Role Playing Extremism? -Transcript of Conversation
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Article by FireCat
Copyright 04/06/2001
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I was in the OOC room with several players, as I found one who had difficulty understanding my intent - or perhaps more than that, but in any case, I've cleaned up the other echo's and singled out our says pertinent to the conversation. I've also corrected spelling and grammar mistakes, then placed sometimes out-of-order sentences in synopsis form. I have made every effort not to alter the actual content of the text. I merely added punctualization, capitalization, a couple of words whose letters were mixed up here and there, implemented proper spacing, and did the same for myself where (in attempting to keep up with [abused, in my opinion] superior typing speed) I had made typo's.


0: The problem with that is your idea of a role and mine may not be the same. You can't teach the concept of characterization to the degree that YOU think is needed. You are forcing others to follow your expectations, which is hardly fair. I aim to help, but I refuse to judge someone's perceptions based on mine. I won't force my views of "my way or the highway" to another.

1: I'm bringing other views so we can see some discussion, and maybe agreement on common points. I am considered an extreme of roleplaying by many players, and I know that I am not the farthest extreme. But that makes me more suited for finding the middle ground. Put quite simply? ANYthing less than what I am, can still be considered RP.

2: And you are an extreme that I do not support, if you think to tell people how they spend their free time is "wrong". The only way to lend the perspective we wish to is to let the rest see how we portray ourselves, and let them be inspired as they will. And you enjoy yourself and life goes on. Some people like racking up the levels and getting kewl lewt. That's their prerogative. That isn't "wrong" no, as in "get all corpse" and "d00d, that's so kewl! phat lewt is l337!". If they want to enjoy being pk, then they should play elsewhere.

3: There are people that get their kicks out of playing arcade games. Does the law judge them any differently from those who get their kicks out of killing people? The line must be drawn at the point where it interferes, drastically, with the lives of many other people. Not before. Not merely on the suspicion. But when it can be known that many players have left, their characters effectively died, and they have stated this is BECAUSE such players ruined their enjoyment of the game, we have three choices. We can give in and change entirely. We can try to send away those types of players, telling them to play somewhere else. Or, as I'm trying to do, we can see if they're willing to change themselves, and become more beneficial to the atmosphere. I don't care as much if people are good roleplayers, as if they're willing to learn.

4: Benificial is your interpretation.

5: Beneficial is everyone's. Everyone who left. *shrug* I drew common factors from that. Let's say, economy. There's two companies. One of them boosts the economy, creating new jobs and an influx of money.

6: Arguably the consumers do that. But this isn't an economics debate.

7: The other destabilizes the market, costs workers thousands of jobs, and eventually brings down the economy. I say that this example is, functionally, identical to my previous one about killers and video game players. One is one thing, the other is quite different.

8: Again, that's the consumers and product faith. Like players leaving the game. Again, not an economics argument. I disagree, but that's not important. The difference is that you will always have people you don't like in a public forum. This is a public game. You can either restrict character gen, and stagnate the game, or deal with the younger, more ... kill oriented players and let the game evolve like any other society does. Neither is wrong.

9: I do not think that the non-RP players are "wrong", if they just want to hunt or whatever. I do, however, believe that their presence in sufficiently higher quantities than of those who were willing to RP, IS disruptive. When the former social order is overthrown, it won't be.

A: It's only disruptive if you let yourself be disrupted. Then it isn't the social order anymore is it? *shrug*

B: And people will make excuses as to how it wasn't their fault, settle in to places in the new order, and generally cheer on the current while complaining bitterly that the old order was broken.

C: Discussion is fruitful, but judgement seldom is when it comes to opinion. Your opinion is as valid as mine.

D: *shrug* The winners write history. We haven't lost yet.

E: There are only winners if you think it's a contest.

F: Very well then, the survivors write history. The only ones left. They've won the survival game . . . the one based on tolerance, see how slowly you can be driven crazy. Whoever lasts the longest, wins the game.


She told me that she saw no conflict, but read a lot of Zen; she gave an example, "there is no death when you don't live", and finished with the remark "there is no winner unless you see failure. silly dualistic thinking.", then leaving, as if this settled the matter.

And perhaps, in her eyes, it did. But some missing points that should have been made to her before she assumed we were done.

