The subject of participation has been troubling me for a while. Specifically how to increase participation within the site. It was clear from the survey that a lot of people don’t participate not because they don’t want to, but because they don’t know what to do or don’t feel they have anything to contribute. That is why I’m going to attempt to put, at the end of every news post going forward, a little blurb about what the storyline needs or suggestions about how to participate. My hope is that people can read that and get a feeling for what they might be able to contribute.
Further, another comment on the survey was regarding people not knowing where to go with a storyline and thus people having to wait for me. Since my time is very limited this gets into a bad situation where storylines die when I cannot be on. I end up owing a lot of role plays and I, likewise, end up without time or energy to do them all.
I feel that we have a lot of very creative minds here and people with an extremely varied set of perceptions. No one on the server should feel they cannot or should not contribute to a story that is ongoing. I’ve been giving a lot of thought as to why people feel the way they do and I think a lot of it is because people have made a lot of seriously combat-based characters who are pigeon-holed into those roles and this gives us the current situation where you really can’t throw a rock without hitting someone who is a skilled fighter. I will be addressing this in a further posting and possibly with the staff about how to fix this problem.
In the meantime, these measures of putting information at the end of a post as to direction of a plot arc and the potential for participation in that arc should help with the indecision. No one should feel that their indecision about how to play a character or where to fit that character in is abnormal. On the contrary, it is extremely normal. I’ve talked about this before — the fact that a person is here doing role play means that there’s probably some social anxiety going on or some other kinds of anxiety and other issues connecting with people. That’s pretty normal too! Some of that boils down to not being able to figure out where we, as people, fit into the grander scheme. It is only natural to presume that this kind of feeling is going to cause issues deciding where our characters fit in.
I will being doing further posts on the Burning Sweetly section of the forum on this very issue in hopes of helping people overcome problems associated with how to develop a character. I’m by no means an expert so, commentary will be welcome.