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Old 06-10-2004, 04:16 PM   #1
Rundvelt
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Angry

I've been looking at the voting board for some time and have begun to wonder about a few muds with their sudden "climb" in the voting tables.

The one that comes to mind is Achaea.

Now, I'm not attacking them directly, but I would like to use them as an example for the point I'm trying to make.

When I logged on to Achaea, I was playing not for more then 5 mins when the helpers asked me if I had voted yet. I found this really odd and told them that I had when I created (which I hadn't). They told me that I needed to vote while I was online. However, as time passed more and more tells of the nature "why haven't you voted" "you need to vote" came to me.

The spam was ridiculous. I couldn't even move without being told to reaid their helpfile of "your patriotic duty" which outlines how you are to vote.

I started to read the helpfile here on topmudsites and noticed that muds cannot offer rewards to players for voting. When I was reading this, I thougt, well, doesn't that make sense for the opposite as well? Can a mud in fact give a player disadvantages for NOT voting for them? Because if you do that then the people who are voting are in fact recieving a benefit (the benefit of not being penalized)

Muds are like societies in many ways, and I think that having a 'negative' status for not voting is a very real and signifigant disadvantage assigned by the mud.

Personally, I think the 'spirit' of the rules here is to have an atmosphere where players aren't pressured to vote in the hopes that their votes will be of their own will and not forced.

I personally think that a new set of rules should be put in by the webmaster here. Those being...

1) Muds cannot monitor who is voting.
2) Muds can ask for people to vote and bring up reminders, but not pressure them to do so.

I feel this will provide a much better "voting" atmosphere.

Rundvelt
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Old 06-10-2004, 05:38 PM   #2
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Hey,

While I agree with you in spirit, I did want to mention that your two proposed policy additions may be a bit too overly broad. Well, the first, anyway. Of course, given the system we use at my MUD I'm obviously fairly biased, having a stake in the matter. Let me explain how it works.

A few months ago, we noticed a bit of a problem in terms of our voting statistics. While we averaged usually 20-30 players online at peak during the days, we were lucky to get to the top 40 on TMS' listing. After consulting with several of our players, I was informed that this was mainly due to the fact that our voting links were on our forum page, which many of our players didn't check often enough to be reminded to vote regularly. The suggestion was generally to provide a reminder in the MUD itself to vote.

However, the idea of an automated reminder displayed to everyone all the time rather turned my stomach, and the alternative - staff members begging players individually to vote - did not appeal to me either, due to possible issues with favoritism and the sheer ugliness involved with such behavior.

So, I sat down and sketched out a system to accomplish my primary goal: to have the MUD display a short, two-line reminder to check our voting helpfile when our players enter the game with their characters, but only if they have not voted recently (within 24 hours) by logging into our forums and clicking on the two vote links.

The primary boon to our system is confidentiality. Neither staff members nor players have access to voting records; the records are kept (in a completely isolated database which no MUD-based command can pull from) simply so that the MUD server knows when it's appropriate to display that short reminder. Thus, the issues of favoritism and pressure from staff are simultaneously eliminated, while preserving routine reminders to the entirety of our playerbase and not just those who frequent our forums. Also, I should mention that this reminder is not displayed to characters entering the game who have logged less than 12 hours of playtime, regardless of whether or not they've voted.

Not surprisingly, since implemented, our ranking on TMS has jumped to a strong 10-15 on average, and we're consistently holding the top two spots on MudMagic as well. In addition we've seen a corresponding increase in both website activity and MUD traffic - we logged over 2.6 million hits on our site last month, and our average nightly player peaks have since jumped from 20-30 to 40-50.

The general feedback from our playerbase thus far has been quite positive about it; while we have had some negative comments, I generally think that the incredibly insignificant nuisance of a couple added lines of scroll once per gaming session in exchange for all the hard work and funding we've put into the MUD is more than a fair exchange.

So, in short, if your first policy were adopted (MUDs not being allowed to monitor voting trends), our system, which I think (again, being biased) is exceptionally fair and follows both the spirit and letter of the current rules, would be barred.

Of course, if that's what Synozeer feels is fair I'll happily disable it, but it would be a shame to see all that effort on my part go to waste!


Cheers,
T.
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Old 06-10-2004, 07:41 PM   #3
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Unhappy

Actually, I'm not too computer savy, so I'd like to get some information on how you think they would actually be able to monitor your voting. If I was doing it I would think that you would have the character online and when they voted the internet told the mud that it worked.

Not sure how the mud client would talk to the internet through.

I know I'm missing something because this just doesn't seem right. *ponder
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Old 06-10-2004, 08:20 PM   #4
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Why do these kind of complaints come around every 2 months? :S
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Old 06-10-2004, 08:42 PM   #5
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I'm positive that in all of my time playing Armageddon I've never been asked InGame to go vote. THere is a link at the top of their forums, and the occasional 'VOTE!' thread as well, but the admin definately don't badger us to vote with IG spam, tells, or rewards.

