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Listen code suggestion: "stepback"
An opt-out listening system

Many people find the current noise level/crowded system frustrating so this is my proposal for an alternative.

Create a 'stepback' command. This represents you removing yourself from the crowd and going off into a corner or some such. Codedly, this removes you from the watchlists of all the people in the room, as well as anyone who enters afterwards. People can still "watch" you, but you get a notification (You notice Joebaka is watching you) so if it's someone you're not dealing with you can tell them to fuck off out of your biz if you want. They can also "eavesdrop," a skill based off stealth that maybe lets you get away with listening in without alerting the person. Depending on how crowded the space is, though, you may not catch everything they're saying (as if they were whispering)

So let's say Joe and Jane want to have a private conversation in Carnal Desires. They emote finding a shadowy corner of the club, set an appropriate @tp and both stepback, then watch each other and start talking biz. David is a creep, so he tries to watch Jane and Joe. Both get notified of this, and Joe says back off or I'll shoot you in the face. David gets the message and types ignore Joe and ignore Jane, both of whom get another notification to confirm this. Eli is tricksier, though, and eavesdrops successfully on the pair in the hopes of getting data he can use on them later.

The reason why we need a command like this (well, one of many reasons) is nearly every single bar I have ever seen in this game claims to have booths where people can quietly conduct biz, yet it can be hard to actually represent this. This is a clean way to implement this feeling and the idea you can use the crowd as a curtain while you do your stuff.

If this is implemented alongside cacophony code (which imo is not ideal but whatever) people who are stepped back would need to be omitted from the 'watch all' command.

While an interesting idea as presented, people who use this command seem to be in an advantage with no disadvantages at all. If you were in a dark corner, you wouldn't notice much and less someone looking your way, because you stepped away right?
We have exactly this, without the notifications.

It's called whisper.

Hood walks in hold phone.

Hood steps back, into the corner.

Literally everyone types watch hood.

Hood gets upset everyone noticed they were being sus and leaves.

From a code perspective, I have seen everything suggested here implemented in one way or another in other games.

I am strongly against doing something similar here. I might be begrudgingly in favor of it with some stringent limitations and checks.

No automatic removal from watch lists. Require a Stealth check. Also allow a fairly easy to pass perception check. Players already have to sink a fair amount of UE into stats to be able to keep track of people via WATCH. If someone is consciously watching you, they are going to notice if you try to step back. It is going to be obvious.

Limit it to a single character. If one character wants to try to be unnoticed and unwatched, that might be okay. As soon as two characters do it, and then interact with each other, they are no longer being subtle. They are yet another conversation taking place, just like every other conversation around them.

To expand on the point above, I believe that the default attitude in Sindome is one of paranoia and subtly. It is implied that even when we are having conversations in public, we are doing so as unobtrusively as possible by default. As players, we make the choice to have conversations in public because it fosters RP. It's a game. If everyone was a super spy with perfect tradecraft who is never overheard, the game as a whole would be impoverished because of it.

One thing that this idea brings up is integration of Stealth with WATCH and MUTTER. As it is, the mutter code feels very dynamic in that players can invest UE and buy various items that allow their characters to overhear more of what is muttered. It would be cool if characters with stealth are assumed to be subtle such that stealth + mutter obfuscates more of what they say.

I got my commands confused.

Replace MUTTER with WHISPER in my previous reply.

STEALTH + WHISPER would be cool.