This article is written by Akeram Mulvar from the USS Hartington RP.
I can guarantee that if you’ve been RPing or simming for more than a short time, you’ve encountered some kind of drama. If you haven’t yet, you will. The internet has a lot of great stuff on it, from excellent writers who we love to work with, to various adorable kittens playing with boxes. But, there’s also bad. Many people take the anonymity, or the distance from another person, as an opportunity to let out the worse aspects of their nature. They can bully, or form cliques, and essentially be unwelcoming.
What we look for in a good RP is a community. We examine how people interact. Are they friendly with each other? Are they friendly with new members? Ultimately, no one will choose to stay in a place where they are not comfortable. I myself have left many places over poor communities.
So how do we make good communities?
The biggest challenge is for the commander to choose the correct style of leadership. If he doesn’t delegate, then any difficulty he has will transfer directly onto his players. So it is always essential that a commander surround himself with subordinates he can trust and rely on. This leads to another danger.
Friendship alone, or knowing someone personally, is not a valid enough reason to give a player authority. In Star Trek, the Federation is a meritocracy, namely a place where anyone with ability and drive can rise. That should provide us with some inspiration.
Watch your members very carefully. See who has a firm grasp of the storylines, who has engaging writing and ideas, who is always there. Then don’t hesitate to rely on those people for help. As a commander, you have the most powerful role. But you can’t do it alone.
Entropy is another factor. For those of you dozing off in physics, entropy is the principle that something will get less functional or cohesive over time. Well what starts as good may sometimes decay. Friends who help along new members may become insular and hostile to the same. Maybe staff become complacent with being unable to retain members, or with plots moving slowly.
It is vitally important to combat that.
People often have the mental attitude that it’s just a game, and that it requires no effort from them. This attitude might be fine for the casual player, but for your staff? It’s not acceptable. You need to find people with vision, who are willing to realize that while this isn’t a job, it’s still a serious commitment. There has to be a sense of unity, and it will never be easily achieved if some staff work, and other staff do not. And with that mentality in mind…
Organization creates stability. People might laugh when you have them take a personality test to determine if they’re a ‘green’ or a ‘blue,’ or an ENFJ or an INTJ. But these tests can have very practical results. If you, as the commander, go the extra mile, the results will be that much greater. I know in my experience, these tests have explained much of my difficulties. I, personally, am a green. Technical, detail-oriented, process-oriented.
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My best role is support, in the operations of a site. I can devise process, templates, layouts, and rattle off ideas all day. But, it’s not wise to put me in the position of dealing with feelings and emotions. So while I contribute in my own way, it is important to find others who contribute in their own ways.
As we look at personality types and staffs, never forget that the most fundamental basis is still having a good story. In the end, it is the actual story that will attract the most attention for new recruits. Do they like the timeline? The setting?
So to recap, the recipe for success is delegation, organization, dedication, diversity, and story. Only when you synthesize all of these elements can you succeed. It might seem daunting, but as John F. Kennedy said, “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”
The author is the member ‘Akeram Mulvar’ on the USS Hartington RP ( found at http://www.wyldling.com/Hartington/index.php/ ), he is a 4+ year veteran of roleplay/simming across numerous sites.