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Regarding Punishment & NoGain Tagging

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Re: Regarding Punishment & NoGain Tagging

Postby Cola » Tue Jun 09, 2015 2:32 pm

Jeshin wrote:Hey,

Cola I know I am not staff on SOI. I know I do not play SOI currently and have not for over a year. I am however lucky enough to have over 10 years of staffing experience! And so I thought I might chime in here regarding your concerns about why an RPI staff member would nogain a player without their knowledge?

1) By not informing a player of why the nogain was applied the staff do not confirm whether their course of action is an effective means of grinding.

2) Because the staff have not confirmed that a players actions are an effective means of grinding they have only their results to inform them.

3) With the results being skewed due to the nogain the player will (hopefully) presume that their powergaming actions are not effective and not continue them.

This is considered standard policy on some RPIs and there is clearly a logic to it. Once you confirm a method of play can lead to quick gains it either leads to that player trying to sneak in ways to do it or the staff having to change code to try and compensate for the grinding approach that is being used.


First, I apologize for losing track of this, a reasoned and on-topic response, in the midst of the subsequent rhetorical kamikaze attack. (I expect the Emperor was honored by their sacrifice and will reward them in another life.)

However, I don't think the solution you describe is a good idea, even if you've seen it done at other MUDs. If a player finds and uses an aspect of code in an unexpected or unintended way, the first remedy staff should pursue should be to alter the code to eliminate the "exploit." If that isn't practical, the second response should be-- in my opinion-- to just announce that an exploit exists and to ask people not to make use of it. The solution you describe overlooks some important issues. I've already gave an example of a situation where one person sees a behavior as completely fitting, consistent with real-life, and in-character (routine use of 'palming' to improve the skill) while someone else insist it is blatant twinking. Another example is the one that started this whole bru-ha-ha: repeated hiding and ambushing during a combat session. Some thought it to be justified, others blatant abuse. If you secretly set a character to no-skill-gain because they are exploiting code in a way you wish to keep secret, they don't have a chance to explain their viewpoint. What you are describing is a situation where staff presume they are always right, and don't even need to hear the player's side, and also one where they think it more prudent to <i>hide</i> not only their punishments but possible exploits as well. I believe that's a very bad attitude to foster, but maybe more to the point, to be myopic: those 'secrets' will get out-- they always do-- and then trust and cooperation is eroded instead of strengthened.
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Re: Regarding Punishment & NoGain Tagging

Postby Cola » Tue Jun 09, 2015 2:58 pm

cfelch wrote:Personally, I think Cola makes a good point.

That wall of text looked suspiciously like a quoted help file from somewhere and if you actually bothered to read it, I can find no fault with any of the guidelines outlined therein.


First thanks for your support of reasoned, issues-based debate as opposed to straw-men and <i>ad hominem</i> tactics.

Second, I can only assure you I didn't directly "lift" my suggested guidelines from any other documents. That being said, I'm sure they reflect a compilation of good ideas I've been exposed to-- not only from other MUDs and on-line gaming-- but also from my extensive work with ethics issues in academia.
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Re: Regarding Punishment & NoGain Tagging

Postby EltanimRas » Tue Jun 09, 2015 3:22 pm

So, now that Nim's officially said players will be notified of any no-gain applied to their account, does that mean we should also consider having a character who 'coincidentally' stops training while no-gained as a category of unrealistic rp ripe for criticism?

More seriously, I have a vague memory of being told at some point in the past -- I have no idea whether this is still or indeed was ever true -- that the overuse of certain theft-related commands was problematic not so much because it generated either unfair skill gains (we have timers, after all) OR unrealistic rp, but because admins received a notification whenever they were used, and spamming those skills spammed the admins.

Also, BBCode for italics:

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Re: Regarding Punishment & NoGain Tagging

Postby cfelch » Tue Jun 09, 2015 3:51 pm

EltanimRas wrote:So, now that Nim's officially said players will be notified of any no-gain applied to their account, does that mean we should also consider having a character who 'coincidentally' stops training while no-gained as a category of unrealistic rp ripe for criticism?

More seriously, I have a vague memory of being told at some point in the past -- I have no idea whether this is still or indeed was ever true -- that the overuse of certain theft-related commands was problematic not so much because it generated either unfair skill gains (we have timers, after all) OR unrealistic rp, but because admins received a notification whenever they were used, and spamming those skills spammed the admins.

Also, BBCode for italics:

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If they are nogained because the behavior was bad.
Shaming them for not continuing the behavior is worse.
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Re: Regarding Punishment & NoGain Tagging

Postby Cola » Tue Jun 09, 2015 4:43 pm

EltanimRas wrote:So, now that Nim's officially said players will be notified of any no-gain applied to their account...


I'm happy to read that, but I wish to make clear that the "uninformed no-gain" was for me just one example of how staff behavior can run amuck to the point where they have become "uber mean" because there isn't a detailed, comprehensive set of guidelines for both players and staff.

