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September 24, 1996


Confused? I'm teaching a lesson on the dynamics of a MOO and dealing with it as a human being. Join the Harpers in the Harper Office now! Or send a flit if you'd like. :) -- entered by Fletcher on Tue, Sep 24, 1996 , at 12:18 am MOO Time.




Fletcher grins. "This might be a bit basic for some of you at the beginning, but I hope to delve into particularly difficult/interesting problems near the midpoint."

You say, "There are, in my mind, four separations of a MOO. IC, PC, OOC, and RL. The first two overlap and the latter two overlap. IC = In Character, PC = Player Character, OOC = Out Of Character, RL = Real Life"

You say, "IC is, of course, Pern as our characters live it. ICly, the rest of Pern exists and thrives quite well. ICly, all our Crafts are strong and thriving, the Weyrs are full of dragons, and the Holds are probably bursting at the seems with people 'cause it's during a Pass. Anything in the earlier books should exist on Pern. As an example, a Harper wants to ICly build some drumheights for Ista. But, in our world, there already are. They just aren't PC..."

You say, "PC is what we as characters interact with. Each other, the rooms, objects, and verbs that comprise the MOO and our responses to it. PCly, our Crafts may be flourishing or nearly dead, depending on how many PCs are a part of it. The Weyrs have plenty of idle people, though ICly those people would be up there during Fall, too. Ista is PC, the rest of the world is NPC (Non Player Character)."

You say, "OOC is stuff which happens on the MOO which doesn't directly involve our PCs or NPCs. It's the channel-chat stuff, the pages, the mailers, etc. It's generally a real person talking (typing) to another real person. Sometimes it's related to the MOO, sometimes it's not."

You say, "RL stuff is the things that happen in our lives. Like me aceing my anatomy test! :) Or me walking 5 minutes to talk to Seamus. We experience things RL and, most frequently, communicate them through an OOC medium- pages, channels, etc. Any questions? Everyone understand the distinctions?"

Fletcher beams. "Excellent. Now, the problems in life arise when these areas get blurred, jumbled, or just plain misunderstood by people. The PC/IC overlap isn't such a BAD thing, it's just confusing. Like that Apprentice wanting to build Drumheights. We already have them ICly, we just don't have them PCly. It sometimes takes a bit of time for people to accept that the
rest of Pern exists. If one of your people/friends has this sort of problem, I think explaining it will clear up the confusion. Point to some of the stuff happening on the rest of Pern- the High Reaches incident, for example. No real worries. :)

You say, "The annoying bit is the PC/OOC or PC/RL overlap. This is dangerously common in relationships which seem to be permeating the MOO. Not a BAD thing in an of itself (I met MY RL gf on here! :)), but if the two people don't distinguish where the relationship ends, it can become messy at best.  Normally PC/OOC confusions arise from TSing (TinySex for those who don't know-posing sex on-MOO). Someone took it for more than their characters having a good time and can carry that to OOC- posing things their character probably wouldn't do, or expecting to TS in page or channel. IMHO, in a perfect world, people would establish where the TS lies- PC, OOC, or RL- before engaging in it."

You say, "And that's what I encourage everyone to do and encourage you to tell your friends- establish the limits of where the TS lays. TS can be very emotional for some people, it can be just another spat of RP for others.  Always try to keep that clear when you're dealing with it, or when someone you know is. I know a guy who popped off to Southern ICly with a dragonrider and had TS with her, but when they came back she felt it OOCly meant something when it was just RP for him. She was, to say the least, hurt."

You say, "Any questions/thoughts/problems so far?"

Aquaveni cheeps in agreement. TS and IC/OOC lines can be seriously blurred at times. Tis best to be certain where both you and the other person draw the IC/OOC lines.

Jayla says, "I think one thing that needs to be pointed out about TS is...there are some on here that are /very/ young and this is something that needs to be remembered also."

Terpsichore nods. My general rule for myself is just not to TS at all. Keeps it simple. But, TS can be a lot of fun. AS long as you know /who/ you're dealing with, character, or player.

