(World model) Revise LOOK UNDER
Per http://therestofyourmice.blogspot.com/2011/05/spring-thing-2011-reviews.html , revise the failure message for looking under something so that it does not suggest the looking was necessarily successful.
Also "There's nothing to be found," "It's [nouns] all the way down" (probably not, but tempting).
Possible suggestions, gleaned from ifMUD: "Nothing is evident.", "That won't help.", "There's nothing to find.", "Looking under [the foo] isn't the answer to this one.", "That would only waste time.", "There's nothing there.", "There's nothing to see."
Andrew Plotkin commented
Blocking specific cases (backdrops, scenery) would be making the default responses *more* specific. That's the wrong direction; this request is about making them *less* specific, which the defaults strive to be.
In particular, looking under backdrops is no more wrong than looking under other scenery. (Trees in a forest might be scenery or a backdrop, an implementation detail which should not be visible to the player.) And looking under scenery is no stranger than any other case -- cabinets, tables, and beds are scenery as often as not.
(It's true that a bed is rarely a backdrop. But the default response is for things that aren't beds, so knowing that doesn't help.)
You're correct that CONSULT is a similar case.
Kevin Norris commented
For starters, have a check rule to block looking under backdrops since that rarely makes sense. Maybe also have one for scenery, and of course the author can always unlist them...
Honestly I think you can get similar problems with consulting it about:
>CONSULT MOUNTAIN ABOUT ME
You discover nothing of interest in the mountain.
I mean, it's not really *wrong* per-se, but it does feel... off.
"You find nothing..." is I think intended to be fairly vague about whether you find nothing because the object is too heavy to move or because there's just nothing there. Is there a better way to phrase this? It would need to be something noncommittal that does not require the author to have flagged objects for whether they can be seen under or not.