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What happens to a character when a player leaves the site?


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I could really use some perspective on this. Let me start with saying that I’m a staff member who helps with advertising, but I’m not an admin on the forum to which I am referring. I am purposefully keeping details vague.

 

After drawn out OOC drama between different players (I was not involved) one player decided to leave. Let’s call her Amy. Amy told the admin that she was leaving because she did not feel this was a good environment for her. From what I saw, the admin tried hard to be neutral and mitigate what she could, but it seemed like a personality clash that was being pulled into IC issues. For example, Amy was refusing to thread with at least three different players. Some of the players felt like the admin was giving in to Amy too much. Etc etc.

 

Amy returned to the board and began deleting her old posts and replacing them with memes targeted at the admin and other players. The admin went back and deleted these memes and was able to restore the writing (these were threads with partners) and block Amy from accessing the site.

 

A few of the players left behind had personal plots with their characters and Amy’s, and approached the admin about resolving them. A few said it would make more sense/give the storyline closure if the character were to die. That was decided and the resulting characters have been able to grieve and write out the loss.

 

Amy has found out about this and began reaching out to the admin and another player on the site to demand her character not be killed because she didn’t give permission. She told the admin this has caused a flare in her mental health issues. The admin apologized for her struggle, but said that this was decided to work best with the remaining storylines and other players. She’s made multiple accounts to rejoin the server and message the admin, said she reported the site, writing about the situation in public forums, etc.
 

Amy has now found me on another popular RP discussion forum and begun messaging me, telling me to pass on messages to the admin. When I said I wasn’t going to do that, she is now saying that I’m aiding the admin in harming her and what I’m doing is harassment (this is because I told her what she was doing was harassment, to be fair). 
 

I just don’t know what to say or do. I am truly sorry she is struggling over this, and she’s saying her mental health is keeping her from moving past it. Her expectations (I just found out) were that her character would be said to have left and then never be referred to again. She believes the writing on the site about the other characters reaction to the death is her character being written/played without her consent. I’ve never been on a site that pretended a character ceased to exist, so that’s new for me. I can see how you might not like an OC dying because you care about them, but this fiction after all and she’s no longer on the site. 
 

I also....don’t want to be involved, if I’m honest. I tried sending her mental health resources when she said she was without them, but that backfired. She turned the phrases I used against me, saying that she was trying to help herself by not letting people take things from her. 
 

Any help is appreciated. I’m feeling like I can’t even “safely” play on the site myself now that I’m pulled into it.

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Okay let me try - since I actually had something similar in two forums in ( one I admined on- one I was just the resident graphic mouse ) Now they did not do the meme thing- that is truly outrageous IMHO.

 

First. again this is my personal thing- you cannot kill the character-its wrong. It may not be playable but it was someone creative investment- I would have simply changed the name of the deactivated character ( john doe?) and allow the story to progress or end. Thankfully when it happened we removed all of the posts save the first entry post and allowed other typists to pick it up.

 

Second the mental issue- it would be awesome if someone could help but most of the time its not going to go that way. If they truly wanted help they would not use good hearted advice as a weapon. They should just leave, remove their charries, rewrite a bit or end the story and move on- while it might suck I have had to do it do to a mentally unstable partner before. I just renamed the historical parts with a different NPC type of thing and moved the hell on- we are writers we can do that. I promise you. 🙂

 

All you can do at this point is block her avenue of contacting you. Again have had to do this. While you meant well you truly did- this is something I  can completely agree no one wants to be stuck in. Cause it will continue elsewhere. That too is true.

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First and foremost, if they are banned they have no right to say what happens to their characters...... HOWEVER, its a really dick move to kill off someones character without their permission.

 

To me that's like killing off a canon character from a fandom because no one will play them like that player. Stupid and ridiculous. There are a dozen different ways to write off a character being gone and still allow for them to come back. Death is what I consider "an easy out" for those involved because then they don't have to think about that character after their "mourning period". Which is legit stupid because that's not how mourning works. However RPers seem to think that its as easy as taxes (taxes aren't easy mind you).

