Watts (chipotle) wrote,

There's a couple interestilng observations I came across on Raph's Laws of Online World Design page ("Raph" being Raph Koster, now the lead designer for the upcoming Star Wars Galaxies multiplayer online RPG).

Here's a couple I've observed in action:

Anonymity and in-game admins
The in-game admin faces a bizarre problem. He is exercising power that the ordinary virtual citizen cannot. And he is looked to in many ways to provide a certain atmosphere and level of civility in the environment. Yet the fact remains that no matter how scrupulously honest he is, no matter how just he shows himself to be, no matter how committed to the welfare of the virtual space he may prove himself, people will hate his guts. They will mistrust him precisely because he has power, and they can never know him. There will be false accusations galore, many insinuations of nefarious motives, and former friends will turn against him. It may be that the old saying about power and absolute power is just too ingrained in the psyche of most people; whatever the reasons, there has never been an online game whose admins could say with a straight face that all their players really trusted them.

Mass market facts
Disturbing for those used to smaller environments, but: administrative problems increase EXPONENTIALLY instead of linearly, as your playerbase digs deeper into the mass market. Traditional approaches tend to start to fail. Your playerbase probably isn't ready or willing to police itself.

Hans Henrik Staerfeldt's Law of Player/Admin Relations: The amount of whining players do is positively proportional to how much you pamper them.
Many players whine if they see any kind of bonus in it for them. It will simply be another way for them to achieve their goals. As an admin you hold the key to many of the goals that they have concerning the virtual environment you control. If you do not pamper the players and let them know that whining will not help them, the whining will subside.

Community size
Ideal community size is no larger than 250. Past that, you really get subcommunities.

And last but certainly not least:

John Hanke's Law
In every aggregation of people online, there is an irreducible proportion of jerks.

The ways these various observations apply to FurryMUCK (or any other online world) is left as an exercise for the reader.


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