Foreword: This documentation was written by Blackjack Bart of RPG-D & DF. This guide has been updated from the original version, and there my be changes that are not obvious to first-time IJ users.
Topics that are covered in this thread include:
- Navigation: The Sidebar
- Abbreviations & Slang
- Creating an Account
- Posting threads
- Journal & Community customization
- IJ Resources.
What are the pros and cons of role-playing on the blogging service, InsaneJournal?
I started using the service in its early days, moved on for a short while, then came back. IJ's foremost appeal is the Terms of Service. InsaneJournal allows members to post adult content, so long as their users are 18+ years old, and that they do not break their country's laws.
As it is described on the site's index page, fringe-work is accepted: fanfiction, role-play, fan-art.
The majority of hosts prohibit mature content, and this often covers profanity, violence, graphic detail and sexual themes.
¨User content is not censored on InsaneJournal. That said, absolutely everything is not accepted.
InsaneJournal staff do not self-police their site: they will only take down user content if they are alerted to it by the respective copyright owners., or if enough users have sent complaints.
Users are required to post 'adult content' within a members-only security setting, but not many users do this.
Alternatively, users simply hide such content under an LJ-Cut, which is an embedded tag that hides an entire entry (or a selected portion) behind a tag-line. Clicking on the tag-line expands the entry. This can be compared to Tumblr's Read More tag.
The server has its good days and its bad days, like any server out there.
Where do you start?
InsaneJournal is a free service, with Paid Accounts available. However, to combat spam, IJ now requires a code for each new account. Existing accounts can generate codes, or you can purchase an account via tokens and Paypal.
You can request a code at codeshare, for a start.
Note: As a Permanently Insane Account-holder, I can generate 5 codes per month. I can't use them all, so feel free to send me a code request- but keep in mind that I won't hand out all of my available codes.
Each free account can generate one code, so to get started, you just need the one code.
Create an Account:
Think of a user name, which can be made of letters, numbers, and underscores, with a maximum of 15 characters.
Next, choose if you want to friend any of the new-user asylums. You will need a valid e-mail address in order to activate your account and to use it properly. Fill in the standard forms; birthdate, contact methods, Captcha.
The next steps to take after successfully creating an account are the following:
This step is provided to you straight away after creating an account.
Change your Display Name, Age, Default Icon, Interests, About Me, Website URL, Messenger screen names, Hide/Display e-mail address, school(s), Location (country, state).
Now, the only areas you will likely ever use across InsaneJournal are these:
- Manage Account
- Edit Profile
- Manage Pictures
- Edit Friends & Custom Friend Groups
- Manage Asylums
- Post (start a new thread)
- Comment Settings.
Asylum is IJ's term for communities. On an asylum's user-info page, there is a 'Join' button that takes you to a page, confirming if you want to join that asylum.
If the asylum is membership-by-approval, this confirmation page will tell you so. If you want to leave an asylum, there is also a link for that provided on the asylum's user-info page.
Navigation: The sidebar
Depending on what site theme you'll be using, it can be difficult to find a vital customization area. This guide was written with the default Worksafe: Sidebar theme enabled.
View your journal's latest entries.
View your user-info page: account name, display name, birth of date, e-mail address, location, school(s), Interests, About Me, and so forth. You can choose which fields are visible to the public, or to registered IJ users. Or, you don't need to fill most of them in at all.
View your friends' (and friended asylum) recent entries.
This takes you to your calendar.
View and manage your collection of Memories.
At the top of the page for each thread across InsaneJournal, there is a row of buttons: Add as Friend, Edit Entry, Edit Tags, Add to Memories, Tell a Friend, Track This, Next/Previous Entry.
When you add a thread to your Memories, it acts as a bookmark; you can allow other users to view what threads you have favourited, or you can hide your Memories to everyone but yourself.
This is where you can view recent, site-wide updates- according to what options you have enabled/disabled. This includes New Comments, asylum invites, new friends, new icon uploads, site announcements.
The on-site private message system. You can view your Inbox and your Trash, delete received messages and write new ones. There is no Sent folder; there is a very limited number of characters you can use; and you can only view a sent message when your partner has replied to your initial PM.
In short, very, very few people use the PM system.
Start a thread; choose from a drop-down menu where your entry is posted to, i.e your own account, or to an asylum that you have joined.
Journal entries work the same way as they do on forums, with minor differences. For one, comments are nested; when a thread reaches a certain number of replies, each commented is abbreviated as a link that you can expand.
