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Old 09-28-2007, 07:12 AM   #501
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Re: The Cold Hard Facts

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Originally Posted by the_logos View Post
No, neither do I.

So can you give us an example of a MUD that you think is being deceptive?
Right, I'll provide an example.

But first some background about myself, in case someone accuses me of being a sock puppet.

I've been following the boards both here and the Mudconnector for several years, but don't post very often. I've played text muds for about 10 years, starting very young. I don't run my own game, or imm on any mud. I've built on a few muds in the past, but found it slow and tedious, so I went back to just playing. I don't like graphic games, and I stick to non-commercial text muds, for the simple reason that I am at University, so money is pretty scarse.

At present I play 3 different muds actively, and log on to a few others regularly, just to chat with old friends. Occasionally I try out other muds, mostly out of curiosity, and sometimes get hooked enough to stay, at least for a while.

A couple of years ago I decided to try Achaea. After all, it did have FREE plastered all over its adverts. (Back then it didn't even say 'Free to play', just 'Free'). I browsed the website quickly, and found some generally promoting text claiming it to be "the only text MUD that still matters," and some of the usual links to various details of the game, which I also browsed quickly. No mention about payment that was immediately obvious here.

So I clicked the link 'Quick Start Guide', which provided some more side links that again I browsed quickly. Still no mention about payment, so I clicked the 'Play Now' button and created a character.

I went through the Newbie introduction, which I found a bit tedious. Being a pretty experienced Mud player I don't like being lead around by a ring in the nose and forced to do obvious tasks. I could however appreciate that the introduction would be good for a complete newbie to text muds, so the impression it left was favorable.

Eventually I progressed to the actual game, where I wandered about for a bit, slaughtered some mobs, talked to various players, and made a few friends. Still the impression was favorable, it seemed to be a rather good mud, and people were generally friendly, so I kept playing for a couple of days. However, this was when I first heard people mention 'credits', which apparently was something that had a large impact on the game and that you needed to get along. I got curious, asked around a bit and realised that you were supposed to pay for these credits with real money.

I didn't remember seeing anything about all this on the website, so now I went back to check it again. Being a bit more observant this time, after having heard the word in the mud, I clicked on the credits link at the bottom, which I earlier had dismissed as the place where you pay homage to all the people who have contributed to creating the mud. This was actually a rather easy mistake to make, because that is what the word 'credits' is used for in all Diku based muds, which is what I have mainly been playing.

After seeing the credits list, with the top amount of $579.99 for 2000 credits, I realised that this mud was not for me. It was a bit upsetting because of the friends I'd made, but I decided to make a quick and clean cut.

Did I feel decived? Sure I did.

Did I feel that I had wasted my time? Sure I did.

I also felt very stupid, because I hadn't spotted this before I even logged on. I don't like feeling stupid, which is probably why it left me with a very bad taste in the mouth. I actually even wrote a review for the game, to warn other new players about the hidden costs. That's when I found out that Achaea had blocked all reviews. For a while I was tempted to post about it on the boards here, but eventually I decided to cut my losses and just move on. Until now.

After all, you did ask for an example.

Last edited by Emil : 09-28-2007 at 07:15 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 09-28-2007, 07:13 AM   #502
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Re: Obfuscation

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It's not really about whether it can be prevented so much as it is about what is actually fundamentally verifiable. In the one case (roleplaying mandatory/g-rated) we're talking about something that happens within the MUD. In the other case, we're talking about something that happens outside the MUD. When someone sells an item to another player for real money (whether admin or player), this is something that happens outside the MUD. The transfer of the actual item happens inside the MUD, but that action is 100% indistinguishable in and of itself from a "legitimate" in-game purchase. (It's the context around it that can help operators catch some RMT transactors.)
1) That's no more or less verifiable than "RP required" or "G-rated". The admin could be off having OOC conversations or mudsex with some players, and unless they did it in front of you, you wouldn't know.

