The trappings of posing


  • Coder

    @arkandel said in The trappings of posing:

    Yeah, I agree with that. We're really used to the way we do things - but I'm not so sure we're not in the minority, and that we're not just holding our arbitrary way of doing things as the golden standard others should be conforming to.

    To be clear - I don't think there's any real problem with the way we do things. Tabletop is usually present tense ("I say..." "I hit the ork with my sword..."), and MUSHing has a lot of roots there. But I think it's pretty obviously a quirk of the genre, rare in writing, and I can't really fault anyone who slips up sometimes or has a hard time adjusting. Now someone who's been doing it for awhile and just refuses to adjust? That's different.



  • One of the things I liked about Second Pass (which I found in its last days, alas) was that it said explicitly in the news files 'The style for this game is third-person/present-tense.'

    Just say it upfront and clearly so you don't get the journal and forum RPers dying on their hill of past-tense posing, and we'll all be happier. I get why newbs do it, it's only when it persists after months on the game that I start to grit my teeth at it.


  • Coder

    When I think of Mushing as a form of improv, I become far less picky about posing.

    It's made me far less picky about a lot of things.



  • @faraday said in The trappings of posing:

    Long poses, short poses, inner monologue... whatever. I don't care as long as it's interesting. A good scene is like a tennis match - you have to serve something your partner can hit back.

    Honestly? This.

    Some people rock at a thing I might normally dislike as a default, so I'm rarely going to say 'I hate it when... '

    ...except second-person posing. Don't. Just don't. :/ If only for the nightmare of editing those logs -- or worse, seeing them posted unedited, oh gods. That's probably the one I can't ever forgive.

    When it comes right down to it, I can even deal with snarky metaposing back and forth with someone I know and trust well and I know they're doing it OOCly in well-intentioned humor. (Namely, if the players have an amazing rapport and but the characters hate each other and the players are having comedic fun with that -- and it's usually really obvious when this is the case.)


  • Coder

    @firepuff said in The trappings of posing:

    I think one thing that bothers me are people who pose second-person. Your character isn’t interacting with me the player, your character is interacting with my character.

    This isn’t a deal breaker nor repulsive, but don’t be alarmed when I keep my side third-person.

    The only time second person posing works (kinda) is if it's a one on one scene and both individuals are of the same gender. Then it can (sometimes) get rid of some confusion.


  • Coder

    @surreality said in The trappings of posing:

    ...except second-person posing. Don't. Just don't. :/ If only for the nightmare of editing those logs -- or worse, seeing them posted unedited, oh gods. That's probably the one I can't ever forgive.

    But, see, even that is the norm on other types of forums. I mean think of all the codey type games where game emotes are considered part of the RP (Faraday waves at you.) It irks me a bit too but I remember when it was pretty common on MUSHes and remind myself it's still pretty common elsewhere, and it no longer seems like such a horrible transgression.



  • @lithium It's definitely more understandable then. I'd still ask first, though, to make sure this is comfy for someone... and I'm still one of those assholes who would nope this and just say use 'the other woman' or 'the blonde woman's' or 'the shorter female's' and so on if the shes get too out of hand and whatnot and something needs to get swapped in for names.



  • Just because something is the norm somewhere doesn't mean we have to just accept it, of course. Bowing is the norm in Japan whereas a handshake is more common in the United States. Adapt to where you are, or look like an idiot.


  • Coder

    @tinuviel said in The trappings of posing:

    Just because something is the norm somewhere doesn't mean we have to just accept it, of course. Bowing is the norm in Japan whereas a handshake is more common in the United States. Adapt to where you are, or look like an idiot.

    To a point, yes. But MUSHing has a crap-ton of unwritten rules and a crap-ton of people who are quick to leap to "OMG you're the worst kind of idiot" just because somebody does something differently. And then we wonder why so many newcomers are turned off.



  • @faraday Almost like any culture or sub-culture.



  • This is partly why I ask so many times about the things people think newbies should know.

    The answers tend to surface more in threads like this, and in peeve threads, than actual focused threads asking about these things, which speaks volumes about how subconscious most of these conventions really are.


  • Coder

    @tinuviel said in The trappings of posing:

    @faraday Almost like any culture or sub-culture.

    Okay? I mean, maybe you run in some pretty rough sub-cultures, but if someone bows to me in greeting at a party, I'll raise a curious eyebrow but I'm not going to be all: "Wow, what an idiot. I never want to invite him to another party."

    We're talking about things like using you or past tense or tabs in writing. It's not like these are alien ideas in prose.

    @surreality said in The trappings of posing:

    This is partly why I ask so many times about the things people think newbies should know.

    I tried to capture some of them in my MUSH 101 tutorial, but yeah - I think a lot of them are just subconscious.



  • @faraday said in The trappings of posing:

    @tinuviel said in The trappings of posing:

    @faraday Almost like any culture or sub-culture.

    Okay? I mean, maybe you run in some pretty rough sub-cultures, but if someone bows to me in greeting at a party, I'll raise a curious eyebrow but I'm not going to be all: "Wow, what an idiot. I never want to invite him to another party."

