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Admin, & PR

1999 Topic Index

Posted by LadyAce on 04/15

Hi all, I noticed a few comments on the board which referred to the relationship between the Admin & PR depts, and I thought I'd explain a little bit about why I think they have different roles to play. In some ways, it's summarized by the "talents" Sandra and I have with respect to knowing players' alts. Sandra has an incredibly good head for knowing alts, I forget them almost instantly. This lets Sandra keep a sense of how the player is performing as a whole, and it lets me treat each character and event as a separate circumstance. This leads to a very valuable difference in perspective on players, and I like to think it makes both Sandra & I reasonably well-suited to our jobs. I know that you may not always see the work that the PR department does, in terms of communicating with players, but I point out the fact that as immortals whose primary duties are online, we tend to spend a great deal of time here, talking to and listening to players. Beyond the Q & As and discussion board and the level of familiarity with player opinion that being online can bring, here's how I (approximately) see my time being divided up in the 60 or so hours I put in here each week. Games (which serve a PR purpose) 10% Handling player requests (strings, descs) 20% Talking with players on channels 20% Talking with players in person 20% RP support/consultation 20% But outside of the various job distributions of the various departments, we are all immortals, and we all have a responsibility to see that we communicate well, support the creation of a healthy social atmosphere, enforce the rules effectively and efficiently, continue to expand the diversity of the areas-based play-space, expand and improve the code, find/fix/redress bugs and problems. Of course, we all do this according to our talents. Not everyone is patient, not everyone knows how to code, not everyone knows how to build, not everyone has the temperament to be the best at all of these jobs (except Kaige, who is incredible). I agree that the Admin department does create PR problems from time to time. But then again, so can the Building department and so can the Admin department. And I don't doubt the PR department causes its own set of problems for the other departments as well. If you look closely at the job flags (by doing a whois immname) you will find that some, but certainly not all, PR imms have an Admin flag and vice versa. Those who feel that they can take on the extra burden of that flag, and meld their approach into the two departments, are free to do just that. Those whose temperaments, interests, or energies are simply devoted elsewhere, choose to remain with one flag -- though some of them are simply working towards that flag. At any rate, I'm more than happy to listen to suggestions about the PR department, but I find that we have a myriad of duties and cannot be everything to all people. We cannot be solely the RP department, we cannot be solely the communication department, we cannot solely be the community-building department, etc etc. What we do strive for is to strike a balance between all of those priorities that will allow us to improve the MUD to the best of our abilities. -LadyAce errata, 3 paragraphs up, 3rd line, should be Coding department. I'm sure y'all know what I mean :) also 3 paragraphs up, last sentence, 'towards that flag' should be towards another flag -la the ill :(

From: Ton Thursday, April 15, 12:02PM

Well not trying to be rude to anyone here, but from my eyes and those of some people I have talked to the PR department doesn't do PR. Some people might consider running games to be a PR task, and while I can see that it best fits with their department, I don't see how that particularly is good PR for the mud. Again these are my own view which I have heard agreement on from other mortals (and immortals too), but my opinion is PR should: - be more concerned about in game attitude of the players, than giving out coupons - What this means to me, is discussing things like coding changes with the player base. Informing the playerbase of changes before they happen, and taking the feedback to the coders before the change is imp - I've also noticed a very alarming trend that certain PR imms don't know the rules. I don't think that anyone should be qualified to deal with harassment (or deemed qualified) unless they know the rules regarding harassment inside out. Nothing is more frustrating to someone being put into a situation where you are being harassed, asking an imm for help, and seeing very plainly that the imm doesn't have a clue what to do next - Possible solution: Perhaps on a monthly basis each immort could be briefed (via email, mudmail whatever) on rule changes and clarifications. Each and every imm should be able to deal with a harassment situation if the are the only ones present. For most of what I see here on the mud from the PR department, the things could be accomplished by Admin immorts (if there were enough of them). And I think that the bridge between Admin and PR should be lessened, and more overlap could eventually be created. (as in more dual-role PR/Admin, but those qualified for it, not just those that are willing to put it into their title) My 2 cents Ton

From: Sandra Thursday, April 15, 01:54PM

To respond to Ton's post: A lot of the difficulty with being a PR immortal is the many hats that you have to wear in order to do your job. Yes, games are a part, a small part, of the department, as well as keeping the players up to date on the new things, which LadyAce has been doing for some time at the weekly Q&As(feel free to stop in then and ask questions), along with running tiny plots, assisting in rps and just being online to answer questions. All of these things the PR department DOES do, and all of them are 'player relations'. While each pr immortal doesn't chat 'Oh I wonder how i could change so-and-so's attitude' or the like, they do discuss different ways for them to get the players interested in the game, socializing, etc. They do so on chat, in talks with other players, and on their mailing list. Just because one doesn't see this happening at a constant pace, doesn't mean that its slowed down or halted. As for them not knowing the rules, they are there for them to read if they're unsure. I don't expect them to know them inside and out and to be able to come to a conclusion to administer the punishments if there's need for that. I expect them to take the complaint, discuss it, attempt to solve the problem temporarily and then pass the situation on to an Admin immortal to handle. That, of course, is my view as the dept head of Admin, and not necessarily LadyAce's. When there is a policy change, or a rules change, the entire staff is notified of it before it goes in. Sometimes, the entire staff is in on the discussion of it, sometimes not. But they are aware of it for the most part. The two departments overlap, but slightly, and for a reason. As stated above, and in LadyAce's main post, the focus of the PR staff is to try to balance out everything that interests the players, and their concerns so that they, and the rest of the staff, are able to improve the mud as best we can. As for Admin, we're a small part of that, as we try to keep the mud fun for everyone, by attempting to remove the problems, or at least make sure they're not problems any longer, through setting rules and requiring every player to follow them. Yes, we will answer questions if we know the answer to them, we will do strings, descriptions, and sometimes even run games, but our main goal is different than the PR department. Anyway, I hope my post helps resolve confusion rather than cause it. -Sandra