Fletcher nods to Jayla in agreement. "True. But, seeing as how you can't really discern that... Something to watch out for, but I don't think it's worth agonizing over if your TS partner is of age or no. I agree, Terp, but a lot of people enjoy TS. I figure there're only so many ways you can pose moaning in ecstasy before it becomes old hat. :)"

Jayla says, "I guess you just have to practice 'safe tiny-sex'"


Aquaveni nodnods! We have some folks, 13 and under, on the MOO. You have to be very careful. There are laws that can be broken, or you can confuse some folks. Just keep an eye on your partner, and when id doubt... ask. They may lie, but...


You say, "The number one thing is to make sure the people know the division.  Use the IC/PC/OOC/RL vocabulary with your people and make sure they know the distinction."

Terpsichore nods. There are ways to RP sex without TSing. But, hey, TS can be fun. I agree. I've done it. I just try not to too much. And, my char's weyrmate is under the standard age. But, I don't TS with him, because sex, and even TS means too much to me. Make any sense?

Fletcher looks around. "Anything else before I go on? Indeed, Terp."


Bronwyn thinks emotional maturity is more important than OOC age in most cases, so it helps to get to know people oocly before trying anything like that.


Fletcher is about to go into that, Bron. :)

Fletcher nods. "Righto. The next difficulty arises from relationships on-line and RL! The RL is not common, but can arise. Sylke, for example, ICly wants little to do with Fletcher. But IRL we're bf/gf. :) It really shouldn't be a PROBLEM. If you can't work it out with your RL partner, there're other things going on in the relationship. :) The difficulty comes when an IC relationship is taken too far, interpreted to mean more than it should, or otherwise fouled up in the minds of the participants. This can be PC/OOC or PC/RL...

You say, "The PC/OOC is similar to TSing- you want to OOCly snuggle with the person, say, whom your character is married to. This is all well and good if you've both decided you need someone to snuggle with- even if it's OOC. (It IS nice- 's how Sylke and I met :)). If, though, one person want to snuggle OOCly and the other things it's RP, there can be rather large problems.
Similarly, if you're involved in an IC relationship, it's quite possible that it could turn RL. Many MANY people on here have RLly fallen for someone their character was in love with. Unless both partners seem to have the same feelings, this get real ugly and painful real quick."

Terpsichore adds that net relationships can be wonderful, but they can be awful too, just like any relationship. No matter whether they interact with words on a screen or with a voice, people are people, and can be hurt. (Random Thoughts.)

Fletcher continues, "IMHO, the best way to avoid these problems is two approaches. One, you could decide to have a relationship with a character whose player you have never, ever talked to OOCly and will never, ever talk to OOCly. It's quite difficult to build up an attraction to a nameless, faceless person who just happens to be controlling your character's spouse. The other
way is to have it with someone who's already a very good RL (or on-line) friend and you both know it won't turn OOC or RL. You just think it'd be fun. :) That way you can avoid ANY confusion on the matter. Good observation, Terp. I really, really strive to avoid relationships with people who don't fit the above criteria and I personally think if other people stuck to this, there might not be the heartache we see here on HT with some people."

You say, "Any thoughts/questions/observations?"

Terpsichore nods about the friend thing. IC relationships with non-SO's (or good friends) can be a blast. I really enjoy my characters. We have a lot of fun, without any RL mess stuck in.


Bronwyn notes that the ones who most need this advice are probably the ones who
wouldn't listen anyway. :/

Fletcher nods sadly to Bronwyn. "Which, as most of you are senior/leader types, is why I encourage you to sit down with your people and explain some of these things to them. YOU may know what to do, but often the problems arise with newcomers to HT who don't."

Bronwyn acks. "I don't even have kids and yet I have to give the birds and the bees talk!" ;)

You say, "The only real OOC/RL 'difficulty' interaction is when you know someone well on-line and want to meet them RL. I think this is just dandy and I encourage HTers to meet each other IRL as much as possible. It's lots of fun. :) The only time you might want to avoid this is when you think the other person has some sort of designs on you. Unless you have designs on
them, too, of course. :)"

You say, "Now, human beings and MOOs."

You say, "Sometimes it's difficult to imagine, but there are REAL people with REAL feelings at the other ends of these phone/ethernet connections. Real people who can be hurt emotionally by what someone says on MOO as they are by what someone in the real world tells them. Most of us don't think of this as "just a game". We have friends, comrades here. We've invested time and
energy here. When someone says something that hurts you, thinking "It's just a game" rarely helps. I've gotten upset over not getting a gold and so has Sylke and we've both said "It's just a GAME!" but it never seems to help. :) True, we're here to have fun, but we're also interacting with other PEOPLE.  Any interaction with people is, IMHO, more than a game. A game is DOOM (non-multi-player :)). This is a small community made up of PEOPLE."

