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Skadi

Applications: Menace or Blessing?

Morrigan

The staff of the Initiative want to be clear, despite having strong no application opinions, doesn't mean we believe that you or your site have to make changes to your site to conform to the staff's opinion.

 

We advocate a "You do what's right for you and/or your community". This means if you like applications you keep them. If you don't then don't. Same for joining a site.

Message added by Morrigan

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Posted (edited)

As an admin, I don’t have players fill out an app because I’m cruel or unusual, I do it because I want to know what kind of character I’m allowing onto my site, and I want you to have a good idea as well. I know the current fad is to recycle previously used characters and just edit them to fit the scene, but for those that don’t do that I’ve always found it useful to have to delve into my characters head a bit more and figure out what makes them tick. Are they strong-willed or do they crack under pressure? Are they a good liar or do they stutter when they try? All of these little things that pull them apart from everyone else are things that I would t really consider heavily unless I was asked. 

 

It seems lately that there has been an influx of people not wanting to do applications or finding them to be a waste of time or deterrent. My question then becomes, why is that? Is this a new general consensus, or is this more of an outlier thing? Do you prefer to have an app before posting, if so, why? If you don't, also why?

 

Edited by Skadi
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I'm one of many that loathe applications. While some people believe they help flesh out a character what they do for me is hitch me up in making them because honestly I don't want to think about every mannerism my character has that only I notice when I write my posts and are generally ignored by most other people that read my posts. I also may not know all of my characters mannerisms yet. Sometimes I want to see how the character feels when they are written.

 

I'll quote my post from @Grimscythe's introduction thread:

On 8/3/2019 at 5:42 PM, Morrigan said:

I don't like them myself. I always seem to develop and change my character from their app in their first thread so they are often nothing like what I apped. I always feel like apps are more like character resumes and like if its not a good enough resume then I don't get the job/into the RP. Which to me feels like a big hassle for a hobby.

 

 

I've had it more often then not that I'll develop a character, start to finish, in an application and in their very first thread they are a completely different person. I've been told that's because I'm not staying true to my character when it's the opposite the application isn't true to the character I was developing. I used to be a tech support manager and I used to read applications/resumes and even helped my co-workers fluff their resumes when our center was shutting down and everyone was getting laid off. What you put in a resume is the side of yourself that you want someone to see. It doesn't include that you're a single mom that likes red wine and karaoke.

 

This is the same as character applications. They are a static, foot in the door to a place you're interested in being. They don't provide plot opportunities, they don't provide information that is helpful into creating plot opportunities. They provide meta information so people can pretend to know things about your character that they shouldn't.

 

They also really don't help everyone develop their character, which is often the biggest argument for them.

 

While I go for a "to each their own" philosophy because really at the end of the day you have to choose the environment that works for you in this hobby, I don't think that Applications provide the information that an end user needs in order to prove their "quality" as it were. I make amazing applications and still prefer to average 50 words per post. Yes they are quality posts but not to the people that are vetting me for length through an application. Does it deter the trolls and people that haven't read your rules or whatever? Maybe sometimes but you'd be surprised how determined a troll can be if they want it bad enough. Does it filter out the non-desirables? Again, maybe sometimes but normally not.

 

Honestly, IMHO it's an archaic roleplay tradition that was spurned off of the term "mary sue" from fan fiction because everyone was afraid that all these fan fiction characters would ruin all the roleplay world, that just hasn't gone away. It's an elitest "I can write better than you can and I'll show you by denying your app" thing as well.

 

While some of the things I've said above aren't wholly or 100% throughout the RP society it is the experience I have had and I know many others have had when it comes to applications.

 

Plus... this is a hobby. Why do I have to do homework?

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Posted (edited)

I love love love this! I also hate applications, because I find it to be ridiculously tedious. For many of the same reasons you do. I prefer getting an in depth feel for my character, then writing out a sheet after the fact for those that want to obtain a general idea of the character I'm writing.

 

Applications feel extremely forced to me. It also makes me feel like I'm somehow less of a writer than other people when my applications are denied because they don't fit the ideal of what the person approving/denying applications is looking for. I'm always having to correct minor things on top of that. For instance, I've had an application request that I go more in-depth about the abilities of my character. I intentionally try and keep it vague until I have a better feeling for what type of class I'm writing, whether it's magic or not.

 

It's like I'm having to take a test to write with a group of people for fun, and I have to keep taking that test over and over to prove myself.

Edited by Grimscythe
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@Morrigan hits the nail on the head with homework being a deterrent for a hobby.

