Having browsed a number of fan sites, I thought this poll might help encourage participation.
I chose Freedom to create new.
It's a huge turn off for me, no matter how great the site and setting look, to HAVE to adopt an existing character. We all have plenty of our own ideas to express. Being "made" to adopt someone else's ideas and expressions is kind of ... just... I dunno, it's wrong in an artistic manner that really seems to bother me.
I have adopted characters in a play-by-mail holt (Twin Peaks Glimmering Falls) long, long ago, but that was with the direction of their original owner, and I really felt that I had a connection to the characters already. Their owner was leaving the Holt, so she wanted to make sure that the characters either vanished, or were used correctly. I had a great time with them. But that's honestly so much different than having a bunch of templates up for grabs that don't really have any "history" with you, the player, even if they have history between other characters in the story.
What I don't have problems with is using a similar list for non-player interactions. A permanent list of "playable by all" characters that anyone can use if they've paid attention and know the character's history.
I went with "easy to understand content etc.", because for me, that's shorthand for a group that organizes its information really well (so I consider "appearance of website" to be a subset of it). I admit it, I'm a details wonk - - I want information, and I want to be able to figure out how to find it clearly and easily.
I can totally understand others' strong feelings about "freedom to create". Before I joined EQ fandom, I certainly would have ranked that as very high, myself. But it just happened that the group I joined was adopt-only (RTH); I joined it on the basis of knowing a number of people there and wanting to work with them. It took me a while to decide on a character to adopt, because that was kind of a foreign concept to me.
It's worked out very well for me, so it's changed my opinion a bit. It's allowed me to see how much freedom there is to be creative and make a mark, even within that kind of restriction; and how much even pre-created characters/conditions have room for customization. It's not my IDEAL situation... but I just decided at the time it was an interesting challenge that I might enjoy. (That is -- when I create my own characters, obviously, that's a lot of fun; but the challenge to me in adopting is that it makes me think about things, traits or connections or whatever, that I wouldn't have come up with myself. It gives me outside input, and helps me get out of my own character-creation ruts.)
(One other thing you might have added to the poll, Trollbabe, is "Style of Play" -- is the group RP? what type of RP? pbem? fanfiction-oriented? Had that been a choice, it would probably have been my selection. How the group plays is a dealbreaker for me.)
Good point, Sqaana, but it does not seem to allow me to edit options. Thank you for bringing that up.
BTW I mentioned websites appealing to both genders. Some younger guys might be so self-conscious as to not want to be seen browsing a website that appears cute or feminine, although I'm not saying there is anything wrong with this sort of artwork. It's also been my experience that men don't care much about outfits and color schemes. They also tend not to wear bright colors and jewelry while hunting.
Tymber mentioned time restraints. I'd like to hear from other Elfquest fans, about why they may choose not to join a holt.
Apogee mentioned creative restrictions, which is also a turnoff to me. I don't think I would mind if there were a selection of CIS's that were mostly blank, with enough vital characters to constitute a functioning tribe. (A chief or chieftess, a healer, a few hunter-gatherers, essential craftspeople...) But I think it should be up to the player to develop a character's personality. For example, I dislike being told that a character is spunky and full of mischief. That should be established by actions and dialogue.
Well, I chose freedom to create.
Actually, now that I think of it, three of my eight characters are adopted and the rest five are originally made by me. I have to admit, that the adopted characters often have more writer's block than the created ones, but otherwise they are treated the same way.
Also, if there had been a chance to choose another option on the poll, I would've chosen friendly and encouraging environment.
Since, otherwise ... what's the use of bein' in the group?
It's a big turn-off on me, when I notice that the admin or host seems to have a sort of a favourite player. I know that 'clicks' are formed, mostly by the people, who get online for a play during the same times of the day, but sometimes I also notice that some other people just get more attention and ...hmmm... favours at a time.
It is kind of a thing that I've noticed just recently, so I don't know the situation on other Holts.
One last thing that makes me turn off from a Holt is bad English.
I've checked some places, where I get irked, just because the build forum/home page is written with a bunch of typos and slang. It makes me shudder and also - as English is not my native language - I don't sometimes understand, what others might be trying to say.
And just a side-notice; typos and such in my native make me irk too.
So, what I'd be looking for is a well-written, friendly and encouragin' place, which allows it's players to create.
Regarding the "favored player" thing.. Oh yes.
That is a huge problem for a few people I've tried to game with online. From superheroes to hogwarts, one person who I'd known from another section of my internet experience kept trying to make new rpg groups.
