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Okay, I know that talks about quality, as well as boards calling themselves "advanced", don't get much sympathy, and I do understand why.

 

My board is *not* labelled as advanced. I don't think much of word counts, I just ask that you write something your RP buddy can react to (so a short post where you do or say something meaningful is cool, while 1000 words of internal musing that your partner cannot perceive are not all that okay).

As for writing itself, the only thing I demand quality-wise is that one doesn't use chatspeak and does their best to write intelligibly and with proper punctuation. I am not a native speaker, so I know I shouldn't be too harsh, since I surely make more mistakes than I can notice.

 

However, there is still the fact that forum RP is a hobby focused on reading and writing, and there's a threshold after which a post is actually painful to read. It's still "intelligible", but it takes some effort - say, articles are either entirely ignored or used randomly, verbs, nouns and adjectives are used interchangeably, spelling isn't just occasionally wrong but a perpetual mess... It doesn't look like something one's likely to improve with experience, either - by playing you may expand your vocabulary and train your creativity, but odds are you won't learn basic grammar if you've managed to ignore it until 18+ (but most likely 30+).

 

Not only it spoils the fun for me, but I suspect that people who actually love writing would be less likely to join.

 

So I guess I should be more honest and say the board is "intermediate" or "literate" or add any sort of rule about writing quality. I hadn't done it at first because I assumed that, if either didn't care about writing at all, or you struggled terribly with it for any reason, you wouldn't be interested in joining a game where literally all that you do is reading and writing. I assumed that, and obviously I was wrong.

The board is extremely  new so adjustments are acceptable, I think. Well, I hope.

 

However, even once established that, while you needen't be Shakespeare, you should not be such a poor writer to break immersion, how do you enforce that in a way that is somehow objective? 

 

Also, since some of the offenders are indeed native speakers, how bad is it if it's a foreigner that tells you that it's "courageous and deliberate" and not "courage and dillibirate"?

Anonymous poster hash: 635bf...7ac

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SOOOOOOoooo! Lets explain the origin of "intermediate" or "Advanced" writing. It comes from a time-frame that explains writing as a quantifiable number/word count/paragraph count. People have changed since then, however. If you want a specific word/paragraph count you need to specify it. Quality of posts is dependent on the user. For me, for example, I have low level aphasia (not due to brain damage but I tend to say one word and mean another like in the Star Trek DS9 episode) and I'm drunk a lot so sometimes I'm just a fucking idiot too. But that doesn't mean I'm a bad RPer, nor does it mean my version is wrong.

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@Morrigan as I said I couldn't care less about post length. I'm fine with short posts and even one-liners as long as they are meaningful contributions. I'm more offended by very long posts that are actually godmodding their RP partner since they are not allowed to interfere.

 

What I was talking about was basic grammar. Which I'm not so comfortable complaining about since English isn't my native language and I cannot say I speak it perfectly. But making some mistake is one thing, being entirely sloppy is something different. Not so easy to explain since people in this community tend to write quite well.

 

 But theres a point were one write is so bad that you have difficult follow the plot tat his telling even through the mean is still intilligibly a bit so you cnat say his agaist the rulez

 

...okay, I am exaggerating, but you get what I mean with "poor writing", and that it has nothing to do with short posts. If one says they don't mind anyway, that's fine!, but I think it's equally understandable if one ends up finding the scene less entertaining.

 

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I think I've run into the kind of writing that you're talking about. Writing with such a great many errors that the post requires you to decipher it before you can continue, not just read it while ignoring the errors. But actually take the time to work out the message as if it is a puzzle. The problem I run into is that...I can never be sure if the person has a weak grasp on grammar, an innocent flaw, or is being loose and sloppy with their writing...a much less innocent flaw. I always try to err on the side of "bad at grammar," and not "sloppy." In the past, I have approached a couple of these writers, turning their attention to the errors and asking them if they'd like any help with their writing. These conversations do not always go great, ad you'd expect, but may reveal if the person is just a less experienced writer or is indeed sloppy... I find the sloppy writers to be rude, as presenting a post that poor without any attempt to make it more legible to your rp partner is insulting.

