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Old 04-18-2006, 02:18 PM   #1
Gromble
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There are three main MUD sites I browse on occasion, as I suspect do the majority of the MUD community...

 MUD Connector
 MUD Magic
 Top MUD Sites

One would reasonably expect to see a high degree of overlap in the "Top 10 MUDs" list that each site hosts, but surprisingly each list is completely unique.

In trying to reason why this is the case, I'm almost forced to conclude that the voting at each site is somehow skewed for or against specific MUDs.  It seems unlikely that each site is dominated by its own community of unique users who vote differently than those of the other sites.

Anyone else have an hypothesis?
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Old 04-18-2006, 02:31 PM   #2
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The explanation is pretty simple: Most MUDs don't spend much energy getting people to vote on more than one site. We don't see Mudconnector or Mudmagic's voting systems as being particularly worthwhile, so we don't do much to encourage our players to vote on those sites.

--matt
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Old 04-18-2006, 02:39 PM   #3
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I'm dfinately in agreement with logos. With the exception we feel we have more to gain from TMC's list. Especially since the majority of commercial muds stay away from the voting list there.
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Old 04-18-2006, 02:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ April 18 2006,15:31)
The explanation is pretty simple: Most MUDs don't spend much energy getting people to vote on more than one site.
So basically the "Top 10" lists are inherently flawed.

Perhaps it might be worth setting up a site that periodically aggregates these lists in order to provide a truer representation of the top MUDs (possibly based on the percentage of total vote count per site).  Unfortunately, I can envision ways to manipulate those results as well.

This is an unfortunate situation, as it can mislead those that are new to the community depending on which MUD site they visit first.  I know that if my first MUD experience had been of the DragonBallZ variety, I'd not have returned for seconds.
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Old 04-18-2006, 02:59 PM   #5
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Basically each list simply represents the dedication of its players.

However, you would be hard pressed to find a "bad" mud in either of the top ten lists for tmc or tms. Atleast in terms of quality, stability, age, etc. I can't comment on Mudmagic since I haven't seen their voting system or rankings...

Enjoy,
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Old 04-18-2006, 03:04 PM   #6
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Gromble wrote:
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Originally Posted by

So basically the "Top 10" lists are inherently flawed.
Not at all. They're designed to measure how many votes you send, and that's all they measure. In return, your MUD gets traffic back. It's a version of a banner exchange. Certainly there is a correlation between population and voting rank, but it's far from perfect.

--matt
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Old 04-18-2006, 03:48 PM   #7
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At AR we feel that we already got the mud community covered well enough between the mudconnector and topmudsites.com sites - voting takes energy and we pool our remaining effort into non-mud related websites, to help raise awareness about the mud community.
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Old 04-18-2006, 04:28 PM   #8
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Out of curiousity, I aggregated the top 10 lists from each of the sites...

1.  Wheel of Time  (9.7%)
2.  BatMUD  (8.6%)
3.  MUME  (8.6%)
4.  Achaea  (7.9%)
5.  Aardwolf  (7.7%)
6.  Medievia  (7.3%)
7.  ZombieMUD  (7.2%)
8.  SlothMUD III  (5.2%)
9.  Duris  (4.6%)
10. Federation II  (4.3%)

This list may be skewed depending on how far along each site is into its current voting cycle.  For a more accurate list, data would need to be averaged over a number of voting cycles from each site.

Is there any interest in doing so? Would each site be willing to provide a link to an aggregated list?


Here's the raw data...

TMS:
----
Achaea 1581 (22.2%) -> (7.9%)
Aardwolf 1450 (20.3%) (7.7%)
Carrion Fields 774 (10.9%) (3.9%)
Wheel of Time 649 (9.1%) (3.3%)
Discworld 479 (6.7%) (2.4%)
Lusternia 477 (6.7%) (2.4%)
Aetolia 467 (6.6%) (2.4%)
Mafia Life 460 (6.5%) (2.3%)
Threshold 435 (6.1%) (2.2%)
Imperian 358 (5.0%) (1.8%)
    -----
7130 (35.8%)

TMC:
----
BatMUD 1727 (14.3%) -> (8.6%)
MUME 1719 (14.3%) (8.6%)
Medievia 1468 (12.2%) (7.3%)
ZombieMUD 1449 (12.0%) (7.2%)
Wheel of Time 1292 (10.7%) (6.4%)
SlothMUD III 1049 (8.7%) (5.2%)
Duris 924 (7.7%) (4.6%)
Federation II 871 (7.2%) (4.3%)
Mozart MUD 830 (6.9%) (4.2%)
Dreams 733 (6.1%) (3.7%)
    -----
    12062 (60.1%)

