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Forums » RP Discussion » Why the long post lengths?

Something I don't completely understand is how people will request such high post length requirements. Let me explain.

Don't take this as a personal attack, I'm not attacking anyone and their personal preferences and how they elect to do things; I still feel I must question the reason people prefer such long post lengths. For context, I'm looking at this from a perspective of someone who has done a lot of real-time based roleplays and D&D, and in such a situation it is much more effective and preferable for people to be able to give very quick but detailed responses. Often times I find that in such situations most people only use about a paragraph on average, sometimes twos if they're describing something more complicated, but almost never more than that unless it's something pre-written. (Such as a prompt or physical description of the setting.)

I often wonder to myself how much detail you can cut away from these posts and still be able to convey the same information. I am a firm believer in the idea that "More isn't always better, often it's just more," even though "Quantity is a quality of its own." Though I refuse to believe this is simply a situation of people being overzealous about post having to be so long for no reason. I also often ponder about how people are supposed to play out specific kinds of situations with this style of reply, situations that require a character to react to multiple things very quickly, while those things are simultaneously reacting to the character within the same time frame. For example, in a fight. A game, or other things along those same lines.

I have considered a few possible reasons people might do this, for one time. People might not have the time to make regular replies to a thread and therefore spend the time they do have writing as much, and in as much detail, as possible. ((It would suck to wait a whole week for only a sentence or two)) At the same time, however, does that mean you should use 1000 words to describe something you could with only a single paragraph?

As I said before, I'm not judging or attacking anyone. I'm simply curious why people who prefer to do things this way prefer to do it like this instead of a different way.
I love detail. I love it when people describe their character's thoughts, movements, etc. Any less and I have to use my imagination more than I like. Less description leaves too much for me to get wrong.

Here's an example.
Two characters get into an argument and one puts that they walked away. They didnt describe the walk so it leaves it up to me to determine if that character is still angry or not.
Poor example but you get the idea.

Personally, I get very bored with small replies because there isnt enough information. I dont want conversation and basic movements. In my experience it's been more difficult to get great stories with action and character development.

And I dont do real time roleplay. I absolutely refuse. So i dont mind if someone takes a bit longer to do a reply. I have one right now where i reply once a day because it's so lengthy but it's filled with detail and little things for the reader to learn.
I'll bet you could get many different answers to this question. For me, part of the reason is that I just can't seem to get to where I want to get to without it being a long post. I've even tried to write short posts, but it's practically impossible for me. I'm not sure why! But since I inevitably do, I like it from my partner too because of the let-down if it's short, and because of the desire for them to respond to the plot points that I put out there.

Interestingly, I don't like to write fight scenes, and a lot of what I'm writing ends up being thoughts and feelings, so I guess that's why it doesn't interrupt the progress of the action very much.
For me, I tend to write longer posts because I tend to go a lot into descriptions and details about things....sometimes to the point of referencing back to another scene or another RP that had the same characters just to tie everything into a more cohesive story and to help remind myself of character growth and progress as things go along. I also tend to mix in a lot of environmental happenings and NPCs because I'm trying to write a complete world that my character is a part of instead of just my character if that makes sense.

While true, a lot of that narration can be cut out, I like it because it helps everything come together in a more complete story and in a neat little package in my own mind.

I don't write massively long posts for every single one of my replies, though. If it's something that needs to move at a quicker speed, say a fight or quick-fire dialogue, I will absolutely post shorter to help keep the game moving along at a faster pace and not do as much narration so as not to bog down the flow.

I know my style isn't what everyone likes, so I tend to cling to people who have similar posting styles as me. ;)

Edited to add: Majority of my RPs are done in real-time since that's how I learned and that's really my preference. With forum or other slower paced 1x1 games, I tend to over-edit and get stuck in a loop of rewriting, so if I can type up and fire off my post, the better for me not to go crazy in an endless editing cycle. And like Daegu mentioned for himself below, I can fire off a multi-paragraph post within 20 to 30 minutes if I’m nof distracted by other things.
For me, I love detail. I don't want just action, reaction in my posts. I love seeing deeper into a character, glimpses of their thought process and how they interact with the world. In my opinion, it helps so much with character development and gives a good understanding of a character's perspective. Can everything in these long posts be said in a single paragraph? Of course. Anything can be said in just a few words if you know which words to pick.

