16 Nov, 2011, arholly wrote in the 1st comment:
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I have a question and this may seem silly, but I'll toss it out there. Certainly there are an amazing number of good coders who come here and help new people get started, but there seems to be not a whole lot on the administration of MUD's. Given the technology available, why does not someone create a certification program for MUD administration. It could be generically or for a specific base, but something that says "This person understands the basics of MUD administration." I guess I imagine it would be something that would be a combination of actual MUD commands and HR (hiring/firing staff, dealing with complaints and issues, etc…).

I guess my thinking on it is that it would really help those who want to get started, show people who are interested in running a MUD what is involved, and give the community something to start setting a baseline on.

Just a thought,
16 Nov, 2011, Rarva.Riendf wrote in the 2nd comment:
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Cause 99.9% of muds are just hobbies.
And for them administration is not more than having a script that launch the mud, basic backups, and more or less knowing the immortal commands.
The rest is more like community management, and there cannot be any certification for that :)
16 Nov, 2011, arholly wrote in the 3rd comment:
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And so? There is the TBA, which has a resource for Builders, why not do the same thing for people running the MUD's? Building is just as much a hobby as running a MUD is but there are plenty of resources out there for builders too. How many Admin's, especially if they are "Hobby", do backups?

Why cannot we come up with something.
16 Nov, 2011, Zeno wrote in the 4th comment:
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TBA is there because it's easy to have a direct way to learn and test building.

There is no easy way to do this for game administration or game design. Sure, you could do an online course with quizzes but that still isn't a direct way. You're not actually doing it.

Besides, those two (administration & design) are a "grey" area where there is often no right or wrong.
16 Nov, 2011, Rarva.Riendf wrote in the 5th comment:
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And so? There is the TBA, which has a resource for Builders, why not do the same thing for people running the MUD's?

Because building in a mud is related to the game. Administration of a mud is no different from any kind of administration: monitoring process, logs, backup etc..
Want to make backup, pick your poison, and get a course on it. It will not depend on what produce what you want to backup. (provided you use an adequate solution for your problem, backing up a database is not the same as backing up flat files).
That is why you dont find specific 'mud administration' course.
Principle of a good administration is:abilities to rebuild the server whatever happens, the less possible loss of data . Don't leave any doors open except the one you use, with a good key.
16 Nov, 2011, Hades_Kane wrote in the 6th comment:
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For example, how do you test and certify how to deal with a player abusing a bug, or one player harrassing another, or a group of people accusing one of your staff of cheating without clear evidence, or someone logging just to recruit for another MUD, or one clan grossly dominating the game, or someone stretching the PK rules to while still within legality may be otherwise still being abusive, or how many quest points is applicable toward a particular prize, or how much money in a MUD's economy is too much, or whether it is better to have harder mobs or lower exp gains, or whether a particular social emote is appropriate to add to the game, or if another clan application should be accepted, or if safe rooms are a good idea, or what a PK Range should be, or should we enforce roleplay, or how much immortal interaction with mortals is a good thing, or should there be a separate coding port, or etc etc.

It's a lot easier to say "you type redit create to make a new room, and these flags do this, and make your description at least 4 lines and do not dictate to the reader any actions they are taking, or anything that may make the room description inaccurate under certain conditions (you stand… you may continue north… the old man behind the desk, etc.)"

at least 75% of what I've encountered as an Administrator of a MUD has been a matter of judgment calls, and there's no way to really test for or certify whether someone has good judgment, and the calls I make may not be the same calls that someone in another MUD would make, and I think dependant on the type of playerbase you have, that can further complicate what would be a proper judgment, and even within the same playerbase, the same judgments may not always be appropriate for similar problems or different people. Experience is probably the second most important thing, and there's nothing that can simulate or substitute the experience of working on a MUD from being a builder, and working your way up under the watchful eye of a good administrator. That's really the best way to learn the ropes and form good habits and intuition on how to deal with the vast number of unpredictable scenarios that an Admin will encounter.
16 Nov, 2011, Hades_Kane wrote in the 7th comment:
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And for that matter, someone who is "just getting started" really has no business trying to run a MUD publicly, in my opinion, unless they have been involved in a "climb the ladder" type of situation. If someone wants to run a MUD, in my opinion, they are qualified after they have worked their way up. If someone has been a builder and has worked their way up and has basically "studied" under someone running a MUD, they should have a very good and clear idea of what it takes. Otherwise, they will likely find themselves in way over their head, potentially get other people invested into their project (through playing time or area building), and very likely fail. It seems to be rare for someone who starts a MUD and doesn't know what they are doing to have very much success with it.

