MOO-cows Mailing List Archive


Re: Monitoring on MOOs and wizards' roles

>  I'd like to address the issue of wizards using their power to monitor 
>people through the use of #0:do_command and other such devices.  Is this 
>morally wrong?  I'd like to hear what people think about the use of 
>things like this that are in use at places such as CaxyMOO and HT (last 
>time I checked).
>  Comments, anyone?

First, let me say that I have just opened a MOO for beta testing, and we
have several verbs for watching what goes on.  We use channels, that wizards
can monitor, and we can currently monitor through the player's :notify verb
(no Do_command here ;)).  I think that this could be an abusive power, if
used the wrong way, but in general is well suited to the role of wizard.

Reasons why Wizzes should have these verbs:

  1. If you can see what a player sees, many times you can help them better
then listening to what they tell you is the problem.  Since we are in a beta
stage, listening in on players has been VERY helpful in determining problems
and fixing them.

  2. We have all seen those 'players' who's sole intent is to bother other
players.  The intent of my MOO, ToryMOO, is to be a fun RP experience for
everyone.  If someone has been reported as abusive, I want to see it
happening (to verify the problem), and I want to log it.  Players that are
abusive are destructive to the RP environment we have created.

  3. By watching what a player does, and what their first reactions to our
MOO are, we can better fit their needs by making difficult concepts easier,
supplying help where there seems to be a problem, etc.  Also, by following a
players path through the creation process, we are able to determine trends
in the character creation process, and pitfalls.

Why this works for us:

  1. First off, all wiz players are OOC only on ToryMOO.  If a wizard needs
to talk to someone, they can @summon them to an OOC area, or mail them if it
isn't time critical.  By leaving wiz characters OOC, this takes away a lot
of the 'temptation' to abuse this power.

  2. Within ToryMOO, there are different players who can already read minds,
control things, etc.  These characters use similair verbs to the wizards, on
a limited basis, to help move our deceptive, plan-within-plan theme of RP.
So the wizard ability to read a player's actions isn't so different from
what some players can do already, ICly.

What to Consider:

  1. We have considered the following problems that may lead to trouble with
this kind of snooping. Some players may be offended that they are being
listened in on.  Usually, however, these are the players who are trying to
do something bad. those with a legitimate gripe can talk to any other wizard
about the power being abused through them.  Also, another pitfall may be if
you have wizards with RP characters who have been listening in on the
opposition, which is expressely forbidden at ToryMOO, if in fact you are
using that kind of ability to further your RP character.

  2.  You may wish to post a warnign to players when they first login that
they may be being watched by a wizard for testing, quality control purposes.
Do this so players do not feel as if they are constantly being spied upon,
or are surprised when you tell them the news.

  One concept that I feel is important in this case is that a MOO that you
create is basically your MOO. Players who come to be a part of it are
entering your MOO and should abide by your rules. If your rules include a
listen-in type verb, they should have no problem with that.  Players can
always vote with their feet, by moving on to another MOO.  The MOO is like
your home, which they are visiting.  If they do not like the rules of the
house, they are free to leave.  If they feel that the listen-in verb is
being used for their benefit, the players us wizards want in a MOO will stay
around however.  This has been our experience so far.

OK, flame away, but remember this is just my opinion...
Matthew Hapke
Dune Master BBS (219)-879-9570 (Matt Hapke)

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