It being observed that recent postings on the board concerning
the issue of what is appropriate and inappropriate as far as
characterization and role-play are concerned in public places
on this muck has become an issue of some contention of late,
and also in the face of changing social conditions on the muck
(or rather, seeing that conditions have changed since my
departure in 1999) I have compiled a few of my observations
and suggestions, and question in the hopes of fuelling a
dialogue on the subjects.
I realize many of these ideas will be met with opposing.
Some people will find certain proposals offensive or
distasteful. I realize that it will probably be noticed
that I myself have been in violation of one, some, or
possibly all of these propositions at one time or another, in
one form or another.
But please be reassured that it is not my intent to preach or
pretend to know what the proper course of action is. I
know that oftentimes presently and formerly I have provided my
opinions unsolicited and in a very aggressive manner; and I
have endeavored to make my words as diplomatic as possible
now. I consider myself to be a part of SpinDizzy and a
part of the community that built it--the history of which
predates SpinDizzy, and TFF as well--one that has it's origins
in Dreamtime and possibly before even that halcyon muck.
As part of that community, I consider SpinDizzy to be my
online home. It is in my interest and the interest of
every SpinDizzy resident to preserve and foster a high quality
of interaction and keep it fun. It is my hope that these
ideas will work in that direction--that the social climate
will improve, that minds will expand, and that we can reach a
consensus in understanding and abiding an unwritten code of
Observation I. Distinctions of Characterization
When I was growing up, I loved to read. I still do. But
I hated to look up words I didn't know. A lot of times,
though, it wasn't necessary for me to put down a good book
just because I was hung up on one bothersome word. I
found that often I was able to guess, accurately the meaning
of a word by how it was used in the sentence or story.
It was wnot until I was much older that I learned this
technique has a name: inference out of context.
After I began mucking I found that it was also easy to tell
when a person was in character or not by what they said and
how they said it--A dragon is as unlikely to attend C classes
as a reclusive electronics hobbyist is to breathe fire (and
those tempted to counter this assertion with inane claims
about hydrogen-saturated Japanese beverages are missing the
I am suggesting that it ought not to be necessary to specify
when a person is IC or OOC. Inference out of context is
a valuable skill for interaction on a muck and one worthy of
I am not in favor of hard and fast rules for governing where
IC is acceptable, where it isn't, and likewise do not like
extremes on any end of the spectrum either in individuals or
communities. In-character role-play among friends with
similar interests is one of the fundamental appeals of mucking
and attached to that is the sense of community fostered--and
the relationships developed through this role-play are
deepened as the players get to know one another on a personal
If you eliminate role-play entirely, it is the same as chat.
If you outlaw reality, it is lacking in depth of interaction.
It may be preferable to have a sense of 'right of way' for
conversations taking place--if the prevailing traffic is IC,
perhaps OOC should be reserved to whispers or taken elsewhere.
And likewise the other way around.
I've seen all ends of the spectrum--I don't believe Strange
Attractor will succeed on account of the barriers raised by
it's enforced anonymity and I don't think it's a good thing to
have 24-hour Linux techie chat in the Rose Garden, either.
A happy medium is ideal.
Observation II. Social Competition and Snobbery.
It is safe to say that nobody likes to be made fun of.
But among certain individuals it seems as though the only
jokes they are able to make is at the expense of others.
Why is this? Spindizzy ought to be a place to relax
among friends, not another arena for social competition.
I had hoped to escape that sort of posturing and hazing when I
left junior high, but improving one's self-image by attacking
others in the name of a good laugh is a disturbingly regular
And perhaps more disturbing is the fact that those responsible
are probably too oblivious to realize it's them I'm talking
On a similar note, I've noticed that some people don't say
hello. And by that I don't mean not saying hello when
entering the rose garden (that's usually do to lag or
laziness)--I mean not acknowledging a greeting addressed
directly to them, more than once, sometimes whispered for
attention. Forgive me, but I find that to be a bit rude.
For the most part, this behavior has been with people I don't
know and the only reason I can think of why this would take
place is clique behavior--not interacting with those outside
of a certain group of friends and acquaintances.
I would like to suggest that SpinDizzy is not large enough to
support this practice. It ought to be easy to get to
know the regulars quickly enough as small as this muck is.
