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Thought Bubbles
Are they a double-edged sword?

Hello everyone,

For the first 3 months or so of playing SD I didn’t even know thought bubbles even existed, until it was brought to my attention that GMs pay close attention to them to understand a character’s thoughts, motivations and feelings. So I started to use them, more and more as part of my RP.

However later I found out that thought bubbles can also be seen by other players and there doesn’t seem to be a way to prevent this, besides not using them at all.

Anyhow I kept using thought bubbles for a while but eventually I realized that about 80% of the time other players either consciously or unconsciously act Meta using thought bubbles information. So after a few bad and bluntly obvious Meta RP situations, I decided to stop using them altogether.

The thing is, I still like thought bubbles as another channel to RP my character internally and for GMs to be able to have a better outlook of how my character thinks but I am greatly discouraged of using them because of the high risk of metagame while using them around other players.

So I would like to suggest that there be an opinion to set thought bubbles to be private.

What do you guys think?

I haven't seen too many think bubbles since I started playing. Those that I have seen usually make me laugh OOC but I keep my character from reacting to them IC. I think the only time I've ever really reacted would be not so much to the content of the bubble, but maybe the change in the other character's expression I envision would accompany that thought. For example, player A thinks something that reflects an emotional thought several times (meaning multiple bubbles of the same content), I might ask if something is bothering them under the idea that if they are thinking something that predominantly, they are probably showing some sort of emotion in their expression.

I'm not really sure what the intent for think bubbles was as far as pushing along RP because, as you said, they are OOC knowledge. If it is to let GMs know a character's motivations and such, wouldn't notes work just as easily? Because, I think someone had brought up before if it was made so that they are only seen by GMs, it could get awful spammy for them.

Thought bubbles' content is OOC and everyone knows not to use their contents ICly, but it is still EXTREMELY BAD form to leak IC spoilers in 'thinks'. Don't do that any more than you would with an OOC: comment.

Spoiling things for other players is actually just as uncool as if others USE the info in a meta way when they DO get it from thinks.

Don't do that, either, if someone spoils something in front of you.

Also - deliberately using 'thinks' to tey to get GM attention should not be done, either. 'Think'ing is not roleplaying, as many of you have heard me say. Talking, emotiong and posing are the way to get IC results.
Whilst Linekin is correct, I feel like the 'no spoiler' rule could be avoided to begin with if OP's suggestion to disallow players from seeing thoughts were implemented, whilst allowing better communication of a character's motivations through the use of thought bubbles.
I don't disagree with any of that, Linekin, but it does sorta beg the question....what are they for, then? I've never understood why they're even in the game.
'I don't disagree with any of that, Linekin, but it does sorta beg the question....what are they for, then? I've never understood why they're even in the game.'

Whilst using thoughts shouldn't be done to try to grab a GM's attention, thoughts can help communicate the process your character is going through when performing actions which might look suspicious without context.

I like the think bubbles for OOC laughs and insights into a character. I've not had anyone act Meta on any of my thinks and I've not acted meta on any other person's thinks.

Thinks are like an instant IC line to the admins, where as @note and xhelp are OOC communiques.

Each individual player has the option to turn off seeing other peoples think bubbles and if you feel people are using your thinks in a meta way xhelp about it as the situation occurs. Or stop using them.

Players already have the option to not-see other peoples' thinks.

An option to perform a think which other players can't see does seem like a potentially useful one.

Trancer, in my opinion, they're best used either for strictly comic content, treating them like the meta tool that they are, or else, used to convey strictly emotional content IN COMBINATION with a perceptible pose conveying the same attitude or feeling.

'Think' should not, in my opinion, substitute for RP which others can perceive and react toICly.

I like to pair thinks up with opposites myself. Like:

think 'I fucking hate that bitch'

emote smiles softly and nods along with the conversation, "Yeah that sounds like a lot of fun I'll totally be there!"

