Extended_desc word-limit on designs... why?

NiaNia TrashyMember Posts: 81 ✭✭✭
edited September 2016 in Idea Box
So! Recently I dropped a bunch of credits to buy a craft. I did this because I love designing, building and writing. I am a world-builder at heart, and the idea of being able to apply my creativity to making my own things in order to shape my character appeals to me.

If you think I'm lame for this (and I think some of you probably do), that's cool. If you don't like my writing, that's cool too. The beauty of the world is that everyone brings their own thing to the table, their own tastes, their own preferences. I don't judge those of you who play text-based games with no apparent interest in actually writing — looking at combat-lords whose RP consists exclusively of the say command, preset emotes and who walk around without a desc — so I think it's silly that I should be judged for being wordy. I have a history of writing for a living and of voluntarily building for IRE. With the sole exception of one incident where it was ruled on MKO that my use of the word 'barding' was too challenging for players and that I should instead use 'mount-armour', no one's ever complained about my writing for purple prose. I would like, some day, to publish a fiction novel. I expect that it will involve a fair few words.

In attempting to put through my first craft today, which I was very excited for, I apparently hit the word-limit on the extended-desc. I really don't think that what I wrote was excessive, but I'll post it for the peanut gallery to draw their own conclusions. Not everything I describe/build/design is always long, but typically things which are very personal and significant to my character will be (e.g., my character's signature weapon, a shield bearing the emblem of a divine my character is obsessed with, a city-tyrant's grandiose throne, an engagement ring, a non-human character's description, etc.) My character may also own a pair of knee-high leather boots, an item that requires little elaboration beyond that short_desc, and so this item is unlikely to be described in more than 3-4 sentences. A significant divine symbology shield representing their loyalty, though, will probably be more detailed.

Naturally, the first item I was going to craft today was going to be one of those significant items which I would look forward to carrying with my character wherever she goes — a signature item. I put a lot of thought into it and I care about the nature of this item. It was written descriptively, not simply because I enjoy writing as an art/hobby, but because this particular description is important, and every sentence it contains is significant.

I understand that not everyone will like what I write. I understand that not everyone will even read what I write. That's fine.

I don't understand why, due to arbitrary rules of personal taste, my desire to write freely should be stifled. I don't think that what I wrote was a buffer-breaking monstrosity bound to cause untrapped errors. There are definitely more detailed staff-approved room descriptions and objects out there. I will happily post examples if challenged on this.

My request is simple:

Dear staff, please remove the word-limit for the extended-desc of designed objects. Just because some people think Tolkien is boring doesn't mean he isn't widely enjoyed by many others. This nature of staff/player preference should not be policed on this level. It should be policed on the simple democratic level of people voting with their eyes. If someone doesn't like reading what I write, they won't read it. They will scroll past. Simple. I don't have a problem with this. If someone doesn't like interacting with me, they won't interact with me. I will find people who have similar tastes, and they, likewise, will find people who are brief. And if someone really does manage to write a buffer-breaking monstrosity, I am sure that's a rare enough occurrence that it can be easily policed on a case-by-case basis as crafts are approved/rejected. (I.e., if it breaks your buffer, you probably won't approve it.) Side-note: in all my years of playing IRE MUDs, I've never managed to accomplish this.

Someone advised me via tells not to make a forum post about this because no one will agree with me and I'll just get attacked. I'm posting this anyway because:
  • I'm open to criticism/laughter/trolling. Have at me!
  • I would rather find out sooner rather than later if this is really an intended problem, as it may just be that Aetolia isn't the game for me. If it isn't, that's OK! I should just look for somewhere that's a better fit for me. Needless to say, I will not be investing in any more credits for crafting following this initial experiment, if it's intentional and here to stay, as I will simply not enjoy it.




