How can you tell a successful BYOND game from a game that is destined to fail? One might think that determining this quality would involve actually playing the game in question. I've come to rely upon a much faster, easier to use method that doesn't involve actually playing the game at all. In its simplest form, my technique involves a simple count of how many "GM's" a game has. The more the merrier? Not quite.
The term GM stands for Game Master. It is assumed that a Game Master is around to A.) Prevent attacks on the server and moderate player behavior, and sometimes B.) Be the storyteller for some sort of role playing game. However, being a GM in a BYOND game has taken on a different meaning. A BYOND GM is usually a very immature person who loves to abuse their moderation power. In fact, being a GM in a game merely seems to mean that you have way more power than normal players, not to mention a special icon and some nice administrative commands. Traditionally a Game Master should only be there to make the game as enjoyable as possible for the players, yet it seems that GM's are now around solely to make the game more enjoyable for themselves.
"Can I be a GM?" is the most frequently asked question in any BYOND game. The reason this question is asked so often is that the answer is typically yes, or "Yes, if you give me something." It is absolutely ridiculous to be passing out administrative power like it is candy. Things have reached the point where people are now selling the ability to be a GM. On top of that, after playing a game for a long time, some people feel that they should be made a GM out of respect. This type of thing wouldn't be such a major problem if the people becoming GM's weren't absolute losers.
Logging into a game and seeing a GM swear a lot or use insults such as "gay" is usually a clear indication that it's time for me to log out. Usually, when I point out that the GM's language is offensive I'm banned on the spot, so I don't even have to bother with logging out myself. Other GM's are incredibly sensitive to what players are saying. Trying to give constructive criticism or even mentioning the name of another game that the GM feels is in competition with their game usually results in getting the boot. If the game's creator has used vulgar words in the introduction text, you can usually tell that there will be plenty of childish GM's that will mute your character or throw you in the dungeon for looking at them the wrong way.
The number of GM's is also a very clear indicator. Why does a game need more than 2 or 3 people with moderation power? There is no possible way that a game can have that many problematic players. When you see a game with 5 or 6 GM's, you can gather that most, if not all of them have bought or begged their power.
Most of my experience with creator-player interaction comes from Dragon Warrior Online. From the beginning I decided that I would be the sole moderator. After all, I was the main server host and therefore I was on most of the time that the game was being played. The people who played it soon started asking if they could help with the game -- then as a reward for their generous contribution be made a GM. I never accepted these kinds of offers, and instead of yelling at the people who asked me for power, I politely told them that the game was just fine with me as the sole moderator. I didn't want them to view me as rude, otherwise they would stop playing my game. In fact, being kind to even the most ignorant of players has worked out quite well. Instead of developing some sort of resentment for me, most players come to at least respect me. I also make a special effort not to use any language that might offend anyone, especially first time players. Who wants to give someone the satisfaction of playing their game if the person who made the game is a vulgar moron?
It took me a long time to give another person moderation power in DWO. Cable Monkey became the main server host, and after getting to know him I knew he would be very courteous to players and not abuse the power. Right now I can list about ten other well known DWO players who I would trust with moderation power, but the fact is that they aren't needed. If someone is attempting to spam, Cable Monkey or I can be there within a few hours at most and ban them for good. The names of people who violate the rules are posted on the forums, and usually after an investigation they are dealt with appropriately.
I've come to despise the term "GM." To me it has taken on a very foul meaning. As a result I use the word Administrator, which also seems to give players a clearer picture of what the people in power are there to do.
Obviously there is more to making a good game than having respectable Administrators. That said, having poor Administrators can ruin even the best of games. If you follow three basic rules you should do just fine:
1.) Remember that as an Administrator, your main goal is to provide a positive playing environment for all players. You are not there to show off or play with your power.
2.) Be kind to everyone you meet. Even if a person has logged into your game for the sole purpose of telling you how bad it is, treat them with respect. If a banning is in order, make sure that plenty of warning is given and don't insult the person. Your goal should be to make people who play your game respect you.
3.) When appointing additional Administrators, remember that "less is more." Make sure that you know them well enough to judge whether or not they will do their job well. Don't give someone power as a payment or reward.