Note: This is general advice. Not everything listed here is applicable to "Before the Mast"
Being new is hard work, and though admins and other such staffers will do what they can to help you out, it still boils down to you and your effort. What you're essentially trying to do when you join a roleplay forum is to become a member of the community. No, strike that a known member of the community. Think of it this way: you just got a new job! Yay! But you're not talking to anyone, or only a little bit. So your boss will probably talk to you, but the rest of the staff will be polite and say hi, but until you open up, they won't hold an awesome conversation with you.
(TRANSLATION OF EXAMPLE...)
got a new job
found a new roleplay forum! Yay! But you're not talking to anyone, or only a little bit. So
the game's staff will probably talk to you and thread with you (at least once), but the rest of the staff members will be polite and say hi, but until you open up, they won't hold an awesome conversation with you or have threading ideas for your and their characters!
So here are my tips! The main thing that pops out at me with these is that you need to build a rapport with the members or a reputation for being around and eager to thread!
OOC: Chatting about hobbies besides roleplaying
(eg, reading, playing console games, TV Shows, walking, random dreams, drawing, designing). I'm bad because I should do more of this on all the sites I play on including my own lol! There was one time when Skyrim came out that most of the memberbase at my site revealed they were playing it, and we had an awesome OOC thread about it!
OCC: (Don't) post challenges or other such things
- some members may not have the time or energy (especially staff). I find unless it's something like "take an awesome picture", these flop. I've even had competitions flop majorly before when there were amazon vouchers at stake XD
OOC: Loiter in the shoutbox and chat about your character (and other non-RP things) with other members
! Ok, so this one means catching someone talkative in the shoutbox, which can sometimes be hard dependant on the memberbase. Still, there will be one or two members in every community who like to loiter and chat! Try loitering in the shoutbox for at least an hour a day. This is a good way to build up a rapport or a reputation for being around and able to thread! If you are not very good at chatting in the shoutbox, start off with "how was your day?", and maybe have a few things to talk about ready in your mind (film you watched last night etc). Be silly in the shoutbox! Create shoutbox games!
OOC: Chat to the admin by PM about your concerns
. They may be busy working on things to improve the board itself (or other things), but they should respond to a PM about worries. Perhaps if you knew what they're up to for the site (if they'll tell you), their appearances around site will make more sense Maybe they're just majorly advertising right now, so the extra time they'd normally put into the board is going into that, or maybe they're working on revamping old features and bringing new ones etc.
OOC: Ask the admin what time is busiest on their board
. In a PM, ask them this. They'll be able to tell what time they've noticed larger numbers of their memberbase appearing. It could be that it's not the same everyday, but it might be x time most days sorta thing.
OOC: Read other character apps
. This can help you to figure out what your character and their character might get up to. Then PM those members!
OOC: PM the memberbase
! Ask them if they're interested in a thread!
OOC: PM the memberase PT2: Hey! How was your day? I had a weird thing happen today when this... Build a rapport! Get to know the other members personally
OOC: PM other members and ask to chat over instant messengers about threading and characters and such
. I've been doing this over the past few months. Though I've not actually got much instant messaging done, I do swap emails with other members on the three board I'm on It does work (especially if members you're emailing use their phones to check their emails too!).
OOC: Read! Reading encourages our minds to think creatively
. Don't copy a book's ideas or scenes, but it should help your mind be more, "hey plottage!" as one of my roleplaying buddies would say XD
OOC: Get out of the house
! I am guilty of sometimes being indoors more often than I should be. Walking is proven to get humans' minds being productive, so go for a walk somewhere, or just explore where you live. See how far away you can get from your house, shopping centre or favourite bolt hole!
OOC: Go to writing seminars and workshops
! Not all of these cost a lot of money, and it's something I intend to get more into doing If you can find one and you can get to it, go to it!
OOC: Go to other 'Gatherings'. Other get-togethers such as comic book conventions, game mastering conventions, history conventions, LARPing conventions
and other such things are great fun, and can also give you that wonderful 'old time marketplace' feel, in a random, put your mind to work creatively way. Or maybe that's just me. If you live in the UK, PM me! I may know of some and then two roleplaying fanatics could team up against the wor... *ahem* could promote their favourite hobby and have fun, do lunch...
OOC: Know that other members don't know you yet, being new
. Both your character and you are new. So they have no rapport with you, no experience of you. They have little understanding of what your character is like, and as a result may struggle to come up with threading ideas.
OOC: Make a really strong effort to come up with threading ideas
. So many new members don't bother (or can't), or come up with only one. What are your character's goals? Incorporate them into your threading ideas. Character looking for a home? See is anyone's character is working on buying or rebuilding a property (this could even include ships). Does your character need to make money for any reason? See if another character would have employment opportunities for them that could result in lots of threads!
