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Old 09-22-2002, 03:12 PM   #41
SimuBubba
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Well said, Aeledius.
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Old 09-22-2002, 04:50 PM   #42
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I guess my biggest problem with the invasion of the pay4play muds is that TMS, I thought, was supposed to be resource for people interested in the mudding community. I don't feel that the corporate muds are a part of this community. None of them ever cared about TMS until they found out they could exploit it for their own usage. It seems quite clear that, to them, this is merely another extension of their advertisements (for free, I might add). And some of them are not above essentially blackmailing their players to vote.

I am of the strong opinion that the best thing TMS can do is ban muds who engage in such embarassingly slimy behavior. At the very least, should the pay4play muds wish to exploit (and make money off of) TMS, there should be a litte $$ sign on the ranking list, so people can know right away what they are dealing with.

The outcome of this debacle, I feel, will determine whether TMS will remain a credible resource for the mudding community, or whether it shall become a whore for the corporate muds.
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Old 09-22-2002, 05:30 PM   #43
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Arrow

I am a player of both the current #2 and #3 MUDS (DragonRealms and Gemstone III). I frequent GS3 more though. About the pay4play just wanting advertising, perhaps that might be right. Our mud doesn't give us any "rewards" for voting though, as I feel they shouldn't. All it has is a pic that says "Vote for GS3 as the #1 Mud!" and below that it even says "please limit votes to once every 24 hours!"

To me, the way they suggest voting and how often seems noble. They don't want to drown out the MUDS that are already there from constant voting. Nor to they reward their players. It's more of a "If you feel we should be #1 mud, please vote for us" -- At least that's how I feel about it.

I'm PROUD to vote for the MUD I play in. I spend most of my time there, it's that great and addicting. Yeah, I pay a lot of money to be there but I enjoy every penny of it. This Pay4Play gets my vote every 24 hours for sure. I dislike the way the current #1 gets their votes... uhhg. It should be dependant on how much the mud's players like it and then they vote!

I've babbled on enough, just had to stick in my defense for the MUD I really love.
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Old 09-22-2002, 06:01 PM   #44
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Mason:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
I guess my biggest problem with the invasion of the pay4play muds is that TMS, I thought, was supposed to be resource for people interested in the mudding community.  I don't feel that the corporate muds are a part of this community.
Although the largest percentage of muds that are out there are free, just by looking at the top mud list it's not hard to see that the p2p make up a great deal of the population.  Many of which maybe completely clueless to the fact they are part of a larger community.  By shutting that section of people out we may well lose valuable insight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
The outcome of this debacle, I feel, will determine whether TMS will remain a credible resource for the mudding community, or whether it shall become a whore for the corporate muds.
I think that may be taking an over melodramtic approach to the situation.  Stuff like this springs up pretty much everytime a large mud adds itself to the list and sees some of the inherent flaws in the system.  I consider it a settling in period, nothing really good or bad about it, it just is.

Aeledius:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
My original post was to air to topics:
[snip]
I was happy to get some response and not have the issue ignored, but I would have been equally happy if everyone agreed that it was unethical, or that it was fine, or if everyone disagreed.
Unfortunatly when you post things to a "discussion" board it usually doesnt work out that way.  Things tend to get discussed instead of just simply agreed or disagreed upon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Travish, you have no right to say that Scorpcrys opinion is wrong, neither does he have the right to say that yours is.
Once again its a discussion board, I have every right to disagree with someones opinion and they have every right to disagree with mine.  And btw it Tavish not Travish.  

SimuBubba:

I do owe you an apology for the fact I pointed out DR as the mud making some rather baseless (IMO) attacks against Achaea.  The quote (as I replied in my last post to you) was directed towards other members that have come from your game.  Wether they support the views of DR or not the quote should have been directed towards him instead of the mud in general.  I apologize for that.

Scorpcrys:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
Incase you haven't noticed, Simububba is a producer of Dragonrealms and certainly the has the last word on how the DR community feels about this issue.
I will take that you are deferring to Simububba and thats fine.  If you want to continue the debate all I ask is that you answer the same points I bring up in all of the posts.  If the tatics are not against the terms of service, and I have yet to see any "spirit of the rule" that says what they are doing is wrong, how is what they are doing cheating?  And if it is cheating where is the line drawn?
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Old 09-22-2002, 06:19 PM   #45
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In a lot of ways, I find myself agreeing with Tavish - Achaea isn't actually cheating, therefore why should it be a problem? However I also see the other point of view - that it is unfair on the other muds who aren't willing to bribe their players, and it puts pressure on them to apply the same sort of measures.

