Demographics 05: How light or dark do you prefer a story's tone to be?

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Brovo, May 3, 2016.

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How light or dark do you prefer a story's tone to be?

  1. Strong preference for light content.

  2. Moderate preference for light content.

  3. Slight preference for light content.

  4. Slight preference for dark content.

  5. Moderate preference for dark content.

  6. Strong preference for dark content.

Results are only viewable after voting.
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  1. @Staff: Keep in mind that (with Diana's permission and Astaroth overlooking it) I'm posting threads in GC first, leaving them there for a week, and then moving them to RP Help & Discussion after! This way, my demographics threads can have the widest breadth of community input without asking for unfair administration favouratism. Thanks. :ferret:

    Demographics
    Demographics threads are, essentially, an attempt to record the community's thoughts and feelings on RP-related subject matter via a series of votes. Iwaku's tastes, habits, et cetera. If you want further information on prior demographics threads, you can find the demographics hub thread here. (There are four other Demographics Threads to check stats on so far!)

    Demo threads are not an appropriate place for hardcore multipage debates. You can ask questions about each other's positions, but keep them professional in tone. Otherwise, the spirit of the demographics threads will be lost. They're meant to sample the community and put it into an easily digestible form of numbers that anybody can look at later when creating their own RP threads or when curious about Iwaku's general demographics. If you're really interested in discussing the subject matter, create your own discussion thread. I would be delighted if demographics threads started to spawn further topics of interest by the community itself.


    Previous Community Choice Poll

    • A. Longevity: 5
    • B. Pace: 2
    • C. Tone: 7 (Winner--most votes!)
    • D. Romance: 4
    • E. Genres: 5
    • F. Politics: 2
    • G. Mechanics: 1
    • H. Surprise me: 2


    "Why is Demo 05 only 4 days after Demo 04?" Because I'm stepping up the post rate for Demo threads to four days. This means that as one demo thread starts to cool down after its initial surge, a second one takes its place, and I only juggle two at a time in total. If it proves too fast, I'll scale it back to a weekly affair, but I'm eager to push my way to ten demographics threads as quickly as possible. Once I have 10+ Demo threads, that's about the point that I'll have accumulated enough information to do interesting stats draws. (Ex: Comparing one set of numbers to another, setting up related networks within the hub thread, et cetera.) It'll be clearer when I get there.

    Question: How light or dark do you prefer a story's tone to be?
    Note: It is difficult to ascribe a particularly universal modifier to how light or dark something is. So keep in mind that two people can vote for the same answer on this poll, but have some variable difference in how they see it because of personal beliefs or experiences. As such, there's a couple more "additional questions" than usual, to allow people more precision in defining what they think it means.

    Voting options are public. You may change your vote at any time.

    Additional Questions
    • Q. What did you vote for on the poll?
    • Q. How do you personally define "light" content from "dark" content?
    • Q. Why do you prefer lighter or darker content? What draws you to it?
    • Q. Do you have any personal taboos with stories? Do you want to explore them, or keep them far, far away?
    • Q. Would you describe significant sexual content as darker, lighter, or irrelevant of tone?
    • Q. Would you consider playing in a story that is significantly lighter or darker than you would normally choose?
    • Q. (GM's): If you could describe the tone of your favourite stories (yours or the works of others) in one line, what would it be?
    • Q. (Players): If you could describe the tone of your favourite characters (yours or the works of others) in one line, what would it be?

    Community Choice Poll: Vote for the topic of the next poll! (You can choose multiple options. To vote, simply post in this thread which option(s) you want.)
    • A. Longevity. (How long an RP lasts.)
    • B. Pace. (How fast RP's go/how fast you and the rest of the community post on average.)
    • C. Romance. (As a follow up to "sexuality" and "genders.")
    • D. Genres. (New topic expansion: Polling to see the community's general interest in a wide array of genres, such as fantasy and science fiction.)
    • E. Politics. (New topic expansion: Polling to see the community's general interest in how politics manifests in role playing.)
    • F. Mechanics. (New topic expansion: Polling to see the community's general interest in how artificial mechanics like dice rolls and stats influence role playing.)
    • G. Character Fate/Ownership. (As a follow up to "Tone." Has to deal with what players are comfortable with happening to their characters.)
    • H. Surprise me. (None of the above.)
     
    #1 Brovo, May 3, 2016
    Last edited: May 3, 2016
  2. I prefer the story's tone to be dark.


    Strong preference for dark content.


    I think that as soon as we deal with death, pain, horror (as a genre), survival, etc... it becomes darker. I suppose for me Light would be a carefree roleplay. I like things to hurt and the consequences to be heavy.

