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This is such a delicate sort of topic because I have found that I've been on sites where staff will take an original character and place them up for 'adoption' by another member and essentially allow the history to be copied which I personally don't like but, it's hard because I've definitely been on the 'abandoned' side of the spectrum before where you are really involved with a writing partner and their character is entirely intricate to your character's life and plot and then they suddenly up and vanish without any warning and your character is stuck married to and having children with this non-existent person and you're kind of left in the lurch. 

 

I'm curious to know how other people approach this because on my site, I will only place a character up for 'adoption' if they were a Wanted Ad of a member to begin with. Otherwise I encourage members to create an plot reason for that persons absence.

 

i.e I put up a ad for my character 'Jill seeking John Smith, age 29, PB this, backstory this.'

 

A person takes them, creates their own history and app around my character and my backstory, plays them for months and then vanishes and has no intentions to come back. What I do then is clear that app put a wanted ad up for the same character indicate the brief past encounters that might be relevant but ask the to re-create their own version of the character/history and their own whole new app.

 

I do the same for all members who have lost a wanted, I'll allow them to place a version of the character they requested back up for adoption so long as the new member creates a whole new history.

 

...The issue is I've had members come back and ask for their applications only to be enraged to see someone else is playing a version of that character because they were planning to play that character somewhere else and accuse you of plagiarism. (Some of the members apologize after they realize the histories are completely brand new but some of them don't care and then go on to spread malicious word about you and the site because they feel slighted.) I usually have gone out of my way for these members to e-mail them their old histories since I view those writings as 'their property' when I easily could have just said I deleted them. (I always just archive old apps)

 

I honestly don't know how to even respond to these sorts of things because who is in the wrong? If I created this character and you played him does that automatically make them your character? Are we not allowed to request that someone take up this crucial plot role? If certainly wouldn't be that way with a Site Canon, so where is the line?

 

I'm curious to see if other sites have had these problems or if I'm just being too accommodating with members/past members.

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I've personally never had this problem before. Since it's my wanted ad I can fill it as I see fit. While the character, as created, is the author that originally picked them up the character's core is mine.

 

That being said isn't it a bit rude/stealing/plagiarism in the reverse if they are taking your wanted ad, the character that you envisioned for your character's plot to another site? To me this is actually like picking up a canon character and getting huffy when the staff put them back up for adoption or saying that since they fleshed out an ambiguous Harry Potter character that they own it. Sorry folks, if it's in the books then it ain't yours no matter how original you make it or how much effort you put into it.

 

Honestly, if the character is re-written (even if the history is the same) it is still the person who wanted it in the first place's character. I can promise you that if someone picked up Lamont Richey and then left and then I ask for them again and someone else picks them up and has a very similar history that I'd be pissed that they thought my brain baby wanted character was their property.

 

Now to add to this, the amount of similarities in a history is dependent on how reliant those details are. I know one rendition of Lamont and Alice they were childhood best friends. The histories from person that picked him up to person that picked him up couldn't deviate excessively without forcing me to re-write my already existing character. However if the history is left pretty open and there isn't anything in them that is integral to the friendship/relationship whatever that was in the history that made the friendship work then yeah I could understand if the history was ripped off why they would be upset and that is valid.

 

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I feel similarly in the near Canon respect like I created this character and sure you picked them up to play them but taking them elsewhere is like you said it's own form of plagiarism. Every situation is different of course I mean I've taken up a 'wanted' ad for someone that wasn't specifically created, it just so happened my current character already fit that bill for what they were looking for and offered.  But I do mean more where someone has specifically created a character to be filled.  

 

I guess you're right and it depends on how involved the history is. Personally I usually mention them in passing in my own character's history and leave the surrounding details vague. With one of the more recent incidents it was a Vampire character. I mentioned the time in history when her sire turned her, and that they became obsessed with controlling her and how she ran away. Everything leading up to that point, and what happened after she ran away etc was completely open and after the first player vanished, a new member took up a wanted and re-created their own history/character the only similarities were what I had in my own history I even had the new member change the character's last name to something different but since they had already been mentioned so often around the site by first name I asked they keep that the same!  

