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Old 01-11-2006, 10:57 AM   #61
Lisaera
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I was actually about ready to agree that labelling IRE as "pay-for-perks" would be accurate and agreeable, but actually as I read Matt's post I realised the intrinsic problem with all these things, which this thread itself is testament to. All these snappy, soundbite-like and truly quite vague expressions such as "pay-for-perks", "free to play", "hobbyist", "RPI", "hack 'n' slash", etc. actually mean very little, and can be debated endlessly, as we see in this thread.

This thread even began to argue the definition of a fairly common word in "free", not even going into the dangerous territory of trying to debate these terms that we've come up with ourselves in the MUD community. I think trying to correctly describe all these games with these very narrow and hamfisted categories is very foolish of us. The reason I think this is because I know how much work I have put into the game I am an administrator and coder of, Lusternia, and I know it chafes me whenever someone incorrectly categorises my game and shaves off some of its complexity and variety to make it fit into their grouping. I know many of you debating here are administrators yourselves, or have been at one time, and so I know you must all feel the same about your own games. Even players can feel this, their chosen game can be a thing they are loyal to and will defend if its honour is questioned or it is being underrated, they can often feel just as attached to the game they play as those of us who create the game for them to play.

For this reason I can only think of two solutions that I believe might work:

1) All the games are simply allowed to describe what their MUD is about as specifically and fully as they like, only using the connotation-burdened phrases such as "amateur", "pay for play", etc. if they wish to.

2) Get rid of all the categories. This has been suggested by others in this thread, and though it would make things a tad more difficult for players just scanning through games looking for what they want, it would certainly cut down on any confusion about what a game is, as they'd have to try it/go to their website and read about it to find out what it was about.

You might notice Lusternia has no assertions of any kind about being free or able to pay or anything like that in our information, and our out score isn't that bad.
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Old 01-11-2006, 02:46 PM   #62
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I have three children and I've been a full time at home mother for 16 years. I'd be highly insulted if someone called me an amatuer child carer while referring to a 16year old with a baby sitting job as professional.

Which is better qualified to take care of a child? Now technically I suppose in some ways that labelling it could be right depending on which definition of the terms and where you are looking at it all from.

Anyway this topic is beginning to bore me, it's like a rerun from some bad 80's courtroom drama with the suits arguing whether the sky is cyan or cobalt it's going nowhere and will never have a clear answer. And so I depart
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Old 01-11-2006, 03:21 PM   #63
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Anything that requires you to give your credit card number can't be considered free in my book, I.E. Second Life.

I also don't think the "pay game" and the "bastardized version" can be considered the same game for anything.  For instance, cart racer and most free MMO's.

Also, "Habbo Hotel" is a chat room.

It's not that these games are not free, it's just that the average American isn't going to pay for these.  Sure, some Koreans will play these but between pay games and mind-numbing shoe-factory job there's not much else to do.  I don't want a free tissue if you charge me every time I blow my nose, or clean something with it.  I'd rather just buy a box of tissues.

I also disagree with what Matt said about an online search for free games. Many sites, such as Arcadepod have a huge number of links to free games. There are LOTS of completely free games on the internet. And LOTS of completely free MUDs.
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Old 01-11-2006, 03:37 PM   #64
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Though I don't want to make too big a deal of this and send the thread off track, I'd appreciate it if you could keep those kind of bull**** statements off the forums entirely - I happen to know a number of people in Korea and that arrogant, sweeping generalisation based on an idiotic stereotype is pretty offensive. South Korea is now more technologically advanced than some Western countries, has entire cities that are wireless zones, and has one of the highest percentages of population with internet access in the world. The day when most online gaming is centred in places like Korea isn't that far off.
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Old 01-11-2006, 04:25 PM   #65
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The day when most online gaming is centred in places like Korea isn't that far off.
They can fight the Estonians in Europe for it. Those guys are crazy internet gamers - us westerners are lucky it's such a small country.
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Old 01-11-2006, 04:42 PM   #66
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I am going to toss my two cents in here and say that I tend to agree, as a player and currently *only* a player, that I think some statement of the commercial nature of a mud is a necessity. I can say for an absolute fact that my reaction to logging in some place, then finding out I need to, or even would be massively advantaged, by shelling out money, is roughly the same reaction as I get everything time I see an email in my box that says, "Your free XBox is ready!" Yep, free, as long as you go to 10 other web sites and sign up for stuff that costs you 50% more than the price of the original free gift. Oops! Or even more accurately, what you see with some Shareware offerings, where its free to play the first 2 levels (a lot of games), use it free on one email address (mailwasher), free to check for **some** problems on your system (some registry cleaner), just not the ones you need fixed, etc. Free, free, free, as long as you ignore the **reality** that you eventually have to pay for the product, if you want to have every feature, or use it the same way as everyone else, or want to keep using it, in cases where you have to a) upgrade, b) subscribe or c) only get X-days to use it.

