Sermon Hat

#: 170732 S10/BL Wizzes & Witches
    14-Apr-88 15:38:50
Sb: #170593-#BL's Future?
Fm: richard 76703,3042
To: Merlin 74620,610

        Hmm, perhaps it's time I made an appearance in this argument...

        The scenario you have described is completely possible. As I've said right from the beginning, it is the wizzes who rule BL, and who stamp their personalities on it, and breathe life into it. The atmosphere in the game at any one period in time is directly attributable to the wizzes who are active around that time. A game can be peaceful one time, and 6 months later it can be all hack & slay. Likewise, what mortals can get away with one day may be more than they could do the next year. The same even applies to what wizzes do - one year it may be OK for wizzes to go around dropping zombies on mortals, but wait awhile and peer pressure outlaws the practice. I've been managing MUD for long enough to see these patterns emerging, and I could probably get a PhD in sociology for it if I wrote it all up!

        Now the reason the frightening scenario you have described is unlikely to arise is because enough wizzes don't like the idea (I hope!). Arch-wizzes wouldn't stop it unless it drastically affected the number of people who were playing (assuming it had a negative effect). Likewise, we wouldn't, indeed didn't, intervene when wizzes were dishing out T to anyone who wanted it when BL first started up here.

        Now it may seem to you that what UTHER did was a step down the road to 1989, his vision of a BL that was hell may be one where wizzes had no teeth and mortals ran the game, and his action was to try and stem the tide in that direction. I don't know. I don't even care too much, since he did agree to restore STRANGER.

        There are elements of this specific case which are dubious, for example I'd have forgiven STRANGER for his action because it was obviously (from the description) heat of the moment and he forgot where he was. I wasn't there, of course, if I had have been I may have thought differently. Anyway, the point you are making goes deeper than this, so I won't look at the specifics of the case.

        When something happens which causes a divergence of opinion between wizzes as to whether it is a "good thing" or not, then it is time for a debate. That is what we're seeing now in SS10, and when a consensus is reached we can then react accordingly in the future. Since wizzes are split 50/50 on what UTHER did, he can hardly be said to have carried out some action which he knew would provoke the other wizzes, however he must have known there'd be an argument about the morality afterwards which would have implications on similar actions in future. OK, well, we're having that discussion now. It may be it remains unresolved and we have to see what happens in a few more cases before we decide what to do. In MUD at the moment, it would have been allowed to do what UTHER did, but there would have been a "freeze or I'll FOD" message just beforehand to ensure the victim had a chance to defend his action. I can think of at least one other time when players were FODded just because the wiz didn't like their name, and another time when all wizzes on at the time had to agree to a FOD before it occurred. It depends on who the wizzes are at the time.

        The maxim is: act now, argue later (ie. "publish and be damned"). If you think you can defend your actions, OK, do them. If the wizzes decided that FODding for WHering at START was something not to be done, OK, well next time UTHER did it he'd be asked to undo it, and if not then the archwizzes would overrule him publicly. We'd only undo it now if we felt that he had knowingly overstepped his authority and refused to accept it, which clearly he did not do. So the debate continues.

        However, the important thing is that this is a wiz-only activity. Mortals should NOT be involved. It's OK to say to STRANGER something like "well, I think you were badly done to, but only UTHER can restoire you" as many wizzes have done, but it is NOT OK to say "I think UTHER is completely wrong on this and you should be restored straight away to full points". It is asking for trouble to go ahead an restore him yourself.

        The GWG says a lot about how wizzes should not undo each others' actions. It also says that arch-wizzes will back up wizzes whatever they do, so long as it wasn't deliberately to wreck the game. It does not mention whether wizzes should back each other up. OK, so here's the policy on that:

        Wizzes should be aware of each others' right to do as they please, within reason. They should not undo anything another wiz has done (already in GWG), and NEITHER SHOULD THEY SAY WHAT ANOTHER WIZ HAS DONE IS WRONG TO MORTALS (UNLESS THAT OTHER WIZ AGREES). Hence, saying you think what happened to STRANGER was tough on him is OK - it was meant to be tough! Saying you wouldn't have done it yourself is OK to. Saying that UTHER shouldn't have done it is divisive, and is not to be done, unless UTHER himself has expressed his regret and doesn't mind STRANGER knowing.

        Phew! That's the end!

        I would apologise for making this sound like a sermon (as SUSAN did for her message), but since I want this to sound like a sermon, I won't! Sometimes, on key points, a lecture is the only way to get over the information! Thanks for staying with me. I'll read the 48 replies when I next log in...

                Richard ----*

Copyright © Richard A. Bartle (
21st January 1999: bl10a.htm