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 Dealing with non-canon backstory/roleplay
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Beeps
 Wednesday, January 05 2011 @ 08:36 PM UTC (Read 9630 times)  
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This is something I've been trying to figure out for a while now. In many cases, it's rookies who haven't read up on things, but in some cases those rookies never get corrected/reprimanded for it and become regulars.

How do we deal with people in Story claiming things that don't fit with the II world? I suppose another question here is what fits in with the II world? Since, short of the short-time-span references to meeting yourself on the Island, there are no mentions of the ability to open holes in the fabric of time and space, it doesn't seem like demons, trans-dimensional joyriders, time travelers, or people with demonic/possessed weapons fit with the II theme. It's something I was basically trying to overlook when I started, as it was just one or two people, and they generally seemed innocuous, but at this point we've got what seems like half a dozen people from the past, new types of demon (Each claiming that only they are real demons) every few days, and just... General nonsense that doesn't make sense within the realms of what is explained. "Magic powers" is explicitly listed on the roleplay wiki on Things Not To Do, but it seems in the past few months, it's been "anything goes" with backstory, to the point where I'm the bad guy for bringing it up.
Not that I mind being a bad guy, it's just that the "good" guys in these cases are whiny bastards.

At what point do you stop chuckling and saying, "Oh, they think they're magic, that's cute," and have to actually broach the subject of what they're doing being complete nonsense?

(If you ever happen to catch me doing something you don't think is canon, also feel free to say something. I do try to think out most of what I do, but it can backfire.)


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Temper
 Wednesday, January 05 2011 @ 09:12 PM UTC  
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I've noticed that as well, and I must admit it does bother me somewhat. Especially when the people who do it just didn't see or maybe slipped through the cracks and never found out about what is good and what is not (Hard as that is to imagine, with all the very helpful players offering links and their own examples), and are perfectly wonderful people to roleplay with in every other respect. It's actually the reason I don't really go into my own character's backstory much, despite the fact that it does affect how she acts. It's also one of the reasons why "What were you?" or "What was life like before coming to the Island?" never comes up. And I do tend to throw questions at new people. Even older players, when meeting them for the first time.

In short, I have no answers.

Which is usual.


 
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Ashtu
 Wednesday, January 05 2011 @ 09:23 PM UTC  
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New player lands in NewHome, looks around, notices the lack of demons, decides he'll be the first!

"Forum? What forum? I don't need to read no stinking forum, I'm just here to roleplay, and obviously, none of the players already here have any idea of how to do that!"

Rinse and repeat.


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tehdave
 Wednesday, January 05 2011 @ 09:28 PM UTC  
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Personally, I don't understand why people bring other universes and anti-canon backstories and whatnot into the game, since the setting for II really gives you a lot to work with, depending on how you do it. I've always found that my favorite characters to play with are based entirely within II canon or with very few deviations. Which isn't to say that I particularly dislike anyone for non-canon RP, but it does turn me off a bit from interacting with them, especially if they play up their anti-canon side a lot. If, on the other hand, there's non-canon or anti-canon material in someone's backstory/character but it's played rather well and fits the setting regardless then I'm a bit more inclined to let it slide. Mostly, it's a matter of having things [/b]Fit The Setting[/b] of II. Hell, one of my favorite characters is Ebenezer...who is one of the most boring, normal people on the Island. But he's played very well into the setting.

As far as what fits in with the II world? I'd say...if it's funny without being obnoxious, it probably fits. Funny, however, is incredibly subjective, so I'd watch my step with it, if I were going for something non-canon for funny purposes. Some people can pull it off, some can't. I myself try to stick as close to Canon as I can, just because I love the setting, and making things work within the limitations set by II.

I'm not sure I've been clear with this...a bit out of it today...but basically, TL;DR - I find sticking to Canon to be more enjoyable to play as/with, and don't see a point to bringing in random shit from outside II's 'verse...

edit: Dealing with it? I mostly ignore it, myself, and try to set a good example. Also, what Tinfoilhat up there said.


Isn't sanity just a one-trick pony anyway? All you get is one trick: rational thinking. But when you're good and crazy, oooh, oooh, the sky's the limit.
 
