How much application is to much?

Discussion in 'Management' started by Kuzon, Sep 13, 2014.

  1. Kuzon

    Kuzon Newcomer

    Hi! When I first opened my site I was enthused to see a pretty big wave (about 12 members on the first day) come in to join my site. It would seem though that most of them are dropping and I have a feeling it is because my application is a little overbearing. Any feedback would be extremely helpful!

    Name:
    Age:
    Gender:
    Nation: The nation your character hails from. Not necessarily which nation you are aligned with.

    Physical Appearance: At least one paragraph of five sentences describing your characters physical appearance and another paragraph describing their typical attire. No pictures!

    Equipment: One paragraph of five sentences describing any major equipment the character has.

    Combat Skills: One paragraph of five sentences for each major fighting skill, including bending. Describe the level of mastery that you have attained with each fighting style and how you were educated.

    Talents: One paragraph describing the characters hobbies and/or non combat related skills.

    Flaws:One paragraph describing the weaknesses a character has. This can be emotional or physical but must represent a long lasting trouble for the character. More powerful characters are more likely to get approved if they have additional valid flaws. Everyone must have at least one flaw.

    History: One paragraph describing where the character hails from and who his parents were. One additional paragraph for each stage of life that the character has been through (childhood, adolescence, adulthood, middle aged, and elderly).

    Personality: One paragraph to describe your characters nature; and how his personality may have been shaped by his skills, talents, flaws, and history.

    Pet: You may have one pet provided it is mentioned in detail in your character history. You must write at least a paragraph containing each of these elements- pet appearance, pet talents, pet flaws, and pet personality.

    Writing Sample: Write a sample post from the perspective of your character. You may not use posts from another site, this is to show that you can blend all of the elements above into a cohesive character.
     
  2. Elena
    Arthritic

    Elena Resident Game Owner

    I think it is good, except the writing sample, because the whole bio is a writing sample.
     
  3. Kuzon

    Kuzon Newcomer

    Ah good point, I should change the wording to post sample.
     
  4. Elena
    Arthritic

    Elena Resident Game Owner

    But why actually do you need a post sample, when you have already a detailed bio to show the writing prowess?

    I love detailed applications from all points of view - the writer's, the staff's and the writing partners'.

    As a writer, if I don;t have a fully written profile, with history and personality, I can't understand the character and I can't write him properly. I wouldn't know how to write for him otherwise. And once the bio is written, then yes, I have an understanding and I write him according to the bio. It also helps me remember details when I need them in the story - from their sibling's name to that point in their personality or in their past... or what town they had been born in.

    As a staff member, reading a bio I can see that the writer understands the setting, has read and incorporated actively the lore, understands the period's mentality and degree of technical/ economical/ social development, that and how his character is supposed to fit into the story. I can also see if the character is fully developed and not a mere stereotype. I can see the logic which makes the personality and history match, and the writer's literary prowess.

    Besides, not having an application process, some members may think they can get away with just about anything, or they might write their character according to their moods, instead of consistently (yes, I have seen cases).

    As a writing partner, reading a bio makes me understand which details can generate further plots between my characters and that character. What they have in common? Where could they have met before? What do they hate in each other?
     
  5. Kuzon

    Kuzon Newcomer

    I'd like to post an example of why i do it, but after thinking about it I wouldn't want someone posting my work even if it didn't make the cut. Basically I use it to make sure that a player can write in a post style format for at least two paragraphs. We had one member who tried really very hard to make an acceptable application, but in his writing sample I noticed that he had literally changed his location over seven times in three paragraphs. (Not just from one room to another, i'm talking continents.)

    The other reason is just that most other sites that I played on before my admin debut used it too. Not a good reason, but its just something i've associated with making a profile. I might consider trying the no sample business, but it is only the size of a post.
     
  6. Kitsufox
    Caffeine Fix

    Kitsufox Resident Game Owner

    I run a warriors fandom site and your bio has less fields than mine. If you want to attract upper level members into character development the more potential to record detail the better. Now... if your site isn't geared towards a higher level writer, than you might have too much application... But if it's geared towards the middle or high skill levels, than it's probobly just right.

