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Old 08-26-2007, 04:52 PM   #101
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_logos View Post
If you consider being a hobbyist an insult I could see that (though would find it odd), but 'hobbyist' is certainly not intended as an insult by me.
--matt
How nice of you.

However, I don't share your opinion about those terms.
To me - and I suspect to several others - the constellation 'Professional - Hobbyist' has clear implications about lower quality in the latter.

We have already agreed to disagree about the definition of 'Free', and we are even less likely to reach a consensus about the definition of 'Professional', so let's drop that discussion too and get down to business.

'Commercial' - 'non Commercial' would have been acceptable to me, but I think Lasher's suggestion is better, it covers most bases and is probably less inflammable:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
[ ] Payment required to play?
[ ] Payment / Donations accepted, not rewarded in-game.
[ ] Payment / Donations accepted, rewarded in-game.
[ ] No Payment / Donations accepted, period.
Sounds good to me. I cast my vote for that one.

Last edited by Xerihae : 08-26-2007 at 06:50 PM.
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Old 08-26-2007, 05:11 PM   #102
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
I still haven't seen options less open to debate on their meaning than:

[ ] Payment required to play?
[ ] Payment / Donations accepted, not rewarded in-game.
[ ] Payment / Donations accepted, rewarded in-game.
[ ] No Payment / Donations accepted, period.
This works for me too (it wouldn't be my first choice, but it's certainly an improvement).
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Old 08-26-2007, 05:23 PM   #103
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
Avoiding using the word "free" anywhere so that we can switch to debating all day long what "advantage" or "commercial" or "professional" or "available in game" (realistically) mean doesn't achieve a whole lot.

I still haven't seen options less open to debate on their meaning than:

[ ] Payment required to play?
[ ] Payment / Donations accepted, not rewarded in-game.
[ ] Payment / Donations accepted, rewarded in-game.
[ ] No Payment / Donations accepted, period.

To clear up another point of confusion, Matt's username on the forum is "the_logos". Continually throwing out that line is not constructive, adds nothing of value to the thread and most definitely is not "good faith".

Lasher/Derek/TMSOne/Webmaster/whatever.
I'll give my vote for the above.

On a side note, there was some argument about professional/hobbyist. The only difference between a professional and non professional is whether you get paid or not. It has nothing to do with quality of performance in the strictest sense of the word. World class Gymnasts who win Gold Medals are still amateurs if they do not get paid.
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Old 08-26-2007, 06:57 PM   #104
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

I have deleted certain posts that were just arguments between members and not relevant to the discussion. If you have any issues regarding this moderation please start another thread or feel free to PM me.

Play nice people!

Last edited by Xerihae : 08-26-2007 at 07:28 PM.
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Old 08-26-2007, 07:19 PM   #105
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
[ ] Payment required to play?
[ ] Payment / Donations accepted, not rewarded in-game.
[ ] Payment / Donations accepted, rewarded in-game.
[ ] No Payment / Donations accepted, period.
Many, many problems. As soon as you go beyond Payment Required/Payment not Required, you enter the world of semantics. How do you define rewarded? I honestly do not believe that any mud which accepts payments/donations does not reward the "donators" in some way. It may be extremely obvious (items, xp, etc.) or it may be less obvious (a list of donators that gives donors notoriety in game, or the simple fact that donors will inherently have, or at least expect, greater access to the admins of the game). Even something as simple as a donators list is pressure on those who do not donate, and a reward to those who do.

But the biggest problem is these categories lack the far more useful and important differentiation between Professional and Hobbyist muds.

If we are going to start making changes, lets make the changes that truly matter to players. It is obvious that this distinction is even more important than payment model, since far more people play Professionally Run muds than Hobbyist Muds. In other words, the clear importance of this distinction is proven by the choice the overwhelming majority of players make.

This is even reflected in the traffic on the TMS site. I don't recall the exact numbers from memory, but the last time it was calculated, I believe somewhere in the neighborhood of 70-80% of TMS traffic came from professionally run muds.

This makes the following still the best, simplest, and most accurate set of categories:

[ ] Professionally Run Game. Subscription Required.
[ ] Professionally Run Game. No Subscription Required.
[ ] Hobbyist Game. Accepts monetary contributions or purchases
(includes sale of merchandise).
[ ] Hobbyist Game. No monetary contributions or purchases accepted.
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Old 08-26-2007, 07:33 PM   #106
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Originally Posted by Threshold View Post
If we are going to start making changes, lets make the changes that truly matter to players. It is obvious that this distinction is even more important than payment model, since far more people play Professionally Run muds than Hobbyist Muds. In other words, the clear importance of this distinction is proven by the choice the overwhelming majority of players make.

