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Damselian
07-19-2011, 08:41 AM
This site desperately needs new blood. It's getting ridiculous. I haven't been active the entire time since I joined in 06, but I have had the opportunity to see the site during various stages of it's life. I can say without a doubt that there was much more activity here 'back in the day.' There used to be many new posts each day, more than I would like to read. Now, though, I can read all the new posts on any given day within a half hour.

It's not only Engi. I've noticed a lot of roleplaying sites are on the decline as the kids who grew up on this hobby start to grow out of it. Whether they don't have the time or they don't have the interest anymore, a lot of people have quit roleplaying, which is totally understandable.

Small niche sites like this are the most vulnerable, and that's why we need to recruit. At least the big sites like RPGC and Gaia (/cringe) have a large enough fanbase that you don't really notice the crowd thinning out. Here, it's hard to ignore. Unless you're staff/EoE, it usually takes weeks or months to get anything through the registry. And unless you're well accustomed to this system, you can expect to have anything you create torn to ribbons, dragging the process out even longer.

I understand that this site is structured, and everything must fit properly into the Engi-verse. And it would be fine having people say "no, fix ___ and ____" if you could expect an approval soon thereafter. Instead, you get to fix one thing, wait a week, fix another, wait two weeks, fix one more small detail, then wait three weeks. Romaji, for example, has had a genin in the registry for over nine weeks now. That's more than two months, just to approve a genin. And that's only one registry thread, among dozens. How can that be considered acceptable?

The registry lag creates more problems when you try to customize your character with swaps/items. Unless you know you're making such-and-such character and start working on them beforehand, they almost never get approved in time to go on your character sheet. Usually not a problem, but it can be if you really want/need your swaps at character creation. As far as I know, you can't trade a technique you've already taken for a swap post-creation (why is this btw?).

I hope you guys can take my next point lightly, and not jump down my throat for it. I'm not trying to insult the way Engi does business, merely trying to point out a few problems and suggest solutions for them. Okay, so Engi is rather cliquey/exclusive. If you're one of the cool kids, your characters/swaps can speed through the registry in under a week. Sometimes, the really cool kids get approved in a single day. I understand that if you're staff/EoE, you naturally associate with more people who can give you approvals. That makes them notice your threads more, getting you through quicker. But that is not cool at all. The same people who drop an instant approval on one of their buddies characters will look right past the other dozen sheets sitting there, waiting for some lovin'. Not cool, so not cool.

That cliqueyness makes Engi a very difficult environment for outsiders. First of all, the learning curve is higher than average for a roleplaying site. There are a lot of rules, systems, and intricacies by which you must abide. And if you mess up, the insiders can be rather unforgiving. Of course, you won't get banned for making a mistake, but you will probably catch an earful. On other sites, the insiders/EoEs/staff try to help newer members, so that they want to stick around and learn better. They do here as well, but to a lesser extent. The atmosphere is not hostile, but it definitely is not friendly either. Why would new people want to stick around when it takes weeks/months just to start playing, and they could easily draw the ire of the community by making simple beginner mistakes?

Now that I've talked enough about 'problems', onto my suggestions. Yes, as grim as my post has been, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. That light is twofold.

First, Engi needs to start recruiting. We need to get more people roleplaying here. It is such an awesome site, and it's a terrible shame that it isn't getting the traffic it deserves. That is chiefly for two reasons, I believe. A) the learning curve is higher than average. Not a problem by itself, but it is when you combine it with B) the community is exclusive rather than inclusive. That makes Engi a rather difficult community to get started in. And that is why we are in this position, with activity dwindling all over. Without fresh meat to keep things moving, the roleplay turns stale. Old players leave, but without newbies to replace them, who is left to roleplay with?

Instead of considering newbies a burden or a nuisance, we need to consider them our future, because that's exactly what they are. Many members/staff are already newb friendly, and that's great. But we need to be even friendlier, and more welcoming to new members.

