A Day in the Life of an Old Admin

The automatic doors slide open with a soft whoosh as a susurrus of conversation rolls over me like a breaking wave. It is 4:15 AM on Friday at Logan International Airport and the security queue is already overflowing into the ticketing area. With a resigned sigh, I jostle into the back of the line and slip my phone out of my pocket. With a swipe and a tap, I open up Slack as a way to pass the time until I can get through the TSA checkpoint. The #lusternia channel rolls open, informing me that there are 300+ unread comments. I see similar notifications for #issues, #ephemerals, #design, and #social. I dismiss the social channel notification; I don’t have time to be social.

I scroll through the general Lusternia channel, skimming the conversation. There is some talk about the anniversary scavenger hunt not going as planned. It transitions to a brief discussion about sticking with the tried-and-true way of how we have always done and I nod slightly to myself with a bitter grumble about these kids trying to be inventive. One of our ephemerals chimes into the conversation further on that it is good to try new things. I give myself a mental shake, wondering when I turned into a curmudgeon who hates change. I wasn’t around for the scavenger hunt but the idea behind it was actually very cool and a nice change of pace for something we have done virtually the same thing with for years. I remind myself to start thinking outside the box again, even if trying something new is hard. I keep my thoughts to myself (probably for the first time) and keep scrolling.


I switch over to #design and read through a discussion about an existing design rule. I’m not really sure what to say but the Charites insisted that I be part of the design team since I am technically a Design Assistant and former mortal reviewer. I weigh the options and type in a non-committal, vague suggestion about just doing something simple. Feeling pleased with myself for both contributing but also not actually doing anything.


I am in range of the security checkpoint, so I slip my phone back into my pocket and try to remember where I packed my 3 oz. or less toiletry liquids. I make it through, as usual, and work to put my belt back on without missing any belt loops. As I stride purposefully off to my gate, my work phone beeps to notify me about a reported workplace injury and an e-mail from my boss about an upcoming meeting with one of the company presidents (why is he awake this early?!). It looks like Lusternia will have to wait awhile.


Some hours later and I scoot my chair up to my desk, booting up mudlet and logging into the game as I text my boss that I am “working from home”. I go through my usual routine: checking messages (just some Patron requests that I know Jadice is already working on and a notification that a bug was assigned to me), changelogs (I have no idea what some of them even mean anymore– it has been awhile since any of that stuff was relevant to me), and news posts (I skip all of politics, skim Estarra’s weekly update, and then browse Hallifax’s news but don’t see anything in there that I need to be concerned about).


The next order of business is checking on issues. The list is overwhelmingly long, but customer service is always my number one priority so I do a quick look-through. I leave my comments on a few issues here and there; check some issues that need a coder and silently thank one of the new Issues Assistants for checking on them; take a look at an issue another Issue Manager referred to me and comment with my agreement on their proposed resolution, and finally resolve a few of the open issues that are ready to be completed. The thing about issues is that they all take time, and that is not something I have in abundance. Each one needs to be carefully reviewed, investigated, and checked against past precedent. I take care of the few that I can, but stop myself once I feel like I am rushing my responses. I hope to myself that another issue handler can resolve more of them before I am wracked with what another admin calls “Issue Manager Guilt” for allowing issues to sit too long in the queue, but there are few of us so I know the guilt will come.


I open up my web browser and navigate over to the forums. I am nominally one of the lead forum moderators but mostly I just like to read the threads to stay connected to what players are thinking. I skim through Tweets, Raves, Questions, and Ideas, privately cultivating ideas for myself and suggestions for changes to current systems while trying not to feel defensive about the criticisms. Most of these thoughts will never see the light of day, but they help guide my opinions when we discuss things as a group. I spot no extravagant derails of Tweets and bless the playerbase before clicking on. I pop into a thread about Envoy reports and see a huge outpouring of gratitude for the changes. A small knot of jealousy grows in my stomach, though I try to force it away. Even more than players are, I am grateful for the work our coders do because it so greatly impacts the game and makes my life as an admin much easier as well as making my role as a god more flavourful. I know the emotional trauma the coders face when I ask them to dive into the library and family code or beg them for quality-of-life changes when they already have a huge to-do list, and I could not be more thankful for them. For me, however, it is still hard not to feel jealous of the very public praise and visibility the coders get, while I shuffle off into the Oneiroi shell to do anything administrative that is visible to players. I fret for a bit about whether Estarra, the other admin, or the players even recognize the work I do or if they appreciate it. Deep down, I hope so, but feeling bad about it isn’t going to solve anything.


Circling back around to my messages, I check on the bug that was assigned to me. It is, frustratingly, a web bug. I’m one of the webmasters, so they all come my way eventually. Dealing with the website is a slog, at best, and anything to do with the forums is an endless headache. I open up the administrative view of the website but can’t figure out why things are displaying all weirdly. It eventually gets referred to IRE and solved by closing an open HTML tag in Drocilla’s blog post. I feel silly for not finding that myself but the website is definitely not my hill to die on.


It is getting late and I have so many existing projects I should be working on, but I open up the admin twiki and glance over my proposal for a new area. The idea has been bouncing around my skull for over a year now, but I’ve finally put pen to paper (in a way) and got the idea fleshed out. It’d involve new mechanics and looking at an area in a way we never have before. It seems daunting but I’m excited about it. A lot of the inspiration has come from feedback and suggestions on the forums over the years and I’m hoping it is successful. It is a huge project though, so I make my tweaks and hit the button to save for later.


My cell phone lets out a short little buzzt against the compressed board of my desk, telling me I need to leave now if I am going to make it to dinner and margaritas with my friends. I sigh a little, feeling like I haven’t accomplished much and have not even interacted with my Order. Before I hit QQ, I wonder briefly about how long I’ve been doing this and how much more time I’ve got left in me. I key in a quick command:


Creation Date: Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Zvoltz has played 4109.6 hours total since creation.


I smile slightly and log out.




While this may not be a particularly revealing inside scoop on Havens life, Drocilla’s recent blog post inspired me to put my thoughts about adminhood down into a blog. One of the biggest problems I see with the admin-player relationship is that sometimes we feel frustrated for players not seeing things from our perspective when in reality so much goes on behind the scenes that we can’t expect players to know. I hope that this honest look about a typical day (or week, since I’m on the road so much that I can’t always log in) of thoughts and feelings helps create a better connection between us all. My activities and thoughts are only my own, and every admin has different responsibilities and experiences. These are some of mine.