All I can base my opinion on is what I read and they were reasonable and mostly polite about it. He was the one being snarky and sarcastic almost from the start.
@DnvnQuinn Who's he, Rick? I tuned everything he posted out because it was obvious bait.
@Andy-K In the log.
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I'm not convinced standards have improved over the four-five years I've been there (my personal experience is that they've weakened). However, there has been a huge push to scheduling things and preplanning things to the extent that the stuff that used to be a big lure for 'old MCM' - the improvised plotlines and player-on-player combat has basically vanished.
Yeah the only improving standards there are the standards on damage control, unfortunately. Like with this tight-lippedness over the staff and player walkout. This has been an unfortunate trend there over the years--I would rather they at least be honest, like the new headwiz was today with banning Udi, rather than not say anything about it or change their story. Maybe this is a step in the right direction, maybe not.
@Duckula I was there one year and in that year I didn't ever see staff talk with players openly about things. Ever. Combined with their hostile demeanor and belittlement of non-staff, it gave a strong feeling that they consider themselves above everyone.
@DnvnQuinn Sorry, I just finished reading through that log. Seems he was out to cause a mess and bait people.
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@Duckula I wish they'd talk more, too. I absolutely wish that they'd mention why there was such a big schism instead of acting like everything's fine. I'm surprised by the recent MUDStat numbers for the place, honestly, how quickly they've surged back beyond what they were before even though nothing has changed. Did everyone just come back?
As far as the whole MLP/Pokemon/whatever thing goes... They were changed initially. I don't know whether they're still played like that. However, given that the MUSH as a whole has stumbled away from the war theme/setting/tone and towards something else, it wouldn't surprise me if they'd become far closer to the series as most people know them.
@ThatGuyThere kind of has the argument perfectly - A-Team and Star Trek can work, Friends and Seinfeld less so. If something is excessively comedic or fourth-wall breaking then those elements are - well, definitely used to be and I assume they still are - expected tob e filed down or removed entirely.
Hey everyone, this is the aforementioned Benediction in the log posted. As someone pointed out, I am the headwiz, and yes, I banned Udi. I want to address a few things.
The log is kind of self-evident, I honestly wanted to know what Udi thought he was doing, and as I kept talking to him, it kind of became clear that he wanted to shitstir for the hell of it.
I unfortunately was not awake for the whole Ed Edd and Eddy thing, but essentially, what was pointed out earlier was true: My Little Pony and the rest of the themes cited are themes that are more on the fantastical side, so they fit a little better. Admittedly, MLP got on the MUSH on the beginning of 2011, and I had only just started my admin career at that point and was, for lack of a better term, the low man on the totem pole. Most of those charbits are the same ones from five years ago. Regardless of what standards are today, it'd be kind of a dick move to take those bits away from long-time players who don't cause issues.
Pokemon was a thing due to the original owner playing Ash and modifying the theme heavily to a much darker tone. To those of you familiar with ancient MUSH history, MCM grew out of Pokemon Champions MUSH during...2008, I want to say? Maybe 2006.
Concerning tight-lippedness, yeah, it's a problem. Culture is really hard to change, and it's part of why I'm out here right now and talking with you guys. The reason the details of the staff walkout/schism haven't been released is because the people involved don't really want them out, and respecting their privacy is kind of a thing. I am fully aware that everything is /not/ fine, and things are not going on as normal. MCM is not perfect, and will probably never be, but I'm trying my hardest to make sure it at least improves over the long run.
@Gilette Mudstat numbers are deceiving, we recently took the idlekicker out (it was on eight hours) because I honestly couldn't answer someone when they asked why it was still around. I would say while activity is picking up again, it's still not near what our prime was. We have some things planned for the future to shake things up a little, but I can't really give an ETA on it until we've actually finished planning the damn things in question.
It seems there's a lot of bitterness here, and I'm not really going to make any judgements or argue if it's warranted or not. If your experience at MCM has been bad, you have my personal apologies.
As a note though, while I'll be watching this thread for a bit, I probably won't stick around much because this is a place to air grievances and it'd be weird to do that while knowing the headwiz is constantly monitoring for bitching or whatever. I'm not really interested in hunting down people for what they do off the MUSH, but if someone actually has an issue that they want to bring to staff (or to me personally,) I'm always open to talk to people if I'm around.
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@Benediction You have... pretty much done what I am pretty sure most folks around these parts have long considered the impossible:
A headwiz showed up to talk about their game and did not in any fashion act like a defensive ass.
