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On some forums I've notices a kind of fear of open threads lately. Members gravitate towards pre-plotted situations which they play out in private threads.  When a thread is open it ends up becoming as good as PAFP (private after first post) where one other player and no one else joins regardless of the fact that the thread might have been designed with the possible participation of multiple players in mind. In fact, aside from events per-arranged by staff, many open threads I've seen never get a chance to become much of anything. They sit on the board gathering dust while all other threads go at full speed.

I can't help but raise my eyebrows at this apparent trend. When I make open threads, they are meant to be open to any group of players who wishes to join them. What's causing open threads to be treated as not-open, or end up as overlooked compared to more per-arranged stuff, and are there solutions or tricks to see more love and participation for this style of rp?  To me its kind of discouraging to observe these threads falling by the wayside, and players myself included  just sort of stop trying, or rarely make open threads any more as a result.

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When I first started RPing, some odd....15+ years ago, the main culture was to just jump into threads willy nilly and RP with whoever happened to have an open slot/setting/plot. It was beautiful, if not admittedly sometimes chaotic. 

As people made RP Friends, the culture slowly gravitated to the opposite end of the spectrum: That natural "clique" is probably half the reason why brand new sites rarely have a successful start anymore. 

 

I cannot fathom what happened to the "Adventurous Spirit", aside from making an assumption that people slowly took on the "Well if I've been in 1 instance of X Situation, I've been in all the X situations" mentality and became Jaded on some level. 

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I can definitely see people not knowing anyone, so they jump into all the threads, and then as they get friends and learn who they enjoy playing with, starting to play mostly with that group of people. That's what I do right now, but I get a small excuse in that I haven't joined a new RP community in what feels like ages. Two years, at least.

That said, when I do join a forum, I do play like I'm trying to keep the site alive, so I'll jump into anything that makes sense for my character. I don't really understand open threads that are played like they're invite-only? If it says open, then everyone should be able to play, even if they're just being silly. And if you have a thread titled [open, Mark] then everyone + Mark should be able to play, right? If you don't want people to join... don't ask them to?

 

I dunno if I'd stay on a site where I can't make new friends.

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There are actually a few reasons for this. Without a direction/knowledge that it will continue or the fact that you don't know if your idea will be readily accepted by the other member Open threads are dangerous territory.

 

I'm a person that stopped making them. When they go for weeks without being replied to, especially when you're new to a site, it's disheartening and altogether feels like maybe you shouldn't be involved on that site.

 

I personally love "open world/thread" RPs over private RPs. I think that a random person stopping by your house while you're characters are in the middle of a lover's quarrel is fun. Many people don't. It's also tedious to get group threads together with people that all post at similar speeds. All of that combined makes me not care for open threads personally. It's easier to get involved on a site when there is a direction to go.

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I guess you could say I was "raised" with the open thread trend when first starting out on boards. It was fun and a random way to test out other players and their characters without committing to major plots. I have noticed the recent decline in people randomly jumping into open thread or even open threads being posted. Part of me can understand why they're going out of style. I think the community as a whole is accepting the fact that they don't have to write with others they haven't "screened" yet and want to take small steps with their character. Time and energy are extremely valuable to people when it comes to this hobby and people have come to realize they want to utilize what they can out of their hobby. 

 

On the site I run now, we have our core group who've been with us a couple of years and still choose to randomly add open thread with the characters who aren't exactly doing anything too important. It gives new characters/members a chance to jump in without having to write up their own opens right off the bat. Also, it's a great way to set something up between two or more character you didn't essentially plot with yet but still gives the opportunity to write with them. Some of our favorite ships and plots have come from those random incidents between characters and it opened up a whole set of ideas and future plots. 

 

Though, I can see what Morrigan is saying, too. With it being a fading trend, sometimes an open sits for weeks until it's either archived or taken up by someone you already write with. It's daunting and really knocks the confidence down a few pegs. Plus, I imagine how terrifying it is to be in a random thread with a bunch of people and feeling lost in all that's going on depending on the length of each post. 

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14 minutes ago, MissQ said:

Though, I can see what Morrigan is saying, too. With it being a fading trend, sometimes an open sits for weeks until it's either archived or taken up by someone you already write with. It's daunting and really knocks the confidence down a few pegs.  

