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The Notiques Doctrine is the name given to Epitaph's policy on creator contribution. Whilst Epitaph has a volunteer developer base and while all volunteering is appreciated, there are problems in retaining creators who do not contribute code on a regular basis. The Notiques Doctrine outlines the minimum level of contribution expected of creators.

The Problems

Non-contributing creators cause several problems. One is that they look bad from a player perspective - having creators who don't log on makes the game look as if it isn't actively staffed. Having creators who log on but don't contribute is also bad from a player perspective, because an online creatorbase implies a certain level of active development that will be at odds with actual game progress. From a developer perspective it makes it more difficult to strategise and creates a false impression of the amount of creator-power available for developments.


With this in mind, the following is what is expected of a developer in an active development domain:

1) Creators are expected to produce, on a monthly basis, something of value and interest to the game. This doesn't have to be huge, but it should be significant. It should be on a par with a couple of rooms with interesting loot, an NPC with unique interaction possibilities or a new quest.

2) Creators are expected to produce, on a bi-annual basis, something substantial. This should be on a par with a reasonably sized new area (40-50 rooms, including quest(s)), a fully fleshed out faction, an involved quest chain, or a new gameplay system.

3) Creators are expected to be familiar with the game. That means playing it - you should explore game systems from a player perspective, and make an effort to familiarise yourself with any developments that other creators have put in the game. You don't have to be an expert on everything, but you should be able to discourse intelligently on all game features.

Who is bound by this?

All creators in active development domains are bound by the doctrine - this will primarily be the Game and Admin domains. Creators in Cemetery are not bound by these requirements, and creators in the Support domain will have contribution expectations that are measured in other ways.

What if I can't meet this level of contribution?

On an incidental basis, it's not a problem - real life always comes first. If you're not going to be able to meet the thresh-hold for a more sustained but temporary basis, then speak to your domain lord so you can be marked as being on leave. However, outwith incidental lapses (which do not need to be pre-approved) and being on leave, if you are able to log on, it is expected you are able to contribute. If you are not able to contribute, then unfortunately your position on Epitaph is not tenable.

How fair a level of contribution is this?

It is the view of the administration of Epitaph that these contribution criteria are not excessive - in fact, they represent in many cases a very low level of contribution. 40 rooms over six months would require a room to be coded every four-and-a-half days. Depending on your level of confidence, quests may be more time-consuming to code, but assuming forty rooms and two quests you could have a month for each quest and still have three days per room.

These criteria are quite vague!

There is some truth in that, but it's a necessary consequence of the fact I don't simply want to worry about performance metrics, code counting or any of the other flawed measures of contribution. Think of it in terms of a future query, if someone asked 'so, what have you been doing with your time?'. The answer to that should be uncontroversially convincing. Some level of judgement will be involved here, and you should consult with your domain leader in cases where you are unsure - your domain leader will be the one to eventually rule on the issue.

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