Staff and GMs

Our MUSH is run, on a day to day basis, by a group known collectively as "the GMs" (or sometimes, "the staff"). One staff wizard takes care of infrastructure and serves as the final word. The +staff command will show you connected administrators. In many commands, such as WHO, administrator names are highlighted in magenta.

The staff wizard is Helix.
Our GMs are Halifax, Mercury, Zephyr, Prism and Simulacrum.
They can be collectively reached via the global +mail alias gms.

Contacting Us

The admins are here to help you. Don't hesitate to ask them for help, although we do ask that you remain polite and patient. (Note that if someone is idle, it might take some time for them to reply to pages; +staff shows idle times. Don't hesitate to page admins who are idle, though; they might be watching for pages even if they're doing something in another window.)

Please do NOT just hope to catch an admin online, if you don't see one immediately available. Put in a +submit (see below) if you need to talk to someone. It will be read and someone will be in touch as soon as they're available. An explanation of what you need is preferable, but a simple, "I need to talk to someone about X" (with a timeframe if necessary, i.e., "no rush", or "as soon as possible because I have a scene about this in two hours") will do if need be.

If you have a question, and there aren't any admins or available, or you just want to ask your fellow players for help, our helpfully-inclined players are on the Newbie channel. This is a great place for character concept help in particular, but is also fine for game questions of all sorts. First-time players are automatically added to it when they join the game.
If you're not on the channel and want to join it, use (case-sensitive!): addcom alias=Newbie
For instance, addcom \=n=Newbie will let you use =n message to talk on the channel (note the backslash in the command).

We have a game culture where it's acceptable to ask for help on the Public channel, also; please feel free to do so.

Many requests are handled through our Tasks system. See +help submit for information on how to submit a number of common requests. In general, if you need something to be done, +submit it; that ensures that it will be tracked and handled by someone. (We can't stress this enough. Even if you think that you need to talk to someone in particular, or you are hoping to catch someone online, if it's not something that you can resolve with an online admin, please use +submit. It ensures that everyone who can possibly handle the request is aware that something needs to be done, that work and discussion is tracked, and that the admins remain aware of its status.)

If you need immediate, urgent assistance with something, +gmping message will notify all online GMs. Our GMs are often connected but set Dark (not visible on WHO), and if one of them is unidle, they'll contact you. If there are no GMs available, a GM +submit will automatically be done of your request.

Helix doesn't mind being paged when Dark. If you don't get a reply within a few minutes, though, Helix is either busy or AFK (or has a dead network connection and doesn't know it). Put in a +submit if you don't get a response, as otherwise Helix might not see your request.

We're always happy to hear feedback and suggestions. You can feel free to page anyone to have a discussion, but if there's something specific you'd like to see, we use +submit to track that, too; minor requests are handled as suggests and wishes, so don't hesitate to ask for things.

Self-Help

We have a lot of documentation available. The wiki is our primary form of documentation; please consult it whenever possible. The +help command on the game provides a command quick-reference, but in general, for all but the most basic commands, you're better off reading the wiki documentation, which contains the step-by-step explanations.

Before you page an admin for help, please make sure that you've read the available relevant documentation. If you can't find the documentation, try the following:

  • At the top right-hand corner of this page is a box containing "search this wiki" and a "search" button next to it. Type a word or phrase into the box, and click the search button, in order to search for pages on this wiki that match what you've searched for.
  • There is a search facility in +help; type +help/search word to get a list of all +help topics that contain that word. (Also, if you type +help word and word is not a +help topic, it will do the smart thing and treat it like you did a +help/search for word.) Hopefully, you'll be able to use the list of +help topics returned to figure out which one you need to read.

In particular, if you are wondering, "Is there a way to X?" or "Does X exist on this MUSH?", searching the +help and wiki is a very good way to answer that question for yourself.

Who to Ask for Stuff

Talk to a GM if you…

  • Have questions about MUSH commands, how to use the code, etc.
  • Have questions about the Amber setting, or the MUSH setting, in general
  • Need help with a character background
  • Need help doing your character's sheet in chargen
  • Have questions about the RPG system
  • Want to discuss a plot or roleplaying ideas
  • Need help interpreting a gift, or other game mechanics
  • Want to propose a new gift, and need help thinking it through
  • Have a dispute with another player and need a neutral third party to help mediate

Broader decisions are made collectively by the GMs, usually ratified by Helix. Talk to a GM, recognizing that you might not get an immediate definitive response, if you…

  • Need an authoritative ruling on a setting matter or a plot matter
  • Need a prop controller's permission for a prop that is not PC-controlled (i.e., anything owned by RPG_System)
  • Want to discuss a prop charter or other prop matter
  • Want to discuss the introduction of a new game element
  • Need an authoritative ruling on an RPG system matter, including questions about existing gifts
  • Want to discuss an alteration of game mechanics
  • Want to discuss the MUSH design, RPG design, or setting design

Helix does infrastructure maintenance, and is also where the buck stops. Talk to Helix if you…

