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Lawmakers Game The System

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the democracy-beta-version dept.

Role Playing (Games) 116

Thanks to Wired News for its article discussing government officials and massively multiplayer game designers sharing ideas on the best ways to deal with community feedback. Neil Eisner of the Department Of Transportation explains: "We're both dealing with large populations, and (like with the public-comment process for legislation) the public helps them design the rules for the game, or petitions them to change the rules to have things happen." Raph Koster of Sony Online adds that it "was startling to me... that (the federal comment process) is identical to how we build our patches and patch notes", although since the government has "a legal obligation to protect the privacy of people submitting comments on legislation", this means some disadvantages compared to MMO feedback, as Koster explains: "We get to know the people who are good testers, who are good at catching bugs. The federal government is legally not allowed to do that."

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Voting for all! (1, Funny)

TheOtherKiwi (743507) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246754)

Massively multi-player voting system with feedback! Cool!

Re:Voting for all! (5, Insightful)

DaliTimepiece (751334) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246837)

No. I think this is truly important. We have an opportunity here that we are taking too lightly. These Massively Multiplayer games are probably the best models of theoretical societies that we have ever seen. We have an obligation, as interested parties, to see that there is some validity in their existence. I truly believe that there will come a time when the theories and practices as viewed in these virtual worlds will influence the physical world as we know it. Mr. Ludlow [nytimes.com] was banned from a virtual existence for espousing real beliefs. Let us not allow this to be the trend of a medium that most of us have fought to keep free.

Re:Voting for all! (1)

TheOtherKiwi (743507) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246942)

Fully. I was vaguely thinking that I would really like to see us all participating in a voting system that in reality could affect the real outcomes of real politcians in real time, instant feedback on issues of the day...like /. but as a referendum device this would be both fast and effective....and insecure using todays technologies..we can all dream for real.

No joke.

Re:Voting for all! (1)

DaliTimepiece (751334) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247152)

Not sure that the insecurity of it isn't offset by some of the practices of our current system though. Bussing in voters, massive contributions to losing candidates just to draw support from the real potentials, etc. Paper will always be more secure, much more prone to error and much less efficient. Not really proposing a solution here, just acknowledging that there needs to be one.

Re:executions for all! (1)

abb3w (696381) | more than 10 years ago | (#8249148)

Mr. Ludlow's banning corresponds very nicely to an execution by angry priests of the local deity. While you may not be happy with that aspect, any social model that doesn't include that possibility is incomplete.

Re:Voting for all! (5, Funny)

Vengeance_au (318990) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246889)

Knowing my luck all the powerful senators with good drops will be camped....

Re:Voting for all! (-1)

TheOtherKiwi (743507) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247211)

Off topic? Its not a far cry from e-law making to e-voting...is anyone on my wavelength? O, sorry, its /.

Re:Voting for all! (1, Funny)

Absurd Being (632190) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247434)

MMPVoting? I'd call it Vote-Vote Revolution. Keep practicing voting, and vote, and you can overthrow the government!

fizzy pizzy (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8246755)

did -- did i make it?

Major companies (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8246761)

already run america. They shouldn't have a problem with a MMORPG

This sounds good (2, Insightful)

TurnerK12 (748592) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246771)

The community should be more active in the design phase of video games. It should make for a better game with more comments from the public about how the game should look and play.
---
http://spaceruckus.web1000.com [web1000.com]
These guys are putting together a free 3D action/adventure game.

Re:This sounds good (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8246793)

The community should be more active in the design phase of video games.

Yep, because influencing the way games look like is soooo much more important than influencing our legislators lawmaking, isn't it?

Re:This sounds good (1)

Aelfy (727873) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247123)

Yep, because influencing the way games look like is soooo much more important than influencing our legislators lawmaking, isn't it?

And what about posting snarky comments to Slashdot? Is that more important too?

Re:This sounds good (1)

Jackdaw Rookery (696327) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246910)

Have you tried doing things by 'Community'? Nothing will come of it I tell you, nothing.

Er. OK.

Design by comittee (0)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246911)


and you get a camel not a horse

Re:This sounds good (5, Insightful)

Shinobi (19308) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247122)

Listening too much to the community can be very detrimental to the development process, however, since you might lose sight of your original ideas and planning, and wind up in an unstructured mess of widely disparate ideas.

Re:This sounds good (5, Insightful)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247481)

Heinlein always said (from a future perspective) that all democracies failed when people voted themselves bread-and-circuses.

In other words, people would vote to get something for nothing.

Re:This sounds good (4, Insightful)

mr breakfast (242421) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247687)

As far as I can tell this is exactly the problem California has found itself with - people voting for low taxes and voting to make sure that at least half of their taxes pay for education and that at least half of their taxes pay for policing and that at least half of their taxes pay for dustbins in parks.

Re:This sounds good (1)

Skal Tura (595728) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247174)

This is actually what i'm doing on Paradox.

http://www.paradox-online.net (down because of DDoS attack currently, but soon back up)

It is still on the beta phase and the player base has affected at making the game a lot, hugely. Still, i as the designer need to make design the bigger chances and come up with them.
But all smaller things is affected by the player base etc. going to improve player feedback still
a lot more.

Re:This sounds good (1)

rotciv86 (737769) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247237)

The community should be more active in the design phase of video games. It should make for a better game with more comments from the public about how the game should look and play.


In theory that's a great idea, but no matter what you do, you won't be able to please everyone. Maybe just make them more customaizable, give people more options to choose from. Just my 2 cents.

In theory, perhaps (4, Insightful)

metamatic (202216) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248298)

The community should be more active in the design phase of video games. It should make for a better game with more comments from the public about how the game should look and play.

Like it does with movies, you mean?

Hollywood movies are extensively tested on the general public, and carefully tweaked based on their feedback. I guess we all love the intelligent plots and inventive movies that result, huh?

Design-by-marketing has costs as well as benefits. In general, it will turn bad products into palatable ones... but it also turns really good products into palatable ones. Most really good art is polarizing; for example, Terry Gilliam's "Brazil", half the audience came out of the previews and said "That was the best movie I've ever seen", the other half came out and said "That was the worst movie I've ever seen". If you apply the public feedback process, you get something which pleases more people, but the result is the infamous "Love Conquers All" edit of "Brazil".

Personally, I think we have enough Hollywood-style "Well, it was OK I guess" video games. What we need is more people taking risks, more people producing truly innovative and unique games like "Rez", "Ico", "Sentinel", and so on. Of course, I think that because those are the games I like to play. If you like playing "Generic Sports Game 200x" or "Movie Tie In FPS", you will indeed prefer the results of designers taking more notice of user feedback.

