OngoingWorlds blog

News & articles about play-by-post games, for roleplayers & writers


Encouraging your members to post, an annoying necessity

girl forcing man to postWe’ve all seen roleplaying games where the posts have fizzled out, sometimes in the middle of an interesting story. So why does the story just stop and die? One of the reasons is a key player might suddenly have been unable to post, or suddenly they became too busy to post, or maybe they just forgot. After a long time the desire to continue fades, as does your memory of recent happenings in the game, and there’s no more posts.

I was interested in a recent discussion on RPG-Directory, where user Cady asked whether it’s okay to “poke, prod & beg for posts”. The responses were quite interesting, and I’m interested because I know often people need to be encouraged, but many people (myself included) don’t like to be hassled, and it’d encourage the really facetious of us to post even less.

So lets start with the positive. User Cambryn said:

I love it! It means my partner is excited, and maybe I’m doing something right with this writing stuff. Blase partners just break my heart.

User Rhi-Rhi said:

Being asked doesn’t bug me! It just makes me think they’re excited and care about the thread! Which in turn makes me excited. I like knowing people care about our threads and characters! Makes me feel good!

RomanHk said:

I don’t mind being poked; it usually gives me a boost of motivation.

So it’s clearly the motivation that some people need, and perhaps the validation that they’re doing a good job, just like Rhi-Rhi said above. But this isn’t always the case. User Cady admitted in the original post:

9 times out of 10, if someone pokes/prods/reminds me about a post it says to me: “Woah, they are totally into this thread and can’t wait for a reply! Cool!” and I scurry off to post.

But of course that’s 9 times out of 10. Some other roleplayers have a different mindset, and attempting to encourage them to post can cause irritation. Jareth says:

I get like a stubborn old man when poked, so my brain automatically shuts out all of the nagging and I deliberately take longer than usual.

So the enthusiasm can get lost in translation. Also overbearing enthusiasm can have negative effects too. Annaangel23 responds with:

Some people can be like “OMG OMG I posted in our thread! Hurry because I can’t wait for your reply!” and then go on and on about it in the c-box and that bugs me and makes me post slower.

But like everything it comes down to communication. If you ask in an irritating way, you’ll irritate people. But we’ve seen that it can also be very encouraging. Keeping in contact with your fellow members is a good way to provide the enthusiasm, and to compliment each others posts boosts motivation. This can be done without nagging, or forcing people into posting.

The original question was if it’s okay to “poke, prod & beg” for new posts. I definitely wouldn’t recommend begging, and if you are going to poke and prod I’d say do it gently. You don’t want to nag or apply too much pressure. User Xexes admitted this:

I get stressed. I don’t do well under pressure.

– I’m easily stressed and when I get stressed, I don’t think as well, and all creativity is certainly non-existent.

Of course your actions should inspire and encourage, not add too much pressure and dissuade your members from posting. If you’re interested in continuing the discussion you’ll find the thread on RPG-D here.