It sounds simple but it isn't: how do you say "no"? Aren't we all supposed to be loving, accepting, universally inclusive ponies who only want everyone to be happy? You can still be that, and still say "no." In fact, without "no" things get messy quickly. Here is a guide on how and when to say "no."
Everyone on TwitterPonies should be here in good faith. That means they're here for the right reasons. They're here, first and foremost, to be a happy awesome pony or other MLP:FiM character, existing in the world of the MLP:FiM show, and enjoying the heck out of it. That's it. That's the main good faith of TwitterPonies. To help you, this wiki has Guidelines that--the closer you hew to them--the better your chances of gathering the support of fellow players, inclusion in offers and other adventures, and so on.
Sadly, many are here for other reasons. They're here in "bad faith," whether they know it or not. Here are some examples of "bad faith":
- They're here to feel accepted. Many of us are lonely, bored, eager to escape into the world of MLP:FiM, but for some it's not about living and being in the world (good faith), but about getting other players and characters to "accept" them (bad faith). Such people are always testing others, getting upset when they aren't responded to instantly, jumping to the conclusion that people are "ignoring" them. When they see some ponies off on an adventure, all they can think of is how unfair it is they aren't included. When they make an offer, every acceptance is a "validation" and every rejection is a "condemnation." Because it's not about the adventure for them, it's about feeling accepted, and they have their own internal idea of what "accepted" means--and usually, they can't get enough. Go on 50 adventures with them, and when you refuse the 51st, they cry, "Why do you hate me!" or "It's not fair!" or worse.
- They're here to scratch an itch. Some players have more on their minds than being a pony. What they really want is to engage in some roleplay that's incidental to ponies or MLP:FiM. It's often sexual or familial. Some folks have a fantasy of being abandoned, or being found and adopted after abandonment. They keep doing it, over and over again. They are so eager to shoe-horn in their "itch" to everything, it can get almost ridiculous. "Okay, great idea, while you guys are distracting the dragon...I'll go search for my birth parents!" What the heck has that got to do with robbing a dragon of a big gem? Nothing, because they don't really care about the original offer, and even though they may honestly love MLP:FiM with all their heart, they're more in love with scratching their personal itch.
- They're here to crusade. Some folks are into the meta-game more than the ponies. They're here to challenge every rule, to seek corruption or cartel or conspiracy, to point out contradictions either to cry "Aha, gotcha!" or to try and improve the system. That's lovely, and they may be in good faith about trying to improve things, but they're often in bad faith about actually playing. They may also be harboring resentment or angling to get possession of a "principal" character, since their real crusade is to be one of the Mane 6, Princesses, etc., but they haven't had the good faith to admit it to themselves or others.
- They're here to fansquee. We all love the show and the characters, but sometimes someone's only here because they're desperate to hook up with one or more specific character, usually a Mane 6 or a Princess or some prominent show character. There's nothing wrong with wanting to spend some quality time with the character(s) you love from the show. Those players running those accounts are aware of it, and bend over backwards to be as available as possible. But for some people, it's never enough. They're fixated, or they're just not happy unless they're getting immediate (usually sole) attention from that one character. And enough is never enough. It's exhausting to the main character and unfair to others who also might like that main and want to spend quality time with them.
- They're here to troll. No need to explain this, we've all seen it.
Why "No" Is Important
You say "no" every time you don't want to do something. We all have to say "no," there aren't hours in the day to do everything with everyone, to follow every single character, participate in every single plot line and acknowledge every single offer. Even if you tried, it'd be impossible: what if one friend wants you to help them rustle cattle in Hoofston, but at the same time another friend wants you to judge a beauty pageant in Manehattan? What if they wanted you to do something totally against your character, or even your sense of morality?
You say "no" to keep yourself out of situations you wouldn't enjoy. This isn't evil or selfish! People can tell instantly when you're along for the ride, but your heart isn't in it. It hurts their RP. A good clean "no" saves everyone a lot of headaches, and lets groups form around individual stories or offers that are in accord, that all want to be there. It's better for them, too.
You say "no" to protect those you've already said "yes" to earlier. It wouldn't be fair to keep splitting your attention--it's a betrayal of one group to try and please all, and thereby dilute yourself so much that everyone says, "Hey, why are you idling so much, why are you clearly RPing over there too, what's going on!?"
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you say "no" so you can remain in good faith.
How to Say "No"
There's a nice way and a nasty way to do just about anything. It's in the nature of "no" to sting a little, don't make it so much worse by being a jerk about it. Even if the situation calls for a really big, emphatic "NO!" there are ways to do it with authority, not mean-spirited pettiness.
- "No thanks." You'd be amazed how effective and gentle this is. For just about any culture, it's unambiguous. It applies to any offer that ends in a question mark. "Hey @mlp_Applejack, want to go _______?" "No thanks." With caution, follow it up if you want: "No thanks, I have to ______." The follow-up can get you into trouble, especially if it sounds like an excuse, so do everyone a favor and leave it off. Note, this "no" works both IC and OOC, in a tweet or a DM, or even on the IRC or other places. It's your go-to "no." Multiple requests that become pestersome can be answered with, "No thanks, really," or "No," or even the, "I said no."