  • Need something related to building (excluding links to, and building within, player-owned areas)
  • Have a suggestion for, or a problem with, in-game code or the server
  • Have a suggestion for, or a problem with the Web site, the wiki or other documentation, or the LiveJournals
  • Have a complaint about another player's conduct
  • Have a complaint about the conduct of the GMs
  • Have a complaint about something, in general

Who Can Do What

The GMs are full-fledged members of the game's administration, not merely "player help" or anything along those lines. They are generally responsible for the day-to-day functioning of the game. The GMs can see all backgrounds and sheets, as well as all RPG system information, and are treated like they are automatically Trusted for RPG purposes by all players. The GMs are also able to see the task queues. They can approve backgrounds and sheets, and set lores on newly-chargen'd characters. They have no special abilities to see other things in the database, although they can teleport themselves and other people anywhere that they want. They can grant quota, and they can boot connections if need be. They can also hide on the WHO (but will still appear in room contents, etc.)

Helix is a wizard with standard wizard abilities to make general database and server modifications. We are running a server modified so that sites, registration email addresses, and other personal information is hidden from wizards, as part of our commitment to player anonymity.

We Are Not Mind-Readers

None of the admins here read minds. If you need something, you need to tell us.

If you encounter a code behavior that appears to be a bug, or which otherwise seems frustrating or problematic, please report it. 99% of the time, Helix handles all such things within a day or two. Do not assume that the bug is a known issue. If it was known, chances are that it would already have been dealt with.

If you cannot find something in the documentation, and you have done a +help search and a wiki search, please put in a suggestion for it to be documented. If the documentation is wrong or unclear, please let us know that, too. The most useful way you can report such issues is by telling us what you did and what you expected to get, or by explaining what you thought the documentation said versus what reality actually was. (If you just say "X is unclear", it gives us no idea how to make it any clearer.)

If you don't understand how something works, PLEASE ASK. The game's admins, particularly the GM staff, are here to answer player questions. If they minded questions, they wouldn't be GMs. If you don't want to ask the GMs, try the Newbie channel; there are helpful players lurking there.

If you expected an answer to something, an autoresponse in email, or whatever, and you don't receive one in a reasonable timeframe, don't assume that we have decided to ignore you, hate you, or otherwise engage in a drama that does not actually involve us. There is NEVER any time when we simply decide to blackhole things. Ever. We do sometimes forget, and systems occasionally go awry. Page and ask, or update the submitted task. (If you asked an admin something and didn't +submit it, you should submit — it's the way we keep track of what needs to be done.)

We are here to help you have a good time. We will all be less frustrated if you enable us to help you when you need it.

How to Write a Good Request

We have a philosophy of player authorship and loose cosmology. If you are trying to propose the discovery of information, proposing a plot that requires GM approval (something beyond propco scope), or the like, please make sure you read the Cosmology documentation, which contains an extensive section on how to write a useful proposal.

We strongly encourage players to propose gifts; more than half of the gifts in the game are unique to individual players. If you'd like to proposal a gift, read the document on Gift Proposals to figure out how you can best help us figure out what would be fun for you.

How We Make Decisions

Helix prefers to choose GMs that represent a broad range of viewpoints and playstyles, while still respecting the core vision of the game and being able to work harmoniously with people that they may sometimes or often disagree with.

In general, in an informal discussion, individual GMs are unlikely to tell you a definitive yes or no on an idea that you have, or a question that you have that is not covered by an existing ruling. They'll be happy to share their thoughts, but to get a formal response, you'll need to make a +submit. Our explicit policy is that individuals GMs should generally not be telling you not to pursue something, even if they dislike it or don't think it will work; you will generally get at least some encouraging noises even if the GM has no expectation that your idea will fly, unless the GM knows it's definitively prevented by an existing policy or ruling that's not likely to change.

We ask that you submit ideas formally because we work by consensus; formal submission means that all the GMs see it, the task is tracked, and the commentary is archived for future reference. During the course of having your submitted job worked, you may get informal commentary back from one or more individual GMs, but the final answer is usually a response that one GM has drafted and that everyone else has agreed to, once all the debate has been thrashed out.

Because we work by consensus and agree to the final response, there's no "luck of the draw" element to which GM answers your question or the possibility that if you gotten someone else the answer would have been different.

If your job has been closed out, and you would like to appeal the decision, submit a modified idea, or the like, please simply open a new +submit and reference the last job ID.

Expected Wait Times

The GMs process an average of 170 jobs (+submits) a month, equating to around 350 tasks (since a job may spawn multiple tasks). By task type, on the average, the breakdown of how long it takes from the time of +submit until the job is completed is as follows:

  • Background apps. One day. (That includes the time needed for other PCs to sign off.)
  • Sheet approvals. 4 hours.
  • Gift purchases. Less than an hour.
  • Admin requests. One day.
  • Building links. One day.
  • Bug reports. 8 hours.
  • Typos. 5 hours.
  • GM requests. A little under a week. (The average task spawns a 10-comment discussion.)
  • New gift proposals. Around two weeks. (The average task spawns a 7-comment discussion.)
  • Suggestions. One day.
  • Wishes. About half a week.

Of particular relevance is the GM requests; our discussion time means that if you want GM input into something you're doing or planning to do, you should try to seek it at least a week in advance of whenever you're doing the thing IC.

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