 

I don’t like applications in large part because I want to make sure a character fits with the world in live action as well as meets my own interests adequately, and the only real way to find that out is by jumping in.

 

While applications may root out people who don’t bother to read other peoples’ work, so does “hey, can you read my post/rules/etc?” and so it seems kind of overkill to me.

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By Wit & Whitby

[Plot] | [Rules] | [Wanted] | [Discord]

18+ | Victorian Era | No App | No Word Count |

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I come from a background where everybody, everywhere, in every game, has to submit an application and be approved to get in, so reading the anti-application sentiment on here in recent months has really stunned me.

 

(It probably bears saying that most of those games were fandom-based games and you were applying for an existing fandom character in most instances, but not all. This was for OC games, too. Applications were/are just a way of life.)

 

Me personally, I want one. Even when I don't technically have to submit an app for approval to get into a game, I write them for myself. I write them when I play OCs privately with friends, just to have. I also do bios for characters in my non-RP stories, like @Elena. (The internet is chock full of character development sheets for novelists.) The "it helps flesh out a character" argument is an argument because it's legit for many people. I myself find real value in deconstructing a character and unpacking their motivations. I think it's OK and natural for characters to change over time in a game. But I really struggle to wrap my mind around how you can know where someone is going if you don't know where they've been.

 

Then again, I have known people who were much more fly by the seat of their pants writers than I am, who could just jump in and had no issue with weaving a compelling and layered story on the fly, so I guess YMMV.

 

For me as an admin, though -- And I say this as a person transitioning to forum RP, so bear with me -- I don't know how I could know that a new player was a capable writer and was applying on more than just a whim without something application-like involved. I've read on here too that people also hate writing samples. Without an app or a sample, how do you know? As was said, how do you know thought is being put into the character at all, that this person cares enough to research the time period, lore, etc.? I am very confused, lol.

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1 hour ago, Elena said:

I don't know how they can be "a different person in posts", if you have thought them out in the application and you have always the application as basis to check when you are unsure how to write them

 

This is easy. A person is always different on paper than they are in real life. That's the same thing for an app to a character for me. It's just like I am a different person at work than I am at home or out in public etc.

 

I can probably post my resume and explain why it's BS fluffy version of what it is.

 

It's the same thing for having to list out my characters likes and dislikes or strengths and weaknesses. My favorite strength/weakness that everyone uses is "stubborn". They normally use it for both a strenth and a weakness and explain that it's good because they never give up but it's bad because... this means they never give up even if they hit a wall. I've personally used this as a strength/weakness in many applications. It provides no insight into my character and tells the administrator nothing about how stubbornness really affects the way I write my character.

 

As I said previously. You do you. For some people that's the way they flesh out their characters. For people like me it's just a roadblock into actually playing and fleshing out my characters.

 

I, for example, have characters that I've played in RP exclusively for 10+ years off and on and only just over the past 2 years started to flesh out nervous habits because I've had a consistent writing partner. They weren't things I even consider during an application for any character and don't even have all of them for all of my characters.

 

1 minute ago, Keaton said:

For me as an admin, though -- And I say this as a person transitioning to forum RP, so bear with me -- I don't know how I could know that a new player was a capable writer and was applying on more than just a whim without something application-like involved.

 

The problem is, as I pointed out in my previous post, is an application doesn't give you a writer's merit it gives you their resume. It's not until the in person interview that you really figure out if that person is worth the words printed on the page.

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I doubt it @Keaton. I've experienced and used every type of application and more often then not the sorts of people that an application has ever drawn in, especially long apps, are people that are more interested in the application process than the process to actually interactively or collaboratively write.

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1 minute ago, Morrigan said:

I've experienced and used every type of application and more often then not the sorts of people that an application has ever drawn in, especially long apps, are people that are more interested in the application process than the process to actually interactively or collaboratively write.

 

Maybe it's a culture difference with forum RP, I don't know. My presumption where I have traditionally played (and I think the general presumption on journal RP) is that people applying want to collaboratively write. It isn't something that's ever been an issue, really, in my personal experience, but like I said, forum RP is new to me. Is this really an issue here? Why would you apply to an RP if you're not into collaborative writing? (Not meaning this sarcastically, I am genuinely curious.)

 

All I know is that I've reviewed many, many applications, and that yes, there are some people who just like writing about their characters (Which I think is fine, tbh), but I also find that a well-crafted application can indicate thoughtfulness, passion for the character, an understanding of their psychology, as well as general writing skill even without a formal sample. Often the person will discuss who they're most interested in threading with and the kind of potential for plot they're looking for. You can tell who really loves to write their character, who is really excited by the setting you're presenting, and all of these things together can give a sense as to whether this person will actively contribute, in my experience.

