here and part two here .
A short recap: on the occasion of the last ball in Loch Avie, Miss Orr notes the departure of three of the Caledon peerages from the land, and she (correctly) sees this as weakening our fair land. Dr. Mason notes that the departures are generally to other Victorian or Steampunk-themed lands, and that the interplay between Caledon and other, similar lands means that the departed are not lost to us. Furthermore, newcomers tend to arrive to supplement the old guard. Mr. Dagger and Lord Argylle are less sanguine about the influence of newcomers, noting the loss of manners relative to an earlier (and smaller) Caledon. (As an aside: Mr. Pearse, you have all the luck: I'm never on ISC chat to hear about semi-naked men shackled in dungeons. Agreed, that is highly out of place. But still...entertaining.)
On a related note, Miss Ranma Tardis posted a message on the Forums on why she left Caledon. Some reasons were personal, some were related to the rudeness the Mr. Pearse and Mr. Dagger mentioned, but one was that "I am not now and never was a Victorian! I am a modern person and the thought of wearing such clothing is silly at best." A reasonable enough observation - why anyone ever thought enormous bustles or bows on one's hind quarters looked good is beyond me, though I must say the men's clothing is a vast improvement over the sloppy mishmash of fabric one sees today, especially on the young gentlemen - as far as it goes.
All these observations made me think about two things: first, to what extent does my behavior offend the Caledon "ethic" so grossly as to diminish the pleasure of others? And, second, what principles seem reasonable for people who are part of our happy band?
I thought of four principles by which I try to operate:
- Be polite. It doesn't hurt, and it's the first adjective in Des's phrase "polite Victorian roleplay."
- The larger the gathering, the more in character one should be. Walking down the streets of Caledon Downs, I feel no shame in being dressed more provocatively than at a party. At a formal ball, I make every effort to look the part. (Well, the hair is non-negotiable. Beyond that, though...)
- Do not provoke merely to be provocative. This one involves a fine line. Much joking goes on, particularly on ISC chat. I like to joke, so this is a marriage made in...well, somewhere good. I tease, and I expect to be teased back. On occasion, I have felt as though I went a little far, and I have apologized to the victim. I never say anything completely scandalous. At the same time, I realize others may draw the line a little further toward the decorous. I'm happy to go with whatever are the community norms.
- Be yourself. In the end, Miss Tardis is correct: we are not living in the Victorian age, much as that may come as a shock to some people. We are here to enjoy ourselves, and if that involves laughing a great deal, so be it.
On the other side of the ledger, here are some principles I'd like everyone to follow:
- Be tolerant. For example, arguing about what Steampunk is really about, or reminding ladies that showing one's ankles is shocking, does not foster community.
- If one does not care for polite Victorian roleplay, feel free to go elsewhere. That sounds cold, and I don't mean it to sound cold. But really, what's the point of being in a Victorian-themed sim if you don't like Victoriana?
- Have fun. If it's not fun, why bother? (Ignore this one if you are making money hand over fist. I've run the numbers, and I'm willing to bet that only a handful are making a net profit, and no one is getting rich, from Caledon or related sims.)
In the final analysis, I agree with Mr. Pearse and Mr. Dagger that I would enjoy a little more politeness and a little more Victoriana. I suspect that they would like even more of it than I would, and thus I am part of the problem from their perspective. (A minor part of the problem, I grant you.) Having a community code of standards (suggestions? ideas?) might help to some degree - if I know what others expect, I'm usually willing to try to be accommodating. No, it won't solve all the problems of bad manners, and some people will not be willing to try, but it can't hurt. No one really wants to be a scold, so no one wants the job of calling out offenders on ISC chat. However, many people may actually appreciate a private IM explaining the offense. Well, I know I would, at any rate.
Finally, the Guv's description of Caledon in his profile runs as follows: "An isle of civility in a tempestuous world, a quick smile, a friendly hello and a bit of a respite from the metaverse at large. Regardless if you are joining us for tea, just popping over for a bit of shopping, or preparing your evil monologue for world domination, welcome! No dress codes, no restrictions, naturally - who you are is good enough for us." For the most part, that's what I get when I am in Caledon, and I try to act accordingly. It seems easy enough to do.