From: LadyAce Thursday, April 15, 06:31PM

In defense of "games": There are a lot of reasons why the PR department runs games, and why I consider them an important, tho not central part, of our job. I'm listing off reasons as they come to me, so in no particular order... 1. Giving players a chance to see themselves, each other, and the immort staff, from a different perspective. You might team up with a newbie for a scavenger hunt, you might find out that Joe knows all kinds of things about Star Wars, you might learn that I'm a big freak about middle eastern history, you might get a chance to see someone you didn't think you liked, showing another angle to their personality. 2. Encouraging positives -- whether encouraging people to explore, to group, to team up, to stretch their brain, to pay a little more attention to the world around them, to see a familiar thing in a new way, to provide inspiration for fun, rp, etc at a later time. 3. To simply take a break from the game. I've seen the mud really perk up after a game, people are stressed or bored or whatnot, and a little something out of the ordinary gives them a chance to step back from that a little. The Long Term Goal of PR, officially, is: To make this the friendliest mud on the Net, with a welcoming atmosphere, a rich diversity of people, a mature atmosphere, and a depth of social context unmatched anywhere. If you'd like me to forward the document to you in its entirety, I would be glad to do so. You say we should talk to players about code changes. We talk to player s every single day about the code, we hold Q & As, we talk on chat, tells, mudmail, small groups, large groups. If you don't use these methods, please tell me how I can reach you with the information you want. As for harassment -- it is a difficult issue for any imm to deal with, and the ability to handle those types of complaints effectively is a learned skill. If you have a complaint, I strongly suggest that you look at the who list, and try to follow something of a scheme based on the imms' experience as well as your feelings towards them. Because harassment is a difficult issue on a social level, and requires the greatest degree of judgement call, you're always going to find people with less experience are not as smooth or efficient as they might be if they'd been doing it for four years in a row. -LadyAce

From: Wuss Thursday, April 15, 07:36PM

The problem I have is not with PR. They are online, they are visible, they are communicative, and more often than not, especially LadyAce, they are helpful and civil to the point where it could almost be a fault. The problem I have is with Admin. They do, in my opinion, none of the above which should naturally be a part of their job. PR interacts with players in a manner beneficial to characters, but Admins interact with players in a manner beneficial to players. Not to say PRs are not helpful for players as well, but like LadyAce said, Admins tend to be those that are more interactive with players. Hence, I see it as a problem when the Admins don't take any effort in communicating with players with the same attitude PRs have. It may be your opinion that anyone who comes under the eyes of an admin are guilty, spoiled, selfish, and otherwise less-than-exemplary, but nonetheless, you are dealing with players and people who are treated with a certain degree of respect offline. As admins deal with players, they should forget the fact that one is a mortal and the other an immortal, but rather approach the issue in finding/admitting and otherwise communicating mishaps in a manner that is befitting of OOC. Most of us come from a background where free speech isn't forbidden, and although it may not be so now, we tend to have over 10 to 20 years of education behind the screen. And some of us hail from a background where they've travelled and went through a lot of other prejudice/racism that any encroachment of such 'rights' initiate a violent reaction. It is asking a lot of the admins, but such are any jobs relating to buraucracy and administration. It takes significant people skills to prevent detrimental misunderstandings, and in a society like this where a few sour apples can work well within the rules to undermine the system (with a cause rightful to those involved) it is more than necessary to stamp out such misunderstandings and explosion of tempers through adequate discussion and communication. In closing, I would like to ask that all admins come out of the woodwork and be more communicative with every administrative action they take, simply because such is the practice in the real world -- hence we had public postings of most executions, with people reading out loud the offenses, the reasonings, that's why we have open courts a lot of the time, and that's why people get anxious and mad if decisions aren't disclosed to the public. LegendMUD isn't an island with its own rules, rather it's a reflection of what we're used to, primarily in the United States. To try to do completely without, especially regarding player relatioins, would be disastrous. Wuss

From: Jean Thursday, April 15, 11:04PM

on any other mud, wuss, i don't know if i'd agree with you. However, on this one, i'd agree- in fact, i think that the admins aren't that bad already. some of the muds i've been on, let me tell you, he :-p.


1999 Topic Index