College Thesis Part II

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Navi Jay, Nov 9, 2015.

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  1. Hello again to all members of the wonderful discourse community know as Role Playing!

    Thank you so much to all of the members who responded to Part 1 of my research, your answers were extremely helpful and I believe my research proposal went very well.

    Part 2 delves deeper into our communities structure, really getting into how we function on a daily basis, specifically how we communicate to accomplish tasks, generate new knowledge, and basically get work done. Once these "genres" as they're called are specified ((Please do not focus on the term "genre" here it means something COMPLETELY different than you're probably thinking..still confuses me sometimes.)) I will conduct a thorough analysis and determine if the genre's support my thesis.

    What is my thesis?
    Well.... I am still hashing out a specific thesis statement at the moment but basically I believe the roleplaying community and its beliefs are worthy of academic study because our formate and how we operate could benefit in the classroom setting, specifically when it comes to students learning how to write. Many individuals of my generation (high school -college age) cannot write, and do not feel that they will ever become one.

    1. Do you feel that the tools available assist in you become a better writer? (i.e. Refining Writing, Challenges, RolePlay mechanics)
    2. Within the time span of you becoming a member of this community, (Please disclose how long you've been roleplaying) do you feel as though you've become a better writer? (please list any improvement possible from grammar structure, to developing complex sentence structures)
    3. In your own words, please best describe the basic roleplaying style of writing.

    if you do choose to respond to this thread please know that if you are over the age of 18 I may contact you for an interview or perhaps request to use your response(s) as a direct quote in my paper.

    Again thank you so much,
    -Navi Jay
    #1 Navi Jay, Nov 9, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2015
  2. Fora. I also communicate with various persons through skype or steam.

    I do not use them often, but I do want to point out that roleplaying and more traditional writing are different beasts. There's some carry-overs, but the goal of a good roleplaying post is to interact with the material of others and set up materials for others to interact with. Any post lacking that is by definition a bad post. Just because you're a good public speaker, doesn't mean you're a great conversationalist.

    Also, the material, by nature of being usersubmitted, greatly varies in quality. So I can't make generalised statements. There are a number of gems out there that make good reference points though, at least in part.

    Over seven years I've been roleplaying, a year and four months of that on Iwaku. Due to focusing on roleplay more than my individual work for a multitude of years, I actually feel I've become a worse writer. My characterisation and pacing skill have taken a nosedive. As well as the flow of my writing, but mostly my pacing hurts. A lot.

    I'm not presumptuous enough to claim I possess a defined style at the moment.
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  3. Forums mainly and then perhaps different types of chats for faster conversations.
    Yes mostly they do, however there many moments when they don't, simply because of the varied amount of RP's having very different kinds of writing styles. Not to mention people with different views on good writing.
    I have been role-playing for about seven years. About two of those on Iwaku and yes i have noticed an improvement in my writing though mostly towards expanding my vocabulary and learning a few tricks when setting scenes as English is not my main language.
    As it is currently... simplistic and easy on the eyes, with a reader in mind.
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  4. I feel like this question might have a deeper meaning, but I can't think of anything on that regard so I'll answer this in a more literal sense.

    Well on most forum roleplay sites we start by creating an Interest Check.
    An Interest Check basically being someone pitching/advertising an idea for an roleplay.
    It can be as detailed or vague as they want, but the purposes of it is to gather a group of players interested in taking part.

    Once that is done they need to an "Out of Character" thread.
    This is where the players will discuss and plan the roleplay in question.
    Enhance plot ideas, create the characters/character sheets, and just get to know each other in general.
    In the past people would sometimes make multiple of these to keep details more organized, but the introduction of tabs recently has changed that for most group.
    However, the Tabs are more Iwaku specific and not representative of forum roleplaying overall.

    Once the group or grandmaster of the roleplay feels enough has been set up they start the "In Character" thread.
    This is where people will type as their character's, in other words where all the actual roleplaying takes place.
    Personally I don't take part in many challenges. I take part in a lot of discussions about roleplaying, but I rarely type an roleplay post if it's not an actual roleplay that I'm currently taking part in.
    For me it's just a lack of motivation because challenges is just one post and then you're done, while actual roleplays are on going and interactive.

    However, a lot of people do tend to use these challenges, and for them they find it get practice on how to play as characters, use a specific style, practice a specific skill etc before entering the fray, meanwhile I prefer just jumping straight into that fray.

    Though discussions about roleplay? May it be questionnaire's like this, or threads about a specific topic I tend to frequent.
    I like being able to discuss the background and inner-workings of an RP, share perspectives with other players, and basically theorize better ways to roleplaying.