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dizzyizzy
 Wednesday, January 05 2011 @ 09:44 PM UTC  
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I know I'm not perfectly canon (my character's never had a memory wipe, he wears a t-shirt even though he's a joker, etc.), but when I see people running around claiming to be magic and such, i see it as:

1. Lazy. In this regard, it's not that much different than a rookie deciding THEY'RE THE MOST POWERFUL MASTER OF IMPROBABILITY EVER or THEY'RE PART CAT or whatever. Do your time IN THE GAME working towards being a Joker or a Kittymorph or what have you, believe it or not, everyone else had to as well.

2. Extremely disrespectful. This partly goes along, in the roleplaying community, with the lazy bit: you can't plop down on the island and claim to be the most powerful sorcerer ever. First off, look around at the veteran players who've been around a while, and who's characters are extremely powerful in story. Examples that come to mind are people such as Lysander, Bob, and Jakell. Never once have I seen any of them claim to be the "most powerful" elementalist/ice joker/titan killer ever. Jakell's title is the closest it gets, and frankly, he can back it up in game.

The higher disrespect, though, is for CMJ. He poured his time, money, and heart into crafting this other world for you to play in, and you're gonna step in and completely ignore everything he's put in place? It's disgusting.


 
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Beeps
 Wednesday, January 05 2011 @ 09:53 PM UTC  
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Quote by: dizzyizzy


1. Lazy. In this regard, it's not that much different than a rookie deciding THEY'RE THE MOST POWERFUL MASTER OF IMPROBABILITY EVER or THEY'RE PART CAT or whatever. Do your time IN THE GAME working towards being a Joker or a Kittymorph or what have you, believe it or not, everyone else had to as well.


This is specifically why I hemmed and hawed at entering Story when chatting in Banter as Ricky Juarez. Given that he was supposed to be a 'morph, it seemed only fair that I get the DK under his belt to let him be a 'morph before I entered Story, even if I entered Story as a rookie despite the DK.

I'm seeing a lot of agreeing and not much in the way of answers, sadly. I think this is also part of the problem - The solutions for issues on II seem to be "Ignore it and hope it goes away" or "Get a mod."


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Count Sessine
 Wednesday, January 05 2011 @ 10:20 PM UTC  
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"Get a mod." Hm, well. There's only so much a mod can do, you know.

It has been going on, so far as I can tell, since the days of the Pilot; it was certainly in full force when I arrived early in Season One. If there could only be characters with a backstory that conformed to canon (you know: kidnapped from a home on the mainland, hit over the head and drugged, dropped from an airplane), the Island would be quite thoroughly depopulated and we would lose some of the best characters in the game. (I'd have to leave, too; Sessine happens to be from the far, far distant future of what is probably but may not be an alternate timeline.)

This is a natural result of the signup process, which makes people choose their characters before they have any notion of how much roleplaying there is in the Island, or what its culture is going to be like. It's quite usual for people to use a handle that's been theirs in a bunch of forums, or their character out of another roleplaying game, or someone out of a story they're writing, or their favorite webcomic, or (as in my case) a book they just read.

I think what counts is, not the backstory itself, but how creatively the player is able to integrate a non-standard backstory with the Island as it is. That, however, takes writing talent -- and, quite often, practice... so one should be patient with Rookies who are not doing so well. Some of them do get better! And the ones who don't get better, tend to drift away.

As for how to handle it when you see someone doing something they just shouldn't be able to do, and it's so far out of line you have to say something? Well, try to be tactful. Use distractions. Offer praise for what they're doing right, if you can, along with advice.

There's been so much of this going on, that I would expect a veteran's usual response to be a polite but unimpressed, "That's nice, dearie, I expect you've met the others. Care for some tea?"


 
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dizzyizzy
 Wednesday, January 05 2011 @ 10:21 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Beeps

Quote by: dizzyizzy


1. Lazy. In this regard, it's not that much different than a rookie deciding THEY'RE THE MOST POWERFUL MASTER OF IMPROBABILITY EVER or THEY'RE PART CAT or whatever. Do your time IN THE GAME working towards being a Joker or a Kittymorph or what have you, believe it or not, everyone else had to as well.


