User Input Roleplaying Boards - Concerns and Suggestions [SOLVED]

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Mystical

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A few of us on the Marriland forums enjoy roleplaying, but some of us are unsure or weary of creating or joining roleplays here. This thread can be used for members to suggest their concerns.

Some points have been brought up in the Marriland server, but I think having a thread for everyone to post their opinion is a good idea.

Some of the points brought up concerened the rules. Even though they are there for a reason, the rigidness of them may not allow for more casual, freeform roleplay.

To be specific: the need for a plot and setting for the roleplay may limit the creator and may make the roleplay itself less of an appeal to join for those roleplayers who prefer it being more casual.

Another concern brought up was the character form. Most roleplays require a form in which the person has to write a backstory, personality, etc. Flo wrote a More detailed guideline here.

From what I recall, though, the category for casual roleplays was implemented on Azurilland. However, the rules written for Marriland are not very specific and don't clarify some of the requirements for these categories.

My own suggestion was that we could have a tag for "discussions" on the roleplay forums posing different questions or tips, like the process for creating a character or what type of roleplay interests us, and maybe a thread where we could discuss and suggest new ideas for roleplays.

So I invite both the staff in charge of roleplays (I think for now that's only Regine?) if she can clarify any of this points and others who would like to voice their concerns, opinions, and clarifications. Remember the purpose here is not to complain but to suggest and give feedback, so we can improve both the roleplaying boards and the community that are interested in the roleplays.
 

Thundawave

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Thanks for bringing this up, Isa!

You and those in Discord brought up good points that the rules should mainly be to state the barebones and leave most of the enforcement up to the creators - which we've been working towards over the years but still have needed to refine.

Setting/backstory for an RP is essential for letting people know what type of RP they're getting into. Plot, on the other hand, I could probably remove as a strict requirement to allow for more sandbox styles.

I can probably also remove gender and age as strict requirements in character forms because much of the time they're implied or stated in the other parts. It's something that a number of RPers have talked to Jaye and me about in the past, and after thinking more about it, I can probably just state them as guidelines more than anything else.

We've removed a lot of the specific requirements in subsequent iterations of the rules to move more towards letting creators set their standards. For example, all mentions of Formal RPs and the 5/7 rule have been deleted. Some creators still include length requirements in their RPs that participants would have to follow, but those are no longer strict global rules. Staff intervention for length requirements would only be necessary if the creator needs extra help in enforcing their rules.

There's also been talk in Discord about reworking the structure of the rules to make them less intimidating. I can probably work on that after making the requirement change, but it'll take a bit of time on my end because it's not the highest staff priority at the moment.

In terms of discussion, I've been thinking about bringing back the Campfire subforum. We originally removed it because the section didn't have a lot of activity in the first place. However, organization of the board might trump the activity level because it's currently looking really messy. If we have a Campfire subforum again, I could definitely add the Discussion tag there to allow for discussion-focused threads that don't relate to any particular RP. What do you think about that?

I also want to create a #roleplaying channel on the forum Discord to give roleplayers a place to discuss. Flo brought this up to me earlier, and the idea makes sense. We originally intended for #creative to allow discussion for roleplaying, but I'm seeing that the vibe of art/writing discussion is completely different from that of roleplaying. This has led to some people creating discussion/planning servers of their own that not everyone has access to. A new channel in the Discord would fix that and allow for more communication among anyone interested in roleplaying.
 

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have always agreed the RP rules need to be more lax. It is very similar to the old Club situation when staff tried to enforce all these strict requirements to keep them "high quality" but it just resulted in a lot of people not wanting to/not being able to make any. It is much better to have a gentle hand on the bare minimum and let people create what they want from there, success will come if it's an engaging roleplay, or it will die if it's not, but at least people weren't scared away from making potentially good ones because they didn't meet your standards.

