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Old 02-15-2003, 06:22 PM   #21
KaVir
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Tavish wrote:
What exactly is it that the voting is supposed to represent?
It's a very rough indicator of the popularity of a mud.
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Old 02-15-2003, 07:34 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ Feb. 15 2003,14:22)
Quote:
Originally Posted by
Tavish wrote:
What exactly is it that the voting is supposed to represent?
It's a very rough indicator of the popularity of a mud.
Which equates approximately to the size of the PB?

And the percentage of the PB that are motivated (for whatever their personal reasons) to vote?

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Old 02-15-2003, 07:50 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Loremaster @ Feb. 15 2003,18:34)
Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ Feb. 15 2003,14:22)
Quote:
Originally Posted by
Tavish wrote:
What exactly is it that the voting is supposed to represent?
It's a very rough indicator of the popularity of a mud.
Which equates approximately to the size of the PB?

And the percentage of the PB that are motivated (for whatever their personal reasons) to vote?

I guess I don't really understand this question. It measures what it measures, which is how much unique traffic you send here every 12 hours. Why try to draw other, weakly-correlated, conclusions?

--matt
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Old 02-15-2003, 10:08 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
Which equates approximately to the size of the PB?
Assuming all other things equal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
And the percentage of the PB that are motivated (for whatever their personal reasons) to vote?
As I said, assuming all other things equal. If the mud does something which encourages a much higher percentage of the players to vote, then obviously the results would be uneven. But generally speaking, without incentives, you're going to get around the same percentage of players voting on most muds.
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Old 02-16-2003, 10:34 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
I guess I don't really understand this question. It measures what it measures, which is how much unique traffic you send here every 12 hours. Why try to draw other, weakly-correlated, conclusions?
Because many people see the phrase "Top Mud Sites" and think "Best Mud Sites."

This leads to all sorts of misunderstandings, as becomes obvious in this and other threads.

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Old 02-16-2003, 11:43 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Stilton @ Feb. 16 2003,21:34)
Quote:
Originally Posted by
I guess I don't really understand this question. It measures what it measures, which is how much unique traffic you send here every 12 hours. Why try to draw other, weakly-correlated, conclusions?
Because many people see the phrase "Top Mud Sites" and think "Best Mud Sites."

This leads to all sorts of misunderstandings, as becomes obvious in this and other threads.  

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Sure, I understand that, but that doesn't answer my question. How does the weakly-correlated conclusion that ranking means generally larger playerbases help with that at all? Neither speak to "Best mud sites". One speaks to how much traffic a mud can drive here. Another speaks to how many players they have. In neither case can "best" be extrapolated, unless your personal definition of "best" means "can drive the most traffic" or "has the most players". I know there are lots of MUD players who specifically look for muds without hundreds of simultaneous players.

My point was just that "most players" is as irrelevant to "best" as "able to drive most traffic to TMS" is.

--matt
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Old 02-18-2003, 09:17 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ Feb. 16 2003,19:43)
Because many people see the phrase "Top Mud Sites" and think "Best Mud Sites."
------===

My point was just that "most players" is as irrelevant to "best" as "able to drive most traffic to TMS" is.
Driving the most traffic to TMS is not irrelevant; it is the model TMS operates with. Muds with the most traffic get the 'premium' positions.

Casual observers and those new to the site reasonably think top means 'best' in terms of popularity, quality, fun, etc.

It takes time and experience in the form of delving into the forums to read players' views about particular muds, get exposed to the long debates and flames over how some muds may be 'cheating' the system to improve their positioning, and actually logging into some of the 'top' muds to find out that TMS isn't really a listing of mud sites in any order that fits with those initially perceived values.

It is, rather, just as you have stated, the muds best "able to drive most traffic to TMS." While this is meaningful from a business standpoint for the individual muds and TMS, you have to admit it is much less so to prospective players.

Note that I did not say that the rankings were totally useless from a prospective player's standpoint, just much less so than the advertisement/promotion angle.