Because it is harder than usual to learn the ropes here, newbs need to be helped out and encouraged. Instead of destructively criticizing their mistakes, give more constructive feedback. Again, there are many people who do give constructive feedback. I'm not saying every person on Engi is an asshole. But most of the sites I have been to are much friendlier to newcomers, and it shows in their site traffic. I read a post by Dralathan stating that many people come to the site, but most of them don't stick around. Maybe if everyone was nicer to them, they would be more likely to stick around? I'm not saying we have to kiss their asses, but the more welcoming we are to outsiders, the more likely they are to stay here.

Secondly, Engi needs more EoEs. The current pool of staff/EoEs are not active enough to keep up with the registry. Waiting over a month to get something approved is just ridiculous. You may say 'well that's just how it works, love it or leave it,' but that's a load of bollocks. There is absolutely no reason why it should take such an absurd amount of time just to start playing here. That is not to say that the EoEs/staff are at fault for the registry being slow. I understand everyone has a real life. That's why you need MORE EoEs/staff. It is incredibly essential, since the registry is turning from a corridor into a chokepoint for new content. And that is strangling Engi, slowly but surely.

I saw that you guys are accepting applications, but I don't think that's enough. Many good candidates would not bother to apply, so they need to be selected. I can't tell you how strict to be when making new EoEs, but I do think you guys are too strict at present. It's honestly not that much of a responsibility. Yeah, new EoEs will make mistakes. Then you correct them, telling that person exactly what they need to know in order to avoid that mistake in the future. Additionally, I would consider it a good idea to have your staff write guides for the EoEs. Tell them exactly what to look for when approving a sheet/item/swap. Give them thorough guidelines on everything registry-related, information like the cost for certain qualities/abilities.

Aaaaaaaaand that's all for now.

I know that was a hell of a lot to read, but bear with me. I'm saying all of this in order to start a dialogue among the community, so that we can move towards greater things. NOT to bash Engi and tell you guys how much you suck. As I said before, this is such an amazing site. Even though I have been to many others, I am always drawn back to this one. I love the structure, and the depth, and the quality of writing around here. But I am saddened to see how low Engi has fallen, now that so many old members have left. It always took a while to get through the registry, but now it takes forever!

That is why I am suggesting that we A) recruit new members, and B) promote more EoEs. Obviously my points went a lot deeper than that, including being more welcoming to newbs and making guidelines for new EoEs, that's just the tl;dr version.

Pardon me if anything sounded dumb/rude/ignorant. I worked overnight last night and I haven't slept yet, so I'm exceptionally fatigued. I couldn't put off writing this anymore though, because I've been thinking about it more and more since I returned. I feel that it needs to be said, because this site is too great. If things continue at this pace, it will die a slow, painful death over the next year or two. Does that sound like fun? It doesn't to me. So now let's do something about it.

Ekent
07-19-2011, 08:56 AM
Well as a new (potential - lurking) member I find the learning curve not steep but rather it being on a mountain. The hand book is enough reading material for hours (days maybe even) and is written in such a way that it is 1. too much info 2. you arent gonna remember it.

Ive been on several roleplay sites before and still frequent one. The one I am on is total freeform. Admins only interfere with the story with special storylines and whatnot. It has no system and profiles are automatically available for use. (members basically check profiles and if something is up they report it to the OP and possibly the admin)
This site is actually gaining quite a bit of members due to the summer vacation (ranging from 10-30 people)

Ive also been on a site that uses a simple system with powerlevels and such where admins just grade specific threads. No idea how that is doing but a quick google search tells me that they are still operational.

There are 2 things you can do

1. Make the site freeform
2. Simplify the stats system.
2.5 freeform with a minor degree of a stats system.

Nutextrordinaire
07-19-2011, 10:20 AM
Ekent, the Engi verse has been around for 7+ years now, and they've had this system of stuff for a LONG time, theres a reason why the handbook is like that. I know its' a hassle to read (I'll send you some PM links of where you should start with, and the rest you can read as you run into it in a thread or something), which will hopefully make sorting through the monster thing easier.

As for Dams, yes i agree, we need more players and EoE. But I will point out that some of the folks who have been sitting in the registry for months now are also EoE ppl (IE Sinn and I's mist characters). And on one level, I do agree that it takes entirely too long, but if things were approved in a day or a week, how long do you think the RP'er will stick with them? If you are willing to wait two weeks or more for a character, swap, or item, it means you really want it; where as if its approved in a day or a week tops there is probably a higher possibility of said RP'er not being committed to said character (they could get frustrated with not being able to get threads after the fact and then, the character goes to waste).