 

To me the players need to be more creative in writing them out of their story and walk away. They are legit moronic if they think that the "only way" is death of a character and its worse that they think that something like that doesn't cause duress to a person that can't even voice their opinion on their work.

 

As for the player.... I agree with @DivineRabbit you can't fix that mess and either block them or be completely direct with them and say "this isn't my mess. I'm happy to talk with you about other things and or possibly joining a site with you, however I can't continue going in circles with you about this site."

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11 hours ago, DivineRabbit said:

First. again this is my personal thing- you cannot kill the character-its wrong. It may not be playable but it was someone creative investment- I would have simply changed the name of the deactivated character ( john doe?) and allow the story to progress or end. Thankfully when it happened we removed all of the posts save the first entry post and allowed other typists to pick it up.

 

Thanks for your reply. I wouldn’t make the same decision the admin did to kill the character if it were up to me, but that’s my own personal preference.  
 

I agree about needing to block the contact. 
 

Thanks for taking the time to read and respond. ❤️

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11 hours ago, Morrigan said:

First and foremost, if they are banned they have no right to say what happens to their characters...... HOWEVER, its a really dick move to kill off someones character without their permission.

...

As for the player.... I agree with @DivineRabbit you can't fix that mess and either block them or be completely direct with them and say "this isn't my mess. I'm happy to talk with you about other things and or possibly joining a site with you, however I can't continue going in circles with you about this site."

Thank you for your reply. I wouldn’t have made the decision to kill the character either, but I do agree someone doesn’t have a say when they’re banned.

 

And yeah, I’ll have to cut contact. I think this whole situation of being put in the middle is really uncomfortable for me, especially since I have no say in any of it. It’s helpful to be able to write about it here, so thanks for that. 

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What has been said before is accurate, as it's really a series of separate challenges (I know some might say issue but challenge is a a word I prefer), the first one is the admin on the site, they had the challenge of an individual who clashed - for whatever reasons - and then ultimately made the decision to leave.

 

So, far that seems to be handled fairly well, not perhaps an ideal as it would be wonderful to imagine we can all get along all of the time, sadly we do not live in that utopia...

 

Now, this is where it breaks down, the memes and the posts. I don't know why this Amy did that, it feels childish and a little... unexpected, as I can't imagine it helped or made anyone else on that site feel like they were being respected and that is perhaps, along with whatever happened before regarding their own clash within the site culture, one of the reasons that those directly involved just wanted Amy's character to be killed off.

 

Yes, it's the easy option but this might have just felt like the point of just being too exhausting to do anything else. Is it the right one to take? Probably not, as said there are  a lot of other creative options that could be taken but it might just have been a cause of wanting that line drawn so everyone else could just move on. 

 

Amy's behaviour of rejoining and repeatedly making demands and/or other actions probably weren't helping anyone experience much sympathy regarding her on the site, especially as this appears to be when she also started to mention mental health issues and her own needs not being met. It is sad that no one was able to help her and it's sad that matters escalated in this way, however, Amy could have made it a lot easier for herself if she had made a plan for her own character's exit, graceful, messy or chaotic! Ultimately, she didn't do that and is not dealing with the results of everything that's gone before. 

 

It is simple to say, the admin shouldn't have allowed the character to be killed off and perhaps in the future that wouldn't happen, the circumstances change, we grow as people and this is likely to be a learning experience for everyone if nothing else. 

 

With respect to her treatment of you specifically, it sounds very like she has the expectation that you will be her ally and should be on her side, so anytime you offer help and/or suggestions that are either ignoring the narrative she wants to pursue or is about helping with her mental health, Amy becomes hostile; the whole throwing words and phrases back at you kinda of thing. All I would suggest is telling her you don't want to speak about these matters any more, and that if she isn't happy about that you will have to take the action to block her as you really don't need to have this additional stress in your own life - I presume?

 

Basically, your not her therapist, or her go-between and she shouldn't feel like she can use you that way. Also, as you've clearly said that you don't want her behaviour before, it is her harassing you because you've said I don't want it and she is still continuing. 

 

I hope you get some peace again. 

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The above posts have covered everything I feel is important, so I'm going to keep it short. 

