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About this blog

Need advice on something roleplay related, either as a player or an admin? I aim to answer your asks here! If you would like to seek advice from me, you are more than welcome to send me a private message! Please remember to mention if you would like to remain anonymous in my reply!

Entries in this blog

 

Hiatus

Hello my fellow RPers! This blog will be on hiatus for an indefinite amount of time while I am away on vacation and sorting out my life situation.

Josie

Josie

 

I don't like this person, but they've done nothing wrong.

An anonymous user asked me:   I've written a guide about this (This person is obnoxious but isn't breaking any rules- what do?), but if you don't want this person on your site, then I can see why it might not seem as though it applies. However, my advice on the matter remains the same: just ask the person to leave.   If something about someone sits wrong with you as an admin, then you're not required to put up with it. You deserve to feel comfortable on and enjoy your own site, which you cannot do if someone else is souring the experience for you. It doesn't matter if you can't put your finger on what bothers you about the person, and it doesn't matter if they've done nothing "wrong." The best thing to do is always to just ask the person to leave, because then you can go back to enjoying yourself and they can move on to a place where they're not rubbing the admin the wrong way- which will inevitably impact their experience on the forum whether you mean it to or not. It's not only the best thing for you, it's the best thing for them also.   Telling someone to leave without a tangible reason behind it can be tough, though. You need to be open and honest with the person without putting blame on them. It needs to be clear in the message that nothing is up for debate and that they need to leave no matter what.   An example of what you can say:   If you think that the person is going to cause problems, then you can always create a separate usergroup with posting and PMing permissions removed from them, so that there's no "damage" they can do. If you're concerned that this person is going to trash talk your forum afterwards, then this: (1) proves that they're someone who shouldn't be on your site to begin with; (2) is publicity. Even bad publicity is good publicity; (3) is nothing that anyone can hold against you. A message like the one above is calm. It might make someone hurt, but the aim is not to hurt and there is nothing inflammatory about it. If someone wants to tout your being honest and reasonable as anything but that, then it'll only convince similarly-minded individuals who you probably also don't want on your forum to stay away, and will draw level-headed folks your way. It's okay to be afraid of backlash, but in the RP community, backlash only has power if you give it power.   Hope this helps, anon! - GR     If you would like to ask me for advice, you can comment on an article or send me a private message! Be sure to include if you would like to remain anonymous.

Josie

Josie

 

How do I attract people to my site?

An anonymous user asked me:   Hello anon and thank you for the ask!   It is difficult to say that there are things you can do to attract people to your forum without advertising, but there are definitely things you can do to make guests want to stay! Have activity on your forum. No one wants to join an empty forum, one without any posts. That means if you are the only member, you need to be posting- even if it's with yourself! This also means that hiding the IC forums from guests is a very bad idea. Make it easy to join. People are impatient and want to get started as quickly as possible. You can help things move along by streamlining the joining process. Make all your documentation easy to find, have a starter guide to walk people through the joining process, have a simple application (or the option for one- some people do prefer the much longer and more detailed ones), be quick on checking applications. Be unique. Your forum needs to offer something that others do not, otherwise there's no reason for anyone to join it. Being unique doesn't mean that the entire concept has to be something incomprehensible, but if you notice that a lot of other forums in your genre do things a certain way, try to find a spin to put on it. Familiarity is good, but monotony is not. Be present. In the same vein as being active, you- the admin- need to have a presence on the site. Post in the cbox, even if you don't have anyone to talk to. Have wanted ads posted. Some people find it easier to join in to a roleplay if there are some wanted ads available for the taking. They're a good way for people to quickly get plots, character interactions, and even a bit of backstory. Reward people for signing up. If there is a monetary system on the site or any sort of items- anything exclusive that can be earned, really- it's always nice to give newbies a little something extra for joining up! BE POSITIVE. It's majorly off-putting to see negative comments in a cbox- about being bored, not having posts to do, not having muse, etc. Also on resource forums, it's a very good idea to share the FUN times you have on your forum instead of all of your frustrations. Obviously, one way makes your site seem like a nice place to be vs. an unhappy place. You want your forum to be a happy place!   None of that gets the word out about your forum, however. You do have to do some form of advertising in order to get people to stop by the site. There are a multitude of ways in which you can do this: Tell your friends. All of them. Even the ones who aren't interested. They might come across someone who is interested in what you can offer and send them your way. Be sociable. Make new friends, even people who aren't interested in joining your forum. It never hurts to meet new people, and the same logic above applies here. Even if they aren't interested in your forum, your new buddies might meet someone who is and can send them your way. Put your site in your signature on every site you're on that allows it. Resource sites like The Initiative are a great way to passively advertise your forum simply by posting and being active there. They can give users an idea of who you are as an admin and a player, and people who like the things you say might stop by and take a peek at your forum. Get listed everywhere you can. This includes directories, but also top sites. These are another wonderful way to passively advertise for your site, requiring you to only click a button occasionally (in the case of top sites).  Advertise on tumblr directories. Many of them let you post without having a tumblr account and they function very similarly to directories. Get affiliated. Find other sites to affiliate with. I personally like to affiliate with like-minded sites or sites within the same/similar genres, as well as panfandom forums (if I'm running a fandom site). As I no longer have applications on my forums, I will also affiliate with any other site that does not have applications even if they aren't of the same genre as my site, for example. However, there are other methods of affiliating which might suit you better, such as affiliating with any and every site you can. If those sites die, then your button is stuck on their index forever and ever. Affiliates are another form of passive advertising. Advertise on other social media. Even just one post makes a difference, but having a promotional tumblr, deviantart (if your forum uses artwork or you have artists making art for the forum), Twitter, or even Facebook page for you RP is a good way to get the word out there in a way that's less of a grind than advertising on other forums. You can share links to plotters, open threads, character quotes, wanted ads, and teasers for plots to come on social media. This requires more upkeep than directories and top sites, however as most of these methods allow you to queue items you can easily set up posts in advance and just space them out over the course of a week, month, etc. Advertise smarter, not harder. When you do advertise on other forums, don't bother dropping an ad if it takes you more than 5 seconds to find the advertisement forum. If it's difficult for you to find, then it's difficult for people to crawl through sites to find also. When I'm advertising, I use ctrl+f and do a search for 'adv' or 'plug'- if neither of those things come up, I bail. Advertise on sites that have won awards or are currently being promoted on resource sites or that are at the top of top site lists, as those sites are in theory the ones which are getting the most traffic (and therefore increase the chances of your ad getting seen). Dropping large amounts of ads can be effective, but it helps to even post just 5 ads a day. You can do this easily by posting 5 ads on a site one day, and then doing links backs on the next day.   Lastly, installing Google Analytics on your forum is not a bad idea either. It will track where you get your traffic from, and once you know where you get the greatest amount of traffic from you will know where to focus the most of your efforts.   Hope this helps, anon! - GR   If you would like to ask me for advice, you can comment on an article or send me a private message! Be sure to include if you would like to remain anonymous.