But I've always favored longer posts, especially when there's more people involved. If there's... say five people in a roleplay and you're interacting with them all, your posts are going to get pretty long.

For fights, I like a good sized paragraph if it's a one on one and the fight is the only thing happening in the scene. I often do rapid-fire (or real-time, whichever is preferred) roleplays and can still throw out a good three to four paragraphs in under 25 minutes, less if I'm not distracted at all. So I don't think it's a time thing.. at least, not for me.

Longer posts are definitely a style that's not for everyone and I also don't think single paragraph posts are bad or take away from the roleplay at all, they're just not for me.
Sanne Moderator

PorrainianPontiff wrote:
For context, I'm looking at this from a perspective of someone who has done a lot of real-time based roleplays and D&D, and in such a situation it is much more effective and preferable for people to be able to give very quick but detailed responses.

I think you hit the nail on the head here. It comes down to the situation and main method of posting. People who post in a 'live' manner typically default to shorter posts because it keeps the pace going, leaving less time to go into lengthy detail.

On the other hand, forums like this usually lead to replies being spread out across hours, days, if not weeks in some instances. It takes the pressure off maintaining the pace and allows for posts that are more novel style in nature and end up being longer.

(RPR is pretty awesome in that our platform has the ability to convert each forum and PM thread into a live chat. You can choose to do a fast paced RP with someone who's online at the same time as you, while still preserving the RP as a forum thread for record keeping and/or switching to slow paced RPs at any time. ;) )

Personal preference however is the main leading factor, as well as experience with a certain type of post length. I personally encountered issues wherein people who posted very short posts usually did so because they didn't have much content to post at all, which made the RP feel slow, difficult to move forward, and mostly uninteresting. I know that there is a high quality version of short posts, but I've been rarely exposed to that. On the other hand, the posts I found more interesting and easier to engage with were always several paragraphs long, and had so much content that was interesting I automatically responded with long posts myself. That's kind of become my default by now and I have a difficult time sticking to posts that are only a few sentences long.

Long posts definitely don't equal high quality content though; I've had plenty of RP partners who ended up purposely stuffing their posts with meaningless filler that didn't make the story more interesting or feel more alive, which in turn also made it hard to respond with a good quality post in return. I think a lot of them ended up doing that because they felt pressured to provide a lengthy response over a quality response because the community culture at the time heavily equated post size to post quality, which I now know is just a correlation, not causation.

These days I just ask for solid content, and disregard post length. I'll post whatever length I end up posting at the time. Sometimes that's one paragraph, most times it's 2-3+. Due to my timezone it's nearly impossible to find people to RP with in real time so I've grown real accustomed to just posting whenever I can and have a reply due, and that leads to sometimes long posts. I can be happy with shorter posts as long as they've got something interesting for me to respond to, though!
I agree with this.

Well, I'll have to explain myself.

Long posts do show that the person is putting time, thought and effort into their posts. To make the scene feel real, it needs to have a certain level of detail that will draw in the reader.


Even as a person who loves to write and read, I do admit that at times I feel overwhelmed by some posts. There can be only so much you can do in some situations where you throw in a wall of text. A reader can lose the context of a situation.

I'm running a group that is based on DnD stats and I play as a storyteller while guiding characters through the scenes and situations. However, I will not always throw in a novella-long post. Sometimes I will nicely describe the situation and the place to bring the atmosphere in. But other times it can be a 2 paragraph long post that goes straight to the point.

Its about balance. I think writers need to remember that at times throwing too much information in the same situation or using the same long-winded descriptions of characters and scenes can be overwhelming for a human mind. Just because someone changed clothes doesn't mean that we need to go through head-to-toe description of what they're wearing. That's not the context of the situation. I'd rather see an image of the outfit than go through yet another long paragraph of character's attire.

I think that this is where I personally set the standard when long and descriptive posts are needed:

- A new location
- An introduction to an important character
- Climaxes of the situations
- Thoughts and emotions of a character on and in crucial situations that serve as plot points to add to the heaviness of the moment
I am like a few of the others here who do love to write long and detailed posts but I can also understand how to some this can be overwhelming... It's like how some people love a four hour long movie and others are more content with quibi's.

