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After reading Adam Wozniak's June IR article I felt a need to post a followup. Essentially, I disagree wholeheartedly with Adam's conclusion that all mudlists suck. Am I biased? You bet I am!
Some nice grass on this side of the fence.
Before I created The Mud Connector back in 1994 I was an avid user of Scott Geiger's The Mud List, and then when Doran's list came about I started using it as well. Overall, I was dissatisfied with the information that was available, I found it incredibly difficult to find a mud that was right for me based solely on its name and server type (mudlists back then provided no descriptions). Don't get me wrong, both Scott's and Adam's mudlists were excellent sources for the purpose they served. However, I really wanted to see descriptions of the listed muds to help get an idea about what might be expected when I connected. I finally decided to try my hand at creating a list which provided a description (submitted by the mud administration, or players given approval to make a submission by their mud's administration). Since then we have been gradually adding more and more information to our list, all of which came as suggestions by our users. The popularity of TMC has grown dramatically over the years and I can attribute this to the information the list provides. In addition, other mudlists have recently come on the scene which provide a similar amount of information for the muds they list. One such site is Game Commandos (www.gamecommandos.com), in my opinion a fine mudlist and mud review site that serves as a great resource.
The article in the June IR gave me the impression that the author feels more is better. I disagree with this generalization to some extent. TMC's list is definitely smaller than the 3000+ muds listed in mudlinks://, however, every mud on our list has one thing in common, they all came to our site and made a submission to be included in the list. Web Search Engine promotion has become a rather big industry in itself lately (look at the traffic for sites such as wepromote.com, now yesmail.com). New websites appearing on the net these days recognize the need to promote the site to draw in traffic, why should muds be any different? Certainly, if TMC could list every mud on the internet the site would provide a better assessment for prospective players. However, in the case of TMC I feel it must remain a voluntary service; mud administrators wanting to promote their mud will have a site they can count on for a listing, and they can provide a representation of the mud as they wish it to be seen.
The article does a great job of expressing the difficulty with maintaining a mudlist. Yes, it is alot of work to maintain, but I have a love for the site that makes the work enjoyable. I try to automate as much of the process as necessary, but I cannot help but feel that without some human interaction, editing, and a hands-on approach the information will be lacking. The time I spend cleaning our database has consistently resulted in an 89% - 93% successful connection rate for the muds we list. We check the connection status of the links daily and when downtime accrues to a certain point we make an effort to contact the mud's administration. The best case scenario is we are sent an update for the information, the worst case is we have to remove a listing.
That said, I would also like to point out that we have our share of problems with data accuracy. This mostly comes in the form of false information being submitted regarding the additional features a mud may include in its listing. We have had reported to us several incidents where a mud claims to have such and such a feature and first-hand exploration finds this to not be the case. This has ranged from minor problems due to a misunderstanding of the terms we use to outright lies to try to grab attention from players that might not be interested in the mud otherwise. We are taking a couple of steps to improve this situation.
A lovely little bridge in a grassy place.
We are now in the process of organizing a team of listing verifiers that will visit the muds listed to determine if the listing provided is accurate. False information will be corrected, and accurate listings will be promoted as such. In addition to this TMC reviewers will take similar steps while researching the muds they are reviewing. We cannot guarantee that 100% of the information submitted to us is accurate, but it is our hope that mud admins will feel incentive in providing us with an accurate assessment of the mud they are listing.
The article concludes that all mudlists suck and that running a mudlist is too much work. Running a mudlist is alot of work, however, if the people involved with running the list enjoy what they are doing and if there are people who enjoy using it then it is certainly worth the time spent. We invite the readers of this article to judge for themselves whether all mudlists do indeed suck - you can find us at www.mudconnect.com.
July 1999 Imaginary Realities, the magazine of your mind.
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