Hollow Earth

Prominence: A Word on the Fan Age Proposals

Hello again. It’s been a long time. How have you been?

I’ve seen all the proposals tossed about and had some thoughts. People will debate this and Cyan will be the final arbiter. I have little faith these days in the latter, so I talk to you; the former. This is not just a debate about python coding or storyline. This is also a debate of prominence. The prominence of fan Ages in the world. I believe foremost that fan Ages deserve high prominence in the game for they are the examples with which we draw people in. But let’s back up and examine the other concepts debated: coding and storyline.
In the realm of coding, I feel it is obvious that an addition to the existing Nexus or placing books around the Ages makes the most sense. Duplicating the Nexus is a tricky proposition and creating all that coding busywork when there are other viable paths is folly. This community and potential content creators do not need additional hurdles to jump. They need simple code, they need stable worlds, they need a firm hand, not a shaky “Fan Nexus.”

People will defend this Fan Nexus by citing storyline consistency. As my grandfather once said, that’s a load a whooey. Uru has the least consistent storyline of any game I have played so far. Minecraft has a more consistent storyline and you make that story up as you go along! If the old Mysteriacs are right, Cyan was willing to sacrifice story integrity for a cushy retirement just a few months ago. Have they really rediscovered their philosophy so quickly?

No, what this really comes down to is fan Age prominence. Cyan insists on pandering to the old guard who want to keep fan Ages away from Cyan’s Ages. Fan Ages must have prominence in the game world or we will never see the benefit. No one other than a liar or a hermit cares these days about how a fan Age meshes with Cyan’s storyline. People want content and this should be made as easy as possible. Storyline should be considered, but not in this draconian fashion.

This brings me to the point of all this. Ages should be placed where they make the most sense. An Age’s placement should be dictated by its lore. If the “Age” is a City location, it should be placed in the Nexus. If the Age is D’ni written, it should be placed in a public book room. If the Age is like my Toroolbah or Fens, it should be place in a location fit for it (either a fan hub Age or a private spot).

Those are my thoughts. Now tell me yours. Leave a comment below and vote in the poll for which of the options you would choose for future fan Ages.

Filed under: Uru Community, , , , , ,

The Slow Death (and how we avoid it)

Time has not done Uru good. Speaking from a layman’s perspective (I don’t know about technological antiquities, though I have heard of many) Uru’s graphics are quickly showing their age graphically. Textures seem blurry and low-resolution in an increasingly high-res world. Models and lighting seem less realistic, though still quite substantial. The graphics of Uru are still impressive, but there are areas where they shows their years.

Time has also not done Uru good from the social perspective. The community seems increasingly filled with un-bending views of what Uru should be that we miss what it could be. More effort is put into “defending” Uru from that which some don’t like.

It would seem that Uru is suffering a slow death, one marked not by closures, but by losses. People leaving the community or the mortal world itself. Uru has resumed the haze of grey depression it saw after its closure. For many, the Ages are no longer colorful and full of life; they are faded and full of memories and unfulfilled longing.

It would seem what I feared is happening.

It would seem Uru will not go out with a bang, but a whimper.

However, I have still not lost hope. Because reality is quite different from what is seen. On all sides of the ideological battle for “what is Uru” there is exaggeration and hyperbole. Just as “all those hackers want to do is make Uru Second Life,” so too are there “hordes of CrisGers.” Just as people leave is despair, I see others come with renewed belief in what is possible. Just as I tilt my head and examine some obscure texture seam, I see- out of the corner of my eye- a person simply standing on the stairs in Ae’gura, in awe of the Great Arch and the universe they have found.

I talked to CrisGer during a Mysterium IRC chat. While he is still a mass of complex contradictions, he is hardly as irrational as his MOUL posts would suggest. He is one of the New Guard(those that came after Prologue), like me. He is used to what has always been and has yet to go beyond grudging tolerance of the new, unlike me.

The simple truth is that CrisGer is not, nor ever will be, the actual future of Uru. The MOUL forums are not filling up with his clones, they are filling up with people with a new spirit and curiosity in “hacking” Uru. They are filling with people intrigued by the history of D’ni -the core of a new, thriving Uru. Yet people despair that the ranks of those who want to build new things in Uru are slimming. They’re growing.