I'm going to go buy a stack of lottery tickets tomorrow, 'cause... well done. :D
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@Benediction You don't really need to worry about acting like you're monitoring this thread--a lot of us are aware of the fact staff on games do, MCM staff in the past in general have also been pretty active against folks who speak out about them. It is a good thing your intention is not to go after people for speaking what they think.
MCM staff in the past have been extremely corrupt, favoring themselves and their alts while running smear campaigns against folks that they dislike. (Reliant in particular used to bring up applejack on a nearly weekly basis bashing them, ect--it's not really needed or good staff behavior since this was in reference to a previously banned player--but that's a whole different story.)
If you're really interested in improving how this wizcore works you need to encourage your staff to be more transparent with the playerbase, explain why you do things, don't change stories or create fiction about events, and be open with them--which I think you have been doing from what I can see on the game. The game has been run like a fiefdom for a long time, and while that's certainly a game owner's power to do so, it doesn't mean it's right or that players will respect staff for doing so. A lot of issues on there would be alleviated if players weren't basically afraid of staff and what consequences there might be for speaking up.
@Duckula It's a thing, yeah. There was a lot of friction on staff regarding what you're talking about that came to a head and then resulted in huge blowup that happened, but I have to say, way way back in the day, things used to be a lot worse. However, player bashing (even with Warwolf) has been one of the things that I've been steering things away from, though if anyone remembers the infamous Dr. Cox post, regardless of how much the player who got that deserved it and how much of a jackass they were being, it was one of the few times I actually yelled at a fellow staffer. Negativity breeds even more negativity.
If you want my opinion on why things are that way, it's like...before I hit the point in my career where I took over gripes, gripestaff basically worked on the procedure of "x is being a shithead, they need to be smacked. If they do it again, they get smacked harder. We pull them in, tell them they're a fucktard and getting punished, then do it." It's why the mere mention of Gripestaff or being pulled into an office, or being paged by an admin is enough to send shivers up someone's spine.
It's my thought on the matter that honestly, not a lot of outright maliciousness happens on MUSHes (When it happens, it's extremely obvious and easy to deal with as in Udi's case,) and basically, I try to see what the person wanted or what they were feeling when they did the thing that got them in trouble. It's usually something like "I don't feel like I'm getting sold enough," or "I feel like this person is talking over me whenever I try to do a thing," and it's my personal policy to try and get people what they are seeking so that they don't act up anymore because generally if people feel like they're getting what they want, they stop causing issues. My only term is, they gotta be willing to compromise and play ball, particularly with whoever else they're having issues with. It's kind of my job to make sure everyone is having a good time, and if people aren't willing to change, realize a bit of fault on their part, or at least give a little bit to allow others to enjoy themselves as well, I get kind of mad.
I realize that a lot of people might think I'm just saying a bunch of nice shit and blowing a ton of hot air, but the reason why in spite of having this be one of the guiding ideals to my style of administration that there's still problems is because implementing my philosophy 100% and acting like the goddamn Buddha is pretty hard when people aren't paid and are working essentially a second volunteer job. One of the things I've seen was that someone thinks staff is out to get them, so they figure no matter what they do, they're going to get shit on regardless, so they start acting up. This in turn convinces staffers that said player is a shithead and further cements both parties' negative opinion of each other, creating a shitty feedback loop until the dramallama approaches critical mass and something breaks in a sudden way. Staffers are human too, and no matter how morally or ethically right a thing is, it's a really difficult thing to go "Okay, why is this person doing this? There has to be a reason behind it," when they're raising hell in all sorts of ways and the easy way to stop the complaints and shut them up is to just bring the hammer down instead of sitting down, working with the person and figuring out their grievances.
A personal source of frustration for me has been how serious people take things when at the end of the day, MUSHing is literally just kind of an ephemeral thing that is totally fictional. People get extremely worked up when nobody's dying, losing any money, or losing their job or whatever, but people act like it's the end of the world because X person did Y thing in a scene and it is the cancer that is killing MCM. However, yes, I get that for the majority of MUSHers, if not all of them, it's a shitty thing to have your favorite hobby bring you no happiness because it seems like some asshole is making it their personal mission to make you feel bad and you can't have fun doing something you enjoy, but sometimes, I'm just "Jesus christ, at the end of the day, it's goddamn fictional actions presented in text. How are you letting this affect your emotional well-being this much?"