    We're talking about things like using you or past tense or tabs in writing. It's not like these are alien ideas in prose.

    If someone sees everyone else shaking hands, and decides to bow... then I'd probably think they were strange, yes. I was referring more to the first part of your comment, however, that we have unwritten rules. But they're not difficult to determine the very basics by simply looking around on a game. Everyone's using present tense, third person? Then that's probably what you should use too. Nobody else is using tab indentations? Maybe you shouldn't either.


  • Coder

    General Spelling and Grammar: Mostly, I just need to understand. I don't really care otherwise.

    Pose Length and Detail: What I need is for every pose to have give me something, I don't care how much detail or the length of it is. That said, people who pose very small are likely not giving me a lot to respond to: but I've known some people who were gems at it. So, too, I've seen people who write novellas per pose and have absolutely nothing I can do with it. Multiple long paragraphs with maybe two words, and none of those paragraphs really usable content. Its downright frustrating.

    Tempo: It depends. For me the point at where I start wondering if someone fell asleep is the 15-20 minute mark, but as long as I know its a slow scene, I don't mind. I usually try to get my pose done in five minutes after the last person posed, but this is because I start writing my response while other people are posing, and just adjust as each pose comes in, sometimes completely rewriting it. But this is why I prefer round robin in any scene <= 5 people: at this point the chances of someone invalidating my pose complete is high, and I get into this trap of never finishing. For bigger scenes, I see 3pr as a needed evil because otherwise I find it impossible to keep up... but even then, I will tend to do that for maybe an hour then just blank out and mentally check out of the scene because its too big to keep up with.

    Personal Peeves: You-posing is completely creepy: I do not identify myself with my character. I don't mind metaposing as long as it is treated as something that can be read-- body language, tone, intuition-- or if its directed entirely at oneself. I do not want to see 'Jane smiles warmly to Bob, even though she thinks he's a jackass for showing up'. You don't get to call Bob a jackass and not take the heat for it. Now, if she posed, 'Jane attempts to smile warmly to Bob, though her irritation at him over just showing up makes it difficult', that's fine. Bob can still respond to her 'tone' or attitude or something, its not just essentially OOC commentary mixed in an IC pose.

    What annoys me is when people don't take the OOC agency to involve their characters. This is my biggest pet peeve in the world. If you are playing shy, that's fine. Its still YOUR JOB to come up with a reason to get your character to engage with others. I've played shy characters before: I don't have them sit in a corner reading, waiting for someone to drag them out-- I make up a scenario that gets them out of their shell for some reason. (Maybe they're a clutz, and oops! Bumped into you. Damnit now we must make social noises).


  • Coder

    @ixokai What's even worse, is when people start paging you in character, as if you were your character... it's super creepy.


  • Admin

    @ixokai said in The trappings of posing:

    I don't mind metaposing as long as it is treated as something that can be read-- body language, tone, intuition-- or if its directed entirely at oneself. I do not want to see 'Jane smiles warmly to Bob, even though she thinks he's a jackass for showing up'.

    How about "Jane smiles warmly to Bob. That's something she never does, but the Prince's downfall made her day, not that she'd ever admit it to anyone of course."

    It gives you some information Jane wouldn't choose to share and which is difficult to guess from her body language alone unless the player makes it really overt later in the RP, but it also provides some context about what's going on in her head.

    I'm not saying there's no other way to convey the same information if the player is crafty, but I find insights like that welcome in a scene if they don't get used too much to set the narrative, since they can't be responded to directly.



  • Spelling and grammar are obviously important. Perfection isn't needed though, a couple typo'd words are fine. But if your pose is barely readable, that's a whole different problem.

    Pose length is a big one for me. 3-5 paragraphs is usually ideal. Page-scrolling stuff is fine sometimes. I've noticed that there are "species" of page-scrolling though. The sort I've encountered on anime/MCM-type games is cancer, because it's 10+ paragraphs about what a snowflake a character is and gives nothing to the scene and nothing to respond to.

    I despise 1 paragraph "back and forth" scenes. I'd much rather have a ton of detail in a brief IC conversation than minimal detail in an IC conversation that drags on forever across all the stupid usual "hey how are you?" "did you see that thing on the news" etc sort of shit.

    The worst thing in a MUer is being a leech. Somebody who contributes nothing to scenes. Somebody who puts all the responsibility for every scene and making things interesting on the people around them. You can give them 3 different things to react to, and their pose in turn barely gives anything back, and they ignore half of what you wrote. They don't give you anything, they just drain fun out of you for themselves.

    Those people are the worst, fuck them. And they obviously are 1 paragraph-or-lessers, so I tend to avoid 1 paragraphers just to protect myself from that.

    Tempo, I like 20-30 minutes between poses because I'm usually doing other shit. I'd rather spend 6 hours doing a scene with tons of time in there to work on schoolwork/etc rather than be glued to my MU client for 3 hours straight doing rapidfire back and forth. (No, I don't multiscene. Trying to be in the headspace of two characters at once fries my brain.)

