You probably need to ask the person directly, as there is a lot of ground covered by what people consider RPing. At this point in TOR, I would suggest the likelihood that it involves a group of like-minded individuals standing around using ye olde fashioned text descriptions of what their character is doing in some given scenario that has been agreed upon, perhaps with the odd emote thrown in where appropriate. And maybe some duels or, if it is cross-factional, even some actual PVP as well. These would be your "hardcore" RP types. What they are interested in doesn't necessarily constitute what most people would consider actually playing the game.
In fact, given the way you phrased it as two distinct activities, I suspect that is exactly the scenario. They are grinding some dailies for credits/commendations as quickly as possible, then getting back to what they see as the core part of the game for them, interacting with others in an RP fashion. If that is the case, it's interesting they are doing so on a PVE server rather than an RP server. One would suspect it was because that was where their guild was pre-allocated to and/or where their friends ended up.
What you describe is a perfectly valid form of RPing of course. I guess that would be your "mainstream" RPing. The problem with it that the hardcore types have is that it is completely constrained by the story Bioware has put in place, with their proclivity for non-choices. If you want true freedom, you have to break out of those shackles. Imagine what they are doing as a traditional pen & paper RPG session but done via text chat.
Last edited by DarthParametric; 02-09-2012 at 08:47 PM.