Every single one of them, she was "in" everything. If someone made a scene for their character and another person's to become introduced, SHE came along and interrupted it. If someone had a special skill, SHE came in and made a new character (even though we were often only allowed to create one or two - she had 6-10) with that skill "better than" the other player's. Every instance of a conversation, she had a character who had to be there for it.
... Keep yer paws off a private conversation! My god just... let other characters have their own ways. Case in point: hogwarts rpg, she had to have the oldest, best character *in every house*. We weren't allowed to make older characters, only first and second years... So yeah.
It's not a race. It's an rpg. Some people just don't grasp the difference between "player knowledge" and "character knowledge" and step over the line between those constantly. I quit all the rp's that she'd started, I just couldn't stand the behavior.
Badger, I agree with you about writing. Everyone should already have some kind of spelling checker in their computer word processing programs.
Favoritism might be prevented if the Holt administration were more democratic. For example, members could vote on issues and decisions.
I think all of these points are equally important, and I welcome any further suggestions, like the one Sgaana brought up.
"Appearence of website" is a fact of life in the advertising business. The main page doesn't have to be very professional, animated with sound effects. It just has to grab a typical fan's attention.
"Quality of artwork" - To me, this means that the illustrations are clear and understandable. Even if they aren't competitive, they should at least be easy to "read." That is, one should be able to look at the picture in an instant, and see the foreground, the background, the individual characters, and not a hodge podge of shapes and colors. The "Scroll of Colors" banner at the top of this page is a good example of artwork that is easy on the eye.
"Quality of writing" is as Badger describes it. If you have to struggle to understand it, or if it appears poorly written and unedited, it's not worth reading.
"Age-appropriate" simply means that the content of the website aligns with the standards that are represented. If it's a family-friendly website, curse words, sexual images, and explicit writing about sexual activity, violence or drug abuse should not be included. Otherwise, it should be represented as an adult website.
"Appealing to a diversity of fans" - Do the characters, story environments and illustrations appeal to players from different countries and ethnic origins?
"Appealing to both genders", as I mentioned earlier, simply means that men would not feel out of place with the content and characters.
"Easy to understand content, rules and instructions"would prevent a visitor or new member from being overwhelmed by complex instructions, lengthy background information, and the fear of breaking rules.
"Age of website, whether new or established", is not something that can be changed. Some people may find it exciting to join a new Holt and be one of the founding members. Others may prefer to have a well-established Holt in which they can fill in a clearly defined niche.
"Freedom to create new characters, environments, situations" also depends upon the individual. Some people prefer to have all of the basic decisions made before they step in and play. Others want to start a character or story from scratch.
"Encouragement and friendliness" is vital to securing new players and retaining them as well. There is a happy medium between coming down too hard on players, and being overly affectionate. (I used to work for a lady who would modulate between calling us "Honey" and "Sweetie", and chewing us out for a perceived infraction. Too wierd.)
"Frequency in which members participate" is a matter of compatibility. A potential member's choice of a holt will be influenced by how much time he has to devote to the holt, and how often he can visit. For example, RPGs might require more frequency than posting individual stories.
I voted for "Encouragement and Friendliness" because I'm pretty shy, and I like it when people do talk to me on forums and let me know that they like having other people participate. I've been on other forums where there were only a few people that dominated conversations and they let no one in. That got old real fast.
I think "Frequency in which Members Participate" is almost as important. I joined two holts in my time and I was encouraged to start writing for my own characters when there was a lot going on. Once I started writing and placed my stuff out there, and then nothing happened, that was a big discouragement. (fyi, both holts died after I started to actively participate. I have really rotten timing apparantly). So I know first-hand the frustration when you're waiting for someone else to write their bit.
ok I casted my vote for easy to navagate and understand, thoe it was hard because freedom of creation is important to me too, but all in all i dont mind adopting some one elses Idea if I can have help finding my way into there world...like a que or umm a newish story line..type thing. role playing with friends is at the top 3 too because it is way easyer to feel welcome when you already know ppl there!! that was a great question. :D
Personally, I find the official Elfquest web site, here, wonderful.
A "holt" would have to present some OTHER opportunities and approaches to convince me to participate, but I'm ready to do so.
Friendliness, originality and dialogues are the most important things to me.
. Friendliness, because, though the official Elfquest site gathers Elfquest fans with already close mindsets, I would appreciate discussing with people I may become friend with. It relies on positive approaches, clear rules, and open minds.
. Originality, because I wouldn't get in a "holt" to get what I may find here or elsewhere. It may concern the way the site is graphically presented, what strange potentials or activities it may offer me, and the like.
