Feedback request, round #1
I've been working on this for a while. It's nowhere near done, and not even all the samples are in yet (and only in some cases are there random notes re: what should be there in the first place). There's already piles of stuff that needs changing.
Since I'm heading off for vacation land and ideally will be tackling the remainder of work stuff and other changes when I get back in a few weeks, it seemed like a good time to throw this link up to see what recommendations and feedback people have about it, to better forumlate a list of tweaks to address when work resumes.
Some fairly big stuff isn't there yet.
Some stuff may be open to changes. Some stuff isn't. (Some stuff has already been changed and just isn't updated yet; the whole 'player login' concept is toast and has been revised already, for instance, as it'll be handled a different way with a reference object most likely, or a database object.)
Anyway, here's the link: http://sevendevils.info/index.php/Main_Page
Have at, y'all.
You have Hurt Locker twice on the wiki.
You have two consent-related entries that talk about "consent topics", but don't list them. Those topics are given in detail later on in the wiki, but I think it would be reader-friendly to at least have them listed in the entries that talk about consent topics in general.
You also have a policy about Becomings, but it seems that Becomings aren't things that could happen anyway, since it's mortal/mortal+ only? Unless it's just meant to refer to NPCs?
I notice that one of your themes is "underdogs". Are there any specific house rules or policies that will actively support that theme? Like restrictions or local scaling of Resources, or other stats?
@Pyrephox There are m+ becomings, actually -- people can become ghouls or WB, or psychics, etc. (I know TR had them anyway, as did Reno.) They're just not supernatural becomings.
Some of the list foo needs tweaking, though -- so thank you for pointing that one out! I think I know a good way to list those that should ideally make it more clear. (Since some may be added, I haven't wanted to make a hard list yet that might not be current.)
@surreality Ah ha! That makes sense, yes. I just don't generally think of those as Becomings, usually, so I was a bit confused.
It looks like an interesting game, although I have doubts about Yet Another Rural Setting.
From a wiki standpoint, this is a question I actually had about the BitN wiki too that I never asked: I'm curious your reasoning from a tech standpoint for making character pages their own namespace.
Related to that, I'd suggest (if you haven't already) turning on autocomplete and tokens on log forms for character fields, which should make finding the character you need a lot quicker. (I found things kind of tedious having to copy out the whole namespace and name thing, which is why I kept wondering the reasoning.)
@Roz BITN's was just PC I think -- though the longer Character is in use for this one. Autocomplete is definitely on for this one, though.
Using the namespace helps with the code that's in for MUX/wiki integration. That MUX code requests the namespace to help narrow down the selections, and then the page name; it helps ensure what's being drawn onto the MUX is absolutely a character page.
As it stands, there's preliminary code in to pull data specifically from the wiki to format for the MUX. There's test code for something akin to +finger that does this (currently using the overview and a few other things for the test), and character preferences will be able to be brought over in the same way, as just a few examples. Narrowing things down with extra namespaces is a big help in that way.
@surreality Ohhh, that makes sense. I figured there was a reason for it, I just never got around to asking what. Autocomplete on the forms will help a lot though.
@Roz It's pretty handy. It doesn't require a name to be filled in alongside the page for the link, either, at this point; there's a DPL line in the template that automatically subs it in from the necessary page with the character name.
I noted that NPC kids are a thing, which often becomes an issue when people use their NPC children to be assholes in various ways.
NPC children being supernaturally capable and able to put the zap on PCs without consent or any good story reason to do this - i.e. just cause chaos because.
NPC children being used to insult/grief PCs. And by this I don't mean a kid having a tantrum or being a little obnoxious, I mean more like the player using them as a form of passive aggressive metaposed hostility towards another PC they don't like.
NPC children just being fucking annoying- posing them in ways that pull focus and entirely derail a scene.
NPC children as conflict shields. Taking your children to a scene where your PC might get bootpartied by storyline or other PCs as a way of trying to avoid IC consequences or outcomes.
All these things should go without saying but there are enough players who have done this on other games with their NPC offspring that I feel that these things need be said provided that these are things that you think are a no-go.
ETA: NPC children committing violence or illegal activity because your PC would never but That Little Homicidal Scamp just can't help himself when he gets around knives....
Man. The policies page.
Some of it just feels absurdly overboard nitpicky. Like. /Absurdly overboard/.
Yes, you want NONE of that anywhere on your game, but does the policy page really need to go over literally every little shitty thing somebody has done on a MU once?
"Don't be a dick" covers most of the stuff you explicitly wrote paragraphs about. Bashing by proxy, bad faith debate, fact vs opinion, the bait and switch thing with the 'rape' comment,
There's like 7 different sections that are about consent.
Leave it at 'don't be a dick' and then don't be afraid to bitchslap and ban people who are dicks.