The trouble is it's not an easy situation to deal with. I've spoken with Synozeer about it, and as he pointed out, without extensive auditing it's not something he can easily prevent. Equally, it's unlikely to actually attract new players - the only people likely to vote are those who are already playing, who went the extra benefits - thus if anything it's only going to create a more "accurate" representation of that particular mud's popularity.

Therefore I think it should either be a clear cut "yes, you can do it", or "no, you cannot". If Achaea can get away with it, then I think everyone else should be able to as well - at least until someone can come up with a suitable (and most importantly fair) solution to prevent it.

So far I can only think of two ways to get around this. The first is the suggestion I've made in the past, which is that only people with TMS accounts can vote - however I think most people would end up just creating an account, so that might not help very much. The other solution is to remove the whole in/out voting thing and only count votes which go out from TMS - because then there is no way for mud owners to check whether or not their players have voted for them. The problem with that, of course, is that TMS would lose a lot of hits (which means that Synozeer would lose out - and bare in mind, he's providing this service for us for free, so I don't think that's a fair thing to ask of him).

So rather than complain that it's unfair, let's try and come up with some feasible solutions to the problem.
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Old 09-22-2002, 06:44 PM   #46
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I propose a simple solution, KaVir.

Remove MUDs that do this from the list, then ban them from being re-added for a set amount of time.

Let people on TMS report the player bribery - a detailed report, mind you, including how to get the bribe. Have a small auditing team that investigates the precise report. If it is something as blatant as Achaea's manner of votes, it is extremely easy to prove. If, however, the person falsely reports it, ignore any further reports from that person. Fairly simple, and extremely effective.

-D
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Old 09-22-2002, 06:49 PM   #47
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KaVir:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
Therefore I think it should either be a clear cut "yes, you can do it", or "no, you cannot".  
  The "no you cannot" is the main rally point behind my getting into the thread.  Besides the obvious problem of policing the rule, which I would assume would put way to much of a load on Synozeer for maintaining a "free" listing, it sets a very poor (IMO) trend for attempting to dictate how admins can run their mud.
  Where is the line drawn as far as, "well you can encourage people to vote for your mud, but you can not offer a reward", or "you can encourage people to vote but only once a day" etc.. I would be worried that A) the policy would go unforced or B) admins would be sick of the montioring and pull the listing altogether.
   As it is now the system seems to do a fairly good job of listing the more popular muds at the top of the list and if someone wanted to search deeper, an abundance of muds looking for a strong pbase.
   I purposely avoided the question of wether what Achaea is doing is ethical or not, because in a way that is one way for the board to self-regulate itself.  People who dig around the forums enough, by now, have seen the tatics that they have used to generate the votes.  If thats something they wouldnt mind playing along with then it is their choice.
So now that I've basically outlined problems I'll try and give a solution to be torn apart.
The account system still seems to be the next best idea on the table.  Maybe weighing the system with the number of posts the account has would stop a massive influx of vote-only accounts.  (j/k  )
 Perhaps hiding the vote totals and randomizing the top ten to twenty, while it may defeat a purpose of having a top list, most people realize that the list doesnt reflect the order of "best" mud only the more popular.  Other than that alot of the bases have been discussed to death before and it always seems that the current system comes out to be the best.
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Old 09-22-2002, 07:02 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Tavish @ Sep. 22 2002,6:01 pm)
Mason:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
I guess my biggest problem with the invasion of the pay4play muds is that TMS, I thought, was supposed to be resource for people interested in the mudding community.  I don't feel that the corporate muds are a part of this community.
Although the largest percentage of muds that are out there are free, just by looking at the top mud list it's not hard to see that the p2p make up a great deal of the population.  Many of which maybe completely clueless to the fact they are part of a larger community.  By shutting that section of people out we may well lose valuable insight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
The outcome of this debacle, I feel, will determine whether TMS will remain a credible resource for the mudding community, or whether it shall become a whore for the corporate muds.
I think that may be taking an over melodramtic approach to the situation.  Stuff like this springs up pretty much everytime a large mud adds itself to the list and sees some of the inherent flaws in the system.  I consider it a settling in period, nothing really good or bad about it, it just is.
If you wish to be so dismissive of my post by claiming it to be dramatic, that is your prerogative. However, it does not intelligently respond to my post.

There is a difference between a population and a community. No one (at least not me) is saying that no one plays pay4play muds. What I am saying is that these corporate muds have never been interested in TMS until they want to exploit it for their own gains. Therefore, they are not a part of the community. As far as "losing valuable insight" is concerned, I've rarely seen p4p muds give us much at all.