If I had unlimited mental energy, time, money and manpower, I could probably fix certain issues really goddamn fast, but I don't. I can't make someone suddenly feel okay over the fact that they feel someone's been shitting on them, regardless of what actually happened. If someone feels like they've been slapped in the face, even if everyone can see that's not what happened, they're going to be hurting for a while.
Like, personally, I burnt out and had to take a break from actually being an admin for a month because I just got so depressed at how people, both staffers and players, were tearing each other apart over pretendy funtimes. It's even worse when I am personally pretty good friends with people on both sides of a conflict, but I can't get them to meet halfway because both parties hate each other too much to even just agree not to cause problems anymore.
However, I've made it my mission to at least try and improve things relative to what they were in the past. Things get better in increments, and there is no magic bullet that will make MCM's problems instantly disappear. For example, I cannot simply legislate away culture problems that are a macro problem for the MUSH. I can however, make changes that try and steer it away from bad directions, though it's like being the helmsman on the Titanic.
As a conclusion though, my number one rule has always been to try and make people have the best possible experience they can. God knows I'm not perfect at it, but I make it a point to make sure that goes double for people I don't personally like, or play in a theme that I don't enjoy, because I have to remember I have to try doubly hard to make sure they get a fair shake. I will say though, the number one way to get on my bad side is to consider yourself blameless in a situation, or refuse to compromise in the interest of making things good and enjoyable for everyone. MUSHing is a collaborative effort, and if people aren't willing to work with others or at the very least, not bother them, then they need to get the hell out and find another hobby. Or maybe a nice circlejerking echo chamber. I hear those are pretty popular.
Okay, I gotta say, I found that post right there very impressive.
Good luck, Benediction.
That's all really good to hear. Thanks for taking the time to post it.
The Reliant-Applejack thing happened too long ago for me to remember clearly but I feel strongly enough about this one to speak up, as it touches upon a topic that's been naggling at me for quite a while.
Perception vs Reality can be a bitch because everyone's perceptions of the same events can be wildly different.
It's no secret that Reliant made some wildly inappropriate remarks quite a while ago. The MU* community seems to be very good at remembering every awful thing anyone's ever done... and upon any such occurrence, seemingly forgetting every good thing they've done. You could theoretically be a saint for 5 years and it will get little notice, but one human mistake and your rep could be forever tarnished.
Make no mistake, I am NOT condoning how Applejack was regarded there.
Question is, though, how many people who know about the incident also know the guy regrets his mistakes? The steps he's taken to avoid making them again?
As the coder for over a dozen games in varying levels of dedication I've spoken with many staff teams, seen plenty in action, even lead one. (And I'll admit, my attempts at leading one do not measure up to my own standards of successful. There is so much more I wish I was and could be doing, but that's neither here or there.)
Tying in with what Benediction said, I'll say there's three kinds of admin: those who have made mistakes and just keep piling them on with reckless abandon, those who've made mistakes but learn from them, and those who are a few months from becoming one of the first two kinds. Show me a guy who hasn't made some incredibly dumb mistake and hooray, we have a new fairy tale prince on our hands or something. Yeah, such people only exist in fairy tales. After helping so many games get going I don't think I believe in fairies anymore.
This might be the reality (or at least, my perception of said reality) but there's probably no shortage of people out there who will never forgive the guy for that, will always expect the worst is going on behind closed doors, etc. People holding that view, to me, come off as wildly paranoid, unforgiving, any number of things, and I'm sure they'd view me in whatever light reinforces their existing beliefs.
And therein lies the rub: who decides the reality of a situation? When I hear complaints about someone, somewhere, something, WHATEVER... I'm never hearing the full story. I'm probably only hearing the most negative things that the person cares to talk about, from one tiny slice of that thing's existence in history. It's not enough to really understand what's happening, but it's sufficient to gain a gravity and momentum all of its own.
Well. Thinking about it, this is a problem that kind of plagues all aspects of our lives, isn't it? Guess the point I was hoping to make has sort of rambled off into a sidewinder.
Eh. There are two points I was hoping to make with this post, regardless.
A) Situations are never black and white the way our anger and indignation may make all of us want them to be.
B) I'll stand by and trust people who've made mistakes and learned from them far more readily than I'll stand by those who are getting by on grace alone. In my viewpoint, the latter are headed straight for a make-or-break crucible and I've seen where that goes most of the time.
