I'm wondering if I didn't express my ideas clearly, so I'll try again, and start with this: both of these ideas require back end work, not more effort on the player.
First, the "Conversation Que" idea.
This mechanic works with a timer. It checks every so often to see if a player in the Conversation que has been engaging with anyone else in that same que. If not, it ejects them from the que altogether. The que grows as more players include themselves in it by ACTIVELY RPING with characters already in the que, and has a snowballing effect as more people RP amongst eachother. It requires no command on the player's part other than talking to people.
For purposes of the example, Conversation Status comes with a number. That number represents the number of people each person is actively and effectively paying attention to regardless of stats. The example will become complicated. This is something that would work codedly and not as a state of THAC0. Let's go with six characters in a room as an example, A, B, C, D, E, and the bartender.
Players A and B are an immigration aide and an immigrant.
Players C and D are chums having a conversation.
Player E is sitting at the bar alone, drinking, and making no verbal conversation.
A and B walk into Carnal Desires. Moving rooms clears watch/address identifiers. This is already how the system works, I believe. They each have a Conversation status of 0.
C and D are at the bar talking back and forth. They each have a Conversation status of 1.
E hasn't spoken to anyone recently, and has a Conversation status of 0.
A offers to buy B a drink, orders a drink, and begins telling B about places to avoid in the mix. A has a Conversation status of 2 (B and the Bartender), and B has a Conversation status of 1 (having been addressed by A). B asks A for clarification, thus joining in A's conversation que. This grants access to hear A, along with all people involved in conversation with A, as addressing someone automatically includes you in the circle of conversation so long as they address you back, or have already addressed you. This occurs regardless of stat pairings.
A, B, and the bartender all have Conversation status 2 now.
The bartender (NPC in this case) says nothing else, and thirty seconds later, drops from the Conversation que. A and B have a Conversation status of 1.
Players C spots A, waves, and says hello. Player A is included in C's Conversation que. A says hello back, and C is included in A's conversation que. Player A has a Conversation status of 3 (B, C, D), B has a Conversation status of 2 (A, C), C has a conversation status of 3 (A,B,D), D has a Conversation status of 2 (A, C), and E is still lonely with a Conversation status of 0.
Player E is watching A and B, and chimes in about one of the dangerous places, addressing B in the process. Player E join player B's Conversation que, but not A. Either A or B must address E in order for E to be included in A's que. Let's say A responds to E. E joins A's Conversation que. By engaging in conversation with A at this point, E has just gained access to a Conversation que that comprises every player in the room, and can maintain this indefinitely without a stat check so long as he keeps engaging in RP. I.E. Addressing others in the que.
If B (the immigrant) says something to Either A or E at this point, B too, will have access to all player conversation in the room.
Now let's say players C and D go back to their conversation don't address and aren't addressed by anyone else in the que for thirty seconds. They are removed from A, B, and E's Conversation ques.
A,B,E have Conversation status 2 each, and C,D each have Conversation status 1.
If C wants back into the conversation then they must address A, B, or E. Addressing any one of them gives access to that player's que, but not the others. When A, B, or E address C, then C has access to all of them again.
Now, pair this with the second idea I proposed. A natural inclination to overhear things from time to time. If a player isn't engaged in a specific Conversation que, they can still overhear things ocassionally - so long as the speaking volume is normal or louder. Catching snippets of normal chatter will give the player an idea of what is being discussed, and provide opportunity to insert themselves into RP.
Together, these seem to me like options that can:
1. Improve RP quality of life so long as players attempt to ENGAGE with other players.
2. Grants IC info without a stat gate so long as you make active effort to RP.
3. Removes you from IC info when you cease putting in the effort to RP, or willfully choose to remove yourself from certain RP.
4. Maintains a semi-realistic approach to how human interaction actually works, and how conversations naturally develope.
5. Removes the need to use watch/address
6. If watch is removed as a command, this would prevent players from idling afk for hours in public places and then reading the backlog for data.
I personally still think watch should be available as an option for players that want to use it. Train needed things if you want to go that route, or buy chrome. I'm not personally concerned about people idling for a stream of data. I don't think it's in the spirit of the game, but it is what it is. Or I don't know...make the client auto clear the log every so often so that can't be done. I'm not an expert on these things. Don't know how it works.
Hopefully this has cleared up something I may have explained like mud before. Thanks you for coming to my Ted Talk.