Just saying, I like the idea of using patience and persistence as commitment card, so the characters that are made and approved actually get playing time and literal character growth. That's just me though.

Also I think part of this is also due to the time and just general quietness from everyone, Staff/EoE, and normally regularly active members.

Kana
07-19-2011, 02:03 PM
To touch on a few of your points, Dams....it's not necessarily cliqueiness as to why some things can speed through regs and others can't. It's more of an experience factor. The staff and EoE know how long people have been around and know of their quality. And it's easier to check things when you know they are going to be right save for like a small math error or something here or there. More apt to run through those than the regs of a new person, something that would take a lot more time to go over.

Now I am by no means making excuses for how long some of the things have been in regs. But if you take careful consideration. Most thing that have been waiting that long in regs have been waiting for GM approval and on that note, you have to take in account that right now it's summer and people are busy doing whatever or so. I know of quite a few GMs that are busy doing summer things or post college things. You can't always expect people to be around whenever you need them.

But that's my two cents.

Damselian
07-19-2011, 05:20 PM
Sorry Ekent. I'm a freeform veteran myself, and as much as I love that system, Engi is never going to adopt it. Which is a good thing. The structure here is one of the best that I've ever seen, and it definitely works if you stick with it. There is a learning curve, but after you get through a few character sheets, everything will become second nature to you. Don't give up buddy, this site is definitely worth the trouble! And btw, I would be happy to help you with your first character sheet(s) if you want. I have been around long enough that I can guide you through the process. Just PM me if you need anything.

Nut, I understand what you're saying. And I was looking at Sinn's sheet for reference while writing the original post, in fact. She got all of her approvals on the same day that she finished the sheet, except for the Mist GM approve. If it weren't for the fact that Res hasn't gotten to her sheet yet, she could have been through the registry on the same day that she completed her character. That isn't much of a problem for Sinn, since she has many other characters to play with. But what about the newbies, who don't have anything to do here but to wait for their approvals? They don't have the extra characters to keep them busy. What point is there for them to wait so long? There is none. They might as well just quit rather than waste their time being entangled in red tape. After all, they could start playing on their first day at most sites they venture to.

Now, a good example of a really cool kid who gets through the registry superfast would be Kyzuko. I have always been a huge fan of this guy, so I enjoyed reading his character sheets to research this topic. Every single character he has made was fully approved on the same day that it was finished, except for one that took about a week because it needed admin approval. I understand that every sheet he writes is top quality, but that is excessive. He can get through in one day, while others wait weeks and months. That is just not fair to newer members.

Not to be rude, but I don't see the commitment card as a very strong point. It sounds like a flimsy excuse for how pathetically slow the registry has been. Like, since we can't help it, we might as well call it an advantage! It is true to some extent, but not at the point we've reached now. A week to wait would be an appropriate commitment card. The learning curve, and the difficulty in making a good sheet when you're new. Those are appropriate commitment cards. Waiting months just to start playing, that is not an appropriate commitment card. That is a factor which drives away many, many new members, one which should not be so easily excused.

Kana, I understand your point. I had thought about that effect as well, and considered it a part of the 'exclusivity' that I mentioned above. It still isn't right, though. That is all the more reason for EoEs/Staff to comment on their character sheets, because they need to be prodded in the right direction. And since it only takes them about five seconds to approve experienced members' sheets, that should give staff much more time to spend helping newbs. Instead of just dropping an approval on veterans' sheets and then dashing out of the registry, they should spend the time reading a newbie's sheet, and giving them appropriate feedback. There is no excuse for taking the easy way out on this one. And no offense but you should not excuse this bad behavior, since it is contributing to Engi's decline.

Your second point only half makes sense. In years past, the summer has been a time of renewed activity. A time when most of the members were off from school and had nothing better to do than play video games or role play. I understand that people have lives, especially now that we're all getting older. But that still isn't a good reason for everything on the site to slow to a crawl. Okay, so most of the staff/EoEs are busy. Solution? Promote more of them, as I stated in my first post. And even if staff/EoEs are busy over the summer, we should still have people role playing. Looking through the IC forums, the level of activity is abysmal.

