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Old 05-09-2008, 08:01 PM   #41
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Disillusionist View Post
Semantics:

I'll amend:
"SO HORRIBLY OOC AND POTENTIALLY HIGHLY DIVORCED FROM DESIRABLE SKILLS TOWARDS GAMEPLAY THAT LUMPING 'FOUND $20 IN A DUMPSTER' CAN EQUATE TO 'STUDIED ENGLISH, TYPING, HISTORY, LITERATURE, PROBLEM-SOLVING AND ACTING FOR 30 YEARS' BELEAGUERS CREDULITY".

That's what I really should've said.
I'm sure that can be semanticized and rationalized into triviata, but it also something easily and intuitively understood by most people. Ask the kindergardeners.
There's absolutely nothing inherently more OOC about real-life cash than other real-life resources such as typing skills or language mastery. In both cases, they are literally "out-of-character" resources. If your justification for opposing OOC in blanket terms is simply that something is OOC, then there's really not a lot of room to distinguish between the two. A more nuanced view of things is probably in order.

It strikes me that you seem to feel that money is a special resource, different from all sorts of other resources that are equally OOC. Why? All MUDs/MMOs require different OOC resources from people that different people possess in varying amounts. You yourself may prefer that one or another OOC resource is highlighted as being important, but of course that's not 'fair' to anyone who doesn't possess that resource. I'm at a huge disadvantage if I go play a Chinese MMO, because I don't possess the OOC skill of speaking Mandarin or Cantonses well, but that doesn't mean the Chinese MMO is unfair (or perhaps it does, in which case I stop caring about that definition of 'fair' given that it's a silly one).

I'd suggest that in any game, what's fair is what's allowed by the rules. Complaining that something that's within the rules is unfair is like claiming that it's unfair for a pitcher to throw a 98 mph fastball just because you can't.

--matt
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Old 05-10-2008, 02:45 AM   #42
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

Just because you generalize cash in with actual GAME SKILLS as 'outside resources', and therefore no more or less inherently ooc simply doesn't wash with me.

Firstly:
It's my very strongly held opinion that there are only two kinds of people who would rationalize it that way.
Game moderators who wish to make a buck, not that I begrudge them this.
Game forum moderators who don't wish to aggravate paying advertisers.

And, to remain topical, that's fair.

To use that sports analogy of football, it's like one team practiced all summer, exercised, trained but can't afford helmets and pads but are issued maybe a nutcup by the little league, and are put on the scrimmage line with kids who had a little practice, learned a couple of plays, but have cleats, full pads and helmets, and were given in some cases steroids.
That's a far more accurate sports analogy than comparing it to someone with a 98 MPH fastball, which the guy didn't go to a vending machine and BUY.

Secondly, the entire basis of my argument was not simply that it's ooc. But that it's SO ooc that it takes a lot of mental contortions to arrive at the final conclusion that it is somehow 'fair'.

Still, it's my opinion, nothing more, and can be dissected. Bottom line, I wouldn't play a game that made the field thus unleveled. On and off in my playing career of three decades, I've been at varying levels of income and time. I've also seen games that try to strike a fair balance for both player types (time and money). In no case is that fairness achieved by allowing one player set access to features or gear that wasn't in some way achievable by the other player set.
So you're right, it is a preference, and it's a preference based on determination of 'fair' as I have always perceived it.

The 'it's in the rules and therefore fair' argument sounds like a lot of self-justifying rationalization to me.
Chess. White always goes first. Okay, it's an advantage in the rules, but it is pure luck of the draw, available to either player. The black player cannot somewhere down the line slip the officials a twenty and be given a second queen.

But, I realize that my opinion differs from the moderator's.
"targetting a certain group of people at the expense of others" equates to 'advantaging a certain group of people at the expense of others'. You can call it 'fair' if this is disclosed up front. It just doesn't have the ring of fairness I expect when I think of 'does that just -sound- fair?'

