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Esteemed Denizens of the Donut, It is time once again for everyone's least favorite refresher course. Did I say everyone? Actually, I meant *my* least favorite. So ... lets just get right to it: N-TELL LINE 101: Q: Why do we have the ntell line? A: So that new players who are crippled by lack of familiarity with a MUD environment may benefit from a responsible and helpful community via brief and carefully-tailored guidance, and sense that they are not alone or uncared for. Q: Why are you even posting this? What's the problem? A: The ntell line is distasteful to many people who value full-immersion in a roleplaying environment. There is no thematic justification for the ntell line as there are with other guild-tell abilities, which are thematically immersive via magical artifacts, spells that must be cast, etcetera. The newbie pin is an artifact, yes, but it is by its very nature non-immersive as a necessary evil that says, "Oh, you're new to Genesis, so have a pin, wear it, and use it to give you help while you are young." Those of us who are hardcore roleplayers can stomach this for the good of the order, so long as the thing does not violate its own charter by allowing the culture and the community to stray into the realm of the dreaded GLOBAL-CHAT! Q: Dreaded global chat? Why is that dreaded? I like it!! A: Oh, you mean other than because it totally sucks? Ah, well ... did you get enough sleep last night? Yes? Okay ... well, lets see. Because it sucks. No, seriously. It sucks. Genesis, despite what many will claim, has its roots in immersion, and a global chat absolutely destroys that. I will die on this hill. There will never be a global chat so long as I am in any way connected to decisionmaking in Genesis. Did I mention it sucks? Q: Okay, so no global chat. What does that mean for ntell useage? A: It means this. Newbies will be newbies, and they will say whatever they will say on the line. The established users who are helpers on the line need to respond appropriately. So, if a newbie asks a question about something they don't understand in the game, you give polite and friendly help, but you do not do this in a way that invites conversation. If conversation begins, you (again, politely) say something like, "I am sorry, but this is not a chatline, and we are not allowed to use it as such. If you'd like to converse, I'd be happy to meet up with you for a chat, or we can mail. Lets stop chatting here now, though. Please mail me if you like." ... but ... wait ... HEYYYYYY! I already did all this! Just type <nrules> to see what the pin says about it. Sheesh ... you've known this all along! You DID read about <nrules> before now, right?? Oh, and I changed one thing on it, so you can now discuss quests so long as they are quests in the tutorial. After the tutorial, the ntell line is not for quest talk! So ... go reread <nrules>. Q: But people can just take the pin off and not listen! Why don't you just let those who want a chat room enjoy it, and those who don't can take off the pin?? A: Genesis is not a chat room! If you want a chat room, go to a chat room and by all means enjoy yourself. The entire point of the pin is to allow experienced players to listen for new players who need help, and offer them that help. Many of these experienced players specifically *hate* chat-room behavior and are likely to remove their pin so that they do not have to listen to it if it occurs. If the line is polluted by chat-room behavior, then we have ruined the whole purpose of the line in the first place. Q: So, what, you would rather remove ntell help than let us have a chat line? A: Yes, and I'd pour myself a drink while doing it and sip luxuriously. But instead of that, I'll just ban people who can't use it properly. I've decided its time for me to be listening regularly. And ... I will be. Hopefully people can correct the culture that has developed on the line rather swiftly. I do think the line is a necessary evil, and I do think it is good for new players to benefit as outlined in the very first Q/A above. We've strayed, people ... we've strayed. So, there we are. Let's get this back on track. If you are one of the chat- line apologists who feels everything I've written above is wrong-headed, then please prepare yourself for a mighty Keeper-Slap. And be sure to listen for the light slosh of my martini as it hits. G.