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Old 09-07-2007, 01:59 PM   #381
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Question Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Originally Posted by Newworlds View Post
But honestly, I can't tell, because they never said what box they would check in the four options.
To clarify: I've done pay-for-perks in the past, but have let that go by the wayside at the moment, and (largely due to some new perspective on it from this thread and some on mudconnector) cannot quite figure out right now whether I want to go there again.
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Old 09-07-2007, 02:10 PM   #382
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Question Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Random semi-tangential thing: an idea I've been kicking around is allowing people to bid on feature/content completions in a development ticket system.

Let's say that Joe is looking forward to the Princes of Amber affiliation so much that he's willing to commit to giving me $5 when it's done, thereby encouraging me to finish it. (If Joe makes this commitment and doesn't follow through, well, then I know what his word is worth next time.) This is clearly a species of pay-for-perks under the four-option system, but I think it's a rather interesting one, and I'd be interested in hearing people's thoughts on it.

What I like most about it is that it (normally) incentivizes doing things that benefit the entire MUD or populations within it, rather than solely a particular player. That's diluted somewhat if the ticket system allows user feature requests and people enter requests that disadvantage others ("make raise dead kill lich PCs instantly" e.g.), but you can always close the ticket on a "Denied" status.
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Old 09-07-2007, 02:32 PM   #383
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Really, I can't bring myself to have a response more sympathetic than "too freakin' bad".
This is the attitude that has hamstrung the entire MUDding hobby since it began.

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If you're pursuing a business model that people in the community dislike (and the fact is, they have legitimate reasons to dislike it), maybe you should rethink your business model instead of trying to keep people from being able to construct a search that excludes it.
Community? We are talking about 5-10 posters. There is no need to exaggerate and treat this as something with sweeping support. It has never been more than the same handful of people pursuing a grudge against MUDs they want a competitive advantage against.

The issue here is mud administrators having the right to describe their payment model in the manner they feel is most accurate for their game. Having inaccurate terms forced upon them is not good for MUDs by any stretch of the imagination.

If this is a site for MUD promotion, then doing what is good for MUDs is more important than doing what a small handful of mud operators think is good for their specific MUD. This change is only good for people who are in this for pure personal gain, like those who have admitted such base motives in this thread.
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Old 09-07-2007, 02:39 PM   #384
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Originally Posted by KaVir View Post
As far as I'm aware, only one commercial game has posted against the four-choice proposal within this thread - Threshold. Conversely, the owner of the IRE games has stated "So, after talking with Lasher some I'll drop my objection to those four categories since it's hard to argue that less information is better than more when it comes to search", while the owner of Lost Souls (which I believe is also a box B "pay-for-perks" mud) has actively defended the four-option proposal.

I also don't believe there is any objection to box A, as "pay-to-play" is already one of the TMS options and is currently being used by 31 muds. These box A muds would actually be the only ones unaffected by this proposal.
Yes, I stopped actively arguing against it but the 4 box proposal is still very incomplete in my opinion. Threshold's objections tend to ring true for me.

I could have a two-checkbox system saying, "Does your country vote for its president" and we could classify every country in the world into these two simple categories, but it would completely fail to reflect useful information since what it means to vote for a president varies so massively from country to country. In some countries you are forced to vote (and you better vote for the correct candidate too), which is why some dictatorships call themselves democracies. In some countries, there's the appearance of voting for President (like the US) when in fact you're voting for the electoral college.

It's pretty muddy ground in other words.

--matt
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Old 09-07-2007, 02:48 PM   #385
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Talking Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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If this is a site for MUD promotion, then doing what is good for MUDs is more important than doing what a small handful of mud operators think is good for their specific MUD.
I don't know that you want to go there. You're liable to walk face-first into an examination of whether the site should be devoting itself to promoting all MUDs without distinction, including those with nice fat advertising budgets who can hardly be construed as needing it (as opposed to liking it and feeling they're entitled to it), or whether those MUDs can obviously look out for themselves as far as marketing goes and promotion of games that aren't raking in the bucks should be a higher priority.
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Old 09-07-2007, 03:02 PM   #386
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
Any MUD owner could lie about any of the search options, I think we just have to assume details will be entered correctly and build the site around that.
Solution to that is if someone reports a MUD for listing false information, send that game a message informing them that they have 24/48 hours to either demonstrate that no error exists or, if the listing is inaccurate, to correct their listing or correct their game to conform to the listing details they have claimed to be. If they fail to do so, remove them permanently from the listing. Heck, maybe even create a Hall of Shame listing the names of MUDs (but no other information like connection info or website url) that have attempted to use deceitful listings to misrepresent that nature of their game.

