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Metagaming and how to prevent it


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We all know those players I'm sure - the ones who can't help but take OOC knowledge and treat it like it's absolutely known. I don't mean characters that are jumping to natural conclusions (e.g. Character A does X, character B jumps to Y conclusion based on that), but say you write a character that is a bit of a flirt and womanizer, and other players have their characters immediately react and treat the other character like the scum of the earth, despite the flirt character being entirely proper and charming (and the pair having only just met). It's gotten to the point that I no longer type out my characters thoughts when writing with these people because it gets so frustrating. 

 

The downside of this - aside from people perscribing attitudes to my characters that are either not true (I was once told my character was clearly jealous and envious, which isn't remotely true... queue someone fighting with me over the difference between wanting something and being jealous of something) or that they cannot possibly know, because the character never acts on it (internal biases, as an example) - is that I feel that my posts tend towards the lackluster, just because I am so tired of characters being judged on stuff other players may know OOC, but their characters should not know. I can never describe their internal thought processes because the second I do, it's taken and run with as if the character said it. These sorts of things are used to demonize my characters. Thankfully it's not the whole site, just a couple members - unfortunately once they've come to a conclusion, many others tend to follow suit.

 

So how do you combat the dreaded metagamer, without sacrificing post quality? 

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This is one reason I like rping without bios.

I think there's such a thing as mutually agreed upon metagaming, where both characters can know some stuff and no one minds, but that's different than the unwanted stuff. If I feel like metagaming is likely to be abused, I wont write thoughts, only write intentions if they are to avoid powerplaying or directly effect the other player, and keep setting narration to a minimum. the downside to this is folks may assume much that isn't true which yes happens in real life, but I'm not fond of unless its useful for a plot.

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I tend to not give away too much with my bios/thoughts. I like it to be a surprise. The character I play on one forum is a villain but the way I play him you wouldn't be able to tell. Most people OOC know because of who he has ties with IC but if you were to interact with him, you would have no idea. 

 

If someone does try to metagame, I switch it around and make him harder to figure out and throw them off, since the character in question is unpredictable so for him to randomly do weird things/say contridictory things is completely normal for him to do ICly.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I give metagamers two chances to cut it out. "Hey, I love writing with you, but your character wouldn't know x. Please edit your post to only reflect IC knowledge. Can't wait to reply!" If they threw a temper tantrum or refused to, I'd get the thread archived and not write with them in the future. I'm not going to curtail my apps or threads because someone's being a jerk. And if they ask if their character could know something mine hadn't told them, and explain a reasonable course of action for that, then I'm a lot more lenient and generally okay things. 

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On 2/12/2019 at 2:54 PM, StormWolfe said:

 

This and this! I absolutely am not changing writing in-depth posts for my characters to avoid the OOC Know-it-Alls! If they use something that their character cannot possibly know, I find a way to turn it back on their character. That old IC actions have IC consequences. I am good about writing in visual cues that other characters can pick up on. However, if they say something based on my character's thoughts (no evident cues), then I have my character call them out.

 

And that's my two-cents worth. 

Aaaall of the above!

 

And it's worked. 8D I have a tendency to be super devious and use their assumptions to my benefit, and I've actually gotten some good plots out of it as a result, lmao.

 

So, sure. Metagame all you want in my threads--but it's at your own risk. >8D I have a lot of creative solutions for dealing with this sort of thing up my sleeve, and it's worked.

 

But also, just in general, if I don't want something to be public knowledge about my character, I don't mention it in their posts at ALL until it actually gets naturally revealed. I may write in some clues in their behavior, but I won't write their thoughts if it's regarding said secret thing. You could be playing with my character who's secretly a serial killer and you won't know it until I decide it's time for the reveal. 8D

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Watching this thread with anticipation! I can't say I've found a good way of dealing with these things but I will agree with the other posters and do my best to tell you what I've used as bandaids that kind of work.

I don't write introspection. In fact,  I try not to write anything that an opposing player couldn't *see* from my character, only their physical cues. Unless of course, I'm writing with a trusted friend, then I let more private thoughts peek through - but that's dangerous too because other people often read those threads and assume that two people on a private date were publicly visible.

I make two profiles. One for me that has everything about my character, and then a second one that only shows what someone could instantly perceive, or might have heard about through the grapevine. Some things on the public profile are true, some are not.

When people meta with my characters (particularly when they find the thing on the profile that isn't true) my characters surprise them. I've gotten complaints about characters I write not being true to their profile and I nearly laugh aloud because people have personas and first impressions they give off and that's what a profile is. If you think my adorable puppy-dog-eyed boy is cute and nice, you missed the "among his friends" tagline. He's actually got a bite, oh and he's prejudiced too, but that's not public knowledge and you found out the hard way? Oops.

 

What happens is that people that like to meta don't like playing with me after a while because of the way my characters tend to react to theirs. I'm not sure I consider that a bad thing because I can't decide if my character being manipulated or ignored is worse?

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Metagaming is pretty rare on our board because a lot of the core players write minimal introspection and what we do offer can generally be interpreted in a few different ways. The longer new members stick around, the more they start to conform to the way we write, making it more difficult to be a metagamer in that environment.

 

Players who can't function without having OOC knowledge to exploit don't tend to stay very long, because they're stonewalled at every turn.

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I played long-term once against a character that could 100% read minds. Effectively, I guess you could call this "Legal Metagaming". Instead of chopping up my posts and removing all the introspection (Since, being the situation what it was, it would have been ME metagaming by leaving out the metagamable info lmao) I learned to play a little more in figuring out how to use how that introspection is utilized by my writing partner to come up with some creative ways to further my character's goals/plans. It was definitely a creative experiment that I thoroughly enjoyed, and I think it helped me be a better player overall. Much like what @Josie, @StormWolfe, and @Viscount Rhi-Rhi mentioned. 

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In an rp setting I usually pull a fast one. So basically, I am a little passive aggressive about players taking advantage of information provided to them as a reader but couldn’t possible be known by the character. Sometimes it is tricky but often it is easiest to call them out and put them on their toes with a simple phrase, “How do you know that I didn’t say anything.” But then again if the other doesn’t virbally omit that they know what your character knows, maybe another process of thought to imply the other character shouldn’t know what’s going on in your character’s headspace. 

 

Obviously if it is persistent then I would mention it to them in a gentle pm or ask an admin to handle it.

 

Generally people who do this purposefully and not out of ignorance... don’t stick around long if it gets them nowhere.

Edited by Tartle
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Honestly I think Tartle and Kita have it best. If you're going to write something that is not intended to be understood by another character or acted upon, often it can be easiest to simply reach out to the other writer and say something about it. Basically call them on it. How they take it is of course dependent on that person and their level of maturity, but sometimes people don't really realize what they're doing. They're so used to taking into account everything that's being written that they don't stop to consider if what was written was actually said. 

 

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