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Sadrienne

 Membership Allowing junior players -- a turn-off?

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So I'm at a crossroads, I think. 

 

When I rebooted Tally, one thing that was strong in my mind was that a lot of our core members had started on the board at the ages of 15-17. This was followed by my co-admin's desire to bring her daughter onto the board... a girl that I know well enough to be comfortable with her being part of the community. There was a possibility that she would also bring her friends, so we set up the "Junior Players Policy" which was designed to keep those players safe, and still allow our older, mature players to write what they wanted. So in a sense---we would be open to younger players, without placing too many restrictions on what the older players could do. Junior players would be marked as such, giving older players the knowledge ahead of time to choose whether they wanted to involve themselves in threads/etc with a younger player.

 

Is this still a turn-off?

 

My writing tends toward the darker side of things anyway, so perhaps I as a player should be staying away from younger age groups---I don't know. I started playing before the age of 13 myself  (lied on a number of registrations about my age), and I've always been of the opinion that if someone can conceal their numerical age and conduct themselves in a matter that is mature, I have no real ability to stop them.

 

I'm going to talk about it with my co-admin, as to date we've only had one person register that is not 18+. Is it possible that people are seeing our junior player policy and walking away?

 

 

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Absolutely, unfortunately. There are a few things that many roleplayers that I know have expressed it seems "skeezy".

 

Like you... I started roleplaying before I was 13. Hell Coppa didn't exist when I started roleplaying if we're being completely honest (it was enacted 4 years AFTER I started roleplaying). So forever ago that sort of skeeze happened and no one bat an eyelash until a parent found out and got offended. I think my first smut/cyber roleplay was when I was like 14? Might have been before that.

 

Now that being said, many adults, even if nothing happens in a thread with the younger player, feel that playing with a younger player can lead to very bad places, it makes them uncomfortable etc.

 

For me? As a mum myself I'd much rather know where my kid is roleplaying is safe for them and the adults so I approve. But at the same time, many adults don't see the world from a mothers eyes. They see it from selfish eyes of a roleplayer that wants something specific out of a roleplay and playing with children they often can't "get" that.

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Older players may feel they're potentially being predatorial. Or rather, seeming predatorial to everyone else if they cross the age boundary and welcome a "child" to the "group". Akin to a 23yr old hanging out with 15yr olds on the street: the immediate assumption is that something skeezy is afoot. 

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I will say that it puts me off, too, espeaically when I did have a minor approach one of my characters wanting to write smut. I reported their account to twitter, but they never took any action against it. (I didn't report them to twitter to get them into trouble, but to make sure that they didn't encounter a sleazy adult who would take advantage of their naivety.)

 

I wouldn't mind them being around a site for writing fan fiction if it's like the policy that the force.net has on the content of writing, but with role-playing? No. The only way you can be sure of never writing smut with someone under-age is to never to write it. That works for me because I'm not that interested in writing it anyway, but others want different things in roleplaying than I do.

 

Kids are better off playing on a site that's made for them and only them. On the other hand, it's a tough one to enforce because teenagers generally think they are more mature, or adult than they actually are, or want to do adult things so no matter what you do, I think there will always be some who get through.

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@Icewolf  Well said!

 

I do not allow pure smut at any of my sites. If that is all someone wants from a roleplay, I can honestly say that my games are not for them. We require that scenes fade-to-black and that the players reading the scene use their imaginations for the rest. We all know how Tab A fits into Slot B, don't need it written out. I feel the same way about extreme and constant profanity.

 

Of course, I am probably far older than a majority of RPers (60s). 

 

Still, even with our restrictions, I would be very uncomfortable RPing with someone under the age of 18. Conversely, as @Morrigan said, if I were a parent, it'd be nice to know my child had a creative outlet with adults that would look out for them and not take advantage. Our group is small and very social so I have a good idea of their ages and values.

 

Still.....

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I talked to my co-admin and my one mod, and we've agreed that it's probably best for the board as a whole if we switch to 18+.