I do think that posts have more to do with the persons ability to spend time and detail in it, both giving and receiving, something that not everyone has. Be it for personal, mental, or simply time constraints everyone has a different amount that they can commit.

What I think is important is that both parties talk about the size of the posts they want to give and receive so that everyone is on the same page.

It can most assured;y come across as pressure or disinterest if one person is either over or underwhelming their partner with size.

That said? 'The word is to the writer what the brush is to the artist.' I create my worlds with writing and so I tend to use much of what I can just like a painter uses multiple brushes and colors to replicate what they see in their minds eye.

Just my two cents though, since the national coin shortage and all that. :P
I prefer my partners to write in paragraphs for many reasons, first off,its more fun,and I love detail,secondly,detail explains a character.

Example-Charlie woke up and got dressed and headed to school.

This doesn't tell me much about the character,there's no thought put into it.

It was another day in the city,birds were singing,people bustling in the streets,and a nice breeze was blowing. Charlie woke up to the sound of her alarm clock and she realized she was running late for school. She quickly scrambled out of her bed,and ran to the restroom to take a quick shower. After she showered,she combed her hair and brushed her teeth. Then she gathered up her things and ran out the door. Unfortunately,she had to get to school on foot,thus making her late for her first period class. When she she entered her class,she was greeted with a detention slip.

This paragraph tells me about the character,it shows Charlie is a struggling child,and that she seems to always run late for her classes.

I prefer paragraphs because it tells me about my partner's character(S) but I can handle one liners as well(Sometimes)

There have been times where I waited a whole month to receive one sentence,so that is why I encourage my partners to try and send me at least
one paragraph.

on another note,I don't care about length,I'm not asking for 7 paragraphs,because,mainly I wouldn't read all of it,all I ask is 1,2 or 3 paragraphs. Other than that,I'm fine with however long it is as long as its not TOO LONG.

Honestly there are so many things to consider in a roleplay. While you certainly can do shorter quick conversations in a paragraph (and I have in the past for rapid fire RP) I prefer long paragraphs because I view is as a collaboration on a novel.

I have one of those brains that needs the answers to: who, when where, how and why?

So I prefer posts rich in details that display mannerisms, demeanor, environment, interactions with environment, facial expressions, gestures, movements, things that catch the eye ect; not just dialogue. They help me visualize what is happening so that I in tern can react to what's happening. Otherwise I just stare blankly at my screen. I am however, a flex writer,
such that I do not stick to a specific formula of paragraphs nor expect it. I range from 2 paragraphs to 8 depending on what is happening.. which I think is a better way to address the issue of 'fluff' writing when too much is too much.

I need brain food to get my creativity flowing. I have TRIED to be more concise and roleplay with more concise players but it only leads me to complete writers block.
So while you have simplified things down, I think for each person the reasons behind might actually be more complex.

There is a place for everyone though, there are plenty of more concise writers; I do agree with Sanne on that. In my experience, more concise writers tend to be in rapid fire environments when you are sitting down to kick out many posts within a few hours.
It's because us novella writers are filthy, filthy elitists who enjoy sipping our tea and running "NO SHOART POSTS ALLOWED" clubs.

...Well. Some people think so, anyways.

Sup. I write 2-3000 word posts on average, with introductory posts and exposition filled ones being even longer. I'd describe my writing as a horrible bastard child of Lovecraft and Tolkien, which means that people who hate rich descriptions would hate reading my works. Why do I spend hours writing a single post, you ask? The simplest it can be brought down to is detail and development. A single paragraph consisting of nothing but reactionary material does nothing for me, teaches me nothing about your character or the world they're in. What are their mannerisms? What are they thinking about? What is their environment like? How am I supposed to get attached to them and feel as though I know them, if I can never get a deeper glimpse into them?

There's more to writing than just "she threw her fist at him and punched him." I want to know how she felt, what drove her to snap and throw that punch, how her body moved and how her knuckles ached because it was an erratic throw and she'd never hit someone before. All of these tiny details that many might consider to be 'fluff' are what makes a character for me. That is what sets them apart from the rest of the generic crowd, what makes them truly them and marks them as unique. Fights don't need to be short, disjointed posts that are just back and forth "he blocks" and "he strikes." I write them like a song and dance, full of feelings, physical sensations, and the flow of battle. I like all those bits and pieces.

