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Tactful Discussion - OOC Diplomacy
#1
Hello there! There have been complaints regarding the use of tact from a few of the players here, so I thought I'd write this up. In no way do I mean this as a form of attack or disparagement; I too lose tact from time to time. We all do.

This will be short guide, covering only what it really needs to. If you have the means to be tactful, but lack the inclination, I question your role in being a positive member of this server; important in any society.

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  • Contents
    --1. The Problems of Textual Communication
    --2. Avoiding Miscommunication
    --3. Respect
    --4. Maturity
    --5. Citing Sources
    --6. Other Guides


The Problems of Textual Communication

A few people may have heard me complain about electronically written forms of communication. This is, simply put, because it degenerates any sort of emotional input and causes confusion. One must know how to manipulate what they say just so they don't look like an asshole. Evoking emotion in text is something professional writers strive to master, as it improves their writing overall or helps to convey a certain message. When you are bantering OOC'ly with someone, you don't exactly pay attention to the quality of your writing to a degree that you feel the need to accent it in any fashion other than one of those devilish smiley shenanigans. It just isn't something you're concerned with.

Summarily; it's hard to understand what someone is saying when they aren't paying attention to how they are saying it in a text-based format. Misunderstandings most often occur and cause severe drama.

Avoiding Miscommunication


One fail-proof way to avoid miscommunication is to clearly, without unnecessary vocabulary, state your opinion, afterwards clarifying how you are presenting this information. Many times, you are simply trying to be factual, even robotic. This can be considered rude to some, and is best avoided. Relative to this, using forms of "1337" speak or lazy grammar and/or typing skills can be seen as trolling. Those without acute finesse in these areas would be well served to mention this in the discussion. A good rule of thumb is really read what the other person is saying. Read it twice. More, if need be. Another very large rule of tact is, without a doubt:

Respect

While it is the #1 rule, it isn't always adhered to. When discussions turn into heated debates, one tends to abandon reason in favor of their emotions. This can be easily avoided using proper forms of tact and diplomacy. One such way is the minimal use of expletives (or any interjections, for that matter). Expletives are curse words, basically, and interjections are simply words used to express a certain emotion in a very basic way (e.g. "DERP!" or even "Yes!" or any other fine example). Also remember that if you neglect to respect a member, the odds are you won't receive any yourself.

Proper speech etiquette also contributes to a respectful tone, such as the use of interpunction (the use of punctuation in the form of commas, exclamation marks, periods, etcetera in a sensible manner). Blizzard GM's have this down like a robot (speculation exists that they are robots - form your own opinion), insomuch that they can be slightly...difficult to deal with. While you don't necessarily need to address someone like the Pope, it's good to show a bit of a professional side to keep things low-key.

Maturity

Another rule of the server. That isn't hard to imagine, as many rules are there to help promote an overall friendly attitude from players. Without maturity, we are incapable of many things; among them, diplomacy! If you, dear reader, have a child, you understand the double-edged sword of parenthood. Watching a child grow instills pride and strengthens the family bond, but you also have to raise the child. Sometimes...this can be trying! Some adults turn to drinking just to relieve the stress (I mostly blame the teenagers *waves cane in the air*) born from dealing with the immature. Dealing with them is nearly impossible.

Nothing you say has credit, you receive cutting, sarcastic remarks in response, etcetera. It is counter-productive. It's also rude. There is no real way of warning you off of maturity - most aren't aware that they are immature, and find offense when accused. The general rule of thumb is; think. Think rationally, and clearly. And above all, think about what you are saying and who you are saying it to. Chances are, they will take it in a completely different way.

This doesn't mean you should get aggravated and turn the discussion into the very thing we are trying to avoid; if the discussion isn't going well, then simply end the conversation. Maybe take a break and cool off.

Citing Sources

Luckily for you, this isn't History class. To cite your source doesn't mean to add an MLA subscript to prove your point. If found on the internet, you could copy the link and paste it into the chatbox (hitting the enter key and pressing alt+v will paste text into the chatbox), or provide directions to the webpage you are referring to. If you can't retrieve text from the chatbox, trying downloading the Elephant Addon. It has a very handy copy tool (it even copies the color of the text!). With either of these methods, it's best to be as specific as possible.

In the case of a source other than a webpage, it would be best to find the particular passage you are looking for on the internet, if possible, and present it thusly. Make sure that it includes a lengthy passage, as certain subjects can (and often are) taken out of context. If this is impossible, a reference to the text you are citing is the least you could do.

Other Guides


Here I will include a few excellent guides relevant to this topic (courtesy of our own CotHites).

Guide to Grammar by (the one and only!) Qaza
RP Etiquette Reminders ~ How to be OOC by Fawnee
Drama and You by Cressy
Useful Links by Nostra

----------------

That concludes this quick guide. Special thanks go to JVNemesis, Amerason, Mitsuki, RiffRaff, c0rzilla, MadFerret, & Eratta.
[-] The following 2 users Like Jason's post:
  • Jonoth, Spiky
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#2
I'm Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite post on the Citadel CotH.

