member, 2750 posts
Thu 5 Jan 2023
at 12:25
Prevalence of Ghosting
Sunruaner  has  a god point., again, using my games   as example.

we have had  3 people  die in RL, all three we knew about, thought the  first came off conjecture, as he told us of his  Il ness... the  second  one , again, told us, His sister  emailed me , because i was on his contacts, esle we would have not known. The last,was very active, and her partner told  us in OOC and PMs.

 i have others who  have  sickness and  Jobs that  caused their  absence , they let us know, so their characters  are in the back round, ready to step forth once they return.

now? bad side. I had a Guy join, just to hook up with  another player's character. he was  snarky at best, then Ghosted when   the other character and to  leave for a bit. I had no problems writing him out. and most of ther  players were happy for it.

Ghosting  happens in all walks of life. even though i am older, we play  pick up football every Sunday Morning , all year around. We have  'core players' who show up every week. some players show up every few Months, and some 'just quit'.  I've been doing that  55 years now, since i was  12. the last 10 years  we have  8 guys who we can count on, RL takes them away every now and them for family stuff... all the rest come and go, like a revoling door.

 The end all is this.don't worry about the ghosts, take care of your core  people.
 supporter, 772 posts
Thu 5 Jan 2023
at 18:07
Prevalence of Ghosting
In reply to shinanai (msg # 1):

As a GM who has ghosted, there are a variety of reasons.

Usually personal reasons.  The sort where you don't have the time, or the focus, or perhaps the strength, to message people (irl and in-game) that you're possibly down and out for a while.

Sometimes it's difficult or embarassing to talk about.
 member, 2171 posts
 Firing magic missles at
 the darkness!
Thu 5 Jan 2023
at 19:40
Prevalence of Ghosting
I don't think I've out-and-out ghosted, but I've "quiet quit" a few times.

The death spiral for me looks like:
  • I get busy and don't update for a while
  • I spend a few weeks in a state of "updating tomorrow FOR SURE" but never quite getting to it.
  • I feel worse and worse, time draws on
  • After a while I assume everyone's already quit/left, so I feel less and less impetus to get to it
  • The game slowly uncoils like an old bed spring

I do my best not to let it get to that point, and it hasn't happened for some years, but sometimes it happens.
 member, 2751 posts
Thu 5 Jan 2023
at 20:28
Prevalence of Ghosting
 the point here, is finding the time, and the  courtesy  to make a  30 second post that says

 " Hey, I can't do this any longer, thanks for your time"


 " hey, RL has  me, i try to get back as son as I can"

 a simple  post can save alot of people  wondering, and they'll either wait, knowing you are wrapped  up in RL...or they will go on their way.
 member, 705 posts
Thu 5 Jan 2023
at 20:48
Prevalence of Ghosting
Often the issue is that the GM started a game with the best of intentions, found himself in over his head, he was too embarrassed to admit it, and the game died.

This message was last edited by the user at 20:49, Thu 05 Jan.

 member, 1766 posts
 Ocoee FL
 45 yrs of RPGs
Thu 5 Jan 2023
at 20:57
Prevalence of Ghosting
Iíve run a lot of games here, played a lot too.

When Iím playing, I never leave a game without notice. Usually, itís something like: ďThis one is no longer good for me. Thanks for your work. Best wishes.Ē

Iíve had many, many GMs pull a vanishing act, sometimes before the IC even starts, which is very puzzling.

When Iím running,  hope for something similar but often a player just disappears without a word. I generally start puppeting them pretty quickly. After a couple weeks Iíll try to find someone to take them over or wait for a convenient time to dispose of the character.

I never abandon a game Iím running without notice and have only shut down one, I think, without reaching an endpoint.
 member, 72 posts
 I like monkeys
Thu 5 Jan 2023
at 21:45
Prevalence of Ghosting
I have never and would never ghost a game, and I can't think of a justification for doing so, other than actual death. As @Gaffer points out, a single sentence will suffice, and it's the least one can do out of consideration for others.

