How do you keep OOC lounges from becoming trash?


  • Pitcrew

    I've been on MUs long enough to have seen plenty of OOC lounges, and in my experience they always get dragged down by some of the same factors.

    Invariably, with enough people hanging around, there's always at least one person will treat the lounge as their personal journal, oversharing details about their personal life with strangers and taking free license to bitch about anything that comes to mind.

    This has the long term effect of driving otherwise cool players out of the lounge and into private areas onto the game grid to hang out, often 26th l with their friends, which usually accelerates the inevitable issues about cliques/elitism that will show up on just about any game.

    Has anyone ever found an effective way to deal with it? It's almost always 1-3 people who can't seem to handle themselves or know boundaries that make a lounge insufferable for everyone else, and admin are generally reluctant to act since they're generally not violating any actual rules.


  • Coder

    @Wavert I make a point as staff to have an alt in +ooc to monitor the situation. And deal with stuff that arises. Its not always immediate: sometimes I can only fix the drama after, but still. I have awareness of what's gone on.

    On M1963, we banned two players (one was just a guest) for +ooc behavior, and gave a warning to a third and they took it well. Very rarely but every so often a: hey, guys? Relax, sort of declaration goes a long way.


  • Pitcrew

    You can't. Honestly, a lot of games should consider not having them.

    What I mean, of course, is not having an 'OOC Lounge'. You might have a Starting Room or a Waiting Room or a OOC Space, but it isn't exactly for talking or hanging out in. If you log on, you should be there to play. I'm not actually sure what the purpose is with these spaces beyond some kind of thought that games must have a place to "hang out."

    Or, if you have them, remove the ability to speak and emote.

    It's a game first, hang out spot second. There shouldn't really be any rooms that aren't conducive to people logging on and going IC, and an OOC Lounge can be a problem. It's easier to talk in the OOC lounge than it is to scene, after all, and a lot of MUers are nothing if not creatures-of-least-resistance.

    Or, if you must have one, you need some way of monitoring what's going on. Whenever I visit an OOC Lounge and see the same people complaining about LOL THIS FUCKING GUY ON LEAGUE or :scoffs at YoutubeCelebrity's Latest Video or giving a play by play of their latest game or LP or whatever else meaningless bullshit that doesn't relate to anything on the actual MU, well...



  • @Gilette Sounds like you need to just stay out of OOC rooms then. Problem solved.


  • Pitcrew

    No?

    They're a vestigial element that games don't actually need, but are kept around because a lot of MUers simply don't have any other social outlet and/or because there's a belief that an OOC lounge is necessary for a game to function.

    I can think of more games where an OOC lounge has gradually metastatised into the following set of traits that one that functioned as a workable decompression and chill area.

    • Complaining about some video game you're playing for hours.
    • Other long conversations that can be best be summed up as 'who the fuck cares'
    • A place for people to log on and idle while refusing RP (and, often, whining about a lack of RP) - some of these players will log on for hours at a time every single day, and yet remain purely in the lounge.
    • Snarking about what's happening in-game or on-grid.
    • Hiding behind 'it's just my opinion' when called on the above by staff
    • Characters taking up spots on a roster but rely on their loud OOC clique to prevent them from being removed for lack of activity
    • Sometimes getting a nice little OOC Lounge 'play nice and don't be dicks in this room' notice-object which is fantastic because it sends a great message to new players given that the OOC lounge is inevitably the room they log in to

    They're antiques. Relics. Parts of games that worked when you had hundreds of players coming through and maybe the grid was simply too crowded to RP. When you have, say, forty players and ten to fifteen of them sit in an OOC lounge while the grid remains desolate and players shout RP requests into an echoing void, well, what's the point? What, exactly, is the Lounge of any game contributing?

    When the thread topic is 'How do you keep them from becoming trash?' contributing 'then just stay out of them XD' isn't exactly constructive.

    edit: I'll admit, of course, neither is 'well, you shouldn't have them' but I'm actually interested in seeing an argument either for them or in how you prevent them from becoming what I've listed above.



