Literacy and Length

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Wolfsbane706, Oct 22, 2014.

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  1. From what I've seen, to most players, the two words (literacy and length) are interchangeable. What do you think?
  2. Uh oh. You used the literacy word. @Diana is coming for you. Run while you can.

    In all seriousness though: While having a large vocabulary and solid comprehension of the English language is an asset, and being able to describe things with however much detail as you please is also an asset, there is such a thing as "purple prose". Length is done well by figuring out the tone and pace of your work and writing appropriately. For instance, in a fight scene, loading every action with paragraphs and paragraphs of description will slow it to a boring crawl, murdering the tension in the scene like a newborn baby drowning in an ocean of words. On the other hand, if you are trying to describe this magnificent city of gold and silver, and leave it to a one liner, people may not be impressed (and, in fact, may get lost trying to navigate this city).

    Basically: Sentences and paragraphs service to convey information. Not all information is useful. Learning how and when to drop lots of information or small amounts of information is the key to mastering pacing, which is an integral skill in what I like to call "writing stuff that doesn't make everyone reading it bored".
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  3. It just makes me think of Neopets circa 2004. [ ~*~*high school role-play*~*~ literates ONLY *NO SEMI-LITS* ]

  4. Last I saw, it was still like that.

    Don't judge me.

    *shudders at the Guild Advertisements*
  5. I think they're not.
  6. *TWITCH*

    In short, no, literacy and length are not the same thing. >:[ Whomever started the trend of using literate as a means to describe what they needed in roleplay sucks. But it happens, and even I did the same damn thing back when "elite roleplayer" was a term and I too was one of those assholes that was really snotty about people's writing. >>

    When people grow in their own skills, they forget that there's still other people that have not yet grown and learned themselves. And they forget that people need to be taught and have opportunities TO learn. So they slap up short terms like that without explaining what they REALLY need, and continue a very bad cycle.
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  7. I don't get it, @Diana What do you mean?
  8. i luv huked on fonix. huked on fonix werks fo me.
  9. Reading comprehension, vocabulary, grammar, pacing. These are things that your writing is made of. Can you read? Yes? Good. You are literate! Can you type walls of text? Yes? Good, you can write at lenght! Are they the same? Not at all. Also, I remember being a noob with roleplaying on a Kingdom Hearts site around the time people were hyping up for KH2. I wrote with asteriks for actions at one point. And when I got better, i started to think I was hot shit. I was just shit. And there were "Elite" rpers who were self absorbed douche nozzles.

    Good times, good times. I am just gonna go suffocate those memories in lethal doses of alcohol.
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  10. I never really use the term "literacy" when looking for people to roleplay with. My issue is always with spelling and grammar, which I assume is what people mean by typing literately. If done correctly, I don't think a post has to be any longer than a paragraph, so long as there aren't enough spelling errors to hinder reading that paragraph and it doesn't act as merely a fill-in of words (in other words, it's posted for the sake of posting, and doesn't really move the story along). A long post should, as stated by @Brovo, be appropriately paced out so the action or events in the post don't seem to drag on forever in the wrong places. I am sure I myself am guilty of making such a mistake, and I've been trying to do it less frequently.

    I am aware this is a long reply to this post, but there aren't any grammar errors, so it's at least "literate."
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  11. No, most certainly not. Literacy is your ability to use spelling and grammar, as well as using descriptions and length and such. If literacy is length, length isn't part of literacy, it is literacy. I think length is important in posts, it can be useful to describe something, but posts like this are not okay:
    I walked through the halls, and entered the bathroom. I took out my toothbrush, put toothpaste on it, and proceeded to brush my teeth. I spat the stuff out and went to the kitchen. I poured pancake batter into a waffle iron, and after a few minutes I put the waffle on a plate and went to the refrigerator. I opened it and took out maple syrup, and poured it on the waffle.
    I got a fork and started eating. I washed the plate and fork and put them away. I unplugged the waffle iron and put it in the cupboard, and put the syrup in the fridge. I went to my bedroom and did my makeup. I went outside and started walking to Safeway.
    What is there to respond to? "I went outside and started walking to Safeway." That's all. Why do I see so many posts like that?
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  12. As others have already implied or flat out stated, using 'literacy' to imply skill or quality in roleplaying is generally seen as distasteful around here. I dislike it myself because it just means "able to read and write," and someone who writes in text speak is still technically literate. Trying to use it in a snobby fashion to mean someone is of high caliber when it comes to writing is, ironically, poor usage of the language.

    Anyway, that aside, length = skill/quality is an unfortunately common misconception. I have to blame the education system in general for this. They ask for essays and other assignments of certain page lengths, which plants the idea in young, impressionable minds that length is related to quality, because they will get points taken off the grade for the assignment if it's too short. Even if they can concisely meet every other requirement of the assignment perfectly, if it doesn't meet that three page or whatever minimum then they won't get a perfect grade, which is of course ridiculous.

    In reality writing a lot doesn't mean you wrote something good. As Brovo already stated, modulating your length to fit what you're writing is what is most important. I would say understanding and using proper length and pacing could be a measure of skill in some nebulous way, but long posts = high skill is absolute nonsense.
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  13. I've never used literacy as an implication to post length. To me, literacy means the ability to read and comprehend, along with compiling sentences that don't sound like a toddler threw them together. In terms of length, I've always used casual, advanced, and my personal favorite 'Give me your books, baby!'. That last one isn't real, but that would be my preference if it was.