And one more bit of snobbery that I have noticed is attempt to
squelch Rose Garden chat when the majority of the people are
talking about any given subject. Once in a while you
will see one or two or three individuals who might say things
like, "Spongemuppet snuggles Pornflake and tries to shut
out the surrounding conversation," or, "Lagpacket
yawns, clearly bored," or engage in attempts to divert
the attention of the Rose Garden to themselves.
When a person is not interested in participating in the social
environment at the time, I would think that the best course of
action would be to either wait silently until something of
interest comes up, attempt to make a meaningful contribution,
or to go elsewhere.
Observation III. Language skills
On this subject I am afraid it is very difficult to pull
punches. When a person does not put forth effort to use
proper capitalization, punctuation, or grammar, I have a very
hard time treating them with respect. I know that
language skills are not always indicative of intelligence, but
when I see:
plonker say, " hello How are you smile
Hipcat smiles and says, "Hello, how are you?"
My initial reaction to the first will likely be much more
negative than the second.
Observation IV. Furry Enculturation
It was my understanding when SpinDizzy was created that SpinDizzy
was not to be a specifically Furry-themed muck. The
wizcore at the time seemed to concur. I am aware that
many people that connect to SpinDizzy identify themselves as 'Furries'
or 'Furry Fans'. This is understandable; SpinDizzy feeds
primarily from mucks that are furry themed, and they should by
all means be made to feel welcome here.
But I still don't see SpinDizzy as a 'Furry Muck.' I
don't consider myself to be a furry (nor even a furry fan),
and it is not very pleasant to be asked why I am here--or
worse, told that I shouldn't be here--when the subject comes
up. It ought not to be impossible for furries and
nonfurries to peaceably coexist.
It seems as though I have been seeing more and more furry
enculturation creep into the muck--and by that I don't mean
more furry characters, but more ideas that are peculiar to the
dodgier end of the fandom, i.e. the "Furries good, humans
bad" sort. I am very glad to report that I've not
yet heard anyone use the word "mundane" here and
mean it (although the word "everyfur" has somehow
surfaced, unfortunately). It evidences an attitude no
one could benefit from.
Tangents: There are two side effects of this furry
enculturation. The first is a diminishing acceptance of
different playstyles. Like some of my alts, for
instance. There is just no tolerance for playful
obnoxiousness. I am reminded of a conversation I saw on
Furtoonia some years ago between Beer Rat and another
individual. Beer Rat played the role of a perpetually
drunk, overweight, smelly bum with delusions of grandeur.
This second person wondered aloud, in sort of a condescending
manner, why anybody would want to pbe somebody like him.
This person played a voluptuous winged coyote woman and in
real life is a morbidly obese gentleman who had under gone a
gender-reversal operation and now considers himself a lesbian.
Draw your own conclusions.
At one point, it seemed as though pushing the envelope of weirdness
and charting unexplored territories of characterization was de
rigueur for this muck: Steam-driven robots,
anthropomorphic colonies of amoeba, fireflies inhabiting human
skin, super evolved weasels, plaers-as-puppets, and even the
water in the fountain featured as characters here at one time
or another. Is it still acceptable? Are
hermaphroditic alien dragons with four sets of external
genitalia (all the rage on traditional furry mucks) the new 'weird'?
Which brings me to my second tangent--dodgy descriptions.
The internet is really in no short supply of lewdness.
Every day I must receive at least twenty unsolicited emails
from women who want me to view pictures of them naked on their
web pages--which is very flattering and all--but I'm really
uninterested. Is it necessary to have that sort of thing
here? I know that hormones are formidable creatures as I
suffer from my fair share; but we ought to be able to keep
them under control in our fair burg. SpinDizzy is not a
place where I really want to be confronted with carefully
articulated descriptions of heaving bodices.
SpinDizzy is a different sort of place, and one very special
to me and many of you. There was, at one point, so much
that set it apart from the mucks that surrounded it. I
think it is still different, and still special, and I am not
calling for a return to "the good old days." I
realize that the muck will continue to grow and evolve, but I
hope it will grow into something different from it's cousins,
and not a clone of them. I look forward to hearing what
you have to say.