There's an article that is linked to now and again on what to expect with running a MUD, or kind of in the vein of asking "So, you want to run a MUD, huh?" and then listing a bunch of stuff that is pretty discouraging, but extremely accurate about how much time, work, and how thankless it is and so on. I don't recall the name of the article, offhand, maybe someone else can link to it. But, that aside, it's very difficult to try to tell someone what to expect, it's just something that has to be experienced, which can be done by staffing on an existing MUD first.
16 Nov, 2011, arholly wrote in the 8th comment:
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I think the article in question is on Gammon's site.
16 Nov, 2011, Hades_Kane wrote in the 9th comment:
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Personally? I'd really like to see more collaboration, but it seems mostly people are much more interested in a sense of "mine" than a sense of "ours". I think the community being so fragmented is definitely one of our weaknesses. If more of the people who want to start their own MUD worked together or made an attempt to join the several of other MUDs with nearly the exact same ideas that already exist, I think it would benefit the community as a whole. I'm reminded of a recent thread on TMC where a Feudal Japan MUD is being built and I think is still early in development, and then someone else was posting wanting to start one, and suggestions were made that they collaborate instead, and while one party seemed interested, the other wasn't (based off what I could gather from the posts) and now, if Feudal Japan MUD #2 gets started, they've likely just split their playerbases that might be interested in that theme.

On a personal note, I can count off of the top of my head at least 3 different coders/admins/builders who at one point or another had began the process of starting (each of them multiple times) their own Final Fantasy MUDs… at various points they had a good bit of coding done, and one or two of these games were actually up and running with players and such. I've known these people for several years through MUDing and such (two for 5 years, the other for over a decade) and over the years as their various projects went under, they became significant contributers to End of Time. One did minor coding and hosting when we were getting started, another (Midboss, a significant snippet contributor to MudBytes) wrote some of the biggest and most impressive systems for End of Time and has done so off and on for a handful of years now, and the third is now my head builder. There are a few others that have made runs at their own FF games that have been players or builders over the years, and I've made efforts to recruit and at times adapt to other FF MUD startups over the years as well, trying to consolidate some of the similar efforts and hopefully condense some of the players into one location.

I believe once we are officially open and get going, we'll be a good case for collaboration.
16 Nov, 2011, David Haley wrote in the 10th comment:
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Why not make a certificate program?
Well, why should you?

So you have a certificate that has a gold star saying you can run a MUD according to somebody. And so what?

If the goal is to educate rather than certify, there are many resources already, but certainly they could do with some centralization.

You are also most certainly welcome to come up with something. I think you'd be a good project champion :smile:
16 Nov, 2011, arholly wrote in the 11th comment:
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I've thought about it and I think doing some centralization would be definitely required. I'd need to look more into it. I just think there are some benefits to having some certifications for MUDing. As a community, I think we could do with some standards. Of course, the fact we cannot agree on protocol standards is a sore point, but I think teaching people is important.

I'm tired and will write more when I am making more sense. :redface:
16 Nov, 2011, arholly wrote in the 12th comment:
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OK, someone asked, why Certify?
  • Certification shows to players that you have made an investment (even if only in time) to dedicate yourself (your mud) to running an effective MU*.
  • It shows you take recruiting staff, keeping them, and establishing guidelines seriously.
  • Certification helps remove uncertainty from your (potential) players about if you are going to be around.

  • As for those who said you cannot certify those type of skills (HR type skills), sure you can. Look at PMI certification, one of the most highly respected and difficult to get project management certifications. There are ones which are HR equivalent. I'm not saying MUD should be nearly as strenuous, but we certainly have people who can share their knowledge and provide a stronger base for the future.

