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Welcome one and all to yet another one of Toxian City's classes.

This week we're going to focus on Projection; what it is, why we shouldn't be doing it, and how to correct this mistake in role play. Projection, along with Metagaming and God-moding, is one of the most problematic issues that arises in role play - but out of the three it's typically the easiest to correct. Hopefully by the end of today's class we'll have given each of you a stronger view of what Projection is and how to get around it.

So, let's start by clearly defining what Projection is. In role play terms, Projection, or Projecting, is when one role player imposes their thoughts, informs of their previous actions, or otherwise passes along information in a manner that the second role player is unable to respond to. For example: 'Jaco Guisse looks across the bar at the other male, thinking of how much he hated the man'. Since you cannot read my thoughts, it is technically impossible for the other role player to pick up on what I'm thinking about, based purely off of what I posted, and reply back.

Why is this a bad thing? There are many reasons as to why Projection should be avoided. First and foremost, Projection can often lead to unnecessary drama. By 'thinking' about how much you hate someone else, or otherwise expressing ill-will towards another character in a non-verbal, non-physical manner you can upset the other role player OOCly, leading to bad blood between the two of you. However, not all Projection leads to drama. Often times it leads to miscommunication. One role player may project their thoughts about a previous encounter with another role player, which a third party could misinterpret as something verbal - meaning that private thoughts are now being passed around like wild fire. Lastly, it kills role play when one player projects something and leaves the other role player unable to respond. Always leave your role play partners with something to reply to.

Like I mentioned, there are a handful of instances where Projection commonly, and often unintentionally, pops up. These situations may be when you are describing another character in a scene in a non-verbal manner, when you're trying to describe a scene in a post to help other role players catch up - but you are giving away information that the newcomer couldn't possibly come to know, or when you're trying to find a way to express your characters emotions. Now, these are not the only instances where unintentional Projection may arise, but they are the most common ones.

There are some instances where you may accidentally Project when you are encountering, or describing, another role player. By saying, 'Jaco Guisse spies the vampiress that, just the other day, he had fought tooth and nail in an alley way until he managed to escape her clutches,' you are giving away information to all of the role players around you that is of no use to them. You aren't saying it, you aren't writing it down and passing it as a note, your character is just taking a stroll down memory lane - and stifling the role play of those around you.

Instead, you could get the same message across, but help encourage role play, by saying: Jaco Guisse spots the vampiress as she arrives, leaning across the table to whisper to his companion, "There she is! She's the one that chased me down that alley the other night.. barely got away, had to fight for my life." In this manner you are getting the same point across, but now others know what is going on, In-Character, and can respond as they have heard you explain the situation.

When you are trying to help new people entering a scene it isn't uncommon to try and post - setting the stage. But understand that you should only describe things that they would be able to immediately recognize with their five senses. An incorrect example would be: Jaco Guisse's eyes dart between his captive and his newly arrived friend. Chewing at his lip, the alley way smelled of blood and filth, the door to his right ajar - the room beyond where he had been captured and beaten. Beyond that, and up the flight of stairs: his captors lair.

While yes, it's great that you're trying to help the newcomer understand what is going on - and to an extent what has happened, the other character can't possibly know what lies beyond the door, let alone upstairs. Instead of Projecting this information, have your character explain the information in some manner that the other character will be able to comprehend what's going on. Describing the immediate area is great, and encouraged. But for all of the other information you should either speak, or wait until you are able to physically show these other areas to your role play partner.

Describing emotions and thoughts are, arguably, the most common thing role players accidentally Project. When a character hates another character, many of us immediately begin describing our hateful thoughts toward them. However the other role player cannot react to thoughts, so either you will be ignored, or OOC problems may arise from this simple mistake. Remember, our characters can only catch things they hear, see, smell, taste, or feel. Therefore you should emote things that invoke these senses.

Miss Wright: I would like to add something here. It isnt just emoting hateful things, I think thats where people get confused a lot, its emoting any emotion, you can dart your eyes, curl in a ball rock back and forth, to give the impression your scared, but saying /me looks to the girl and suddenly becomes afraid is absolutely NOT correct. we are not narrating a story, we are role playing. People tend to give backstories as well, thats also narrating a story and not role playing. I am poking in because I want to say it absolutely frankly what this means since it is such a widespread problem

Instead of thinking of how you hate someone, have your character verbally say it. Essentially, you're just going to put quotation marks (""'s) around your thoughts, thus turning them into spoken words. If you don't want to say it, then perhaps you glare instead of look, maybe your fists are clenched and shaking, maybe your character's complexion is turning red as the hate builds. You may go as far as to role play attacking, with a punch, slap, or kick, the other character. All of these are able to be responded to. You can hear the words, see the anger taking hold of the other character, or feel you as you make contact with them. These can all be responded to very easily. The same can go with any other emotion. If you're feeling amorous, perhaps your grinning like a fool and blushing. Is that a banana in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me? If you're sad you're most likely sobbing or wailing. Etcetera.

Understand that most people who are Projecting are doing so completely by accident. Many newer role players in SL don't understand what Projecting is, and that's why we have classes like this. To try and spread advice and help make the role play in Toxian City better with each coming week. But even the Shelter can't catch everyone - players will slip through the cracks. When that occurs, all it takes is a friendly IM welcoming them to Toxian City, an ice breaker like, 'so, how long have you been role playing?', and then politely pointing out that they're projecting and that it's making it difficult to respond. Before you know it, you'll have helpedĀ  better the sim and it's role play!

I'd like to now open the floor to questions, comments, and suggestions. Remember to stick to our topic, and make your questions relevant. If you have a question, please put a Q into local chat. If you have a comment, a C, and a suggestion an S. From there I'll call on you all in the order that you piped up and we'll get all of your concerns addressed.


