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Applications: Menace or Blessing?


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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As with anything, it all depends on the community. But when it comes to my personal preference I am not a fan of applications. I usually like to flush out characters while posting with them. A lot of times I find applications stuffy and in my experience I can never fully flush out until I start posting.


When looking to join a site, I probably won't join one with an application. My attention span is rather short so it may take me hours to fill out the entire application. Meanwhile sites that do not require one, allow me to get started right away and developing my character right then and there. But if there is a site I really want to join, I will spend the time and fill out an application. But there has only ever been one site that I really wanted join that I filled out an application for.


Like I said, every community is different.  As such, these are just my personal opinions and experiences. 

“By the pricking of my thumbs, 
Something wicked this way comes.” 
― William Shakespeare, Macbeth

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On my games, the way we do it is this:


When people join a new character, they submit a character profile for them. HOWEVER, this character profile can be basically anything. It can be the character's name and that's it. It can be a constant, messy WIP. It can be a fully fleshed out novel. It can be a few sparse sentences. Whatever! Players can edit the profile whenever they want, change whatever they want whenever they want...the profile is their playground, and it's their choice how they utilize it.  The profiles are there, primarily, for the player, and once they've submitted the profile (whether it's a novel or just the character's name) they are free to play that character. Yay!


I hate applications. With a passion. They don't work for me and my particular creative process, because my process is "figure it out as I go." I never know who a character is until I actually write them, and I figure them out over the course of years. There are characters I've been playing for a good decade who I've only JUST had an "aha!" moment with regards to their past...just because it never really was relevant. But as I write them, my brain fills in the gaps and the ideas flow.


That's largely how I write my stories, too. I'm a pantser by nature. When I try to plan things out, it flops and flops hard, so I've stopped trying to force myself to do that and just let things flow as works for me.


Thus, I have this system on my games so that all style of player can fit in and know that I see them, and that I understand that everyone has a different process. Some people NEED to plan their character out in advance and fill out a complete biography because for them, the act of filling that out generates ideas and helps them really get to know their character. And that's just as valid! I also personally view profiles as living documents and feel players SHOULD be able to change their mind about things regarding their characters, and that they SHOULD be able to update things and work on things as they play. I update my character profiles fairly often to chart character progress--my profiles grow with the years, and usually they only start out as a name, maybe with a short sentence of description.


Applications only really cater to one type of creative process, so I can't play on games that require a complete, in-depth application right out the gate. Again, my brain just isn't wired that way, and when I've tried to force it, I've only gotten bland characters that I quickly lost interest in.


Also...what I hate about applications is the lack of, well, secrets and surprises. I intentionally withhold information (or outright lie, if my character is lying about it) in my profiles. Because I don't want everyone to know everything right off the bat. I like throwing my partners curveballs and surprises! And I love when they do the same for me! Applications take away the mystery when it lays out EVERYTHING. And I dislike that. That's half the fun for me.


That said, as an admin...well, I've been running my games this way for going on 19 years, and it hasn't been an issue. I can speak to both methods, too, because I DID run a fandom game that used applications, because I thought it might be necessary given the shenanigans fandoms invite, buuuut...in all honesty, having applications made it MORE chaotic and stressful for me, so we ultimately did away with the process there, too.


Things are not chaotic because there are no applications. The rules and lore still needs to be adhered to, and having no applications does not suddenly make the player immune to these things. My communities are really good about communicating issues, so if a player is breaking the world, staff will hear about it and we'll address it one on one with the player in question. That is, if the players haven't already pointed it out and addressed it among themselves first. We're laid back about things and don't have a lot of rules to break, but if someone does, we handle it case by case like anything.


The same thing goes for triggering content on my games. Players all can fill out a "wants and limits" form where they can state their boundaries and/or triggers, so players can match-make better (and know what things are dealbreakers for their partners, and decide if those dealbreakers are also dealbreakers for them or not--like, for example, someone who doesn't care about triggers would probably decide not to thread with someone who has a long list of triggers to avoid, y'know?). I also ask, as a courtesy, that common triggers (sexual assault, excessive gore, excessive violence, suicide) be tagged. People are also really good about including a content warning in their character profiles if their character deals with triggery stuff. I have a few characters who, whenever someone expresses interest in them, I make sure to warn them that, hey, x and y triggery subjects will most likely come up with them, you cool with that? If not, let's use a different character!


So far, in all the years we've been around, there has yet to be an issue and things have run smoothly. ❤️

  • Thank you 2


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I give the option of whether or not to post apps cause I honestly won't read all of it anyways. I read what I need to know and then call it a day. My roleplay contains details of my character so even I myself won't usually apply an app on my own site but I will do apps for other sites not my own as required to do so.

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As an Admin I like apps because it helps me to see if a character fits into the world. On my site a character's main profile is where they fill in their 'app', but it's pretty much basics (name, age, faction etc), and then a freestyle section where you can be as detailed or not-detailed as you like. I just want to get a feel of the characters I'm accepting - do they fit into the world? My headcanon for what I would allow in the world and what makes sense to me might be different to what someone else might headcanon, which has happened and we discussed it together.


As a Member I am not a fan of writing applications that require me to go into massive detail. I used to RP on sites that require 200+ - or something like that - words for appearance, personality and history and now I would 100% be put off by that. But if there is no app at all that also puts me off. I like somewhere to put at least some information about my character to give other people I might roleplay with a feel for who I'm writing, and I like to get a feel for potential characters I might want to roleplay with too. Knowing a bit about a character also helps me to think what kind of thread we might have, how they'd get along, how they might meet etc.


Personally, an image for appearance, bullet points for personality, and then a rough explanation of my character's history is usually what I like to write. And then if I can have a development board/thread to dump all other bits and bobs about my character as and when I feel like, that'd be perfect!

  • Agree 2

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I like applications as a reference point for characters and, as a staff member, to get a general gauge of how well someone might fit in with our culture. They also help to make sure people know which Star Wars era we’re in. 


We’re pretty relaxed about them these days and try to make the process as quick/easy as we can for people. We used to be waaaaaay up our own ass about them and I’m happy we got away from that. 

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Administrator, Star Wars Universe RP

An AU Star Wars Roleplay set in the Old Republic era

Story | Cast


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I don't do RP that requires face claims. Applications mostly serve a purpose in giving a description of the character and what they are, because that can be pretty varied on the site. You can't assume any character on the site is human, because we just started and we already have goblins, sahuagin, and sidhe. I just need a few paragraphs beyond that of what you're doing with the character, and we're good to go. But having a place for us to look and remember what your character looks like is important. Hell, when I ran my no-app Pokemon site, I required people to post their character species because asking mid-thread "what's your character again" was a common occurrence and we wanted to avoid that.


I think our longest app is three paragraphs, not including description. Our shortest is a paragraph. We're small and just starting, so it's possible there'll be longer, but as an admin I made mine intentionally short to set a precedent: we just need the basic details. We don't need your character's entire personality or the exact details of their backstory. Just enough that we know you've read the lore.

City of Outcasts

Urban High Fantasy inspired by D&D

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