Re:In theory, perhaps (1)

John Courtland (585609) | more than 10 years ago | (#8249809)

Damn synchronocity... I just saw that movie (Brazil) yesterday. I must say, I have to watch it again, I was too tired to fully appreciate how insanely complex it is.

Anonymity in Democracy is overrated (4, Insightful)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246772)

You can't make a difference if you're only ever a faceless minion. To really participate in democracy you have to be willing to stand up and be counted.

I'd probably feel different if I'd ever been threatened based on the way I voted, but since no party or politician I've ever voted for has got into power I don't think that's likely to happen.

Yes, but... (3, Insightful)

Anonytroll (751214) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246784)

...this is only when you want to make a difference as you say it. It's a no-brainer to acknowledge that you can't do that if you keep your face hidden (no offense intended). However, then it is your conscious choice to do so. Anonymity means that if you don't take that choice, you can remain hidden and not be counted anyway because your democratic government thinks you should be.

Re:Anonymity in Democracy is overrated (1)

gid13 (620803) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246841)

Sure would solve the whole voting problem, too. Just put the whole damn country's votes online in one big searchable database. Everyone can check that their vote is right. Right?

Good luck with your chosen parties/politicians. :)

Re:Anonymity in Democracy is overrated (1)

CarlDenny (415322) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246852)

That would make it too easy to sell votes directly to the politicians.

'round here, we make them buy our votes from us indirectly by going through the media.

Re:Anonymity in Democracy is overrated (3, Interesting)

Power Luser (751304) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246876)

Call me a cynic, but to really participate in democracy you need to be part of some powerful lobby group or business that the government wants to please for votes or campaign donations. In my country anyway, there's a serious disconnect between big government and the general populace that is only barely bridged by the sensationalist media.

It's nice to hear that governments are building processes for getting feedback from the general public I still don't see this helping the little guy affect big picture legislation as much as the 2 million dollar donation from corporate sponsor X...

When will people learn ? (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246927)


Democracy doesn't work!

- Homer J. Simpson

Yeah, but shouldn't they first remove the old laws (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8246778)

As I am sure you would all agree, at a certain point you stop patching and redo entire functions in a program. So why doesn't the government enforce the laws on the books and repeal (remove from the books, etc) laws that are being contradicted in the patching? Just like you optimize code (removing the crap) they should optimize the laws.

go read this, it will tell you why not : (3, Informative)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246963)


Things You Should Never Do, Part I

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog00000000 69.html [joelonsoftware.com]

Re:go read this, it will tell you why not : (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8248828)

Yes, and the article advocates re-working individual pieces of the code as the grandparent post suggests. The article you mention only says you shouldn't throw everything away.

That having been said, the difficulty with changing the laws in this manner is that you have to have two votes, one to add the new law, and another to repeal the old. Both have to pass or you have problems:

addition passes, repeal fails: contradictory laws
Repeal passes, addition fails: You have no law

You have the same principles of code interaction with laws that you have with programs. You never really fully understand the impact a line of the law has. Court rulings serve an important purpose here, to clarify and 'patch' laws. Court rulings have clarified that first amendment rights do not apply to certain types of speech. We didn't need to repeal the first amendment and add a new amendment to achieve that.

Re:go read this, it will tell you why not : (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8249492)

Redoing a function isn't rewriting a program. It's simply refactoring, something that Joel advocates.

Re:go read this, it will tell you why not : (2, Insightful)

Heisenbug (122836) | more than 10 years ago | (#8249911)

That article explains why you shouldn't throw away an entire codebase and start over, which would be analogous to scrapping this whole America thing and having another constitutional convention. We can't do that, practically, for reasons that are well-described.

The article in fact encourages you to refactor, optimize, and prettify an existing code base, instead of throwing it out -- and I think that's exactly what the grandparent suggested.

The answer, by the way, to why we can't refactor our legal code, is that the constitution makes updating the laws as hard as it could possibly be. We can't run the new changes in an unstable branch and see how they work out (unless you count, say, Nevada or Vermont).

Re:go read this, it will tell you why not : (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 10 years ago | (#8250064)

I guess that's the problem of a constitution, we have no such encumberance here. Unless you count the European Parliament. I think we can just leave the EU if it becomes a burden.

Efficiency? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8246788)

The Iraqi model was quite efficient:

community_feedback > dev/null

All we need now is Anti-cheat software for politic (5, Funny)

Kor49 (748163) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246790)

Something like Punkbuster for politics would have definitely caught George W.

PWNED !

Re:All we need now is Anti-cheat software for poli (5, Funny)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246914)

G30rg3_BU5h69 has joined the game
G30rg3_BU5h69: WASUUUUP!!!
France: Aw damneet, 'ow deed he getz in 'ere?
Australia: Oi! One of ewe buggars betta' notta' told 'im tha' passy!
England: Aw now, don't be silly chaps! No one 'ere woulda done a thing like that now!
Russia: *growls*
England: Hey! Wot ewe lookin at me for?
Germany: Ach! Ver ish das admin?!
UN: Hey guys how do buy stuff???
Korea: Bah! Admin is dumb like bowl of noodles! No good for us!
Cuba: Si, and without admin, we stuck with this... loco muchacho.
Afghanistan: Pfft.
Bomb has been planed!
G30rg3_BU5h69 was killed by Afghanistan
G30rg3_BU5h69: WTF!?!? OMFG U R CHETER!!! U SUCK BITCH IMA PWN JOO NOW!!!
Afghanistan: Eep.
Afghanistan was killed by G30rg3_BU5h69
Iraq: Hahaha! George is silly, like little infidel boy!
G30rg3_BU5h69: WTF FAG U WNT SUM 2?!?
Iraq: You cannot touch me! The will of Allah will not allow it!
Iraq was killed by G30rg3_BU5h69
G30rg3_BU5h69: PWWWNEED!!!
PUNKBUSTER: Warning, cheats detected!
G30rg3_BU5h69 was kicked: WMD-Spoofing
France: Haha!
Germany: Haha!
Canada: Haha!
Russia: Haha!
Italy: Haha!
Japan: Haha!
Switzerland: Hey guys, whats THAT?
CONNECTION ERROR: HOST NOT FOUND - #877: Catastrophic Meteor Event
Disconnected.
Exiting game.
Logfile closed, 02/13/04 02:11:32

Yeah, instead it caught Al Gore... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8247135)

Go figure :D

Not true (5, Insightful)

0x0d0a (568518) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246801)

Raph Koster of Sony Online adds that it "was startling to me... that (the federal comment process) is identical to how we build our patches and patch notes", although since the government has "a legal obligation to protect the privacy of people submitting comments on legislation", this means some disadvantages compared to MMO feedback, as Koster explains: "We get to know the people who are good testers, who are good at catching bugs. The federal government is legally not allowed to do that."