The community, such as it is, needs to take a stronger stance on policing one another so that a few rotten eggs don't make everyone stink. It's time we as MUD administrators and players take some pride and responsibility toward representing our pasttime/hobby/career/obsession in a better light to those who are taking the first look at MUDs. Lasher's 4-box search option is one positive step toward doing just that. Public responsibility toward accurately representing our games is another step.

Take care,

Jason
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Old 09-07-2007, 03:20 PM   #387
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Solution to that is if someone reports a MUD for listing false information, send that game a message informing them that they have 24/48 hours to either demonstrate that no error exists or, if the listing is inaccurate, to correct their listing or correct their game to conform to the listing details they have claimed to be. If they fail to do so, remove them permanently from the listing. Heck, maybe even create a Hall of Shame listing the names of MUDs (but no other information like connection info or website url) that have attempted to use deceitful listings to misrepresent that nature of their game.

The community, such as it is, needs to take a stronger stance on policing one another so that a few rotten eggs don't make everyone stink. It's time we as MUD administrators and players take some pride and responsibility toward representing our pasttime/hobby/career/obsession in a better light to those who are taking the first look at MUDs. Lasher's 4-box search option is one positive step toward doing just that. Public responsibility toward accurately representing our games is another step.

Take care,

Jason
You can't verify whether a MUD owner is taking payments from players and rewarding them for it unless they are open about it. Fundmentally, it can be a completely opaque process if the MUD owner chooses to make it so, and since a negative cannot be proven there is neither any way for a MUD owner to defend against this accusation if he's innocent nor any way for TMS to prove it happened.

That is different from most of the other checkboxes used to describe a MUD, even in the very 'grey' areas like "Encouraged" roleplay vs. "Mandatory" roleplay" vs. "Accepted" roleplay. Anything about the game itself can, at least in theory and with enough time, be checked using whatever definition of, for instance, "Encouraged" that TMS wishes. Behind the scenes actions have no reasonable possibility of ever being verified. Even in the completely absurd and hypothetical situation where a TMS administrator/moderator is given access to a MUD's logs, those logs are all completely in control of the MUD operator to begin with and have essentially no value as a way to audit the MUD as a result.

The point here is just that some things about a MUD can actually be verified. Some cannot, and whether a MUD's owner gains revenue from players or not cannot be verified, nor can whether players are rewarded for sending revenue to the MUD owner. Can't really call it donations either when it's just income that the MUD owner is free to spend on anything he/she wishes, barring the hypothetical case of a registered non-profit. What the MUD owner spends income from MUD players on is equally unverifiable in practice.

There is no other option in the 'advanced search' for MUDs that is fundamentally unverifiable.

--matt
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Old 09-08-2007, 05:23 AM   #388
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Originally Posted by the_logos View Post
You can't verify whether a MUD owner is taking payments from players and rewarding them for it unless they are open about it. Fundmentally, it can be a completely opaque process if the MUD owner chooses to make it so, and since a negative cannot be proven there is neither any way for a MUD owner to defend against this accusation if he's innocent nor any way for TMS to prove it happened.
(snip)
The point here is just that some things about a MUD can actually be verified. Some cannot, and whether a MUD's owner gains revenue from players or not cannot be verified, nor can whether players are rewarded for sending revenue to the MUD owner.
--matt
What can be verified is of course the official policy of a MUD.

Because a few MUD owners possibly might lie, we cannot presume that everyone would.
And that goes for all the entries in the search options.

Last edited by Molly : 09-08-2007 at 06:37 AM. Reason: fixing quote
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Old 09-08-2007, 05:36 AM   #389
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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What can be verified is of course the official policy of a MUD.

Because a few MUD owners possibly might lie, we cannot presume that everyone would.
And that goes for all the entries in the search options.
Well, the entries as is speak to what is actually happening, not what the official policy is. If one prefers they reflect whatever the administration wants to say, rather than what is relevant to the user experience, that's fine, but it's simply license to tell people whatever an admin wants. I tend to think that what is actually happening is a lot more important than what the admin wishes was happening (or simply outright lies about what is happening).

For instance, when one is discussing World of Warcraft, there can be no honest discussion about it without simply working with the baseline assumption that many, many people are violating the EULA and both buying and selling gold, characters, and leveling services (all of which is driven by player demand). Just because they're violating the EULA doesn't make it less impactful on the experience of other players. The fact is, in WoW (as in any MUD), the official policy doesn't mean much, insofar as it's often quite far removed from reality.

The official policy of the US government is that smoking pot is illegal. Do you think it'd be anything but an outright lie to say that America is a country "without pot" simply because the administration declares that smoking pot is illegal?

The ability/willingness to separate an assessment of reality from the drive to condemn or judge is an important part of fulfilling the needs of players.