    Oops, answered part of that in previous question. I prefer darker content I feel like it's more interesting, and it aligns better with how I like my stories. Also, I think that it's when your character faces the worse of hardships that when they finally have a victory, that victory is so much more celebrated and beautiful. It can be in darkness that one best finds the light.

    I don't think I have any taboos per say - more like topics or events that make me personally uncomfortable. But I can deal with that, and I'm the kind of person to self-torture and force myself to read / take part in those things.

    I think it depends - sexual content can be happy-go-lucky, or it can be dark as hell with situations like rape.

    I could definitely play less dark content, but if it becomes too light and carefree, I definitely lose interest.

    I'd have to take example on my recent D&D campaigns - and it was rather dark. Characters frequently died because they rushed in situations unprepared, and the DM was ruthless. Yes please!


    C + D + G
     
    1. I voted moderate preference for light. Good laughs are always harder to come by than sadness.
    2. Light meaning light hearted, more easy going. Less drama and conflict. Opposite for dark, mature themes usually revolving around death, conflict, etc.
    3. Prefer lighter because it's far easier to be grim and morose about things. Especially where life is concerned when it bleeds into roleplay.
    4. No real taboos. Maybe character rape. But that's always been done poorly, though exploring it further wouldn't hurt me in the least.
    5. Irrelevant, I guess. Never attributed it to one or the other.
    6. Of course. Comfort zones are fun and all until they become stale or boring.
    7. (Players) Neutral. Though at this moment I can't recall a few of my old characters. Hard to say one way or the other. Often light though.
    G.
     
  3. Moderate preference for dark
    Light content is about avoiding heavy emotions that might draw away from a fun and friendly atmosphere while dark content would be inviting and showcasing those emotions.
    I think that in the end I really just want a realistic and interesting experience. I voted dark mostly because I enjoy stories where nothing is off the table. I want my villains to be people that I'm actually disgusted with. I want my heroes to have real problems and challenges that people can get invested in. In my experience, an experience tailored to be light just doesn't deliver on this.
    Not at all. In stories, nothing is sacred; everything is explored. RPing in itself is something I use as a medium to explore the nature of reality. I would say that I wouldn't want to include something unnecessarily, but everything which can contribute a meaningful commentary is invited.
    It really just depends on the context. Sexual content definitely makes the content more mature, but the reason for the sexual content's existence sets the tone.
    So long as it is interesting I'll do just about anything.
    Thematically consistent.
    Deep, but not melodramatic.
     
    #4 ☆Luna☆, May 3, 2016
    Last edited: May 3, 2016
  4. Additional Questions
    • Q. What did you vote for on the poll?
    Slight preference for dark content, but it was more or less a coin toss between that and moderate.
    • Q. How do you personally define "light" content from "dark" content?
    Light content, to me, is usually something that evokes positive emotions and doesn't really handle heavy or serious subject matter, with more of an emphasis on humour or optimistic themes, and the stakes aren't usually as high, maybe there's a whimsical feel to it. For dark, it's usually heavier themes that evoke a sense of danger and oppression that handle some pretty grim, and arguably more realistic, subject matter. To put things in a really simple comparison, compare Archie comics to Watchmen.
    • Q. Why do you prefer lighter or darker content? What draws you to it?
    I prefer darker content because I like my stories to feel real and grounded with some sense of risk and high stakes for the characters and the plot. I like to explore themes like morality, death, and consequences due to choice. I like worlds where the hero can't save everyone and sometimes have to question their own actions, and finding out that being a hero means you can't live up to the expectations the world thrusts upon you.
    • Q. Do you have any personal taboos with stories? Do you want to explore them, or keep them far, far away?
    Only thing I can think of off the top of my head is rape, and for something like that, I don't really feel comfortable portraying it, even if it's something that's implied or behind the scenes. There's not a lot of places it fits a narrative without feeling exploitative, in my opinion, and for a lot of people it might hit a bit too close to home. Very few people have to deal with murder and slavery and what not, but something like rape is a terrifyingly frequent occurrence and I think everyone knows somebody who was a victim. Out of respect for players who might be survivors of something like that, I try to steer clear because ultimately, roleplaying is supposed to be an enjoyable thing for everyone involved, and something like that I feel really needs to be handled delicately if you as a player or GM feel it is necessary for whatever reason.
    • Q. Would you describe significant sexual content as darker, lighter, or irrelevant of tone?
    It can be any of those three things, context is everything. Obviously something like rape is very dark, but sex in a dark setting doesn't necessarily have to be a dark thing; it could be a meaningful bond between characters that might be a bit of light in a dark time. Likewise, in a light setting, maybe a conflict arises from sex that the characters feel was rushed or a mistake. It's a very human thing, and it kind of does the whole emotional rainbow.
    • Q. Would you consider playing in a story that is significantly lighter or darker than you would normally choose?
    Of course! While I prefer darker games, I certainly wouldn't object to a light toned game if it seemed like it had a pretty solid plot and a compelling direction.
    • Q. (GM's): If you could describe the tone of your favourite stories (yours or the works of others) in one line, what would it be?
    One of my roleplays, The Elder Scrolls: Vengeance of the Deep: Being a hero has consequences, as the world will expect you to keep performing the impossible even if you are powerless to make a difference.
    • Q. (Players): If you could describe the tone of your favourite characters (yours or the works of others) in one line, what would it be?
    One of my characters, Tanya Carson: A woman struggling to pull her life together after suffering wartime trauma that scarred her tries to regain a sense of self, purpose, and belonging with a group of strangers who each are fighting their own demons.

