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In the affiliate friendship thread, the topic of poaching was touched on, and I kinda wanted to explore it in a little more detail.

 

First off, how do you define it? I mean, most RPers I know run multiple characters in multiple games, so where's the line between recruitment and poaching?

 

Second, are you worried about people doing it to you/your games? Do you do it to others? If so, what do you do to try to prevent it, or what have others done to try to stop you?

 

My phone is being super cranky for some reason, so I'll answer as a reply.

 

I guess I see poaching as a malicious form of recruitment. Where instead of saying something like 'I think you'd like my game too, you should check it out if you have time' it's more like 'what are you doing with these losers, my site's so much better. Ditch them and join me' sometimes with a side order of bribery with a special promise of power, class/rank, or something unique to the player only.

 

The star trek fleet I used to play in, before going independent, seemed to think that mentioning the existence of another fleet to any of the current fleet players was poaching. While I don't really agree with that, there is a fine line that I've seen crossed, where a player was trying to convince players of one fleet to start helping out with admin stuff in another fleet they weren't part of. This only really crossed the line because fleets are a gathering of many games together to share resources, so most players tend to stick to one fleet, and committing to staff level stuff is usually only done for a fleet the player belongs to.

 

Overall, I don't worry too much about it. If a player is happy in my game, most poaching efforts aren't going to be successful. On the other hand, if someone is unhappy, or I need to go to unusual lengths to recruit them, I'd rather not have them. Chasing unhappy players isn't a good use of my time, I'd rather focus on things that benefit all my players. And if someone is willing to ditch another game in a malicious manner, I can't help but wonder if they'll do the same to my game when they get bored.

 

Overall, I don't worry if my players choose to talk about other games in my chat, and I do on occasion talk about my affiliates. Though if someone showed up in my chat who isn't in my game, and starts talking about their game instead of mine, I might get irked and ask them to stop.

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I think it's poaching when done maliciously. So someone goes onto another site with the sole intent of convincing people to join their's using any method. But they may also not want that person to remain on the existing site too. They don't care about the site they're on at all and only look out for themselves. They may use tactics like PM advertising "Hey, come join my site". Though they may not be so outright, they may just mention they have a site and use any excuse at all to talk about it. (Someone says they'd like to play a <character type> and they may respond with "Oh, you might like our site then you can play one there." Even if the site they're on allows that type too.) 

They may take more devious steps also like joining a site, getting a character or two embedded a bit then slowly trying to lure people to their site using these characters (which people may be invested in and have plotlines going with). They may say things like: "Hey this topic is getting a bit heated for here, why not we take it to my site where we don't have any issues."

 

If caught or told to knock off their behaviour they may for a short time, though more than likely they'll throw a fit and try to use it as justification why people should join them. (EX- Look how controlling this staff team is... join me on my site, it's different.)

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I am not worried about it and I don't do anything to stop it. People who want to play on several sites can and will. I don't hold any monopoly.

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For me? Poaching means to come onto a site and try and take the players. The only time I ever saw this happen was on my site, though in the end turns out I was wrong. Very wrong. Buuuuut I feel that this is done out of malice or just flat out having no life?

 

I'm old fashioned when it comes to these things though. Like I see a site as a business almost...or maybe closer to a charity? People put time and work into making a great site, and to step into their cbox or to step in without meaning to actually make the site your own is just rude. Money goes into them.

 

Would you go into Macy's and tell the employees or customers there that JCPenny is way better and they should be over here? No. Not if you have tact. Buuuuuut having close relationships with other boards and helping hold them up isn't poaching at all. Get out there and share the love! Be happy on the site you are on and be happy to reach out and love those around you.

 

Just flat out don't join a site for the pure reason to swindle out players.

 

Thankfully, I've not had too much of a problem with this. My players and friends are super loyal and frankly if they do go somewhere they'd take me too.

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In my experience, it was apparently considered poaching when someone talked about their game consistently in group chat. There was another player who also came from that other game, they both had inside jokes they'd toss out in chat and not elaborate much more than "Oh it's from our SL." It was irritating as hell. I didn't see it necessarily as malicious so much as they were single-minded and thought they could recruit by playing on-site all the while talking in private and in group chat about their SL. Then, several of the players disappeared without much notice and migrated over to the other site. I can only assume they were unhappy.

 

But I've seen poaching also defined as any instance someone comes into cbox or off-site group chat and talks about any other game they play/own, which may be seen as recruiting ... or not. I can see it as recruiting if they're always asking players to come play over at the other site. Honestly, the only thing that bothers me about that is that when players choose a site to write on, they're not looking to be bombarded with constant advertising when there are already advertising forum and affiliates in place. I don't want the cbox to become advertising central and a place that's uncomfortable for guests and members, and I think that's actually an easy line to recognize between chatting and advertising. ... I think.

