[MUD-Dev] Re: Black Snow Revisited

holding99 at mindspring.com holding99 at mindspring.com
Thu Apr 11 00:06:09 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

At 10:49 PM 4/8/2002 -0700, John Buehler wrote:

> I believe that's a non sequitor.  The point is that a game can be
> created that DOES duplicate the apparent meaning of the original
> use of the data.  As a result, the character is portable via its
> data.

Well, but your use of "apparent" in some ways proves my point. Does
a hammer used to murder someone have the same "apparent" meaning as
any other hammer? The context most definitely matters.

> Sure, if we assume that 'the' context cannot be duplicated.  I'm
> also including 'a' context that is entertaining to those involved.
> All that I need is a context that the player is satisfied that his
> character has been transported.  It need not be identical.

The context IS distinct. For example, let's say I can move my
character data (and thus the character) between two separate
games. In one game, my idea of entertainment is to roleplay. In the
other game, my idea of entertainment is to harass others. While the
data is the same, the use of that data (and thus the context in
which the data should be considered) has changed, just as a hammer
used for a murder is often interpreted differently than a hammer not
used for a murder.

> Yes, but you're arguing about how many tables you can furnish the
> head of a pin with.  Or something like that.  If I take my
> character data out of EverQuest and drop it into another
> environment that retains similar game rules and a similar
> graphical environment, the players will consider that character to
> have been transported.  As a purist, you could say that it's not
> actually transported, but the non-purist gamers out there will be
> content.  De facto, it has been transported.

I'm not saying the character hasn't been transported; I'm saying the
act of transportation changes the way the gamers assign meaning to
the character. Such as "Man, this character sucks now that he's on
the new server; I can't do the things I used to do" OR "Wow, this is
so much better. There aren't as many l33t d00ds here". The change in
environment (and thus context) affects the meaning assigned to the

Ultimately, in this matter, my view is that many (if not all) of the
issues surrounding the BSI lawsuit stem from a fundamental
difference in the way meaning is constructed on ideas like
'characters'. I believe that the law will eventually come to a
similar conclusion as I have, albeit by different methods.

It seems that much of the misunderstandings we've been having in
this discussion are due to differences in our interpretations of the
nature of data, and while I don't mind discussing paradigm
differences, I am not sure at this point how much enlightenment will
come from it. (I am quite sure that if my arguments haven't
convinced you by now, repeating them won't help.) Suffice to say, we
see things differently in a very fundamental way. That's cool.

T.H. Cooke

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