Then there's the matter of content and effort. With one of my posts, I can achieve the same amount of content (and more!) that might take someone who writes shorter posts up to a dozen to achieve. It also keeps me and my partner from forgetting what's happening, and eliminates the need to have to flip through two hundred posts to find a single relevant detail. You'd think that bigger posts means more room for confusion, but it's actually quite the opposite. Imagine reading a few pages of a book, compared to reading a bunch of short chapters all at once. I'm usually a busy person when I have classes, so being able to give someone a post big enough to last them the week is very beneficial for me. We'd both get frustrated if I was expected to put out several short posts a day. Anyone I write with can tell you that I'm slow at putting out my material, but gosh dang if it isn't worth the half a week wait time.

As for effort, I ask my partners provide me with at least 250 words, because there's no way that a single paragraph will match the hours of effort I put into my thousand word posts. I don't do shorter posts - they're boring and give me nothing to work with, personally - and being given something that took them twenty minutes to write is disheartening. Writing my posts is like an art to me; I fine tune them, I proof read extensively, I think of how I can better them with each one I write, I'm constantly thinking of new things to incorporate and what else I can put in that's exciting to read. A reactionary, 50 word post would literally be a slap in the face to me, and almost an insult to how long I spend crafting my own. I'm here to write a novel with you. If I wanted to write a book by myself, I would do that.

Overall, there's nothing wrong with short posts. There's nothing wrong with long posts. I don't understand why the two realms of writers have to clash; if you don't like long posts, then by all means, don't write them and don't force yourself to partner with people who prefer them! There's an overwhelming amount of people who enjoy short, rapid posts. The most important advice I can give is stop reminiscing about what could have been, if only that darn person hadn't demanded you give them a lengthy post. Stick to what you're comfortable with, and in the same light, come to terms with the fact that there will always be people who do things in a way different than you.

...Now, consider how angry people would get if I asked "why the short post lengths?"
I personally write 2-5 paragraphs on average but upwards of 10 sometimes if I'm very excited. I'm very detail and character thought oriented. I enjoy writing and reading long posts. There is a level of detail I don't enjoy but usually partners and I's preference line up well because we're both clear about what we like and make sure we're on the same page before we even start writing together.

During scenes that are dialogue heavy and really long posts would make the interaction feel wonky, I write try to stick to 2 paragraphs so that the interaction is fluid.

Despite writing multiple paragraphs I am actually used to 'live posting' still. Several of my partners - when we have time - will sit and post back and fourth for 3-4 hours. It usually takes us 15-20 minutes to write our posts, and for us that is just comfortable. We don't mind waiting 20 minutes for a post, and 'only' getting 2 or three posts out each per hour. We think it's fantastic actually! A 4 hour posting session back and fourth where we each get 2 posts out an hour is like the best day ever!

When we can't 'live post' we just post at our leisure of course and still have plenty of fun.

Now I do mainly RP 1x1. Live posting with multi-para writers would of course take longer; but I don't really prefer group rps to begin with.

I recently started a text based DnD campaign, where we do sessions, and the posts are a bit shorter, usually 1-2 paragraphs because we are all used to writing quite a lot but have dialed ourselves back a little. In a two hour sessions we usually only manage to get 2 posts out per person because there's a handful of us, but it's still fun! I don't think I would enjoy it as much if I had to shorten my posts more than 1 paragraph even if it meant it would go faster.

In the end enjoying yourself is what is important, and having preferences for RP/writing makes it so two or a group of people don't start writing and end up disappointed with the other persons style and have to have an awkward conversation. Putting your post length preference before hand avoids that situation and allows people to find other people they will have the most fun with.


Think of it this way...

Yes you could definitely go through my posts and cut them down to a paragraph and it would be just as good, and you might like it but I wouldn't enjoy my post anymore.

I could take your or another short form writers posts and add to it, extend it several paragraphs, and it would be just as good, and I would like it, but you probably wouldn't like it anymore!

In the end most RPers don't write the length we do because we think it's better we write the way we do because we like it.
Based on my interactions with different people, I get the impression that most of the time its just shorthand for "I want more detail", but actually providing a solid metric for detail is hard, so just asking people to be able to write a certain amount is kinda an easier if less accurate way of saying the same thing.
[The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.]

