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Old 01-03-2009, 05:38 PM   #1
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In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

I would not normally bring a personal issue here, but I think there is the possibility it may have a long term effect on many other muds.

Threshold RPG's wikipedia entry has recently undergone a lot of vandalism from a bad intentioned, disgruntled ex-player. Unfortunately, this person (who goes by the name Mendaliv on Wikipedia) is a hard core Wikipedia user, so he is well versed in their archaic, acronym heavy rules and has a lot of "friends" (cronies?) to help him with his campaign.

After getting an admin friend to ban pretty much every person that had been productively working on the entry, he recommended it for deletion. That's a pretty sleazy tactic, since now almost none of the people that would be likely to respond in favor of KEEPing it are even allowed to comment. If the only issue here was the deletion of Threshold's entry, I wouldn't be posting here. We have had customers of ours put various entries up related to our worlds and later found out they were deleted. That's how Wikipedia works and we don't concern ourselves with it.

What disturbs me more than our entry being deleted is the all out general attack being made on MUDs in general. If you read the discussion of the deletion request for Threshold, you will find countless statements that various MUD sites are not noteworthy, not good enough to be a source of information, and just not important enough. Yes, MUDs as a hobby are nowhere near as major as they were 10 years ago, but MUDs are a major part of internet and online gaming history. The discussion is here:

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Threshold (online game) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In the discussion, numerous Wikipedia members seem to completely discard MUDs as having any historical relevance, and old MUD related sites (TMC, TMS, etc.) are repeatedly deemed meaningless and of no journalistic or informative value. When I read this, I was shocked. Some of these sites were made when the WWW was brand new. Sure, they never did (and still don't) have the polish of giant sites like Massively, Gamespot, 1up, or IGN, but there was a time when these sites (and MUDs in general) were extremely vital, major hubs of information for online gaming and for the internet in general.

Regardless of how popular MUDs are now, there is no doubt they are an important part of internet and gaming history. It is absurd to simply discard them as irrelevant and not noteworthy.

I'm not sure if there is anything we can do about it, but this strikes me as part of a larger, more serious problem for our hobby. I think it is in all of our best interests to fight against the erosion of our historical significance.

Thanks for reading, and once again I am sorry for bringing such a Threshold-specific issue to these forums. I feel this is a threat to the historical significance of MUDs in general, and that affects all of us.

Last edited by Threshold : 01-03-2009 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 01-03-2009, 06:53 PM   #2
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

This may just be an indication of a serious flaw in Wikipedia's design and what will lead to its eventual decline. Citations seem to only be accepted if they are on the internet rather than in printed papers, and some hobbies just aren't big enough not to fall under the axe of some of the Wikipedia people with an agenda.

My biggest concern about this issue is simply that apparently mud sites have no legitimacy, and random people get to determine if something is "popular" enough. I simply have no idea how that is going to play out due to the fact that popularity of all sorts of hobbies waxes and wanes, and who is going to keep the mudding hobby alive enough for Wikipedia?
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Old 01-03-2009, 08:17 PM   #3
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

Aardwolf was removed in July 2007 as being "not notable", similar arguments given to those I see in your AFD page. In the overall scheme of the internet I suppose it really isn't notable, but in that case 90% of the stuff on Wikipedia needs to go.

Apparently it had been tagged for review for some time but we were not aware. On the same day we were made aware and contacted the appropriate Wikipedia editor, it just happened to be deleted. I'm not big on conspiracy theories, but the timing was all too convenient. Maybe it was an administrative decision along the lines of "I don't want to deal with new information / having to actually verify this so delete it today" or maybe there was more to it. There were plenty of additional third party reviews of Aardwolf on non-traditional MUD sites, but the day we provided the links for them was the day it was suddenly "too late". I even offered to provide some documentation in which Aardwolf was used for a social science experiment in a joint venture with Cornell and DARPA. This was also dismissed as it would be "original research".

From your own AFD, the idea behind reviews written by players count for less is somewhat ridiculous. You can't play a mud for a day (or even a week) "only to review it" and really get a feel for its culture and community.

It seems TMS was also removed from the main Wikipedia page on "MUDS". Re-added it but no time or inclination to spend chasing Wikipedia edits. It is what it is, best advice I can give you is that it's not worth it, move on, unless you want to keep defending your entry over and over and over.
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Old 01-03-2009, 08:29 PM   #4
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

Your story sounds pretty similar to what happened to us. We have the added factor of the person involved spending a month or so getting everyone banned first so they wouldn't even be able to contribute to the AFD discussion.