I'd be interested to know what sort of information you used to come to this conclusion. I'd be willing to accept that more traffic may come to TMS from commercial MUD websites/voting links, but the claim that more people play commercial MUDs than non-commercial ones I find a little difficult to swallow. I would think the ratio of existing MUDs stacks highly in favour of the non-commercial games, and even if they only have 10 players each I would think that there are many more people playing them than the commercial games even if said games have a bigger player base on average.

If you can support your conclusion then by all means do so, I'm curious as it's not something I've ever thought of before but in my mind the number of players playing non-commercial MUDs is far higher!
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Old 08-26-2007, 09:13 PM   #107
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

<Snippety snip: Please refrain from attacks against other forum members - Xerihae>

note: some of non-commercial game's average player online:

zombiemud:100-200
wheel of time mud: over 100
carrion fields:30-100
shadows of isildur:40-70
armageddon:30-60
torilmud: over 100
ancient anguish:30-80

and there are many many many non-commercial muds scattered around having 20 average players online.

yes, the number of players playing non-commercial muds is by far higher..

Last edited by Xerihae : 08-26-2007 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 08-26-2007, 10:51 PM   #108
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xerihae View Post
I'd be interested to know what sort of information you used to come to this conclusion. I'd be willing to accept that more traffic may come to TMS from commercial MUD websites/voting links
Well that was one thing I was referring to, because it is so easily quantifiable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xerihae View Post
but the claim that more people play commercial MUDs than non-commercial ones I find a little difficult to swallow. I would think the ratio of existing MUDs stacks highly in favour of the non-commercial games, and even if they only have 10 players each I would think that there are many more people playing them than the commercial games even if said games have a bigger player base on average.
I admit that I have no exact statistics on hand, but I don't think it is difficult to understand the truth of my words if you analyze it a bit. The professionally run muds out there have userbases that are many orders of magnitude larger than your average hobbyist mud. Many of them do not even bother to maintain an active presence on TMS (or any other MUD site). I mean besides my own company, you have all the IRE muds, all the Simultronics muds, Dragons Gate (the MUD formerly run by Mythic), Avlaon, and a host of other large, commercial muds. Between all of those companies, you are probably talking hundreds of thousands of users, and it takes a lot of 10 player muds to even start to compare. Runescape lists itself here on TMS as well, and they have 9 million users. In fact, Runescape basically renders the whole discussion moot right there by itself.

So yeah, it is plainly evident that the number of players who choose professionally run MUDs dwarfs the number who choose hobbyist muds. Does that mean the hobbyist muds stink? Of course not. I occasionally play hobbyist muds and enjoy them. But the overwhelming preference of players cannot be ignored.
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Old 08-27-2007, 12:47 AM   #109
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Professional vs. Hobbyist.
Pay vs. Free.
Commercial vs. Non-Commercial.
Payment vs. No Payment.

Semantics.

The reasons may vary, but it seems the arguments all revolve around personal like or dislike of those words. Why not let the commercial/professional/paid staff Muds decide on the name they wish to use and the non-commercial/free/hobby Muds decide on theirs, like this:

1. [ ] Professional, Paid Staff, Commercial Game. Required Fees.
2. [ ] Professional, Paid Staff, Commercial Game. Donations and/or registration fees. No rewards.
3. [ ] Professional, Paid Staff, Commercial Game. Donations and/or registration fees. Rewards.
4. [ ] Non-Professional, Non-Commercial, or Hobby Game. No Donations or Registrations accepted.

If your game is not 1, 2, or 3, then you are a non professional game, by definition. If you are a hobby game but accept donations in any form, you are a commercial game.

The big argument I see is that the pro games want to be called something other than payment game for the connection to sounding pay to play or "costly" to play, which I can understand and agree with, while at the same time the non-commercial, non-professional games do not want to be called "hobby" or "non-pro" for the reason that it sounds "poorly built". Again, I can understand and agree with it whether true or not.

By adding the categories as listed, I think you cover the basis, or if you don't want all categories, let the Admins who reside in those categories decide what they should be called.

