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Old 10-05-2003, 03:44 PM   #1
Estarra
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I recently received some sample room descriptions from a prospective builder which were creative and decent after some serious editing. There were basic misspellings and some really awkward sentence structures (though no out and out grammar mistakes). After some investigation, I found out this potential builder is 14 years old. Just out of curiosity, I'm wondering if people have age limits on builders or have found any younger builders that have worked out. In my own experience, I've noticed that younger builders (say 16 or below) rely heavily on a thesaurus (which isn't necessarily a bad thing) and end up using awkward or plain wrong words (which is a bad thing). There's also the issue that young builders tend to be flaky in terms of commitment.
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Old 10-05-2003, 06:36 PM   #2
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One more consideration you might want to think about (and here we could ask Kavir to shed some light) is the question of whether a 14 year old can legally grant permission for your mud to use his or her work. Would you need his parent's permission or not? (This point came up on a previous mud I worked for).

As for the technical aspects of building (and whether 14 year olds are flaky), I know plenty of over-18 flakes who cannot read or write - you should not let the age of the builder decide things for you. But do let the builder demonstrate their level of commitment by the way they stick to their promises. I'm not suggesting you blindly promote anyone who says they want to build for you, but I do suggest you take people at their word, and see how (or if) they deliver.
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Old 10-06-2003, 11:14 AM   #3
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From a capability perspective (IE, not a legal one) age is not important. The only reason it would be, was if you were using it as a stereotypical way to sort out unqualified builders right off of the bat.

I think a more relevant question, in terms of skill, would be "Does this person SEEM too young?" If someone is applying for a position that requires proper writing skills then it seems fair to use their application as a writing example. If you get the impression that the person writing it is a child, then that may be someone you want to pass on.

So my advice, is assume the samples are going to be the finished product. That is, they will require serious editing. At that point, you might as well build the zone yourself.
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Old 10-06-2003, 06:42 PM   #4
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If you're running a commercial game you may want to consider prohibiting anyone under 18 from volunteering for you. They can't sign legally binding contracts (NDAs, for instance) and can't be easily sued if they intentionally mess with your game. The only volunteer positions we allow those under 18 to fill are for our Guides, whose sole purpose in life is to help out newbies (and who have no power over non-newbies).

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Old 10-06-2003, 06:55 PM   #5
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I haven't found writing ability to be a terribly accurate indicator of age - although someone's degree of experience in writing usually affects the quality. We've had some terrific writers of ages anywhere from 15-50.

One of the best ways you can ensure that a builder's writing continues to improve is to give them feedback on what works and what doesn't, as well as communicating your expectations clearly. A good editor who explains why they're suggesting specific changes is worth their weight in gold (or obsidian).

On the average, though I can think of many exceptions to this, I have found younger individuals less responsible and/or aware of the consequences of their actions as staff members.  However, that's something that people can learn, and certainly irresponsibility is not something confined to the young - some of my flakier staff members have been full-fledged adults.

One of the duties of a good staff admin is to work with staff members, and on more than one occasion, I've seen someone who I initially thought a little flakey become a real gem of a staff member. Much depends in how willing you are to put time and effort into helping the person grow in their skills.
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Old 10-06-2003, 08:06 PM   #6
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Like Sans, I find the age of builders to be immaterial so the content and context is what I deem valuable. Yes, there is always the NDA issue, but fair treatment of builders and clear statements of expectations on both ends resolves those before they begin. The typical issues are when they meet admin situations and the lack of life experience comes into play. My feeling is age doesn't matter and sometimes the young ones provide an interesting fresh breeze into the world but you really have to play Mom or Dad when it comes to administration.
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Old 10-07-2003, 12:18 AM   #7
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I don't know, I usually found the not many people are good builders really, age doesn't matter. though the percentage of younger baf builders is quite higher. When I see a good builder around the mud I push them to work! Agh, so rare.
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Old 12-28-2003, 02:31 PM   #8
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You can look at child building in mud's as you would look at child playing in a band or chorus, theres no need to be legally binding. For me, i been building since i was young, and its mostly a pastime for me, and about people screwing up youyr muds, I think if your afraid of that, look at what thwey can do, or quiz them, beforer you give away the position.

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Old 12-29-2003, 11:03 PM   #9
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I, personally, am an apprentice immortal on my mud. It is my understanding that there was an age limit of 18 in place when I applied. I am 15. Apprently after numerous bad expiernces in the past, the admin added the age limit. I believe I am the first to break it in a few years, and I would like to think I am doing rather well.
So what I'm saying I guess is that I agree witht he statement that you can not judge a builder solely on their age, although if it was up to me, there would be a guideline for age. But it would be nothing more then that. If a ten year old has good enough writing skills and is mature enough (somehow), let the #### kid try!! if hes bad you can always remove him like you could any other immortal.
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Old 02-17-2004, 12:57 AM   #10
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hello, I am currently a builder on the mud i have been playing for almost 2 years, i am also 14 years old. I have been building on that mud for about 8 months, and i think i am doing quite well, to solve the spelling problem, i write room descriptions in word, and run over it with the spelling/grammer check, but might i add it very rarely finds any
i think the age of builders doesnt really matter as long as they produce quality work. you should not ask them to state any age or name on their application, and simply read the room descs as if she/he were fully mature, and if they are not satisfactory, dont hire them
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Old 02-17-2004, 04:52 AM   #11
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wonder what are other mud policies about one similar thing: i am over 18, but i am quite poor and grammar and writing skills anyway. but thats not couse i am too childish, simply english is not my native tongue. Wonder how mud owners deal with such issue, as huge percent of mudders come from non-english speaking countries.
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Old 02-17-2004, 06:25 AM   #12
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One of the great things about muds is that the player can be old or young, black or white, male or female, and it really doesn't matter. Everyone is equal.