Josie

Josie

 

On the matter of the urge to run more than one site...

An anonymous user asked me:   Boy, do I ever empathize with this situation! And unfortunately, I don't have a simple response.   Firstly, I would like to say that you should always do what's best for you. In the event that you are inspired over something new but are lacking inspiration for your current site, go with the new thing. Don't feel like you have to hang around and play with what already feels dead to you just because you feel obligated to entertain others. Roleplaying is about having fun, and if the admin of a site isn't having fun then no one is going to. Ergo, do what's fun for you.   Second, be realistic and honest with yourself. Answer the following questions: Do I have the time to spend on both building a new site and keeping my current one active? Do I want to spend the time on building a new site? How would I split my time between two (or more) sites? Do I have the energy to achieve this? How will my working on another site impact my current community? How will it impact me? How will these impacts make me feel? Why do I want to create another site? What is it that interests me about it? What would this new site give me that my current site cannot? Is there a way my new idea can be incorporated into my existing site to satisfy the interests that aren't being met? Does this idea exist on any other site? If so, why do I not want to partake in it on that site? Am I okay with my current site potentially suffering while I create a new one?   Depending on your answers to those questions, you might have just talked yourself into or out of starting another site. If you talked yourself out of it, then continue about your business as usual.   If your answers still point you towards wanting to start another site, then I would advise you to wait. Is this still something you are going to want to do in a week? A month? Sometimes we get these fleeting desires that pass just as quickly. If inspiration survives through your waiting period, then it will probably last the construction process of the site and the time spent on your waiting period won't detract much from how long it takes to actually build the site.   In the event your inspiration lasts, then I suggest coming up with a plan of action and sticking to it. Pick what days you're going to spend working on the new site and do it. If you're equally committed to your current site, then you need to make time to spend there as well.   As to how your members will feel about it and not wanting them to feel as though you're abandoning them, it's important to remember this: you can't change how your members feel. It is entirely out of your control. Some of them might be upset just for knowing that you even thought about opening up another site. Others might not care at all. Don't get hung up on how they feel. The only thing you can control are your own actions, so if what you want is for your members to feel as though you will still be there for them, the best thing to do is to offer to include them, and to show them that you aren't going to abandon them. The best way to do that is by sticking to your schedule.   Thanks for coming to me Anon, and hope this helps! - GR   If you would like to ask me for advice, you can comment on an article or send me a private message! Be sure to include if you would like to remain anonymous.

Josie

Josie

 

How can I make my site successful?

