Please and Thank You.
Well, we high elves are the final arbiters of all things genteel, so I thought I'd spend a few minutes on a topic near and dear to my pansyboy elf heart -- ettiquette.
This is my personal take on social situations that come up in the game. I'm not into telling other people what to do, regardless of what my real-life children might think.
I don't ever invite someone to a group without sending a tell first. I dislike it when the invitation window pops up unnanounced, but I try not to get too excited by it. After all, the command is called "/invite". Isn't that an invitation? What are you, some kind of pansy elf boy? Ahem. Let's call these "ogre" invitations, rather than "ninja" invitations, shall we?
However, if I get an "ogre" invitation from someone I don't know, I will have some questions for them: Where are you? What level are you? What are you planning on doing? These seem relevant.
"What color is your armor?", while of great interest to those fashonistas among us, is not particularly relevant to grouping. Let's face it, when you're killing stuff you're gonna get dirty, so the fact that my outfit and the Iksar necromancer's pet clash is just not gonna be all that relevant. Let's hope nobody takes a screenshot, though.
Next, I strive not to accept invitations to groups until I am on site with the rest of the group members. If I group with them and then generate aggro on my way to where they are, I risk giving them all some experience debt, without giving them the ability to try and keep me alive. It's also possible that they might give ME some debt. Given that I can't share in any experience or loot until I get there it seems a poor tradeoff.
Mind you, I do it sometimes anyway, but mostly with guildies and friends and in places where I have little trouble with aggro. Furthermore, one can use a waypoint to find group members only when grouped, and you get the benefit of the group chat channel when grouped. But I'm very conservative in these uses of groups.
Likewise, when a group has completed its goals and is breaking up, I leave the group. Sometimes if a buddy and I are both using call and going to tradeskill for a while, we will keep the group channel open. But especially if there are others who are going to do something else adventuresome, I disband immediately as a courtesy.
There's kind of a potential awkward moment there when you are disbanding a group with folks you know, such as guildies. One thing you might do is disband, and then continue a conversation in tells or guild chat, where appropriate. There are times when keeping the group open is ok, but I'm naturally conservative (after all, I'm 742 years old!) on this line.
If you are forming a group, try to have a specific purpose. "Who wants to go to TS with me to do guild writs?" is a fine way to form groups. "Who wants to do something with me?", seems a tad forlorn, really. It might be true, but it's not perhaps the most attractive.
If I'm interested in joining up with someone or an existing group, I usually offer to help them. This plays a lot better than, "Hey Fred, let's group! You can come help me kill these mobs that are gray to you and for which you have no quest! It'll be fun!"
On the other hand, I really have no problem with "I could really use some help with this." I've done it on occasion.
Some folks have the belief that if they can use a drop, and you can't, then they should automatically get it, as a matter of custom. This is usually described as "Need before greed", or simply NBG.
I'm all in favor of folks being generous and considerate. But value is value. Let's say I'm grouping with some friends and an Adept I skill upgrade drops. I can't use it, but another group member can. While I can't use it directly, chances are I can sell it for sufficient money to upgrade one of my skills to Adept I. As long as the distribution method is fair, why does your need take priority over my need?
When you are in a pickup group, with people you don't really need, this goes double. There are a few bad apples out there who might say they can use something, but there's no way to verify it. In a group of guildies or friends there is more of an expectation that you will be grouped with these people again, so having them have better gear and skills will work in your favor. And they'd be less likely to try to deceive you about whether they "need" stuff.
Even when I am in the context of a group of friends or guildies, I like to let the giver be a giver. If I get an upgrade or armor piece that isn't useful to me, I might ask, "Can anyone use this?" and offer it as a present. If someone wins a drop that I want, and such a question isn't forthcoming, I might offer to trade something for it. A gift is not a gift unless it is freely given. I am not entitled to something of yours simply by virtue of the fact that I need it.
The same goes for stuff that other folks tradeskill. I have been the recipient of some VERY generous gifts, but I never ask for them. The leading tradeskiller in my guild, Imhotep, has set a very generous policy: Guild members may buy anything he has in stock at cost. I like this policy and will be adopting it for my own tradeskilling. I'm also more than happy to do swaps with other tradeskillers.
One of the things that works great here is to hand a big stack of ingredients to a tradeskiller who is a friend. Usually you will get some finished product back. Whether it's raw foodstuffs to a provisioner, or washes, tempers, oils, and resins to a jeweler.
Those are the main points I wanted to cover. I'm not the sort of elf who likes to go around telling other folks what to do; I just wanted to discuss my take on the whole manners thing.