This is specifically why I hemmed and hawed at entering Story when chatting in Banter as Ricky Juarez. Given that he was supposed to be a 'morph, it seemed only fair that I get the DK under his belt to let him be a 'morph before I entered Story, even if I entered Story as a rookie despite the DK.

I'm seeing a lot of agreeing and not much in the way of answers, sadly. I think this is also part of the problem - The solutions for issues on II seem to be "Ignore it and hope it goes away" or "Get a mod."



it's difficult to deal with these issues as a player. You can poke and prod them towards the wiki, but they don't have to listen to you. more than that, and you risk overstepping your bounds. It really sucks that basically all we can do is tell on them, but it's the mod's job to be the bad guys, not ours.

For a lot of these characters, they're really after the attention, and want to be the center of the scene. It can be effective to ignore them until they finally ask why.


 
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Beeps
 Wednesday, January 05 2011 @ 10:33 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Count+Sessine

"Get a mod." Hm, well. There's only so much a mod can do, you know.

It has been going on, so far as I can tell, since the days of the Pilot; it was certainly in full force when I arrived early in Season One. If there could only be characters with a backstory that conformed to canon (you know: kidnapped from a home on the mainland, hit over the head and drugged, dropped from an airplane), the Island would be quite thoroughly depopulated and we would lose some of the best characters in the game. (I'd have to leave, too; Sessine happens to be from the far, far distant future of what is probably but may not be an alternate timeline.)

This is a natural result of the signup process, which makes people choose their characters before they have any notion of how much roleplaying there is in the Island, or what its culture is going to be like. It's quite usual for people to use a handle that's been theirs in a bunch of forums, or their character out of another roleplaying game, or someone out of a story they're writing, or their favorite webcomic, or (as in my case) a book they just read.

I think what counts is, not the backstory itself, but how creatively the player is able to integrate a non-standard backstory with the Island as it is. That, however, takes writing talent -- and, quite often, practice... so one should be patient with Rookies who are not doing so well. Some of them do get better! And the ones who don't get better, tend to drift away.

As for how to handle it when you see someone doing something they just shouldn't be able to do, and it's so far out of line you have to say something? Well, try to be tactful. Use distractions. Offer praise for what they're doing right, if you can, along with advice.

There's been so much of this going on, that I would expect a veteran's usual response to be a polite but unimpressed, "That's nice, dearie, I expect you've met the others. Care for some tea?"


Agreed, but there was also some discussion elsewhere that it's the mod's job to be a jerk when it comes down to it. That said, Going crying to the higher-ups when someone's backstory doesn't agree with my fragile belief of how II works isn't going to make things any better, either.
I'm not saying that everyone has to be a human, dropped on the island. Lord knows I'm not, but I also worked with the story to try to make myself fit in. I am/was an island monster, which explained the fact that it seemed to be a reference to present-day references like all the other monsters were. I wasn't an RC Delorean with a computer head traveling through time. Even within canon, there's a lot of stuff you can be or do. I got a little bit of shit about it, but everyone who said something also stated that I was playing it acceptably.
The last time someone brought it up, I suggested that all the different people claiming to be demons get together and have some sort of conference. In retrospect, putting them together to brainstorm might be a bad idea.

Quote by: dizzyizzy


For a lot of these characters, they're really after the attention, and want to be the center of the scene. It can be effective to ignore them until they finally ask why.

This is what I've been doing. More recently we've had one person throwing tantrums in Story over it. Repeatedly. Eventually someone usually buckles and says something, and the person in question doesn't learn anything.


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Caleb
 Wednesday, January 05 2011 @ 10:56 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Beeps

I'm seeing a lot of agreeing and not much in the way of answers, sadly. I think this is also part of the problem - The solutions for issues on II seem to be "Ignore it and hope it goes away" or "Get a mod."



That's perhaps a little unfair. In lots of cases, especially where people are breaking the rule of 'Don't be a dick', those are the best available options, alongside politely asking them via Distraction or Banter channel to stop.

