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Mousie

 Membership Allowing junior players -- a turn-off?

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I'm of the mind that it depends on the board. I'm on one HP board that does allow folks under 18. It's pg-13 with pword areas for those who are over 18 if they want to write smut. If the content is not appropriate for those under the age of 18, then I'm not interested in those who aren't 18 being on the board. 

 

I also get weird about my characters being in romantic relationships with characters written by those who are under 18 on any board that does allow under 18. I think that's straight up because I'm a former teacher though and I like to dot my i's and cross my t's.

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I like having younger writers on a board. some of them are great writers, and have more energy and time to roleplay than the older players. I base judgements more on how players act than their age. if a player acts mature enough to self-moderate their content, and make judgement calls about which threads aren't appropriate for them to join, than I'm fine with them being around.

Chances are that 18> players will find ways to expose themselves to what they want to discover, and if adults were hiding it too visibly that would attract more curiosity rather than less.

That said, sites don't always need an age limit to attract certain kinds of players. The way a site is designed, its theme, the culture of the existing players, and the posts on the forums are likely to attract players of certain age ranges more than others. Players often clump with others of similar interest and maturity level. There were always be individuals who come on sites just to try and explore 'forbidden lands' who are obviously younger than they say they are, and try to play content that is actually against the law for their age, but i think those should be dealt with as they come. I'm not keen on keeping out younger players on sites that are thematically and content wise clearly not R rated.

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On 1/19/2018 at 3:54 AM, SithLordOfSnark said:

I don't want to play with anyone under the age of 18, player wise, for various reasons.

 

Hell, half the time I don't really want to RP with kids under 30. 

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I think about this, too. I was on sites when I was 14, and there weren't a lot of 18+ only sites back then for some reason. 

 

However, there can be very very real consequences for allowing an under 18 player to write mature topics with people over the age of 18. This skeeves me out big time. Also, writing any situation in which two minors are engaged in mature content seems very off limits as well. I think i remember reading something once about real legal consequences that could come from this. 

 

I feel like I'm way older than most people since turning 28, most seem to be in their early 20's. I'm also a teacher, and the thought that a member of my site could feasibly be a child sitting in the Algebra class I just subbed in makes me shiver. I recently tried to join a friends site, with no age limits and a soft rating to accommodate this, and I ended up leaving after a week. I was so uncomfortable with a 15 year old asking to plot her character with mine, and let's be honest here - the maturity difference is so huge from 15/16 to late 20's, even early 20s! 

 

Maybe it is entirely because I'm a teacher, but I'd like to spend my hobby time with adults, and not have to listen to more high school life stories. 

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@Scout  Gotcha beat by about 30+ years!

 

Our sites have a 222 rating although the majority of the content is in the PG-13 range. I am just not comfortable knowingly allowing anyone under the age of 18 to write with us. While the majority of the content is mild, some of the plots might intensify at some point. On one site, a historical, it is not abnormal for the men of that era to wed much younger women - I don't want to encourage that with underage writers.

 

I have no issues with the under 18 crowd joining suitable sites. I only avoid them because of my RL age and comfort zones.

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I started RPing when I was 10 or 11, myself, maybe a little earlier actually. Honestly? I would not want to RP with me at that age. I actually still have some stuff I've written from back then and oh lords, was it awful and painful to read.

 

It's been a decade and while I'm still on the younger side, honestly? I won't RP with anyone that's under 17. Maybe it's a bit hypocritical, but it feels creepy, and kids that age aren't mature. At all. I started my days RPing on warrior cat sites and wolf RPs, before moving into RPing humans and other things later on. I at least, recognized that I wasn't mature enough for certain things at the time, but I've seen plenty of people who don't recognize that and will just jump right in and it can ruin a site for someone.

 

First time I wrote smut, I think I was 17, maybe? Not far off from turning 18. Even now though smut isn't even close to my main focus. It's fun to write every once in a while and I'll admit I enjoy reading it a bit, but imo it's not something that a 14-15 year old should be writing, or reading on RP boards.

 

Recently in the guild I'm on in this MMO called aion, our leads accepted a 14 year-old into our ranks. Said leads are early 30s, then there's several people in early-mid 20's. This boy was immature and it got super awkward and it was just uncomfortable. The kid brought in drama, typical 14-year-old boy crap, no filter, you know the drill , the mid-20's girl who is on the spectrum has a hair trigger, our legion leads realized their mistake rather quickly. But when you allow people of that age to be on site, I do think it tends to bring out the worst in people. And for those who are on the other side of the 18+ fence, it is unfair and exhausting to have to constantly be on our toes. What if that kid tells their parents that we accidentally dropped an F-bomb, and the parents do decide to get angry about it? There are worse things that could happen, too.