This message was last edited by the user at 21:46, Thu 05 Jan.

 member, 300 posts
Thu 5 Jan 2023
at 22:56
Prevalence of Ghosting
I have never ghosted a game as DM or player.  Anyone who uses RPoL should know it only takes a few seconds to log in and show common courtesy and let your playing group know you are leaving.  A player who can't be bothered showing such basic manners is not wanted in my games.  As play by post games are so slow and I screen all players in any of my games now, they all know if they don't post after two weeks they are removed from my games.  It is unfair on the regular players in my games to be held back by slackers so I cut off the dead wood and keep the game going.
 subscriber, 3557 posts
 Member before Oct 2005
 Creative Writing ROCKS!!
Thu 5 Jan 2023
at 23:48
Prevalence of Ghosting
Well you can say the same things over and over beating a dead horse.  Accept there are flaky players/GMs who disappear into oblivion.  Some things we never know the reasons of.  Yes, it is irritating to see someone disappear from your game with no rhyme or reason then see them all over forums or Wanted whatever and they didnít have the decency to say ďThanks for your time but its not working for me or real life has gotten more hectic ď.  It will keep happening and all those who have answered above have told great things to do in such cases.

You know if the player/GM are that rude then no one needs them in their gaming life.  Who needs that negativity.  I know I donít because I game for enjoyment with like minded friends.

Look in modern day technology you can access Rpol by phone, PC, Laptop, Tablet, public libraries, internet cafes {yes they still exist), friend or family phone, laptop, PC, Tablet etc etc etc.  You donít have to give your life story, you donít have to be rude and hateful.  ALL you should do is again.  ďSorry but I am leaving.Ē  Just how long does that take???? Really

I do have a player that is dear to both me and my husband and we have him in our Facebook family.  I have him added in all my games and should something happen to me my husband will always let him know and he tells my players in each game what has happened.  Then my game players and CoGMs can decide what to do with the game.  It works too!

Bottomline:  If they disappear then you move forward with out them.  You existed just fine before you ever met them and you will live without them!
 subscriber, 3558 posts
Thu 5 Jan 2023
at 23:48
Prevalence of Ghosting

This message was deleted by the user at 23:49, Thu 05 Jan.

 member, 233 posts
 D&D Gamer
 Eclipse Classless
Thu 5 Jan 2023
at 23:51
Prevalence of Ghosting
I'd add ghosting can be due to outside influences - rapid onset illness or natural disasters. Being impacted by electrical outages or internet provider outages myself, I usually give a month before I remove a character. The ones that bother me are those who log into the game but don't post or participate.

Luckily, smart devices are common enough that even if power is lost or internet outages, (barring cell tower's going down) players can usually get a status update to me.
 member, 7430 posts
 Gaming for over 40
 years, and counting!
Fri 6 Jan 2023
at 01:40
Prevalence of Ghosting
I think a lot of cases of ghosting aren't deliberate.  As Truemane laid out, for some people, it becomes a case of "I'm busy today...I'll post there when I have time..."  Then other priorities keep popping up, and the game loses its place in the forefront of your mind, which makes it easier to forget to post.  If you're burdened with executive dysfunction issues that commonly accompany ADHD, it's painfully easy to slip.  You started out saying, "I'll get to it when I have time," and unless someone's reminding you, you suddenly realize it's been two months.  And at that point, it's really easy to just chuck in the towel and give up.
 member, 169 posts
Fri 6 Jan 2023
at 10:06
Prevalence of Ghosting
Fun fact: I actually never had a GM ghosting me on RPOL. Then again, I also didn't participate in that many games as a player, so that might be part of the reason.

As for players, Facemaker brought up a good point: I know that bringing up mental difficulties is not necessarily something that everyone wants to disclose. As a GM, however, I do like to attune to my player's needs. If I have a player who struggles with attention deficit or executive dysfunction and I know they do, I am way more chill about not getting replies, but I also then know that I should probably gently nudge them on a regular basis.