The simple truth is also that Second Life and evil hax are not, nor ever will be, the actual future of Uru. The Writers don’t want to ruin your Uru experience, they want to produce tools to help fans fulfill and further those experiences as the fans choose. Yet people wring their hands and worry about obscene additions to Uru will be plentiful if the tools are released. The fact is the tools are available if someone wants to do that, no one does and no one will (for long).

The “middle ground” has emerged as a popular thing to claim membership in. In reality, the “middle ground” shifts. Some members are enthusiastic about fan Ages, others think they have a long way to go. I think a more productive view is to look at people’s logic and basis for their views. Quite a lot of them are incorrect, mostly dealing with Uru’s history. This is understandable (as opposed to Uru’s history, which is generally not). What needs to happen is education for new people about the experiences that occurred, first-hand accounts, and facts. What happens now is propogation of lies or misrepresentation of reality. Intentionality of this varies, but the result remains the same. too many people think, for example, that Yeesha/the Bahro was always part of the game, that the Gira puzzle was always the way it is, that the journey doors were always present, or that other Uru shards are illegal.

In the end, I think it is very possible for Uru to succeed. But we need Cyan if the future is going to be in their version of MOULa. If they do not do the work, the fans will. It is just that simple.

Filed under: Uru Community, , , ,

Revenge of the Nonsense

There is a bad paradox going on here. Posting a thread with a link to an article criticizing a terrible moderator and asking for his dismissal is considered against the forum rules. Okay, I understand that. From a common sense view, a company can’t afford to let criticism like that get distributed on an official forum because it serves to cut said company off at the knees. Here’s where the paradox comes in: It is just as detrimental, if not more so, to allow that terrible moderator to continue to moderate those official forums.

Chucker posted an excellent article a while back discussing why RAWA’s post was not productive. Similarly, 75th Trombone posted an article arguing that Cyan has done all that can be reasonably expected to avoid public humiliation. To condense my opinion, a talking to is not sufficient. True, veralun should not be “fired” by Cyan. He should resign. I renew that call now. Resign, veralun, for the good of the community you moderate for. I know it is hard and I have no doubts that you do your best and have the best of intentions, but the fact remains that you do a poor job at moderating and you should simply do the right thing and let someone else take over for you.

Some background, for those who don’t follow MOUL drama, on what happened after I posted a link to Ending the Nonsense on the MOUL forum: So Cyan could privately discuss the issue with the moderators, Tweek and Ddefreyne lost their admin rights. They (Tweek/Denis) still consider it retribution for their opinions. Based on Cyan’s actions, Tweek and Denis resigned their positions as Cyan interns.

RAWA said that Cyan was working on dealing with the moderation issues. What we got instead were the same broken rules with the blatantly obvious addition of allowing hacking of MOULa. This was also discussed in greater detail by chucker in this article.

Which brings me to my point: RAWA’s ultimatum. Now a while old, responded to without reply from RAWA. Some background before, though. My post to RAWA (April 2nd):

“I am glad to see Cyan is looking into the moderation. I do still see a problem with how it is being handled. Your public posts use indirect language (like “moving forward”) that don’t inspire confidence that you are serious about tackling the situation. You have lost Tweek, an excellent designer and a person with talent essential to the survival of Uru, because he doesn’t see serious reform taking place. Other members have already left or are considering leaving.
You have a golden opportunity to improve Cyan’s standing with the community and begin to win back trust of others which you have lost. You can take a serious step toward reform by removing veralun. I have seen that the other moderators are capable of interpreting the rules appropriately using common sense.

An important thing to realize is that a lot of people have just given up on reporting problems. If you don’t hear many complaints, that’s a bad thing because it means people have given up on you.”

And RAWA’s response (April 5th):

“On the contrary, we are all taking this very seriously. I’ve been working on this for almost two weeks now, and my work with the mods behind the scenes continues.

My use of the words “moving forward” simply means that it’s time to move out of the problem and into the solution. Both sides in this are guilty of not following the forum protocols in the past. Continuing to dwell on that does not get us anywhere. So, I have met with the mods and they have agreed to be more diligent in following the forum rules. Now it is up to the fans to do the same, rather than just following the rules that they happen to agree with.

