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Old 01-10-2006, 05:01 PM   #41
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Quote:
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Further, while it is strictly true that, for instance, IRE is run by professionals and Carrion Fields is run by amateurs, is this what you want to see on the front? I

You can advertise yourself as whatever you want, misleadingly, or not; You can actually do whatever you want, technically, none of us can really stop you.

However, your attitude is sickening sometimes, Matt. You claim to represent the ENTIRE world(outside of a few forum posters), when I would stake money on the fact that most MUDers would agree with our definition of free as opposed to IRE's. Beyond that, you try to use an offensive analogy, calling Carrion Fields an amateur run MUD.

What makes IRE professional, versus a MUD like Carrion Fields? Is it your business model? Is it because you, personally, make a profit? Do most of your staff members make profit? Are the ones who do not amateur volunteer staff? Does that make you partially professional?

No matter, I'm sure you will find some very narcissistic way to answer these questions without answering the spirit behind them.

IRE is "free-to-play, pay-for-perks". That is what it is. There are not enough contests to keep the credit market alive, therefor bought credits are necessary for character developement. Trying to hide or under-emphasize the importance of the pay-for-perks/credit section of the game is misleading. However, none of this argues anything more than your more-than-questionable economical-ethicality and condescending attitude towards other MUDs.

All I've seen in these forums are posters from a variety of MUDs arguing void of any give-or-take with players/mostly-admins of IRE games. All I've seen is Matt acting like IRE owns this website, and that protecting IRE's right(and they do have a right) to vague and misleading advertising is more important than the rights of the players to be able to clearly see on this resource website what level of economics will be involved with MUDs in the listings.

Is there anyone who isn't from IRE/Threshold who thinks that it would be a -bad- thing to have this website color code MUDs by "100% Free", "Free-to-Play, Pay-for-Perks", and "Pay-to-Play"?

The meaniong of 'free' is not an improvement of subject-name, really, in this now multi-thread discussion. The discussion, for me, goes even further beyond ethics, to a simple inquiry about why TMS can't add some kind of icon or color-code to aid its players. So far, I haven't gotten a chance to really hear from Syno or non-IRE/Threshold players.
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Old 01-10-2006, 05:22 PM   #42
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Is there anyone who isn't from IRE/Threshold who thinks that it would be a -bad- thing to have this website color code MUDs by "100% Free", "Free-to-Play, Pay-for-Perks", and "Pay-to-Play"?
I don't play any IRE games (or Threshold), and I think it would be about on the same level as color coding MUDs with orcs, half orcs and no orcs. Why are you so intent on singling out this property in particular?

My personal proposal is that we color code MUDs as "somewhat time consuming," "extremely time consuming," and "full time job." This is way more important to me than money.
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Old 01-10-2006, 05:54 PM   #43
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I'm not sure how we got lumped into this.

Threshold is not listed as a "free" mud. We are listed as a pay-for-perks mud and have been ever since the option to list that way has been available on TMS. We are not accurately pay-to-play since that's not how our payment system works, but we definitely are not listed as free.

Just wanted to clear up the misconception!

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Old 01-10-2006, 09:19 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ Jan. 10 2006,15:52)
Quote:
Originally Posted by eiz,Jan. 10 2006,19:15
In this case there are prerequisites to playing which make "free to play" false.
Where do have these prerequisites suddenly come from?  You yourself stated that IRE games are free to play because "the definition of free to play (which is what they SAY) is free to play".  Well, based on that definition, so are Threshold and The Eternal City.
No no no. IRE games are free because there is no charge associated with being able to play them. You can play them without having to pay to do so. Ever. You won't be charged for any time you spend playing the game. Does this point really need to be made yet again? I get the sense that a handful of people posting here are the only ones who seem unaware of this very well understood concept of "free." You know, the one that can be roughly translated as "it won't cost you anything."

You must have purchased a subscription to Skotos in order to play The Eternal City, it is part of the Skotos package. The Eternal City is not free.

You HAVE to pay the $50 registration fee to play Threshold beyond an initial grace period. Threshold could probably market itself as having a free trial period, but it is a pay-to-play game with purchaseable perks.