So perhaps you're right in the implication that I am not fair-minded, and that this is a huge blind spot in my reasoning, and sense of justice and fair play. On a given day, I could argue the position from your side, essentially adopting an 'all's fair if it's disclosed up front' position, and make a case.

My heart wouldn't be in it. Not as a player, a designer, a person. It just sounds like another way to 'commercialize' a word like 'free'. Words mean things. Free is free (although at this point FREE* should be added to the dictionary the way definition 14 of 'fair' was), fair is fair. Watering down a concept with caveats, disclaimers, rationalization and semantics only seems to make a subjective word, that most people consent to agree upon, meaningless.

The topic asked a question. I answered it.
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Old 05-10-2008, 03:52 AM   #43
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Disillusionist View Post
Just because you generalize cash in with actual GAME SKILLS as 'outside resources', and therefore no more or less inherently ooc simply doesn't wash with me.

Firstly:
It's my very strongly held opinion that there are only two kinds of people who would rationalize it that way.
Game moderators who wish to make a buck, not that I begrudge them this.
Game forum moderators who don't wish to aggravate paying advertisers.
Well, that's simply not true unless you're suggesting that, for instance, virtually all South Korean gamers (the most MMO-mad culture on earth) are game moderators or game forum moderators.

You're just exercising cultural bias, which is fine, but is fairly arbitrary.

--matt
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Old 05-10-2008, 04:29 AM   #44
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Talking Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

I guess this is getting to be a dead horse.

Calling me culturally biased, when what most people on this forum are talking about are English-based muds is just another venture into non sequitor. Being a moderator isn't really enough license to keep making personal assessements for daring to disagree with you. You say what is clearly labeled as my opinion isn't 'true'? Yeesh.

Extrapolating my very simply-understood point to mean "all South Korean gamers are moderators" is just fallaciously polymic. Argument for its own sake. This is a debating tactic that really cheapens a debate.
I don't really see a lot of South Koreans in this topic thread saying what you're saying. I see you saying it, and very likely fitting the precise demographic I was very specific about.

So, for the sake of pre-empting additional trivial side-points such as, "I have no arms or eyes, can't type, am not from this planet and therefore have no language skills, and therefore all games are inherently unfair, and if that's true, paying money for items non-payers can't get is therefore no MORE unfair than all those other conditions', let me add this caveat. I believe some of the 'nuances' of this debate are implicit.

Being intentionally obtuse to meaning, resorting to personal assessments, and otherwise honing debate skills without really furthering the topic beyond "Everything's fair, so long as a doc is available somewhere calling an unfair practice a 'rule'." isn't really the purpose of this thread, beyond the fact that it does invite that rather singular opinion.

Definition 1 says it best. The word 'fair' has genuine meaning, and if any 'bias' is being shown, it would be the bias toward those who are willing to outspend rather than outgame someone. Yes, it's a design and policy choice, but its goal isn't by any reasonable person's stretch of credulity intended to promote 'fairness'. It's intended to promote 'profits'. It can of course be excused as 'fair' so long as everyone knows that's the case (presuming, which I don't, that the moderators are -completely- honest up-front about how it precisely affects gameplay).

Having said all that, I had a platinum account on GS4 for years. I got WHACK perks for it, -while- I had extra time to play as well. I didn't at any point feel like I was paying the extra money to promote fairness. I wanted the unfair advantage it gave. It was clear, up-front, documented as a 'rule', and the knowledge that such was the case was available to everyone, even if the means to exploit it wasn't. It was that very obvious situation that not everyone would have the means to exploit it that gave me an unfair advantage, in that I could. These advantages quite often create unintentional additional advantages, so it's very reasonable to say that it wasn't really all that up-front, just because it was in the 'rules'.

Let us agree to disagree. You think I'm a culturally biased and innately unfair and unreasonable person with disproportionate views on money.
I think you're a rationalizing defender of money-grubbing special interests with a profit agenda more interested in diluting than crystallizing a debate.


