Over the years, there have evolved many traditions and rules of etiquette for the virtual 14th Century in the HYW game. These are some of the key items that should be noted by all:
1. NPCs and Bailiffs: Hiring away NPCs & Bailiffs owned by other players has been considered serious provocation by HYW players since very early in the game. This is a great way to alienate friends and neighbors. If it was an honest mistake...send an online message (or email) apology ASAP and offer to return NPC and make reasonable reparations for any damage you may have caused by your actions. Eventually we will change the code to make it impossible to hire employed NPCs.
2. War and Thy Neighbors: Making war on your neighbors is not the way to win friends and influence people either. While sieging the nearest keep may sound like a great way to make a few ducats and learn how to siege... think very carefully about this sort of action. By doing this (unless ordered to do so by your King) you are declaring yourself apart from the ordered process of feudal society. Your neighbor will probably go screaming to the King and Pope as well as call in all his friends and neighbors to teach you a lesson in manners.
3. Arranging Marriage: If you are arranging a marriage with an Inactive PC or their family members then this is an uncomplicated transaction. However, if you wish to marry a member of an Active PC's family, PLEASE contact the PC first and make arrangements. If the player will not be online for several seasons you may find yourself in stasis waiting for the arrangements to go through. Without the active cooperation of the other player, your proposal will sit unanswered.
4. Killing/Murder: These are serious actions even when done to an NPC. In the main, players have traditionally released ALL family members immediately on capture. Kidnapping a PCs pregnant wife is asking for trouble. Killing a captured NPC is a serious move...consider it carefully before you do this. Typically, as with hiring away other PCs NPCs, you will find yourself decried and accused of atrocities and faced with the probable loss of your allies who will abandon you for violating the chivalric tradition.
5. IC vs OCC: Make a clear distinction between "in character (IC)" and "out of character(OOC)" communications. In the former you can be rude and insulting, although it is better to do so in period, practically to your heart's content. In the latter be polite. It is also important to note that many Sysops prohibit or limit OCC messages in game, so find out ahead of time what your Sysop's policies are.
6. The Church: Even when posting in character remember not to accuse people of heresy or witchcraft. Accusations of murder, robbery, molesting sheep, etc., are OK, but you don't want to mess with the church.
The general rule in HYW seems to be: Think before acting, and consult your King, Team Herald or a Sysop before undertaking any questionable actions.