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Arceus

Being Helpful, or Creating Dependency?

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This is a pretty interesting topic, and something I have been thinking about moreso lately. 

 

I think in some ways you're right. I've known people who don't plot with people or reply to threads or expect to be waited on. I've found rpers are becoming more entitled and expecting things but on the other side? More chill and willing to do the work themselves to get things rolling. It is a breath of fresh air to see the latter type of members. 

 

When it comes to needy members from a staff perspective, it is tiring and unrealistic because time is an issue. I love plotting with members and getting them involved. Although I have also noticed that it can create entitlement in some rpers who want people to do things for them all the time. Rather than creating their own plots, making connections, etc. Sometimes some people are quieter and take a while to warm up to a community in comparison to others. 

 

As for what admin we should strive to be. That's a good one, I have to have more of a think about that one to give a better answer. I think an admin who is happy, in good mental health (who has a life outside the site), productive, friendly but not too friendly, and is able to enjoy their site. 


 
 
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I have been admin of a site where I was also super hands-off, and I have been an admin who creates and manages an ongoing meta plot, memes, etc. for players as well. In either scenario, I've never been a helicopter admin, for lack of a better word -- I am not hovering over new folks with thread ideas and hand-holding. I do as much as I can to make current players feel empowered, as was mentioned, and to encourage a welcoming atmosphere overall so that I don't have to shoulder the job of guiding newbies 100% of the time. If the system works, the older players are excited and happy to step in, and newbies aren't left feeling unwanted and overwhelmed by being in a new game.


BUT, even though it's not my style, I don't think that by being super welcoming and offering threads and etc. that we're creating members who can't function without it. I think the people who are going to be slow, or need their hand held, or who always need people to approach them first with plot ideas are always going to lean that way regardless. Obviously people can change, but I don't think it's anything to do with management style, really.

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Getting started is always the hardest part. I do like the social aspect of new era roleplay and generally feeling useful, so it’s not really out of my way to greet people and try to make sure they’re settling in alright.

 

People with entitlement issues are going to get on my nerves sooner than later, and I'm at a point and place that I'm comfortable saying 'no'. I don’t see the point in modifying things I like about myself to protect against a small number of people who will take advantage to the detriment of the larger number of people who will appreciate it and possibly pass it forward.

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Posted (edited)

I'm all about welcoming and greeting players and posting to plotters once they have their first character, and I'm happy to chat with them to develop connections if they want them, but character creation is a deeply personal process so I'm of the "let them create it and we'll see if tweaks are needed to fit the lore" type.

 

So far, the scenario I observe is very much like @Gothic said, though we get a high proportion of self-reliant people who can do their own thing. They still appreciate having plot hooks and events, but they don't seem to need them to have things going on their own.

 

I've once had someone not read the lore, then demand I feed it to them in DMs because it was "my job as staff" (excuse you, I have a job that pays the bills, this is my pretendy fun time) . This was the same person who needed a thread outline before they could write it comfortably.  This goes to show there are indeed entitled  or dependent people  out here, but I'm not sure how deep is the connection between that behavior  and a welcome wagon. 

 

I also believe that since we're all adults, someone who does need help should ask for it; but since we're adults, someone should also read ~stuff~ first.

 

TL;DR:  Acting like an adult means reading up first and THEN asking for help.  Everything else flows after that.

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Lol we're not all adults xD We're all 2 year olds in adult bodies.

 

All in all though, this comes from, in my personal experience, less of these dependent types show up on sites that don't have this whole rigamaroll of a welcome wagon, so to say. If it's made very clear, not through the rule writing but through how the community acts when they first dip their toes in, that they will need to either sink or swim, the ones that just can't figure out how to function without hand-holding just don't... show up at all. And it's mostly wondering if my experiences are widespread and if being that overeager happy admin is making some people start expecting it, or if it's just a fluke.

 

So, yeah. Some interesting points here, but do remember guys I'm not asking re: specifically me, or specifically any one person. It's more of a general discussion topic. c:

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2 hours ago, Arceus said:

If it's made very clear, not through the rule writing but through how the community acts when they first dip their toes in, that they will need to either sink or swim, the ones that just can't figure out how to function without hand-holding just don't... show up at all.