    I know many forums also have a mentor sort of program, but that's never something I personally used. I just jumped straight in and learned from there.
    I would say I improved over my time roleplaying.

    Not to an insane degree like others, my average post size of 1-2 Paragraphs has remained consistent.
    With occasional one-liners in low demand groups, but those are only done when exchanging dialogue, not anything big like a scene change.
    Like I easily could just add more details like "what are they thinking" or "what are they doing with their hands", but honestly I feel at a certain point roleplayers are just forcing out those details for the sake/prestige of it.
    Where if this character were in real life and actually living up to all those minor details? They'd probably be stimming like crazy and have a damn encyclopaedia as a brain. Basically I sometimes will purposely leave some details out in the name of being realistic with the character.

    *Another thing to note there. I think part of that is roleplayers are always looking at it going "This is my character, how can I best represent them?" and as a result are trying really hard with every post to do them justice. While if that character actually existed? They're not going to look at everything and go "I am ______, how will I respond?". They just respond to what's happening like most human beings would.

    Stuff like spelling, grammar, ability to describe a character, moving a plot forward however?
    That stuff I feel has grown greatly over my time of roleplaying. I can branch into a higher variety and complexity of characters, I'm better at spelling and using words properly (but spell check is still a life saver).
    However that being said some of that stuff like playing a character or moving the plot are skills I also learned from tabletop roleplay's like D&D, and not just from forum roleplays.
    "Our" would be a poor way to describe it because everyone writes different. However I'm assuming what you meant to type was "your".

    My own style of writing I would say is a more casual/practical one.
    I don't try to stress factors such as "Do I fit _____ amount of lines/paragraphs" or "Have I given enough details?".
    I more try to focus on the stuff that I feel makes a story interesting. That being the character interactions, the storyline, the plot, the world etc.

    But I also don't aim to type my posts like it's on show. I'm not trying to impress anyone with my posts, I'm just trying to live a story.
    This means I'm often looking at my posts through a perspective of "What would my character do?" rather than "What would make this character look more complex?".
    Not to say I don't think characters should be complex, like everyday people character's are complex beings by nature. But that should be shown naturally overtime and not something that me as a writer is trying to ham-fist into every post in an attempt look professional, meet certain post requirements etc.
    In other words if we're a Red Star? :P
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  5. Hello again everyone, thanks to all who have posted so far but I see some confusion here with questions 1 and 4.

    I will have to consult with my advisor on question 1 because yes there is a deeper meaning I did not elaborate enough on.

    Question 4 I am talking about the general roleplaying style of writing, what you've seen in the structure of roleplaying posts.
  6. Woops, mis-read this as "Please don't disclose" at first. :/

    I would just edit this in... But it's a bit of long explanation and I don't want to risk you having read my post before I managed to edit it in.


    TLDR: Almost 8 years since I started forum roleplaying, almost 10 years since I started roleplaying period.
    Took 2 years break of forum roleplaying specifically though, so my experience with that version is simply 5, almost 6 years.

    I also spent 2 years roleplaying on chat hangouts and 3-1/2 years with tabletop roleplay.

    Note: The long version is me describing the specifics of each site and my experiences with it.
    Not sure how relevant that is to the paper, but it's there just in case.

    Long Version (open)

    I started forum roleplaying at 14 years old.
    However in truth I started roleplaying period at 12.

    At 12 it was on a site called Habbo Hotel, basically imagine MSN but you actually had avatars, and a room to walk around and interact with.
    People would often dress their avatar as their character and then talk with each other in character and also describe actions, it would look something like this:

    "Uzamaki, I knew I'd find you here. Draw your lightsaber for now you must die".
    -Swings lightsaber upwards towards Uzamaki to slash him across the rib cage-

    Basically we used's asterisks or dashes to represent actions.
    And there were a ton of rules and regulations for the combat, basically admittedly it was basically a "Spam combat actions faster than the other person and you win" otherwise.

    Forum Roleplaying though started on a site called Star Wars Combine.
    It was a Star Wars simulator game, but with a sub-forum for people forum RP their characters.
    This ended up grabbing my attention far more than the simulator itself.

    What happened eventually though was the Admins kept shutting down RP's because of permissions such as "You're simulator character doesn't command stormtroopers, so storm troopers cannot be used in this RP!".
    This eventually led to me making an alternate forum RP site where such restrictions wouldn't be present, and just about everyone (not exaggerating) from there followed me and that lasted for a good 2 years.
    Eventually our epic RP was coming to it's end, and one of the people we made an Admin ended up discovering a site called the Roleplayers Guild, so we as a group all moved over there.

