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Thing we're trying out: non-verbal alternatives to 'caution'

We are trying out some non-verbal hand signals, for communicating about out-of-game things like being too emotionally stressed for various in-game interactions. (We are “trying them out,” meaning you can use them, and if there are no major problems, they’ll probably be published in the rulebook next winter.)

Note: this sort of thing can already be accomplished with “Caution.” Caution is the game’s “safe word” and can be used for things like “Caution: I need to take a break” or “Caution: are you alright, for real?” or even “Caution: can we keep this argument toned down?” These hand signals are simply a non-verbal alternative.

(And, you should treat the hand signals with the same respect you would “Caution” and “Emergency.” This is part of creating a safe environment, and goes hand in hand with our Code of Conduct.)

Anyway, here are the hand signals. Each of them can/should be made visibly but discretely:

  • Thumbs Down: this means “I am not OK / I need this interaction to stop / I need to bow out.”
  • Flat Hand, Palm Down: this means “I’m not sure if I’m OK / maybe we could chill this out a bit / etc.”
  • Thumbs Up: this means “I’m OK / all is well / etc.”
  • “OK” symbol: this means “Are you OK?”

Also, we want to be clear, people are not required to run around flashing “OK” and “thumbs up” at each other at every opportunity. These are for when you’re not sure, like if things have gotten very emotionally intense. If you trust each other, you trust each other. Similarly, if you need to bail, you can just bail: no-one will hound you if you don’t flash a “thumbs down” first.

Since this post and the follow-up are indifferent categories, I wanted to link them.

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