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Rules Clarifications
These should be codified

The following rules are out of date as to the nature of policy as described to me over xhelp and in local OOC chat by GM's, and require a revamp to match the clarifications.

First off, command "spam," and command queuing, which is best covered under 5.A and 2.F

2.F. Spam

Stacking commands so that you shout something 30 times is considered spam.

Spam is like noise pollution on the MOO and is not allowed. Granted, our

keys do 'sometimes' get stuck, but repeat incidents are bogus.

5.A. Abusing by stacking commands

Stacking commands in the lines of disarm/flee/pickpocket etc, is not

allowed on the MOO. In reality you could only attempt these actions once

every few seconds. Players should not and will not be permitted to proceed

with this type of actions. Repetitive and unnecessary stacking causes lag,

and no one wants that.

These two can be combined and should read, instead that any form of command should not be repetitively used. As currently it is unclear and references specific commands and saying things. A proposed revision might read.

5.A. Abusing by stacking/spamming commands

Stacking or spamming of any commands are not allowed on the MOO. In reality you could only attempt these actions once every few seconds. Players should not and will not be permitted to proceed with actions repetitively. Repetitive and unnecessary stacking causes lag, and no one wants that.

As it has been explained to me on numerous occasions, unnecessary commands should be avoided. Even when flavorful.

Consequences of this, no more making it rain for strippers, and having massive piles of money on the floor. No more small pool gambling. No dropping mass amounts of similar items swiftly. No quickly ordering drinks and handing them out rapidly as a bartender. As these would all fall under the use of stacking or spamming similar commands rapidly.

Next rule that needs revision, under the clarifications I have received by staff on xhelp.

I have asked at times if I can use triggers or macros to reorganize or display information in an altered way without interacting with the client. Essentially to program some accessibility features that would enable me to say cut down on clutter so that my eye strain doesn't get worse as I'm playing. Or to aide with OOC memory issues. Things like using a clientside script to grab a crate destination and display in a task list on the side of my screen. Or to setup a timer that just notifies me of how long has passed since I did crates. However, I have been told that this sort of accessibility macro falls under being against the rules, without being told which rule, but for this instance I am assuming the rule it is against is 4.C. Which reads.

4.C. (Mis)use of triggers and macros

Client side triggers or macros are not permitted for any purpose of

automating character activities or to provide rapid responses to MOO

output. Client side triggers and macros may not be used to allow your

character to perform activities in your absence, wether you be AFK or just

off window. In-MOO support for both is available (type @macros) and can be

used to your benefit while you are present and actively playing the game.

Effective immediately, single action hotkeys (e.g. - that let you press a

letter on your keyboard and a whole 'east' or 'west' or 'north' or 'south',

etc is input and sent for you) are banned. This includes the mushclient

feature where the number pad lets you navigate around.

And should instead, be a blanket ban of and and all client side triggers, macros, alias' or scripts. Not merely ones which interact with the game itself, or perform activities automatically. As this seems to be more in line with the stated and assumed policy than just simply ones which perform actions. I'm not going to attempt to rewrite this one, but the rule as written is very clearly different from the policy as has been stated to me on a couple occasions by staff.

In my personal use I go to the @rules for explicit descriptions of what is and isn't allowed. I've read through them numerous times. And when something like these situations come up I get a little awkward. Because I am the sort of person who looks at rules and reads them explicitly and expressly as they are written. And when staff imply that I'm trying to violate rules that aren't there, or that I am stupid and not reading them correctly, I tend to nod, go along with policy, and slowly begin to distrust the rules as written as being completely accurate. So it may be a good idea, at least in my opinion, for senior staff to go through the @rules, and check and make sure that all of the rules are explicitly in line with policy as is being stated by staff.

Thank you.

It'd be interesting to see feedback about the client-side stuff you mention -- I find it hard to believe the specific examples you mention would be considered against the rules (they certainly aren't as currently written).