 

See, my experience is that these folks do that regardless. A lot of times, even when you have an effusive welcome wagon, you can tell pretty quickly, because they often seem very excited about the overall concepts and potential interaction when they first come in, but something always delays them getting started. And then when (if!) they do finally post, something delays them replying in a timely fashion, and then at all. Maybe they've realized it's not a good fit for them, or they bit off more than they could chew; whatever the reason, I don't think giving them water wings makes them more or less likely to flake.

 

When I ran the game where I was totally hands-off, this happened, and it still happened when I ran games with welcome wagons. It seems like people either have (or are willing to develop) self-motivation or they aren't.

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Hmmm I can't say for sure if it's a widespread thing but I HAVE noticed that we do get members that show up and if they don't immediately get people jumping at them and throwing plots at them etc, they end up leaving. But I'm busy and my co is busy so.... If they can't wait a couple hours for an answer to a question, they were never going to last on the site anyway. 

 

I do think a lot of players do wait for somebody to hold their hands. It's tricky, because when you're new to a site, there's a bit of an awkward moment when you and the rest of the board are trying to figure each other out. Sometimes it's just a matter of not fitting, but I think a lot of time, yeah, it's because people expect catering. 

 

I don't think there's anything wrong with admins being helpful and proactive if they want their site to succeed. I mean, first impressions are everything. It's just that, man, some people need patience. Yikes.

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On 8/13/2019 at 3:59 AM, Arceus said:

And it's mostly wondering if my experiences are widespread and if being that overeager happy admin is making some people start expecting it, or if it's just a fluke.

 

I personally haven't noticed it? But maybe that's because most sites I have joined don't have overeager and happy admins. So maybe my, I haven't noticed it, is confirmation of your hypothesis 😛


 

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This is a super complex topic, as all the other comments have established and this is something I've experienced on my site. 

 

On my site we really strive to be not just a community but a roleplay family. When a new member joins the members are great at making them feel welcome and helping them find their place in the community/family. If one member needs plot ideas/help, others will jump to help them. Likewise, that same member will jump at the chance if anyone else needs help. It's very much a give and take environment that works fantastic for us.

 

Unfortunately though we have had members that were more take than give. Where they relied entirely on other members to do the work for them and never offered anything in return. Those types of members can be difficult to handle, but they usually don't last long. Members are usually pretty observant to that sort of stuff, and if they feel like they are being used they'll be less inclined to help.  Likewise I've seen instances where members have called out the behavior, and it made the dependent-member realize what they were doing and shape up.

 

So... I guess your other members usually take care of these dependent-members. Either they leave eventually, or they eventually shape up.


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I think the hand-holding, overly bubbly admin that's tripping over themselves to line out the red carpet for every new member are a side-effect of the overall role-player entitlement towards sites, their admins, their management - a kind of "customer comes first" mindset (alongside other baggage and thoughts) role-players have when entering a new site. Some people enter a site so focused on themselves, expecting the entertainment to fall into their laps as they envision it in their head that they forget that 1) there's a discrepancy between the ideal site crafted in your imagination and the reality on the computer screen and 2) that what they're looking for (e.g. engaging, twisting-turning story-lines) isn't going to happen without any hard work to get there. We all see an exciting movie scene but do we really ever think about the amount of work in years and collaboration that went into that one five minute scene? Same principle in role-play: if you want that one scene of your character infiltrating that enemy outpost coupled with all the emotional impact, it's not going to take simply registering your name onto a site. 🤷‍♀️It's going to take months of character development and threading with other members.

 

If you couple that with the admin's side of things, especially when setting up a site is like setting up your own business (all this work/time spent/up-down's of building from the ground up and marketing with potentially no return) on top of the role-play climate (constant need of gratification/stimulus by role-players on a site or when looking for a site, over-abundance of sites that means yours needs to be competitive enough to stop people from going "thank u, next", millions of sites coming out/closing for all sorts of reasons that it's hard to gain traction in constantly shifting waters, etc, etc), it's no wonder that an admin has a lot of pressure to not only appeal to the public and new arrivals but also keep them. The mistake is that some admins think that they need to be a circus act of "enticing features" all neatly wrapped with a bow and a "customer service smile". That falls into having the "over-eager" admin tossing:

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welcome messages, plot dangles, site buddies, wanted ads, and every event going on right now

It's all an attempt to goat people into people into becoming interested and getting engaged. Note: I want to make clear these aren't necessarily bad on their own or even together. Different things work for different communities. Some admins like to be more engaged in their community and that doesn't necessary mean dependency. Dependency is more when a behaviour is encouraged by the admin where they positively reinforce dependency/reliance by acting on or accommodating to it (either directly or indirectly through site features). Kind of in the same way that a clingy dog is reinforced to be clingy because it's own chose to reinforce that behaviour. 

