[MUD-Dev] Trouble Makers or Regular Citizens

Dan Shiovitz dans at drizzle.com
Tue Mar 28 09:50:00 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000

On Mon, 27 Mar 2000, Justin Rogers wrote:
> [Compliments of JC Lawrence]
>     Average users don't have this power.  You don't have this power in
> the real world.  So why have this power in an emulated real world.  Try

Because there's no effective way to administer a beat-down to somebody in
a virtual world. A large majority of annoying people simply don't care
enough about the world to be effectively punished by anything internal to
it; the only way to interact with them is to kick them out.

> to do something about that black hating white supremist.  What would you
> do?  You'd get together a group of mixed race and you'd proceed to beat
> them in a mob style.  The point here is that you allow the normality to equal
> out the extremists the way it is run IRL.  If someone becomes too annoying
> then put them in jail.  If they are in jail for 3 weeks with nobody to talk to
> they won't come back to your MUD.

I find this kind of thing underhanded and not especially effective. If
someone is annoying, I'd rather not try and annoy them back until they get
fed up and leave -- just tell them they're no longer welcome.

> > online at once to when you 4,000 players online at once, or when the
> > average age of your player base moves from 25 years to 14 years or
> > 40 years.
>     Granted underage players sometimes tend to cause more problems than
> the rest of the populace and I've had many friends who have been quite
> annoying on a MUD or MOO that I've been an admin or wizard on.  But
> the point is there are extremely easy ways to implement controls. IE-->
>     #1 Someone repeats so only allow them one line per minute
>     #2 Someone sends long messages so only allow 240 chars for them
>     #3 Someone uses poor language so implement a filter applied to them
>     These are all easy to do.  I do them all the time in many forms on many
> different code bases.  So why is the all powerful ban used?

I think you're displaying a basic misunderstanding of the nature of
annoying users. It's not like annoying users are normal users who happen
to have one annoying behavior -- it's that they're, at bottom, annoying,
and they express this in a variety of behaviors, many of which are
annoying. To use a practical example, I was an administrator on a mud
where a player had a habit of using a global announce feature to say
'xyzzy' to every player. Our solution at the time was to modify the code
to keep you from being able to using this feature to say the word 'xyzzy'.

In retrospect, that was the completely wrong way of doing it. First of
all, because it's a hack. Second, because it annoys normal users who might
want to say 'xyzzy' for some reason. But mostly, because it doesn't
address the problem (ie, the player), merely channels it someplace else.
It's not my business to spend 90% of my time on problem players, tweaking
the code to try and come up with a counter to whatever new nuisance they
dream up. 

> are staying on topic.  You let through all messages that are on topic and
> filter out those that are not.  The same can be said for a MUD.  However,
> you don't BAN people from the list.  This is a technique I advocate on the
> MUD. 

Yes, it's true, if an administrator wants to filter every single command
every player types on their mud, they don't need to ban anyone. 

> Hell, if Matthew Mihaly had implemented some measures to limit
> that guys actions in his MUD while still maintaining him as a member then
> he's just saved 30 more imp's the duty of having to ban them.  Always
> keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

If we're looking for long-term benefits, how about, like, not rewarding
people with extra attention for being annoying? If anything's going to
convince people that they'd like to chance their behavior, it's that.

>     - Justin Rogers, CEO DigiTec Web Consultants

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