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Old 08-24-2007, 08:13 AM   #21
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Re: Nodeka

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nodeka View Post
Donation accepted
Donation not accepted

^
There is a possible way of describing the muds.
Good suggestion.

So can we please have a search engine that singles out those options?

And maybe another one for those pay-for-perks that are not labelled as 'donations'?

Quote:
I like your idea of being able to search for 'free muds' though, however as it boils down to someones opinion who is to say its truly free? I pay for the interweb, so the game isn't really free by proxy.
I am not sure about the logic of that conclusion. We all pay for the internet and our servers. Some of us don't take out any fees from our players. That makes the game free for those players, even if running it involves a cost for the owners.

Last edited by Molly : 08-24-2007 at 08:26 AM. Reason: adding second quote and comment to it.
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Old 08-24-2007, 09:04 AM   #22
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Re: Nodeka

To quote Osiris from another forum:
"Just because players are not 'required' to pay does not mean that a mud is Free. Competing with others who get in game benefit from payments made to the mud basically turns your escape hobby into a reflection of real world haves and have-nots. You'll be encouraged and even pressured to pay at some point."

I think the problem is that it is too easy to play
games with combinations of the words "free" with "game",
"mud", "perks", etc. This is why I think the use of "free"
is inherently fraught with uncertainty when used in
mud promotion. There are too many ways to defend that
"free mud" is a true statement, when it is not as
flatly declarative of the mud's status as it might sound.

For that reason I propose a modification of the
classification Osiris proposed. I have also created an
article on MuWiki so that folks can participate:

MUDs and Money - WikiMU* - a Wikia wiki

The classification is as follows:

Payment Impossible
Type A: Payment and donations rejected.

Payment Optional
Type B: Donations encouraged but unrewarded with advantage.
Type C: Donations rewarded with in-game advantage that can be earned in-game.

Payment Required
Type D: Payment required for in-game advantage that can't be earned in-game.
Type F: Payment required to access most of the game's entertainment.


Based on this, I would give Nodeka a type C rating,
given what has been said in this thread.

-Crat
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Old 08-24-2007, 09:18 AM   #23
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Re: Nodeka

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nodeka View Post
Nodeka is now 100% free to play.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nodeka View Post
The extended map is a feature that requires a 2 dollar donation for a month or a 20 dollar donation for the year.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nodeka View Post
My opinion is that if you do not have to pay in order to access all of the games features or do not have to pay for subscription then it is free.
Wait, now you're confusing me again...you said you're 100% free to play, even though one of your features is only available through payment - but now you're saying that a game is only free if you can access "all of the games features" without paying. Wouldn't that mean you're not free based on your own definition?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nodeka View Post
I like your idea of being able to search for 'free muds' though, however as it boils down to someones opinion who is to say its truly free? I pay for the interweb, so the game isn't really free by proxy.
We already have a category for pay-to-play muds, so I think TMS has established that having to pay an electricity bill or an ISP doesn't make your mud non-free (otherwise every mud would be listed as pay-to-play).

Some muds are clearly pay-to-play, while others are completely free (as in, money never changes hands between the players and the mud owner). Between those two extremes lie many shades of grey, all of whom have a strong vested interest in advertising themselves as free. As such, this is a topic on which the TMS members will never reach agreement.

Of course every cloud has a silver lining. This issue has been around for a while, and has lead to the creation of two other mud-related sites, one of which is doing very well and the other of which shows promise. A third mud-related site has picked up on (and addressed) the demand for a 'pay-for-perks' option, and has slowly been growing in popularity.
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Old 08-24-2007, 09:31 AM   #24
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Re: Nodeka

Quote:
Originally Posted by KaVir View Post
Wait, now you're confusing me again...you said you're 100% free to play, even though one of your features is only available through payment - but now you're saying that a game is only free if you can access "all of the games features" without paying. Wouldn't that mean you're not free based on your own definition?



We already have a category for pay-to-play muds, so I think TMS has established that having to pay an electricity bill or an ISP doesn't make your mud non-free (otherwise every mud would be listed as pay-to-play).

Some muds are clearly pay-to-play, while others are completely free (as in, money never changes hands between the players and the mud owner). Between those two extremes lie many shades of grey, all of whom have a strong vested interest in advertising themselves as free. As such, this is a topic on which the TMS members will never reach agreement.

