  For example:
User_B, User_C, and User_D arrange heroic acts for User_A to appear to
achieve.  User_B arranges for User_A to occasionally oust an anonymous
heckler, that is or is employed by one of the gang.

Again, this is not to say the model is bad, but that this director believes
it could, as is, evolve into one of the two above stable states.  Each is
stable because each has "locks".  Feudalism locks support in this model; and
bureacracy locks support in this model.  A more justice-conscious system
will be unstable, because feudalism or bureacracy will be more effective at
retaining power.

The part about, "Should the high ranking player lose his position thru lack
  RP's, all appointees will also lose their position as it they
  had failed to acquire enough RPs to maintain their own position." if
changed will create more just stable states.  First, and most boring, is to
eliminate this part and make the model even simpler.  Doing so eliminates
some cooperation.

A couple variants may be worth testing:
    1. "For an initial amount of time ... Should the high ranking ..."
    2. "For an initial amount of time Should the high ranking ..."  And when
this time period expires the high ranking player may negotiate with the
appointee to buy him again.  This causes the high-ranking player to renew
his benefit.  Indentured servant becomes employee.  Bureacratic underling
becomes contracted service.

The political system Dark Ages uses is like the model mentioned without the
"should the high ranking ..." part, and with details about rank-point
interaction between players, including maintenance cost (as you wrote
"automatic debit").  Even without the loyalty-incentive part, cronyism has
rears it's head.  To date, anti-cronyism keeps it in check.  This is done by
other players.  Some of the other players do it out of self-interest.  An
official that does not take action against a corrupt official is a
co-conspirator in the eyes of this external operator.  I began politics
feature believing I could reduce my time spent in politics and justice to
where I would never even intervene.  It would be the perfect machine someone
offered as example.  That was naive of me, but I personally find out what
goes on, so find out and intervene as needed.

J C Lawrence wrote:
> Have you had any voter disaffection, or voter apathy to a

> significant/noticable extent?  Is the voting game effectively played

> by only a small (and mostly constant) minority of the players vieing

> among themselves, or do most players partake fairly regularly

> proving a more general game of politiking?

Yes.  Several voters do not consider their vote seriously[1].  It's tossed
for poor political criteria[2].

No.  Several citizens vote.

No.  Several citizens take office themselves.  Several dedicated players
with few enemies gain office quickly.  The roster of player officials on
Mileth Politics constantly displays new names.

Dave Kennerly
Game Director

[1] That's what voting does.  There is little real cost to a vote.  When
votes cost, decision making improves.  If a player pays a dollar to cast a
vote, that vote will be considered more seriously.  Paying money for a vote
is not acceptable to players, including game-money.  Some players will decry
for free (no-cost to vote) democracy.  So no-cost to vote is a stable state,
but the consequence is voter apathy.

[2] However, statistically, the end mix of officials contains enough good
people.  As one advances to the higher ranks, the poor quality officials
become more and more rare, because one needs more and more support from a
(in the short term) fixed supply of citizens.  Higher ranks have
prerequisites in the lower ranks.  No one gains sudden power.

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