The individual IRE games do not require the purchase of an overall subscription to IRE in order to play them. The IRE games do not delete your character if you play too long without paying a registration fee.

I can understand people wanting to assert a distinction between hobbyist games in which no money is accepted for anything and commercial games which do accept money for in-game benefits. I can understand people wanting an entry on the information page that would document this distinction.  But neither of those positions requires one to make the absolutely laughable argument that a game which can be played free of charge cannot honestly advertise itself as "free to play" simply because one, for some unknown reason, has chosen to interpret "free to play" as meaning "non-paying players will have exactly the same playing experience as players who spend their inheritance on in-game perks."
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Old 01-10-2006, 09:27 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (DonathinFrye @ Jan. 10 2006,17:01)
Beyond that, you try to use an offensive analogy, calling Carrion Fields an amateur run MUD.
What's offensive about the word "amateur" as it's used in this sense? It simply means that Carrion Fields is operated as a hobby and not as a profession.

You've done a good job of demonstrating Matt's point that a mud might not want to be required to advertise itself as an amateur mud though.
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Old 01-10-2006, 10:21 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Atyreus @ Jan. 10 2006,21:27)
What's offensive about the word "amateur" as it's used in this sense? It simply means that Carrion Fields is operated as a hobby and not as a profession.
It's equivalent to me saying Matt is "the Vryce of IRE", then backpedaling with "in the sense that he is the administrator".

We're "amateur" in one sense of the word, and not in the other, pejorative one. "Hobbyist" is a less loaded term, and thus preferable. Matt knows this, as do you.
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Old 01-10-2006, 10:45 PM   #47
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I am going to try and keep my comments here as brief as possible.

Are I.R.E. games technically free? Yes. Is it easier to attain 'success' in an I.R.E. game by paying real $ for perks? I would also say yes. Can you still you achieve 'success' without paying for perks? Yes you can, to varying degrees. I myself achieved high rank in my guild and managed to 'transcend' several skills without paying a dime. I have found it viable to achieve great political status in I.R.E. games with never having spent a penny. Achieving a high PK related status is much more difficult. This is much easier to accomplish by spending real $. You must also have a certain amount of client coding skill or the $ spent wont mean much however.

Now on to the 'shady' business which while not illegal can give a poor impression of I.R.E.  I.R.E. games are high conflict so if you don't want to feel completely helpless when your faction is under attack you'll need to participate in PK. The quick way to gain the skills to participate in PK is to buy credits. I.R.E. does not allow for the posting of skill lists on its forums or in its games. Excepting the kindness of a friend whom may already have the skill you want you will have no way of knowing how high the skill is ranked in its group. I.R.E. also does not make readily available information regarding the number of credits required to 'transcend' (learn the fulfillment of) a skill. If you want your character to change factions they will need to forget the skills they have learned and in doing so will permanently lose a large % of lessons (lessons are the actual currency used to learn skills, 1 credit = 6 lessons).

I make no judgment here. merely take the information I have presented and make of it as you will. On a final note I am curious what makes I.R.E.'s staff professionals? Simply because they are paid? I have experience managing a service department in a retail field and I can assure you that being paid to do a job does not make one professional. Where am I going with this bit of innuendo in regards to I.R.E.? I'll leave that for another discussion as much of it could be considered purely subjective.
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Old 01-10-2006, 11:46 PM   #48
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Geez, this same old argument seems to crop up at this website every few months or so. Free vs pay for perks/pay...commercial vs non-commercial...whatever...

The underlying sub-text is that there is competiton for players on this website, & the pay for perks/play muds are resented by the certain free mud owner/players because, pick one or all:

- they don't label their muds as play for perks clearly, so it is looked on by the free muds as deception.

- they don't generally allow reviews of their muds to be posted.

- they have a larger playerbase to vote, so they are usually higher ranked, which also causes jealousy.

- As they also generally pay for advertising that supports this website's existence, they are also thought to receive special consideration from the website admins.

Point is, why bother beating the same ol' dead horse?? IRE & Threshold & the like are not going to point out clearly to potental players that they are play for perks, it is bad for business. A player will eventually find out soon enough when they play the game, & if they still choose to play, so be it. TMS is not going to require any "play for perks" labeling as that would be bad for their business. That's what it boils down to...business.

