The Role Players Guide To Etiquette
*AkA How Not To Be A Douche
There are many guides out there on how to role play here on the forum. Ones on how to improve your posts, what you should or should not do, how to run fights, how to draw up the perfect C.S. and more. There is one that is not around that is perhaps one that is needed; a general etiquette guide for how you should and should not treat your fellow role players. Now this might seem like a common sense thing but as we all know from looking out at the world around us common sense is anything but common. So this is a quick rundown of how I personally believe that all role players and G.M.’s should treat their fellow Rpers.
Sadly I am guilty at times of not following this, so it is a good refresher for me as well. And no, I am not saying this is how you must act but what I am saying with this little guide perhaps your time here spent on the forum may go a bit smoother. Shall we begin?
General Conduct For Rpers
- NEVER EVER PLAGIARIZE! Seriously, dick move!
- Be friendly – that is pretty simple. Now this doesn’t mean IC because some characters are there to cause havoc but in OOC, PM and Interest Checks be friendly. It will go a long way.
- Make sure read all IC and OOC posts, even if you don’t think it could pertain to you. You would be surprised how much is missed that could make an Rp better if people would just read before they posted.
- Follow the rules – It’s like following the instructions. They’re there for a reason and you joining an RP means you agree to follow them even if you might not agree that they should be there. When stepping into an RP you are stepping into the GM’s house, remember this.
- Pay attention to the posting requirements. Just because you like an RP doesn’t mean you should join. If your GM is saying post twice a week – that means post twice a week. You know your schedule and your tendencies better than anyone. Life does happen but if life happens so much that you know you are going to end up flaking out, have the courtesy to not join.
- Have a question or doubt – ASK. This is very simple, don’t just assume it will be alright and then be forced to go back and edit. Just ask beforehand and save yourself the trouble of having to make edits or go into long winded debates over it.
- Remember, the GM is God/Goddess – Respect that. They are taking time out of their lives to create this setting for you and others to enjoy. They say something doesn’t work or can’t be done – go with it. If you don’t understand why it is that way, PM them. Do not try to make a mockery of your GM in the OOC – it doesn’t make you look cool or wise, it makes you look like a douche and people make note of this. (There are many an RP people will not join just because they know some of the other RPers – don’t be the person that everyone is trying to avoid.)
- Know your place - If you are not the GM or Co-GM you are in no place of power when it comes to the RP. It does not matter if you know the GM/CoGM, what you two have done in the past. If they have not made you a Co, take a step back and be respectful. Do not be passive aggressive, do not try to mark your territory. The RP is not your territory and do so is pathetic and childish.
- Don’t be an attention whore – this means don’t whine if people are not speaking to you in IC, OOC or Chat. That just makes people keep from wanting to interact with you. Be nice, stay on topic, go with the flow and learn to roll with it. You’ll have more fun and so will others.
- Don’t take what happens in IC personally. Your character is not you, so if people are not loving your character is doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy rping with you. Much of the time the most hated character is the one people enjoy in the RP the most, if you do it right. Again, roll with it.
- If you are going to be gone or something comes up and you cannot post – Let people know. Do not leave your fellow Rpers and your Gm hanging.
- If you lose interest in an RP do not just vanish; politely with draw. A Gm and your fellow Rpers will be more willing to RP with you in the future if you communicate than if you vanish.
- Know that when you join an RP you are basically giving your word you will be around, hold to that. Each person is giving you a part of their day to post and respond, have enough respect to do the same. RP is a get away for most of us, a hobbie, but like with any hobbie you have to make time for it. When you join an RP you are saying you will make the time.
- Do not go posting in OOC’s or Interest checks if you are not going to join or haven’t joined. The OOC’s and Interest Checks are there for those dedicating part of their time to the RP – telling people you aren’t joining isn’t needed, just not posting lets them know this. The OOC isn’t there for you to gab with friends who are in the RP but you are not part of. That is what PM and other areas of the forum are for.
- Don't be a troll and don't feed the trolls. There really isn't much to add to this.
- Don’t get upset if people don’t auto reply to you. Even if they are online they may be busy or not feeling up to replying or may need a bit to formulate a reply. Be patient.
- Know the following – People can see when you are online, even if you are set to ghost mode if they have added you to their friends list. People check this, people check your posts, people see if you are posting elsewhere. Don’t lie. You will get caught and then *poof* there goes their respect for you.
- Don’t stretch yourself to thin. There are tons of Rp’s out there that are amazing and you will want to be a part of. Don’t join them all. If you are already having problem keeping up with 1-2 Rp’s then joining more is just a bad idea. You will end up more stressed, either forcing posts or dropping others. Stay committed to the RP’s you join. This will help keep them from dying.
