Hello one and all, Siksta here with an Insider's Guide to RPA. Now I've been on RPA since we were on the first site and there were 323 members that joined before me. Through all the ups and downs, through the high points of activity and through the doldrums. I've learned a few tricks of the trade as it were and I want to share them with old members and the newcomers. Now with a shiny Staff seal of approval!
Now without any more ado here are my tips.
1: Don't be afraid, we all have our little comfort zones that we stay in and very rarely venture out of. This is a common issue all across the board, folks find that one char, or one idea that they really like and never leave it they just reuse and tweak the same thing for each RP. Now there's nothing wrong with this and I'm never going to say anything bad toward it, but just because you know what you like and stick to it doesn't mean you have to close your mind to other possibilities. Challenge yourself, it's how we all grow as people and artists, don't be afraid to go outside your comfort zone. If you do mostly men chars, make some women ones, if you use the same Billy Badass guy for every RP you join, make a Dudley Do-Right for one. It's simple, just do something you don't normally do, you don't have to do it every time but once in awhile it doesn't hurt to mix things up.
2: Be respectful all and all, to paraphrase the rules of the site this may be the Internet but this is RPA not the rest of the Internet. Be cool and be nice if you don’t like someone bothering you all the time don't do it to someone else. If you have an issue with someone, deal with it as best and as respectful as you can yourself, but you always have the option to ask a Staffer to look into the issue, even before it goes way out of hand. This goes to RPs as well as just kicking around the site. Although GMs have the final word in their RPs, it’s best to remember the words: “Don't burn your bridges“. If you're a total jackass and dictator in your RPs, you will lose players and your RPs will die. Pretty basic this one, treat others as you would like to be treated.
3: You are not the King/Queen of the world, there's nothing wrong with being confident but there's always something wrong with being over confident. No one likes a know-it-all or a Captain Infinity. We are all human here, so remember to be humble and don't beat folks over the head with accomplishments and awards. It's ok to mention them once in awhile so people will know you are more than you appear, but don't make it an everyday practice that'll only get you on someone's shit list.
4: Don't start nothing there won't be nothing; kind of a repeat of number 2, but this is important in itself. Ever hear the phrase let sleeping dogs lie? Well this is the same concept. You don't know who's out there in the big scary world of cyberspace-- it could be a psychopath with stalking skills or it could just be a whiny little kid, but you never know, so it's better to just not risk it, plus, if you start no trouble you'll always be in the right when stuff goes down.
5: Be a friend, everybody needs somebody sometimes. We all have those bad days and we all have seen others go through those days. This one is short, but just as important. Help out your fellow RPA'ers and your fellow humans outside the web. Listen fully to someone's problem, then help to the best of your ability. Sometimes just venting is all someone needs. Even if you can't fully help this person, trying never hurt anything.
6: The K.I.S.S Method, Keep It Simple Sparky, from taking on an online persona, to making an RP or a normal thread, to making a new character, to even blogging. Less is more, it’s a wonder and a treat to see complex stories and characters, but not everything needs all those intricacies. It gets overblown and irritating when you have to dig through paragraphs of backstory and exposition just to figure out what in the fuzz is going on. Be to the point where it counts and puff it up when it’s needed.
7: Learn to let things go, once you learn this guideline you will have very little trouble on here or any place else in the world. There will always be bullies and bastards, can't really escape them even on a grand site like this with very clear rules. If someone starts up with you let them bark or handle it calmly and if that doesn't work call a Mod. You won’t lose any cool points for going to the authorities, if someone is harassing you. Plus it gives our Mod team something to look forward to in the day (jk). It takes two to tango and one to walk away and generally the one that walks, has good thick skin in the eyes of everyone else. Just remember don't hold a few crossed words against anyone after they make amends it won't do any good to anyone.