The offending desc for you to judge:

It is difficult to tell whether this bizarre-looking contraption is a stroke of mad genius or simply a joke; either way, calling it an abomination seems like a safe bet. It most closely resembles a cello, save that it is made by a hand that has never made a cello before, and does not know how to appreciate them. Its craft is unmistakably cheap -- albeit environmentally-friendly -- being comprised of reclaimed wood. Splinters, bark, sapwood and heartwood are all fused together in this hodge-podge mish-mash of earthen texture and tone, ranging from the sunset hues of desert ironwood, pink ivory and box elder, to the more muted brush of birch and sycamore. The instrument cannot be described as pretty, but it is unique, a work of art and talent that transcends musical convention or practical consideration. Each piece of the puzzle that makes it has been painstakingly buffed, smoothed and tamed, so as to meld with its fellow broken foreign neighbours. Alas, the lacquer that coats it is chipping. The sound it produces when played is strange and not sweet. Lacking uniformity in the weight of its body makes its mercurial resonance quarrel within, and tapping any portion of it produces a different pitch. Distinctly, it is an explorer's instrument, a useless vanity for the travelling troubadour -- for it sources its form from seldom-used species of trees, from every corner of Aetolia. Its shape is like a woman's, pleasantly curved, but it bears the same distinct silhouette as any other cello, despite its individualistic composition. Cinched, raised edges curl at the sides, and long, sinuous 'f'-shaped holes bely its hollow, flanking the raised bridge in parallel to the line of its waist. Its hallmark, the strings, are made from tightly-wound shark-gut. The scroll at the top is not particularly ornate, but the back of its neck has been scratched with vulgar, angular handwriting, giving it a name and a number: 'BIG unicorns VIOLIN 1'. It is indeed somewhat small for a cello, likely made to be used by a child or perhaps an imp; though it would be easy to believe that its inexperienced crafter mistook the nature of which string-instrument they were supposed to be making. The writing is vertical, each letter placed underneath the previous, rather than next to it. The lengthy brass endpin makes its usage clear despite the confusion, allowing the instrument to be propped upright upon this dappled metal leg, and even danced with as a full-body partner, should one be feeling particularly adventurous.


In italics: the part that was cut off. Not even that much, tbh.


The full design as it shows up in Aetolia, with its description meanly cut off:

Design #10401 Months Left: Perm
Identity: Cello Trade: Luthier
References: cello, instrument
Components: 7x wood, and 2x gut
Additional Ingredients: 1x shark, and 1x brass
Allowed: NONE
Denied: NONE
Autopay: NO
Tag(s): cello, violin, bigass, bigassviolin, big-unicorns-violin, and yuef.
Appearance:
an offensively-charming imp-sized cello
Dropped:
Braving scrutiny of disdainful maestros, an amateur's hand-me-down cello is here.
Examined:
It is difficult to tell whether this bizarre-looking contraption is a stroke of mad genius or simply a joke; either way, calling it an abomination seems like a safe bet. It most closely resembles a cello, save that it is made by a hand that has never made a cello before, and does not know how to appreciate them. Its craft is unmistakably cheap -- albeit environmentally-friendly -- being comprised of reclaimed wood. Splinters, bark, sapwood and heartwood are all fused together in this hodge-podge mish-mash of earthen texture and tone, ranging from the sunset hues of desert ironwood, pink ivory and box elder, to the more muted brush of birch and sycamore. The instrument cannot be described as pretty, but it is unique, a work of art and talent that transcends musical convention or practical consideration. Each piece of the puzzle that makes it has been painstakingly buffed, smoothed and tamed, so as to meld with its fellow broken foreign neighbours. Alas, the lacquer that coats it is chipping. The sound it produces when played is strange and not sweet. Lacking uniformity in the weight of its body makes its mercurial resonance quarrel within, and tapping any portion of it produces a different pitch. Distinctly, it is an explorer's instrument, a useless vanity for the travelling troubadour -- for it sources its form from seldom-used species of trees, from every corner of Aetolia. Its shape is like a woman's, pleasantly curved, but it bears the same distinct silhouette as any other cello, despite its individualistic composition. Cinched, raised edges curl at the sides, and long, sinuous 'f'-shaped holes bely its hollow, flanking the raised bridge in parallel to the line of its waist. Its hallmark, the strings, are made from tightly-wound shark-gut. The scroll at the top is not particularly ornate, but the back of its neck has been scratched with vulgar, angular handwriting, giving it a name and a number: 'BIG unicorns VIOLIN 1'. It is indeed somewhat small for a cello, likely made to be used by a child.
Comments from the Trade Guild:
NONE
Comments from the Creator:
NONE





