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Sunday, 25 October 2009

Club Etiquette

As you know one of the real delights are the clubs and pubs in SL London, they are fun places where you can dance and listen to great music, plus socialising is so easy, that even the newest of people soon feel at home.

There is an unspoken code though, sort of virtual good manners that the majority of people abide by, and look on as a way to show both respect and affection for their fellow avatars. Language in SL may be cut down to text message type lingo in a lot of cases, and little bits here and there have become the norm, though not in all instances.

On entering a club, there may already be lots of people there that you know, and as you wait for the place to rez you can see in 'text chat' that people are greeting you with “Hello Janey” etc. People spot you on their radars before you have quite got to the door sometimes and it’s lovely of them to make you feel welcome. It’s usual to greet everyone in the room with a “Hello everyone” or “Hi” and then the 'virtual manners' come into being when you look at all the people who have greeted you personally and you greet them back individually by name, you can add a smile by typing :) or “hugs” to the greeting. If there are a big crowd its sometimes easier to click on your ‘Local Chat’ button down in the left hand corner of your screen and open the chat window, then you can look back to make sure you haven’t missed anyone. Sometimes you spot people in the club who you think may have missed you, but don’t be offended, some of the club positions are out of range and people haven’t always realised that you have arrived, or they may just be away from their keyboards (afk) for a short while.

Hosts do an excellent job at greeting people old and new, they watch for new arrivals greeting them all by name and making sure that new people are included every time, which, when you are new, a little bit of kindness goes a long way! It seems so English for people to greet each other with “How Are You” but SL has taught me that this is a familiar greeting all over the world as I have met people from many different countries in the virtual environment who use it too.

The abbreviations come into their own when someone has to leave the keyboard for a short time, but leave their avatar in the same spot, “brb” (be right back) must be one of the most widely used phrase in SL. People usually respond with “ok” or “k” and just lately I noticed that a new abbreviation has come into the equation “hb” (hurry back). Once the person has returned to take control of their avatar, they type “back” to let everyone know they are around again, this is then responded to with “wb” (welcome back), to which the returnee replies “thanks” or “thx”

The banter is usually going on all the time with a good crowd and jokes and comments fly back and forth. So too are ‘gestures’ which people love to use, you see the gestures mixed in with the text, it may be something like ‘Mayhem Club Rocks!’ or letters used to make the shape of a picture, along with a vocal sound, it purely means that people are having a good time. Anything humorous is met with “lol” (laugh out loud), “raofl” (roll about on the floor laughing) or just “haha” or “hehe”. You get plenty of “Omg” (Oh My God!), or even the ruder “lmao” (laughing my arse off). It’s no wonder that newbies get confused and with the gestures and text moving up the screen very quickly, it’s easy to lose your way with what is being said. That’s why opening the chat window is so handy. Of course while all this is going on, people may be getting in touch with you privately in IM, in the end you sort of learn to deal with the IM but still keep glancing at the local chat going on if you can, but it can get tricky.

On top of everything else, if you belong to groups, you may find someone using ‘group chat’ to start a conversation among it’s members, then you are in real trouble as their chat also fills the screen making things even more confusing. Opening the chat window will solve this as you click on the tab you want to keep up with, i.e. local chat, IM or the Group chat. If you want to get rid of the group chat, (and a couple of people got fed up with me chatting in ‘group chat’ the other day, who can blame them, hehe), all you do is open the chat window as stated before, click on the tab where the group chat is taking place, then you will see just below the main x in the top right hand corner there is a little square box with what looks like an arrow in it and next to that there is a small x. Firstly click on the little square box and this will tear off the page from the window, then click the x next to the box. By doing this you have left the group chat and you won’t hear any more until someone starts up a new one.

One of the things that bugs me about dance places though, is that you try to find a spot to dance which gives you plenty of room, so that you don’t knock into other avatars as you strut your stuff, then you find someone has entered the room and chooses to stand right next to you. In the beginning you just have to give them time as they may not see you as the room rezzes into view for them, but after a while it’s obvious that they just want to stand or dance in your space, which is really rude of them. If they just stand there while you are dancing away, you feel like a right idiot and if they dance and keep knocking you it’s just plain annoying. Someone did that to me the other day and I moved my avatar to another spot in the room to get away, he just teleported out when I moved, so who knows if he had meant to have bad manners or not, but crowding people is not something that makes a good impression.

