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Have you ever tried joining your site as a new player?


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So I've RPed in ways with a more volatile group lately and for the first time as a non-admin (since I joined and nearly became an admin immediately) decided to create a non-admin character.

 

I've watched the more nasty nature of this RP group happen almost immediately. From asking for help and the snarky comments like "I should already know" to comments about how "my request to find RP" was unfounded and that I should reach out to more players before asking for other players to reach out to me.

 

From the player end... I certainly feel like the group has a clique where I don't see it from the admin side because I'm apparently part of this clique. The difference is that the answers/information/whatever is happening when I'm not there or other people are there.

 

I don't need advice on my site. I've got that handled.

 

The point of the post is to find out if you've ever tried to undercover boss your own site to see how it is joining it. I mean creating an anonymous discord is easy. Creating an anonymous email is easy. By all means you can secret into your own site without even your best friend knowing that its you.

 

If you have tell us your experience.

If you haven't tell us if you plan to now that you have the option.

 

After doing it, I found it was a great way to determine some flaws in my member conversation systems and the information they provide. It also pointed out some key members that I needed to talk to about their negative behaviors when new members joined the site.

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I personally have not, and doubt that I would, but if I did try that, I would probably have to use a VPN just to keep my identity secret and when I  personally see a VPN (they're surprisingly obvious sometimes) in use, I'm always wary. I understand that use of a VPN does not inherently mean someone is going to be a problem, but it does show me that if they are, I'm limited in what I can do about it. 

 

Honestly, I'd likely badger someone like an old RP friend to join though and get their thoughts and opinions, which is something I have done in the past. Unfortunately they found the site, which they once loved, extremely unwelcoming, and I later learned after the site went quiet again, that that was the case for several people. Granted, I left after feeling the same uneasiness that the members felt.

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I'm not sure if this counts, but my Admin account is my Admin account. My player accounts are just that - Player accounts. I don't do any Admin work with my character accounts and I don't write character posts with my Admin account.

 

 

 

 

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I don't know... I feel like you knew something was amiss, otherwise you wouldn't have gone through all that to create a whole secret identity. Personally, if I am running a site I don't have time to take on an alter ego when I have posts to be writing, characters to be enjoying, and admin stuff to be doing. I feel like deceiving people is a surefire way to lose respect-- whether that be through the members actively uncovering an identity, or, because I'd be doing myself the disservice of undermining my authority as an admin when I could be directly addressing an issue or individuals. Just my personal opinion, seems way too stressful.

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Not specifically for that reason, but I have created an account that I kept separate from my Admin identity and main characters for a while. Originally it was just to see if I could write with a completely different voice and style, but I did find that people treated me differently. I got to hear all the griping about silly things that nobody wants to say to the Admins face, so that was interesting, haha, but over all I was pleased to see that my members are lovely and welcoming.

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I've not done this and I don't think I will. I've got enough going on in my life without sneaking up on my members. Besides, many of us are already anxious and stressed out and I have no desire to add to that. I trust my members. They might be quiet and shy but they're not willful jerks.

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Gosh, this feels dishonest and makes me uncomfortable to even consider. I feel like if I ever lose the pulse of my site enough that I feel like this is necessary, it's time for me to seriously reevaluate where I'm at as a member of the community.

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  • 1 month later...

I personally have not, but I was a Staff for a roleplay that had a newer Staff member who joined after me do this. My distaste for the idea and how things actually ended up playing out led to some real issues for the place and ultimately started the rapid decline of the community as a whole and jumpstarted my slow edging away from the place. I honestly believe it was one of the actions that brought to light for me just how desperate, snakey, and not genuine the Owners and her main Staff were. 

 

I believe that something like this can hurt more than it can help, even if the 'mole' is able to have an unbiased, clear view of what they're in and even in a space less blatantly toxic as I was in its still a pretty big red flag.

 

In my opinion there are plenty of more honest, and far more effective, ways to get a read on your situation.

 

I don't mean to be harsh, but if you're turning to such methods to try and manage your site it may be time to reevaluate whether you /your staff are fit to lead and manage at all. It's not a good sign for those who are meant to uphold the integrity of their community turn instead to deceiving them. (Of course i understand lapses i  judgement and mistakes, but for ones so serious a total update of policies, methods, and such is probably overdue)

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Since I'm the only admin on either of my sites, I don't think I'd be able to fool myself that easily. 

Although, with a few beers and a little MJ, you never know...  I could slip right by myself and see just what an ogre I really am!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Honestly, if I were a member of a site where this happened, I'd pack up and leave because it feels shady. It says to me you either don't trust your members, or there's some massive issue with your staff, neither of which makes me want to stick around for long.

 

As someone who's been admin on many sites, that is 100% not how you should go about things imo. There are other ways to sniff out issues. Sit back for a couple of days, and watch interactions without stepping in. Read back through your site's Discord/chat while you were offline, and look at threads that you didn't personally address. I've also gotten non-RPer friends to join, go through the process, and give me some feedback when I've suspected there were issues.

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I'm also of the opinion that this is a really strange way to see what your member base is like in response to new players. As a staff member, imo, you should have a pretty good idea of how your new members are treated by your community, especially if your site has a discord. Like, you can see how people are responding when a new member joins the chat? I don't really understand how showing up in your community under a different alias would give you a different view of things, except for when it comes to directly messaging people on discord/pming on site.

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I can see how someone might find this useful. It'd be a way to see behind the curtain, essentially, because I know a lot of members don't like coming to Staff about everything.  And we don't see every interaction. However, I feel like doing this would only validate their fear of coming to Staff about issues. How can you trust your staff, if they are blindsiding you and going undercover to see who the 'problem' members are? This feels like a way of digging up dirt when there might not be any and can be the victim of massive amounts of human error.  I know sometimes it's hard being a staff member and trying to figure out what's going on behind closed doors (dms), but until someone comes to you or you see a problem in the general chat- it shouldn't be something you go looking for. 

 

I think some healthy alternatives would be: checking in with members if you feel there might be a problem- open the door for them to talk to you. If people are being shitty to new members/guests in the general chat- make it clear that this type of behavior will not be tolerated. Members aren't coming to you for plots/threads because you're staff- go to them with plot ideas. 

 

So in answer to both questions in the first post: No, I have not and I have no intention of doing this. 

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I have not, but that is an interesting approach and could give me some insight into things I might as an admin be overlooking. Most of the time I try to go for the member feedback approach. I try to foster a community that can be honest and opened about one another as I rely on my players to help build the world and drive the narrative.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I haven't, and I won't for precisely the reasons outlined above. It feels sneaky and manipulative and I feel it would breed far more distrust and fear of the staff than any potential benefit is worth, if there was any benefit at all. With that said - full disclosure, I have been on a site as a member where they used this method and it felt so disingenuous. They didn't find anything, but apparently that upset them and the site never really felt the same after that. I left a bit after.

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