 

I got lucky. Some of those friends I made back in '10-'14, I'm still friends with and they are genuinely great people, around my age and some of whom I've met IRL before. Hell, one girl I know actually turned out to be a cousin to one of my classmates. Small world.

 

And meeting people in real life... That brings up a whole 'nother can of nasty worms on it's own. Like, seriously. At least have the sense to meet somewhere public, and not alone. And vet them hard. Knowing someone for years is hardly enough. It's a bit harder to fake a voice (not very, teamspeak literally has voice filters), much harder to fake video calls over skype. And if one party is under 18, they have no business doing anything of the sort. None.

 

The majority of the 18- crowd is not mature enough to handle to the RP communities at large, particularly those with 323 or 333 ratings like the boards many of us frequent.

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I have a 2-2-2 site and, even if now we have no underage members, we had a while ago some very good writers who were 15-16 years old, and this is the reason why I encourage young members. It takes only a passion for history and a willingness to learn - both how to research and how to write. All of us have started somewhere, and people had patience with us to teach us how to improve. It is time to give back that 🙂

 

I see that here most people are in favour of 3-3-3 sites and 18+. I am in favour of 13+ sites and those who are interested, to learn 🙂 It isn't as if there are so many people fan of historical fiction and age of sail. If we limit the age, we will have even fewer members.

Edited by Elena
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@Elena I love your views here! When I was that young, it would have been nice to have a site with mixed ages to help us all grow as writers, and it takes a certain kind of patience to work with people not only new to RP, but to writing in general! It's awesome your site is doing that!

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Honestly? I won't join a site that has members under 18. Hard pass.

 

I have my reasons (writing content and different maturity levels playing their own part), but I've found this resulted in far less personal frustration.

 

 

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I think I agree with you, @Lawman! Everyone is squeaked by the idea of writing together with younger people and I don't understand this (in the context of PG-13 writing, of course!). First, that it's just a story where characters  interact, and we are not our characters. Second, everyone can learn from everyone - there were things I learnt from my 15 and 16 years old writing partners too.

 

As for general inter-generational friendships, yes, I think people have what to learn and how to enrich each other's lives too. When I was a teen, I had less friends my age (I had a few, though) but I had also my young far-cousin that I babysat because I loved her, and her friends (8 years age difference). I had also 2 friends my mother's age, with whom I kept contact - one of them died years ago, and I have her on the list of souls to pray for when entering a church, and another is still alive and we keep in contact until now, my statistics professor in the first year of Uni. And my mother never worried/ forbade me the friendships, by contrary.

 

Each one was offering me a different window to life, to another world.

Edited by Elena
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Two statements I'd like to drop for consideration: 

 

1. If a site is set-up and properly permissioned for Adult Content, and a member joins who CLAIMS to be "18+" for the sake of joining the forum, far be it from me to question that - and I CERTAINLY am not going to put myself in a position to ask "Hey are you really 23? cuz like, I feel like a pedophile RPing with you if not". Also, for those worried about legal implications, the written word doesn't count for any of those normal fears because they're just "stories".

 

2. RPing, just like playing with barbie dolls or imaginary friends, is for MANY in our hobby a way to work through complicated concepts and social structures/interactions. Who's to say that writing isn't the only outlet a particular member has to work through the emotional turmoil of past abuse? 

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We allow everyone over 13 in terms of rules, but in practice we've tended towards an older memberbase as our once-babies have grown up and gone to college. Unsurprisingly, my views shifted as their age did -- when they were underaged, I would have never joined an 18+ board because then I couldn't bring them with me xD  Now that they're older, I'm older, and I've actually started a teaching career, I think if I were to make a new board I would go for 16+ or 18+ just as a cover-my-butt thing, not a "ugh kids" thing. That said, it's not something I care enough about to push for it on my existing board.

 

I think as long as you - and your members - are cognizant of the fact that you do have teens on board and are comfortable with that fact, you do you!

Edited by clipsed
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I think that the number one factor on this question is the type of board that you are trying to create/play but I know that I personally tend to gravitate to stories or boards that have a little bit of a darker theme to them, more adult. I don't even necessarily mean sex or explicit writing, but themes like death, blood, violence, and other things that may trigger less mature folks. I enjoy drama and character development, so things like that tend to provide that for me as a writer.

 

I personally will not join any site that allows minors to participate. It's not saying that these people are not good writers, but I just wouldn't feel comfortable writing with someone who is half my age. Like many others I started roleplaying when I was like 13, but that was nearly 20 years ago and roleplay was much, much different back then. I think the nature of the beast has evolved and we have to understand that many of us writers who started young are growing up now and find the idea of writing with a minor a little jarring.

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