LESSON Dropping Roleplays Politely

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY MECHANICS' started by Jorick, Mar 8, 2015.

  1. I saw a request in the Request Workshops and Exercises thread from back in March of 2012 asking for a workshop on how to let a partner or GM know you have to drop a roleplay, and as far as I can see it has not yet been fulfilled. Hopefully there are still people out there who can make use of this workshop, because here it is. If you're looking for something on how to manage your roleplays to prevent the need to drop them, you've come to the wrong place. The intent here is to explain how to drop a roleplay with minimum fuss and drama after you've decided that it needs to be done, so there are just a few points to go over.

    Communication: First and foremost, you really do need to actually say you're dropping out. I know, it's tough and kind of embarrassing, but it's all for the best. The greatest angst and annoyance about roleplay droppers comes from people just fading away without saying a word. It leaves the GM and other players hanging, wondering what's going on with no answers in sight, and that's rude and not fair to them. Generally for group RPs it's best to post your dropping announcement in the OOC thread where everyone can see it rather than just sending a message to the GM, because they'll just end up probably needing to announce it themselves so why not just cut out the middle man? Being open and up front about it will prevent most people from raging at you about it, because at least you're treating them with common courtesy instead of silently bailing out.

    Speed: Don't leave people waiting for a long time if you've decided to drop out. Just get it out of the way as soon as possible to make things convenient for everyone. Saying it quickly will get it off your mind, for one on one RPs it'll let your partner get out there and find someone else sooner, and for group RPs it will give the GM more time to recruit new players or make other adjustments to fix things before any extended inactivity murders the roleplay. Speedy roleplay dropping is just all around better than delaying it.

    Honesty: Being honest is usually the key to amicable splits. Lacking the time to keep up with a roleplay is not the only valid reason to drop out. If you've simply lost interest, just go ahead and say it instead of trying to come up with some lie about how you got really busy lately and can't spare the time anymore; this can often lead to you looking like an ass without you even knowing it, because if players from the dropped game see you joining another one shortly afterward they're gonna figure out that you were bullshitting them and they won't be too pleased about it. Some people might take the loss of interest as an insult, but trust me, they'll feel far more insulted if they find out you lied to them. Remember that the people you're talking to are also forum roleplayers: they've most likely also had these kinds of simple reasons to quit a roleplay themselves, so the odds are good that they'll understand and wish you well so long as you're not being rude about it.

    Dishonesty: Okay, despite the above urge for honesty, there are some situations in which it is better to lie about your reason if you want to avoid drama. Some people say you should always be honest because lying is bad or rude or whatever, but to be honest (see what I did there?) those folks are ridiculous and have obviously never heard of white lies. Lying about your reason for leaving a roleplay ought to be done only when it's a white lie situation. For example, if you're a writing snob and decide that the displayed skills of the other players just aren't up to what you require out of a roleplay to enjoy it, well, probably better to lie than to essentially say "you all write like garbage, I'm out." For another example, if you find yourself disliking another player or the GM on a personal level so much that you can stand dealing with them any more so you have to drop, it's probably better to lie than to start personal drama by giving the real reason. Basically, any dropping reason that'd cause a bunch of drama for no good reason is one you might want to consider lying about. A harmless lie is generally better than making a bunch of other people upset, and it can save you a lot of personal annoyance as well. I highly suggest using the "I've lost interest in this RP" reason as your substitute instead of anything about lacking time to participate, because that one leaves little to no room to get caught in a lie that will cause those problems you were trying to avoid in the first place.

