Recently we've seen some of our members smarting from bad experiences on other RP sites, and I know that I personally have been burned by once-beloved RP communities on more than one occasion. I'm sure all of you have run into this situation as well, and if you haven't, congratulations! May you always be so blessed.
But we've also heard a lot of wonderful and encouraging things about the community here at the RPR. So far, this whole group seems to be overwhelmingly positive. Personally, I could not be happier with the environment that's sprung up here, and I'd like to make sure that it lasts forever.
Of course, friends are always going to occasionally squabble, games are going to disband over real life circumstances, and sometimes, people just have bad days. But despite any bumps along our individual roads, I want the RPR overall to be a bastion of friendliness and helpfulness, for both old and new gamers. I'm sure all of you want the same.
I'd like to have a robust discussion about what we can do to preserve what's great about this community. We're still a small, young site. Now is the time to make decisions that will set the tone for the future.
I'm open to any and all suggestions. What policies or programs can we put in place to continue to promote and protect a really positive community?
I've seen numerous forums go off track, I think those that take part in this site need to help them keep on track, help guide a thread - help it follow the OPs original intent.
People love silliness, don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be a debbie downer.
However, the forums as a whole don't need to be silly, of course you're going to have some serious discussion on RP or IRL events, and we want to be light hearted here. darth_angelus, with his excellent Jayne hat, made a suggest for one of those forums - I think that's a good idea. Let's be silly, but move it away from the main forums, or just sticky one Random thread.
Overall, fair moderation of the forums. People have the right to post their thoughts, certainly as long as they follow the forums rules (keep on topic, keep it civil, ect).
When I think about it I personally can't think of any specific policy or program besides what I suggested above.
Everyone here at RP Repository, from what I've seen, have been really friendly, welcoming, silly (this is a good thing) people. And they're proud of that. I have little worry that it'll change. The current admins and mods (I'm not sure who the currents mods are to be honest) aren't hard nosed, are calm and easy to talk to - and listen to peoples concerns. As expressed in this very post. Keep that up, and you'll continue to run an excellent, welcoming site.
A lot of the problems I've had with past communities have been player-based, not administration. But I do believe there are certain things that the administration could have done to prevent those things. I've been as guilty of it as anybody else, but Dylan's right in saying that threads need to stay on topic. Now, if it's on the Smalltalk threads or whatever, just general fun sort of stuff, then the silliness that we've had should be more than welcome. People just need to understand the proper channel for that fun expression, and understand that the other threads are there for specific reasons.
One thing in some of the communities I've been a part of that I've seen is the general apathy of the administration. The Globals simply don't care anymore. People can troll and flame and come down on somebody blatantly and offensively, and the administrators will simply tell you, "You'll just have to stay away from them." I've seen the exact opposite of that, here. Kim, the only admin I've really come across, both cares about the enjoyment others might get from this community, and remains fully involved in the community itself. And that's the important part, she keeps involved! A lot of administrators set themselves apart from the rest of the community in an attempt at some form of neutrality. But you can't rightly govern a place without knowing the heart of it's people. I think as long as this continues, everything will be A-OK.
Haha, nothing bad stemming for the admins or mods is going to happen here, with Kim on the job.
And by this news post, nothing else like what happened will happen to often, either.
*feels bad for upsetting people with the discussion*
I do love the idea of forum games board including silly randomness.. Everyone needs to get their sugar rushes out sometime.
I need to run out to walk the dog, and I'll respond to everyone when I get back, but first!
I just wanted to point out really quickly since it seems to be topical, someone started a group specifically for being silly.
I like the silliness. It means we're a cheerful, friendly bunch. However, and like you said, for what I've seen, we have no trouble telling the situations where it's fun to be silly and the ones where it isn't apart. Common sense, we all have it.
We need to keep this way. The Society, of which I am a proud member, is a very good idea, and we can have a few threads devoted to silliness, as long they're in the proper place. Smalltalk, I assume.
This silliness is a good thing for two reasons: first, it proves this is an informal place. Srs bsns is alright and a must in many cases, but some silliness will keep us from being elitists and whatnot. Because the first step to making friends is not to take yourself too seriously.
And like always, I typed too much and said too little. Point is, I think we should find a place to accommodate the silliness, but not completely eradicate it from everywhere else.
I'm inclined to agree, keeping things relaxed and fun everywhere is a good idea. Sure, there are times when we need to be serious (like the testing threads or welcoming new people) but in the end, we are here to have fun.
It's probably worth mentioning, that while I did provide an example of another forum that has it's own section for silliness, it is used for extreme silliness. The other parts of the site all maintain a fun atmosphere which I believe is what Kim is aiming for here.
I have to say, I am heartily amused. This topic came about in response to worries over negativity, and here we are discussing whether or not we are too silly. It is possible we are all just ridiculous over thinkers.
Thank you all for the extremely encouraging words. It's really good to know I'm doing an Okay job!
Andryn: I think there's a big stigma out there about censorship and being heavy handed. No one wants to be the mod that bans people. So you let things go that are right up to the edge of the line, then someone inches forward a little more, and a little more, and finally you have to take action only to be flamed by everyone else who wants to know why you came down on this one person when there were a dozen before who were very nearly as bad, and after a certain amount of flaming you just burn out on enforcing. It's almost always a thankless job. I'm absurdly lucky to have players who say nice things.
I hate censorship, but I also don't ever plan to tolerate behavior that makes people uncomfortable, unhappy, or generally drags down the community. Luckily, if you and your friends like roasting one another or discussing topics that go above the PG-13 rating, you can now make a group with its own forum and pick your own moderators. Just label it correctly.
The above should not be read as an endorsement of harassing or trash talking behind backs, by the by. I don't ever endorse those things. I just recognize that there are lots of different styles of gaming and of communicating, and sometimes the answer to "Will It Blend?" is no.
Meedleboot: Please don't feel bad! A little venting when you feel you've been mistreated is natural, and it's led to a really constructive conversation.
The concern that was being brought to me was that if we (as a community) appear to be picking on other RP sites, we could acquire a bad rep or attract people who want to flame us over their own hurt feelings.
Of course I don't have any moderator powers anywhere else, but I can propose a game plan should that ever happen.
If anyone actually runs across a thread flaming us and you feel you want to respond, my humble request is this:
Please don't take the bait. No matter how ridiculous, crude and ugly the thread gets, remain calm and polite. If you feel yourself getting frustrated and wanting to bite back, walk away. It's not worth it.
It is possible to win a flame war, but only if you realize that the person you need to convince isn't the one throwing the insults. The one throwing the insults is a red herring. The people you need to convince are the lurkers, the silent audience who are reading and watching the saga unfold. If one person is rabidly swearing and insulting, saying that we are all horrible elitist trolls you wouldn't want to know, and the other person is friendly, calm, and polite, then thinking observers will see that the point is actually making itself.
Don't get upset, don't take it personally, and don't argue forever. Remember, the person doing the flaming is not your opponent, and you don't need to respond to everything they say, because they're not even possible to convince 99% of the time. Make one or two easy going posts that make your point, and then walk away and don't look back.
Of course it's just best that we try to focus on the positives around here anyway.
SeraphicStar: Holy crap, is that you SeraphicStar? I saw the icon here and in another thread and just and assumed it was someone else, I got so used to you being the Old Spice Guy. Anyway, I like the silliness too, for all the reasons which you said much more eloquently than I!
darth_angelus: No one here has ever been extremely silly. Not ever.
SeraphicStar said that we all have common sense, and this is pretty awesome. The only thing that I'm worried about in regards to that is when the community does start really growing, and we start getting in folk that have great intentions but bad execution. I'm not sure what you could do about that, though, other than move around threads/posts that are too offtopic to the Smalltalk forum, or whatnot.
Other than that, though, I think a bunch of things are already in place to keep this a positive space. You've already made your development log (and intentions for the site) public, Kim - transparency (translucency?) goes a long way to keeping people in good spirits. It's also easy to get recognised on the site, whether that's in the form of an accolade or a featured character.
I think that most of the positivity of a community really comes from the community members themselves - and as to how to capture and nurture that, heck if I know, hehe. This is the Internet; people get wild and wooly out here for no reason sometimes, alas.
Silly me. I was so busy hopping between RPR forum tabs I posted this as a comment to the newspage linking to here (and I don't seem to find a delete option)
This thread is diamonds . And I do mean it in a non-silly way, as in this thread is just generally awesome. It's very nice to see both the administrators as the general audience care enough about the community to start take precautions towards the future without smacking down a set of strict rules that will just entice trolls to break them.
And sadly, RPR is a forum so trolls will eventually emerge. The best thing you can do about it is 'Do not feed the trolls'.
We do seem to have a solid core of decent members, which always sets a good example for newcomers. We're all pretty open-minded, so new people won't need to fear that they won't fit in. We all seem to be fans of silliness too, which is a great vent for when the serious bussiness (or perhaps your RP sessions!) is getting the better of you. And last but not least people seem willing to clarify themselves for the sake of preventing discussions before they even happen. This is a rare and precious things in online communities, where people more often than not jump at each other for the most unbelievable things just because of a disagreement (which, sadly, is often based on misconceptions about someone's post. Either through bad wording or just a general lack of knowledge about the english language. Hell, perhaps different paradigms about how things are to be said politely)
The best suggestions I can give to keep RPR as great as it is now, and possibly better when we have even more awesome members is; Never forget that behind that little glowing screen is a real-life person and those fancy letters are real thoughts and emotions. We might be here because we all love the game that is roleplay, in whatever form you might enjoy it. Forming a community, however, is not a game; it is an art, one only perfected by making mistakes and learning from them.
Also, please don't try to overdo it on trying to keep the forums clean. There's one thing in trying it, there's another in trying too hard.
I just want to continue seeing good things on the forum. People who can keep their arguments private, people who don't post bad things about others just to be nasty, people who are open minded and tolerant.
I'm okay with change, it's bound to happen! We can adapt, we can welcome new members and invite their new ideas and personalities. As long as Kim and future mods don't play favorite and treat everyone equal, we'll be just fine.
Edit: Oh, and what I think is important is to not pick fights with people personally. You may not agree with something, and then you can click the X or just not get involved. Or if it's of serious concern, contact Kim or another Mod and have them deal with it. People who are concerned or bothered tend to be emotional and if they approach the person they are bothered by personally, it may escalate into a serious conflict. The mods/Kim can always look at the issue from a neutral point and take action where necessary, which makes both parties feel like they have their sides of the story heard and can trust whatever comes from it is the right decision.
A lot of forums seem to lack this neutral approach, which makes for 'favorites' and friends being treated differently to a point where it's upsetting. I feel this is a big part of what will keep RPR going strong in the future.
Hmmn. Common sense, clarity, fairness and empathy from both sides of the fence...
Have we just solved the internet?