Last edited by Disillusionist : 05-10-2008 at 04:35 AM. Reason: Edited for typos
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Old 05-10-2008, 08:43 PM   #45
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

I think it's all fair if everyone is offered the same opportunity. If you only offer play for perks to some people that is unfair. If some people must pay for perks and others get those perks for free that is unfair. If some people were only allowed by the game to log in for restricted times and others for unrestricted times, that would be unfair.

But if the game is open to anyone who wants to log in for the same hours and your schedule doesn't allow you to be logged in for all the hours someone else's schedule allows, too bad. Win the lotto. Find a game where the norm is to play less.
If some people can afford more perks than you, find a free game, one with a cheaper price structure, or win the lotto.
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Old 05-10-2008, 09:15 PM   #46
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

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If some people must pay for perks and others get those perks for free that is unfair.
Not precisely a structure I've ever seen in reality. The game is free to most, but some -must- pay? You're right, it's not fair. However, the actual condition discussed is 'must pay if they don't want to put in the same work as someone who does not pay and want a shortcut'. It is -exceptionally- unfair if that shortcut's goal is available to only one player set.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fifi View Post
But if the game is open to anyone who wants to log in for the same hours and your schedule doesn't allow you to be logged in for all the hours someone else's schedule allows, too bad. Win the lotto. Find a game where the norm is to play less.
If some people can afford more perks than you, find a free game, one with a cheaper price structure, or win the lotto.
By 'the game is open to anyone', do you mean that every feature available to non-payers is available to payers? You can either spend time and work for the perk, or is it only 'open' to payers? If not, I can't imagine on what planet that would be 'fair'.

I used to have that attitude. "I can outspend you. Tough luck." It's not about whether the game is FREE or CHEAP. It's about whether everyone pays the same, or pays in an equitable tradeoff. It's about equitability. I don't have a problem if everyone is charged a flat fee, even if that fee is half the lotto. This isn't an infantile rant of the haves over the have-nots.

You can call it fair for a month. It doesn't make it so. I -would- leave a game with a structure of pay-only-perks, not because of the money, but because of the unfairness.

When you consider that it's by no means really a time-versus-money issue, as in the following example:
Player A logs in for the first time. He hasn't paid for perks. He just wants to check the game out.
Player B logs in for the first time. He's got a ton of money to throw around, so he checks all the boxes, and bills his card. Voila, two people step out of the chargen, already imbalanced.

Player A sets about hunting. He's got some experience with gaming, and does just fine.
Player B sets about hunting, but he's in another area where the mobs are tougher, or he's ripping through the same area twice as fast.
And at some point, the same two players end up in PvP. One has an unfair advantage. Even if they're both in their first day.
How much clearer does the unfairness need to be?

As far as winning the lotto, I'd love to. There's a fine example of how to make this fair. (sarcasm).
In other words, the odds of making the game fair are roughly a half trillion to one. If there are perks offered to one set for money that are not offered to another for time, I agree, it's a real long-odds stretch that it could be construed as fair. Then again, I don't think this is about fairness any more.

Last edited by Disillusionist : 05-10-2008 at 09:26 PM. Reason: typos and content
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Old 05-11-2008, 12:25 AM   #47
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

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Originally Posted by Disillusionist View Post



By 'the game is open to anyone', do you mean that every feature available to non-payers is available to payers? You can either spend time and work for the perk, or is it only 'open' to payers? If not, I can't imagine on what planet that would be 'fair'.

.
The time thing was if the game is open 24 hours and some people have 24 hours a day to play and you don't and they advance more than you is that fiar? And my response to that is yes it is fair. My feeling is if everyone has the same set of options open to them, you can spend, or play or accomplish/get/have less you choose, that's perfectly fair.

Of course, I've never played a mud where you pay for perks. So, my opinion is an uninformed one.
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Old 05-11-2008, 10:07 AM   #48
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

I'm coming to this thread a little late, so I apologise if what I say has already been covered; but it seems to me that arguing about whether or not a pay-for-perks model is "fair" is really missing the point. I think both sides are missing the point. It seems to me that a pay-for-perks model is deeply, profoundly unfair, but that this doesn't actually matter a damn.