    One of my characters, Do'Karth: A failed assassin belonging to a criminal syndicate is left for dead and sees his survival against all odds as a second chance from his gods and strives to redeem himself in the eyes of those gods and the friend he mistakenly killed by protecting and helping others while refusing to kill ever again.

    Community Choice Poll: Vote for the topic of the next poll! (You can choose multiple options. To vote, simply post in this thread which option(s) you want.)
    • A. Longevity. (How long an RP lasts.)
    • C. Romance. (As a follow up to "sexuality" and "genders.")
    • G. Character Fate/Ownership. (As a follow up to "Tone." Has to deal with what players are comfortable with happening to their characters.)
     
  5. I've started to notice recently that it seems I can't help but jump at the opportunity to add darker themes to my RP's, even when the RP in question would seem lighthearted on the surface -- in fact, now that I think about it, a lot of the RP's I've created/joined usually follow the same trend of having this sort of balance between light and dark, where there can be really lighthearted moments and scenarios but the whole thing is still capable of going in some pretty dark directions. o.o So I guess that balance would be what I most strongly gravitate towards, but, for sake of the poll, I said "slight preference towards dark" since it seems I can't go without adding darker themes to my RP's, but I feel like I don't typically seek out RP's that come across as heavily dark to begin with.
     
  6. Strong preference for Dark content. As a horror writer, of course you have to be a little twisted and dark. But not only that, but it's how I convey a lot of satire and a lot of social commentary. The real world isn't pretty and my works of fiction reflect the realistic terms of the real world. Which are dark. Tragic. Sometimes without very happy endings. They are always saturated in a line of truth. My dark content is not absurd dark content. It's dark content saturated in realistic design from experiences and observations I have made of our world. I shy away from no topic.
     
  7. I think I know how Zack Snyder would vote.
     
    • Love Love x 1
    • Q. What did you vote for on the poll?
      Slight preference for dark.
    • Q. How do you personally define "light" content from "dark" content?
      Light to me is something simple and clean. Dark is where things like death and violence and other things that prey on happiness live.
    • Q. Why do you prefer lighter or darker content? What draws you to it?
      I like slightly darker content, because to me it stays interesting longer.
    • Q. Do you have any personal taboos with stories? Do you want to explore them, or keep them far, far away?
      I have some, but they vary by character. Some characters' stories have a taboo on rape. Others might have a taboo on death.
    • Q. Would you describe significant sexual content as darker, lighter, or irrelevant of tone?
      Irrelevant. Sex can be light, dark, or neither.
    • Q. Would you consider playing in a story that is significantly lighter or darker than you would normally choose?
      I'm not into dark stories with no light, or light stories with no dark. They work best together.
    • Q. (GM's): If you could describe the tone of your favourite stories (yours or the works of others) in one line, what would it be?
      A light story with deep shadows.
    • Q. (Players): If you could describe the tone of your favourite characters (yours or the works of others) in one line, what would it be?
      Where the light shines brightest, the shadows are darkest.
     
  8. Light preference to dark tones.
    Usually entering more mature subject matter, but doing so in an actual mature manner and not in a "Hey brah! Look at all the sex and drugs we got man!".
    Personally I just like having my options open, so we have the flexibility to go more serious if we want to and aren't stuck in a "Think about the children!" or "Think about my sensibilities!" sort of stuff.
    Not really, assuming people are treating the topic maturely and not out of a 'cool' factor.
    Irrelevant, what makes it light or dark is based on what the sexual content is and how it's written.