OOC: Do you know the admin elsewhere in any way?
If they know your habits, it may be they're watching to see if you "sink of swim" without their help due to those habits or their past experience of you on other boards or online communities.
OOC: Are you transmitting your excitement? Don't be shy! Be hyper!
Hyper members get more threads because they're excited to be there! Hyper people are automatically assumed as wanting threads, so just because you're new, doesn't mean you can't get excitement going! Some new members are very very bad at being excited, and I feel that it more often as not swats their chances like a bug on the wall.
OOC: Have the current memberbase admitted that they won't be posting as much in the notices area
? Maybe that's why you're not getting threadage Find those who didn't post a notice.
OOC: Ask the admin (by PM) who is most active posting, who is online loitering the most, who can't or doesn't use the shoutbox, and who is going inactive and/or away. Every little bit helps right
? This'll help you to start working on having a rapport and a reputation of being around in the community by actively seeking out those who are just +100000000 by being around, posting and such!
OOC: Ask the admin for help (by PM
). By this I mean don't ask them to hold your hand. They should already be doing a lot for their site, whether or not you can see it or if they've told you, so they may not have time (or if they already know you, this goes back to them maybe seeing if you'll "sink or swim" on your own). But ask them if they have twitter or site emails to tweet about you and your character/thread requests, as well as emailing members to get them excited about new characters. I wish more members actually asked this of me on my site.
IC: Pick an area and explore
. By this I don't mean have the character explore. You as a member should explore. What's down that alleyway, what would happen if you went into the marketplace? What's being sold in the marketplace? Help to really build up an area IC, and more often as not it'll start getting more threads and such!
IC: Notice if some characters are bound to locations
. Some characters become affiliated with an area after a while, due to jobs or settling down etc. So maybe a thread in another area (though it might have their interest) might be too complicated for them to join.
IC: Take part in any events taking place around the board
! So many new members I've noticed more often as not see a special event already in play then don't join in. Buh why?! Join it! Join it!
OOC: Discuss your IC threads in OOC threads
! This goes hand in hand with taking part in special events! Ramp up the excitement!
IC: Develop friendships and enemies. Work on creating friendships with other characters with yours
. These are invaluable. As a new member you probably don't have these, so it's time to pull your finger out!
OOC: Develop friendships and enemies PT2. Chat to other members over PMs or instant messengers, create a backstory between your two characters
so you have an established friendship/alliance/alliance-that-suits-them-both-but-they'll-stab-each-other-in-the-back-when-it-doesn't-any-longer/temporary alliance/working relationship/reasons to hate each other for evermore/eveil schemes to attack each other for when you do thread together. Sometimes backstory is key!
OOC: Develop your character
! Sometimes your character just doesn't have enough meat to them. Are they an immigrant of some sort in the site's setting? Ops. Sometimes this can cause a massive failure.
OOC: Take part in discussions about the game/board itself
! Your contributions should always be welcome!
IC: Create an NPC friend
. Sometimes just having interaction between your character and an NPC can lead to some pretty interesting threads that others will be dying to join! And give these NPCs goals too.
OOC: Don't like the current memberbase? Bring some friends
! Ok, so you may not want to do this if you're not planning to stay, but if you really like the board, then perhaps it's time to chat to others and do a bit of advertising yourself? Have friends on Deviantart, writing communities (even fanfiction), facebook, twitter, myspace, work, school, volunteer jobs? Tell them about this new board, and if you can get their interest, create their character so they and yours has a backstory of friendship! Maybe also drop their advert in a few roleplay areas and say, "if you do decide to play, please say I referred you!" That way you'll be able to jump on them if they join and you'll already be known to them! (Yay! More threading opportunities!)
IC: Establish a shop, enterprise or other such service the characters might need. By doing so, you can become a needed character to other characters
IC: Look at any companies/enterprises/spy networks and other such joinable groups on the site. Join one or two. Spy networks are fun!
IC: Join in quests and other such things
! If the site has quests or other systems that have inbuilt plot ideas, use them! Remodelled them!
IC: Have a career! Think outside the box
! Who said an assassin is just an assassin? Who said a pirate is just a pirate? Who said a knight is just a knight? What if they owned a farm, or a brothel, or an... "You want somebody killed, I know just the guy, but it'll cost you!"
IC: Be a tattle-tale
! If there is some sort of law enforcement in a game, find out how you would report a crime. Then accuse another character of something they haven't done! Instant plot!
IC: IF ALL THIS FAILS... In character, start setting things alight, breaking windows, murdering people because "what? they looked at me funny!" and really make a big thing of it! It'll be A) fun and B )Will get your character noticed. Of course, this may come with IC consequences, but that's good too! More plots! Wait, hang on a second... Those joinable groups and those characters settled down or with businesses... BURN THEM!
I hope that helps get you started.