What do you consider ethically appropriate during PBEM/Tournament games?

Option 1
31%
11
Option 2
3%
1
Option 3
6%
2
Option 4
No votes
0
Option 5
8%
3
Option 6
39%
14
Other/Abstain
14%
5
 
Total votes: 36
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Aphrodite Mae
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PBEM Ethics

Mon Nov 17, 2008 5:51 pm

Here are the numbered options:

  1. A tournament player should not privately discuss specific strategy and tactics for her/his current tournament game with any friends. Screen shots are not permitted, and any discussion of the game should be both brief and broadly generalized.
  2. A tournament player should not privately discuss specific strategy and tactics for her/his current tournament game with friends. Screen shots are permitted, but any discussion of the game should be both brief and broadly generalized.
  3. Tournament players may privately discuss their current game in general terms with friends, if both parties avoid specifics. The discussion need not be brief, and screenshots are permitted.
  4. Tournament players may privately discuss specifics of strategy and tactics for their current game with specific friends who have been OK'd by the opponent. A private, generalized discussion which includes screenshots is OK, with anyone.
  5. Tournament players may privately discuss the specifics of strategy and tactics for their current game with any friend, if the opponent says that's OK.
  6. Tournament players should be able to privately discuss specific strategy and tactics for their current game with any friend under any circumstances. Discussion is a part of forum life, tournament or not.
  7. Other/Abstain NOTE: If you choose this option, would you please explain why?

Havely

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Aphrodite Mae
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Explanation

Mon Nov 17, 2008 6:09 pm

Hi, friends! :)
I'd like to talk seriously for a moment about something that I think is important. Not only for this tournament, but for the forums: PBEM ethics.

First, I'm sorry if the poll is confusing with the options being listed below the poll, but there is a limit of 100 characters for each poll item, and so... :)

I've decided to write about this, because of a weekend-long conversation that I've been having with my husband, Dixicrat. The fact that we could disagree so intensely about something so seemingly tacit on a forum as urbane as this one made me think. If such deeply close friends as he and I could disagree so, uh, exuberantly on what seemed to each of us to be so obvious... well, maybe some fundamental assumptions need to be examined, you know what I mean? And so: the poll.


Havely

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Dixicrat
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Why?

Mon Nov 17, 2008 6:27 pm

You've made our argument public, against my advice. For reasons that I don't yet understand, this issue is obviously extremely important to you. I respect your intelligence and wisdom, and so I'll participate in your public discussion... given that you understand that I believe that this would have been better settled between the two of us first, if only to provide a more cogent argument when we finally find our common ground.

Be that as it may, my reservation about this poll is that it deals with what is intangible. If the point of the poll is to codify the ethics of this tournament, then I consider the poll to be pointless because 1) those who are ethical and honorable need no rules to guide their behavior in the tournament; 2) if there are dishonorable people among us, they will not be bound by whatever rules are agreed upon.
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Aphrodite Mae
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Mon Nov 17, 2008 6:49 pm

You're still not understanding me, Bill. Like I said, the forum is urbane, and I don't think any of the poll questions are really the answer. But I think that when we find that answer, through discussion, there will be nearly unanimous agreement. You talk about "tacit understanding" and the "implicit trust of the forums" and all that, and I agree with you! But part of what keeps civilization together is that all tacit assumptions have been discussed, at one time or another.



Havely

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PBEM Ethics!

Mon Nov 17, 2008 6:57 pm

I agree completely with your comments!! :p apy: :thumbsup:

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Dixicrat
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Mon Nov 17, 2008 7:04 pm

I truly believe that I do understand you, Havely... and I also believe that you don't understand my perspective. Let me try a different approach. Consider this example: if I were to competitively play you PBEM, I would definitely not want you to consult with a strong player. Otherwise, the contest would be between him and me, rather than you and me. But if you and I were playing a casual scenario here at home, I'd be flattered that I'd put you into a position where you needed to get some advice... and I'd want you to get that advice, since both of us would learn. In other words, there is no hard and fast single rule: it's relative to the conditions and circumstances.

You have many friends on the forum, and I'm sure that they're eager to see how your game is progressing. So, of course its cool to send them a screenshot, and even a generalized discussion of your plans. Or is it? Maybe you've presented them with an ethical dilemma when they see something that you didn't. Or perhaps some well-intentioned person writes back and says, "you should move the Division here, and not there". Maybe you ethically decide to ignore their excellent advice, and resolve not to move it there, simply because you realize that you wouldn't have otherwise. But what if you were just on the verge of seeing it, yourself? The ethically forbidden move becomes one you would have done anyway, sooner or later. Now, its prohibition hurts your cause.

