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Salutations!

 

I'm a very new Admin. Although I'm not a fan of Activity Checks (AC), i have seen them as a necessary evil. 

On our site we have an soft AC and a hard AC. 

 

Soft ACs consistent of the members simply tagging the characters they wish to keep and those they wish to drop. 

Hard ACs give a time frame in which a post needs to be made by each character, a link to the thread and who they are threading with.

 

Of course all of this is time consuming for staff and members. I'm looking for alternatives, that will still yield the same results.

 

Any ideas, suggestions or feedback would be greatly appreciated!

 

<3<3<3

 

Bamf

 

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I actually just responded to something similar on another resource site, so I hope you don't mind if I copy/paste my answer!

 

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On WLWB we run things a little differently. We don't do activity checks, roll calls, anything. Part of this is because our site has no activity requirements whatsoever. The only time I really set people to inactive is if, when I notice I haven't seen them around in the chat/posting/peeking around the site at all, I check their accounts through the ACP and notice that they haven't even logged into the site in a while (a month or more). I'll send a cursory PM to nudge them but if that doesn't garner anything, then I set them to inactive, if they didn't previously give me a heads up that they wouldn't be around much. I actually have a member who kind of up and disappeared back in May but they let me know that they were struggling with things at home prior to their disappearance and so I've just left their account stay active and sit there.

 

Characters, I don't bother with. If the player is still active on the site, I'll leave any and all of their characters alone unless they specifically ask for an account to be deactivated. Sometimes, a certain character can be hard to write for whatever reason, and I don't really want to add to whatever's going on in their lives by saying "Hey, you have to post at least once before xyz date". Our absence log is more of courtesy notification for people to let the other roleplayers they're writing with know they may not be responding back immediately.

 

 

When WLWB was started, it was done so without any sort of activity requirement. Literally. Under the blurb about activity in the Rules, I put TBD (to be determined). It wasn't until the site had about a month under its belt that I went back ad reevaluated that. And then I just said no activity requirements and haven't looked back since. We have multiple IC posts every day, too. 

 

To be honest, I really just don't find activity checks useful. They add pressure to members and even when people respond to them, they may not necessarily be active before or after an AC. 

Edited by Gina
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Thanks Gina. 

Any other pointers?

I guess my main worry is because we have had members complain about others activities.

Which is always interesting to me due to the fact that everyone needs a break, vacation or just time off (even our complainers lol)

 

I appreciate you taking the time to respond!

I will be taking it to my staff and really putting some thought behind this. 

 

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If your forum or cms gives you a way to passively watch activity, I recommend a passive activity check. They're less stress for the players, and less likely to cause the infamous high activity for AC period, and low activity the rest of the time, problem. The CMS I use, Nova, lets me tell it in the site settings the recommended activity period, and it gives me notification when players haven't released a log in that period of time, along with telling me the last time they've been active on the site. Super handy. Not sure if there's a good way to do that on forums, but I'd imagine that if you can sort the active users lists by last active date, and just look into the people who aren't active in the threshold of time you pick, that might be a way to do it.

 

Now, of course, this advice is based upon my game only having a handful of players (I'm at seven, plus myself, right now), so depending on how big your game is, this may become more stressful than it's worth.

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On my sites, I simply check every account weekly and anyone who hasn't had a post in the last month gets archived. Well, I have an Admin that does that for me on my main site, but still. I don't like POSTED ACs, because people will literally hop on for the AC and then vanish again. This way, there are no excuses.

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I don't join sites with Activity Checks that require me to post once a month, or once every two months. This is because I have a busy RL with three young children, and many other things. I will almost always miss the damn check. However, I also do not join sites with strict activity rules, for the same aforementioned reasons. I need a more laid back atmosphere or I feel pressured and forced to RP even when I have busy things going on, or no muse at all to deal with it. So I'm left putting out mediocre posts for the sake of not losing the hard work I put into making the characters.

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I still don't understand activity checks.

 

If a person is posting, they're active. If they're not, they're not active. Like @SithLordOfSnark said, you can just look at their profile and see when they last posted. 

 

(As an aside, if a player is active with one character on my site, they're safe with all of their characters so that removes the need for people to save a character they're not currently posting with.)

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1 hour ago, Kit the Human said:

I still don't understand activity checks.

 

If a person is posting, they're active. If they're not, they're not active. Like @SithLordOfSnark said, you can just look at their profile and see when they last posted. 

 

(As an aside, if a player is active with one character on my site, they're safe with all of their characters so that removes the need for people to save a character they're not currently posting with.)

 

The main reason I don't follow the same tenets as you do is that many of my members play upwards of 50 characters each. I couldn't even consider saving 49 characters that aren't being posted just because that person is posting for 1 character.

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The one active character protects all characters, vs every character for themselves is a good conversion to have in regards to AC checks. Certainly every admin team has to make their own call, and it's going to depend on a lot of different things: playby culture, canons, important positions within the ic setting, and how active people are expected to be.