 

The problem with them is that the core "group" of a site has to jump on it for it not to feel like shit. However core groups often have more than enough threads with each other so you have to wait for other new members who also want to get in with the core group. It's actually a huge catch 22 of new sites.

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I agree. You have to also take into consideration the amount of pressure it adds to those who take open threads because they're having to lead by example. On top of the fact that even when you get new members, they may not feel comfortable taking the other new member's open thread. It really is one of those hit-or-miss type of thing about the community as a whole. 

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I like and don't like open threads. I don't like threads with no direction, that if you join them, you are the one to carry the thread along and the other is up for the ride, because they weren't planned and they have no direction. And yes, I am a planner... I hate not having any direction.

 

On the other side, I love collective threads (which still have some direction). They are opportunities for characters to meet everyone and to make connections, for good or for bad. We have plenty of collective threads - tavern scenes, working scenes, battles, public festivals, balls, religious holidays... Everything which entails the life in the 18-th century. ANd most people weren't alone or in pairs doing various things, but in the middle of a varied, colourful people. 

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So... I also have rather mixed feelings on open threads. I hadn't even noticed the trend until you mentioned it because that's been the way I've always known it, being rather limited in my exposure to boards. I have noticed, though, that a lot of people, when they make their first character on the board, posted open threads immediately. It never made sense to me. I've found I am a canon-centered, mostly plot-focused writer, or otherwise someone who threaded to learn about a dynamic between two specific characters. I can do open threads, but they've always felt like walking on eggshells before. There's something about the seeming randomness about it that bothers me.

 

That being said, I have done some open threads. All the ones I did, though, were plot specific, or with clear direction. I've done them for reactions to a public announcement, a funeral for an important character, an investigation that I wanted people to jump in on, and a social event that my character invited basically everyone who could reasonably come. While 3/4s of those worked, I still had people shying away from them, regardless of encouragement. I've also seen many an open thread get one or two replies and then get dropped entirely. And I find that I have ascribed to the mentality an open thread is more like... a call. Once answered, no one else needed to.

 

So, basically, I think, unless it has direction and someone pushing for people to join, it's more likely to stall or turn into a personal thread.

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I honestly think it stems from a lack of communication. If you're taking someone's open thread, why not DM/PM/whatever with them and either plot out or vaguely discuss something you want to happen. When I take an open, I do my thing, then message this other person like "tag you're it! I thought x, y, z, about your opener and was wondering if you had any direction or ideas you'd like to take it in!" then hear their proposal and add my ideas to the table until we're sort of on the same page. In my experience, this kind of plotting makes that open thread work very well. We can then decide if we want to close the thread to newcomers, keep it open for surprise entry, or tag someone else to join in later. Just because it's open doesn't mean it has to be an unplotted thread.

 

That said, I'm usually one of the rpers that prefers the pre-plotted shenanigans. I don't often take up open threads. But if someone sells the me their open thread, I'm more likely to take it. I don't usually troll the board looking for an open. But if you drop the link in discord or chat (or even DM it to me or plop it in my shipper) I'll probably take it. Sell yourself a little bit. Tell me what I'm in for if I take that open. Entice me.

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I've always considered an open thread to be something that's available to anyone who wants to reply to it and then it's not open to anyone after that - that it's a thread you start when you want to rp with someone, but are too shy or self conscious to actually approach the person. I've also done them a couple of times when I needed to keep a canon character active, but the people who were interested in threading with him weren't around to rp. It was used as a way of keeping him active for activity checks and to give anyone who was available a chance to rp without needing to ask permission. However, I can see how disheartening it is when something gets ignored for weeks or months at a time. (I have been on the receiving end of that myself, and it's awful.)

 

As for people not joining in once they've started - maybe they don't realise that another person would be welcome in it? I've had bad experiences when I've been unwelcome in a thread which I thought was open, because I'd seen other people reply to it, only to get ignored, pushed out of it, or be treated rudely for doing it. Some people might think it rude to join in one that's been replied to. Open threads don't necessarily mean that they are group threads, after all! If you want more than one person to join an open thread, it might be a good idea to indicate that somewhere in the title, or at the beginning, so people will know that they'd be welcome to join in even after someone has responded.

 

Having said that, if I was new to a site, didn't know anyone and came across a few open threads, I'd respond to them if I thought that they were interesting enough.