  • @Gilette I am not a huge fan of OOC chat lounge rooms, but I do feel they serve a few useful purposes.

    Mostly, it keeps the 'I'm just feeling randomly chatty' chatter contained. There's a level of this no matter what you do or don't allow. The majority of it is harmless, and not something that you need to make a rule about, let alone a harsh one. I'm saying that with a straight face and I have rules for everything -- though that also includes what is and isn't cool for general OOC spaces on the game. I would much rather see this in a room designated to that end than see it spill all over channels intended for a game-specific purpose to render them even more useless than they often are already.

    Socializing, within sensible bounds, does serve a purpose on a game that's important: it reminds people they're actually playing on the game with other actual people. It's fairly easy for people to lose sight of that, and it's fairly relevant for many of the types of games discussed here that do make use of OOC communication, planning, etc. (Just getting rid of, or never having, a space like this may be preferable in no-OOC-communication/RPI style environments, by contrast.)

    Most games these days already do have a 'quiet room', which is an OOC room where you can't speak or emote. If one you're on doesn't, suggest it; spaces like this are a genuinely good idea for the folks who don't like the chatter spam without treating the people who enjoy chatting with fellow players like they're doing something wrong by socializing at all. (That's a pretty bad message to send.)


  • Coder

    @surreality said in How do you keep OOC lounges from becoming trash?:

    Most games these days already do have a 'quiet room', which is an OOC room where you can't speak or emote. If one you're on doesn't, suggest it; spaces like this are a genuinely good idea for the folks who don't like the chatter spam without treating the people who enjoy chatting with fellow players like they're doing something wrong by socializing at all. (That's a pretty bad message to send.)

    Yeah I've always had a designated quiet room. It's the only 'private' OOC place to hang out. There's always one or two people in it, but never a flock. And I've never had a complaint about the chatter in the OOC rooms. But then I run on small games.

    TGG had no OOC room, and people then would hang out on the grid. This was good because sometimes you'd get people dragged into RP instead of hanging out when the scene was interesting, but bad because you never knew who was actually RPing and who was just hanging out.


  • Pitcrew

    @surreality

    Good points.

    There was an 'ooc lounge' I really liked, on a game I can't remember, where instead of being framed like a hangout spot it was framed as being off-stage of a performance. The idea was, obviously, that it was a waiting area between scenes rather than a place to hang. I thought that was a neat way of having one while also subtly reminding people that the real purpose was being 'on stage'.

    At their worst, I think a 'lounge' is what I described above.

    At their best, though, they can be a good source of meeting and getting comfortable with other players, brainstorming and bouncing ideas around, and even some light semi-IC RP to get a feel for the characters. When they operate like that, I tend to visit them, and that's when I can see the purpose in them.


  • Pitcrew

    @Gilette I definitely see the need to have a place where players can brainstorm and bounce around. I think the problem is that because these rooms are the default place to be when your OOC, they don't serve that purpose well.

    Why not have the default OOC landing room be a quiet room, and then designate a room just for players who want to plot or brainstorm PRPs and the like?


  • Admin

    Why have an OOC room and not just the OOC channel? What's the upside?


  • Coder

    @Arkandel I think the major issue with that is that it is global. I know it can be turned off, but most players don't bother. So the room makes it lazily easy to escape the chatter and join the chatter when desired. A channel can be forgotten to be turned back on.

    I like the idea of an OOC Lounge as I think it can be a sum zero for the game. Meaning it serves a purpose to bolster community within the players, but it can be abused. So it's a sum zero.


  • Coder

    @Arkandel said in How do you keep OOC lounges from becoming trash?:

    Why have an OOC room and not just the OOC channel? What's the upside?

    Some people are going to log in without intent of playing immediately. Where do you want them to be? The upside of providing an OOC room is that it gives a better feel for the true RP activity level in the game and can help find RP easier. You have a reasonable expectation that Bob is on grid because he wants to RP, not because he's waiting for Suzy to log in or just chilling while cooking dinner. A channel doesn't accomplish that.