IMO, you don't need to explicitly write out "You're not allowed to rape people on tuesday. You're not allowed to rape people on wednesday. You're not allowed to rape people on thursday."
Really like the look of the wiki, though!
@GangOfDolls Those are VERY good. Thank you. Definitely will look at adding some guidelines and such about this.
There will be some more detailed NPC guidelines coming in general; mostly, 'don't use an NPC to be a dick to someone and think this is in a zone free of consequences' kinds of things.
@Tempest The consent policy needs the detail, because it's a new implementation of a consent policy. Without explaining it, there is no frame of reference for people to say, 'oh, it works like X!' because there's no X like it out currently there, nor has there been previously. Consent is not in any way part of 'don't be a dick'; the game has a consent policy. Consent is consent. It is its own thing.
Personally, I feel the dickery stuff needs to be there, too, as many people have observed, what 'don't be a dick' means varies dramatically from person to person, so I'm afraid I'm not gonna skip that. Plenty of people believe every single thing outlined there is perfectly acceptable behavior. More importantly, though, people new to the hobby may genuinely not realize these things are bad form, and deserve the warning before getting backhanded off the MUX for not adhering to a cultural standard they may not have encountered before or realize is dickish behavior, which is ultimately unfair to them.
Looking at the character generation page, the clipping on the lower part of lowercase Gs in the headings would probably annoy me. That said, this is a million times better than most. Your mastery over Vector is amazing.
I agree that the dickery needs to be I there and I like the examples. It will not stop people who are dicks from being them (they rarely are self aware in my experience). But I like that other people when they are being treated poorly can see that and say "wow, it really is okay if I forward that mail or submit that log to staff because they care about if someone is doing those things."
"wow, it really is okay if I forward that mail or submit that log to staff because they care about if someone is doing those things."
Yup, very much this.
I'm also trying to show, in the examples, why the dickish behavior is harmful, usually to more than just the direct target of the person being a dick, and creates an increasingly toxic game environment. I don't know how often or well I'm succeeding in that, but especially for the folks who don't realize why something that seems like a minor slight at best or don't think it's harmful actually can be.
What's especially unfortunate about this is that when somebody new -- or from a different style of game -- stumbles into one of these, and really doesn't get it, they're suddenly subject to a ton of screeching backlash and not only do they not know why, but they think we're a giant pile of complete loons.
For instance, a number of games have lock mechanisms with lockpick setups and so on that would allow someone to enter a private home with only the code as oversight; someone accustomed to that in the games they're playing may not think twice about walking right into someone's private scene in their private home, which is something generally frowned upon on a MUSH or MUX. That is completely acceptable on games similar enough to ours that innocent confusion on the part of a new player is very likely. Since the players on the game don't necessarily know the new player really is new to this style of game, there's a recipe for screeching and drama and explosions here that is totally avoidable, along with the hard feelings on all sides that it generates, which have potential to linger on long past the initial conflict and sour people's play experience down the line.
While it's not possible to stave all of that off, trying to be aware of as many of our 'unspoken rules' and actually speaking them aloud, well -- it's spammy as hell. But it's something I genuinely feel is worth the time, for both the old guard, and the new arrivals, because they're not always intuitive unless someone is already familiar with the typical community on a MUSH or MUX, which not everyone is. It's a huge hurdle for new folks, and one that isn't entirely fair. It's not a case of people being jerks to each other in any way, or any bad intentions at all -- it's one of those genuinely innocent misunderstandings that (the collective) we can probably avoid better than we sometimes do.
There's actually an intro for the policy page that seems to have gone the way of the dodo somewhere along the line that went into that (oops!) but it's covered pretty well in the 'community' section. It's probably worth popping that back up to the top, I think.
@Quibbler Which browser are you using? I know some of the lower trailing letter bits overlap, but ideally they shouldn't be clipping, so I'd like to check that out. (The lower margin on that font is huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge, so it was a gapfest of scrolling hell otherwise.)
I actually really like how in-depth your policies page is about what is not acceptable behavior. Its too easy to let something that seems small initially just 'slip by' because you don't want to ruffle someone's feathers over 'just this one thing'. But that one thing can be indicative of behavior that you don't want on your game. That one thing could be just the tip of the iceberg. But if everyone thinks 'oh its just that one little thing', all of a problem person's 'one little things' will never be noted and shown to be a symptom of a much larger issue. I like that you're looking to provide examples of the behavior you don't want to see so people will have a better chance of recognizing it for what it is and can say something about it.
@Miss-Demeanor There are a few more that need to go in -- the barging one above is one that I've been fighting with the wording/examples/explanations about so it's not there yet -- but I'm really trying to go over the basics as briefly as possible without losing clarity, and then providing examples if it's something that people might not instantly be able to understand without them.
