Based on a few recent discussions and the topic of “cyber wonderland” I decided to make a write-up on what does “IRC roleplay” mean to me; how I feel it and how I think it works for me. This text can sound a bit nerdy; as I formed the concepts when hostey was setting up IPSec; which played nice with my own thoughts; but I’ll try to get it down to a reasonable level.
It is not roleplay for me. Not in the sense that is commonly put into the word. I did some actual roleplay; and it’s vastly different in how I feel that. What is it then; how does my mind processes the text flow of IRC?
What I call immersion; or imposition over a text chat is basically a way to feel through the experiences of others that are streamed over a text medium. This is actually a very common concept irl; people read fiction books to feel through the experiences of written characters. IRC is exactly the same; apart from the streaming nature.
Initially what I feel is the text; obviously. Words. The image of letters; as seen by the eyes; is processed into words and conceptualised thoughts. At this point my mind can deal with the incoming flow; it’s just “reading”. Immersing just adds a layer to it; sending those thoughts for processing all over again. I read “she sneezes”. Mind guides me to the concept of sneezing; and I send it back; sneezing is a sound and a motion; based on the context the sound would be more relevant; so this thought is passed to that part of the brain that does sounds. There is no need to process any real sound; as there was none; so it just returns the same concept of sneezing; just making it more specific; the sound of sneezing. So I hear it; as this thought is finalised coming as auditory. Text just encapsulated the sound and I unwrapped it.
It’s not much different from the visualisation and imposition practices; you teach the brain to process existing thoughts all over again and return them bound to different feelings. This way I can experience sounds; touches; perceive object locations in space.
The reverse procedure is slightly more interesting. While lots of people can read books and feel through the text; there’s a little number of people actually writing books. How does it work for me? I do something that I feel needs to be communicated through. I don’t communicate all of my body language as it isn’t really necessary; I apply lossy compression. I feel some emotions and I twitch my tail. Move it from left to right and back a few times; curling the tip slightly. The mind takes the concept of tail wagging and removes all the information that is not needed and can be reasonably restored by the recipient reader; takes the final conceptualised thought and converts it into words: “Shinyuu wags her tail”. It’s very simple when you can describe something with words; the depth is based only on how good you want the recipient to understand the thought (as hostey points out; just like the jpeg compression works for images). Sometimes; like with smells; there are just not enough words; as a wolf I smell all the various tones that don’t have the relevant words; or I can’t convert them to English specifically. This is when the encoding stage gets complex; receiving my conscious attention; I seek words to substitute the meaning I put in. As an example; I often describe smells of myself based on what I feel.
This is different from roleplay in a sense that for roleplay I don’t write my personal feelings; the whole process is absolutely conscious and transparent. I think of how I could feel and type that; basically imagining it and not really experiencing it. Immersion is more subtle; subconscious. I often type that I rub my ear when I am confused by something; I do rub my mindform ear and I don’t pay attention that I stream this gesture.
This is surely not the only way to experience it; I know tulpas and people who have more complex setups; having dedicated servitors to perform the actions typed by others; using servitors to actually type; imagine a holodeck with things happening in there. I don’t do all that as my personal concept is simple enough and functional for me; it wouldn’t change much to you; the reader; if I said that this text I type now is being typed by a servitor; although I prefer to think I’m possessing hands to type it.