This is not true. I can come up with at an example that should work from a practical standpoint off-the-cuff.

You can build a black-box database that can identify the same persona as being the source of multiple input submissions. This box must be given supeona-proof status. There are a lot of improvements you could make to the thing, but this should work at a basic level.

Now, this may or may not be acceptable in terms of data logging. However, statistical analysis of the text will inevitably allow linking of comments to some degree, and if the MMO guy is right about a practical benefit to logging, this should work. There would be some onus on users to not submit information that could be linked back to their real identity, but that's true of just about any anonymous feedback system I can think of.

There are people [cmu.edu] much more experienced in this field who could give a much more intelligent answer than I do -- if the gov't wants a good system that can provide a certain set of functionality with certain privacy restrictions, they and similar folks should be talked to. It's hardly an insoluable problem.

Re:Not true (4, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247034)

Mod parent up (damn - already at 5).

Let me second the parent and put it a little differently.

Koster explains: "We get to know the people who are good testers, who are good at catching bugs. The federal government is legally not allowed to do that."

Anonymity and authentication are not mutually exclusive. My userId doesn't have to be "Robert Bushman".

Heck, look at the various karma systems at sites like this - they don't rely on knowing the true identity of the poster. They don't even care (and shouldn't care) if it's one person, a company, a collective, or a computer program - only that it's the same entity as last time.

I can already predict this one (5, Insightful)

Einer2 (665985) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246804)

"When they told us that, several of the gamers said, 'Well, you're doomed then. Without some degree of accountability, you're going to have problems.'"

That's not the only issue. Most readable MMOG-related websites maintain a contingent of flame-happy antibodies to kill any infectious stupidity, and those that don't slide rapidly into sycophancy. I really can't see your average busybody soccer mom taking well to being told to die in a car fire, especially not under the auspices of the federal government.

Uh oh (2, Funny)

rune2 (547599) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246806)

Now let's hope that the government doesn't actually start playing these games. The last thing we need is for the bureaucrats to be playing Everquest (Evercrack) all day.

On the contrary (3, Insightful)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247045)

If they're busy playing EQ then they won't be doing shit like this : Four-strong county council party flies club class to a conference in New Orleans at 2,699 pounds a ticket. [thisisnottingham.co.uk]

A trip that cost local tax-payers 58,000 pounds! [thisisnottingham.co.uk]

(for some reason slashcode won't let me enter £)

Beta Test US Government 2005 XP (4, Funny)

dave_oc (737700) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246807)

Applicatants must have experience with SimCity, Communism v1.1 or higher, and experience manipulating the Everquest or Ultima Online Economy. Player Killing is a plus.

Al Gore Invented Democracy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8246810)

But Solon got all the credit so he had to invent the Internet instead!?!?!

Dumb & Dumber (5, Interesting)

gnuman99 (746007) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246812)

This seems to be analogous to Microsoft getting advice from IBM on how to listen to the end user feedback.

If they want feedback, they should just create slash.gov and post proposed laws there so every could post feedback. At least that would be better than some anonymous e-mail comments that never get acknowledged. But wait, we can't have democracy, we need "democracy"

XBox rules!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8246813)

first post!!! you lame assholes... I can post first because my XBox is a american product and my pride in my great country and my great XBox accelerate everything...

If only they would make games for that bitch... IAve played Metroid Prime and it ruled... I hope M$ will buy those japanese bastards and port Metroid to my great american console system!!!

Billmaking + Public Online Forums (3, Funny)

Da Rabid Duckie (731742) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246819)

Billmaking + Public Online Forums... /.gov, anyone?

Re:Billmaking + Public Online Forums (3, Funny)

Walkiry (698192) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247065)

Your vote "BUSH" on February 25th,@11:45AM (#112734123) has been moderated "-1, Troll".

Somewhere else: Your moderation to vote #112734123 -1, Troll has been meta-moderated "Unfair".

And most importantly, CowboyNeal would be in every single voting and election!

Re:Billmaking + Public Online Forums (1)

Da Rabid Duckie (731742) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247182)

/.gov poll:

Your take on bill proposal #32-A?

Yes -- 11%
No -- 7%
DIE!! -- 26%
Cowboy Neal for president!! -- 56%

Re:Billmaking + Public Online Forums (1)

cavver (454509) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247066)

Good ideea - ./gov , but a better one should be Forum.gov.The advantage is mutual - for the politican and for the public. the public can raise questions witch can be wiewed - and the politician has the possibility to choose the questions. Trolls ? Well i currently browse ./ at +3level - and still get a good ideea about what's happening , plus i catch some interesting ideas. The only problem is why hasn't anyone thought about combining the ./ moderator system with a forum - thus giving power to the viewers.

P.S.
To my surprise i found out that in my country 2 politicians have joind a forum. Apart from the current trollers some people have raised some interesting questions whitch got good answers.
P.S.2 Slashdot is history now - they should start teaching the history of slashdot in schools !!

Re:Billmaking + Public Online Forums (1)

Da Rabid Duckie (731742) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247153)

Aye, that's very true! I think it's a great thing and I plan on using it to be more active in my government's lawmaking processes. However after thinking of the trolls abound on most political forums you couldn't PAY me to be the admin of that forum. o_O

Re:Billmaking + Public Online Forums (1)

Fastolfe (1470) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248799)

There are actually a number of freedom of speech issues here. A Slashdot-style moderation system is meant to moderate based upon the wills of the majority. Odds are, a comment will have a score that reflects the majority's view. A minority of moderators may vote something +1, but if they're in the minority, the comment can gravitate towards -1.

There's no system to protect the viewpoint of the minority, which makes it unsuitable as a true representation of public views and opinions. All you hear about are the things the majority wants you to hear about. And for Slashdot, that's probably OK, since I think the moderation system was initially intended mainly to separate the annoying posts from the non-annoying ones (non-annoying != interesting). And in fact, you rarely see meaningful comments with a low score on Slashdot. But this isn't so much a success of the technique, but the ability of the participants to do a good job in the long run. The thing is, with a government site, you're going to get a lot of people coming out of the woodwork not to help make the site work, but to suppress the opinions of those that disagree. If that's all people are doing, Slashdot-style moderation may not work as you expect.

You'd almost need two "branches" of moderation. The first would toss out things that are inappropriate, off-topic or irrelevant. The second would accept appeals of those decisions and would be independent in all respects from the first branch. Finding people to do both jobs would be another matter.

