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BadMrMojo's Good(Mr)Manners and the Theory of Social Contract

a.k.a. The things that you're supposed to know to be one of the Good Guys.

What contract? Are you going to sell my email address to spammers?

Not that kind of contract, silly. The social contract is a theory put forward by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. He believed that people generally agreed to give up some of their rights in order to live in a society. That was the cost of living there.

In real life, this could be summarized by spitting on people's shoes. It's not against the law, but we've all just kind of accepted that it is something that we just shouldn't do. You won't get drawn and quartered if you do so but it certainly won't make you a whole lot of friends. Another way of putting it is that you give up the right to spit on people's shoes and in return you get the benefits of living in a society - you know, little things like easy access to food, shelter and the DSL connection you are using to read this right now.

Now on FUMBBL, there's a lot of things you can do (or avoid doing) in order to insure that we all have fun. These may be things which are perfectly legal by the rules but won't make you a whole lot of friends. It's really easy to hide behind the anonymity afforded by an IRC program but people will generally respect and appreciate it when you take extra steps to make sure everyone enjoys this thing that we are all doing for fun.

Play nice? Never! I'm playing Orcs/Goblins/Chaos/Dwarves/Dark Elves/etc..!

Yes, yes. You're a goblin shaman. Good for you. You foul. Great. You try sneaky plays to help keep your trolls fed. I'm proud of you.

Of course, that's no reason to keep your opponent from having fun. Keep him from winning? Sure. That's the whole idea! Keeping him or her from enjoying their game is just plain annoying. It's the same thing spitting on their shoes. Stop that. Didn't your mother teach you better than that?

Going back to the whole Social Contract idea, we all have to give up our perceived "right" to be do whatever we want in order for everyone as a whole to benefit from FUMBBL. If everyone acted like jerks, Christer could get sick of it and pull the plug on the whole thing. If you want to continue to enjoy FUMBBL, we all have to pitch in and give up some of our "rights" to act petulant, childish, immature, etc... Otherwise it all goes away and we all end up screwed.

So how do I become a Good Guy®™

It's not a difficult thing to do, really. Just try to remember a few simple guidelines. These are not rules by any stretch of the imagination. It's simply a few small things you can avoid to keep everyone happy and enjoying their games.


  • Have fun yourself - people can tell.
  • Keep trying - giving up is lame. If you can turn a blowout into a minor defeat, that's a victory in and of itself.
  • Take your bad luck in stride - we all go through streaks and no one wants to hear how you got cheated. It's a game of luck, largely, so don't complain when you're unlucky, right? It's going to happen. If you don't like that, play chess!
  • Talk to your opponent - this is a social event. Wish them luck, crack jokes, thank them for the game, congratulate them on good moves, boast about your star thrower, etc... Just keep it friendly. This is a board game simulation, might as well act like you're playing a board game with a buddy. Novel concept, eh?
  • Try to keep the game fun - there's never any need (or excuse!) to throw a game. That being said, however, if you're dominating the match, you might as well go for the extra SPPs. Take a few risks since you have a cushion. Don't play stupid - it's an insult to your opponent - but go for the extra points and the big plays. It's dull to play against a stalling cage when you have three guys left, you're down by 2 and it's turn 2 of the second half. Go for the TD. It's extra SPPs for you and your poor opponent - who's still on the ropes, lest we forget - actually gets to play as well. This could lead to extra scores by you and extra SPPs for both your team and your opponent. Most importantly, it's just more fun for everyone.
  • Try to play quickly - it's in the spirit of the 4 minute rule. It's not enforced here on FUMBBL but you should always at least take it into consideration. If you're chatting or you have to run to the head for a moment, that's not what I'm referring to. No need to rush to the point of making stupid mistakes but try to keep things moving along. A fast game is more fun (and more games!) for everyone.
  • Help out where you can - particularly if a new player wants a game. Offer some advice. Keep it friendly and try not to demolish his team. Yes, it's a fine learning tool, but only if they come back again. No need to drive away the folks that you may really enjoy playing down the road, right? If someone makes a mistake, you can point it out while you are scoring rather than crowdpushing his Witch Elf just for the fun of it. Again, don't throw the game but offer what help you can. A simple "Remember to stand that guy up!" works wonders.
  • Try a little empathy - No. I am not trying to neuter you or make you "sensitive." By empathy I simply mean that you should take a moment to look at what you are about to say, do, or type and consider how much it might suck to have someone say that to you. Then take another moment to try to imagine the worst possible scenario of someone hearing it. With 13,000+ coaches as of my writing this, the worst possible scenario will come up occasionally and someone who doesn't think before typing ends up sounding like an ass. Don't sound like an ass.


  • Attack your opponent - it's a game. You're both doing it to have fun. Attack your opponent's team all you want but not your opponent. Even if someone does something that annoys you, try to take it in stride. Feel free to tell them it's bothering you, by all means but don't go off on them.
  • Take yourself too seriously - it's tough. The people who take themselves too seriously never can tell... but just try to take an objective look at how you're behaving occasionally. If you'd be annoyed by yourself, then for the love of God, stop it. This is a very broad one, but a very important one.
  • Cherrypick - you can play whomever you want (within the rules) but looking for newbie coaches or unbalanced matchups ("Your rookie zons vs my 128/140 dwarves?") for the sake of Ratings is lame, dull and stunts your growth. You may think that last one is a joke, but I mean your growth as a coach. Play whom you want but try keeping it reasonable.
  • Whine if you don't like your opponent's luck / tactics / hair/ etc... - Learn from it instead. If you find yourself out of position and suffering CAS's from 2-die against blocks all day, try to laugh along. It's good karma.

Other things of note

  • turn($cheek["other"]); That's geek pseudo-code for Turn the Other Cheek. We are all familiar with the concept and I'm not going to moralize here. If you are reading this then you will either already be familiar with and live by the moral standards I'm referring to here or you won't. My rambling won't change that. I can, however, attempt to give you a simple reason that will make you act in accordance with that same moral code (which you may or may not agree with) out of self-interest. Consider it "Ethics for the Selfish 101".

    Let's say you play a match and you have a disagreement with your opponent. Naturally, just like prisoners on death row are all innocent, everyone here is always right, so we'll assume that your opponent is undoubtedly in the wrong. Yet he or she still writes something nasty in the forums about how much "u R teh suX0r." It's easy to see that this person deserves a big fat smackdown to put them in their place. Right? Now why would you possibly pass that up?

    Easy. Moral high ground. If you can blow it off you are showing yourself to be the better man (or woman, as the case may be). The best revenge is to live well.
  • Smack Talk: Gaming is a social affair. In the process of which, it can be a whole lotta fun to banter and joke with your opponent. Smack Talk is one way of phrasing friendly jabs and jokes with your opponent. Just like the taunts and jeers in professional wrestling, it's simply not real. It's a joke. For fun.

    The key to making it fun, however, is to learn to read your opponent. Don't just jump in with how much you're going to kick their ass and how you want to kill off whatever player and make them cry like a little girl. At least not to start, right? Try to get a feel for your opponent. In addition to those who simply don't enjoy it, you must always remember that an enormous percentage of the players here are non-native English speakers and little things like idioms might well get missed. You need to try your best to ensure that your opponent understands that you're just joking around. Once you find someone you can get along with, however, enjoy. It can make a game really fun.

Everyone feel free to add something here, if you want. Just write it down and add your name to the list. The more people add, the more support it lends to the idea that we should all take responsibility for our own actions and try to make the whole community as much fun as possible for all of us.

Last update: April 13, 2005