As I understand it, your complaints are twofold. First, you do not understand what rules have been violated, causing certain posts to be being edited / removed. In light of this, the mods have agreed to ensure that edits / removals will be explained to the offenders, including which rules have been violated.

Your second complaint is that you often don’t agree with the moderators’ decisions after they have been made. In light of this, the mods are getting a second opinion from other mods in the case of a “gray” area. You are still free to ask for further explanation from a moderator through PM if you do not understand why an action was taken. (Mods’ decisions are not made lightly, and if they see that someone has trouble understanding their decision, they may try to explain more fully. However, moderators are not likely to debate their decision.)

It is my understanding that you feel that moderators unnecessarily edit innocuous threads. Sometimes in threads which initially look harmless, a moderator will stop a discussion that threatens to become inflammatory or incite strongly negative emotions in the participants or readers. Usually, this is because s/he has already received a complaint (or several) from other user(s), or because s/he anticipates problems based on the direction the discussion appears to be heading. At times, it may seem as if the moderator is overreacting, but in fact s/he is trying to avert larger problems later. This proactive approach is one of the ways we try to make the forums more pleasant for everyone.

If you do not want your posts to be edited/ removed in the future, the solution is fairly simple: adhere to the forums rules (even the ones you don’t agree with), but also avoid the “gray” areas which force the mods to make judgment calls. Getting a second opinion from other mod(s) will help “judgment calls” be more consistent than it has been in the past, but there will still be times when the mods’ collective opinion does not line up with yours… and they are the ones who will make the final decision. There is plenty of room within the forum rules for debate on topics allowed in the forums that do not require venturing into those “gray” areas in any way. Take the time to find it, and everyone benefits.

Now, since your complaints have been addressed (even if not how you wanted them to be addressed), your continued objection to the solutions makes it look as if your goal from the beginning was not to improve communication between fans and moderators, but merely to unseat a moderator who has repeatedly responded to you and others whose posts have violated the forum rules. Your letters could be interpreted as a personal vendetta to eliminate one person who stands in your way rather than a desire to resolve legitimate issues. This impression is reinforced by your insistence that Veralun be unseated in spite of viable solutions to the expressed issues of communication gaps.

Perhaps the real question here is, are you as serious about solving the problems as we are?

RAWA”

To summarize my reply (another huge quote would make this article unbearable):

A proactive approach gives bad moderators an excuse to abuse people.

Gray areas need to be addressed to prevent a recurring pattern (this has been done, though not in a logical manner as outlined in my introduction).

I have no vendetta against veralun. Veralun is a stumbling block for Cyan, not for me. Cyan would benefit from a stronger response to this issue than they presently have.

Today, via Twitter, Denis said he had removed Uru from his computer. Having lost his interest in the game. This from one of the people who designed and maintained the MOUL site, Urublogs.com, Mystblogs.com, and others. What made him lose his interest? Who discouraged him? How many more?

Filed under: Uru Community

Fanatical Uru

I like passionate people. Energetic people. People who have a vision and put it into action. There’s a difference between passionate people putting their viewpoint into action and fanatics that preach their way or extermination; and so, by that we arrive at Dr.CrisGer.

CrisGer is most well known for being the person who said we should “throw some people out for the good of all” as a response to someone hacking the memorial imager. The “some people” were people like me who had denounced the paranoid ramblings of others. Or, as CrisGer put it: “the selfish talk and aggressive attacks on Cyan, on the world of URU and the disisents we have had to listen to for months now on these forums and others pushing over and over for Open Source at any cost and people trying to grab control of parts of MOUL rather than just enjoy what we have. This sort of angry and selfish and immature action risks everything for all of us.”

No. You are the threat to all of this for all of us. You who intimidate the honest developments of others. You who perverts the talents of others into demons to be feared. You who use scare tactics and fear-mongering to drive so many wedges into this community. You who falsely claim to want Uru to be open and then call frank discussion “aggressive attacks.” You who invent power grabs. You who try to resurrect battles which occurred before you even arrived. You who display such ugly ignorance and dissuade new people from coming to a game dreaming of the worlds they will create.