2) That applies equally to the two-box system. So what you're arguing for is a zero-box system, where TMS throws up its hands and the only thing you're allowed to search for is MUD name, or connection protocols. This would essentially disable the search feature, leaving TMS's primary utility for finding MUDs the ranking list.

It's pure obfuscation, and it's the only thing you or Threshold have offered so far-- confuse the issue with unproven hypotheticals.
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Old 09-28-2007, 07:23 AM   #503
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Re: The Non-Cold Non-Hard Non-Facts

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If I did that, I'd accuse half the posters here. Please, CP, keep it in context. I showed proof of the posers and proof that this was an Admin argument not a player argument. I see nothing that shows otherwise.
1) You haven't shown 'proof' of anything, other than this 17-page thread has a pair of posts from new posters. It's obnoxious to claim that it counts as "proof" enough to dismiss their opinions as worthless, merely because they disagree with you.

2) Does it bother you that multiple commercial MUDs have staff posting on this thread, alongside their employers? If you're concerned about independent viewpoints, surely you'll direct the same vehemence towards them.
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Old 09-28-2007, 08:05 AM   #504
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Originally Posted by shasarak
I think the question you and Threshold need to answer is this: players clearly want to be able to search for MUDs on the basis of their officially stated policy on donations/payment and their impact; why are you so desperate to prevent players from being able to perform such a search?
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1. There are 10s of millions of text/graphical MUD players in the world. To claim that a handful of people expressing an opinion on a tiny forum equates to the general opinion of all MUD players is somewhat absurd. TMS forum users are in no way representative of the MUD population at large.
I see. But it's not absurd to claim, on the basis of no other evidence, that the opinion of MUD players as a whole is the polar opposite of the opinion expressed by every single non-admin on this thread?

In any case, you're still trying to dodge the question by making out that this is about people being against commercial MUDs. Being for or against commercial MUDs has absolutely nothing to do with this discussion, despite your increasingly frantic claims to the contrary. The question is: would it be useful for Lasher to give players the OPTION (when searching the list of MUDs on TMS) to filter the search by commercial status? This says nothing whatever about whether those players might be looking for non-commercial MUDs, or looking for commercial ones, or whether they simply don't care and don't use that as a search criterion at all. The only question to address is: should they be given the option?

Even if it is the case that every single player who has so far posted to this thread is unrepresentative of the majority of people who wish to perform searches on TMS (something that is entirely different from "all MUD players") so what? That would mean the majority will not use the new search feature, and will therefore be unaffected by the change. The minority, who are interested in a MUD's commercial status, will benefit. Other than people who want to be able to advertise their MUDs as "free" when they aren't, who exactly loses out here?

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2. I'm not trying to prevent anything from being able to perform such a search, nor am I capable of doing so. Currently, the non-existence of a way to perform such a search is preventing them from performing it and I am quite certain that I'm not responsible for implementing development priorities or development itself on TMS. If you feel that a discussion about the pitfalls involved with a particular course of action is counter-productive because it may give Lasher (who IS responsible for what is implemented on TMS) more than one point of view rather than only yours, that is, with all due respect, not a complaint I can take seriously.
The problem is, you have yet to point out any pitfalls. We're talking about giving players more information than they currently have. The idea was proposed by Lasher himself: he is hardly caving in to anyone else's interests by agreeing with his own opinion. The argument that the giving or not-giving of in-game rewards is unverifiable is absurd, because as soon as you allow for the possibility of dishonest admins, there is no point in classifying MUDs in any way at all. You have yet to raise a single other coherent objection; everything else you've said is an attempt to deflect attention away from what is actually being discussed.

You still haven't answered my question, so I'll ask it again:

Lasher has proposed a change to TMS which give players more information about a MUD's policies than the players can currently get from a TMS search: he has suggested that players should have the option of searching for MUDs on the basis of their commercial status - if they choose to. You are opposed to this change. Why, therefore, are you so hellbent on preventing Lasher from giving players more information and allowing them to perform such a search if they want to? Even if you feel that the players' desire to make such a search is ill-advised, it is still their decision, not yours; and it is up to Lasher to provide such a service (or not) based on the effort involved and the benefit it would provide to players doing TMS searches.