On top of that you could still apply a Slashdot-style moderation system if you wanted, only without negative moderation points. All of the truly inappropriate stuff was eliminated already. All you're doing now is picking out those comments that you think are a good read. People could either choose to see those comments first (Slashdot-style), or perhaps see those comments marked up by other moderators that have marked up things you've also marked up (a type of predictive selection; you see the comments that your "crowd" tends to find interesting).

I dont know but somehow.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8246833)

I dont see 30 people armed with BFG's helping :)

democratic game requests (5, Interesting)

obyrne (523944) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246850)

The legal system the MMORPG 'A Tale in the Desert' formalizes player-generated petitions for game requests, and lets the players vote democratically on whether they should be implemented (within reason).

It seems to require a lot more time to filter and prioritize requests, but I think it's more honest than the 'lobbying' style that most games (and government) use. The citizen most adept at being heard by the developers/lawmakers isn't always the most representative.

--Owen--

Re:democratic game requests (1, Informative)

rflahert78 (740231) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247901)

I agree. I played this game for a few months and was really impressed with the way they designed the whole thing. There was a system where just about anyone could create a "bill" that you then had to get a certain number of people to sign off on before it could be voted on. Then "citizens" were notified when a vote had begun and could go and help decide things that could be implemented in the game to change the way it was played. If everyone felt that a certain feature was being exploited and made the game to hard or to easy they could vote a new rule in to change it. It gave you a real sense of being a part of the game.

Goverment and MMO Games (3, Insightful)

gen2002 (680844) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246877)

Althought those two area that holds the same kind of public feedback , they are still very diffrent in that the goverment affecting every people life by thier action . not so in the game industry that you can choose right away what the best game fot you.

MMOG... (2, Interesting)

zeruch (547271) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246902)

...MMOGs and such are probably the best large scale working models of societal interaction to date. They work more dyanmically than mathematical models. While you have to abstract out the suspension of disbelief (i.e being a Nanomage doesn't really translate to a common role in meatspace), you essentially have many of the same macro and micro level interaction you do in real life, and being in a virtual world, aggregating behavioral data (i.e population migrations based on opportunities, aggressive versus combative roles and how their patterns of movement and interaction change, et al) It is really interesting stuff.

great (0)

prockcore (543967) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246903)

great, just great, nerfing real life.

Look on the right side... (1)

Calren (642827) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246965)

Maybe, just maybe they could have loaded a back-up made pre-Sept. 11th/Enron/Worldcom/Iraq Reloaded/ect, but then we'd have Gigli again...

Anyone else suddenly feel forced Realm vs Realm wouldn't be so bad?

aut0tr0ll is teh sp0kE!? (-1)

CHECKTHEGOATS (735227) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246924)

Hello master.

sid=96381
formkey=q2wQBksN5F

This is a joint venture that will be mutually advantageous to both parties involved.

The final conclusion:dont let it matter too much (4, Insightful)

rufusdufus (450462) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246970)

As so many online games and forums such as slashdot have proven, their will always be people who manipulate, troll, or game the system in a democracy. Most systems use a form of dictatorship to keep people in line. Slashdot has editors who not only ban crapflooders, but decide what things people get to even think abouto on the site. Apparently more egalitarian systems such as Kuro5hin start slipping into failure modes and the editors have to uncloak to fix them. Online games of course have game masters and sysops that have the power to ban naughty players.
The same applies to governments of all sorts.
So if it becomes clear that any sort of government on the masses is going to susceptable to cheats, hacks and manipulators, the conclusion must be that the thing must not be allowed to become too important.
Game and internet forums already have the built in, regardless of what some slashdot readers might think ;)
To keep government from becoming important, the individual must choose to be responsible and independent of the government, lest they become manipulated into little slave cells by the greedy and unscrupulous.

Re:The final conclusion:dont let it matter too muc (4, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247154)

Slashdot has editors who not only ban crapflooders, but decide what things people get to even think abouto on the site. Apparently more egalitarian systems such as Kuro5hin start slipping into failure modes and the editors have to uncloak to fix them....

So if it becomes clear that any sort of government on the masses is going to susceptable to cheats, hacks and manipulators, the conclusion must be that the thing must not be allowed to become too important.


Your post operates on two assumptions:
1. There is no such thing as fair administration.
2. Slash, K5, etc. represent the pinnacle in public commentary systems, and cannot function without admins.

Item 1, while probably true in an absolute sense, is not true in a general sense. Reasonable administration is entirely possible, and I would argue works pretty well here. We already assume that it works in our gov'ts - for example, in the US, we assume that Congress is capable of administering law creation.

Item 2 may or may not be true, but it's certainly too soon to tell. Massively multiposter forums have only existed for a couple decades, and have only acheived true mass within the past 10 years. It is still a science in it's infancy, there's a lot of room for advancement.

The "don't let it matter too much" theme I agree with, sort of. Slashdot works because the amount of investment in impartiality of the system is in proper proportion to the weight of the subjects at hand. K5 works, even thought the subjects tend to be weightier, because there is a larger investment in the impartiality of the system. One might argue that the US gov'ts current failings are, likewise, a direct result of the lack of investment in impartiality of the system - EG: rather than pay the price of campaign finance reform, we have chosen to take the less expensive route of letting our politicians sell their votes.

To clarify the last rambling paragraph: Absolute impartiality is not possible, and so critical decisions should not be left to the system. But there are very few truly critical decisions in gov't.

Things like whether to nuke Cuba during the missile crisis should probably not be decided in an online forum (at least not yet). However, for a huge percentage of more mundane decisions, it is entirely reasonable to assume that with a sufficient investment of effort, a sufficiently impartial system could be designed. It could be made sufficiently impartial that the benefit of the public participation would outweigh the cost of the remaining partiality.

First-hand experience being in an MMORPG minority (2, Insightful)

Phoenixhunter (588958) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246989)

Five years ago when I decided on the spur of a moment to join one of the two Team PvP servers in Everquest, I never thought I'd spend the next 3 years there. As I became more involved and the game continued to evolve with new expansions, being on a PvP server became increasingly difficult to just have fun on. I posted on those damn forums every single moment I could, I worked up relationships with the GM's, I e-mailed Abashi more than I'd care to admit. And for what? In the end they chose to simply remove the looting aspect from Team PvP servers so people wouldn't feel so bad when they were zone ganked because someone had more memory than someone else.

