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Strange Bedfellows Society
Game Design - help files
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The Writer's Block
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Strange Bedfellows Society
Greetings and welcome to the "Features" section of Imaginary Realities.
Some things will remain constant every month, like the reviews and the
columns, to give a bit of stability and to give you something to look
forward to! Now while you may not want to hear the rantings and raving of
just another MU*er, well, we needed something to fill up the space, so here
Tonight's topic: Politics on MU*s, and the Strange Bedfellows Society
First off let me qualify myself by saying that I'm a MUSHer and that my
experience is fairly limited to MUSH/MUX/MUSE and related roleplaying and
chat codes. So this may not be completely applicable. Also let me note
that my very dear friend and IC husband is named Strange, so I'm allowed to use
that term in the title ;)
Politics amongst the admin can absolutely ruin a MU*. When one wizard hates
another, things get testy, and players start pitting the factions against
each other, hoping that in the melee they'll wind up with whatever it was
they wanted to weasel from the staff. Pettiness, infighting, and
personality conflicts can make life hard for players as well as staff. You
know that as well as I.
The real problem comes when staff members become romantically entangled with
other staff members. I use entangled, for on many MUSHes where I have
worked, it's not just the occasional couple that sprouts, but entire love
triangles/squares/circles that arise as staff members date around the admin
list. Icky stuff when grudges and broken hearts are involved. Check around
your MU*, how many of the petty little fights were caused by romantic
relationships that went sour?
I must admit to extreme guilt in this category myself, and I won't even
begin to explain the dating history on the MUSHes I have staffed on...
it's a complex tangle of exes, crushes and current loves whose
geometric qualities are nearly impossible to map. And I'm guilty of hiring
my romantic partners to be my junior admin, or getting them hired as wizards.
Now some of you may not understand why this may be a problem...and some of
you obviously don't date! MUSHing with your significant other is tremendous
fun, but notice how much your petty daily spats carry over into your mush
life. Even this is not generally a problem when you are just players, but
when you are both wizards, the world should watch out. Have you ever seen
two wizards in a lovers' spat? RUN AND HIDE! Especially if the spat lasts
more than a few days...plots start developing to annihilate the entire other
person's faction, which ultimately drags innocent bystanders into horrid
plots which may lead to character death. Not to mention the tension that
hangs over staff meetings and the general lack of cooperation between two
staffers who typically work together hand in glove.
Tips for avoiding these problems:
Don't work on a MU* where your (in)Significant Other(s) works.
Hah, like either of you really wants to quit. So maybe..
Have a mutual confidant on the MU* who can set you both straight when
things get nasty, but will also hear both sides of the story.
This helps to keep balance and gives you a built-in, in-house
arbitrator when you're fighting. But beware, nosy confidants can sometimes
cause trouble, trying to get you back together when you break up,
or maybe they were the meddlers who push you together
in the first place (You know who you are...I won' t name any
names but your initials are Ben!)
Don't MU* when angry! Period! Good advice for anyone really. You
take things out on the poor, undeserving players. OK and you take
things out on the deserving twinks too, but you don't really like to
be that mean, do you?
OK, so maybe none of these will work. But hopefully just being aware of the
situation can help.
For players faced with MU*s where the admin are in luvv but fight a lot I
can only recommend that you not take things personally, but that you never,
ever suggest that their mood toward you is based on their romantic
relationship (unless you're very close friends with them). That will only
serve to get them angrier! (And chances are that even if it's true, they
won't recognize it at the time). However, if it is a consistant problem on
the MU*, write a polite and respectful letter to the staff suggesting that
perhaps the personal problems of the admin are a detriment to the MU*. But
be POLITE! Ranting, whining letters will get you nowhere, as a general
rule, and insulting, whining, ranting, "You lousy admin, get over it"
letters will likely get hostile reaction. The key as always with letters to
staff is just be nice, state your claim simply, and avoid accusations and
negative terminology at all costs. You'd be amazed a what a little common
courtesy will get you these days.
So just remember, MU*-land, datiing your fellow wizards can be dangerous.
But boy is it fun ;)
Love and Peace,
September 1998 Imaginary Realities, the magazine of your mind.
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