Some people will feel (as I do) that they want to progress in a game by virtue of their innate cunning and and game-related ingenuity. To people like me, a pay-for-perks model is repulsive, because on a pay-for-perks MUD I will continually get pwned by 733t hax0r kiddies whose skill is vastly inferior to my own, but who have managed to overcome that disadvantage simply by having rich parents.

I couldn't stand playing on a MUD like that. And so I don't. There are plenty of MUDs out there that are not pay-for-perks, and so, if I want to do some MUDding, I'll choose one of them.

But not everyone feels like that. Some people have reached a time in their lives where they can't actually be bothered to spend hour after hour grinding through the lower levels of a MUD in order to become powerful. They simply don't find that kind of game fun any more. What they want is to be able to progress at a rate that is comfortable to them and that they are capable of sustaining. A person like that would actively prefer a pay-for-perks model, because they can use cash to compensate for their lack of free-time.

The important point is that, however much I may personaly dislike pay-for-perks MUDs, I haven't the slightest objection to other people playing them. I wouldn't dream of suggesting that, simply beause pay-for-perks-lovers have different wants and needs from mine that no one should be allowed to cater for those needs. If a previously non-pfp MUD that I had spent a long time on suddenly decided to switch models I might make a fuss about that - "but this will so change the nature of the MUD it will no longer be recognisably the same game", etc. - but otherwise it's simply a case of "live and let live" - you guys play the type of game you like, and I'll play what I like.

It's a terrible mistake for pay-for-perks admins to try to claim that pay-for-perks is "fair"; it isn't, and they just make themselves look stupid if they say it is. What they should be saying is "no, of course it's not fair, but that's the whole point - this is a game for people who don't want the game to be fair. Why is that a problem?"
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Old 05-11-2008, 12:47 PM   #49
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

Shasarak, you said my actual stance, and I don't begrudge anyone the choice to play or create pfp's. I don't begrudge my beloved muds the right to make money and stay in business.
I begrudge them, under the topic's title, the right to call it fair. I just don't agree the opportunity is 'open' to everyone. Usually the way players discover how innately unfair they are, despite disclaimers, is by surprise.

I can absolutely agree that a pfp model that's fair is if the goal or object is acquirable by an expenditure of time -or- money, -or- some other commodity the game admins find to be of value.
Levels? Sure, why not? So long as there isn't a cap for non-payers. Ubergear? Sure. So long as it can be purchased by RL cash, IC cash, or IC methods available to everyone.
Access to premium areas? I'm torn on this one, unless the area itself provides some innate advantage like larger storage capacities. While I find such perks fair to the admin's goals, and reasonable if more labor is purchased or server space is dedicated, etc. But these things aren't really designed with fairness in mind.

I realize some of my preferences for games are innately unfair.
I prefer games that are 18 and over. Not fair! wail the kids. (True, but it's more peaceful, IMO.)
A number of preferences for gamestyle may be desirable, and a number of those preferences trade off some other desired condition that shelves fairness. Whaddayagonnado?
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Old 05-11-2008, 01:04 PM   #50
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

In my opinion, there is no such thing as a perfect ideal named "fair".

There is, however, a quality that you can apply to some dimension of a game named "fair".

What do I mean? First, I think the concept of "fair" can only be described when there is some form of competition between players. To step away from MUDs, let's say two people are playing a "Myst"-style game. One solves all the puzzles, the other uses walkthroughs on the Web (or maybe even available in-game for all that this matters). Is this "fair"? I claim it is immaterial. If both players have had fun, it doesn't matter. Is the first player's fun diminished by the fact that the second person "cheated"? (If even that term can be applied.) No.

However, say the two people, or the game, starts to compare the players, and publish rankings of how fast players have solved it. Thus, competition comes into play, and therefore, "how" they progress matters.

Now consider MUDs. If you have a mostly pure PvE environment, is there competition? If not, then the only point of "fair" turns into ego points. "It took me x hours of gaming to get that level, I don't want someone spending $ to get it for free." (Yes, that is an oxymoron.)