Of course every cloud has a silver lining. This issue has been around for a while, and has lead to the creation of two other mud-related sites, one of which is doing very well and the other of which shows promise. A third mud-related site has picked up on (and addressed) the demand for a 'pay-for-perks' option, and has slowly been growing in popularity.
My own character does not have the extended map and I do not miss it one bit. Nodeka is free for me and free for anyone else.
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Old 08-24-2007, 09:32 AM   #25
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Re: Nodeka

Quote:
Originally Posted by cratylus View Post
To quote Osiris from another forum:
"Just because players are not 'required' to pay does not mean that a mud is Free. Competing with others who get in game benefit from payments made to the mud basically turns your escape hobby into a reflection of real world haves and have-nots. You'll be encouraged and even pressured to pay at some point."

I think the problem is that it is too easy to play
games with combinations of the words "free" with "game",
"mud", "perks", etc. This is why I think the use of "free"
is inherently fraught with uncertainty when used in
mud promotion. There are too many ways to defend that
"free mud" is a true statement, when it is not as
flatly declarative of the mud's status as it might sound.

For that reason I propose a modification of the
classification Osiris proposed. I have also created an
article on MuWiki so that folks can participate:

MUDs and Money - WikiMU* - a Wikia wiki

The classification is as follows:

Payment Impossible
Type A: Payment and donations rejected.

Payment Optional
Type B: Donations encouraged but unrewarded with advantage.
Type C: Donations rewarded with in-game advantage that can be earned in-game.

Payment Required
Type D: Payment required for in-game advantage that can't be earned in-game.
Type F: Payment required to access most of the game's entertainment.


Based on this, I would give Nodeka a type C rating,
given what has been said in this thread.

-Crat
LPMuds.net - Index
I like it.
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Old 08-24-2007, 09:52 AM   #26
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Re: Nodeka

Quote:
Originally Posted by cratylus View Post
For that reason I propose a modification of the classification Osiris proposed.
I also discussed some of the payment models here: http://www.topmudsites.com/forums/ta...eferences.html

However rather than a single category, perhaps it might be better as a series of click-boxes within a 'Payment Model' category - something like:

No in-game impact:

[ ] You can donate, but get nothing in return.
[ ] You can purchase out-of-game merchandise (mugs, mousepads, etc).

Low-impact pay-for-perks:

[ ] You can purchase cosmetic things (renamed eq, fancy title, etc).
[ ] Pay for variety (eg a cool class which is on-par with free classes).
[ ] Pay to compensate for lost time (special case - see my link above).

Standard pay-for-perks:

[ ] Buy enhanced advancement (eg you pay to earn double exp).
[ ] Buy advantages that can also be earned through play (gold, etc).
[ ] Buy advantages that can replace regular play (levels, skills, etc).
[ ] Buy things that cannot otherwise be earned (special items, etc).
[ ] Buy non-transferable things that cannot otherwise be earned.

Pay-to-play:

[ ] Required one-off registration fee or purchase cost.
[ ] Regular subscription fee (hourly, monthly, etc).
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Old 08-24-2007, 10:08 AM   #27
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Re: Nodeka

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nodeka View Post
My own character does not have the extended map and I do not miss it one bit. Nodeka is free for me and free for anyone else.
But that doesn't change the fact that one of your features is only available through payment, and you yourself have said that you only consider a game free if you can access "all of the games features" without paying.

Perhaps the extended map is a pretty minor feature, but this example helps highlight the problem of inconsistency prevalent in so many adverts, particularly if you start advertising the payment model based on such subjective terms as what you personally find useful. Maybe Bubba's mud has a $500 ubersword, but as a mage he doesn't need it, so he lists his mud as "100% free". Perhaps Boffo's mud requires payment to advance beyond level 10, but he's peachy just playing up to that point, so he advertises his mud as "100% free".
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Old 08-24-2007, 10:29 AM   #28
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Re: Nodeka

KaVir said:
Quote:
But that doesn't change the fact that one of your features is only available through payment
Ah, I missed that part. In that case Nodeka is type "D" according to the Crat Scale.

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Old 08-24-2007, 10:41 AM   #29
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Re: Nodeka

Quote:
Originally Posted by KaVir View Post
But that doesn't change the fact that one of your features is only available through payment, and you yourself have said that you only consider a game free if you can access "all of the games features" without paying.

Perhaps the extended map is a pretty minor feature, but this example helps highlight the problem of inconsistency prevalent in so many adverts, particularly if you start advertising the payment model based on such subjective terms as what you personally find useful. Maybe Bubba's mud has a $500 ubersword, but as a mage he doesn't need it, so he lists his mud as "100% free". Perhaps Boffo's mud requires payment to advance beyond level 10, but he's peachy just playing up to that point, so he advertises his mud as "100% free".
Which is exactly why TMS attempting to define "what does 100% free mean?" is pointless. If I can play a game, at no cost, it is free. If I cannot play a game without cost, it is not free. Everything between that is semantics.

