How far should Anonymity in rumors go?

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Voxumo
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How far should Anonymity in rumors go?

Postby Voxumo » Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:52 am

Should replies to rumors be considered completely Anonymous? That is what I wish to talk about today. I recently investigated a particularly nasty rumor, involving a topic that could be considered Bannable should a player be found enaging in it, but wasn't deemed inappropriate by staff to have removed.

So wishing to see such a controversial rumor dealt with, albeit icly, I and several other players, two to be precise, launched an investigation to find out who posted such a vicious and uncalled reply.

Now I went into this thinking "Ok, we will find out an npc was paid to spread reply, and then we can find out the payer from there." Well 20 qp and 150 silver later, we found it was an npc, except that no "Player Character" paid them to spread the lie, but they seemingly did so themselves.

This is complete and utter Bollocks. I do believe there should be a level of anonymity in rumors, but if people are paying qp and other currencies to try and find out the source behind the rumor or reply, then there should be a level of expectation that it can be sourced back to an actual player not just some npc, especially if it's to such a degree as this rumor reply was. For those who don't know, the reply to a rumor called my character a pedophile. Mudsex with characters who are considered children is against policy, so such a claim even icly I would consider substantial. Even in real life calling someone a pedophile isn't something typically thrown around idly in rumors, to my knowledge at least.

I know we've had topics like this before, but to my memory we've never had rumors to such a degree. Calling a character a prostitute or equivalent of such, while mean, isn't to the same degree as calling someone's character a pedophile. Afterall being loose isn't against policy. The severity of this reply is why I feel the topic needs to be revisited, or maybe stricter guidelines should be put in place for rumors, to prevent policy related claims from being thrown about.

But I am just one person, and I may honestly have some bias here, but that is why I'm presenting the idea to the community.
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Puciek
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Re: How far should Anonymity in rumors go?

Postby Puciek » Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:08 am

If that thing happened publicly, that rumour is a good reminder that there are invisible NPCs all around us. It's not that someone going and paying that NPC, it's that NPC overhearing such things and speaking about it to other NPCs and players. The more controversial, the more likely is that the NPCs will talk, so if you want to discuss how good it was to bed the queen, you are best to brag about this in a private area, not in middle of a tavern (as a general reminder for all the queen bedders ;)).

But besides that, rumour can be completely made up, as they are in real life. Even if it's super harsh, it's perfectly fine to make up rumours out of thin air about other people and put them down as NPCs. It is intended to be mean. And if you think that people are not taking rumours to such degree IRL, dare I say, Michael Jackson? And many other who were gossiped about, violently, but never actually found guilty of any actual wrongdoing.
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Delphine
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Re: How far should Anonymity in rumors go?

Postby Delphine » Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:41 am

Alright, so, having reread the rumor in question (and it took me a while to think of what rumor you were talking about as this one was so mild in comparison to some others I've seen that it didn't even register on my offensive radar; but then again this rumor is about your character, so I can understand why it would be more offensive to you), I feel like, within the context of the rumor, the phrase "manipulative pedophile," was used in the same way that a lot of people refer to my character as a "girl" when they are trying to be derogatory. As the male party in that rumor is referred to as a "little lordling" and a "vulnerable young man," I just took it as whoever called you a "pedophile" was just saying your character manipulated that particular young man and that to them, the young man was a "boy" (even if he wasn't actually a boy in the same way that, to some people, Caterina is a "girl" even though she is technically a woman).

But that was just my take on it. If any of that made sense.

I understand that the rumor game can be tough. Believe me, as someone who plays a character who is often - for whatever reason - the subject of vicious rumors, you just have to sit back and laugh off the most ridiculous ones.

As for how far anonymity should go, as Puciek pointed out, this world is full of NPCs. It seems a bit meta to assume that there has to be a PC behind a particular rumor because then you're basing your opinion off of the very OOC understanding that we have a limited number of players as opposed to the IC understanding that Lithmore City is freaking HUGE and full of random people you probably don't know but who are going to have strong (most likely false) opinions about characters who are in positions of power/the spotlight.

I get what you're saying, though, for the record: Pedophilia is against policy so why should someone be able to call you a pedophile? But since it IS against policy, everyone knows that someone calling you that is someone who is just throwing out vicious names as opposed to factual statements. Which officially makes such a rumor one of those ridiculous ones that you can just laugh at.