:: Comment ::..

I think ... a lot of projecting comes out when someone doesn't really want to RP, but they want to seem interactive. maybe, we have too many people standing around thinking rather then doing and making something happen.

:: Reply ::..

That is a possibility, yes. But then again, that's why we try to encourage and set up role plays all about the sim. Get those that aren't actually role playing (or at least doing it whole heartedly) back into role play. But it's a good observation, and one I can't entirely disagree with. But at the same time there are a lot of newer role players that simply haven't learned not to do it just yet.

:: Question ::..

You said before to describe what people can sense with their five senses, what about when RPing with creatures with supernatural senses? I dont mean mindreading, I figure that could be done in IMs, but what about describing what your aura looks like that day, or whatever creatures in Toxia could sense?
:: Replies ::..

(not everyone can see auras so that would be a no)

For those specific instances you should still refrain from projecting. If you fidget and physically appear nervous, they can then read that from your aura. There is always a way to role play while avoiding Projection - you just need to be creative. In the worst case scenario, if you can't find a way to express yourself - and it's a situation where they are trying to pick up on your aura or what have you - you can IM them and inform them there of what they'd be able to sense.

:: Question ::..

Alright, I've come across posts that are just made entirely of projections. How would you help someone to go about in stopping such an action? IT becomes hard to roleplay when the other character is only posting projections.

:: Answers ::..

before jaco gives his answer I would like to say that some newcomers may be doing it for attention to get someone to come role play with them and are shy, I would im them

That is exactly why we have this class today, to try and help role players doing this to stop, and to help you all learn how to help them. Honestly, a simple pleasant IM does wonders. Just explain that you are having a hard time replying to their posts and explain where the problem is stemming from. I agree with miss, it can often times be a new player just trying to break the ice. Just hop into their IM's, be welcoming and understanding, and you can usually rectify the situation.

:: Comment ::..

I think the main problem is when there is protecting roleplaying going on. People are afraid to IM one another and address the problem. no one should be afraid to IM one another and address the problem.

:: Reply ::..

A strong possibility. And I agree, no one should be afraid to IM the other person - though there will always be some of us more shy than others. But that's why each of the Shelter classes explains that communication is key when it comes to role play. We stress that if you are having problems to always IM the other person as most things can be resolved when you're being polite. But shyness passes with time. So it's up to our more veteran members to lead by example.

:: Comment ::..

Some one mentioned senses. While I don't want to restrict roleplay or anyone's individual special (RP) abilities, it might be a good idea to iron out what enhanced senses each race has. Mystics might aura read, Cybers may have sonar or radar or MRI style senses, etc. At least the general ones.

:: Reply ::..

We do have certain limitations for our races, but just like you mentioned we don't like to pile on too many restrictions as it limits role play. But we've had classes in the past that touch on the possible things that our races can do which include these things.

:: Suggestion ::..

Maybe a list of suggested racial super senses? Non-limiting, but gives people an idea.

:: Reply ::..

It's something that could be worked into the racial descriptions on the website. I'll chit chat with Miss and the other Staff members and we can see what comes of it. Good suggestion.

:: Comment ::..

actually, if you role play your actions, its up to the other person to pick up on your aura or smell for instance..
Miss Wright is terrified looking this way and that crouched in the corner...... a werewolf can then say to his buddy that he smells fear,

:: Comment ::..

Well was just gonna say theres a couple small ways to turn a projected emotion into an actual visual representation... for example /me bores a hole in his desk with a throwing knife not caring if anyone watched, as opposed to /me bores a hole in his desk with a throwing knife seemingly not caring if anyone watched... small differences in wording can make the post a projection or a valid post

::Repies ::..

yes very good point, I use that myself sometimes

:: Question ::..

there is a character who can read minds, if i was thinking about something, say in feral form would that be considered projecting?

:: Answer ::..

Even in feral form you can project, and it is still frowned upon. Even if another player can read minds, by projecting your thoughts every player around you sees the projection and can be thrown off. What I would suggest is emoting your physical reaction (perhaps crouching scared or raising your hackles as you growled) then your role play partner can pick up on the emotions/thoughts, or you can IM them to the other player. But we should always avoid projecting.

:: Question ::..

ok, im one of the newbies to rp, and that last question made me think of one, so as a demon, sometimes i talk to people in a way like demons whisper bad thoughts into peoples head, so if im speaking like that i just end it at that im in the action, and then the actual message il im the person im speaking with?

:: Answer ::..

That's a good question, and it can be tricky to answer. You can make a post, saying that you're whispering into someones thoughts, then IM them the whispers if you wish. Honestly it will keep other players from misinterpreting the whispers as something spoken aloud to all.

:: Comment ::..

Well as a Shadow I deal with having a mental connection with my family members... many have used it as communication right in their regular posts... however that's projecting, so I give off a signal in RP, for example Zane tends to look off and his eyecolour changes to mimic that of the one he's speaking with mentally... then IM them the text, other than that it's just a matter of giving some sort of physical desription rather than the actual text etc

:: Reply ::..

Yes, when the Shadows tap into the collective they have to give some sort of IC signal, like you mentioned, before accessing the collective, to avoid it's abuse.

:: Comment ::..

if you just cant figure out any possible way to say what you want to say, you have options like Zane said earlier to use "seemingly, or obviously "is scared " instead of is scared, or if that just doesnt fit, you could talk to yourself outloud, muttering it an example would be
A NONO is saying /me smiles at the man thinking he looks like her first love ... vs /me smiles at the man and says "he looks like my first love" then covers her mouth looking around asking her friend "did I just say that out loud

:: Reply ::..

True enough. Using phrases like, 'clearly is scared', or 'obviously was pissed off', or 'is visibly distraught' helps you express emotions when you can't find another way to get the feeling across. Very good point.

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