- Tequilajoe 1s
- Atheran 1m
- Neekly 2m
- gashess 3s
j Johnny 3s New Code Written Nightly. Not a GM.
- Newbs21 6m We're all crazy here!
- Meoris 1m youtu.be/Vn5OMaPiX2M
- himble 8m https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=og243Dom4Sw
- Baron17 26s
- Luck 4m
- Ghostinthekeys 18s
- Sybre 1m
- Trazynn 28s
- vantablack 29s
- Diani 11s Shake hands with him! Charm her!
- jsmith225 40s
- Stelpher 9m
- villa 9s
- waddlerafter 32s youtu.be/jZitWKRvTtU
- Hippo 4m
- Ostheim 5m
- Vera 28s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maAFcEU6atk
- SacredWest 21m
- Ebos 25m
- BenZeWizard 53s Hi
- Trakel 13s
- ComradeNitro 22m
- Jameson 15m making the eternal black firmament my side bitch
- NovaQuinn 2m
- Dorn 2s youtu.be/7OUqUiZQxs4
- Malakai 21s
- Satanic 1h
- Barrien 13m
- Cyberpunker 27s
- Chrissl1983 16h working on my @history for too long...
And 26 more hiding and/or disguised
Connect to Sindome @ moo.sindome.org:5555 or just Play Now

Sindome: A Review
I have nothing to lose. The community has everything to gain

There is a dramatically reduced TL:DNR version at the bottom. I really recommend taking the time to read the whole thing through before responding though. It is long because it touches on a lot of topics.

Introduction: Who am I? Why am I posting?

I am Chris, more commonly known as TITan/RedRadio on xooc or through my characters: Nion and Leona (sicalias: Evolve. #Corpie4Lyfe). I've been a player on Sindome for approximately 680 days (That's 1 year, 10 months and 3 days) and have always tried to make my contributions to this game positive ones be they via RP, forum or townhall feedback, or the brief stint I spent as a support staffer. The intention of this post is to provide constructive, polite and concise feedback as to the state of the game and what could be done to improve it. It is not a challenge to the six month ban that was placed on me for having shared information with a player OOC. I broke the @rules and so I got punished, my opinion that the punishment is somewhat extreme is irrelevant to the message of this post.

I hope that this post is taken as the helpful feedback it is intended to be rather than simply dismissed as the words of a rule-breaker or worse still, used to prompt a witch hunt for players who I or other players have been or are in contact with. The staff would have to ban a -LOT- of players to eliminate everyone who talks about Sindome via out of moo means including some existing staff members; It would be like cutting off your nose to spite your face. I also took the time to have this post appraised and approved, prior to posting, by no less than seven players (including me) to ensure it is a reasonably universal view from at least a snapshot of the playerbase. One of them even went so far as to do a whole phase of editing on my behalf, correcting grammar and simplifying sentences to make them more concise (You know who you are. Thank you.).

What's great about Sindome?

That moment when you walk through the gates and aren't sure if the wet patch between your ass cheeks is something you fell in, or something you made.

Sindome is THE most immersive roleplaying environment many have ever been part of. It is a dark, gritty setting rife with naturally unfolding conflict and retro-tech sci-fi ambience galore. There is an enormous variety of things a player can codedly do within the game and the growing community means that roleplay can be found at almost any time of day, regardless of what timezone you are in or sleeping pattern you maintain. Characters are visceral entities with motives that can be learned, understood, manipulated and sometimes even empathised with. It's an addictive emotional rollercoaster. There is no sensation quite like meeting your equal and engaging them in a battle of wits, finance, politics and finally fists; Savage pleasure should you come out on top, and bitter loss should you lose. Add to this that the actual in-game world itself is so enormous that in 1 year, 10 months, and 3 days of near ceaseless RP I have not yet explored half the expansive world in game, and Sindome has the potential to be a timeless game with infinite playability.

All of this is rounded off by volunteer staff who put hours, days, weeks, months and years of their time into expanding and harnessing the potential of the setting, be it by driving plot lines, building code, or simply performing the copious amounts of administrative work that needs to be done just to keep the game economy and the game itself running. I cannot understate my appreciation and admiration of what staff do OOC on a daily basis for the players. All on the staff team have my sincere thanks for all of their hard work.

What issues exist within the game? How could we solve them?

Letters, there aren't enough letters.

1. Lack of Communication

The biggest and most ongoing problem in Sindome is a distinct lack of communication about the game between staff and players. There is no community without communication, but at the moment, the only means available for communication are one way @notes and somewhat intimidating xhelps (I'm sure I am not alone in being slightly shocked when one flashes up on my screen unexpectedly). As a result of this, unenjoyable or even universally detrimental roleplaying can continue for a very long time. This often ends with someone lashing out over xhelp, be they staff or players, but some, like me, communicate their grievances via OOC communication, so that at least it feels like someone is listening and sympathizing. Neither of these last two actions generally results in lasting progress, and can in fact generate even more issues.

I am suggesting a two way review system to expand the means of communication so staff can get regular feedback on what players do and do not enjoy with which to produce more informed, fun plots. Vice-versa staff can inform a player when their ic behaviour is positive or detrimental to the game without an intimidating xhelp. A full example of the proposed system will be left in a separate thread.

2. Dependency on Staff

The following is not at any point intended to be a slur against staff. If anything I consider it impressive and admirable that staff do as much as they do whilst so overburdened.

The game is way too dependant on non-player characters and staff operated systems. Most of the in-game employment system in game requires NPC approval and direct staff intervention to hire, promote, demote and fire players. In addition many high-value items are locked behind NPC 'gatekeepers'; This is before we even start looking at @histories, redecoration requests, NPC relevant plots and the policing of the players that must be done. With Sindome's rapidly growing playerbase, staff are hard-pressed to keep up with the demand for NPC puppets, gridmails and more. This often leads to player RP being disrupted, slowed and sometimes abandoned entirely.

Steps need to be taken towards empowering and enabling the player community to do more themselves, thereby making RP a smoother, more rewarding experience. At present there are player characters in positions from which they can quickly interview and recommend a character for a role only to find they wait weeks for an NPC to approve the hire. Allowing these players to perform the hire themselves would eliminate the wait. In fact, there are other M**s like The Inquisition: Legacy, in which factions are entirely player driven and these M**s run very smoothly.

