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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 5:52 pm 
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For those of you who do not know me or the sordid history of my guild, let me bring you fully up to speed (please skip down if you know all of this).

I am the leader of the infamous and late "Guild of Maintainers," the mission of which was to regularly run the Ages and sections of the cavern in teams to check for and report any added content or changes in content, and also bugs. From the very beginning I was in communication with RAWA (Richard Watson of Cyan) about permission to use the name Maintainers. In his first reply RAWA said (in part):
RAWA wrote:
My gut reaction is that "Guild of Maintainers" isn't the best to use because we have something very specific in mind for that guild and what you've described doesn't quite fit with that, though it's possible that your guild could be one of the minor guilds associated with the Guild of Maintainers as your alternate name would suggest.

In the 2 weeks before I got a formal decision we also had some drama involving the newly-formed Guild of Guardians, who at first glance appeared to have copied our efforts almost to the letter. While our initial antagonistic relationship was resolved in favor of a respectful one, it remained clear that this particular guild operated outside the box of traditional guild philosophy, believing it was their right to include in their activities duplicates of whichever other guilds they wished. Theirs is a philosophy of “free-market” competition, while I believe the guild system should more resemble a “monopoly.” More on this can be found here.

When RAWA did finally reply to my naming request, I posted it, thus:
Montgomery wrote:
Here is today's reply from RAWA:
RAWA wrote:
Montgomery wrote:
Quote:
In the last week this has become a rather heated topic across several forums, as has the entire concept of explorer-formed groups and guilds. Any decisions or advice you can provide which I may share with the community would be most welcome.


I finally got the chance to sit down with Rand and discuss this with him. He and I are in agreement that the duties you've described do not synch up with our intentions for the Guild of Maintainers. Reporting and documenting new content or changes in content fits under the realm of the Guild of Archivists - keeping track of and recording the history of changes in the Ages.

Thanks,

RAWA
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We will abandon our name immediately (or stop using it while we decide on a new one).

As it turns out, there was at one time a Guild of Archivists, although it appears to be defunct. There is also a Guild of Archivists Web Ring. However, while they are using the name, they do not appear to be an in-game explorer guild.

It would be natural for us to take this name, as RAWA suggests it fits our function, however we will not do so if anyone protests. Please comment here if you are involved with either of the above sites or can help me contact those individuals.

In the meantime, we will discuss alternatives. Suggestions welcome.

Thank you for your patience.

In response I got this:
Alahmnat wrote:
It was brought up by RAWA that this group's stated objectives and duties are more in line with those of the original D'ni Guild of Archivists than those of the Maintainers, and I'm inclined to agree. Since the request went out to see if anyone had laid claim to the Archivists title, I figured I'd put my 2 cents in.

I've been running dpwr.net's informational archive for the past 7 years now, but due to time constraints and restrictions inherent in my current place of employment, I am unable to really organize an in-Cavern effort to keep track of the Ages and locations in Uru and keep the information in the Archive up-to-date. Since that seems to be the stated goal of this group, I see no reason not to be somewhat opportunistic and join forces. DPWR already has a centralized information repository at its disposal which I would be more than happy to allow your group to maintain, and you guys already seem to have the in-Cavern force needed to keep tabs on everything that's going on.

[edit: details about using avatars, etc. cut]

Anyway, feel free to talk amongst yourselves about this, and ask me any questions you may have about why I want to get involved in this way. Personally, I'm just glad someone else seems to have a desire to record everything that's going on. :)


------------------------------------------------------------------

OK, back to the present matter.

There are two issues here, which I think should be contemplated, discussed and debated before the AoG Town Hall Meeting.

1) The formal creation of the Major Guild of Archivists
2) Finding a consensus among the guild community on each guild’s “right to exclusivity.”

Guild of Archivists:
I have not desire to run the Guild of Archivists. I already have my greedy fingers in too many pies. But I want to honor Richard’s and Rand’s vision as hinted above, and remake my guild into the Minor Guild of Inspectors, under the Major Guild of Archivists. But I also think it would be an excellent idea to include the current guilds of Cartographers, Linguists, Learners, and (if Tweek intends to move forward) the Guild of Historians all as minor guilds under the Archivists. Details of how to handle the forums, Web sites and Alahmnat’s webring and those sites already there need to be debated. But here is an opportunity for the guild community, the Assembly of Guilds (as their representative) and the community as a whole to establish a precedent in the design of the guild structure.