Last edited by shasarak : 10-20-2007 at 10:32 AM.
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Old 09-28-2007, 09:10 AM   #505
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Re: The Cold Hard Facts

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Originally Posted by Emil View Post
Did I feel decived? Sure I did.

Did I feel that I had wasted my time? Sure I did.

I also felt very stupid, because I hadn't spotted this before I even logged on. I don't like feeling stupid, which is probably why it left me with a very bad taste in the mouth.
A very insightful post, Emil. Do you think that the proposed four-choice (or five-choice) suggestion might have made a difference, had it been available back when you were looking for a mud?

Or as some have suggested, would you have found it even more misleading to see a mud listed as "no payments/donations accepted" when in fact it's possible that some players might be selling equipment behind the mud owner's back?
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Old 09-28-2007, 09:35 AM   #506
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Thumbs up Re: The Cold Hard Facts

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Originally Posted by the_logos View Post
That's the problem though. This behavior isn't inherently observable. There is no evidence to be had of an admin wishes to ensure there is none.
The admin's wishes don't fully determine the case; people do get caught in misdeeds. It's nonetheless a legitimate risk that an admin will 1) represent his MUD as no-money-accepted, 2) have players sign up on that basis, 3) accept money, and 4) not get caught. I'd also call it a a reasonable one to take. I don't think it's too much to presume that most people will be honest.
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Old 09-28-2007, 12:00 PM   #507
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Re: The Non-Cold Non-Hard Non-Facts

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Originally Posted by Valg View Post
1) You haven't shown 'proof' of anything, other than this 17-page thread has a pair of posts from new posters. It's obnoxious to claim that it counts as "proof" enough to dismiss their opinions as worthless, merely because they disagree with you.

2) Does it bother you that multiple commercial MUDs have staff posting on this thread, alongside their employers? If you're concerned about independent viewpoints, surely you'll direct the same vehemence towards them.
Point 1. I still see you are unwilling to accept the fact that this thread is basically a group of Admins arguing over the Definition of Free and has no relevancy in what "players" want. That is the main point I have proven. Secondly, I never "dismissed" anyone's opinion or called them worthless. What I did was call the poster suspect and I only did that with two posters, on the rest I made the point of their posts being on both sides of the argument. As for the two posters I called suspect, neither one has proven anything other than one of them making a new post. I have since sent him a private message so as not to cause any conflict in public.

Point 2. Multiple commercial muds having staff posting on this thread? Okay, by multiple, you sound like you mean perhaps four or more commercial muds with staff posting on this thread? Okay, can you name these "multiple" muds and their staff?

If you are going to make posts about me or others it would be nice if you stuck with the facts or at least a semblance of factual content.
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Old 09-28-2007, 12:22 PM   #508
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Is it me or is the whole argument about this only being an argument between admins completely ignoring the fact that becoming the admin of one game does not stop you being a player. Just because you head a MUD doesn't mean your opinion on how to search for other games, as I'm sure you do, is suddenly irrelevant or suspect.

Unless of course you only admin a MUD and don't play or search for any other games. Then your opinion would be a little uninformed.

EDIT: And that's "you" in a general sense, not directed at anyone specific
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Old 09-28-2007, 12:24 PM   #509
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Angry Re: The Non-Cold Non-Hard Non-Facts

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I still see you are unwilling to accept the fact that this thread is basically a group of Admins arguing over the Definition of Free and has no relevancy in what "players" want.
And I see you are still unwilling to stop going ad hominem. Did all the calls to start addressing actual points and stop talking about people's professions and motivations go over your head? Or did you think they didn't apply to you because some of them came from someone whose position you're defending?
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Old 09-28-2007, 01:19 PM   #510
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Re: The Non-Cold Non-Hard Non-Facts

