• Announcements

    • Morrigan

      Please don't PM me questions   05/18/2017

      This is a very important thing that I need to express to the members of the Initiative a little more clearly so you understand why I'm posting this message as I get a lot of PMs and random support requests regarding things on this site and it is extremely overwhelming to get these PMs.   There is a lot of stuff on the site that I manage solo. From the spotlight challenges, to the challenges (when I'm able to get to them), to archiving items, to approving items etc. We have a lot of cool features and trust me when I say I'm not saying we need to reduce because I feel everything that we have has it's place and purpose however I do, do  it all alone. (Shamelessly plugs staff wanted stuff 😉 )   So with that explained I have to explain why I'm asking that members stop PMing me questions. First off, we provide many different places that probably already answer your questions including our FAQ and our Ask Us fourm. We also provide forum avenues for you to contact the staff (in general instead of a single staff member) via our forums through the "Staff Contact Center" where you can either contact the staff publicly or privately. While it is your preference which one you put out there these avenues are more quick for you to get a response.   When you PM me (first off you'll get an auto reply with this information reiterated in it) but it's very likely I will dismiss it and get to it later. PMs are not my priority as they are used for private messages between myself and a member and not something site related which will be explained below as to how my priorities work for managing as I go:   Priorities listed in order from top to bottom regarding sites: Site/Server Down Site/server slowness Hosting issues (any of the initiative hostees having a problem) Payment issues Reported content Staff Contact Center Contact (and of the forums there) Chat Approvals Site checks (looking through forums) Roll outs of any kid that I have created (challenges, content etc) PMs Distant Fantasies   This isn't to say that your PM won't get answered however all of those other things take precedence over a PM and as you can see I'll answer you in the Staff Contact Center before I even check my PMs to see what you need.
Sign in to follow this  
xexes

The time we thought we could make roleplays succeed

Recommended Posts

A thought turned to an idea...

On another directory site, years ago, several people came together with the common thought that it seemed like far too many roleplays weren't making it these days. There were many modes of thought about this but it boiled down to (1) they aren't trying and (2) they just need a jump start in activity; after all, activity makes activity and it's a catch-22. The theory for how this would all work went on for months and spanned many people. It was interesting to see how many words were so carefully knitted in conversations alone because of all the hurt surrounding failed roleplays. But in the end, the core people came up with a three-step process for how this would work: Step 1: qualify. Step 2: get kickstarters. Step 3: kickstarters do the magic. Then, after all this, you would have an active roleplay, horray!

 

We encountered a few bumps in the road, like expectations:

  • Some people didn't want an active roleplay, they wanted a gigantic roleplay. We had to squash that - size seems to be a random thing.
  • Next, people wanted guarantees that this process would work. That after all that work to qualify, they would get help. Well, the work required to qualify is really things you should be doing anyways
  • Or, that kickstarter helpers would actually help them - errr....
  • Or, that kickstarters could be trusted - errr .....
  • Isn't it technically a lie to have these temporary helper members? Uhh.....
  • Or, what exactly kickstarters would do in the first place? We had to say that if admins had specific things in mind, they should work with their helpers on that one.
  • What if a kickstarter helper didn't announce themselves then the period ended and they suddenly just vanish? Members vanish all the time and helpers should be ... helping. Kickstarters don't have to announce themselves but usually they should?

 

We didn't know and we kept things vague because supply <<<<<<<demand and these sites needed all the helpers they could get.

 

Launch

So things dragged on and finally a timeline goal was slapped up and people filtered out and core heros stepped up to do the work. It opened, and there was a pretty large response of people who loved the idea. A whole lot of roleplays who qualified with basically everything on the list. And some helpers. Some.

 

We tried to make more helpers by encouraging people to post lists of genres they liked so sites would ask them personally and they'd feel more attracted to sites needing help of their genre.

 

Beginning

Some new sites filtered in and some didn't meet the requirements for help and promptly died immediately. Some sites struggled and finally got all the necessary qualifications for the program. But very few people were helping. It was almost like sites needing help were being outright ignored.

 

Alerts! GHRRRR!

We realized that the problem was that none of the helpers were getting alerts that there were sites ready that they could help! We did our best to fix that with tagging, and it helped a little.

 

Collapse

But the number of new people filtering in to help was miniscule and as more and more sites heard about the program, the number wanting help and qualified for it was growing exponentially. Our fear was confirmed, except that it was worse. Supply of helpers <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< demand for helpers. It was twice to four times as bad as we'd expected.

 

So finally months down the line, some sites had gotten help and I was able to follow up with them. The ones that were barely making it continued to barely make it. The ones that were dead stayed that way. The ones that were dying did so. Every now and then, a helper was able to help attract a few more members, and maybe expand a few months of life, but overall, there really was no difference.

 

Revelation

Huh? This made no sense.

Activity makes activty. All these sites need to get active again are some active members playing, right? So sites with helpers should be attracting members again and getting better, right?

 

But, the data said differently. The data said that the helpers made no overall difference, and very little immediate difference.

 

The axe

And then the site's clubs feature was gone. Or they moved or something. I don't remember. But it was all gone.

 

Futurama

Long after everyone who had good intentions but never got around to it and forgot all about it in the first place, there came a site pleading for help. It was a Futurama site, based on a very popular animated television show with lots of love and following. It was the first roleplay of its genre. It checked all of the items on that qualification list so long ago. They were so enthusiastic, energetic, and even had a tiny staff team actively playing! But it was floundering and despite impressive advertising campaigns and a pretty good skin, it wasn't attracting any new blood at all.

 

I scoured it for anything wrong and we attacked every possible badness together like an angry mother on a cleaning rampage.