Fair enough?
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Old 08-27-2007, 12:54 AM   #110
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

it's not difficult to estimate that non-commercial muds' playerbases in top60 list is equal to all commercial muds..besides this, there are dozens of non-commercial muds around have 20 average people online.hundreds of muds have around 10 players online, satisfied with their life.in addition, several muds that based on non-english language (popularized in a particular country) and not anywhere in TMS list also have larger playerbases than a random mud in top40 list, most of the time.
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Old 08-27-2007, 12:59 AM   #111
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rendekar View Post
it's not difficult to estimate that non-commercial muds' playerbases in top60 list is equal to all commercial muds..besides this, there are dozens of non-commercial muds around have 20 average people online.hundreds of muds have around 10 players online, satisfied with their life.in addition, several muds that based on non-english language (popularized in a particular country) and not anywhere in TMS list also have larger playerbases than a random mud in top40 list, most of the time.
And by what math does this catch up to Runscape's 9 million users?
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Old 08-27-2007, 01:07 AM   #112
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Newworlds View Post
Professional vs. Hobbyist.
Pay vs. Free.
Commercial vs. Non-Commercial.
Payment vs. No Payment.

Semantics.

The reasons may vary, but it seems the arguments all revolve around personal like or dislike of those words. Why not let the commercial/professional/paid staff Muds decide on the name they wish to use and the non-commercial/free/hobby Muds decide on theirs, like this:

1. [ ] Professional, Paid Staff, Commercial Game. Required Fees.
2. [ ] Professional, Paid Staff, Commercial Game. Donations and/or registration fees. No rewards.
3. [ ] Professional, Paid Staff, Commercial Game. Donations and/or registration fees. Rewards.
4. [ ] Non-Professional, Non-Commercial, or Hobby Game. No Donations or Registrations accepted.

If your game is not 1, 2, or 3, then you are a non professional game, by definition. If you are a hobby game but accept donations in any form, you are a commercial game.

The big argument I see is that the pro games want to be called something other than payment game for the connection to sounding pay to play or "costly" to play, which I can understand and agree with, while at the same time the Non-commercial, non-professional games do not want to be called "hobby" or "non-pro" for the reason that it sounds "poorly built". Again, I can understand and agree with it whether true or not.

By added the categories as listed, I think you cover the basis, or if you don't want all categories, let the Admins who reside in those categories decide what they should be called.

Fair enough?
I wonder if we're over complicating this whole thing. Many valid points on both sides:

1. "Professional/Non Professional" has implications other than their dictionary meaning. Not a good choice when you have to check the box that isn't labeled 'professional'.

2. "Payment rewarded in game" is too vague and has implications of a game stacked in favor of donators where that may or may not be true. MUD owners don't get a chance to explain.

3. Any label can be sidestepped. Back to the "Sword of uberness is now available without donations, for just 89 billion gold pieces" example.

Maybe a better and simpler option is a text area, something like "describe your payment model". MUD owners write in there whatever they want. Things people might write in there:

"Our MUD has a fully paid staff and requires a monthly subscription"
"Our MUD accepts no donations of any kind, free means free"
"Our MUD is financed by player donations, rewards available include X,Y,Z (note: these are also available without donating)"

Will it be completed honestly? I don't know. Will it be completed at all? I don't know that either, but if the information is important to a searcher and it isn't completed they'll move on to the next in the list. If it isn't important to them then it doesn't matter.

If there's one thing this thread makes very clear it is that whatever we call this field in the search it has different meaning to everyone, so maybe a descriptive field is better. Then again maybe not, just an idea I haven't seen on here yet.
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Old 08-27-2007, 01:12 AM   #113
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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The problem I foresee is that it doesn't add information. Who gets to call themselves a professional? Does it mean run by a for-profit company? Would most open software projects be therefore called hobbyist organizations?

If we can't agree on the term "free", there's no chance we'll agree on "professional".

But since it's a content-free term one way or another, and people can choose which they want to call themselves. I don't really care. Might as well add it if it makes adding the payment information more palatable.
Those are all legitimate issues, I agree. There are tons of grey areas that are implicitly glossed over in all the search options by their nature.

--matt
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Old 08-27-2007, 01:13 AM   #114
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

I have to agree with you Lasher.

As I wrote that last post I was thinking the same thing while defining all the possible taglines an Admin would want. I agree the best method is the text box with a declarative statement on what your donations or fees will entail, as you suggested.
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Old 08-27-2007, 01:18 AM   #115
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Originally Posted by Threshold View Post
And by what math does this catch up to Runscape's 9 million users?
it does certainly catch up to runescape's users who have heard of word 'mud' before or describes runescape as a mud..whatever it is we are talking about text muds..feel free to add second life, to your heart's content.
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Old 08-27-2007, 01:22 AM   #116
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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it does certainly catch up to runescape's users who have heard of word 'mud' before or describes runescape as a mud..whatever it is we are talking about text muds..feel free to add second life, to your heart's content.
Rendeker, what's up with your posts. They are not informative or helpful in the context of what we're trying to accomplish. I don't understand the attitude. We are trying to find a viable solution to a definitive issue and you are arguing about how many people play a game? Can we please stay on topic? And perhaps add something to the collective ideas?
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Old 08-27-2007, 01:31 AM   #117
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
I wonder if we're over complicating this whole thing. Many valid points on both sides:

1. "Professional/Non Professional" has implications other than their dictionary meaning. Not a good choice when you have to check the box that isn't labeled 'professional'.
I think you're right. It shouldn't be looked at as bad (whoever pointed out that Olympic athletes are fine with being termed amateurs was a good one) but clearly some people take issue with the hobbyist or amateur label and if that's the case, there's no arguing with it.