    I do agree with your statement, Kuzon, that staff must use the same profile system as the standard players. I wouldn't personally even consider a game in which the staff wasn't bound by the same rules as everyone else when it came to the quality and standards of their character sheets.

    I also think that if you have to include a field for a writing sample, then you character sheet quality requirements aren't high enough. If you can't use it to gage the quality of the writer, something is wrong.
     
    Elena likes this.
  7. Kuzon

    Kuzon Newcomer

    Good points from both of you, I will give it a test run and see how it goes. I haven't really tried not doing it, so i'll try to come back with some data after I get some apps without the sample included.
     
    Elena likes this.
  8. Zozma
    Unlucky

    Zozma Resident Game Owner

    I personally hate applications but I agree that if you're going to have one, you have to hold yourself up to the same standards as you would expect others to (which is why mine is so lax, heh). But yeah, I think what you have is pretty standard stuff for most sites. I don't think the application is what's turning people off but I'd have to see the full site to make a real judgment on that. Maybe you should try submitting your site for a review somewhere?
     
    Elena likes this.
  9. Kuzon

    Kuzon Newcomer

    Well, I can't really say the site is doing badly. I have at least 6-7 active members, and I did fill my canon spot. It is really that I have a member base of 21 at the end of week 2, but most of my members seem to be either too busy with School or they are struggling with the profile somehow.
     
  10. Kitsufox
    Caffeine Fix

    Kitsufox Resident Game Owner

    It's a rough time when most games experience a lot of LOAs as people get ready to go back and are focused on settling in.

    If people are struggling with your profiles, perhaps a guide to creating a character is in order that covers the basics and can provide some overarching guidance about what the fields are for?
     
    Elena likes this.
  11. raindropfloss

    raindropfloss Fresh Blood

    Personally, it's always more important for me to have the players actually be able to play. Sure, you want good portrayals of canon characters, etc. But would you rather your board have action and people having fun, or lost members struggling because they are bored/too tired to think about the details of an application before even getting to play their character to see how they come off in actual play/situations?
     
    Shriker likes this.
  12. Rowena Ravenclaw
    Sleepy

    Rowena Ravenclaw Resident Game Owner

    I think this question depends on the type of site. For some sites all you need are the basics and for others more information is required. Our application appears quite long but the majority of it can be answered in less than 25 words (in some cases just one) because we needed specific information about characters and it serves as a profile. We don't need a lot of history detail, for example, so that is kept to a minimum. This works for our forum, but it is not the first way I've done it.

    In the past I've had applications that require a lot of information, particularly due to the age of characters, and applications that have required basically nothing. I tend to tailor it to the genre and the world. For example, if you are a supernatural site where creatures are all over 2000 you might require more history than a site that is real life.

    The one thing that always irks me about applications, though, is when you're required to give information like favourite ice-cream flavour or when you lost your virginity. This information is pointless, doesn't help in roleplaying or plotting, and really shouldn't be there. I believe that anything in an application should ensure that your character's personality comes across and should give ideas on how to plot with your character.

    I also don't believe that roleplay/writing samples are necessary. How I write my character should be evident in the application and you will see how I write as I move through your site and develop my writing style. Samples have always seemed cliquey to me.
     
    Elena likes this.
  13. Baphomet

    Baphomet Newcomer

    I prefer to offer a simple, bare bones outline and let people include as little or as much information as they like. So long as the basics are being met, that's all that matters to me. I personally prefer to have a shorter app and reveal more about a character through writing. Yes, you run the chance of a person not 'knowing their character well' but I think a lot of times, applications have information that is frankly superfluous. I don't need to know a character likes to casually sip tea on Sunday whilst getting a foot massage, for example. Too often, long apps come across, in my experience, as indicative of an elitist site. And that may or may not be a good thing depending on what you're going for. So I would say to just determine the essentials and go with that, but I like things simple and to the point OOC. Intricacy is meant for the IC world.
     
