GAMEMASTER How do you reject someone from a roleplay based on writing skill?

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY HELP & DISCUSSION' started by Sailor Moon, Sep 8, 2016.

  1. So, how do you do it?

    When I create a roleplay I generally ask for people to write at least a paragraph or two per post, but you draw some people in that aren't used to writing that much, or aren't on par with some of the other writers. It's difficult for me to reject people, especially when they are so stoked to be apart of something you've created. I don't just mean someone who has a different style than my own either.

    It's partly why I hesitate to create group roleplays now, because I am a picky person. The downside is I feel like the devil when I need to turn someone away. At best I've been able to send people a personal message explaining to them that they had a ton of typos, or something they wrote didn't make sense, but in the end I still accept them. Very rarely do I see people outright reject character sheets, so is this taboo? Please keep in mind I don't mean an occasional typo. I mean regularly having run on sentences, grammatical errors, typos, or can't keep up with what's going on in the roleplay.

    I'd appreciate responses from people that have had experience being a GM and possibly run into this issue.
  2. It's not exactly taboo to reject people's sheets, but it's not the norm around here. As long as you're not malicious about it then it's all good, you're the master of your own roleplaying destiny when you're the GM, reject anyone who doesn't meet your standards and only crybabies will give you shit for it.

    That said, you just have to accept the fact that you are going to sound like an elitist dick and bite that bullet. Be straight up honest with them, tell them that you're looking for a certain minimum writing quality and they do not meet it. Make sure you have something about writing quality expectations listed up in whatever rules or such you give, because having that to point to as your reason for rejection is easier than explaining all of the flaws in their writing (which is viewed as very rude unless it's requested). If they turn out to be one of the crybabies then you just have to stand your ground, tell them you're the GM and you're well within your rights to reject players if they don't meet your expectations so they can scamper along to some other roleplay, and if they persist in being an annoying turd after that then you can report them for not getting out of your thread when requested.

    That's really all there is to it. Try not to be a huge asshole about it, apologize if you feel like it might help anything, but at the end of the day you're the king and your roleplay is your kingdom. Do what you have to do to keep the place nice, and don't feel bad about the peasants who don't like the law of the land.
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  3. Yeah. I usually have it in my rules, but most people don't point the finger at themselves and think it may be them that I'm talking about, so they submit anyway. I guess my issue is sounding like an elitist, especially since I realize English is not everyone's first language and some people on here are pretty young. Then I battle with the fact that everyone has to learn at some point and the only way to improve your writing is to write. It's when you're actually in the roleplay and have to interact with a character whose player does not like to write much, doesn't know how to move things alone, or is just not at the level of whoever they are interacting with. It can be frustrating if you're writing out a well thought out paragraph and get a poor response back, leaving you sort of stuck in a rut.

    I'm going to take everything into consideration you said, but in the end I feel like I'll just wind up keeping my mouth shut. >_> The last thing I want to do is kill someone's writing spirit.
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  4. Don't feel bad, sweetie! Of course, it's difficult to turn people down (I have a strong guilty conscience so I know what that feels like...), but is it really your fault if you warned them ahead of time???
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  5. I generally just let the roleplay run, and if they aren't living up to it, I kick them out, or warn them then kick them out, or just force them to stretch their words.

    In other words, I don't prevent, I cure.

    But really though, detailed applications are generally associated with length-based writing, so the requirement detailed application is good for me, then I resort to the stated plan.
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  6. With a unsatisfactory CS, it's my policy to check out a person's posting history. Mostly because, well, there are quite a few decent roleplayers out there that hate writing sheets or just have trouble with such categorised writing. Of course, this means unsatisfactory in terms of writing quality, not for stupid shit like completely glossing over rules or story background.

    You will inevitably come across as an elitist dick if you reject someone based on their perceived writing ability. You are within your rights to do so as GM and if someone's writing bothers you, you probably should say something about it lest you force yourself into playing with someone who sucks the life out of it for you and this will show in your writing and dealings and affect every single other player. While you can put something like a word count or spell check rule in your OP, the issue becomes that bad writing is difficult to quantify. As such, I've experienced that the best practice is to describe it as a feeling you have personally than outright saying "You lack skill." For example, the way I would turn down someone in a 1x1 would be amongst the lines of "I'm sorry, but I just personally don't feel very engaged or invested in your plot. Maybe we're just not a good fit as partners. Thanks for your time, but I think it's best if we both search for someone else. Good luck!"

    GM'ing is a bit trickier because you have the authoritarian element which makes it so much easier to come across as elitist because you're speaking for the participation within a group instead of just a 1x1 with yourself. Well that and you're probably rejecting a character instead of a plot, which tends to be more personal, but the essence is the same. Just make sure to be polite, never too personal, but straightforward enough that you can quote yourself in response to any bargaining attempt.
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  7. My issue with that is that I'm one of those people that won't make super detailed character sheets, but I remedy that by putting a sample post slot and asking for at least a few sentences minimum on back story.