(Typical closed-circle belief system, you are right therefore you have no further need to waste your time with anyone you perceive as trying to say you're wrong, therefore noone ever gets the chance to show you anything different - which, on a personal level, validates the belief system because noone has ever INvalidated it, and works as long as the person is able to (conveniently) ignore that there is no chance for it. Or, failing the ability to ignore it, find an acceptable substitute; you'll talk with them, but if they don't agree exactly with your point of view, nor instantly come around when you demonstrate it to them (explanation is not necessary; your rightness and their wrongness is an assumed in this game, and recognition of anything less only means they're stupid), they must be trying to argue with you.)

For those paying attention, the above does hold some similarities to Bulverism, and is not entirely incompatible with Dualism.

First of all, she confused Duality with Polarity (a mistake that Westerners have been making for several thousand years - odd, I thought Zen originated in the East?), the difference being that dualism assumes opposites are at war with one another; polarity assumes their embrace. If she had listened further to me, she would have then seen the depth of my own belief system, which is actually rooted in *Synthesis*, a quite similar way to Polarity. Synthesis states that two (initially [in]compatible) views can be combined, to create another view which is more accurate than either of the previous two. Overall, she projected a desire to attack my ideas through the wording they used, rather than the concepts behind them, which, as it turned out, were expressible in more forms than the commonly-used vernacular which I first selected. This very flexibility is what I seek to convey to others; allow me to explain, unhindered by interruptions.


What I want to bring to the players is nothing less than an entirely new way of thinking; I do not in any wish for them to abandon their old ways of thinking, indeed if they do, they will have defeated the purpose - yes, as you may have guessed, I speak of meta-thinking, not the actual view which is directly apparent as what I'm discussing. And which, regardless of reading this, many people will continue to think is the only thing I am imparting.


Commentation on paragraph follows:

0 - I have improvement as a motivation, not any silly ideas of 'perfection' or whole-hearted conversion. I could not be farther from 'forcing' anyone to do anything; I offer this as an option, nothing more, and I would be quite interested to see if anyone who mistakes my informing them as forcing them to come, actually shows up. I cannot, due to my own meta-view, judge anyone based on my own perceptions, and "my way or the highway" implies a worldview that cannot comprehend my own, let alone represent it.

1 - Personally, I am aware that I am not the farthest extreme of roleplaying - however, by the standards of this MUD, it has been made clear to me that I am considered such, and so I am aptly suited for the purpose of this idea. Especially as I am after improvement, and not total conformity, I shall not be disappointed at anyone's 'lack of roleplaying'. By making myself the originator of this project, I encourage the other players to do the same, since by establishing early on the concept of myself at one end of a spectrum, many will be less inclined to evaluate anyone in comparison to a 'standard'. It is easy to think ill of a particular group when you can place yourself outside of it; when all present share the desire to improve, ranking becomes, if not irrelevant,
difficult. If over-competitive personages wish to aspire to a specific height, they shall risk missing out on their true capabilities; improving without any goal gives infinite possibilities, but trying to equal another often blinds one to related abilities not possessed by their target. Trying to surpass everyone, reaching the highest point, often leaves one with nowhere to go after that . . . enough vague theology, I suspect others are going to read this and I should save my time for individually fitted explanations as the opportunity occurs.

2 - She draws inferences from my words that have no relation to their content; in fact, I fully agree with the point, telling people what to do with THEIR time is wrong. As for the second point, that is what is wrong with teaching, and why I am not 'in charge' of this entire operation, why my eventual goal is to have multiple people gathering events more than once a week. If you just tell someone else what you know, you have another carbon copy of your knowledge; if they learn, there is the possibility they will know something new, and you in turn can learn from them, thus expanding the knowledge base. I wish no particular perspective of MINE on the players, only to show them a direction that was not previously available, or known in all its permutations, and allow them to travel there - and meet others who have traveled along the same road, to talk with them about what has been encountered there, how their own journey has gone, and so on. To be alone on this road, it would have to be the only one you travel - with no destination, the road is whereever you are. Hence you are not asked to leave the others behind; there is no need to abandon a
perfectly valid path when you can trod both.

