[MUD-Dev] Censorship & Its Impact On World Immersion

Greg Munt greg at uni-corn.demon.co.uk
Fri Apr 30 18:08:49 CEST 1999

> [Matthew Mihaly]
> I'm not a fan of censorship, but freedom of speech issues don't come into
> play here in legal terms. Just as in my house I can toss you out for
> whatever I want, in my game, I can toss you out for whatever I want, or
> gag you in whatever way I want. Players don't own their characters, the
> owners of the game do, and whatever they choose to do to that character is
> up to them (I'm speaking of free games here. A pay game would probably be
> considered a bit differently in terms of character ownership, but not in
> terms of the freedom of speech issue).

The legality of this issue is irrelevant, as far as I am concerned. In the
same way that "The law is an ass", legal activity is not neccessarily
'right'. There are two sides to this whole censorship thing:

Of course this should not be allowed. I would be the first to ban their ass.

This is my point of contention, really. The sort of language that mud
maintainers may choose to censor is the sort of langauge used - especially
by those in the 16-25 age range (which probably accounts for the majority of
potential users) - on a day to day basis in the real world. You are
restricting the way that someone (who may very well have absolutely no
ambitions for game disruption) may express themselves. Taken to extremes,
you prohibit discussions of cats (etc), and the use of words that include
censored words as a subset (ask me what I think of the town called
Scunthorpe). You may argue that it doesn't really matter. You may even
decide to piss me off by suggesting that "It's only a game." On IRC, or a
talker, I'd be in agreement - but not when you place characters in a world
that they can interact with.

For a world to be immersive, can its maintainer(s) allow conversations to be
filtered in this way? I say that immersive worlds *require* rules to be
imposed by the world, instead of some arbitrary decision by a so-called
higher being.

We need to focus not on whether you *should* apply censorship filtering to
player communication, but the effects on world immersion, and whether they
are truly desired by us, the members of this list. We, who are supposedly
attempting to create something that goes beyond "I log onto somemud.com," to
achieve "Somemud.com is my gateway to another world. It's a world I feel
part of, that I belong to."


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