Seems funny to me that Arm and alot of other muds manage to stay in the top ten consistently without badgering players with voting reminders all of the time. I think it shows alot of loyalty from the players of these muds, while those 'other' muds have to heckle and spam players in order to get votes...

Just my view on things, possibly tainted by my disgust for other muds than my own.
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Old 06-10-2004, 11:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
The spam was ridiculous. I couldn't even move without being told to reaid their helpfile of "your patriotic duty" which outlines how you are to vote.
I've pop into Achaea occasionally and I've never, ever been asked to vote. I've got the reminder once or twice, I think. I find it pretty unlikely you were pressured into voting too. You might've been asked multiple times to vote.. but you can just say no, and I'm sure this would've been restricted to the players.

Is a playerbase that is dedicated to seeing the mud rank 1st a bad thing? Put yourself in Sarapis' shoes, and ask yourself if you'd be asking for the rule changes then. If not, is what you're saying motivated by sour grapes?

For the record I do not work for IRE, and I play Achaea about once a month maximum for about 15 minutes, to catch up on events in the realm.

Leigh

[Edit]: Typo.
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Old 06-11-2004, 08:39 AM   #7
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I don't know what Achaea you've been playing, but evidently it hasn't been the one I have played.

Romeo and Juilet (payed helpers there) encourage constantly to vote. I don't know about you, but I was immediatly turned off by this.

I'm just bringing up a point. Can a mud force players to vote? Can it be a condition to play? Can they keep harrassing you?

With all these happening, is the player really "voting" or are they just shutting the #### tells off?

Rundvelt
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Old 06-11-2004, 11:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
Hardestadt
For the record I do not work for IRE, and I play Achaea about once a month maximum for about 15 minutes, to catch up on events in the realm.
You're the CTO and head coder of an Achaea derivative, have a contractual agreement with Iron Realms Entertainment, and jump to their defence every time someone posts something critical about them - so please don't try to imply that you're giving an unbiased opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Rundvelt
I'm just bringing up a point. Can a mud force players to vote? Can it be a condition to play? Can they keep harrassing you?
At the end of the day, a mud can do whatever it likes - it's up to Adam to decide what the rules are. Achaea does have something of a reputation of following the TMS rules to the letter rather than the spirit, which was one of the reasons the rules were clarified previously to prevent incentives being given.

In my opinion, your point is a valid one and should certainly be addressed by the rules - even if it's just to say "that's acceptable". I've not played Achaea, so I cannot comment on their approach, but the sort of activity you described in something which some muds are going to do and so it really should be covered. The important thing is that the rules are clear so that all muds can compete on equal footing - only then does the ranking provide any sort of benefit.
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Old 06-11-2004, 02:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ June 11 2004,11:12)
You're the CTO and head coder of an Achaea derivative, have a contractual agreement with Iron Realms Entertainment, and jump to their defence every time someone posts something critical about them - so please don't try to imply that you're giving an unbiased opinion.
The only Achaea derivatives are owned by Iron Realms. Hardestat's game has nothing to do with Achaea other than using the same engine as Achaea. Saying it's a derivative is like saying any game that uses the Unreal graphics engine is a derivative of Unreal, even if it's a game about roleplaying carebears.

Rapture comes with absolutely no content whatsoever, no game systems, nothing from Achaea whatsoever. In fact, the only thing a player EVER sees that's dictated by Rapture is a notice when connecting that the mud is powered by Rapture.

--matt
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Old 06-11-2004, 02:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
Romeo and Juilet (payed helpers there) encourage constantly to vote.  I don't know about you, but I was immediatly turned off by this.
Well, similarly, I'm turned off by games that won't let you step out of character. I just don't play those games though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
I'm just bringing up a point.  Can a mud force players to vote?  Can it be a condition to play?  Can they keep harrassing you?
No, a mud can definitely not penalize you for not voting. It cannot make voting a condition of playing. Achaea does none of this. In the last 24 hours we've had connections from 2933 distinct subdomains. Our stats say we've had votes from 461 of those subdomains.

In other words, only about 20% of our playerbase voted in the last 24 hours, at max.

And I'm not sure what you mean about Romeo and Juliet harrassing you personally. They don't have the power to tell if you've voted. We do send out global reminders to vote, but that's really our business. If you find the practice impedes your enjoyment of the mud, find another mud. That's the case with any feature in any mud. Having said that, there are 416 players on as I write this, all of whom apparently don't find it disturbs their experience enough to make them want to leave.

--matt
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Old 06-11-2004, 04:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Rundvelt @ June 11 2004,08:39)
Romeo and Juilet (payed helpers there) encourage constantly to vote.  I don't know about you, but I was immediatly turned off by this.
You know, this disturbed me, as they should not be harrassing newbies to vote, particularly as they don't even have a way of seeing if you've voted.

So I checked. You sir, are blatantly lying. In the last 100,000 commands entered by Romeo and Juliet (which is from mid-March on, approximately), exactly none of them were Romeo or Juliet harrassing people to vote. In fact, I was unable to find a -single- time in those 200,000 collective commands that they even MENTIONED voting, doing your duty, or anything of the sort, when it wasn't in response to a newbie question to them. And 90% of those maybe 20 times were in private tells to the newbie that asked the question.