I find this interesting (3, Informative)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246990)

I used to run and develop a version of the Promisance Browser-Based game system. At its peak, had about 100 active players and found that only about 20% participated in the forums and larger community. From what I have read on the subject, only about 10% of people ingague in say active forum participation and those tend to be from the 5% that are the most addicted and the 5% that are trolls and hate everything you do.

Re:I find this interesting (1)

DaliTimepiece (751334) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247009)

Doesn't sound too much different from the real world. People that are the most unhappy will always be the most vocal. We just have to make sure that they are rarely the people in charge.

Re:I find this interesting (1)

Skal Tura (595728) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247219)

My browser-based game, Paradox @ http://www.paradox-online.net (down currently because of DDoS) doesn't have that much of forum participation in percentages, but if you put it ingame, you will have a lot of participation. I tried this and got a lot of positive feedback, also after trying this more people joined the forums also. and i'm getting more feedback.

I'm sure this already happens.... (-1, Flamebait)

freerecords (750663) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247017)

It's called Open source.. heard of it?

Grammar Nazi. (2, Insightful)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247051)


Its one thing to talk about government knowingly, its another thing to have a good command of the English language:

The federal government is legally not allowed to do that."


Should be:

The Federal Government is legally required not to do that.

There is a huge difference between 'not allowed' and 'required not to'.

Lobbyists are neither anonymous or powerless (4, Insightful)

patiwat (126496) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247057)

The article states:

"In other words, Koster explains, the government has a legal obligation to protect the privacy of people submitting comments on legislation and, therefore, it can be difficult if not impossible to assign any kind of special weight to a comment from an expert on a topic.

"You're not allowed to look at the history of the given proposals that person's made in the past to see if they have a good history," Koster argues.


with the following caveat:

"There's not a whole lot of anonymity," Stuart Shulman says. "Most people want you to know where they're from, who they are ... to be part of the justification for taking their comments seriously."

The first statement is hopelessly naive. The second only partially hits the real point.

Politicians do have screens to identify high-value high-credibility input. These include:

- Reputation
- Power
- Money

Together, these traits are wielded by lobbyists. Lobbyists, by practical definition, yield influence through reputation, power, money.

Reputation. A highly reputable source of input can have a very high impact to legislation. When the National Academy of Sciences (historically very objective, and producer of excellent research) makes a finding or suggestion, it certainly has more weight than the Federation of American Scientists (which, although it has over 60 Nobel-prize winning endorsers, was founded on a political stance against the A-bomb).

Power. Legislation always involves compromises, and input coming from a very powerful party usually takes much more weight. When the Sierra Club, America's largest (and oldest) environmental advocacy club, makes a statement or sponsors research that could have legislative impact, you can bet that legislators will give it more thought than many other groups.

Money. When a certain company is a legislator's former employer or when the company is funnelling money into a legislator's pocket/campaign-fund, you can certainly bet that that company will have a big say in legislation.

Everybody with a stake in legislation has a chance to make their voice heard in a democracy. But face it, some voices just will be louder, clearer, and more persuasive. That sometimes works to the benefit of society (FSF, EFF, etc.) as well as to its harm (Big Tobacco, oil lobby, etc.) To beat the game, you've got to play the game.

Re:Lobbyists are neither anonymous or powerless (3, Interesting)

DaliTimepiece (751334) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247088)

This is a little (ok maybe a lot) off topic but I'll come back around. I promise.

I don't think Big Tobacco really fits the role here. They are in defensive mode now. We have managed to strip them of most of the benefits of a capitalist system and still manage to vilify them.

Trust me, there are plenty of people who would put the gaming industry in the same department. What we are ultimately talking about here is freedom. We know the limitations of the political/legal systems. I think some of us just had higher hopes in terms of net-based realities. I would like to think that if we just push the game industry a little bit we can keep this more open for a while.

Re:Lobbyists are neither anonymous or powerless (0, Offtopic)

patiwat (126496) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247159)

Off topic as well, but:

I don't think Big Tobacco really fits the role here. They are in defensive mode now. We have managed to strip them of most of the benefits of a capitalist system and still manage to vilify them.


Big Tobacco is in the defensive now, but historically, they have been very powerful. Lots of money, lots of jobs at stake, and ruthlessly unethical management made for very effective lobbyists and influencers of legislation/policy.

It took decades of solid science, credible whistleblowers, and a powerful lobby of people dying of lung cancer to take them down. Truth and justice won out, but how many millions have died....

Re:Lobbyists are neither anonymous or powerless (1)

DaliTimepiece (751334) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247203)

No argument. I just think it is a battle that is won. The amount of energy that goes into driving it into the ground is what scares me. Is the next step to outlaw tobacco? What comes after that? Do we start to outlaw potential threats? I'd just like to see the virtual communities run their course a little before we slam them up in the rule books.

All is lost! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8247074)

Dean is good as dead and Clark dropped out! All is lost!

You really think Botox-Kerry can take on Bush? No way.

VR to become as bad as RL ? (2, Interesting)

ehack (115197) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247108)

It seems people like virtualities precisely because they incorporate a communicational fluidity that is diametrically opposed to the the hierarchical constraints in real life - you cannot really aks to change anything out there, the best you can do is answer when someone asks you whether you want to have it changed.

Now, I don't want all of my life to hang of a menu-driven system, with somebody else designing the menu. I think that if the online games culture rigidifies to the same extent as political life has rigidified in its transition from Greek direct democracy to today's mediated democracies, pople are going tu rush to alternate fora.

Politics for all the wrong reasons? (4, Insightful)

dhall (1252) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247183)

How many people really get involved with politics unless it affects them? It's the most common remark, that people don't care unless they benefit. From the top/down, politics is about personal gain, whether it be Senators and/or Reps who must juggle the good of the nation versus that of their own constituency. You'll often see the same in MMO's, where the loudest voices are quite often those who have something to eitehr gain or lose.

The largest outcry of customer response in MMO's have typically been the extreme gamers with an agenda, or those who currently reside in an operational game that feel either disenfranchised or threatened by the development cycle.

During game development, you have the RP'ers who want elements that allow them the freedom to practice role playing, although each person may have a completely separate intrepretation of this. You'll have the hardcore players who'll want rather strict rules of PvP, as cutthroat as possible. You'll have other players, the perennial drifters from game to game, who want the perfect utopia.

Once the game has been launched, you'll have factions built within the gaming community. The vocal components will voice their concerns over whether certain aspects are unbalancing. In a class style system (which most are), you'll have classes, which fearing nerfs will be quite adamant in professing their perceived flaws so that they will pose less of a target to the masses. You'll have others, who might feel their class is disenfranchised and not seeing the same benefits from the company, wanting dev attention.

