Last week you introduced a new feature called “Holmzy’s Law” which broadcasts to all players when an admin spawns something. Although it was very well received by players when first announced, something about this irked me. Rather than bitching to you before it went live, I decided to hold judgement till I saw how it performed in the wild for a couple of days.
After a weekend of it being on our servers, I'm adamant in saying: Holmzy's law doesn't work. Here's why:
It breaks immersion
One of the reasons I don’t like modded servers is due to all the extra shit showing up in chat. Chat, especially on populated servers, is already cluttered enough. Adding extra server notices pulls people's focus out of the world of Rust and creates unneeded distractions.
Now you may say, “Easy, just don’t spawn things.” Unfortunately, the current state of the game requires us to spawn items to do our jobs. And to this you’ll probably say, “That just means we need more admin tools.” You’re right, a remove tool not attached to the hammer (and one that destroys deployables) would be great.
But here's the thing: The tools we have now are workable -- I’m ok with taking a hatchet to a swastika, or even using C4 to remove a bunch of hate signs at once. What I’m not ok with is having to explain my actions to the entire server. What’s worse, the flood of abuse complaints every time I take an action. Which brings me to my next point...
It increases complaints of admin abuse
As feared when I first saw this feature, every time something is spawned - even if it’s just a hammer - the chat get’s flooded with claims of admin abuse. This is not only a detriment to gameplay by causing more distractions, it further catalyses the conversation of admin abuse. Even if most people spamming “ABOOOSE” are just trolling, new players are very likely not to get the joke, and just assume this is a server where admins abuse.
It makes admins jobs harder
As a server owner, I prefer my admins to fly under the radar. The more hands off they are, the more players can focus on the game. And, the less visible they are, the easier it is for them to focus on catching hackers and, you know, administrating the server. Every time they spawn in a hatchet to destroy something - or heaven forbid, some materials for a small hut so they can have a place above the map to rest their head - they get a barraged with verbal abuse. This not only is a huge detriment to morale, it discourages admins from performing their job.
It's easily circumvented
It’d be one thing if this was a non-obtrusive way to consistently ensure transparency across all servers (like a console command that tails a log or something), but the fact of the matter is this implementation does nothing to actually stop admins who want to abuse.
First, admins can still enter godmode, noclip, and freecam without any notice to the players -- and please, for the love of all that is holy, don’t add a broadcast for that. Second, these spawn notifications can easily be turned off with a mod which came out the day after this feature went live. And before you say, “Well that’s fine, they’ll just end up on the modded server list, and who cares what modded servers do?” Keep in mind that getting a modded server to show up on the community list is easy to do and already a prevalent issue.
Mods aside, a server owner can simply restart their server and limit other players from connecting via their firewall while they spawn in everything they want.
It's not a growing problem
Admin abuse will always occur. There hasn’t been a flood of new complaints recently, and this problem has not been snowballing overtime. The fact of the matter is some admins will abuse and, as players catch wind of it, they will go elsewhere, causing the server to fail. Furthermore, most cases of admin abuse have nothing to do with spawning items.
The whole reason it’s called Holmzy’s Law is because people were accusing your developer of abusing their admin powers. I can see how you would want to address this issue - and even add a level of transparency so you can prove your developers aren’t abusing - but to force this on all vanilla server owners strikes me as short sighted at best, and at worst, a slap in the face to an important demographic. Which brings me to my next point...
It sets a dangerous precedent
You're effectively telling players that admins can't be trusted. More so, you're saying you don't trust the people who provide the very environments where your customers play.
This creates an unhealthy context, builds a divide between admins and players, and ostracizes leaders of the entire community.
What I propose
Let server owners turn it off. When you introduced localized text chat, it seemed like a good idea, so you set it as default. Thankfully, you added it as a toggle, and as it became clear that feature was a flop, we had the ability to turn it off.
Please do the same with Holmzy’s Law. Players will be able to check if it is enabled or not, and decide for themselves where they want to play. Hell, you could even add it as a filter on the server list so people can easily choose.
I'm not saying transparency is inherently a bad thing, however, this implementation is an eyesore which does not accomplish the intended objective. Please allow server owners to disable it.