Sunday, March 2, 2008

Limited 'default'. What Do You Think?

Ma'at's Disciple, Fer Ynuph

For this issue, your dedicated editorialist has been asked to tackle a complex issue, and folks, it's got my head swimming! It's a story of loyalty and intrigue, perception and deception, responsibility and consequences. Central to it is this jewel of a data point: our splendiferous Ankhet setting does not reflect real world structures in the key areas of crime, justice, proof, and enforcement. The limits of what we know and what we can bring to bear are different from those outside the boundaries of our common world.

Enough with the preambling, eh? Here's the skinny:

default, a disciple of few solicited (and fewer unsolicited) public words, had a bad day. To work off unhappiness regarding the Outland holiday of hearts, chocolates, and nookie he took Kauket out ... but not on a date. No, he iced the black sphinxalicious Favour honey about six hours ahead of the clock time that the community has determined ok to commit that particular act of murdery indulgence.

It wasn't his first violent foray of the day, friends, far from it. Earlier, he visited his special brand of foreplay on Kalm, a new denizen of our fair land. True to the homophonic twin of her name, Kalm responded with poise and Decreed a Topic asking, in short, "Wha' Happen?" No public answer came from the lovelorn default over the course of the day, though Kalm later reported that a brief Telepath exchange provided her with no more information than that which she did not receive in public.

Enter Nefertiti. (No, that's not a command.)

She saw the early demise of Kauket, saw that no public statement had been made about it, saw that default was sphinxing away with Shai, who must've been impervious to his "charms" and was very much alive. Lacking the power pack of Abilities to enact the typical Dude You Killed Kauket Early result, Nefertiti chose to inflict the antisocial default with Paradoxes. She figured that this would keep him on ice until someone with a beefier right cartouche arrived to provide the aforementioned consequences. Then she popped into the chat room to let any available Pearlenes know what she'd done and why.

em and Captain Yossarian received the news and were displeased. They thought it unfair to remove default's ability to enter the realm for two hours, especially because it prevented him from defending or explaining himself in the Commune. So, they removed from him the affliction.

No one knows how he found out that he was free to re-enter Ankhet. It's a loose end in this tapestry tale because his fellow Pearlites say that they have no way to communicate with him outside of the game. We'll never know whether or not spectral passenger pigeons were involved, but somehow he found out and returned to action scant moments after Nefertiti placed him in time out.

Carnage ensued. Nefertiti was Dueled into an unlovely state. However the most dramatic hit was taken by Mikolaj, who was in the process of providing default with his Kauket-slaying reward. Rather than accept the punishment in the dignified tradition of his predecessors, he took more than nine million Favour from Mikolaj via Condemn. Can you dig it, girlfriends?

Needless to say, civic-minded Mikolaj did not receive this attack as a blessing. He took it upon himself to Exorcise default and set short term conditions for release.

default did not stick around. He chose Ennui as a way to avoid dealing with the fallout from his outburst. In his wake endures a lengthy Topic, bearing his name, regarding various issues raised by this string of events. It stands as no surprise that the first post is Kalm's original request for information.

em, the Captain and the Pearlinators were called on the carpet to answer questions. The sub-conversations ranged from civil to bitchy and roundabout again. There were obvious efforts to communicate in a civil manner and moments of less lovely behavior. Accusations and challenges and feints and ripostes abounded. All of you lovely sandle stars are free to trot trot trot to the Underworld for the details. Mama's hands are getting tired.

But why does all of this matter? Well, I don't really know for sure, except that the culturally obsessive can have a field day with such tasty morsels as:

- Who is responsible to respond when a community standard has been violated?

- What happens when someone refuses to explain their actions?

- If one of your allies gets punished and you undo it, what responsibility do you bear for what happens afterwards?

- What happens when a player keeps creating and Ennui-ing disciples who behave in anti-social ways?

- Is it ok to be sarcastic or snarky in a serious discussion?

- What the hell is up with the whole 'bot' story? Do the Oracles need to do something more? Is there something more to be done?

- What are the limits of loyalty?

- Is there ever an excuse for spandex apparel outside of athletic or performance settings?

- Does apologizing for a mistake make a disciple look weak or strong?

There are lots more questions, but this seems like a good starter kit. Fly, be free, contemplate, discuss.

No comments: