The Unfindable Flag



  • So since the Done Right thread has been derailed for the last three pages or so with Unfindable foo, and I really was enjoying the Done Right thread, I'm gonna go ahead and move this one over here so that people have an outlet for it.

    As far as the Unfindable flag goes, I'm really of two minds on it. I think that MU's are about interaction, and when you give the players tools to bar interaction, then you're essentially adding a poison pill to the MUX. More people will start using this eventually, and that just leads to a bad gaming environment where people are always unfindable and just bypass the tools coded specifically to let you know where people are RPing at.

    I agree that if harassment is a thing, staff should be involved. Sure, staff hates babysitting, but if it's legit harassment, we'll deal with it. Hell, I will specifically and happily deal with it and tell said harassing d-bag to knock it the hell off already before they see my angry face. On the flip side of this, I will also tell you that you're being a whiny baby, and what this person is doing is not harassment, it's legitimate social interaction and seriously stop feeling so entitled, but as a last resort you can pagelock them all on your very own, here's how, (and if it's IC, then you should be dealing with this IC, in theory, because that's the nature of the game) but I'm kind of a monster. I can be pleasant but seriously, @Coin is often more patient with that crap than I am. Just throwing that out there.

    If you absolutely MUST for some reason use the Unfindable flag (and I am somewhat doubtful that there are really more than a handful of legitimate reasons to use it), I would much rather see this restricted to specific rooms, rather than able to be used on players themselves, and even then only staff-settable. Sometimes, you might have a really good reason. I tend to 'ok' things like that more often than poo-poo them, but you're gonna need to tell my why we should allow you to bypass a roleplay tool specifically designed to perform this function, since it applies to everyone, not just your stalker or whatever.

    But in general, I would disable this as a whole.

    Edit: Sigh, ok, I'm not that much of a monster. I try and be pleasant and diplomatic and find the happy middle in all things, because I like smooth operations, but dammit, a boy can dream.


  • Pitcrew

    1. The ability to hit +where and tell where everybody is regardless of whether they'd like their location known is easily abused.
    2. If people have the option to use Unfindable and they are choosing to use it, that says something about what their situation is. A good question might be: Why do you require them to be known at all times?
    3. If the concern is that too many people are Unfindable and no one can tell where any RP is going on, that points to a larger cultural problem on the game. These problems start at the top. Punching down at individual players is not how you solve those.
    4. Unfindable is not the same as Dark. It's more akin to taking your phone number off of the telemarketer list.
    5. I really can't think of a reason to demand that people remain findable at all times except if you just have to know where specific people are without letting them know you're checking on that.

    To recap: Unfindable helps to curb issues of abuse and misconduct, in situations where Unfindable seems to cause a problem I contend that the problem is most likely the whole game and not the MUX command, it is a privacy issue and not a sneaking up on people issue (to wit the person who has to find you all the time is the creepy party, not the person remaining private), there is a small element of social control to this whole argument, and I think the very subject is being questioned from the wrong perspective.


  • Pitcrew

    @Derp

    Sure, staff hates babysitting, but if it's legit harassment, we'll deal with it.

    I'm pretty sure I heard that if it's legitimate harassment that a MU*ers charobject has ways of protecting itself.

    On the flip side of this, I will also tell you that you're being a whiny baby, and what this person is doing is not harassment, it's legitimate social interaction and seriously stop feeling so entitled

    Can't make you miserable or otherwise just be a pain in the ass to deal with, without actually violating any rules or doing anything 'legitimately' harassing. Do we have a sarcasm emoticon yet? Meh.

    There's plenty of methods of communication available on a MU*, from channels to pages. I don't really feel as if anybody especially needs to be able to see exactly where I am or who I'm with via +who/+where. If they want to RP with me, they can let me know and we'll figure something out. If they want to RP in public, they can use channels or page folks or other tools. Most games I've been on have +hangouts code that show public spaces and how many people are there, regardless if any of the individuals involved are Unfindable or not.

    Given the amount of high school level gossip that goes on about who's RPing with whom, whether they're in public or alone in a room (which always 100% of the time means TS, obvs), blah blah blah, I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything being Unfindable all the time. Any game that thinks me being Unfindable is somehow a problem that needs fixing can go fuck itself.



  • Now that I've had coffee and the 8am hour is ready to be a thing, I can maybe sound less cranky. Maybe. We shall see!

    @silver said:

    The ability to hit +where and tell where everybody is regardless of whether they'd like their location known is easily abused.

    Most things in a MUSH are easily abused, depending on what one's definition of what abuse is. Is using a coded system to determine where players are currently RPing at abuse? And if people are somehow abusing it, is allowing players a way to bypass the system the best alternative?