So more or less it's just fluffy humor tool or something. Okay.
usually when i use thought bubbles it's to indicate my character is lying and allow characters who believe their perception high enough to maybe get that vibe from her, when i don't want to be so obvious as to roleplay her showing one of her tells.

i think it's best not to thought bubble anything that would ruin the game for you were it played off by others imo

Linekin and I actually talked about the thought bubbles recently, after I committed a social faux pas he described. In past games I've played, thoughts have always been considered an integral part of my roleplay where it shows the GMs, RP admins, and storytellers what was going on inside my character's head at the time, along with a feel command. Sometimes I forget that other people see my thoughts.

Uh. I'm all for thoughts being made private and visible only by people, like @notes are.

As a player, I've learned that there are certain other characters who I need to turn my own "see thinks" option off when I'm around them, because of a persistent pattern of how deeply their thinks spoil things.
I like amika's stand on that, sometimes one needs to trust other players to put RP before meta achieved gain for the own character..

I've had my own scene where I knew a character was lying in my Chars face but due to my Chars character and relationship to the other it was still trusting the liar, a thought bubble followed, confirming my idea of the situation, which made it even more fun to have my own Char to walk right into the lie.

i find that when you're open about the lie too there's no "victory" in solving the mystery so people are more willing to play into it for a good story.
(tho i will add sometimes a big reveal is the best)
I still stand firm on my opinions that thinks aren't meta tools, but a fundamental part of roleplay, regardless of whether or not someone else, staff or players otherwise, can see them. I've always liked think/feel combos along with my emotes & poses in different MUDs, RPIs and the like because it helped me flesh out who my character was mentally and emotionally, which gave me a better understanding of who she was, and allowed me to keep from bleeding into them with my OOC wants and motivations because I'd established a markedly different personality or dynamic in my roleplay.
I can't remember the command, but I thought there was a way for players to toggle thinks to show or not show, so if they did not like seeing them in RP, they didn't have to see them.
it's under @options

But it toggles whether you see other people's thinks. It doesn't control whether your own thinks would be seen by others.

Fair enough. IMHO: Don't send thinks you don't want your enemies to see and potentially use against you, and if you are sick of seeing the humorous thinks, just toggle it off? Sounds like a good middle ground to me! I used to use them frequently but as pointed out earlier, this makes your character's duality a bit more transparent to the world, whether they intend to do that or not.
Thought bubbles are optional and always have been.

You don't need to use them.

You don't need to see others using them.

I always rather liked the think bubbles. I try not to use them in my rp if I see someone else's think bubble. In fact, I have to consciously remind myself not to. However, I still enjoy them quite a bit. Even if it's not meant to be used as rp, I like to use it to develop my character a bit further. I don't know, I'll honestly say, when I play other muds now, I miss the think bubble things. I can understand the concern for think bubbles being used in rp when they shouldn't be, but disabling them altogether would kind of be like throwing the baby out with the bath water.
I generally use them to make funny comments about the situation, or make it clear my character is doing little in the situation or conversation for IC reasons not OOC ones.
I generally do it to reveal my character is in the shadows, unseen, about to murder all of the players.
Admins were discussing whether to the way this command works and decided to put a poll out for players to react to.

It's on the home page.

Besides inviting players to tell us what they "think", I'm also updating the "help think" helpfile right now to include a statement in it that "think"ing isn't roleplaying. It's already clear that the content of "think"s is OOC and not to be reacted to ICly, but some players apparently need to be told not to try to direct IC RP via the thinks they make their characters do in front of others.

@Slither - Love your response. I get a laugh every time I read it.

@Linekin -

I wanted to vote on two.

I was thinking about something.

The survey had the following two options among the others:

Yes, seen if allowed by thinker

Yes, seen if desired by viewer

Currently, viewers can see the bubbles if they want.

Players need to be careful in their thoughts to not necessarily give away key data, maybe accidentally.

And no, we can't respond to the thoughts.

However, how about adding the option, "Yes, seen if allowed by thinker", to that?

