Posted by: Jess Riley | August 25, 2008

Pet Peeves: Communication

Pet Peeve: Gratuitously misused or absent punctuation or particularly bad grammar.

Why People Do It: A lot of the time, I really think it’s laziness more than lack of knowledge – some errors, like the occasional misused apostrophe are just made through ignorance, but only laziness causes a complete lack of proper punctuation.

Why It Bugs Me: When I see someone completely leaving out punctuation, it makes me think they are lazy, and as a result, makes me less likely to want to roleplay with them. I don’t feel drawn to roleplay with people who don’t look like they’re putting the effort in.

How Else It Could Be Done: Paying slightly more attention to how you present yourself can really be an asset. In this kind of roleplay, all we have is your typing to get the idea across. If you type poorly, people will get that you’re a poor roleplayer, so take the time to ensure you do it well.


Pet Peeve: Chatspeak.

Why People Do It: A lot of people do it because they’re so used to doing it outside roleplay, but again I think it really comes down to laziness a lot of the time.

Why It Bugs Me: My Forsaken mage shouldn’t have any idea what DPS means, so you really shouldn’t turn to her in battle and ask her how much she’s putting out. It completely breaks immersion and, again, shows some serious laziness.

How Else It Could Be Done: Typing out your words properly. No, really. Again, this comes down to ‘take a little care’. Your words are all I have to judge your roleplaying, and I don’t think I’ll really be spending much time with an Undead Priest who opens conversation with, “nice dps your putting out there”. It’s just not good roleplay, and I’m sure the vast majority of the readers will see what I mean.

Now, onto the less ranty parts…

Pet Peeve: Thought-posing.

Why People Do It: A lot of the time, people do it to get across something about their character they can’t think to put into words another way, or to slip in the odd joke. However, just as often people use it to passive-aggressively target a player in such a way that they can’t respond.

Why It Bugs Me: I can’t hear your thoughts, so there’s no real need to put them out into a scene. The odd joke isn’t such a problem but if all your roleplay is ‘Rogue thinks Warlock is a loony’ or ‘Rogue thinks about Westfall.’, there’s nothing there I can pick up on and respond to, and that just means the scene is going nowhere. It’s also frustrating if you use it to passive-aggressively target another person in such a way that they cannot respond, as it causes people to feel like they’re being attacked with no possibility for response. It’s blocking at best, maddening at worst.

How Else It Could Be Done: Getting across some of your character’s thoughts through actions and tone can be an asset to a scene – it’s subtle, but the other person can respond to it. Consider the difference between:

Rogue silently judges Warlock.


Rogue raises an eyebrow at Warlock‘s words, looking down her nose at him.

I still get the idea from the second one that Rogue isn’t impressed with Warlock, but in such a way that can be responded to. It’s less frustrating, and leads to better, more interactive roleplay all around.

Pet Peeve: Godmoding.

Why People Do It: On some level, I think we all like being awesome, and we all want people to see our characters in a way that we’d like to be seen. This leads to an unfortunate temptation to godmode when things don’t seem to be going our way, or when people seem to be reacting in ways that we don’t like to our characters.

Why It Bugs Me: I can understand the temptation, but that doesn’t mean it’s good roleplaying. Telling me how my character is going to react, or informing me that your character is doing something to mine in such a way that I cannot respond is only going to frustrate me and put me off your roleplay. The subtle godmode is just as frustrating as the overt one, in a lot of ways, and this is very important to note. “Warrior smacks Paladin across the face with one hand, knocking him to his feet, not so much as breaking a sweat.” is godmoding, just as, “Blood Elf’s delicate beauty causes you to feel a surge of love for her.” is, and “Priest smites down Shaman, causing him to fall down dead.” is perhaps the most overt.

For some reason, people usually aren’t so happy when you do any of them.

How Else It Could Be Done: Go with actual gameplay mechanisms to achieve the effect, a duel instead of an emoted attack, for example, emote the action in such a way that it does not require an actual success, or ask permission before you go forward with it. “Warrior raises his hand in anger, moving to strike Paladin’s face.” is a considerable improvement, if you don’t want to just /whisper Paladin “That really pissed off Warrior. Do you mind if I hit him?”


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