At one end of the extreme: I stick a tic-tac-toe game in a room all new users go to and they can't leave that room without paying. You could argue that the game is still technically "free to play". Is that a fair label?

At the other extreme: I could have 50,000 rooms/objects/skills/spells/whatever fully available without ever spending a penny but if someone can get 5 seconds more on their armor spell for donating, or a slightly larger in-game map, some would argue that the game is technically not "free". Is that a fair label?

So let's stick to black and white facts that can't be debated, in addition to pay to play, which needs better defining:

[ ] Donations accepted Y/N?
[ ] Donations rewarded Y/N?

Possible third option:

[ ] ALL game content available without donating Y/N?

My problem with the third option? Let's go with the example we've been using. Imagine this:

"As of today the extended map is available without donations for just 17billion diamonds-of-uberness"

Technically all game content is now available without donating, let's not mention that 17 billion diamonds-of-uberness would take around 12 light years to collect. You start to add phrases like "reasonable amount of time", "high/low advantage" to the categorizations and you're back to subjectivity.

Another problem with the third option, define "game content"? Every piece of "content" may be available, but at what level? You can get Bubba's sword and I can get Bubba's sword, but is my Bubba's sword better than yours?

I agree this is important information to players but let's not beat it to death. There are as many variations on roleplaying style, on pk type and on many other categorizations. Take PK as an example, there is NO PK, there is FULL PK, everything in between is a gray area. In this case the grey area is listed as "Restricted Playerkilling" and players can choose to login to the mud in question to find out exactly what "Restricted Playerkilling" means in that MUD. Any attempt to categorize all styles of PK would be pointless - you can still never really pin down how ingrained PK is into that game without trying it. Same with "pay-for-perks".

Long note, so worth repeating this part:

I agree this is important information to players..


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Old 08-24-2007, 10:53 AM   #30
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Re: Nodeka

Splitting the thread seems like a good idea to me too.

I think you make an excellent point about the subjective nature
of a reward's attainability in-game.

Still, it seems like even though unassailable certainty might not be possible,
general consensus might be.

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Old 08-24-2007, 11:02 AM   #31
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Re: Nodeka

Quote:
There are as many variations on roleplaying style, on pk type and on many other categorizations. Take PK as an example, there is NO PK, there is FULL PK, everything in between is a gray area. In this case the grey area is listed as "Restricted Playerkilling" and players can choose to login to the mud in question to find out exactly what "Restricted Playerkilling" means in that MUD. Any attempt to categorize all styles of PK would be pointless - you can still never really pin down how ingrained PK is into that game without trying it. Same with "pay-for-perks".
Agreed, but these discussions started out with proposals of simply having a third "pay-for-perks" payment option, and that was shot down by the pay-for-perks mud owners who claimed that it unfairly overgeneralised their games.

Thus the attempt to categorise the muds in more detail.

Quote:
I think it is time to prune it into it's own thread labelled "What does free mean?".
Good idea.
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Old 08-24-2007, 11:07 AM   #32
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Re: Nodeka

Put bluntly, claims like those made by Nodeka are lies. Terms like "100%" or "completely" do not apply to games where any option affecting gameplay requires payment. Maybe they are "75% free" or "almost completely free" but so long as there is any means of in-game advantage or advancement or feature that requires the application of real-life capital to attain then that would negate a claim of "100%". If there are a million ways to play and only one requires "donation", that still means it's only 99.9999% free. To claim otherwise would require a statement qualifying the methods which are "100% free" so long as any in-game method of playing features options of payment.

Take care,

Jason
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Old 08-24-2007, 11:32 AM   #33
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Re: Nodeka

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
Separate post intentionally. This thread is important, but has become about much more than just Nodeka's particular ad. I think it is time to prune it into it's own thread labelled "What does free mean?".
Splitting the thread is an excellent idea. This is a general issue that only remotely is connected to Nodeka's ad. The principal discussion is much better on its own.

And thank you for taking this question seriously. It's a big step forward.
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Old 08-24-2007, 12:58 PM   #34
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Re: What Does Free Mean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Newworlds View Post
There was a request to split the Nodeka thread so I just thought to create a new thread.

Many have ideas about what is 100% Free, Partially Free, or Pay to Play.