Terpsichore snorts. It's just a game /never/ helps.

Fletcher nods to Terp. "So that's why I encourage people to THINK before they say things. It's a lot easier to hurl flames and hurt someone when you can't see the damage you're doing or the tears you're bringing to their eyes. I think it's important to be considerate of others always. Think about how you'd feel if someone told you that. Be thoughtful and careful of what you say, just as you should be IRL."


Gallen nods in agreement

Bronwyn likes the ‘it's just a game’ rationalization herself. To me, it means that people shouldn't get hurt because of what we do and that we should all try to respect each other.

Terpsichore thinks the one aspect of MOO life that has hurt the most people is hatchings, both dragon and firelizard. If you don't get searched, or you don't impress that special firelizard, it /hurts/. But, everyone gets over it, and everyone keeps on trying. It's just built into the system that makes us IC.

You say, "We'd like to think this is a utopia, but it's not. There're real people making this MOO up, so feelings and pain is going to be part of it.  I'd tend to disagree, Bronwyn. I've been very hurt personally by what other people have said of me or told me. When I put my very real time and very real energy into this place, to have someone wantonly flame it hurts."

Fletcher nods to Terp. "I'm convinced there's a better way, I just haven't found it yet, besides throwing Hatchings open to any who want to Impress. But that's a different topic. :)"

You say, "Any thoughts/observations on this part?"

Gallen says, "I agree with Terp, I've been to 3 hatchings, haven't impressed once, yet I continue to try."

You say, "No? Anyone have ANYTHING they want to share about the dynamics of the MOO relating to us as people before I launch into a treatise on RP?"


Bronwyn shakes her head. "I think you misunderstood me. I meant that I think of that principle before I take any action that could conceivably hurt someone or turn them off to the moo. I will tend to let things slide rather than provoke something that could hurt others."

Terpsichore nods. "Just remember that they're /people/. Not characters."

You say, "True. And things said to characters sometimes hurts PEOPLE. Okay, real quick RP thing for Gallen (any of you other senior types jump right in :)). I think RP is a very individualistic thing. I've noticed I've settled into a pattern of the following: Posing with : an action, then dialogue, then the tone of voice I used to say that. I sometimes vary that, but it works
well in general. Lots of people (especially Riders) like using @emits for almost all their poses. That bugs me vaguely if they do it ALL the time, because you have to read the whole darn pose just to find out who made it."

You say, "For flavor, though, I like @emitted poses. Colors your RP up a bit. :) Oh, lemme find it..."

You say, "Master Oriana gave me the best definition of good RP I've ever heard..."

Terpsichore isn't a senior type, but hey. (I've a band-aid now) I think RP is totally up to the individual. I tend to flip between about twelve different ways. It's just up to you. Some people adore @emits. Some people don't. Good RPers vary their RP, to refrain from severe boredom to themselves, and the watchers.

You say, "Curses, I can't find it. :( It was along the lines of: Good RP is composed of poses which express your actions clearly, is well thought-out, incorporates responses to other people or things existing, and has proper spelling, grammar, and construction."

You say, "That's what I personally think good RP is. ESPECIALLY the grammar and spelling. Very little annoys me more than people who spell wrong, capitalize wrong, don't use "" in the right places, etc."

Terpsichore also likes proper capitalization. That really bugs me when people say So_And_So says "hi"

Bronwyn adds, "Good RP is not interrupting a running tp with something completely extraneous that forces others to abandon what they were doing to pay attention to /you./ It's very annoying when this happens."

You say, "Right! Thank you, Bronwyn. TPs, interrupting RP, and all that annoys us senior people. :)"

Bronwyn hastens to add, "Most people don't mind if you join in (as long as it's in a public room), but interrupting is another thing entirely."

Aquaveni cheeps up, and agrees. I try, but sometimes my fingers get flying, and get all twixted up. But, gotta remember... some folks have the Raw Telnet demon.

You say, "Okay, when you want to instigate a TP, it's really a good idea to contact anyone who'd be affected. Example: There was an injury at or around DolphinHall and the whole group barged into Kasia's infirmary while she was treating another patient and basically demanded she participate in the RP of healing the person. This happens to Healers a lot, but it's almost beyond
rude to not ask people if it's okay if a TP involves them."

