Daniel Lepage on Wed, 14 Nov 2007 15:47:05 +0100 (CET)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: [s-d] Proposal: Vested Interests

On Nov 13, 2007, at 7:40 PM, comex wrote:

> On Tuesday 13 November 2007, Mike McGann wrote:
>> One additional issue is that it could set a precedent that scripts  
>> can
>> be used to manage the game. For critical services, like the clock, it
>> makes sense. But once a gaming script goes in, there is bound to be
>> more, and if you get too many, it could be a mess especially if  
>> things
>> get dependent on them and people can't get around to maintaining them
>> when needed. Any opinions on that?
>> - Hose
> Proposals used to be made with a script... in fact I think an  
> introduction
> to B Nomic once read that it's proud of having a good set of  
> management
> tools.  Or something like that.
> Anyway, I volunteer to write whatever's necessary.

Way back when the game started the game was run by Dave Smith (who is  
now a player). He founded the game and ran it single-handedly for...  
two years? Three years? Something ridiculous like that. He had a  
bunch of scripts for managing different parts of the website, but  
they were all things where he'd input data himself - the players all  
took actions purely through the fora.

The Grid fiasco, when a subgame swelled into a 30-page monstrosity  
that took hours every week to maintain, basically killed that style  
of management, which was probably for the best since it was driving  
Dave mad anyway. The game became almost impossible for one person to  
track, and Dave didn't have time to do it anymore. At that point I  
took over; I used Dave's scripts for a little while and then moved  
the game to a wiki, using MoinMoin (also COMPLETELY rewriting the  
rules in the process, to cut out EVERYTHING that had been time  
consuming for the admin). That wiki still exists: www.nomic.net/~wonko/.

After running the game by myself for a while, I put together some  
crude scripts for managing the game. They're all written in python as  
plugins to MoinMoin. The two big scripts I wrote were one for  
proposals and one for voting.

The proposal script presented registered users with a webform letting  
you specify the name and body of a proposal; when you submitted it,  
it would automatically number it and send email to spoon-notices  
announcing the new proposal. It also let you modify/rescind proposals  
you had made, as long as they were still open.

The voting script was triggered by a clock script that kept the  
wiki's clock up-to-date; on nday 7 (for at the time, nweeks had 10  
ndays) it would automatically change the status of all "pending"  
proposals to "open" and email spoon-notify with the current ballot  
(full text of all proposals). Then we'd all vote via another webform,  
which let you select a voting option (For, Against, Abstain, Maybe,  
Maybe Not). Again, the script would notify the list when player's  
voted. At the end of the nweek, the votes would automatically be  
tallied and the results, plus point changes would be sent to -notices.

We had a few other random scripts for different subgames - one  
managed a deck of cards, another tried to keep track of inventories,  
and so forth.

The big problem with all of them, though, was that I didn't have time  
to maintain them. For example, the voting script kept needed updates  
as we proposed different ways of casting votes ("Let's add a  
'HIPPOPOTAMUS' option!" "No, let's vote with numbers instead of  
words!" "Let's only allow irrational votes!").

When we moved from MoinMoin to MediaWiki, one of the arguments in  
favor of the move was that MediaWiki was accessible to programmers of  
more languages, since it supports remote access via a variety of  
tools such as pywikipedia. Several players claimed knowledge of  
MediaWiki plugin hacking, as well. But nobody actually volunteered to  
come up with the code.

So yes, there's a lot of precedent for running the game through  
scripts, and it's definitely in the best interests of the game for  
somebody to write them.


spoon-discuss mailing list