10 June 2011

Multiplayer Dramas

I was catching up on my reading on The Mud Connector the other day, when I hit this thread. If you are member you can see it, otherwise the summary is this, a player that disagrees with the admin was site banned or deleted or frozen - it happens. He posted in the Admin Ethics forum a complaint that the Admins there were unfair and he is done playing there after "playing there for years'. His reason was that players there are biased, racist and just plain rude to people who are not like them and the Admin does not punish their friends, but does everyone else.  That is not really the purpose of that forum. It tends to be a place where administrators, builders and players discuss ethical issues regarding their game such as is it right to play a mortal, code pirating and lifting etc. Although it is a fair discussion to start, just not one that should be done by naming names and  as the poster himself states to force game owners and admins to change through peer pressure.  

 After much back and forth and ridiculing of people in general some good naturedly, some not so, one Admin posted something that I think is one thing everyone forgets. I do not know how to link to a specific message there so it is visible to non members  there so here is a slightly edited version.

 ...snipped quote... 
The simple fact is that no MUD has any requirement to treat players fairly. They are not even schoolyards, which have rules with some enforcement and supervision; they are instead sandboxes or playpens. Unless the game's admins attract law enforcement activity or prompt their hosting provider to yank them for allowing something blatantly illegal to go on (like letting people use channels on the game to trade kiddie porn or some like that) or the overall game owner who provides or pays for the hosting gets sick of it and pulls the plug, a game can go on for years just for the benefit of the admins and their friends. 

 Now, that is true. But most owners and people who run games that I know try to be fair. They try to make sure everyone has a good time. That means most have a few rules and rules have to do with respecting other players. For the mist part every GM, Admin, WizOp etc, I know hates having to play nanny to players who cannot understand that sometimes their way of having fun destroys a game for others. Most withstand being called names, accused of unfairness as above and even shield guilty parties (for a while) from the wrath of the other players.  But GMs behind the the toon are human.

So, what I am trying to say here is before you go posting things like that think about a few things.

1. Why? If you are DONE there why deal with it at all.
2. Why answer an unfair admin in a public way or pick a fight with him in a public forum of his peers and most likely friends.
3. If you call the Admins names or insult them do you really think that will make them want to be fair to you or help your cause ?

This to me is one of the things I have never understood. When I am done with a game be it board, online or console I put it away. If  I am done for good I delete all, sell it, or in worst case scenarios throw it out. This is what most normal people do.  I know gamers are not normal, but then again we all move on to other games. To use board games as an example, I do not play Snakes and Ladders anymore. I may have played it with daughter when she was little. Now she has outgrown it. So it was given away to someone who might enjoy it.  I do not blame the game for it being no fun for me anymore.

The second is a bit more difficult to address as it deals with personalities. So let us liken it to a work situation.  If one employee is constantly gossiping, using racial and sexual slurs about others or you or harassing you in other ways, the obvious thing to do is ask them to stop. They may not realize the current joke about (insert nationality, race or other sensitive topic here) is offensive to you. They will not ever realize if you do not speak to them.  If that does not work, then avoidance is the next logical step. You have to work, you may even have to work with the person, but nothing says you have to have anything other than a work-related conversation with them. The last step is to ask a supervisor to step in and mediate or speak to them. If all of the above fail and the person makes it impossible for you to work there then the answer is it is time to move on.  If you really love the on-line game I suggest you try the above. Otherwise just skip to the last step, unlike work you do not HAVE to play there.

The last is to me the one that confuses me the most that people do not understand.  If every day you went into work you insulted your boss, when it came time for a promotion it is unlikely you will get one. Even If you are correct in what you say, lack of respect in how you are expressing yourself is not doing you any good.  I have had bosses reprimand me for regulations they consider idiotic or stupid, but part of their job is to ensure the regs and SOPS are followed. If usually, they agree it is stupid, but we come to an understanding of what has to be done through conversation.  I have never been written up for any of those incidences because we listened and spoke to each other. But if I had constantly undermined the supervisor's credibility and authority with co-workers, if I had insulted her outright daily by accusing her of favoritism, if I had accused him self-service only his own interests to his face, or even pointed out only mistakes made and lack of knowledge. Then when I brought before my supervisors with a minor infraction, I doubt any would have listened so fairly to my defense nor would I have gotten off with a just warning. Would it be fair, probably not, but what should I expect from someone who has been disrespected so much? Bosses are only human.  So are GMs.

The upshot of this is in gaming as in work or life people are still people behind the toons. Before you complain about how the GM is treating you,  look at how you have treated him.  Before you complain about others making comments about you based on your toon or what they perceive to be the person behind it, ask yourself what assumptions have you made about that player. If you still see no reason, then there are only one of 2 possibilities - you are the problem or they are the problem.  Either way it is time to move on, not look back and grow. If the same issues arise elsewhere perhaps it is you. If not, it was probably them. Either way you are out of that situation and in a new one where you can enjoy yourself leaving the others back there to do the same.

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