Simply saying yes to more ideas from player characters, particularly topside, would lead to a lot more RP developing naturally. Every time a player suggests something and an NPC says no an entire avenue of roleplay is shut down before it can even begin; Usually, when a player suggests a plotline to pursue it is an idea that they would enjoy and that has the potential to draw other players in (e.g. "Should we investigate X player for Y reason?" This plot practically runs itself.).

3. Staff Alt Standards of RP

I begrudge to mention this, as ALL staff work hard OOC to make the game a better place to play, and most alts are played with careful restraint. I can vouch for this personally, as I have seen a little from behind the curtains as a support staffer. Nonetheless, having actually spoken to a number of players, I can see I am far from alone in perceiving inequality between the way some gm alts are treated versus how player characters are handled.

There is a common perception that some staff alts are treated favourably by other staff and abuse their ooc status as staff for an ic advantage over player characters. Some things that trigger this perception of inequality are the known alt(s):

• Generally retaining position(s) of wealth, status and power (not a problem in and of itself).

• Abusing their characters' power to bully pcs (Conflict RP is good, but conflict generally implies a two way struggle against characters capable of defending themselves and of recovering from what is done to them.).

• Denying characters RP (E.g. Involuntary extended periods of imprisonment).

• Perming, or facilitating the perming of characters (wherin an alt sets a player character up to pull the trigger on a cloneless character to avoid the technicalities in which staff alts are not supposed to perm). Perming is something players are strongly discouraged from doing, let alone staff for whom it is specifically against the rules that are set for them.

• Ignoring rules. Most obviously 4. d. with some alts remaining connected for days and idling for dozens of hours. There is no reason any character should be seen connected without icly "sleeping " for 7 days or more straight. It grants a ue gathering advantage as well as wasting player attempts to contact them whilst allowing those who idle to glean data from sources like sic even whilst they aren't actively playing or even necessarily awake.

• Negligible visible consequences from NPCs for actions that would have any other character SERIOUSLY punished. E.g. Overt theft of expensive valuables from major corporations.

Whether or not the things listed above actually happen is almost irrelevant to this point. What matters is that these abuses of staff status are perceived to be happening based on what players see. Players naturally extrapolate from the data they can see for themselves, which leads them to wonder what other abuses go on outside their line of sight; This breeds mistrust in the playerbase and no amount of reassurance (like this http://www.sindome.org/bgbb/open-discussion/anything-really/restrictions-on-gms-admin-826/ ) will counteract this divisive mistrust when what players see for themselves suggests otherwise. We all want Sindome to be a co-operative competition, but it is hard to co-operate or communicate with someone you do not trust not to abuse their status.

This is a hard one to treat. I admit that, at present, I am stumped as to how to resolve this one. That being said, a major purpose of this post is to prompt dialogue on how to resolve these issues. Talk amongst yourselves. I cannot be expected to do all the thinking (wink emoticon).

In Conclusion

If I had to pick any ONE message I wanted people, players and staff alike to take home from having read this carefully crafted text, it is that there needs to be communication for there to be community. Opening up the game for even carefully moderated communication about IC events would enable staff to police what is communicated to whom and would have the benefits of enriching the player and/or staff base with knowledge about what is considered -FUN-, themely RP. Sindome is a game after all, it's all about having fun.

Anyways, there we go. I have said my piece and I hope it has been heard as it was intended, which is helpful and constructive feedback with which to improve the game. Again, no witch hunts please. Burning members of the playerbase at the metaphorical stake is a sure-fire way to just create more division within the community. This post is designed to provoke dialogue (and therefore progress) so please make your opinions heard whether you agree, disagree or feel another way entirely. If you do not say something, you will not be heard. If you do not try, you will never succeed.

All the best to EVERYONE! Walk safe Withmore.

TITan, out.

Cue Overly emotional outro music.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9Dg-g7t2l4

TL;DNR VERSION

• Trying to help improve by offering polite feedback and suggestions relating to commonly perceived player problems.

• NOT trying to challenge my ban.

• Expanded communication might solve like, everything.

• Devolve more powers to the players. Staff are overburdened by the present necessity of NPCs.

• Staff alts need to set the gold standard of RP players are expected to operate at. Failure to do so creates a suspicious atmosphere that divides the playerbase.

You were fun to RP with, man. Sad to see you go.

(however now that you are gone and I can't possibly meta anything to you because I'm dumb, you should totally give us alternative ways to reach you, like Curt did)

It's strange to read this because it's obvious you love the game, and yet you also really harm the moo when you do what you did.

First of all, thank you for the review. You had some points in that that I don't disagree with. You wrote it with a lack of malice and without revealing any IC info. Again, thank you for that. I'm going to address a few of your points which are factually incorrect, and then we can get into the grayer area: the opinion side of things.

* Perming is strongly discouraged

No, it's not. Perm away. Staff Alts are not going to perm you unless the entire staff agrees to it in a vote. That's not likely to happen. It's against our rules, otherwise. However, it is not against the rules for players to perm other players if the RP dictates it. It's against the rules to be a dick when you don't have to be, when the RP doesn't call for it, or on a player who is fresh out of the gates. It is not against the rules or discouraged to perm other players.

* Ignoring the rules, IE 4.D

Where did the idea that this was even -possible- come from? Admin alts are not some special kind of character, and admin that are not Johnny or Slither do not have the ability to change how long someone can idle for. The game boots you off if you have been idle for 24 hours.

We also do not grant UE to idle players. The playing field is level here, people. Admin alts are the same kind of character object as non-admin alts as far as the game engine is concerned.

This is the snippet of code that governs ALL players:

30: elseif (x.last_connect_time < lasttime && x in connected_dudes && idle_seconds(x) < 3600)

31: "is still connected since before the last grant and not more than 1hr idle";

32: grant = 1;

33: endif

It's possible to be connected for 5 days, if at any point during a day you un-idled and RPed. But this statement about admin alts getting some kind of special privileges is utterly false.

• Negligible visible consequences from NPCs for actions that would have any other character SERIOUSLY punished. E.g. Overt theft of expensive valuables from major corporations.

Just because you didn't see it, does not mean it didn't happen. I know of the situation being spoken of here, and the penalty was HUGE for the character involved. Just because they RPed keeping it quiet, and maintained appearances ICly, does not mean it didn't happen. It did. I've touched on this dozens of times over the years, but players cannot assume that just because they don't see something ICly, it hasn't happened ICly. Much, much, much more goes on in the game than even the most well informed person is aware of.