In the case of dubious backstories/roleplay, where nobody's necessarily being a dick but you just don't like what they're claiming to be/able to do, well -- you can either point them gently in the direction of the roleplaying advice on the wiki or ignore it, but you can't make a person change their character. I reckon the best defense against Rookie Samael Godkiller, Lord of a Thousand Hells is simply to provide a good example and make sure there's always a helpful link or two floating about in NewHome or L4. And recognise, maybe, that there will always be one or two people who just really, really want to be a giant demon, no matter how many hints you drop.

Plus, everyone makes mistakes when they first start out. It takes time to get used to the feel and style of a place; if somebody's stumbled across here from, say, a roleplaying forum with a D&D style fantasy theme, they might not think twice about importing one of their elvish priests or whatnot. It's what they're used to, it's easier than making a completely new character for a place you know nothing about and hey, look, it's Improbable Island! Anything could happen, right? (As a matter of fact, that's basically what I did; Caleb was a character that I'd used on another forum, and if I told you what his backstory originally was you'd probably laugh yourself a hernia.)

Given time, I'm some of the people you find objectionable now will mellow, smooth over the glaring inconsistencies in their characters or just not make such a big deal about their demon horns/pointy ears/fae magycks.

Edit: Whoops, took too long and Sessine said it far better than I could. Still.


 
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Count Sessine
 Wednesday, January 05 2011 @ 11:02 PM UTC  
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Quote by: dizzyizzy

it's difficult to deal with these issues as a player. You can poke and prod them towards the wiki, but they don't have to listen to you. more than that, and you risk overstepping your bounds. It really sucks that basically all we can do is tell on them, but it's the mod's job to be the bad guys, not ours.

For a lot of these characters, they're really after the attention, and want to be the center of the scene. It can be effective to ignore them until they finally ask why.

Yes, it is my job to be the bad guy if someone's inexperienced roleplaying is veering in the direction of harassing other players. As for the rest -- well, I have been known to offer friendly advice.

What works best for most rookies, I've noticed, is Ebenezer's approach. Don't ignore them... that only gets them trying harder and harder to get attention. Rather, give them the attention they want -- as a person. Ignore the bizarre behavior, or take it in stride, or kindly cure them of any "improbable" malady they may have invented as an attention-grabber. Explain behind the scenes, if you have to. (In a distraction, not banter!) Welcome them, be someone they would like in real life, and change the subject to something interesting they can take part in.


 
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hajen
 Wednesday, January 05 2011 @ 11:52 PM UTC  
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ok, brutally frank mode with maybe some being passive aggressive thrown in for good measure. Wink

rule number two - don't take the game or yourself too seriously. an elitist attitude is anathema to nurturing the rookie population. the perfect novel isn't written straight to paper the first time at it; it gets revised and rewritten, the editor knocks holes in it and tears it to shreds; then it gets revised and rewritten some more with even more polishing done by all parties involved. either help them refine their RP or if they baulk at your assistance, ignore them. but unless they're breaking rule number one, don't tell them what they can and cannot do on the island. Razz
what is canon? what you're talking about is community standards, which can be either static or evolving (static meaning dead). if rookie noobenstein decides he wants to RP Jesus H. Christ and does it well without inconsistencies, besides bruising my sensibilities, who am i to say that II doesn't now have a Christ on it or a loony who thinks he is (depending on how he RPs it). Cool

TL : DR if they're not hurting you (breaking rule number one), get over it; either influence them to play in your worldview or ignore them.

and yes i have issues with people assuming quasi-admin roles, just ask me about PvP. Twisted Evil
Exclaimation all the smilies would be the passive aggressive part


"tis better to be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt"
 
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Beeps
 Thursday, January 06 2011 @ 12:49 AM UTC  
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what is canon? what you're talking about is community standards, which can be either static or evolving (static meaning dead). if rookie noobenstein decides he wants to RP Jesus H. Christ and does it well without inconsistencies, besides bruising my sensibilities, who am i to say that II doesn't now have a Christ on it or a loony who thinks he is (depending on how he RPs it).


Canon is the world that this takes place in. If CMJ says the Drive can't be bargained with, the Drive can't be bargained with. This is canon.
Rookie ImABigDemonRar claiming that he told the Drive to make him a demon is non-canon. This is also colloquially known as "bullshit."

