Nikkia

Site Suggestions!

166 posts in this topic

I tried playing D&D with Wst and a few other friends in school once. We prepared our characters and everything before the actual session, which was 4 hours long, and we barely made it through the first encounter.

 

Real life D&D is tiring.

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Another suggestion! Is there a way to Justify as well as reduce the margins of our RP posts? Right now, the format of the forum stretches out my posts, so a lot of my paragraphs become one-liners. 

 

Not sure if you know what I'm referring to... I don't really know what it's called.

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Yeah, that's what I did. But it pushes the whole text to the right, which makes it look a little lopsided. A function like [blockquote] in the old phpBB format would do nicely, where it increased the indents on both sides of the text.

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Yeah, the site is fluid, so it will naturally stretch as large as your browser window is. I don't really want to change this, as I think just as many people like the fluid nature of the site as well. What I can do is change it so all our profile information is on the left of our post instead of above it. That could help alleviate that problem.

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Nah, I wasn't suggesting a change in the site format. Just perhaps a function or two on the toolbar above the reply text box allowing us to reduce the margins of our posts if we wanted to.

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That would take much longer to do than just changing the orientation of the information. XD

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Don't change the orientation!

I like it this way.

Makes it seems more professional, or I dunno, different from other sites.

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I'm dead set against player segregation based on skill level or site experience on role play sites.

 

It doesn't help anyone, or serve any real productive purpose.

 

 

Yes, I understand that it keeps written word newbies out of advanced, seasoned level RP that demand excellence and quality across the board from it's players. However, it's the GM's job, and obligation to mediate that process, and screen their applicants.

 

If you want to be sure all of your players have the fortitude, ask for a writing sample... It's not trigonometry, folks.

 

 

 

Segregation does one thing, and one thing only: sticks newbs together, where they ultimately grow at a snail's pace, because they're surrounded by other newbs, who have VERY little to teach them about the craft.

 

The newbs stay newbish, and the veterans become more seasoned.

 

 

It's a bad idea on any site. RP sections should be broken up based on GENRE, not skill level. That way when someone is feeling a SciFi RP, they know EXACTLY where to go to find what they're looking for. And at any given time, a newer writer can join the elite ranks of the chosen few, and with a little patients and guidance, a new, great writer will be born.

 

 

 

The biggest problem with your site, is your RP section, and how it's set up.

 

 

 

Allow me to give you an example of a well organized, user-friendly layout.

 

 

Right now you have, Student RPs. Every type of RP stuffed into one forum for people who just joined your site, whether they're Stephen King or Johnny B-Rad who can't read or write.

 

Then you have Graduate RPs. Every type of RP stuffed ito one forum for people who you've given the nod to, and allowed into your elite writer's club.

 

Then you have Fantastical RPs. Anything from SciFi, High Fantasy, Vampires, etc. Anything that's strongly fringe in nature, whatever that defining element may be.

 

Then you have Realistic RPs. Anything that's strictly realistic, not fringe at all.

 

Then you have Fandom RPs. Where all FanFic RPs go...

 

 

That's cool. Not like anything I've personally ever seen before. But different isn't always good. It's GREAT to stand out, but you've got to be practical, and functional.

 

 

 

Now look at this layout: (created by me, so there may be a tiny bit of bias here, but not much. When I sat down to create my site, I put a lot of thought and my personal experience to work, as well as some opinions from over 10 different, veteran roleplayers & site owners)

Each Forum is an IC, and has 2 Sub-Forums; an OOC, and & Review & Discussion Forum.

 

 

Hall of Fame

This section is for complete projects that we would like to honor and display for all to see. Quality minimums are a requirement for induction into this section. Only RPs with good grammar and spelling, and decent quality posts will be inducted.

 

High Fantasy

This section is for roleplays set in traditional fantasy, medieval settings with very low levels of technology, and creative, original locations, races, and magic systems (if magic is featured at all).

