I see three primary obstacles to what Xavier outlined.
Problem 1: It is common practice to maintain comms discipline in combat situations. At present, with the partial exception of the conclusion of a mission and return to base after achieving a significant objective, we are always in a pre-combat readiness state. Moreover, quiet side conversations are difficult because we are always speaking into the entire bridge’s ear rather than having a quiet conversation over at the science console that doesn’t disrupt the officers standing watch outside of a combat situation. I know I tend to be more quiet off the Phoenix’s bridge unless I have something else to say because I don’t want my less than important chatter to interfere with someone’s call to action stations.
Potential solution 1: We allow the non-combat atmosphere to be more casual and understand that we aren’t always on a combat footing. Also being careful not to train cadets so thoroughly to purposed silence.
Problem 2(and solution): TSN doesn’t have an awful lot of context. We’re going out to get the thing. Oh, baddies showed up. Now we are fighting them to get the thing, now we did the thing, now we are going home. That’s most of our missions. I don’t know if we need more in-depth briefings, but missions need to be brought alive more than just another force recon outing. I know the GMs are working on this and that ONI is quite responsible for helping to create the atmosphere, but this can and should be improved. Providing context will for certain styles of RPer (such as myself), lend a framework that they can build off of rather than inventing things out of whole cloth. As a player, my norm is not to speak for NPCs or to automatically say I do a thing unless I’m in a very small tabletop group where GM time is abundant on a personal level. We don’t have that here, so we need a bigger and more obvious sandbox with toys to play in to help encourage things rather than just the narrative thread of missions that helps keep the storyline going to justify the next mission.
Problem 3: Intra-ship RP doesn’t feel very consequential. I’m not saying it needs to be extremely consequential either, but I don’t generally enjoy shuffling paperwork level of roleplay. When I’m on a ship, particularly an unfamiliar ship, I’m supposed to “do things” and “roleplay” but if I’m just saying I’m doing things then confirming 15 seconds later that “yep, I did a thing”, I don’t consider that rewarding. I enjoy roleplaying, particularly roleplaying a specific character or persona, rewarding when I can get into the details of things, when I can have a conversation with someone who doesn’t necessarily agree with me completely, and when there are consequences. And the current format doesn’t really allow for consequences without essentially playing the disruptive officer that needs correction which people don’t seem to enjoy on an IC or OOC level. Not only that, but such a character might also limit someone’s prospects for promotion. Not unreasonably, but since promotions are also tied to IC authority and OOC ability, deference, and recognition, it’s counterproductive.
Solutions for problem 3: Ideally, GMs should spread out mission related/critical roleplay between ships rather than usually just giving it to the flagship. If they had the bandwidth, also step into other ships and interject a non-combat problem to be solved. If we want Artemis (and therefore the TSN) to be more than just a combat simulator, then we need problems that we can’t just solve with a gun.
I know @admin has repeatedly heralded Picard, Kirk, and Janeway, but there are other people in those universes too like Sisko. And not only are there other people, but even the characters that Xavier mentioned also have flaws. Kirk was brash and a lech. Picard is particularly damaged over his experience with the Borg and doesn’t generally have any grounding given his on again/off again relationship and lack of family. And Janeway…. is difficult for me to criticize because I feel she was inconsistently written but definitely also has flaws as well.
It’s difficult to have paragons, or have meaningful paragons, without flaws to overcome, those who are willing to do low things for their higher ideals, those who are willing to do low things for their own selfish desires, or those who have yet to hear the call (or were too scared/etc. to answer it). We should also likely talk about the space within which people can explore with roleplay. In these discussions should also include how someone’s willingness or interest to play a character who does not act or follow their highest ideals at all times can stifle their IC rank progression which would prevent them from gaining eventual access to a command position if they were so interested, and given that IC rank also translates to OOC levels of participation and authority at the senior and command staff levels how that also limits OOC contributions as well.
@Matsiyan: The way I read your comment, it seems like you are proposing that IC drive OOC. I’m of the opposite mind. OOC should always drive IC. Is there something happening IC that we don’t like(such as right now)? Then let’s have an OOC discussion about it. Let’s figure out what people actually feel is wrong, what would fix it, and how that can be done, then go back and change IC to make it work better. Similarly, IC considerations can limit or hinder OOC ones. If we are extremely particular that everyone must participate in RP, that could drive away new members. By the same token, someone could roleplay someone who was dyslexic or hard of hearing, etc, and they might intentionally and for RP reasons sometimes confuse combat orders. That violates what I view as our overall OOC expectation that orders will be carried out faithfully and accurately. Normally I’d use a different example, but the TSN doesn’t normally tread into areas likely to be the source of someone’s trauma. But failing to retain cadets or losing officers leads to an attrition issue which harms the group overall. If we adopt a more accepting view of different levels of IC/RP contribution, then we can retain more numbers and hopefully they will eventually want to start engaging on the RP level too. The more people we have, the better time people seem to have. I would caution that we not be counterproductive to an OOC consideration in a rush to reach an IC ideal in the shorter term.