All Our Heroes
Auspice last edited by
What is the responsibility of leaders to check themselves on policy vs opinion?
What is the responsibility of players to call out leaders on bad opinions?
IRL, we clearly have no problem doing this. Particularly for leaders we dislike (hello China, Trump, NKorea...), but even for leaders we like (we would agree with Obama most of the time, but there were decisions he made that we'd go 'hey now, that wasn't cool' and voice our disapproval in public spaces such as Twitter and Facebook). It's part of what we do as society.
However, on MUs, we often don't do this. The need/want to fit in (particularly when a PC leader is seen as a route-to-staff or even a staff alt) causes us to often fall in line, even for things we disagree with.
So often I witness situations in which a PC leader will give an opinion and it gets followed as if it were law, even if PCs would otherwise disagree with it. To give an example:
A Lance Prince (Archbishop!) is sitting around and says: 'You know, I think we really ought not use junkies as herds.'
It's not declared law in the City. It's simply an opinion.
But those sitting with him, knowing he's the Prince, knowing he has sway and power and is OOCly bffs with the Vamp TL ICly go: 'Yeah, totally. We'd never do that!'
Next thing you know, word goes around. 'Don't use junkies as blood bags!'*
And PCs with Herd (Junkies) merits start getting the side eye.
It's not a Law.
There's nothing against it.
OOCly, some people are actually kinda pissed. They've even +requested from Staff and had it clarified: 'There's no rule against it. You're totally fine. This is perfectly acceptable IC. Some people might not like it.'
But ICly, the atmosphere is: this is super bad, you should never do this.
And when those people try to speak up IC: 'Hey, I'm well within my rights, this is fine' they find themselves ICly dogpiled and even ostracized, threatened with being staked, cast out, etc., as if it were a law and suddenly they find themselves facing a decision: do I keep fighting this (because I'm not breaking any rules IC, because I'm within my rights, I'm correct, and I paid for a merit) even though it's exhausting... or do I go with mob rule?
I see this happen often on games. Very, very often.
Hell, I've been on both sides: the side going along with something because I don't wanna be the weed that gets cut down and the side fighting back because goddamnit that was just an opinion not law. And you know what? The latter fucking sucks. It's exhausting.
So what this comes down to is:
- How much responsibility is on the PC leader to weather check or make it clear between opinion and law?
- How much responsibility is on players to make sure they always play right and are as opinionated as they'd be IRL, even though we all have that desire to fit in (and not risk OOC ire from players/Staff)?
- Is there a safe/healthy way to find a middle ground and what is it?
*ffs don't argue the semantics of the scenario. I know a proper Lance Prince would be unlikely to give this edict. It's a HYPOTHETICAL you knobs.
Staff needs to set some guidelines as to what is reasonable as far as decision-making goes and what isn't. And if a player is adamant on something happening or not happening, they need to negotiate with staff to come up with a compromise for playability and enjoyment.
Players should have no responsibility to 'play right' according to other players, but they should according to theme, setting and canon. Of course, sometimes a player earns a reputation as being able to recite canon or thematic guidance in what some people call 'backseat staffing', and this can be a problem. Especially since it can undermine staffers.
If there is something I learned with the study of law, though, it's that any decision that doesn't work or can't be implemented should be overturned for something that works and is easily implemented. Staff should always have reserve the prerogative to revise policies, including retroactively.
I think some games have it right, regarding safe middle-grounds, that trying to avoid interaction that isn't purely in-scene helps to decrease attrition.
Auspice last edited by
any decision that doesn't work or can't be implemented should be overturned for something that works and is easily implemented.
I 100% agree with this.
Sometimes a concept doesn't work. Sometimes what works in theory doesn't in practice.
No plan survives first contact with the players and this goes not only for plot, but also for policy.
Ghost last edited by Ghost
So what this comes down to is:
How much responsibility is on the PC leader to weather check or make it clear between opinion and law?
How much responsibility is on players to make sure they always play right and are as opinionated as they'd be IRL, even though we all have that desire to fit in (and not risk OOC ire from players/Staff)?
Is there a safe/healthy way to find a middle ground and what is it?
My two cents.
Due to the communal/ooc/MSB facets of MU, I think the following statements can be considered (mostly?) true and there's wisdom in considering them:
- Players of leader PCs want to set direction and policy, and often feel jilted when PCs choose against their decisions
- Players who want to be in good with leadership (leadership PC is staff or friends of, an OOC clique, or good old-fashion bein' a sycophant) will often play and police the desires of a leadership PC to stay on the side of "being included and not being excluded for doing something different"
- Often, the decision to not follow IC leadership or be allowed to be led is not handed as an IC issue. The OOC factor is often considered and there is sometimes an unspoken "be with the program or be ignored" on an OOC-level, and failure to follow IC leadership (with IC ramifications) tends to be very difficult to manage: players run off, avoid RP, create their own refugee MUs.
In the end (broken record, here) the only real workable answer I can find is to keep it IC. If leadership wants something your PC doesn't want? RP that. If a large number of people agree? Use IC means to overthrow the leadership. I think the OOC awkward comes from the fact that leadership roles and/or who plays them are often staff-assisted ways to control plot, and thus the leaders have "plot armor" on both an IC/OOC level. So, to go against the leadership then becomes going against staff's wants and becoming a "problem player", despite the fact that IC deposition of leadership, punishment, or changes in regime are often very feasible IC responses. Because of this it's very reasonable for players to assume that doing what the leadership says will result in being included in the best RP.
So the root of the issue becomes "Are leader PCs considered the IC implementation of staff ruling, and to what degree do leaders need to be followed? Can they be removed? How KEEPIN IT IC is the game, really?" Because, if everything's IC, then there should be no OOC angst.
there should be no OOC angst.
And yet there always is. And it always comes back to the same thing. Some people will use any means necessary to win the MU and that includes using ooc as a tool/weapon.
You have to get rid of the root of the problem, not just hope the problem suddenly decides to become reasonable.