Honestly, if this was just about Threshold's entry I would even bring it up here or let it concern me. We have had a lot of other things related to our games and our company deleted in the past, and we didn't care at all. That's just the way Wikipedia runs (a small cabal of people basically decide amongst themselves what is "important"), and usually I just ignore it.

From a business standpoint, Wikipedia is irrelevant. I just double checked, and not a single new character creation listed wikipedia as where it heard about one of our games.

But as soon as the discussion of deletion began, there was an all out attack on the significance and relevance of MUDs in general. That is what really got my hackles up. The games I make are important to me, but even more important is the history I have been a part of. If my company had to close its doors some day, I would at least know that I was part of something significant, and that thing (MUDs) would be remembered. But this crusade these folks are on is to eliminate all MUD related stuff as "irrelevent" or "not notable." That's just an outrage in my view. MUDs are very relevant and are a very notable part of internet history.
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Old 01-03-2009, 08:30 PM   #5
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

I'm going to agree with Lasher here, and really, I think this shows the general decline of Wikipedia. At this rate, when something goes out of style or something bigger comes along, things will keep getting deleted off of Wikipedia unless the entry has a "buddy" that is an editor in there somewhere.

Ultimately, it makes it less of a good source of information and will likely make way for something new. Then Wikipedia can edit itself out of its own entries for "notability" reasons. I had my say and stuck up for mudding in general. I saved a copy for posterity.
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Old 01-03-2009, 08:43 PM   #6
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Threshold View Post

Regardless of how popular MUDs are now, there is no doubt they are an important part of internet and gaming history. It is absurd to simply discard them as irrelevant and not noteworthy.
Looking quickly at it it seems part of the problem with TMC and TMS as reference is suspicion of "self publication". The listings are usually uploaded by the game's staff members so it is pretty clear it is published by the people running the game.

Quote:
Thanks for reading, and once again I am sorry for bringing such a Threshold-specific issue to these forums. I feel this is a threat to the historical significance of MUDs in general, and that affects all of us.
The problem is probably that the MUD community is not very interesting to most people. When was the last time some big game magazine had an article about MUDs?

You could add ThresholdRPG to WikiMU* though if you haven't.
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Old 01-03-2009, 08:51 PM   #7
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeran View Post
The problem is probably that the MUD community is not very interesting to most people. When was the last time some big game magazine had an article about MUDs?
I think you are right. The sad thing is, places like Wikipedia aren't supposed to care that MUDs have faded in recent times. The historical significance should be enough. But the truth is, Wikipedia is dominated by a small number of people who treat it like their own personal MMO. This request for deletion is like PvP for them.


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You could add ThresholdRPG to WikiMU* though if you haven't.
Thanks. We are there.
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Old 01-03-2009, 09:24 PM   #8
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

One comment I noticed on your AFD was that there was no way to verify history on sites such as this and TMC. This might help:

http://www.topmudsites.com/alltime-rankings.html

I never published this because there isn't a good way to resolve time difference, so the "total votes" without the context of "total time on the site" might not be too meaningful. For example, Aardwolf wasn't listed here until 2003, the other 3 IRE games came after Achaea, etc. It also has a "survorship bias" - muds that have since been removed but would have been in the list based on numbers alone aren't there. It's interesting to browse if nothing else.

Adam opened this site in 2000, so this will at least demonstrate you've been on TMS and consistently ranked for most of that time.

On the other hand, from browsing those AFDs it seems that once an AFD is proposed, any later rejection of it is taken as a personal affront to the value of that editor's existence on the planet and to be avoided at all costs.

Kind of like telling your neighborhood association yard monitor that they are mistaken and the height of your grass is just fine. You might be right, but it's quicker, easier and less likely to result in repeated banging of your head on the nearest wall to just mow the yard than it is to play in their world.
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Old 01-03-2009, 09:44 PM   #9
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
One comment I noticed on your AFD was that there was no way to verify history on sites such as this and TMC. This might help:

http://www.topmudsites.com/alltime-rankings.html
If you could add that to the AfD, that would be very interesting.

Unfortunately, I cannot add anything, as I was banned in the initial rush of their pre-censorship.

Right now, the administrator BLACK KITE is banning people who vote KEEP and labeling them as "sock puppets" of me. It is a real mockery of their process, when the whole point of an AfD is supposedly to "discuss" whether the article should be retained or not. But if you ban everyone who votes KEEP, what kind of discussion is that?
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Old 01-03-2009, 09:48 PM   #10
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

Just got blocked for sockpuppetry. Discussion with the admins haven't been very helpful. If I'm not getting outright ignored, I'm being belittled.