Leaving the club also takes a couple of minutes, as you tell the room that you are off and wish them a good night. People will say goodnight, and you wait a few seconds as they do this, before saying your final goodbye and leaving. I think it’s lovely that people have created this mini society and framework of behaviours that proves they have real affection and friendship with each other. It also makes new people feel included with the regulars very quickly and lets them relax and enjoy what SL has to offer.

Janey Bracken


HotStuff said...

Aw janey that was all so true, was lovely reading that. What bugs me is when people friend request you before talking to you in open chat, i think thats kinda rude, oh well xx

Janey Bracken said...

Hi Hots!

Many thanks for your comments. I totally agree with you, people who want to friend someone in open chat, or even in IM the instant they meet you make things very awkward, as friendship is something that happens when you get to know people. Some even send the friendship thing before they have spoken to you at all!! I do usually tell people I can't accept although I know it must cause offence sometimes, no offence is intended by me, but you wouldn't walk up to a stranger in real life and put them on your 'friends list' would you, so I hope they understand. Also it amazes me how many newbies find out how to send out friendship requests before they even learn how to dress!

Janey xx

Hibiscus said...

Hi Janey, great overview on the manners and etiquette that have developed over time in SL. I think people are certainly made to feel at home and welcome, I know I do whenever I step into any of the clubs, and I am always amazed at how well the hosts and dj's manage to keep up with all the comings and goings. I'm sure I am always missing someone saying hello or goodbye but they do a wonderful job.
I agree with you and Hots about some of the more awkward moments, too. I don't understand why some are so quick to offer friendship and can even get upset if you don't immdediately accept. I've had people ask me why I have refused and when I reply that I have to get to know someone first they respond by saying "well, you can get to know me"! And the same for those who stand close to you when you are dancing, they can loom over you making you feel so uncomfortable and cross, not the best introduction.
However most people are very friendly and welcoming, one of the best, if not the best, aspects of SL.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful primer! This should be available for all SL noobs to read - it would make the assimilation process to much easier for them!

Well done!!!

- Drax

Ed Follet said...

Great article Janey. I'm sure that most polite people of a certain age group would agree that this is the correct way to behave. Not so sure that todays youngsters are inclined to spend either the time or effort on something without obvious benefits.

The issue of friendship requests stems, I believe, from social networks like Facebook where the more friends you have 'collected' the more kudos you appear to have. In effect huge networks are being created which facilitate the rapid spread of information and spamming - rather like our groups.

I also believe LL is looking at providing individuals with the facility to block requests thereby avoiding having to decline and then explain. A polite person would ask if it is ok in the first place.

Janey Bracken said...

Hi Hibiscus, Drax and Ed,

Thanks for your great comments! It's interesting to know how other people view avatar's behaviour in these sort of situations and Ed, I think you are right about the friendship thing with young people using Facebook etc, where friends are just collected. They may all come unstuck eventually when they have an out of control 'Friends List' (just like my inventory!)

Janey :)

rails said...

A follow up to this Janey, might be SL manners. what is expected of people in Sl. Example, common courtesy of why you get banned and evicted from Lonodn Sims and groups.

MDB said...

" rails said...
A follow up to this Janey, might be SL manners. what is expected of people in Sl. Example, common courtesy of why you get banned and evicted from Lonodn Sims and groups"

Wow, someone's bitter. Thought you were happy to go, rails?

Anonymous said...

A follow up to this Janey, might be SL manners. what is expected of people in Sl. Example, common courtesy of why you get banned and evicted from Lonodn Sims and groups.

Lol now theres sour grapes poor rails is upset do we care not really its a much better place now anyway.

And great story janey keep up the good work,

Janey Bracken said...

Hi Rails,

I can't really comment on why people get banned from areas or groups in SL, as any dispute would obviously be between the sim owners/managers and the person who has been evicted. The matter can only be resolved with the parties liaising with each other privately. I can only wish you a happy outcome in this matter.

Janey :)