What are we supposed to do? Further cripple admin alt characters by making them reveal their IC punishments? It comes down to trust[\b] people. Either you trust your GMs or you do not. And if you do not, you should find another game because it's going to be really hard enjoying this one without it.

What if every punishment that was enacted on your character had to be public? What if you weren't given the opportunity to hide it, or RP your way out of it, or convince people you had avoided it to make you look more powerful ICly?

In my person RP experience, I have done this many times with Seven. I just don't think it's fair to ask admin to spend much of their waking ours GMing for everyone else, and then when it's their turn to get some good RP in, railroad them, just so the people who play Sindome--without trust for the GMs that work SO hard--are appeased OOCly.

You guys tell me, is that fair? If I spend 25 hours a week working on code and GMing and doing the crappy tasks that no one else wants to do-- is it fair that the few hours a week I grab to RP for myself I am forced to spend it publicly representing all the negative stuff that happened to my character due to his IC choices? Just so a few people are temporarily convinced that the GMs aren't out to get them, or being unfair?

Does anyone here play video games? Okay, stupid question. Does anyone here enjoy 'winning' when they didn't earn it? If there were cheat codes for Sindome, which gave you invincibility and infinite wealth and all the weapons, and wall hax-- would you use them? Seriously, think about it.

Wouldn't using them ruin everything that makes the game great? The struggle? The sense of achievements? That heart pounding rush of adrenaline when you tell a lie in character or pull out your weapon and tell someone to hand over their wallet, or when you narrowly escape the judges, or finally catch the perp you've been after for a week?

It would all be pointless, if the outcome was predetermines. It would be pointless and boring if you knew out of character that you would win.

Many of you are probably nodding your heads in agreement with me. Good. Now ask yourself if you think the GMs, who literally devote their lives to Sindome (in many many ways) would use their power to.... make the game boring for themselves.

The few minutes I eek out to RP for myself every now and then-- the very last thing I want from them, is a predetermines outcome. I know the other GMs are the same because we watch them, we interview them, we train them, and we pick GMs that have the same drive and love for the game that carries us on and has brought the game close to it's 20 year mark.

Any GM who has ever abused their power (it has happened) in the way that is being purported here, has been kicked off the staff faster than a street sam with 'agile' agility. If you do a search of the website for topics like 'OOC bitching' and 'admin alt' and 'complaint' you will see dozens of posts from me over the years about trust, about how players don't see the whole picture, about how we can't even explain to you why you are wrong because we have to follow the same rules you guys do.

And guess what? It's for your own good. You don't want to know what I know. That's the biggest joke of all. It's to protect you guys, that we have this rule. The more you OOCly know, the less you will enjoy playing the game. That is not supposition, it is fact. This is why we don't tell you the simple answers that would clear up big issues you have OOCly. This is why we fight OOC collusion so hard. This is why the penalties are so stiff when you ignore the rules. It ruins the game. Telling others OOC info is ruining the game for them.

If you do it, you should stop. And if you expect the admin to do it, just to clear up complaints you have about the game, you will be disappointed. I wish it didn't have to be like that. It's utterly frustrating for me to not be able to tell you what you need to hear to put certain issues to bed for good, but it's the rules and my telling you would only make the game less fun in the end, for everyone.

So we are back, once again, to trust.

-- S

Relating to Jobs:

This was a good point. And something we are well aware of. A while back we gave control over hiring to a player at NLM and a player at VS. It worked for a while but in the end, it had a bad result in both cases, OOCly. And when those players left, it left the admin with a bad taste in their mouths.

We have updated our approach and as I have mentioned in other posts are taking the following steps:

A. There are players in charge of hiring at several corporations already, and this has been the case for a while.

Side Note Guess what? This has caused more problems. We have players xhelping and literally bitching us out for not responding to their gridmails and their job interviews or hiring them-- and it's a player that is holding them up. Not us. So the 'put players in charge' is not a magic bullet solution. Trust me, we've been doing this for a longgggg time and we have typically had all the conversations on all the topics that will ever be talked about, at least once, possibly 100 times. We constantly discuss how to make the game better!

B. We are currently refactoring how employment terminals and jobs work in general. It will drastically streamline the job process by giving each job a description, what the job entails, what the perks are, what the responsibilities are, and then a set of titles which will allow for promotions IE: Junior bartender, Mid-level Bartender, Senior Bartender, each with their own pay and responsibilities and perks! It's a huge process, we've been working on it for almost a month now and have already implemented a ton of new code (thanks Johnny!) and have a spreadsheet with almost 300 jobs that currently exist in the game that we are refactoring! It's a really big task, but we understand how important it is.

When it's done it will make it easier for a Support GM or Player to hire for a position. Oh and it will tie into 'Roles' so that we can eventually display lists of jobs that are available in game or on the website, relating to roles. Imagine going through chargen and being able to see a list of possible jobs + descriptions that you might have along with the roles + stat/skill combos you would be recommended to have for those jobs! It is a bit OOC to have that info, but it means not coming into game as the 50th cyberdoc when you could have come in as the ONLY mechanic. Ya know?

Staff Alts being the Gold Standard

Staff Alts are players. They deserve to be treated as such. They are not second class citizens. They are not secondary characters. Every single person that plays is their own main character. Admin alts are not different.

A vocal minority thinks that admin alts don't deserve to have their own story. They think that admin alts should be OOCly subservient to -their- RP. They think 'how dare this admin alt hurt my character and ruin my good time by doing XYZ. they aren't a /player/. I'm a /player/. I'm the main character. They are being abusive by ruining my good time by not letting me win.'. That's a shitty attitude and I don't abide it. I don't think any of you should either.

-- S

Hey there! Popping in to comment on this, and to say that I support the majority of the points made by the OP.

@Slither

*On perming: I'm pretty sure that @TITan didn't try and say that perming wasn't allowed in the game. But I'm also pretty sure that the majority of the populace agrees that perming people without doing your best to make sure it's an awesome experience kind of makes you a dick, which is what I believe they were trying to convey.

*On idling: You seem to have missed the point here. I think that the majority of players are aware that there is a kick after 24 hours of idling. What TITan pointed out is that some administrators just don't log out of Sindome when they go to sleep, and then get back to their computer upon waking. Which means that they idle for six to eight hours and then get back to RPing, presumably. I personally haven't seen this behavior in anyone but admins, but I can't know everything.