All the wailing & gnashing of teeth is just a waste of time, it's been debated on this forum over & over again, ad nauseum...
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Old 01-10-2006, 11:46 PM   #49
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By the way, I'm just a player, not a mud owner or admin...
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Old 01-10-2006, 11:59 PM   #50
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TMS is not going to require any "play for perks" labeling as that would be bad for their business. That's what it boils down to...business.
Exactly - if it's about howmuch traffic this site can bring in to maximize revenue, we should be told that by the owner. If it's about trying to create the best possible website for its users, then the choices are more obvious.

If certain MUDs threaten to stop voting as heavily if this site labels them for what they are, then those threats should be exposed and we should say 'shame on you, bad doggie!' and tell them to stop Vryce-ing up the MUD Community.

If there are no threats, there'd be no reason to think that adding an improvement to the site's listing process would do anything to harm vote competition.
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Old 01-11-2006, 02:27 AM   #51
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by (GuruPlayer @ Jan. 10 2006,19:46)
Point is, why bother beating the same ol' dead horse??  IRE & Threshold & the like are not going to point out clearly to potental players that they are play for perks, it is bad for business.  A player will eventually find out soon enough when they play the game, & if they still choose to play, so be it.  TMS is not going to require any "play for perks" labeling as that would be bad for their business.  That's what it boils down to...business.

All the wailing & gnashing of teeth is just a waste of time, it's been debated on this forum over & over again, ad nauseum...
Two words:  Free press.

The stack of dead horses grows with each passing month, yet the beatings continue unabated.  Each time a message is posted in response to one of the never-ending threads, the author's name gains yet another tick of exposure, as does his or her game.

The number of pages increases, as does the time it takes to sift through the rapidly growing stack of indented quotes in an attempt to follow the stream of consciousness. Reading them becomes a game unto itself.  We laugh, we cry; we read more and then, like those who park on freeways and stand on the side of the road unable to turn from a bad car wreck, we watch and shake our heads helplessly...

And then repeat in a few months' time, sometimes under the guise of another entirely unrelated topic, which will quite likely eventually turn back around to the stable of dead horses being beaten by the primary stablemasters.

Even dead horses, however well beaten, must be fed.
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Old 01-11-2006, 04:11 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by (Valg @ Jan. 10 2006,22:21)
It's equivalent to me saying Matt is "the Vryce of IRE", then backpedaling with "in the sense that he is the administrator".

We're "amateur" in one sense of the word, and not in the other, pejorative one. "Hobbyist" is a less loaded term, and thus preferable. Matt knows this, as do you.
But you have yourself repeated exactly what Matt said. Almost word for word: CF is run by "amateurs" but would never want to advertise as such, since most people get the entirely wrong idea when they see the word "amateur".
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Old 01-11-2006, 05:14 AM   #53
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I believe that CF's admin also tried to state that his entire staff is not fully amateur. He has several professional coders who are kind enough to volunteer their professional services to the MUD.

Not every staff member of IRE gets paid, do they? Does that mean that they are amateurs, even if they are professional gamers in other venues/etc?

You can't call CF any more amateurly staffed than IRE - it is simply not a commercial product, like IRE. The difference is huge, and the inference of it being otherwise is insulting, at best.
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Old 01-11-2006, 05:30 AM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (DonathinFrye @ Jan. 11 2006,11:14)
You can't call CF any more amateurly staffed than IRE - it is simply not a commercial product, like IRE. The difference is huge, and the inference of it being otherwise is insulting, at best.
While I disagree with many of the_logos' points, I think his analogy in this case was spot-on. Imagine if there were only two ways listed that a mud could be run: "run by professionals who operate and develop muds for a living" and "run by unskilled amateurs who operate and develop muds as a hobby". Only a few muds would fall into the first category, but I can't see many people willingly listing themselves in the latter.

If such a categorisation were made, I would propose that either (1) it were expanded to take into account other options, or (2) the categorisation be removed entirely.

Unsurprisingly, that's also the exact same proposal I made for the current free/pay-per-play categorisation.
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Old 01-11-2006, 05:41 AM   #55
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Terms of Professional and Amateur to differentiate MUDs is and can serve as a loaded-attempt to institute positive and negative association on the MUDs, and individuals associated with them, subjected to such terms.  Professional, due to people's incorrect understanding of the full definition of the word, is associated with a positive image while amateur is not.  Professional doesn't really mean quality in every context, though many assume as much.