The problem I have with it is that, accepting the backstories of some players, in a sixty year span:
  • a few dozen "SECRET SUPER ARMIES" that were put together recently enough that they were unfazed by a total world collapse, and then sent their soldiers to be on a TV show "because."
  • At least half a dozen different versions of "Hell" became reality.
  • Magic retroactively became something that's been around for centuries.
  • [Generic Anime environment here] was real, or something similar was created.


Community standards are things like the fact that it is preferred that people have grammar, spelling, and punctuation skills. Using capital letters, so forth.
Exclaimation This would be the passive-aggressive part.


If someone wants to play as Jesus, I'll gladly treat them like the total nut they are. In fact, I generally try to do precisely that for dealing with people who irk me. What I'm asking for here is suggestions on how to respond to "Rookie Superman says 'Look what I can do!' and jumps 10 feet in the air."
The options thus far have been:
  • Ignore them, hope they ask in banter why no one will talk to them, and explain, or tell them in a Distraction.
  • Downplay ____ skill they've sprouted.
  • Run crying to admins with a hurt sensibilities complaint.


As mentioned a couple times here, ignoring them banks on the fact that the rookie will actually behave rationally and try to talk to people in Banter. We already have one person who starts screaming and swearing in Story instead.

There are a number of things you can do to downplay claims, but when it comes to actions it becomes harder. You can respond with, "That's nice," if they're just saying that they can jump ten feet in the air. If they're bouncing around the outpost, more response is necessary. The last person who did this was essentially stopped and questioned in the middle of the outpost by... I think it was Hanlon. And they didn't get that he was trying to politely bring up that it was non-canon. Of course, my personality's been hit with the ugly stick enough that I just called it bullshit and the guy ran off crying. Responding incredulously without addressing the fact that it's nonsense seems likely to be taken as a reason to be more over the top to try to impress people. The only other thing I can think of is to downplay it by doing something mundane, yet still requiring skill - juggling, for instance. Of course, this also doesn't teach them that what they're doing is wrong, and might be taken as mocking.

The last option really doesn't apply in most cases, which is why I stated that before. "Contact a mod" is an extreme case, one which I can only think of one or two instances in which a VISITATION FROM THOSE ABOVE was warranted, and events were often short enough that it would have been over by the time a mod arrived. It didn't make the behaviour any less wrong, and has been repeated.


I'm not here to bitch about things I don't like. If I was just going to do that, I'd say it to the person's face, hurt a bunch of feelings, and be generally disliked by the rookie population. I, as a player, don't care if I scare off people who came here from Gaia Online or Neopets or whatever community they came from with no predetermined background. As someone who runs a business, I understand that users scaring off other prospective paying users is a bad thing. Similarly, nonpaying users who may become paying users driving current, paying users off is also bad. (Not a perfect analogy, but when you're living off the site, call it donations or call it a payment, it's a source of revenue.) This is why I'm trying to ask for suggestions on how to handle them without driving them off, or getting so frustrated that I no longer want anything to do with it.


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Ebenezer
 Thursday, January 06 2011 @ 12:50 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Count+Sessine


What works best for most rookies, I've noticed, is Ebenezer's approach. Don't ignore them... that only gets them trying harder and harder to get attention. Rather, give them the attention they want -- as a person. Ignore the bizarre behavior, or take it in stride, or kindly cure them of any "improbable" malady they may have invented as an attention-grabber. Explain behind the scenes, if you have to. (In a distraction, not banter!) Welcome them, be someone they would like in real life, and change the subject to something interesting they can take part in.



I have, on occasion, ignored people completely. I wrote a post earlier today, in another thread, advising people to ignore. Though, that was a slightly different matter: a person who is not trying to get along with anyone, but just making trouble in an attempt to get attention. If you can't respond calmly, then don't respond at all, I think.

But, many times, the ones that do the things we think are bizarre are trying, but they just don't realize that it doesn't quite fit with what we expect.
I think that writers will try to make their characters magical or odd because they think that's how to make a character interesting. (The fact that I have a "boring" character has really helped me out here, I think. I didn't plan it that way, but Ebenezer is proof to the rookies that they don't need to do anything bizarre to be interesting and liked).

