A few too few words on roleplay.
I spent some few hours in Kingdom Park in the City of Enoch. Lovely people there, every Tuesday there's an evening dance to whatever the DJ feels like playing (PG sim, so PG music as much as possible). We were celebrating Independence Day in America, Canada Day in Canada, and anything anyone wanted to throw in. Then little Abigail showed up:
[13:17] Abigail Artful: dis is a bwig pawty
I was suddenly clouted by revelation. I knew exactly the problem many adults have with adults roleplaying children on the grid. And it's not Prokovy Neva's assertion that "they're just creepy"; that's not it, actually.
It comes down to the roleplay.
Case in point, me. (Me, the person behind Em, the typist, the deva, the lady behind the screen, pick your term.) When I was a child, I lisped. (It's true. I had to have surgery to stop the lisping, and let me tell you, having the frenum snipped and the solution of mercury painted on? STUNG LIKE HELL.) But, after an in-office procedure, and a bit of speech therapy, I stopped lisping.
So, okay, what does that have to do with kids on the grid? It's simple: read that sentence aloud.
"Dis"--okay, fine. It's common to contract dipthongs, change their tones, especially with children: it happens.
"Pawty"--that's common, too. I've heard kids say "pawty", actually; I've also heard them say "poddy" or "potty" or "pahdy", depending on inflection. So that's okay, it happens. (Though I grant you, the kid that says "potty" in public is going to be led to one, in my experience.)
"Bwig"--and here's where people's brains melt down. No child replaces letters like that. NO child does. It's bad roleplay. It's the mark of someone who wants to be a kid, but hasn't studied kid behavior. It pulls listeners out of the roleplay.
That's not creepy, that's just bad acting. Granted, it's a little thing. But it's enough to jar the adult brain, who's looking at a child body, into that moment of dissonance between what is heard and what is seen--or, in the case of text 'speaking', what is read in chat and what is seen in SL at large.
That's still not creepy, per se. But it is enough to pull adults back from full interaction with perceived children in SL, because they just don't 'sound right'. And those adults are right--children like this, for all they look like children, will never sound right unless they think more on how little kids really speak.
Now, the second bit that happened:
[14:21] MystiTool HUD 1.3.1: Entering chat range: Nogad Ay (19m)
[14:21] MystiTool HUD 1.3.1: Entering chat range: Merc Ryba (19m)
[14:21] Nogad Ay: ok im looking for a star gate near here
[14:21] Emilly Orr: Hmm
[14:22] Barbara Collazo: Don't know of any.
[14:22] Emilly Orr: Don't honestly know if the City's equipped with a StarGate
[14:22] Valentine Janus: Not aware of one near here
[14:22] Barbara Collazo: Lots of terrestrial vehicles but no stargate.
[14:22] Valentine Janus: There used to be one about three sims over
[14:22] Emilly Orr: I know Fhtagn has one, I know Rivula used to have one
[14:22] Jaffee Gaffer: I have a star and a gate, but not a stargate....
[14:22] Nogad Ay: i got a apointment with a crazyed mastermind and i don't want to be late
[14:23] Mitsu Figaro: i haven't explored the 'gate system in some time.
[14:23] Emilly Orr: Then you just might have to port. :p
At this point, I think we all thought they were just asking for directions. Even with the "crazyed mastermind" thrown in (and really, who doesn't know a crazed mastermind in Caledon? It's like asking for the nearest mad scientist. People are likely to smile and respond "Yes, might I assist you?"). We really didn't think they were serious.
The pure fact is, the City of Enoch isn't a roleplay sim. They're just living there, they have places of worship, they build homes, they build parks, they hold councils, they discuss genealogy--pretty much what normal Latter-Day Saints do of a week, they do in the City. And, while many of the people outside of the AoA group of sims understand roleplay, as it happens around SL--many of us don't come from places where roleplay is enforced. Therefore, it is always our choice whether to 'play along' or to noncommittally 'step back'.
These two did not seem to grasp this oh-so-subtle difference.
Plus they couldn't spell.
[14:23] Nogad Ay: we atempted to requestion a vessle to no avail
[14:23] Emilly Orr: Ah.
[14:23] Emilly Orr: Hmm. Have you asked around for a ship's captain?
[14:23] Nogad Ay: tell me
[14:24] Nogad Ay: what do you know about the...neko's
[14:24] Emilly Orr: Pity the Clockwinder isn't still here, he has airships aplenty
[14:24] Malookus Kalnoky: 'Transport City' here had a 'time amchine' at the border I recall.
[14:24] Emilly Orr raises an eyebrow
[14:24] Emilly Orr: I take it you do not favor nekos?
[14:24] Valentine Janus: Fairly little, although my sister markets to them.
[14:24] Merc Ryba: All that i know is FILE NOT FOUND
[14:25] Jaffee Gaffer: lol
[14:25] Barbara Collazo: lol
[14:25] Emilly Orr: You should try to track down Temenos Island
[14:25] Nogad Ay: thanks
Some were taking this as joking. Many--as this was the first more-fur-than-human event I'd attended in Kingdom Park--were not, and in fact, had stopped responding. I'd have taken the hint and moseyed on to another sim, but...no. They seemed determined to press their point.
