Karma for Social Control (punishment)
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Wilkes



Joined: 30 May 2005
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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2005 7:09 pm    Post subject: Karma for Social Control (punishment) Reply with quote

After thinking over my original post in Permadeath, I realized that the system idea, and the core concepts behind it might be more useful to other developers in other contexts besides permadeath. The basic idea of the system for those of you that have yet to read the thread relies around Karma points that are limited to accounts or IPs. These Karma points can be both subtracted and added to a players account by other players secretly.

A player's actual Karma can only be seen in a verbose or textual message, giving out the core numbers information might make the system a bit easier to cheat. The underlying mechanisms revolve around the thought that players will subtract Karma from someone when they feel wronged, and give Karma to others when they feel positively towards said person.

This of course, is the basis behind all Karma systems so far, and is nothing special. The real peculiarity, and power comes in the forum of the benefits we give to the players based upon Karma. My idea for the Permadeath thread was that Karma mixed into a formula to decide whether or not your character would be resurrected or not. In this example, we're allowing players who have positively affected our player environment to get a bonus from something that would otherwise have been purely a negative.

If you include newbie awarding and detracting modifiers, this system can become even more powerful, in that it inherently encourages newbie helping. And, it extremely discourages bugging, or intentional killing of newbies. It also provides an effective mechanism for social punishment, and social control. Griefers and malcontents will eventually die off, and realize that their particular way of playing is not condusive towards reaching the endgame, and in reality can just impede their progress.

Will this change their attitudes towards players in the game? Probably not. Will it change their ways of interacting with said players? If they care for efficiency and for making it to the endgame, then most certainly. You may however end up seeing griefers that are all around nice to most people, and just grief a small group. Or that just pay for their Karma, but if the grief is enough, and that group has enough alliances, or friendships on the MUD t hen that will most likely settle itself out.

Now onto those contexts other than Permadeath. While a permadeath system using this Karma system seems like it would be the most efficient route for player control, there's other options you can go about that provide a nice amount of player control as well.

First and foremost, is another modification to the death system, perhaps based upon Karma and another stat formula, players with higher Karma could be "saved" in hostile situations where they're near death. This would definately make Karma useful to have, and it would provide a large bonus to postiively affecting the environment, but would it provide punishment to bad behavior? Not in the most basic example here, but to further expand the idea, perhaps Karma could also play a route in combat, allowing those with lower Karma to take damage more often. Or to take more damage when they do, to lower their wound healing rate, or whatever really suits your system. I believe the core concept here is pretty well elaborated, so I'll move on.

An alternative method that can be done is having certain areas, skills, items, or other things available based upon Karma. This particular method is effective in forcing the players to need or want Karma, but it has the negative draw back in that it, logically, will be the most cheated. It no longer fits in just as a part of the death system, and provides bonuses to players for being good. Instead, it forces them to have good Karma to use the equipment and skills that they wish or believe they should be able to use. This system heavily punishes those that do not accumulate Karma, meaning that quiet, or solo players take a big blow to their efficiency, gamewise.

What are some ways to solve this? Well, a combination with the other systems would work. However, it all depends on your target market, and how you want your game to actually run. If you want to attract primarily social players, then a system like this could very well work. Some of the bonuses you may want to have slowly appearing higher up in the game-content than at the lower end due to balance, and to try to curb Karma cheating. However, unless appropriately balanced with the gain of the players, you may effectively make Karma useless at the lower end and higher ends of the game. Putting some Karma based requirements on endgame might also be condusive towards positive gameplay.

Just to wrap up, the Karma based system has a lot of potential for social behavior constraints, and it can be used in many different ways. The systems I've outlined above are not the only possibilities for its use, but they're the most obvious ideas. The most efficient one in my mind would be a full blown Permadeath system, but this can't always work for certain MUD types. The least efficient, and harder to balance would be the items/skills system. The only large flaw that I can foresee with the system is the trading and buying of Karma. But, if you occasionally punish big offenders, and design the system in a way that is less condusive towards purchasing of points (no immediate gain), then this problem can be reduced to negligible.

This post turned a bit more into an article or ramble than was originally intended. I'm looking for input on any particular flaws, or benefits that this system could bring about. I'd also appreciate input on ways to fix the flaws that already exist. Constructive criticism is welcomed.


