History of Online Games
Letters to the editor
- Jessica Mulligan
Roleplayability in Muds
- Tommi Leino
If You Don't Like it, Leave!
- Selina Kelley
- Carolyn Ebenstein
Taking Muds to the Next Level
- Nolan Darilek
Mud-Area Style Guide
- Marshall Buhl
- Lord Ashon
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If You Don't Like it, Leave!
by Selina Kelley
I've always considered myself a fair administrator. I try to think
calmly, act rationally, and treat others with care. That being said, I
am somewhat ashamed to admit that in some rare cases my calm, rational,
careful thinking goes out the window and I end up saying to a problem
player "If you don't like it, leave!".
I've seen this said many times since I've started mudding, and I've
always tended to disagree with it. Blanket sayings, no matter how
difficult the player, tend to make you look close-minded and arrogant.
At the same time, doesn't an administrator have the right to say who
plays the mud and who doesn't? Where do you draw the line?
Where democracy happens (sometimes).
I'm currently on a mud that can be considered fairly "easy-going" when
it comes to rules, reception to complaints, and general patience. A
player is given the right to voice their opinions about the game whether
it be positive or negative, regardless of their maturity in voicing it.
Sometimes this leads to players becoming unruly and argumentative, but
while we guarantee that we'll listen to them, we have never guaranteed
we'd do anything about it. So what do you do when a player just "won't
let go"? It's difficult to just idly sit by and say nothing when a
player becomes abusive, but what really is the "best" way to handle
The general consensus of the mud community is that a player has no
rights on a mud anyway, and that if they disagree with the administrator, they'd
best leave without causing a fuss. I disagree to a point. I believe
that a player should have the right to give their view and opinion on
the game, but they do not have the right to abuse others while doing
it. I've chosen to run my mud as I would wish, if I were a player, a
mud that I am on be run; somewhat democratic, fair, and most of all,
fun. This means that I am receptive to any and all views of how the mud
plays, is run, etc. At the same time, I do not normally tolerate an
abusive player. But while a run of the mill administrator would
generally "solve" a problem player by banning them, with the statement
"you don't like it here, so go play elsewhere", I don't believe that the
problems of a mud can ever be found or addressed by just removing people
who disagree with how you run things.
Granted, the line between giving your opinion and abusing an
administrator has always been thin and blurry, but if you look at every
negative criticism from a player as constructive, rather than taking it
personally, no matter how much a player hates aspect of your game,
it is difficult for them to get to the stage of abusiveness when you
spend the time to listen and talk to them.
It's possible that I have just been blessed with "good" players, but I
don't really believe so. With the general population of muds tending
toward younger players these days, you are always going to run into
immaturity, and while it would be nicer to receive an intelligent,
cohesive, constructive email from a player regarding your mud, you have
to understand that the younger player cannot always place their true
feelings in words that will not upset you. They normally don't mean it
personally, but sometimes it is difficult to wade through the email and
realize that. "This sucks" is not normally constructive criticism, but
most of the time you can get them to explain what they mean just by
talking to them and asking "why?". Most of the time, players only want
their opinion heard, and if you have a legitimate reason for disagreeing
with them, I have yet to find a time when that has not been acceptable.
I think what it boils down to is respect for the fellow player and
administration alike. It also boils down to the maturity of the
administration. Not everyone is out to get you. Not everyone is out to
destroy your game. If you look at negative emails, posts, discussions,
etc as an aim in making your mud "less yours", then it's possible you
need to rethink having a mud in the first place.
I know it's not fun to be told that something you've worked on for
possibly the last two years or more of your life might have flaws, but
remember that nothing is perfect. Neither you, your mud, or the players
on your mud will ever be 100% correct, the trick is to try to determine
what is best for the mud and the players on it, without losing your
If you don't like how my mud is run, tell me so. I can never make it
better unless you do.
Feburary 2000 Imaginary Realities, the magazine of your mind.
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