    Pose order is a must. I will not do 3PR. Feel free to do it yourself, but I'm bowing out of the scene. 3PR tends to result in bland back and forth with people shooting off mediocre poses just to make sure they get to be the one to react to something first/etc.

    I like thought/meta posing. It adds a lot of flavor to characters and scenes and oftentimes can help lead to ideas for future scenes. There are obviously bad ways to do it. Don't use to insult people/etc.

    People who hate thought posing and stick strictly to "actions", tend to bug me, because it makes scenes pretty boring. And also because it feels less like writing a story together and more like playing a game.

    Also, it is perfectly possible to write 3-5 paragraphs or more, without including purple prose flowery nonsense just for the sake of fluffing up your pose. That shit is unnecessary and annoying.


  • Coder

    @arkandel said in The trappings of posing:

    @ixokai said in The trappings of posing:

    I don't mind metaposing as long as it is treated as something that can be read-- body language, tone, intuition-- or if its directed entirely at oneself. I do not want to see 'Jane smiles warmly to Bob, even though she thinks he's a jackass for showing up'.

    How about "Jane smiles warmly to Bob. That's something she never does, but the Prince's downfall made her day, not that she'd ever admit it to anyone of course."

    It gives you some information Jane wouldn't choose to share and which is difficult to guess from her body language alone unless the player makes it really overt later in the RP, but it also provides some context about what's going on in her head.

    I'm not saying there's no other way to convey the same information if the player is crafty, but I find insights like that welcome in a scene if they don't get used too much to set the narrative, since they can't be responded to directly.

    I don't mind that, as I consider that the 'directed entirely at oneself' -- its internal, not about other people. The commentary is about your own character, not about others. Its the 'commentary about other people they cant respond to' that is the kind of metaposing I find offensive.

    @lithium said in The trappings of posing:

    @ixokai What's even worse, is when people start paging you in character, as if you were your character... it's super creepy.

    Oooooh yes. It's like, boundaries, people!


  • Admin

    @ixokai said in The trappings of posing:

    @ixokai What's even worse, is when people start paging you in character, as if you were your character... it's super creepy.

    Oooooh yes. It's like, boundaries, people!

    The worst thing about that, for me, is that I instantly mistrust them to know the difference between IC and OOC. So if I do something against their character's interest, whether I'm right or not, I feel there's a higher chance they will take it badly.


  • Pitcrew

    I want to complain, too!

    Things that should be punishable by exile:

    • Excessive wiki code in poses. One or two highlighted words in a four paragraph pose is fine... but I've seen people who use apostrophe accents to italicize multiple words in a single paragraph. It's obnoxious and makes me just skim their pose (really, especially when it's in the middle of dialogue, it just looks messy). Strikes me as the sign of someone who cares more about how their RP LOOKS on a wiki than how it READS is during a scene. There are more readable ways to accent words in-client, and you can edit it afterwards on the wiki. Really.

    • Breaking pose order. GTFO. This makes people rush out awful poses just so that they can have their say, and you often get one guy or girl who doesn't give a shit about the quality of their RP just spamming the scene so they can 'do all of the things'.

    • I was going to say '4 liner poses' but honestly... if you're not going to give me something to work with in a pose, I'd rather have 4 lines than 4 paragraphs. Especially if those 4 paragraphs are a bunch of 'here's how sexy/awesome/appealing my character is' fluff. If that's all you have to offer in 700 words, just cut it down to 150 - 200 so I can skim it easier and move along to someone interesting.

    • People who pick up a foreign character and their idea of 'making it authentic' is just googling '<insert country here> slang' and then using a bunch of words that NOBODY from that country, living in the United States (or wherever), would ever say. You see this frequently with British characters who only refer to people as 'wanker' or 'mate' (with literally no other sign that they're from Britain/wherever - just those two words)... no.

    Things that are awesome:

    • Internal dialogue in poses, because it allows me to get a better understanding of the other character and it gives me a lot more ideas on how to build off of them instead of just surface-level nonsense. I would rather have a paragraph of internal exposition that helps me understand their personality than a paragraph about how sexy they are in whatever ridiculous outfit they're wearing.

    • Annoying accents in dialogue. Way more authentic way of getting across their nationality than the before-mentioned 'I am googling <x> slang and then using the most over-the-top ones constantly' method. Also, I love how many people get annoyed by it. As long as it's not every word being mangled, and just a select few, I personally love it. And, again, the 'pain' of others having to read it fills me with a deep joy.

    • Line breaks and indents. Okay, less so indents, but I don't get why people think they're some terrible thing (aside from, maybe, log posting).

    • Enforced pose order. Strong like Krupp steel. If people start breaking pose order in a scene I'll just write myself out and let them have at it. Then again I don't go for the bare-bones 'action' stuff as much as certain others. I'm a very reactive RPer in that I try to play off of others in the scene... as many people as possible, in fact, as long as it's reasonable to do so and they give me something to work with. This is impossible in 3pr or a free-for-all. Where's the fun in that? I'll play a video game if I want to pretend I'm running around shooting stuff.