I suggested that p4p muds should have a $$ sign next to their ranking. Another alternative would have to have 2 separate ranking systems, one for free muds, and one for p4p. I would think, however, that inserting a $$ sign would be enough.

If you wish to defend the blackmail that occurs on some of these games, that's your decision. But that does not change the (growing) perception that TMS rewards those who engage in slimy behavior.

To say "that's just the system" as a defense to these practices displays the intent finding the loophole and exploiting the system rather than becoming part of the community.
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Old 09-22-2002, 07:14 PM   #49
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Ignoring all the diatribe and cutting the the chase regarding the issue at hand:

I agree with Mason's most recent idea, which is to have two different ranking lists. One for P2P and one for free.

However, where would the "donations accepted" games go? Payment isn't required, but they are still getting payment to maintain their servers, pay their coders, rent the hosting space, or whatever.

And even within those donations accepted games - there are some that stand a chance to make a profit (legally or otherwise) and those who only accept enough to maintain their expenses and reject any donations beyond that in any given month.

Then there are the games, like Achaea, that are free - unless you want more equipment or extra skills or whatever, and only then does it cost extra. Are those technically P2P, or are they technically free?

I think the more you try to limit or restrict, the more difficult and complex things become. But if someone can make heads and tails out of all this and come up with a reasonably simple guideline, it could work.
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Old 09-22-2002, 07:18 PM   #50
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The only problem with the idea is that you would have two lists with people at the top running promotional gimmicks instead of one.
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Old 09-22-2002, 07:20 PM   #51
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Achaea is P2P - unquestionably. Just because it loosely skirts around the definition by some freakish balance, it does not skirt around my definition.

By forcing someone to pay money in order to do something, whether it be in any remotely sane amount of time or at all, that is P2P. Whether that something is play, or to get as strong as the average player, the meaning still applies. I'm going to expect a counter-argument that completely ignores my point here soon.

Furthermore, I support the '$$' sign at the least. If not an entirely different listing for P2P MUDs.

-D
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Old 09-22-2002, 07:26 PM   #52
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Another idea might be to have p2p* muds actually pay for their listing. Sounds unfair? Not at all, remember these muds are there to make money so they can and are very able to pay for a commision fee, unlike most of the muds which involves one person paying hosting costs with no money made on his/her mud whatsoever. Businesses pay for advertising IRL, businesses pay for advertising online as well. I fail to see why businesses dealing with muds should be an exception to this rule.

That, coupled with a very clear indication (dollar signs idea sounded good) to indicate p2p muds both seem like decent ideas to me imho. True, this keeps advertisement a major factor, but people will be able to recognize p2p muds without effort now and the money made on em could be very well put to use to pay for the hosting of this site, community events and hiring a webdesigner. (I swear, TMS looks like it's stuck in 1992 with it's current front page layout. A nice redo with stunning graphics, dynamic content and more easy of use wouldn't hurt. And I'll maim the first person who mentions Flash.)


* = Pay to play, not peer to peer. Peer to peer muds would be a rather silly thing. Then again, so are pay to play muds because all you're doing is typing text and paying money. Like doing my essays and paying me for it. Any takers?
 
Old 09-22-2002, 07:30 PM   #53
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I'd like to second* the $$ idea - if nothing else, when browsing for muds, it's very nice to know right off the bat whether it's p2p or not.  A lot of the actual muds' websites avoid mentioning the issue at all, of course, and that can be quite frustrating when you've gotten intrigued by a mud but aren't willing to pay for whatever reason.

*Edit: Great, by the time I hit post I was thirding it.
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Old 09-22-2002, 07:58 PM   #54
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The problem with adding a "$$" sign is that then you have to define what, exactly, is "pay to play". I agree that places like Achaea and Threshold are "pay to play", but I would not place them in quite the same category as GemstoneIII or DragonRealms. You basically have:

Category 1) You cannot play the mud unless you pay money.

Category 2) You can play the mud in a limited way (with restricted options) for free, but are required to pay in order to play properly.

Category 3) You can play the game fully for free, but you'll never be able to compete with those who pay.

Category 4) You can play the game fully for free, but you'll have to put in much more time and effort if you wish to compete with those who pay.

Category 5) The game is free. Donations, if any, give no extra benefit within the game.
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Old 09-22-2002, 08:29 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by
What I am saying is that these corporate muds have never been interested in TMS until they want to exploit it for their own gains.  Therefore, they are not a part of the community.