Aquaveni nods. There are always NPCs to @emit, if nothing else.

Terpsichore glances at Fletcher, and throws in a thought. "Another horrid thing is when people get ICly public and private rooms confused, and barge into a private room. And, Healers get all kinds of problems wiht that. Not just on HT, but on any Pern MOO."

Fletcher considers Baline senior, but others might not. :) "Any time you drag someone into RP for whatever reason. True, Aqua! Sometimes it's warranted- like someone's in a public place and you start talking to them and they ask you to go away. If someone's in a public place, they're by default RP_OK.

Terpsichore blushes. "Aw, tanks. And FL_OK. As in, they can't complain if you send a firelizard to watch. It's /public/. But, sometimes, people do."


Fletcher nods to Terp. "Good point. Private rooms are private rooms. Offices aren't rooms unless they're @locked. My home is my office, so basically I have no way to escape but to @lock my office. :) Never EVER enter a private room with a flit or yourself without express permission from the owner. Not doing so could qualify as harassment and at least get you taken to task by
your leader if not a wizard."

Bronwyn nodnods. "unfortunately, most newbies don't know this at first. I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt, as most people don't mean to be rude. So explaining this to them rather than @sending to *gripe is probably a good move."

Aquaveni seconds Terp. Been a Healer long enough, and yeah. As for the public, and private thing, it can be things newbies don't understand: For example, elseMOO today I was having probs with my @emit, and asked about it on [Public].  A smith newbie with a prog bit jumps into a room, a weyr, where me and another player were rping some pre-flight stuff. Just jumped in, without a ask. And then couldn't understand that even though he could, he shouldn't.

You say, "Also, some RP is just NOT to be interrupted or for you to jump in on. Generally, it's polite to wait for a few people in the room you enter to pose before YOU begin posing. And it's good RP, too. If someone's sitting in a dark corner with a dagger and you stroll up and greet them with a bright, "Hey, Fish, how ya doing?" ... It's just BAD RP. :)""

Terpsichore nods. "It's the one of the two biggest newbie problems. 1) IC/OOC/etc confusion. 2) Public/Private confusion. When a newbie does this, I just tell them politely some of the ways they can tell whether a room is public or private (Office, Room, etc. (As in Fletcher's Office.)"

Fletcher adds, "Or if someone's performing a rather complicated miscarriage, strolling into the room and tossing a bright "Hi!" to everyone will get you a scowl from the Healer, a real flaming for being SO amazingly rude from everyone in the room at worst."

Terpsichore nods. "It's best to judge the tone of the rp before hopping in. If everyone's mourning a death, being bubbly will get you /nasty/ looks, both IC and OOC."

Aquaveni always sits back, and listens for a few poses.

Fletcher NODS! "Right you are. Same kind of thing with channels- pause for a moment and see what's being talked about before jumping in with both feet and possibly disrupting an ongoing convo."

Bronwyn thinks another big problem is the confusion between the specific rules HT has on programming and building as compared to other moos. As I don't play elsemoo, I can only guess about this, but I've an app who I cannot dissuade from wishing to build areas etc.

Terpsichore thinks it's not as obnoxious on channel as in RP, but it's still nasty. Bronwyn, some people just wanna bloat the DB. I've no idea why.  


Fletcher laughs to Bronwyn! "Interesting difficulty. I've met aforementioned app, and I dunno what we can do to convince these people of the unique nature of HT as we don't hand out out progbits, etc."

Bronwyn says, "Aren't some moos a bit more building oriented? I think this is what causes the confusion."

You say, "FrontierMOO is. I tell newbies who're interested in building or chatting to go to FrontierMOO."

Aquaveni has given sorta classes on building, but that's to show them about exitless and stuff. So they use those, and cut down on db, as well as the finer points.

You say, "Anymore sagely advice we can offer to newbies?"

Terpsichore likes having a prog bit for silly reasons like ;#100.wearing, but I live without them. YES! /Read/ help and news files. /Learn/ what IC/OOC/PC/RL is, and what the differences are. /Treat/ people like people. And don't abuse the DB. :) (Can you tell I've guided before?)

You say, "Thanks, Terp. Okay, lesson over! :)"


Logfile from Fletcher





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