- Make a plausible excuse. Use this in the feed and IC. Avoid it OOC and elsewhere. It's difficult for some characters (think of a perpetually "I'm up for that!" kind of personality, like @mlp_Rainbow Dash) to say "no" directly. They might make an excuse to avoid the dreaded, "But you're ALWAYS up for stuff like this!" which is of course just a whining way of saying, "Why won't you play with me!?"
- Make an implausible excuse. Consider Dash quickly drawing a watch on her wrist and looking at it and saying, "Look at the time, I'm late!" as a way of injecting humor. Use sparingly.
- Give an OOC "no" to an IC offer. Nothing wrong with DMing someone who just made an offer in the feed and going, "Hey, not my thing," or "No thanks" or perhaps counter-offer. This is what OOC is for, after all.
- Ignore it. This is strong medicine, but there are appropriate times to just pretend the offer never happened. Consider the troll, or someone obviously trying to bate you, either into an IC or an OOC response. Sometimes it's just a little kid, and you may feel uncomfortable interacting in ANY way with someone obviously under 18 (or under 10 or under six). Some people use offers as a weapon: you've got a history with them, have long since ignored them, then they suddenly put you on the spot with an offer that makes you look like a jerk or a rude person for not accepting. Well, ignore them. Worse comes to worst, talk to @mlp_Mod.
- Run away. Sometimes an offer has backed you into a corner, and there's no way to gracefully deny, to OOC around it, or even to IC a "no thanks." You can't even ignore it. That's when you run away. Literally, you can say, "That's crazy, I'm getting out of here! *gallops back to SAA and slams the door*" Not optimal, but if someone's forced you into a corner, they only have themselves ot blame for what they get.
- Counteroffer Pimp. See below for more on counteroffers, but consider the chance to pimp, which can be hilarious. For instance, say a pony is just talking and talking and talking. They're not even making an offer, they're just claiming your attention and they don't seem to want to stop. Pimp them hard. For example, interrupt them with, "Wait! Open your mouth there...why look at that, you have a nasty cavity! It's a good thing you kept on yapping away, or I'd have never noticed it. Quick, get to the dentist!" Okay, that's hilarious. And it pimps them into a storyline with action (they have a cavity, they need to see the dentist) and it gets you out of a situation without you having to run away. This is an advanced move, and risky: they could always deny you. But it's awesome if you trust them even a little.
Remember that a "no" is to communicate you don't want to accept an offer, not your chance to criticize someone's offer. Avoid going, "No, that's stupid" or "No, that's totally not in character," or "No, that's totally beyond the Guidelines" or anything else. Just "no." No one asked for your advice.
When to Say "No"
Say "no" early and say "no" often. "No" should be at the tip of your tongue, ready to get you out of trouble quickly and cleanly. "No" used properly is your best friend. Here are some examples:
- Someone is rude. People are rude a lot--it's endemic to the Internet, and exacerbated by the 140 character restriction. People are rude sometimes without even realizing it (Tweets are notorious for failing to convey proper tone). If someone is rude, say "no" to them, and don't hesitate. For example, if someone you've never met tweets, "*bursts into the Treebrary and chases @mlp_Twibot around with a big magnet*"--that's just plain rude. It's a force, but worse, it's got no context, it's a threat (magnets do terrible things to bots, presumably), and it's unannounced. The exact same situation could be warm and hilarious, with a nice set-up and context (maybe a foal who doesn't realize magnets are harmful and "just wants to hug the pretty purple pony!"). So if someone's rude, don't hesitate. Say "no."
- Someone is totally off base. Internet is a pretty big place, and as TwitterPonies gets larger, we attract all kinds of folks. Even when they're not obviously trolls or kids, some people either haven't read the Guidelines or just don't know how TwitterPonies works. If someone suddenly tweets you, "What's this, a sapient pony? Perhaps you're the chosen one, come with me to the Matrix! I'm Neo, and I'm a human!" Right, this person hasn't figured it out yet. They're going to need a big no. This is a good candidate for an ignore, plus OOCing them a link to our guidelines, perhaps giving them a bit of advice, or asking them to write the @mlp_Mod. If this is a troll, just ignore.
- Someone isn't using Twitter properly. "L337, bro, u a playa, P0N3 4-eva!" Perfectly respectable Tweet, but not for TwitterPonies. This can even happen when someone has an excellent character, has clearly read the guidelines, cares, has approached you nicely, and even has an interesting idea you'd normally enjoy supporting--but who can't spell even basic words, uses the "(c)" continue to draft giant polymer Tweets, drowns their Tweets in emoticons or any of a hundred abuses. You can ignore, or better yet, help them out!
