Well, long story short I recently joined a newly opened living world server for Mage the Ascension, though the system itself feels a bit irrelevant as when this happened the roleplay hadn't started yet. Regardless, I called my girlfriend to the server as well, and we occasionally flirted a bit. I made jokes about nibbling her neck when vampire blood was mentioned.

Then I was told that I had gone too far, especially with that nibble thing, and there would be a kick if I didn't cool it as it was supposed to be a 16+ server, so teens could be there (this felt weird to me as it was in a world where vampires were a common thing, and one player had been constantly talking about blood). Then it was added that me calling in friends to create a thing of our own was also a bad thing to do. I said sorry and stated that I wouldn't do that again and went to bed. When I woke up, me and everyone I invited was banned.

I am aware that this sounds like I am criticizing them for being intolerant, though this is not the case. The people there already knew each other, and I believe that there was a cognitive dissonance between me/my friends and the group. What I considered to be NSFW and acceptable was not the same as them. But there were no corrections because they felt I was doing it despite it being a bad thing, while I simply didn't think it was something bad.

Now what I am trying to ask is that how can I determine what topics they have as taboo or NSFW while what topics are open game?

To add to the things I tried

I looked at the listed rules were no help in that regard as they simply said 'No metagaming,No NSFW stuff and obeying the character creation rules and the lore. ' which do not clarify things for me as our perceptions differ on what they mean.

For example in my perspective flirting and slightly perverted jokes is okay. Making out is getting close to the NSFW zone and roleplaying getting naked is NSFW.

Just to clarify. I am not asking why I was banned or how they could have perceived it. I am asking how could I learn how they perceived it before it was too late.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I recommend adding 1-3 bolded sentences to make this question more approachable. In specific, that clarifying comment at the end and a succinct single sentence restatement of the title. \$\endgroup\$
    – Suni
    Mar 13, 2020 at 14:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you're really just wanting to learn how to learn rules of a group, then most of this story isn't relevant. I'd shorten this. \$\endgroup\$
    – JRodge01
    Mar 13, 2020 at 14:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not looking to learn the rules of a group. I'm looking to learn their norms. I don't perceive what I did as sexual roleplay. I want to know how to learn what they consider to be a taboo and what they consider to be nsfw. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 13, 2020 at 14:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ NSFW is problematic, particularly since I’m a piano player in a brothel. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Mar 13, 2020 at 21:28

2 Answers 2


Body Language

Under normal, or perhaps these days archaic, circumstances it would be expected that a human would be putting a lot of effort into reading the body language and tone of those around them as they try a gradual series of probing actions to determine social norms.

This is so common as to be instinctive, and if you ever bring a toddler to a new daycare you can actually watch them play out an algorithm of gradually doing more and more things, followed by brief pauses to read the response around them.

Careful Observation and Testing Phase

More relevant to your situation you can reproduce that process online, but with a much slower looping cycle as you would want to wait for enough feedback to be sure of people's actual opinions on the topic.

In practice this means being exceedingly reserved at first, and keeping careful and intentional track of what people are doing, and avoiding, and what receives social blowback when other people do it.

This can be slow going and annoying, but is the safe play.

Establish Physical Contact

In cases where you are an "outsider" as far as your knowledge of social norms in a community goes you may find online interaction a frustrating barrier. If the community in question is a hybrid one, with physical venues that you can approach, it may be worth your time. For RPGs events like GenCon or local gaming stores can work. Other communities like the FGC have their own variants.

For specific gaming groups though this may not be available.

Slow and Careful is the name of the game

Take baby steps, carefully watch for feedback, and explore intentionally looking along lines of often sensitive subjects, IE sexuality, religion, race, politics, ideology, etc.

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    \$\begingroup\$ TL;DR: lurk more. \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Mar 13, 2020 at 23:22

How do you learn the rules?

You ask.

I really feel like you're burying the lede by asking "how do I learn the rules" when you don't identify any attempts to learn what they are prior to performing risque actions.

How could you have prevented your situation?

Besides asking, you could have used some foresight and situational awareness. It is always better to err on the side of caution when participating in a new community. If you're not sure if something is okay, you need to either look at the rules or ask. When in doubt, don't do it.

There's always a code of conduct for online role playing servers outlining what is and is not okay even if it is unwritten. You just have to ask.

I have no idea how long you participated in the community, but since you say the actual story hadn't started yet, I can only assume it wasn't terribly long. You also stated that you occasionally flirted with your girlfriend and made sexual advances on her.

You're a role player, so step into a game master's shoes and evaluate how they saw these actions. Two new players are flirting with each other and performing sexual role play on a server with players as young as 16. I would come to the conclusion that these new players are likely here for sexual gratification. It seems to me that you were situationally unaware of how your actions were being viewed by the community.

Regardless, you should have foresaw that a server allowing players as young as 16 would not allow any sexual content. 16 is not age of majority or consent in every state or country, you do not know how old the players around you are, and have no way of verifying age. This sort of content is wholly inappropriate.

Age issue aside, you still need the consent of the person you're targeting for sexual role play, the consent of the game masters for that sort of content, and the consent of people who could read it. A public roleplaying server is not the appropriate place for you to flirt with your girlfriend without everyone being a willing participant.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I feel that you are misinterpreting the situation. I did not make sexual advances beyond simple flirting. There was literally no NSFW roleplay. Highest it got was "You can't get blood. You're only allowed to nibble my neck." As for learning the rules. There were 7 listed rules and I did not violate any of them but I'll add it to my question. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 13, 2020 at 13:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MaikoChikyu The rules you edited in don't change my answer. Your flirting was still inappropriate and NSFW, and you should have clarified prior to contributing it. \$\endgroup\$
    – JRodge01
    Mar 13, 2020 at 13:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ This answer I believe helps point out one of the most important rules of social rules (that's an odd sentence). That they feel like universal laws/rules to those who are in the know. It can be quite hard to describe them, making direct questions somewhat limited. For example, try expressing the rules of your workplace to an "outsider" and I suspect you will miss the most critical, specifically because it is so critical it is ingrained below conscious thought. threepanelsoul.com/comic/at-the-movies It's hard to really see an outsiders perspective. \$\endgroup\$
    – Suni
    Mar 13, 2020 at 14:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ "I nibble my girlfriend's neck" isn't considered NSFW anywhere that I'm aware of, or "wholly inappropriate". I've never seen a Vampire LARP that didn't start there and work up in terms of sexual references. (One of the reasons I'm not interested in LARP, to be fair.) If neck-nibbling in text with the other party's consent is "wholly inappropriate" to a specific game within that community, they need to communicate that very clearly. I would be flabbergasted - like being told at a DnD 5e organized play game that we didn't use races or classes here level flabbergasted. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 14, 2020 at 5:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's not hyperbolic, it's an analogy to indicate how surprised I'd be to find rules that strict in a 16+ World of Darkness game. This answer needs some support in the form of a reference showing your assertions that this player violated a major social taboo are based in some kind of existing social guideline, presently it appears to be opinion-only. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 15, 2020 at 3:38

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