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Originally Posted by chaosprime View Post
And I see you are still unwilling to stop going ad hominem. Did all the calls to start addressing actual points and stop talking about people's professions and motivations go over your head? Or did you think they didn't apply to you because some of them came from someone whose position you're defending?
I'm sure Valg can answer for himself. While your posts add some humour to the mix, making a direct post that goes against what you are arguing others to do is a display in oxymoronics. My post was directly related and questioned at Valg and had nothing to do with any other posts here. You see, Chaosprime, when someone makes a claim toward another, that person responds. Sit back, relax, and watch the show for awhile. When you make an outlandish statement, I'll call you on it too, fair enough?
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Old 09-28-2007, 01:28 PM   #511
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Re: The Non-Cold Non-Hard Non-Facts

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I'm sure Valg can answer for himself.
My post was nothing to do with Valg. It's to do with a point you keep harping on that's entirely ad hominem: "this is just admins, not players". Even if it were true, it's out of bounds, and you've been getting a free pass on it. That's over.
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Old 09-28-2007, 02:20 PM   #512
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Re: The Non-Cold Non-Hard Non-Facts

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Originally Posted by chaosprime View Post
My post was nothing to do with Valg. It's to do with a point you keep harping on that's entirely ad hominem: "this is just admins, not players". Even if it were true, it's out of bounds, and you've been getting a free pass on it. That's over.
Dude,

I seriously wonder if you actually read before you post. No one got a "free pass". You act like this is some poor dramatic scene in a badly roleplayed mud. Read my posts and the reasons for my replies. Each reply has been in direct response to my research and statements being challenged. They aren't offensive, they aren't dramatic, they are simple facts based on information at hand. When I'm wrong, I'm happy to be clear on it. When someone says "nothing has been proven" I'm happy to provide information to the contrary. If you make another wild dramatic post like "You will get no more free passes on it. It's Over man!!!". I will be happy to respond. And hopefully with some factual basis.
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Old 09-28-2007, 02:25 PM   #513
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Re: The Non-Cold Non-Hard Non-Facts

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They aren't offensive, they aren't dramatic, they are simple facts based on information at hand.
Do you even know what ad hominem means? It's not a description based on whether something is offensive or dramatic. It means addressing the people making the arguments, not the arguments themselves. Your two big hobby horses right now, "it's admins not players" and "onoz sock puppets", are both pure ad hominem.
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Old 09-28-2007, 03:14 PM   #514
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Re: The Non-Cold Non-Hard Non-Facts

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Originally Posted by chaosprime View Post
Do you even know what ad hominem means? It's not a description based on whether something is offensive or dramatic. It means addressing the people making the arguments, not the arguments themselves. Your two big hobby horses right now, "it's admins not players" and "onoz sock puppets", are both pure ad hominem.
I can't believe I actually have to repeat my own post to show you what I was refering to when I said you were being dramatic: "You've been getting a free pass. That's over." There, is that clear enough for you what I was referring to?

As for what I stated before. I was responding to direct challenges to my posts that were incorrect. What part of "responding to posts" are you having trouble with? Pointing the finger of "ad hominem" as if you are some director of a high school debate team is irrellevant when the argument is about a response to a post and the value in that post and argument. The fact remains that the "controllers" (call them admin, call them players, call them puppets, call them robots) of several muds who have a certain view on what "Free" means, are arguing against "controllers" of commercial muds that view it differently. The line is very clear in the sand. The reasons for each side are also clear. The supposed "guise" that this is about what "players" want is a complete farce. THAT is the point I'm making. It is relevant, it has value, it is not an argument to take away from the thread. It is an argument that has merit.

Why is it that you cannot even address that perhaps there are motivations to this thread? I clearly see them. I'm not against stating my motivations clearly: my motivation is to be against a set of boxes that are being proported as "wanted by players" when there is zero proof of that, but rather are being toted as a device for gain by some muds and loss by others. My motivation is to give a more clear better choice for all "controllers" not just the ones that have their mud set to the most advantage position in such a search. I wish to be fair to both free and commercial muds. I think that IRE and Threshold are very clear about their commercial costs associated to players. And both sets of games are free to play. I posted early on to glean more motivation clarity when I asked which button each mud would check. Very few answered this post.