    Just some thoughts on the "why" question.
    16 Nov, 2011, Rarva.Riendf wrote in the 13th comment:
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    Certification is for professionals, not for hobbyists.
    Why ? because certification is only useful to get paid/recruited.

    Certification is made at time A, when you have free time for it.
    Does not mean that at time B, you will not drop everything and your staff for greener pasture.

    Hades_Kane is right on mud community, everyone wants his own mud to be the god of it, when they mostly cannot really code for start, so reproduce what has already been done, fragmenting and diluting the player base/available staff.
    Hell I am coding for a nearly dead (but that is old and was a very well established mud), when a lot I do could be implemented in any existing ROM that has a player base already.

    Muds is all about community management, the code used is no rocket science for 99.9% of them. The best programmers left to code to get paid in the first place:)
    And there is no certification in that (or I call bullshit on it…)
    Either you are a saleman at heart, or you are not. Certification or not.
    16 Nov, 2011, arholly wrote in the 14th comment:
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    Then why have the mudstandards thing that was done? Certification is pretty much nothing more than standards.
    16 Nov, 2011, quixadhal wrote in the 15th comment:
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    How, exactly, are you going to "certify" that someone is "competent" to run, or code on, any particular MUD?

    You can have a dozen "certs" in various Dikurivatives and still not have a clue about LPC coding. You can be the most popular admin on a half dozen fantasy games and not have the first clue how to handle a pure PK game, or a MUSH.

    I don't see any kind of certification being worth anything, other than a proven track record. If you ran a successful MUD that has a good reputation, I'd probably welcome having you run MY MUD. Beyond that, what exactly are you going to quantify?
    16 Nov, 2011, arholly wrote in the 16th comment:
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    Well, I guess since the overwhelming thought or feeling seems to be it is pointless, I'll drop it.
    16 Nov, 2011, Rarva.Riendf wrote in the 17th comment:
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    'Certification is pretty much nothing more than standards. '
    Acytually certification is proving you know the technical standard.
    There is no mud 'technical standard'. Mudstandard being about protocol, basically nothing really worth of interest except for the one who has to implement it on a server.
    17 Nov, 2011, David Haley wrote in the 18th comment:
    Votes: 0
  • Certification shows to players that you have made an investment (even if only in time) to dedicate yourself (your mud) to running an effective MU*.

  • Certification shows that some dude gave you a gold star. Why should I care that you have a gold star from some dude or group of dudes I've never heard of?

    When you go play a professional game, do you investigate whether they're certified to write games?

  • It shows you take recruiting staff, keeping them, and establishing guidelines seriously.

  • Yeah, sort of. This is not a professional endeavor. You're talking about this like employment but this really isn't employment.

    As for establishing guidelines, every MUD will have its own guidelines. And besides, I can tell if you take guidelines seriously by … looking at your guidelines.

  • Certification helps remove uncertainty from your (potential) players about if you are going to be around.

  • A certificate shows that you spend a relatively short period of time doing this thing with a thing to get a thing and run a thing. It says nothing about your long-term commitment.

    Well, I guess since the overwhelming thought or feeling seems to be it is pointless, I'll drop it.

    I think that the overwhelming feeling is "not worth my time", but that doesn't mean it's not a useful endeavor if you have lots of time to spend on it…
    17 Nov, 2011, Runter wrote in the 19th comment:
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    Certifications themselves even in the professional world are of questionable value. They're usually required for vendor related prescription. Without such a thing there's no real driving force for it. Furthermore, nobody but the vendor really wants there to be a driving force for it… Think Cisco.
    17 Nov, 2011, David Haley wrote in the 20th comment:
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    Yup. In the professional world, I know a lot of people who are immediately skeptical when they see a resume riddled with random certificates. It's sort of a catch-22, I guess… people want to establish that they know stuff, but a lot of the certificates aren't actually useful and just look bad, making the whole thing kinda funny.

    As a data point for what it's worth, I have no certificates in anything, beyond my college degrees, and yet am pretty employable as a software developer.