MUSH Etiquette

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Because we are a community, good etiquette is required for maintaining the strength of the MUSH. When we say etiquette, we don’t mean keeping your elbows off of the table or not chewing with your mouth open – though you probably ought to be keeping those in mind anyway. Instead, we refer to the appropriate standard of social conduct. That is, the way you act has an impact on everyone around you, and so it is of utmost importance to stress good behavior. Not everyone gets along on the MUSH, but everyone can at least be civil. In the following article, several issues will be addressed to aid a player in developing proper MUSH etiquette.


The Player & The Community

Appropriate Language and Content

Pokemorph MUSH is rated PG-13, mostly for violence and its gruesome history. This is generally a dark MUSH, and to get through without a skirmish or some gritty events would be a difficult task. There’s war, love, pain, terrorists, fighting with tooth, nail, weapons, and elemental powers and a lot of suffering. However, we have a range of players here, from a broad variety of ages (anywhere from 13 to 32 years), backgrounds (this MUSH is fairly international), beliefs, desires, and comfort levels. As such, there are rules on the kinds of things that you can say or do where anyone can read it. We want our players to feel comfortable and feel confident that they will not be offended by that which is easily accessed.

The rules themselves are clearly stated and should give you a good outline of what we expect. On channels and in public rooms, and while conversing with other members of the MUSH, we expect that you keep your language clean and refrain from discussing topics listed as restricted- such as religion and politics. As mentioned later on, the private room rules are a little different, so keep reading.

Channel Rules

The Public Channel is one of the best things about the community – an opportunity for players to converse with each other without the commitment of roleplay, and the ability to get a broad perspective of many players. Anything goes (with the exception of restricted topics) on the Pub Channel, and antics range from anything OOCIC (MUSH characters out-of-character) to completely about the players. It’s great for getting to know the playerbase, and while the language is carefully monitored, it’s the freest of all channels. However, if a conversation turns into something that is better left between two individuals, we will ask that it be taken to page.

There is a Roleplay Channel made specifically so that players can ask other available players for roleplay. This is not a chatting channel, and it is expected that if you are on the channel and not gagging that you are willing and available for roleplay. Setup for the roleplay may take place over the channel or be taken to page.

For team channels, we ask that players stay on-topic and focus on either IC interaction or OOC discussion pertaining to the specified faction. General chatting is to be done on Public Channel.

MorphNet was designed to be an entirely IC chatting environment, done over the island’s various internet connections and computers. Anything said here MUST be kept IC, and your character should be located in a place where they would have access to said computers.

Guest Channel is restricted to prospective players, the administrators, and the very selective Guest Staff – players who have been chosen to help with new players. Unfortunately, current players are not allowed to page or converse with guests on the channel. Any player who intentionally logs in as a guest will be given a warning – if you have a question, page an administrator.

Asking for Roleplay

Main article: Asking for Roleplay

As previously mentioned, we have a channel especially made for asking. However, there are many who prefer to ask over public channel (which is acceptable, but not the most effective means), or to page other players in hopes of snagging someone with interest. Please be aware that many of us may be on the MUSH for idle socializing while multitasking and may not always be available for roleplay. Most do not mind if you ask, however; we simply ask that you respect our answer in return, be it a yes or no.

Public VS Private

Public rules have already been discussed, but what about when in private? It is our policy that what a player does in private is up to their own discretion, so long as any associated players consent the same, and no local or federal laws are violated. For example, if you feel comfortable with your characters using strong language in your poses, you are free to do so – in a private room, and when your roleplaying partner is comfortable with the same.

This goes for violence, gore, and yes – even sexual content – though again, no local or federal laws can be broken. That is, no sexual themes with those players who are minors. It is the player's responsibility to check the ages of RP partners in regards to sexual themes. Any violators of this will be given one warning, and any past that will result in immediate character deletion.

What constitutes as a private room? Any room that is owned by the player and is inaccessible to other players by way of locks. We do not want anyone to be able to wander in on a private scene. Also, although it not required, it is strongly recommended that any private room have the owner’s name in the title, such as ‘Name’s Bedroom.’

Player Status

The MUSH has several options for setting a player status, which will allow other players to see your availability and actions. It is advised to keep your player status updated at all times. For example:

OOC- The player is on and active, but not currently roleplaying with that character, or an administrator is OFF DUTY and is not accepting player or work-related requests.

IC- The player is currently in a scene and may be slow in response time or may not want to be disturbed. This status also lets administrators know when a player is roleplaying so that they can give out RP Points.

AFK- The player is not at their desk and may not be back for a substantial amount of time. It may not be wise to page this person as it may be lost in the backlog from public channel.

