Posted by: Xalthorn | September 21, 2007

Murdering the English language, time to get some payback

One thing that really annoys me on online games, especially ones where things do not have to be typed in a rush, is the quality of typed text.

I’m not saying that all messages should pass the strictest spelling and grammar checks, that would be unfair, especially to non native English speakers (although many non native English speakers write far better English than the natives).  However, people are getting lazy or just simply learning too many bad habits from others.  Sometimes to try and look ‘kewl’ or 1337 and speak in text speak.

Many years ago, I played many MUDs and oddly enough, I feel that both MUDs and learning to program enhanced my typing speed and accuracy.  In a MUD, if you typed a command badly, or got the spelling wrong, your command wouldn’t work.  The game wouldn’t think between the lines and try to work out what you meant, it expected certain commands and waited for you to type them in.  This could mean the difference between your character actually hitting the monster, getting the item, avoiding the trap or being killed or otherwise disadvantaged.  With programming, if you typed even a single character wrong, or missed a full stop or semi-colon, your program would either not run, or not run as you expected.

With many online games now driving the game almost exclusively with mouse input rather than keyboard commands, these errors only appear in the communications between players.

Like most online games, Mondestia will have ways for players to communicate, whether it is in a forum, through private messages, in a chat pane, or some other means.

The privilege (not the ‘right’) to communicate to anyone but admin (for support and help) in the game needs to be earned by proof of acceptable quality.

Initially, a new player will have all of his forum posts held for moderation.  When moderated, if the post is acceptable, it is approved and the player gains a quality point.  If the post is unacceptable, the player is informed why and their quality score reduced by an appropriate amount.

When a player has a high enough score, they are allowed to post without moderation, having earned the privilege.  When they reach an even higher score, they are offered the chance to become a forum moderator themselves.

I’m more lenient with private messages as they are between two players.  However, there will be a way to report abuse (nothing to do with spelling and grammar) and a facility to ignore messages from specific players.

The chat system will follow similar rules to the forums, requiring messages to be moderated before acceptance into the chat.

Blatant spam, swearing, or other insulting behaviour on a game wide communication medium will see the player banned from the medium for a period of time and their quality scores reduced to 0.

If this drives some players to communicate on a medium external to the game, so be it.  At least the remaining players will be able to communicate without the now accepted junk messages.

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