Split MUSH.

Submitted by Vadiv on Fri, 2003-11-21 17:16

A few days ago I explained my split mush concept yet again, and it occurred to me I should write it down somewhere. I could go with my webpage, but, hey, it's 2003, it's the year of the blog. So, once again, I step into abyss.

Instead of just bluntly stating the hypothesis, which leads to people immediately disagreeing with it, I'll state the background concepts.

I first want to emphasis that this is a theory, not any sort of fact. This is just an alternate system of building a mush that came to me one day. I think it would work better under certain circumstances than the current system. Also, it's based on *sociological* theory, and thus incredibly hard to prove or disprove, as controlled experiments in sociology are few and far between, and almost completely non-existence in mushdom.

Also, and I don't see how people get confused by this, but this only applies to RP mushes. So when you see me talk about mushes, I'm talking about RP places, not hack-n-slash MUDs or social places like M*U*S*H.

Premise 1: Right now, almost every mush has OOC and IC areas. They have OOC and IC forms of real time communication, and possibly even IC and OOC forms of mail. They have the concept of somone being IC or OOC.

Premise 2: IC and OOC seperation is encouraged, even on top of the physical seperation. All mushes have runs against using OOC info IC. All mushes discourage OOC conflicts spilling over in IC, or IC conflict spilling over into OOC.

Conclusion 1: We should do everything we can do discourage OOC and IC bleed-through.

That previous bit is the part everyone agrees with. The rest is more tricky.

Premise 3: Suspension of disbelief is what's going on with IC/OOC
seperation. You have to believe there's a person saying X IC, and then you have to believe there's a person who's in control of the character. Switching back and forth requires you to alternate between interacting with a fictional person like your character would, and interacting with a real person the way you normally would. You must believe that both the fictional character and the real person exist and are seperate, and *their* seperation helps *your* seperation.

Premise 4: Not only is there two different people, there are two seperate worlds. There's the real world, where this is just a mush, and everyone's trying to have fun, and there's the virtual world, where your character is trying to do whatever your character normally does. This also helps your seperation and acting.

Conclusion 2: Everything *else* being seperate helps you be seperate. It would be very hard to roleplay on a mush where you were the only one in character, and you wandered around an OOC world.

Premise 5: Roleplaying is influenced by many subtle clues. It's not a coincidence that actors offstage during a play are referred to by their character name. It helps themselves stay mentally in character, and it helps everyone else stay in character.

Premise 6: (This is where everyone starts disagreeing with me.) Changes modes of speech are exactly that sort of subtle clue. Many places have OOC hardcoded channels, and softcoded IC channels, or vis versa, and the same with @mail, not because they couldn't have both over the same system, but to kept the differences obvious in everyone's mind.

Premise 7: Changes in name are exactly this sort of clue. People tend to 'blank slant' such people, even if they know of the name change. Names are our major 'visiblity' on mushes, and as such changing them tends, even with everyone know what's going on, give the changer a bit of a 'reset' in how they are treated.

Conclusion 3: If IC and OOC people have different names, people will, in general, have a larger disconnect between their OOC and IC actions. Which, in turn, will also give them a larger disconnect in their *own* actions.

Conclusion 4: If all the IC and OOC areas, methods of communication, and characters are seperate, then why are they even on the same mush? Let's have two mushes, one for IC and one for OOC, and generate as large a disconnect as we can.

So that's my theory. That having two seperate mushes would be better than one. With a large disconnect between IC and OOC, people would be less likely to act OOC while in IC, less likely to consider their IC character as 'real' and try to 'win' with it, and so on and so forth.

Comments, anyone? Feel free to disagree, and I'll feel free to respond.