. Dialogues, because it's the first step towards serious discussions, which may then lead to interesting debates ( with rules, educated people intervening, etc. )
I, for one, love role-playing ( been a AD&D player for 25 years ! ) and I studied elves and mythologies, along with history and science, and I can master some RPG sessions, be they on or around Elfquest, AD&D, Cthulhu, Star Wars, Gamma World, and some other games, and I even invented some RPG on Frank Herbert's "Dune", with a loooooong session that I successfully mastered, with six players.
I'll agree with the last person.
Roleplay is big. That's the point, after all.
To get into character.
I first 'joined' several Holts way back in the 1970's, before the internet existed. At that time, the form of communication was a physical 'newsletter' format, usually edited by the Holt Owner, that came out either monthly or quarterly. On occasion, the Holt would publish a Fanzine that collected the best of the Fan Fiction.
In some ways, I miss those times, though I can see the appeal of the internet's "Instant Publication", especially since the demand for good fiction has increased exponentially.
At that time, Richard and Wendy were authorizing the existence of Holts, and had some fairly strict rules of operation -- their characters could not be used, every holt member had to register with the international Elfquest Fan Club (To which membership was supposed to be 'lifetime'), and (I believe) there had to be publication at least once a year. Of course, memory is tricky, and as such, I cannot say with certainty that all of this is accurate. It has been something close to thirty years since I was last active in the 1980's.
Actually, I would love to see some of the older material produced back then by Great Water Holt (They had an annual Fanzine) and Windhaven Holt -- Liz Welsh from Florida and Laura White from Illinois produced those respectively. Ree Morehead Pruehs, who wrote at least one of the articles in the Elfquest Gatherum contributed stories to both... Are any of those people still active in EQ Fandom?
I never had a membership to the fan club and I was part of several holts. I don't know that information is really correct at least now, it certainly wasn't an expectation of any that I was ever in in the mid-80s.
I just realized what would encourage me to be active in a Holt. It would be "not holding down two jobs."
I need some help with something. Has anyone ever worked on Character sheets for a true RPG? I never have, and it said something about needing a field for it? I have no idea what that is, or how to do it. Can someone help me out with this?
Browsing the holt threads under "Getting a Holt", I noticed some of them are falling to the bottom of the list. If I didn't count anyone twice, there are twenty-one holts represented in these threads. (I am not counting threads like this one, on the discussion of holts.)
No one has posted to any of these specific-holt thread since the end of July. Nine threads have not merited a response since last year. Were I to be interested in joining an active holt, I would certainly ignore those at the end of the thread list.
If no one is joining your holt, or if membership activity is dropping off, it might not be a bad idea to start letting people know you are out there.
Overall there are only three things that have caused me to leave holts.
Most of the time, it's events in my real life. I become too busy to roleplay online.
Sometimes, it is also because the holt is an Yahoo group. I prefer forum type groups. One holt switching to yahoo somehow killed my inspiration to roleplay there.
Lastly, if everyone else leaves a holt, or the posts there are few and far between, I tend to drift off along with the others. It becomes tiresome to just check the page every day to see that there's still no replies.
This short list includes all the reasons I've ever left any holt. As long as there are other people, the holt is a forum, and I have time to roleplay, I will roleplay.
What's a Yahoo group?
A mailing list hosted on yahoo.
Ya- Leanan, I hear you. Real life does that to you every time! Which is probably why, whenever I glance at the title to this thread, one thought consistently comes to mind...
Money would greatly encourage me to be active in a Holt.
I'm guessing that's, quite tragically, outside the realm of possibility. But if not, and if you have a full time position with benefits, I am there!
I don't know, Trollbabe -- if I were looking for a new Holt, I wouldn't necessarily go by which ones had been posted most in here, or which had been posted in most recently. Sure, lack of recent posting *here* could mean that the Holt isn't very active; but it could also mean that the Holt is doing fine and doesn't have a reason to post here. River Twine is in that category -- we only post here when we have adoptables to advertise. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don't.
Back when I was looking around at Holts (unfortunately, I really only have time to belong to one, and I'm active in one now), what mattered most to me was going to look at where the Holt "lives", whether it was their own website, forum, or whatever.
Like Leanan, Yahoo-based groups turn me off. As a casual explorer, I didn't like having to log into something, let alone join something, before I could see any content for the group. But at least with Yahoo groups, I could see how recently it had been updated and how often things were posted there, which at least gave me a sense of whether it was still active. Forums were often good in that respect as well. Some groups with stand-alone websites weren't always good at noting clearly when they were last updated.
I particularly liked groups where I could see some content before joining, and where it was easy to tell how active the place was.
(At River Twine, we have a website where everyone can see all content before joining, and the News section of our front page shows that we tend to get new content posted every week or so. We aren't roleplay, so our messageboard is more social and informational; but non-members can still see some sections of it, and see that it has some activity every day.)