If I were to sum up the problem in one sentence, I would say that Engi caters too much to the established members/cool kids. If you are an EoE/Staff, or just a well-respected member, everything here flows pretty smoothly for you. If you are new, however, there are difficulties around every corner. And many times, it can be hard to get the help you need without being treated like a nuisance. That definitely should not be the case. If a site wants to grow, they need to be more active in attracting and nurturing the newcomers. Those new members, as big of a pain in the ass as they may be right now, will be the established members of tomorrow. But if the experience here becomes too frustrating, or they have to wait months just to start playing, they will leave forever.

And that eventually leads down the road we're travelling now. Where most of your old bread'n'butter active members start to leave for various reasons(busy, lack of interest, etc) and there aren't enough newcomers to replenish the ranks. If Engi was drawing more new blood, it wouldn't be a problem that old members are leaving, and many veterans are too busy to post/approve anywhere. But there simply aren't enough new people flowing in. We need to both draw in more new people, and also keep more of the newbs who do come here. We can't have this revolving door effect, where a dozen new members join and only 3-4 of them stay permanently. That is what is slowly killing Engi, the fact that people are going out much faster than they are coming in.

And I'm done for now. No offense to either of you, Nut and Kana. As I said before, I'm not trying to rip Engi or it's member base. I'm merely throwing out ideas in an attempt to make this site greater. Hope you all can appreciate that.

Nutextrordinaire
07-19-2011, 06:44 PM
I highly doubt many people consider me a respected-established player...ihmo

Yeah, Dams, I know exactly what you are trying to do, and I commend you on it as well. But the other issue that hasn't really been addressed here yet, is there have been many (okay, at least 3 if I remember) threads much like this talking about the lack of activity and Engi's general unfriendliness to newcomers, yet every time I've seen this and we've had this same discussion as it were time and time again, bringing up the same issues same solutions and what have you. The real issue here, is that no one is doing anything about it. Sure you can state the problem until your blue in the face and your fingers hurt from typing, but it will have the same result as the others unless Engi's current player base does something about it, and the staff does something about it.

All in All, I will say I try my best to help the new people, because well, for awhile I was in that weird section (maybe I still am?) where the vets (with the exception of a couple because of other reasons that were all my own) wanted to see how good I was and if I was going to stick around to be worth having a thread with, in which case all I was RPing with was the newer generations of Engi players.

Bottom Line? I'm doing what I can when I can to be nice to the newcomers, and draw people in, but just me or you doing this is not going to solve the problem, and we need a collaborative effort here (Which is where the other threads bringing this discussion up, falls apart mostly and we fall back into the same trend once more).

No Offense taken, Dams.

Yes. I like the Striking out stuff, so sue me, :P.

Mr.Pink
07-19-2011, 07:29 PM
¬¬¬This is a great thread.

Now that I have stated the obvious I wanted to maybe play a bit of the devils advocate here assuming I understand what that means. Sure, there is a veteran group that enjoys to thread with one another because there characters grew up together and developed together which only enforces them to not stray from those connection. I for one have not felt this selectivity. I ask people for threads and most of them (usually) say "if you can think of a plausible reason sure."

I have felt like a thorn in some people’s side and I am sure they would agree to that. I have found that everyone I have asked or approached about help with an idea has been very helpful. So my question is can you use the experience of a few people who had a sour attitude to judge the atmosphere of the site as a whole?

Damselian
07-19-2011, 09:04 PM
I'm not saying that Engi's atmosphere is terrible. In fact, it's really great. This is a much more cohesive community than many of the ones I've been to.

But what I'm trying to point out is that there is room for improvement. And improvement in these fields would help the site a great deal. The site could use the extra activity, no one can refute that.

Nut is right though. Everyone has to work together on this in order for it to work. Everyone has to become friendlier to the newbies, and to put more effort into reading their sheets, and helping them along the way.

I know a lot of people who like Naruto, and/or roleplaying. On my part, I will try to recruit people to the site. It's just a shame that most sites have rules against advertising. If RP sites would work together instead of trying to 'hoard' their members, I think everyone would benefit.