Likewise, the definition of a professional is highly questionable when it comes to games of all sorts, not just MUDs.  The most skilled professional I know in the computer industry had no degree in the field (well, actually, he just graduated so now he does have the degree) yet had the capabilities and skills to an extent that made them more proficient than the entire computing department at the University he was getting his degree from (he dropped out of college, his degree program at the time was also non-computer-related, and started working professionally doing daily what a team of six people normally did and doing it in half the time they would have taken).  Even before he was hired, he had a greater skill than those who were both "qualified" and already working in the field.

And there's more to a MUD than just the code. Do all the commercial MUDs out there employ professional economists, historians, anthropologists, sociologists, architects, linguists, etc. to design their world?  Unlikely they employ even one, much less all.  So, they're only professional so far as they're paid.  Outside of a paycheck (or whatever substitute they receive), they're just as, if not more, unqualified as anyone else working on any other MUD when it comes to those aspects of the game.

And besides, if I were to pay my staff $0.01, would they suddenly become professionals and not amateurs, even if they were so incompetant that they couldn't spell their own name correctly 3 out of 5 times? (fortunately, they all can spell their name correctly 5 out of 5 times...I tested them!  *grin*)

However, commercial denotes something's relation to the purpose of commerce, ie. the buying and selling of commodities.  In other words, it's about the money.  The use of the term commercial to denote any MUD which is operating for that purpose would therefore be accurate.

Now, to differentiate different commercial models would also be nice, as it would offer those visiting the site a greater idea of what they're looking at.  But the use of "professional" and "amateur" would just serve as an attempt to denigrate those MUDs, and those who create and run them, that operate for the love of the medium, not the love of money.

Take care,

Jason
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Old 01-11-2006, 07:30 AM   #56
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For someone like me, who has been away on vacation over the holidays, it’s interesting to be met by a mega thread (34 pages) and new-started thread (6 pages and still growing), which both mainly circle around the definition of the word ‘FREE’ in the Mud community, and whether or not it is acceptable for a commercial company like IRE to advertise their muds as ‘free to play’. I wish I could also say that reading through the threads was entertaining, but that would not have been true, since wading through the same arguments, repeated over and over again with small variations to apparently totally deaf ears on both sides, soon became really boring.

But interesting, yes. In particularly three things were interesting:

1. The relatively new poster PinkFloyd, who only appeared in the first thread after the_logos had announced his withdrawal, and who seemed amazingly familiar with the IRE helpfiles and advertising strategy, although I believe he claimed somewhere, (correct me if I am wrong, I really don’t feel like wading through it all again), that he never even played an IRE game, much less has got anything to do with the administration.

2. The fact that the two main combatants (The_logos and Donathin Frye both made claims about speaking on behalf of the ‘Mud community’).

Comment: In a way both claims could be said to be justified. The IRE games certainly have lots of players. On the other hand there are 1817 muds listed on TMC right now. (I don’t know how many are listed on TMS, since the list only goes to the first 100). A very large majority of those muds are free, because they are running on some kind of DIKU derivate, meaning that according to the licence (which they all, except apparent rogues like Vryce, honour). The licence explicitly states that you are not allowed to make any money from selling in-game benefits to the players. It could be assumed that a majority of the owners of those muds are against IRE marketing itself as free. I would also have assumed that most OTHER commercial mud owners would be against it, since it gives IRE a business advantage at their expense, but that seems to be contradicted by some posts from the Threshold administration. (And by the way, Matt, ‘a handful of forum posters’ is hardly accurate, since to a very large amount of mud owners, who were brought up to honour the DIKU licence, FREE means something very specific. But you probably wouldn’t understand that, since you don’t honour the licence. I have even seen you actively supporting Medievia’s breach of it and encouraging other administrators to do the same).