NONE of those things are "free" and I get ****ed off by claims that they are, since it makes finding what I am looking for like trying to find a single brain cell in the mush inside Bush's head. It absolutely guarrentees that I will *never* play at one of the muds that pulls that crap and undermines my ability to find legitimate MUDs that don't feel the need to lie about their commercial nature to trick me into playing, because, "Gasp!", they are telling the truth when they say they don't require people to pay for "anything".

Maybe we need a poll, just to clear up what the "community" thinks free is supposed to mean?
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Old 01-11-2006, 05:48 PM   #67
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It seems like everyone who makes a humble post on this site is flamed, or at least given a very condescending rebuttal.  I have read many threads here for quite some time and only now decided to post, however quiet I can hope to remain.

The play for perks and free debate, I have my opinions over, but I won't address here since I cannot possibly add something new and insightful.  I do want to possibly try to answer the "professional" versus "amateur" labelling.

There are a number of dictionaries we could consult, although I know we all have our personal definitions and understanding of what those two words mean.  I'll happen to quote dictionary.com because it is accessible by anyone reading what I'm writing now, and it happens to load quicker for me than most online dictionaries.

professional: adj.
Of, relating to, engaged in, or suitable for a profession: lawyers, doctors, and other professional people.
Conforming to the standards of a profession: professional behavior.
Engaging in a given activity as a source of livelihood or as a career: a professional writer.
Performed by persons receiving pay: professional football.
Having or showing great skill; expert: a professional repair job.

amateur: adj.
Of or performed by an amateur.
Made up of amateurs: an amateur cast.
Not professional; unskillful.

The source is The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

I think these definitions, in their lot, convey the sort of meaning I think most people, (at least in the US, I don't mean to know what anyone else thinks, US or any other nation, that is), but I would like to offer two examples.

First, in porn videos, there are categories.  There is an amateur section and there are porn stars, like Jenna Jameson.  While I cannot prove this remark, in my personal experience, I've heard people mention Jenna Jameson, (who may be the number one demanded search for porn stars on most search engines, I would bet 10 to 1), far more than they'd say something about amateur videos.

Second is the issue of professional sports.  It may not be true for all sports, but in ones I've participated in, including tennis and golf, generally, receiving cash prizes is not permitted for anyone that hasn't "turned pro".  (You can receive trophies and insignificant free prizes.)  Therefore, a professional tennis player who merely receives cash is not always going to be more skilled or athletic than an amateur tennis player.

However, while there may be some hermit, living in a cave, who has some incredible talent in the sport never seen in any player, past or present, it is generally accepted that professionals ARE BETTER than amateurs.  There may be not be a clear borderline between amateurs who only recently turned professional and amateurs who are considering changing, but have decided, for some reason, not to at this point, or ever.

Therefore, professionals could not merely have the rough, generally accepted definition of being merely paid while their counterpart amateurs are not.  Through the invitation of more money and more marketing, perhaps, far more people watch the self-qualified expertise of professional athletes and, um, maybe other people.