MM:
---
Dragonball Truth 143 (19.7%) -> (0.7%)
Dragonball Evolution 131 (18.1%) (0.7%)
War of Legend 120 (16.6%) (0.6%)
Legends & Lore  76 (10.5%) (0.4%)
Cantr II  54 (7.5%) (0.3%)
Adventures Unlimited  47 (6.5%) (0.2%)
Dragons Exodus  47 (6.5%) (0.2%)
Lost Dragon Chronicles  40 (5.5%) (0.2%)
DragonStone  35 (4.8%) (0.2%)
Phidar  32 (4.4%) (0.2%)
----
725 (3.6%)
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Old 04-18-2006, 05:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Gromble @ April 18 2006,17:28)
Out of curiousity, I aggregated the top 10 lists from each of the sites...

Is there any interest in doing so? Would each site be willing to provide a link to an aggregated list?
I'm not even sure what you're trying to measure here, or why percentage of votes per site is the critical variable.  If we send 100 votes here, that's good evidence that we have a playerbase that cares about promoting us here.  It doesn't matter if 3 or 30 other MUDs send 10 votes each.

In a similar fashion, many of the games here don't promote to all three of those.  (And many of us promote to sites you aren't counting.)  The game that happens to care about the same three sites that you care about will score very well, whereas another game would drop in the rankings because they use other promotional methods.  It's misleading, it's not remotely a measure of quality, and it can't provide any information that the three sites don't provide already.

The fact that those three lists have no correlation whatsoever should be screaming for you not to aggregate them.  Apples, oranges, pears.
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Old 04-18-2006, 05:21 PM   #10
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I think Valg is correct. There are too many differences between the sites to make mushing together the results mean anything.

Besides, these numbers DON'T mean anything except "How many people voted for us in X period?" Trying to impune some sort of universal meaning to them (like quality) is not particularly valid, though there is, at least, a correlation between playerbase size and # of votes.

--matt
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Old 04-18-2006, 05:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Valg @ April 18 2006,18)
In a similar fashion, many of the games here don't promote to all three of those.  (And many of us promote to sites you aren't counting.)  The game that happens to care about the same three sites that you care about will score very well, whereas another game would drop in the rankings because they use other promotional methods.  It's misleading, it's not remotely a measure of quality, and it can't provide any information that the three sites don't provide already.
Bingo!

With every site having its own list, and different MUDs concentrating their voting efforts on different sites, each list is exactly as you said... "It's misleading, it's not remotely a measure of quality..."

Basically, I'm looking for a way that normalizes the voting results across all the disparate sites so that there is a single list that truly represents the top 10 from the perspective of the entire MUD community.  It's analogous to how some search engines combine the results of other search engines to give you a normalized result.

However, I'm starting to get the feeling that upsetting the current status quo would not be popular.
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Old 04-18-2006, 06:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Gromble @ April 18 2006,18:40)
However, I'm starting to get the feeling that upsetting the current status quo would not be popular.
Just out of curiosity, why do you want to? Do you feel that only the top 10 muds overall in the community are worth playing?

Anyway, our players have taken to TopMudSites, probably because it is easy for a small mud like ours to break into the bottom 50 on the top 100. My guess is players are more motivated to vote when they see their votes making a difference.

I think mudmagic has some systems that would benefit us too, but I think that requires you to log in now to vote and that may be why they prefer this site instead.
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Old 04-18-2006, 07:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Gromble @ April 18 2006,18:40)
Basically, I'm looking for a way that normalizes the voting results across all the disparate sites so that there is a single list that truly represents the top 10 from the perspective of the entire MUD community.
You do realise the lists aren't made up of Joe mudder voting for the muds he thinks represent the best the community has to offer? It's just an exercise on the part of the mud administration to mobilize their playerbase to vote for them on a particular site.
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Old 04-18-2006, 08:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Gromble @ April 18 2006,18:40)
With every site having its own list, and different MUDs concentrating their voting efforts on different sites, each list is exactly as you said... "It's misleading, it's not remotely a measure of quality..."

Basically, I'm looking for a way that normalizes the voting results across all the disparate sites so that there is a single list that truly represents the top 10 from the perspective of the entire MUD community. It's analogous to how some search engines combine the results of other search engines to give you a normalized result.
I think you're missing the point. "The Mud community" doesn't vote. People vote for individual games, largely based on how much effort the administration of a MUD puts into motivating people to vote. The rankings lists have nothing to do with what the best MUDs are. They are traffic exchanges.