I mean look at Cacnea Compound, the first post isn't some super "high quality" post and doesn't even rly have rules but the leader knows how to run events and have fun, last year it was voted best club. I know clubs aren't the SAME but hey it's a good comparison when you stop taking RPs so dam seriously. (yes, some people love more serious and fleshed-out RPs and that's great, they can create them then and put their own rules in place, but it's not everyone's cup of tea.)

bubba mentioned this in the discord:

seaturtleToday at 10:51 AM
I don't feel like lowering the standards much would hurt things, cuz if low effort rps showed up they probably wouldn't get much interest. Same idea as if someone just threw together a club in 50 words, others just wouldn't want to participate

while i agree it's very similar to the club situation i would argue that both RPs and Clubs rely on a LOT more than word count or any other specific thing, nothing specific will ensure it's an engaging roleplay. but as far as i can see there is no rule against low word count for RP creations anyway. it doesn't seem that hard to put "backstory: We are in a jungle, have fun" for example. though I think it would be better to rename that as Setting since Regine confirmed that's the purpose of that rule.

I guess it's best to work on making the rules less intimidating yeah, since they really don't seem THAT bad anymore?

I know I don't know a lot about RPs but I really just think, you can argue all you want that these rules are necessary, but people keep saying they are too much and the activity has seemingly not been that great, and that speaks for itself.

sorry this post is all over the place I gotta get ready for work:'J
 

Mystical

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You're welcome and thank you for the quick reply, Regine.

I understand setting/backstory being a requirement, and the purpose for those. I think a creator can (and hopefully will) still have plot ideas even if those are not super detailed or stated in the roleplay, but leaving the section as an option does allow for more flexibility for creators.

I also agree with age and gender being optional, although didn't see a problem with the specific section, but I understand the decision.

I think having a campfire subforum and a roleplaying channel on the Marri server would definitely be a great idea. I know we may be a minority, but it's nice to get recognition regardless. :happyazurill:

And yeah, I agree, Katey. Neither clubs nor RPs need to be super elaborate to be of good quality and be successful.
 

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Okay, hi, I've never done any RP on Marilland or Azurilland before, but RP is one of my passions so this is something I actually want to contribute to. I haven't seen any of the discussion on Discord, so forgive me if I'm repeating anything that may have been said there.

• The rules 100% need to be condensed. I only skimmed them and whew that's a lengthy post. I definitely think they need to be a lot more lax than what they are now, and definitely probably condensed too. Stuff like if you're not a participant, don't post in the thread probably isn't necessary, unless that's an actual issue here on Marilland. I feel like stuff about spot reservations isn't necessary either because imo, RPs should always be open to new participants, or at least to a certain point, because I can see how it could be annoying if someone came in towards the end. I'm also not really sure why they need backstories and plots because they seem like the same thing to me? I feel like rules are unnecessary as well because generally, the way I've seen it is the subforum's rules are also the rules of the RP. I also feel like the stuff about being able to remove people if they're not meeting the creator's standards is a little harsh because I feel like people need the opportunity to grow as an RPer. Not discriminating against others probably also doesn't need to be said in the rules because honestly, that shouldn't be happening in the first place. I get the need for having something for people to work with, but I also think there needs to be creativity.

• 100% for an RP channel on the Discord, even if it's just for discussions.

• I think separating the Campfire threads and the actual RPs into two separate forums is a good idea. It seems a little cluttered right now, and the Campfire board could also be used for general discussion about RPs and gaining interest for them before actually creating them.

Overall, from an outside perspective looking in, the rules alone seem super intimidating. Like I said, I know there needs to be some guidelines, but I also feel like creators should have the room to create and do as they please with their RPs. Some of the most interesting RPs I've participated in have been short, 3-5 sentence paragraphs for a plot, and I've had loads of fun. I could understand the need for stricter rules if this were a larger scale RP that took up a whole forum for itself, but this is on a much smaller scale.
 

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Most people whom this discussion concerns will probably already have seen the detail in which I went into my arguments in Discord, and while I can't say I currently possess the same level of energy for it right this moment, it would be daft for me to not show my face in here. Especially after Isa took the time to make this thread (thank you, by the way).

