BL's Worst Weekend Hat


        Well, folks, you've really surpassed yourselves this time. We've just had what must have been one of the dirtiest wiz-v-wiz fights in MPGAMES that BL has ever seen. Along, I hope, with the majority of "neutral" wizzes, I was both astonished and appalled with what I read when I logged in on Monday morning. Things have degenerated to a quite extraordinary degree.

        I know that TONDRA is very disliked, but that's not, in itself, a reason to drive her from the game. She's no saint - indeed, she could be the devil incarnate for all I care - but so long as she behaves herself, she's as entitled to play BL as anyone else. If you really really hate her and can't produce evidence of misdoings, then you can always form a petition to ask for her to be banned from BL for reasons of being a pain in the backside. I don't know if CIS would accept this as a good enough excuse to get her out of your hair, but I do know that trumping up false charges, referring to obscure events that happened months ago, calling in witnesses who it turns out won't verify what you say, escalating the vitriol in SS10 and SS9 - beyond doubt, none of these activities is acceptable.

        TONDRA has two main faults: she jumps to conclusions, and she can't answer a nasty letter in a non-nasty way. Add to this a tenacity in not letting an issue drop, and a tendency to see attacks on her where there are none intended, and it means that anyone who gets on her wrong side is unlikely ever to get on her right side. Over the past few months, she has accumulated several enemies in this fashion. This weekend, the knives finally came out for her, and it resulted in her being driven off the game.

        TONDRA also has her virtues, paramount among which are a deep love for the game and a genuine caring for new players. However, even if she didn't have a "nice" side, her treatment this weekend was abominable. She wasn't thrown away because of anything she did, it was only because of who she was. Even if the things that were reported about her were true, they didn't add up enough to do more than slap her on the wrist. Other wizzes have been guilty of far worse crimes. If TONDRA had gone into the game shouting "get rid of Bonsai" and then denied it afterwards; if TONDRA had dropped a LS at the feet of a known killer and claimed it was just a random placing; if TONDRA had FODded a legend because she thought they were "not ready for wiz"; if TONDRA had dumped someone for ages in LIMBO for daring to ask why the icons had been taken off them; the list goes on. Instead, TONDRA gets told off for forcing a newbie to read HINTS, for giving one a brand, and for allegedly hassling MISERY in unspecified (and unsubstantiated) ways. While TONDRA is squeezed tight by petty restrictions, the rest of you get away with murder!

        OK, well wizzes have been driven away before, much to my regret, but it's happened. This time is different, though; this time, some unthinking wiz decided to post in SS9. Others followed suit, the floodgates opened, and we find, surprise surprise, that we have irrepairable damage to BL and to the status of wizzes. The SS9 posting was not justifiable. It was acceptable only because it was a resignation. If SOULTAKER is now reneging on his resignation (because he has "won"), then he has some VERY serious patching-up to do in SS9, and QUICKLY. For the trouble he caused, and the manner in which he did it, the GPM is perfectly within his rights to dewiz SOULTAKER, ban him, drag him through the streets tied to a wild horse, or whatever he chooses, especially after ST comes bouncing back as soon as TONDRA is despatched to the void (closely followed by GWIDION of the silver tongue).

        I'm also annoyed that there are lots of active wizzes out there who have strong opinions on what happened, but are afraid to state them for fear that they will go the same way as TONDRA, and be hounded out. The new wizzes, in particular, are cowed into silence. Listen, new wizzes, YOU HAVE AS MUCH RIGHT TO SAY WHAT YOU THINK AS ANYONE ELSE. Don't keep quiet just because other wizzes have been around longer - once you make wiz, you are their equal. They don't like it, you won't when new wizzes appear in 6 months' time, but that's how it works. They may know more about being a wiz, sure, listen to them there, but they have no more say in what is or isn't right than you do, and if more people spoke up in SS10 with reasoned voices, perhaps we wouldn't get these one-on-one arguments that serve no purpose but to deepen the divide between individual wizzes and eventually cause savaging like we saw just now. By keeping quiet about things that enrage them, wizzes are nevertheless implicitly condoning them. By not saying "hey, scuse my interrupting, but you've got it wrong, I was there, and the way I saw it happen was like this", they encourage people to say that others are lying, knowing that it's just their word against the other wiz's if the rest of you just don't want to get involved. There is a time to keep quiet, yes, but there is also a time to speak. This, for example, is my time to speak.

        I haven't decided what to do about all this yet. Perhaps things have reached the stage where I should really start throwing my weight around, instead of reading interminable excuses for actions that people knew would cause problems when they did them, or of letting wizzes throw up smokescreen points of order based on what a particular reading of the GWG might say could be OK to do sometimes so they can get away scott free after some wayward act. Most of the time, wizzes know EXACTLY what is right and wrong, and if they don't then they shouldn't be wizzes anyway. Perhaps I should spare myself the patient listening to/guiding of wiz discussions, that I involve myself in in the hope that you learn and develop your wizdom (or wisdom!) from airing the arguments in this manner; if I've heard all there is to say on the subject years ago, and know what the outcome will be, maybe I should just tell you what you'd have decided anyway, and come down hard on those who dissent. If this weekend is an example of the way you use your freedom, could it be that BL would be better off if wizzes had a good deal less?

        Certainly, the events of the past week are going to require some action from the archwizzes. As well as SOULTAKER's SS9 posting, there were others in there that were completely out of order, people jumping on the bandwagon (hah, "bannedwagon" more like!). There were so many accusations flying about, so many statements about wizzes telling lies, so many references to game logs, that they all begin to lose meaning. I'm sure someone's escaped punishment because the logs that caught them cheating were swamped by other logs of less certain pedigree that showed someone else was using their wiz to multi-line with a mortal who they were helping to looby-loo while simultaneously casting sleep spells on their rivals and shouting out that VALARYIA eats live tadpoles for breakfast. Whether their escape from justice is going to be long-lived, though, is something that ought to be worrying them. There's no statute of limitations in BL.

        Cold-blooded authority hurts, and restricts creativity, but it would drag this game back to its feet after the punishment it took at the weekend. It is something I feel very uncomfortable using, since it amounts to martial law. I prefer to reason with people than to bully them into submission. Can I reason with the protaganists of this weekend's MPGAMES battle? Can people ever reason with me again if I can't?

        CIS may have fewer qualms than I.

                Richard the arch-wizard.

Copyright © Richard A. Bartle (
21st January 1999: bl10d.htm