*On Trust: Perhaps instead of repeating "Trust us, man!" when people express distrust, you should instead think about ways to instill trust in the populace?

@Curt5 I think the majority of people that don't trust the admin are you, and the OP. It's a vocal minority. And when you say 'think about ways to instill trust' it makes it seem like we don't already make huge attempts to do that.

I've spent dozens of hours responding to BGBB posts this years.

We hold Town Hall Meetings every 6 months.

I personally investigate all complaints made against admin or other players.

I personally answer e-mails from players with complaints, questions or issues. You know this, because you have been one of these people, and have received lengthy e-mail responses from me on numerous occasions.

*On idling: Why is it the concern of players if admin, on their admin bits that do not need or receive UE, do not log out? I'm sorry but I'm not seeing the problem here. Most admin stay logged in so that they can be alerted when players xhelp, or are looking for puppets, or when combat breaks out. Or so they can review the scroll when they get back and @note anything that was missed when no admin were on. They do this to help the game. The fact that you are making it sound like a bad thing is... confusing.

My 2 cents:

I do agree with Hailfire that there seems to be a greater reliance on NPCs for non critical stuff than in other MUDs. I'm inclined to think it's a negative thing, because it demands a lot of the staff's voluntary work time and the players could perhaps do a faster job of things like hiring or getting people into gangs etc.

While I do have my own view about GM alts and their perceived imbalance in power vis-a-vis the player character base, the truth is I just don't know the mechanics and the IC to say it's an informed opinion. So I'll shut up on the matter.

I do wish there was a tiny bit more of feedback now and then. It's a design decision and I live with it, though.

Thanks for writing the review, and to Slither for his polite reply/rebuttal.

Game on!

Curt, I don't think it's up to the admin to make us trust them. What would you have them do for that? Reveal all the IC secrets about all the admin alts for your viewing pleasure?

I've been playing nearly as long as the OP minus or plus a month or so and have gained an entirely different taste of the game it seems. I'm not sure if I can attribute that to the fact that I staunchly stay away from outside of SD communications or not. My character has had a lot happen in the almost two years of being here. A -lot-. To the point that after the first curve, most players would have gone the cement poisoning route and started over because, god forbid it be hard.

I'm aware of the open admin alts just like anyone else due to mischans or otherwise. I've had my fair share of fights with admin over xhelp too when something went down that I felt was "wrong" in some way. We get so attached to our characters that it feels like a personal attack on us sometimes when something happens to them. But, when it comes to working with admin alts, I don't think of them on some separate level. I RP with an alt like I would anyone else. Admin were players first. I honestly hate seeing these posts about people not trusting staff. Why would you even play or post or anything else? If you love the game so much, why would you want to take opportunities to harm it?

I can't help but feel that some people are just so paranoid that they let it get the better of them. It's hard to not be paranoid in this game but, the extra step is taking that paranoia out of the game to other players and getting it validated. Because, they're just as paranoid as you so you must all be right and someone should be burned at the stake. If anyone should be, it's the players that allow this to happen to them. So, now we're aware that there's a contingent of players sitting in a gathering discussing the game at length and every sleight they feel is personal. That makes me trust the player base far less. What's to say that if my character does something, you aren't telling everyone about it? And that the actual reason another character suddenly changes views is because of your OOC paranoia and venting? That sucks. People sitting around spinning paranoid conspiracy theories suck.

As a player coming into this game, I had a couple of goals. One was to cultivate paranoia and rumors surrounding my character. I wanted other characters to spread as many rumors as possible about my own character so that no one would even recognize what was real anymore and would have that shock moment when they actually met this character. Two, I wanted my character to be permed but not forgotten when it came time for that. So, I have spent time actively cultivating exactly the paranoia that would send people discussing it outside of a game. Unlike particular admin alts though, I haven't had time to really send much hardship anyone's way or I'm sure I'd be getting burned at the stake too and accused of gaining meta info. When, really, it's this conspiracy group that is causing problems for themselves and then others.

As far as the login times, I agree that no one should be allowed to idle for long periods of time. I even wrote a post about it when I was newer. If only because, trying to RP with someone idle just isn't fun. At least they could scramble their SIC alias so that they don't look available. I've seen a lot of people do it and not just admin over the time I've been here. It can be thoroughly frustrating.

...there seems to be a greater reliance on NPCs for non critical stuff than in other MUDs.

I bend over backwards to push people in the opposite direction. If you think you can't get what you want because an NPC is standing between you and your goal, go find another solution in the form of a PC. So far, this strategy has produced every time, and while I'm not saying there's going to be hard exceptions, I am saying if you're hitting one of those hard exceptions, being patient is going to get you a lot further than posting on here about the ways it could be better. I don't except that news should surprise anyone.

without doing your best to make sure it's an awesome experience kind of makes you a dick

Chum... if I'm going to perm you, I'm not trying to do you any favors. I'm going to pull out all the stops. I'm going to make sure you never see it coming, and it's all ultimately pointless and ironic in it's depravity. It's not going to be a pit of alligators over which you are dangled while I reveal my master plan to you. It's going to be dark, and fast, and over as soon as it starts, and that's going to be that. Now, if you lived your character well? Then it will be awesome that I got you... any way I can. And if you didn't? Then I'll go back to forgetting about you. But you can't really expect me to go out of my way to do you favors here.

Mythologique makes a very interesting and good point regarding paranoia. I hadn't actually considered it might be bleed that drives people to communicate OOCly about IC things.

For those of you that don't know the term, bleed refers to ones IC feelings bleeding through to their OOC feelings (or vice versa). Something bad happens to your character so you get mad OOCly. Or you're in a bad mood and your character is magically in a bad mood. It happens to the best of us.

IC paranoia is great. IC groups that use encryptions or gridmail or bars or secret meetings to discuss their paranoia is also great. IC groups or factions that gather ICly to discuss their next moves and their plots and plans, is great. All of that is AMAZING and exactly what we want you guys to be doing. Plotting, planning, betraying, paranoia, concern, anger, joy, success. We want you all to feel that. In character.

