Playing the Jester is Hard Work: Survey

"My MOO is my Baby," says Martian, "I put a lot of myself into maintaining it."
Martian Adam Smyth from MidgardMOO
There's no proper way to put a value on the socializing we do on the MOO. I've met some of my best friends online. My current income is a direct result of a chance meeting with a guest on LambdaMOO who I talked to for a while, becames friends with, and now work with. As for the work we do, at all times we're improving the state of the technology from the DB side. (Survey 2)

Jan Rune Holmevik from LinguaMOO
As head administrator of a medium sized educational MOO I spend from 8-14 hours online every day. Mostly idle while I'm doing other work, but available in case someone has questions, or something comes up. (Survey 6)

As "Archimaga" of MundoHispano, Lonnie Turbee figures her work over the last two years at about 1,000 hours. A brief glance through these survey responses will reveal that her estimate is a norm for those in MOO administration. In addition, Lonnie's son is co-wiz and chief programmer for the MOO. We hope he gets time off from doing the dishes at least.

Lonnie Turbee
Until language learning MOOs are recognized as serious academic environments, I don't see much support coming from universities. The question of economic viability also has to be addressed. They are labor-intensive places. Are they worth it? Is there a way that money can be made on one of these things? Syracuse Language Systems took a hard look at this last question and decided that, no, at least in a text-based form they are not commercially viable. This doesn't mean that they're not, but the point must be taken that it's going to take a lot of creative thinking and perhaps a different way of looking at MOO before we can expect to be paid for our efforts. (Survey 11)
Juli Burke from AtheMOO
I am the arch....I am not paid....and I had NO programming training before taking this on. In fact, I learned to moo at the same time I learned to wiz. I have been very fortunate in meeting Jan Rune Holmevik and Cynthia Haynes from LinguaMOO who have worked tirelessy and patiently in training and advising me. I estimate that I have spent approximately 1,000 hours since the time I got started with the idea for athemoo. (Survey 5)

Several of the people responding reported spending class time only, or perhaps an extra hour or two on MOO. We suggest they have been able to do that because full time administrators make sure the MOO runs smoothly so they can meet their classes there. In some cases, the earlier designers leave for paid positions, and others take their place. But as noted below, a stable MOO staff is important to maintain a well run MOO.

Anon from PennMOO
For a while I was putting in about 10 hours a week and getting paid $9 per hour for it. I've since resigned from the work. My successor has far more hours and better pay for doing pretty much the same job. Recruiting instructors and bringing them up to speed is especially time consuming.

[Administrators] need to understand that the staffing should be consisten for several years if an exciting program is to evolve. Expecting workstudent students -- new ones each semester -- to create a solid MOO is unrealistic. (Survey 21)

PennMOO person's suggestion to keep records and logs, traffic and hours is sound. Claudine clearly shows what might be expected for teachers who wish to use MOO realistically for classroom use. All too often teachers do not prepare themselves as Claudine suggests in Wading Through the MUD: The Process of Becoming M** Literate.

Claudine Keenan of MediaMOO, DaMOO, VOU, Bliss, DU
I spend at least six hours each week teaching there, which generally requires six to twelve in planning and prepping there. I'm a regular Tuesday Cafegoer at Media, and for faculty development, I spend another two or three hours each week on MOOs. (Survey 17)

The bottom line here, is that the survey responses paint a picture of dedicated individuals who spend hundreds, and yes, even thousands of hours online to ensure that others might use the MOO. We have provided service, teaching, and research. We would like to end here where we started with Eric Mercer's words.

"Everyone who works on MOOs for educational purposes should have the opportunity to be paid."

Table of Contents

Janet Cross

Kristian Fuglevik