If you show interest in everything but the bizarre oddities, then that is a good hint to a newb that they should be paying more attention to other things. People do want attention.
I usually ask all the rookies questions like: What do you do (what is your job)? Do you have any hobbies? Do you have any family back home?
I also like to suggest, about hobbies and occupations, "Oh, you could use that here on the Island!" That's a clue, for newbs, that they can make a plot out of their character trying to find a way to keep doing the things they love to do. Normal things like cooking or painting or sewing or playing music, opposed to the bizarre things that we don't want to encourage.

Just encourage the things you like about characters by showing interest in it and act totally disinterested in things you don't like. Newbs are usually eager to please and a lot of them will respond to this.
And try not to worry too much about the ones that don't respond to it. (Yeah, I know that nobody wanted to hear that. Sorry, everyone).


 
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Beeps
 Thursday, January 06 2011 @ 01:09 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Ebenezer


If you show interest in everything but the bizarre oddities, then that is a good hint to a newb that they should be paying more attention to other things. People do want attention.
I usually ask all the rookies questions like: What do you do (what is your job)? Do you have any hobbies? Do you have any family back home?
I also like to suggest, about hobbies and occupations, "Oh, you could use that here on the Island!" That's a clue, for newbs, that they can make a plot out of their character trying to find a way to keep doing the things they love to do. Normal things like cooking or painting or sewing or playing music, opposed to the bizarre things that we don't want to encourage.

Just encourage the things you like about characters by showing interest in it and act totally disinterested in things you don't like. Newbs are usually eager to please and a lot of them will respond to this.
And try not to worry too much about the ones that don't respond to it. (Yeah, I know that nobody wanted to hear that. Sorry, everyone).


This is very much the sort of thing I'm looking for.

The other case I've been trying to handle is groups of people who are all unaware that they're annoying others. I'm speaking from experience on the other side here, as it happened to my clan in the first couple months, and it rapidly got ugly because of some poor wording.
At the time, we'd all been around for at least a small period of time, felt that we'd hammered out issues with characters, so forth. Because we were mostly interacting within our group, and veterans weren't in Story at the time, we never saw much in the way of problems with it. Of course, we later had someone try to tell us we needed to clean up, got into a tiff, and eventually found out that complaints about us had been lodged on the forum and generally felt bad about everything.
Now, as a veteran, I'm seeing what looks a lot like the same behaviour from the other side. Groups of people who play together but get relatively little input from the outside. Ignoring them doesn't solve anything because they feed off each other, and attempting to force one's way into their interaction for the sole purpose of trying to defuse it would be as rude and annoying to them. In retrospect, it's probably the same reason why LHTF wasn't conversing with veterans - They weren't going to rudely barge through and put a stop to things. The problem is, then you have whiners who come to the forum, write wordy hurt feelings reports about it, and because you don't visit the forums, you're not aware it's an issue.


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CavemanJoe
 Thursday, January 06 2011 @ 04:46 AM UTC  
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From an admin's perspective, it's traditionally when these topics have come up that I've started thinking seriously about starting the next season Soon and making everybody Rookies again. Elitism bothers me far more than players' violations of the canon that I've apparently set up - and the lists of things that new players are barred from doing because veterans have a monopoly on them bother me too.

Not that I have a solution, mind. Apart from spend more money on advertising, o'course.


 
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Awesome Fred
 Thursday, January 06 2011 @ 08:28 AM UTC  
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I think a scenario where there are simultaneously twelve different demons that are all the only actual kind of demon is hilariously perfect for Improbable Island.

As for players trying to discourage the generic RP, you can always try writing a monster submission that lampoons all those cliches in an attempt to make the player pause and consider if their own character is a Gary Stu or Mary Sue.

The wiki article about How Not To RP is a really bad article. It's organized and amusing and gets a point across. But it's got the opposite tone of what you should really have when advising players on how to be creative, and then of course, it's in the Wiki which is not actually in the game, and the Improbable Island Enquirer have one of the smallest forum regular populations on a game I play. An in-game feature (like a low-level monster submission) which pokes at the Mary Sue tendencies to subtly discourage "bad" RP without aiming it like a Distraction ("Excuse me, Rookie Dark Angel Cloud, could you RP less badly?") so that a player doesn't get as defensive and is therefore more open to change.