--matt
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Old 09-08-2007, 09:16 AM   #390
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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I don't know that you want to go there. You're liable to walk face-first into an examination of whether the site should be devoting itself to promoting all MUDs without distinction, including those with nice fat advertising budgets who can hardly be construed as needing it (as opposed to liking it and feeling they're entitled to it), or whether those MUDs can obviously look out for themselves as far as marketing goes and promotion of games that aren't raking in the bucks should be a higher priority.
Oh I most certainly want to go there.

First, not a single active MUD on this site has a "nice fat advertising budget." The few MUDs listed here that might (like Runescape) do not maintain an active presence here.

Second, I wish Runescape did have an active presence here. Why? Because they would send an enormous amount of traffic to this site, and that would benefit ALL OF US. The top 10 MUDs already send the enormous majority of traffic to the site - traffic that benefits all the other games on the list. And they can make whatever claims they want about their game, and it doesn't bother me a bit. Who cares how they advertise or promote their game? People who focus on stuff like that have their priorities TOTALLY out of whack.

Third, your post just seethes jealousy. Your comments about "nice fat advertising budgets" and "raking in the bucks" are just gross. What is your problem with other people being successful and being able to make a living at making games? There is nothing stopping you from doing the same thing. In fact, your chances of success would be higher if you would support the hobby rather than sniping at the people who succeed and trying to drag them down.

Fourth, what you continue to do is exactly what keeps our hobby sublimated into such a niche. You, Valg, and others are so focused on your own specific, personal interests that you cannot see how everyone benefits when the whole hobby benefits. Do you ever read articles where Blizzard trashes Valve, or trashes their STEAM distribution model? Heck no. They are all part of the same industry, and they know that they both benefit from each other doing well. So they support each other. They don't trash each other. Yes, they compete. But they do so by trying to make the best game possible - not by going around to gaming sites and trying to make them change policies to suit their own personal interests.
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Old 09-08-2007, 09:18 AM   #391
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Originally Posted by the_logos View Post
Well, the entries as is speak to what is actually happening, not what the official policy is. If one prefers they reflect whatever the administration wants to say, rather than what is relevant to the user experience, that's fine, but it's simply license to tell people whatever an admin wants. I tend to think that what is actually happening is a lot more important than what the admin wishes was happening (or simply outright lies about what is happening).
I'd say that the extent to something is done is rather relevant here. It's when things are taken to a large scale that they become a real issue. And as soon as things happen on a large scale, they also tend to become public knowledge, like the EULA transactions on WOW that you mentioned. (On a side note, that's a bad example in this context, since no Mud Administrator can really be held responsible for what crooked players are doing, especially outside the game.
As has been pointed out before, the policy can only involve Admin-to-player transactions, since they basically have no control over player-to-player transactions.)

Now, if the official policy is 'No in-game-rewards' but some shifty Mudowner really wanted to make a considerable income from handing out unofficial ingame rewards for money in spite of this, it would make little sense to be totally 'opaque' about it.
After all, if the shifty Mudowner wanted his shifty players to actually pay him some money for those shifty rewards, he'd have to make the players aware of the possibility in some way.
Otherwise he'd just get the few-to-none legit donations that he'd be getting anyhow.

So, how do you think he'd go about it? By approaching each of his players privately over tell and inform them about it? Not very likely. By word of mouth? That would spread the bad rumor very quickly.

Added in retrospect:

Also, since most players and Mudowners are not crooked, and since pay-for-perks is a not only a legitimate, but also obviously popular system, wouldn't it be a lot more realistic for a player who wanted that kind of game to choose one of the MUDS that checked the b box, rather than going on the prowl for a potentially crooked Mudowner who checked the wrong box on purpose?

Last edited by Molly : 09-08-2007 at 10:04 AM. Reason: last comment added
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Old 09-08-2007, 12:52 PM   #392
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Here are your choices:

a. [ ] Payment and/or donations required to play.
b. [ ] Payment and/or donations accepted, rewards in game.
c. [ ] Payment and/or donations accepted, no rewards in game.
d. [ ] Neither payment nor donations accepted.
D, as I'm sure most people who picked #2 in your preferred system would choice in this one.

I'd play B, C, or D.
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Old 09-08-2007, 01:13 PM   #393
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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...you cannot see how everyone benefits when the whole hobby benefits. Do you ever read articles where Blizzard trashes Valve, or trashes their STEAM distribution model? Heck no. They are all part of the same industry, and they know that they both benefit from each other doing well. So they support each other. They don't trash each other. Yes, they compete. But they do so by trying to make the best game possible - not by going around to gaming sites and trying to make them change policies to suit their own personal interests.
Amen, Brotha. Some may argue this, but our only true competitors are the Graphical RPG's. They are a style of gaming that many of us play and many players of the Graphical RPG's play and love muds. The only thing that can help us more, is getting more people who play the Graphical RPG's to learn about and play our Text Muds. Goooooo TEXT!
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Old 09-08-2007, 11:29 PM   #394
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

The argument seems to be that, "Since some places are going to cheat, we shouldn't give them the opertunity by letting anyone, including the honest ones say anything about what their muds official policy is."? Umm, sorry, but I don't agree here. People can leave comments about the muds here, if one is cheating **someone** is going to mention it, and when enough of them do, people are going to start looking closer at what is going on and report it even more strongly. Cheaters only prosper when there is no way to compare what they are doing to what they claim to be doing. The moment they state something, they tie their own hands, and they *will* get caught in the lie. Or do you really think the class of people that play these things are not going to notice or do anything about it?

