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 Post subject: The Membership Problem
PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:43 am 
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Yo all! I brought this up at the All Guilds' Meeting but I think it's an important enough issue to deserve a thread on the forums. It concerns a problem I foresee OHB and the Gray Hats having regarding who has "Bevin membership" in the two new hoods. The problem comes from the fact that these hoods are "special" hoods, authorized by Cyan for things that are not authorized anywhere else. As a result of that, you're going to have a lot of people wanting to be members of the hood.

To clarify what "Bevin membership" means for those who aren't clear:[spoiler] Anyone can use a public hood, but "members" have special privileges there--for example, changing the public/private status of the hood, visiting the hood even when it is set to private, opening and closing the Linking room doors, and posting to the Imager. This has been the case since Gametap MO:UL began. The ONLY way for a person to gain membership in a hood is by authorization of a current member.[/spoiler]

Now, here's the problem I see. If the Gray Hats allow anyone to join the hood who wants to, there are bound to be a few who do not have the best of intentions. You're going to end up with trolls who set the hood to "private" in order to ruin the experience for people who want to get in, or who close the Linking Room doors just when there's some fun new hack to see in there.

ON THE OTHER HAND, if the Gray Hats exclude everyone but themselves from membership in the hoods, there will be an uproar of people crying "elitist"! The Uru community has a history of elitist-paranoia--just ask anyone involved with the DRC Liaison Fiasco--or for that matter, talk to any explorer who received any kind of special treatment in the Gametap-era story, like Rils or Reteltee. People are going to be jealous and resentful if the Gray Hats deny membership, and those people will try to cause trouble. The Gray Hats have already seen examples of this--there was one person in the All Guilds Meeting today (No need to say the person's name) who kept calling them a "secret priesthood" and making comments implying that the Gray Hats would act as an elite privileged group that refused to share with other players.

So, that's the dilemma. How can we prevent trolls from having privileges in the new Hoods (especially the public/private ability) without evoking anti-elitist hysteria?

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Last edited by Carl Palmner on Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:48 am 
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Carl Palmner wrote:
ON THE OTHER HAND, if the Gray Hats exclude everyone but themselves from membership in the hoods, there will be an uproar of people crying "elitist"!


Not necessarily for this reason but, this has already begun to happen, or at least people have thought about what may begin to happen. Not in these exact words but, there have been some ego grumblings out and about.

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Last edited by tanshin on Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:50 am 
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Carl Palmner wrote:
So, that's the dilemma. How can we prevent trolls from having privileges in the new Hoods (especially the public/private ability) without evoking anti-elitist hysteria?


Appears to me you have it evoked (or evoked it) already?

tanshin wrote:
Not in these exact words but, there have been some ego grumblings out and about.

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Last edited by Charura on Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:53 am 
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I don't see any reason to give anyone membership other than the Gray Hairs - er, I mean Hats. As for cries of "elitism," I suggest the GHs grow some thick skin and keep on smiling. The GHs earned this - let's hope they can handle it. I'm willing to give them lots of rope . . . . :twisted:


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 2:06 am 
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Quote:
As for cries of "elitism," I suggest the GHs grow some thick skin and keep on smiling.


you're big boys, you can handle it... read RAWAs sig on his first post about all this /me thinks its relevant

unfortunately it can't be disregarded easily either... the way bevin memberships are set up has often posed a considerable issue... one being you can't remove someone once they've joined...


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 2:08 am 
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Really, the key here is to ask, if X requests membership, then is public usability of the neighborhood in question improved? If not, then deny membership.

And are there really any situations where more than one person (or maybe a few people) actually need membership? Does membership confer any special benefits associated with the "hacking" aspect of these ages?

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 2:14 am 
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only members can access that hoods instance of aegura... so they wouldn't be able to view demonstrations in the city


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 2:22 am 
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You all forget that the GHs can do pretty much everything on the server. That means revoking memberships, linking everybody to a certain instance and so on.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 2:57 am 
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Main_Avvie wrote:
only members can access that hoods instance of aegura... so they wouldn't be able to view demonstrations in the city


I've got a proposed solution to that.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:29 am 
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Just to clarify--I'm not a Gray Hat myself, just someone trying to look ahead at possible problems for the community. I;'m interested in knowing how the Hats intend to solve this potential problem.