In any case, I think staff should act on some of the more actionable things I mentioned. Namely, writing guides for new EoEs, and promoting more people to the position. Even if you guys are worried that a bunch of new EoEs will newb it up and bring down the status quo, you need to accept that possibility. Do your best to educate them by writing guidelines, so they know exactly what to do when approving things in the registry. Because we definitely need to speed the registry up. A week or two of wait is understandable. Months are not. The only way to help that is by promoting more people to give approvals.

And I would suggest a mentorship program for new members. I have seen it used to great success on other sites. I would imagine that it would be especially useful here, on a site with a learning curve. EoEs and staff would take new members under their wing and show them the ropes, until they're competent enough on their own.

I have plenty more thoughts on the subject, but I'll wait for more posts. Additionally, I'm drunk right now, so writing this post was rather difficult. Forgive me =p

Heavenly
08-21-2011, 12:00 AM
It's kind of how the video game industry is like (not to the exact though)... Loads of people back in the day were more into story and whatnot, because the animations weren't good enough as they are today, but it allowed creativity for their sprites.

Now, 3D games like Call of Duty allow the player to play for hours in competition and whatnot, with little on the story, and WoW with endless grinding, in dedication to just getting stronger and looking cooler. Stories in these games are good, but most players will more than likely fall interested in the freedom the newer they are, as years go on by.

I understand Ekent, and see this perspective in a lot of role players of today (for a good 3 years actually). A lot like it simpler, or simplified, which is the only hindrance here kind of (it's perspective is old school and very rational). Everything in this entire website is perfect, to the point that it will be hard to simply...press the rewind button just to see its activity rise to the top again.

The only other alternative than some form of simplification, I think this site can do better creating site-based chatrooms (like chatango) and advertising at sites like RPG-Directory (said to be the largest RPG directory in the world wide web). I know mibbit and stuff like that are cool to keep together some, but, in the perspectives of a newbie, or vistor, it will be too much (some may visit, and start chatting minutes they see the forum--especially if the chat is at the bottom or top of the forum). A lot like to just chat or at least see the chat immediately or in a click. There's RP sites I go to now who earn members by the day because they chat as Anonymous first, see how the community is in the chatroom, and then press register, and turn out to be one of the best moderators in these sites.

A lot of role players are teenagers and young adults, so it kind of makes sense how things are the way they are.


~~

Dam: The staff do need more people. But the mentorship may require time, and might not actually come about in years to come (and that's after allowing extra EoE in). The people hoping to help out are good people, so it shouldn't be necessary to disregard or critique the act of them helping out when they apply. In due time, they may turn out to be the best moderators. All we have to do is be daring sometimes, and accept those who are not perfect or seem to be. The key factor is: they are willing to take their time to help out a legendary RP site to return to its ripe state lol.


Nut: I was in the category too lol. I might still be in it, I have been only bumping my jutsu thread and had no one to role play in a while. But I know that perspective you are talking about in vets. It's actually seen in jobs, and usually business boom when success is met. However, as policies become more demanding for perfection, so will appliers have a harder and more stress time being accepted. It may sound revolutionizing, but the perspective of this being akin to having a 'job' for normal members has to change.

But the way I see that will fix this is if the higher level members were in wide range of numbers, even if they're days or months new. If you EoE the people who are saying they like to help out, you're upping the possible percentage of a community with less stress on the members who have to attend to a lot of people.

The more you accept in, the more the highly dedicated and devoted will be allowed to be born. More people will check the same profile, and have the atmosphere less stressful, and circulation run a lot quicker for impatient role players (again, most newbies these days)

I see here and there inactivity in registry, but instant approvals over the new Samurai organization, but don't complain. Perfection has been the key seeker and bread winner, but eventually the business will run dry if this is what it is going to be like years to come.

Damselian
08-27-2011, 04:53 PM
Lol. Since making this thread, I just saw Oak's new character approved in ONE DAY. As expected! She is in the kool kid krew, after all.

