Why Rules?

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Intro and Reason

All too often I'm asked why we've got the rules we have. The essay below (from years back) explains why.

Why Rules?

All too often someone whines, "It's not fair!" or "I don't agree!" when they hear about some of our rules.

There are many MUCKs/MUDs/MUSHs/MOOs/Forums/etc. out there in the internet. Many of them have different rules. Many have even more rules than we do, complete with constitutions and checks and balances. Many of them have fewer rules; some even have the simple rule "I own the server, so I get my way!" and only their friends get breaks.

We have a set of rules that has been fairly stable over the last seven or so years. Our rules are best summarized as "Play nice!" and are meant to avoid one player stomping on another. People stomp on others many ways. One way is with spam, such as paging "You sux0rs!" one thousand times. Another is by paging "Why don't you like me????" even after being told to stop.

I've had many players say they like Redwall MUCK because the people are very nice. I agree. It's also a place that is expected to be suitable for children -- of all ages. Part of the reason that MUCK has such excellent players is because those players who aren't courteous or nice end up removed.

Understand, I, Otter, Chief Wizard, have and do remove those players who break our rules. I'm not willing to give multiple chances. I am not afraid of "You suck and I'll take my friends and make a muck that takes all your players!" In general, my answer to all the threats is, "Do what you think is best."

Is the MU a tyranny, and am I a tyrant? YES. I repeat: YES. I am a tyrant. Of the worst order. Because I posted the set of rules and I enforce them blindly. I've banished staff members. I've fired wizards. The MU lives under the rule of law, as written in our rules and policies. And in that, I have no sympathy or apology.

The alternative is a MU where staffers are free to break rules, where players can break rules if they have friends in high places, and where everything is subject to the whims of one or more people who have W flags.

Is our tyranny of written clear policy truly worse than that?

If you think so, there's 6000 other MU systems on the web (or more). We allow people to join so long as they agree to play by the rules. If they aren't happy, they aren't required to stay. I know of no more simple facts than "This system welcomes all who follow the rules and rejects all who don't." This isn't a government. It isn't a nation-state. It isn't a religion. This is a computer system with a set of policies.

And a tyrant to make sure those policies stay in force.

Otter, Chief Wizard, Redwall MUCK

See Also