It goes without saying to a certain extent that being the administrator of any kind of game is pretty much a thankless job. Utterly and completely thankless might be a more appropriate way to put it. To me, being an administrator something that has its ups and downs, but more downs than ups, due to the type of people that usually frequent such places. Being an administrator, in short, is often enough something that I would not wish upon my worst enemy.
My experience as an admin goes way back in time. I began my life as a MU*er back in late 89/early 90. MUDs were pretty much all that there were back then. Prior to that, though, I was running a BBS off of a friends computer, where we both SysOp’ed. When you have a callerbase like that BBS had way back then, you got a taste of the whining and complaining that can really ruin your day. Once you enter into the foray of Internet text gaming, it’s not that much of a switch. My first MU* admin experience came back on a small game known as StarTrekMOO (now known as HoloTrek), where I served at various times as a wizard and a role-play shepherd. Following my taste of code and working with players, I ventured over to another game, Farpoint, and then I created my own game, The Nexus, in 1996. From there, we spawned Hope Station, Dragon’s Dusk, and eventually Where No One Has Gone Before.
Such as it is today, where you have a large number of people all asking and begging for an upper hand over the rest; WNO has not always been like this, and in fact there are times where it can get downright rewarding on a larger level. Since April of 1998, when we began throwing the concept around and such, I don’t think I could have possibly imagined that it could get as large as it is today. Now that it has reached some rather astonishing numbers, along with the popularity comes the constant microsociological problems. I don’t want to get off on a rant, here, but I think it’s these problems that make me want to distance myself from any of the players on any level beyond the typical player-wiz relationship. I’ve been accused of playing favorites, which is pretty much a claim without any merit whatsoever. If I’m an asshole to one, I’m an asshole to all. See, I’ve already been down the road of being too chummy with the players. It makes administrating difficult to have to disappoint people further by making an attempt to be friends. It’s much easier if you keep the distance and make the hard decisions without having to worry about the personal impact. This is a game, but games have rules or else they’re pretty much not worth playing anymore. We set down policies and procedures, and we create rules and regulations to keep it a fair playing field. The path of the MU* administrator is a long and lonely one, but someone has to walk it.
One of the attitudes on the game that does tend to irritate me comes from the nature to gossip, rumor, backstab, and make claims without substantiation. Someone hears something, it gets them all riled up, and suddenly they don’t like someone because of that rumor. That’s the most illogical piece of bullshit I’ve ever had to encounter in my time, but it’s the truth. And it’s pretty much a sad affair. Some people are just naturally predisposed and others take an even strain, but it’s the people belonging to the former who have a louder voice among the whole than those of the latter. With the amount of players on the game, many of them feel it necessary to brag or make statements of their social position on the game. This is pretty much harmless to the players, but it’s also a very damaging claim to make against the administration. This is in essence a claim saying that the admins do play favorites, and the insinuation is all that’s necessary for a large debate or complaints to be lodged. No one checks the facts anymore, it’s more about the rage and the movement to do something or say something likened to the claim. Fighting to hang onto a certain image is pretty much a losing battle, but any admin has to endure the constant statements and being burned in effigy without any sort of chance to respond. I’ve been a witness to many a good person being torn down based on rumor. It has to stop sometime.
As administrators, we’re not perfect. Far from it. But in the time that I’ve been one, I’ve been as just as I can possibly be. I’ve not always made decisions that will put smiles on people’s faces, but as far as the letter of the law/policy/rule/regulation was concerned, I believe that I have always interpreted it in the best interest of the whole.
This is all open to debate (as I’m sure it already has been), but then, I’m the one sitting in my seat and I’m the one walking in my shoes. It’s very easy for players to play armchair wizard and objectively comment, but it’s quite another task to actually administrate a game with this many players and make every single player happy.
The one thing about rumors and gossip is that it gets around. If you think that you can say something one day and I won’t hear about it by the end of the week, you’re sorely mistaken. Gossip travels at warp speed. Eventually, I will hear about it, because people can’t help but be gossips. So, my challenge to those who would sneak around and speak ill of the WNO admins in a cowardly fashion is this: Stop sneaking around in page or channels and come get me. I dare you to come forward, make your stand, and take me on. But you had better come at me with something more than rumor and speculation, and you had better come at me with cold and hard facts. Woe betide anyone who makes an accusation without the truth. I will not be anything less than brutal with that person. This is not a threat. It’s the truth.
