I really dislike the term 'Attention-whore'. And I don't like it not just because it is a rude term, but because I feel it is a loose term that tends to cover behavior by players that covers a range of things, from obviously annoying ways of RP-ing to ways of RP-ing that I would rate as pretty positive.
Some examples of stuff that people call others 'attention whores' over:
- Someone playing a 'special snowflake' character. Someone with a role that would be exceptional within the theme they are playing in. I don't see how someone doing that would automatically be seeking attention. Maybe they were just being overly creative when putting together their background. Maybe they didn't understand the theme. But whatever their background is, they could as well be very reserved and even shy players as the opposite.
- People that up-stage others in RP. This, I feel, is a 'suspect' accusation. It comes from the world of theatre. If one actor or actress (or performer) manages to impress the audience and attract more attention than the 'main act' or actor/actress playing the lead role, they are said to be 'upstaging them'. it is clearly related to jealousy/envy. Now, if one RP-er feels attention drawn away from him or her because the RP of another RP-er, it might be annoying to them, but... people are free to focus their attention on anyone they like. And it might just be that the other player is offering RP that is just more interesting to them. Who knows? Maybe that other RP-er is just a better RP-er, or at least one whose RP is of more interest to other people.
- People that break into RP ongoing RP-scenes (walk up to people already engaged in RP) and come up with RP (often without waiting to see what is going on) that interupts the RP of those already engaged, often because the RP they offer would, by virtue of the content, take priority. For example, while the others are having a deep conversation, another person comes up and brings up something really shocking or pertaining to something that is naturally 'urgent' and so forth. This can be annoying, obviously. Then again, it makes for a level of realism as well. This WOULD HAPPEN, on Gor, ongoing events/conversations being interupted. And there might be valid reasons for it. Some CHARACTERS might just 'be like that', more abbrasive, not caring about what others are up to, demanding of attention. And some people might actually NEED TO BE this way because of the role they play. An Ubar should NOT be afraid to interupt the ongoing conversation between one of his warriors and a slave, however much the players are all equal, OOCly. It is needed for the players of people with certain roles to dare to disrupt things if there is going to be any kind of IC organization as well.
I also feel that this dislike of 'interuptions' can stiffle RP. Sure, it can be annoying. But often, the events that interupt the usual goings on are also a source of RP themselves. Often, these events can liven things up, create a feeling of unpredictability. For every one player that resents their RP being interupted, there are probably two players that are glad to see something 'happening' (after all, the mosten heard complaint about RP in SL Gor is boredom).
- Someone using an avi that is too handsome/pretty/sexy (I haven't seen this argument used in a while, but I have seen it used in the past). No need to explain why that objection is based on envy.
- Extrovert characters. Again... while this type of character is likely to annoy some players, others will find that these characters tend to liven things up considerably.
- Other women. Given the proportions within SL Gor these days, it makes some players of female characters, eager for attention from male characters, might find the mere presence of other female characters annoying, and why they would be likely to see the other player as an attention thief. This will be especially true for those players of female characters that aren't interested in interacting with other female characters.
- Players offering non-written 'prods' to try to engage others to RP with them. Like people shooting bows into cities from afar, without any concrete purpose. Legitimate thing to complain about, I think.
- People that just do their own thing without paying any attention to the RP of others. This, to me, would appear to be a legitimate thing to complain over.
All in all, I believe that what most people call 'attention-whore' behavior isn't all that clear. And it is clear to me that a lot of those that are tend to throw this insult out are at least partially motivated by simple envy. I see it as a suspect term.
Also, the term itself automatically implies an 'attention-shortage', an economy of 'attention' with it being in short supply and people fighting over this 'scarce good', resenting those that 'demand' more than their due, guarding their own 'fair share' jealously. The prime motivator behind that is what I would call 'attention-envy'. I believe it is a pretty unhealthy thing. And I do think it plays a more significant in SL Gor today than it did many years ago (which probably has to do with the changed male-female proportions).
So, what is the dividing line between 'bad attention-seeking' RP and good RP that also 'gets attention'? I guess it is not easy to pin-point that. Maybe one might say that 'demanding attention' outright is tricky. But people resenting those that 'COMMAND attention' is pretty petty as well. All in all, I'd say that the term 'attention-whore' should be ditched, because it can cover anything, really. Were Ghandi and Jesus Christ attention-whores as well?