Aleksei's Helpful Guide To Being Helpful
Arx has two main channels that are full of people seeking answers to questions: Guest and Info. Any approved character can be on these channels to help out others! Sometimes the conversations can get a bit dense and overwhelming, though, especially for less experienced players, so here's a few tips I find helpful to keep in mind:
- Don't give joke answers! They may be funny to others, but usually not to the person asking the question, and oftentimes they just cause further confusion. The theme and setting is already dense enough without confusing people further.
- Give the simplest answer possible to give someone the information they're asking for. People are often tempted to keep going on with an answer, and the conversation tends to go off on semi-related tangents. Please keep in mind that the point of these channels is to help people in need of it, not to hash out deeper details. Wait for the player to indicate they want to know more. This is especially important for guests and newcomers to the game who are coming in with very little information.
- On the flip side, it can be helpful in certain situations to give brief thematic context for an answer. People often remember answers better if they can see where it fits in the larger setting. Whether or not this is necessary depends entirely on the question at hand, so it's a question of using your judgment.
- In general, if answering a question has turned into more of a discussion, it should generally go to a different channel. Historical tangents can go to History, deeper digs into system and code can go to System, and everything else can go to Public. This is especially important for chatter on the Guest channel, which is often brand new people just looking for guidance.
- When people ask questions about the basics of engaging with a given system, give them the basic, practical answers to start. Don't assume that someone is looking to immediately code optimize their engagement, and keep in mind that hearing about the nitty gritty details of code can scare people off thinking that they have to have that deep an understanding of a system to use it. And if someone does want to dig deep into the code, direct them to the System channel.
- Don't assume any particular level of knowledge from someone (unless you definitely know them and what context they already have). Again, start with basics and build on that as necessary.
- Keep in mind the Historical Accuracy helpfile and resist the urge to assume thematic elements based on what look like historical equivalences. Often (most of the time) the game is different from RL history!
- If you're helping out a guest find a good roster and they're interested in some character types that fit a roster in your house -- by all means! Share it! But try not to push your house's rosters on guests who are looking for other things. (This just goes back to trying to be helpful to the person asking questions.)
- Help people help themselves! Point them to the relevant lore or helpfile to help give them context and reference for answers.
- Everybody flubs answers now and then! But if you're not confident or comfortable about the question or its topic but still want to offer some educated possibilities, try to make it clear that you're extrapolating or making a reasonable guess or assumption based on other information, just so people know what to treat as a definite answer vs a probable or potential answer.