 

The main reason for the junior players program was to allow for her daughter, and we've come to the conclusion that if the kidlet and her friends want to play---we can set them up with a board of their own, where they have free reign and can write things that would make us blush. Meanwhile, we have the ability to run full dark content on Tally without anyone's kids needing brain bleach.

 

I think it does better reflect the (weh) 30-year-old I am now. It's not about wanting to write smut---cause I don't, and frankly I don't want to read anyones explicit smut on the board. But there are some themes I want to explore that are less safe for children, and we'll now have that ability.

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 I really like the idea and if I was on a non premium/18+ board I would love that being a feature. Especially because it meant I could know I was helping influence/create some great memories for this kid. It's probably a better route to avoid it.

 

Like Morr I started rping before COPPA was a thing and remember having to get my mom to sign the sheet and mail it in to Neopets. I still remember some of the (godawful) rp I was part of. If I wasn't in the camp that just preferred writing with adults I'd say the system was a great idea (pending no adult content is allowed on board.) 

 

It's also a great idea to make/find them an she appropriate board so Mom can play with her kid or at least keep an eye on what's going on.

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A lot of my best RPers are teenagers. They're great because they're still in high school, so they have really predictable schedules, and a lot of pent-up creative energy that they can't get out at school. And a lot of my darker plots are introduced by these 15, 16, 17 year olds who are perfectly capable of monitoring and judging content before they consume it.

 

Disclaimer, though: I don't have kids. I'm 25. And the two boards I most typically frequent cater mainly to teens and college students, and neither allow explicit sexual content.

 

EDIT: Some of you might be interested in taking a page from Iwaku's book. They require age upon signup, and sort users into 18+ and 18-. There are common RP boards where everyone can post, adult boards where only 18+ users and post, and teen boards where only minors can post. They allow some pretty adult content, so the general idea is to make sure that the streams don't cross, and everyone stays smutting in their own age group.

Edited by Deep Sea
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34 minutes ago, Rune said:

 I really like the idea and if I was on a non premium/18+ board I would love that being a feature. Especially because it meant I could know I was helping influence/create some great memories for this kid. It's probably a better route to avoid it.

 

This is what I wanted to achieve, and kind of what Tally was originally---but I don't think it suits who we are now. Our members grew up, so I think we're at a point where we need to reflect that. Plus, we live in the "age of squick" and even when you're doing the right thing----it feels weirdly wrong.

 

28 minutes ago, Deep Sea said:

A lot of my best RPers are teenagers. They're great because they're still in high school, so they have really predictable schedules, and a lot of pent-up creative energy that they can't get out at school. And a lot of my darker plots are introduced by these 15, 16, 17 year olds who are perfectly capable of monitoring and judging content before they consume it.

 

Disclaimer, though: I don't have kids. I'm 25. And the two boards I most typically frequent cater mainly to teens and college students, and neither allow explicit sexual content.

 

EDIT: Some of you might be interested in taking a page from Iwaku's book. They require age upon signup, and sort users into 18+ and 18-. There are common RP boards where everyone can post, adult boards where only 18+ users and post, and teen boards where only minors can post. They allow some pretty adult content, so the general idea is to make sure that the streams don't cross, and everyone stays smutting in their own age group.

 

I'm in my 30s now... maybe it's something that happens to you when you're 30? When I was 19, and even at 25 it didn't make me as edgy as it does now. The bigger concern  (for me) was if said daughter was on board, and did bring friends, we would have parents to contend with in the real world. And that could potentially look bad for my co-admin. So there was a lot of structure put in place to avoid that, which ended up hampering the older players.

 

If we had a bigger audience, the age split would be worth doing.

 

36 minutes ago, CovertSphinx said:

@Mousie If enough of her friends are interested, you could always open up a "Tally Jr" site in its entirety, where the kids can have their reign and if you adults wanted to play "Vanilla" plots to be good influences on them you could without sacrificing the "darker" themes in your main RP

 

This is on the cards, lol. But it depends on what the kidlet wants to write. She may have a completely different and entirely awesome idea!

