I react to David_Berg accurate remarks on the subject of zomming in / out.
"If no one's bored, it could be argued that there's no problem, and we can just chat with the guards all night. It can be pleasant enough at the time.
It doesn't look like a good use of play time in retrospect, though. We're sometimes disappointed afterwards. "
That's my experience too. It was like that even when I was a teenager and loved hanging round with the pack for the sake of sharing time idling. I suspect having less time to play makes it feel even more punishing.
What I abstract from it at a very general level is : at some point, players are deemed legally incompetent in directing the fiction, and rules take over. The (usually unspoken) contract is that at times during play, the rules take the driving wheel away from them. Regarding the flow of fiction, what the rules do then is introduce unbalance ("un balourd" in the mechanical sense), and their stubborness, or inertia, is going to take the players in a direction they wouldn't go otherwise. I see a clear difference with, for example, the rules as an interface to the SIS, or as frame for what is authorized or forbidden, or a reward mechanism, or the ways to get a direction out of the group's input, but I expect to be corrected.
Is that an aspect of rules that can be isolated, this rules unbalance ? When it has been, how was it identified ? And do you have an opinion about when it's necesary and when it shouldn't be done ?