First off, let me mention that I'm not expert on etiquette. I don't know where the second or third knife is supposed to be placed, and I'm not entirely sure who is supposed to be served first when sitting around a table of several guests. Nor am I officially an expert in being polite, however, I do make an effort with the both concepts: being polite and knowing some etiquette.
|Forgot to mention, there's a fourth knife....|
For instance, I try not to interrupt people. I always try to say "thank you" when somebody did something for me, or say "Excuse me" instead of "Hey you" if I'm trying to get somebody's attention. I try to chew with my mouth closed and when I'm wearing a skirt I try to sit properly. When I'm communicating with people online for the first time I try not to be too personal, overbearing, patronizing, or sarcastic because that shit never goes down well.
I'm getting a little rant on about e-Etiquette because last week, after I posted the result of a fanfiction drabble challenge, I got two private messages, both inviting me to Twilight RPG's.
Sometimes it's hard not to be patronizing, but allow me a moment of it to make a list of some e-invite to RPG etiquette that I have followed in the past, and would follow again.
- Introduce yourself.
- It's sounds a bit obvious, so think of it as a reminder. I probably don't know your handle from somebody else's. Your avatar doesn't tell me much either.
- Why not tell me about your experience with what you are presenting to me. If you've RP-ed lots, if this is your first time (hey, you've got to start somewhere), or if you're primarily a Jurassic Park RPG-er and wanted to try your hand at something else. Whatevs. Just something to give me the impression you're trying to be genuine.
- Assumptions really grip a lot of people (I suppose that's an assumption in itself, but I digress...), and Person A made quite a few of them. She assumed I liked Twiligh, then assumed I'd be interested in RP-ing just because I posted a Twilight drabble, then assumed I was asking how to role play when I just wanted some information about the game, and then assumed with her poor answer I was just going to sign up. Granted you can't assume that anybody knows what an RPG is, but there is a way to communicate this without sounding like a trumpet. The reply from Person B did this very well in her introduction, though she made some overlapping assumption of A: that I'm interested in RPG-ing just because I've posted a Twilight drabble.
- You don't have to be an expert in communication to know when somebody is being patronizing towards you. You just feel it and unless you're good at schooling your emotions, the scary Hulk-like creature erupts from within. Be factual and formal, and be sure you read what the other person has responded so you don't misinterpret their question and look like a lizard. Referring to Person A.
- I didn't think this would bother me until I read Person A's "PS sorry if I've PMed you before." Seriously, if you can't keep track of the people you're inviting to your game then maybe you need to change your strategy. People want to feel unique and appreciated, not like someone to fill the space of your forum. There is no way I'm going to take you seriously if you don't remember sending a message to me in the past.
- This ties into assumptions. If you want to invite somebody to your party, see if they might be interested in what you are. Read my profile, see what external links I've provided, skim the stories I've posted, etc etc. Unless of course you just really want people to fill the void of your forum... However, knowing something about the person you want to invite often scores some brownie points and generates a lot more interest than saying "Oh, you don't actually have to like the fandom." and "Sorry if I've PMed you before." Seriously, I'm not going to waste my time if you can't take the time to make a genuine effort.
- It seems pretty basic, but if you want people to go to your forum you need to give them the website. It's pretty obvious person A couldn't do this, so B gets kudos. She sold her forum better and actually gave me a link to where I could go to. Including myself, I can count everybody I know who can find a million other things to do online before bothering to look for a forum SOMEWHERE on FF.Net for some random Twilight RPG.
- Not much of a problem for either person A or B, but just a good reminder for everybody, really. If you want to be taken seriously, make sure you know your grammar, spelling, and punctuation. One of those basic habits that will set you above the bar.