If you want to dig into the 256 color thread in Anything Really from a while back, I detail using client-side triggers to do all kinds of custom text coloring and audio triggering to both add a little immersion and to de-clutter the screen (things like turning encrypted SIC chatter dark grey, highlighting dialogue spoken to my character which helps in a crowded bar, audio triggers that help to not miss a lev coming by) -- all told I think I have like ~20 client-side triggers that have accumulated over the years, none of which violate SD's rules.

This was all discussed openly in that thread, including a reply where I explained how to set the triggers up if anyone else was curious. Staff had no issues with it, so I think whomever you heard from was just confused.

Thanks I'll take a look at that thread, it sounds like almost exactly what I want.
If you need a special client that you then need to script for special information displays, then yes, its against the spirit of our rules. The basic idea is that you can't use a client to get an advantage over others that do not have that client or do not have your where with all to program said client to do cool things for you.
We didn't write the rules in stone. Instead they have evolved as players have shown us a need to document a limitation or refine existing stated limitations.

The 2 command input rules are in different contexts, one of ooc misbehavior -- be it by someones client, someone trolling or intentional system abuse -- and a different context of game play, the actions one might think are fair play. While they may have some overlap, I don't think there's a need to merge them.

The problem I have with the first is not that that's the policy, it's that that policy isn't listed anywhere easily noticeable, and when I asked Xhelp to make sure that something I was going to be doing was alright, they then made the assumption that I A: Knew it was against the rules and B: Accused that I was asking to potentially justify rule breaks down the line.

When it is not explicitly against the rules as they are written in @rules.

And I wouldn't have asked if I was intending on doing it without checking first.

The problem with the second is one of determining the nature of Spam.

When a stripper is doing a show, and people toss out stacks of money at various poses? Is that considered spam?

When you're doing small stakes gambling and the pay commands go through, if you've got enough people, is that pay command at the end of each round, or dropping the money on the floor, considered spam?

When the policies for these things are unstated or non-explicit, it leads to confusion and frustration on both player and staff's part.

I checked with staff, because my assumption was that I couldn't do it, and then upon re-reading the rules realized that nothing indicated I couldn't. And wanted to check if it would be allowed. And again, as Jameson said, there's posts on the forums that have gone checked, explaining how to do some of the very things I wanted to do.

And ultimately, the things I wanted to do were to prevent spam on my part.

Given that to give an example of a crate run for me.

Get crate, read the entry at the start.

Okay we're going to CENTRAL RED

Okay head out of crate place,

Okay look crate, Headed direction to CENTRAL RED.

get to cross street,

look crate, okay headed to CENTRAL RED

Get to crate delivery or next cross street.

Look crate, Okay I'm where I'm supposed to be,

Look crate, give crate,

walk back to crate place repeat.

This is a pattern that happens, because I am ADD as fuck with memory sequencing issues. This is why I have things like navigation macros on the in game macro system. Because without them, I will pretty much check the crate at every intersection.

Secondly for your second post, what qualifies as spam for either case, because I was told to stop spamming today, because of dropping small amounts of flash each round to essentially play up a street game.

If that's spam than common practices at strip clubs need to be utterly revoked. Because I've seen cases where there's twenty or so stacks of money on the ground during a show.

Hell, would buying say, ten drinks and chain downing them at a bar count as spam?

These aren't clear to me, and if one applies as spam(And in my case, the first one was considered spam by the staff), the others should also be considered spam as well.

I mean, I don't use a 'special client' or anything? Any M** client that's been updated in the last dozen years does it.

The spirit of the rules is to not gain an advantage, I don't think anything I listed does that in any nontrivial way. There have been numerous posts and complaints and suggestions for years about certain kinds of spam, eyestrain, etc. related to certain parts of the game, if anything these kinds of client-side triggers are ways for players to customize their experience (in a way that doesn't violate the rules) in a way that doesn't create a further draw on staff to implement things MOO-side instead (and since players can do it themselves, it's subjective-experience friendly to the particular user's needs).

Like I originally mentioned in the 256-color thread when this first came up, I have intense and chronic migraine / vertigo / eyestrain issues that made the game unplayable until I was able to filter certain things by doing this -- for some people it's a legitimate accessibility issue, or at least a pretty solid quality of life improvement, again without further draining staff time to make it unnecessary.