[14:25] Nogad Ay: btw
[14:25] Nogad Ay: this here is my merc his name...merc
[14:25] Emilly Orr: We gathered that earlier.
[14:25] Barbara Collazo: k
[14:25] Valentine Janus: Descriptive.
[14:25] Nogad Ay: hes trained to kill in 5 diffrent ways
[14:25] Merc Ryba: a pleasure to meet you my name is FILE NOT FOUND
[14:26] Nogad Ay: 4 of witch involve dismemberment
[14:26] Emilly Orr: I don't think killing will be required, this is a dance.
[14:26] Nogad Ay: other then killing he dosen't do much else..apart from being an awsom builder
First of all, you don't know me, you don't get to tell me he's an "awsome builder" and expect me to react in any positive fashion. I know some truly awesome builders, people who create things from their hands, minds and hearts that just stun me, looking at them; amazing, impossible structures that delight and enrapture.
Tall lanky guy in a Union soldier uniform who hadn't strung more than a few words together and had been identified as lethal first, builder second? There was a lot of respect to be gained here. One way would have been for both of them to shut the hell up. Another would have been to apologize for interrupting the dance, or maybe even dance along and engage in civil conversation.
Nothing in any of the ways possible to mend the growing breech led to continuing to intrude in unpleasant and irritating ways.
[14:26] Emilly Orr: Also, dismembering dancers is rather rude.
[14:26] Nogad Ay: not if they are deamed...sub human
[14:27] Emilly Orr stares at Nogad
[14:27] Merc Ryba: but bio prothetics are so much more flexable
[14:27] Nogad Ay: but none of you mean that quality
[14:27] Emilly Orr: Define...subhuman
[14:27] Emilly Orr: Because there are furs here.
[14:27] Nogad Ay: not quite furry and not quite human
[14:27] Barbara Collazo: I daresay we're all human under the skin.
[14:27] Nogad Ay: something...else
[14:27] Emilly Orr is soooo tempted to change into cat ears, but will refrain.
[14:28] Jaffee Gaffer: I have a poem called "Abort, Retry, Ignore" based upon Poe's The Raven
They seemed to sense that tolerance for their roleplay was at an end. Most of us had stopped talking entirely. Most of us were ignoring most of what they said at this point.
[14:28] Nogad Ay: well thank you for the infomation
[14:28] Nogad Ay: we best be off
[14:28] Merc Ryba: good bye
[14:28] Emilly Orr: Farewell!
[14:28] Nogad Ay: Good day
And they walked out of sight. I waited a heartbeat, watching my radar until I was sure they were out of range. Then I asked what I felt I had to ask:
[14:29] Emilly Orr: All right, was it just me, or were those two unbearably rude?
[14:29] Barbara Collazo: I certainly thought so.
[14:29] Mitsu Figaro: it wasn't you.
[14:29] Mitsu Figaro: i was going to point them to Vid's gate in Cymryu but decided not
[14:29] Emilly Orr: Well, then.
[14:29] Emilly Orr giggles
[14:29] Emilly Orr: Oh, you should have!
I can imagine it now: two incompetent, unintelligent roleplay-crippled men, out carousing for "subhumans" to kill, in the hands of Lord Cymru, Viderian Vollmar, the Black Unicorn himself. Oh, I would have sold tickets to that.
[14:29] Mitsu Figaro: true *grin* well if they come back, i'll lead them merrily into that trap
[14:30] Emilly Orr: "He's an anthropomorphic horse, will that bother you?"
[14:30] Mitsu Figaro giggles
[14:30] Emilly Orr: Or a unicorn. Depending on the day. :)
I have to wonder why they pressed the point; I guess, if you're committed to sounding like an idiot around strangers, you just have to keep going; but also, the type of roleplay bothered me. Maybe I just haven't hung out with that many roleplayers whose main form of play is to hate another type of roleplayer; I mean, rivalries rise and fall, but if I'm against, say, vampires (this has happened, I know, me against vampires, it seems baffling), if I'm not in that sim I'm not on the lookout. Even more, if I meet one of the roleplayers outside the sim, then I'm able to grasp they aren't that character outside the roleplay.
Is it just me?
Moreover, this isn't the first stirrings of anti-neko action of late; this was just the most obvious case of it. But I've been hearing mumbling around the grid, not one sim, not ten, and no specific "type" I can point to--just mutterings.
It's unnerving, just a bit, trying to figure out why.
On roleplay, though...I don't think it's ever rude not to play along, as long as it's done politely. I don't think it's rude to play along, as long as what you do isn't invasive. The minute it becomes invasive, or the minute more people are not wanting to play than want to...relocate. Remove the play. Start it up later, or just leave.
I'm not saying this happens a lot in Caledon; most of us are content to carry what we feel capable of carrying, and at the least, we enjoy playing along on the edges. But I'm talking about other places--especially places like the City of Enoch, which oddly, feels very much like they've tried to reproduce actual reality on the grid, not grid-influenced reality (and there is a difference). I'd even hazard good odds they would have banned flight, save I see the occasional person fly by (generally newcomers to the sim, though).
It was just a sharp, jarring note in an otherwise brisk march, and it's lingered, this jarring note. It has made me more curious about these two inept travelers, and what their intentions are towards..."subhumans".
I think I'm taking that a bit personally.