    Are you fading to black? It's not making the RP dark at all.
    Are you in detail but it's more just a sexting deal or very vanilla stuff? Still not 'dark', just something that needs to be moved to Liberteen/Libertine.
    Are you using it for some like bondage, master x slave foreplay etc? You're getting a bit darker, but nothing to deep.
    Are you using it as a plot tool? Like is a character using it to show dominance? Is a character being raped? Is the sex being used as a form of torture? Are you tackling human trafficking? That's where dark starts to rise it's head more where sex is considered.
    I don't tend to 'normally' choose light or dark as a personal preference. I on average tend to join more lighter RP's, but that's the result of me mostly just joining friends RPs todays. Nothing to do with personal style.

    So both light and dark work fine whatever works for the specific player group in question.
    Something that isn't afraid to cross the line once a line becomes known.
    Those who don't shy away from RP advancement when the opportunity shows itself.
     
  9. I voted "Slight preference for light content."
    Light content in my opinion would be where there isn't much angst, horror, violence. Where there is fun and adventure without thing turning sour and bitter at every turn.
    Pretty much everyone I rp with knows (and finds it annoying) that I prefer lighter content. What draws me to it? Real life is dark enough, sad enough, stressful enough. When I rp, I want to have fun. I don't want to drag all my problems from the real world to the worlds where I can finally be happy. That's not to say that my characters won't go through trials and tribulations. I jut don't see the need to add a whole bunch of murder, rape and torture along the way.
    Rape and torture are my personal taboos. Not that it will be completely eliminated if the world is a messed up one. However, I find people treat it so lightly, having their characters raped and tortured as if it's a fun thing to do. I often argue about this with my friend. We both love rping, but hers are too dark for me.
    That really just depends on the kind of sexual content.
    I sure would. The plot of a story is what usually draws me in. If the tone is in accordance to my preference, then that's the cherry on top.
    A mixture of both dark and light, to be perfectly honest. The longest rp I had was the darkest, but it had its lighter, almost comedic moments.
    My favourite character would be a depressed and loner vampire. Her tone seems dark at first, but she is versatile, and her personality veers towards light. It's really the world and her experiences that start her off so pessimistic... but she changes.

    Then there's my other favourite character. She is literally called 'a light fairy', so, you can imagine what her tone is. She probably would annoy the hell out of most people, seeing she's so happy and cheery, pure and innocent. But the world was dark so I decided it needed some light ;).

    Oops. In one line? "Every cloud has a silver lining".

    As for the next topic: Longevity.
     
    • Q. What did you vote for on the poll?
    Moderate preference to dark.

    • Q. How do you personally define "light" content from "dark" content?
    Dark puts an emphasis on themes with dire consequences. Usually these are negative and characters will have to deal with them cause they won't magically go away. In lighter content, consequences aren't as heavy.

    • Q. Why do you prefer lighter or darker content? What draws you to it?
    Consequences.

    • Q. Do you have any personal taboos with stories? Do you want to explore them, or keep them far, far away?
    Taboo or simple lack of interest? I mean we've discussed the child soldier thing enough to see I'm pretty amoral when it comes to writing ;p

    • Q. Would you describe significant sexual content as darker, lighter, or irrelevant of tone?
    Sure, you can use sex as a pretty dark thing. Forced into prostitution (either by people or circumstance,) or a depressed or deranged person who uses sex as an escape the way someone would use heroine (it's a thing.) However sex has, much more than that, potential to be a very intimate positive experience. It is also how life is created and given the way we treat baby showers, I'm pretty sure we think this is a good thing. I don't think sex is light or dark, how you use it determines it's impact.

    • Q. Would you consider playing in a story that is significantly lighter or darker than you would normally choose?
    I have.

    • Q. (GM's): If you could describe the tone of your favourite stories (yours or the works of others) in one line, what would it be?
    Mine would be the Alluring, a roleplay I GM'd ages ago about a city struck with a mysterious and worsening disease and the witch hunt that followed. As for it's tone, well, pretty far to dark on that scale. I'm not going to do the one sentence thing, as you probably noticed by now as we're on the third and you're not offering me a job. However, I personally loved it so much because despite a number of very heavy themes, it took both humanity's worst (trying to use a desperate situation to further one's own ambitions) versus humanity's best (the need for a just judgement even in times of fear and the need to seek redemption.) You see, no matter how dark you make your setting as a GM, ultimately it's players who come up with the best parts of whatever story you're writing, because it's their characters reacting to it.

    As for others their stories, I'm just gonna go with La Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie Poulain. Which is a mix of very light-hearted elements with a layered darker theme. It takes some very serious situations, but confronts them in an often whimsical manner. The beauty of it is that even her method of approach is rooted in an almost debilitating shyness, which is overcome in the end. This is my favourite movie for so many reasons I can't even begin t explain why.