So, I'll propose two philosophical questions.
1) Is there a moral/ethical dilemma, if a friend in the tournament sends you screenshots and a discussion of his or her strategy? Suppose you observe something that your friend hasn't included in his or her discussion... something potentially critical. Is it ethical to even let him or her know that you see "something"? Do you PM the opponent and host to ask permission to discuss strategy and tactics? If I were the opponent, I would have to say "no": the implication is that there is a weakness to be either exploited or fixed, dependent upon who's side it's on... and meanwhile, I'm going to take another look. Thus, saying nothing to your friend but doing the ethical (?) thing of checking with the host and opponent first has potentially given your friend's opponent the advantage, by alerting her or him that something is up. So, suppose that you honorably decide to say nothing, to anyone. I predict that you're going to go to sleep easily that night, because you've done the right thing... and then wake up at 2 am and start wondering about the entire thing, until you look at the clock ten minutes later and freak out because its suddenly 3:25. It happens.

2) The second question is like the first: is there a moral/ethical dilemma, if you're playing in a tournament or PBEM game and you send your friends screenshots and a discussion of your strategy? What unknown burdens are you putting on your friend(s)? Almost everyone on this forum is a stronger player than the two of us. It seems likely that they'll consider things that we have not.

So, I'll sum it up by saying that I personally believe that the best approach is to avoid moral and ethical quandaries before they start: avoid any discussions of current "games of consequence", make it clear to your friends that you're not seeking advice, and send only what's asked for, with the understanding that it won't be discussed. Any comment you make should be in the game's AAR. Havely, none of your poll options include any mention of AARs. For this and other reasons, I have voted "Other/Abstain". You know that I want to support you and your causes; but in this case, I cannot.
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Bertram
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Mon Nov 17, 2008 7:59 pm

I understand Dixicrats point, in that it would be difficult to fight against the combined might of the forum, when an opponent asks for help ever turn. Or is it? The forum, being what it is, will offer a widely divergent bunch of advice, will have trouble keeping a long term startegy, and occasionally might even make plain dumb suggestions (though you might avoid those if you go by the reputation of the players). It still is up to my opponent to choose the best option, and to formulate the long term strategy. Only if he did not do this, and just follow the advice of the best/most respected/highest ranked player would I really play someone else. But who would do that? It would make playing the game no fun, you just would be the secretary of someone else, typing in his (or her :) ) orders.
So it would mean that in discussing the game on the forum, you only get advice on the possible options, and on game mechanics you might have overlooked otherwise. I would not mind if my opponent did that.

As for myself, I usually dont post my turns on the forum, simply because I havent got the time, and, english not being my first language, it takes a lot of energy to do it right.
But I started doing it for this tournament, and I invite comments on what I do (and plan to do). (Aryaman - what do *you* think of this?). Both because I like some feedback on what I do - not only for this game, but also for my future games - and having a discussion about what to do can be fun. But I fully intent to make all decisions (and mistakes) myself.

So, summing up: I would not mind if my opponent discussed things with anyone.

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Mon Nov 17, 2008 8:25 pm

Only if he did not do this, and just follow the advice of the best/most respected/highest ranked player would I really play someone else. But who would do that? It would make playing the game no fun, you just would be the secretary of someone else, typing in his (or her ) orders.


I think this is a good point.
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Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:30 pm

There is one opion missing: "No matter who to discuss things with, because Athena decides my moves anyway."

Of course the intelligence Athena provides is "only" artificial, but at least she provides some. :wacko:
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Daxil
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Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:47 pm

Advice from a close friend is no different than coming to the forums and asking questions. There is no way to regulate it anyways, so it's not even debatable imo. Basically, I take the attitude: all is fair in love and war. If you can find an exploit use it, because you know your opponent will. It is the job of the game designers to fix that exploit. The major exploit we're facing with this game is the host having so much control over outcomes. Hopefully having a neutral third party solves that. Since there's no money involved I doubt anyone would pay off the third party. :)

And maybe you ask a question puiblically or make an AAR post, and your opponent thinks they can use it against you? Remember .. you can use it against them too if you know they're reading your posts. :)

It's all part of the game imo.