I'm also going to include the conversation this sparked on the newbie channel, as I think the context is relevant to the post. There was also a conversation with another player via tells, but they asked not to be quoted (and since it was a private communication they have that prerogative, but newbie is a public channel). I don't think the language used was inflammatory, but, all the same, I'm censoring the names of the players who responded until/unless they state they're OK with being quoted. Not looking to call anyone out, just taking this to a more appropriate channel for discussion because I actually do care about this issue:


(Newbie): You say, "Is it intentional that designs have a word-limit for their examined desc, or can that be extended somehow?"
(Newbie): Apricot says, "Generally, if you hit the word limit for the examined description, you're being too descriptive."
(Newbie): Banana says, "Pretty much. I believe the character limit is in place because it can be used to spam people with walls of text."
(Newbie): Apricot says, "Sometimes, less is more!"
(Newbie): You say, "Yeah but if you don't want to read it you don't have to... Why rob the designer of their creative freedom because of lazy audiences?"
(Newbie): Banana says, "When it comes to designs, you can be detailed, but a good writer doesn't have to be overly verbose about it."
(Newbie): Banana says, "Good rule of thumb is that not every single minute detail needs to be described. Too much purple prose or needlesly long Tolkienesque descriptions aren't always necessarily a good thing."
(Newbie): Apricot says, "Look up 'purple prose' for some examples of why this is a bad thing!"
(Newbie): You say, "Well, that's just like... your opinion, man. And I respect it, and I don't expect everyone to like the same things that I do, but I play MUDs because I love to write. I have no illusions that everyone will like my personal writing style, but I don't see why my preferences should be policed for what amounts to individual taste."
(Newbie): You say, "At any rate... gonna take this to the forums."
(Newbie): Apricot says, "Everyone's preferences are being equally policed!"
(Newbie): You say, "Not really, since there isn't a lower word-limit."
(Newbie): Clementine says, "Actually there is."
(Newbie): Banana says, "Actually, yeah there is."
(Newbie): Apricot says, "There is, actually."
(Newbie): Clementine says, "Examined cannot be less than 120 characters."
(Newbie): You say, "Some established players walk around without any desc whatsoever. That doesn't seem to be policed."
(Newbie): You say, "I don't judge 'em... because I respect their right to their preferences."
(Newbie): Apricot says, "Descriptions aren't generally policed, but every guild requires new players to write a decent description for their novicehood tasks."
(Newbie): Date says, "This seems like a forums/crafters channel debate more than a newbie channel debate. Just sayin'!"
(Newbie): You say, "*nods* Writing up a forum post now."
(Newbie): Banana says, "There's hard coded limits on things like emotes and illusions as well."
(Newbie): Clementine says, "So? Personal descriptions aren't crafting descriptions. In crafting, there are standards. If you make an item, you need to fit the standards that have been put in place over the last few years."
(Newbie): Banana says, "It's not so much for quashing creative freedom, though."
(Newbie): Eggplant says, "And if you enjoy writing are there not the avenues of stories, poems books for that purpose."
Post edited by Nia on
LaitMissariVolkaAishia

Comments

  • AishiaAishia Queen Bee Member Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Kiralla is that u.




    ApianoraLaitRasharLinErzsebet
  • LaitLait OhioMember Posts: 90 ✭✭✭
    edited September 2016
    Quantity does not equal quality, and Aetolian crafters understand this. The word limit on extended descriptions is not intended to insult you or stifle your creativity as a writer, because description length and creativity do not correlate. Nobody is trying to police you, or trying to oppress your personal freedom. These are rules that everyone has to follow, not just you, and everyone else has accepted it but you.

    My advice for you is to learn to condense your item's excessively long description into a format that is accepted by the design guidelines. Omit phrases and sentences that are unnecessary and don't add to the actual physical description, and border on subjective, i.e. "a work of art and talent that transcends musical convention or practical consideration" or "a useless vanity for the travelling troubadour." Item descriptions in Aetolia don't work that way -- you are describing what the physical object objectively is and does, not what you personally think about it. The item might be important and hold significant meaning to your character, but that meaning will be entirely lost on an impartial, third-party observer, which is exactly who you are designing the extended description for (or else you wouldn't be designing an actual tangible item at all.) You might find a couple of items in the wild that contradict this, but they're the exception rather than the rule.