 

The old member was even demanding that I force the new player to change the first name and the face claim.

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I think what said person is worried about is taking your wanted ad and getting told that they are plagiarizing when they take it to their next site.

 

To me, it was your wanted ad and your story. Once it's established I have always been under the belief that it becomes canon within the site. I honestly wouldn't have even had the last name changed but that is me.

 

I'm actually on the reverse of this situation right now. My character was a wanted ad and both of the people that wanted her went inactive. I have not changed her history but changed her brother's names and FCs (for personal reasons and because it's what the staff asked of me when I requested to do it) and that's it. My character's history was technically tied into the other two characters but I didn't disappear and those characters were made integral to my character and I need them to help progress her.

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I've never been on a site that really utilized the idea of "wanted ads" to its fullest potential. So when two characters got a major bit of dependent history, I would normally just write them out of my character's story entirely. Granted, this led to a few "I thought you were dead!" moments, but nothing that really shook things up past a breaking point. Unfortunately I don't think I have anything of help to you in my personal experience, but I'm totally lurking this thread further to learn more from everyone else :)

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I put for adoption characters who were my wanted ads (but the one who takes them first knows that in case of vanishing, the character will be given for adoption, with all credits due to the one who made the bio and who wrote the first part of the story). I also put for adoption characters who, when people leave, tell me that they want them put for adoption (because their story is already linked with other characters, and it is important in the overall story we are writing). 

 

I consider that it would be plagiarism (and at the same time a disruption to the story) if the adopting writer would make another bio. It wouldn't be the same character, and the continuity would be disrupted. By contrary, by taking the character for adoption, with the original bio credited to the original writer, and with the further updates to the bio (updates during the story, not changes) written in italic, so that it is clear they came afterwards, their contribution, not the initial writer's), and with the mention until when each writer wrote the character, the story continues smoother and each writer receives his due credits for what he wrote. 

 

This is what we do. The one who takes the character has to write it as per the original bio, and any further changes to happen organically in the story. E.g. - you don't like the love interest the character has? (Assuming the love story happened organically, it wasn't the character request.) You accept him as such, but talk with the other writer and find a reason for them to break up in the next part of the story. Or you make him learn something new and change his profession later, if this is what you don't like. Again, everything not touching the wanted ad aspects. And this way I had never problems. 

 

Now, to add about playing certain characters somewhere else: If I made the bio, even if for a requested character, it is my character. If I leave, I understand that it will be given for adoption, with proper credits to what I have written, and this is OK. But I can take my bio elsewhere and modify it to fit the new site (actually I have done it a few times). It is not plagiarism, because it is the bio I wrote. Of course, I won't ask for the other character (to whom this was a request) on the new site, because this would be tacky. I'd fit the character in the backstory and I'd go further alone, to meet the characters on the new site. 

 

But if I adopted a character who had already a bio not made by me, I don't have the right to write that character on another site. The original writer, yes, has this right. The character doesn't belong to me, only a part of his story does.

 

 

 

Edited by Elena
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11 minutes ago, Elena said:

But if I adopted a character who had already a bio not made by me, I don't have the right to write that character on another site. The original writer, yes, has this right. The character doesn't belong to me, only a part of his story does.

 

I think this really depends on how much of the character wanted ad is your original content as I said in my first post. If I basically made the character mold and you pick them out and flesh out a few details that isn't fair to the person that made the mold to take them to a new site. If you have a few details and make them from scratch, absolutely.

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@Morrigan, any wanted ad (I say wanted ad, not adopted character, as for me adopted character means the bio was made by somebody else) has some ideas which are given by the requester and some ideas put by the taker, and finally the bio is the taker's but approved by the requester. And such a character can be taken elsewhere afterwards, but without requesting the requester's character to remake the story. It can be taken elsewhere for different stories. 