MUD A sends traffic to TMS by encouraging its players to vote.
MUD A gets traffic back from TMS, somewhat in proportion to how much traffic it sends.
TMS sells that traffic to advertisers.

I'm unsure how you could take a few sites doing that and turn it into a list of "the top 10 from the perspective of the entire MUDing community." The two most popular MUDs in the text MUD world don't even actively participate in the rankings lists.

--matt
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Old 04-19-2006, 02:04 AM   #15
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Also you have the wrong list from MudMagic. The list that counts there is not 'top voted', it's 'top rated', which once again means 10 different muds, since you cannot vote on more than one list there.

Otherwise I totally agree that all the lists are nothing but fluff, created to send some traffic to the website. Traffic that in turn isn't real traffic, since they just click the vote button and log out.

So basically the lists are useless when it comes to measure quality, or even popularity. And a combined list would be even more useless.
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Old 04-19-2006, 11:56 AM   #16
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Ok, I hear what you're saying. But there is a disservice being done to new members of the MUD community that I think is worth addressing.

These lists are being pawned off as "Top 10", which carries the connotation of popular high quality MUDs, when they're really just a measure of traffic as Matt put it - with some MUDs putting in more effort to mobilize their player base than others. At a minimum, some kind of disclaimer should be attached.

So, is there a another means of measuring popularity (which typically implies high quality)?  With music you can simply look at sales figures, so is there something analogous that can be used for MUDs?

One possibility (frought with issues) is periodic automated polling of active users (e.g. login and do a "who").  Any other ideas?
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Old 04-19-2006, 12:25 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Gromble @ April 19 2006,12:56)
So, is there a another means of measuring popularity (which typically implies high quality)?  With music you can simply look at sales figures, so is there something analogous that can be used for MUDs?
I hope you are being ironic here Sale of music doesn't have much to do with the quality of the music, and alot to do with the marketing of it. Compare the sale of some "American Idol" album to the sale of music by artists who have spent their entire life perfecting their skills. It's something of the same situation with these lists - the big games who put a considerable effort in promoting voting usually do well. While none of the big games on the list are of poor quality, it is not a guarantee that there aren't better MUDs out there.

I think it's also quite impossible to create an objective "Best MUD" list, since different people have different views on what a good game is like. Additionally, a person who is totally new to MUDs may even find a totally stock DIKU really entertaining, whereas a more seasoned player probably wouldn't.
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Old 04-19-2006, 12:37 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Gromble @ April 19 2006,12:56)
One possibility (frought with issues) is periodic automated polling of active users (e.g. login and do a "who").  Any other ideas?
This won't work because on many MUDs, particularly those like ours that lack OOC channels, you can't see all of the players logged on.

I think you're trying to simple tools on complex issues here.  Synozeer's ranking list here is a correlate with both quality and popularity, but it's not a strict test of either.  On top of that, quality means very different things to different people-- if I caught myself playing some of the games in the top 20, I'd have to hire goons to beat me with a tire iron.  Obviously, not everyone agrees with my preferences, because all 20 have regular followings.
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Old 04-19-2006, 12:40 PM   #19
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nhl wrote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
I think it's also quite impossible to create an objective "Best MUD" list, since different people have different views on what a good game is like.
I think that's the core of the issue. There is no such thing as ten 'best MUDs.' There's only X person or X group's view of the ten 'best MUDs.'

I see little point in measuring playerbases as well, because having a big playerbase is its own reward if you're into that sort of thing (I am). It doesn't really need recognizing. Same goes for measuring revenue, imho.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
One possibility (frought with issues) is periodic automated polling of active users (e.g. login and do a "who").
One of the major issues with this (aside from the fact that on many MUDs you can't see everyone that's on with a 'who&#39 is drastically different policies on AFK-ness. For instance, there's a very popular text MUD called Shangril-la (sex/adult-oriented) that provides pretty good 'who' information, such as idle time. The average idle time was 26 minutes. I compared that immediately after to another large MUD, where the -longest- anyone had been idle was 28 minutes. This is a massive difference in terms of how many people you're going to see on the 'who' list given equal actual active playerbase size.

--matt
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Old 04-19-2006, 12:41 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (nhl @ April 19 2006,13:25)
I hope you are being ironic here Sale of music doesn't have much to do with the quality of the music, and alot to do with the marketing of it.
Yes, that was a bad analogy *sorry*

And yes, I agree that everyone has their own opinion as to what makes a good MUD.  This is why I was thinking a measure of active users would at least provide a popularity metric.

For new members to the community, I think they are better served by a list based on this rather than the existing lists.
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