How Not to Be an Absolute Jerk in an Online Multi-Player Roleplaying Game

If you play online roleplaying games, you have met the kind of people that I’m thinking of here: obnoxious, rude (yes, there’s a difference), arrogant, touchy, whiny, and prone to completely inappropriate emotional responses to problems. You don’t like those people, right? Sure you don’t -- but what if you are one of those people? Because you could actually be one of those people, and you just don’t realize it. Many, many, many people become different people online. And not for the better.

Assuming that you care -- there is a certain type of person that revels in being awful online, because somehow that doesn’t seem "real" to them -- there are a few things that you can do to stop… what’s that? "Why should anybody care about being perceived like a jerk online?" Good heavens, does this need to be spelled out?  Virtually all development in online social interaction vis-à-vis gaming is in the field of how to quietly and unobtrusively separate out the jerks from everybody else and let them stew in private. Just because it doesn’t always look like the jerks are being isolated doesn’t mean that it’s not effective on an individual basis. Put another way: jerks may be legion on the Internet, but that won’t stop you from getting a poor reputation and nobody liking you and nobody ever inviting you to go have adventures.

So, anyway, as I was saying: there are things you can do to stop being the sort of person that gets put on ignore within two minutes of your name appearing in a chat window. They’re not magic bullets, these things. And there’s a strong common-sense element to them. Still: a great place to start, yes?