You yourself have come out and said the following:
Quote:
Originally Posted by chaosprime
Why in the world is it SO important to stop people from having easy access to this information?
Really, it's disgusting. I've lost so much respect for commercial MUD operation, throughout this, because of the way it apparently compels one to fight tooth and nail against anything that interferes with the ability to perform misleading advertising.
I mean, please. You can make this statement, but poo poo on anyone who disagrees and makes a similar statement against you? If you feel that everyone posting here is altruistic, I think you need to re-read this thread.
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Old 09-28-2007, 03:24 PM   #515
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Angry Re: The Non-Cold Non-Hard Non-Facts

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Why is it that you cannot even address that perhaps there are motivations to this thread?
Because when I speak to people's motivations, I get told by moderators to stick to arguments, not people's motivations.

The question of why I'm the only one who will call you on the same behavior is left as an exercise for the interested student.
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Old 09-28-2007, 03:25 PM   #516
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Re: The Non-Cold Non-Hard Non-Facts

Just for clarification I would like to post a recant on my alledgement of Arabis' motivations in posting. Sorry about that Arabis if I used your posts as an example of possible foul play. I have sent Arabis a pm, but thought it fair to help clear that up openly.
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Old 09-28-2007, 03:56 PM   #517
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Re: The Non-Cold Non-Hard Non-Facts

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The fact remains that the "controllers" (call them admin, call them players, call them puppets, call them robots) of several muds who have a certain view on what "Free" means, are arguing against "controllers" of commercial muds that view it differently. The line is very clear in the sand. The reasons for each side are also clear. The supposed "guise" that this is about what "players" want is a complete farce. THAT is the point I'm making. It is relevant, it has value, it is not an argument to take away from the thread. It is an argument that has merit.

Why is it that you cannot even address that perhaps there are motivations to this thread? I clearly see them. I'm not against stating my motivations clearly: my motivation is to be against a set of boxes that are being proported as "wanted by players" when there is zero proof of that, but rather are being toted as a device for gain by some muds and loss by others.
We've had quite a large number of non-admins post to this thread, now, all of whom have been in favour of expanding to a 4- or 5-option system, with the exception of Emil who has yet to express an opinion but clearly has significant issues with MUDs that advertise themselves as free but aren't. No player has yet posted to this thread requesting that players not be permitted to choose whether to search for commercial MUDs or non-commercial ones.

Are you really trying to claim that this is "zero proof"? What exactly is your evidence that players would be actively harmed by being given a search option they do not currently possess?

You and Threshold can harp on as much as you like about the alleged agenda of non-commercial MUD admins, but unfortunately the more you do, the more it rebounds on you. Let us suppose that it really is true that preventing admins from advertising MUDs as "free" when they aren't would provide a marketing advantage to the admins of MUDs that actually are free. If that is the case then, by your own logic, admins of pay-for-perks MUDs would retain an existing marketing advantage by retaining the status quo. Therefore, by your own logic, we should ignore the opinion of anyone who is the admin of a pay-for-perks MUD, because they are simply advocating a position which benefits them financially rather than thinking of what is good for the players.

I'm afraid you can't have it both ways: you're either right or you're wrong, and if you're right then you disqualify yourself from the thread by the same argument.
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Old 09-28-2007, 04:00 PM   #518
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Re: Obfuscation

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1) That's no more or less verifiable than "RP required" or "G-rated". The admin could be off having OOC conversations or mudsex with some players, and unless they did it in front of you, you wouldn't know.
If you don't see OOC, it doesn't affect you, so it doesn't matter whether you know it happened or not. If I, as an admin, am chatting OOCly with my fellow admins or, in private with a player (in order to resolve a customer service issue or something), it has absolutely zero effect on your experience. Presumably the idea here is, after all, to provide information that impacts a player's experience (not sure what the point is otherwise).