Though your mud was the primary target of most of the accusations of 'cheating' for rank, I was not referencing it specifically above... I meant that it takes exposure to those arguments, hearing both pro and con, to understand that the 'rankings' are not what you may be inclined to think they are at first glance.
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Old 02-18-2003, 09:54 PM   #28
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Driving the most traffic to TMS is not irrelevant; it is the model TMS operates with. Muds with the most traffic get the 'premium' positions.
Sure, of course.
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Casual observers and those new to the site reasonably think top means 'best' in terms of popularity, quality, fun, etc.
Exactly! That's why any particular statistic is not really going to speak to 'best'. What's 'best' in anything is always dependent on the criteria you're using, and those criteria differ for everything. MTV's movie awards can claim to rate the best movies in the world, because in the view of their procedures (I don't know how they're actually chosen, but I think it has something to do with people going to their website and voting) they do choose the top movies in the world. Someone from, say, the Toronto Film Festival might find a claim like that from MTV a bit laughable, however, because his/her definition of 'best' is going to be different.

As consumers, we all have our priorities, and we all either learn to be skeptical of -any- claim of "best", or we're suckers. Happily, most people do develop some level of individual judgement and discernment, and are able to deal with an advertising-laden world. Some people might think that topmudsites (or -any- site. There is no format that could possibly rank the best MUDs in some universal sense, as there's no such thing. There is only the best mud from a particular point of view.) does actually somehow manage to mystically determine what the best muds in the world are, but they clearly have bigger problems than playing a mud that they may or may not end up liking (like any mud).

There's actually a really good essay by the philosopher Isaiah Berlin called, "The Pursuit of the Ideal" in which he talks about how in his view two factors, above all else, have shaped human history in the 20th century. 1. The development of science and technology. 2. The "great idelogical storms that have altered the lives of virtually all mankind (stemming largely from the Russian revolution and its aftermath).

What's interesting is that I constantly see those same trends in muds, particularly on text mud boards, as opposed to general mud (including the graphical muds or mmogs as some people call them). The technology aspect is obvious (can't have muds without them), but the look at all the ideology you see. They dominate many of the boards, and people go to war (flame wars) over them. Everyone gets riled up because someone contends that this feature or that is the devil, or is absolutely required to be "the best". We've all seen the silly little flame wars over commercial vs. free muds, or over roleplaying, with people on both sides acting as if it's just unthinkable that a mud could be good with feature X or without feature Y.

In other words, while I recognize the natural inclination to tend towards exclusive viewpoints like "My idea of the best mud is the objectively correct and best idea of the best mud." there is no point in catering either to people who believe that THEIR idea of the best mud/best real world is the only good one (take the President of the US, for instance. He certainly feels that way, or acts as if he does) or to people who are willing to believe that someone else's idea of the best mud/world has exclusive claim to being universally Right.

So, in the absense of not only the ability to pick some objectively "best" mud, but the actual absense OF a universally "best mud", does it really matter what criteria you use to pick one? "Ability to drive traffic here" is just as good an indicator as "how many rooms" or "does this mud have chinchillas?". Just like any site with reviews of anything, the only way that site has any real value to you is for you to check out the "recommended" muds/books/movies/etc and then decide if the criteria that site/company/person uses fits into your idea of what's good.

For instance, I find one of the SF Chronicle's movie reviewers Mick LaSalle to have such completely different opinions on movies than me that I just ignore his reviews entirely. On the other hand, I like David Ansen of Newsweek, and Roger Ebert of the Sun Times (though I just read his website, which rocks...www.suntimes.com/ebert. Go check out his "Great Movies" section. Fantastic resource for film lovers.) The -only- way I could possibly make an accurate judgement about whether any of their reviews are useful to me is to read them, then go see the movies, and start ignoring the critics with whom I didn't agree. Everyone does that automatically. I'm sure you have friends whose opinions on a movie will influence you to go see it, and friends whose opinions on a movie you'll discount. There may be reasons to read critics you don't like, but as I read critics solely to decide which movies to spend my time and money on, it's key to find ones whose preferences are more or less aligned with mine.

