MOO-cows Mailing List Archive


anonymity in moos

We've been having a big debate on our MOO about whether or not to have 
player's email addresses be publically readable.  Reasons for it are to 
encourage a more mature player base, with people who are willing to be 
open about who they are (our MOO is intended to be a virtual community, 
as well as the usual social VR that most MOOs seem to be).  On the other 
hand, there's arguments that some people would rather remain anonymous, 
for one reason or another.

I'm curious about any MOOs that have done this in the past; I know a 
little about MediaMOO and have read various papers in the MOO document 
archives (back when I had ghostscript on my machine, argh... wish those 
docs were in html). I'm wondering if any others currently running have a 
similar policy.

In our debate today, one person speculated that if Lambda were to 
institute such a policy, half the players would quit.  I haven't been to 
Lambda in a long while so I'm not sure what the players there are like, 
either, but a friend of mine noted this to me:  "As accountability 
decreases, base meanness increases.  Look at the near-absolute anonymity 
of LambdaMOO and the resultant coarse and crude behavior that's rampant 
over there.  (Lambda's not alone, it's just a highly visible example.)"  
This isn't intended as a slam on Lambda either, just an observation, and 
a bit of self-questioning as to "is this the road we want to travel down?"
I'm not sure.  I do know I don't want our MOO to become like a chat room 
on AOL.

Anyway, I'd like to hear how others have done it; I know most MOOs are 
still anonymous though.  Does that hinder a MOO from being taken serious 
as a virtual community?  

-Jackie Hamilton (


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