Paladin--I just read that thread, seems like a great idea to me. The problem Main_Avvie brings up is one I had not even considered regarding membership benefits.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:40 am 
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/me wonders

is there gonna be a Geez - Lou-eze hopeful thingy kinda hooey in this thread?

oops already got it...continue..lol

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:20 am 
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Let me start by saying that I think that Carl's post is both a good one and a valid one. I'm certain that in his position I'd be dying to join the hoods as well.

Answers

Carl Palmner wrote:
..."members" have special privileges there--for example, changing the public/private status of the hood, visiting the hood even when it is set to private, opening and closing the Linking room doors, and posting to the Imager.

Once we go "live", The Fun House will be available 24/7 unless we need the hood empty to fix something. The Hood of Illusions is gonna be pretty empty and boring most of the time. That hood will certainly need to be public for events, but it will likely be private for event setup if we need to test something.

We're coming up with a list of rules for ourselves to follow. One of them, for example, will be that we will not test a hack on people if there's a chance it will crash their client. When it comes to hacking, there is no Hacking MO:UL 101 class that we can take. Sometimes it's impossible to know what effect a hack might have. We will test those things in private.

Which brings me to Dra'gossh's excellent point:

dragossh wrote:
You all forget that the GHs can do pretty much everything on the server. That means revoking memberships, linking everybody to a certain instance and so on.

It also means that a) there's nothing special about our hoods; we confine our activities to those locations because Cyan has asked us to, and b) we can do awesome things like write a script that ensures the doors to the book room stay open.

Carl Palmner wrote:
if the Gray Hats exclude everyone but themselves from membership in the hoods, there will be an uproar of people crying "elitist"!

That's only true now that you've said that :) I don't let just anyone join the Guild of Robots neighborhood. Does that make me elitist? But, now that you've said that, the answer to the question defines whether we're elitist or not.

More on this is a moment. But first, these headlines:

tanshin wrote:
Not in these exact words but, there have been some ego grumblings out and about.

I trust Tanshin on this. But unless people raise their concerns with me, they basically don't exist.

I'll formalize this later, but the rule will be: If you don't like something, say something. Grumbling about it to anyone other than me or one of the Grey Hats is pointless and will accomplish nothing. It is not our responsibility to go looking for you - we don't know who you are. It's your responsibility to come to us - you know who we are and how to contact us. And if you don't, 30 seconds spent asking will get you the answer.

Dachannien wrote:
And are there really any situations where more than one person (or maybe a few people) actually need membership? Does membership confer any special benefits associated with the "hacking" aspect of these ages?

On the whole, no. As dra'gossh pointed out above, we can do things to hoods whether we're a member or not...whether it's public or not. On the inside, it's just a bunch of node and fields and values. I say this in the spirit of transparency. If this comes as a surprise to anyone, don't be alarmed...just because we can do things doesn't mean we will do things.

With extremely few exceptions (such as the "Birthday Hacks" [I think this is a great name to stick with] or the "Bahro in Kirel" thing) any hacking previously done has been confined to private ages voluntarily. In fact, that whole "Bahro in Kirel" thing was actually an accident. It was never intended to appear in a public area! (That experience was learned from, of course)

All that to say, membership doesn't provide benefits - with one exception: Sometimes it's easier to tell the game "change the fog in my neighborhood to green" instead of "Lookup the ID of the neighborhood called 'The Fun House', then use that ID to change the fog color in that age instance to green." That's a silly made-up example, but it does apply to real-world hacks. So being a member provides the benefit of saving keystrokes.


Conclusion

As I mentioned during the All Guilds Meeting when Carl asked this question, there is something else to consider: safety.

We have these hoods for three reasons:
1. It keeps hacking confined to very specific areas
2. The hacking now becomes Cyan-sanctioned
3. It insulates any possible negative effects from the rest of the game

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Hacking takes skill. It is "skillful" in nature. We don't just click buttons to turn effects on and off. Hacking is a world where if you mis-type a command you could cause some harm! But that's part of the learning process. That's right: hacking is a learning process.

For example, someone once asked the question "Is it possible for two avatars to share the same outfit?" Crazy question, right? But crazy questions need crazy answers! As it turns out, the answer is yes! And it worked really well! However when they tried to revert their changes they made a mistake and broke both avatars. It was a learning experience. Thankfully, both avatars were test avatars created specifically for the task of testing the shared outfit hypothesis.