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I started rping when I was 12 and lied about my age. While I had a lot of fun and the internet was a different place back then... I would not want to rp with 12 year old me.

 

Boards with young players are a definite turn off for me. I don'

I started rping when I was 12 and lied about my age. While I had a lot of fun and the internet was a different place back then... I would not want to rp with 12 year old me.

 

Boards with young players are a definite turn off for me. I don't even like rping with people under 21.

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I am gonna go against what most folks here say because I love seeing younger players get into the game. I grew up in a family that did a lot in the horse industry, and they were forever talking about getting younger people in - a long-term vision that I adopted for myself in the sphere of role-play and art. However, I also run my site vastly different than most and I think that really does impact the way our community operates. I also don't allow pure smut on my board as it's rated 3/1/3, no matter a member's age.

 

Currently, our memberbase has an average age of 25-30. But we have a good handful of younger folks - like 5 or 6 - who are considered minors. And to be quite honest, they rock! XD They can write very well (even better than some of us older folks) and though they can get a little excitable in the Discord chat, they weave some excellent stories. My site's in it for the long haul, already 15 years old, so we have the unique opportunity to not only watch these players grow and change, but also make an impact on whatever they're going through in their lives.

 

I started role-playing when I was ten on a version of the site I run even now. Started on Neopets and was there for 8 years - and hell, it changed my life and the lives of many of my members, so why shouldn't I allow new folks to the game to do that, too? xD

 

This isn't to say we promote the way children and teens write sometimes; we're pretty particular about writing quality anymore. But if you're over 13 and can write well (we have a pre-play joining application because our charrie apps are mostly freeform) come on in!

Edited by Verridith
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3 hours ago, Rune said:

 I really like the idea and if I was on a non premium/18+ board I would love that being a feature. Especially because it meant I could know I was helping influence/create some great memories for this kid. It's probably a better route to avoid it.

 

Like Morr I started rping before COPPA was a thing and remember having to get my mom to sign the sheet and mail it in to Neopets. I still remember some of the (godawful) rp I was part of. If I wasn't in the camp that just preferred writing with adults I'd say the system was a great idea (pending no adult content is allowed on board.) 

 

I am also in the camp of having a PG-13 site (my site would never be higher) and allowing 13+ people. If they are writing only "in a place meant exclusively for them", they can't evolve literarily how one could evolve in an all age setting. I have written with people from 14 to 75 and I admit that I still miss 3 writers who were 15 when they joined Before the Mast (and at 18, when entering Uni, they left :( ). I would be happy any time to welcome more people aged 14-16 who love the Age of Sail and want to learn more about writing and history at the same time!

 

Good writers aren't born, but made. And I would be happy to witness such a progress, exactly how I witnessed the progress in English language of some members who are with us for many years ;) . It is rewarding even if you aren't a staff member!

 

I love writing with other characters and build interesting stories. I have never cared how old is the writing partner, as long as we could discuss and understand each other.  (And I have never felt predatory either, I don't understand this feeling.) People of any age can and will interact together in society - teenagers would talk with their older cousins, uncles, parents' friends, teachers, youth mentors, etc. Why would this seem strange?

 

Sometimes, teenagers were more mature (socially, as in not making drama) than some in their 20s or 30s...

Edited by Elena
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I think it would be a turn off for a young player to have to called themselves a junior player and flag themselves as the "others" in the community, and I would just lie about my age to avoid being labelled. A separate site might be a good idea.

 

Personally, I lean toward 18+ sites. It isn't because I enjoy smut, which I do, but because I no longer synergize with younger writers. That isn't to say I wouldn't join a site because they have younger players, or that I would exclusively refuse to roleplay with the youngins, but I honestly don't enjoy it as much. I don't feel predatory about it though. I have no shame in shutting people down either, so maybe that is why. I am particular about what plots I will do with younger writers, but I still prefer to just not.

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