So, the question is, what is it do you want to be "fair"? The work someone puts in to level? The money that they spend? Puzzles that they solve? The player's aptitude with strategy? The programmability of their client?

And sometimes it just doesn't work out how you think. To claim some "fairness" in PvP, does it matter if someone bought their way up, or have been there for years? In the end, the same character "power" is arrayed against you (though admittedly, not player skill--in that case, if you are trying to be ganked by someone 5 levels over you, wouldn't you rather be a bought up newbie?)

Specifically with pay-for-perks, generally speaking, in what matters to me, a system where money equalizes for time is much more "fair" than one where you can only buy the perks. However, there's a very sliding scale here. Having to spend $100s or even $1000s to equalize may sound fair, but unacceptable to me, as is the other way around, where I have to spend huge amounts of time to keep up with someone.
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Old 05-12-2008, 03:40 AM   #51
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

As long as the rules of the game apply equally to everyone, and the rules are made clear to players in advance, then I believe such a game is fair. Assuming the rules are made clear (or at least available) in advance, a player who does not feel they are fair should not play in the first place.

Unfairness is when there are secretive things happening behind the scenes that you do not know about. For example, when there are some people currying favor with admins to help them out, or there are people who get "wink wink nudge nudge" benefits because they bought a lot of t-shirts or other merchandise (something that happens a lot), or things of that nature.

By any other standard, pretty much no game in existence is fair. Every person has their own areas where they possess a disproportionate advantage that no game can nullify. Is it fair that basketball rewards tall people over short people? Is it fair that poker rewards richer people that can bully poorer people (through betting) into folding a good hand? By some definitions of the word fair, the answer would be no. But that is not what we mean by "fair" when talking about games.

For games, what people generally mean by fairness is that the rules are applied equally to all players. That is true in basketball, poker, or pay-for-perks muds. As long as people know the rules, and rules are the same for everyone, for all intents and purposes that game is fair.
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Old 05-12-2008, 07:39 AM   #52
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

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Unfairness is when there are secretive things happening behind the scenes that you do not know about. For example, when there are some people currying favor with admins to help them out, or there are people who get "wink wink nudge nudge" benefits because they bought a lot of t-shirts or other merchandise (something that happens a lot), or things of that nature.
Could you explain how you know that this is "something that happens a lot"? It doesn't seem supported by anything else you said, but you're clearly making a positive assertion.

If anything, I'd expect that problem to be worse in games where large sums of money routinely change hands-- some pay-for-perks games have characters with $1000 US or more invested in them, according to players of those characters that have posted here. The economic incentives seem much more clear-cut, especially when games are based on a for-profit model, vs. the non-profit model common to free games.
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Old 05-12-2008, 01:50 PM   #53
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

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If anything, I'd expect that problem to be worse in games where large sums of money routinely change hands-- some pay-for-perks games have characters with $1000 US or more invested in them, according to players of those characters that have posted here. The economic incentives seem much more clear-cut, especially when games are based on a for-profit model, vs. the non-profit model common to free games.
In a pay-for-perks game, all financial transactions are above board and known about in advance. Players know exactly what other people can get by paying money, and can make their decision to play or not play well in advance.

But in games that claim to be totally non-commercial, but sell merchandise behind the scenes, nobody really knows what is going on. There is no in-game evidence of merchandise sales, so people have no idea who has done what. Many people who pay money to a game inevitably expect SOMETHING for their money and "generosity", and admins frequently feel gratitude for these purchases (obviously), and together this commonly lends itself to favoritism for people who support the game through merchandise sales (the same goes for "donation" sytems, by the way).

An explicit, known system that is published to players in advance is much clearer and less prone to abuse than a secretive system that is not described explicitly in advance. Furthermore, since this is all on-the-side rather than an explicit, clear system, players are not able to factor it into their initial decision to play the game or not.
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Old 05-12-2008, 02:02 PM   #54
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

Positive assertions are a slippery slope if someone doesn't want to name names, but I could offer a few from the player perspective. I know that being a content-contributor can engender winks and nudges, as could other behavior that encourages GM favor. The rewards may not always manifest in game content, cash-value perks, or other tangible rewards (although they do), but 'one good turn deserves another' happens frequently enough as to deserve not being dismissed outright.