 

No difference.

 

After months of trying - harder than I've ever seen anyone else try before - they gave in and closed.

 

Jellyfish & Jewels

I opened up a roleplay of my own and again it checked off all of the requirements but floundered and failed within three weeks, only attracting two other members who made a total of one post. It was weird and had jellyfish and jewels but the feedback in the cbox was great and it had a lot of popular culture and freedom.

 

I realized that other people could 'smell' that my site would never succeed. That I would never succeed. And they chose not to join it.

 

The reality

We learned many things about roleplays. Many things, but none of them certain.

 

  • Whether a site gets big or not is as random as what goes viral next
  • Not all sites can succeed. Some sites have to fail to balance out the status quo - because players have choices, some choices will get all the 'no's.
  • People can 'smell' death. It goes beyond the skin choice and offensive rules or a cbox that hasn't had an update in weeks. They can sense it in their gut
  • A site can do absolutely everything right and still flounder
  • Success or failure is relative; simply adjust your expectations to "win"
  • Admins whose vision of the site is success (eg, rather than a specific genre and plot) will always fail. People can sense it and they run.
  • Some people will never be successful admins because they are not admin material. Personality is the obvious here, but it can also be charisma - that the person has no "magnetic pull" towards other people
  • "Build it and they will come" is not true

 

 

Edited by xexes
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love this, especially the reality part.

 

I often look around at all these beautiful sites that belong to popular fandoms. They start out super active, but after a month there are like only two people logging in daily.

 

I think many RPers are just flaky, disloyal and completely inconsiderate in their site-hopping habits and that strongly reflects nowadays.

  • Awesome 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with a lot of this - but equally I don't agree with 'if you build it they will come'. Because a lot of the time its not so much attracting members, its attracting members that will stay. I sometimes contemplate how much it is to do with how much you can hype up the site - and then the hard thing, Keep it hyped. It's why on We Are Human I've got a specific member group for those who may not be sure if they can commit to join but want to at least read and feel part of the small community. I've got it set up to reward people who don't just flake out without warning but those who do just up and poof I'll write character deaths for them. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Robmin said:

I agree with a lot of this - but equally I don't agree with 'if you build it they will come'. Because a lot of the time its not so much attracting members, its attracting members that will stay. I sometimes contemplate how much it is to do with how much you can hype up the site - and then the hard thing, Keep it hyped. It's why on We Are Human I've got a specific member group for those who may not be sure if they can commit to join but want to at least read and feel part of the small community. I've got it set up to reward people who don't just flake out without warning but those who do just up and poof I'll write character deaths for them. 

 

I feel like sites that are young with younger audience have to focus much more on hype, hype, hype. As soon as it's gone, so are the members. The entire pace of roleplay for the entire younger world feels dramatically sped up - zoom, zoom, zooooooooooom, like indie cars racing around the track, not gonna spend no time aimlessly in a dying corner, gonna VRRRRRR onto the next latest and greatest! That roleplay there isn't so much about plot or writing or weaving together stories but instead much more about sensory. That feeling when you walk into the toy isle and feel overwhelmed with COLORS and textures and things to look at everywhere. It's so fast paced, and I feel so much sympathy for admins, it must be so utterly exhausting to put that much energy in for so short a lifespan.

 

Don't get me wrong, this isn't an ageist thing where youngsters drool and elders rule - older people sites have their problems, too. But I wanted to talk about this growing awareness I've felt for a while that the two realms are quite different.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing I personally want to say though is I feel the elder audience have something to say equally. In that maybe they may not want to join sites with a lot of younger people on because of the hype - but that's the only thing admins -can- do to try and attract enough people to stay afloat because the older audience tend to be very snobby and don't want to put in on a new site "incase it dies" resulting in a self fulfilling prophecy either way. Either because really the admin wanted an older crowd even if they wanted a PG-13 site because they wanted the maturity of "hey not everyone has all the time to sit and post" or because the admin burns out just trying to keep the hype train going.

 

So realistically I see this as a problem in how the older more experienced generation respond to new roleplays as much as younger people needing the hype machine and therefore being flakey. Because if the older generation who want the more longer term investment aren't willing to invest in a new site?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing I have found in the younger community (and this is pretty much true when I was around that age, too), is that they get very caught up in the great, shiny new thing of the moment. Many of the rpers who were around in the Tolkien fandom were in the 14 - 18 age range while the films came out and then after the glow of BOFA wore off, the same people hopped on to other fandoms (a couple of years ago it was Marvel and Star Wars (because of Force Awakens), then last year it was DC, this year, it's Beauty and the Beast - as a new King Arthur film has come out, I suspect there will be a glut in King Arthur accounts this summer.) When I was the age of the 'kids', it was Star Wars because of the Prequels and the first round of the Spider-man films, Narnia (a little bit), Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. Oh, there were a lot of young 'Star Wars fans' who switched to Harry Potter! (As I was a bit older than them and old enough to remember ROTJ when it first came out, I stuck more with Star Wars than the others.) Younger people tend to follow what's new more than older folks who are more likely to stay with something they like, or go searching for things they liked when they were younger. With Star Wars, one of the reasons why I'd prefer a site which focused on Legends material rather than the Disney stuff is because it's more likely to have people my age and the same would apply to a Star Trek based forum (it would have to focus on the Next Generation/DS9/Voyager era, rather than the more recent reboot.)

 

However although a site run by older people might stay around longer than one run by younger people because older people are less inclined to leave it for the next big thing, the fan base that a site run by older people is likely to be less because older people have less time time to devote to it and there are likely to be fewer fans around as well to join it.

 

(I cannot comment on what the situation is with non-fandom sites.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.