Same thing for when a player just tells me that RL is busy, and they may not be able to reply for a while at all. Then I can adjust accordingly.

I guess, my own issue with ghosting comes from my own general anxiety... I keep wondering for weeks whether they got hit by a bus or something really serious happened to them in RL and I feel bad.

As Donsr said... even a copy-pasta "sorry got busy, goldfish is on fire, gotta drop out" is just polite. As I said, I was just wondering whether the added layer of anonymity makes it easier for people to ghost who are already prone to it (like the aforementioned butterfly peeps). I know that GM knows the account name, but none of the other players do, and they would have no idea whether they might have run into the same person across multiple games and different GMs (because some of them are at least smart enough to avoid applying to games by the same GM).
 member, 7431 posts
 Gaming for over 40
 years, and counting!
Fri 6 Jan 2023
at 11:31
Prevalence of Ghosting
I can sympathize.  I have had GMs ghost games in the past...I remember one game where nobody had gotten any notification and nothing had updated on the GM's side of things for about two weeks...and then I saw that the GM was starting ANOTHER game with the same rules and setting, and that's when I knew the first one was done...

The longest-running game I've ever been in started because the GM ghosted a game that had several players invested in it and eager to play things out...and after getting nothing from the GM for, like, three weeks, one of those players decided to start his own game with a vaguely similar theme, and invited the rest of us to join if we wanted to.

And I've got a game that I've kept limping along for years, because the GM made me (his second) co-GM (the first absolutely failed to do anything) before vanishing without notice and apparently forever (since it's been about ten years or so since he logged into the game...)  We had both been players in a game earlier, which the GM had decided to fold up...and he liked the game so much that he succeeded, after what I presume was extensive arm-twisting, to get permission from the original GM to reboot the game, with the condition that he didn't change any of the details that had originally been established.  But he also had some health issues (had one arm amputated because of a work-related injury, for starters) and he selected a co-GM because he knew there was a chance he could just drop off the map, and he didn't want to leave the game completely rudderless.  And he did disappear, for a while...during which time, the co-GM he'd picked also up and vanished without saying anything.  I still wonder just what happened to him (the legit GM.  I didn't know the first co-GM well enough to have any attachment to him.)

And I've had fellow players up and vanish from games, although most of the games I'm in have pretty active OOC threads and things like health concerns and family issues got discussed so that we had at least an educated guess as to what happened with many of them.  But there were a couple who vanished...and then a few weeks later, the GM got a message from a family member informing us of the player's demise.  Those are hard ones to shoulder, sometimes, especially if you really got on well with that player.
 member, 2752 posts
Fri 6 Jan 2023
at 14:18
Prevalence of Ghosting
The butterfly players are  worse then buttrerfly GMs, but they are  still a bad thing for   games, PBP  or table top.

 I played with Table top people ( though that was limited) where they would 'get bored' and want to start a new  character. I have had PBP  player   who 'want another one". I trimmed  that down to  3 per player  here, and you have to  earn those 2  extra, by being active.

 GMs  who flutter away  cause  problems  as well. But the end Point is....'good riddance'  better to have them  start  a game and leave, then  run away after a 3 months  or longer, and players  have  vested them selves.

  Even though its frowned on, when i game starts  to sink, I'll offer players   a chance come to my games, no strings, all i ask is for them to say " sorry, this game isn't for me".

Its  funny, since i have a homebrew world and system, that have the  'interview' some players  will make sure  CS  are perfect, and ask questions, they'll put in  posts and interact. or they just sit there.  people from both sides of that line   vanish. But the people who really tired, will say good bye.

This will never change, no matter  what the Venue. when i used to bowl, guys  would bail off losing teams, we play football every sunday morning. I've been doign that  for 55 years..peopel come and go, but we have a core of  loyal folks, and when they can'y play, they end a text.