Wilkes
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Lindahl



Joined: 29 May 2005
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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2005 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Basically, abuse will twist into a new form. From individuals who grief, to groups who boost each others karma to become more powerful - which would probably create cliques and seperate the power between new players and older players.

A player who creates his first character won't have any karma built up, compared to those who've been playing for a while and have friends boost their karma on a regular basis. If karma can be applied to skills and items, you'll have a serious problem. You'll have to boost mob stats to make sure they aren't too easy for people who have a lot of karma, but then you'll end up with new players who are frustrated with the hard curve and may just leave. I'd say don't expand Karma beyond permadeath to skills and items. Avoiding permadeath doesn't necessarily make you stronger, it just makes you more careless. However, a new player will may also get frustrated with the fact that he has to start over (again!) just because he doesn't have any friends - which will hamper his ability to make friends since he's always changing characters - a frustrating circle.

There really aren't any good solutions, other than making Karma difficult to give. Perhaps each person is given 1 karma point to distribute once per real life month - as such, they'll be sure to use it wisely instead of just giving it to their friends. But its quite obvious that this won't totally prevent cliques from forming - in fact it may not even reduce the occurances at all.

Of course if you don't mind frustrating new players and like having cliques in your game, it might be a good way to introduce such. But I think most MUDs strive to be newbie friendly and want to avoid tightly-knit exclusive groups.

A divergence from your original idea, a system of only negative karma would work better, but not great. This way, you don't benefit from the system, but you can still take down negative influences. However, you still have to be careful about cliques forming who competitively impair each other with negative karma.
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Wilkes



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 2:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Basically, abuse will twist into a new form. From individuals who grief, to groups who boost each others karma to become more powerful - which would probably create cliques and seperate the power between new players and older players.


I could possibly see a small amount of this, with my 3rd example which goes onto detail the possibility of restricting it via items. However, I couldn't really see it with the 1st and most prominent example, perma death. Could you explain how this would create cliques like you describe in the setting described in my 1st example?

An easy solution to the clique problem as well, would be to implement a counter on karma giving to specific accounts or ip ranges, limiting giving out Karma whether negative or positive for say 1 - 3 months time. If I karma you down once, I can't do it again for a few months. I agree that Karma would not be able to be given unlimitedly, and I believe I may have suggested that it would need to be limited to a certain amount per ip range/user account.

So, I may have 2 Karma points, and accumulate more at a rate of 1 per month, true I could try to Karma up my friends, but it would be a tough choice as to who, and I may not be able to expect it in return. I could also claim to have Karma'd up someone, and really not have and they'd never have a real way of telling either.

Quote:
A player who creates his first character won't have any karma built up, compared to those who've been playing for a while and have friends boost their karma on a regular basis. If karma can be applied to skills and items, you'll have a serious problem.


Exactly why I said this would be the least optimal route, and the one I personally would not go with. It would lead to many problems, and would be extremely difficult to balance, especially if you have a flexible equipment or skill choice system.

Quote:
However, a new player will may also get frustrated with the fact that he has to start over (again!) just because he doesn't have any friends - which will hamper his ability to make friends since he's always changing characters - a frustrating circle.


Possibly, although couldn't you have some of the Karma from his previous character recycle into new players? This would give them a slight head above a completely new player, without making him too much more powerful. By Karma from his previous character, I'm referring to the "left over" Karma that I'm assuming would be there after the Permadeath, because of the incorporation with other variables. If they have no left over Karma, or negative Karma, then they'll start off on the same foot as a new player would.

Could this frustrate them? Possibly, but if they have said frustration, perhaps it's due to them not deserving the Karma. If that was the case, perhaps their leaving would be the desired result in the end. This is all assuming that your idea of cliques could be broken from my example above, which I believe it could. The most cliques could do would be a circle of Karma to eachother, which most likely would not overbalance them compared to the rest of the game.

Additionally, for frustrated players who can't seem to get positive Karma, there is a solution. The newbie modifier. Helping new players could quite easily boost their karma, as well as create new friends for them, making the game even easier for them. Working together with some newbie you just met in the creation area could be a good start towards getting Karma as well. The newbie modifier could be abused of course, to give newbies a bit more profit with sale of Karma, but everything can be abused in the long run. However, I'm doubtful that the abuse is going to be so huge that it will prevent the original purpose of the Karmic system from running its course.