 

Science Fiction

This section is for roleplays set in futuristic settings, technologically advanced settings, or anything generally fringe in nature, such as time travel, space travel, alien races, foreign planets, etc.

 

Fictional Eras

This section is for roleplays that take place in historic eras of earth but with fictional twists added to the plot. Vampires in Rome? Werewolves in Paris? Mutants in WWII? Those RPs go here.

 

Realistic Eras

This section is for Realistic roleplays that take place in historic eras of earth. Besides characters and events, there should be no fictitious elements to any roleplays in this section, with no exceptions.

 

Multi-Genre

This section is for roleplays that blend a creative mix of more than one genre into one story. Cowboys vs Aliens? That goes here. Space travelers exploring a primitive planet? That goes here.

(This description is going to be revised. It's for those oddball RP's where you can't decide what section it should go in, because it blends a variety of difference Genres, my Final Fantasy Tribute is a PERFECT example of what type of Rp would go here. It's half SciFI, half High Fantasy)

 

Mature (All Genres) (Permission required to view & post within this forum)

This section is for roleplays of a mature, or adult nature dealing with mature themes, graphic violence, or sexual content. This section covers all genres in one, but is limited to adult themes.

 

Personal Works

This section is for personal, original works composed by our members. Content can range from short stories, privately written stories, poems, song lyrics, and any other piece of creative writing you would like to share with the community.

(On your site, like many others, you discredit personal works by not only placing them in the same box as artwork, but by placing them in the "Out of Character" section. This makes no sense, because all of my storis, although written alone, are very much In Character. Creative Writing & Artwork should be seperated, not thrown together in cheap)

 

 

In my humble opinion, this is the best, most efficient way to catagorize, and organize a Roleplay Section.

 

There's no discrimination here, no clustering, or mix-and-matching here. Everything is filed and organized neatly by the nature of the CONTENT itself. Your SciFi buffs know EXACTLY where they are, and if they're the type of person who ONLY does SciFi, they don't have to rummage through Rps, trying to find their niche, because you've recognized, aknowledged, and prioritized it FOR THEM ALREADY! :lol:

 

 

This " :angry: Segergate the Newbies, lest the poison and foil everything we've built!!" Schtick just doesn't feel right to me, never will. I'll never "Graduate" because I'd rather stay in the B-Team, helping these "Newbies" become better, so that they can fully enjoy your site and feel welcome and comfortable here, not like a pledge, wading through newbdum for the chance to prove themselves worthy of your acceptance.

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I disagree, Michael. I can understand what you're saying, but I think some of your points are coming from a mindset that hasn't yet fully experienced or understood our system. We don't leave the newer members to their own devices in the first section, we do exactly as you mentioned - they are often mentored and watched, their posts are evaluated and help given if requested. If a person wants to write at a certain level, they need only ask with examples of their writing to show they are capable of it - and if not, they can be tutored and helped in whatever they need. But it is not required to join the graduating section in order to enjoy roleplaying, and we don't look down on people at alternate writing skills to our own.

Speaking as an individual, we've all been crappy writers, we've all gotten better and we all still have a long way to go. However you might feel about your writing there is always something to improve upon, no matter how good we think we are. I know i'm guilty of that, and I know I can improve in areas. Equally i've been writing for over 12 years and I don't expect everyone to write at the same level as me, nor do I look down on them, or ignore them. Help is there if it's wanted.

As for the forum changes, some of your set-up makes sense to me, some of it does not. Much like your own analysis of our forums. Looking at the amount of sections you have, I think it's unnecessary, at least at this point. We're a smaller site at the moment because we're restarting and I think for now, at least, having a couple of different sections for graduates to post in, covers everything. Whether it's original work (and so covered by fantasy or realistic) or fictional eras (mostly covered by fantasy but some could be placed in sci-fi) even multi-genre stories ultimately lead to them either being fantasy or realistic in nature.