[Quick aside to say that those hacks were to avatars, not to ages. At no time would we ever apply a hack to someone's avatar. The hacks that will be happening in the two hoods are specifically designed to not leave any lasting changes. Even if we make you dance, that not changing your avatar, it's just making it dance.]

So, coming back to the neighborhoods, let's say I opened up membership to anyone. And then we messed around with the neighborhood. And then we tested something...and it didn't work as expected...and now the neighborhood is broken. What next?

Well, as RAWA mentioned, if anything does go wrong, we can just wipe out that neighborhood! And if that didn't work, we could wipe out the whole avatar that owned the neighborhood and start again! But where would that leave members of that hood?

Sure, I'm talking about worst-case-scenario here. And, again in the name of transparency, I say that, as extremely unlikely as it is, it's possible that we could break the hood. It's possible that the error would affect the avatars that were members.

I am personally willing to take that risk (with my main avatar no less) but that's only because if my avatar got screwed up, I know how to fix it. I know how to fix it because it's MY avatar. Likewise, Branan could fix his avatar, and Hoikas could fix his own, and so own.

Boy, that sounds elitist. And, let's face it, in a way it is. We have a skill that you don't. If you joined the hood and something went wrong, I'm not sure if we could fix your avatar. We might be able to...but we might not. On your behalf, I'm not willing to take that risk.

If we are elitist, at least we are also being protectionist as the same time.

By keeping things the simplest on the inside, we greatly reduce the possible ramifications of any accidents.


The Verdict

First, my post may sound scary. It's really not. Know that we will never try anything that might have negative effects on your avatars and ages, and that even if worst came to worst and the neighborhood exploded, it wouldn't affect you even if you were dancing on top of a pile of fifty beach-balls at the time. Your client would probably just crash and then you'd log back in as if nothing happened. My post is long and detailed because I want to be crystal clear why this decision was reached.

So the verdict is: No open membership.

Will that change in the future?
Anything's possible.

Are we elitist?
I hope not. We don't feel elitist.

Some of you speak Japanese. I'd LOVE to be able to speak Japanese. But you're not elitist for having your own sub-forum and insisting on using Japanese that I don't understand. Likewise, we speak "Hax". But we're not elitist for having our own place and insisting on speaking "Hax" that you don't understand.


And Finally...

Carl, thank you for your post and question. As I said, it was a valid one.
To the rest of you, I'm sorry my reply is so long and perhaps not the answer you're looking for.

I like you guys! I want to keep you safe. That will never change. See you in The Fun House. :)

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:47 am 
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OHB: I think you've made the right choice, and adequately justified that choice with your reasoning--which, in this case, was more important. Privately I believed that the better choice was to keep membership closed, but I did not wish to tell you what to do. My main concern was that we would see a community response similar to what has happened many times before--the Liaison Fiasco being the most obvious example. I was worried that there would be an outrage that would cause the whole project to collapse, as happened with the Liaisons (I don't know if you were around during the old UU days or the GT-MO:UL days, but if you were, you probably know the kind of stuff I am talking about).

Now, when and if people do complain about membership, I would suggest pointing them directly to your response here in this post. The question has now been addressed--in effect, you've hopefully nipped the problem in the bud before it became too significant.

Quote:
I'm certain that in his position I'd be dying to join the hoods as well.


Actually--just by way of clarification--I am not interested in membership for myself :). My main purpose in posting this thread was as damage control, to give you something to point to should this end up becoming a major issue--and if possible, to prevent it from becoming one at all. I've seen so many arguments tear up the Uru community that now I tend to anticipate them before they happen, rather than try to put out fires after they start.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:57 am 
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Thanks Carl!

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:02 am 
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i can see your reasoning in that Carl, repeated prior behavior is often indicative of what can be expected... however, sometimes people surprise you :)

regardless of whether or not there is or would have been an issue, it has been addressed... plus, making OHB and the grey hat's intentions clear now is good for business... people can have acusations then they can have questions; OHB has answered some good questions quite well... and provided understanding and disclaimers of what detremental effects are possible in this venture and how best to avoid them...

it's also displayed their responsibility in regards to this venture which has only cemented my faith...

i've not had accusations but the response has answered many questions well... thanks!! :D

as far as i understand this is supposed to be a learning venture (still don't mean we can't have some fun wit it lol :wink: )
... i'm eager to learn me sum stuff lol!! :D


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