- Don't expect special treatment from a Gm/Co-Gm just because you are friends with them or have known them a while. You are no better than any other RPer and to expect better treatment than the rest is rude and makes you someone others will not want to be around.
- Sometimes you will just have to force out a crap post. Inspiration isn’t always there but that shouldn’t hold up the whole game. Just follow the basics, respond as you can and the inspiration will eventually come back. It’s like a fire, you leave it alone long enough it will die. You stoke it every so often, it will keep burning.
- Plan out your posts if you are busy. Much of the time people will wait till it is there turn in rotation to post to even start to read other peoples posts and respond to them. You’ll miss stuff. Start a PM convo with yourself and as things are posted either make notes of it you can refer to later or just go ahead and type out a few lines you can add to as you are waiting. By the time your turn in rotation comes up you’ll have a post nearly complete, if not already complete, you won’t skip over stuff and you won’t be as stressed to get that post done.
- Be open to suggestions – we are all learning no matter how long we have been at this game; take it in stride. If you mess up, correct it and move on. Don’t just vanish because it didn’t go how you wanted it to. You are not a toddler, temper tantrums do not suit you, you are better than that.
- It is not the Gm’s job to remind you when to post, you are your own person. You should be responsible enough to not have to be coddled.
- Do not expect or ask others to "fill you in" or "summarize" what has been going on in an rp. It is your job to keep up and read the posts.
- When giving suggestions do it kindly – Don’t start yelling or cursing someone out just because you don’t like what they post. Be up front and to the point yes, but you’ll be listened to more often if you aren’t a troll about it.
- Be Courteous – this just basically means all of the above right now. Golden rule thing, treat your fellow Rpers and Gm’s how you want them to treat you and trust me, things will go much smoother.
Special Conduct For GM’s
- Just because you are the GM it doesn’t mean you need to be a tyrant. Treat your Rpers with respect and you will earn respect and loyalty.
- Follow your own rules. How can you expect an Rper to post every 3-5 days if you don’t? How can you expect them to read posts if you ignore their posts? How can you expect them to respond to you if you don’t them? Yeah, you can’t. It is hypocritical, don’t be a hypocrite.
- Don’t abandon your own RP’s. As a GM your Rp’s come first above any other that you are in. It is your job, a job you volunteered for not one that was forced on you. You chose to do this, do it. If you no longer have the time, assign a Co GM and let them take over. There is nothing worse than seeing an RP die because the GM turned their back on their Rpers – trust me, they are unlikely to join you in the future.
- Be grateful for your Co-Gm's - they help keep things running smooth and going when you cannot and take on a lot to do that. Let them know you appreciate them and the job they do.
- Keep up with your own OOC and keep your rpers up to date. Edit your original ooc as needed to keep it as up to date as possible.
- Read your Rpers and especially your Co-Gm's posts. Seriously this could go without saying but I've seen it time and time again. If you won't read and pay attention, don't expect them to.
- Do not hold up your own Rp.
- Do not skip out on Rps you joined because of Rps you Gm. It is a slight against other Gm's.
- If your Rp is there for your character to be the center of attention and everyone else to be a supporting cast member - write a story instead. Rp is a give and take thing. If people are constantly having to pull their characters to yours they will lose interest.
- Listen to your Rpers – they have amazing ideas – subplots. You are the world, they make it go around, help them do this.
- Never and I mean never let information leak from between you and your Co-Gm to other players without first consulting your gm/co-gm - it can cause more problems than you can imagine and in the end it could end up ruining the entire RP for everyone.
- Back Each Other Up - If either of you have a problem - get rid of the problem post haste before it destroys things. To not do so is a backhand to your Gm partner.
- Make sure all reprimands to Rpers is done so in public so let others know what is going on, your Rpers deserve to know why. Keep it calm and respectful but keep available information to others.
- Ask for blunt constructive criticism and be open to receiving it. Each GM runs things differently but if you are to grow as a GM know that there is always room for improvement. When an RP ends, ask for feed back. Many won't say something because they don't want to hurt your feelings but remember as a GM you need to have a thick skin. Brace for it and learn from it. Most of the time when someone does speak up they are trying to help make you better because they believe in you.
- If things are not going how you planned – ROLL WITH IT! – things change, you have the ability to push the direction of the Rp but do so with soft hands and soft words. You’ll get back on track faster if you do this instead of just bipping out or ignoring them.
- Be firm but compassionate – Let your Rpers know you will hold them to the same standards you hold yourself to.
- Teach your Rpers – As a GM you are also a teacher, make those lessons worth learning. Do your fellow GM’s a favor by teaching good RP habits. Leave your Rpers better than when they joined you, never worse.