The implication behind this is that, while this is not any logically rigourous proof, still, it would not be fair to say that anyone claiming that "Hey, don't say that amateurs suck!  That's just what you think!", buttonholing people for being small-minded, are necessarily right.  While professionals do sometimes invite notoriety in many ways, including the issue of the salaries certain athletes make, still, those athletes who are not professional could not be those who are the most expert in the nation.
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Old 01-11-2006, 06:02 PM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (shadowfyr @ Jan. 11 2006,17:42)
Maybe we need a poll, just to clear up what the "community" thinks free is supposed to mean?
If you are talking about the use of "free" in advertising (such as IRE's "free to play" claim), why not just use the word as it is understood in honest and ethical advertising?  Accept "free to play" as a promise of just that and move on.

If you are talking about the use of "free" as a means of categorizing muds based on business models or whether or not they are commercial, then maybe just ditch the use of "free" altogether since it probably isn't going to be as informative as anyone would want such categories to be.  Personally, I'd just be happy with a commercial/non-commercial distinction (though even that distinction would probably generate complaints about, say, clearly non-commercial muds that decide to hand out magic swords in exchange for donations for their next server payment).
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Old 01-11-2006, 07:38 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
The implication behind this is that, while this is not any logically rigourous proof, still, it would not be fair to say that anyone claiming that "Hey, don't say that amateurs suck! That's just what you think!", buttonholing people for being small-minded, are necessarily right. While professionals do sometimes invite notoriety in many ways, including the issue of the salaries certain athletes make, still, those athletes who are not professional could not be those who are the most expert in the nation.
What you're failing to take into account is that many "amateur" mud developers work as programmers or software engineers in the real world (some of them even working for high-profile computer game companies). Equally, there are "amateur" mud builders who work as professional writers in the real world.

The professional/amateur thing was originally brought up (I believe) as a demonstration of how pointless it is to have overly broad categories. Listing a mud created by professional writers and games programmers as "amateur", simply because they created it as a hobby, is no more informative than listing a mud created by a highschool drop-out as "professional" because he pays his rent by selling powerful items to the playerbase, having failed to keep his job at McDonalds.
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Old 01-11-2006, 09:26 PM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Atyreus @ Jan. 11 2006,19:02)
Quote:
Originally Posted by (shadowfyr @ Jan. 11 2006,17:42)
Maybe we need a poll, just to clear up what the "community" thinks free is supposed to mean?
If you are talking about the use of "free" in advertising (such as IRE's "free to play" claim), why not just use the word as it is understood in honest and ethical advertising?  Accept "free to play" as a promise of just that and move on.

If you are talking about the use of "free" as a means of categorizing muds based on business models or whether or not they are commercial, then maybe just ditch the use of "free" altogether since it probably isn't going to be as informative as anyone would want such categories to be.  Personally, I'd just be happy with a commercial/non-commercial distinction (though even that distinction would probably generate complaints about, say, clearly non-commercial muds that decide to hand out magic swords in exchange for donations for their next server payment).
Well, I agree with you. Commercial vs. Non-commercial would be helpful. It does however create an additional problem, in that it confuses the, "You must pay", and, "You can pay for extras", as essentially identical. They are not. My point in suggesting a poll was to resolve the goofy argument about just what "free" meant and who was making a valid claim about what people thought it meant.

I do generally agree though. "Free" by itself is a useless category, as anyone that has tried to find a mud client through Google can attest to when using that term, and getting zMud's "Free Trial". The meaning of the word is so distorted by shareware people offering trial version that its worthless. But it doesn't mean defintions don't exist that specify "how" free something is. For instance, is Mushclient "free" or "commercial"? Obviously the later, but that implies you can't use it without paying, when in reality you can use it indefinitely, with some minor irritation when it first loads. So its not "non-free" to *use*. It is an important distinction. One that "free" as its used for muds on here can't and doesn't make. Eliminating it doesn't fix the problem, it just shifts the burden to people like me, that already dislike the idea of having to guess what "free" really means in context of a mud. I think we generally agree on that, just not in what a useful solution is.
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Old 01-12-2006, 01:55 AM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Sinuhe @ Jan. 11 2006,03:30)
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.
There is a third and even more grave reason.  Some of us don't post much here, if only to avoid fueling highly predictable flamewars and beatings (see dead horses above) that frequently arise when anyone with fewer than a certain number of posts expresses an opinion.