Edit your entries in your own account, and in asylums that you have posted to.
Change the appearance of your journal, and/or your managed asylum(s).
Click the following to view screencaps of the Customize Journal pages, in descending order.
Customize Journal: Basics
Customize Journal: Look & Feel
Customize Journal: Custom Options
Control who can comment on your threads. The security settings are as follows:
Public : Allow both registered users and anonymous guests.
Registered Users Only : speaks for itself!
Friends Only: Only users who you have added to your friends-list can read these marked threads.
Screenshot: Comment Settings
Here, you choose to log the IP addresses of users who comment on your threads, as well as reviewing a list of users you have blocked. Blocking users is done on an entirely different page. You can only block registered users by typing in their username in the Admin Console page. (explained further below)
Track your recent activity across the site, to a maximum of 50 recent comments. Comments are listed with an approximate time-stamp, i.e Posted 5 weeks ago.
Add, rename or delete your Tags, and review a list of what entries use which tag(s). You can change who has access to your Tags; if you want your friends to add, modify or delete them, for instance.
Manage Account: This page collects all the necessary links that are vital to controlling your account. Change your e-mail address, your password, your Mood Theme, your Schools, your Account Status, your user-info profile, etc.
Change how IJ appears: the site's theme. I recommend Monodramatic, Worksafe, Lynx.
Change the details that are displayed on your user-info page: display name, gender; hide/display your birth-date, schools, e-mail address, instant messenger screen names.
You can choose to display Mutual Friends- users who have added your account to their friends-list; you can also display the names of users who have friended you, but you have not friended them back.
The Interests field box works like Tags, but they are very rarely used. The About Me field box is used for miniature profiles, game links, a game portal, affiliate banners, layout credit links, et cetera.
Change how IJ alerts you for thread replies, asylum invitations, new friends, new user icon uploads, and others.
Some notifications are restricted to Paid Account users.
Notifications may be sent as an e-mail message, or as a site-based message in your account's inbox.
Notifications do not work on occasion; some may get sent a day late, some do not get sent at all.
At the present time, Private Messages do not have an e-mail alert available. That said, staff across IJ expect their members to log in regularly, and to check on threads they are involved in. It is never a good idea to rely solely on e-mail notifications.
Manage Pictures: Free account users have 100 free icon slots; icons are 100 x 100 pixels, and 100kb in file size, max. You can purchase additional user icon slots, if needed.
Manage Schools: These are not used in games.
Delete your account and or your asylums. Users have 30 days to reactivate their account from the time of deactivation.
Once deleted, an account cannot be recovered. If you wish to reuse a purged, or deleted journal name, you must buy a rename token.
Edit Friends: Add or remove a user from your friends-list. You cannot read or otherwise engage in another user's journal, if their journal is set to friends-only and they have not added you as a friend.
Edit Custom Groups:
Manage groups of friends, whom you want to give access to certain threads in your own account. Custom groups do not apply for asylums.
Asylum maintainers may only use the Public or Members-Only security setting.
You can drag 'n' drop users in your friend-list to certain groups, and you must flag the group(s) as Public or Private before saving.
Every time you start a new thread, or you wish to edit an old entry, you may change the Security Setting for the entry in question: change it to Friends-Only, change it to Private, change it to Public, and so on. You cannot mass-edit entries.
A note on security settings: If you go to the Admin Console page, (you must be logged in) you can set a command so that all future threads in your asylum or your journal are marked as Public, or Friends/Members-only. This is handy, and saves time on having to change the security setting each time you start a new thread.
Choose which of your friend (groups) are displayed on your friends-list, publicly.
If you are a Mutual Friend with another user and you have not heard from them in a while, you can Nudge them. This sends them a system message, explaning that their friend (you) has not heard from them recently.
Invite: Send an invitation code to someone's e-mail address. Or, you can just copy/paste an invite code and give it to someone.
Invite codes allow new users to register an account. Each journal generates one code after their first week of 'activity'. Paid Accounts can generate more. A Permanently Insane account can generate 5 codes per month.
Create RSS Feed: Speaks for itself!
Post: A short-cut link for the default Post that's at the top of the webpage. The default link is easier to use, as it's, well, at the top of the page. This asylum post button is (usually) at the bottom of the webpage.
For asylum maintainers and moderators only, however this page is still accessible to users who do not own an asylum.
Here, you control who is a member, who is a maintainer, who has permission to post, if members need approval before they can become a member, if new threads need approval, etc.
A maintainer controls the core settings of the asylum, and all moderators has minor control over the asylum.