That way if the viewer wants to be able to see thought bubbles, they can but they won't be able to see a thought of someone who chooses not to have their thoughts seen?

Bill doesn't want his thoughts seen by others right now but is working something out in his head (and will write an @note) and player toggles his thoughts to "unseen".

Phil's player gets a laugh from some of the thoughts and has the Thought Bubble option toggled to on. He can't see Bill's thoughts though at the moment because of Bill's choice. Knows either Bill isn't thinking anything or Bill has his thoughts set to unviewable.

Admins can still see thoughts.

Players should use @notes to put their thoughts, conclusions, and plots down for the GM'S to plot/counter plot.

That's exactly why I put that option in the list, Crafty, to see how players would respond to what LOOKS like a new feature.

(it's actually not.)

The results so far are VERY VERY interesting.

Basically, so far, ONLY 16% of voters want the visibility of 'think' content to be controlled by the player doing the thinking.

12% want think content to be not-hideable by either player (at least, that's what I read from votes for the "show by default" option, which wasn't intended to describe a default setting a player chooses, but a global, permanent default. The previous options above included the player options, so, the last option is a vote against player options).

At least a couple of people voted for the nuclear option: Delete the command entirely, A character's thinking would take place in the mind of the player and never be seen on the MOO, by admins or anyone else.

The overwhelmingly most-popular vote is for the "admin only" option, which would totally remove the OOC . o O ( think ) content from ever being seen by players, no prefences possible.

And the next-most-popular vote after that is the option which you mentioned, Crafty, and it's there as something of a trick question, honestly. Players can achieve what option 2 describes all by themselves, without me programming a new @option to record the player's preference. How? By not using the "think" command.

A very novel idea has come from a brainstorming conversation on the admin side. There may be a very exciting and surprising change coming.

Since the poll won't be on the website forever, but this topic will, I'm pasting the poll content into the topic here, including CURRENT vote counts (it has only been open for less than a day, but there have been over 40 responses).

The fourth option represents the @option which is currently available.

The third option represents what I just talked about: The thinker can exercise this (no-at) option by choosing whether or not to type "think".

Showing and Seeing Thinks

Should "think" command thoughts be visible by other players? (right now, this is "yes", by default)

No, delete this command 8%

No, only seen by admins 40%

Yes, seen if allowed by thinker 24%

Yes, seen if desired by viewer 16%

Yes, by default 9%

The thinker can exercise this (no-at) option by choosing whether or not to type "think".

There are going to be some players who won't like this option, because they will perceive it as removing their ability to communicate their character's real-time thoughts to admins.

"Think" isn't like an IC xhelp. Please use @notes for that, or talk to NPCs. Using "think" to try to get admin attention is only barely less obnoxious than breaking @rule 4.E.

Thank you.

I'm new to Sindome, but a previous RP-intensive MU* that I played had a THINK command that worked like this: only GMs could see their thoughts, and players were encouraged to have their characters think so that GMs better understand the character as well as get ideas ideas for storylines for those characters -- THINK was not to be used to get the GM's attention or get them to do something.

I personally have turned the ability to view thoughts off, as I would rather not know what other players' characters are thinking. Overall, I like the idea of THINK as a way to flesh out characterization, but I don't like that it can be viewable by other players.

(As an aside, I don't like the idea that GMs can force my character to have certain thoughts -- that seems to me to violate the spirit of roleplay. Some exceptions to that would be insanity, drugs, etc.)

Again, I am a new player, but those are my observations.

(As an aside, I don't like the idea that GMs can force my character to have certain thoughts -- that seems to me to violate the spirit of roleplay. Some exceptions to that would be insanity, drugs, etc.)

A problem with insanity is that you never really know if you're sane, you know?

Has anyone considered limiting who can see a given character/s thought bubble based on stats? Something like having a high perception makes it easier to see them while a high charisma makes them tougher to be seen...

Not saying this is a good idea at all or that the stats I mentioned are the best options but just wanted to throw out that random thought...