    If people have the option to use Unfindable and they are choosing to use it, that says something about what their situation is. A good question might be: Why do you require them to be known at all times?

    You could just as easily as this from another angle. If you're out RPing in some sort of public space, why should players be able to hide from that? Again, I dislike the flag in general, but if it's going to be used, I would prefer it to be used on rooms, rather than players, basically for this specific reason. If you're out in public, you're out in public. You're not hiding from anyone, and anyone can come up on you.

    If the concern is that too many people are Unfindable and no one can tell where any RP is going on, that points to a larger cultural problem on the game. These problems start at the top. Punching down at individual players is not how you solve those.

    It's not punching down at individual players when it's a blanket policy that applies to all players evenly.

    Unfindable is not the same as Dark. It's more akin to taking your phone number off of the telemarketer list.

    I'm not really sure where you were going with this one, so I'm not sure how to reply to it. Can you elaborate on what you mean? It might be too early, or I might be undercaffeinated, but I'm drawing a non-sequitur here, and I can't help but feel that there's something here that's worth discussion, I just can't find what it is.

    I really can't think of a reason to demand that people remain findable at all times except if you just have to know where specific people are without letting them know you're checking on that.

    Alright, here's an example: Player A and Player B are hanging out at the Waffle House. Player A and Player B are both set unfindable. A couple of people decide to get together for a scene at the waffle house, because the +where shows that there's nobody there that they'll be disturbing, or because they want a quiet scene. So Players C and D show up, only to find that, lo and behold, A and B are there already. So they made a plan, got together, and then had to change that plan because A and B are using commands to bypass the code that specifically tells them if there are people at a place. This is why I would require players in public, non-private build areas to remain findable at all times. An unfindable room will hide you if you have a private build going, you don't need to set yourself unfindable when in a public grid space.

    @helloraptor said:

    I'm pretty sure I heard that if it's legitimate harassment that a MU*ers charobject has ways of protecting itself.

    They do. Like pagelock. I think I might have even mentioned that one above. Setting a player unfindable, however, applies that to all players, not just creepy stalkers.



  • I was going to edit, but meh, I can doublepost because it's short:

    Most games I've been on have +hangouts code that show public spaces and how many people are there, regardless if any of the individuals involved are Unfindable or not.

    I'm not sure that coding a second system to show where people are because people have bypassed the first system to show where people are is a legitimate solution to this. Most game have enough code and commands as it is, and as has been mentioned before, +hangouts tends to be very niche and usually inaccurate.


  • Pitcrew

    @Derp said:

    I was going to edit, but meh, I can doublepost because it's short:

    Most games I've been on have +hangouts code that show public spaces and how many people are there, regardless if any of the individuals involved are Unfindable or not.

    I'm not sure that coding a second system to show where people are because people have bypassed the first system to show where people are is a legitimate solution to this. Most game have enough code and commands as it is, and as has been mentioned before, +hangouts tends to be very niche and usually inaccurate.

    To be fair, I think the solution here is to conflate systems and see where it leads, which is partly what we're doing on Eldritch. The +dir and +hangouts code is essentially the same code.


  • Pitcrew

    @Derp

    Alright, here's an example: Player A and Player B are hanging out at the Waffle House. Player A and Player B are both set unfindable. A couple of people decide to get together for a scene at the waffle house, because the +where shows that there's nobody there that they'll be disturbing, or because they want a quiet scene. So Players C and D show up, only to find that, lo and behold, A and B are there already. So they made a plan, got together, and then had to change that plan because A and B are using commands to bypass the code that specifically tells them if there are people at a place.

    ...what the fuck? You just used being findable as a method for avoiding interaction. That runs almost entirely counter to what you started with. Make up your mind.

    If C and D want a quiet scene at a waffle house, and there are players already in it, copy the desc, hop outside, open a +temproom. Isn't that command pretty common on games these days?

    And I gaurantee you, there's more than one Waffle House wherever your game is set. :p

    I'm not sure that coding a second system to show where people are because people have bypassed the first system to show where people are is a legitimate solution to this. Most game have enough code and commands as it is, and as has been mentioned before, +hangouts tends to be very niche and usually inaccurate.

    It's the perfect solution. Are there people in Location X? Yes/No. If yes, how many. If people are just looking for public RP, why is that a problem? If they're trying to find someone specific, they can page.

    Moderated lists don't really work in a MU* community where people come and go as often as they do, and where building staff get super gung ho about removing builds from the grid (which drives me a little bit crazy). Just flag everywhere that isn't a private residence or secret/group specific meeting place public (with an attribute, not a flag, just a figure of speech) and have +hangouts show locations with people in them in descending order of occupancy. 2 people at the waffle house? At a glance, easy to say C and D don't do their scene there. After all, in your example it shouldn't matter who is at the Waffle House.