 

- People need to get away from the cliquey mentality and be more willing to rp with new people, and seasoned rpers need to be given the chance to over come shyness that's the result of bad experiences with people. I understand why people need to be picky because of their time, but people not responding because they are nervous is worse.

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Question for the Peeps in this thread: 

When you see an open thread (with no plotting in the chats or any hints as to goals), is your first assumption that the thread has "no direction" and is a directionless shot in the dark? Instead of the alternate idea: the topic starter has a direction but just isn't giving Spoilers?

 

Would it help ease the "fear of the unknown" and "Internal Bias" on all our parts as members if the topic starter makes a little OOC aside along the lines of ((OOC: Hey, I'd like to explore my character's fear of spiders by having to go save his little brother from the Arachnid Den - but I need help rescuing said Big Bro from his current predicament)) in the initial thread? 

 

 

 

 

Although, as I was typing this out, I think I came to a realization: As Open Threads went down, I believe Plotters went up. So like, also, do you guys think that maybe the Plotting/Planner/Shipping feelers are replacing the old concept of Open Threads?

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5 hours ago, CovertSphinx said:

Although, as I was typing this out, I think I came to a realization: As Open Threads went down, I believe Plotters went up. So like, also, do you guys think that maybe the Plotting/Planner/Shipping feelers are replacing the old concept of Open Threads?

 

Yes. Cliques aside, I think most people are willing to give new folks a go and seem to prefer to plot something out. Even if it's just a vague what if this and that. I guess it helps people to feel invested in the thread and each other's characters?

 

I like open threads but they're not as centrally important to me as they used to be. If I'm in the mood for some spontaneity I'll make an open. It does take me a while, because I want to make sure that there's something for other people to hook into. I like replying to some open threads, so long as there's something for me to hook into. Admittedly....it's because I can then do the unexpected in response. 😄

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19 hours ago, CovertSphinx said:

Question for the Peeps in this thread: 

When you see an open thread (with no plotting in the chats or any hints as to goals), is your first assumption that the thread has "no direction" and is a directionless shot in the dark? Instead of the alternate idea: the topic starter has a direction but just isn't giving Spoilers? 

 

Would it help ease the "fear of the unknown" and "Internal Bias" on all our parts as members if the topic starter makes a little OOC aside along the lines of ((OOC: Hey, I'd like to explore my character's fear of spiders by having to go save his little brother from the Arachnid Den - but I need help rescuing said Big Bro from his current predicament)) in the initial thread? 

 

Although, as I was typing this out, I think I came to a realization: As Open Threads went down, I believe Plotters went up. So like, also, do you guys think that maybe the Plotting/Planner/Shipping feelers are replacing the old concept of Open Threads?

 

Very good questions!

 

Honestly yes my first assumption is that there is probably not a major direction (the player may have a goal for their character, to be fair, and I know that, but in my experience most open threads don't have an actual goal, they're just there to dip one's toes into the water).  Now, this is a useful thing, opens allow characters to interact that might not have otherwise, and they allow for a sort of no-obligation feeling when testing if your character is going to get along with someone elses.

 

Now, something like that note might be really helpful if the member really does have a goal in mind. Some people are goal oriented and would prefer that to simple coffeeshop type threading and there's nothing wrong with that!

 

I think they are, in some sense. People rely a ton on them these days - and that's a discussion topic for another time tbh - the unfortunate part of that is when I post in a plotter about wanting to do x or y I feel like there's an obligation to be absolutely certain it's going to work out. There's no room for figuring out if character x likes character y enough to actually date them, or even spend more than a thread or two in their presence. Which is... unfortunate because I have this thing where things like that have to develop organically because sometimes characters just dont mesh the way they seemed like they were going to. And sometimes you don't know that until 4 threads in and then I feel bad because I said lets make them friends, or I said maybe they could test the waters of dating.

 

That might be a weird perception on my part, to be fair, but it still leaves me kind of missing when I could drop an open and actually get answers and have the thread go somewhere. There was an open I joined early on in my rping career (multiple times, actually) that modified my characters entire time on the board after that because she joined a group of characters to travel - and the person that answered her open really made a difference because if it had been someone else I'd have spent my time with a whole different group with that character.

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