[MUD-Dev] Community Relations
Jon A. Lambert
jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com
Tue Feb 8 12:25:57 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000
>Players decide to what degree to carry the law. Role-playing laws are
>generally considered a special form of harassment, because it annoys some
>members of the community. If nobody present is annoyed, then there's no
>need to enforce it. A law enforcer could be more demanding, but I wouldn't
>want it. Entertainment is more important than lawyering. Authoritarianism
>kills fun for the common man.
Your administration of Dark Ages would certainly fall under the general
category of authoritarian. I don't believe there's anything inherently negative
in that term. Obviously there is room there for a large range of qualitative
differences. What you describe is an administrative philosophy that is
primarily service-oriented. You simply respond to complaints rather than
seek out violations and violators.
Conversely, there is a style of administrative authoritarianism that is common
on many muds which is often both annoying and detrimental to the
entertainment of the user base. I'd call it LIFEGUARD administration. It's
where the administration constantly monitors or polices the playerbase "for
their own good". Lifeguards are preventative administrators, seeking to
short-circuit problems before they occur (ha) or responding to a user's action
with or without the pretext of any user complaint. A Lifeguard will almost always
attempt to adjudicate P v P and P v Group problems based on "the pool rules"
rather than waiting on and encouraging possible user solutions to problems.
I think Lifeguardism perpetuates itself through conditioning the user base to
rely more and more on the Lifeguard as the primary (or only) mechanism of
problem resolution and as a coercive threat or fear weapon (i.e. If you don't
stop I'll scream help!). I think Lifeguard administrators often start with the best
intentions, but become caught up in a user feedback loop leading to belief in
their own inherent moral or intellectual superiority over their user population at
large. I think the frustration with and perceived inability of users to solve
problems amongst themselves is negatively reinforced with this administration
style. Perhaps there is less truth in the statement "Users are poorly equipped
to deal with problems.", than in "Administrators are indisposed to allowing users
to deal with problems."
I think your style probably comes pretty close in spirit to the user-controlled mud
space I described in an earlier post. Dr. Cat's comments on some much earlier
threads on how he handles PvP problems are also similar.
--* Jon A. Lambert - TychoMUD Email: jlsysinc at nospam.ix.netcom.com *--
--* Mud Server Developer's Page <http://jlsysinc.home.netcom.com> *--
--* "No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." Thomas Jefferson *--
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