    In any case, I'm sure you can find a way to shave 79 words/494 characters off and still describe the item sufficiently. Like you said, it's not that much, right?
    Art by @Phoenecia! Full image available here!
    Volka
  • TeaniTeani Evening Sky SwedenMember Posts: 1,854 ✭✭✭✭✭
    First of all, I just want to say I love the description in general. It's awesome and I really like that someone goes out of their way to describe the imperfections of an item. Not everything is supposed to be perfect!

    However, to get back to the issue, in this game there are ways for people to actually SHOWOFF and thus intentionally "spam" other players with a wall of text. I'm not saying that you would do that, but still, it exists and thus might be of concern to some people.

    Walls-of-text are generally frowned upon. Part of the reason is that some people read far more slowly than others and at times, this is not considered by others present in the same location. Sometimes, when I was new at playing this game, I'd finish reading someone's description and have to scroll through entire conversations and missing out on a lot of fun because of it. During interactions, text can be broken off into smaller segments, making it easier to follow. In a description, this is impossible.

    So, in short (haha), have some consideration for the slow readers who might stumble across your poor craft and want to RP around it by adjusting to the limit. You can make small adjustments and fit the limit just fine, I'm sure, and it's not like it is limited to a meager 10 lines (as I do believe was the case at some point in time).

    <.< Also, Imp is capped, since it's a race.



    Nia
  • AnteheAntehe Member, Immortal Posts: 385 Immortal
    I do not believe anyone thinks it is lame that you want to create things, express your writing, or craft. We have a large crafting base in this game, so those are things many people share.

    The mortal crafting system has limitations and constraints due to its nature: it is a system that needs to encompass and enable the many, as efficiently as possible. Everyone is subjected to the same rules and constraints, which minimizes possibilities of abuse and subjective/personal bias. As with any system, there are trade offs, and some may feel too constrained while others may feel overwhelmed with possibility.

    One of the root issues with crafting is that it is a personal creation, and it is easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees. It is important to take a step back (pragmatically, editorially, and emotionally - critique and criticism are unavoidable in a creative medium and it is important to make use of it constructively rather than let it weigh you as a person down).

    Our mechanical limits are in place for a reason, even if it may feel arbitrary to you personally (mortal crafting is a peer-reviewed process by volunteers, you can SHOWOFF items to those in a room which flashes the examined description (which can be disruptive after a certain line amount on most clients), etc). Crafting is not a purely personal thing, it is made (perhaps most importantly) for others to see. There need to be restrictions in place to combat abuse.

    PhoeneciaVolkaNiaRasani
  • PhoeneciaPhoenecia Somewhere in AtticaMember Posts: 475 ✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2016
    I've been crafting almost since I started playing, and I've loved every minute of it, even with all the limitations, rulings, and changes since then. I've made a lot of items across pretty much every crafting skill, and while I consider myself to be among the more verbose crafters, I've never hit the word limit - even with my personal fullplate, which is the longest desc I've written.

    Anyway, to the issues at hand. The hard-coded limits on examined descs ARE NOT meant to stifle creativity, just as the limits on emote length or illusion length aren't meant to stifle creativity. From my understanding, the hard limit is more mechanical. I believe in the past, people would spam SHOWOFF to bombard people with walls of texts to cause them to lag. I think even now, pulling up really long descs sometimes causes a bit of lag. The limits are in place as a courtesy to other players - for the ones who are approving designs, and all who might see said design.

    Even in the writing business, limits will be imposed on you. Does it suck? Yeah, it does. Is it meant to crush your creativity? No, not really. The point of imposing limits is to ensure that the writing is crisp, to the point, and isn't bogged down too much. It's the same of crafting and building here. Anyone can write well when faced with no boundaries. The real fun is in the challenge of working within the boundaries you're given.
    VolkaMariena
  • ValingarValingar Member Posts: 312 ✭✭✭
    I suspect the limits were originally put in place for technical reasons, though that might no longer be the case with better tech. But when the system was originally made, I can definitely see it.

