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Submitting Gossip & Rumors
Try not to small world if you want it approved

The help file 'help gossip' covers this, but I think it's worth a discussion here as well. If you submit gossip / rumors to an NPC, you need to make sure what you are telling the NPC is salacious or interesting enough that the NPC would repeat it. All gossip is reviewed and either approved or denied by the staff. That review is based on the content of the rumor, the likelihood others would care about it, as well as the score from the roll made when you submitted the gossip.

Even if you get a great roll when submitting it, if your rumor is hyper specific, or includes a first name of a non world famous person, isn't interesting, etc., it's going to be denied.

We don't like denying gossip, but if the gossip is like 'I heard Bob is getting flack from people for being a corporate sympathizer, serves him right.' -- how can we not deny it? This gossip gets sent out to multiple different NPCs-- many of whom might not know who the heck Bob is. And also, how many Bobs do you think there are in a city with 65 million+ people?

I assume most people are submitting gossip in order to influence public opinion on something in for or against something or someone. So let's assume you want to write that same gossip in a way that isn't small worlding, and could apply more generally. How about this: I hear a lot of people are being accused of being corporate sympathizers lately. And a lot of people are okay with that and think it's deserved.

You'll notice two things about this:

1. It doesn't call out a specific random person. If you're talking about an extremely well known person, IE: Juicy Vee or a Staff Judge, you could use their name + title. But generally speaking, keep names out of it.

2. The second option did NOT inject a first person opinion on the matter. Remember, the gossip is going to be parroted by multiple NPCs, in their own words. Do not assume that all NPCs are going to share the same beliefs. Write it more like a news reporter might report on a situation, in that it can still be slanted but doesn't inject your personal opinion in it directly.

I'm interested in others thoughts on this, as well as what we can do to better train people on this, given it's an automated system. I'm hoping this thread turns into something I can link from the help file.

Feel free to provide made up examples (stripped of IC info and situations) to help illustrate what you think gossip submissions should look like.

This is tough. I would imagine the intentions of the rumor system are to have it vague but actionable in some sense, as much as just being fun set dressing. Most would want rumors to point towards something or someplace that could lead to further investigation or general follow-up RP.

I think there could be steps between 'a lot of people' and naming a PC specifically that'd work, for the sake of that actionability, when necessary. Maybe a PC identifies with a certain crowd, which in turn identifies with a place, such as: Gee, I hear that some crew around the Sly are killing peeps for their chrome, think I'll be taking my biz to Rads. or Heard another new 'Badlands tour company' is just an excuse for their drivers to mug dummies outside of Omega. Same shit different day.

Rumors may start with an intention, but it helps me to think that they are most often spread through idle chatter by third parties, because people need something interesting to talk about. NPC Jimbo doesn't care enough about you to remember all the names, and probably won't care about badmouthing whoever you are badmouthing, but if aspects of your rumor register as interesting idle chatter then he'll spread it to pass the time. I think if you take those assumptions and format around them when submitting a rumor, it's hard to go wrong.

Also, for anyone who needs to hear this -- rumors don't have to be true!! Spreading fake or exaggerated rumors is just as valid of a strategic tactic as is spreading true rumors. I see gossip as a way to sort of, launch an idea or concept into the zeitgeist of Withmore and see if it sticks. I also enjoy the fact that the GMs ultimately have say over whether or not a rumor is accepted.

Do you think there should be different "networks" for gossip topside than in the mix? As in, will a bartender at Grunen's repeat what someone told Rychek, even if the gossip was very biased towards the mix?

It would make sense to me if sectors had their own rumors, though the Mix could conceptually be split into a lower class (The Sprawl, Jah Love in Babylon, the Black Drome) and upper lower class (everywhere else) on top of that.

Though the risk is having the Radio Problem where too many divisions discourages use.

This is a difficult balance. Of course with a rumor system people will immediately take to it as some way to slander others, but it's fairly difficult to do unless the person is part of a larger, more important organization that the slander can be aimed at instead, as individual players are rarely ever famous enough for anyone to care about them or what they're doing ambiently.

I think rumors are sector based. If not they should be...
The gossip at Mix and topside bars usually doesn't overlap much, except for a few hot topics they both can't stop talking about. Soft&Wet's example? That's exactly what I'd like to see as the standard for spilling the tea. It's got all the deets and hints to keep you hooked, plus a dash of recent events—true or not, who knows?

Sometimes we all forget that it's not just the 40-60+ peeps online at the moment who make up this world. There are like hundreds - or even thousands - of people coming and going from these places. So, the chances of anyone knowing who the hell Jim or Dick are among the other gazillion players? Pretty slim—unless they're like, super famous in the dome or something. Which makes avoiding directly referencing character names way more interesting, because then you have fun with the challenge of coming up with details that people can pick apart and try to figure out who everyone's gossiping about.

Confirmed: Rumors submitted in the Mix go into a different stream than rumors submitted topside. Any overlap is because an admin added it to both streams, or a player submitted it in to both the Mix and topside.