I'd rather the staff spend their limited time working on things that matter more to people than tweaking color and UI bits (though those things are very important) when users can tweak those things themselves, is what I'm saying, especially when everyone would have different opinions on what and how they would change things, and many would change nothing just because they're used to how things are.

I won't argue on this really anymore, I essentially quit playing a while ago, but saying this violates the spirit of the rules is a big stretch -- if the staff isn't going to put tools MOO-side into the hands of players to let them customize things on a very granular level to make the UI experience more tolerable and accessible, and I doubt you want to take the time to do that, client-side triggers, which are very easy to set up, should be encouraged.

Yes, Rhea, spamming commands to drop chyen, pick it up, or consume a ton of drinks is against the rule by design. The entire game runs on a single thread, so one person's input interrupts everyone else to a tiny degree. Its a form of monopolizing a limited system resource that we must protect and the no spam rule is about that.
Because 9/10ths of our players are not developers, giving permission to those with advanced skills to customize their client and gain a significant advantage by highlighting or suppressing information isn't exactly something we want to do. Your intentions don't matter in this regard. If you gain an advantage others can't, even if you need the advantage, it's still an advantage. I'm sure you're far from the only individual who would like handy information and to suppress unwanted lines. It's fine that you want that experience, but it's not something we want to be.
Alright, so I thought on that for awhile Johnny, and if that's the case, then there's a couple things you'll need to do, if you want to adhere that policy evenly, and fairly. In addition to the things mentioned in this thread.

Screen Readers are outright not allowed by what you've said in this thread. After all, they use many short hands and macro's and thus are in violation of the stated spirit of the rules, even if the case is that the player needs these short hands and voice to text and the like. And in many cases do apply triggers and the like to restructure and remove lines to get rid of chaff in their prompt. But as you've said, even if they NEED this advantage, it's still an advantage.

Can't increase font size either, you can't account for if the player is on a browser that may or may not support increasing text size on the client side. And thus it may provide an advantage to players by allowing them to easier spot or read lines of text.

Can't allow password managers to be used, could be used by cheaters to store their grid passwords securely. This provides an advantage. And thus isn't allowed.

Can't allow the use of text editors while playing to take notes, as that additional memory is OOC and is thus against the rules. As it provides an advantage. And even if you need that advantage or are making purely OOC notes. You should use a system that bothers the game staff and isn't easy to review to make those notes.

No paper is allowed near you in real life, for the same reasons as above.

Beyond that, my complaint wasn't about the ruling itself, however silly it might be if you take the stated spirit to the fairest extent, it was about the lack of clarity in the @rules. When matched against that policy, you can talk about the spirit, but the spirit that you mention isn't even reflected in the text. Let alone explicitly implied.

I was quibbling over minor shit with the middle few points, the big points are in the screen reader section and the final paragraph.

To explicitly spell it out, he denied a need to allow people to use accessibility features. Even if they need them. Because they provide an advantage.

On my screenreader I have/had about 400 specific lines, and about half the Ascii chart that I suppress(Lost most of these with the reformat hence me not using it much anymore.), when I use it. This according to Johnny is against the spirit of the rules. However I would not be able to use the screenreader in a manageable fashion, if I didn't suppress those lines.

Yeeeeeah, I was going to say, good luck with these distinctions, because by that reasoning screenreaders are against the rules. Sorry, any visually impaired players, it was nice having you.

I also think it's a stretch to say that using a basic MUD client feature requires someone to be a developer. You can show someone how to do it with one screenshot. Formatting a grid node is more difficult. I'm not a developer. Its not advanced, you dont have to hack the Gibson.

I'm not sure why people are trying to rules-lawyer here. If you are blind and need to use a screen reader that is one thing. You are given the same output in audio instead of visual form. Yes, there are options you can toggle to better support screen readers but they are available for those without screen readers too.

And yes, ideally we are all using IC tools to remember IC things and not using password managers or writing it all down in notepad or on paper. But to be honest, these kinds of things have far less impact than some of the thing you can do with macros on clients. I urge everyone to avoid this kind of thing but it's not really what this rule is about.