Having taken interest in the hottest new science-fiction novel taking the literary world by storm, Kyle hastily purchases a signed, limited-edition, leatherbound hardcover copy of ”Something Happens in Space” by up-and-coming fiction author Newt Wrightmore, which includes a special forward from the author! It’s a steal at only $29.99, plus shipping and handling, please allow 2 to 3 weeks for delivery.

The days creep by as Kyle waits for his package to arrive. His anticipation mounts with every passing minute. Time itself seems to twist and warp, stretching out as though the very universe itself wants to prolong his agonized anticipation. He tries to pass the time by reading other, lesser pieces of fiction, but they hold no interest to Kyle. Why should they? Who has time for such long-winded, rambling tales like Dune or Foundation anymore? How could anyone possibly expect something as unnecessarily overlong and drawn-out as The Caves of Steel or Leviathan Wakes to hold anyone’s attention, without making them feel insecure about their own literary capabilities?

Kyle doesn’t judge the authors of those works, of course. To each their own. If other people want to read work which is thoroughly engaging, immersive and crafted with intricate depth and characters who have been built from the inside out to become as real and believable and even relatable as possible - well, that’s their prerogative. Kyle supposes he can even appreciate the amount of effort that Orson Scott Card put into that brick ’Speaker for the Dead’. That must have taken a while. Good on him!

But this depth of character complexity, this immersion into the author’s world - they’re just not for Kyle. Is it really necessary to get a sense of the atmosphere in a room? Why waste time exploring the motives, the introspective thoughts and feelings of a character? With all due respect, Kyle is not particularly interested in what the author has to say. He’s not judging or criticizing of course, but it stands to reason that he’s really only reading their work to get a general idea of the plot. Kyle can fill in all those insignificant details on his own. Kyle can decide how Kyle wants the story to be - it only makes sense. After all, Kyle is the one being entertained here. It’s not like the author enjoyed writing that brick. Presumably, they don’t even derive any tangible satisfaction from the knowledge that their work is read and appreciated.

All of this introspection makes Kyle anxious and tries his patience. He spends the remainder of the interminable period of waiting staring blankly at a wall.

Then, at long last, the doorbell rings. Kyle scrambles to the door and signs for his package, unwrapping it with all the delight of a child on the morning of a gift-giving holiday. It’s beautiful. The leather is supple and fresh. He can smell the sultry tang of freshly minted pages, of new ink.

Brimming with an undefined but positive emotion, Kyle hurries to prepare himself a cup of his favorite beverage. He isn’t sure whether it’s coffee, tea, Cool Ranch milkshake or pure lemon juice mixed with motor oil, but such insignificant details are irrelevant to him. With that done, he moves at an indeterminate pace through a space of uncertain dimensions, paying no attention whatsoever to his surroundings and experiencing nothing but the action immediately at hand. Acquiring the book from a surface, he locomotes vaguely to a sitting place, where he sits on a surface. With an expression on his face, Kyle has a thought. His beverage manifests upon a surface which may or may not be the same surface he is seated upon. He sees the book. He experiences an emotion as all the insignificant details of life fall away around him. Kyle’s physical form dissipates into nothingness - which is fine, because he’d never known or cared what he even looked like in the first place. Or something like that. It doesn’t matter. All that matters now is this moment. This book. This transcendent masterpiece of literary achievement which will shortly elevate him to a higher plane of sentience. Or something like that. Time ceases to exist. Space becomes meaningless. There is only this moment.

Kyle opens the book.

It contains one page.

And Kyle sees that it is good.
Back in 2018 I still was a beginner in forum roleplaying and didn't have much experience in it. Like how people do this or what's their style. Until I came up with a Zombie Apocalypse themed roleplay which was really exceptional experience indeed. But I realized the fact that some people really wanna put much more afford into their roleplays while some others do not. No need to mention that if you wanna write like more than 5 paragraphs, it gonna take more time than that you believe. This is the hard part for some people trying to move the plot forward as fast as possible to avoid getting bored or giving up on their roleplay, which nobody likes. But that doesn't mean it's worthless. In fact, I believe if you keep writing long replies comparing to one-liners, you gonna reach better skills after some time.

