Sunday, 4 January 2009

Appropriateness

There have been growing rumblings about "appropriateness" in the Independent State of Caledon, more specifically in group chat.

To be fair these rumblings have been there for a considerable amount of time. Nearly two years ago Khashai Steinbeck, Caledon's very first Steward, stormed out in a temper about how Caledon was being ruined. My own comments to him privately in IM after probably didn't help but we have since made up. Yet he has not returned to Caledon.

Others have left Caledon only to return with childish half truths about their supposed victimisation, bringing up issues that were buried more than a year ago. All people bring us happiness - some as they arrive, others as they leave.

When I first arrived in Caledon in 2006 ISC was not used for chat. It was used for posting group notices, events, and for asking advice. Even then the group members numbered less than 400. Aimless chatter was not allowed.

Miss Emilly started the most recent round of concerns here. Her initial post wasn't so much concerned about group chat and general civility as change in Caledon and whether this change was for better or worse, the comments did prompt a follow up post here concerning appropriate behaviour.

Membership of the Independent State of Caledon group today runs over 1000. This doesn't include those who have chosen to pursue their SL elsewhere.

Miss Laval made some excellent points about appropriateness in group chats. Admittedly not all 1000 people of ISC are online at the same time, but I know I don't want to hear all the "gee it's quiet in here" comments. If you're that desperate for someone to talk to, pop over to Info Island.

Miss Jameson followed up Miss Emilly's post with one stressing politeness and asking one of the fundamental questions I often wonder myself: If you're not interested in a Victorian setting or even a quasi-Victorian setting, why are you here? I disagree with her final conclusion though. Yes we are 21st century people, but if you came to a Victorian sim wanting to be a 21st century person I think you've made the wrong decision. Like wanting to be in a post apocalypse sim but dressing and acting like you're at a Paris fashion show. Or living in a gorean sim and dressing in a space suit all the time. I know of a few others in other steampunk themed sims who loudly proclaim their dislike of Victoriana. No I've never understood why they've stayed either.

There are different levels of immersion, Caledon being defined as "polite Victorian roleplay". Miss Emilly makes a further post here after this evening's debacle on ISC. I think those branding her a chat-nazi need to get out of their skyboxes more often.

Miss Emilly's concentration on politeness may grate to the modern ear. But we haven't come here to be modern. If you have a chip on your shoulder about calling people Lord or Lady muckamuk, don't do it. You can still call them Mr. or Miss at the very least. Perhaps some of that courtesy will rub off and make you stop and think before you post about what you're doing or worse still, who you're doing.

Miss Snook and I have been discussing running some etiquette lessons for Victorians of all stripe (be they Caledon or not). Perhaps these lessons are long overdue.

12 comments:

Darien Mason said...

Sir Edward,

You may be onto something with the etiquette classes. I have a standing offer from Sir ArthurConan Doyle to teach courses at YottaByte University in New Tolouse. Perhaps we should collaborate on a syllabus?

Eladrienne Laval said...

Well said Sir...

As I said in my comment in Miss Orr's post, in the end do others even care any more about etiquette lessons and such? They may think their behavior is just fine.

And for those who wish to truly rebel against Victorian ways and manners in Caledon, which part of "19th c. Victorian/Steampunk community" do you not understand and why are you really here? When you are in a 19th c. community, enjoy it. It is one of the great things about SL to be able to RP a historical era and behave like a person of that time. If you wish to behave like the 21st c. person you are in RL, SL is a big, big world and there are plenty of other places that will accommodate you nicely.

I love Caledon. I do. I would not be saying such things if I didn't.

Fogwoman Gray said...

Regarding Miss Tardis' post in the forums - I feel it is important to understand that this lady is suffering from some significant problems possibly related to her service overseas. It seems most polite to me look upon her posting with understanding and not take the sentiments personally.
I have had the impression that some folks have been rather "testing the limits" of Caledon's tolerance for outrageousness in State Chat. We have left the realm of risque and double entendre commentary of sometimes questionable taste, and now are exposed nearly nightly to chat that is almost universally offensive. My concern has been that since this functions as the equivalent of "public airwaves" there should be both pressure to keep the offensive content in private IMs and also to educate our membership on how to turn it off! Killing the ISC channel is not intuitive, as just closing the communication window does not work. This results in people being unable to escape the chat ever. I have spoken to a couple of people who stated they left ISC just due to this issue. While I do enjoy the friendly and often chatty atmosphere, being able to make it shut up at times is also important to ones mental health.
Please call upon me for any assistance I can provide with classes and such.

Otenth Paderborn said...

I was hoping that last year's "social season" might serve this purpose, and I believe that for a few people it did so. It was burdened, however, by a mixture of purposes, including RP about being a debutante. I would be happy to participate in creating opportunities for self education on Victoriana, neo-Victorianism, Steampunk, Caledon mores and practices, and more. I suggest that it not, however, be joined to any particular RP scenario.

Gabrielle Riel said...

Amen.

I have broken my silence on this subject.

http://gabrielleriel.blogspot.com/2009/01/death-of-politesse.html

~ Gabi

Christine McAllister Pearse said...

Well said my love!

I think that for my part, I will just try and lead by example. However, I am going to start breaking my silence when I do see things on ISC that shock me, rather than quietly closing the window without comment.

This may be a losing battle, but one that is worth the fight, regardless.

Baron K. Wulfenbach said...

Herr Duke,

Bitte, if I might persuade you to respond.

KW

Galactic Baroque said...

I am seeing the the same pattern at work here as I have observed the past in other organized fannish communities. Sad, but inevitable.

Emilly Orr said...

Perhaps inevitable; I think no longer sad.

I have to reaffirm here, as I've done on my own blog, that just over the past few days, there has been a depth and richness to the dialogues in ISC chat I haven't seen for six months, easily.

I am so deeply, unbelievably relieved about this, I can scarce express it. The weight on my heart is beginning to lift.

I'll watch, and listen, for now, but...Caledonians may have rallied once again. It could be a very, very good start to the new year.

Rhianon Jameson said...

I returned from a week away from the keyboard, logged on for about an hour while multitasking (mainly catching up with this thread), and wondered what was strange about being in-world. Then it hit me: no ISC chat for the entire hour! It was...refreshing.

I hope Your Grace did not take away from my post that I was advocating 21st century appearance and action within a (quasi-) Victorian community. Rather, the point I was trying to make was that we are revisiting the Victorian era - and not even the true Victorian era, but a fictionalized "steampunk" version of it - through the filter, if I may borrow the phrase, of our 21st century existences. As the young people today might say, "Cut me a little slack, man," if we occasionally slip into an anachronistic mode of conduct. :)

Rhianon Jameson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Edward Pearse, Duke of Argylle said...

Miss Jameson, despite you claims of being part of the problem, you're not one of the people who spring to mind on that description :-)

I'm always willing to cut people some slack. I'm very aware that some people have moral objections to aristocracy or that very few people will go out of their SL houses actually wearing a hat. These I just shrug and ignore.

I agree with you that politeness is something that needs to be worked on but I can live without some of the more blatant line crossing. Miss Orr's reference to someone pouring alcohol over their naked body and inviting people to lick it off is one of the more extreme examples, but the sort of stuff I don't think really needs to be in the public eye of Caledon.

Yes we're 21st century people so occasional anachronisms are to be expected. It's when the anachronisms outweigh the Victorianisms that it starts to lose it's flavour.