EDIT Just to add one more thought: if there is a glaring exploit someone is using against you, bring it up here and maybe we can debate whether it should be banned and at the vey least alert the designers.
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Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:20 pm

Daxil wrote:Advice from a close friend is no different than coming to the forums and asking questions. There is no way to regulate it anyways, so it's not even debatable imo.


I generally tend to agree with you, Daxil; but on this point, we differ.

When Havely and I were in college, our meager income was supplemented by her playing chess semi-professionally. It would have been unthinkable for her to bring any sort of help to the table during a tournament game; and having onlookers "kibitz" would have resulted in both her and her kibitzing friend being ejected from the tournament hall.

On the other hand, during "skittles" games, I've actually seen her say its OK for a weaker opponent to consult MCO (Modern Chess Opening), at the table during the game!

My personal belief is that a tournament is different than a casual game. Perhaps I place myself at a disadvantage by steadfastly holding my ground in this point, but during any game that I play during this or any other tournament, I have no intention of discussing my tournament game anywhere or in anyway except publicly, through AARs.

Of course, many will point out that this forum and these games are quite different from professional chess tournaments. Granted. But there are still parallels. Consequently, I propose that prior to each game in this tournament, the players take the time to clarify their respective positions on this issue.

As the poll stands now, there seem to be two diametrically opposed views: "anything goes", and "no discussion whatsoever". Is the game fair, if an "anything goes" player plays against one who believes the opposite?

Regarding your statement that there is no way to regulate such an agreement, I agree. But because of the nature of this forum, I think that's a moot issue. I maintain that the vast majority of players on this forum have a personal integrity of such a nature that they would comply with any agreement that was reached, even if it wasn't their preference.

(My subtle and sarcastic wife is playfully making fun of me, as I'm writing this: she's crankin' "Thus Spake Zarathustra" on the stereo. :D )
Anyway, I can't think with all those Timpani drums going, so I guess this is where I stop. Hopefully, I've made my point clear.
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kjstrand
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Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:00 am

I think it's important to differentiate between games played merely for the glory of victory and games which are played for some sort of material prize. There's no glory in constantly relying on the advice of someone else. But if my opponent is a proxy for someone else, well, I don't care. I'd like to play the best.

That said, I like discussing general strategy with other people. I think about it all the time (probably way too much for my own good) and love to be able to talk about it. I like get others' opinions on my ideas. It's the best way to get better. I also feel like any of the generals we're supposed to be emulating would not have been restricted in their counsel. Though I might be wrong.

I think anyone should be allowed to talk about anything with anyone. If it strengthens my opponent, that's fine with me.

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Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:11 am

dooya wrote:There is one opion missing: "No matter who to discuss things with, because Athena decides my moves anyway."


I think dooya and Bertram win the point in this particular instance. Havely (and/or AM) has lots of friends. But no matter if Bill, Gray, dooya, Daxil, Rafiki, I, or someone else were to offer advice - unless I've sadly misjudged her - Havely still wouldn't be in danger of playing proxy for anyone.

Next tough question, for AM and DC ... you entered the tournament as a team, and everyone (AFAIK) was ok with that. With the new agreement, has that now become an ethical problem, or are you only planning on substituting when you switch sides?

EDIT - Nevermind, I just read CS's addendum to the agreement.
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Bertram
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Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:12 am

A good point on the chess tournament, Dixicrat. I have played some chess myself, and would not think of asking someone advice in a (serious) game. And still, here I have no trouble with it at all. So I ask myself, wat is different?

I think part of it is the setting. With chess the position is open on the board, while here we have the fog of war. With chess you know the whole position of your opponent, and there is a "best move" in every circumstance. And computing power and a library (in book form or in the form of friends helping) helps to pick the best. Various advices are evaluated pretty easily (for a pro) because you know the value of the situations in which they result.

In a game of AACW there is no "best" strategy. You dont know what your opponent is doing, the situation is asymetrical, and the board may change during the game (as the effect of the St. Louis maasacre kicks in - or not). So even the best strategy is a guess, and what might be optimal in one game, might be less so in an other. Advice, for a large part is of the "rules" kind, like: "did you realize the cavalry can raid your depots?" ( :) ) or, "you could buy a sharpshooter instead of militia".


