The Mud Connector
The Mud Connector (sometimes referred to as TMC) is a computer gaming web site which provides articles, discussions, reviews, resource links and game listings about MUDs. The site allows mud owners, administrators and enthusiasts to submit information and reviews about specific MUDs. Richard Bartle has recognized the site as containing over 1000 MUD listings, while the NY Times has recognized the site for its virtual communities suitable for children. The Mud Connector website has been referenced in over 50 print publications and has received over 50 research citations.
The Mud Connector website was founded on January 8, 1995 by Andrew Cowan and was hosted on the University of North Carolina at Greensboro mathematics department graduate assistants' Linux server.  Shortly after the website was created it was believed lost due to a fatal hard disk crash and poor backup preparations, however, within a few months the webpage was found in a Netscape cache file and restored. Initial MUD data was gathered via frequent requests made on Usenet newsgroups such as rec.games.mud.admin inviting MUD administrators to submit their muds to the TMC database. Over time the Usenet postings were phased out and TMC outgrew the capabilities of its host, eventually moving to a dedicated server.
The TMC Discussion forums are powered by a proprietory engine that is derived from Radiation's discontinued bulletin board system, called Hyperthread. Discussion threads are readable by all TMC visitors, however, only TMC members may conribute to the discussions. There are currently 16 discussion boards available covering such topics as administrative ethics and legal issues, building and coding, promotions and more. TMC's discussion boards are not proactively moderated, instead a system exists for the reporting of topics which violate the website's terms of service.
Admin and Player Submitted Reviews
TMC accepts review submissions from mud administrators and owners as well as their players. These review submissions are not automatically posted to the website, they are first examined by TMC staff to verify that they fit with the site's review submission guidelines. MUDs listed on TMC are not required to allow review postings, when the first review submission is received the administrator of the mud is notified and has the option of flagging the listing to prevent all reviews from being posted.
TMC Official Reviews
TMC provides staff-written reviews for muds which specifically request or accept an invitation by TMC to be reviewed. Over the years the TMC review team has changed frequently and often there have been large gaps of time between reviews. A typical TMC staff review is assigned to a single reviewer with the goal of breaking down the mud's gameplay into three main categories: Theme, Atmosphere and World. Additional notes are provided regarding anything that doesn't fit into one of the main categories and finally the reviewer's experience is summarized. Early reviews allowed the mud administration to include their feedback to the points covered in the review.
The Mud of the Month
In September of 1995 TMC introduced a section to the website called 'Mud of the Month'. Muds chosen as mud of the month were seen by the TMC staff to stand out in some way, to exhibit excellence and provide high quality examples of games prospective players might find available. Initially the mud of the month program ran for 3 months, the muds chosen during this time were: JediMUD in September 1995, LegendMUD in October 1995 and Ancient Anguish in November 1995. A two year hiatus followed and in January of 1998 the mud of the month returned and continued until June 1999 when the program was discontinued permanently.
TMC has won a variety of awards, including, Britannica Internet Guide Award, Feb, 2000, PCGAME.COM named Mud Connector Killer Site of the Day, October 1, 1997, while FidoCon II Best Text-Based Online Community, 2007.
- Jim McClellan (1999-01-28). "Mind game in the MUD". Guardian Unlimited.
- Michelle Slatalla (1998-02-26). "Computing; Parents' Dilemma: A Child's Own PC?". New York Times.
- "Google Book Search".
- "Google Scholar".
- Andrew Cowan (1995-01-08). "WWW Mud Connector".
- Andrew Cowan (1995-03-29). "WWW Mud Connector is back!".
- Andrew Cowan (1996-08-19). "The MUD Connector (mudlist)".