TL;DR: Rumors are mean. You just gotta laugh. The world is full of NPCs. I don't see a need for a PC to be behind a rumor (so long as staff has documentation and cnotes and is satisfied in that regard for when there's a case of a NPC-spread rumor or rumor reply with no PC behind it).
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Voxumo
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Re: How far should Anonymity in rumors go?

Postby Voxumo » Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:46 am

Puciek wrote:If that thing happened publicly, that rumour is a good reminder that there are invisible NPCs all around us. It's not that someone going and paying that NPC, it's that NPC overhearing such things and speaking about it to other NPCs and players. The more controversial, the more likely is that the NPCs will talk, so if you want to discuss how good it was to bed the queen, you are best to brag about this in a private area, not in middle of a tavern (as a general reminder for all the queen bedders ;)).

But besides that, rumour can be completely made up, as they are in real life. Even if it's super harsh, it's perfectly fine to make up rumours out of thin air about other people and put them down as NPCs. It is intended to be mean. And if you think that people are not taking rumours to such degree IRL, dare I say, Michael Jackson? And many other who were gossiped about, violently, but never actually found guilty of any actual wrongdoing.


If a new player joined the game, and one of the first things they saw about another character was said character being a pedophile, do you not believe that might have them avoid said character, and perhaps even form an ooc opinion? Yes such savagery exists in real life, but at what point do we draw a line on separating real life from this game? A game at it's core is meant to be enjoyable, and to bring people together.

I am damn certain if anybody else was in my shoes, they'd also want to ensure such claims are not thrown about casually. Blame me for Murder, Blame for Magery, Call me a whore... These are all things I will happily accept... hell the rumor mill has certainly called my character many horrid things. In the four+ years I've been playing, this is the first time a rumor, or reply to rumor, has caused me to consider it crossing the line. Even when my previous character spent 2 ooc weeks in Ahalin because somebody decided to spread a rumor about him killing someone, I happily rolled with it. Two weeks I was deprived of the rp I could have had... and I was fine with that.

The damage is done, what I seek is to ensure that <redacted by Staff for personal attacks> doesn't set a precedent. It takes one person crossing the line without being stopped to cause that line to be pushed farther and farther. It's pedophile now, but give it time and people will casually throw out rapist... Is that a precedent we are willing to create for the sake of "Realism"?
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Puciek
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Re: How far should Anonymity in rumors go?

Postby Puciek » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:11 am

But didn't staff already determine that no line was crossed? Since after your complaint it wasn't stricken, it wasn't crossing it I imagine.

It's very normal that eventually, after many wrong rumours, one can break the camels back - been there myself, but the best way to handle it is to make a sandwich and move on. New players shouldn't have such rumours spread around them unless they are asking for it despite warnings because they are new and deserve extra protection - which is why we have the cyan period. Remember that those are just rumours, bad tongues of people, not what actually happened. Not a whole of player population will assume as a fact that someone is a rapist just because a rumour says so. And you can always use IP to try to quash it, or simply beat next 3 people who mention it. There are ic ways to kerb down a rumour.
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Niamh
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Re: How far should Anonymity in rumors go?

Postby Niamh » Sun Jun 18, 2017 1:44 pm

Hi guys! This is a reminder that personal attacks on other players aren't okay. Keep it constructive.
chronodbu
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Re: How far should Anonymity in rumors go?

Postby chronodbu » Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:17 pm

Voxumo wrote:I don't think the rumor system is too mean... I mean hell yeah it's mean, but that's the nature of rumors. Ever seen the movie gossip? That's a good example of just how mean rumors can be. What the issue is is people being unable to handle it, or adding in a particularly cruel rumor to a rumor that for the most part was going fine.
For example, a rumor talking about the opening of a store, or a wedding... responses to it being positive or just mean enough to show someone isn't happy about it... But then out of the blue you get one person who creates a particularly vile response and it tends to kill the vibe of the rumor.

Regarding the anonymity of it... I think if Anonymity is removed from rumors, then rumors will either cease to exist because no one's gonna bother with them if it can be traced back to them, or rumors are just going to become meaningless, joy filled things meant only to pat each other on the back. aka sickening.