This is fine for MMO's where not only is "all characters are created equal" the creed, it's also, "all characters must remain equal, regardless of time, effort or ambition". MMO's cater far more towards the Lowest Common Denominator than you'll find in modern society. You can't take these same concepts of lowering the bar of achievement and transferring them to the real world, otherwise you end up with schools that don't teach children how to compete.

Basically people are only willing to speak up when it benefits them, since our "Commercialistic Democracy" as a whole centers around being selfish. People will cater to that which benefits themselves the most, and given a choice, they don't care unless it affects them.

Those who typically have an agenda are those you normally fear the most. People with a single item or issues they wish to push through. Yes, the US is founded upon fervent idealism, but far too often you have passion coupled with politics. Political issues that are far more emotional than objective, and yet you're creating laws for the populace. One thing you want to avoid is kneejerk "nerfs" in the real world, that purely emotional, otherwise you end up with such far reaching laws like the Patriot Act.

Re:Politics for all the wrong reasons? (1)

MightyZug (745790) | more than 10 years ago | (#8250086)

I wasn't really into politics and how this country was run for a long time. But thats to the Bush administration, I felt i needed to do something.

When Bush got into office due to some shady politics in florida, I shrugged.

When Bush shit on the Geneva Convention and the UN for his war on Iraq. I got curious.

But when I found out that Bush is driving this country into the ground while lying to our faces, I stood up.

The point of this is that it I stood up because my fellow countrymen and women were being royally fucked, and it became increasingly unacceptable in my eyes. It is the people that sit back and just take it that made this country the way it is today.

how to govern? (1, Interesting)

mandalayx (674042) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247231)

Raph Koster of SWG is now an expert in designing societies?

Please.

If you play SWG, you know what kind of society it is. One where players are encouraged to do mindless missions in pursuit of the mystical plum to be a jedi. Have players complained? Sure, check out the development forums (restricted to paying subscribers of SWG), and you'll find many requests going untouched. And the people who actually go and complain on a bulletin board is just a small percentage of the persons who actually play, get disgruntled, and leave. If you were a SWG beta tester, you know this pain intimately. One of the reasons why it's so frustrating is because I sincerely believe there's a good game waiting inside, just like there's a great government that we can have...but we're not there in the game and I'd argue that I'm actually happier with the government (see sig for how I feel about our government).

Having said that, as previous posters have noted, designing public feedback systems for government is tough. But seriously--why not a slashdot-style government posting forum? Probably it's a chicken-and-egg problem--I don't want to post on a website that nobody will read, but legislators have no incentive to read a slashgov board with 7 users. Moderation will swing towards the masses, but if you're supposed to be serving the masses, then that's good. I think one of the problems is that legislators won't want to have to be on record (i.e. wayback machine) as saying one thing or not responding to one comment and having it haunt them in the future. But if we can get slashgov to work well, I think it would be spectacular.

I'm willing to host. I lack real programming ability. If you want to jump in, let me know. I think this is a cool concept.

Another thing I find interesting... (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247868)

Most MMOGs are in the habbit of banning like there's no tomorrow. And that goes double for Sony. They've been known to ban people for stuff like posting a distateful fan-fic about their game.

The RL government of banning would be capital punishment.

That's it. No lawsuit, no jury, no appeal, no recourse. Bang, you're out of the game. Just because we didn't like the article you've posted about our country. Bullet to the back of the head, right here and now.

Do we really want to live in that kind of a country?

MMOGs also have whole castes which exist without any democratic checks. E.g., overworked underpaid game-masters which hold the power to apply the law on the spot. Tech support, judge, jurry and executioner rolled into one. They're not paid to do extensive investigations, and there aren't enough of them for that anyway. They're basically there just to ban on sight or confiscate items on the slightest suspicion. Do we really want that kind of a Judge Dredd caste IRL?

And I'll go and say another thing: MMOGs don't have to deal with RL economics. They can and generally _do_ blunder through monumental mistakes, making the economy swing wildly between "everyone is a billionaire" and "everyone is starving." But since it's all virtual, it's OK. We'll just randomly tweak two lines of code and see what happens.

Ultima Online initially managed to get most species extinct, and end up a world-wide shortage of any resources. A dead obvious problem with their model was, surprisingly enough, not predicted. Noone even thought about it, until some players used it to deadlock the whole economy. Literally.

The solution was to tweak the code and make more ore spawn in the mines. Can the RL government do that, to cover for mistakes? Can George Bush wave a magic wand and make cheap oil sprout in the US, to fix the economy? No.

Well, then, I'll want more responsible people in the RL government. It's easy to be smug about their virtual world, where they make catastrophic decisions weekly, and fix them by just spawning more or less resources or changing production rates overnight. RL governments don't have that luxury. Their job is to _not_ make those catastrophic mistakes in the first place. That's why they're slower and less efficient.

And, to get back to the article, speaking of lawmaking: UO also initially ended up with _massive_ PK problem because their legal system just didn't work. The RL equivalent of that would be people shooting each other on the streets in broad daylight. Everywhere, all the time. And whole hordes of outlaws waiting at every city's exit to kill you.

Somehow I don't want the same people in charge of RL laws.

Re:how to govern? (1)

pelsmith (308845) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248090)

That's Raph in a nutshell. He refuses to believe he is simply a game coordinator.

And slashgov is a good idea! With all the spin, it would be nice to have a forum such as slashdot where political concepts could be discussed from all angles.

Maybe just a sub-board under slashdot, like the game section.

Re:how to govern? (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248389)

"Raph Koster of SWG is now an expert in designing societies?"

I don't recall that being mentioned in the article at all.

The article was about the similarity in the methods of handling feedback between the SWG team and some agencies within the federal government. Raph Koster was not billed as anything more than a designer of SWG, and the article also had nothing to do with the current quality of SWG.

It's a shame you started your post by flaming Koster, because your second comment, about having a /.-style feedback system for the government, was interesting. Something of that nature would almost certainly be limited to particular agencies within the executive branch, and perhaps a few individual legislators. I say this because most legislators (or their advisors) understand that web opinion is largely skewed from what their actual constituency is, and they would rather represent either their constituency or whatever SIGs have paid them off.

Agencies like DoT, DoE, and a few others which don't have a lot of political controversy about them might benefit from such a system, though, if the focus is on soliciting good (as in free as in beer) ideas from the public, rather than seeking mass opinion.

Raph Koster! He's *PERFECT* for this job! (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 10 years ago | (#8250208)

The Raph Koster model of communication between ruler (developer) and subject (player) [unknownplayer.com] represents the future of political discourse. He's perfect for the job!