 

Other than that, I think it's silly to worry over it. The peeps who play in the world I built are happy there, and if they have suggestions, I'm happy to listen to them. They're adding on and making it theirs. I have no control over whether they play elsewhere or choose not to play with us anymore, that's their choice and theirs alone to make. I'm just glad I got to know them and love the stories they've created thus far.

 

What poaching is not:

  • The occasional introducing of selves in cbox, like "Hey! I staff at [Name of Site]. It's so nice to meet you!" I love having friends in the cbox even if they're not registered to my site. Even Discord is open.
  • Chit-chatting about various plots between sites we're all on. My discord has become Enablers-R-Us with several members teaming up to make something out of an inspired idea that came out of our random chatting, providing support for my mod who runs her own site, and loving on sister-affiliates like West of Jubilee (one of my members run that).
  • I inquire after other people's sites in my cbox when they visit, and don't mind it when they talk about it. Sharing that stuff is fun! I mind when they start sending out desperate vibes and beg my players to join, which I think would make any player or guest pretty uncomfortable.
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Poaching is when people take what they want without caring about what they leave behind.  They go onto an RP site (either as a member or a guest) and convince people to join them on another site. If the site they poached on dies as a result, oh well.

 

It isn't malicious in the sense that they want to cause devastation or destruction.  It might be a byproduct, but it's not of concern to a poacher.  When humans poach endangered animals, they aren't doing it because they want the rhino to die . . . they just want what it has, and death is merely a result of the process.

 

I'm not worried about my site.  In the past when I've run sites, I've gotten very positive feedback about how I run the site.  Someone could steal members, but they can't steal the atmosphere I've created, and that's part of why people like my boards.

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12 hours ago, Death Kitten said:

First off, how do you define it? I mean, most RPers I know run multiple characters in multiple games, so where's the line between recruitment and poaching?

 

 

8 hours ago, Uaithne said:

Poaching is when people take what they want without caring about what they leave behind.  They go onto an RP site (either as a member or a guest) and convince people to join them on another site. If the site they poached on dies as a result, oh well.

 

What they said!

 

Quote

Second, are you worried about people doing it to you/your games? Do you do it to others? If so, what do you do to try to prevent it, or what have others done to try to stop you?

 

If I'm worried about it happening to me, than I don't have faith in what I'm doing so I figure I have bigger problems on my hands.

 

AKA I'm not concerned with poaching and take zero steps to prevent it.

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I think it's bad form to talk about your site on another board (which isn't a resource site, obviously) especially when it's in the same fandom or you've not contributed to the site. I think it also depends on the size of a site, too. If it's a large site the effects of a small group of members talking about a site they run isn't going to be that large but on a small site it will. I think it depends on the attitude of the people 'advertising' their site. If the tone of their message is insulting and degrading then that's a step too far. If it's not, then I don't see the harm.

 

I'd like to see forums helping each other instead of fighting, so guest and members should be nice when they approach a site, admins and moderators shouldn't jump down people's throats if guests and members talk about their sites in a polite, non-pushy manner.

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I don't allow other sites to be talked about, but that's for a combination of reasons that don't involve poaching. Mostly, we've had problems in the past where people "join" solely to try to get us to skin/code/run their site for them or to ask for help with it. Or to complain about previous sites, some of which we've been affiliates with. I'm all for bitching, but it doesn't need to be done in a public forum with people that, potentially, play on those boards or where those people can see and leap to assumptions (like that the entire board is against them, when usually it's one disgruntled person venting.)

 

As far as poaching... I don't really think it can be done. If someone is happy with your board, they aren't going to leave. Or they're going to play on multiple sites. If I show up on someone's board talking up CW, I come across as more of a jackass than anything. (Though, I have politely brought it up in conversation when it's been appropriate, like the books come up and I'm like "Oh man, yes. Talk to me about these. BTW, there's a site!") 

 

TL;DR You don't own your members, they can make their own choices. 

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I think Poaching is in its intent a more malicious intent to instead of recruit friends, you are trying to take members from one once to the other. 

 

Most sites that I've been on, and myself included define poaching as advertising directly to site members ON the site. 

 

For Example, in the chatbox, or sending them Private Messages on the board asking them to join your site/giving them the link that way. Because essentially you're using site resources to advertise your own site and undermining the work staff has put into recruiting these members in the first place. 

 

It's not poaching in my opinion to ask friends/other players that you talk to on the regular offsite to join your site which I have done and have had people do to me as well. On AIM/Skype etc. Since we chat they bring up a site etc. 

