It's summer in the U.S. Summer vacation for school students. In past years that meant an influx of profane, wacky OOC, defiant, or somehow troublesome players in DG. I don't see that as much this year, and when it happens it's short-lived.
In late 2005, I wrote:
Anyone with half a brain and who was around during summer (northern hemisphere) of 2004, prior to the institution of the moderator system, knows how intolerable Dundee Inn can become if such behaviors go unchecked. Opening the gates to the jackass corral can and would make places like Dundee Inn intolerable and obstructive to attempts to role play.
Superduck's sarcastic reply was "yay for rafters and jetpacks". He wasn't exaggerating.
I don't know if the qualitative and quantitative changes can be appreciated by players who weren't around then. I wonder sometimes how often long-time players reflect on the changes. Ben and Cory couldn't be in game 24/7. When they weren't in game, the mouse-brained people played, sometimes even portraying their characters as cats, mice, dogs, and other animals. I laugh sometimes when a player gets flustered over someone coming into the game and cursing or trying to play a half-demon. Let me tell you, I remember when those were weekly or even daily occurrences. Moderators were busy at first with just OOC, foul language, and spamming issues.
Regarding foul language, there were occasions I thought I was reading a bad ripoff of the script to SCARFACE. Ben and Cory were intolerant of this, but again, they simply couldn't be in game at all times. Spamming and flooding happened from time to time. Ever try to role-play while someone is filling the chat scroll with repeated posts of strings of "HAHA..."?
Let me give some examples of common OOC.
-As Superduck mentioned in what I quoted above, some players claimed they had jet-packs and emoted flying around, especially in Dundee Inn.
-Vampires. Lots of vampires. I don't know of anyone claiming to have drunk another character's blood, but they said they drank goblets of blood, levitated, moved really fast, all the Anne Rice stuff
-Rafter-dwellers - I think some of it was started by vampire wannabes or fans of THE PROPHECY. They played hanging in the rafters of Dundee Inn, sitting in the rafters, walking in the rafters, sleeping, eating, vaulting up into, romancing in, and attacking from the rafters. Never mind that Dundee Inn has a second floor which would make it odd for there to be visible rafters with space for one human body, let alone a dozen or more.
-Big pockets - People pulled pianos out of their pockets. Couches, chairs, candelabra, and refrigerators too. People played like Loony Toons.
-Animals - People played like they were dogs, cats, wolves, bears. If they had also played like they were birds, it might have become hard to tell them apart from the jet-pack pilots. Maybe someone will inform us that there were also players playing like they were birds.
-Half-races - Half-demons were popular, but they weren't the only kind. Half-ogres, half-trolls, half-vampires, half-elves, half-lings, half-machines (cyborgs). One guy said he was a half-centaur. Playing Mylor, I said "Obviously the back half." Sometimes they just made it too easy.
-OOC? What's OOC? I maintain that the vast majority of DG's population had no separation between IC & OOC. Most didn't know there could be a difference, and most of the rest didn't care to try. They learned to avoid talking about their computers, their work, traffic, and TV, but portray a character? Hey, it's just a game, man ... Until you insulted them in character, or crossed them by killing a creature they had their sights set on. Then it wasn't just a game; it was serious business, worth threatening you, worth gossiping about you, worth every pettiness they could think of. Pettiness can never be outlawed, but some of the methods of expressing it can be, and at least that has spared players from the worst abuses from pettiness.
DG's player population has come a long way in its expectations in chat.While I laugh at the fluster caused by the occasional rules-breakers, I also feel satisfaction that players have become so accustomed to a profanity-free, vulgarity-free, OOC-free, spam-free environment, that it causes a stir when any of those appear on the site. Players start offering to mentor the offender, moderators hear about it, PMs are sent to admin. It's a full-court press. It doesn't surprise me when a new, profane player resists all the sudden attention. Many of them quit, which is why it's so cool that the rules, the scrolls, and signs have made infractions fewer to begin with. What I admire is how many new players receive proper corrections in PMs such that they apologize, learn, and continue playing DG. They don't all stay in the game for the long haul, but I like to think they might someday mention DG as a weird site that doesn't allow cursing, spam, and something called OOC, where effort is made to make it safe for people, especially young people.
To see that the job of making it that way has gotten easier pleases me, because I know it's not an accident, and it's not a natural development. It's a result of good decisions, conscientious effort, willingness to learn, and follow-through; by admin, by moderators, by players. I'm proud to be a part of that.