Quote:
A divergence from your original idea, a system of only negative karma would work better, but not great. This way, you don't benefit from the system, but you can still take down negative influences. However, you still have to be careful about cliques forming who competitively impair each other with negative karma.


I'm afraid I disagree, I don't see how negative karma would work any better. Could you give me a few examples, or explain your thoughts about it? To be honest, I can see a purely negative karma system as being more condusive towards griefer gameplay, in that you can "hurt" certain people, without any risk. This itself could be likely to cause cliques, due to the ability to easily Karma down whoever opposes the group, assuming Karma points are still available. With no way to remedy this negative karma, how would said target deal with it?

In the system I outlined above, there could be cliques of griefers that applied negative karma to players, but I think in the long run the system would be proven to balance out. Especially if said clique ever got discovered. Another possibly remedy for this particular scenario is to create a karma counter on the person who's karma's being affected, so they can only have up to say 10 points affected per month. This would go either way, and could easily prevent too much upping and too much downing. With proper statistical information on players whose karma is attempting to be affected past the base 10 points, it would also be easy for staff to figure out whether or not a griefer clique had formed and deal with it accordingly.

A final addition to the system for even more security versus cheating and griefing could be to have certain staff have the ability to modify karma, either through "newbie" mortal characters, their own observations, or some other facet. Again, this could all be tailored based upon the MUD. The staff character would be wanting to just modify karma minorly, so as to allow the player system to take most of the effect.

Another long post, but you've allowed me to expound on the system a bit more, so I thank you. I think the potential of this system is definately there for social atmosphere control. I also believe it can be applied in a way that would reduce the amount of effort on the part of the staff, but there will most likely be a small amount of admin work in keeping the system from being abused. As I said, *anything* can be abused given enough time, and the right player types. But with proper logging, and a watchful eye, this system could lighten the load quite a bit.
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Lindahl



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wilkes wrote:
I could possibly see a small amount of this, with my 3rd example which goes onto detail the possibility of restricting it via items. However, I couldn't really see it with the 1st and most prominent example, perma death. Could you explain how this would create cliques like you describe in the setting described in my 1st example?

An easy solution to the clique problem as well, would be to implement a counter on karma giving to specific accounts or ip ranges, limiting giving out Karma whether negative or positive for say 1 - 3 months time. If I karma you down once, I can't do it again for a few months. I agree that Karma would not be able to be given unlimitedly, and I believe I may have suggested that it would need to be limited to a certain amount per ip range/user account.


This still doesn't avoid cliques - what I envisioned was a group of players who agree to all give each other the karma points. For every member of the group, this means it's essentially like giving yourself karma points. Reducing how often you can give points out will reduce this somewhat, but it will only reduce the casual cliques. You'll still have the tighter-knit cliques where loyalty to the system is closely tied to the friendships.

Quote:
So, I may have 2 Karma points, and accumulate more at a rate of 1 per month, true I could try to Karma up my friends, but it would be a tough choice as to who, and I may not be able to expect it in return. I could also claim to have Karma'd up someone, and really not have and they'd never have a real way of telling either.


Agreements amongst players will create cliques. You're thinking of something quite a bit more casual than what I anticipate.

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Possibly, although couldn't you have some of the Karma from his previous character recycle into new players?


I took that for granted. I was talking about new players, not new characters.

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If they have no left over Karma, or negative Karma, then they'll start off on the same foot as a new player would.


I'm not so sure you'd want to eliminate negative karma.

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The most cliques could do would be a circle of Karma to eachother, which most likely would not overbalance them compared to the rest of the game.


It would make their characters effectively immortal, thus new players may get frustrated with the fact that they have to keep starting over (which basically makes sure they are never known and making it hard to make friends to boost their karma) while others are effectively immortal.

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However, I'm doubtful that the abuse is going to be so huge that it will prevent the original purpose of the Karmic system from running its course.


You won't really know till you try, I just wanted to reveal some of the weaknesses of the system.



Quote:
A divergence from your original idea, a system of only negative karma would work better, but not great. This way, you don't benefit from the system, but you can still take down negative influences. However, you still have to be careful about cliques forming who competitively impair each other with negative karma.


Quote:
I'm afraid I disagree, I don't see how negative karma would work any better.


Because then cliques can't boost themselves, they can only grief others - which is easy to spot and eliminate. Give new accounts timers for karma giving and reduce the effect of karma reduction for players with low karma (so people with low karma can't reduce other peoples karma effectively as an individual, only as a group).

I just don't see any advantages all this has - it's really just to prevent grief killers in a permadeath scenario. These situations aren't that common and are quite easy to put a lid on and catch with minimal administration. The karma system isn't really more effective than traditional methods. Sure, it's an interesting feature, so go ahead and implement it. Just don't expect it to really put a lid on griefers any more than administration could - the scenarios are so rare that administration involvement isn't a big deal at all. In fact, I prefer such involvement over relying on a system to step in (at least from what I've seen in the last 8 years, or so) - resolution is nearly immediate.

So.. basically.. if you like the feature for what it adds to the gaming atmosphere, its a good idea, but if you were to implement it solely to reduce griefing, I don't think you'll notice much a difference between that and traditional measures. You still have to have administration involvement for the more serious problems (the karma system wouldn't react fast enough) and it adds opportunities for abuse (the severity has yet to be seen), which I think we all agree is undesireable.
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Cornelius



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
"However, I couldn't really see it with the 1st and most prominent example, perma death. Could you explain how this would create cliques like you describe in the setting described in my 1st example?"

" I agree that Karma would not be able to be given unlimitedly, and I believe I may have suggested that it would need to be limited to a certain amount per ip range/user account."

"Possibly, although couldn't you have some of the Karma from his previous character recycle into new players?"

"Possibly, but if they have said frustration, perhaps it's due to them not deserving the Karma. If that was the case, perhaps their leaving would be the desired result in the end."

"Additionally, for frustrated players who can't seem to get positive Karma, there is a solution. The newbie modifier. Helping new players could quite easily boost their karma"

"In the system I outlined above, there could be cliques of griefers that applied negative karma to players, but I think in the long run the system would be proven to balance out."

"A final addition to the system for even more security versus cheating and griefing could be to have certain staff have the ability to modify karma"


Based on your lucid explanation of your system you already know how it could create cliques so I won't bore you with my explanation. Let me just warn you that you are putting a lot of effort into what I call 'excusing' the system- which I see a lot and it always irritates me because excusing the system inevitably leads to betraying the KISS rule. Excusing the system is saying, 'okay, I know this idea is flawed- so what I am going to do is keep adding exceptions until it is at least bearable.' This is like trying to balance a scale by continually adding weight to each side every time it tips, eventually the scale just breaks. Keep in mind you are in control of your own idea/code and if something isn't working its your prerogative to remove it- or re-write it. I personally think this idea is a very bad one and beyond the possibility of a re-write (don't take this as a personal attack I have very bad ideas all the time and I would hope especially on a forum such as this that people would tell me so) but that may be because I cant imagine making it work. It opens the doors for way too many problems with what I see as a non-existent benefit- or at the very least a benefit that can be achieved in many other ways with much less hassle.
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Wilkes



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
It opens the doors for way too many problems with what I see as a non-existent benefit- or at the very least a benefit that can be achieved in many other ways with much less hassle.


Which problems besides the potential of cliques are you referring to? And what other ways could more of a benefit be achived without as much hassle?

With only 2 Karma to start with, a 1 more per month, this would severely limit the amount of karmawhoring a group could do, unless of course they took turns on who to prioritize most of their points to. Would it not?

If this creates as tight-knit cliques as the previous poster mentioned, perhaps this "negative" could possibly turn into a positive. Would said cliques form irregardless of said system? Would the benefit actually gained from the cliques be so great to make them all "immortal"? Keeping in mind that this is based around accounts instead of individual users.

Granted, this system may be a bit overcomplicated in place of a simpler mechanism. However, I get the feeling the problem with cliques is being a bit over-exaggerated. I've already considered many different methods which could deal with the problems that may arise from cliques, but instead of discuss them, I'd like to hear your opinions on how a simpler system could be used to achieve similar results.



Quote:
So.. basically.. if you like the feature for what it adds to the gaming atmosphere, its a good idea, but if you were to implement it solely to reduce griefing, I don't think you'll notice much a difference between that and traditional measures.