8: Know your limits and know when to stop, I know better than most how much of an addiction RPA can be and that's caused a lot of trouble for me and those I call my friends. Sometimes when you're having a bad day and it only seems to get worse coming online simply don't log in for a few days or even a few extra hours take a nice breather (or a bath) and only come back when you feel better and good enough to pull through until bedtime. After recovering/changing the air, you’ll see things with a greater clarity and they'll get better.
9: Be considerate, everyone is different; there are an endless number of Races, colors, ethos, Religions, and such. Don't run your mouth and say something insensitive or hypocritical. This is just stupid and can result in very real problems for you and maybe the whole site. Same goes for people on the other side of the fence. Just because you’re in the minority doesn’t mean you get a free pass with being mean and ignoring the majority's opinions. Another common sense Guideline here.
10: Be smart and prioritize, RPing is fun and it helps you improve as a writer and an artist in some places but it shouldn't get in the way of more important things like homework, collage stuff, work, or family. If you find yourself juggling too much stuff at once stop, take a breath, and sort it out. RPA doesn't have to be high on the list. We aren't going anywhere and no one's life depends on you being on all the time you can afford to lose a day or two. So don't think you have to give your all and all to RPA. However, keep in mind, that if people are waiting on you, or if you hold someone back, be respectful enough to say you can’t commit. No one will blame you for it, and you won’t have people wondering where you are.
11: Clean mouth and clean mind, a lot of people swear, it happens so there's really no reason to mull over it. But there are younger people around here so keep it minimal; aka no graphic descriptions of your Prom Night or anything. That's just bad form, and try to avoid those angry sailor rants.
12: Don't give out too many personal details, at least not in open threads or blogs (unless you trust said person you are talking to, but even then don’t be too quick to share personal details unless you know and are aware that the information isn’t going to get public). As has been said before you never know who's out there. So watch what you put out in the open for all to see. Be safe! The staff cannot be responsible for any information shared by you, and once it’s out of the bag, it cannot be put back in.
13: Patience is important. We all have lives and loved ones outside the web so if someone vanishes in the middle of an RP don't assume they're being jerks, not everyone can be on all the time. Give them some time and if they don't show ask after them a little. And if they still don't show begin discussing what to do with their char.
14: Shit happens, no one can see into the future and no one can stop all the bad stuff from happening. Sometimes you can't help it so it does no good being a worrywart. Deal with it as best you can and ask for help if you need it. Stay strong and don't let it get you down.
15: Don't take stuff that happens in an RP or in any other forum to heart. I've seen this happen a lot: Joe says something to Jane's char that Jane didn't like and Jane took it as a personal attack. Long story short, it wound up getting Joe kicked out of the RP and Jane's character dying with it. It's stupid and petty. If you don't like something someone said to you in an RP don't take it out on the RP, figure it out in PMs so you don't weigh everyone else down with your issues. Deal with it like adults.
16: Don't carry fights between forums, if you have a disagreement with someone keep it in one place like PMs and don't let it follow you elsewhere. This will piss off a lot of people and probably get the Mods on you.
17: Don’t just speed post without considering other players, this is another common sense one, but it still happens. Usually a pair of people get into a groove with each other and just keep posting back to back which leaves the other Players running to catch up and sacrificing their story ideas because you and your buddy wanted to play with each other, this is selfish and unprofessional.
18: Have fun, but obey the rules and etiquette. Rules are made for a reason and etiquette is there so we all know to play nice and stay respectful. Have you watched the movie Purge? If not do it! That’s how life is with no rules. You don’t want it here.
19: We all make mistakes, they are a part of human nature and we are always growing through them in some way, shape, or form. Simple guideline this, when you screw up and you will, cause everyone does, learn from it. Don't be resentful if someone says you messed up. If they have solid proof just look at what they are saying and improve it.
20: The Thumb Rule, this pertains to post length in RPs. I know it's hard to come up with even two paragraphs of a post at times so when in doubt use your thumb, hold it vertically beside your post with your fist against the screen. Close one eye and look at your thumb and your post, if your post is at least from the tip of the digit to where it joins your knuckle and if it's at least a paragraph and a half of words, you’re golden.