    That said, I don't think the intentional spamming or combat concerns in the thread are important. The one time I've ever seen anyone intentionally spam another player out (no item descs were involved) to gain a combat benefit, they got shrubbed before I could say 'what'. It doesn't really happen and when it does, it's punished, so not particularly important to design around.

    More on topic, none of my custom designs have gone through the crafter process (I just customize things with credits), but I think an argument could be made for extending word limits on some items a bit for crafting, for example at the cost of a -majorly- increased gold cost to make sure you really need those words. I can't see it being removed entirely, because of the nature of muds is that you need to be able to skim an item within a few minutes sometimes to keep a scene rolling.
    Nia
  • VolkaVolka Lurking behind the beakers....Member Posts: 87 ✭✭✭
    Nothing nothing I'm about to say should be construed as a direct attack against anybody, but the limit isn't there to stifle anyone's creativity. The description of an item is simply that. A description of the physical aspects of the item in question. It is not supposition. It isn't what you feel (emotionally, not texturally) or some opinion that one could garner from viewing the item, beyond what would be a generally held belief (This cigarette, made of emerald-hued paper, has been clumsily rolled, for example). There are a plethora of ways to write a description that fits within the parameters of the game, including not repeating oneself two different ways, and giving general terms when applicable. (Various dark hardwoods, including ebony and oak", for example). 

    The parameters are not there to stifle your creativity. If anything, they present a challenge that encourages more creative solutions than listing 17 materials and tacking it on to a noun. 

    In fact, the parameters are there for two very important things: Combating spam, and Bandwidth. There is more than just the slower readers to take in to account. Not everyone that plays MUDS can even see. I personally know a wonderful person who plays a different IRE mud, who is blind. If her screen reader can't keep up, things get lost. It isn't that you're playing to the laziest common denominator there, it's that it just isn't happening.

    You'll notice a lot of my interaction consists of those premotes and one-line says. It's not because I'm somehow less of a RPer than anyone else, though that -is- how that bit came off, but rather, if I am online, I am literally playing on a 4.5 inch screen, of which, my keyboard takes up about 45% of. I don't have internet in my house. I am literally, exclusively, on my phone. It's not a bad phone, but it's darn small. If a description (that I'm not being asked to read specifically, just a latent thing out in the wild) is longer than a page on my phone, chances are, I'm not going to read it. I might skim it, just to figure out wth it is. If I tried to read a 28 line description (which ends up getting wrapped to about 40, give or take, for me) by the time I'm done with it, seventeen faction wars have happened, two gods have gone in to torpor, and the Cabalist revamp will have finally rolled out. It's not because I am a slow reader, (proof: avg novel lasts 3-5 hrs max) but because by the time I'm done reading the first half, I have to re LOOK at the thing because it has scrolled past my buffer (which is 300 lines. Measly, I'm sure). Not everyone has full size 17 inch screens. 

    Bandwidth and server size is important too. Your design, no matter how astoundingly bohemian and progressive, is not the only one in the pile. It's lumped in with everyone elses' designs, and for some of us, that number is in the hundreds, if not thousands.  Add in to that all the personal descriptions of everyone who has ever played, PLUS the room descriptions, pk coding, event coding, skills, mobs, npcs, quests, and Galleus' pimp mobile bouncing on it's 20 inch rims in the Pools, and that is a -lot- of data. You also have to factor in each player has it's own record of everything they have every typed, EVER, and that's even MORE data. Little things like description limits and content limits on scrolls and whatnot is part of what helps keep the data bloat down to manageble levels so that the game isn't crashing every 5 seconds. 

    Add in to that the previously explained reasons of SHOWOFF spam and slow readers, and it gets pretty cut and dried. I won't even go in to the fact that not everyone on Aetolia speaks English as their native tongue. 

    If the admin disagree, that's on them, but looking at the evidence, it seems there are clear, cut and dried reasons to have a limit, the least of which being that it encourages people to find ways to convey their ideas without tacking as many adjectives they can find on to each noun in the sentence.