This is just my opinion, so take it for what it is worth, but I think a lot of this could be cleared up with better communication and enforcement.

I found Sindome after playing another RPI for about a year. In that game thinks could be seen by the staff (the were logged but weren't part of "The Stream") and sometimes they would send echos regarding certain thoughts, but more often they were mined for plot advancement type stuff.

More importantly though, in this other game, some characters -could- read minds so it was strongly encouraged that players use think so that these other characters had something to glean. Ergo thinking was role playing. They were IC information that you just had to work at to get.

So when I come to Sindome I am in that habit of thinking something every ten minutes or so and it was my apparently erroneous assumption that the think command was to communicate IC emotions and motivations. Most of my thinks are something like, "I need to get money for the Levs."

Also when I was just idling in my cube one day I saw one of the GMs say something about it is Ok to do random emotes when you are alone so I started using think in that situation because, in my opinion, my character isn't going to talk to himself but he might be thinking about other issues. I thought it was "private RP".

Simply put if it is considered OOC and not related to RP in anyway, I have to admit I wonder why it is an IC command at all.

As someone who voted for the "trick" 'Yes, if allowed by thinker' option, what I, at least, was envisioning was the ability to toggle them to be visible to everyone or to admin only.
Connal's idea to alter how we see thinks based on stats is interesting. Also, has anyone considered tying the think command in with @trust? This way players could build a list of other players they trust to see their thinks, and otherwise it only goes to the GMs.
I feel like what's being sought is something to make "think" LESS complicated and troublesome, not more.

And, how do both of you respond to me pointing out that those ideas seem to imply making thought-perception IC?

The current rules about thinks make the idea of stats allowing them to be seen, useless. You can't use the info ICly so why would your stats affect whether you can see them? I'm all for making them an admin only affair. I get tired of thinks that basically take away RP. Instead of reacting to a situation with lively RP, the character thinks the lively stuff and gives a bland IC reaction. I can't do anything with the more interesting think and I don't feel like doing much with the bland RP.
I can't do anything with the more interesting think and I don't feel like doing much with the bland RP.

This is why I just don't use them. Ever. But I would if I knew players couldn't see them.

/me applauds Mythologique

I am in the exact same boat, as a GM. Understanding how/what a character is thinking gives me absolutely nothing I can use to make the world react, since thinking does not make the world react. Visible, audible, tangible, perceptible demonstrations are the only way any of my puppets can have something to react to. I don't find the content of people's thinks to be totally useless, but it is very hard and very uncommon for me to take any action whatsoever on it.

@notes are the way to communicate this kind of stuff to GMs. The added benefit of using your @notes to show GMs what your character thinks, plans, intends, and wants is that all GMs read it and it gets read even if no GM is online when you write it.

As someone who runs characters, both NPCs as well as from the plater side, I fully endorse Mythologique's point of view. The fun here is in roleplaying, not in using OOC means to show other players something they aren't supposed to make part of THEIR roleplaying.

Again: It's just not fun, especially when the effort people are putting in to thimking is taking away from the effort they're putting in to performing actionable IC behaviors others can react to.

I've had a hard time finding time to really immerse here lately, but i really wanted to have some input on this, too. I -love- the idea of GM's being able to see thinks -if- that think is a reaction to RP in motion. I'm pleasantly surprised sometimes when a GM pops into the RP I'm involved in and really adds something to it. I feel like a "think" for this purpose, to give the gm's something other than the face value of our rp to work with would be awesome. It's not like they -have- to do anything with it but if they chose to it would add another layer for gm's to work with and -help- us when our character's actions just wouldn't cut it and there really isn't time to craft an @note. As it stands, i -never- use think, and the times i -have- seen it used i found it immersion breaking and a little ridiculous if not just attention whoring altogether and could easily have been actively rp'ed instead of "think"ed.
"I would if I knew players couldn't see them"

Help me understand what the in-MOO motivation for this is? Why can one not, why WOULD one not, simply do this in their (the player's) head? What does putting it into the game do for you, as a player? Especially when you don't WANT others to read it, as the poll results seem to suggest is what most people really want?

