GM "monitoring" of Whispers

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biodude
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Re: GM "monitoring" of Whispers

Post by biodude »

Ego Archive wrote:If two players in my game (dining room)keep leaving the table to talk privately on my porch, I may get annoyed, but at least I know that is consensual for both parties. Likewise if one player keeps looking across the table and winking/licking their lips/blowing kisses at another player, who is obviously not interested, I have the ability to take that person aside, and talk to them. I'd just like the same options in my maptools games as well.


This is one of the best arguments / analogies I've seen for monitoring chats in MapTool.
If being a VTT implies all the same expectations as a real tabletop, then I agree, privacy within MapTool should not be expected, but also clearly indicated (A Virtual table is also not as transparent to people than a 'real-life' table. Not literally, but in terms of expectations ;) )

I'm still not sure there is a need to change / abandon the /w command. I'm all for adding a new one for "in-character" (/cw or /iw or whatever). I'm still a fan of whispering while impersonating to other tokens (and their owners).
I would also support an option for GMs to be able to monitor "out-of-character" (regular) whispers, provided the results are obvious. For example, if I whisper something to user "Bob", and GM monitoring is on, my chat log should say "I whisper to Bob (and the GM): blah blah blah".
I also wonder about the utility of an option on the player side to allow GMs to see private communication. The only problem here is that this setting would also have to be communicated to the GM somehow. Maybe they only see that a message was sent/received, but not the contents? GMs who really want this option on, for reasons mentioned by Ego Archive and others, can insist or boot non-cooperative players, just as you would evict an unfriendly guest from your gaming table.

Brigand wrote:1. Using other programs takes your focus away from MT itself.
2. /w has been private for years
3. Obviously this hasn't been an issue until one GM whined about it, out of the thousands that have used MT over the years
4. It's a waste of time considering the upgrade to the GUI scheduled for early 1.4

I agree with #1, and possibly 4 (as a reason to wait, but not abandon the discussion). It's ok to change a feature, provided it is clear. Only one GM started this thread, but many others have agreed, so I'm not convinced this is a minority issue. Time for a poll? ;-)
I am becoming increasingly convinced that if users want a private chat, they should use another chat program (like stepping out of the room). If it's irrelevant to the game, and consensual, the GM doesn't necessarily need to know about it. The issue Ego Archive raised above is that signing into a MapTool game implies consenting to play, not being harassed by other users. You can log off / block users in your private chat software, but not MapTool without leaving the game entirely. And many GMs often end up acting not only as arbitrators of rules, but also behaviour.

I welcome other points on both sides: I'm still reading 8)
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Full Bleed
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Re: GM "monitoring" of Whispers

Post by Full Bleed »

Brigand wrote:1. Using other programs takes your focus away from MT itself.


I agree, but it's less distracting than engaging in a non-game related conversation to begin with. And how do I know this? Because when we play, we use voice and video, so I can tell when a player is distracted and I can react accordingly (like pausing while they address the "distraction.") This helps my players miss less of what's going on since all the real action happens real-time by voice. Brigand uses neither voice or video, so what fosters better focus in her game is very different than what fosters better focus in mine. She doesn't know when any of the players in her groups are distracted and it doesn't matter because they can go back and read what everyone else has read. But I will *never* play or run a game like that and neither will the vast majority of MT users. I play games that are as close to a face-to-face game as I can emulate via internet tools.


2. /w has been private for years


Lots of things have been a certain way for years. And many of those things will change in 1.4. A tool that provides a better UI and more options for how any group wants to use it makes it a better tool.

Despite MT being fairly mature, good ideas about new functionality and changes to current functionality come up all the time.


3. Obviously this hasn't been an issue until one GM whined about it, out of the thousands that have used MT over the years


I never mentioned the issue because I, and my friends, hardly ever use the chat window to begin with. I've always thought it was quite primitive to begin with (like not being able to tell when someone was typing.) We've been "getting around" MT's chat interface for a long time. That doesn't make its current functionality perfect the way it is.


4. It's a waste of time considering the upgrade to the GUI scheduled for early 1.4


Personally, I wouldn't expect this to be done for 1.3. It's obviously on a feature lock.


At the end of the day, Brigand plays a very different kind of RPG through MT than many of us do. One without any voice and/or video. So it comes as no surprise that she is going to be more sensitive to chat having very specific functionality. And to that I say MT should absolutely continue to accommodate her way of playing. And it should also continue to strive to accommodate others as well.