Encourage constantly, my ass.

--matt
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Old 06-11-2004, 05:44 PM   #12
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Exclamation

logos, responding to KaVir:
>>You're the CTO and head coder of an Achaea derivative,
>The only Achaea derivatives are owned by Iron Realms.
>Hardestat's game has nothing to do with Achaea other
>than using the same engine as Achaea.

Maybe Kavir accepts the newSCO theory of Derivative Works

>Rapture comes with absolutely no content whatsoever,
>no game systems,

Just to forestall quibbling (since "game system" is kind of vague), I think it was the CTO of persistent realms who posted this:

"Contrary to popular belief, we received the engine with only the abilites to WHO to see who was online, SAY to communicate and the ability to QUIT."

http://groups.msn.com/Ilyrias....8860883

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Old 06-11-2004, 06:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Stilton @ June 11 2004,17:44)
"Contrary to popular belief, we received the engine with only the abilites to WHO to see who was online, SAY to communicate and the ability to QUIT."
Yeah, and that's not even Achaea's 'who', 'say' or 'quit' code, all of which is quite a bit more involved than the code we wrote to go along with Rapture, which is largely there as an example.

--matt
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Old 06-11-2004, 10:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ June 11 2004,14:11)
If you find the practice impedes your enjoyment of the mud, find another mud.
I think that says it all, if the practice was seen as a problem by the players they would leave which would in turn decrease the number of votes.
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Old 06-12-2004, 06:03 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ June 11 2004,20:00)
Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ June 11 2004,11:12)
You're the CTO and head coder of an Achaea derivative, have a contractual agreement with Iron Realms Entertainment, and jump to their defence every time someone posts something critical about them - so please don't try to imply that you're giving an unbiased opinion.
The only Achaea derivatives are owned by Iron Realms. Hardestat's game has nothing to do with Achaea other than using the same engine as Achaea.
Well okay, well let me rephrase that to "You're the CTO and head coder of a Rapture derivative". It doesn't change the point, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Saying it's a derivative is like saying any game that uses the Unreal graphics engine is a derivative of Unreal, even if it's a game about roleplaying carebears.
The game would still be a derivative of the Unreal graphics engine in the legal sense, yes.
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Old 06-12-2004, 06:26 AM   #16
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Perhaps we could ignore the specific accusations and instead try to address the points in a more general context - because regardless of whether or not any muds do this now, it's certainly something that I can see some muds doing in the future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Rundvelt wrote:
I'm just bringing up a point. Can a mud force players to vote? Can it be a condition to play? Can they keep harrassing you?
As it stands, the rules state:

You CANNOT offer incentives or rewards to players for voting. That means you cannot give players items, experience, or anything else in return for votes.

I think we can fairly say that voting as a condition to play is covered by the above - but what about spamming vote requests to those who haven't voted? Or making players vote automatically (perhaps without them even realising it)? These do not fall under the wording of the rules, yet they would clearly skew the results in favour of the mud using such an approach.
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Old 06-12-2004, 07:35 AM   #17
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Kavir, I'm surprised you didn't grasp it.

A game that spams non-voters with requests/nudges/demands to vote -is- offering a game incentive and/or reward.

The reward is - to be able to play the game without requests/nudges/demands to vote. It's like how mushclient requires that I endure the 30-second dice-roll every single time I open it - until and unless I decide to pay for it. Sure, I can use it free, but I have to deal with that wait period and minor advertisement reminding me that I can donate. I get the same thing with Trillian, and Zone Alarm, in different ways.

I don't know that Achaea is doing this kind of thing - I don't play Achaea. But it sounds more to me like there's a griefer running around making trouble for these people, and I'd believe the Achaea people quicker than I'd believe someone whose name I don't even recognize from this forum.
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Old 06-12-2004, 11:42 AM   #18
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I've been giving some thought on rewording the rules a bit. How's this sound?

Can I offer rewards for voting?
You CANNOT offer incentives or rewards to players for voting. That means you cannot give players items, experience, or anything else in return for votes.  You also cannot require a player to vote to continue playing the game or to prevent requests to vote by the mud or its staff.

It's basically a clarification on the negative reinforcement aspect, which are still rewards  (vote or we keep harassing you).

Thoughts?

-Synozeer
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Old 06-12-2004, 01:51 PM   #19
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Synozeer:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
It's basically a clarification on the negative reinforcement aspect, which are still rewards (vote or we keep harassing you).

Thoughts?
It occurs to me that you can solve the problem without changing the rules by making it impossible for the mud to tell who has voted.

I'm not sure how it's done now- do you send IP's and times to the mud when people vote?

Stilton
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Old 06-12-2004, 02:13 PM   #20
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Why not simply require that the voting link must be a direct link and not through a proxy page that tracks any information of the person clicking through? Simple, to the point, and then there's no question of any information being kept, or how it may or may not be being used.
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