Another part is because playing a game like this, I always have the feeling that I am partly playing against my opponent(s), and partly playing against the game/the situation. Even with the best strategy (if there was such thing) I still will have to be nimble enough to adapt my strategy due to random events, bad luck (like not activating generals or "unclear orders"). (This is fortunate, because this way my defeats can always be blamed on circumstances :) ). he same of course goes for my opponents - and there is no way that advice helps against this.

And finally - and this might be the major deciding factor in which category one falls - I love to win, but I am gaming because I love to try out a strategy, and see how it plays out. I have more fun loosing an interesting game, then winning a predictable one.

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Aphrodite Mae
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We've found our middleground

Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:26 pm

Dixicrat and I have reached agreement! :)
Here's what we recommend.

1) Before each game, players should discuss what is and isn't cool, in terms of discussions with friends and screenshots and all that.
2) If the discussion doesn't happen, then "anything goes".
3) During the tournament, it might be a good idea to post any agreement in the AAR, so other people will know.

Respectfully,
Havely and Bill

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Daxil
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Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:01 pm

A good point on the chess tournament, Dixicrat. I have played some chess myself, and would not think of asking someone advice in a (serious) game. And still, here I have no trouble with it at all. So I ask myself, wat is different?


I think what is different is there are some beginners in this tournament playing against some people with a year's worth of experience. I don't think it's fair to tell them they can't seek help. I suppose a brief discussion would reveal this. I have no problem with the idea of no outside help if both parties agree. Just let it be known - you don't have to agree.
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josh4bs
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I'm one of the beginners

Fri Dec 12, 2008 7:59 pm

Hey there everyone. I am one of the beginners that was mentioned above.

In my honest opinion. I thought of asking for help, but then I decided against it. I do want to learn, but since the scenario is quite short to begin with, I figured that I would be able to discuss my faults after it was over. Also this will allow me to garner the opinions of my opponents to see if I was ever considered a "threat." My fear of this tournament was that I was going to provide significant cannon foder for anyone that I played.

All in all, I lean toward the "no seeking help" because all "learning" can be done after the fact, since these scenarios are so short.

If the planets aligned and the moon is full for the next couple of months and I make it to the final...then I want to be able to ask advice at every turn....Just saying.

Josh

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Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:40 pm

josh - I certainly consider you a "threat", since you're whuppin' my butt.

I plan on posting an AAR for our game after both scenarios have been played - including mistakes, of which I've made several. I know of at least one major mistake I made because I didn't know the rules / gameplay (until after the mistake was made).

I hope you plan to post an AAR as well.

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jastaV
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Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:53 pm

I voted option 6:
Tournament players should be able to privately discuss specific strategy and tactics for their current game with any friend under any circumstances. Discussion is a part of forum life, tournament or not.

Free discussion and team-job can be part of gaming without to be considered cheating. Player is to be allowed to consultate friends and advisors at will: most of time that will not provide any advantage, but just confusion and doubts.
As Napoleon said: one bad commander is definitely better that two good ones!

Game screenshots should be allowed too: not just battle result pictures.
Indeed pictures make AAR most actractive for spectators, but players are to be very cautious, in so far opponent can take advantage from a glance to the other side of the hill.
I suggest players should upload screenshots reporting obsolete pictures of their forces deployement. For example when playing game turn 6 in a PBEM game player should be allowed to post pictures regarding their deployement at turn 2. Posts management allows that in so far forumities can at any time re-edit their old posts and include pictures there too.
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Fri May 22, 2009 10:04 pm

My personal belief is that we are playing for glory, acclaim, and material gain. Therefore, we should [SIZE="5"]not[/size] be able to discuss our game to each other. It is my game to win or lose, not someone else's. If I can talk to friends, then it is they who win or lose, not me. If I am a medium player, and am playing a weak opponent who goes to a "zen master" of AACW, then I would lose, even though I am the better player. How is that fair?

In a regular game, then anything goes, I can talk to whoever I want.
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Aphrodite Mae
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New problems to consider

Thu Jun 04, 2009 5:10 pm

Jim-NC wrote:My personal belief is that we are playing for glory, acclaim, and material gain. Therefore, we should [SIZE="5"]not[/size] be able to discuss our game to each other.


And what of PhilThib? It's part of the tournament rules: he'll have to discuss his game with his aide de camp, if something comes up where he'll need to step away from his game for a turn or two. What makes it even worse for his vic-... that is, for his opponent, is that everybody on the AGEod staff is not only an avid wargamer, but also a professional wargamer, if you think about it. Just guessing here, but I'm thinking that his aide will be Pocus.