Not intending to be argumentative, I'm genuinely interested in understanding what is would do for players, or for other admins too, given that this entire exercise, the poll, the conversation, all of it, is all about reviewing the utility and the behavior of the "think" command and associated preferences, @options, and freedoms/constraints.

Linekin: @notes are the way to communicate this kind of stuff to GMs. The added benefit of using your @notes to show GMs what your character thinks, plans, intends, and wants is that all GMs read it and it gets read even if no GM is online when you write it.

We can't remove @notes, though, can we? If my character changes, or if I change my mind about something, I don't want to leave behind a litter bin full of outdated messages.

Just leave new @notes, Jeremy. We can tell what's current and what's outdated.
What does putting it into the game do for you, as a player?

IRL, people are in the habit of regularly attempting to commune with their gods in hopes of gaining their favor. This is a wide spread practice, despite the fact that frequently the very doctrine and dogma that they subscribe to teaches that their god cannot interfere. They pray for wisdom, strength, health, and for their ex girlfriends to get STDs.

In SD, the gods are very literal, and the fates really do conspire! Our influence over these fates is also entirely literal, and communicated constantly though a variety of mechanisms. It makes sense that the players would naturally seek some way of expressing themselves in a private internal monologue that is very much seen and considered by the people who they rely upon that does not burden the admins like a note or xhelp would, and is entirely passive and transitive. Admins would be free to ignore it, and players would hope that they are heard even when they're not speaking.

Players can achieve what option 2 describes all by themselves, without me programming a new @option to record the player's preference. How? By not using the "think" command

Yea. I tend not to think around others but might. I keep it to myself, the player, for the most part.

@notes are the way to go.

Since it was asked:

As for why I might think in game when alone, it was when I was working something out and it was more for a log to refer back to for myself if I needed.

I, as a player, did open it up later and copy/paste it into a personal note on my computer. But that was a couple times.

Generally. I'm not going to have my character think some things that she / I am thinking. I'm with Mythologique and bean_dip (& others) on RP'ing things out.

(Sometimes I forget an important thought for later but I guess I can just type that in Notepad for personal reference and do something log-wise for the reference point.)

Besides, since it goes to the GM's, as a general (personal) thing, I don't want to bug them so I tend to keep things to myself.

I, however, have thought that some of the angel/devil thoughts I've heard about some ppl getting were fun. I've received a few interesting ones myself when I pondered an RP possibility or just got a random one which didn't make sense but then, sometimes thoughts don't make sense. ;)

I don't roleplay a god, and don't want Sindome to be confused with one of those games where you use a "pray" command to contact immortals.

"The Supernatural" (tm) isn't part of the theme.

Maybe synchronicity is.

I've only been around for a few years, so the only info I have about the original intent of the think command is what's in the helpfile. Neither it nor any of the "newbie" or "@newbie" helpfile sections about getting help or communicating with admins suggest that "think" was ever part of this.

But sure, maybe some woo-woo things can be explained by synchronicity.

People are also welcome to pray for their characters in real life :) Anything could happen.

At least one person here and at least two in OOC-Chat have said they don't like admins forcing oughts on their characters. Others love it.

But I'm going to back up the sensitive and unappreciative players by saying that we on the admin side actually do need to tone it down and be very, very careful not to use our powers to actually force incongruous and out-of-character thoughts on your characters.

It's not to be used for jokes or implanting motivations. It's best used for a little nudge,someing which could plausibly actually happen-to occur in a character's mind, ehen maybe they're. Little stuck on something and need a little clue.

Linekin wrote:

It's not to be used for jokes or implanting motivations. It's best used for a little nudge,something which could plausibly actually happen-to occur in a character's mind, when maybe they're. Little stuck on something and need a little clue.

