As a player I wish to have more conversations about other players’ characters. Like: are you going to visit your parents now that we have come back to your hometown? For this to work, players have to be open about their secrets. I must be able to ask the questions that turn the conversation towards interesting things they have in mind for their character. Having thoughts about our characters and communicating them is the first step to being a good player. Put them on the campaign wiki for all to see or mention them at the table every now and then.
I tend to find things bland and boring quickly and I like to ask questions so people can fill in details. Players should be prepared to answer questions about their character, about the people in their character’s life (parents, spouse, kids, teachers, enemies, friends, everything), about their character’s feelings regarding the current situation. I also try to throw out invitations to other players to ask me the same questions. References to my wife and children. Anger, boredom, curiosity, admiration – let the players know how my character feels so their characters can react to that, if they want to. These are small things. The way my character reacts to them is me trying to tell their players: I care about this! Feel free to ask me questions. So the second skill I’d like players to have is asking questions and having answers. 😃
I guess my number three player skill is active spotlight sharing or pulling others into the scene: ask other characters to come along, ask other players if your character may come along, and ask other characters for their opinion in-game. That is, I want players to not just say “I tell the others about it.” I prefer to have my character walk up to another character and address something about them specifically. If I want to report some fire devils I have seen, I might pick the wizard or the fighter. I might ask the fighter, “Yo, I think I saw three magma devils on the road ahead. Think we can take them? Is your sword thirsty?” Invite them to be a fighter, invite them to talk about their weapon, or their bloodlust, or to struggle against it, whatever. Something!
It sounds a lot like Burning Wheel’s beliefs, if you ask me. Except free form.