I've been handed items, given useful information or insights, had a blind eye turned to mild infractions, and seen adjudicated player disputes swing my way, even if the fault for the dispute was shared. It definitely happened, and was definitely denied and discouraged and punishable in the official policy docs. So long as an admin sees the benefits of doing so outweighing the consequences, it's an understandable temptation, and in some cases, a smart business dealing, if a game is getting a free tangible product in exchange for thirty seconds worth of typing (>give character thingy, or >inform player of event).

It still is probably not a 'fair' practice, as defined here.

Human nature is a pretty good indicator, too. As much as we'd like to believe that 'under the table', 'a handshake arrangement' and 'you wash my back, I wash yours' aren't part of a business model, the fact is, they are. Presuming that commercial and non-commercial muds are somehow exempt from this common business practice seems a lot harder to swallow, even if I didn't know for a fact it occurs.

Sometimes, it's just good PR to pretend like such things don't happen,
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Old 05-12-2008, 08:15 PM   #55
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Threshold View Post
In a pay-for-perks game, all financial transactions are above board and known about in advance. Players know exactly what other people can get by paying money, and can make their decision to play or not play well in advance.

But in games that claim to be totally non-commercial, but sell merchandise behind the scenes, nobody really knows what is going on. There is no in-game evidence of merchandise sales, so people have no idea who has done what. Many people who pay money to a game inevitably expect SOMETHING for their money and "generosity", and admins frequently feel gratitude for these purchases (obviously), and together this commonly lends itself to favoritism for people who support the game through merchandise sales (the same goes for "donation" sytems, by the way).

An explicit, known system that is published to players in advance is much clearer and less prone to abuse than a secretive system that is not described explicitly in advance. Furthermore, since this is all on-the-side rather than an explicit, clear system, players are not able to factor it into their initial decision to play the game or not.
1) I'm not seeing where you have evidence that this is "something that happens a lot". You previously asserted this directly. Could you be more clear? Or is this pure conjecture?

2) Also, why does having an official system where thousands of dollars change hands preclude corruption? In both cases, you're supposing a staff member is willing to violate their policies. Why would a staff member be willing to do this for T-shirt money, but not perks money, especially given the larger sums involved?

3) Don't merchandise-based games have an explicit, known system, where you give them money and get a textile-based good, rather than a virtual good? What is the difference that causes one administrator to be prone to bribery but not the other?
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Old 05-12-2008, 08:21 PM   #56
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

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Originally Posted by Disillusionist View Post
Human nature is a pretty good indicator, too. As much as we'd like to believe that 'under the table', 'a handshake arrangement' and 'you wash my back, I wash yours' aren't part of a business model, the fact is, they are. Presuming that commercial and non-commercial muds are somehow exempt from this common business practice seems a lot harder to swallow, even if I didn't know for a fact it occurs.
That's a different argument than the one Threshold is making. He's making the argument specifically that the pay-for-perks model (sale of virtual goods) precludes administrator corruption, which is "common" in donation or merchandise models (sale of physical goods).

I mean, if you walked into a building and claimed "Employees here are commonly embezzling.", I don't think it's out of line to treat it as an accusation, whether or not it's aimed at a specific or named individual.