Further, it IS possible for an admin to actually enforce these rules 100%. It IS possible to monitor all communication in-game and enforce a policy that bans certain types of communication (OOC, x-rated, whatever).

That's not the case for RMT/first-party sales. An admin can never honestly say it doesn't happen in his MUD because it doesn't happen in his MUD. It happens outside of it - outside of both his control and knowledge.

Quote:
2) That applies equally to the two-box system. So what you're arguing for is a zero-box system, where TMS throws up its hands and the only thing you're allowed to search for is MUD name, or connection protocols.
Again, whether violations of RP or a G-rating affect your experience as a player are verifiable. It makes zero difference whether the admins of an RP-enforced MUD chat privately OOCly. If you don't see it, it doesn't affect you.

I'd argue that real-money transactions are basically the same in that they don't directly affect you if you don't see it, but I suspect I'm in a minority there. The argument being implicitly put forth by many posters is that it does affect you even if you don't see it.

Allowing a MUD to check a box that says that something completely outside of the scope of their knowledge and control (since it happens out of the game) is not happening is a little bit...off. Taking a cue from another current discussion on TMS about IM in RP enforced games, it would be completely dishonest for a MUD to claim that players aren't sharing IC information via IM. The admins have no way of detecting it or knowing it.

Quote:
This would essentially disable the search feature, leaving TMS's primary utility for finding MUDs the ranking list.
Well, that's not actually different from now. As Lasher has said, the primary way people find MUDs now IS the ranking list, not the search feature. That's not to say the now situation is preferable to other situations. Just pointing it out.


Quote:
It's pure obfuscation, and it's the only thing you or Threshold have offered so far-- confuse the issue with unproven hypotheticals.
Perhaps you should review the title of this thread. "What does Free mean?" The entire thread is hypothetical given that language has no objective meaning.

Discussing the facts behind the reality of running online games is not "confusing" the issue. You may be uncomfortable with those facts (such as that it is not possible to honestly claim that money doesn't affect gameplay) but that doesn't change them.

You may feel it's convenient to discard some facts or avoiding certain lines of questioning because it makes arriving at a conclusion more difficult (or maybe I'm misreading what you're saying), but I don't really believe it's in anyone's best interest to arrive at a legitimate conclusion that way.

--matt
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Old 09-28-2007, 04:24 PM   #519
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Re: The Non-Cold Non-Hard Non-Facts

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We've had quite a large number of non-admins post to this thread, now, all of whom have been in favour of expanding to a 4- or 5-option system,
Um. No. Large number is not 5 or 6 in a Forum that boasts 1000's of members. Also, which of these 5 or 6 have been in favour? As I posted earlier only a few were, maybe 3 or 4. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

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Originally Posted by shasarak View Post
No player has yet posted to this thread requesting that players not be permitted to choose whether to search for commercial MUDs or non-commercial ones.
This is a classic railsplit argument. No one has made such a claim.

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Originally Posted by shasarak View Post
Are you really trying to claim that this is "zero proof"? What exactly is your evidence that players would be actively harmed by being given a search option they do not currently possess?
Again, who said anything about players being harmed. What are you talking about Shasarak?
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Old 09-28-2007, 04:29 PM   #520
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Re: The Cold Hard Facts

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Originally Posted by Emil View Post
I didn't remember seeing anything about all this on the website, so now I went back to check it again. Being a bit more observant this time, after having heard the word in the mud, I clicked on the credits link at the bottom, which I earlier had dismissed as the place where you pay homage to all the people who have contributed to creating the mud. This was actually a rather easy mistake to make, because that is what the word 'credits' is used for in all Diku based muds, which is what I have mainly been playing.


Did I feel decived? Sure I did.
It's right there on the front page. *shrug*

Quote:
Did I feel that I had wasted my time? Sure I did.
Well, that's unavoidable really. I generally feel I've wasted my time when trying games given that I tend to only like about 10% of the ones I try.

--matt
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