There’s a sort of conversational thing, especially on the toneless internet, where you don’t want to be talking to someone who really just wants to screw you around or treats you like a bug.
And that’s fair enough. But at the same time the roleplay community tends to find the trustworthy and well meaning, by comparing notes on ‘how things work’. If someone shares that, they are worthy of some trust or are well meaning, whatever.
The thing is, if this notion of ‘how things work’ is actually false, then it’ll never get corrected. Because to question the notion is to undermine the reason the other person trusted you in the first place.
I’ll draw an example from D&D boards, which I hope (in order to make a point) at least my readership don’t share as a notion of ‘how things work’, and that is ‘It’s not really railroading if the players don’t realise it’. Agree with it, and you get trust. Don’t agree and you end up on the outside of something. But if the notion is a false one, then it has become embedded and accepted and can never be challenged because as soon as you challenge it, the other person retracts their trust and ignores the challenge. They say your being ‘combative’. And that’s when they’re being polite.
Though I’ll grant that if you meet with the person in real life, you may develop other reasons to trust them/think them well meaning, like they gave you a beer, or lent you a DVD, or you lent them something and they returned it. This gives some room to latter on question the notion. It will still tear down the trust that was given by it being shared between the two people, unfortunately. But the other things that indicate trust, will remain and all is good.
But on the internet, do we share beer or share DVD’s? Not that often. So on the internet, in roleplay discussions, how often do you have to give the nod to a false notion in order to be able to discuss anything at all/be trusted enough to actually talk with?
And how much does this embed false notions and perpetuate them in online roleplay culture?
Cause, you know, it’s not really railroading if the players don’t realise it……
Would you enjoy agreeing to that notion, just to get enough trust to actually talk with someone? And your own notions that you expect someone else to just agree to or that proves they are untrustworthy – are you perpetuating something just as much?