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Strange Bedfellows Society

by Juiliann

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 I am!

Tonight's topic: Politics on MU*s, and the Strange Bedfellows Society

Gillian Anderson, David Ducovney and a dog 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:

  1. Don't work on a MU* where your (in)Significant Other(s) works. Hah, like either of you really wants to quit. So maybe..

  2. 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!)

  3. 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,
Juliann