We all need these kinds of external limits and guidelines. We can all fall prey to letting our self-interest slowly sway our thinking to the point that we have not only become "uber mean" but we have convince ourselves that our "uber meanness" is actually enlightened and credible.

And this applies just as much to players: we need guidelines or we start justifying to ourselves more and more little abuses of the system to boost our status and coded advantages at the expense of other people's enjoyment of the game.
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Re: Regarding Punishment & NoGain Tagging

Postby Frigga » Wed Jun 10, 2015 6:19 pm

I'd just like to note, and I made this post to the official query but, I feel like there's a fair degree of assumption about people being "nogained" and how it means staff are "uber mean" when really - any time thus far in Laketown Alpha someone has asked me if they were "nogained" the reality is that they hit their skill limit based on their stat build.

Sometimes these things are indeed, simply coded.

Also, as far as a twink list. It's kind of hard to right that list, as a lot of the time staff don't even imagine the sorts of things people will do until they do them. ;)

It would be a living ever expanding document. Though I'm sure it would be a rather amusing one in some instances.
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Re: Regarding Punishment & NoGain Tagging

Postby cfelch » Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:10 pm

Perhaps you could throw a lil carot next to the skill to inform us of the fact?
If we had an indicator, staff wouldn't get bugged.
Also, I see no real harm in letting a player know the character is as good as they will ever get.
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Re: Regarding Punishment & NoGain Tagging

Postby Icarus » Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:46 pm

The skill in question becomes yellow.
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Re: Regarding Punishment & NoGain Tagging

Postby cfelch » Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:53 pm

Good enough for me, but that doesn't help the blind MUDers, not sure if we have any at SOI, but I know there are a good many who do enjoy MUDs.

Not to mention the folks who never bothered to turn on ansi colors at the login screen, if they even realized that's where the option is.
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Re: Regarding Punishment & NoGain Tagging

Postby Rishte » Wed Jun 10, 2015 11:24 pm

I am color blind. Ansi colors don't really help me much whether on or off. That said, I've honestly never really given any thought to what happens when I 'max out' a skill or hit that threshold of 'You shall not pass!'
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Re: Regarding Punishment & NoGain Tagging

Postby Cola » Thu Jun 11, 2015 5:22 pm

I believe all this discussion is beside the point.

We got a promise from a staff member to give us a comprehensive, detailed description of what is proper and improper behavior. At the time he made it, either (a) even he thought that was an important task that needed to be accomplished, or (b) he was merely trying to duck the issue, placating us and hoping we'd forget about it after a while.

Subsequently, he neglected it and moved on to other tasks. Because of (b) above, or because he realized accomplishing the task was going to affect him and other staff members in ways that he didn't originally anticipate. Maybe he figured out it would limit staff freedom to treat players as they had a mind to at any one moment. I don't know, but my concern grows.

In any case, the example of secret no-skills gain settings is over. It has happened in the past, and a senior staff member has publicly promised it will not happen in the future. But the promise to provide us with comprehensive, detailed instructions on what is twinkish and not twinkish remains.
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Re: Regarding Punishment & NoGain Tagging

Postby Real » Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:39 pm

Dude, you just gotta not toe the line. Don't be concerned, just don't twink stuff.

Play the game and if something seems overtly twinkish, don't do it. It's usually obvious, ignoring people and craftspamming, sleep/spar/sleep, palming stuff into and out of containers repeatedly in the presence of NPCs...hiding and emoting again and again to raise your hide. The list goes on but avoiding flak for playing is simple;

Just play your character, and if it seems unrealistic and gamey, lean away from that sort of thing, don't rationalize it. God knows I've done some dumb twinkish crap now and again but it's something you pick up over time and staff are not gonna crucify you for making small mistakes, they might give you reminders or something but making a clear-cut list about which exploits are okay and which are against the rules seems counter-intuitive...

My main point being - lawyering this until the cows come home is not going to improve the situation. If you want staff to listen to your requests, don't turn it into "but you said this" and what they have to be doing and what's a priority and why it's concerning...It's volunteer work, chill out a bit.
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Re: Regarding Punishment & NoGain Tagging

Postby cfelch » Thu Jun 11, 2015 8:30 pm

I have to admit that going against ones word without so much as an apology or an attempted excuse/reason says a lot.
Staff should be held accountable just as much as players.
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Re: Regarding Punishment & NoGain Tagging

Postby Rishte » Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:11 pm

Okay guys. This is getting to be a well-worn boot.

Please remember we are still -very- much building this game. We are still -very- much writing documentation and policies. We're a pack of perfectionists and professionals. We want to ensure everything is as right as it can be so we don't have to do it 12 more times.

This discussion is over. Thank you everyone for your input. As we continue building this game and prepping it for being fully open we will be taking into consideration player suggestions and thoughts towards policies. In the future, please utilize the Support Ticket system to open conversation with staff directly for such things.
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