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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 1st day of Running, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 131 > Articles > A Question of Literacy

A Question of Literacy

by _insanity

NEOBOARDS - The Roleplay boards have become a mess of rules, regulations and elitist cliques. I, as someone who has been around roleplaying for a number of years… am dismayed by the state in which I find things. I admit, I have been guilty at times of being overly stringent with the borders to which I set whom can and whom cannot join my boards. This has led to me getting criticized by people when I whine about the lack of players even willing to join in. It is becoming like the movie version of high school, the groups into which we have set ourselves (or been set into.) Tests must be passed, criteria met… and then, perhaps you will be allowed to join in on a roleplay.

People claim to want LITERACY. But, then they (and even I have) complain also about glowing fonts, desperates, Mary Sues and Gary Lous. Literacy, according to dictionary.com is the condition of being able to read and write. As the people have gained access to the board, and picked a topic as to which they want to play… and then typed up a post (no matter how short, or grammatically incorrect) they are, by definition LITERATE.

The people have formed themselves into mere labels, and I hate labels. Forget what we are labelled in everyday life… I now find labels applied to roleplay, where I go to escape everyday life! I don't want to fit into a neat little box, to be shoved from place to place among others 'like me.' I would like us to find a way to get along, to change the boards from a bad teen movie into the kind of place where neopets meant them to be! Yes, we need to separate somewhat, as different people roleplay different genres… but let us not form these elitist mentalities, which are detrimental to both roleplay, and the general state of Neopian society.

Let me take this time to clear up a few things, with a section I will call…

Labels (By Board definitions)

Literate: Someone who uses proper grammar, spelling and makes posts of a length of usually as long as, or longer than the post limit.

Mary Sue/Gary Lou: An unrealistically beautiful/handsome, smart, perfect character. When in a roleplay from a book or movie, they tend to be in love with, or directly related to a canon character.

Desperate: A character that is by design, usually a Mary Sue/Gary Lou. Not only are they perfect, they are also looking for a date, or romance… or whatever.

Annoyer: There are three types of annoyer, from what I have seen. I classify them as:

Malignant: An annoyer who is making a nuisance of themselves by creating characters that do not fit with the genre of the roleplay in order to confuse/anger/annoy those who they have decided are not good enough. Example: Those who throw a giant man eating marshmallow into a roleplay.

Non-Malignant: An annoyer who creates character who is amusing, but not designed only to disrupt or ruin a roleplay. Example: Kenders! Or, an in depth example is one of my characters who is a small demon type child that I used in medieval fantasy. She was cute and adorable, and looked innocent. She also was attracted to anything shiny, and if you didn't hand it over, she would try to kill you with her umbrella. She wasn't out there to ruin people roleplay, just for me to have a bit of fun with.

Multiple Personality Annoyers: These people can be malignant, non-malignant and everything in between. They get their own subgroup as they talk from more than one perspective. Each 'person' has a name, and his or her speech and actions are put after which 'person' is doing the action.

An example:
GG: Ok, we shall stay J We just felt bad for not being really active.
Gem: But in advance, sorry for not being active all the time.
GG & Gem: We're glad we have friends that won't let us do stupid things.

I have been roleplaying for a good number of years, and if I had been ignored and had people refuse to roleplay with me, not only would have I stopped roleplaying… I would never have become the writer that I am today. Make no mistake, I am not the journalist, poet or novelist extraordinaire but I am considered to be a pretty decent writer. If not for kind and helpful people who tolerated, and when I asked for it helped me out… I would not have grown as a writer. I would not have become a better roleplayer, and learned how to make a good character and develop a plot, if not for people letting me see theirs, and interact with them.

I had TERRIBLE characters when I started out. I made short posts, and I didn't even have a clue that there was anything wrong. But as time wore on, I watched and learned and eventually… I caught on. If you are pushing people aside all the time, they don't get this experience. They don't learn. They may or may not quit roleplaying, but they will not gain anything if you do not give them a chance. Not everyone is blessed with a natural aptitude for all the aspects of making a character, and playing it effectively.

HOWEVER, everyone can learn… if given the chance, and the tools. Put yourself in their shoes, and wouldn't you prefer to grow and learn rather than be shoved aside and ignored like trash? Or if you are a roleplayer who is in those shoes, you may not even realize it. But, if someone were to offer CONSTRUCTIVE and POLITE criticism… would you refuse it? I think that if we were to complain less, and help each other out more… the roleplaying boards would be a much better place, and instead of having battles… we could get down to it and actually do some ROLEPLAY. You know, the thing the boards were meant for.

My final point to all the people who say they are literates, but are becoming more like an elitist army trumpeting the power of their 'superiority' for all to hear is…

Desperates, Mary Sues, Godmoders and other such 'scourge of the boards' need to be taught, rather than kicked off. If I had been humiliated and taunted, and had people threatening to 'slay' me when I started off years ago, I'm sure I would have... yes, left. I doubt that I would have learned anything. I would have given up role-playing, and never learned how to create better characters and develop plots. I would not be here writing this article, and I certainly would not have written my previous article.

Rather than making a mission to eradicate these people from role-play, we should try (when possible) to educate people on how to play better. This could include writing articles for the Times, neomailing POLITE and CONSTRUCTIVE criticism to offenders, and setting a good example on the boards.

To me this means: Not trash talking them. Being Polite at all times, and promoting literacy as a realistic way to role-play. We shouldn't be an elitist clique... we should, as people who know better... strive to give others the knowledge that is needed to role-play more effectively. As 'literates' we need to be out there writing the articles to help people out, offering our wizened minds to those just starting out.

Without incoming people, life swallows up literates and it would be as if we were being slowly picked off one by one. People grow up, get busy and don't always have time to role-play as much as they used to. Jobs, school work and other things get in the way. If you don't take the time to enlighten the people who obviously want to get into this art form, eventually role-play will die off.

To those that argue that it is easier/more fun to just chase them away. Sure, it is fun to crush people. I admit that. I've done it. In the past (and sometimes in the present, as much as I hate to admit it) it has amused me to no end. But then I think 'Why are you being such a nasty witch? Does it really matter that you hate this person? He deserves this, yes... but why lower myself to that level. I'm better than that.' It can be fun, and sometimes it makes you feel better, but it's a terrible thing to do to someone else. So simply, DO NOT DO IT.

Everyone deserves to be treated with respect, regardless of if they are desperate, ugly, deformed, have one arm, 14 toes... It shouldn't matter. If we 'literates' are really superior, we should start acting it. It's more fun to be petty and childish, but if we are going to claim to be better, we had better start acting it.


Thank you very much to gryffindor_girl33 for allowing me to use her as an example of an annoyer. I look forward to any and all feedback from all you readers!


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