- Know you will have a reputation based on how you GM – they will judge you. If you have a history of flaking out, spreading yourself too thin, ignoring your Rpers, dropping Rp’s – it will come back to haunt you; usually in the form of people just refusing to join you in the future.
1x1 Extra's and Repeats
- Cherish your 1x1 partners, good ones are hard to come by.
- Treat them with as much respect as you would any other Rper and treat your 1x1 with at least as much attention and detail as you do a group if not more.
- Don't crap out on your 1x1 because of a group RP
- Don't crap out on your group rp because of a 1x1
- Read your partners rules fully - if they have certain expectations don't message them if you cannot fulfill them just because you like a story line.
- Don't flake out - A 1x1 partnership is many times much closer than a group, if you bail on them it hits harder than if you bail on a group. One person leaves a group it can usually still go. If you bail on your partner that's it for the RP.
- If you need to stop the RP, let them know. Don't leave them sitting there wondering if you are ever going to reply.
- If you lose interest, just let them know. It might suck but again, it is better than just vanishing.
- If you stop posting because of one reason or another and your partner pm's you asking if you are still interested at least have the common decency to reply and let them know what is up. They can see you online even if you are in Ghost mode, don't be that "guy".
- If there are things you don't like - speak up! Let people know your limits upfront.
- If you vanish, don't expect them to just pick back up once you return. People will hold out for a 1x1 for so long before seeking others. So if you do lose interest and such and don't let them know, chances are you won't get to RP with them again.
- Don't lower your standards just to Rp. Seriously! I know, you are craving it, really want it. But trust me, if you hold out and wait for a person that is on the same page as you and wants the same it will last much longer than if you just go with the first person you run across.
- Contribute - Say it with me; Con-tri-bute! Don't leave it to one person to be the only one to drive the story forward, to handle npcs, to know do everything.
- Roll with it - just because a character didn't fall in love at first sight, kill the monster in one hit, etc doesn't mean you should just drop it.
- Stay unattached - Much of the time a 1x1 can get very intimate just because of the details alone. Remember you are not your character, neither are they.
- Keep OOC and IC separate - don't ruin the flow.
When In IC
- Always read everyone's post. (I don't care how long it is read it. Part of being in an Rp is READING - Reading is fundamental folks.)
- Don't expect everyone to interact with you. You have to put your character out there.
- Remember once you submit your CS - Don't change it without GM permission BEFORE hand! If your character isn't a martial artist, they don't suddenly know Kung Fu.....
- Keep to your characters personality! If you make them shy they suddenly shouldn't turn into an attention whore. It's just poor Rping.
- Do NOT metagame! Just because something came up in Rp doesn't mean your character knows it or has a sudden intuition about it. Seriously, you suck if you pull this crap.
- Don't over do it. Even Super Heroes have weaknesses. Sure it is fun to kick much of the butt but if you walk out of every fight without a scratch it gets B O R I N G.
- Remember your character flaws and fears, use them to help develop your character.
- Never and I mean NEVER bunny someone else's character. You do not control them, you do not control their actions or reactions.
- Always ASK if you need to bunny a character BEFORE you type the post. (Seriously though, it is just easier to collab it so they can react accordingly within the time frame.)
- Do NOT Auto Hit! No slapping, stabbing, shooting, ect. You can always attempt but leave it at that and give the PC/NPC a chance to react unless something has been set up between you and the RPer/GM before hand.
- React accordingly in RP; to the weather, to the situation, to other characters.
- Don't expect the GM to always add things specifically for your character. It is your job to keep the ball moving. If you are just sitting there and not participating, chances are you will get left behind.
Elsewhere On The Forum
- Watch what you say - words can do more damage than a fist ever could.
- Don't flood the status bar - it is just rude and it is against forum rules.
- Be respectful towards the mods and everyone else. Respect is given where it is due.
- Think before you hit enter.
- Remembering being a smartassed douche does not make you look cool. It just gets you blacklisted.
- Keep Rp in Rp, OOC in OOC, Off Topic in Off Topic, Spam in Spam. These sections are not there just to look pretty, they are there for a reason.
- Be open and willing to learn.
- Don't troll.
- Remember, people screen shot and do report things to mods. So in the end delete and edit mean nothing.
- Be like the Fonz. If you are too young to know what that means it basically means be cool and don't start shit.
Now, this covered a lot and also left somethings out; somethings were even repeated. Now, this is not a have to follow for sure and it may not fit for you or others. What it is though is something that can help you have a better time Rping and Gming over all. I have been at this a long time… God help me, longer than many have been alive here; I feel old now, lol – I am still learning, I still stumble. We all do, you just have to keep moving forward. Rping is a wonderful way to pass the time, it teaches us things about others and about ourselves. It lets us escape the day to day grind. Make it worth the time and help make it worth the time for others.