21: Watch and learn, no one expects you to know how they feel all the time especially through the computer, but no one likes a Nosy Nelly. You can learn a lot from people even online by watching how they react to stuff and what is their norm. If something is a hot button issue for someone, avoid it. I know it seems cowardly and stupid to dance around some people's personal feelings but sometimes you have to. Just don’t forget your own personal feelings either.
22: Lovebirds, everyone wants to be a lovebird, but not everyone wants to watch lovebirds. It's great you have someone and there's nothing wrong with it, but please refrain from being all mushy-gushy in the forums. Folks tend to avoid places where two people are doing nothing but making kissy faces to each other. Feel free to do it sometimes, but please post other things than just back to back declarations of love.
23: Work hard, this goes to posts in RPs. It's hard to come up with Shakespeare for every post but it's not hard to do better than Dr. Seuss. Sometimes all you can get out is a small or flimsy post and that's fine in some cases. Just try to work harder on your next post. It makes the RP richer and more enjoyable if you do.
24: Cyber-bullying, just don't do it. It's both sad and pathetic when this happens and it's even worse when someone takes it to heart and does something stupid and permanent. No one wants that, but it happens. So be wise and respectful of whatever comes out of your mouth. I’m sure you wouldn’t have liked to be in the line of fire.
25: It’s hard to read about bad and depressing things, yes we are aware you are struggling, and we are aware it’s one of your ways to cope, but please try to consider the people who are left speechless and cannot exactly tell you what to do, or know what to say to make you feel better. It’s okay to complain, but try not to be too negative or obsessive about it. Don’t post about killing yourself, but do post if you need help and ask for advice. All this guideline asks is don’t fill a thread with it.
26: Blogs, Blogs are a place for people to vent, post their beliefs, post philosophy, or just post something funny or helpful. As always try to be respectful and helpful while posting or replying. Remember that if something is not to your liking you can always take it up to the Mods.
27: If you feel like you have wrongfully been handled by someone on Staff: a. Don’t go public, b. Don’t conceal it either. There are other members in Staff to whom you can turn to, with reasonable claims and proofs. When you do, be respectful, because if one of them treated you in one manner, it does not mean the other will act the same, and no one likes to be yelled at out of nowhere.
Aside of it, you can always send mail to the RPA e-mail. It goes directly to the eyes of the admins, same for FB and Twitter inbox. (Just don’t bring it out in the open, it will make you look bad and your claims will be dismissed).
28. Staff, like other members have personal lives. Even if you do have them on skype, or other IM channels, trust me when I say it, don’t bother them with site problems there. No one likes to have drama brought from the site into their private discussions. If they give you their contact info, that means they trust you as friend, so if you have a problem do it in PMs within the site (You can let them know you sent them a PM about the issue, but don’t expect them to deal with it right away just because you tapped them on the chat).
Separating personal life from public life will enable them to answer better, since they will be able to go over it and read it, handling it with more heart.
29: Separating private lives from RPing, we all have quirks and peeves that follow us around. We all have that little something that will make us hurt or explode with anger. Some people don’t like racist characters, some don’t like talking parrot dragons who eat newspapers. This is all well and good for the blogs, general discussions, opinion threads and the like. But they do not belong in an RP that is completely separate from those areas. Bringing your own views and ideals into character creation or RP making can be good, but moderation is where the fine line lies. Assholish characters can add just as much to an RP as nice ones, don’t be blind to the possibilities as long as it doesn’t carry over into the OOC or the PMs. But if you feel something is personally against you bring it up to the player, the GM, or a Mod.
Well that's all I have for the moment friends now remember these Guidelines are not meant to replace or otherwise alter the Rules and stuff we already have. These are more Insider hints that I thought could help our new members and even some of our older ones so RPA is always a fun and safe place for all writers to go. Remember all this is mostly common sense and reiteration but still heed some of it it'll help out a lot I assure you.
Good bye friends, Siksta here signing off, stay kooky. And keep an eye out for more Guidelines.