3. Even more interesting, but also a bit disturbing, is the fact that the_logos also claims to be speaking on behalf of the List owner Synozeer, and also is rewriting the voting rules to fit his own system as closely as possible.  This claim seems to be supported by the fact that Synozeer, at least so far has been very silent, even though he at some time announced that he was following the debate. On a side-note I also find the veiled threats about large subscribers retiring if the list were to be change distasteful, to say the least.

Comment: There is a saying: ‘Money speaks’. I really hope that isn’t true in this case. Commercial muds buy advertising space on various Mudsites. For this they should get exactly what they pay for and no more; namely banners in prominent places to advertise their gamers. I really hope that is all they get. Because, (as the_logos arrogant posts and Synozeer’s silence seem to implicate), if they also get any more influence on the policy decisions on the site than members that don’t pay for banners, then it would be really grave. I sure hope this is not the case here, and that the reason why Synozeer himself has not yet commented on the issue yet is simply because he hasn’t yet made up his mind about what course to take.

Finally. DonathinFry very commendable asked for the opinions of other mud administrators and players. That would of course be the best way to settle the question in my point 2 that is if they really came forward in large numbers. But I doubt it will happen. Most mud admins and players are very silent on these Forums. Probably for two reasons. The first is that they really don’t care, most of them even bother to read the forums. The second, more grave one, is that they  feel their opinions don’t matter, because decisions will be taken over their head anyhow.

My opinion probably don’t matter either, but I still am going to give it.

1. I think Jazuela’s suggestion of dividing between commercial and non-commercial muds is excellent, because in one stroke that makes the entire haggling about how the word ‘free’ should be interpreted redundant. Commercial or not commercial is a real divider among mudders, even more so than PK or RP-enforced, and it is worthy of its own tag.

2. If that cannot be implemented, I second the suggestion to implement 3 or possibly 4 categories of commercial muds, that I think first was proposed by Valg. The only reason why I don’t put that as my first choice is that it obviously demands a lot more work on the side of the Site owner than any of the other 2.
  1) 100% free.  Non-commercial.  RL money cannot alter gameplay.
  2) May pay for perks.  Optional fees may change gameplay.
  3) Pay-to-play: Fees are required for gameplay.

3. If that still cannot be implemented, I second KaVir’s suggestion that the current division between ‘free’ and ‘pay-to-play’ gets removed completely, since it only leads to confusion and opens for misleading advertising.

If this site really is a Resource site, and not just a ‘traffic exchange hub’ as some posters (but not Synozeer, I hope) keep claiming, then some care should be put into making the listings as useful and accurate as possible to the audience. The present system is misleading, and should be changed. The length of the discussion threads shows that there is a real concern about it among the members.
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Old 01-11-2006, 08:04 AM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ Jan. 11 2006,05:30)
If such a categorisation were made, I would propose that either (1) it were expanded to take into account other options, or (2) the categorisation be removed entirely.

Unsurprisingly, that's also the exact same proposal I made for the current free/pay-per-play categorisation.
I think you are on to something with the idea of just removing the distinction entirely.

Threshold has been listed here as pay-per-play since either when we created our listing, or when pay-per-play was added as an option: whichever came first (I don't remember if the option has always been there). I am fine with it being there, because I'd rather newbies who come to Threshold *know* there is a cost involved, so they won't have a spaz when they find out "Hey, not everything in life is free. This is BS! YOU SUXOR!"

But these ridiculous arguments that crop up every few months about who is free and who is pay-to-play are asinine. Nobody is ever going to be totally happy with the way their competitors advertise, and if it is going to create these kinds of arguments then it would probably be best if there was no pay-per-play (or not) check option in the listings anyway. Then people wouldn't have anything to gripe about.

If you have the check-box of pay-per-play (or any other set of choices) you will always have people who feel someone else is "gaming the system" by not answering that question in the way THEY think is appropriate. On an issue as contentious as this, the only way to really level the playing field is remove it as an official check-option and then suck it up if someone says they are free in their marketing blurb.

I really don't care what is done: more options, color coded dots, less options, no options related to payment status, etc. I'd just be happy if this issue could die for good.
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Old 01-11-2006, 09:49 AM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Sinuhe @ Jan. 11 2006,07:30)
If this site really is a Resource site, and not just a ‘traffic exchange hub’ as some posters (but not Synozeer, I hope) keep claiming

The *site* is not just a traffic exchange, but the front page ranking list most definitely IS a traffic exchange.


