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00:07, 23rd July 2024 (GMT+0)

E: Posting Guidelines.

Posted by StarMasterFor group 0
GM, 6 posts
Sun 28 Apr 2019
at 07:54
  • msg #1

D: Posting Guidelines

     Unlike many players and GMs on RPoL, I’ve only been on the site for a little over 4 years. When I started, it didn’t seem like Posting Rules were necessary. That was probably because I already knew most of them from other online gaming sites, and it also seemed as if most of the players that wanted to join my games also knew them. As time went by, though, I started discovering that a lot of new players didn’t know them, and there was an inconsistency among many of the older players. I then ran across a game where the GM had spelled out the posting rules he was using for his game. I took it to heart.

So, here are MY rules (more like guidelines):

The Golden Rule of Posting: Post!
     It’s that simple. Nothing stalls a game faster than when players stop posting. RL happens to us all (some more than others), including your Referee/GM. Just because I have a problem posting doesn't mean you should stop.

The Two-Day Rule:
     Over the years, I’ve found that the generally accepted rule for how often to post on a play-by-post (PbP) game is: every other day. Or once every two days. Many players can post more often than that, and that’s great. But, RL, schedules and time zone differences can keep players from posting responses more frequently.

If you don’t post in two days, the GM has the responsibility to post for you if he needs to move things along. Real Life (RL) issues can keep a player (even the GM) from posting as often as he should, and that’s okay. Even if that happens frequently, as long as you let the GM know that’s the case, he’s usually good about it.

Also keep in mind that some GMs may want a more frequent posting rate, and others may opt for 2 posts a week, or even 1 post per week. There’s nothing wrong with either of those. This GM currently sticks with the one post every two days. That’s preferred but it’s not really an absolute.

However, if you don’t post that often, I’m not likely to boot you out of the game. Real Life happens. Normally, if you haven’t posted in about two weeks, I’ll send you a PM to see if you are still interested. I may NPC your character during those absent days, and I may or may not keep your character around depending on how interesting you made your character (particularly through posting) or the current situation. I’ll almost never kill off your character (usually only if you request it), but he’ll leave the group when it’s convenient. For example, if your character is aboard a ship at sea, I won’t have him just jump overboard—he’ll leave when the ship reaches port. That way, if your situation changes and you want to get back in the game, your character is still around.

The reason you should post at least every other day is to let the other players know that you are still interested in the game, which, in turn, helps keep them interested.

Reactive vs. Proactive:

Other than the Golden Rule, this might be the most important guideline for posting. If all you are is reactive—that is, posting only as a reaction to what someone else posts, chances are you’ll have a rough time with the game and won’t find it particularly entertaining or satisfying.

Put simply, don’t wait for someone else to post. If you haven’t posted in two days, then it’s time for you to post! Don’t keep waiting! Everyone else may be waiting on you. You don’t have to be the leader of the group to post. There are any number of things that you can post. Such as…


The general rule for what to post usually starts out with: no one-liners.

What this means is that putting up a post that’s only one-line long is discouraged. Sometimes, however, there are reasons for doing so. In particular, some players post using their cell phone, and sometimes that makes typing long posts hard and more time-consuming than they have the opportunity for. Generally, if you let the GM know that’s what you do, it’s not going to be a problem.

A common ‘excuse’ for a player not posting often enough is that he’s either waiting on a response from another player (or even the GM sometimes) or else he doesn’t know what to post.

Waiting for another player: Keeping the Two-Day Rule in mind, if the other player doesn’t post in two days, you should move on as if he did. In general, though, you shouldn’t put words in the other PC’s mouth. Don’t post what he says; but you can post that he agreed or you thought that he agreed, and then move your character on based on your interpretation.

Waiting for the GM: the same mostly applies for the GM or GM-controlled NPCs. However, you have to keep in mind that the GM may have a direction in mind for the way he wants the encounter, scene or adventure to go, so posting for the GM can be a bit tricky in that sense.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the GM may have forgotten to post, or may have thought he posted, or may have written a post that got swallowed by the Internet and was too bummed out to rewrite it right away (alas, happens to me all too often)), so it never hurts to remind him, either in the OOC thread or in a PM. Also keep in mind that RL happens even to GMs. That includes changes in schedules, time-outs, illness (I wound up going to the emergency room back in February 2017, had to have surgery and was away from my computer for a week), Internet problems (I was without power for 10 days after Hurricane Irma hit Florida in 2017), computer problems (it didn’t happen to me, but I knew a player whose cat peed on his keyboard! Plus, I’ve had to replace my computer three times in the past five years when it died), moving, getting busy with other things, etc.

What you can post if you can’t think of anything to post:

1. Ask the GM for more details or further explanation. You can even ask about your gear, or post more details about it yourself.

2. Look around: re-examine the scene, the other PCs, etc. Speculate a little bit on what you see.

3. Character thoughts: post what your character thinks about the scene, or a PC or NPC, or some esoteric topic that came up (fighting mind-shredders, hunting wild turkeys, mountain climbing, etc.). Note: some GMs don’t like to see material in a post that others can’t react to; I’m not one of those. PbP is a writing medium—thoughts and introspection is a significant aspect of writing, so don’t be afraid to write. At the very least, others can pick up on inflections, movement, gestures, facial expressions, body language, etc… details that you aren’t likely to put into your post in the first place, so your writing can be used by other players to infer things about your character (which may or may not be accurate, but that’s part of the fun!).

4. Character memories/flashbacks: something your character sees/notices reminds him of an event he experienced in his past. Some possibly ideas are: a practical joke played on him or by him, an impressive and memorable character he saw, an NPC’s wound reminds him of a similar one he or a friend/relative received, etc.

5. Biding his time: post some action that your character is doing that simply takes up a bit of time, such as sharpening his knife, whittling on a piece of wood, cleaning his boots, mending an article of clothing (sewing on a button), cleaning his weapon, counting his ammo, bird-watching, day-dreaming, trying to see shapes in clouds,  where he's going to go or what he's going to do when he gets back, how he's going to spend his million credits, etc. Note that if you use one of these several times, it becomes a personality quirk, which gives depth to your character.


Colors: My preference is to select a text color for your character’s speech, as I think it makes posts easier to read and understand, but try to pick a color that no other character is using. Obviously, though, if there are a lot of characters, that may not be possible.

Reserved Color: Orange is generally reserved for OOCs within in a post, as opposed to the OOC thread, and for the GM posting game mechanics (dice rolls, etc.).

Thoughts/telepathy: Treat it like normal speech, except begin and end it with a tilde ~ rather than quotation marks, and italicize it. Still use your characters speech color, though. Don’t worry if you use a cell phone (smart or other) and can’t do this all the time.

Communicators/radios: For those games that use them, precede speech with COMMS >>> and end it with <<<END COMMS.

Location: if your group splits up into more than 2 locations, begin your post with your current location as [WATERFALL]. That’s just to help eliminate possible confusion.


Be considerate and respectful of other players. It's usually better to go with the intent of a post rather than what may have actually been written. Unfortunately, we all aren't best-selling novelists (with a horde of editors and proof-readers on staff).


If the game doesn’t seem to be going in a direction or way that suits your preference or gaming style, talk to the GM! You may not be the only one. I’m usually open to suggestions and requests. I try to be flexible, but without any input from the players, I just keep plodding along in a way that I’ve been doing for many, many years. Remember, too, that PbP gaming has a different dynamic that sitting around the table in an FtF game.
This message was last edited by the GM at 16:34, Sun 28 Apr 2019.
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