    Tone: I wish this went without saying, but I've seen too many people get figuratively slapped for their tone and then not seem to understand what they did wrong, so it seems it's worth going over. In text, people do not have vocal inflections and body language cues to work with, so they only have the actual words that you use to try to figure out your tone. How does this apply to dropping a roleplay? Consider someone dropping out of a game by posting something like this: "Nah man, I just don't care anymore, I'm out, cya." In text that comes off as very uncaring and cavalier, as if the person doesn't give a crap about the inconvenience and annoyance they're putting the other people though; verbally it could be said apologetically and with proper emphasis to make it come off as just very informal rather than rude, but you just don't and can't have those cues with text. For contrast, consider this quitting message: "Sorry, I've lost interest in this roleplay and can't find the motivation to post, so I'm going to have to drop out." That says essentially the same thing as the first example, but it comes off as apologetic (note how handy the word "sorry" can be) and respectful; verbally it could be said in a rather condescending fashion, but again text lacks the cues to give such meaning to the reader. If you want to avoid people getting upset at you for leaving a roleplay, keeping to a polite and apologetic tone can do wonders.

    So, in summary, here's how you quit a roleplay with minimal fuss: actually communicate your departure, do it as soon as you can, give a true or inoffensive reason, and say it as politely as possible. Silence, delays, bullshit, and rudeness are the major causes of problems when someone drops out of a roleplay, so avoid those and you should be okay.

    There are, however, some people out there who will get pissed off no matter how you drop out of a roleplay. You could grovel and apologize like you ran over their dog, you could provide notarized documentation of your inability to continue with the roleplay, and you could do it well before it might cause timing problems, but these kinds of people will still act like you've personally insulted them and their whole family and laughed about it while running through their house smashing things with a baseball bat. These folks tend to be unrealistic and self-centered jerks who have a hard time realizing that their roleplay, and roleplaying in general for that matter, is not the most important thing in the world. If you happen to encounter one of these strange specimens, don't fight them or rise to their almost inevitable personal attacks, just go along your merry way and let them rage in the OOC, because it's no harm to you what some nutjob on the internet says behind your back. If they go a step further and harass you directly, hit them with the good old threat of "leave me alone or I'll report you for harassment," and if they don't you should damn well go through with that report. It might not actually teach them a lesson, but it ought to get them off your case at least, and since Iwaku isn't very tolerant of that kind of nonsense it's plausible that they'll get a permanent ban if they're a repeat offender. That level of blind idiocy and spite is well deserving of bans, so never feel bad about it if it becomes relevant to you. Luckily these types of people are rather rare, so it's entirely possible that you'll never have to deal with them, but there's the info just in case you need it.

    I can't think of anything else worth saying on the subject, so that's it. Good luck with quitting your roleplays in the future, but try not to make a habit out of it. My advice is great, I know, but don't go out of your way to put it to use. :cheeky:
     
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  2. tl;dr-version; Don't be a dick. Don't cause drama. Just be respectful and let people know as soon as you can.
     
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  3. Great workshop! I definitely will keep this in hand for the future, especially if I ever happen to come across a strange specimen :awesome:

    This will definitely improve my own way of dropping out, even though I believe I have it under control. Thanks for posting this workshop, Jorick! It's always nice to hear an adult's take on important tools for roleplay (e.g. politely dropping out of a roleplay).
     
  4. Ohhh jeez. Thank you for this. Drives me nuts when people try to silently fade away instead of just being up-front about losing interest in one of my RP's. It's led to me always including a rule along the lines of "If you lose interest, just tell me as soon as possible -- I won't be mad and you'll save us all a lot of trouble", and the wording of that rule tends to get lengthier and lengthier with every RP as I try to stress more and more that I really would appreciate some honesty, and that shying away from the problem helps no one.

    I just might start linking to this thread from now on, just to be extra helpful.
     
  5. Well this was a good read, I'll be sure to remember this in the future.

    Except the GM for everyone of my RP's has already commented here.
    I swear @Kaga-kun I don't plan on leaving any of your RP's.

    Or maybe I do and that was just a lie?
    You might never know. :3
     
  6. I wasn't talking about you. :P But you've been in Fandomstuck long enough to recall how annoyed I've gotten with several silent drop-outs.
     
  7. I know. I was joking about what you might think as to me reading a "How to quit an RP" thread when all my current RPs are yours. :P

    But yea, I know how annoyed you tend to get from silent drop-outs.