  14. Anactoria
    Batty

    Anactoria Newcomer Game Owner

    I'll be honest, this sort of application puts me right off. I'm all about the standard appearance/personality/history—with no word minimum.

    Now, I don't know Avatar all that well, but I feel like you're asking for a lot of detail for detail's sake and you have some fields that can be combined.

    Here's what I think you should consider:
    1. Bullet points for equipment. Most of the things the character has on them should be pretty self-explanatory, I imagine. I don't see a reason to write a full paragraph about the character's equipment. Just bullet point what they've got, explain what it is if it's something special or non-standard.
    2. Bullet points + short description for combat skills. Is five sentences (or more) really necessary to describe every single combat skill a character might have? The bit about how the character was educated in those combat skills should come up in the history anyway.
    3. Bullet points for talents, short description where necessary.
    4. Flaws shouldn't be its own thing—flaws should come up in the personality. Honestly, flaws having its own field gives me the impression that the staff doesn't trust members to give their characters realistic flaws without being required to write about them. Doesn't inspire confidence.
    5. I don't think you need to outline how someone should write their character's history. I also think the "paragraph per stage of life" rule is probably going to bite you in the ass with regards to character diversity. If people have to write a whole lot more to have an older character, I imagine at least some people who might have otherwise will decide not to. I think it will also encourage people to needlessly fluff out their histories—not everyone's life is eventful at all stages. You should trust your members to know how much they need to write of a character's history.
    6. Does the pet section really need as much detail as your asking for? And why does it have to be detailed in the character's history? What if they only just recently got the pet?
    7. I don't think you need a writing sample, but if you think you do I really think you should shorten the rest of the application considerably. But I've found that samples are often more hassle than they're worth. You can tell if someone is a mechanically competent writer from the rest of the application. I also think 9 times out of 10 you can't really tell if someone is going to be a good RPer from a single sample post—the vast majority of bad RP—powerplaying, metagaming, godmoding, etc—is not going to come up until interaction happens. Sample posts are by and large not very useful for weeding out bad RPers, in my experience. They are rarely helpful for the staff and are just another hoop for the players to jump through before they can get to the fun part.
     
    Rowena Ravenclaw likes this.
  15. I think it's really up to you, but note that some people are put off by profile applications that seem to be asking for too much. Samples in applications are also, in my opinion, unnecessary and very annoying. You can usually gauge how good somebody is at writing just by how they choose to fill out the application. What I like to do with my profile applications is to list everything I would ideally like the roleplayer to fill out, but point out which of these items are mandatory and which are optional. For those who love detail in their applications, they can then fill out everything. For those who prefer short and sweet, they can just do the mandatory sections.
     
    Elena likes this.
  16. ShadowedSin

    ShadowedSin Newcomer Game Owner

    If you have something on your character sheet it should all be about what you as the admin need to know. From a quick at a glance I think your setting up your application as more of an essay format than actual writing. If you need a paragraph per every few years for each character that does seem to mean that character is doing a lot of important life changing stuff, or we are just being over explanative. I prefer my applications to be concise and written in a form so I know what I'm getting. The amount -in- an application doesn't imply skill at all, that notion is silly in the least. Skill in Rp is all down to style, genre, and what sorts of personalities you want in your community.

    As a quick review, you have a lot of stuff that doesn't need to be there. Flaws are personality aspects and if you need to separate something then you need to update how you give people notes for edits.

    Combine Combat and general skills. If you are going to use a rough skill system then I would honestly suggest creating a base form of stats. If its no that important -then nix it-. If someone can't explain where they gained the training in a concise manner realistically in their history or fit with the story then you deny em plain and simple.

    The sample in of itself seems...redundant. You cite the example of someone moving a lot. Some threads will be about movement and will be about covering a lot of ground. Some will not. A thread might be a singular meeting, another will be about travel. Plus, a sample won't tell you anything about a players overall style. Just what they can do if they really try hard.
     
    Rowena Ravenclaw likes this.
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