Right. That's how I understood it and the angel / devil would help nudge you with a good idea or alert you to a bad idea like maybe you're walking into something you normally wouldn't walk in to without doing blah but you did so now you're getting a thought on it.

I do like them and the "You think's" that pop up. There's only one time I got a thought that just didn't make sense for the character to think at all. The other times, though rare, they were interesting to get and something the character would think (i.e. I liked them).

help think

This is no longer a confusing out-of-character issue. The ability to perceive the in-character thoughts of others, AND the ability to defend against that, are both now completely in-character.

I'm disappointed to have missed this conversation and the implementation of new code around think.

I think (see what I did there) that the use of this command enables an intentionally provided OOC jaunt into the mind of another character. It allows the thinker to remind anyone around, that a calm, cool exterior might be hiding a rolling ocean of emotion.

As someone who manages their exterior appearance and expression on a daily basis such as to cultivate a stable and reliable demeanour, while at the same time feeling and experiencing things in great depth internally, I have always loved think and what it offers.

Does no one else increase their immersion by reviewing the last five to ten minutes of RP on screen? Does no one else log their RP and reread it?

I can read my poses, the poses of others and also my thinks. It allows me to revisit that place and time in my characters mind.

This is something that has been very much missing in this conversation.

I am not my character. My character exists in the world of Sindome as a collection of actions, words and thoughts. Putting my characters thoughts into the game allows me a point of reference, it makes those thoughts as real as a twitch of the finger or a wrap of my characters knuckles on the bar to signal she wants another drink.

The idea that now, I have no way to express my thoughts to myself, to the admin and to other players, without the worry that those thoughts will be used ICly-- saddens me.

-- S

I am upset I missed the chance to be part of this conversation as well. I just have a few quick things I'd like to say/ask about this.

1.) So as I read the new helpfile, we are basically allowing players (who have the correct skills/stats) to be telepathic? If two players who know the other has the same ability are in a room, they can now have an unspoken conversation with each other... why can this not be done over private SIC?

2.) From reading this whole discussion, it seemed like the vast majority of the player base did not want other players to be able to see their thought bubbles, so instead it's made that only certain players(who have the right stats/skills) will be able to see, but can now react ICly to them as well... which was what the main problem those players had with it, people reacting ICly to what was in their head.

3.) Now... since they are IC, are we now encouraged/coerced to use them more often with IC information included in them? And if not would that not be a slight to the people who invested the UE to be able to perceive those thoughts?

4.) I feel a better implementation would be to have the possibility of thoughts 'slip' onto the public SIC network based on stats rather than defending from mind-readers with stats. For example: A character with a low intelligence has a higher chance of things slipping. Character A thinks "That's why I just stole your wallet, bitch." skill check ensues, pass normal think bubble, fail instead of think bubble insert "cm That's why I just stole your wallet, bitch."

Since the SIC chip is integrated with brain functions... I feel this would be a much better way of going about it in a CP world than, I pay attention so well, I know exactly what you're thinking. Just my thoughts on it... Sorry I did not participate when the discussion was still in full swing.

It's not telepathy, no. Find out IC or in Lore
I just need a little bit of clarification on this, Linekin/other staff member who'll oblige me. Does this mean that we're taking the think command from being a reviewed previously as more of an OOC tool to an IC extension of the character itself? I've come from a game where a character's thoughts are subjected to being violated and subtly influenced from another character/NPC entity with the right set of skills, so this makes me happy that I can think however I want and GMs aren't going to beat my ass/scold me for writing however I feel. Sorry, belatedly, for my rambling. I'm drowsy/sleep-deprived.

check out 'help think' and the lore page. I'm still not entirely certain myself the ins and outs of it... and i don't think much clarity is going to be given on that until you find out by IC means.

The CONTENT of thinks was always IC, and still is.

Here's what has changed:

Now, players don't see each other's thinks anymore unless they ICly have that ability. The IC ability does exist. It is not psionics or any other kind of "magic".

Make more sense now?

See and