 

In general, I agree that a player's characters should not be killed off when they leave a site. There are plenty of alternatives to death, which still allow remnant players to progress their characters. There's really no scenario where death is the only way to move forward - whether the relation is familial, platonic, romantic etc. 

 

My one exception to this rule is when a player left in such a way that they are simply not welcome back to the site. 

 

Amy is a few miles passed the line, on that count. 

 

Regardless of what led up to their decision to leave, after departing they behaved in an entirely unacceptable way. They inflicted malicious damage to collaborative work, bullied remnant members, then went so far as to stalk and harass at least one member on another site. They've employed blatant methods of psychological and emotional abuse through all of this. 

 

There is no scenario where this person is ever going to be welcomed back to the site. So the ship has sailed. 

 

In this case, it's best to continue on with the current decision. Staff drew their line on character death, they have to hold it in this case; and they have to compensate for the negative fallout generated by that decision. As a team, staff should devise strategies to handle any further negative interactions with/from Amy on other sites (I would definitely suggest no longer patroning any site where staff allow a member like Amy to harass another over something that happened off their site. That whole using you as a go between should have been snuffed out immediately). However, in the future staff should advocate for the myriad of other explanations for a character leaving the immediate scene. Don't allow character death to be a default. A lot of this could have been avoided. 

 

For now, the best course is to stick to your guns, and move forward with lessons learned. 

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Based on what you've described and taking into account Amy's behaviour, I think the staff were justified in writing out her characters in the way they saw fit. Ideally, whenever a player has to leave the roleplay (whether they're banned, take an LoA or decide it's not for them anymore) they would inform others about the fates of their characters, but this is the exception more than the rule. If Amy had not retaliated - and depending on the scope of her characters -, it might have been fair to indefinitely take the characters out of play rather than kill them. However, having behaved the way she did, I personally don't feel she should expect to be given the courtesy of not having her characters deleted.

 

We recently went through a similar situation where a player was banned. Some of the other members had characters and plotlines that were deeply enmeshed with the banned player's, so we gave them a say in how they would like for said plots to be resolved and how did they think the banned member's characters should be written out of the game. In the end the other members' ideas fell very much in line what what staff were planning on doing, and those ideas made sense for all the characters involved (the banned member's included). 

 

Also, for your own peace of mind, consider blocking her. it doesn't seem as though she would be willing to move past those events in her future interactions with you, and the real world is already stressful enough as it is.

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A few of the players left behind had personal plots with their characters and Amy’s, and approached the admin about resolving them. A few said it would make more sense/give the storyline closure if the character were to die. That was decided and the resulting characters have been able to grieve and write out the loss.

 

I do get that a lot of players can be lazy and unimaginative and that this idea would naturally come up. But for a lot of people to say that it makes sense actually speaks to the character putting themselves in danger and that this is a natural consequence of the character's actions.

 

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demand her character not be killed because she didn’t give permission.

 

The author absolutely can decide that she doesn't like this. It was her character. But she gave up her rights when she decided to be a troll.

 

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She’s made multiple accounts to rejoin the server and message the admin, said she reported the site, writing about the situation in public forums, etc.

 

And once again when things don't go her way, this player becomes a troll.

 

Things not going this person's way is absolutely a theme here, trying to be in control of things that this player isn't in control of.

It kind of sucks to be in the middle of someone else's issues, doesn't it? I would tell her to talk to the other staff on the site and step out of it just as you did.

 

 

 

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So, usually in this case my main concern is that the banned member can keep their old work. Amy's deleting of that would definitely make me pause, though I think/hope I'd still be respectful of her work even when she wasn't.

 

 

She's violating an incredible number of boundaries here. Your killing her character on this site doesn't mean she can never use that character again elsewhere, and honestly I think it's one of the tidier ways to wipe hands of this.

 

If your site does not normally kill characters? Perhaps you can put her on a bus, or a spaceship, or a vacation she's never heard from again if that would better fit the tone. But that character needs to leave the immediate environment. Keeping them in the narrative is going to keep drawing her back to scratch her own wounds, make more demands, get even more worked up, and take it out on the rest of you.

 

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