  • @HelloRaptor said:

    ...what the fuck? You just used being findable as a method for avoiding interaction. That runs almost entirely counter to what you started with. Make up your mind.

    If C and D want a quiet scene at a waffle house, and there are players already in it, copy the desc, hop outside, open a +temproom. Isn't that command pretty common on games these days?

    And I gaurantee you, there's more than one Waffle House wherever your game is set. :p

    My position is that you should be able to know where people are RPing at for planning and organizational purposes. How you approach that is up to you. But if you want another one, fine:

    Player A is a member of IC Group. IC Group often meets in Location X. But Location X is unfindable, and so those people never show up as being on-grid, and Player A doesn't feel like just sitting in the room waiting for someone to come in. So Player A might not be able to join in IC Group scenes as often as htey would like because there is no reliable way to tell if someone is currently in that room. Players often turn off channels, etc, so even asking there is not a wholly reliable way of going about this. Seeing that someone is physically there, even if they've turned off spam from other things, is a good method of determining this.

    There are any number of reasons for keeping people findable, but perhaps it would be easiest to group this all under ' because being able to determine that information is conducive to facilitating roleplay using a variety of means, from finding unused locations to determining major hotspots' .

    Does that clarify my position enough for you?

    It's the perfect solution. Are there people in Location X? Yes/No. If yes, how many. If people are just looking for public RP, why is that a problem? If they're trying to find someone specific, they can page.

    Creating two systems that are meant to do ideally the same thing is not a perfect solution. It is the opposite of a perfect solution, it is a redundant solution that creates needless overhead.

    Moderated lists don't really work in a MU* community where people come and go as often as they do, and where building staff get super gung ho about removing builds from the grid (which drives me a little bit crazy). Just flag everywhere that isn't a private residence or secret/group specific meeting place public (with an attribute, not a flag, just a figure of speech) and have +hangouts show locations with people in them in descending order of occupancy. 2 people at the waffle house? At a glance, easy to say C and D don't do their scene there. After all, in your example it shouldn't matter who is at the Waffle House.

    But again, I hold that this is a needless use of code when there is already a code that can show you who is at the waffle house, which is a public area. If you're super gung ho about no one ever being able to find you, then that's cool. Have staff @dig you a room with the unfindable flag and just never leave it. That's a solution that doesn't even require new code to be put in place, it's there right out of the box. That seems to me a more legitimate solution to someone's need to never be seen on a +where than adding in a whole other redundant system because you bypassed the first one.

    ' You' in the general, figurative sense, not you specifically.


  • Admin

    It's been a long time since I had implemented this on Tyme but if I remember correctly this is how it went:

    Players had a flag to signify if they were IC or OOC. If you were flagged IC you couldn't claim your character wasn't in a room - this was so catching spies was feasible as there were ways to be invisible. If you were flagged OOC you could still explore the grid, go anywhere you liked, etc but you couldn't see other people's poses.

    Players had a flag to signify they were looking for RP. It'd revert to off after a period of time and after certain events to help avoid false positives.

    The +where command (well, its equivalent) showed you no names. It only showed you how many people flagged IC were in each room. If any of them was flagged as looking for RP you could also teleport there directly without need to go through the +meetme/+agree handshake, otherwise of course you could be summoned over.

    It was an easy system so it saw good use.

    I never found RP channels to be worth much since they're spammy when you don't want them and pretty serendipitous when you do - since everyone must be looking at the same time to see it.


  • Pitcrew

    @Derp

    Player A is a member of IC Group. IC Group often meets in Location X. But Location X is unfindable, and so those people never show up as being on-grid, and Player A doesn't feel like just sitting in the room waiting for someone to come in. So Player A might not be able to join in IC Group scenes as often as htey would like because there is no reliable way to tell if someone is currently in that room.

    If there's a group where the only way to join in on gropu scenes is scanning the +who for when others of said group are at said location, there are way bigger problems than the unfindable flag. Like, way, way bigger. Monstrously big.

    Creating two systems that are meant to do ideally the same thing is not a perfect solution. It is the opposite of a perfect solution, it is a redundant solution that creates needless overhead.

    Only if you assume that there are no reasonable causes for someone to not want to show up on the +who, which clearly you don't.

    Have staff @dig you a room with the unfindable flag and just never leave it.

    If my choice were between that and being forced to be findable otherwise, I suppose I would. Or rather, I'd probably find another game to play. But that's a pretty stupid line in the sand to draw.

    Personally, I find +hangouts more useful than +who or +where. I'm not generally scanning for specific people (again, if I want to RP with specific people I'll page them to ask), nor is a list of names helpful at a glance. At least, not as helpful as a number.

    In fact, it'd probably be the most helpful if +where showed Location > # of People > List of Names plus Unfindables. i.e.

