Written February 6, 2020
The specifics of good roleplaying habits vary between roleplay, because each one generally has needs that other games don't. It's important to pay attention to the habits that other players display, how they communicate with one another, and what tools they use, so that you can better understand how they operate. In this guide, we'll go over some of the main dos and don'ts of play-by-post, so that hopefully, you can have a general idea of how most games work.
I cannot stress this one enough. Talk to your other players. No matter how minor it may seem to you, it could be a very big deal to them. Only they know their character well enough to say if it's minor or not, so if you'll be assuming, presuming, or setting something up with another character in a post, please talk to the player of that character first. It's just good form to ask first, and it reminds the mind not to control other characters that aren't your own.
If someone gets angry with you for asking questions like these, you don't want to play with them, anyway.
What is the setting?
Some players have a lot of trouble coming up with a lot of words to write for a post, and they get very short ones, and don't know what to do about it. This is one of the ways that you can make posts longer; talk a bit about where the post is set. What time of day is it? Where are the characters? What's going on? How is your character feeling? You can describe room layouts and such, too.
Location, location, location.
When starting threads and replying to them, you'll need to think about where that is, exactly, and if it makes sense for your character, or anyone else's, to be there. It's all well and good to set a post somewhere out in the middle of nowhere, but you're highly unlikely to come across someone else out there.
Don't assume things.
This a big one. Unless a player has said something before, don't assume it is. It may seem minor to you, but it counts as powerplaying (see Things to Avoid for more information on that). Essentially, it's a form of controlling someone else's character. It is very frustrating to have other players deciding things for your character. It's like, then why the heck do I even play them when clearly you think you can play them for me?
Some communities are designed to allow a little control to be passed between players for the same character, regardless of which one exactly that character 'belongs' to, but most communities will strictly operate on a policy of each player keeping their hands to themselves. Even something so minor as deciding what look is on their face or what they smell like can be irritating. Just, don't assume things. Ask if it's so important that you know.
How often should I post?
Setting a solid pace for yourself in role-playing is important. If you post too frequently, you'll often reach a state called burn out, where everything becomes too much and you start hitting writer's block, a state where you can't think of anything to write. If you post too infrequently, you'll find your interest starts to drift away from the thread. Learning how frequently you can post without either of these things happening is important for ensuring you remain happy and enjoying your time on a roleplaying site.
If you write with someone that writes notably slower or faster than you, understand that you don't need to match their pace. Don't feel like you need to speed up to 'keep up' with someone else, or slow down. The other player can manage themselves, too. Each player has a different pace that's comfortable for them, whether because of their own inspiration, or because of real life, so try to remain understanding of this; there's no need to ask other players to change their pacing for you, just like there's no need for them to ask that of you.
Most of the time, you can be in as many threads as you would like at once. If you find your threads are moving too slowly for your liking, you can pick up more of them, but there are a few instances in which players should generally try to put priority on a given thread.
The first is a plot-centric one for a main plot. Simprovise does not have one of these, but major event threads are usually very important for all characters on the site and should be completed as quickly as possible. Threads with multiple players in it are also generally taken as being prioritised, because holding other players up in a group thread waiting for you is often considered somewhat rude.
A common issue in threads with more than one player in it is that players have a tendency to react to every individual thing in a thread. This causes something called post-splicing, and it can be a serious headache to follow. Remember that everything that happens before your post, happened before your character could react. This takes some time to get the hang of. Likewise, it's best to keep posts with multiple players involved as short and concise as possible, so that there is more time for other players to react to yours.
Posting orders for group threads.
In group threads, the order characters/players first post in is usually the order that is followed thereafter. This is to ensure that everyone gets a turn, and no one is skipped. Sometimes players that take too long to respond, such as a week, might be skipped, and then allowed to re-enter the thread at their next turn.
Remember the human.
There are real, actual human beings behind the pixels on your computer screen. Keep in mind when interacting with them that they are real people, and they have real feelings, and that it is very easy to miscommunicate, misstep, and hurt feelings. Hurting feelings leads to a lot of trouble that can be avoided. All it takes is a little effort, and a little compassion.