I also feel that the anonymity of rumors is the best way to let people icly blow off steam. I've had plenty of times where I've ran into characters that just twist my character the wrong way, but either due to their role in the game or some other such thing, they can't really just be outright with them. In this sense I view the rumor mill as the 'vnpc' friends an actual character would, that they may in fact gossip with. In a community this small, you can reliably tell character b how you feel about character c, with character b talking to character D about it, who in turn relays it back to Character C.... the playerbase is too small to support a better rumor mill where anonymity exists, because it is too quick to trace things back. I mean heck, TI's population of actual characters is smaller than your average american High School, and those places are vicious when it comes to rumors.
Temi
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Re: How far should Anonymity in rumors go?

Postby Temi » Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:56 pm

People are allowed to submit rumors on behalf of NPCs. If it's ICly attributed to an NPC, we can't point to a PC. This does help to encourage people to use the system.

However, this is not without limits. The player should be the one to spread a rumor ICly (and likely cnote it) if:

1) it is framing the other character for something that did not happen
2) it is from private RP that did not occur somewhere NPCs could have been and was not ICly released info

This does not apply to:

1) exaggerations of real RP
2) twisting or misunderstanding of real RP
3) name-calling
4) silly stuff that actually doesn't matter

These are the natural risks of rumors.
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Voxumo
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Re: How far should Anonymity in rumors go?

Postby Voxumo » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:41 pm

chronodbu wrote:
Voxumo wrote:I don't think the rumor system is too mean... I mean hell yeah it's mean, but that's the nature of rumors. Ever seen the movie gossip? That's a good example of just how mean rumors can be. What the issue is is people being unable to handle it, or adding in a particularly cruel rumor to a rumor that for the most part was going fine.
For example, a rumor talking about the opening of a store, or a wedding... responses to it being positive or just mean enough to show someone isn't happy about it... But then out of the blue you get one person who creates a particularly vile response and it tends to kill the vibe of the rumor.

Regarding the anonymity of it... I think if Anonymity is removed from rumors, then rumors will either cease to exist because no one's gonna bother with them if it can be traced back to them, or rumors are just going to become meaningless, joy filled things meant only to pat each other on the back. aka sickening.

I also feel that the anonymity of rumors is the best way to let people icly blow off steam. I've had plenty of times where I've ran into characters that just twist my character the wrong way, but either due to their role in the game or some other such thing, they can't really just be outright with them. In this sense I view the rumor mill as the 'vnpc' friends an actual character would, that they may in fact gossip with. In a community this small, you can reliably tell character b how you feel about character c, with character b talking to character D about it, who in turn relays it back to Character C.... the playerbase is too small to support a better rumor mill where anonymity exists, because it is too quick to trace things back. I mean heck, TI's population of actual characters is smaller than your average american High School, and those places are vicious when it comes to rumors.


At the time of writing that Chronodbu, we also hadn't had players who sunk to such lows... Though I'm certain you didn't care to read the initial post, or you would have seen me mention that. I'm the type of player who if fine with gratuitous and graphic torture scenes, with gorey and horrific scenes, but even I have a line, and in my opinion it was crossed.


However in reply to temi... Pedophilia did not happen, so by your standards it meets the first category. The rp the person was likely referencing also didn't occur in public areas, but typically behind closed doors. All the times Barcus and Vicannia met and had more than passing scenes were behind closed doors... In public they were nothing more than acquaintances and never rped as more than that, aside from one time during Yule where Vicannia bought Barcus something he could not afford at a yule market. So it also meets your second standard for a rumor that should be spread by an actual player character. The level of alliance between Barcus and Vicannia was never known by the public, though a few reeves, knights and a noble did catch a glimpse once. But all but three of those characters are gone. And to top it off the glimpse they did catch was in Vicannia's phome, somewhere npcs would not see such scenes.


Though I feel like this is a wasted topic... Apparently the playerbase is not what I thought it was. I'm still living in the past where the playerbase was far more civil than it is now. Had standards that it lacks now. This type of behavior would have been unheard, and certainly not supported back in what I personally consider the a sort of prime for the game.
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Rothgar
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Re: How far should Anonymity in rumors go?

Postby Rothgar » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:57 pm

Voxumo, you know I rarely agree with you on anything. We've butted heads in the past quite a lot. On this, however, I do agree. Accusing a character of pedophilia? Really. This is where we're at in terms of rumors. This is where we've gone.

Lovely. I'm proud, even. I love reading about that. What's even better is that if an IC investigation happens because of it, I'll not be able to do a damn thing about it, and it'll lead me on a wild goose chase that is only designed to make everyone involved bitter and angry.

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