Quote:
2. "Payment rewarded in game" is too vague and has implications of a game stacked in favor of donators where that may or may not be true. MUD owners don't get a chance to explain.
Thanks for recognizing that. It's exactly the same as the potential misunderstanding over professional/hobbyist.



Quote:
Maybe a better and simpler option is a text area, something like "describe your payment model". MUD owners write in there whatever they want. Things people might write in there:

"Our MUD has a fully paid staff and requires a monthly subscription"
"Our MUD accepts no donations of any kind, free means free"
"Our MUD is financed by player donations, rewards available include X,Y,Z (note: these are also available without donating)"

Will it be completed honestly? I don't know. Will it be completed at all? I don't know that either, but if the information is important to a searcher and it isn't completed they'll move on to the next in the list. If it isn't important to them then it doesn't matter.
Sounds like a good idea. Nobody's checking what people claim in the current descriptive fields for MUDs either. I know I'd fill this kind of field out but does it really matter much if some MUD owners don't? I don't think so myself.

--matt
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Old 08-27-2007, 02:19 AM   #118
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

I sorta have to chuckle.

A hundred posts ago, the thread centered around complaints that a MUD could say that it was free to play. So, an effor was made to come up with some system to quantify it, and in the end... we're back to a system where the same MUD would still simply say it was free to play, but maybe in a dedicated field rather than the description.

Doesn't seem like we've added a lot of value here. In fact, if this is the answer, I'd save the effort and not make any changes, because there's nothing useful added.

OK, granted the payment models among all the various MUDs are really hard to classify.... but that's the problem, really. In the MMORPG world, it is quite simple for the most part. And there's something about this simplicity that just seems more honest and fair to me.

OK one last chance. There is one classification that you can't get around or complicate: a game that accepts no payment or donations, period. There seems to be a user base that finds that extremely important. So, let's just have a checkbox that lets a MUD state that they accept no money. The whole point is to have a searchable criteria, isn't it? And if these free games aren't any good, well, you get what you pay for. But you know, a lot of them are good. As good as any other.

A while back, there was a thread bemoaning the lack of activity on the site, if I recall. And there were all these calls to find ways to make the site more relevant to John Q Gamer. But yet, when discussions about the database come up, whether it be payment model or reviews or whatnot, it seems there is a lot of focus not on what serves the gaming public, but what serves the game producers.

I look at a site like MMORPG.com that has a huge amount of traffic and activity, and I see very much an opposite view, at least, in my opinion. It's filled with the fanbois, and the flamers, and all those in between. But not so much the game producers themselves. And /that's/ what I think makes it a much more vibrant site.
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Old 08-27-2007, 02:31 AM   #119
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
Maybe a better and simpler option is a text area, something like "describe your payment model". MUD owners write in there whatever they want. Things people might write in there:

"Our MUD has a fully paid staff and requires a monthly subscription"
"Our MUD accepts no donations of any kind, free means free"
"Our MUD is financed by player donations, rewards available include X,Y,Z (note: these are also available without donating)"

Will it be completed honestly? I don't know. Will it be completed at all? I don't know that either, but if the information is important to a searcher and it isn't completed they'll move on to the next in the list. If it isn't important to them then it doesn't matter.
I liked your earlier solution better, because it is less easy to sidestep by those who have an interest in obscuring their payment model, and also because a text area won't show up in any searches.

I also think there is a distinct risk that it will not be completed honestly in many cases. When that happens it almost certainly will be noted and commented on by someone in the discussion boards, which will lead to more inflammatory threads.

If you go for this text area, at least make it obligatory to fill in, in the same way that the 'rate' box is obligatory now.

And here is a suggestion: Why not use both?
Keep the check boxes, but also give the Mudowners a chance to explain the details of their system in an attached text area.
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Old 08-27-2007, 03:05 AM   #120
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Nobody liked my idea to just give hard figures? It'd solve all the bickering over semantics.
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