    That being said, advanced to me does not always imply post length either. It's the quality of the writing, and the ability to keep the story flowing while adding complex twists, and character development. Post length for me is important simply because I love to write. I love sharing what my character is going through internally, and foreshadowing ideas of twists that I think up.

    As far as post length goes though, I tell my partners to write what they're comfortable with, but give me something to work with. Although I absolutely will not tolerate one liners, and I struggle to come up with responses for posts that are less than two paragraphs. =/
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  14. The best writing professor I've ever had did not give our papers page requirements. She told us to use however many pages it took to give enough information to get our point across. She also added that if it was only 2 pages, it proooobably didn't get the point across effectively. Then she said if it was 50 pages, it was probably full of irrelevant information. Literacy and length have nothing to do with each other, and neither literacy nor length, in my opinion, have everything to do with writing a quality role-play post. Sometimes lengthy posts suck. I don't want to read eight paragraphs of your character making toast, as awesome as they may be at it. Then again, maybe they're making toast while fighting a horde of goblins in an ancient castle. Then eight paragraphs is maybe okay. It just depends. Plot advancement, character development, understanding of pacing... these things matter more than length, in my opinion.

    To me, literacy is the ability to read and write... This concept of "literate only" just boggles my mind. Then again, I never role played on Gaia or Neopets. o_O
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  15. When I wrote the Posting Expectation Levels, I specifically avoiding mentioning post length for this very reason. (Except for in Give-No-Fucks, where the only requirement is to write at least two letters or numbers that form a legible word.) Post length requirements are bullshit and usually end up prompting people to write useless filler fluff. I've read one-liners that rocked and ten-paragraph posts that sucked ass.
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  16. Yeah... Not a fan of people who think that lots of paragraphs/pages constitutes a good writer. =/

    If that's the case then a lot of our poets would be considered crap.
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  17. It's inevitable that people will judge your writing I think. Some people will like it, some will hate it regardless of the content inside of the actual paragraphs but the main thing is trying to come up with an entertaining story that will compel people to read your writing, like trying to seduce someone with words which you can with any number of them; you just have to know how to do it right.

    If you use words in a way that is appealing to the eye and construct sentences that bring a sense reality or realism to the setting and adds to it, then you are more than likely going to be seen as skilled. However if you use words in a more nonchalant way where you are just trying to fill in the gaps, where there is no picture or idea for the audience then it can be very difficult to be seduced. Which is why I think one liners or smaller posts are more often than not associated with being "Unskilled" which isn't necessarily the case.
  18. Well I'm just going to reiterate here: Pacing is information control. Words are the pipeline by which you feed the engine of a person's imagination.

    So I will just pass along a little friendly tip from someone who has dissected the system for years. Understand these: Chekhov's Gun, Aesop.

    Chekhov's Gun is essentially when you describe an object or entity and give it detail, (ex: Chekhov's Gun is hanging over the fireplace) you should at some point use that object or entity in a future scene. If you don't, it's wasted words. Spent eight paragraphs describing the fireplace and never use it or return to it again? You just committed a writing foul: Useless information. (Note: Unless deploying a Red Herring or similar, but focus on mastering the tool first before you master subversions of that tool.)

    Aesop: A general purpose, meaning, message. You have probably heard of this term before, specifically with the Greek "Aesop's Fables". Every actor in a scene, be they character or NPC, must have purpose to being there. This often relates to common sense: If there is a wall, it is trying to keep something out. If a man has a blade on his waist then he means to use it (in conjunction with: Chekhov's Gun). If a character flies too close to the sun, he will burn. Etc.

    Basically: Chekhov's Gun and Aesops help you to focus your writing to specific objectives. From there, you find your own tone and style, and favourite tools, and have fun.
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  19. Generally speaking, the original usage of 'literacy' to describe posts/skill level meant more about a players ability to create quality than long posts (although long=good is a common misconception).

    Literate/Illiterate, outside their original definitions (a person who is able/unable to read or write) are kind of dirty words here, since they can give the impression that a person who is 'illiterate' is not good enough for you, or that you can't really call what they do 'writing'. Similarly "Literate only" can come off as a sort of elitist flag; we prefer to be more specific about what we like in a post. For instance, instead of using the 'literate' catchall, you could say

    "I like to write and read long posts that give me lots to respond to. Fluff is fine, and I love very detailed descriptions; lets give some depth to this story!"


    "I like posts that give a lot to respond to. Please feel welcome to bring in NPCs or start events for our characters to react to, or even just be good with description about what your character is doing/what's going on around them"

    One of these is more concerned with long, immersive posts, and the other just wants a good handle on what's happening so they know how to respond. Both could describe themselves as 'literate', but these give a better, less judgemental insight to other players about what they look for.

    Similarly, instead of saying 'Illiterate players welcome" or "illiterate-semi-lit levels", you could say

    "I don't really care about post length or what you include in your post, just participate in the story."

    Again, more specific, better communication, nobody feels judged.

    By valuing this kind of communication,we've created a more inclusive society

    /thread lol
    #20 Minibit, Nov 1, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2014
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