Anyway, if there were a whole cadre of professional mud reviewers, I'd probably find that a lot more useful than topmudsites. But, there's not, and given the amount of time it takes to actually fully learn about a good text mud (hundreds of hours, especially in muds where the elder game is a lot different than the newbie or midlevel game) and the small size of the market, isn't likely to ever be. Without those multiplicity of opinions to pick and choose from, you're stuck. You could have an official reviewer, but his or her opinions are no better than the current system, as if the reviewer's preferences differ from yours, the review is meaningless (and regardless of your position, a majority of people are going to disagree with you on a whole bunch of things).

Thus, you may as well use a generic metric, whether it's driving the most traffic here, number of rooms, or whether or not your mud has crazy spider monkeys with banana-shaped laser guns. Of all those generic metrics, the one that is most likely to bring you the most traffic if you're trying to make a ratings site is by measuring the traffic a website brings you and rewarding it with a privileged list position. Getting people to compete to bring you business, essentially.

--matt
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Old 02-18-2003, 11:39 PM   #29
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I agree with most everything you said, Matt. Much of what you said can be distilled into the maxim (paraphrased to suit):

"Mud is in the eye of the beholder."

I do think it is possible to winnow out the chaff to a certain degree by reading what others have to say about their experience; heavily biased reviews (pro or con) are certainly on the low end of the utility scale, but even they can point out features or traits that prospective players may use as the basis for further exploration, either to log on, or look for other comments. For example, reading a complaint from a disgruntled user about RP nazis and the inflexibility of the RP environment because of 'unfair' Imms/staff/veteran players, may actually pique MY interest, because I happen to like RP restrictive muds. Yes, I understand that it may be a blatant lie, though I believe most complaints, even from twits, are more of the exaggerated truth variety than complete fabrications.

While there is not likely to ever be a large "cadre of professional reviewers" for text muds, I have seen an attempt to bring some objectivity, a standardized format, and accountability as criteria for volunteer reviewers. While I may still be required to learn which reviewers tend to match my tastes, these criteria are a significant benefit improvement over the anonymous, anything goes approach that you see in forums, newsgroups, etc.

Here's to finding a Mud that suits your tastes, no matter how tasteless they be.

I say... I say... that's a joke, son!
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Old 02-18-2003, 11:57 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Loremaster @ Feb. 18 2003,22:39)
I agree with most everything you said, Matt.  Much of what you said can be distilled into the maxim (paraphrased to suit):

"Mud is in the eye of the beholder."  

I
Or more accurately, "Quality is in the eye of the beholder.", but yeah, basically.

And I agree that even the nonsense that generally passes for reviews can have some utility. It's just that it doesn't make for a good business model for a ranked list, as there's no incentive for anyone to drive traffic here. I don't actually even allow reviews of Achaea, however, as the quality is generally so bad that I don't even want to be associated with them, useful or not.

--matt
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Old 02-19-2003, 12:01 AM   #31
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Just as an aside ---

I remember occasionally watching Siskel (RIP) and Ebert and found that if they both turned it down, I should go see it.

Well.. often enough. Though I can appreciate films from a critical standpoint ( I actually took a college course on the subject ), I recognize that I also happen to enjoy movies for pure, mindless, don't-have-to-think-about-it action and special effects.

I have a deeper appreciation of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" than my first viewing, where I was primarily thrilled by the choreographed fight scenes and the location shots. After taking that class I mentioned, I have seen the film three more times; I have a better understanding of the story, the use of the soundtrack, the use of camera angles, lighting and so on to enhance the telling. The kinds of things professional critics look at when rating films.

I have to tell you, though, that I prefer my simple "Did I enjoy it" method of review.
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Old 02-19-2003, 12:11 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Loremaster @ Feb. 18 2003,23:01)
Just as an aside ---

I remember occasionally watching Siskel (RIP) and Ebert and found that if they both turned it down, I should go see it.