If anything, I think holding them to giving a clear idea what they do means there is some real means to curtail such abuses. You can't abuse what doesn't exist, and if you do abuse something that does, it eventually bites you in the rear.
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Old 09-09-2007, 04:13 PM   #395
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Originally Posted by Threshold View Post
Fourth, what you continue to do is exactly what keeps our hobby sublimated into such a niche. You, Valg, and others are so focused on your own specific, personal interests that you cannot see how everyone benefits when the whole hobby benefits. Do you ever read articles where Blizzard trashes Valve, or trashes their STEAM distribution model? Heck no. They are all part of the same industry, and they know that they both benefit from each other doing well. So they support each other. They don't trash each other. Yes, they compete. But they do so by trying to make the best game possible - not by going around to gaming sites and trying to make them change policies to suit their own personal interests.
There is one person directing attacks in this thread, and being moderated for it, and it's not me. My comments have been exclusively about how TMS should construct a useful search function, and supporting Lasher's proposal for doing so. I don't believe I've said anything about any specific game in this thread.

Also, I don't consider it insulting or "trashing" a game to accurately label it as pay-for-perks. Obviously, a lot of players like that model. As the_logos and others have posted, if you are short on time and want to see a lot of a game, being able to spend money to advance your character more quickly is an option some people want. Other people don't like the effect it has on the game. Having the ability to mark a game as such via Lasher's four-box system helps both of those groups of players find what they want.
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Old 09-09-2007, 05:03 PM   #396
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Also, I don't consider it insulting or "trashing" a game to accurately label it as pay-for-perks. Obviously, a lot of players like that model. As the_logos and others have posted, if you are short on time and want to see a lot of a game, being able to spend money to advance your character more quickly is an option some people want. Other people don't like the effect it has on the game. Having the ability to mark a game as such via Lasher's four-box system helps both of those groups of players find what they want.
I could use that same argument on the proposed check boxes of:

[ ] Professional, commercial game.

[ ] Non-professional, non-commercial game.

Would you object to having this listing as part of the search choices and a choice you have to make about your game? I would. I don't like it. It categorizes my mud accurately but has nuances that make it look poor, yet maybe players don't have a lot of time and want to know quickly who is professional and who is not? Think about it.
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Old 09-09-2007, 05:57 PM   #397
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

The terms "professional" and "non-professional" could, in such context, be misinterpetted to mean something entirely unintended. Its also *still* way to vague.
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Old 09-09-2007, 10:54 PM   #398
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Originally Posted by Newworlds View Post
I could use that same argument on the proposed check boxes of:

[ ] Professional, commercial game.

[ ] Non-professional, non-commercial game.

Would you object to having this listing as part of the search choices and a choice you have to make about your game? I would. I don't like it. It categorizes my mud accurately but has nuances that make it look poor, yet maybe players don't have a lot of time and want to know quickly who is professional and who is not? Think about it.
*gasp*

Are you suggesting that MUD admins actually look at this issue from a more objective perspective, rather than for what they think benefits them personally the most?

Good luck with that!

Imagine the good that could come of directing all this energy towards something that benefits MUDs as a hobby, rather than trying to whittle away at other MUDs for personal gain.
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Old 09-09-2007, 11:05 PM   #399
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Unhappy Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Imagine the good that could come of directing all this energy towards something that benefits MUDs as a hobby, rather than trying to whittle away at other MUDs for personal gain.
Aristotle, nothing about any option that has been proposed here is going to hurt Threshold. Seriously. Only people who already care about the issue are going to use the search option, and if someone already cares, the question of whether they're going to play Threshold has already been answered, one way or the other. All the option is doing is saving everyone some time and CPU cycles. Which is the entire purpose of a search engine.

What redounds to the benefit of MUDs as a hobby is if we're completely honest and up-front in our dealings with
money, rather than turning people off and making the entire exercise seem vaguely slimy by engaging in tactics like intentionally designing search engines to obfuscate the issue.
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Old 09-09-2007, 11:56 PM   #400
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Originally Posted by shadowfyr View Post
The terms "professional" and "non-professional" could, in such context, be misinterpetted to mean something entirely unintended. Its also *still* way to vague.
Shadowfyr is right, professional and non-professional could be misconstrued as whether or not the MUD is an amateur project or done by experienced MUD programmers.
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