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Kazetatsu

Open Threads:How do you encorage them?

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I personally love open threads but they seem to be on the decline on many forums. either they get one person replying and that's it, or they sit empty for a while untouched too often. For me, its a rather sad trend because I tend to find sites without them a bit less welcoming when I'm considering them.

 

as a note, for me open means anyone can join, and multiple people can join. there's also been a trend where open is often synonymous with Private after first post which isn't really what I'm referring to.

 

so how do you, encourage people to make and participate in open threads?

 

my style is to make a bunch of opens whenever my site seems slow. Some have plots attached, some are more up in the air, see what happens types I'll make an open thread per day when my muse is high, just in hopes that a few of them stick. 

 

I also like making threads which would normally be private, open to anyone, as long as the setting is in a public place or public situation or I want drama to go down. if my character's gonna hurt yours on the street for example, I might make it private till the deed is done, but after that, I want witnesses, bystanders, police and so on so I'd make sure to open it up so more than just npcs can be involved.

Edited by Kazetatsu
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When I can, I like to join the open threads with either one of my PCs or a staff-played NPC relevant to the area and tag players with characters that I think would be relevant/compatible. 

 

Either I'll reach out to a player privately and be like, "Hey, so-and-so posted a thread here with a character/situation that I think your Character X would have fun with - if you're interested that is, no worries if you aren't because I didn't say anything to the topic starter about contacting you"  or I might use that NPC to drop plotcrumbs/hints that will IC-ly lead the threader to other characters and open plots currently happening on the board. 

 

Primo Example of the Latter:  

A  Faerie character (who mistakenly tried to burglarize her hotel room as their first meeting) was given a task by my ancient Vampiress to discover her name (She's an Old as Dirt Monster and considered "Lost to the Ages") as a game. Well, he ended up in a bar owned by one of the Major NPCs as part of an unrelated open thread, but that bar is where she happens to work as a vocalist on the weekends. The NPC gave the Fae a name, and the Fae was then able to do a one-shot at the library searching through historical tomes for lost references to her. BOOM. Cemented Plot Connection (Poor Faerie). 

Like, I really don't understand why people don't like them. Some of the most creative plot twists have happened based on random encounters. 

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I don't admin a site right now, so I'll have to speak as a member. Personally, while I really don't see a lot of open threads around, I've never witnessed the ones I do see sit reply-less forever. It may take a little bit for anyone on a smaller site to be looking for extra threads, so sometimes they sit for a while, but I've never had the impression people don't care for them! 

 

As a player, I try to give them some purpose. I Make sure i want that thread just like I'd want a planned thread, because it will develop something about a character or advance a plot. Then, because my opens have a point I want to see through, I use them as a starter I've already written. I have them displayed on my plotter and I suggest them to people asking for threads. 

 

About encouraging them as a site admin, I think the most important thing is making them a consistent part of the site. The problem with open threads, if there is any, is that often they come across as something separated from the rest, threads you end up doing in your extra time or as a new member when you don't know anyone to plot with yet. So using NPCs to make them extra exciting is pretty neat, and creating them as part of an important plot will probably encourage people to reply, but just overall posting engaging opens around the board already works in making them be seen as normal and exciting! 

 

ALSO, I just remembered. I used to be in a site where all threads were open unless they took place somewhere other people wouldn't usually be (like your character's house). It also worked wonderfully, honestly, and it was one of the most fun, engaging sites I've ever been a part of! The number of threads with more than two characters was really high (which I think makes a lot of sense, I don't spend 1x1 time in RL with most people!), and threads kept going to surprising and unexpected places. You don't get to encourage open threads any more than that, and even though I think it's the best, I get it's not a rule everyone would want on their site.

Edited by Stat
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I don’t worry much about it. People are going to do what they want to do and post where they want to post. The best thing to do is probably lead by example, but also. . . 

 

Pretty much all threads in my game are open, meaning that if your character could reasonably show up in a thread it’s fair game. Most players won’t SURPRISE!barge in, but it’s in the rules to encourage folks to go ahead and jump in if they’re inclined. 

 

I’ve also found it can be handy to make some sort of listing for open threads, so people can locate them easily and it’s clear that they’re wanted/supported. 


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We try to offer a wide variety of scene types (threads). How many can opt into an Open Thread depends on the setting and situation. We often use opens to introduce a new character.

 

So, I feel strongly that open threads still have a place as long as they are used judicially and where it makes sense to do so.

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I don't really try to encourage folks to write open threads too strongly because I would rather people write with who they want to and have fun. As an admin, I do make open plot-driven threads and invite people to participate, and also events and special parts of seasons are when I make mention that if folks want, open threads could be useful if folks are interested. 

 

Otherwise, I have a few players who enjoy the random chance of an open threads and then I have players who just can't handle that sort of thing and would rather know who or what to expect.

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On our site, we try to run occasional writing prompts (especially around the holidays) that naturally spawn open threads.  We have a dedicated "Open Threads List" for members to post their open thread - who it is, where it is located, the mood/vibe of the thread, suggested types of responders, etc.  We also have a channel in our Discord server for people to post URLs to their open threads for maximum visibility.

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In my personal belief I think private threads has something to do with cliquish behaviors and not necessarily in a bad way, just the way that sometimes we find people we click with and its easier to write with them than we those we don't or do not know. And by easier I mean more familiar. You know what you're in for and surprises are not wambamthankyoumam in your face.

 

However, I dislike this trend. I've never been good at creating relationships with others, so cliquish sites with lots of private threads and the only open threads are weeks old turn me off. AND unfortunately this is most all of the sites I happen upon. I've learned that this often indicates that if I put up an open thread and tried to weasel my way in without forming friends first means, I'm probably not going to get an answer to an open thread I create. Now I'm not saying this is true everywhere it has just been true for me personally.

 

I do not have a site currently at this time but I do have one I have been developing for the better half of a year or more and one of my main posting rules is that ALL threads are open. Private threads do not exist. If a writer can think of a plausible way to enter a thread with a particular character then so be it. I have not tested my theory yet but I hope this might diminish the less appealing factor of private and friend based writing only. :)

 

So my vote of how to encourage open threads? Do not allow private threads unless perhaps under strict circumstances (a home setting, an organization meeting, etc. etc.).

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