Well, Mason, if you were correct, I'd almost have to agree with you.  Unfortunately, you're making a lot of assumptions, and incorrect ones at that.

First and foremost, historically speaking, our company doesn't advertise very much.  We generally rely on word of mouth.

A few weeks ago, some of our players started a thread on our message boards pointing this out to us and asking us WHY we don't have ads in magazines or banners on lots of websites.  Several pointed out TMS to me and said "Hey, we entered DR here!" so I came over to check it out (you can see that our TMS entry was made by Cemm, one of our players if you want to check).  

I contacted Adam to find out just what the rules were about getting our game into the voting list instead of just in the database.

We set up the link to vote and, in light of the traffic that ultimately played a part in TMS crashing the other day, I'm now working with Adam to get some advertising money sent his way on a regular basis to compensate for the extra bandwidth and strain we're causing.

We're not here to "cheapen" TMS.  We're not here to "attack" any of the MUDs that are doing QUITE well without charging any sort of fee, even ones that are selling "credits" and items in game to cover their costs.  We're not here to suck the blood of the MUDding community and stomp on everyone else.  We don't want to be "number one at all costs!" and I'm actively encouraging our players not to "cheat" or otherwise do anything to influence the actual numbers.  (Actually, I sort of like the idea of hiding the actual votes and randomly rotating the top 10 or 20 MUDs on the home page.)

I'm here to make sure that people know there are other games around that they might not have tried out.  I'm here to try to support the community that still knows deep down that the "book" is better than the "movie".  I'm also here to show our players that there are a lot of other games out there and if they don't like something about DR, there are plenty of other places to spend their time.

I know there are plenty of people who think that any games that have a subscription cost are "evil" and "ruin the community".  You're welcome to have that opinion.  However, I still have yet to see how simply saying "Hi, we're here and we think we're a pretty good game and we'd love to see what you think." is "a bad thing" and destructive to the community that we ARE a part of (and have been for 14+ years), like it or not.

In closing, I'd be more than happy to put a $$ marker on our entry if that's what Adam decides to do.
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Old 09-22-2002, 09:54 PM   #56
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I'm not sure breaking the ranking lists into multiple lists would be a good idea.  Instead, I think revamping the options available during the game-adding process is in order.  

Adding an option that shows whether a game is pay-to-play or not and perhaps even making that option break into multiple categories akin to Kavir's suggestion of five varieties would definitely be a good thing.

Expanding the 'average players online' option to account for larger playerbases would be good as well.  DragonRealms and Gemstone III both average around 1000 players online, for instance.  

Also, I'd remove the option for any game to dissallow reviews.  Or possibly exclude any game that dissallows reviews here from the rankings list.  

Perhaps some secondary system for also showing a positive/neutral/negative tally of reviews on the main listing could be added to the ranking system?  Players could click on a button that declares their review a positive, neutral, or negative one.  I'm not sure that couldn't be abused by unethical admins and thier bought-off players too though.

My perspective is that if a game is proven to be making false or intentionally misleading statements and claims about itself, or has to go to such lengths to 'advertise' that it ends up skewing the results of a ranking list to the point that it is being made a mockery of, then it should be warned first (so that they can change their description and operate honestly) and then banned if it fails to do so in a reasonable amount of time.

Cemm
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Old 09-22-2002, 10:13 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (John @ Sep. 22 2002,01:27 am)
If THEY mind having a message every 10mins saying "Don't forget to vote" then THEY should go to Achea's staff and say as much.

If THEY have a problem with people recieving IC benefits for voting, then THEY should go to Achea's staff and say as much.
Quite right. I should point out that actually, Achaea reminds you no more than once per day, unless the system is broken, and that further, you are rewarded for clicking on a link on the home page, not for actually voting. It's possibly a small detail, but at least some of Achaea's players seem to be aware that they don't have to actually vote to get the blessing.

--matt
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Old 09-22-2002, 10:28 PM   #58
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Perhaps I take a too simplistic view to all this, but to me this seems much ado about nothing. To me, TMS is a list of MU*s that people like enough to vote for, the ones at the top of the list just have more people that like them. Some MU*s will never reach the top of the list because they don't have the large player base. This doesn't necessarily mean it's not a good MU*, it could just be that the admin of that particular game prefers a smaller player base. Basic rule of thumb, if you like MU*s with lots of players browse through the top of list, for MU*s with smaller player bases, start further down the list. In the end, the decision by a potential player to stay or leave a MU* will have nothing to do with what position the MU* is on the TMS list, it will be whether they like the MU* or not.