As for Season shifts being a dependent variable of Player Elitism, that seems like overkill. Elitism is just as omnipresent as Bad RP, but bad RPers probably discourage new good RPers more than elitist RPers discourage new players. But it is really annoying to read that RP wiki page, which I've read many times and probably partially as a result stayed away from RPing myself, and see, "Don't do these things, because they're done before, and while there are people on the Island who do it now and do it well, THEY'RE GOOD AT IT so nanny-nanny-poo-poo".

I make no claim to being an anything-goes-in-RP guy at all though. I've been in a long forum fight before about how I'm not quite receptive to Mages and such when it's not canonically established in the game (not that I have any beef with the players who chose to RP it. Especially since one I have in mind I've found around the forums and the game to be a cool person.). I care a lot about maintaining the universe of the Improbable Island story, and violations of the canon are usually more irksome to me than elitist players.

As a personal statement.


 
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Beeps
 Thursday, January 06 2011 @ 08:51 AM UTC  
Forum Improbable Badass
Improbable Badass

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Quote by: Awesome+Fred

I think a scenario where there are simultaneously twelve different demons that are all the only actual kind of demon is hilariously perfect for Improbable Island.

As for players trying to discourage the generic RP, you can always try writing a monster submission that lampoons all those cliches in an attempt to make the player pause and consider if their own character is a Gary Stu or Mary Sue.
.


While I agree that this would be a good way to try to cheekily bring this fact to Rookies' attention, we already have That Guy, and a couple others that I think are related, and we don't want the rookie levels to be saturated with things that make people feel like it's just a lot of more rules. That said, this was exactly what a friend did on an old RP hangout of mine. Well, there was two. There was the guy who made a bio to completely lampoon the character types that was meant as an inside joke, and the one who actually got a character with these traits approved, because the character was insane and delusional.
...That's not a half bad idea...

Quote by: Awesome+Fred


The wiki article about How Not To RP is a really bad article. It's organized and amusing and gets a point across. But it's got the opposite tone of what you should really have when advising players on how to be creative, and then of course, it's in the Wiki which is not actually in the game, and the Improbable Island Enquirer have one of the smallest forum regular populations on a game I play. An in-game feature (like a low-level monster submission) which pokes at the Mary Sue tendencies to subtly discourage "bad" RP without aiming it like a Distraction ("Excuse me, Rookie Dark Angel Cloud, could you RP less badly?") so that a player doesn't get as defensive and is therefore more open to change.

As for Season shifts being a dependent variable of Player Elitism, that seems like overkill. Elitism is just as omnipresent as Bad RP, but bad RPers probably discourage new good RPers more than elitist RPers discourage new players. But it is really annoying to read that RP wiki page, which I've read many times and probably partially as a result stayed away from RPing myself, and see, "Don't do these things, because they're done before, and while there are people on the Island who do it now and do it well, THEY'RE GOOD AT IT so nanny-nanny-poo-poo".



It is and isn't. A lot of what it says is not so much "People are already doing this better, don't do it" and more "These are not creative ideas." The wording makes it seem like the former, though. The Mary Sue checker tool it links to seemed really perfect, though. The main thing is that the wiki is sort of... all over the place. If I want to say, "hey, ____ character trait is looked down on, please try to do something more original," I spend ten minutes trying to remember which Wiki page that particular version of "don't do ____" is on.
And I agree on the fact that bad new RPers likely scare off more good new RPers than elitism. Mostly because I don't come after the good new RPers with a big stick.

Quote by: Awesome+Fred


I make no claim to being an anything-goes-in-RP guy at all though. I've been in a long forum fight before about how I'm not quite receptive to Mages and such when it's not canonically established in the game (not that I have any beef with the players who chose to RP it. Especially since one I have in mind I've found around the forums and the game to be a cool person.). I care a lot about maintaining the universe of the Improbable Island story, and violations of the canon are usually more irksome to me than elitist players.

As a personal statement.