    I think, by writing this, I feel hope is a crucial element to darker stories. Even if the figurative speck of light is small, it must be there. It's really cliché, I know, but the human heart is averse to suffering. Without the hope it will get better, either for us or future generations, we will try to either shut it out or wallow in it until we die.

    • Q. (Players): If you could describe the tone of your favourite characters (yours or the works of others) in one line, what would it be?
    As a roleplayer? I'd have to go with Lux. He will deflect a lot of his failings with humour, sure, but in the end soldiers through and tries to search for the positive in both himself and those he grows close to.

    In general, well, it's seriously kind of the answer given above. A flawed person doing what they can to deal with circumstances. Bonus points if they're charismatic fucks.
     
  10. Q. What did you vote for on the poll?
    Strong preference for dark content.

    Q. How do you personally define "light" content from "dark" content?
    While the setting and topics of the place in question also play a role, I define it more by the motivations and goals of the participants in the conflict the roleplay is about.

    Q. Why do you prefer lighter or darker content? What draws you to it?
    Well, long story short I am sick of seeing all those stories where it's already clear the good guys win anyways, on top of maybe not even needing any sacrficies.

    Q. Do you have any personal taboos with stories? Do you want to explore them, or keep them far, far away?
    No, not really, though I am still rather inexperienced and don't mind giving anything a try at least once.

    Q. Would you describe significant sexual content as darker, lighter, or irrelevant of tone?
    Darker content. While it depends on what the writer/reader behind the monitor thinks about sex, having itagainst your will, aka being raped, is a huge violation of basic human laws. It can, under circumstances, be worse than simple murder because of the emotional scare and could help defining just how much of a fucked-up world or a character might be. To put it into a more extreme light... A pair saying "I love you" and then kissing each other pretty much gives the same message as any kind of emotional sex, I guess. On the other hand rape in itself already puts out a way darker message.

    Thinking about it, I might have misunderstood the question as in "How can sexual content help define a plot being darker/lighter?", But I shall let it stay like that.

    Q. Would you consider playing in a story that is significantly lighter or darker than you would normally choose?
    Depends on a lot of factors, it's not like I dislike lighter settings, I just prefer darker themes.
     
    • Q. What did you vote for on the poll?
    Moderate preference for dark content.
    • Q. How do you personally define "light" content from "dark" content?
    Light content, to me, signifies romance, comedy, slice-of-life, dramedy, light violence, etc., while dark content is reserved for mature themes (gore, drugs, sexual deviants), heavy drama, apocalyptic shit, character death, etc.
    • Q. Why do you prefer lighter or darker content? What draws you to it?
    I think darker themes are more open to realism. Dark RPs, to me, aren't all about Deathcore Hooker Gangs tag teaming bags of puppies 100% of the time, they just have the capacity to get into that sort of thing. For instance, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is about a bunch of young adults fighting evil and having young people problems and can be goofy and fun, but it also includes the deaths of loved ones, addiction, attempted rape, actual rape, broken relationships, 24-hour mind controlled sex marathons, and a bunch of other stuff. Adding all this darkness spices things up, and makes the light moments feel hard-earned and precious.
    • Q. Do you have any personal taboos with stories? Do you want to explore them, or keep them far, far away?
    I really don't like pedophilia. I don't want to see it as a trait in PCs I'm supposed to interact with, I don't want to see it in characters I'm supposed to sympathize with. I'm okay if it's a trait in strictly evil characters, or if it's a necessary part of the plot, but that's it.
    • Q. Would you describe significant sexual content as darker, lighter, or irrelevant of tone?
    Irrelevant. There's plenty of goofy RPs out there where the only source of drama in a given arc is where the box of condoms is. When I mentioned "sexual deviance" under dark themes, that includes pedophilia, incest, bestiality, cannibalism, what-have-you. As for non-deviant, but still dark, sexual content, I'd include prostitution and nymphomania (if they're taken seriously and treated as problems).
    • Q. Would you consider playing in a story that is significantly lighter or darker than you would normally choose?
    Depends. I'm usually disappointed with RPs that are too light for me, and super dark RPs with no breaks for fun can get depressing and dull very quickly. If nothing ever seems to go right for the characters or the world, and there's no hope ever, and people are always selfish and cruel, and every character can and will die horribly, what's the point of being a hero?
    • Q. (GM's): If you could describe the tone of your favourite stories (yours or the works of others) in one line, what would it be?
    Plenty of darkness to overcome, but it all lines up in the end.
    • Q. (Players): If you could describe the tone of your favourite characters (yours or the works of others) in one line, what would it be?
    Flaws that will never fully go away, but enough good to keep them sympathetic.
     
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