Quote:
Originally Posted by (Sinuhe @ Jan. 11 2006,07:30)
1. I think Jazuela’s suggestion of dividing between commercial and non-commercial muds is excellent, because in one stroke that makes the entire haggling about how the word ‘free’ should be interpreted redundant.
Actually, it is a terrible suggestion. Why should muds that send a miniscule percentage of the traffic to the front page/traffic exchange portion of the site get the same benefit as the muds that send 70-80% of the traffic?

Are you suggesting that TMS should be turned into a charity site, where commercial muds send the majority of the traffic (not to mention pay the bills by purchasing ads) so non-commercial muds can share equally in the benefits? That's patently unfair and utterly outrageous.


Quote:
Originally Posted by (Sinuhe @ Jan. 11 2006,07:30)
3. If that still cannot be implemented, I second KaVir’s suggestion that the current division between ‘free’ and ‘pay-to-play’ gets removed completely, since it only leads to confusion and opens for misleading advertising.
I think that is the only way to make the bickering stop and level the playing field.
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Old 01-11-2006, 10:05 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by (Keldar @ Jan. 11 2006,04:11)
But you have yourself repeated exactly what Matt said. Almost word for word: CF is run by "amateurs" but would never want to advertise as such, since most people get the entirely wrong idea when they see the word "amateur".
And the problem with that is the word "amateur" means different things to different people, which would be confusing to players using the site.

Much like how IRE uses the word "free", yet obviously has a very different business model and financial goal from us. I'd object to the term "amateur" because it's ambiguous as to whether or not the user means "not for profit" or "unskilled". In an identical fashion, I object to the current use of the word "Free" to describe both Carrion Fields and IRE, and I'd like another category or two created to alleviate this ambiguity.
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Old 01-11-2006, 11:26 AM   #60
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The words ‘amateur’ – ‘professional’ can probably be interpreted in as many ways as ‘free’. To some they give a negative signal, to others a positive.

The original meaning of the word ‘amateur’ is ‘someone who loves what they are doing’, which of course would be positive. Over the time it has often come to imply the not-so-positive meaning of ‘blundering incompetent’. And even the word ‘professional’ is not totally positive to all people. In some countries ‘professional’ is synonym to ‘hooker’ (someone who sells their body for money).

In my country there is a Society called ‘The Garden Amateurs’. In spite of the name that society contains some of the most ‘professional’ gardeners I’ve ever seen (in the positive meaning of the word of course). They know the Latin names and growing conditions of every conceivable garden plant, even some that ordinary people haven’t even heard of, much less seen. And the reason why they are so knowledgeable is that they truly love what they are doing and spend all their spare time on their hobby.

‘Hobbyist’ mud administrators are a bit like that. They develop their muds out of sheer love for what they are doing and spend all their spare time doing it. As a consequence there are several hobbyist muds out there that are quite as good, or even better than the big commercials, but they don’t have as many players and aren’t nearly as well known, because they don’t have the funds to advertise.

I play three muds regularly myself. Two of the three are commercial and one is free. The free one is the one I like best, and it is in any way as good as the two commercial ones. The staff there, although all ‘hobbyists’, are professional in the best meaning of the word, and most of them have academic degrees. The head coder is a qualified programmer, with a very well paid RL job in a big software firm. One of the head builders is an architect, another is a language teacher, a third a history major and a fourth a professional writer in RL. No wonder that the zones and features in that small free mud excel most things I’ve seen elsewhere.

So are these people ‘amateurs’?
Yes, in the sense that they love what they are doing and do it out of love.
No, in the sense that they most definitely know what they are doing and that they do an extremely competent job.

Not all hobbyist muds are good of course. In fact there are lots of totally crappy ones out there, run by immature kids. But to say that all hobbyist muds are inferior to the commercial ones, as some posters have done,  is not only insulting, it also shows a vast ignorance.

Because of the ambiguity about the words ‘free’ and ‘amateur’-‘professional’ it’s probably much better to use the word ‘commercial’ as a distinction. That is a pretty straightforward description, that shouldn’t send out any other signals than the obvious one; that the game is expected to yield a profit to the owner, sooner or later.
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