Be Nice!

I play an online computer game which will remain nameless. Socially, the game is a great deal like a MU*...small independently operated servers with a small staff. I had been playing 'lone wolf' style--playing independently of the other players on the game. I paid only marginal attention to what staff and other players were talking about on public chat. On occasion, I saw some things go by that got an raised eyebrow or two, but I ignored it...

A few nights ago, there started an altercation that I couldn't ignore. I'm not going to explain in detail. What I couldn't stomach and what prompts this article is that it became a situation where more than one staffer was bullying a player, a player clearly not adept enough to defend himself against verbal bullying and even less able when the bullies were staff.

It went on long enough that I noticed what was going on and filed a complaint. This server had a web form you could fill out to report problems and I used it. But I knew very well that it went to the very people I was issuing a complaint about, and so I also sent a private message to the owner/head-staff/administrator (pick a title that makes sense to you). That turned out to be a good thing--some (not all) of the staff that responded to my complaint responded defiantly, the gist of their response being either that they were 'above the law' or 'none of your business! butt out!' etc.

Now the administrator had an different position and I believe he's making some changes for the better. Reminding the staff of their responsibilities and the like.

It got me thinking, though. I shared some of the story with the Narnia Staff, and it got them thinking too. Honestly, I can't imagine our players behaving that way, I've always believed that NarniaMUCK attracts players who are considerate, compassionate, and intelligent. Likewise, NarniaMUCK's staff cares very deeply about the happiness and enjoyment of the players.

But just in case, there are some things we want everyone to know. On the off-chance there is someone who's being inconsiderate or mean, or worse.

Meanness, bullying, harassment of any kind will not be tolerated here. If someone's being a jerk, a bully, harassing you, or in any way making you feel uncomfortable, here are some things I want you to do:

  • If you feel comfortable doing so, politely tell the player that you feel their behavior is inappropiate.
  • Do your best to remove yourself from the situation: "walk away", turn the chat off, etc.
  • Contact a staffer! Do this no matter how trivial it might seem, no matter what. We want to know about it. Your first choices should be either whoever's "On Duty" (because they can respond more quickly) or the Player Relations staff (currently Melody or Shiekah). If for some reason you can't contact them, or don't feel comfortable talking to them, ANY staffer can help. Page or e-mail whomever works best for you.
  • If you have a problem with a staffer, or you feel a staffer handled your concern ineffectively, *I*want to hear about it. Send me an e-mail. Send me a page. Send me all three.

NEVER respond with insults, pejoratives, or aggression of your own. If the polite complaint is insufficient, stop communicating with that person at once and contact the staff. We want to be your advocate in such a situation, and if you react poorly, that will make it harder for us and for you.

All NarniaMUCK staff have e-mail addresses and any of us would be happy to chat with you about your concerns. Here's a list:,,,,,,,,,

There are many behaviors that I consider harassment. There is no way for me to list them all, but here are some, in no particular order:

  • Subtle meannessess and verbal bullying.
  • Insults, profanity, and pejoratives. (If you want characters IC-ly to insult each other, be sure everyone knows whats going on!)
  • Anything sexual, whether it is via innuendo, suggestive speech, or outright explicit.
  • Anything excessively or graphically violent. We do have combat here, so there is some violence. But the RP and descriptions of such should not be excessively gory or ugly.
  • Racism, Orientation Discrimination, Homophobia, Gender Discrimination, Sexism, Religious Discrimination.

Just remember we can't solve problems we don't know about. Your first thought when something is wrong is "contact the staff" or "contact feaelin". I can do amazing things in MUF, but I can't use it to read your mind!

"Feaelin! I said something without thinking it through and I offended someone! What do I do?"

Apologize. And mean it. I recommend confessing to a staffer as well, explain clearly what you did, and what you did to rectify your mistake.

Bear in mind that an apology is not a "Get Out of Jail Free" card--that's there's a huge difference between sticking your foot in your mouth and deliberate meanness. It'll be obvious to everyone, so don't think you can be a jerk, and then say "oops! I'm sorry". It works for two-year-olds, but it won't work for anyone else.

Be nice to each other.



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So many MU*s, so much time

I have been on more MU*s than I have count. I've run across all manner of players, from innocent-but-clueless newbies stumbling into an IC grid room and chatting socially with the regular speak and pose commands to awesome rockstar roleplayers purposefully and cleverly nuancing their poses to stoke the coals for other players and inspire awesome posing from less skilled roleplayers, and similar swaths of administrators from clique preservers to overly pushovers. I myself have served in varying levels of staff, up to and including "co-head-wizzing" a MUSH many years ago in which I proved to be a disastrous pushover type.

From those experiences on both side of the user/staff line, and from my observations on how groups in general go whether online or real life, I think the image of noble administration is and the "do the right thing" statement get more of a prideful desire than appreciation for the real hard work it takes to actually make them true. It is very difficult for anyone in any group -- MUCK administration, officers in a police department, members of a church or soldiers on a battlefield -- to possess the most extreme courage it takes to hold a comrade or friend to account when they do something wrong. Camaraderie sounds like such a pleasant word, but unlike C.S. Lewis, I don't believe there is any absolute good nor absolute evil, and camaraderie has its down side. There is no real clear line between friendly camaraderie and acting as a mob, letting ourselves get carried away in things one tidbit at a time.

I am speaking in general cautionary here, nothing specific in regards to Narnia MUCK. I've only been here a few days, of course ... thus far, the hints and signs I look for from how many badly administrated MU*s I have been on in the past indicate the Narnia MUCK administration has a pretty clean house and dedicated to making the MUCK a pleasant place to RP ... to name a few of these hints, gracious openness to questions, prying and criticism. They seem simple, but everyone (myself included, hypocricy be darned) tends to get defensive at criticism due to pride, and it takes a lot of hard introspection to keep ourselves in line to make bonafide constructive progress from the criticism of others instead of dismissing them and continuing to plow on in the same direction we have.

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