 

In my case - I took the wanted ad of a bad husband/ shrewd merchant on Beat to Quarters; after the site died, I brought him first on a western site (now died too) and then on Before the Mast. But in both versions, he had lost his wife (she actually ran away, he pretends she is dead) and he moved to another island/ to the Wild West to get away from the rumours that she ran away (which was true). It would have been tacky if I asked for her to be played in another incarnation on another site. But so, he is the same character, just continuing his life without his wife.

 

I also took a mercenary which was requested for a plot which never happened from Of Saints and Sailors, when it died, and brought him to my site. Another mercenary requested for the same plot joined too. But we didn't recreate that plot planned on OSAS; we did our own ones here, and he became one of my favourite characters. (And another character who had been requested for a plot which didn't happen on OSAS, is also happily developing on my site, with different plots).

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I keep traits that have become an important part of the connected characters without holding the details in strict reasoning.

 

For example, my character has a daughter. The player that played the daughter quit. Well, the daughter has become an important part of his life, so the wanted ad contains some of the details she had, like a poor relationship with her mother, when she came to live with him, her species, etc. These were all things the previous player and I came up with together and she wrote, but are so important to my character's backstory/perception of her that I felt they needed to stay.

 

However, the reasoning as to why she has the poor relationship with her mother, etc could readily be changed to suit the new player.

 

TL;DR - The same character played by many different people is different. As long as you aren't copy/pasting the exact same bio over you should be good.

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I think where the difference of opinion comes from is that a Wanted Ad and Adopted Character are very similar in their incarnations. Wanted ad is more loose in the term of more like "character role" to be filled but can also be a "specific character" which I believe is what you call adopted character but to me they mean the same thing.

 

In the examples you are providing you are using character examples that while tied to other characters are not intricate to other characters there are likely major parts that you built of those characters yourself which makes them uniquely yours regardless of having a tie in with another player. However, if you have a childhood best friend or a sibling character where they've known each other since they were five or born and a majority of their history is already setup and you just add your personal flair, taking that character to another site, writing the childhood best friend or sibling as being gone or not, is a form of stolen content. Yes, you provided your input and breathed life into that character but at the same time it wasn't uniquely you that generated that characters backstory and brought it to fruition.

 

@Elena

 

 

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I never create a character that can't stand on their own two legs if a wanted ad that is made for them suddenly gets dropped. So if/when that happens, I simply continue on my merry way and come up with a reason for the absence, or NPC the characters as they are needed.

 

If I dropped a wanted ad for someone, I'd have no offense if they put that wanted ad back up again. The character concept is theirs at least, and no one would be playing that concept in the same way that I would- so my spin on the concept is still my own, my character. It's a lot like canon characters in my opinion, and if someone came to me in a tizzy about it I would just calmly explain to them what the deal is. They can join back up or move on, but throwing a hissy fit about it will not be tolerated.

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An interesting topic and from where I stand a Want-ad by definition is one made by a player looking for a particular Family member, love interest etc and puts up a scenario, possible FC and background for this ad. 

 

If a player takes up the ad and actually plays then IC and then flakes... well the ad can go back up but as it was originally or with minor changes. Whatever took place with the previous player basically gets wiped and/or the remaining player's history is altered altered to accommodate the absence. 

 

I have seen players take their version of a want ad elsewhere but as long as they change the name, PB and take all reference out of the connected character's history from the new version then I guess what remains is technically the part they contributed, even though it does suck that they left or alternately.. the taker of the ad to leave due to the advertising player becoming untenable or the site itself being unplayable due to poor administration or no activity.

 

I've also experienced an ad being placed where I took it up, developed the character in detail and posted quite a good thread with this person only to have the advertising player lose interest in the game (I should have seen it before took the ad, they were dropping characters left and right) flake on me. In this case I kept the character and just wrote the love interest completely out of her life. 

 

 

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