Here is your chance to have at it. I have opinions on the whole issue with pros and cons from both sides but will reserve them for now.
Free typically means, in common usage, that you don't have to directly pay (a MUD is still free just because you need to pay for a computer and internet connection to play it) for something with money or barter of chattel. The big exception there is that your personal time and energy is usually excluded as a cost. (So, spending time and energy on playing a MUD wouldn't typically be taken into account in the common usage of free.)

That's it really. If you can play for free, it's free, whether or not there is the opportunity to spend money. In fact, common usage has that even if the only way to get something in a game is to pay for it, it is still a free game as long as you don't have to pay for it to continue to play. For instance, if I'm giving away (legally-purchased of course) copies of Oblivion, I'm perfectly within my rights to claim that you can play Oblivion for free by accepting my free copy, even though there are things within Oblivion that are only obtainable by paying for them (downloadable content).

Note how standard this use of 'free' is.
* Runescape calls some of its servers free-to-play and some members servers. You can't even get onto the members servers (where the world is much, much larger) without paying a subscription. (Currently 182,000 players online).
* AdventureQuest is promoted as free although becoming a member takes a one-time $15 payment. (18,000 players currently online.)
* Heck, just go to MMORPG Free Online Games RPG Directory - ONRPG.com and click on the list of Free MMORPGs, most of which take some sort of payment to unlock things (unlike other games, like ours, that accept payment but in which you can always obtain anything without paying) but all of which are free to play.

--matt
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Old 08-24-2007, 01:32 PM   #35
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

To me it is very simple. If money in any way influences any part of the gameplay, then the game isn't free. Calling the transactions 'donations' or 'pay-for-perks' isn't purely semantic. The definition of a 'donation' is that you give without expecting or receiving any reward, otherwise the transaction is a sale.

It doesn't matter much if the perks are available by normal gameplay or not. Naturally the former is preferable, but as long as you can pay for something that normally takes X hours of time to achieve in the game, you are still buying an advantage over other players.

What really counts is whether the gameplay is affected. So pure donations, or selling mousepads and T-shirts from the website are okey - as long as no in-game benefits are received the game is still free.

But to avoid the usual semantics around the word 'Free'. let's go for KaVir's 3 main categories;

1. No in-game benefits
2. In-game benefits available
2A. Low-impact pay-for-perks
2B. Standard pay-for-perks
3. Pay-to-play
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Old 08-24-2007, 01:42 PM   #36
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Molly View Post
To me it is very simple. If money in any way influences any part of the gameplay, then the game isn't free.
Well, your personal opinion aside, where's the evidence for this as the meaning of free? It's a lot more productive to talk about how the word IS used in culture rather than how you wish the word was used.

Quote:
Calling the transactions 'donations' or 'pay-for-perks' isn't purely semantic. The definition of a 'donation' is that you give without expecting or receiving any reward, otherwise the transaction is a sale.
That is flat-out untrue. All sorts of organizations do fund-raising drives where you donate and in return get a package of stuff. Nobody calls these anything but donations, including the government tax agencies. For instance, National Public Radio frequently does fund-raising drives where you donate variable amounts and get variable packages of stuff as a thank you.

Quote:
It doesn't matter much if the perks are available by normal gameplay or not. Naturally the former is preferable, but as long as you can pay for something that normally takes X hours of time to achieve in the game, you are still buying an advantage over other players.
What does buying an advantage over other players have to do with free? You're talking about perceived fairness now. The two don't have anything to do with each other.

Quote:
What really counts is whether the gameplay is affected. So pure donations, or selling mousepads and T-shirts from the website are okey - as long as no in-game benefits are received the game is still free.
Again, that's to do with your personal perception of fairness, not whether something is free or not.

--matt

Last edited by the_logos : 08-24-2007 at 01:54 PM.
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Old 08-24-2007, 02:08 PM   #37
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Molly View Post
To me it is very simple. If money in any way influences any part of the gameplay, then the game isn't free. Calling the transactions 'donations' or 'pay-for-perks' isn't purely semantic. The definition of a 'donation' is that you give without expecting or receiving any reward, otherwise the transaction is a sale.

It doesn't matter much if the perks are available by normal gameplay or not. Naturally the former is preferable, but as long as you can pay for something that normally takes X hours of time to achieve in the game, you are still buying an advantage over other players.
We (the collective users of this site, not me and you) are never going to agree on the definition of "free". If I can login and enjoy your game without feeling any need to buy whatever you may or may not have on offer, to me it is free. There are hundreds of thousands of sites on the net that are "free" but where you can pay for additions. Free email but buy additional space, free stock site but buy the newsletter, free personal-page but buy widgets, etc, etc. The phrase being used a lot there is "freemium".