Seems the posts in here have already covered most of what I talked about the other evening. I'll just throw my two pennies here to say that I still stand by what I said before, and on much of what's been said here.

I am very pleased by the idea to separate campfires into their separate subforum, because it does make the RP section seem more inflated with activity than it actually is. What Katey said captures a lot of the essence of what I was talking about. Having so many rules would be understandable if somehow high quality guaranteed activity, but it is clear that this is not the case.

Someone mentioned during the Discord discussion that if we lowered the bar then it would essentially open the floodgates for the place to be filled with bad RPs, but to that I say;
  1. This is something of a slippery slope fallacy, to say this is to imply people are urging to post tons of crap in there and are barely held back by the rules, whereas I feel like most people have the sense to recognise that the Roleplay boards are meant for exactly that. RPers tend to be a more serious bunch, and the segment of the forum userbase seems to be fairly small as it is. There doesn't seem to be anything that would indicate a sudden destruction in overall quality just because one or two rules were to be lifted or lightened.
  2. Bad RPs, what do we mean by this? Low effort, spam posts that somehow get a lot of activity, or just unengaging and abandoned? If we're ruling against the former, then one could argue that hey, at least that it is a very active roleplay. Everyone's RP tastes are subjective, much how you might decide which kinds of books or movies you like to consume, it's not up to you what someone finds engaging. As long as people are actually roleplaying, then it should not matter which form this takes. Besides, refer to what I said in the first point, I don't think for a moment that "low quality" is on any proper roleplayer's minds, as they tend to be a more mature audience anyway. If we're ruling for the latter, then this is happening already. Take a look yourself, even with all these threads that abide by the rules, some haven't seen posts in months and others are struggling to even get started. Clearly the rules do not prevent so-called DOA threads. Roleplays will live and die by their own merit, regardless of whatever arbitrary ruling for quality that you slap onto them.
Beyond that, with regards to the rules posts, it's clear that a lot of it is interpreted differently by various people, so that implies poor wording. The backstory portion should actually just be called the setting, as there is a cleart distinction in their meaning and it's something Regine confirmed to be the correct reading of the rule. Plot as a rule is not necessary, as the plot is what happens after the roleplay starts. People posting and contributing to whatever is going on, that is the plot. Felly expressed my opinions of this almost entirely.

My goal here is to allow creators the freedom to explore different avenues and forms that roleplay may take, without being stifled by the rules. As long as people are using the RP boards for actual RP, then pretty much anything goes as far as I'm concerned. The Marriland forums as a whole have rules against slurs, respect and whatnot, so those bases are already covered. I wholeheartedly believe we'll see more roleplay as a result of these changes, even if only a little bit. I know I'll certainly be encouraged to get more involved, that's for sure!
 
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Felly

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Again, I missed the Discord discussion, but Luke bringing up "bad RPs" makes me want to just say something further.

I don't think there's really a "bad RP." I think there's always room for improvement in the RP world. If you think a person is "bad" at character creation, talk to that person about their character. Make them think about it more and expand upon the parts you think need to be expanded upon. Even if it's just a sentence or two that they add, it's a sentence or two more than they had before. If you think a person's posts in the RP itself are "bad," talk to them about those posts. What else could they have added in their post to make it better? Help them get better, don't just dismiss it as bad. It may result in low quality stuff at first, but if it's going to be dismissed as bad because it's low quality, they're not going to be able to improve; they'll just be stuck at the same skill level until someone comes along to help them get better, or they learn on their own (or both).

Create a culture of helping others and teaching them how to better themselves while also allowing them to find their RP style. We all have to start somewhere, and if this is where people choose to start, then we should help them get the best possible start they can get by giving them room to grow and helping them do just that.
 

Thundawave

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I’ve begun a draft of the new rules. Those and the other changes I discussed will be out within the week if everything goes as planned.
 
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