Heavenly, you are making the assumption that this site will survive for years. I give it until 2013, or slightly more than a year. If we don't all die in 2012, Engi at least will be dead by then. The slow death-spiral of inactivity has already begun. It is only a matter of time until there are only a few new posts per week, then a few per month, and then nevermore.

It is sad, because the systems here have a lot of potential. But the community has put them to waste, because they make it so hard for people to get into the RP and keep it moving.

Well, have fun playing with yourselves, you blatant elitists. I'm leaving again. My character still hasn't been approved, over two months later.

Have fun watching your activity dwindle. And feel free to call me the stupid one, when you guys are going to do NOTHING to save your site.

Sinnocent
08-27-2011, 08:18 PM
I'd like to say Bye... but,

Oak's character and the Samurai organization was approved so quickly because she was in chat, talking to mods and EoE at the time while she was making it, and/or when she posted it. I was the one who poked at her to make it. Call me a blatant elitist if you will but if you have a habit of leaving or being inactive and you don't bump your threads, or YES even send a PM if it is in need of a Mod approval like I did with my Mistie to Res/Grans and to Merd for my Grassie, then you have only yourself to blame.

I'd rather have a comfortable small community with limited, but wonderful activity than a booming one with people coming and going, making characters they aren't going to use and cluttering up the forums, whose RPing level is shit at best. Not saying that they are all like this, but during some booms I've seen a lot of it. Or at least two out of three.

Everyone always says Engi won't last and maybe it won't but why not appreciate the time it does have and make it fun? So if your just going to complain about someone's character getting through and your's not... then it is better, at least in my eyes, that you go.

Heavenly
08-28-2011, 02:28 AM
Living in the city is more fun than living in the suburbs. I get the idea that you want this to be turning into a forum of quality-desired role players, but it's running to a line of wide dislike for that very same reason. Other RPers who are from here active in another site say the same thing and have the same complaints. And aren't even the same people. Old active members at that.

I know you mean good things Sin, but that did go down the lines of having a "restriction area", and no one, no matter if they're good at RPing or not, do not like such an experience. The best will even turn to the big city because they have both the funny people, the mean people, and the serious people. All colors of the rainbow makes a website all the more active. Not just a select few quality writers waiting for you to "talent up" or "give up".

I actually applied as EoE to help out the activity realm time on. The system is good as is. It's just that perfect system is being used for only perfect people.

If there are some members who choose this or choose that, then that's on them. They may have experiences in life you don't, or rare few with disorders you may not understand, and assuming many will act this way is considered a "bad egg theory" actually. We can't assume what RPers will be like without up to date physical evidence. And from what I have seen in a some booming RP forums of to date's experiences, that I am still active in, roughly 80-90% are active, very few are nooby and that's ONLY in the chatroom, and those blue moons who leave when the sun rises and always come back as soon as the sun sets.

No one needs to wait months for their character btw. That was his main complaint. Those other things were secondary motives. But with those set aside, the main complaint still outweighs.


Even I would quit if that is the forum's true perspective and devotion for it's RPing experience summarized in your post, Sin (btw).

Sinnocent
08-29-2011, 03:39 PM
While I never intended to reply to this again, one thing you don't understand about Dams was that he used to be extremely active and have a healthy amount of RPing threads. However, after while he'd disappear for months on end without any sort of notice, then would come back like nothing had happened at all, stick around for a few months and when he wouldn't get his way about things, or characters approved because... as I said, there was just no activity on them and he wasn't seen around in chat so most people just assumed he came and went again, then he throws a tantrum.

That is what I see this as.

A few months ago, we had a boom of activity where we had a lot of great RPers came in, and some not to so good ones came in. Some old ones came back, like Abby. The summer gives people free time which they aren't normally allotted. A few are still around, but school is starting back and we're getting in a slump again.

Speaking to disorders, lol, I think I'm a pretty good one to talk to about that one with the epilepsy and before that, while not a disorder, a high risk pregnancy. Other people on Engi have health problems but they manage to stay active. Regardless, the Engi system might be flawed that a person might have to wait awhile to get something through but their are several ways around it that I mentioned. PMing mods or who it needs the final approvals from, sticking around and being active yourself to show like the the Who's with Horton that Yes, indeed you are there. Really, there was no one to blame