  • Admin

    @faraday said in How do you keep OOC lounges from becoming trash?:

    @Arkandel said in How do you keep OOC lounges from becoming trash?:

    Why have an OOC room and not just the OOC channel? What's the upside?

    Some people are going to log in without intent of playing immediately. Where do you want them to be?

    Aw, come on. Anywhere. Give them personal rooms (which I believe all characters should have, and for more than just TS purposes - it's good to have a private space) or 'quiet' rooms they can idle in without spamming each other.

    Then let channels do what they're there for, with a history function so they can be monitored by staff for abuse (as opposed to 'X said Y ten minutes ago' and sending logs back and forth after the fact).

    The upside of providing an OOC room is that it gives a better feel for the true RP activity level in the game and can help find RP easier.

    I think there are far better RP-finding tools than the OOC room - in fact that's probably a mediocre one, and its function can be easily substituted by ... well, a channel. RP-seeking flags, grid incentives, public +events, hell the +where command, these are all more effective ways of finding a scene.

    I dunno, maybe I'm biased. I've never liked hanging out in the OOC room in any game, it's too spammy (without the chance to mute it) and too many attention-seekers make it their home.


  • Pitcrew

    Enh, in general I tend to think the OOC lounge is sort of the free space. As was mentioned, most games have a Quiet Room if you just want to idle online but not really be bothered by random people spouting random things. I also figure that the Public channel is for game-related, but otherwise OOC stuff. The OOC Lounge is entirely voluntary in that light - there's no purpose for being there unless you choose to be there, and as such it's fine to bullshit, vent about OOC crap or just chatter about whatever comes to mind. A level of decorum and politeness is absolutely required, of course - but that goes both ways. Just as no one should be insulting or use profanity in the OOC lounge <it's by and large also the landing pad for guests, and if you're hanging out there you're basically representing the game to anyone coming to investigate it>, but at the same time if people chatting about video games or swapping recipes (both of which I've seen and done - sometimes in the same conversation) turns you off, you're probably better off hanging out in the Quiet room for the duration.



  • I hate OOC lounges. Channels are fine.


  • Coder

    The good thing about channels and OOC lounges is that they are usually opt in. Those that don't like them can turn them off, or not use them. Those that do, can participate.

    I kind of hate having anything spamming in amongst my RP, so if I have channels on, I always them directed to a different window.



  • I tend to turn OOC channels off immediately when joining a new mush, because whenever I don't, I seem to always get treated to some toxic rant about whatever goofy politics is happening in the States.

    I'll leave newbie on, because that's a channel that serves a purpose. I think I'd be in favour of OOC lounges over Channels. I've had plots break up because too many players were arguing over channels and not paying attention to the scene, so they miss poses, and OOC pokes, and I'm left staring at a screen for 30 minutes waiting for someone to pose. If they're whisked away into an arguement chamber, then at least you know what's happening.


  • Politics

    @saosmash said in How do you keep OOC lounges from becoming trash?:

    I hate OOC lounges. Channels are fine.

    I concur.

    But I like having OOC lounges to keep the shitheads in one place. I usually stay IC all the time, so if the OOC inane stupidity is left in the OOC lounge, it makes the channels more pleasant to lurk on.



  • I'd find it interesting if the premise of this thread was generally accepted by mushers. Lack of an ooc gathering place is a more rp-intensive attitude. It really depends on the game in question but I've found that mushes attract players who use the game primarily for purposes of social RP so it doesn't make sense to shut down ooc social conversation. There are other little ways they discourage players who want a more ic-only atmosphere which I think may be the type of player that op would want to attract and play with, unless I'm misunderstanding. OOC lounges are more a side effect of a basic attitude toward roleplay than an attitude in and of themselves.


  • Politics

    @acceleration said in How do you keep OOC lounges from becoming trash?:

    I'd find it interesting if the premise of this thread was generally accepted by mushers. Lack of an ooc gathering place is a more rp-intensive attitude.

    Your argument presumes intent over inertia.


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