Well.. often enough.  Though I can appreciate films from a critical standpoint ( I actually took a college course on the subject ), I recognize that I also happen to enjoy movies for pure, mindless, don't-have-to-think-about-it  action and special effects.

I have a deeper appreciation of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" than my first viewing, where I was primarily thrilled by the choreographed fight scenes and the location shots.  After taking that class I mentioned, I have seen the film three more times; I have a better understanding of the story, the use of the soundtrack, the use of camera angles, lighting and so on to enhance the telling.  The kinds of things professional critics look at when rating films.

I have to tell you, though, that I prefer my simple "Did I enjoy it" method of review.
Siskel sucked (not to slam on a dead guy). Ebert is a true film lover though. His tv shows are not particularly good. Read his website (www.suntimes.com/ebert). He's a true film lover, without being a complete snob like A.O. Scott of the NY Times was or is (not sure if he still writes for them). He's got a very high appreciation for pure "fun" movies. He even gave the last Harry Potter movie 3 stars (not my thing, but I can understand why he did).

I think my best friend and I are the only film lovers on earth that didn't like Crouching Panda, Leaping Ferret. I swear, after the raves it got at Toronto, I was expecting the greatest film ever made.

--matt
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Old 02-19-2003, 09:53 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ Feb. 19 2003,04:11)
I think my best friend and I are the only film lovers on earth that didn't like Crouching Panda, Leaping Ferret. I swear, after the raves it got at Toronto, I was expecting the greatest film ever made.

--matt
I've never watched it. No offense to the fans of it, but fighting in the treetops and the ridiculous overuse of wires just puts me off from ever seeing the thing.
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Old 02-19-2003, 11:53 PM   #34
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I was trying to figure out how to respond to your question about how my claim led to attempts to data-mine the voting for information that really isn't there, and the exchange between you (the_logos) and Loremaster helped a lot:

Quote:
Originally Posted by
>Driving the most traffic to TMS is not irrelevant; it is the
>model TMS operates with.  Muds with the most traffic get
>the 'premium' positions.


Sure, of course.  

>Casual observers and those new to the site reasonably think
>top means 'best' in terms of popularity, quality, fun, etc.
Someone who wanders up to the site expects to see the 'Best' muds (ignoring for a second that this is a meaningless phrase).

When people see how the system works, they generally seem to have one of two reactions:

1) Oh, ok, the voting is a marketing scheme for the topmudsites.com website. Ho, hum.

2) Hey, the muds near the top aren't there because of any measure of quality, it's just votes by their players!  We've got to fix this to make sure the results really show the Best muds on top!

People with reaction number 2 will then, with their desire for the rankings to better reflect what they WANT the rankings to reflect as motivation, do all sorts of strange things.  

Try to extract weakly correlated data from the results because it's what they think the voting SHOULD measure, complain about the ways votes can be gained, etc.

Hope I'm clearer now?

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Old 02-20-2003, 12:55 AM   #35
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Personally, I feel that the voting should be more of a quality thing. There is no way to have it so that people could. My idea that I was having:

Elect delegates who have no immortalship on any MUD or have some kind of adminstration job on Top Mud Sites, Mud Connector, or any web site like that. The delegates go around, try out a MUD for a bit, and report back their findings and vote for the MUDs they looked at (rate 1-10). Players can still vote like they do now, but that way it would even out the votes a little bit based on quality.
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Old 02-20-2003, 05:48 AM   #36
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Enzo,

This isn't a bad idea. Ideally, I think the rankings should reflect quality too. But no system is going to be perfect, and *any* system ruled by humans will be tainted to some degree by the biases of the humans.

It's something that might be worth experimenting with, though. I doubt Synozeer wants to revamp the entire system (or maybe he does - he'd have to tell you for sure), but maybe he'd be willing to set up a part of this site where only a select group of non-admins/non-mods selected by Synozeer could work on this kind of thing.

Just ask him. He's PM-able, and e-mailable.

Good luck!
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