Forum RP Etiquette Pt 2: Unreadable and/or Unhelpful Posts

Currently Working On:
Eresith World Building
Commission Descriptions (1.75/3)

So, aside from passive/aggressive behavior out-of-character, the second worst thing you can do in my opinion is have an unreadable or unhelpful post. Or worse yet, both. Usually these kinds of posts are hall-marks of other kinds of offenders, such as god modders who make themselves invincible and cringe-inducing and power players who rip control of the situation from the other players, particularly in physical actions, but they can also be a sign of an inexperienced RPer who doesn’t know better.

The first is the easier to spot and the easiest to suggest solutions for. It’s someone who doesn’t capitalize letters period, doesn’t know how to use punctuation (either correctly or at all), or has some serious problems with word-confusion. I’m not talking about your little typos – Lord knows, I make a tone ton of those myself (case in point). But I mean the entire post requires you to copy and paste it into a Word doc and try to fix it before you can actually read it. On some forums, they’ll post in eye-searing or too pale (or like on my site, too dark) colors, and whatever the manner of choice for separating dialogue is, be it bolding text or changing it to another color, they will do it incorrectly or not at all.

If they aren’t godmodders or power players, it’s easy enough to owl them and suggest that they fix their posts and explain exactly what’s wrong with them. Sometimes it’s an unintentional mistake – an example being that one of the dark greens on the website I use is perfectly readable on my computer, but not on my friend’s, so they asked me to change Draco (yes, that Draco) to a different green and I easily agreed. Sometimes it’s a case of a character not using English as their primary language, which is when you just have to be patient and understanding while you gently nudge them towards improvement. If they are a godmodder/powerplayer… Pray they leave the RP after the first suggestion they will probably ignore. They are usually the sorts that won’t accept criticism or suggestions.

The unhelpful post is a lot harder to spot, but usually a moderately experienced RPer knows when they’ve written one and will warn their partner or group as soon as it goes up. An unhelpful post is one that doesn’t present anything for your character to react to. Sure, they answer your character’s questions…but they don’t ask more. They don’t raise any confusion or other problems. If there IS any physical action, it’s usually defensive or removing themselves from the situation, or something simple like a shrug or wave of the hand. It could be a purely internal post, where they do nothing but think about what they are hearing/seeing without actually doing anything. Sometimes it’s because there isn’t anything for that character to do but they want to react now rather than wait. Sometimes its because the characters themselves don’t have anything to do.

All you can really do at this point is throw another set of situations or questions at them. If they keep up the behavior, that’s when you need to have a long talk with the RPer about the situation, because something is wrong, and it isn’t going to be a fun situation for very long for anyone involved. Either a change in circumstances needs to happen, or a change in a character trait. Something is shutting things down. And in some rare cases, it’s the player. Either they’ve gotten bored or they are too busy to properly write a post, which means either changing up the plot or pausing the RP till they have more free time. I’m in a similar situation at this point, trying to get into the head of one of our RPers who won’t post, won’t PM me back. I’m letting another player who has known her longer poke at her for a little bit, but as a group we are all about at the point we’d rather split up the RP if this group doesn’t work out soon.

…And I’m calling this as still being on Tuesday because I haven’t been to bed yet. 😛 Now off to stress about getting my Tuesday shift moved around since I’m supposed to be at class and at work at the same time which is a problem… On a random note, I got the history of the Spiral City and a little of the religion done.

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About Rebecca M. Horner

A spinner of yarns (of the story sort, though I do crochet...and sew, and learning to make armor...) View all posts by Rebecca M. Horner

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