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5.2.3 Sharing Responsibility

Most MUCK administrators find it necessary or at least helpful to recruit a staff, to share responsibilities for building, programming, technical maintenance, player relations, and so forth, with a team of people with aptitude for a specific area of responsibility.

Use whatever pigeon holes and job desciptions you like. The following are common:

  • Site Administration: This wizard is responsible for maintaining Net access. Sometimes the site admin is only marginally involved in the MUCK's day-to-day affairs, acting essentially as a landlord. Even in this situation, there are reasons for making the site admin a wizard: for example, he can log onto the MUCK and do a clean @shutdown if it's necessary to shutdown the server for maintenance or other RL reasons. The site admin may also be responsible for server-side chores such as keeping back-ups, updating news and info files, and answering email addressed to the MUCK staff.

  • Programming: This wizard sets and unsets Mucker bits, based on players' programming expertise, trustworthiness, and committment to the world. She also reviews programs to be ported, checking security and efficiency considerations. She may also be responsible for creating and maintaining a listing of publically available programs.

  • Player Relations: This wizard arbitrates grievances between players and charges of AUP violations. He is empowered to act as appropriate in such situations, using disciplinary tools such as recording warnings and charges in a log kept on the character, temporary @newpasswording, @toading, and site banning.

  • New Characters: This wizard @pcreates new characters. She needs a way to read emailed character requests, and she needs information about any players, sites, and addresses that have been the source of player-relations problems. For a small staff, it makes sense to combine this job and that of Player Relations.

  • Building: This wizard is, in the MUCK's early days, charged with building the world, or coordinating the efforts of a team of builders. Once the world is built, the Building wizard will have the most complete understanding of how everything is set up, and is the best person to decide matters such as planning or incorporating new areas. Often, the Building wizard also determines policy on quota issues.

The exact form of your organizational set up isn't crucial, but it is important that the staff has a good understanding of who's responsible for what, when it's OK to do something that affects another staffer's area, and that God or the core administrators keep a sense of proportion. Silly, unproductive `turf wars' are a common reason for staffs failing to gel as a team, and worlds burdened with squabbling wizards seldom thrive. Some guidelines...

  • God should refrain from micromanagement. If you've given a wizard authority to handle Player Relations, let him handle it.

  • Good communication solves most problems before they become problems. Set up a global page alias for wizards and staff. All staff should page mail each other when they do something that affects the MUCK as a whole, or affects others' areas of responsibility.

  • If instant action isn't required (and it seldom is) let the wizard who's responsible for an area handle that area. The Builder wizard may think that JoeHacker's actions obviously call for toading, and she may be right, but it's better for her to simply @newpassword JoeHacker, and let the Player Relations wiz handle the actual toading. Not only is it his job, but he may have worked out a procedure for @chowning the character's objects, notifying the player, and so forth.

  • And the flipside of the same coin... If you and the players frequently find that something needed just doesn't get done because a key wizard is unavailable (the Programming wiz hasn't logged in in three weeks, say), then something is amiss with staff organization. God should step in, handle the immediate situation, and consider making changes to the staff roster.

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