Monday, June 21, 2010

Good WoW-netiquette

I'm back at home after a quick visit at my grandpas, but will be off again in a day or so. Visiting my grandpa made me think about something that might or might not be an important part of WoW. My grandpa belongs to one of those people who doesn't know how to start a computer, and says that any efforts to try to teach him is "time wasted". So I didn't exactly discuss the complicated aspects of WoW with him. I did however discuss the importance (or un-importance) of having a good etiquette when interacting with people, both those you know and those you don't know.

We had a big argument about the necessity of etiquette. Whereas he believes you should always have good etiquette no matter what, I believe it is only necessary for two reasons - practical and respectful ones (also known as restecpa). I believe that if a form of etiquette disappears from general knowledge, it is because no one thought it was needed to know anymore. A sort of "survival of the fittest" that also applies to forms of behavior. Maybe pulling the chair out for a lady has been practical, because her oversized dress was in the way for her to do it herself. Since most women don't run around in oversized dresses anymore (and some guys might) the need for this sort of etiquette to be questioned and changed has risen. Lighting a womans cigarette might've been useful when she wasn't allowed (?) to carry her own lighter. Nowadays women often carry more stuff around than many men do, so maybe it is time for women to light mens cigarettes (or rather not smoke at all ;)).

The issue with internet etiquette, or netiquette as it is sometimes called, has been discussed many times in various forms. And it made me wonder, do we have a certain form of netiquette in WoW? And is it necessary? Note that there is a difference between etiquette and moral/ethical behavior. I have already discussed some about immoral behavior in WoW, but etiquette is really more about what could count as "unecessary behavior", but that might still add something to the whole because it is respectful and/or practical.

With the implementation of the lfg-tool it seems that if it was ever needed with good netiquette, it might be now that we are thrown together with a bunch of strangers with whom we hope to work well together and maybe even have a good time. Personally I always start out saying "hi" and I have macro'd a "thanks for the group, bye bye :)" to use before I leave the group. I do think it makes a difference. I'm even naïve enough to think that being nice will make me seem like a real person to whoever else is in the group, and that might avoid some douchebagness from their side. If we have a good time together, maybe they won't ninja-need on some item in the end or engage in other annoying behavior.

But maybe it depends on the person really. I know alot of really nice people who just aren't especially talkative, but quite professional nonetheless. They might not be very personal or polite, but they'll get the job done. They just don't belong to the "smiley-squad". So does greeting, thanking and gratsing really matter in the end? Like I said, I like it. It makes me happy when I've got some happy, talkative chap in the group who rather makes something turn into fun than bashing. Making mistakes doesn't seem like such a problem if people go "ow well, shit happens sometimes!" rather than "wtf are u doing noob?". I've talked about it before, but it feels like keeping a good mood makes people want to do their best. And this varies from situation to situation of course. Sometimes you need people to be serious and to not just make fun of a wipe. But maybe there is a nice inbetween. There is no need to be rude in any situation. This doesn't differ from real life at all, although I know some people don't agree with me on this.

But we also have the netiquette that's really mostly based on practical reasons. For example don't pull unless you're the tank, or unless you happen to have gear enough to count as a tank. It will just make things so much more annoying for everyone involved, except you perhaps. Don't spam in trade, because that will make it harder for anyone else to get their message across, and ultimately people will just ignore you anyway. So it's really just a lose-lose situation (and yet so many people do it, it makes you wonder...).

Being nice is about practical reasons too actually. If you keep everyone happy, even when things don't work so well, it will probably make things run smoother in the end. This is especially true in raids. Or when trying to keep the tank from leaving by smoothing out some dilemma. Keeping people happy will get you what you want, so keeping good netiquette is ultimately mutually beneficial (and therefore egotistical as everything else, right?).

And we all know that a rightly (or wrongly) placed smiley makes all the difference in how a sentence might be interpreted by its receiver. Saying something with or without a smiley might make the difference between a fight and a laugh. So perhaps the use of smileys is part of good netiquette as well? If we don't use them in a proper way (not too much either of course), how can we expect our fellow WoW'ers to get our point in the way we like? Using too many means they'll lose their effect and no one will take them serious, using too few, or the wrong ones might people think you mean something completely else. Is it our business to use our smileys the proper way, or is it up to everyone else to understand how you use them?

It is also considered polite to: Help people who are dying while questing, not steal what someone has fought for (veins, chests) and to share quests mobs/items. Why? Because you hope they'll do it for if it was reversed. If you don't follow this kind of etiquette, you can't expect anyone to care when someone does the same to you.

Like I tried to point out at the start, the whole point of netiquette, and etiquette overall, isn't that they're needed per se, like skills or gear, we simply use it because we want to show respect for whoever is on the other side of the screen and by doing that gain something for ourselves. And in my opinion it does make a difference.

What do you think is good WoW-netiquette? And is it necessary?

1 comment:

  1. While I can't discuss WoW-etiquette, the netiquette of smiley's are an interesting one. They are indeed needed to make things seem as light as you intend them. The weight of words can often differ between people and if what you are saying is meant as some thing light and/or fun smiley's are often required to get the point across or else you tend to be taken seriously.
    But also in that respect smiley's don't do well when you are actually trying to be serious. If you have been crying, say so, don't illustrate it with a smiley.
    I believe that the difficulties of reading simlieys is similar to (but not the same as) the difficulties of reading faces. An expression can simply be viewed differently, depending on the beholder. I for example consider the common MSN :p to look disgusted rather then the amused/teasing expression most people try to use it as. I say there is a difference between :P and :p while the first hang the tongue to the side the second points it right out. The different is of course that the first looks disgusted while the second points it tongue at you, if you put eyebrows on it, it can be malicious otherwise its teasing.
    I don't think there will ever be a day when smileys are used the same way by everyone, we will just have to TRY to understand each other, and to be tolerant if we do not.

    Oh, and on the be or not to be of etiquette, you almost say it your self, but I believe that the Golden Rule applies: "Do to others as you'd like other to do to you."