I think they've never heard of multiple people being behind one firewall.

I think I'm done with Wikipedia. The articles are far too subjective, and if you don't spend your life there, you can get banned for anything they can dig up.
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Old 01-03-2009, 10:46 PM   #11
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

I guess I'm pretty down about the incredible immaturity on Wikipedia, and I'm completely disillusioned about what Wikipedia really is. Thus, I assuaged my unhappiness with looking up people in similar situations.

Funny Colbert

On a more serious note:

Not so Funny DoJ

Last edited by Milawe : 01-03-2009 at 10:47 PM. Reason: misplaced pronoun
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Old 01-03-2009, 11:23 PM   #12
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

I added a comment and the reply to it seems to be typical. I had naively at one point thought Wikipedia to be a global encyclopedia, a source of information, sometimes perhaps even a source of information for topics little covered elsewhere.

Now it seems that unless something has mainstream coverage or an academic paper published on it, it is not worth including. To me this just makes Wikipedia a catalog of mainstream references and by that definition can never contain anything groundbreaking or new.

If a computer game magazine that really knows next to nothing about MUDs can be considered a trusted source of information about MUDs but TMC, the #1 MUD site for well over 10 years, cannot, that ends any value Wikipedia has as an authority on MUDs. Unfortunately for the average internet user who wants to learn about MUDs, Google gives Wikipedia authority on pretty much everything and that is the first link they will get.

At the end of the day, Google is the only reason wikipedia matters, period. If they didn't rank Wikipedia so highly for everything we wouldn't be having this discussion, because nobody would care.

The decision on your own listing has clearly already been made. Time to move on.
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Old 01-03-2009, 11:47 PM   #13
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

Agreed. The people collapsing things have already posted to the "Notes to the Closing Admin" rather than the Reviewing Admin.

On a brighter note, it looks like Google is trying to attempt its own competition for Wikipedia and About.com atKnol: a unit of knowledge. I wonder if it'll work out.
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Old 01-04-2009, 12:40 AM   #14
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

That took longer than expected, the TMS link on the main Wikipedia MUDs listing was removed again.

I guess this means TMS isn't relevant to MUDs either
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Old 01-04-2009, 12:57 AM   #15
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

Well, as someone who has long had a low opinion of Wikipedia due to the "popularity versus fact" and "lack of scholarly review" problems that a user-edited work entails, I'm not surprised. However, the MUD community has hurt itself on two different counts in regard to this issue.

First, a lot of MUD-related articles are written with the intention of promoting games. Promotion is not the same as encyclopedic writing. Some time back, I happened to run across a MUD-related article on Wikipedia and noted that the information was not correct. I clicked the "edit" link and changed it to reflect only information that was undisputed within the MUD community. The article was edited back the next day to read as it had before my edit. I edited it again and once again the same thing happened. I tried rewording my edit to the article. No difference. I made sure to add documentation (none existed in the article) of discussions from here and two other sites which supported my edits. It was changed back again the next day and the edits deleted. I was blasted as a "vandal" by another MUD for changing the article which they claimed "is maintained" by them and only them. In the end, Wikipedia deleted the entire article since there was no documentation to support any of it (remember, the documentation I had posted was continually deleted).

The other problem is the lack of critical standards within the community. Year after year I used to go through every MUD on this page's listings and I can say that 75% of them exagerrate their player base figures. I remember seeing one game that claimed in a forum ad that it had an average pbase of 10-20. I tried it and only once did I see it get more than 10 players on. Most of the time it hovered around 3-4 and at times I was the sole person on the game. And yet, where in the community can such blatant dishonesty be addressed and criticized with effect? Reviews? We know how well those worked.

