What's new

Viewpoint Hot take: Multi-paragraph posts are unproductive

Tove

Two Thousand Club
I am antagonistic about it because as soon as I see a requirement like that, I either have to assume that they mean it, in which case they're prone to fluff and lack subtlety, or they don't mean it and therefore don't mean what they say in general, which is just as unworkable. I wouldn't jump through hoops to prove myself to somebody like that in either case. If they call for a writing sample in lieu of a post length, I'd have more faith in attempting something with that person. If one must have standards, then have standards that are consistently relevant. If a long-post standard is consistently relevant, let it be for action/setting-heavy genres. Otherwise you're totally doomed to fluff or limited character concepts.
Then you should probably stick to looking for partners with similar post interests as your own because like you have things you like so do other people and they're not going to just up and stop putting on their request threads what they look for in partners just because it doesn't sit well with you. There are a lot of things I find on request threads I don't agree with but I just move on until I find something I do.
 

Dov

People Eater
That's... exactly what I'm doing. The gripe is that the length requirement concept is pretty pervasive so I struggle to find anybody to write with. I don't go around replying to interest checks with 'your length requirement shall be your downfall, foolish fool.'
 

rae2nerdy

Four Thousand Club
That's... exactly what I'm doing. The gripe is that the length requirement concept is pretty pervasive so I struggle to find anybody to write with. I don't go around replying to interest checks with 'your length requirement shall be your downfall, foolish fool.'
Then your gonna have to meet people halfway. And complaining about how they present their requirements isn’t going to do anything but reinforce your frustration and make you upset.

That’s why I said offer a writing sample. Roleplays in general are about compromise, but that requires you to be open minded and give people a chance to meet you halfway.

If you just go around assuming people are gonna say no your only hurting yourself. Because you aren’t actually giving them a chance.
 

Idea

The Pun Tyrant The Gif Hydra
nd side note, your defense of your argument was heavily predicated on 'yes buts' that were already qualified in the original post. Primarily dialogue, not entirely dialogue, primarily being more than 50%.
Not a single one of arguments was yes but. I disagreed with your overall statements and attempted to explain how your assumptions entirely fail to account that not everyone thinks that is valuable in RP is the same as what you do. What you call "fluff" to many is interesting detail that helps build the atmosphere and create an immersive experience. Yes, you said primarily dialogue, not entirely dialogue. However, this does not actually constitute the majority of so-called "long posts". Usually inner monologue and description covers most of the paragraph content. The majority of my post was predicated on my own premise for value, how that change responds to your complaints. Quote:

I realize what you're saying is probably under the premise of what you said at first, that roleplay "should be primarily dialogue" but just to be thorough I am answering under the light of my own premise anyway,

On re-establishing details, I said what I mean, I'm talking about people who re-establish details, not people who go into more depth. This is a great example of a short statement saying what I mean and more length making it less correct.
What I objected to was not the conclusion you took from the statement as read, but a response to the implicit statement that that is what is happening. I'll take your example to show what I mean:

On observing when something changes and not noting when things don't change, a waiter bringing something is a change. The waiter wasn't there a moment ago, the food is now here, the setting has changed, of course you note that. There were people milling around the bar, people not involved in your characters' conversation but who happen to be a part of the setting. If they're still milling around the bar and they're still not a part of our conversation, I don't want to know that one of them is in a red dress and one ordered a beer, that doesn't change the setting or what's happening. If the one who ordered the beer flings it across the room, the setting has changed and it's note-worthy. If one of the characters involved in your interaction suddenly becomes fixated on the person in the red dress, the circumstance has changed in a note-worthy way. Otherwise, those pieces of setting are not worth writing about.
The thing is those pieces of setting ARE worth writing about, IF you're someone who is interested in the worldbuilding itself, not just how that worldbuilding directly relates to the narrative.

You may not be interested in that or care about that. But some people do. In fact, in this very example of what you call "re-establishing details", in your own example something is being added, there isn't repetition there is new information. This is going more in-depth about the setting, the "continuation" I was talking about.

A more skilled detailed roleplayer is more likely to be able to atribute meaning to those moments and associate them with the narrative. For instance, one person ordering a beer while talking to someone in a red dress could be used to establish an abnormal level of social mobility in the town which could become a plot point at a later time. However, even a player who is actually just adding those detail for their own sake is still contributing in a detailed experience, as it helps to build the tone and atmosphere of the location in which the characters find themselves in.

Again, you may not care about that, and that is fine, however just because the point of adding something doesn't reach you doesn't mean it isn't there for those more willing to look.

There's gotta be a more effective way to suss out whether or not somebody is a capable writer. I've seen several replies about using requirements as a tool to identify good partners, but good writers ought to be capable of both comprehensive world building posts, engaging inner-monologue, and shorter, more subtle posts that move things along without detracting from the action or setting.
Writing requirements aren't as arbitrary as you might think. They are often either based on a common standard or on a roleplayer's own experiences of what length it takes to get everything they want from a post in a post. But the thing is what you want from a post, and what they want from a post is different.

There are different mindsets which create different systems of value. A post that is incredibly valuable in one viewpoint can be garbage to another. Writing requirements are about ensuring that the posts you are delivered are at least striving for the kind of quality you are looking for, and filtering out the people who are not interested in that.

Maybe there is a better way out there, but I can personally tell you I've tried many. I hated length requirements back in the day, but I came to realize they are the most practical and effective tool for this, unfortunately. Are they a great tool? Probably not. But they sure as hell beat every other option.
 