3 - If telling people is wrong, how then has a pardon been issued on TAKING their time? People have their disagreements, on a relatively minor level, almost continuously, and a few people with difficulties here and there can be expected. Nor are most mere predictions heeded, society is too unpredictable to eliminate a single group simply because they *might* cause social upheaval. At the point this happens, society might decide that this will turn out for the better, and dismantle itself from the inside, abandoning the old structure for a new order. Society might shun them, trying to shut off the group from interference with the current way. Or, society might attempt to integrate them with the rest, welcoming those who don't try to *exclusively* impose and practice their own ways. I seek to place emphasis on willingness to learn, not already present ability; this is the inverse of compromise, where acceptance depends on learning a new way while retaining your old.

4 - I've been quoted out of context in the most basic of ways. My sentence specifically stated that beneficial was used in application to the *atmosphere*; not on a personal level, where interpretation takes place.

5 - Many interpretations have been made by various players; I compared those and filtered out unique finds, then made a comparison of all empirical atmospheric conditions found currently, to all those years ago. Matches were ignored, differences were highlighted and cross-referenced with everyone else's interpretations; from this I derived the basis of my actions, not singular personal interpretation.

As an aside, there was a man named Berkeley who tried to prove that the entire world was an illusion. To prove this, he went outside and kicked a cobblestone. What the Bishop failed to mention, was that his foot hurt. So, perhaps all of the world IS an illusion, which we only share/interact with each other through our perceptions of it; however, since that level of reality is currently 'true' for us, we deal with it as such. Trying to claim that the entire world (or 'atmosphere') is not only being defined through the interpretations of others, but can ONLY be interpreted, never seen in its 'real' form, and therefore no empirical data can be proven, is an excellent exercise; but claiming that no data can be utilized because of this, and/or is invalid towards proving anything, since noone can truly see the 'true' nature of reality, is only an exercise in folly.

If we are treating ours as 'true', we operate in it as if it were so, and while it may not be valid on ALL levels of reality, on its own level it possesses full accuracy. It CAN be proven when entirely on its own level, because nothing exists to contradict it; since most of the players who left (and I drew information from) were a part of that original atmosphere, I feel it likely that a goodly number of other players will exist on (or near) that level of reality which corresponds with or is equivalent to the original atmosphere.

There you go, metaphysical or empirical (take your pick or create a new term) proof that I am entitled to the belief, that those who compose the atmosphere still exist, and those who don't believe my evidence is, on some level, empirical, have a different view. I rather think the nearly-one-page proof made it empirical, but Bishop Berkeley and Samuel Johnson were debating metaphysics.

In the economy suggested, new jobs are not necessarily a good thing; if the population is outnumbered by the amount of work they are expected to do, for instance. But my example still had some relevancy, in that jobs might not be full-time, and they might be new jobs rather than repetitions of old things, allowing for variety in the life.

6 - Quite true, but as a metaphor, it was not required to be exactly alike to the concept; did she expect that arguing an example was out of place would invalidate anything that I might use it for?

7 - I chose destabilize exactly because of the match, envision money moving from one side of the world to another, so that all the rich are richer and all the poor can't afford to live; the public focuses on how much some industries are improving, and doesn't notice (or is blinded to) how the ones underfoot, who keep it all moving, are going the other way - until the entire economy collapses and the system devolves into anarchy (or develops into a totalitarian regime). Naturally, those last two are only possibilities; however, since none of the events I am referring to are based on them, they should be considered flavor, tossed in for the sake of completeness, and with no impact on the occurrence or non- of any other (specifically previous) factors. For the purpose they served (the function they had), those two examples sought to accomplish the same thing, and I could have just as easily selected or invented almost any situation, so common was the concept I tried to demonstrate.