 

Instead of a rule - or guideline if you dislike rules for this sort of thing - dictating how long a post needs to be and the like, you could have a grammar rule. Something simple to denote that any blatant disregard for proper grammar is a rule violation, and punishable if the behavior continues after the staff addresses it, but also indicating that the staff is there - in part - to help those with a weak grasp on grammar to improve their abilities. Maybe try to cultivate a small culture of workshopping writing to improve, a lil' OOC board dedicated to sharing writing tips and working on basic skills, both on the grounds of fundamental grammar rules and in the creative sphere.

 

Rp is very much about writing, yeah, and I've never agreed with the notion that talking about the writing itself is off limits in rp circles. That thoughtful and objective critiques are rude if not asked for. Or critiques are equivalent to insults or flaming, period. Critique and just...addressing the problems and weak points...is how one improves in any skill. It should be a positive thing! Always.

 

EDIT: Also, Anon, your English looks great. Like you said, a flawed understanding of the language is not uncommon among native speakers. Heheheh. You could've fooled me.

Edited by Kajes
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I still disagree. I mean I full on use the wrong words sometimes. Not intentionally, not to make people feel bad, but because my brain literally doesn't know the difference. I mean I've been speaking English since I was able to talk and I still know sometimes my posts make no sense. Not because I can't/don't speak English well but because sometimes when I type I don't know the difference.

 

And, no offense, basic grammar is still relative. I type like I talk, not through conventional "taught" grammar conventions. So quality is literally, still, in the eye of the beholder. If you can't understand something someone wrote then it may be something that's a good idea to maybe ask them. What if you or your character wasn't supposed to understand them? I have characters that do that all the time. So there are a lot of reasons that things can be a thing before you start assuming "lack of quality". I also believe that if you are trying to cultivate an environment you either need to teach the things you preach or you need to ask them to leave.

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Some people are more interested in the Role Playing aspect than the writing aspect. 

If you find that the person's posts are completely illegible and don't want to RP with them, just stop threading with them. If they ask why you stopped replying respond with something along the lines of "I have a lot of difficulty reading your posts, and honestly don't have the mental energy anymore to decipher each post before replying. It's nothing against you as a person, we just aren't compatible as thread mates". If you feel that labeling yourselves as "Intermediate" will give future prospective members a better idea of what you expect from them, go for it: because it seems that's exactly the type of members you are looking for. Or perhaps if that sounds too harsh of an implication for you, maybe word it as "We expect posts to be legible and easily understood"? Either way, you're going to have to navigate the gray area of subjectiveness on a member-by-member basis

 

I had a friend once whose writing was choppy and hard to decipher for some members on the board - so those members simply did not interact with his character in threads, and those of us who didn't have any trouble understanding his posts continued to RP with him - it never upset the board culture. Even though said members wouldn't thread with my friend, they still associated with each other in the C-box and partook in group conversations. On the rare occasion that particular interactions were "forced" by plot, we were able to minimize the encounter and OOCly agree on certain events transpiring to keep the plot moving forward without leaving anybody out of the development. 

The members posts might not be something YOU want to read, but they're probably just fine for somebody else to work with. Sometimes people just don't mesh as thread partners, and sometimes members that join don't fit with the community you desire - there's nothing wrong with either situation; just don't expect to inspire change in the person and work out a solution accordingly.

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10 hours ago, Anonymous said:

So I guess I should be more honest and say the board is "intermediate" or "literate" or add any sort of rule about writing quality

Morrigan mentioned that intermediate and literate forums "comes from a time-frame that explains writing as a quantifiable number/word count/paragraph count". It is still strongly associated with those views. By labeling yourself intermediate or literate you are going to be fighting against those assumptions - is it worth chasing off part of your member base and alienating anyone who might dislike word counts?

 

10 hours ago, Anonymous said:

Also, since some of the offenders are indeed native speakers, how bad is it if it's a foreigner that tells you that it's "courageous and deliberate" and not "courage and dillibirate"?

Since English is your second language I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and let you know that this question reflects poorly on your capacity for compassion and understanding towards someone who might not have been afforded the same opportunities for learning as you, might have faced economic barriers that you might not have, or may have a learning/intellectual disability. By all means, let off steam privately to a trusted friend but openly mocking (intentionally or not) sections of your community is not the best or kindest solution.