Take your Cowboys vs Aliens example (that film was nuts. lol). That film is set in wild west times - Realistic. But the aliens are obviously - Science Fiction. However, the story is strictly fictitious, so it could go into any section that denotes that, eg. Fantasy. Or if it was an RP that people were doing specifically about the film, then fandom of course. I'm not saying you're wrong on all points, I would be inclined to say that when we're larger (say a few hundred or more) we might add more specialised sections as you've suggested, but I think what we have works, certainly for now. But, its definitely something to discuss. So i'm sure if some of the other staff feel differently we'll put our heads together, and if not, its always a consideration for the future.

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But why wait until then? At that point in time, you'll have a body of users used to this setup. Then you'll have to go through that awkward transitional period where you're firing up new Forums, leaving the old, clustered and disfunctional forums just sitting there, perhaps holding active RPs that should be in another Forum based on the genre or nature of it's content.

 

I mean, your RP section has next to no activity right now anyway.

 

 

As I tried to explain, it's about organizing based on niches, genres, creating a user-friendly space that's easy to naviagte, access and understand.

 

It's natural for someone who is accustomed to and comfortable with things a certain way to resist or oppose certain changes that threaten that comfort. I'm not expecting many of you to be big on the suggestions I've made. In fact, I know for certain that very few people will, and further-more, nothing will be done about it. I know this, Valentine. I have no illusions about it, but I still thought I would do me part in trying, voicing my, again, humble opinion. I can't in good conscience, sit back, knowing I had an issue with the system of things, but didn't do anything about it.

 

 

Just a suggestion for the webmaster, from one site designer to another, Valentine. No more, or less.

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Fact is, and I didn't want to go here, but I feel it's neccessary now, to defend my position on the subject.

 

 

When I first joined your community, and saw, "Student" on my profile, I thought to myself, "What? What exactly are they assuming I'm a student of?" I immediately felt like I was being condescended upon by a group of people who know nothing about me, my experience, or my writing ability. For all these people (or I) know, I could be the best writer here by far.

 

It's not a good feeling to start an experience in a community off with. It makes you feel like you're immediately placed into a subservient catagory of sorts, before your foot is even through the door. It's assumptuous and degrading.

 

 

If you really cared about the things you speak of, you would have devised a completely different, more efficient system of handling it.

 

 

Other sites (my own included) have Roleplay Academies, where newer writers attend virtual classes supervised by Instructors to improve their skills in various, predefined areas. When their Instructor feels the time is right, OR when the class draws to a close, that person graduates from the class, recieving a medal or badge of sorts, something to say, "I completed this class".

 

Or, if that's too much work, you could just put new users on a probationary period, and ask them for a writing sample to assess their skill level, BEFORE labelling them as something which you have no grounds with which to do so.

 

 

 

I'm sorry, but I firmly, and completely disagree with your "Student/Graduate" system. It's poorly executed, and makes this entire community look bad at first glance.

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Hey there, Michael. I'm sorry that you felt that way upon joining. Surreality has always had the graduation system and from what I understand there have been few issues with it in the past. In fact, it's the sole reason a lot of members have joined and stayed, the assurance of quality writing. You were right when you said that our roleplaying forums are kind of bare right now and I think that's why there seems to be such a gap between students and graduates. In the past, with a large member-base and a very active roleplaying section, most of our graduate members check the student roleplaying forums before any others when looking for roleplays. Our graduates have always been very good at helping new members get their five required posts - sometimes all five in one day. The student roleplaying forum is not just students roleplaying with other students. 

 

Unfortunately, members have to be placed into a group upon joining. Right now that's set up so that they are automatically placed in a "student" category. This does not mean that we've already judged you, we've got nothing to judge you upon. It's just reflective of the permissions that that group has. Unless we can think of a better way to do it, our graduation system will stay. In time, with more members, the sections become almost blended and it won't matter if someone is considered a "student" or a "graduate." 

 

Thanks for your feedback! :) 

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The graduation process was the reason I joined S*T. 

-nodnod-

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Well you've got mine. Do, or do not with it, as you will.