Support: Submit a support ticket for any trouble you may have with the site.
Upgrade Account: Pay with Paypal or another means, and upgrade your account. Ot, send a gift token to another user. You can donate to the site; you can purchase a rename token for yourself or another user. Anonymous gifts are available.
Extra User-Pics, Permanently Insane Accounts (permanent accounts), # icons for # months,; Paid Account Privileges for 6 months, 12 months, two years, and so forth.
FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions!
Search By Location: Search for other users in X city, Y state.
Search By Interest: Search for people who share your interests.
Started via the Post shortcut, usually at the top of the page (buttons change position according to which site theme you are using).
When you have finished writing the entry, you can choose from different settings in multiple drop-down menus. You can use Rich Text mode, or use the raw HTML tab.
Regular web HTML is used.
<b>bold test</b>, <i>italic</i>, <a href="url">Hyperlinks</a>, <center>text sample</center>, <del>strike-through text</del>,
The comment settings are:
Allow Comments? : Click either Default, Disabled. Don't e-email. This concerns e-mail notifications.
Comment Screening: Choose which comments are screened, or in other words, hidden from public view: Journal default, Disabled, Anonymous Only, Non-Friends, All Comments.
Show this Entry to: Everyone (public entry)
Just Me (locked to you)
Custom (Friend Groups)
Asylums are communities, and user accounts are called patients. Not many people use 'patients', but 'asylum' is regularly used.
InsaneJournal used to have a feature on the index page that listed the latest updated asylums, in a side-bar table.
This includes user-info tables, journal layouts, unique application forms, music player embellishments, and so on!
Most resource journals and asylums sort their threads via tags. For examples: journal, layouts: media, images: forms, images: hosting, html, layouts: cdj.
A collection of user-info tables and advertisements can be found at the Layout Directory page, in a simple thumbnail list.
Abbreviations & Slang
PSL - private story line. A roleplay that's between two people in a members-only asylum, or even between journals- no asylum needed!
More and more players are taking PSLs to instant messengers, i.e AIM, so a PSL is no longer a threading-only roleplay.
1x1 - See above.
GPSL - a group private storyline, or a private group RP. Membership is usually 5-10 players, in a members-only asylum. There are standard rules to follow, it is basically an RPG catering to a small collection of players.
Slash - everyone's idea of what 'slash' means, differs. It often means homosexual relationships; it can also mean non-canon sexualities; gay, bi, etc.
Femmeslash - non-canon sexualities of the female persuasion.
Freeform/open sandbox : The game has an open-world plot. Players develop their characters in their own storylines, within the world of the game. E.G the game is not governed by a linear, game-wide plot that leaves little or no room for personal character development.
Shipping: Playing a OTP, your crush, your favourite character couple. It is bad form to do this in a community, because a community is not to be used as a PSL.
It defeats the purpose of playing in a community, if you are only going to play with your character's partner/castmate/lover.
Smut: This can be used to mean two entirely different things; PWP, or an RP where smut is allowed- but is not necessarily the focus.
Custom: If you find someone asking "Want me to set up a custom?", it refers to a friends-locked thread in a user's CDJ, to discuss an RP in private.
OCs - Original Characters. This extends to OMC, Original Male Character; and OFC, Original Female Character, though these terms are not widely used.
Dub-con, non-con, and other kinks/fetishes:
When someone says 'trigger-worthy', it ususally means what they are looking for/are interested in taboo kinks. Some folks do not bother labelling their adverts, unfortunately, but this is rare.
In certain areas of ad communities, RP ads range from vanilla smut, to rough sex, edgeplay, BDSM, and 'squick' material.
It is recommended that you are very clear in what you like and do not like when it comes to sexual material, usually explained in your CDJ.
It does not matter whether you write FTB or play out the scenes in full, you should always specify what you want.
Usually, a simple 'I only write FTB' or 'I can write FTB on request' is good enough.
FTB: Fade to black sex scenes.
PBs, play-bys: Celebrity face-claims, in addition to individuals who are not well-known; band members, singers, models.
Short-term, long-term: These refer to the time-frame of a storyline. That is, how long the player(s) wishes to write the RP.
There is no definite time-frame for either of these labels; long-term chould mean a few months, a few years; short-term could mean a couple weeks, one week, one night.
AIM: Many players prefer RP through AIM, and use IJ as an advertising service. Some players want AIM available, for real-time character conversations. Some games require all players to have a character-specific AIM.
