[MUD-Dev] UO rants

John Buehler johnbue at email.msn.com
Tue Aug 22 12:51:51 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

> Matthew Mihaly
> Sent: Tuesday, August 22, 2000 1:29 AM

I've gotten into the habit of responding to people who make such strong
statements as the following, specifically (paraphrased) "morality is
entirely subjective".

> 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.

In the real world we have all the processes and checks and balances of the
real world - proof by obvious.  In a virtual world we don't have the same
checks and balances.  Most obviously there is the fact that the player is
not the character.  The moral judgement of a character is pretty weak given
that its decisions are made by a player who is 'outside the law'.  This is
why murdering thieves are so rampant in worlds that permit such an
individual to be successful or thrive.

Because we lack the normal checks and balances of the real world, I believe
that a strong justice system is needed.  Criminal acts MUST NOT be permitted
to go unchecked.  In a virtual world, the worst crimes are those that annoy
players and make them go away.  These are the ones that must be kept in
check first.  And that is the basis of the moral system.  But what actions
annoy players?  Hmmm.  Where to get a self-consistent and relatively complete
set of rules on how to get a large population of people to get along most
successfully?  How about Christianity?  How about Buddhism?  How about Islam?
Very smart people have been refining the rules of life for countless
generations, and those smart people frequently converge and agree that
certain rules of life are natural and important to follow.

Which rules of morality will you choose for your virtual world?  When you
start at the basics and decide what behaviors you don't want in your world,
you'll find yourself heading in one direction.  I'm convinced that I know
what it is, but because many here believe in subjective morality, my
stating my belief doesn't convince anyone of anything.

If you're going to have a social fabric, it has to be coherent.  People
have been working on coherent social fabrics (moral systems) for a long
time.  Do you really think that you're going to do better after a few
days, months or years of careful consideration?

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