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You're feedback will be taken into consideration when it comes to developing our system. Although the graduation process will stay. It's specifically here to nurture writers. It may not be apparent, due to us just starting out, but once our member count rises we will employ staff as "Kindly Scholars" who's sole responsibility is the tutoring and grading of student role players. At the moment Raine Bell is our acting Kindly Scholar, as there is no need for more staff members at present. 

 

Also I'm not sure if you were aware but Graduates can post in the student section, and help to tutor them in the process. Also our graduation process is incredibly simple and easy to pass, it's often the case that students pass on their first attempt. If you'd like to know more about how we nurture our student's progression I'm sure Raine Bell would be happy to walk you through it. 

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That's something I'll consider, Kyo. Sounds like my bag of bones.

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Yeah, I think the thing about our Student-Graduate system is that it was supposed to come hand in hand with Kindly Scholars, who were tasked to roleplay with Students and make them feel loved. In the past Roleplay Discussion was separate from Students' Roleplay Discussion, and even the OOC sub-forums were separate. It'd have been even more segregatory than you said, but people did get used to it. Of course, at that time it was much easier to Graduate because there was simply a large influx of new members day in and day out, so there was a ton of people wanting to Graduate together. Maybe now the system that worked before isn't showing results, but I'm sure the admins will think of something. In the meantime, you're always welcome to send a PM to any member (which people in the past have done) to ask them to roleplay with you and get you out of the Student system, so to speak.

 

Your point about the probationary period is interesting because this is precisely it. Maybe "Student" has certain connotations to its name, but what it means on S*T is just that -- no assumptions. Your point is that we shouldn't assume that every new member is a n00b, but our point is that we also don't want to assume every member is an expert. And that's why "Student" carries no assumptions to us, but "Graduate" will mean that the person has an assurance of being a good and reliable roleplayer. And having this acknowledgment by the site that you're a cool person who's likely to be serious about his writing can work wonders to your self-esteem, and encourage you to stay on since you've accomplished something here, however little.

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Wise words from one of our best Kindly Scholars of the past. ^_^

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Your point is that we shouldn't assume that every new member is a n00b, but our point is that we also don't want to assume every member is an expert. And that's why "Student" carries no assumptions to us, but "Graduate" will mean that the person has an assurance of being a good and reliable roleplayer.

 

Strive to not assume anything, whatsoever.

 

 

I always say, "wording is everything."

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We have also had members who remained as Students for a very long time, also cuz they didn't care for the system. They managed to roleplay and get along quite well too. So we don't force people who disagree with the system to go along with it. The best way to see how a person writes is not through the user group anyway, but through his roleplays. If you write well, you've nothing to fear.

There have been times when s*t toyed with removing this system. Nothing much effectual happened. The current staff just prefer that it stay as it is. And maybe some members would indeed appreciate having some feedback on their writing.

In the past Students were called Newcomers and Graduates were called Full Members. Would the wording be better then?

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That wording would be perfect for the system you're describing (and trying to achieve).

 

As a matter of fact, HH, that wording is SO perfect, it makes me wonder why it's not been used already...

 

 

That wording calls it how it IS. WHAT it is. It takes the assumptuous BS out of it completely, and makes it sound less condescending in nature. When someone like me comes to a new site to share his craft, he doesn't want to be labeled a Student. That's like a slap in the face, after 7 years, & over 50 RPs.

 

 

Wording, is EVERYTHING.

 

 

The Student/Graduate thing would work, if you had a real Academic structure in affect around here, not just a translucent tutoring program.

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It takes the assumptuous BS out of it completely, and makes it sound less condescending in nature.

 

Because you're an expert in not sounding condescending, right?

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You just said not to assume. We make no assumptions. Student is not a negative word, I dont understand why you see it that way. Using the term "full member" is even worse as it implies those not in that category are not full members, that they are somehow less. Very few people have a problem with this system. It has worked since 2006.

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