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14 minutes ago, Keaton said:

All I know is that I've reviewed many, many applications, and that yes, there are some people who just like writing about their characters (Which I think is fine, tbh), but I also find that a well-crafted application can indicate thoughtfulness, passion for the character, an understanding of their psychology, as well as general writing skill even without a formal sample

 

To me this sounds like those of us that prefer not to have to do such can't be equally as passionate about writing their characters or equally as good or enthusiastic that I again, have to prove my worth through an arbitrary character resume that only captures an image of my character and not the character itself.

 

In my experience, and this has been in journal, forum and email RP if I'm fair, is that oftentimes people that write very eloquent, well thought out and profound applications and roleplay examples are often those that really like the process of the application and not the actual act of the roleplay.

 

This isn't to you directly @Keaton just to be clear but has anyone ever really thought of why the "You must have X posts on your previous character before you can create another one" rule came from? It's not something that you'll find on many no app sites, these sites want to just get you involved and get you playing. The time you'll see this on a no app site is when someone joins to hoard PBs. The time you'll see this on an application site is because most players don't play the characters they create, no matter how enthusiastic they seem.

 

One of my favorite past times when joining a site, looking at a site or just because I'm bored and want something to do, is I go through the "top posters" sections on many sites. I've found that most sites average people with 10+ characters have an average post ratio of 3 posts per character over the life of the site. And to most that should sound amazing "How long though!!!???" I've seen sites open for over 2-3 years that still average this post count for the amount of characters that they have.

 

Do I care? No. If you took the time to app the character you're free to take as long as you damn well please to get your posts out. Does it make sense that someone that's been on the site for 2 years only has 30 posts and ten characters? Not really.

 

Edit: To be clear, these are sites that delete characters after 30-90 days of inactivity so take that into account too.

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26 minutes ago, Morrigan said:

To me this sounds like those of us that prefer not to have to do such can't be equally as passionate about writing their characters or equally as good or enthusiastic that I again, have to prove my worth through an arbitrary character resume that only captures an image of my character and not the character itself.

 

I apologize if it came off that way; I was trying to explain why I don't see an application as a resume, which to me is just a list of accomplishments rather than an in-depth and thoughtful unpacking of motivation.

 

As I said above also, I've known people who are great at just jumping in with a brand new character and writing stories with amazing depth, and that YMMV. I'm not trying to discount that ability or suggest that those folks don't exist.

 

I think too that we're possibly coming from different perspectives because I'm coming from a background of pretty much everyone playing fandom characters, where mods are trying to make sure that folks actually know something about the character they're playing for the sake of everyone involved.

 

I am curious, though, what you do about people who don't know the lore or don't care about blatant anachronisms, etc. when anyone can join without any kind of application? Is this a self-policing sort of thing? Or "give the benefit of the doubt" and try to help them along up to a point and then take some kind of action? I'm just very curious about the vetting process since the internet has lots of dubious folks in it.

 

39 minutes ago, Morrigan said:

In my experience, and this has been in journal, forum and email RP if I'm fair, is that oftentimes people that write very eloquent, well thought out and profound applications and roleplay examples are often those that really like the process of the application and not the actual act of the roleplay.

 

Well, that's certainly true at least some of the time, yeah. This is, I presume, the principle reason for monthly activity requirements (which are also pretty ubiquitous in journal RP at this point). I'm to the point now where I definitely prefer positive motivation to making people meet some kind of activity requirement, because yeah, I want folks who actually want to play their characters and are excited to do that.

 

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I love apps. As a writer, I use them to focus my ideas for a character, because God knows otherwise I would just have Post-It notes everywhere with all of the information that I know about said character, or a completely disorganized Word doc. As a player, it helps me know where and how my character might interact with another person's character so that, like Kit said, you don't default to a "grizzly bear in a cafe kind of thread." As a staff member, it helps make sure that characters are not only somewhat in line with their canon history and personality, but that their powers are within the limits for a semi-realistic superhero site.

 

With the last note especially, sometimes asking people to write out limitations for their characters helps add quirks of its own. For example, a character with "cat-proportional senses" will have enhanced hearing and olfaction, yes, but cats also lack the ncessary taste bud receptors for sweetness, and they're farsighted and color-blind, which is how I ended up with a glasses-wearing, color-blind cat-themed character who can't taste sugar.

 

I'd also like to mention that, on the site I admin, we include the ability to do an application update if something significant happens IC that should be recorded, such as a notable character event, a change to a powerset, or even a reworking of their personality.

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