Getting together OOCly to complain about the game or to share information or to bitch about admin or to talk about how you 'think' something went down is negative and has a negative impact on the game. It cannot be helped. It is bad. It starts out innocent but it turns into an echo chamber of dissent and the IC paranoia bleeds over it seems, and that causes people to get bitter and feel slighted or wronged or picked on OOCly about completely IC things that happened.

Really, I can't put it better than Mythologique. I shouldn't try. They captured exactly what I am always trying to express, and they did it from the player perspective.

-- S

@Slither

*Idling: I believe people are just trying to point out that sometimes, admin alts just don't sleep for a week. Sometimes meaning many times. Admins keeping connected in order to get back to people is a good thing, and I don't think anyone could argue otherwise.

*Trust: Nobody is saying that there is a majority of players that distrust the administration. But you seem to be discounting evidence in this thread. What about the seven people total who worked together on the OP? What about the people who TITan doesn't have OOC contact with, or didn't send this post, who have the same feelings?

Based on my own experiences and conversations with other players, I would guesstimate that about 25% of players think that the admins don't play fair all the time, with varying degrees of mistrust from 'Bend the rules' to 'stacked deck.'

Perhaps you should consider that as an admin, in the same way that players cannot know if admin alts are punished for doing things IC unless they're told or see it themselves, admins cannot know when players think badly of them, unless they're told or see it themselves.

I also didn't want to imply that you, and the rest of the team, don't do their best to try and let the players know that things are fair. It's just that I know people still perceive things as unfair sometimes despite those efforts.

Also, my correction to OPs perma comment was to clarify the fact that they said, as if it were a rule, that perma-killing was frowned upon. It is not, and I think it's important that that be clarified. You should have a good reason for doing it. That is all the you owe the player that you are attempting to perm. Randomly perming characters is not acceptable because it's bad for the game. Perming characters when you have a good reason is not frowned upon.

===@Revex: ===

Thank you for that. :) It's nice to know I created fun roleplay for someone. I'm sure I enjoyed roleplaying with you too and hope you continue to enjoy your RP.

===@Johnny:===

I'm sure this was a knee jerk response to some contraversial opinions I know I expressed and it's fine. I anticipated such a reaction and no offence has been taken here. I feel however, that the dismissive attitude to the feedback expressed in your forum post and through what was posted in-MOO is an example of the factors that can make players feel awkward in communicating opinions to staff and further validates point 1. I might have expressed these opinions sooner and had my concerns cleared up had I not feared that kind of response. I am sure some other players feel the same.

===@Kroak:===

I absolutely adore this MOO and was horribly addicted. I'm not challenging the punishment here. I feel however that regardless of what I did the points I have made remain valid. Maybe in six months time (should my ban not be extended for the contents of this thread) I will return appropriately warily and hopefully if/when that happens I will be welcomed back.

===@Slither:===

Thank you for acknowledging this as an attempt to provide constructive criticism and responding in kind, with counterpoints and evidence to support your points. This is the kind of dialogue I was hoping to open up.

Relating to point 3 on the original forum post:

Perming = Thank you for clearing this up. I was working based on what I have heard said on by Staff and other members of the community.

Idling = It is reassuring to know that no rules were broken. It feels like a poor standard of rp for a character not to sleep though and gives the character an enhanced awareness of the state of the world through sic. Are gm alts connected to the admin account or something?

I think the majority of people that don't trust the admin are you, and the OP. = This post was read and approved by 7 players including myself prior to posting and inspired by conversations with many more. As I said, I begrudge bringing it up in the first place but it is a rather universally held view and therefore felt worth mentioning.

Finally, I am not going to continue pushing on point 3 for reasons I will explain in a moment.

Relating to point 2 to on the original forum post:

It's great to hear this is something staff are aware of and are working on. I'm sorry to hear that you've had abusive xhelps sent your way over the efforts made to resolve the problem and hope that my proposed communication system, which I have thought on carefully, is something that might help you avoid such incidents in the future.

===Elaboration on Original Post.===

It isn't made clear in the original post and so I am going to make it clear here. The issues I have listed are placed in order of priority. That is to say that I feel:

1. COMMUNICATION is the most important issue

2. The devolution of power to players to make things run smoother and enrich RP is the second most important.

3. The PERCEPTION surrounding Staff Alt RP is the LEAST important issue, hence I will not be pushing point 3 further.

I do not want to lose what I feel are important points in amongst a debate over such a controversial and potentially damaging topic as the IC behaviour of Volunteer Staff characters.

I can see that there have been more posts whilst I wrote this up but I'm not going to be able to keep up if I keep adding responses. Thank you to ALL responders who have approached this in a constructive manner.

Admin alts might not sleep for a week because your GMs, the people behind those alts, don't sleep for a week. A character, any character not sleeping for a week means that they have actively been on their character at least once every 24 hours during that week. This is something any player can accomplish. I see zero reason to enforce a different standard on admin alts in this regard than we enforce on any other player. There is no unfair advantage here.

Did you ever stop to think that maybe they just play the game more than you? That maybe that is the reason they were tapped to become admin in the first place? That running this game requires people that are willing to be on, the majority of their waking lives?

I do not understand the issue here. The same rules are applied to each and every person that plays the game, across the board.

Slither has more patience than Johnny and I. Slither gave you six months suspension. I probably would have supported a permanent ban seeing that you abused your position as a Support GM and shared knowledge of notes with another player.

It kinda of ruins any attempt you make to 'improve' the game/community in my eyes when you've crossed the worst possible line you could cross with abuse of admin privileges.

So, you'll have to forgive my unwillingness to thoroughly address the points you're trying to make.

RE: Idling

GM alts are not connected to an admin account. I do not know where you got the idea that they were any different than any other player accounts and I think I clarified the situation pretty darn clearly in my first post. If you want to sit online for 23 hours and 59 minutes idle, you can. The same rules apply to everyone. There is zero favoritism here.

'This post was read and approved by 7 players...'

That's fine. You're banned from the game and we are allowing this thread to continue because we do not operate in an echo chamber. If other players have issues, they should raise them with the admin in an email to help@sindome.org as has always been our policy. As I haven't seen that, nor have I seen other people aside from you and Curt complaining about this, I will not take it as truth. I said vocal minority. And I think that's exactly what it is. I also think that you guys communicate OOCly about the game, against the rules, and reveal information that other players do not have access to. And I think that sucks, and, as I have stated already, ruins the game for you and those players-- as is evidenced by many of the issues you raised in your post. That's the echo chamber.

A group of players OOCly discussing things that are not meant to be OOCly discussed in private. We have the BGBB for a reason. We have OOC chat for a reason, we have help@sindome.org for a reason. If you can't have the conversation on one of those three mediums then you should not be having it.

Communicaion

We communicate as much as we can. There are a lot of players. We offer OOC-Chat, Game-Help, xhelp, the BGBB, staff e-mail addresses and help@sindome.org. We routinely post on the BGBB about game issues, changes, and request feedback from the players on a LOT of things.

We hold town hall meetings every six months to give everyone a chance to discuss every issues that they think is important and we do this in a completely transparent manner with the players setting the topics that are to be discussed. We do not have time to answer @notes and therefor we do not. It is not possible to do it unless you guys want to start donating thousands of dollars a month so that we can hire a paid staff. It is not that we don't think it's a good idea, we just recognize it is not viable based on all the other things people have to do. There is nothing stopping any player from creating a 'ways to communicate' thread on the BGBB an opening a discussion on ways we can improve that don't involve adding hundreds of hours of GM work a week.

I think every single person reading this that spends any time reading the BGBB knows that I read it, respond to threads, and take feedback seriously. We ask for it, and we act on it. Does anyone feel like this is not the case? If so, I can go through the BGBB threads from the last week and compile a list of the ones I have specifically asked for feedback on-- some multiple times.

We are constantly evolving and working on ways to make the game better. As an example: we've updated @notes and I have been -very- active in that thread, asking for player comments, feedback and suggestions. And I have taken that feedback and update the code and policies on our end to reflect changes to make notes better for everyone. That was all based on communication between players and staff, done transparently on the BGBB.

Does this really fucking boil down to 'tell us shit we got no business knowing' and 'give more of us the power to hire and fire'? Fucking wasting my god damn time. Go play something else if we aren't doing shit good enough for you. There are far too many of you for me to make happy anyways, I could use LESS WORK.

It could be that many players do not complain, because they feel intimidated by staff or other pressure.

I, for one, always felt that way. I feel super conscious of my posts and remarks.

My opinion on staff is that they really contribute a lot and help this game. I appreciate it a lot. However, at the same time, I feel like sometimes, some of them act like they are 'higher'. Maybe I'm not using the correct word. What I mean is, staff all began as normal players, right? Just like me and other players. Maybe they're better at RPing and/or are better at handling responsibility. That's why they can become a good staff member (which is definitely good). But I get the impression that sometimes there's a division between staff and players. That line is very noticeable or tangible and it makes players (non-staff players) feel inferior and intimidated or on an entire different level. This causes feelings such as 'injustice' or 'unfairness'.

Staff all started out as normal players, right? We all get treated equally and should view and/or act like that.

As normal players, we should respect and treat staff members well, just like normal players.

As staff members, they should respect and treat players equally like themselves too.

I'm not saying staff treat players horribly or whatever. I'm just saying that sometimes the word choices or way a statement is said unintentionally makes players feel inferior.

At the same time, players should rather must honor/respect staff members too.

We all have our faults. We're all human.

(Okay, not sure if I people can actually understand what I'm trying to say >.<)

@Slither

If someone on the admin team isn't sleeping for weeks at a time, I'm pretty sure that that's a health hazard type problem. People need sleep, man.

@Johnny

Unbunch your panties man, c'mon. Don't be the rude guy in the conversation.

Diani, this isn't an attack but, I'm not good at words always. What I take away from your post is that you feel insecure and deal with anxiety? Could it be you yourself making yourself feel inferior? There isn't a single admin that I won't poke fun at, argue with, suggest to, email, or just generally shoot the shit with. Even Johnny or Cerberus. Don't place them on a pedestal that you have been the one to build. And, don't make yourself feel they are superior because you lack confidence. They are people too. Say hi sometime on xooc to them and maybe they'll feel more human to you.

I notice a lot of people attracted to SD have anxieties and low confidence for various reasons from RL but, that shouldn't be translated to how people view admin. The admin aren't some supernatural gods. They are Cerberus and Johnny and Mephisto. Maybe think of them as super players? They don't just play one character, they play a lot of characters. They make mistakes. They have hobbies and passions and kids and are just human.

You know what I only realized after reading through most of this? It seems obvious in retrospect, but GM alts are probably so powerful because they're just really good players. GMs are made GMs because they understand the theme, they have good ideas, they think well and come up with good shit, and they're willing and able to put in massive amounts of time and effort into the game. All of those things make a great player, and a great player usually makes for a powerful character.

You know what I only realized after reading through most of this? It seems obvious in retrospect, but GM alts are probably so powerful because they're just really good players. GMs are made GMs because they understand the theme, they have good ideas, they think well and come up with good shit, and they're willing and able to put in massive amounts of time and effort into the game. All of those things make a great player, and a great player usually makes for a powerful character.

I think what both Johnny and Cerberus are expressing is utter frustration.

Is it rude to run a free game that you aren't forcing anyone to play and to find out that players are breaking the rules and then complaining because the echo chamber they've created OOCly for themselves is unhappy with the status quo in the completely free game that they do not need to play?

I mean, c'mon man. We are -people- that have spent thousands and thousands of hours creating a unique roleplay experience for people to play, that we give away freely and maintain because we love it. I think a measure of frustration at this situation is completely justified.

@Diani

I hear you and completely understand where you are coming from. I wish that every staff member had the brain cycles, customer service training, and social wherewithal to handle every interaction with players in a way that would not leave you or any other player feeling as though you couldn't speak your mind.

That isn't always the case, and it's something we constantly work on and poke each other about. There is a lot going on behind the curtains and we are all struggling just to keep up, let alone produce RP and new features and keep things moving ICly. There isn't always time to spot check the wording on every message. I wish there was. Over the years we've developed a better system, one where we try to keep it to only one admin responding to a message, so during difficult or rule-enforcing conversations, the player doesn't feel ganged up on.

However, let's be honest, not all of us have a background in customer service. And, given it's an online, text based RPG, not all of us have a background in talking to people in general. We do our best. When we take on a new admin, there is a ton of training they need to do in order to be useful to the game-- and unfortunately, customer service training just isn't a very high priority. Some admin are great and patient and endlessly helpful (Linekin) and for some, that kind of thing is challenging and not something that comes easy to them.

-- S

@Diani and others,

It's also important to remember that whilst some staff might come off as abrupt or brusque (and that certainly can be jarring the first time you're on the receiving end), it's likely due to being simply pressed for time. A handful of GMs in a game that has sixty active players every night (not even a snapshot of the entire player list) lends itself to being spread thin. There's often not time for complex niceties and, for lack of a better term, handholding.

I felt that way the first time I got an xhelp out, and felt that I'd done something terrible. Then I slapped myself in the face and reviewed the situation for what it was.

@Trickyhottrev

That is very insightful and also entirely correct from my point of view. GMs are typically the cream of the crop. They usually have the most time to play, have learned the game the best and have shown themselves to be exceptional role players.

===@Cerberus===

I didn't communicate the -contents- of any note but I don't really care to get into the technicalities of the ban. It's not what I came here to do and would amount to petty squabbling. I'm sorry you feel that way.

===@Slither===

Idling

"I do not know where you got the idea that they were any different than any other player accounts"

"Most admin stay logged in so that they can be alerted when players xhelp, or are looking for puppets, or when combat breaks out." <-This confused me.

===@Diani===

You've communicated yourself just fine and you aren't alone in feeling that way. By posting this I have tried to open dialogue on how to overcome the issues that you are talking about now that I have nothing to lose by doing so. Well done for overcoming your anxieties and speaking up this time.

========

Having achieved my objective in communicating some player views to the staff, I do not feel the need to take this thread any further. If I have any regrets in having posted this it is only that the top two points and the ones I considered most important of the three have been overshadowed by squabbling over the third and less important point. A BIG thank you to those who have listened and moved this thread forwards constructively.

Odds are I will move on from this community when I go, but I wanted and still want my last legacy to this community to be a positive one and so raised issues that other players felt unable to raise now I have little to lose by doing so. I'll be proposing a modification/extention/additional noting system that will allow people to more effectively communicate on how and why they feel the way they do about situations that arise IC or OOC relating to Sindome. I hope it will be useful.

My apologies to those who took the contents of the thread as an attack on staff. It is not intended that way at all, as stated in the OP. I knew from the outset when I posted this it would be controversial however hopefully now other players who felt as I did/do.

Walk safe everyone.

TITan out.

I don't feel insecure nor deal with anxiety, but I do feel intimidated by staff sometimes. Not always. And when I don't, it's really quite nice and I really appreciate them. It's during some times when there's negative emotions in a conversation or discussion that I feel intimidated. And feel like there are two sides and a division.

Yes, it could be I am making myself feel inferior. But I'm pretty sure I do not suffer from any anxiety. So I believe wouldn't it be better if I never had any of those ideas in the first place?

It's normal to feel anger and probably healthy to express it, but I feel like sometimes we're intimidated during such heated moments and thus, afraid to share opinions that oppose/differ from staff opinion. And I understand that admins are busy and maybe have been pestered for awhile which is why I usually try to ignore any intimidation or whatever during those times. But you know, you can't unread what you read. So it gets sort of stuck in your head, I guess.

It would be nice if we felt like our opinions are welcome all the time, even when staff members may be a bit unhappy/upset.

Much like what Slither said on OOC chat:

I appreciate all of you weighing in, regardless of what your opinions are. We don't operate in a vacuume or an echo chamber. Everyone has a voice and your voices all matter. It's OK to post your thoughts on things. The only thing we ever come down on people about OOCly is revealing IC info. We might come down hard on someone if they misrepresent a situation or if they are outright wrong about a rule, but that's an OOC discussion, not a punishment of any sort. Unless it continues or is disruptive to the community.

It's nice.

*hopefully now other players who felt as I did/do can rest a bit easier about communicating.

Lol. Sorry Diani. I didn't mean to say you had anxieties like that, but yeah. I totally get where you are coming from and this entire thread is an overblown version of something trying to address the issue you have mentioned. Thank you.

As Hali has left the conversation, I am only going to address the idling thing again if there is anyone else that is still confused on this matter. I think I've explained it pretty well thus far, but will reiterate or expand if there is a need for it.

@Diani (and everyone else)

Keep in mind that admin have to justify their actions to other admin. An admin might be pissy over xhelp to you, I won't promise that will never happen because it very well might. However, it's important to state: there is no implied threat in those words. An admin isn't going to fly off the handle and kill your character or start having NPCs you have relationships with all the sudden hate you. A. that is against the rules B. they would not be able to justify it to the other admin thus outing themselves as a rule breaker and being suspended or kicked off the GM team.

I want to make sure there is no misunderstanding about what an admin being less than nice over xhelp actually means in terms of the actual game world. Are there any other questions on this? Do we need to expand on it or open up another thread to discuss it in more detail?

Honestly, Hailfire. I was somewhat upset to see you go originally considering our history and joining the game about the same time but, knowing that you openly speak about SD with a group of people offline? I don't trust you or your characters now. Your opinions and ideas leave a bad taste in my mouth solely because of your repeated line, "the approval of seven others." So, eight of you that play or played SD came together to discuss SD in detail and then come up with a post about rule breaking and not trusting admin because they don't tell you things.

What makes you trustworthy? You want to communicate, why don't you let us all know who your fellows are and what you talk about behind your curtain? Or, they could step forward. You want better communication and transparency but all you did is step out to break rules and make the player base uncomfortable. Now there are a group of players that we've all been made aware of that are out there sharing meta information about the game. Talking about characters and their actions. Gaining advantages solely because they are linked up via OOC. What gives you the right and makes you so special?

I'm just worried this is going to turn into a Salem-esque witch hunt for the other players.

@Mythologique

I suppose an argument could be made that players need to trust one another not to be breaking rules like that by sharing IC info that other players don't already know, in the same way that the argument has been made and is being made in this thread that players need to trust the admins because they are admins.

If we all assume that everyone plays in the spirit of good fun and good sportsmanship, chatting about things isn't much of a problem, and that's how I've always thought about it. Maybe that's a little niéve though, because I'm sure some people -do- go around metagaming and keeping each other informed on IC stuff to give each other advantages.

They just, y'know. Probably wouldn't say so on the public forums.

I'm in, Johnny. Pass me a torch.

I'm only hopping in to say to Slither that it is absolutely, 100% bleed that makes stuff like this happen. Players are human, and we get attached to our characters. People don't sit around and bitch about Sindome because they are reacting rationally to it: they do it because they had a bad experience ICly, or a negative interaction with a staff member, or something else happened to them that has their emotions out of whack and it's affecting them now both IC and OOC.

I get that grief like this is hard on the staff and you're sick of putting up with it, and I don't personally have a dog in this fight. On the other side, though, are a bunch of emotional humans who are attached to the puppets they created. Special thanks to those on the staff who have managed to find one more tiny well of patience for it. (And no hard feelings toward those who are, understandably, done with it all.)

This has been entirely exhausting. The admin are not out witch hunting. What we are doing is being on-moo, puppeting, rping, coding, iterating, working on our training for new gms, reaffirming our commitments to the game, having discussions with players, helping the community understanding what has happened and why, working on healing as a whole, and taking the time to address all the issues raised in this topic.

That's all happening right now. In real time.

===@Mytho===

I feel you've missed the point of the post itself here. I'm not asking for Staff to tell us things. I'm drawing attention to the issues within the community in l. Hopefully my proposed system of communication will help.

I could assure you that, like Slither said, I wouldn't use cheat codes to win at the game IC, but you've made it clear you don't trust me.

===@Fogchild1===

Me too. Because it isn't just the 7 who do it. They'd have to ban a huge chunk of the community. A HUUUUUUUUGE chunk.

Curt, over almost 2 years, admin have my trust. But, like I said in an earlier post, I don't communicate with players outside of SD. My opinions, ideas, and thoughts weren't derived by a collective mind and spewed forth by someone else trying to act as the "people's hero". If I'm frustrated with SD, I finish my RP and go on my merry way and watch Netflix or something and come back later.

Maybe that's what makes so many players stand in solidarity behind SD, the game we play and love. The fact that we don't take it personally, we don't bounce our ideas off of other people taking it personally and get that same feeling bounced back endlessly until it's grown into a bonfire of seething thoughts, we don't sit around reliving every action and reaction and how it could possibly have happened or why it was wrong. We play, enjoy, and log off. Have I been upset at admin? Sure. Have I cried over something in game? Yep. But, I don't let those feelings stay with me until they are all I can think about. It's a game. Bits of text on a screen.

@Mytho

All I can say is that I agree, and support this mindset. General purpose chill is a good trait to have.

Also, one more thing I'd like to add, as a message to fellow players. When it comes to the staff, especially when they're communicating with you, assume good intentions. If you get offended by a curt response that comes off as rude, remember that you're just one thing that has to be taken care of on a very long list of other things. They're not being brief or surly to offend you, they're doing so because they're always always busy making the game better. Now, that does -not- mean don't talk to the GMs because they don't have time for you. YOUR fun, YOUR experience, is important to them, and even if you get shut down, it just means ya gotta try a new angle. And, have faith that you're being heard. Even if it doesn't seem like it at times, they know you're there, and if you're RPing well, they're loving what you're doing.

I also think, for the record, that Slither in particular does a fucking amazeballs job communicating with everyone, and don't hold it against Johnny or Cerb if they're impatient. I bet they're probably sleep-deprived and overworked because of their dedication to the game (fuck, I'm sleep-deprived from this game, and I'm not nearly as active.) They have feelings too.

Hail, please, just stop. You did use that cheat code. You abused the high position given to you by the community. Even if these issues are real, and the player base does agree with you, you aren't the person to be making the argument, you destroyed your chance to do that along with your credibility. This has become a depressing embarrassment, can we please just stop it.

In their defense, Strummer, I at least feel as if I got something, a few somethings actually, out of this thread. It was a discussion worth having, in my opinion.

I agree that vilifying people in order to invalidate a point isn't effective.

I also see Johnny's point regarding this boiling down to 'tell us stuff we have no business knowing', and 'fix job code like you already said you were'.

I'm trying to gain from it myself, but all I see is people making bad points which are being corrected, and I don't think that's constructive either.

I have a hard time why 'trust' about the admins would be an issue up for discussion at all. It's not like we're talking about 1 person here, we're talking about a rotating cast who, upon seeing anyone stepping out of line for any reason about anything, have a vested interest in reporting them and getting it dealt with. You don't actually have to trust them, you simply have to trust human nature, and that these people individually have a vested interest in maintaining the integrity of their creation for their own individual reasons. I assume that there's, at any given time, a bad player in the mix, and I also assume that the minute he's actually exposed, he'll be removed and dealt with sharply. I also have evidence for this, in the form of the ban that just happened. Am I missing something?

Reread the original post, and there were a few points that were missed here.

On communication, I do wish there were a way for staff to leave messages for players. Actually, come to think of it, I'm pretty sure there is, it is just seldom used. If I remember correctly, there is a dusty @mail system kicking around somewhere. I think it would be an easier way to communicate with players in certain respects. In the past, staff have prompted conversations with me while I was in the middle of RP, and while I personally don't mind multitasking, some may find it disruptive to get a yellow pop-up right in the middle of a scene. It would also be useful to reply to certain @notes (not all of them, mind you, ain't nobody got time for that.)

I play my own game and learn through trial-an-error, and through help files. I try not to bother GM's with questions unless I feel stuck in a tech issue. Communication errors happen this was, often through my own fault being hesitant to bother staff.

An example is @notes. Staff asked for feed back a long time back and I began leaving notes as a result, figuring it was a small thing in exchange for all their work. Suddenly I am dealing with plot hooks and opportunities I did not even want. I finally had the realization that someone somewhere thought I was asking for more GMing in my @notes. Oops. I am still trying to get back to self-driven plots am, the month's later! I could have just asked...

Even when I am in heated discussion, I respect the work volunteers put into this excellent game. I imagine it is frustrating to place plot hooks out there and just have them ignored. A communication issue. A better understanding of @notes (or maybe this new system) and a way of discretely checking to ensure a player is interested in a given plot line before working on it? Possible improvements in communication that seem worth considering.

Staff here have my respect and as much support as possible. Hopefully enough to show my appreciation. I play SD for fun and so I play in ways that are fun for me[\i]. If I do not always communicate clearly to staff what that is, perhaps that is my fault and I should better try before I have become so intimidated or annoyed by irritated exchanges that I end up communicating even less in the future. a downhill spiral.

Most communication hurdles melt away when people...well, talk about them cooperatively.