For any regular readers out there (if any), next week's commentary will be about my past Christmas experiences. Christmas weekend's commentary will feature my own wish list for the Internet. This week continues the less flammatory December tone with a discussion about mudding.
So what is mudding, you might ask? If you don't know, go read my mudding pages by going to http://www.benturner.com/mud/. Basically, MUDs are Multi-User Domains, where you can interact with other players in real-time through the Internet. Some MUDs allow you to kill beasts or kill other people. Some MUDs allow no killing of any sort at all -- it's all done through role-playing. MUDs are great social places where you can become a hero of your choice and earn fame, gold, and even immortality. This is just a loose description of MUDs since there are so many different kinds of MUDs.
Most mudders are college students who have a lot of idle time to waste. MUDs have reputations of causing rapid addiction, and many college students' grades have deteriorated after they discover mudding. MUDs are also considered to be games and therefore unproductive, so many colleges have adopted the policy of not allowing mudding on campus.
Now, I can see how colleges would consider MUDs a waste of time. Students hog the computers in the labs to play games while people who want to do real work must come back some other time. The bandwidth MUDs create slows down the network a little. A few students ruin their careers by mudding.
The truth is that mudding isn't as bad as everyone makes it out to be. First of all, mudding doesn't create much bandwidth at all, unless there are huge numbers of mudders at the school. Running a MUD on a school's computer doesn't waste very many resources, considering how many people play MUDs. Colleges that allow mudding and allow MUDs to be run on their computers receive free publicity. When mudders type in the address to connect to the MUD, they notice which university it's at. They'll think the college is pretty cool for allowing a MUD.
Very few people become massive addicts of mudding. It becomes a hobby, yes, but not an addiction, for most people. The number of mudding addicts vs. the number of mudders is probably less than the number of pedophiles vs. Internet users, a ratio which is EXTREMELY small. It is a tendency to exaggerate things to receive more attention, and mudding addicts and Internet pedophiles are good examples of this.
Hey, if a lab full of mudders keeps one person from working on his thesis, I'm all in favor for some mudders being forced to leave. They're just relaxing, but someone else needs to do work. But if no one else is in the lab, then it doesn't hurt to let a few people mud. Throwing people out for mudding in an empty lab is silly.
Universities correctly think that the resources they provide for you must be used for educational purposes. But what's wrong with letting people mud instead of wasting those resources which aren't being used?
I personally think mudding is fun and enjoyable, a useful time-waster. People get together on MUDs to talk, and some couples even marry. It's a social gathering place. There are legitimate arguments on both sides, but I think the people who are in favor of MUDs are those who have played MUDs. Most school presidents haven't. Keep an open mind, and you'll find that mudding isn't as bad as people make it out to be.
Hehe, having said that, will any college out there provide a computer for me to compile my MUD on? No? Ah well...so much for this week's soapbox.
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