You can pretty much turn your PC into a bot using the macros found in even basic clients like Tintin++. I can use triggers to work at SHI for days without ever having to be at my keyboard. I can auto-deliver crates. I can auto-dip and auto-mug. I can have a two word command take the place of six commands in the game. But nobody here wants to play against/with someone's scripts. It is a PvP game.

And yes, some of the things mentioned here really are going too far in my opinion. I have a poor short term memory as well. I do have to check my crate several times sometimes during a delivery. But that doesn't mean I should get to make my client auto-grab pertinent information and display it to me in a way that is more efficient. Because of this would be taking what for me is a ten command task and making it a four command task for them. How is this is not giving them an edge?

And yes, macros do not take the same level of skill as a low-level programming language. But it is essentially a scripting language in most clients I have ever used. It does take knowledge and skill to set up. A lot of people can't or don't want to do this and I see no reason why those of us who could do it should be given an unfair advantage in this game.

And it will never be black and white. This is why it is important to talk to staff about anything special you are doing or want to do. If you are doing anything that makes you feel like the game is so much easier now, it's time to check in with staff in my opinion.

Grey,

You're right about black/white, but you're then using apples/oranges examples.

None of the cited examples are comparable to your example of scripting and playing the game like a bot (which is using triggers in a way that violates the rules as-is, and has nothing to do with 'rules lawyering').

Now, there are arguable differences between what Rhea is wanting to do and what I do, so I'm only discussing myself here. Let's say I'm colorblind and use triggers to change SD's default colors in a way that makes the game tolerable and playable. Would the staff have an issue? According to Johnny they would. Seems unreasonable.

Grey, there's a difference between 'the game is easier' and being able to play the game being easier -- the distinction is important and I think it's being missed here. I've been in many situations where I didn't have my client on hand and used the web client, and I my character wasn't suddenly 'better' in SD at all, the difference is the default UI experience genuinely gives me a migraine after about 30 minutes.

Listen, I'm sorry, but if the UI decision for 15 years has been 'Let's make SIC traffic for public traffic, private messages, known encrypted traffic, and unknown encrypted traffic all the same color', in an entirely text-based game people play for hours where missing a single line of important text can actually mean life or death or losing out on a deal that changes your character's life -- then expect many of your players to be doing this on their end because they know if they make a suggestion on the forum it will (maybe) get acknowledged, responded to, and added to a very, very long list of things for staff to (maybe) consider and potentially discuss and possibly work on.

My tone above isn't meant to sound shitty toward staff or a knock on how things are handled, I mean it -- it's a genuine acknowledgement that changes like that take a lot of time and consideration on staff's end if they get worked on at all due to limited time and resources.

So just like people using a notepad file with phone numbers in it or whatever little OOC things they technically shouldn't but you can't really police it blah blah, this is...just gonna be a thing. I get that doesn't mean the staff has to stamp it with approval, but maybe it should open up a discussion of the state of the UI and a more open discussion of changes the playerbase would want (I imagine the opinions would be very subjective and mixed, and folks are just going to keep tweaking what they don't like in their clients anyway).

I think I understand the issue here.

For certain folks, there's too much information being displayed in order to perform simple tasks like delivering a crate.

Suppose you're delivering a crate IRL. You could probably familiarize yourself with the normal routes after a few days. But now, imagine moving your crate, but being incapable of noticing every detail of every block anew. You get distracted, your short-term memory is blanked, and you forget what you were doing when you get to an intersection. You can't block anything out of your brain. You don't have that filter.

Translating that to the MOO, being able to quickly catch the key words in each message is important to retain immersion when on the move. Being able to visually filter is important. Folks with ADD, I'm imagining, don't have that filter. Or, they at least have a more difficult time.

So I feel like the question is, without sending any commands to the MOO, is it okay to filter/modify the visual representation of messages the MOO sends to you?

I feel it's important to design for disability, including visual, manual, and cognitive aspects. Everyone games. I believe Sindome provides avenues of play for everyone. Accessibility options are important.

