[MUD-Dev] code base inquiry

Matthew Mihaly diablo at best.com
Thu Feb 17 11:28:02 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000


On Thu, 17 Feb 2000, Ola Fosheim [iso-8859-1] Gr=F8stad wrote:

> Matthew Mihaly wrote:
> > No, I said average. There are several high quality free muds available,=
 I
> > agree. And yes, if people don't put in the effort, it won't be anything
> > interesting. This is entirely my point. Why do most free muds have litt=
le
> > effort put in them? Lack of motivation and ability. What is an
> > all-but-universal and generally squeezably good motivator? Money. Money
> > attracts quality people and motivates them. That's not always the case =
of
> > course, as demonstrated by the handful of high-quality free muds, but
> > generally speaking, money is a fantastic motivator for people. There is=
 a
> > reason that it takes money (and lots of it) to retain the best people i=
n
> > almost any area of life.
>=20
> Not really. The best people (as in intelligent) are retained by
> interesting work, peerage, status, freedom, see universities. The key
> issue is self perception, not money.

You're right. I was being too simplistic about motivation. I also live
near Silicon Valley, which is collectively obsessed with going public and
making ungodly amounts of money. I will say though that best !=3D most
intelligent. A hyper-intelligent lazy person is of much less use than a
merely very intelligent, very driven person.

I think it probably also has to do with the discipline involved. The best
business minds, for instance, are definitely not teaching at
universities. They are out getting rich and powerful. On the other hand,
it may be the case that the best coders are at universities. I don't have
the knowledge to judge the coding angle though.

=20
> AFAIK research on job satisfaction suggests that money is not a good
> motivation, but the lack of money may inhibit satisfaction. Good
> motivators are "meaningful job", "social networks", "good feedback"...
> Generally, if you think that you receive less money for your work than
> your peers, then you are likely to feel dissatisfied, exploited etc. It
> isn't the amount of money in itself, but peerage. (Assuming you get
> enough to cover your running expenses and then some, of course)

I'm not familiar with that research, but if things like social entworks
and a meaningful job are good motivators, why are people in the Valley
working 15 hours a day at companies whose only motivation is to go public
and thus make lots of money? The job is not meaningful, the social
networks exist nearly solely to talk about industry (I remember reading
some quote from a worker in the Valley, saying, "I don't date anyone who
isn't in the industry. What's the point?" Turned my stomach.)


> A person with a decent day job and income, and who has never really
> _felt_ that money has prevented him from doing what he wanted to do can
> clearly be highly motivated and run a free mud, provided that he views
> it as meaningful (by helping other people for instance) and get
> constructive feedback from a decent number of users.  Maybe there is a
> difference between social muds and PK muds. I suspect that the social
> ones provide more motivating factors.

I've found that generally, people who are motivated to run free muds are
motivated only to do the 'fun' stuff, ie actually creating the world. They
often have little motivation for things like comprehensive help files,
good customer service (well, player service I suppose), and so on. I'm
sure there are exceptions, but they are few and far between.

=20
> However, with the increased visibility of commercial muds maybe there
> will be a shift towards pay muds even in the hobbyist arena. (due to the
> "my free mud is better than that pay mud, I am being exploited" feeling)

Possibly. There's a lot involved with going commercial that really really
sucks to have to do (at least I can't stand doing it). I absolutely loath
dealing with credit card issues, for instance, and have wanted to just
throw my hands up in the air and scream FORGET IT more than once when
dealing with card processors. Few people get really excited about things
like good record keeping, and chargebacks.

--matt




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