[MUD-Dev] UO rants

Matthew Mihaly the_logos at achaea.com
Tue Aug 22 05:28:42 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

On Mon, 21 Aug 2000, Schubert, Damion wrote:

> Well, it's one that I find unsatisfying, as did I suspect Raph when
> he was here, since virtues are -real- and -important- in determining
> the value of another person in an online space.  You need to -know-
> if someone is Honest in a game, and most of the ways that Honesty
> is determined is stuff that falls through the cracks of the code.
> If you can't fairly show who is honest, then the least you can do
> is to not slap that title on someone who ISN'T.

I'm willing to bet that barring _serious_ advances in AI, it can't be done
in any credible manner.

> The only real solution is to have players judge who is honest and
> who is not.  But when you think about that, a whole new brand of
> exploits involving cooperative cheating come into play, such as 
> using friends to build yourself up, or maliciously knocking down
> the reputation of a good-hearted soul.  Right about here, you 
> realize it will take an extremely complicated system to accurately
> capture true virtue, and you realize you could get 10 or 12 other
> features in in that time frame. =)

Quite right. Not only is morality extremely difficult to measure, but as
it's entirely in people's minds (and thus entirely subjective), what
person A views as moral is going to differ from what person B views as
moral. Telling people that such and such action is moral is the equivalent
of trying to be God handing down the Ten Commandments. So not only do you
have to figure out how to judge actions, but you have to decide on what
standards to impose. You also have to ask whether it's a good thing to
force players to accept your version of morality. I use an alignment
system in Achaea, for instance, but I don't pretend that it has anything
at all to do with how the player actually behaves. It's extremely easy to
manipulate your alignment. It's purpose is mainly to encourage players to
segregate themselves into discrete groups and cultures, rather than
reflect anything resembling 'morality.'

"He that is wounded in the testicles, or have his penis cut off, shall not
enter into the congregation of the Lord." Deuteronomy 23:1

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