Okay, I have a lot of opinions surrounding this (and so a lot to say), but I'm of a wandering mind and some of it may not come out as I intend -- for that, I apologize.
First off, I want to make a reply to a suggestion I saw earlier in the thread about looking up words in the dictionary, and learning them. This seems to be a VERY common attitude among players who prefer to write long, high detailed, and/or in-depth descriptions. And, in all the threads that I've tried to pose this argument, it's been shot down by these players.
When I'm reading a book, it's fine if I come across a word that I don't know. I can stop, mark my page, and look it up, if there is nothing else to go on. When I'm playing on a MUD, I do not have the time for that
. Things are live, things are moving. I can't OOC and ask someone to wait while my DIALUP computer tries vainly to retrieve a dictionary page, and neither can I ask the person to explain what they mean in their sdesc/mdesc. Descriptions are VERY important to me -- I play visually; what I read comes alive in my head, and words are lost for the most part. That's a gift, but it's also a curse when I run into someone who would prefer to try to linguistically educate me or flaunt a larger vocabulary.
Now, going with this reasoning -- I do not mind
reading or seeing obscure words, AS SO LONG as their meaning becomes clarified in the mdesc -- which I will read. If I do not get the chance to read your mdesc, then I can safely assume I barely caught a glimpse of you. If I see 'the obsidian-eyed man', and I didn't know what obsidian meant, I SHOULD be able to read your mdesc and draw a safe conclusion from its context. That, in my opinion, is good writing -- not whether or not you can use big words.
I do have a few issues with how things are currently done. I've voiced these opinions in one way or another before, but since this thread's about sdescs, I guess it's okay to lay it all out again.
I personally really do not appreciate having an application I put a lot of work in be rejected for an sdesc noun that I later see another player wearing. It STINKS of favoritism. I appreciate the work that imms do, and I know that it isn't favoritism but just different immortals having different opinions, but from down here in playerville, it sucks monkeyballs.
I also really, really hate seeing sdescs that suggest a variable state of being, or strongly convey a particular feeling/experience. I have never figured out how something that is simply ambiguous in appearance (Hymwen's example of harridan being a potential 'mean old woman' or 'ugly old woman') will get rejected, and yet something which has a very set-in-stone, time-tested meaning (lets say 'virgin', for example, although this is not a word I've seen used) get accepted.
So, my thoughts on what could be done?
- I would not like to see a set list of adjectives or nouns that may only be used. This would be stiffling to creativity, and make it fairly difficult for some players to migrate from the 'norm' of "the tall, dark-haired" men.
- I would not be opposed to having a generator or organized list of 'approved' adjectives and/or nouns, which would include words that WOULD get accepted so long as they were correctly used. An application of this sort would be extremely benefitable for players, in my opinion, but it would require someone with the time willing to program it and keep it up to date.
Some basic features that such a thing could include would be an ability to randomly generate any adjective or noun, or selectively generate them according to criteria set by the player: colors, builds, compounds, or inputtable meaning ('black' = sable, onyx, obsidian, jet, raven, etc), or even something else.
- I would not be opposed to seeing a list of words that would ALWAYS be rejected, or a list of words that are strongly discouraged due to being out of theme, inappropriate, or what-have-you, or at the very least more detailed guidelines.
- I'm not sure how applications work, as far as where they are placed in a queue, but I believe that REVISED applications should return to the top of the queue, and not the bottom. My basis for this is that it truely sucks ass being expected to wait an additional 24 hours because I mispelt a word and got the pissy imm.
- There can be more emphasis placed on using language that is common, or, at the very least, providing good context within the description to provide the reader with easy understanding. Many players are tired when they get onto Armageddon (returning home from work) and just arn't in the mood for sorting out complex or ambiguous descriptions with hidden meanings.
There's enough of that in the roleplay itself.
If an immortal feels a player that they are being too elevated in their language, or are not providing enough context, I don't think this is grounds for rejection, but if there is a time, a gentle reminder or note could be attached to the acceptance of the PC to remind the player that next time, they should try to be a bit more simple.