I'm a little disappointed that we even need a 'guide' like this to begin with. Regardless, it was well done and informative. I hope it helps some folks.
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#3
I meant to say! I thought it was well written, and a good topic to write on, considering the recent, erm...behavior OOC that I've been seeing.
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#4
Danke, guys (nice Mass Effect reference thar), and also;

Updated with links to guides of interest (in relation to this topic, of course).
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#5
Yeah yeah, the reapers will destroy this thread, like the rest of the world. :>

Welcomed guide in times when people seem not to care much, but I believe you should be speaking about smileys. Just my point of view, of course - but a sparce use of a few smileys might totally change the tone of a sentence and give visual hints, since we have none over text-based communication.
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#6
I agree with what Lynoa said. A few smilies can change something.

I've gotten a few people tell me I'm just a titch disrespectful on the forums. I just see it as myself being blunt, so I've attempted to start putting various smilies in the attempt to show that I'm not trying to automatically squish all your hopes and dreams.
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#7
It all depends on who you talk to, I think. Sometimes it's best to be formal, other times it's better to be casual. Depends on who you talk to.
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#8
I find your guide well-intentioned, but would like to add something to Maturity and Respect:
One of the parts of being mature is accepting the fact that not everyone will enjoy what you enjoy or do what you do. As roleplayers, it's a given we don't all like the same types of RP. Some people like more lighthearted RP, and others may want their characters in more dark situations. I have seen people become far too OOCly bothered by situations their characters aren't even involved in, and it's worrysome.

In the case of dark situations, as long as no one is forced into the situation, it's not being flaunted in public, and people are enjoying themselves, why take issue? Also, for those who engage in such, respect others by keeping it out of sight. Respect the privacy of those who make an effort to be private. A community can, for the most part, operate pretty smoothly on that mutual principle. People will still talk, but that's not going to change. What matters is that everyone remembers their priority of enjoying RP together.
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#9
TwilightDisciple Wrote:I find your guide well-intentioned, but would like to add something to Maturity and Respect:
One of the parts of being mature is accepting the fact that not everyone will enjoy what you enjoy or do what you do. As roleplayers, it's a given we don't all like the same types of RP. Some people like more lighthearted RP, and others may want their characters in more dark situations. I have seen people become far too OOCly bothered by situations their characters aren't even involved in, and it's worrysome.

In the case of dark situations, as long as no one is forced into the situation, it's not being flaunted in public, and people are enjoying themselves, why take issue? Also, for those who engage in such, respect others by keeping it out of sight. Respect the privacy of those who make an effort to be private. A community can, for the most part, operate pretty smoothly on that mutual principle. People will still talk, but that's not going to change. What matters is that everyone remembers their priority of enjoying RP together.

I think you might be reading too far into the guide itself. It isn't directed at any one particular event, nor a particular group of people. I wrote it simply to act as a reference to, say, not offend someone when you are having a discussion over certain things such as Lore, RP preference, characters, etcetera. I don't really interact with these types of discussions, so the guide itself is pretty unbiased.
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#10
Oh, it's definitely not towards any one event; that's why I didn't include any direct examples. I also think your guide applies to more situations beyond basic discussions whether you intended so or not. (Though everything boils down to a 'discussion' in the end on an online community.)
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#11
I simply write it because all of the discussions I've witnessed have been rather rude and unsightly. It's even a slight reminder, if not a guide. See it how you will. I, however, like to see it at face value. That's the best way, I think.
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#12
I understand if you don't want your post taken so deeply. ^^
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#13
Jason, I appreciate your guide on the backdrop of recent conversations I've had in game which have, regrettably, led to several unusual misunderstandings. This is so well-timed.

A question I would like to throw out for the feeding frenzy - What do you all think of GM intervention/mediation for player-to-player issues?


I ask this based on the fact that when I staffed other Roleplaying Games, I acted in a position called "Story Guide." This position was basically designed to assist players in settling differences in which one or both felt slighted and could not reconcile. We also handled various Terms of Service complaints and issues, resulting (unfortunately) in disciplinary action and/or banning. The gist was that as the head of this GM wing, I often had to judge matters between players and help them restore their ability to play in the game environment comfortably. At times, it simply meant a change of perspective, kiss-kiss, and make-up. Other times it carried more weight and these individuals could not roleplay together again. More often than not, I was called upon to route out bullies who were creating large scale difficulties, penalize cheaters, and even had to remove several stalkers/pedophiles.

I've grown used to the safety of mediation when absolutely needed.

Unfortunately, it would seem that here I have been discouraged at times from speaking to GMs when I felt players were behaving in ways that were against the core values of the server. I understand nothing tops when players can settle their differences, but what if resolution is hard-pressed or even impossible?

Opinions?
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#14
Well, generally, if a player is breaking the rules/harassing/offending you, then really you're encouraged to report it so that they'll be dealt with. We won't ignore your reports.

You may also ask a GM to resolve an issue between should some sort of conflict arise.
"I am more afraid of one hundred sheep led by a lion than one hundred lions led by a sheep."
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#15
Always try to solve matters with the other player, the GM's aren't some kind of police force and should only be called for in situations when the matter can't be solved. Be reasonable and talk, you'll often find out the other player is quite reasonable as well.
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