Anons: anonymous users. People who feel compelled to criticize another user's game or thread, usually without good intentions.
They are considered cowards, and most people refuse to talk to anons. If you want to speak your mind, say so with your journal. Do not hide as a guest, never to be traced to an individual user.
Journal hopping, sockpuppets: People who abandon their journal and move to a new journal, without telling their RP partners. They may keep a few partners, and naturally, this is a key trademark of a flaker. They abandon their journal, and move to another one in their collection.
Sockpuppets do this for a number of reasons; because they get tired of their current partners; they do not agree with something in the RP, and would rather drop everything and hide as opposed to discussing the issue. Some people get tired of their journal, and others swap journals to avoid drama.
Others simply do this because why not?
Flakers: People who disappear and never come back.
People flake or disappear because they found something shinier; they flake because they legitimately forget about their RP; they flake because they got cold feet; they flake because they realize that they are juggling too many characters; or they flake 'just because'.
Character journal: your character's IC account, what you use to join a game. Some people like to recycle their accounts and reuse them for a new character at a new game.
Others prefer to create new journals for new characters, this is usually because character journal names are made up of character quotes or descriptions that cannot be affiliated to a new character. I.E fandom-specific terms, quotes, descriptions, inside-jokes, slang.
CDJ: a character development journal. A journal that is used to host your role-play profile; preferences, likes, dislikes, want ads/requests, kinks, smut terms, writing style, rp examples, format (journals, AIM, Googledocs, e-mails).
CDJs can also serve to host your current memberships; links and/or mini-profile pics of your active characters, past characters, retired characters, characters/games on hiatus, etc.
You can do whatever you want with it when it comes to layout, embellishments, graphics, coding, # of entries, RP samples, public character profiles, active/past memberships.
CDJs are often controversial, in the sense that a lot of people are not impressed with 'flashy' journals riddled with complex table codes and graphics. It's a belief that having a nice-looking journal does not guarantee that the player will hang around to role-play.
In comparison, the same can be said for 'empty journals': accounts with only a Dropbox/Contact Me public entry, and a default basic layout.
Threading means that the player is interested in RPs that take place through journals and/or asylums: no AIM logs, no e-mails, no GoogleDocs.
Some players only use IJ as an advertising community to look for RP- and so they only role-play over AIM messenger, MSN, e-mail, what have you.
Mod - Mod(s) is a blanket term for all staff members. There is no administrator, maintainer, global-moderator label. Staff accounts are often named gamename_mods.
Everything essential for the game is archived in this account, which includes Rules, Reservations/Holds, Cast, Wanted Characters, FAQ, Contact Us/Dropbox.
Every now and then, public games go through a fad of 'add-ons'. This is my way of labelling it, to ease confusion; 'add-on' is not an 'official' term.
Add-ons are additional asylums that serve little purpose to the game, and often are just for the members to waste time with, in between IC posts. They are also just a way to expand the game by separating 'areas' into extra communities.
The forum equivalent are the categories and sub-boards; OOC, Absences, OOC Games, Artwork, Graphics, Intros.
Many games use a 'letter' system, and it changes according to the game's setting. E-mails, owl post, txt messages, letters.
What this means, is that each character has their own diary/blog/cellphone/whathaveyou, and they send each other messages. This is either done in a letters asylum, or to each individual character journal.
Add-on asylums take up space, and distract from the main community ( the threading community itself).
crack - silly/gag content
logs - where users post their AIM logs/threads
meme - quizzes, memes, surveys
intros - OOC introductions
letters - often found in Potter games, aka owl post
texts - SMS, text messages to individual characters
emails - Clear enough.
threads - A necessary asylum: the default method of roleplay. RPing through the community via threads.
The only asylums that are essential to any game is the IC asylum and the OOC asylum, aka OOC and threads.
IC asylums are often registered with the game's name, OOC asylums differ; some are abbreviations of the game's name, others are simply gamename_OOC.
Activity requirements are no different to the rules of an RPG on a different server.
Some games require that players post X threads each month- in addition to 'letters' or blog entries in the character journal itself.
Occasionally, a game is managed by a point system. IC threads equal # points; a text/email/letter post equals #. In this system, players must reach a certain number of points per month, in order to stay in the game.
An RPG's staff may require all new players to post an IC and an OOC thread within 24/48 hours upon being accepted.
Staff may require their players to post one thread per month, with a minimum of # comments in said thread.
It is up to the staff how they run their game, and what generates activity and a long-lasting game.
Here is a basic list of regularly-used ad asylums: