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Mud Administration, Can You Handle It?

by "The Crimefighter" Steven Lucas

In the September 2000 issue of Imaginary Realties, there were a number of articles covering various aspects of mud administration and "power"ship. However informative all of those articles were, they covered mostly those who are currently IN power. Here I present a piece covering those who WANT to become powerful or run their mud. This article originally appeared in Abermud Announcements #12 and is reprinted here by request.

There are many people around whom run to wizard, then decide that they want to become archwizards, demigods, or other types of powers on various muds. Well, maybe its time to examine the question, so you want to become a power but can you handle it? I will explain what exactly it means to be a power, and the potential minefields you will be trodding through once you acquire this responsibility. I can tell you from personal experience that it is not easy, it is hard work, it can be an emotional drain, it can be very punishing to your mental state, and it is time consuming. I do not wish to scare people away from the job, but it may be a good thing to inform anyone what one may experience before they take the plunge, find out it wasn't what they thought it was, then quit after a short time.
A PowerBar

A different kind of power

The first thing that must be knownis that running a mud costs money. Years ago when muds were not in the quantity they are now, many of them managed to find a server that would host their game for free. Today, that is rarely the case. Most people have to pay a monthly rate to rent a couple hundred megs of hard drive space and bandwidth, which runs between $25-$50 depending on the size and number of players on your mud. If you aren't in the group putting up financial support to keep a mud going you can pass over this detail.

The second thing that must be known is that keeping a mud going requires some coding talent, which consumes a lot of time. Resolving things found by people running on the mud that aren't working as they are supposed to is difficult. Trying to find how a mud crashes once in a blue moon on a section of code that works 99.9% of the time can whack your brain. If you're not a part of this group you can pass over this detail.

Now here is what part that encompasses everyone wanting to be a power. Every power will have the responsibility of enforcing the rules of the game. That can be a troublesome chore, because there are many people who do not like authority. Many people think because it's only a game that they can cheat. And there's many people that look at the same person before they were a power much differently after they have been hired as a power, usually in a negative light. I've seen friendly relations between people go sour after one of them gets hired as a power, which seems to be traceable to jealously, envy, or fear. And there are the troublemakers, people who don't come to your mud to play the game, but play with your heads. Stupid little morons log in, shout their desires for having oral sex cause they can't get any in real life, shout their racism, bigotry, and hatred of women because they would get beaten to a bloody pulp if they'd dare do it in a packed shopping mall, or shout every four-letter word that exists for the heck of doing so because they'd get their mouths bleached or thrown in jail if they lived in Wisconsin which happens to still have an anti-obscenity law. If you're lucky, one zap or exo will be enough to get rid of them. But sometimes these losers won't quit. They will keep logging in under a bunch of different names and continue their harassing of everyone on the mud until their site is banned. But then they may not have had enough so they hop to another site and telnet in from there (if they have one) and continue the harassment all over again. It's enough to drive you mad, if you aren't mentally prepared for it. Then there are many that come to the mud to escape their real world problems for a little while, but can't keep totally away from them. Because it is easier for them to express their problems online than in person and they have some level of anonymity, you will hear things from them that are shocking and outrageous from all over the world. And usually, you will become the 'shoulder to cry on', which is a tough thing to do because you are counseling someone on how to handle or resolve their difficulties without knowing all what is going on over there. I should know, I've taken this role a number of times, it's not fun, it's usually heartbreaking, and it's emotionally draining. Many times you don't know the answer and struggle to come up with some idea of what to do based on past experiences or knowledge.

Well, I hope I haven't scared everyone away from the job but weeded out those who would have been in over their heads and resigning shortly thereafter. It requires a lot of maturity, it is for the thick-skinned and not the weak of heart. It can be a thankless job at times, but without them, there can't be a mud. There aren't too many muds out there that run themselves.

"The Crimefighter" Steven Lucas currently helps administer Promised Land mud, as well as maintain The COMPLETE Abermud List and the Betterbox.Net Mudlist.