I'll be glad to express an opinion by voting in a poll on the topic of free vs pay for [pick a term here: play, perk, prefs].  If someone sets up polls, I'll be near the front of the line to register my vote for or against separating the postings.  If that someone happens to be the person who would make the decision to change or not change the way that TMS handles its listings, all the better.
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Old 01-12-2006, 02:12 AM   #72
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KaVir, I did not fail to take that into account -- that is exactly what I intended to address. Labelling something as amateur does not necessarily mean "not professional" using the definition of "unskillful".

What I intended in the verbose clarification of the two words was merely to advance a clearer understanding of how MUDs could be labelled using those words. I believe that on the subject of labelling, altogether, we have the same philosophy: not naming something for what it isn't. The consequences of not heeding that point would be visitors to the site, using what I imagine are the generally accepted definitions of the words "amateur" and "professional", will see the labels and make judgments, filtering out criteria in searching for MUDs, for example.

That, of course, has an implication on the real issue at hand, over the term "free". I'm still thinking about that and might eventually add something worthwhile.
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Old 01-12-2006, 03:47 AM   #73
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Personally, I fail to see why this topic is even an issue. The definition of the word 'free', no matter what context it's used in, is completely irrelevant to what happens when a potential MUD player browses this site.

IRE can advertise its games as "100% completely free no matter what forever and ever!!!" if they so choose, and while quite a few potential players may be 'tricked' into trying the game out under these false pretenses, they will eventually find out for themselves (and usually within a very brief time scanning help files or talking to other players) as to whether or not they were mislead.

And herein lies your ultimate truism: players are (generally ) not stupid. They will find out for themselves if you were misleading in your advertising or not, and will only play a game if they enjoy it, not just because you advertised it a certain way.

And to all the IRE competitors (Carrion Fields, GodWars, and others represented in this thread): you have nothing to worry about. Potential players who try out IRE games and decide they aren't for them, because of the 'pay-for-perks' aspect or something completely different, will continue searching for a MUD that suits their needs - so stop treating this issue like it's a problem that's taking 'business' away from you and/or affecting your potential playerbase(s). It's rather insulting to the players to be treated like sheep who need to be herded towards the right pen.
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Old 01-12-2006, 04:55 AM   #74
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Threshold @ Jan. 11 2006,09:49
Quote:
Originally Posted by
Quote (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.


Threshold:
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.

Simmer down. There is no need to get aggressive. I am not advocating ‘parallel voting lists’ if that is what you are so afraid of. All I am saying is that the definitions ‘non-commercial’ and ‘commercial’ are better than the currently used ‘free’ and ‘pay-to-play’, since they don’t give as much room for individual interpretation and misrepresentation. The ‘commercial’ muds could then be broken down further by their business method into the 3-4 categories already suggested to give more accurate info, but the big divider for most mudders goes at commercial or not.

If you weren’t so blinded by your own prejudices, you would realise that I am actually fighting your battle too here. If certain commercial Muds use the ambiguity of the word ‘free’ to misrepresent themselves purposefully to gain more new players at the expense of others, that is negative not only to all the really ‘free’ muds, but also to other commercial muds, like yourself, who represent themselves correctly. I am surprised that you cannot see that.

For the moment the only ones I am aware of doing it are the IRE games, (with the exception of Lusternia), and (of course) Medievia, but there might be more. It gives an unfair advantage to those that practice the misrepresentation, and that should be corrected.

That said, I think that there should also be two lists, but certainly not parallel ones.
However there should be a way to draw out a list of all non-commercial muds by using the search engine. I don’t really care if that list is based on alphabetical order or most votes, but the option should exist, and it currently doesn’t. As it is you can only list commercial muds with the search engine, and when you do, you get an incomplete list, because of the above mentioned misrepresentation. But there should also be a similar search option for the players who actively seek a non-commercial mud.

It would be fair to everybody, give accurate info to all mudders in search for a new game to play, and consequently make this resource site a lot better.
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Old 01-12-2006, 08:39 AM   #75
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But whatever will we do with the non-profit muds and the not-for-profit muds? Shouldn't Goodwill have equal access to mudding without the stigma of commercialization?