How about that? Does that change anything?

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Thu Jun 04, 2009 5:23 pm

Aphrodite Mae wrote:And what of PhilThib? It's part of the tournament rules: he'll have to discuss his game with his aide de camp, if something comes up where he'll need to step away from his game for a turn or two. What makes it even worse for his vic-... that is, for his opponent, is that everybody on the AGEod staff is not only an avid wargamer, but also a professional wargamer, if you think about it. Just guessing here, but I'm thinking that his aide will be Pocus.

How about that? Does that change anything?


Ha, Ha, you can say victim. :D If you play with the rule of an aide de camp, then that is different. as an aside - But if you give it to one, why not everybody? (too late for that I know). In all seriousness, as it was/is part of the rules when we signed up, then that would be OK. Always read the rules, it helps greatly. :)
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Fri Jun 05, 2009 2:09 pm

Aphrodite Mae wrote:And what of PhilThib? It's part of the tournament rules: he'll have to discuss his game with his aide de camp, if something comes up where he'll need to step away from his game for a turn or two. What makes it even worse for his vic-... that is, for his opponent, is that everybody on the AGEod staff is not only an avid wargamer, but also a professional wargamer, if you think about it. Just guessing here, but I'm thinking that his aide will be Pocus.

How about that? Does that change anything?

Well, I will say that he is the exception that makes the rule... :thumbsup:

In my opinion, IF I join a tournament, I want to play it myself, even if that means loosing... ;)
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Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:58 pm

I resurrect this old thread as I am playing in the current tournament.

Option 1 was an easy choice for me, I don't have any friends that play AACW :D

Come to think of it, I don't know if any of my friends play computer games at all :confused:

My wife is mildly curious about my hobby and she thinks it beats my hanging out in bars getting into trouble ;) .
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Jim-NC
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Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:54 pm

gchristie wrote:My wife is mildly curious about my hobby and she thinks it beats my hanging out in bars getting into trouble ;) .


This is a much better option. You don't have to worry about your mug shot being shown in the paper. :mdr:
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Aphrodite Mae
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Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:14 pm

gchristie wrote:Option 1 was an easy choice for me, I don't have any friends that play AACW :D


...Oh? :eyebrow:

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Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:18 pm

Aphrodite Mae wrote:...Oh? :eyebrow:


:bonk:

[SIZE="3"]With the[/size] [SIZE="7"]big[/size] [SIZE="3"]exception of my pals on the forum, of course. [/size]

:siffle: [SIZE="1"]Hoping that this faux pas shall pass[/size]

I think the Maine colloquial "numb as a hake" applies.
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Dixicrat
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Sat Feb 25, 2012 12:16 pm

gchristie wrote: :bonk:

[SIZE="3"]With the[/size] [SIZE="7"]big[/size] [SIZE="3"]exception of my pals on the forum, of course. [/size]

:siffle: [SIZE="1"]Hoping that this faux pas shall pass[/size]

I think the Maine colloquial "numb as a hake" applies.


Ah, hell, George, think nothing of a faux pas with the queen. I make 'em all the time. :cool:

You just never know what she's going to take exception to. Most of it is stuff that we should know already. For example, once I had black shoe laces in my wingtips, when any fool could see that I needed brown ones. To this day, I thank her for protecting me from the disdain of my male peers at the business meeting I was going to. God knows what might have happened, had she not leveraged me into complying with her will. Naturally, nobody commented on my fresh new brown shoelaces, at the meeting; but I committed another faux pas, for not thanking her for this very outcome, afterwards.

Just as an aside, I must say that if our marriage has helped me to grow in any way, it has been in realizing the breadth, scope, and depth of my stupidity. I never even suspected how wrong I am about everything, until I got married. But now... I know.

Anyway, don't worry: I assure you, she'll tell you, if you make a genuine, bonafide faux pas. If you haven't already received a half dozen PMs and two or three phone calls...? You're safe. Let it go, and be free.

__________________
[SIZE="3"]Regards,[/size]
[SIZE="4"][font="Book Antiqua"]Dixicrat[/font][/size]

PS Wait. My consort prescience is tingling. It's telling me...
hmmm. Strange.
It would seem that I'm making a faux pas, in the very act of writing this post...

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