 

I think it's considered general netiquette a sign of respect not to bring up specifics of other sites on another one. Just my opinion. 

 

There is an advertising/affiliate section for a reason.

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1 hour ago, Crossroads Demon said:

I think it's considered general netiquette a sign of respect not to bring up specifics of other sites on another one. Just my opinion. 

 

There is an advertising/affiliate section for a reason.

 

So, what about on sites that don't have an advertising section? I don't run on forums, I use a CMS called Nova, and while I can stick up static link buttons for affiliates, all of mine are a result of informal conversation I've made with friends. I don't have anywhere for someone to request to become my affiliate or link exchange.

 

So, do you just assume there's no way to advertise your site and move on? Or is there another form of etiquette you follow?

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27 minutes ago, Death Kitten said:

 

So, what about on sites that don't have an advertising section? I don't run on forums, I use a CMS called Nova, and while I can stick up static link buttons for affiliates, all of mine are a result of informal conversation I've made with friends. I don't have anywhere for someone to request to become my affiliate or link exchange.

 

So, do you just assume there's no way to advertise your site and move on? Or is there another form of etiquette you follow?

 

 

Honestly, if I don't see an advertising board/affiliate option I simply move on. Advertising is so time-consuming as it is that I try to be efficient about it.

 

I assume if there is no advert/affiliate section the site doesn't want or need the traffic.

 

When I see a board with no 'affiliate here' but has buttons I assume those are sites of members/staff etc. I know there are some sites that only allow advertising from their own member base. 

 

Only outside advertising I do off 'advertising' boards is via resource sites, ad tumblrs etc. Or directly to my RP friends on AIM. 

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Kind of off-topic, but guest ad sections are something rather unique to roleplay. Most non-roleplay sites do not have guest ad sections at all, let alone any guest posting. This is mostly due to spam concerns. (Which for anyone who isn't self-hosted... you very likely have no idea how much an issue spam actually is. I mean I don't consider my site very large at all but even I get hundreds of spam attempts per day. I get at least one hundred blocked by StopForumSpam, which I can tell because it logs each time one is blocked. That's not including how many get blocked before they even get to that point by my other measures and thus are never recorded.) 

If a site doesn't have an ad section then you don't advertise on it. (Delete any ads they place on your site though.)

 

As for owning members... No, a site doesn't own them and they're free to go wherever they'd like. But that doesn't mean it's not incredibly rude to both the staff, site and members for someone to come on specifically to recruit. It very much says they don't care about anyone else. Which, for a member, might be important because suppose they do join that person's site... are they going to keep up any promises they make or once they have a new member then that's it? And if they're willing to go to that kind of measure, what are they going to behave like? What kind of admin will they be? (Probably not a very good one...)

 

Though like Rune I've had problems with people joining up solely to get help with things. Some joined because they wanted me to make skins or codes for them. (At this point I largely refuse for several main reasons... Most times they only want help with their stuff then they vanish. I also don't really have the time anymore to devote to making resources to give away. )

As for getting help running a site? This one hasn't happened often, but when I have been asked... I tell people outright that I'm not looking to be staff in other places, that I'm too busy and don't have the time. Or I'll tell them I'm not interested and that they really shouldn't be trying to recruit staff for their site on my site because it's incredibly rude.

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9 minutes ago, VirusZero said:

Kind of off-topic, but guest ad sections are something rather unique to roleplay. Most non-roleplay sites do not have guest ad sections at all, let alone any guest posting. This is mostly due to spam concerns. (Which for anyone who isn't self-hosted... you very likely have no idea how much an issue spam actually is. I mean I don't consider my site very large at all but even I get hundreds of spam attempts per day. I get at least one hundred blocked by StopForumSpam, which I can tell because it logs each time one is blocked. That's not including how many get blocked before they even get to that point by my other measures and thus are never recorded.) 

If a site doesn't have an ad section then you don't advertise on it. (Delete any ads they place on your site though.)

I absolutely don't think this is off topic, as it does kinda tie in. Especially since I asked @Crossroads Demon about advertising on sites without open ad sections. There's a reason why we self hosted sites don't have these open free for alls, but I for one wouldn't mind at least hearing suggestions on alternatives if it also means I might get a little more traffic that'll get me recruits.

 

I can also vouch for how much of a pain it is dealing with spam on self hosted stuff. I've gotten to the point where the first thing I do with a mediaWiki install these days is shut down new user sign ups, and I will create any logins needed for my users instead, using the system to generate their password for me. When it's that bad, what option do I have to make open advertising at all?

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