I will acknowledge right here and now that we do have problems and I’m aware of them. But most of the players who gossip love to point out the problems and admonish us for not doing anything about them. Okay, sure, that’s your right, but is it really getting you any closer to solving it? Fuck, no. If anything, it’s just making you feel better about venting or ranting or perhaps making you seem more important to your peers, but it does nothing other than that. My suggestion is that if you have a problem, nine times out of ten, bringing to our attention will get you closer to solving it than not. I’ve said it time and time again, be a part of the solution rather than contributing to the problem. If you don’t care enough to do that, then shut the fuck up and let someone else do it. And if you don’t like that, then leave. No one, in any group, likes a whiner who doesn’t act.
Of course, that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.
I completely agree. I know when I hear someone has a problem, I tell them to take it (respectfully) to admin, that talking to me wont solve their problem. Admin mailers are your friends. 😉
And in addition to that, let me post something.
From 409 on *admin.public-announcements:
“… w h e r e n o o n e h a s g o n e b e f o r e …”
While administrators are bound by a code of ethics, in turn, we bind our player base to a code of etiquette, which is agreed upon when creating a character.
This etiquette policy sets certain guidelines by which all players should conduct themselves.
1. Players have the right to question authority.*
2. Players have the right to enjoy themselves.*
3. Players have the right to voice their opinion.*
4. Players have the right to roleplay in whatever fashion they please.*
1. (*) Players do not have the right to conduct themselves in any manner
which disrespects another player or an administrator in any form or
fashion, whatever right they are exercising. This includes harrass-
ment of ANY nature.
Type ‘news policies’ to return to the previous menu.
Remember that ANY player may bring a complaint against another player. It will be investigated by the administration and if the respondant player is in the wrong, we will act accordingly. An act of disrespect is determined upon the complaintant player.
And if I remember right, that goes for admin, as well. You have a problem, take it (respectfully) to admin.
There’s *admin and *wiz, and the ever-present @gripe command.
Man, I’m even being my Guide-self on LJ. Scary.
My two cents.
Now.. I can’t say I’m an admin as great as Cochrane, or that I’m all that great a player, but I can say that I know how he feels. I do the best I can for my moo… though between work and RL and the crazy hours I work it gets difficult sometimes to get things to work out the right way. And though at times I’ve had differences of opinion with Cochrane, over the years (about 2 or 3 RL years) that I’ve been on the moo I’ve seen him be fair and neutral with his rulings and decisions, even when I disagreed or occassionally was angered by said decisions. We’re all human.. we all make mistakes and we all need that taken into account before we’re jumped on. All we can do is the best that we can. And that goes for admin and players alike. And as far as I’ve ever seen, Cochrane has followed that one very well.
*grins* ok.. now.. about my new fighter.. j/k.. 🙂
Ine of the things that I have finally come to grips with is no matter what is going on and no matter how much you trust people, administrative things are administrative things. No matter how trivial or small they are. My rants are going to be kept offline to someone who doesn’t give a shit, or at least is willing to listen. Or taken directly to the person.
One of the things that I treasure about the Administration of WNOHGB is our willingness to listen to eachother. And all of us are willing to stick our necks out on an opinion and take what medicine we get back. Every single admin on WNOHGB is very open to discussion and suggestion as long as you’re not coming off half-cocked or emotionally charged. that’s one thing that I’ve always noticed, myself included. If you come at us guns-blazing, the defenses are going to go up and chances are you will not win.
It’s a hard thing, being a game admin… WNOHGB was my first wizbit… I had one late in the life of HopeStation, but that’s another story. When I started on WNO I was on 5-6 different games… All those characters are now gone. WNOHGB is my only text base RolePlay now. Do I get to play? Sometimes. What do I spend mos tof my time doing? Administrating. Do I mind? Not one bit. It’s a great game, and I just take many many deep breaths.