 

The issue with the "overeager admin" is that they reinforce that. Honestly, I don't think they realise it. It's one of those things where when you're in the deep of it, you think that is how you need to perform. It's also more of a problem imo of personality types more susceptible to public pressure and newer/younger admins that see it as "the way things are" (rather than: "there must be a better way of doing this"). But it's not just these admins, they're the "victims" and it's more the entitlement of role-players. Because I've seen some awful advice on directories, telling someone with a full-time 9-5 job and other responsibilities or commitments that they shouldn't open a site unless they "had more time". We're at a point where a lot of role-players aren't in their early twenties with ample time to spare - and while everyone is allowed to have a site that is more their speed, we shouldn't also be giving people misinformation about how much time an admin should have irl before they can open their site. Some admins are on everyday, some only a few days or less a week, there's a site for everyone - we should have more of that flexibility rather than expecting every site admin to adhere to the same (and sometimes strict) expectations.

 

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This is such an interesting topic of discussion because there really are issues with this. Both on sites that I've run and sites that I've been on. 

 

As a new member, before I even join a site I try to read up on all the lore/backstory/rules and regs and familiarize myself with everything. I even read posts and even threads to get a better feel of how things are done and how characters interact with each other before I even come into a chat box or discord to say hello. Because I feel that is what I should do as a potential member. As a site creator, I've written our very detailed and extensive lore and I almost find it a slight of sorts when people come onto the site and ask questions that could have been easily answered had they simply read all the information that was provided. As a member, I want to give an Admin/staff their just dues. I want the same.

 

But some people who come onto the site immediately get swarmed by staff and while it's nice to feel welcomed, sometimes it's nice to just be able to feel a room out and see what all is going on on my own. There have been admins that I've worked with that were overly eager to new members and once the welcome wagon was finished rolling out, they never spoke to that new member again. It gives people a false sense of "inclusion" when, in fact, they were simply throwing things at a person to entice them to join to increase the site numbers but not trying to care about fleshing a character out or helping a member with the character creation process.

 

I can understand being helpful, but someone shouldn't have to be walked along on how to do things. Again, this is why I stress reading everything and why I read everything when I join a site. If I'm still confused, then I'll ask questions. But 9/10, I usually wind up answering my own questions just by poking around, whether it's through the lore, the FAQ, or opening up character applications and seeing how other staff members/site members have put their characters together. 

 

I'm big on being independent and learning as much as you can on your own before jumping into save someone. I encourage my staff to do the same. I don't like it when anyone on my staff feel like they have to save the new person when it's stressed that they should read (because common sense dictates...) before seeking help out.

 

But maybe that's just me. I've always been a "push them in the water and they'll learn how to swim" kind of person. 

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I call it spoon feeding.  I have had players that come into a forum and do the reading and rarely bother staff unless its for clarification of some of the races etc. Than I have had others who basically do not read a frigging thing and have to be spoonfed for about a week in their creation of a character. Its draining. 

 

I prefer just learning as much as I can and then asking questions if I am unclear about something. I think its a very thin line sometimes that can create a dependancy and its horrible when it does. You loose your own muse over it.


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So I want to say yes and no. I put up an ad to join a site recently and simply stated that I wanted sites that had wanted ads that had 2+ connections with other players and I did find I focused more on the admins that took the time to give me one or two even if I went delving to find more myself. It felt, to me, that the admin at least took the time to read my advertisement a bit more than someone that just said "I think we have the right site here's the ad".

 

Now I know I'm not personally the sort that needs a million people pouncing on me when I join a site or a discord. I like that people are excited that I'm there but it's sort of like the hype for new things. There's often a smidge of a let down once you get into it. I certainly think people should answer my questions as needed and I feel like overall I shouldn't feel discouraged when I might be asking a stupid question. But at the same time I feel like I should be equally contributing to my own integration into a site. I don't expect that other members are going to make my plot for me.

 

That's where the break down is though. I still want people to offer me plots when I join a site but I don't need every wanted ad you ever wanted thrown in my face either.

 

I think that throwing everything to see what sticks is a dependency thing, these are going to be the first players that flake if you go on vacation for a week because "your site is dying". I also don't think a fully hands off approach is satisfactory either.

 

I think this is relevant:

 

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