All of these doesn't mean that you can do something better. For example, you can make the replies not too long and not too short, so nobody gonna complain about it. Make it 2 or 3 paragraphs. That's not so much, right? It allows you to mention some more details and make some more interesting scenes and even stories. For example if you gonna describe a wedding, you can't just ignore the atmosphere and say "they went straight to the wedding."

I personally love 2-3 paragraphs myself, because it allows you to put more effort into it and also deliver a better amount of details to the reader with enough time spent on it. So nobody gets bored and you won't just give up soon. I just said my opinion I hope it was useful. ;)
Newbie here, I think partially it's down to how I was taught to roleplay.

I was taught roleplaying in a post and wait style. Like it was only about two years ago that I learned you could even do live roleplaying at all. It blew my mind that there were people who did rapidfire responses like that. As in my experience, roleplaying was more like :

I post *wait a day* I respond to other people's posts *wait a day* respond to new posts

And that was in the groups I was in. 1x1s it was usually an every other day post requirement. Sure if you had time you could reply right away but it wasn't expected of you. You were just expected to try to get something out every other day.

Because I was taught this really slow way of posting I was also taught that each post had to have a lot of detail. As if you are waiting along time to reply you are gonna need a lot of information to write with.

So honestly in my case, I feel like the pace I was taught sort of lent itself to also being super detailed.

Plus I really got started on a certain site where 500+ word posts were considered the gold standard. So I was taught that you want to hit that good "middle" point between just a paragraph and basically writing a short novel every post.
The core of what I think about this topic has already been stated here, but I figured that I might as well throw a response on the pile just to explain where I personally am coming from.

When I am RPing, I approach it much like collaboratively writing a novel (I just noticed that Mipps said the same thing!). For that reason, my posts are similar to what I'd want out of reading a book. In fact, I regularly go back and re-read past RPs multiple times over, just for enjoyment. I like books to be descriptive (often to the point of being florid but not overdone), atmospheric, and verbose, and I tend to write that way. While the posts I write tend toward being quite long, I do truncate them for situations where more rapid-fire responses are necessary, though they never really go below a few paragraphs. My longest posts tend to be ones that require a large amount of exposition, such as when I am opening a new scene and have to set up the setting and mood.

I find that there is so much to say that can contribute to the scene, whether that's details of the surroundings or what is going on inside a character's head. The way I think about writing posts is less practical, more expressive/artistic. While that means that my posts are lengthier than some, it also means that I am very flexible. I don't expect my partner to 'match my post length,' and when I am comfortable with another writer, I don't feel the need to match theirs either. It's all about what feels right in a given situation.

For that reason, were I to search for a RP or post an ad, I wouldn't have a 'minimum post length' or anything like that. I think that enforcing such specifications as 'you must write at least 1000 words' creates an unnecessary level of pressure where people feel like they must cram something else into a 900-word post that feels perfectly complete as-is, and that's where you run into 'fluff.' I would, however, look for writers who mention that they are multi-para RPers! ^_^
I prefer for people to write exactly as much as they need to, to convey their intended meaning. A post is perfect once there is nothing left to remove.
allison-kaas wrote:
I prefer for people to write exactly as much as they need to, to convey their intended meaning. A post is perfect once there is nothing left to remove.

Sure, but even that is a variable metric. Some people's 'perfect RP post' with all the fat trimmed will usually be closer to 1-2 sentences, while other people will generally write 5-7 paragraphs.
For me, I write as much as need be said. Enough environment to keep things going, enough about NPC's so other players feel they can get a grasp on the situation, and enough about my character that they still do what they need to do. I keep in mind that whatever they do should happen in about 10-30 seconds. Sometimes longer if they need to talk for a bit. But all in all a lot can happen in that short of a time and going further than a minutes worth of action is IMO unfair to other players as they may have liked to react but because things already moved on and were cemented their reaction seems pointless or ignored when it could have changed the whole scene. Out of habit I play the roll of GM and player in any one post. That's not to say others can't do the same, but what my character does needs to both respond to what has happened AND lead to what I want to have happen in order to pull the plot forward. This leads to posts being anywhere from 200-2000 words depending on the situation.

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