Fw: [MUD-Dev] Importance of User Documentation

Inq Admin inqcode at excalibur.inetsolve.com
Sun Oct 1 00:22:11 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000

Stephen Newby wrote:
> My main goal, is to make all commands that do not take arguments, and all
> commands
> that take them, but do not REQUIRE them (look, score, who, etc.) have help
> pages
> that are similiarly formatted, accessable by typing help followed by the
> command name,
> and commands that REQUIRE arguments (get, say, give, kill, etc.) will spit
> out a standard
> usage message when typed without arguments, or improper arguments.
> So, say a player types:

All of our helpfiles have references to similar (related) helps, and all
follow the same format (syntax, information, references) to make it
easier to follow.  They are accessible with multiple keywords, and the
help system polls all helpfiles for keywords, returning all that are
found in a delimited list.

This is somewhat spammy, but thorough as it gets all instances of a
keyword.  Alternately, regardless of the need for an argument after a
command, any specific command helpfile is accessible thru the command
interpreter by typing "command_name help" - with the exception of the IC
communication channels (say, sayto, language-specific says, and
yells).  A player can type 'commands' for the list of commands, and then
poll a specific helpfile for each command without the spam.

Our helpfiles are extensive and up-to-date, which tends to surprise
veteran MUDders who are new to our site.  In addition to command helps,
there are historical helps - bits of information which most people in the
world would know as common knowledge, with references to more in-depth
helps for those who want to know more.  This allows for general knowledge
to be easily accessible, without people having to worry about affecting
their character too much by 'knowing' more than the char should.

When a new player enters the game, their prompt says, "type help new
player", and remains that way until they either type 'prompt all' or they
do as the prompt says, and that helpfile tells them to enter 'prompt all'
to reset their prompt.

If they have questions, we have a group of new-player-helpers, with at
least one on at any given time (generally), whom the new player can be
assured will answer their questions honestly.  (ever been to one of those
muds where you ask, "How do I do blah" and are told to type
"delete" twice?)  There is also a visnet channel, which is monitored by
the Imms and veteran players - sarcastic answers are not permitted on

More often than not, a question is referred to a helpfile rather than
answered by a player:  how do I mount my horse? -->  "mount help" answers
that question.

Our histories are maintained on the website, but the helpfiles are
not.  Truthfully, I've simply not had the time to make a CGI script to do
it, and while its been on the to-do list probably longer than any other
single task, it's never had a high priority.


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