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Recommended reading

A friend forwarded me this:

------- Forwarded Message

Date: Fri, 27 Sep 1996 10:41:49 -0700 (PDT)
From: Phil Agre <>
To: Red Rock Eater List <>


People who run MUD's keep telling me variants of the same story, whose
upshot is that some user starts behaving in extremely divisive ways and
starts turning the whole place inside out. One typical pattern is for this
user to do something outrageous, provoke a strict response, scream about
injustice, and polarize the community between lovers of order who hate
the user and lovers of fairness who hate the administration. Another
typical pattern is people who wait until the last minute of a group
decision-making process to raise fundamental objections, carrying on about
dictatorship unless everyone starts the whole process over again from
scratch. Such people give genuine crusaders for justice a bad name, of
course, and they also cause immense and mysterious upset. Everybody who
operates a MUD should read R.D. Hinshelwood's book "What Happens in
Groups:  Psychoanalysis, the Individual and the Community", London: Free
Association Books, 1987. It is a detailed account of exactly this sort of
behavior.  It's set in mental hospitals, of course, as opposed to MUD's,
but the principles are the same.

------- End of Forwarded Message


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