Oh what a sad day indeed!
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Old 01-12-2006, 05:38 PM   #76
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Belakai @ Jan. 12 2006,09:39
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But whatever will we do with the non-profit muds and the not-for-profit muds? Shouldn't Goodwill have equal access to mudding without the stigma of commercialization?

Oh what a sad day indeed!
The non-profit muds will fit in very nicely with the non-commercial category. The dividing line would be whether or not you get any in-game benefits for RL money.
Selling t-shirts and mousepads on the Website is fine. So is accepting donations to pay for the server, as long as it doesn’t affect the gameplay in any way.
Selling beefed up Swords-of-doom or practice points in the game is not.

Since there still seems to be some confusion here, allow me to sum up the proposition such as it stands:

1. The listed muds get divided in two main categories; Commercial and Non-commercial.
(A game is commercial if you need to pay to play it after an initial free trial period, or if you can buy any type of in-game benefits, otherwise not).

2.  Within the Commercial category there are 3 sub-categories, based on the business idea:
   A. Pay-to-play
   (You have to pay an initial or periodic fee to play the game, after a free trial period)
   B. Pay-for-perks
   (You may play for free, but can buy different in-game benefits to advance your character for real money)
   C. Both pay-to-play and pay-for-perks
   (You need to pay both to access the game and to get in-game benefits to advance your character)

There should be a different colour code for the two main categories, and then you could attach the letter A, B or C to the commercial ones.

It should be up to the Mudowners to list their game in the correct category. After that, the members of the lists should be relied on to report any irregularities to the List Admin. No policing would be required by the List Admin, except possibly to review some dubious cases. Mud owners listing their games in the wrong category should first get a warning, and a week’s time to correct their input. If they fail to comply, they should be removed from both the list and database, until they are willing to adhere to the rules.

The search engine should also provide lists of both commercial and non-commercial muds, not just of the pay-to-play ones like it does now. It should also provide lists of the three commercial categories.
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Old 01-12-2006, 06:08 PM   #77
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Quote:
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.
Of course I know that, which is why I used it as an example. You are an amateur. You yourself said this. The problem with that is that it's an unfairly loaded term. I brought up that entire example solely to point that out, you know. I typically use hobbyist rather than amateur for precisely that reason.
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Old 01-12-2006, 06:09 PM   #78
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Cynicism may suggest that we should have no label whatsoever, because intelligent MUD shoppers will ultimately find out how free or "free" a MUD is. However, in my opinion, this makes a list rather stupid. If we couldn't settle the issue to some degree, we may have to concede the battle on MUDlibs and genres who will point to this decision. When I search for a new MUD to play, now and then, I'd like to see things by categories, but if those categories didn't exist, I would most likely go to a site that did have categories, including the free category.

Anitra's proposal is elegant. There is a label for each group of MUDs. It's not extremely simple as black and white, but this is as simple as it gets, for now.

Perks include anything from restringing to increased practises and stats. Restringing does not let you kill an ogre or a player faster -- practises and stats do. Therefore, might I submit that play-for-perks should mean a material gaming advantage, not a role-playing advantage? I'm sure someone might be able to word it better than me.
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Old 01-12-2006, 06:11 PM   #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ Jan. 11 2006,05:30)
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.
And for once, Kavir, you and I are on entirely the same page. I don't understand how a couple people managed to get worked up about an analogy demonstrating what's wrong with exactly what they're getting worked up about.
--matt
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Old 01-12-2006, 06:13 PM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Sinuhe @ Jan. 11 2006,07:30)
2. The fact that the two main combatants (The_logos and Donathin Frye both made claims about speaking on behalf of the ‘Mud community’).
I make no claims to represent the mud community as a whole. I merely claim that my organization represents more players than other developer in the text MUD community aside from Simutronics.

Edit: Actually, I retract even that claim, insofar as it's unfair to assume that I represent the views of other players, just as it'd be unfair for Bill Gates to claim he represents me because I use Windows software.

What I do claim is that most of the rest of the world accepts our definition of free, from the Federal Trade Commission to Google.

--matt
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