For instance, I wouldn't expect somebody to know what I mean by the phrase 'bashing by proxy' without those examples. And it's something I've seen people do a lot of, thinking it's harmless and tee hee funny that's never against the rules and I can get away with it! when really, it's hugely problematic since it's sucking a pile of folks who probably have no idea what's happening into the drama (with which they likely want no part). It's amazing how something that 'tee hee ha ha it isn't against any rules!' can factionalize a whole game without 90% of the participants involved in that battle royale having a dang clue how or why it actually started or why people are being so hostile all of a sudden. (And then everybody reacts in kind, it snowballs, and... bleah.)
@mietze and @VulgarKitten get credit for the 'no slut shaming' going into the mix; especially with the bit about that applying to both sides of the 'do they or don't they' coin and how people behave in regard to it, for instance, as it's ultimately the same thing and it's simply uncool.
I agree that those are all problem behaviors, but spelling them out in such grisly detail would probably inspire some people, or worse: scare off people on the fence about giving this type of game a try.
That may not matter, I get that with WoD or any tt based game you might not be catering to new players, in which case, that's fine. It feels a little bit like venting, though.
@Kanye-Qwest Generally, if you're playing on a WoD game, you've run into every single one of these situations, if not the exact naming. WoD is not for the faint of heart, its a modern day supernatural horror theme, so if you (again, empirical) can't handle the terms and definitions of expected behavior being laid out on the wiki, you likely won't be able to handle the themes occurring within the game itself either. And I see it less as venting and more as someone finally sitting down and going 'this shit isn't cool so don't do it'. All the 'implied' behavioral contracts in the world cannot stand up against a hard and fast rule. Implied rules or expectations are subject to individual perceptions and feelings and can be swayed one way or another. A rule that's in place, spelled out, and given example is harder to worm around. So yeah, maybe it'll scare some folks away... but they're likely the people you don't want on your game in the first place. i.e. the ones abusing all those unspoken not-policies.
I'm not talking about the outlined behaviors scaring people away. I'm talking about the general tone of "ugh we have seen all of this and we are so over it". It comes off like venting, which is not a terribly welcoming tone. It's not about my (or anyone's) inability to handle the matoor thems of WoD.
And yeah, I agreed all that behavior is unacceptable. So when people do the unacceptable thing, can't you just tell them "that's unacceptable" and either boot them out the door or let that be their warning?
Though a lot of what's there is what I'd consider 'straight blunt plain talk', more thought went into going that route than might be expected.
It's worth noting at the outset: I don't expect everyone will agree with the conclusions I have come to about it, or the choices I've made because of them, but I will lay that out here.
I went with: "This is how people talk around every gaming table I've ever been sitting at amongst themselves since the 80s, and amongst ourselves at every LARP team I was involved in from in the 90s."
Mostly: talk like people from square one. Set up the expectation that people are going to talk like people in this space. Not like abusive jackasses. Not like humorless robots. Not like customer service asskissers. Like people.
This means that when people talk like people on the game, nobody's suddenly shocked. Nobody is surprised when someone cracks a joke or has to wonder if, 'hey, they cracked a joke, are they making fun of me?'. No one is surprised when someone uses profanity, and thinks this automatically implies hostility or anger. No one has to wonder if there's some extra special meaning, or personal bias, or implied cruelty, or preferential treatment, if someone says, "I love that!" or, "That's shitty, let me see what I can do."
Because people have and do talk like this, and if the expectation has not been established that, yes, people are going to talk like this, the contrast between robotic polite nebulous hard data and normal human interaction with other humans becomes a needlessly uncomfortable question mark that people will read things into to everyone's collective detriment over time.
There is a genuine need for nebulous areas where something either isn't covered already and is a new issue, or is a judgment call. I am not someone who subscribes to the notion of 'don't be a dick' covering all the bases. Some of the reasoning is above, but there's a bigger part of it, too: without at least some foundations of what those behaviors entail, you have three potential problems:
Every instance of dickery needs to be a committee discussion before action is taken, at least to some extent. This delays solutions and allows problems to linger. It also leads to less consistency, which is a problem unto itself.
Players have less understanding of what they should rightly be bringing to staff attention in the first place. Considering some of the things we do get complaints about that are not actionable and are not dickery -- there's stuff on that, too in there -- it's important for that frame of reference to exist.
The more nebulous the policy, the more arbitrary its enforcement is going to appear, and sometimes, actually be. Both of these are big problems in ways that are pretty self-evident.
I would rather lay shit out up front than spend my time arguing every call someone on staff makes re: 'don't be a dick' here because someone doesn't think they were properly informed about what that actually means, or that it was simply arbitrary, or it was unfair because they didn't realize we thought that was dickish and so on. That's such a waste of time and energy, and is quite toxic in its own right.