I'm aware that players in the past have abused GMs good faith by claiming a disability that they don't have. I don't feel this should cause undue hardship on folks that truly need the assistance.

Thanks for listening.

ynk gets it.

And Gray, that's a very absurd proposition, and to forbid what you've stated from occurring, you'd have to outright forbid every client from being used except the webclient and even in the webclients case, you'd still have to monitor and make sure someone canny wasn't using autoHotkey or a similar scripting apparatus to do automatic actions.

More than that, it's still utterly against the stated rules to do what you said.

What is not against the stated rules, and is being argued as against the "spirit" or unstated portions of the rules, is using a client, or even browser extension if I were to go all out with it, and stick with the webclient. To filter out, or change the display of information, whether that is coloring it a different color and dimming everything else, freezing the text into a display on the side of the screen, or even just popping it into a notepad automatically and starting a timer in the client. No action in these cases is being taken with the client to interact with the server, there is nothing different to what I am doing compared to a screen readers filtered segments.

And again on a screen reader users commonly filter out about I'd say a third of all the content. I knew that unspecifically, I filtered out any generic SICAD that displayed, and made a notepad page with the non-generic ones, and then filtered them. I had 400 or more exclusions in my screenreader, not counting single symbol exclusions. And yes while visibly that information displayed, to my perception of it, IE my hearing, when I used my screenreader, that information didn't exist.

They are saying that these accessibility features shouldn't exist. And in my post I said the big one, well if that's the case, screenreaders are against the spirit of the rules, and then pointed out the other examples of common advantages used by players that are utterly uncontrollable, but still provide an advantage.

So UI. I personally think that some UI decisions that some of you are considering bad design are intentional and for a purpose. SIC is supposed to be a shared network with 70 million people on it. We can't realistically emulate that. So maybe having all the different kinds of SIC be the same color and thus making it easier to miss one IS a UI decision that is good but for a reason you aren't liking.

And I know I have heard staff say that if you have a disability you can check in and and see if your 'helper' is appropriate. So this whole thing where people keep saying that it has been suggested that any and all disability assisting software is not permitted seems off to me. So far the only people I've heard say this are not staff members at all.

And no, there is no way that any of this can be prevented or policed with 100% accuracy but that doesn't mean that the gates should be thrown open and everything allowed. I would rather Staff monitor activity and help people that have made mistakes. Or, if necessary, make sure the behavior stops.

Lastly, and this might make me the least popular person in the room, but I think that there has to be a limit to how much anonymous strangers over the internet can be accommodated. As you said, there is no way staff can know all and stop all. So the lines, in my opinion, need to be placed where they benefit the community as a whole most - as best as can be determined. That might mean some people end up having a harder time of things.

I have a poor short term memory. I type slowly. I make lots of typos. Frequently I have to retype the same command three times to get it right. Three slow times. But I don't think that means I should get shorter commands than everyone else and a custom view of the game that fits my memory better.

And yes, I know that there are likely many others who have a much harder time than I do for whatever reason and I am happy if staff can accommodate them within reason. I am confident that staff will make a good faith effort to do so. But there are limits and I think that it is good that there are.

Lastly, at this point I largely with Grizzly here. I am simply confused. I don't really get the complaints. I don't see where staff is hating on blind people. I don't see how the spirit of the rule is all that confusing. I just don't get it at all. So, while I will try my best to answer any questions directed at me politely and thoughtfully, I will otherwise hold my tongue for the time being because I am just confused as all hell here. :)

I mean...if we're going to entertain arguments about arguably poor game / UI design choices because they might be 'themely' ( eg SIC) then I don't know what to tell you.

The majority of my triggers serve the purpose of helping to not miss RP opportunities, I feel like the value of that is self-apparent. They don't let me run crates faster or make me better at combat. They literally do what the text should ideally be doing already if we had infinite coder time to devote to better UI tools. Instead of whining at the staff to accomodate me I spent literally 5 minutes learning to use Mudlet. I only had to dig a little deeper when I wanted to hyper tweak things, the basic functionality is again, very basic.

Its a text based game, if people can't have decent game side control over how the text is handled, and if that isnt going to be updated staff side to be more player friendly, this is where people will end up. I don't know how web client folks dont all have eyestrain issues tbh, default UI SD feels awful after custom coloring. My characters have never been more successful because of it, it just makes the game 10x more enjoyable. It's like SD 2.0, after a modernized color pass. Go check out one of the big modern MUDs and see what's going on out there.

The audio triggers alone and the immersion they can add are a blast. I've spent years using my client to bring the game more to life and none of it requires staff resources.

I'm going to request that everybody be respectful in their discourse here. We are always open to having discourse about what people see as potential concerns around the game.

In this particular rule:

4.C. (Mis)use of triggers and macros

Client side triggers or macros are not permitted for any purpose of

automating character activities or to provide rapid responses to MOO

output.

Modifying the way the MOO presents in your client would allow you to provide rapid responses to MOO output beyond what a normal non-customised client would allow, and subsequently is against the rules. I’m not in any way interested in having our rules encompass explicitly every edge case of every rule. I’m not playing ‘you didn’t have a sign up’ bingo here. If it makes your life easier and it doesn't come out of the box that way? Chances are it's against the @rules. xhelp if you'd like a definitive yes or no answer prior to doing what you'd like to do.

Will client side triggers and aliases ever be allowed on Sindome? I don't see it happening and it's something I personally am against. We already provide in-game Macros to allow you to do a lot of the things you’re saying should be available outside of the game.

Now I've seen screen readers mentioned here as being against the rules in context of these kinds of rules. We make exceptions for vision impaired players because without this they would be unable to play. Not withstanding disability access related issues, I want every player to have fundamentally the same experience. Throwing screen readers into the mix here muddies the issue and doesn’t make your point in any way. I am proud of the accessibility options we provide and that our coders have put the time into making the game playable in this way. Everybody should be proud that we have made this decision as a non commercial entity to support accessibility.

You don’t get to customise the output of the game per your personal preferences because it’s against the rules and not every player has this option.

Now I've personally played some of the games I think Jameson is referring to here and all I can really say is, while these games are great in their own way - these games are not Sindome, they operate differently and it is impossible to compete without complicated scripting systems in a lot of them. Sindome is not, nor will ever be a race to the bottom of whomever can script the best.

We offer numerous different colour schemes for the webclient and I don't see any issues in potentially expanding these as necessary for any players who

suffer from eye strain related issues - this I would consider a reasonable accomodation.

I do not see any requirement to further consolidate the rules in this situation.

If you have some form of disability that would be helped by some kind of accomodation of the game, I recommend reaching out to the Senior Staff on it (Myself, Slither & Johnny) and we will consider it on its merits and let you know if it would be ok under our rules.

Respectfully, Glitch, the entirety of your post doesn't address the question they're reaching out to you about. I'll help clarify. (Starting by reviewing my post above and the scenario described might help.)

4.C. (Mis)use of triggers and macros

Client side triggers or macros are not permitted for any purpose of automating character activities or to provide rapid responses to MOO output.

They're not asking per automation or rapid response, they're asking per cognitive accommodation in the form of an information filter.

You don’t get to customise the output of the game per your personal preferences because it’s against the rules and not every player has this option.

They're not asking per personal preference, they're asking per cognitive disability.

We offer numerous different colour schemes for the webclient and I don't see any issues in potentially expanding these as necessary for any players who suffer from eye strain related issues

They're not asking per eye strain related issues, they're asking per cognitive disability.

If you have some form of disability that would be helped by some kind of accomodation of the game, I recommend reaching out to the Senior Staff on it (Myself, Slither & Johnny) and we will consider it on its merits and let you know if it would be ok under our rules.

That's what this thread is doing -- it's reaching out to you.

I feel designing for cognitive disability merits public discussion to show that it's okay to talk about it in this community.

Also, I would like to add that these cognitive filters that they're talking about are things you would have zero way of knowing about.

I believe they're acting in good faith since they're asking permission to do something that you'd never know about if they had just done it without asking permission.

Hope that helps.