The virtual world blogging community at Thumdar.com.
Internet etiquette is something everyone should know but often seem to ignore. In Virtual Realities poor etiquette is rampant. There are times when things are appropriate and other times when they are not. Here are some do's and don'ts that will make your experience and how others perceive you online more enjoyable. This list is not intended to make you feel good about yourself but rather to open your eyes to some behaviors either you or others you know may be imposing on others, whether intentional or not. In other words, I am not coddling you so you read this at your own risk. Don't say I didn't warn you.
1. LOL does not make it better. If you say something cruel adding a LOL or hahaha at the end does not make it a joke or funny. It is still cruel and you will be shunned the more you do it.
2. Sending a friend request before even talking to someone at all is rude. It is like walking up to them in the street and copping a feel without even asking them their name. Very inappropriate. Take a few moments and say hello, introduce yourself, find out if you even have anything in common and then politely ask if you can add them. The amount of 'friends' on your list does not make you a more desirable person to friend. Who you are and how you behave does. It just shows you will friend anyone and that is not always attractive to the right people, if you know what I mean.
3. Help new members whenever possible. You were new once too and some users joining a virtual reality may have never been on one before. Every day new people are experiencing the internet for the first time so be kind, offer assistance and you may find you make many new friends.
4. Use the knowledge base and/or frequently asked questions (faq) before bombarding others with questions. Taking a moment to research what you need to know will be far easier and less straining on others and yourself.
5. Use correct spelling as much as possible. Not everyone speaks your language natively and often when in virtual realities you are dealing with users from all over the world. To use a translator is only as good as the text they are trying to translate. If you are spelling incorrectly on purpose just to be lazy you are eliminating all those potential friends simply because they could not communicate with you.
6. Do not assume everyone is from your country and can speak your language. If someone is struggling with speaking your language try asking them what country they are from and if it would be easier to use a translator. You may just gain a good friend by such a kind offer.
7. Do not presume everyone shares the same opinion of your chosen virtual reality. If you do not like a VR don't go on it and insult the users on there by telling them how much you hate it. If you don't like it just don't go there at all. Consider how you would feel if they came to your favored virtual reality and said the same thing to you about it.
8. See someone online and want to invite them to visit you where ever you are? Send them a private message or whisper (on worlds that have these options) before you send the invite. They may be busy or afk (away from keyboard) or even have no clue who you are so sending them an invite then complaining later that they ignored you is really on you, not them. Send them a message or go to where they are and ask them if they would like to come by.
9. If they do come when you send your invite, talk to them. Standing/sitting there without saying a word is not only rude but gives the impression you are doing something you should not be doing. There are known programs in some VR's that allow theft of the products in the environments that the user is in and if you are inviting people then not communicating with them you will be suspected of using such a program on their avatar products. You will only get a bad name and potentially get enough complaints to get yourself banned. If you are going to invite someone to chat, than chat.
10. Do not be offended if an invitation is denied when you invite someone over. Just like you, they may have people they are visiting or other things they just may be doing that they cannot get away from at the moment. This is not a clear indication that they never want to speak to you (unless that is the case and then they should have put you on their blocked list) but rather that they are busy. Message them and see if they would be interested at a later date instead.
11. Role play can be a lot of fun but not everyone wants to participate. Do not assume you can carry over your role play no matter where you are as often you will confuse other users or worse, potentially insult them.
12. On the other hand, if you go to a role play area and have no clue how or what they are doing, it is best to ask someone in private and find out more about it before you enter the area. Some areas will specifically state that they are a role play area and if you are not willing to participate it is best to not go. If you find yourself there by accident and notice they are speaking as if they are acting a role out, politely excuse yourself and leave.
13. Don't insult a users outfit choice. Everyone has their own taste and assuming yours is the only taste that people should have makes you an arse. Just because you don't like what they are wearing does not mean others don't like it as well. Keep in mind, they may be not too keen on your outfit either and I am pretty sure you would not like being told you look like an idiot.
14. Name dropping is not only unacceptible in real life but just as unimpressive in virtual reality. Seriously, if you have to rely on bragging about who you know in the various virtual realities you have far more issues than we can cover here.
15. Know your VR's. Do not make comparisons to the different VR's since the vast majority of them have quite different appeal to different people and not because of their similarities. Places such as There.com, Second Life, NuVera Online, Onverse, etc (all of which are VASTLY different), these are all virtual worlds and referred to as MMOG (Massively Multiplayer Online Game). Not because all the avatars can walk but because they offer world sized areas to explore and they were designed to encompass a 'world' feeling while interacting with other people online at the same time. Other places like IMVU and Frenzoo are instant messaging programs, VIM's (Virtual Instant Messaging), that are designed for chatting with 3d avatars which is not the same thing, even a little bit. Than you have places like World of Warcraft, FreeRealms and other 'games' which technically are virtual worlds but they are also quest based role playing games. These are MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game). Again, not the same as the other two. See, learned something new today, didn't you?
16. Listen to directions! Gawd, please listen. Really, just reading directions will eleviate so much frustration from others. When you are given step by step instruction, either through a tutorial or from other users, don't just toss your hands up in the air and pronounce failure. Worse yet, do not, under any circumstances, demand that others do it for you. That is not only so very telling how lazy you are (very unflattering by the way) but it also alienates others from even wanting to try to help you.
17. Pronouncing yourself as the uber ultimate ... (insert option here such as developer, stylist, dj, lover, what have you...) is bragging and very unattractive. It makes you look like you are compensating for something else you lack. Gents will know what I mean by that, yes? It is equivilent to the large, loud vehicles in comparison situation. Yes, it is true, and so it is with bragging. People will talk about you behind your back and trust me, it is not good things they are saying.
18. Buying friends may be a temporary solution but you will find you are not making friends, just acquiantances that like you for your virtual money. Getting a friend a gift to thank them or for their birthday is sweet but constantly buying things for your friends shows you have low self esteem and don't believe you can make friends any other way. If this is the impression you wish to portray, carry on.
19. Begging... ugh.. begging has to be the most offensive and ultimately worst way to interact with others. Sure, some gals, and guys dressed up as gals, can successfully sucker a few people into getting them things once in a while, often with an offer of exchanging *cough* favors for virtual currency or items but in the long run, you are not favored and will not be invited anywhere by anyone for fear you will continue with this ugly behavior.
20. Finally, trolls happen. They are ugly and rude and genetically wired to find it amusing to get under your skin, make you angry and make you look worse than them by pushing your buttons, most times in public. Fight the urge to respond to them. You will be grateful in the long term. I am not going to say don't be a troll because that will simply attract them like a moth to a flame war but if you are intelligent enough to realize you are being suckered into the corner of a wet paper bag by some jerk that thinks they are being brilliant, make sure you have a pen knife handy and cut your way out. You don't need the headache nor do you need to end up looking worse than the troll by losing your cool. Trolls are cyber bullies and if you ignore them, they really do get bored and move on. What fun is there for them if you don't respond?
I hope this little diatribe sheds some light for a few of you and helps you realize that sometimes you are the one people are pointing and talking about in their cyber corners. Don't be that person. Stand up, practice your charisma skill and move forward in this virtual reality. All it takes is a moment of your time to think before you type. You can do it. I know you have it in you.
© 2011 Wyllo Rogers
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