TP- The player is engaged in a Tiny Plot, which means that a significant event is occurring. Typically, Tiny Plots are open to all players.

WIZ- An administrator is on-duty and able to help all players.

The Player & Other Players

Posing

Although every player varies in style, length, and content, it’s important to work with the other player(s) to make an effective collaboration. In general, someone poses a Scene Set, where the time, location, atmosphere, and one or more characters are established. The other person reacts to this with their own set, and it continues on with this. Poses range from one line to half a screen or longer, and it is most helpful to pose somewhere in the middle until a common ground is established by gauging the other person’s length.

Even poses from the same person vary in a single scene, sometimes giving more information and others needing a bit less- or, rather, being able to say more with less words. It’s generally accepted that a pose will state a character’s name, their reaction or action to the previous pose – emotionally and physically. The pose then offers something for the other player to react to; a sort of question rather than direct action. IE: Character A swings his first in an attempt to hit character B, giving character B a chance to take the hit, avoid the hit, or some other action.

Consent Law

Because roleplaying is a collaboration between two or more players, it is necessary for a bit of give and take within a scene. Having every one of a player’s attacks miss, for example, is especially frustrating. There is room for prowess and special fighting skills, but it is important to keep things more or less realistic. Chances are, if you get in a fight, you will be hit. There is the advantage of having the OOC (+ooc) option, which allows you to converse with the other player on how things can or should go. Many players ask out of character if they can do such and such to the other person’s character, or propose a reaction to see if the other character agrees. (See also: Consent)

It’s common courtesy to make sure that each player involved is comfortable and in agreement to the actions that are taking place. The bottom line is that – in most situations – a player makes the final decision for their character. They do not have to roleplay with the others and no one can do something to their character without permission. One player cannot, for example, pose actually /killing/ another’s character without giving them the chance to respond and get out of the situation, without prior permission. However, there are some circumstances where it would be otherwise unrealistic for a player’s character to somehow get out of the mess. If you have your character surrounded by gang members who all have weapons and you mouth off to the leader, it will be VERY difficult to escape, so expect to deal with the consequences of your actions.

Should a question of consent vs realism come up in a roleplay, the players are always more than welcome to ask an on duty staff member to mediate and help decide on a compromise that is fair for both parties.

OOC Knowledge

At times, players are able to learn about other player’s characters through OOC conversation. This also includes a character’s +finger, application, or even the character’s IC thoughts. However, this does not mean that a player’s own character has access to this omnipotent knowledge. It’s advised to keep track of what your character does and does not know about another character – if they don’t give their name out, then your character should not know it.

Occasionally, there will be a character such as a Psychic who would have access to certain knowledge. This should be decided OOC with the other player to ensure that things are fair and that the plot can progress as the players desire. Besides this, players are often willing to give even more insider information to someone who asks.

Spoofing/NPCs

There are some situations which call for more than just a player’s own character, at which point spoofing is a viable option to move roleplay along. From spoofing (or @emitting) a player’s own alts to completely random and inconsequential morphs, adding more characters to the scene can be very beneficial. However, this must be done carefully to ensure that the focus of the roleplay is not lost and that the consent law is still in effect. Any NPCs should be agreed on by each player OOCly, and actions taken care of the same way it would in a normal roleplay situation.

Players are not allowed to spoof other people’s characters, nor are they to use @emit in any way that violates the rules of the MUSH.

Scene Lock

Scene lock is what happens when two players are in a scene and are forced to pause it for whatever reason, but want to continue at a later date. When a roleplay has to end, players have several options, such as finding IC reason for characters to leave the scene, ending it with a ‘red curtain’ (assuming the conclusion), scene locking for future continuation, and retconning the event entirely if the former options are not viable. When a player is in a scene lock, they are generally unable to roleplay with that character until the locked scene is resolved. However, it is possible to do what is called ‘Time Warping,’ which allows a character to be in a different scene either before or after the scene locked scene was supposed to take place. This often gets confusing and very involved, with the ability to span over several months of time if needed, however, so is not always recommended.

When players need to leave for whatever reason, it is customary to give advanced warning and to talk about the different options of ending a scene. Forcing another player into scene lock may result in retconning the event to make matters more simple.

Retcon

Retcon refers to the practice of removing or altering an event or sequence of events from the timeline. This is generally done when two players decide that it is the best for their plotlines (changing dialogue in a pose or outcome of a fight), when an administrator requests specific actions to take place (such as removing a scene from the timeline if rules were broken, or a character exhibiting powers that they should not have), or when players disappear from the MUSH for one reason or another. Retconning is usually done on an individual basis, and the end results must always be congruent with the current MUSH timeline.