Right to Exclusivity:
Personally, it is my belief that when a guild is formed encompassing a certain skill-set or special interest, that it should be able to exist without fear of wonton copy-catting. Perhaps if there is some consensus among its members that the current leader or activities of a guild is not satisfactory, a vote of no confidence can be taken, and the guild can be re-formed. This has never happened, so for now the point is moot. But I don’t believe “competition” is a natural or desirable condition for guilds. The very definition of a guild is a place where all knowledge on a given subject can be collected together and protected from loss or change. I’m not advocating secrets, although every guild certainly has a right to conduct their inter-guild communications as they see fit.

I realize that to enforce either of the notions I have discussed above would require some body of authority, or at the very least a mutually-agreed upon set of rules. But I am not at this point making any kind of case for the AoG or any other person or persons to be handed this kind of power. Nevertheless, I think these are both very important topics for the future of the guilds in the cavern.

I bring these up now because it looks as if I will not be able to attend the Town Hall meeting (either of them) although I very much want to. And I think these need to be discussed and presented – particularly if a representative of the DRC is there. Also, there are those in the cavern who are actively and vocally opposed to the re-forming of the guilds at all. So we cannot afford to sit on our hands; we must be diligent, fair, forward-thinking, and in line with what Cyan would approve.

Thank you for reading.

This post is duplicated in most popular forums. But to avoid confusion, please post your replies here.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 6:08 pm 
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Interesting topic.

There certainly isn't anything that we could do to enforce any kind of rules or laws in regard to Guilds and 'Guide Exlusivity'.

That being said, I would hate for us to end up with 5 different Guilds that perform the same function. (IE 'The Guid of Linguists, The Guild of Vocalizing, The Guild of Communications, The Guild of Chit-Chat, The Guild of Chewing the Fat, etc).

It would be nice of we could have Cyan/DRC 'Approved' Guild areas that different groups could inhibit....sort of like a neighborhood one could join, but one that is already named with the Guild name and cannot be changed by random explorers. (And probably would have a different layout, office-type space instead of residential)

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 6:18 pm 
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Very well said Montgomery (same as Crimson Bard, for those who didn't know). I like where yer going with this idea, and I think you have valid concerns. Competition between guilds trying to perform the same function is counter-productive. But as b-guy pointed out, without official backing of the organizational structure, it's just chaos waiting to happen.

I don't think I'll be able to make either of these meetings either, but I'll follow the development of this!

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 6:24 pm 
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As I have mentioned many times before, the Guild of Historians was run back during 2003, it stopped and I have no plans to bring it back.

The linguists and cartographers shouldn't really be apart of the archivists, the cartographers were apart of the surveyors, not sure exactly what the deal was with linguists.

I think the guild would have to be officially endorsed by Cyan/DRC in order to kind of be "exclusive" (I use the term loosely as to not promote elitism) but the Guild of Greeters is a good example, people can greet easily, it's just being kind to new explorers, but we don't have groups starting up because its not needed and the GoG are an official guild.

I'm going to go ahead and get the ball rolling, see if I can get something set up (wanders off to contact Cyan and other things).


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 6:34 pm 
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I'm not a fan of exclusivity, I do think only Cyan should decide the 'offical' guilds. Take TCT for example the more alternative news sources the better it creates competition, lets people see things from a very differnt perspective, perhaps learn from each other. As for recreating a guild why not get your part ready then open a forum and invite the relevent groups to join in discussions on that forum if you think you can work together then do it

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 6:43 pm 
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Well what I have done is emailed Cyan asking about whether I can set this guild up or if they have plans for it.

I also asked about how Cyan were planning to deal with the "making guilds offical" thing for future reference seeming I was emailing them anyway, would be nice to clear it up.

I don't want to set a forum up for the guild only to have cyan turn around and say "we have plans".


