This is copied from my real blog. I felt it might be relevant to the interests of Ye Olde RP community. (Mostly posting this because I think Yan might find it interesting.)
Long long ago in a world far far away, I used to RP. I used to RP a lot (and still do on occasion, but not as much). From the place I roleplayed I learn a lot about fairness, character development, and other good things. Some of the things I brought with me to the RP server I play on stem from my roleplay elsewhere and are concepts that would possibly be beneficial for the RP community as a whole to consider.
IC - In Character
OOC - Out of Character
ICA = ICC - In Character Actions yield In Character Consequences
IC and OOC
In Character is when you are pretending to be your character. Consider your character to be a completely different person from you. They may share one or two elements that make you who you are, but they may have completely different likes, dislikes, goals, and ethnics.
Out of Character is you, the player.
It's important to remember that you are not your character and your character is not you. Your character can completely hate another character but you could be best friends with that character's player.
I saw players driven off of the server I'm on because people didn't like those people's characters, thought the were annoying and therefore thought the people behind the mask were annoying. These people also assumed any time a male and female character were talking that the players were a couple and gossip flew like wild. This is part of why I shun most of the RP community on the server I play.
Thou Shall Not Control Another Person's Character!
I hate when people emote or write RSPs saying that their character is amazing and using language like "you find yourself attracted to her." No! Stop! Don't do that.
As a RPer, you know your character better than anyone else. Just because someone emotes that you fall madly in love with their sexiness doesn't mean you have to play along. You can disregard it and play your character the way they'd actually react. Maybe your character has a different idea of beauty, maybe he or she only has eyes for one person and no others are even attractive to them.
If you don't go along with something, you simply don't consent to it, and you don't have to. There's nothing wrong with this. (You can handle people breaking canon the same way.)
You should not make major changes to others' characters without permission.
If someone poses something that would cause a major change to your character, you don't have to play along. Someone trying to use their character's abilities to share the thoughts of a character I've played as silent for the past twenty months would cheapen and potentially break the character. My character's silence is a major character hook, removing it is something that will happen very slowly and be extremely meaningful to those who've been following his story since the beginning.
Major changes should be meaningful for the character, the player, and all involved in the storyline. Some new person who's never played with your character suddenly forcing a major change will receive very little meaningful appreciation for stuff you've been slowly building up to for months or even years.
Don't acknowledge it, or politely comment (Hey. I'd appreciate if you didn't do that, it'd change my character and I want that change to be really meaningful). (RPers on the other place I roleplay declare, "I do not consent!" Several players from that other place raid with me, so the declaration is a meme in our vent server.)
Every character deserves his or her fair due.
It's polite to pause after making a pose that you're leaving a scene to get any posts from people before you go on your way. (If you really have to go due to IRL or a raid, say so OOCly so people know.) A character might have something to say or may try to stop your character from departing.
Someone was ICly spying on my hunter, paladin, and others in Silvermoon while we sat on a park bench. The hunter, in his paranoia, notices the spy and I emote that he does so. I emote my character getting up and walking towards the spy. Think HoR style walking forward with purpose. The spy moved his character without any emote and ran the character away.
I was denied chance to say that my character bolted after, or that, when seeing the spy tried to run, he readied his bow and attempted to shoot the spy in the shoulder with a wyvern sting, something that is completely within my characters' scope and ability to do.
I attempted to find the player again, reasoning that my hunter has good tracking skills, but I couldn't find the player, who zipped off into hiding or kept running. Again, my character was not given his fair due. What's worse is the other player had an opprotunity to actually interact with others and ran from it.
I gave up and returned to my RP, eventually the spy came back and it was a total repeat. This time I OOCly scolded the other player about RP form and my hunter managed to catch him by the arm. The hunter, having gone into his Hyde state, actually spoke to the spy, very darkly and seriously. He asked why the spy was spying and told him to stop before letting the spy run away.
In Character Actions yield (fair) In Character Consequences.
If my character gets up in your characters' space, I expect my character to get shoved away.
Don't pose something if you are unprepared for the consequences.
Don't go overboard with consequences.
Someone spilling their drink on your new boots isn't something that warrants killing another person's character. (And killing someone else's character should get you jailed / killed by the lolnpc guards in most towns as a consequence for that action, so it's a real bad idea.)
It's not about you, it's about us!
Roleplay is a multi-writer story. Everyone's characters are important. Roleplay isn't the you show, your character is not the only character, the hero, and probably won't be the center of attention all the time. Consider writing a novel about your character if you want it to be the sole center of attention.
Take some time to give other players' characters some attention too. Learn about someone else's story. This will make your collective time more fun and more interesting!
Be most Excellent to each other!
Behind each and every little avatar on your screen is a real person with real feelings. It's easy to forget this sometimes but do try to be decent to each other OOCly and don't forget that others are people too.
Remember, Roleplay is for fun!
In the end, it's just a game. This is for fun. Don't take everything so seriously.
Don't hang yourself on the tree of roleplaying. If you wind up in a situation that makes you unhappy, work with others OOCly to get out of it.
Roleplay can and does cause chemicals in our bodies to surge. Stuff that happens in your RP can make you really feel sad or happy or excited. This is normal, if it starts to have a negative impact you in meatspace you should consider taking a break.
Off the soapbox.
And that's it for my soapboxing for now. Have fun and happy gaming.