I had an anonymous user on Necessary Evil ask the following:   What you can do to make your site a success is a tough thing to give advice on since everyone has different ideas of what a 'success' is. So for starters, my advice would be for you to decide what success means to you. Is it a site with lots of members? Is it a site with people who are posting every day? Is it a site where people fearlessly start and join open threads? Once you've pinpointed what it means to you to be successful, then you can start considering methods of making that happen. The best way to achieve your wishes is by being an example of what you want to see, and finding a way to emphasize what you want on your forum. If you want lots of open threads, then make it easy for people to advertise that they have open threads. If you want a forum with more members than you can count, then create some incentive for recruiting people.   With that being said, the rest of my advice would be the following: Make your site easy to identify. Don't leave people guessing what it's about- pick images that scream it, have the words right there. Make your site memorable. You don't want to look and be exactly like every other site in your genre, because then there's no real reason why someone should join your site. Offer something people can't get anywhere else. Make your site accessible. Easy to read, easy to navigate, easy to use.   So specifically for a superhero and villains forum: I'd put superheroes and villains on it. A lot of sites in that genre tend to feel pretty compact, cluttered, and image-heavy to me, so maybe try something a little different: clean and simple graphics instead of manips with a whole bunch of faces on them, more solid colors, something spacious.    Good luck, anon!     If you would like to ask me for advice, you can comment on an article or send me a private message! Be sure to include if you would like to remain anonymous.

Josie

Josie

 

Someone's taken my wanted ad, and I don't want them to...

It sounds like you're a staffer, and if that's the case then I would encourage you to have the member speak with this person! In my opinion, this is not a task which the staff should have to handle, but then again I place strong emphasis on members being able to stand up for themselves and communicate their wants and needs. If you decide to get involved as a staffer, then in order to perpetuate fairness you will have to oversee any characters that have been created from a wanted ad. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it depends on how much work you want to put on yourself vs. your members.   But moving on!   Your member should keep this in mind: whether or not they confront this player, there is nothing that forces them to roleplay with this character. There is nothing forcing them to say that their wanted ad has been fulfilled if they don't feel that it has been.   If they want to talk to this player, then there are a few different ways they can approach the situation. Either tell that player the above- that even if the character gets accepted, they will not consider the wanted ad filled and do not want to write that plot with that character; or, be honest and open with the other player and tell them simply that they're not interested in them taking their wanted ad. I recommend the latter over the former, although it should be followed up with the former if the person in question does not relent.   If you decide that staff intervention is necessary, then how you solve the issue is up to you. Some variation of the above can be included in the message you send them, but whether you pend the application or reject it depends on how you want to handle things on your forum.   If the posting claims before the application is accepted is a problem (an issue which I would consider separate from the matter of taking a wanted ad without discussing it with the person who posted the ad first), then I think a simple reminder to the member would be sufficient.   Good luck, Anon!     If you would like to ask me for advice, you can comment on an article or send me a private message! Be sure to include if you would like to remain anonymous.

Josie

Josie

 

Concern over playing a controversial character- what to do

An anonymous individual came to me with the concern about playing a character that could be the source of some controversy. The character in question is from a series which takes an alternate- and obviously fictional- look at real events and people. There is a big difference between the real version of this character and their fictional portrayal, which is where the controversy arises from, as some of these differences may be seen as insensitive. This character has little in common with the real person other than the name, and if the name was changed to something else then there would be minimal issue with playing the character.   So what do you do?   Most importantly, remember this: any character you play has the potential to offend someone. There is absolutely no kind of character you can write that will not offend anyone. Even a character without conflict or problems is likely to offend someone because they aren't contributing anything to the story.   Now, there are two reasons why a person could get offended by your character: 1) you are not representing where that character comes from accurately or with grace, or 2) they are incapable of handling their own emotions.   Know that the most important part of playing any character is making sure that you are representing their nationality, race, religion, sexuality- and every other part of them- with respect and empathy. Do what research you need to, read articles, be informed. If someone approaches you and says that something about your character is incorrect, be open to constructive criticism (but as with all things, take it with a grain of salt). That person may know more than you on the subject, and can help you in accurately portraying the different cultural/etc. facets of your character. So long as you do this, then you have reason 1 covered.   However, that means that no matter how much work you put into presenting your character with care, they might still offend someone. In that case, that falls under reason 2. At that point, I wouldn't worry about it. You are not responsible for how another person reacts to the way that they feel. That doesn't mean that it still can't be uncomfortable to deal with, however.   This leaves you with a question to answer! Is your desire to play the character greater than your apprehension over possibly offending someone, and the effort you will have to go through to deal with any offended individuals? If the answer is yes- then take up the character! If the answer is no- then don't!   Good luck, Anon!       If you would like to ask me for advice, you can comment on an article or send me a private message! Be sure to include if you would like to remain anonymous.

Josie

Josie

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