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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Communications Breakdown

Nice jumper, Albert :D

This week's been a bit hard going on the communication front.

I spent most of Monday and Tuesday practising being concise for the newscast and a lot of the rest of the week struggling to make myself understood by... well, far more people than usual. In fact, the last seven days has given me considerable pause for thought on how we make ourselves clear to the World, and how we react when people either don't, or indeed won't try and make sense of your rambling, because undoubtedly that is an issue when you're online. Being wilfully or deliberately obstreperous is considerably easier when the person you're speaking to can't see your reaction and vice versa, and undoubtedly there are those people out there who will gain a measure of enjoyment by doing just that. I believe this is referred to as 'trolling.' Needless to say, I'm not a big fan of those who take enjoyment from my inability to occasionally form coherent sentences.

It does however make an important point about how communicating in-game is possibly THE biggest roadblock to progress behind actually being able to play. Albert, as always, makes a great deal of sense.
What do you mean, not that kind of Vent chat?

Once upon a time, I used to lead all our Guild Raids just using text chat. It was hard, complex and ultimately horrible. I have one particular TeamSpeak nightmare story that still makes me feel sick when I recall it, and so no, you don't get it today, but the fact remains that if you want to get a boss fight done well, and you want the best chance of explaining it to as many people as possible, you do need to grasp it for yourself. In fact, greater understanding leads to better communication generally, until emotion gets in the way, and then things can go South with surprising speed. A lot of THAT will be wrapped up in what you as a person are expecting from the discussion, and how you feel at any one point. All that inherent annoyance or frustration that your character's not got the item you want yet or your class has been stripped of utility or simply that the game you used to love has now become something you hate and don't want to play? All that's ready to affect the way you communicate with your Raid Leader, the Guild and ultimately the community. Sometimes that can be unpleasant to be on the receiving end of, and as a GM that's something I've had a huge amount of uncomfortable first-hand experience with.

If you so desire, it is quite easy to play most of the game and never speak to anyone at all.

We have a rule in-Guild: we ask people to say Hello when they arrive and Goodbye when they leave to establish that common courtesy matters to us. I will admit that this has slipped a few times for me, a fact for which I perennially apologise, because I tend to get so wrapped up in what I'm doing on certain days that I forget there are people to talk to. Then there are those days when I actually don't feel like talking to anyone either, which is a different problem all of it's own, and quite hard when you're the GM. Fortunately the people I play with are a decent and accommodating bunch in that regard and so I can potter about without worrying about being overtly verbose. I can also ask other people to organise stuff when I'm not up to it, if I can remember to tell people I'm feeling that way to begin with. Half the problem is asking for help to begin with, and if you've played most games as a single player, coming into a complex community with many rules can be quite the eye opener. I think it can be easy to forget, especially for younger players, that talking in game isn't simply a case of emulating their favourite You Tube video. You'll not get marks for buzz phrases or as much swearing as possible in your opening sentence. Effective communication requires a measure of actual finesse and effort.

There's good and there's GOOOOOOOOD....

Some days, try as you might, you just can't communicate well with anyone. Often the fault can be found at your own door, and pretending it's not your problem isn't actually the smartest of ideas, especially if you keep having the same issues time and again. A smart person leans their failings and will (ideally) work on them, and as I KNOW I have my difficulties some days with the medium of text I've sat down yesterday and looked at what happened in the week and realise that stress is probably my issue. In situations like that I'd be wise in future just not to start certain conversations at all until I could be sure I'm making myself understood effectively: that way there can be no confusion, and by definition no hurt. The fact remains however I know when I'm being manipulated, and I'm never best pleased by anyone who thinks that pulling my chain is a source of entertainment. If you want to understand me well, look to my work as a guide, it's pretty much all here. If you want to communicate, you need to meet halfway, and that's true of pretty much anyone you meet in game. Respect, decency and understanding should come as standard, and if they don't, don't be surprised if people don't hang around for long.

If you want to effectively learn to play, understanding your character's abilities is only one part of the equation.

3 comments:

Grimmtooth said...

Speaking of communications, your RSS feed no longer posts full feeds. Is there something that can be done about that, or is this something I need to get used to?

The Godmother said...

No, I can go back to not tracking via Feedburner, just for you, as you asked, and nobody else noticed :P

There you go :D

Grimmtooth said...

I didn't realize Feedburner did that. Mine go through there as well, and as far as I know they're full feeds. /puzzled.