This is more of a theoretical system idea, meant to generate just the discussion we've been having, as well as looking for other ideas. However, were I to use such a system as outlined, I wouldn't be using it primarily for griefing, and I wouldn't be using it on its own. It would be coupled with a few other social environment systems I've designed, some of which I may discuss in the coming few posts, depending upon how this thread turns out.

I appreciate the criticism all around and am looking forward to hearing a few ideas. Smile
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Cornelius



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Which problems besides the potential of cliques are you referring to?

I suppose once I give you other problems you will say, "yeah... but what OTHER problems are there?"Smile.

The system you describe is more likely to be used for cheating than to be used correctly. It offers a reward antithetical to what it takes to receive it. And it does so at player discretion. This means that the only people really interested in accumulating karma points are those that least deserve it. What I gather from your posts is that the only reason such a system exists is to influence player behavior. You seem to understand that any effect such a system might have on player abilities would be catastrophic...

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Quote:
A player who creates his first character won't have any karma built up, compared to those who've been playing for a while and have friends boost their karma on a regular basis. If karma can be applied to skills and items, you'll have a serious problem.

Exactly why I said this would be the least optimal route, and the one I personally would not go with. It would lead to many problems, and would be extremely difficult to balance, especially if you have a flexible equipment or skill choice system.


And influencing player behavior is a tricky thing- those who behave in the way you want them to will behave that way regardless of whether there is an institution forcing them, and those that do not behave that way will constantly look for ways too use that system to their benefit- and as you have already acknowledged this is very possible in your karma system...

Quote:
...but there will most likely be a small amount of admin work in keeping the system from being abused


And every exception you throw on the system to stem this just makes it less effective. And, true, the less effective the system is the less it will be abused- but only because it doesn't matter anyways and even those who might have been interested in using the system correctly don't care- so ultimately what is the point? You will be constantly pandering to the abusers, excusing the system until it breaks down.

If you want specific examples:
- As a newbie I log on to your game and right of the bat some guy i dont know says, "I have a great weapon you can have if you type 'karmaup bigco0lguy'" I dont know what karmaup is I just got here but I want that sword so I say ok karmaup bigco0lguy- now all it cost bigco0lguy was a cheap newbie sword and I cannot karmaup anyone for another month of play, who is going to help me now? Only those that would have helped me regardless of karma points.
- I have been playing a while and gather a group of friends together all of a sudden I dont like the way some player eats toast so I get together with my friends, we are all going to karmadown this person at the same time and then kill them- virtually assuring a permdeath.

I will handle alternative methods in another post.
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Wilkes



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I suppose once I give you other problems you will say, "yeah... but what OTHER problems are there?".


I think that's a pretty unfair assumption on your part, just because I give possible alternatives to problems brought up with a system I've designed doesn't mean I'm blind. I believe the point of these forums are for discussion, not for insults Smile

Quote:
You will be constantly pandering to the abusers, excusing the system until it breaks down.


Again, a bit of an unfair assumption on your part mate, but I'll play the devil's advocate and assume it's in the name of discussion, instead of an attempt at ego knocking. Smile

Quote:
- As a newbie I log on to your game and right of the bat some guy i dont know says, "I have a great weapon you can have if you type 'karmaup bigco0lguy'" I dont know what karmaup is I just got here but I want that sword so I say ok karmaup bigco0lguy- now all it cost bigco0lguy was a cheap newbie sword and I cannot karmaup anyone for another month of play, who is going to help me now? Only those that would have helped me regardless of karma points.


This is a good point, and is a flaw in the idea for a newbie modifier. There are ways around this of course, as there are ways around everything. But as you've brought up, perhaps this would be more work than the system is worth.

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I have been playing a while and gather a group of friends together all of a sudden I dont like the way some player eats toast so I get together with my friends, we are all going to karmadown this person at the same time and then kill them- virtually assuring a permdeath.


This is a good scenario of how this system could be abused by griefers, as could any permadeath system. This particular example also would need a significant amount of griefers to make it worthwhile to attempt, and doing so could provide a way of displaying who truly are griefers quite openly to the rest of the playerbase, including the admin staff.