    This is my first exposure to an RP site that managed a vast variety of roleplays, and wasn't built around just one Universe RP.
    It was also my first introduction to practices such as 1x1 Roleplays, Interest Checks, Out of Character Threads, and the concept that your Username doesn't need to be the name of your character...
    That last one was a habit that took me quite some time to kick, seriously if I had a nickel for every time I played a character named Gwazi in that adjustment time... I'd probably be able to buy a happy meal or something.

    Well the Roleplayer Guild I then spent another 3 years roleplaying on, took a 2 year break due to personal reasons that led to me lacking motivation for a while.
    But stuck around on the General Chat (well, Off-Topic and Spam Thread over there) because I made friends with a number of people there.
    It was just when I started taking this break though (like not even a month later) that for unrelated reasons me and my friends from High School decided to get into D&D, got hooked and have been keeping up that hobby as well to this day.

    Eventually one I joined of said friends RP, which ended up 2 year break.
    But eventually the Guild started crashing... A lot. So we eventually moved that RP to Iwaku and I've stuck around ever since.
    Which so far would have been just over 10 months.
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  7. All right, I'll wait for the consultation then before tackling Question 1 again.

    As for Question 4?

    I also can't presume to know for all roleplayers, but I've tell you what I can guess.

    They honestly aren't that different from books as far as I can tell.
    The exception being a book is by one author, so they need to be mindful of all the characters.
    While a roleplay is multiple players, so unless if they're the Grandmaster of the roleplay they're focusing more on the individual characters that they posses.

    Also due to the nature of multiple people and how it's post based there are often requirements.
    Stuff like "Minimum 2 Paragraphs". This can spawn instances of people adding excessive details for no reason other than to meet those requirements.
    Or people skipping/overlooking rather small actions because they want to be berated for making a shorter post, even if a shorter post is more than enough needed for it.

    I've also noticed three main trends (among RP's I've been in) in regards to post order.

    1. There is none, everyone just goes nuts.
    2. Grand Master makes a post regarding essential dialogue and/or all plot and location changes. And then players are free to post as much or as little as they want in response to those.
    3. Post Order, people have to wait or all (or certain individuals) to post before they can.

    #3 is enforced to varying degrees. Some are very strictly enforced, other's are more loose and only there as a way to make sure no one get's left behind.

    Lastly sometimes people will take their dialogue and make it a different colour so that it's easier to spot.
    I find this is generally more popular if groups where the skimming of non-necessary details in encouraged (normally due to the insane amount of content otherwise) or simply among those who value voiced dialogue more than the other actions, may it be for personal reasons or because it's just more relevant to the fellow roleplayers.
  8. 1. How do we communicate within the community?
    Communication with the roleplay community is almost exclusively via written word for me, which is perhaps part of its charm. We are all writers to some extent, and writing is our primary vehicle for communication amongst one another. I know for a fact that I am much more coherent when I write as opposed to when I speak, so it's a great bonus for me to have that luxury of being able to properly form a response and not be anxiously grasping for words.

    Forums have been my primary point of contact since the beginning; my very first roleplay found its home in a thread in the 'Off-topic' section of an unrelated forum. I then got involved in roleplays on the forums of various MMORPGs, which tended to have dedicated play-by-post roleplay sections. I set up my own roleplaying forum six years ago, that was used exclusively by the friends I'd met at these various outlets along the way, but that was small-scale and short-lived. Later, I would find sites like Roleplayer Guild and more recently Iwaku Roleplay, where I found writers who were much more passionate than people I had met previously; I imagine it has to do with the fact that these forums are specifically for roleplaying, rather than RP being a side-interest.

    On forums, we communicate in a variety of ways; my favourite being the concept of 'Out of Character' or 'OOC' threads, where I have made most of my friends as we are able to talk about the roleplay, plan our movements and also learn a bit about the people behind the characters we are interacting with. We can also use these threads as GMs (Game Masters), to give players information about the worlds we are exploring, or even as players to share details about our characters. Outside of OOC, we also have private messaging which allows us to discuss things out of the public eye; great for bringing up touchy subjects, dealing with secretive plot elements or even just chatting about non-RP topics! I have made friendships through roleplay that have lasted years.