    As for curing, kicking a character is a good solution at times, but removing people always leaves a gap where they once were, especially when they become involved in the plot or with other characters. So, I guess if it's early on that could work.

    @Kestrel I also check a players post history just to see what their style is like, but I find it more beneficial during a 1x1. It's also a lot easier to turn down a one on one, because there are a lot of reasons you can state and it is sort of the norm to be able to reject potential partners and most people just move along in the 1x1 scene.

    Again, taking everything you guys are saying into consideration! :)
  8. Yeah, for me this problem is more associated with people having the sudden need to drop out.
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  9. This is a very tricky problem.

    In general, my tendency is to try to make it work before starting the IC. See what the character looks like, and start a revision process. Ask them to expand upon certain details of their backstory, ask them questions about their character. I think a lot of the less "put-together" characters are submitted because the player doesn't necessarily know how much detail to include, or they don't know the setting well enough to add those details. Asking the player is a good way to get them more involved.

    On the other hand, the revision process also lets you see how that player responds to criticism.if your player responds well, adds more to their backstory, develops their character -- then hey! I think that's a worthwhile player you should take a shot on. If they are fighting you, every step of the way - it's not only their RP style that's a bad fit, but they're an incompatible player. And the only thing to do in that situation is to send the nicest possible note with: "Hey, I don't think that you're a good fit for this. I really appreciate your time and energy with this project , but I don't think it will work out."

    The OOC seems to be the ideal time to contend with these problems ; but IC seems to be more what you're asking about, and that's harder to get an answer for. I think the only thing you can do, is to send a PM.

    If it's an issue of writing conventions - misspelling and typos - maybe ask them "hey, could you maybe run through your post again. There's a couple of times where I didn't know what you were saying." I remember I had a long form RP that I mostly responded to on my phone. A major character's name was Ryhek. My phone corrected it as Reheat, everytime. I missed a couple of those , and my fellow players pointed it out , and I was grateful.

    On the other hand, if it's style and character ? I think you have to think of "do I just not like this character" vs "do I think this character adds nothing to the story" or, worse, both. The former is something that I think you have to just stomach. I love Game of Thrones, but I hate Daneryes. I do think she adds to the story though, so I have to stomach her - even if I don't "like" her. On the other hand, there are characters who I think add nothingn to the story. Those are characters that I honestly think it's fair to send a PM about. I'm going to be writing a guide about "butting heads" in RP soon, but I think this is most common with characters who actively refuse the main plot. And that's something that needs to be dealt with.

    You want to separate IC from OOC - but - character doesn't have a mind of its own. A person who can make choices is steering the ship. So, sending a PM that says; "Hey, I like your character , but there are some issues I'm having with their relationship to the story." The compliment sandwich (compliment-critique-compliment) will get you far. Try to make it work, and if it doesn't work, simply say; "Listen, I don't think this character works with the story I want to tell - we've tried to make this work, but I can't really seem to reconcile the story and be character." Like others have said , dropping the character in the middle of an IC is way more impactful, and problematic than it is in the OOC ; which is why I'd always try to handle potential problems there. Not always possible, however. :(

    Don't feel bad about being picky , or "elitist." Other "elitists" feel the same way, and when they RP together, everything is rainbows ! I should know , I've been called an elitist RPer many times , and I sort of stand by the title. I'm so neurotic that I need my fun to work in a specifically structured way. The trick is - don't be an "elitist" in ATTITUDE. Let people down gently , give praise readily, and help people. Cutting people shouldn't be your first response, imho, ever. But, things don't always work out -- and hopefully this epic rant will help you figure out what to do ! :)
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  10. I have this problem as well, turning down people is really tough especially when on this site it rarely happens. In the past I was a part of a forum where rejecting applications was much more normal and so was easier to do yourself. I think people are just too nice here, haha.

    What I've always done -although I've been quite lax as of late- is ask them to revise their CS/post and to include more details/writing/etc. Most of the time they'll either apologize and fix their mistakes or decide the effort is too much and leave on their own. I'm not that skilled of a writer and I know my limits so I'm never really offended when I'm put down lightly. We're all different levels but there will always be others who are more suited to our abilities.
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  11. That's usually what I have done in the past. I tell them about their typos and run on sentences gently, but if they write like that every post will need corrections, unfortunately. Still, very good responses. The site I'm originally from had three different areas based on writing skill, I was always in the middle area, because it was the most laid back, but most of the people were decent writers with very little elitism, if I ever noticed.
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