But this is just the tip. The most amazing of the paranoia. The part rational people chuckle at before shuddering slightly. There was more, in a thread on what role people saw in “bots” like OHBot in the Greeter’s neighborhood. CrisGer responds without reading the post, without getting the facts, without understanding what he’s talking about and continues with the same apocalyptic nonsense that came before. It’s a danger to Uru. It is hacking. It is evil and he will not be a part of it. Frankly, CrisGer is too long-winded to really condense well without missing some gems. Pay close attention to the following:

It is NOT up to the Guild of Greeters or any group to impose this bot on a public area that is accessible to any and all players of all ages who wish to experience and know the real URU MOUL cavern that we all love.”

“Please remove it and do not bring such ridiculous programing experiments into the world which so many of us have worked so long to enjoy and to restore.”

“You may feel suprrised that some may not enjoy your toy as much as you do, but we dont…we dont like to see real people lose their jobs to bots, to see the world increasingly mechanized and lobotomized in the name of projgress and I am shocked and appalled to see such a scheme as yours and this ridiculous exploit given any support at all.”

“This intrusion is a grandstanding venture of the worst kind. I have been a member of the Guild of Greeters and helped create this current GOG hood and signed in the very first non creator member.

Okay, so the GoG can’t impose anything in their own neighborhood, but CrisGer can impose his will on everyone else. Also, the GoG has no idea what you are talking about. You are not a member of the Guild of Greeters. Finally, others come in and inform him that OHBo is not an exploit. So what is the next post include? Why, more rambling about the evil exploit, of course!

“I have shared my sincere concerns here politely and will now close with a repeat of my request.

As a long time player and someone who cares a lot about the Cavern and the wonderful world of the D’ni I respectfully ask that you remove this exploit to your own hood. It is NOT your right to impose it on the game or on any of us in a publlic hood.”

Now, sincere I have no doubt of. But I challenge anyone to see the previous quotes as “polite.” For a man who is an artist, CrisGer you have little respect in the expression of others. But let’s see this to the end. CrisGer made one last post in that thread that included this fantastic tidbit:

“I do not speak for eveyone or try to. I speak for those of us who care about the game and the world for what it is and what it can be.”

And here is where we saw the break between CrisGer’s fanaticism and the passion of the people who will actually grow Uru. The part where people began saying what sounds the death knell of the old ideology. That “CrisGer doesn’t speak for me.” It is a rejection of the fake collective. That, for some absurd reason, you cannot support fan development AND Uru at he same time. The disgusting suggestion that people who develop for Uru who take opinions contrary to CrisGer’s don’t care about Uru. It is character assassination and it is cowardice. To take potshots from afar and assault the moral credibility of others without care for the logic of your own arguments.

CrisGer is an extreme example, that is true. Even people who have taken similar stances against fan development stood back from CrisGer’s tirade against the imagined enemy. But it’s more than that. I get the impression that, despite the distancing done, that some people agree with the thinking behind that lashing out. That Uru is better off without fan developers and fan creations. That we can’t trust the fans to do things “right”.

In the end, the truth is that CrisGer is one man on the MOUL forums –a forum where Cyan’s strongest supporters reside and where criticism of Cyan/discussion of new ideas is discouraged by the other users and outlawed by the forum rules (just updated with largely superficial changes). We can listen to that ideology and go back to waiting for Cyan to get funding and then lose funding because the “understanding” company suddenly becomes less so. Or we can be open to new ideas and let others follow their preferences. I see Uru’s future in open source and open thinking. If Cyan is not the one to provide that, someone else will and they will profit from it.

Filed under: Uru Community

Top Ten Signs CrisGer is Nuts

And now, continuing the proud tradition of using Mr. Letterman’s gags, here’s the top 10 signs CrisGer is nuts (if his posts aren’t enough to tell you):

10. Seen last week calling Yeesha a coded construct.

9. Was shocked and appalled to learn what a computer was.

8. Found setting his bread on fire rather than use that “mechanized and lobotomized” thing called a “toaster.”

7. He waited in line for an iPad, then yelled at the Apple employee for selling him a “coded mechanism masquerading as a cutting board.”

6. He asked Dhelayan for moral guidance.

5. Said he was harassed by Wall-E.

4. Ran around Ae’gura for three days screaming “BOTS IN MAH BEVIN!”

3. Declared he was a member of the Greeters right after claiming he was the rightful king of Antarctica.

2. Said he spoke for the human race and negotiated a deal with the Combine.

1. Wants to throw R2-D2 out for the good of all!

Filed under: Uru Community

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