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 7:14 pm 
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crimson_bard wrote:
I don’t believe “competition” is a natural or desirable condition for guilds. The very definition of a guild is a place where all knowledge on a given subject can be collected together and protected from loss or change.

This statement demonstrates a misperception of Guilds, at least as they existed in medieval Europe. Guilds were almost always specific to a particular town, and largely existed to monopolize certain trades in which labor skills dominated the production process. The centralization of knowledge was one way of protecting the Guild's monopoly status, but it also had the benign effect of producing a more standardized output. Guilds were thus an early form of a "quality-assurance" mechanism. As production technologies became more dominated by capital and less by artisanal skills, the need for guilds waned.

Given that there is little historical justification for monopoly status for the current versions of guild-like organizations (and even if there was, so what?), is there an "efficiency" reason for granting monopolies? A fear I've seen expressed is that a guild-like organization will be hurt by competition. My only response is, You betcha! If guild-like organizations are to have any relation to their historical precedents, they at least should acknowledge that they exist to serve the explorer community. The question is then, What organizational structure will be best serve the explorer community at large. Monopolization almost allows serves the interest of the monopoly, not its "customers" (in this case, the explorer community). Will competition perhaps curtail membership in one guild-like organization? Of course! And so each guild-like organization must strive to be as attractive as possible, by demonstrating competence and innovations and whatever else interests potential members. And its reputation will also depend on whatever services it offers explorers, the force of competition again encouraging each organization to find new and better ways to provide those services.

Having said that, a guild-like organization should have certain "rights" at least in their intellectual property (for example, adopting a certain, uniform style of dress). But should these rights extend to the "idea" of the organization? I think not, because there is no guarantee that only one approach to such an idea is unambiguously the best, and there is no reason why alternate approaches shouldn't be allowed to flourish.

Finally, if guild-like organizations were granted monopoly status, how would that monopoly be defined? Medieval guilds existed within an economic system, and so the Letters Patent they were granted defined their monopoly in terms of the good(s) or service(s) they produced. How would a Guild Monopoly be granted in Uru Live? And, as others have suggested, how would it be enforced, especially if a competitive organization simply chose to do something similar without laying claim to "Guild of" status?

In sum, I see no historical or reasonable justification for granting guild-like organizations a monopoly. Such a venture would not promote a more open society within the cavern, and would instead ensure a steady stream of conflict and power struggles.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 7:33 pm 
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Thanks for taking this initiative, Tweek. Hopefully you will have more effective communications with them that the rest of us.

However, I was operating based on the comment from Nick in the cavern where he said if we wanted guilds we would need to get the ball rolling -- the DRC was not going to step in and hand us a rulebook. And also I have personally received two distinct communications from RAWA saying they approved of the idea of minor guilds under traditional major guilds. So I think that aspect of it should go uncontested.

Perhaps you're right about the Cartographers. I still think the Linguists should be part of the Archivists. I see the Archivists as responsible for keeping all of the facts straight. And that would include obtaining and keeping accurate English translations of any documents we find. If there was a Guild of Translators, it would be obvious, but the Linguists practically are the Guild of Translators. From an OOC perspective, Cyan can either produce a D'ni historical document in English, hand it to Nick to distribute as a translated document, or convert it into D'ni and distribute it that way, whereupon the Linguists translate it for us.)

I envision the Archivists being responsible for keeping an up-to-date archive of all in-game translations, diaries, histories, D'ni journals, etc. That would be for the Historians to collect. Then, there should also be an archive of the restoration efforts. Part of this is the responsibility of the Inspectors to report. And so on. So, ultimately, there would be a web-based library were explorers could go to look up any in-game facts or texts in case they can't remember where to find it in the game (or if it is no longer available). Maybe an official in-game-only wiki?

This might or might not include all of Myst canon.
This might include biographies of all known D'ni historical figures, DRC members past and present, and key explorers.
This might include maps, diagrams, etc.
This might include a breakdown of the D'ni alphabet and numbering system.
This might include a timeline -- covering both Pre-Fall and Post-Fall.

This is obviously a huge undertaking, which is why it will take the constant efforts of several minor guilds to manage small parts of the whole. We might need group just to extract facts from the books. And another just to transcribe all of the journals and translations. Or maybe these can be the same group -- the Historians.