    When these friendships form, it is not uncommon for them to drift away from roleplay. I keep in regular contact with people I've met roleplaying via the messenger service Skype, where I am able to IM and video chat with the friends I've made. The conversation is often about RP, but it is free of the pressure to do so that talking on a roleplay-specific forum entails. Chatting via IM adds a sense of immediacy and 'instance' to communication with RP friends, bringing our conversations into the 'present', the 'here-and-now', which is an element that talking via forums can sometimes lack. However, there are various chatboxes on Iwaku and Roleplayer Guild, that fulfil a similar purpose. Users cannot control who visits these areas and so it is often more personal to speak privately off-site with fellow roleplayers without being interrupted.

    2. Do you feel that the tools available assist in you become a better writer?
    I haven't used any of these features, and there is some dispute regarding being a good writer vs. a good roleplayer that I will address in question 3. I will decline to answer this question as I wouldn't like to pollute your results.

    3. Within the time span of you becoming a member of this community, do you feel as though you've become a better writer?
    I believe that being a good writer and a good roleplayer are two different things. Roleplaying is very different to independent storytelling; it's an interactive experience that requires participation from multiple parties, all of whom will have different intentions, tastes and abilities. 'Time' in roleplaying can often move much slower than in a traditional story, because a lot of time is spent waiting for other contributors to submit their additions. One scene can take days or weeks to process, depending on the availability and enthusiasm of the participants, and so often I can become restless and wish to 'move on' to the next thing. This is a bad habit that has carried over to my regular writing over the years and I tend to 'rush' events. This can be seen as a negative impact on my writing, but where roleplay is concerned it is quite a good skill to have as it keeps the story moving. Standard storytelling has no such requirement, as the author can write when they wish.

    I also feel that my ability to focus when writing has been somewhat stunted. I'm a filmmaker, and the combination of writing scripts and roleplay posts has steered me into a path of writing short bursts of content. This is fine for a roleplay or a screenplay, where narrative is divided into specific scenes, but for stories it can create a sense of disjointedness between passages of text that is not desirable.

    In some ways, however, roleplaying has definitely improved my writing. Whilst I have lived in England most of my life and English is the language I use most often, I grew up in a German-speaking house. I feel that roleplaying in English has given me a good grasp of the language particularly where vocabulary and imagery is concerned; but I tend to pay little attention to grammatical rules, as they aren't especially important in roleplay. I do feel though that my improved vocabulary greatly broadens what I am able to achieve with prose, as it helps me to create passages of text that are visual and evocative in a way that transcends ordinary description. I've become more confident with metaphor and simile that borders on pretense, as I don't have to worry about whether it resonates with the reader as much as if it were a full story; I don't have to keep readers engaged for very long, which makes me more willing to task linguistic risks.

    Despite varied effects upon my skills as a writer, roleplaying is ultimately like any hobby in that your talent will grow with practice. I have been roleplaying since 2007 in some form or another, and I feel that my eight years of experience has definitely seen me grow as a roleplayer, if not a writer. I think that I started off coming from an author's perspective, and wanted the stories to be about me and my character first and foremost. Over time, my biggest improvement has been recognising the beauty of being but one cog in a larger machine; of my character only being part of a broader story, a wider world. This has made my ability to interact with other characters and my in-character decision making much more effective, in my opinion. As a GM, I think I have improved by failing! Time and time again you invest time and passion into an idea that simply doesn't take off; but getting back up, dusting yourself down and trying again is the key to success as a roleplayer.

    4. In your own words, please best describe our writing style.
    If I had but one word to describe the writing style of a roleplay, it would be 'collaborative'. Everything a roleplayer writes is part of a larger interactive experience; the writing style reflects this. Information is put across in a way that is obvious enough for other players to pick up on and react to, but subtle enough to keep secretive plot content vague and keep intrigue intact. Writing styles can often feel disjointed within a roleplay as each player is likely to have their own style and level of writing ability; some may even be from different countries and not native English speakers. I have also noticed that English tends to be the unifying language of the roleplay community and as a result exceptions are often made for 'non-standard' English, as it is accepted that not all players use the language as their first tongue.

    Writing styles can often reflect the character being played, as opposed to the writer themselves. For instance, someone playing a brutish character might opt to use blunt, cursive-ridden language in their content, whilst a sophisticated and regal character is likely to use floral and suave language. This extends outside of dialogue as, although the text is usually written in third person, it somehow also manages to be a representation of that character alone, rather than the other characters (who are controlled by their respective players; controlling another's character is frowned upon and thus avoided). This creates for an odd mix not typically found in standard literature; whereby the text is third-person but often highly personal and idiosyncratic to the character. In support of this, GMs may often act as both a narrator and a character themselves, and a difference in writing style is usually apparent between the two roles.


    My apologies for this being a bit wordy..! Hope this helps, Navi.
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  9. Its perfect Raja thank you.
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