> Raph Koster of SWG is now an expert in designing societies?
> Please.
> If you play SWG, you know what kind of society it is. One where players are encouraged to do mindless missions in pursuit of the mystical plum to be a jedi

"He's perfect for the job!"
- Treas. Secretary John Snow

> Have players complained? Sure, check out the development forums (restricted to paying subscribers of SWG), and you'll find many requests going untouched.

"He's perfect for the job!"
- Norm Mineta, the entire Department of Transportation, and TSA

> And the people who actually go and complain on a bulletin board is just a small percentage of the persons who actually play, get disgruntled, and leave.

"He's perfect for the job!"
- The entire contingent of HomeSec that used to be the INS

And what the original didn't say - people who do raise questions about things like server stability or scalability tend to get banned from the forums.

"He's perfect for the job!
- Atty. General John Ashcroft.

Should come as no surprise (2, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247298)

One former government (Reagan or was it before then?) went to actresses that had played farmers wives to get input on agricultural policy, so in comparison a bunch of gamers is a very solid source of information.

Good ideas should be judged on their merit whether they come from reality or a simplistic model or reality, since reality is hard to measure.

One big difference (-1, Troll)

xophos (517934) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247491)

Game designers/publischers have a genuine interest to make the "laws" as good as they can to serve the needs of all of their users.
Politicians only listen to the people who pay them the most, and they make the rules in a way, that they allways win. The analogy in game design would be to sell the choices in rule design to the highest bidder, and include cheatcodes for those and themselves.

SCARY! (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247649)

It is scary considering how long it takse for anything to get fixed in everquest (bankers standing behind the bank in felwithe, Epic quests being broken, network problems "caused" by routers or ISP's that had no problems with more advanced games with higher bandwidth and lower latency requirements which suddenly disappear after a patch... although it does seem familiar, both SOE/Verant and the US Government refuse to admit there is a problem untill they have a solution and like to blame others for their problems.

How about this game? (-1, Offtopic)

I-R-Baboon (140733) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247653)

You are a Slashdot Editor...you must duplicate as many stories as possible and shuck off the more interesting submittals. Survive the onslaught of Trolls & Flamebaits while reporting a lot of the same Nerd News that must apparently really matter still. Think you got what it takes to keep Slashdotters dulled into a sleep so they don't start Trolling, then you just may have what it takes to join...

PIGS IN CYBERSPACE!

Rated W by the Who Gives a Fuck Committee.

  • Geek supervision recommended.
    Play at your own risk.
    Not responsible for choices individuals choose to make based upon this game, or changes in IQ.
    Not responsible for tongues stuck floppies or drooled on keyboards.
    CAUTION: GAME REQUIRES READING AND COMPREHENSION SKILLS, sold separately.
    Lawyers not included.
    This is not a food source.
    Do not immerse in 12M Sulphuric Acid.
    Not supported by Poison Control.
    No Haitians were killed in the making of this game.
    Do not immerse in fire or hot coals.
    Cowboy hat not included.
    Rinse after using.

System Requirements:

  • Eyes, Mostly Functioning Brain, Coffee, Cigarettes, Short Fuse, Thankfulness that the Government and Lawyers [slashdot.org] got involved.

Get to know people who are good testers? (1)

NoseSocks (662467) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247738)

"We get to know the people who are good testers, who are good at catching bugs. The federal government is legally not allowed to do that. When they told us that, several of the gamers said, 'Well, you're doomed then. Without some degree of accountability, you're going to have problems.'"

Sony Online (EQ in particular) was notorious for ignoring bug testers. Heck, I remember when I still played and there was a public forum, I gave a 100+ itemized bug list, to which they completely ignored. And after that they made a bug discussion group, so they could force everyone to post their problems there and ignore them there. They got to know us all right. They got to know us so they could ignore us.

IF the bug helped the players, it was fixed immediately. If it hindered the players, took several months to fix if it was ever fixed.

Good Model? Puft hardly. (4, Insightful)

Kaashar (738775) | more than 10 years ago | (#8247961)

Preface: I'm an old gamer, not a political activist. I've placed several MMOGs (UO/EQ/DAOC/Earth and Beyond/Priston Tale/Savage Eden/AO/Eve/Horizons)

As was stated here before, MMOGs aren't a very good model to base real life on. Why?

1)Accountability. In MMOGs you can't get a punch in the face for making lewd comments to a member of the opposite sex for example. People are more 'loose' with their actions and statements without the imminent threat of physical pain or restrictions of their freedom. If the worst thing that can happen to you is a few days suspension or even a ban from the game....if you want to be counter-social there isn't much to stop you.

2)Input, and how it changes things. Every MMOG I've played to date provides lip service to user input for change, but it's false. As a gamer you can't really change anything the developer doesn't want you to. This may seem to be a parallel to real life until you realize that the chance is always there for revolution through the use of violence. I mean really, what are you going to do when something is changed hundreds (thousands?) don't like? Stamp your virtual feet and hold your character's breath till they turn blue? I suppose if you're wanting to model a dictatorship then it may be accurate. I know from personal experience at least one of these 'industry leaders' behaved more like Sadam or Adolf than Washington or Kennedy.

3) Don't like your elected officials? Vote them out! Don't like your developer? Here, have this nice can of Vaseline and a pack of Marlboros. It's either that or pack your toys and play in the other sandbox.

4) Freedom of Speech.
As of Tuesday, Sept. 9th at 2pm PST, the SWG community forums will only be accessible to active players of SWG.

For most of you, there will be no significant impact. The forums already required that you be an SWG player in order to post. The main change most of you should notice is that you will be required to log into the site before you can read any messages. Thanks for your attention on this matter.
-Raph Koster,
Creative Director

Er, I was referring to the negativity, not the closed nature of the forum. Sorry you spent all that time hunting around...
-Raph Koster

Don't like what your 'community' has to say about you? Filter it! Castro would be proud. I'm sure if he was involved the first thing that would happen is you'd have to prove you're an American citizen to post on slashdot.gov (I mean Koster, not the other dictator).

"And maybe that's because the designers of virtual worlds like Star Wars Galaxies, Second Life and others face some of the same issues as the government types."
Hardly. In a game 'money' isn't a commodity that runs out. People don't starve to death because you made a bad policy decision in EQ. The last time I looked mothers weren't crying because their SWG babies were killed during the batte of Endor. And try as I might, I can't recall a single Jenquai in Earth & Beyond complaining about the developer's healthcare plan.
Your whole perspective on life is changed when you can just push a mouse button and you're back alive again.
Saying a MMOG is a good model for real life is like saying paper airplanes are good models for stealth fighters. MMOGs are without exception ran like miniature dictatorships.
I suppose I should quantify my statement. MMOGs are good models for tiny communist island nations, not large democracies.