Every time one of these contentious threads pops up it just reinforces the massive diversity of playing styles and expectations that people have when they game. And contrary to the idea that "no one asked for this before", a lot of people are asking for various options now because the issue is on the table. In fact, this thread has really ignited some good new-user participation in a manner that I haven't seen in awhile.
Last edited by Full Bleed on Mon Dec 14, 2009 12:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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paulstrait
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Re: GM "monitoring" of Whispers

Post by paulstrait »

Brigand wrote:
If you were in a home game, and one character whispered to another character, and the way the players RPed this out was by passing a note, would you call the ACLU if one of the other PCs or NPCs made a listen check? After all, "private communication should always be private. Period." How is your argument not absurd?

There's a difference between asking the players what was said and outright eavesdropping on everything that's said.


But if there are two whisper functions, one of which goes to the GM and one of which doesn't, and the GM has enabled at least the former, and then the players use the former for their in-character chats... How is that not an example of the GM "asking the players what was said" and the players answering that request?

Separate aside -- is it really common to RP with maptool but to not use a voice program? Maptool is brilliantly awesome, but all the advantages in the world it could provide wouldn't make up for the disadvantage of forcing all communication to be typed, at least for my game...

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Re: GM "monitoring" of Whispers

Post by paulstrait »

Full Bleed wrote:At the end of the day, Brigand plays a very different kind of RPG through MT than many of us do. One without any voice and/or video. So it comes as no surprise that she is going to be more sensitive to chat having very specific functionality. And to that I say MT should absolutely continue to accommodate her way of playing. And it should also continue to strive to accommodate others as well.


I think this is clear and I absolutely agree. I totally understand Brigand's desire to maintain an absolutely private chat function. But what I don't understand is her position that were an option be added to enable dm-monitored private chats (an option that didn't have to be enabled for games in which she plays, and which didn't have to replace the absolutely private /w), she would not only *boycott* maptool, she would campaign to get others to do so as well. That response seems... disproportionate... at best.

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Re: GM "monitoring" of Whispers

Post by Brigand »

paulstrait wrote:
Full Bleed wrote:At the end of the day, Brigand plays a very different kind of RPG through MT than many of us do. One without any voice and/or video. So it comes as no surprise that she is going to be more sensitive to chat having very specific functionality. And to that I say MT should absolutely continue to accommodate her way of playing. And it should also continue to strive to accommodate others as well.


I think this is clear and I absolutely agree. I totally understand Brigand's desire to maintain an absolutely private chat function. But what I don't understand is her position that were an option be added to enable dm-monitored private chats (an option that didn't have to be enabled for games in which she plays, and which didn't have to replace the absolutely private /w), she would not only *boycott* maptool, she would campaign to get others to do so as well. That response seems... disproportionate... at best.

Because if it's in the program, DM's will demand players not use the private method. It demonstrates a lack of trust by the DM.

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Re: GM "monitoring" of Whispers

Post by paulstrait »

Brigand wrote: Because if it's in the program, DM's will demand players not use the private method. It demonstrates a lack of trust by the DM.


So you are saying that you do not *trust* DMs to allow players to use the private method? And you think that the problem is a lack of trust?

If you don't like DMs who ban private chatting (and btw DMs can do that now, if they wanted to -- either they are already doing that which means the problem you cite is inevitable, or they aren't doing that which means your prediction is not supported by any available evidence), then don't play with one. Why is this difficult?

The program has the ability to do a trillion different things that might be useful to other gaming groups. Many people would undoubtedly find many of those things undesirable. The only relevant question is if *your* gaming group and *your* GM is using the program how you would like it.

If your prediction is wrong, the solution to provide two different types of whispering seems to solve everyone's concern. In any event, I presented several scenarios in which it is useful to have a private+GM option. Your solution excludes accommodating those scenarios, and your only basis for doing so is a weird fear that GMs won't allow the use of one of the options. Why aren't my game related concerns just as relevant as your out of character chat concerns? Why isn't it obvious that allowing two forms of whispering solves everyone's concerns best?

(Again I'll reiterate that I'd be just as happy if chat was banned altogether and restricted to macro use only, since I think other chat clients are better for chatting. But for the sake of argument I am accepting Brigand's premise that Maptool needs to have all options available internally so that people don't have to have other programs open.)

