Setting Boundaries

Written by  on February 16, 2015 

Building, hosting, modifying, improving (I hope), maintaining, and sharing this game has been a great source of enjoyment for me over these past few years. I would like it to remain so for many years to come, so I’ll get straight to the point here: Some boundaries need to be set. I don’t like it, and this is an uncomfortable subject for me to even talk about, but there it is. The boundaries I’m specifically referring to, are regarding communications directed towards me. At the risk of sounding pretentious, I must point out that I have a family (including a 3-year-old), I have a stressful full-time job, I require food and sleep, and I have a life. Apologies to anyone who might think I have my priorities wrong, but all of the things I just listed, rank higher in my personal hierarchy of need than anything relating to this game- and I really do Love This Game. This is the first boundary: do not try to put yourself anywhere between me and any of those listed things. I am a very polite, patient man, but if you push me far enough, I will roll over you like a tsunami. This isn’t “anonymous internet tough-guy” talking; it is a mere statement of fact.

By now you might be thinking, “What the hell is going on with Rick?”. Don’t worry about it. Everything is fine. But at some point during every admin’s reign in a small-but-growing community, the need eventually arises for some structure and a bit of organization in the flow of communication with the admin. There also needs to be some sort of boundaries set between what is acceptable and what is not. I hate this because the free flow of feedback from you guys, the players, is what helps me make those tough decisions regarding the game, and inspires my creativity when it comes to implementing new ideas. That flow of communication needs to be protected though, and unfortunately on occasion, it needs to be protected from itself. So I’ll go ahead and lay it out for you guys, in plain terms, how I’d like things to be done. First of all, your opinions and feedback are valuable to me, positive or otherwise- so please do not be abusive towards me or try to manipulate me. Doing so only hurts your cause when there are far more constructive ways to get my attention. Second, feel free to contact me at any time via communications in-game, email, commenting anywhere you see a comment box on this website, or by posting in the forums.

Now this is where I’d like to get into some particulars. The great joy of having this game around, is that on occasion, I grab a normal everyday ship, and I play it. It’s tough wearing two hats, but to make things clear for you guys, when you see me flying the Z-class ship named, “*admin“, my door is wide-open and pretty much anything goes; Complaints, ideas, bug reports, etc. are all welcome. Please consider a few things before you directly contact me in the game though. If I’m flying the “*admin” ship, most likely it is because I am working on something for the game or testing for a bug. Recently, I’ve adopted the practice of attaching {afk} to my name whenever I’m not in a position to read or reply to in-game messages. I’ll make every effort to continue doing so, but on occasion I might flip to another window or will be talking to another player. Please be patient and do not be offended if I’m slow to reply or if I miss one of your ship-to-ship messages. I’m not ignoring you.

Bug reports: If there is a serious, game-breaking bug, please contact me immediately. When reporting a bug, simply telling me something is broke and that I “need to fix it”, might suffice on occasion, but the much-preferred method would be to email me and cross-post the same message to the “report bugs here” thread in the forums. I’ve found that a lot of detail can be lost in the 3 scrolling lines of the in-game chat system. Typing out an email or a forum post has the added benefit that it gives you a minute to compose your thoughts and helps you get me the information I need to actually correct the problem. (Date and time right down to the minute seems excessive, but it is actually very helpful when I need to trace something down to a single line in a log thousands of lines long.) If you have any doubts about where you should report something, such as when reporting a possible exploit (ie, “doing xxxx causes me to get free points”) use your best discretion.

Before contacting me directly/privately, (this applies to in-game and email) consider whether the question/comment has already been addressed in the forums- or if it hasn’t been, consider whether the subject might be a better topic for public discussion. If you’re asking the question, there’s a good chance that another player has the same question and simply hasn’t spoken up yet. And while I’m on the subject of forums, I highly encourage all of you to actively use them. Keep an eye out for new topics, start a discussion, share an idea. The forums can be a useful tool for any player- and remember that an active, “bustling” community will be more attractive for new players and an active community is a healthy one.

And that’s pretty much all I have to say on the subject. I hope none of this offends any of you and I still want to keep those ‘lines open. By all means, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or think that I’m bothered by you. I’m merely trying to make things easier on everyone.