Dead on (1)

Perianwyr Stormcrow (157913) | more than 10 years ago | (#8249607)

In fact, I've watched MMOG makers make the same political comparisons and make the same dictatorial policy decisions over and over for years...

THe bottom line is that the dictatorial solution is always what wins out because it's easy. In a MMOG no one has any share in the game except the owners of the company that produced it. People keep saying "listen to the players", and the result of this is that the winner is the one who fakes the hardest while trying to put across an impression of being "democratic".

Hmm, there's a lot about politics that is this way. And people eat it up, too- look at Bush... and John Kerry.

A truly democratic system would be a weird, weird game. No one's tried it yet, though.

MMOG developers are more aptly cast in the position of deity than that of president.

Re:Dead on (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 10 years ago | (#8250510)

> In a MMOG no one has any share in the game except the owners of the company that produced it.

Exactly as with a real-world government. The MMOG model should therefore work in the real world just as it does in the game world.

Federal Gov respects privacy? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248020)

US Treasury to Post Previously Private Email Addresses Online:
http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04 /01/09/00 10200&mode=thread&tid=103&tid=158&tid= 99

http://news.com.com/2100-1028_3-5137488.html?tag =n efd_top

Crucial Differences Between Gov and MMOGs (1)

ezavada (91752) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248118)

Having been involved in a number of MMOGs, the goals of a MMOG and Gov are (should be?) very different.

1) MMOGs design and admin can't please everyone. The good one's accept that, and design around a creative vision that will appeal to some people and not to others. The others will just play some other game, or not play at all. Government, on the other hand, does not have that option. It can't create a paradise for 5% of its users while pissing off the rest (or maybe it can, but it shouldn't be able to).

2) MMOG administration is usually based on the premise of "get rid of the griefers as quick as possible, they cost us money". In Gov, getting rid of the griefers usually involves feeding and clothing them and paying for their guards, so it actually costs more money (or at least until Patriot Act VII allowings police yank your license to live for terriorist acts of drunk driving).

Re:Crucial Differences Between Gov and MMOGs (0, Offtopic)

MoebiusStreet (709659) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248558)

I don't think what we really need is perfection in a system of "tyranny by the majority". I don't care how many people want something, government should make decisions based on RIGHT and WRONG.

What we really need is a realtime feedback system to punish politicians and bureaucrats for flouting the Constitution.

Well that explains it... (1)

vonPoonBurGer (680105) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248260)

'Raph Koster of Sony Online adds that it "was startling to me... that (the federal comment process) is identical to how we build our patches and patch notes"'
Well that explains why both the govt. and SOE take forever to create change, and when they do, it's usually a change that no one wanted, that doesn't manage to fix the original problem. I suppose it's interesting that the Feds are looking at MMORPG as a model, blah blah blah, but why for the love of God did they have to pick SOE? Expect households with total annual income between $30K and 40K to be nerfed next term... ;-)

So we would need something like a 'demoforge'.. ? (1)

thrill12 (711899) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248525)

... where people can submit "(feature|law)" requests to existing "(features|laws)" and can comment on certain "(bugs|law inconsistenties)" in the "(sourcecode|democracy)" ?
Sounds reasonable. But how does the "(project administrator|government)" decide which requests will be implemented ? Do they use a "(priority|voting process)" to decide which requests are more important ?
Would there be a versioning system like CVS for the "(sourcecode|democracy)" ? And can I download the "(sourcecode|democracy)" version X.Y somehow ? How is a new "(software|democratic)" "(baseline|constitution)" decided upon ? Do all "(users|civilians)" approve it, or are only the "(project members|ministers)" allowed to vote ?
How will it be "(packaged|written)" then ? Can I assume I can download a "(tarball|lawbook)" with the current release in it ?

Somehow it sounds OK, needs some touching up perhaps, but the idea is nice :)

It was an enlightening meeting to be at (4, Insightful)

Critter92 (522977) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248532)

This discussion occurred in the afternoon/evening after State of Play. It was very interesting to learn about the rulemaking process. For those who aren't familiar with it, rulemaking is when government agencies convert policy decisions passed by congress ("reduce automobile emissions") into actual federal statutes ("all light trucks lines will reduce their average emissions by 5% by 2007"). Part of the rulemaking process is posting the proposed rules and then soliciting public comment. In the old system, these periods of feedback were announced via the Federal Register [gpoaccess.gov] and feedback was submitted via snail mail. The result was that a small number of lobbyists and individuals who scoured the Register would submit feedback. The agency in charge of the new statute would then publish a response, and eventually, the new law. The government doesn't have to follow the feedback but is often influenced by multiple submissions with similar viewpoints. The new system (partially implemented) allows for automated searching of proposed rules and electronic responses. A requirement is that posting be anonymous. As readers of /. can see, this is a very gamable system. The lobbyists now have a cheap and easy way to scan all proposed rules for ones that touch on their area and a undetectable way to submit massive numbers of similar viewpoints from apparently multiple sources. The new system is supposed to make the system more democratic but the actual result is to make it less democratic. Somehow not at all shocking that the Wired article missed that. Now, given that there were many smart game designers/developers in the room who've had experiences managing communities that are full of people who try to game systems, there were ideas put forth -- /. was even mentioned -- but the government folks who were there weren't particularly interested in hearing that there system was flawed. Instead they just wanted information on how to educate people about the new system. It was an enlightening and terrifying view into how senior government employees attack problems.

OMFG - whatt lameness this way comes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8249900)

Hahaha. This is so funny. Raph is a self ego stroking mental masterbaiter(sic) of the highest order. The *only* way SWG compares to a government (or society) is in the level of corruption found in both. SWG is basically a game of corruptions. Game play is based on how fast you can advance through skills - so, of course, all gamers figure out how to cheat their way through. (I should now I wasted 5 months playing the damn thing)

Ultima Online. (2, Interesting)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#8249955)

Goverment is already like Ultima Online. By that I mean that if you pay extra you get special treatemnt. Just look at the 29.95 'enhanced' characters they offer.

Secrecy against our wills? (1)

mwood (25379) | more than 10 years ago | (#8250091)

Um, is the government forbidden to permit people to identify themselves voluntarily? Because you could start out with everybody as AC and let people opt in for identification.

Oh I'm so funny... (1)

AvengingAngel (412167) | more than 10 years ago | (#8250362)

All we need is www.bugzilla.gov.
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