Just spewing ideas, at this point.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 7:38 pm 
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Zardoz wrote:
crimson_bard wrote:
I don’t believe “competition” is a natural or desirable condition for guilds. The very definition of a guild is a place where all knowledge on a given subject can be collected together and protected from loss or change.

This statement demonstrates a misperception of Guilds, at least as they existed in medieval Europe. Guilds were almost always specific to a particular town, and largely existed to monopolize certain trades in which labor skills dominated the production process.

........

In sum, I see no historical or reasonable justification for granting guild-like organizations a monopoly. Such a venture would not promote a more open society within the cavern, and would instead ensure a steady stream of conflict and power struggles.

Hmm. You know history better than I.

But this is based on a work of fiction, not human history. I've taken my cue from the Crafthall system in the Pern series, and the Union system in the United States.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 7:45 pm 
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His point still stands about monopoly, the creation of a single 'monopoly' is never good for anyone its best to allow competition and eventually the group that helps the community best while having the most fun will probably do best.

Telling people they are stealing your idea and can't do what they want is only going to upset them and cause conflict.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 7:50 pm 
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Zardoz, yer right about the concept of medieval guilds and monopolies. The D'ni Guilds, as I'm sure you know, were arranged differently though - it was a highly organized quasi-caste system. There weren't local chapters of the Guild of Maintainers or the Guild of Surveyors; all Maintainers or Surveyors (or whatever) worked under one over-arching organizational canopy.

Or, I guess another way to look at it, is like medieval guilds were localised to a particular town, so were the D'ni Guilds - only in this case, the "town" consisted of the entirety of D'ni culture.

Since the model that's being emulated is based on the D'ni version of Guilds, I think it's reasonable to expect a certain level of monopoly to be granted. Having 3 or 4 different groups all trying to do the same thing is really inefficient, and leads to a lot of needless confusion and frustration.

For instance, if I want to learn about animals, I don't want to have to tool around to a variety of neighborhoods and meetings and websites and forums to learn about urwins. I want it all collected in one accessible place.

Or maybe I'm just lazy. :lol:

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 7:52 pm 
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Stevecrox wrote:
Telling people they are stealing your idea and can't do what they want is only going to upset them and cause conflict.

So is stealing your idea. Choose your poison. As a guild leader, I natually side in favor of giving the first person or group to form a guild to have some level of exclusivity.

Now, if you want to form a competing "group," "fellowship," "association" or "society" go for it. But only one guild per specialty, please. And while we're at it, only one specialty per guild.

You notice I didn't just steal the name Guild of Archivists -- even though RAWA practically gave it to me. Or took over the function of the webring. Because that would not have been polite, or to the benefit of the community. Don't you agree?

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 7:54 pm 
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crimson_bard wrote:
Hmm. You know history better than I.

But this is based on a work of fiction, not human history. I've taken my cue from the Crafthall system in the Pern series, and the Union system in the United States.


The guild system in Anna McCaffrey's Pern series are much like the historical guilds. You had to study in foreign guild halls, you weren't allowed to sell items until you've reached a certain rank or the items were checked by a master and each guild had a monopol and political power.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 7:54 pm 
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I had the same concern for creating a single Messenger Guild until I looked at it not as a monopoly, but as an association of several organizations, and even that has not really come to pass. But especially in information and news reporting, it is better to have multiple sources.

I'm not sure why the ages aren't big enough for 2 or more groups to compete doing the same thing. It would then give a player options to play a certain way in a style that suits them.

Consider the Guild of Guardians as a competing company or a friendly rivalry - who can post the identification of a new change first?

My $0.02 - best of luck

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 8:05 pm 
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MikeFitz wrote:
Consider the Guild of Guardians as a competing company or a friendly rivalry - who can post the identification of a new change first?

Mike, I actually proposed exactly that (look here.) Not only did every member of my guild hate the idea, so did the Guardians. I argued the merits of my idea and it was universally rejected.

Look, I admit I'm basing most of this opinion on the Guardians. But read this and then pass judgement on the concept of exclusivity.

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