The Player & Self

Alternate Characters

Players have the option of applying for multiple characters – one every 30 days, if one wishes. With these, a player can enter into multiple scenes, intertwine his own characters’ histories together, and even generate a new persona for herself. Alts also provide the opportunity for a different perspective, though a player must bear in mind the OOC Knowledge policy, and continue to follow the rules, such as privacy. The staff of the MUSH refuses to give any information as to whose alt is whose, and expects that players will do the same for each other.

OOC Money

Because Pokemorph MUSH is primarily about text-based roleplaying, there is not a lot of emphasis on coding and the like. Building is handled by the building staff via requests on the bulletin board (+bbread 8) and as such do not require money. ICly, Pokemorphs earn their cash by going to work, gaining inheritance, or through government subsidizing and other means. The currency is PMI Dollars, and is not shown with actual objects or items on a player’s character, but is spoofed instead.

Although most players’ characters are self-sufficient, please keep realism in mind. On average, the Pokemorph Island populace is lower-middle class, with only a few rare exceptions. Taxes still need to be paid as well as tuition if a character’s a student, the general cost of living (food, housing, possible transportation, clothing), and entertainment. In this socialistic society, health care /is/ free, as well as residency in the Seaview dormitories, and financial aid is available for those who qualify. Being rich, however, is not something that one comes by easily.

OOC/IC Line

It is important to remember that the actions, thoughts, and words of a character do not necessarily reflect the views of the player. In other words, just because a player’s Rocket character is trying to mug another player’s character and in the process personally insults that character’s mother, does not mean that the player himself has any issue with the other player at all. Keep in mind that this is, in the end, just an online roleplaying game and nothing is meant personally. If a player suspects that there really is some degree of unfairness or an issue with another player, an on duty staff member can be available to help mediate or come to a solution.

Also, as mentioned earlier, conversations OOC – such as on the public channel and over pages – are usually conducted in the voice of the player or by the character in an OOC context. This is not roleplay and is not considered canon. Many players find crossing this line to be very frustrating.

Respecting Self

The rules of the MUSH apply to all players. Not only are players expected to follow the rules regarding respect to others, but they have the right to stand up for themselves as well. Once a player has been accepted, they have just as much right to be on the MUSH as any other player. We are a non-discriminatory MUSH and the rules have been put in place to respect this. Players should not be afraid to talk with one another or ask a staff member for help, nor should they feel pressured, patronized, or harassed by other players. If other players cause problems, do yourself a favor and respect yourself enough to seek resolution.

The Player & The Staff

Requests

The staff members of the MUSH may be reached by page or @mail and are willing to help players with anything that they can. However, it should be taken into account that the staff all have full-time jobs as well as many other commitments and obligations, and are not always able to be online at all times. Please be patient with the staff; they will do their best to keep players updated on the status of requests, but even we forget things, too. Respect and communication is the best way to accomplish tasks and goals, and the staff is more than willing to work with players on this. All that the staff asks for is the same in return.

Roleplay Points

As you roleplay on Pokemorph MUSH, you may occasionally receive points for your good performance. The only requirement of recieving these points is that you must be roleplaying in a public room, not a private room. Technically, private rooms must have some sort of lock on them, but staff members also avoid homes and offices that have a character's name in the room title out of courtesy.

Staff members take it upon themselves to seek out roleplay in their free time and give those participating points. Points are not earned by how much roleplaying you do or by who you ask to come watch it. Points are given in the staff's free time to those who happen to be roleplaying. The surest way to recieve points is to roleplay as often as possible.

Points can be converted into additional attacks by notifying staff. They are tallied by player, rather than by character, and the point cost for each attack is listed below. Please note, the attack must be compatible with the species of your character.

To view the current cost of a TM, please click here.

Mediator/Complaints

Any staff member can help players with mediation and complaints via page or @mail. As mentioned in Respecting Self, the staff members can help with various requests such as building, suggestions, and changes in the theme; when dealing with difficult players; and with general questions about playing, commands, and theme. If a player is being harassed, they need to report to an administrator with an official complaint or the staff can’t do anything. It also helps to log any incidents of harassment. Please, please, please let the staff know if there is something that is bothering you!

Our Word is Law

The staff of Pokemorph MUSH is always open to suggestions and various questions, but ultimately, the administrators’ word is law. Fault is the official word on the theme and what he says goes. In general, players are allowed to their own interpretation and discretions, but when something concrete is put down we expect the players to follow it. We will not tolerate a situation where a player asks one admin something, then goes to another with the same question because they did not like the answer. Please respect us so that we may show the same kindness.