    Joe's Bar --- 5 --- Joe, Bob, Phil, Unfindable (x2)

    Or whatever. Then you'd just have the one command, and people could be unfindable, and tada everybody's happy. Right? :p


  • Politics

    @Silver said:

    ... and I think the very subject is being questioned from the wrong perspective.

    This is the most important thing you said. If the conversation were made simpler, the opinions would be argued with greater clarity.

    The "Unfindable" flag for a CharObject makes it difficult or impossible to determine where the PC on the Grid. It doesn't prevent harassment on channel, page, @mail, or otherwise. If you want a quick fix, there are other commands to prevent being communicated at without consent. If you want to address harassment, go to staff; that's their fucking job.

    That flag also makes it difficult for people you don't know to find and interact with your PC. If this is because you want to RP through a scene with others uninterrupted, then you can get a +temproom, if those are permitted, or tell people coming in to fucking go away. If intervening PCs throw up the old "it's a public place" bullshit, go elsewhere and pretend you're back at that place at which the scene was to unfold. If you don't want to be contacted ICly, then go OOC or disconnect.

    The reasons for why people employ the flag are myriad, but the effect is basic. As far as I can tell, it's a pointless device.


  • Pitcrew

    @HelloRaptor said:

    In fact, it'd probably be the most helpful if +where showed Location > # of People > List of Names plus Unfindables. i.e.

    Joe's Bar --- 5 --- Joe, Bob, Phil, Unfindable (x2)

    Or whatever. Then you'd just have the one command, and people could be unfindable, and tada everybody's happy. Right? :p

    I'd accept this. Personally I hate the unfindable flag on PC bits. I do. It's basically dark for PC's. People set it and forget it, etc etc. But that's why the above works as a good compromise.

    Unfindable on private rooms? Absolutely! Have it at, I really don't want to see Joe Bob's Cultist Lair of Raptor Worship. I'd rather find out about it ICly. Preferably armed and not tied up.


  • Pitcrew

    @Ganymede

    It doesn't prevent harassment on channel, page, @mail, or otherwise.

    It pretty demonstrably does, for me, since the amount of bullshit I have to put up with whenever it's gotten turned off for whatever reason is almost completely absent when I have it on.

    Even if it's just annoyingly snide "Oh you're roleplaying with so and so." or other stuff that isn't staff actionable in the least. Which it's not. As has been noted, there are plenty of ways for people to be assholes without breaking any rules or doing anything staff could step in for, and if the unfindable flag helps me cut down on having to waste my time dealing with that, it has value to me.



  • An alternate solution is to set all private residents unfindable, automatically making them unfindable, and all public rooms unfindable. So, like, homes could be set unfindable but any room in a business are not. Then it keeps privacy in tact as well as leaves it clear for public locations to be known and keeps private locations private.

    Now that I've thought of this.. I will need to ask @Rook to feex +where to reflect this because he does my code magic when he can.


  • Coder

    @icanbeyourmuse, I think you mistyped... "automatically making them unfindable, and all public rooms unfindable."

    I think you mean "automatically making them unfindable, and all public rooms !unfindable."



  • Er.. yes, I mean that. So smart <3


  • Politics

    @HelloRaptor said:

    It pretty demonstrably does, for me, since the amount of bullshit I have to put up with whenever it's gotten turned off for whatever reason is almost completely absent when I have it on.

    Admittedly, I didn't consider you in the equation, because any harassment you get is probably deserved.



  • @HelloRaptor said:

    Or whatever. Then you'd just have the one command, and people could be unfindable, and tada everybody's happy. Right? :p

    Nope. So far, the unfindable flag has only been discussed to keep people who are harassing someone from finding them. There's another reason to see who is where on the grid.

    Keeping people from going somewhere that contains a person they want to avoid. On various games I've played, there's sometimes been a person or two who I want to have absolutely nothing to do with because of OOC reasons. If I see that person in a scene, I won't join it.

    And if someone is being harassed to the point they think they need to be unfindable from someone, I'd think they'd want to avoid that person as well which would be much more difficult if the harasser was unfindable.

    Without an OOC Masq, there's really no reason for the flag. If you're being harassed, report them. If it's not at that level, page lock them. Once I found someone's inane drivel so constantly annoying that I went so far as to gag them completely in my client. As has been said previously, there are other ways of dealing with the rare idiot. We don't need to throw the baby out with the bath water.


  • Politics

    @TNP said:

    Without an OOC Masq, there's really no reason for the flag.

    Additionally, if you have an OOC Masquerade, you should disable the +who command or make sure that it doesn't reveal a PC's location. Sure, that might make RP hunting difficult, but OOC MASQ YO.



  • No one said in the last thread; does any game still have an OOC Masq?