 

I personally kinda split the difference. For the most part, any activity covers all of a players characters for me, BUT if they hold a position that a new player is interested in and it's not their primary character (or if they've been neglecting their primary character), I will look at that particular character's activity levels when deciding how to handle the new players app. But this takes into account that I don't play the face claim game (I don't enforce players needing different faces for their characters than other players, though they do tend to self police), that I have a small number of players, and the limited nature of my setting limits the number of npcs a player can realistically take on.

 

If you do linked accounts on a forum with a switcher/linking mod, you should still be able to do passive checks, regardless of if you choose one active covers all, or every character for themselves when considering activity.

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Depending on your software you could promote/demote an account with the prerequisite of activity. Either log in or posts. Has anyone ever done this? I don't have AC's so I've not tried it, but I think it could work, no?

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I'm over activity checks. I used to follow them hard core, but for most sites, they're more trouble than they're worth. Plus they cause a lot of stress for everyone involved. I find that they often defeat the purpose of a community atmosphere by essentially saying that if you don't participate as much as our arbitrary rule states, you can't be here. Which in and of itself isn't bad because sometimes communities need that, but it's not my cup of tea.

 

It's entirely up to you if you want to do an activity check. But I'd ask yourself what you aim to accomplish from the check. They don't promote activity . . . Your inactive members will still come by and sign up on the check and then continue to be inactive. But if you see it's value for another purpose, go for it. Don't do it because you think you have to, or you think people won't join if you don't, etc.

 

Whatever you choose, make sure that your activity expectations are stated in your rules.

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We don't do activity checks at Sirocco. We don't archive players or accounts (unless they are banned or specifically request their items get deleted).

 

After 4 months of inactivity I archive character profiles to keep our forum clean and open and so we know what positions are available and what we have the most need of.

 

I have a "soft" activity check only for ranked accounts and ranked characters. Ranked accounts are highly active accounts such as Archivists, Other Admin etc. Ranked Characters are important characters that are highly coveted.

 

If it gets to 3 months and the Player is still active but they haven't posted with a Ranked character, I usually PM and ask what is up and if that player wants to keep their character, put it up for adoption, or retire it. If it gets to 3 months and the Player is inactive I archive the characters without question - leaving them up as NPCs until another player replaces them with a new character.

 

I have an open-door policy in that anyone that has fallen inactive that wants their characters back can get them back no problem! Just PM me anytime. As long as the character is not of rank - and if it is of rank and not replaced you'll get them back.

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I don't bother with activity checks.

As stated most times when they're posted and people know about them they show up, drop a post or two just to bypass the check and are gone. That's not activity though, that's merely them holding onto a canon character (or face claim) for the off chance they might want to play them again. (Or, in some cases, they might be doing it literally so that others can't play that canon. Which sounds crazy I know, but I have seen people hold onto characters even if they don't want them just so others couldn't play them and "spoil them".)

That or they'll drop a leave of absence for the check saying how something has come up.  Which, in the past when I did activity checks, I had a rule stating that leaves only lasted up to 1 month in duration (there were never any infinite leaves for canons) and couldn't be used to bypass a second activity check. 

 

Instead if I were going to do an activity check now I'd do it behind the scenes. I'd open the ACP, sort members by last sign in date. (Where I can view 100 or 200 accounts at a time... so activity checks for even mid sized sites can be done in a few minutes.) Those that are over a month old probably haven't posted in that time... so they get moved to the inactive account group. (Which is done from the same screen so it takes like no extra time to change groups for accounts.) If they show up and start to post again well then they get reinstated. 

 

I should mention that for the most part I'm only really concerned with canon characters. Any original characters I don't care as much about because they are being sought after to be played. So I'd largely exclude them checks. If I cared about faceclaims or playbys and wanted them limited in some way then maybe I'd care. But seeing as how I don't care if everyone used the same face it makes no difference to me.

 

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New players on our site have a gift for posting on the most inactive player's plotters and then wonder why they didn't get a response. 

We watch players after a month of no IC posts or away notices, mark them inactive after two months, archive their threads and reopen their claims.

They are able to reclaim their characters if they do decide to come back.

 

To me, it isn't really fair to leave a thread hanging for 6 months without any kind of communication and then expect to just pick back up where you left off.

After you have had this happen to your characters a lot, you get to the point of thinking 'you either want to write with me or you don't.' 

I know people get busy and all that and RL can suck sometimes, but we don't do that in our jobs etc. 

 

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I just recently did an activity check (I have done plenty of them in the past).  What always gets me is that I make it deliberately easy to do (they just have to post in the thread for Activity Checks and it saves all of their characters) and yet they will still not post there.

 

After it was over, I had to mark half of the members as inactive and it ruined alot of new plots we had going.  Several of the members joined, made a few characters, got active in plots, and then dropped off of the planet.

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