Would you argue that this site isn't free? It's free if you're a user looking for a MUD. It's free if you're a MUD owner looking to list their MUD. It isn't free if you're a MUD owner looking to get the most the site can offer you. Most are content to enjoy it, free, without worrying about whether or not they have "the most". By the path being taken with MUDs, then TMS is a "pay site". How many people looking for a site on MUDs might see that label and think "uhoh, no thanks" when the site would meet their needs perfectly without any need, obligation or even mention of them ever paying? The only point there really being that "free" is in the eyes of each individual player.

I'm kind of jumping roles here, between interested participant in the discussion and the site admin. As the site admin I am not going to claim authority on the definition of what is and is not considered "free", and defining "minor/meaningful" advantage would just make the hole deeper. Brings us right back to facts:

[ ] Payment required to play? (replacing pay-to-play).
[ ] Payment / Donations accepted.
[ ] Payment / Donations rewarded in-game.
[ ] No Payment / Donations accepted, period.

Even as clean cut as that looks it isn't. We have to assume on good faith, for example, that an "unrewarded" donation is not indirectly rewarded in-game via the gratitude of the MUD staff. We have to assume that if a grateful player on a "no donations" MUD sends that admin a birthday present it doesn't suddenly mean they accept donations.

This needs addressing, but it needs to be done once and right in a way that is fair to both sides of the fence and I can see no better way to do that than with options that are facts, not opinions we will endlessly debate.
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Old 08-24-2007, 02:30 PM   #38
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Re: Nodeka

Quote:
Originally Posted by cratylus View Post
To quote Osiris from another forum:
"Just because players are not 'required' to pay does not mean that a mud is Free. Competing with others who get in game benefit from payments made to the mud basically turns your escape hobby into a reflection of real world haves and have-nots. You'll be encouraged and even pressured to pay at some point."
But again, this is an opinion, one of many possible interpretations of the facts.

Better to present the facts and let each reader decide what the facts mean to them.
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Old 08-24-2007, 04:03 PM   #39
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Another word of advice:

Many players look for the Free Mud, or Free this or that. I stated before that I respect both types of Muds: those that are Free and those that are Pay to play and everthing in between. Keep in mind the old proverb - You get what you pay for.

By this I mean that some feel that a free mud should and does offer all the guaranties, playability, fixes, and staff assistance that a pay mud offers. This is simply not the case in most circumstances. A mud that is bringing in donations or payments can offer more services and you can expect more services. Several of the top 20 muds on TMS are virtually free but also offer some form of payment either through donations or registrations or credits. These Muds can utilize resources to enhance playability.

Make no mistake, Muds cost time, money, and resources to operate. Having funding to keep them operating not only gives a player a sense of responsibility and ownership, it grants the mud operators the ability to use those resources for enhancements and administration.
Simply put, having funds greatly enhances a mud and should not be discounted when you are seeking a mud to play. While many very exciting and well administered muds that are completely free exist. In the 10 years I have programmed, administered, and played numerous games, the above proverb has always ringed true - You get what you pay for.

Let me finish by saying that New Worlds Mud is completely free, but I vehemently defend and support those games that do have registration, donations, and credits for play.
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Old 08-24-2007, 04:20 PM   #40
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
1. We (the collective users of this site, not me and you) are never going to agree on the definition of "free".

(snip)

2. Would you argue that this site isn't free?

(snip)

3. Brings us right back to facts:

[ ] Payment required to play? (replacing pay-to-play).
[ ] Payment / Donations accepted.
[ ] Payment / Donations rewarded in-game.
[ ] No Payment / Donations accepted, period.
This may come as a surprise, but I almost totally agree with you.

1. I totally agree there. We, the collective users of this site, will never agree about the definition of the word 'free'. So. like I already said in an earlier post, let's not argue about semantics, and instead concentrate on the proposed options for the search engine.

2. I wouldn't call this site free, no. To paraphrase Orwell's classical Animal Farm; 'All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others'. It seems to me that those that pay for adverts get a bit more than the banners they pay for. They also seem to get a larger impact on decisions, and how the discussion boards are run. I will however hold my final assessment until I see the outcome of this thread.

3. I am perfectly happy with your 4 categories. If you would implement those in the search engine, I think it would be valid improvement for the site.
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