Back in 2005, I recommended a peer-based award system for MUDs on the old rpimud.com (not a popularity-based one like the weekly voting but one where every game had to choose another game as best in each category like building or staff, etc.). The idea was strongly opposed on the grounds that it was "competition". Mind you, no one opposed the weekly popularity-based voting for rankings on the home page. That would seem a far more likely competition than a peer-based award system. The problem seemed to be the fear of critical review by others. Better to just boast of being "the best" than have someone else look at you and decide that you are (or are not). There exists no real critical review and assessment in the MUD community. Occassionally dishonest claims are opposed by the community but even then to read the arguments that ensue leaves one wondering about the ethical integrity of the community as a whole. There just isn't any system of community policing of standards. I don't mean "every game has to do A, B, and C", I mean the community doesn't stand up and say "We recognize effort" and "We condemn dishonesty". (On a related note, the existing rank voting system on rpimud.com was discovered last year to have been abused and tampered with via cheating by at least four different MU*s; while one of ways they did it might have been accidental, the other was clearly deliberate and likely had significant effect on the weekly vote totals...this is why the voting on the site was discontinued and will be completely reworked on rpmud.net)

Staff-based reviews and a peer-based award system are two of the things that the new rpmud.net site is considering. For some time now the Operating Committee has been working on details of both and some of our staff have been looking over a variety of RP-centric MU*s in preparation for adding a review section. We hope that with our site we can try and institutionalize some critical standards of review and recognition within the community that are merit-based and as objective as we can make them. But admittedly, the community hasn't always stepped up to the plate in the past. We held our elections for THREE seats on the Committee and only ONE game took the time to nominate a candidate.

While Wikipedia is a less-than-reliable encyclopedic source, the MU* community also needs to make more effort toward regulating itself as a responsible, dedicated group of specialists (in this case, specializing in the creation and operation of text-based online games). I've seen groups, including those comprised entirely of hobbyists, of all sorts be it filmmakers, history buffs, performers, and writers work together to support and recognize one another on the basis of merit and to encourage and enforce standards of quality whereever possible. Maybe it's time the MU* community did the same. Then Wikipedia's response would be as unwarranted as its information is often inaccurate.

Take care,

Jason aka Falco

Last edited by prof1515 : 01-04-2009 at 01:15 AM.
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Old 01-04-2009, 01:39 AM   #16
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
... Unfortunately for the average internet user who wants to learn about MUDs, Google gives Wikipedia authority on pretty much everything and that is the first link they will get.

At the end of the day, Google is the only reason wikipedia matters, period. If they didn't rank Wikipedia so highly for everything we wouldn't be having this discussion, because nobody would care. ...
One option is to include your own result for google searches and then promote them so they are the first link people see as opposed to wikipedia, this goes for anything really
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:13 AM   #17
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
That took longer than expected, the TMS link on the main Wikipedia MUDs listing was removed again.

I guess this means TMS isn't relevant to MUDs either
My god. This crusade of theirs gets worse at every moment. It turns out it is exactly as I feared. There is a group of people that have some kind of weird vendetta against the historical significance of MUDs in general.

At this point, I have no idea what we can possibly do about it.
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:51 AM   #18
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by prof1515 View Post
Back in 2005, I recommended a peer-based award system for MUDs on the old rpimud.com (not a popularity-based one like the weekly voting but one where every game had to choose another game as best in each category like building or staff, etc.). The idea was strongly opposed on the grounds that it was "competition". Mind you, no one opposed the weekly popularity-based voting for rankings on the home page. That would seem a far more likely competition than a peer-based award system. The problem seemed to be the fear of critical review by others. Better to just boast of being "the best" than have someone else look at you and decide that you are (or are not). There exists no real critical review and assessment in the MUD community.
There's exactly as much critical review and assessment in the MUD community as people are inclined to give. The implied thread running through your post is that you think there should be a single source of reviews that the MUD community (which I don't believe exists as a representative of MUD players anyway) turns to. But why? Is there a single source of reviews for books? For music? For movies? For non-MUD games? No.

The difference with text MUDs is that we're such a niche hobby that there's little to be gained for people in professionally reviewing us.

--matt
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Old 01-04-2009, 05:07 AM   #19
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

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In the overall scheme of the internet I suppose it really isn't notable, but in that case 90% of the stuff on Wikipedia needs to go.
Quoted for truth.

It always cracks me up that the entry for Superman has an entry about the same length as the entry for Plato.

Unfortunately, I suspect little can be done unless you can create enough of a stink that it gets the attention of someone at Wikipedia, and that's not going to be easy.
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Old 01-04-2009, 05:23 AM   #20
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_logos View Post
Quoted for truth.

It always cracks me up that the entry for Superman has an entry about the same length as the entry for Plato.
Yeah, there are a zillion articles about various fictional entities and worlds. Obscure comic book characters have pages even if they haven't had a comic released in 10-20 years and maybe 12 people still read about them. And that's ok since Marvel or DC are huge.

But to claim the entire MUDding hobby is irrelevant and not notable? That is what ticks me off more than anything.
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