 

It is also worth noting that I consider myself a 'good enough' writer. However, I come from disadvantaged background and so my English teachers were just happy that I could read and fill in a worksheet. I was not challenged beyond that. When I got to university and tried first semester journalism - I struggled with the grammar demands (but it was perfectly fine for sociology and definitely fine for gender studies). Now, I love to write because it brings me great joy. I adore playing with sounds and sentence structure to hopefully elicit a certain mood. Hell, sometimes when I use what you call poor grammar, for me is an attempt at capturing that character's voice. So the moment a board demands basic grammar, I'm not going to join. I am not a professional writer or a technical writer, it's just a hobby that brings me great joy. 

 

Onto some actually hopefully helpful advice:

 

Something I need to remind myself is that rather than get hung up on the kind of members I want to discourage (nice way of saying exclude) I should concentrate on attracting the kind of members I want and scheme ways to attract them to my forum.

 

Break down what you want from a member. 'Passionate about writing which for me is demonstrated by x,' for example. Add a little, who this forum is for and make it clear who you are particularly catering for.

 

Other notes:

Completely agree with @CovertSphinx. I dont believe anyone, admins included, are obligated to write with everyone. If it's unenjoyable for you, just wrap up the thread and move on.

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I apologize if I came across as offending, which obviously I did. My intention was not to mock the disadvantaged, but to see how to clarify expectations in a context where a few skills may be required. Okay, I realize that expecting skills of any kind is inherently elitist one way or another, but I am not sure it can be avoided in all cases? This is not the right place for a debate on "whether to expect entry skills for any sort of hobby is acceptable", however, so I'll leave it like that. 

 

This thread, as some of you has guess, stems from some recent and frustrating discussion, about which, indeed, I should have vented elsewhere. Besides the fact one should not randomly vent in public, however, this discussion has been an eye opener on how rules and labels such as those I've mentioned wouldn't be just pointless, but could actually create a very toxic enviroment. I suspect there's some cultural difference involved, both in the perception of the link between grammar and social status, and what is okay to criticize openly. Which is one more reason to steer away from the issue, since I can't fully grasp how it'd be perceived by the audience. 

 

I'll take your advice on RPing with whomever I want, and especially on encouraging what I want to see (as opposite to what to avoid). 

Anonymous poster hash: 635bf...7ac

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Talking about writing quality is always opening a can of worms. It is an ultra subjective topic outside of bare, literal lingual mechanics. 

 

That said, just because your idea of "quality" doesn't mesh with another player doesn't mean you should blacklist them. Sometimes people just need room to grow, and they need to be able to write with higher performing writers in able to grow. 

 

One of my rp friends used to be almost unbearable to write with at times. Despite being a native speaker, posts were often disjointed, grammar and lingual mistakes were common. Our rp community didn't dick up and stonewall her out, though. The progress she made in a year alone is astonishing, and now several years later she's a great writer - you'd never guess she used to have such trouble. 

 

She never would have made that progress if the rest of our site had adopted the mindset you're trying to justify here. She might have just quit writing all together.

 

Switching gears a bit, reading/writing comprehension is all over the board. When I was in the third grade (that's roughly 8-9 here in the US) I read at a collegiate level. That was literally superior to many of my actual teachers - the average adult never surpasses an 8th grade reading level (13-14). I used to correct my teachers' grammar all the time. 

 

Point there is that your idea of quality is another's idea of trash. I couldn't tell you how many self proclaimed "advanced" writers I've encountered over the years who I, personally, would barely categorize as "average" if not even "sub-par" on my most generous of days. 

 

 

Edited by Dragon
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It's all good anon! 💖

 

I'm sorry that your recent experiences have been frustrating for you 😞 it's an awful feeling for an admin to have about their members.

 

You might find this thread an interesting read. 

 

And maybe those in that thread who do have a minimum standard might be able to chime in here with suggestions on how they avoided creating a toxic community. You could check out their sites too and see what they do!

 

As always, you will get nay sayers, but I do think it's important that you receive a diverse set of opinions.

 

Good luck!

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We have a word count on our site and I believe we still have ourselves defined as an intermediate level site in our rules (I rewrote our rules a couple months ago, so I can't exactly remember). 

 

Here's what I have found: members who are looking for the style of RP we do will join and those who are used to writing less or are just getting into writing/rping will also join. 