I'm making the argument that it doesn't matter what you sell. I'm also conjecturing that the temptation to accept bribes would increase as the size of the bribe increases. In other words, someone with $1000 worth of perks would be more likely to demand (and receive) special treatment than someone with a $12 T-shirt.
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Old 05-13-2008, 12:13 AM   #57
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

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Originally Posted by Valg View Post
I'm making the argument that it doesn't matter what you sell. I'm also conjecturing that the temptation to accept bribes would increase as the size of the bribe increases. In other words, someone with $1000 worth of perks would be more likely to demand (and receive) special treatment than someone with a $12 T-shirt.
The person who paid the $1000 for in game perks (a highly unusual and extreme example, but I'll go ahead and stick with it) already got $1000 of in game perks. The person who bought the tshirt (or ten tshirts) got nothing in game. Yeah, they got a shirt, but most games that sell merchandise (or take donations) expressly ask people to buy them to help the mud. So a significant reason for the purchase is to help the mud, not just to have a tshirt (or other merchandise). That's where the expectation of a quid pro quo comes from.

But I do agree with you on one point: it doesn't matter what you sell. As soon as money changes hands, it is a commercial operation and it carries with it all the risks and possibilities for abuse therein. Though I do feel an explicit system of directly paying for perks at least means everyone knows exactly what is for sale, and how much it costs, and can decide IN ADVANCE if that is acceptable to them. Merchandise sales, donations, etc. hide things a bit more and do not give the player the information they need to make an informed playing choice. And that is what makes that a little less "fair" in my view.
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Old 05-13-2008, 06:49 AM   #58
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

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Originally Posted by Threshold View Post
The person who paid the $1000 for in game perks (a highly unusual and extreme example, but I'll go ahead and stick with it) already got $1000 of in game perks. The person who bought the tshirt (or ten tshirts) got nothing in game. Yeah, they got a shirt, but most games that sell merchandise (or take donations) expressly ask people to buy them to help the mud. So a significant reason for the purchase is to help the mud, not just to have a tshirt (or other merchandise). That's where the expectation of a quid pro quo comes from.
This is all an assumption on your part. One person got a virtual perk, the other got a T-shirt. You claimed that corruption in one case was "common" (known, not speculated), and in the other it was not. You've provided nothing at all to back that up.

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Originally Posted by Threshold View Post
But I do agree with you on one point: it doesn't matter what you sell. As soon as money changes hands, it is a commercial operation and it carries with it all the risks and possibilities for abuse therein. Though I do feel an explicit system of directly paying for perks at least means everyone knows exactly what is for sale, and how much it costs, and can decide IN ADVANCE if that is acceptable to them. Merchandise sales, donations, etc. hide things a bit more and do not give the player the information they need to make an informed playing choice. And that is what makes that a little less "fair" in my view.
Someone buying a T-shirt knows exactly what shirt is for sale, how much it costs, what size and color it is, and can also decide in advance if that is acceptable. The purchaser is explicitly told it will have no impact on their gameplay. What information is hidden?

(If your T-shirt manufacturers do not provide this information to customers, and instead send them randomly chosen shirts, I can make recommendations.)
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Old 05-13-2008, 11:12 AM   #59
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

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Someone buying a T-shirt knows exactly what shirt is for sale, how much it costs, what size and color it is, and can also decide in advance if that is acceptable. The purchaser is explicitly told it will have no impact on their gameplay.
Agreed. Furthermore, if the only things you can purchase are mugs, t-shirts and the like, then that would suggest to me that the mud owner doesn't want money to impact the gameplay. If they were willing to sell secret perks, then surely they would also be willing to sell public ones?
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Old 05-13-2008, 01:40 PM   #60
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

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Agreed. Furthermore, if the only things you can purchase are mugs, t-shirts and the like, then that would suggest to me that the mud owner doesn't want money to impact the gameplay.
By this, I'm thinking you mean directly affect gameplay, in that said t-shirt/mug sales might be affecting gameplay in general by making it possible.
More accurately said, the mud owner (aside from money issues) could just as easily be avoiding the -appearance- that money affects gameplay, which could happen even if no money changes hands.

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If they were willing to sell secret perks, then surely they would also be willing to sell public ones?
I don't see this as necessarily true, nor a logical conclusion. I can easily see a secret policy being enacted because making this a public policy might change the complexion of the game in a way that might cause players to leave. It may not be the point Thresh is trying to make, but I've seen enough public PR-based stances compromised privately that I'm not that naive.
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