    If the limit bothers you so badly that you find it impossible to continue playing a game that leaves you with relative free reign on what you craft, by all means, there -are- other games without said limits, and I -do- hope you find a place that you feel supported and happy in, whether here in Aetolia, another IRE mud, or elsewhere entirely. But the reasons have been repeatedly stated, both in tells, the novice channel, and here, even outside of this admittedly rambling monstrosity of a post. 

    And even if it -was- somehow unfair (Though I'm still trying to figure out what personal descriptions has to do with the crafting limit) you need a better argument than "I would have to re-word or creatively word parts of my item because the limit is getting in the way and I don't want to do that." 

    I encourage you, -please- explain to me, -without- using 'it is stifiling my creativity' or 'I have better descriptions than all the's pk-only pleblians', why they should change the charecter limit. I really would like to see it from your point of view, but given the reasons I've outlined above, I can't reconcile them with the argument you've provided. 

    Tl;Dr
    I can't make sense of why this instance is more special than the billion things Kiralla has dropped in the Q over the years, without going over the charecter limit but if someone can explain it to me please do because I can't make it jive with the established reasons for the limit.

    Sorry I don't have fancy bulleting and stuff (I have no idea how you did that but it's cool) cuz I think the mobile verson of forums hates me.

    Though people will likely dissagree, I just want to reiterate not a bit of that is intended to be a personal attack on anyone, and if it comes off that way, I'm sorry, but please understand it -is- coming from a place of non-anger or trolling or whatever you want to call it. I mean no hard feelings. 

    @Nia: I hope this isn't the deal breaker it sounds like it is for you, because we -could- use people with vivid imaginations, even if those imaginations have to follow a word count. <3 :D
    MarienaNola
  • VolkaVolka Lurking behind the beakers....Member Posts: 87 ✭✭✭
    Phoenecia said:
    I've been crafting almost since I started playing, and I've loved every minute of it, even with all the limitations, rulings, and changes since then. I've made a lot of items across pretty much every crafting skill, and while I consider myself to be among the more verbose crafters, I've never hit the word limit - even with my personal fullplate, which is the longest desc I've written. Anyway, to the issues at hand. The hard-coded limits on examined descs ARE NOT meant to stifle creativity, just as the limits on emote length or illusion length aren't meant to stifle creativity. From my understanding, the hard limit is more mechanical. I believe in the past, people would spam SHOWOFF to bombard people with walls of texts to cause them to lag. I think even now, pulling up really long descs sometimes causes a bit of lag. The limits are in place as a courtesy to other players - for the ones who are approving designs, and all who might see said design. Even in the writing business, limits will be imposed on you. Does it suck? Yeah, it does. Is it meant to crush your creativity? No, not really. The point of imposing limits is to ensure that the writing is crisp, to the point, and isn't bogged down too much. It's the same of crafting and building here. Anyone can write well when faced with no boundaries. The real fun is in the challenge of working within the boundaries you're given.
    That's a good point too. Anything past the average amount of crap at the IG in spines, and I lag like a unicorn. If it's -too- big, it disconnects me completely, which takes away from the game for myself, and the people waiting on my slow butt to get back connected. 
  • AnteheAntehe Member, Immortal Posts: 385 Immortal

    NiaArbreEmelleNola
  • VolkaVolka Lurking behind the beakers....Member Posts: 87 ✭✭✭
    @Keroc that is super cool, I didnt know that!
  • RasharRashar Member Posts: 1,609 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Huh. I can't believe I never hit that with an emote. And I was once asked nicely to emote smaller after breaking things.

    I didn't read the above desc, but if it surpasses some of the walls I've written.. wow. That's one hell of a pair of leather boots.
    NiaEmelleAnikoNola
  • RasaniRasani Member Posts: 119 ✭✭✭
    I'm glad we know what's causing it now. As for how you can make it work a bit more, there's a lot of stuff in that description that isn't needed and even a couple that might break the rules of crafting. If you want help cutting it down, I'm sure there are plenty of crafters who would help, but as it stands it's not even a limit anymore.
  • AnikoAniko Member Posts: 72 ✭✭✭
    Taste and Smell descriptions in cooking could stand to be roughly 100 characters more >.>
    VolkaMariena
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