As for so-called "cheating", I don't think anything done by Achaea could be called cheating, it has been said time and time again that there is no rule against it. So they have encouraged players to vote, anyone on the list has done a similar thing, even if only by way of having the voting button on their web site. The way I see it, if the system Achaea uses annoys their players too much, the players will leave and then they wouldn't have the large player base to get the large number of votes. In the end it is the player's decision to vote or not, if they like the game they will continue to play and vote, if they don't like the game they will leave regardless of what position the MU* is on the TMS list.

On pay-to-play MU*s in whatever form the service provided for payment takes, if these games are so evil, why do so many people play them? Again, it is the player's choice as to whether they are prepared to pay a fee to get what they want, nobody is forcing them to play. I like the idea of having the $ symbol to indicate pay-to-play MU*s, not to single them out, but as a service to people visiting the list, some people are just not willing or able to pay to play an MU*. To identify what is pay-to-play and what is not, I suggest any MU*s that offers something in return for a fee is pay-to-play in some form or another. I also find it difficult to understand how anyone could say these MU*s are not part of the community, with such a large number of people playing them they can be and most likely are a valuable source of ideas for others in the community.
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Old 09-22-2002, 10:30 PM   #59
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$$$ = Must Pay to play
$$ = Free to play, pay for extras
$ = donations accepted.
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Old 09-22-2002, 10:36 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Cemm @ Sep. 22 2002,9:54 pm)
Expanding the 'average players online' option to account for larger playerbases would be good as well.  DragonRealms and Gemstone III both average around 1000 players online, for instance.  

Also, I'd remove the option for any game to dissallow reviews.  Or possibly exclude any game that dissallows reviews here from the rankings list.  

Perhaps some secondary system for also showing a positive/neutral/negative tally of reviews on the main listing could be added to the ranking system?  Players could click on a button that declares their review a positive, neutral, or negative one.  I'm not sure that couldn't be abused by unethical admins and thier bought-off players too though.

My perspective is that if a game is proven to be making false or intentionally misleading statements and claims about itself, or has to go to such lengths to 'advertise' that it ends up skewing the results of a ranking list to the point that it is being made a mockery of, then it should be warned first (so that they can change their description and operate honestly) and then banned if it fails to do so in a reasonable amount of time.

Cemm
I fully agree that the average players online option should be raised. There are quite a few games that average significantly over 100.

As far as reviews go, I know I never enable reviews for Achaea or Aetolia on any site where the option exists because I've seen far too many 'mud wars' where idiots run around posting multiple negative reviews with multiple accounts. I remember someone doing that to Avalon years ago, because they were ****ed off that the game was pay-to-play. There's really no way to stop it, or counteract it either, and if you think your MUD is immune, I'm sure some angry 15 year olds will be happy to show you the error of your ways.

As far as skewing the results of the ranking list, I'm not aware that that's possible. Adam's system doesn't seem to be cookie driven, and seems to log IP addresses, or IP maybe even IP ranges, to prevent people from spamming votes from the same IP. The system was designed to measure the number of impressions (worth advertising dollars) sent to this site from a specific mud. Achaea simply sends more impressions. *shrug* Why that's a bad thing on a site where the -entire point- is to send as many unique visitors per day to this site is a little beyond me. Do you think Adam is running a charity? He can sell advertising because of those impressions.

And as you're clearly referring to Achaea in your "operate honestly" comment, I'd ask that you expand upon your comment and demonstrate what, exactly, is dishonest about it? Is anything in our description false? Have we lied about anything? Have we actually hurt anyone? I bet all the visitors we send to this site ends up in a net gain in players for other MUDs, not a net loss. In other words, since there are a lot of semi-newbies who aren't yet really emotionally invested in Achaea coming to this site from Achaea's website, it's pretty likely they'll be checking out the other games on the list. All you have to do is make your game appeal to that player more than Achaea does, and that player is yours. If you can't do that, then I don't have any sympathy, though clearly Dragonrealms and Gemstone, as well as the other MUDs in the top 20 don't have any problems with putting out a consistently quality product.

In summary, this site exists to advertise MUDs, and for MUDs to advertise it, and that's exactly what we're doing. The more traffic all of you send to this site, the more money Adam will have (via advertising) to improve it. I have no doubt that we will soon be leaving the top spot, as other MUDs with larger populations adopt more efficient methods for driving traffic here, and get rewarded with the top spot for it. *shrug* Such is life.

--matt
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