- Someone's offer is way out of your character's concept, context or established behavior. "Come on, @mlp_Applejack, let's study our ancient Equestrian transitive verbs, indoors!" That might excite @mlp_Twilight, but this isn't right for AJ. That's an easy one to say "no" to. More difficult: "Come on, @mlp_Applejack, let's invent a new kind of cider!" Far closer to AJ's wheelhouse, but she's not really much of an inventor, and you may feel this isn't in her character. This time your "no" is best done in either one of two ways: a counteroffer (see below) or an OOC denial via DM or other method. Fact is, you may just not want to stretch AJ's abilities in this direction. You have the right to play the character as you see them. If you deny, even in IC, keep it gentle: the person making the offer is clearly trying to interest you, and that's thoughtful (if a bit forceful).
- Someone's offer is just plain terrible. "Hey @mlp_Rarity, why don't we fuse all the Elements of Harmony into a giant gem-ball, maybe it'll be super duper powerful!" Lots wrong with that, and you're well within your rights to refuse to have any part of it, even if they can't do it without you. Again, if they're making it in good faith, be gentle.
- Someone's offer is just too much of a commitment. Maybe you don't want to spend three days traveling to the mystical ancient land of FooFoo, another six hunting the elusive Warnk, and three more days to get home.
- You're just not feeling it today. "Oh no, @mlp_Applejack, 50 dragons are tearing up your orchard, let's go get 'em!" Honest AJ is well within her rights to just say "no" to something that energetic.
- The entire character seems to you just too ridiculous or absurd or too far beyond the guidelines. "*walks up to @mlp_Pinkie at SCC* Excuse me, I'd like to buy a cupcake." What's wrong with that perfectly nice, reasonable (if rather boring and safe) offer? Nothing is wrong with it, except the new person making this offer is Captain James T. Kirk Pony with a phaser, and was just struck by lightning which turned him into a super-powerful mage, too. Right, thanks but no thanks.
- The offer is just too fluffy. "Do you wanna go on an adventure?" or the dreaded, "Does anypony wanna RP?" Those are barely offers at all. Ripe for a "no," or even just ignoring.
There are many other reasons to say "no." You get the idea.
Counteroffer: the Best Kind of "No"
Except for cases where the proper "no" is ignoring or helping them out OOC, the best kind of "no" isn't a "no" at all, it's a counteroffer. It's "Yes, but." It's a way of saying, "Sure I want to play, but not quite that way, how about we play this way?" It's dangerous for a lot of reasons.
It's risky. Some people take a counteroffer like a slap in the face. It's probably someone present in bad faith, but even when not, some times people are oversensitive. You may have to do damage control. It's also risky because hey, your counteroffer is itself an offer, and all offers are risky. They could say "no" to you too.
The best counteroffers recognize the spirit of the original offer and help the person who made it reshape it into something you can get behind. The VERY best counteroffers do so with a bit of pimping, though only if there's a lot of trust between you already.
Example of a "yes, but" counteroffer: "Hey @mlp_Spike, let's go hunting for diamonds in the diamond fields!" "Well, why go all the way out to the diamond fields when I'm sure there's plenty of diamonds at the Palace?" It's a negotiation, you don't feel like a scene with monsters or diamond dogs, or you feel like having a bit more control in the setup of the offer. You're not denying, you're shifting. Again, risky: they could have had something big prepared and might deny you hard--best used with someone you trust.
While a "yes, but" counteroffer is powerful, the skilled player reaches for the "yes, and" counteroffer.
Example of a "yes, and" counteroffer: "Hey @mlp_Spike, let's go hunting for diamonds in the diamond fields!" "Yes, and I'll bring my trusty Diamond Dog Repelling Whistle, which is 100% totally guaranteed to scare away any diamond dog--I got it mail-order from a comic book!" You added to the scene, making a counteroffer that's not even a "no" at all. It's a "yes," but gives you some say in things. Once again, risky, you might be denied. Use when you have trust.
The Formula for Success
The basic formula for success in TwitterPonies: The closer you adhere to the spirit and letter and play your character accounts within the letter and spirit of the following guidelines, the more likely you are to get Followers, avoid Blockers, be Included in conversations and adventures and have fun.
The converse is true also: the further you stray from the formula, the fewer followers you'll get, the less involved you'll be in conversations or adventures, and you might get blocked.
You've read this far, PLEASE read these pages as well. Yes, all of them. It's the secret to a fun time, and it'll keep TwitterPonies drama-free for all:
- Applejack’s Ten Tips for Twitterponies
- Attracting Followers
- Character Troubleshooting
- Differences Between Twitterponies and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
- Golden Rules of TwitterPonies
- Roleplaying Guide
- The_Answer to Bad RP is Great RP
- TwitterPonies "Do"s and "Don't"s
- TwitterPonies: How It Works
- How To Say "No"
- The Yellow Card
- Advanced RP for Experts
The choice is yours. None of these are rules.
That's how TwitterPonies works.
Got questions? Follow and DM the @mlp_Mod account. The Mod follows every character account, and will always respond to any DM as soon as possible.