It is quite hard to justify ganging up on someone unless they're significantly more powerful than you, and possibly threatening you. Who might you have to justify this to you ask? The rest of the populace, if you combine it iwth an in character justice system. The admin staff, if an issue of abuse is brought to their attention. With proper logging, this sort of instance could be beneficial to the pbase, because it would expose a large amount of griefers at once.

But, as you and the other poster have mentioned, perhaps this system would be the exact reason for causing said cliques to form. If that was an insolvable problem, or if the usefullness of the Karma system was outweighed by the formation of these cliques, then alternative methods may be needed for a better solution. That said, you mentioned you had alternative method ideas, so let's hear them. Smile
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Cornelius



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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I think that's a pretty unfair assumption on your part, just because I give possible alternatives to problems brought up with a system I've designed doesn't mean I'm blind. I believe the point of these forums are for discussion, not for insults


I think thats an unfair assumption on your part... first of all no-one says my assumptions have to be fair, I certainly dont offer that they are- but more importantly I never said you were blind or insulted you in any way. If you wish to discuss the subtleties of my sense of humor further however we can do so on private messages. Your ego may be knocked by me bringing exception to your idea which I think is unworkable but I only meant to give you fair warning from my point of view however caustic you or anyone else may think it is. I suppose if it helps I will offer an apology.

Quote:
It is quite hard to justify ganging up on someone unless they're significantly more powerful than you, and possibly threatening you... ...With proper logging, this sort of instance could be beneficial to the pbase, because it would expose a large amount of griefers at once.

I don't think we are on the same line when we talk about cliques, I don't see them as very secretive organizations that need to be exposed I expect it will be quite apparent who the 'griefers' are and likely they will not care to justify their actions to anyone- ganging up on on some low/midby for whatever reason they like would just be another way to exercise their dominance... now I dont say that this will inevitably occur and in fact I doubt very highly cliques will develop solely because of this concept but I am saying that this system doesn't help.

As for my alternative method ideas, I dont really have any- I am not a fan of trying to influence player behavior which it seems is the main purpose of this concept so I never gave any thought to the matter. I just assume that the type of game will dictate the type of players- if you have a highly pvp competitive game you will likely not find many newbie helpers as no-one wants to help a potential threat, if however your game encourages group play with little or no pvp than you will find people willing to help what could be a potential grouping buddy.

The best example of this I have seen on a racewars type game where the good side typically only PKs the evil side but the evil side is free to PK themselves as well as go on goodie PK raids. You find instantly when you log on as an evil that there are people hanging around the newbie spawn room slaughtering new players if you are not a friend of an already evil clique-member. However on the good side new players are treated well and given money and equipment and shown to all the good exp zones so that they can get high enough level to help PK the evils. Now in this case do you think that adding karma will influence evils to start helping the newbies? Alternatively do you think it will have any effect on how the goodies react to newbies?

Rather than trying to encourage a player to act in a way that you want why dont you make it impossible or difficult for them to act in ways you dont. I think negative reinforcement is the only way to go because it inherently ignores those who will do the right thing anyway and punishes only those that mean harm. From this point, and it is difficult to come up with an idea when I dont fully understand the underlying concept, couldnt you have Karma build up naturally over time to a max level for a player and then give penalties to karma when the player kills mobs a lot lower then their level or attacks another player, uses foul language on a public channel... or does anything in a predefined list of 'evil' things? I would discourage any attempt to allow players to be the arbiters of karma... I think we have shown that this is a major flaw in the original design, if you like offer a pray channel for mortals to send messages to immortals to voice any problems they have with other players. If you feel sufficiently comfortable with your imms you may allow them to put karma freezes or demerits on players as punishment- make sure you log it though.

As another possibile player behavior check, if you are really keen on player interaction- if a player could secretly place a 'warning' flag on another player that would tell the game to log their actions for say the next three minutes or so (along with who initiated the warning) you might find your players becoming too paranoid to do anything bad. If a certain player uses the command too often without reason it could be removed from them (the boy who cried wolf effect). You will need to have someone monitoring these logs but it shouldnt be too bad to spot the evil ones and take appropriate action and once the system is settled in place it should remain fairly quiet. "fear", as they say, "will keep the local systems in line"


Last edited by Cornelius on Thu Jun 02, 2005 7:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Molly O'Hara



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 99
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I realise itís a bit late to enter the discussion now, and my input will also be purely from the Administrative point of view, since I know zilch about code. But after running a mud for over 8 years, I know a bit about player behaviour. It has actually left me a bit jaded and cynical.