 So? worry about  'your  Core' folks, and consider the Ghosts  as  charcters  you can use to help move the plot along.
 supporter, 752 posts
Fri 6 Jan 2023
at 14:24
Prevalence of Ghosting
I remember one game where nobody had gotten any notification and nothing had updated on the GM's side of things for about two weeks...and then I saw that the GM was starting ANOTHER game with the same rules and setting, and that's when I knew the first one was done.

Wow!  Did you confront him and ask what's going on?
 member, 1874 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
Sat 7 Jan 2023
at 00:06
Prevalence of Ghosting
I have admittedly been guilty, on both sides of the coin.   And while it never left a good feeling, it stemmed from my bipolar nature.   Not that it's an excuse.
 member, 149 posts
Sat 7 Jan 2023
at 00:18
Prevalence of Ghosting
I had a PC in an email game that suddenly stopped. Later I found the game again, submitted a different PC, and had my original PC show up as an NPC.  I didn't stick around.

I've had players ask to join my longest-running game, and then after a tortuous process of bringing them up to speed on the plot thus far, and getting their PC sheet done perfectly to their liking, then - ghost the game.  Butterfly players is a great way of naming the effect.
It would be better for me to hear from the player, "this isn't for me, thanks anyhow" and then I'd at least know.  And I know that Real Life comes first.  And people can have sudden horrific health or life problems, so they might just vanish, and you may never know what happened until months later.

So I will stick with my core players now, and finish out my game, and really think very hard about the effort required to start another long term game.
 member, 170 posts
Sat 7 Jan 2023
at 00:36
Prevalence of Ghosting
I just find it very hard to believe that the majority of ghosting are due to horrific RL events happening. I am not a math-thingie person, but I just think it is way more likely that someone just stopped messaging rather than being hit by a car. And I agree, sometimes it is painfully obvious because there were red flags before the players vanished.

But hey... at least it's comforting to be reminded once in a while that I am not the only one struggling with this. :)
 member, 7432 posts
 Gaming for over 40
 years, and counting!
Sat 7 Jan 2023
at 00:38
Prevalence of Ghosting
In reply to Zag24 (msg # 20):

Nope.  At that point, I just made a mental note that I would never join one of his games again and got busy finding a game that would fill the slot left by the one that was folding up.  Figured there was nothing to be gained by calling him out.
 member, 107 posts
Mon 9 Jan 2023
at 00:50
Prevalence of Ghosting
I admit, there have been a few times where my General Anxiety Disorder has gotten the better of me, and I've disappeared.
I have a handle on it now, and I try to be open if I feel it coming on, and tell people I might be away for a few days. Even getting to that point took a few years.

I'm not excusing it, or saying it is the main reason, but given the percentage of geeks that suffer from anxiety and/or depression, it may explain some of the disappearances.
 member, 30 posts
Mon 9 Jan 2023
at 01:02
Prevalence of Ghosting
In reply to facemaker329 (msg # 24):

Probably the best course of action. Getting into an "online argument" rarely provides any resolution!

The exact same thing happened to me, I just keep a list of ghosts and make sure I avoid their games. Avoids unneeded stress!
 member, 2261 posts
Wed 11 Jan 2023
at 06:25
Prevalence of Ghosting
There are circumstances where the person simply cannot post.

For instance, we were hit by a tornado last spring.  We had no power for over a week, for part of that week we couldn't go anywhere because the road was blocked by power lines, utility poles, and trees.  Not that there was anywhere to go and post, any of the local places didn't have power either, besides we were fixated on survival, checking that the generator hadn't filled the house with carbon monoxide, that it hadn't stopped (it gulped gasoline!), preparing meals, etc.  And then when we finally did have power, posting in games wasn't our first priority, checking on family and friends, and letting them know we were OK, sorting out whether there was anything in the fridge and freezer we needed to throw out, getting rid of the collected garbage from the time we were confined, etc.