B is a viewpoint that I think the world could use a lot more of just in general. Applied to everything, DEFINITELY not just MUSHes. I'm tired of seeing binary perceptions being the majority that get voiced (I'm not saying that you are holding such, @Duckula , you just reminded me of this topic) when no person alive is perfect.
EDIT: After re-reading what I typed I realize I'm coming off more defensively than I wanted to. Reliant is a friend of mine so I guess it's hard for that to not leak into what I want to say, but I am genuinely trying to speak about the importance of trying to look at things from many angles and thinking critically about everything you hear as an objectively useful trait that would lead to better understandings all around.
I gotta say if @Benediction staffs in the same manner they post here the hobby could use more like them.
Now I don't think he game is for me, especially with that app, but I can honestly say it has been a long time since I have seen a staffer comport themselves that well on this board or it's predecessors.
Seeing as how I am staff there, I can answer that question: yes, yes they do. Sometimes find myself in awe. MCM's a model of game success in my book, despite the constant bumpy road and occasional incidents and scandals. For the games I've been helping start up, if they ask me about policy things I usually defer to how MCM goes about issues.
Unfortunately, 'how MCM goes about issues' requires people with cool heads and a lot of social skills and genuine interest in not being a power-mongering clique. These kinds of people are rare in the grand scheme of things, and having them all gathered together in positions where they want to stick their time and neck out and do things is also tough to wrangle. Now manage that and avoid wildly conflicting personalities...
It's my opinion that staff is nowhere near as corrupt as some feel. However transparency HAS been difficult to maintain, which isn't helping perceptions. Maybe @Benediction will want to speak on that more. :) There are things that are simply hard to make transparent though.
For an example, handling gripes has been traditionally kept really hush-hush to avoid embarrassing players unnecessarily and avoid churning up the rumor mill more than is needed, but as Bene said it makes them seem like the secret police in some ways. How do you balance this kind of thing? I sure don't know. Glad Bene has some ideas...
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@Benediction , you've been polite, clear, concise and very even-keeled as a headwiz.
With this in mind, I have a question for you:
What kind of unicorn farm did you come from and where on earth do we get more like you?
Seriously. These posts should be framed and sent to certain headwizes (coughZeroOnyXelsa) as a brochure on "this is how you wiz."
I know I made a joking remark on the length of the application, but it wasn't meant as anything more than that.
The processes today are a result of basically, app standards tightening the hell up because years back, the standards were super low and you could basically write crap and get away with it. Doubly so if, honestly, you knew someone on staff. We've been trying to cut back on being too harsh on stuff for a while, but man, the best way to annoy an overworked charstaffer is to have powers that don't actually describe what they do, have flaws that aren't actually flaws (Example: I Care Too Much Except When It Would Physically Harm Me or something like that) or a personality that only talks about how awesome your character is. Also grammar, but that's pretty easily fixable on our side (though come on, if you can't spellcheck in an email, how're your poses going to be?) Charstaffers like good apps because they can just wave 'em through. I can actually cite a case of an admin application being sent back for revisions because of their personality section, which is something you wouldn't expect, but hey.
I like to think of it as a way to get my thoughts straight about a character, but I'm not gonna lie, I've thought about apping a character, then opened up the app form and just went "...ugh, effort." Admittedly, this also prevents me from apping something on a whim, doing one throwaway scene and then squatting on it for ages. The biggest hump a lot of people run into is the fact that we want five hundred words in the personality section, which is a pretty good amount, though I know certain people who churn that out in a single friggin' pose. Regularly. (I am not one of those people. I have no idea how they do it.)
I can see why having to do that kinda thing would turn people off, and it's fine; there are games that have easier and shorter application requirements (or none at all, maybe?) and taste is kind of a highly subjective thing. I like our application where it is right now in terms of how it's written, and I can't think of anything at the moment off the top of my head that I'd change about it unless we did something radical like change how player powers are formatted or something.
I didn't really expect my comments to be well received here, and I guess it means I'm doing something right, so thank you for all the kind words. I kind of fell into the headwiz position and never actually expected to get anywhere near it, sooo...yeah. Been playing it by ear and crossing my fingers.
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I kind of fell into the headwiz position and never actually expected to get anywhere near it, sooo...yeah.
This probably explains why @Benediction is unusual in these parts. Most of the admins we tar and feather here either started with the position or sought it for whatever (usually selfish) reasons.
I mean beyond the fact that he hasn't shifted the blame entirely on the playerbase and didn't go on and on about how much he doesn't care while caring very loudly.