Paul

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Re: GM "monitoring" of Whispers

Post by kristof65 »

Brigand wrote:3. Obviously this hasn't been an issue until one GM whined about it, out of the thousands that have used MT over the years

I didn't whine, I asked if it was an option, and why I was looking for it. There are multitudes of features already within MT, and they aren't always apparent. I didn't even think to ask for it as a feature until several others who have used MT longer than I have said things that made us all realize it could be a useful feature.

And just because no one has mentioned something before doesn't mean it's not a useful feature.

Brigand wrote:4. It's a waste of time considering the upgrade to the GUI scheduled for early 1.4

I don't beleive anyone here - myself included - has suggested this be introduced anytime before 1.4.

Slander wrote:I do agree with him that changing the behavior of an existing and well entrenched command isn't a good idea. Adding a new command for a new behavior is easier for a user than unlearning an old behavior on a conditional basis (i.e. does the GM have monitored whispers on or off).

biodude wrote: I'm still not sure there is a need to change / abandon the /w command. I'm all for adding a new one for "in-character" (/cw or /iw or whatever). I'm still a fan of whispering while impersonating to other tokens (and their owners).

either method is fine for me, but there is a strong argument to leave the /w command as is, and add a new command for the in-character method. I'd like to see some additions and improvements to impersonating to go along with this as well.

Brigand wrote: Because if it's in the program, DM's will demand players not use the private method. It demonstrates a lack of trust by the DM.

Some DMs will demand, but I'd bet most won't. And it has nothing to do with a lack of trust in my games - quite frankly, if I don't trust a player, I don't GM for them. Period. I don't need a new command in MT to help me deal with players I don't trust.

Likewise, if a player doesn't trust me not to abuse the ability, then they probably don't belong in my game - players need to trust the GM just as much as the GM needs to trust the players.

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Re: GM "monitoring" of Whispers

Post by CyrusStonecypher »

I use MT as an aid in a face-to-face D&D game, primarily as a replacement for miniatures and a battlemat.

The chat function is also useful. We're crammed into a small cluttered space and it's easier to send a /w chat message than to fold and pass pieces of paper. (And the homeowner doesn't have to dig bits of paper from between the couch cushions after the game.)

I am in favor of having /w retain its current function and adding additional commands or functionality that will allow the whispers to be copied to the DM or additional players.

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Re: GM "monitoring" of Whispers

Post by kristof65 »

CyrusStonecypher wrote:(And the homeowner doesn't have to dig bits of paper from between the couch cushions after the game.)

LOL - that's a good illustration that even passing notes during a face to face game isn't truly private - it reminded me that I've found numerous "private" notes while cleaning up after face to face games.

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Re: GM "monitoring" of Whispers

Post by jfrazierjr »

Brigand wrote:Because if it's in the program, DM's will demand players not use the private method. It demonstrates a lack of trust by the DM.


This is laughable primarily because of your multiple diatribes in the past about not trusting YOUR players as a GM. Specifically, I reference the multitude of posts concerning requiring that no player have any possible option EVER (not making it allowed on a per GM basis) to edit/modify their character's macros over the past year. Eventually, said option was added into the product to allow the DM to explicitly NOT trust his/her players. These are two diametrical points of views and it seems that your logic on privacy and GM trust take effect only when it is deemed suitable to your individual needs only.

While I play face to face with most of the people NOT having a computer (1-2 people do and we use a projector), I can clearly see a need for the GM to know when two CHARACTERS are discussing something in private as it relates to what their characters are doing in the game. If these same two people want to talk about sports, TV, their lives, frankly, I don't want them doing so during MY game time. Before or after there is plenty of time for that. Honestly, I got so darn pissed at my last session because I was trying to talk to Player A (who had to be remote on the phone with a crappy speaker) and player b and c were yapping away about some none related game crap right next to me. I ended up have to STOP!!!! I need hear what Player A is saying and doing! to get then to just shut the hell up.
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Re: GM "monitoring" of Whispers

Post by brad »

jfrazierjr wrote:Honestly, I got so darn pissed at my last session because I was trying to talk to Player A (who had to be remote on the phone with a crappy speaker) and player b and c were yapping away about some none related game crap right next to me. I ended up have to STOP!!!! I need hear what Player A is saying and doing! to get then to just shut the hell up.


This is one of the reasons I love the integration of webcam into my online game. I can see when someone's wife/kids/etc are distracting them or if they have made a quick run somewhere while other players were in a scene without them. A little off topic I know, but related. Webcams add more then just having a more personal interaction during the game, they also make it easier to keep track of what the players are doing. Much fewer "Hey Bob, you there?" episodes now.
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