I have met 12 year olds more mature than some 30 year olds I know. Yes, I admit that generally adults are more mature and more experienced, but that is a generalisation. There are always exceptions.

Certainly my opinion on such matters would always be to look at the person. Can they write? Can they code? Can they be trusted? If enough answers are yes then does it really matter how old they are?
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Old 02-17-2004, 06:57 AM   #13
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Personally, I prefer that my builders be out of high school. I seldom get that. I figure if they're out of high school, they're not worrying about their senior project, or building when they should be working on homework needed to graduate. Usually after graduation they either live on their own (dorm, place of their own, etc), or they live with parents who are more willing to let them stay up late or play on the computer more. Plus, they often have jobs, and have more experience with deadlines and people expecting things of them.

That being said, I don't turn builders away if they haven't graduated high school. I don't even ask their age right off the bat. Usually I can get a pretty good idea of how old someone is by how they act on the mud. And as long as they follow the rules and do their work, I don't care if they're 10 or 70.

I knew a guy who became an immortal at 14, he is one of the two people I've met that really showed promise at building. If he'd kept at it he would have built some really phenominal areas. He turned 18 back in December, so I know age isn't an indication of someone's abilties.
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Old 02-18-2004, 02:19 AM   #14
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I frankly don't ask ages, cause the ppl who I add as builders, had to convince me first about the idea/story/their dedication etc. Secondly I know most of them for quite a while and I know what type of stuff they will try to pull if anything.
I won't deny anyone (just based on what age they are) who is enthusiastic or dedicated to building. It is my job in anycase to check the areas before they are implemented.
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Old 02-18-2004, 10:34 AM   #15
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It's not so much about age, but rather, creativity. Some people are just born with overwhelming creativity and talent. Some are born with down syndrome. Not many are born in the middle. Age doesn't play much of a role.

One other thing to keep in mind: in general, players go to MUDs for fun, not to practice being English teachers. Players in general aren't going to go "OMG you used 'you' in this roomdesc!!!! FAG HOW DO U KNOW THE OGRE SCARES ME? LOL IF I KILL THE TROLL THE ROOMDESC STILL TALKS ABOUT HIM LOLOLOL U LAMER HAHA" Nobody gives a sh!t. That said, the roomdesc should at least be spelled right and gramatically well enough that it isn't painful to read.

On a final note, it doesn't matter at all: if your MUD actually hires people from outside, it is doomed to a parents-kicking-you-out-of-their-****-drenched-basement failure so it makes no difference whether you hire Tolkien himself or a monkey. If your MUD actually matters to the point where anyone will ever actually notice the effort your builders put in, then all hiring will be based solely on politics and nepotism.


Here, a level 17 antipaladin casts the dreadful
"Patriot Act" spell. All Americans please roll for
saving throw vs. manipulative fear tactics.
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Old 02-19-2004, 01:06 AM   #16
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Chuckle, a bit 'jaded' there, eh Erdos?

After hiring many builders and proofing a 'lot' of zones I can honestly say age isn't as big a factor as the maturity level of the content or the actual caring a person shows to create something original and fun to play. I've seen work by some 'over 30s' that were poor, sick versions of Doom and works of art by 14 year olds.

Working with those that use english as a second language is definitely not an easy task but I highly recommend it. Yes, there are issues with article usage, subject/verb matching and tenses but I've found quite a few who both learn fast and contribute wonderful zones to a world. Typically, there's even a new perspective to the zone that quite a few find very attractive. By all means hire them if their ideas spark your interest but expect the zone to take longer than average to finish, at least the first one until they get the hang of it.
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Old 02-19-2004, 01:10 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
wonder what are other mud policies about one similar thing: i am over 18, but i am quite poor and grammar and writing skills anyway. but thats not couse i am too childish, simply english is not my native tongue.
If there was a highly creative person with this downside I would strongly recommend that they find a partner to take their designs and clean the language up before submitting to the game.  This is unfortunately a major downside to the text medium, forcing admins to often turn away excellent creators due to a dialect problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Wonder how mud owners deal with such issue, as huge percent of mudders come from non-english speaking countries.
While there is no doubt that there are many mudders with English as a second language, it would be pretty interesting to see a true breakdown from a large pbase.  Other than a few occasional wanderers, about the largest non-US contingent I have run across are the hosers from up north ( once you get past the "eh" and "take off" comments its hard to distinguish them.  *g* ).  Of course this all from simply observation, the chances are that I have ran across many who have pulled the wool over my eyes.
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