Agreed. There are some people who've managed to make characters that break these rules but are fun to be around, a pleasure to talk to, and don't overplay their particular oddities.


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 Thursday, January 06 2011 @ 01:56 PM UTC  
Forum Improbable Badass
Improbable Badass

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I have a couple thoughts on this too, for once... not ordered by importance.

Firstly, the Big Rules of not being a dick and not taking it seriously. Often enough what I do when encountering one of these players, all I do is mentally labelling them people-not-to-take-seriously, and be done with it, no point in getting worked up over it. This means that these players become the statists, the mooks, the redshirts, from my point of view/the show-viewer's point of view. Bluntly put, I ignore them in playing. Not in reading, I do pick up on bits and pieces that are good and will respond to them - being a little like a teacher, really, rewarding good behaviour and ignoring bad behaviour.

But. Sometimes these players end up in contact with like-minded players, founding little groups where outside attention isn't of any importance because well! They have five others with whom they play regularly, and have fun with, etc. *shrugs* And some are just as stubborn as they make them.

Now.. now for something that I think is interesting - as it's the perfect opposite of the strategy of ignorance. Paying full attention, namely. Wretching somebody away from light chatter or one of the above groups by focusing on them, whatever they do seems to put some players on their best behaviour - and then, afterwards, you can genuinely go and distract them with a more or less positive opinion on the resulting scene. But, dear shiny people, this approach can do more, stepping into areas a little controversial and balancing boundaries.. it's considered questionable form to comment negatively in narration (since the critiqued player can't really respond in character, instead having to prod the Fourth Wall a little if they wish to adress it) (and comes more often than not across as very passive-aggressive).

Possibly in part because a remarkably large part of the Contestants are a very friendly sort, so these little snarks are percieved as largely narrator-instilled, which they are. And that, the wiki-page says, is not only questionable, but bad form. However. Taking this to the max, you can create a character who is by default impudent, provocative, and who preferrably doesn't give a shit about others, is stupid, mute, or all of these last three together, but offers commentary and some amount of interaction. Controversial, because I think it's dickish and patronizing, without the authority to back up at least the latter - but, paradoxically, effective. Especially if the char gains a bit of a reputation.

Yes, I've done this. Yes, it was effective. Yes, I'm still not sure whether it's a Thing To Do. Yes, I was a little surprised by the amount of encouraging responses I got from players I generally view as not one of these, and yes, jokes were played on the expense of some to the amusement of the general public. I like to think this mockery made the victims a little aware... in the end, I don't know what it was.

Afterthought: This idea formed after watching Rookie Mary Sue doing exactly what you'd expect - without interaction, not directly commenting on the behaviour of the characters present, but obviously intended as a quite broad hint. Instead of ignoring it or quieting down, they turned to (quite hypocritically, in my humble opinion) commenting on how awful it was, and one utterly unmemorable dragon-thing even mentioned how Mary Sues were ruining writing - note that the name wasn't even given, nor was Rookie Mary Sue doing anything vastly out of the usual in that crowd, nor did she interact with them. My decision then was, if that went over their heads, one would have to be even more blunt and aggressive.


With all these offerings of two cents, go and buy ice cream?


 
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Anonymous: A Cynical Bastard
 Thursday, January 06 2011 @ 08:53 PM UTC  


First of all, let me begin by saying that I've done my share of annoyed eye-rolling and particularly-infested-outpost avoiding. And in doing so, I have come to realize one thing: the people who annoy me on the Island exist in roughly the same percentage as people who annoy me in Real Life. And for exactly the same reasons. There will always be cliques of self-absorbed cookie-cutter people, and no amount of hinting or prodding is going to help because that is just who they are. To be fair, sometimes they're interesting people when you get them alone, and sometimes they're not. But let's face it, there's just a lot more cannon-fodder out there than there are super-awesome amazing-cool people, which is why the latter are so special when you meet them.

My solution on-Island is just the same as it is off-Island. Ignore them, avoid them, of have polite discourse with them if you must. Fortunately the Island is a big place, and there are a lot of hilariously phenomenal inspiring people to hang out with elsewhere.

In short: you're not gonna change 'em, that's who they are. So let them have their fun and you can go have yours.


 
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