What is Blending

Blending is blending IC with OOC. There are different levels of Blending, some more obvious than others.

Visible Blending takes place when the player uses OOC terms and/or the mechanics of AOL IC. Visible Blenders talk about muns, emails, IMs, punt beasts, etc., all IC. In OOC communication, you might see the player talking to you with his character's accent. These are common forms of Blending, and most players evolve beyond it fairly quickly.

Narrative Blending is when the player uses the narrative to say things to other players. Note, that this is not the same thing as using the narrative to give information to other players. As an example, two characters are having a heated discussion, and one states that the motives of the other are questionable. At this point, everything is IC. Characters are interacting, the players are each giving the other material to play off of. The Narrative Blender will then continue the argument in the narrative, going to great lengths to explain their character's point of view and why the other person is so awful or wrong or whatever, and not once give the other player anything they can react to. No nasty look. No muttered reply. Nothing. I've seen Narrative Blenders go on for up to ten sends just blathering on about how so and so is mistaken and such a rotten person, and all the while not one playable action hits the room. With Narrative Blenders, it's not so much that the character is offended at her motives being questioned as it is the player. If the character wanted to set things right, this would all come out in dialogue.

Using OOC information IC. This kind of blending is also sometimes called Cross-Role Playing, or Crossing, and takes place when the player gets information about an SL (usually from reading the boards or lurking during play) and suddenly their character has this information as well. The character will start talking about something someone wrote in a diary as if he read it, or was there when it happened, although he could not have been.

Dangerous Blenders do not draw a distinct line between IC and OOC. There are different levels of Dangerous Blenders. Some are merely dangerous to SLs and the RP itself. Others are a physical and psychological danger to themselves and others. I have known people who have left spouses and children behind because they thought they were in love with the player of their character's SO. I've heard reports of suicide attempts. Some people will stalk other players, a few even going beyond emailing and IMing them under various SNs to actually tracking them down and showing up at their doorstep. (Be very careful about what kind of information you give out to people.)

Dangerous Blenders are not always easy to spot. They've been around long enough to hide the visible signs and not to think at other players and characters in narrative or to use information they got OOC in an IC way. However, there are other telltale signs.

There are more signs, but I think these few are enough to illustrate the pattern ... all of them involve the player taking IC and OOC occurrences very, very personally. The only legitimate reaction to someone ticking you off IC or OOC is to ignore them. If they start getting more vindictive than that, proceed with caution. On the one hand you might just have a very angry person letting off steam. On the other you might have a Dangerous Blender carving up his latest victim.

Submitted by "Beth Codet"

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