 

I know there are people who wouldn't join our site because we have a word count and that's completely fine. And while our rules state the word count isn't heavily enforced (we aren't counting words in every post on the site or anything like that - actually I don't think I've ever put someone else's post through a word counter) it gives an idea of what kind of rp style the site has. Again, I know some people will find this problematic or won't agree, but it's worked for us. The rules we have seem to set the expectations for the site without making people feel like we're super strict or anal about it all. 

 

As far as dealing with the problem you have, we've dealt with this before. In some instances, where only the staff seemed to notice it we let it be. However, when members come to us about a member's posts being full of spelling errors/typos and things like that that make their posts hard to read or comprehend, we feel we need to say something to the member. Not just because of the member who complained, but because if the members are having difficulties threading with this person then the member might stop getting threads and feel left out and we never want that to happen. 

 

At first, I might just suggest using a writing program with spell check, or installing grammarly on chrome after telling them that you've noticed a lot of spelling errors/typos that made their posts harder to read. As far as grammar goes, that's harder to deal with because there isn't a program that is perfect salt assessing grammar issues so it's more on the writer to learn it. 

 

I also want to say that admin for clarification on parts of a post is totally okay, I do it all the time when the post is completely legible, I'm just confused what piece of dialogue they're replying to or something like that. 

 

I'm not sure how helpful this is because it's 1 am and my brain is a little mushy, but that's just my two cents coming from a site that has a word count as well as a "level." 

Edited by Samantha
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My opinion is to always be up front about expectations. So if someone's app is inappropriate to your site, it is with in your right to deny them, pend them, or accept them. Just make it clear in your app and site rules what the expectations are in regard to writing.

 

The trick of course is being fair. There are many, many styles of writing that aren't my or your or whoever's taste, but that doesn't mean they should be denied or pended. If it's taste or preference, that's a whole different deal than a post being entirely incomprehensible.

 

Make a site that is a safe place for you and foster the community you want, but be aware of the consequences of your choices. (In other words, people might shy away from your site if you're PMing or pending over grammar errors, occasional error, or what have you.)

Edited by Thyme
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On the sites I've managed, I've been accepting of people who are not exceptional with grammar and welcome writing skills of all levels. As many have already noted, you can choose who you wish to roleplay with. If you're curious about plotting with a person who's writing is a hindrance to your reading, then you can always ask the person to explain what happened in a certain post/sentence. 

 

A person's writing ability may not be strong, but that doesn't mean they are not trying. Granted, there may be folks who are just generally sloppy, but I don't think it's okay to lump all people in a group due to unacceptable writing. And remember, although we're behind computers and typing this out, while writing may be easy for others, it is difficult for some. These players may want to participate, but it takes them a lot of practice and "bravery" to post something in the first place.

 

Which is why I also disagree with one of the statements in the opening post:

 

Quote

It doesn't look like something one's likely to improve with experience, either - by playing you may expand your vocabulary and train your creativity, but odds are you won't learn basic grammar if you've managed to ignore it until 18+ (but most likely 30+).

 

I believe that should anyone wish to try, they can improve their skills in writing and it doesn't matter how old they are. If a person is willing to put for the effort and is interested in a certain subject, then they are capable of getting better. It may not be perfect, but I've seen people on my boards with writing that made me scratch my head, but with time and an accepting group of friends, these people practiced their writing and changed.

Edited by memoria
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5 hours ago, memoria said:

I believe that should anyone wish to try, they can improve their skills in writing and it doesn't matter how old they are. If a person is willing to put for the effort and is interested in a certain subject, then they are capable of getting better. It may not be perfect, but I've seen people on my boards with writing that made me scratch my head, but with time and an accepting group of friends, these people practiced their writing and changed.

 

^^ That right there. I have played with people who made me cringe with their grammar mistakes and word misuse. They get better. Most of the time, they get better because they are playing with people who write better than they do. It's like any other skill, you improve by challenging yourself. 

 

There are definitely lazy people who would rather go off and write with people of a similar style. I just don't continue writing with them if that's the case. Everyone deserves a chance though, and kicking people from your setting/site because you don't want to write with them is really limiting the growth potential of your site.

 

Plus its just rude.

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