I think the relevant player behaviour in this case can be summed up in the 3 points below:

1. If there is one way Ė if ever so small Ė of abusing a feature, you can Ďtrustí the players to find out and do just that.
2. If a feature is not perceived as rewarding enough by the players, nobody will use it, (after the initial period, when everyone tests it out of curiosity).
3. Some players will generally act in a desirable manner, while others will habitually act in an undesirable manner. This pattern follows the player through their playing career and through any alts they create. They might be able to conceal their pattern for a period of time, but they inevitably relapse sooner or later. (With very few exceptions this means that cheaters will always be cheaters, griefers will always be griefers and Drama Queens will always be Drama Queens).

That said, I am also very suspicious about any automated systems that are supposed to affect player behaviour or even build on the element of trust that the system wonít be abused by a few, even if the majority might use it the way it was intended too. Thatís why I am against automated RP rewards too, although I didnít voice my opinion in that thread.

There is no coded system that beats the actual person-to-person contact. And there is no coded evaluation that beats personal judgement and common sense.

As for logging certain actions to get proof of undesirable behaviour, I am not happy about that either. Even if the log system can possibly be designed in a way that doesnít intrude on the player privacy, you are still stuck with the fact that some Staff member has to check those logs regularly. Playing Mud Police is not my own favourite pastime, and I think I share that sentiment with most creative Administrators. We would much rather code or build or design quests or lead RP sessions, or whatever it is we like to do.

And sadly enough the people that actually LIKE to be Enforcers or Mud Police are often the ones least suitable for the task.
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Sandi



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 94
Location: Boston

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well said, Molly.

MUSHes have had systems similar to this for over ten years, and those guys are still trying to figure out:

A) How to Make It Abuse Proof
B) How to Make Players Use It


Don't underestimate your players. They will give you trouble; some because they're more clever than you, most because they aren't.


Sandi
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Kjartan



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 110

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What if you allow karma giving as per the original post but no circles, i.e. if A gives a point to B and B gives a point to C, that means C can never give any to A (or B).

That should discourage cliques, especially if karma is based on IP; you'd need multiple IPs to benefit from a clique. If I played from IPs A and C and you played from B, we could have a clique by the above system where A -> B and B -> C, but if we each spend the same amount of time total online then B is giving twice as much karma as he's getting.

If you just tell the player "due to your astrological signs, that person isn't eligible to receive karma awards from you" when he tries to circle-give they'll probably never figure out exactly what the restriction is.

This system might create some other weird effects, though.
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Lindahl



Joined: 29 May 2005
Posts: 56

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kjartan wrote:
What if you allow karma giving as per the original post but no circles, i.e. if A gives a point to B and B gives a point to C, that means C can never give any to A (or B).

That should discourage cliques, especially if karma is based on IP; you'd need multiple IPs to benefit from a clique. If I played from IPs A and C and you played from B, we could have a clique by the above system where A -> B and B -> C, but if we each spend the same amount of time total online then B is giving twice as much karma as he's getting.

If you just tell the player "due to your astrological signs, that person isn't eligible to receive karma awards from you" when he tries to circle-give they'll probably never figure out exactly what the restriction is.

This system might create some other weird effects, though.


You're getting back to 'excusing the system' scenario that Cornelius was talking about, and it's a bad idea for all the reasons he stated - and I'm sure, more.
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Kyuss



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 37
Location: Southern Hellinois

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KJ talking of karma and astrological signs....

I think I woke up in an alternate universe.
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Kjartan



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 110

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lindahl wrote:
You're getting back to 'excusing the system' scenario that Cornelius was talking about, and it's a bad idea for all the reasons he stated - and I'm sure, more.

Under this criterion I'm not sure what I can say... isn't any proposal for amending the karma idea in the first post necessarily bad? Or at least, any proposal that is at all based on mechanics and not the "vision of karma"?

Another way to handle it might be like slashdot, make karma points available to be handed out rarely and randomly. Most muds don't have enough players to support that, though. I guess the effect of a single karma point would have to be large in that case, at which point players would trade karma for goodies as someone suggested above (also a vulnerability of the no-circles system).
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