8 - Again, the attempt to place examples so far apart from the matter we were discussing, that they could not possibly be applicable to the discussion itself. Arrogant, since it implies the belief that she already knew every manner in which the example could be used, and had nothing new to learn from it. As for disliking people, I have already stated my observances of that; and I will not be drawn into the unconscious motivations debate that easily (if you want people to do nothing about it, you are fomenting hatred; if you want people to leave if they dislike someone, you will soon be left with no forum at all, at which point it matters little whether or not a 'public' label has been given to it - and what happens when people dislike *each other*?). I do disagree with the
next statement (and this one IS important), restriction of character generation is in no way a guarantee of stagnation. In fact, if it were restricted to needing to have an actual concept in mind for the character, what I COULD practically guarantee, is that the exact OPPOSITE of stagnation would occur. That is, with players spending more time on each of their characters (possibly to flesh them out), those character will (especially naturally) gain depth - evolution is possible without literally adding new blood, so long as creativity is present in those currently there. As for 'dealing' with the younger players, that terminology is perhaps not the best one to use - it implies methods which differ (and mayhap significantly) from those I intend to use. I disagree with the concept of 'letting the game evolve like any other society', the game will never be unique if it follows the path of evolution that another has already taken; it will never be special if it only does what many before it has done; and unless we dare to twist our fate into something new, we will lose that transcendent quality which attracted so many to the game, and kept us around.

9 - There are always people who rebel against the 'norm', who possess qualities which are not widely known, they add diversity to the culture. As the balance shifts, however, from a former minority to a growing majority, this can cause social upheaval; the impact of this was greatly magnified, since the timing as it was coincided with another major rearranging. When the disruption finally settles down, they will be considered the 'norm', and technically their presence will not count as disruption; if anything it
would be considered a maintenance of the status quo.

A - Actually, no. When the balance shifts sufficiently that the former minority is now the majority, choice plays no part in it anymore; it DOES qualify as a disruption, on a general level, as the former majority finds themselves scurrying around trying to (not only survive, but) find their old comrades around, and spend enough time together to verify their continued existence. Her question presumes an oversimplification of matters which, quite realistically, does not exist. Disruption does not instantaneously result in dissolution. I agree that, once the social order no longer exists, it cannot be disrupted; however, that is an empty argument, essentially stating that something which does not exist cannot have the usual statements applied to it, which would be easily applied to an existing society - outside of the normal considerations of proof or possibilities. I could very well say that that dragonfly over there is five feet long, made of yellow custard, and has a secret plot to take over the world - but since there is no dragonfly over there, questions about how possible this is, let alone proving it, are not truly applicable. I am addressing the disruption upon the basis that what it is disruptive TO can still be restored.

B - This has happened before. Supporters of the old regime, if subtle enough, can make it appear as though they were secretly in support of the new all along, and abandon their positions in the old, to take up (sometimes glorified) positions in the new. They do their best to fit in, using their claim that they were really against the others all along to rally support for themselves and increase personal power. To reinforce this they flatter the new rulers tremendously, supporting them fully, and generally revile the old order to show just how little they agreed with it, ever.

C - I want to encourage discussion, but as indicated by my previous writings I will discourage judging. She is right and wrong about the opinions; for instance, my opinions are less valid than hers, because mine can be refuted, since the basis for hers are not available, we can only speculate about them - and this in turn is balanced out, leaving us roughly equal.

D - It's a common saying, which suited my need; I was looking for a phrase with high recognition, to facilitate quick comprehension.

E - She attacked the wording anyway.

F - I chose a slightly less familiar quote, which suited it better since it showed how the groups might not be working against each other, but still be driven into competition by environmental conditions - not against each other, but the world around them - and at the end, the elimination of most groups so that only one was left, would by default leave that as the social order.


Finally, a footnote. Cross-reference the original point 2, and the beginning of my reply to points 2, 3 and A; when it's just YOUR time you're deciding, go ahead. But when the overwhelming presence of those who choose to spend their time in only that way, interferes to a great extent with the ability of OTHERS to utilize their (sometimes limited) time, by forcing a take-time-for-survival-or-rapidly-die-out action, and then wasting their time by making them spend even more of it in search of people to propogate their survival with (in this case, defined as the action which distinguishes their group, and if they stop doing it their group dies out) because a majority of the people they encounter aren't interested, and furthermore (this is more an unfortunate result of the other two, but with their aid it becomes possible to classify this as a single interference) makes their remaining time USELESS since all the others in that group currently present are using their time to ensure their survival *in the society*, not *as a group* - normally their efforts would be up to the task, but as the other group affects the environment, raising the costs and standards of living, survival becomes more difficult, and requires either much more time at easier locations, or more time to raise their abilities accordingly, plus more time at their usual locations. And this is all assuming, of course, that the other group does not actively discourage their differing nature, by only offering to help them with survival at a time when they would normally be ensuring the continuation of their kind.