There was also a couple of times in the last two years when I was in hospital.  The second time I had a few hours warning, but the first time none.  I did get my daughter to tell a couple of people on Facebook who would have been counting on me to do something, but she isn't on here, or the other gaming site where I am a mod.

And I know someone who did disappear for a few months.  He had done that before, but that particular time he did have a good reason; he had been in a vehicle accident and broke both wrists!

I can also see if it's a serious family emergency posting is just the last thing on one's mind - if one is even able to think and remember!  For both my hospital stays I was conscious but that isn't always so when someone is ill or injured; for one stay I did have limited internet access, but not for the other one, and for both the only device I had was my Kindle, which doesn't handle much online.  If one's child were seriously ill, one might not even remember a game with worrying and caring for the child.
 member, 2756 posts
Wed 11 Jan 2023
at 12:01
Prevalence of Ghosting
 Bri has the right of it. Those  cases   she mentioned aren't really ghosting, they are occurrences that are thrust upon you.

I have a  Guy,He is  third longest tenure , for  three years, he  wouls  sweat out the fires in Oregaon . he  chats with another person who has been around for a while, who lives in the UK..she  has   Covid problems  and job problems as she is  a doctor.. both missed alot of time, both found a  way, between each other   and a  quick OOC or PM to let us know they were down for the count.

 Had people down south  that floods hit them... and As Bri mentioned, I had two people reach out to me, because the player   had  passed.

 You , more or less, can tell though? some one who is really into the game, and  suddenly they ::poof::. You know something is  wrong, people who don't get along  with other players, or constantly whine in PMs..then they go dark. You know they just ghosted.

 whether  you are a player or a GM , when things go dark, I keep my list up,  might give a game a year or two, if the GM vanishes. But one thing  i have found, that helps..a little?  We have folks who are more like a gamin community. and whether its   OOC  rants, PMs   to me, or PMs to each other. We get to 'know' the players and  we hear some of the bad stuff.. 2 of the three  players of my space game, how  vanished, we knew had Med issues...the one? was never confirmed, but he alluded to  his  problems, and was really into the game. the other two, we knew as well, abut were contacted to let us know.

 As i often say. None of  us are paying, or getting paid  to be here. In RL this is a tiny part of people  lives. For those  who, this place is  a larger part of thier lives? They find ways  to let folks know, even if it takes a week or so.

 I take   players who have been in the gaame for years, and  put thier  Characters on the NPC list, if they don't let us know.If they are able to come  back, we  just add them back to PCs.

 For GMs , I have  4 games on my list. one is all but dead, the GM is a mover  and a shaker  on another site, that i play one game in..this site, her games are, more or less, ignored....There is another Guy who GMs on that site, he started a game there, but left the one here to die...another GM..just poofed, and nothing..ever. and the Last one, was a former player, we knew had issues.. the talked  about them in OOC, he mentioned he was going to the hospital, and that was it., never posted  again, for  4 years now?

 I'm sorry to ramble  like this. But taake   this place  for what its worth. Ghosts are going to happen, , just roll with it, and deal with it as it happens. The Main thing, this  is our Little refuge.  don't be afraid to get to know each other, and don't feel you have   to? Just enjoy the games  and comradery.
 member, 5 posts
Thu 12 Jan 2023
at 17:53
Prevalence of Ghosting
If it makes any of the GMs here feel better, I've experienced the least amount of ghosting on Rpol compared to other sites.   I've given up starting games on Rolegate for that very reason, the last two games died shortly after getting started due to multiple ghosting players.   I did like the fact that it had a mobile app, but I suppose that doesn't matter when the player base tends to be a bit flakey.   I'd echo what others have's a fact of life, and some folks are better than others about letting the GM know (although I've never completely ghosted a game, I've definitely had those moments when I realized I haven't checked in a week or two).