Hella Downweather

Art by : Cloudyskies The Witch of the Quill
I am antagonistic about it because as soon as I see a requirement like that, I either have to assume that they mean it, in which case they're prone to fluff and lack subtlety, or they don't mean it and therefore don't mean what they say in general, which is just as unworkable. I wouldn't jump through hoops to prove myself to somebody like that in either case. If they call for a writing sample in lieu of a post length, I'd have more faith in attempting something with that person. If one must have standards, then have standards that are consistently relevant. If a long-post standard is consistently relevant, let it be for action/setting-heavy genres. Otherwise you're totally doomed to fluff or limited character concepts.
My dude, subtlety doesn't mean short and fluff doesn't mean long. Take Honoré de Balzac, a genius in French literature, praised for his subtlety and character development, we are often using it in our classes as his work can be interpreted very differently depending on the person reading it. He also writes descriptions that can take up to 10 pages long. But they are taken as a social and politic commentary...and his books wouldn't have the same impact without them.

No one here is expecting you to write description à la Balzac, and if they do, well you are not well matched for this person. Bam. It ends here.

From what I read in your answers, you seem to take the post length requirement a bit personally, when in truth, it's a matter of preferences. Like why would long post be reserved for action/setting-heavy scenes? I'm a sucker for comedy, for character development, and I don't consider fluff the time spent describing someone's thoughts or reaction, be it in my post or in my partner's.

I feel that it's a case of you trying to impose your view point one everyone else interest check, and for me, this attitude is a big turn off. For example, I don't write angst. It's personal, it's subjective, but I don't go around and complain that man, nowadays all that people wants to do is write angsty and depressive pieces of literature...Like what's the point? I simply precise in MY OWN interest check that I prefer fluff and comedy, and everyone is happy. You don't need to demean other people writing skills, classifying them as something useless, simply because it does not match your style.

TLDR : Everyone doesn't have to match your style to be considered good writers. And even if they could, they have the right not to because they don't find it enjoyable.
 

Jet

Uncultured
A ten page description of one thing? Sounds like a terrible writer.

Writing samples are the actual way to filter quality. GMs don't usually do it because it's not nice to reject people. Instead post mins are invoked and ironically post mins don't filter at all.

Extra edit in points

  • Back and forth conversations and action posts running 500+ are almost always ridiculous. They borderline meta-game other characters into innaction as well.
  • Paragraph minimum makes no sense because paragraph size varies wildly. Word min makes more sense even if I hate it.
  • Good writers describe the same amount in less words. Clever sentence structures, double meanings, showing thought with physical action, obvious implications. I do more describing with less words than many people. My 400 words might have more content than another's 600 - but I'm the one who's not allowed in?
 
Last edited:

Idea

The Pun Tyrant The Gif Hydra
ironically post mins don't filter at all
'Quality' aside, which again isn't really what's trying to be filtered with length requirements, I do find that they can be rather effective if two conditions are met:
1. The roleplay is not of an overly popular fandom. They often attract people who hop into them blindly, not even bothering to properly read rules or really anything.
2. You do not use a standard requirement, such as "one/two paragraphs" or "no one-liners". So many people have used those requirements without actually being serious about it, like some kind of routine, that a lot of people kinda "zone out" if you will, when reading them.

If you frame it in word count or lines for instance, you will see a dramatic decrease in people who actually pay attention to the requirement, leaving those who are actually interested in a roleplay with that kind of length.
 

Dov

People Eater
But the purpose of most requirements is to filter for quality. Rules beyond the most basic writing standards and ground rules for safety are pretty much all for the sake of quality, including length requirements. That being said, any requirement that A. Doesn't improve the quality or B. Isn't meant to be adhered to, is inherently irrelevant and shouldn't be there.
 

Idea

The Pun Tyrant The Gif Hydra
including length requirements
Allow me to correct myself. Length requirements aren't necessarily about quality, but they can be. When they are about quality though, 90% of the time they are about quality in the sense that I've been speaking about regarding the mindsets with detail, they see 'quality' in a different way. Length requirements do promote quality, but they do so indirectly by seeking out people who have a similar viewpoint on what quality is, not by directly filtering out players by how good or bad their posts are.

That being said, any requirement that A. Doesn't improve the quality or B. Isn't meant to be adhered to, is inherently irrelevant and shouldn't be there.
This isn't exactly right. You can write the best tiny post this planet has ever seen, and chances are I'll still find it boring and I'll still find it bland. Quality is a factor, a very important one, but the actual entertainment value, immersion and experience aren't determined solely by that, and they are very important as well. Surely even you have preferences and turn-offs that nomatter how well-written will just never appeal to you. Having a rule meant to filter out people who don't share your interests is perfectly legitimate.

We are on full agreement on B though.
 

Hella Downweather

Art by : Cloudyskies The Witch of the Quill
A ten page description of one thing? Sounds like a terrible writer.

Writing samples are the actual way to filter quality. GMs don't usually do it because it's not nice to reject people. Instead post mins are invoked and ironically post mins don't filter at all.

Extra edit in points

  • Back and forth conversations and action posts running 500+ are almost always ridiculous. They borderline meta-game other characters into innaction as well.
  • Paragraph minimum makes no sense because paragraph size varies wildly. Word min makes more sense even if I hate it.
  • Good writers describe the same amount in less words. Clever sentence structures, double meanings, showing thought with physical action, obvious implications. I do more describing with less words than many people. My 400 words might have more content than another's 600 - but I'm the one who's not allowed in?
Dude Madame Bovary was the bane of my existence back in highschool. But other works of his are pretty good.

However I disagree that good writers have to be able to write the same action with less words, else journalists and bloggers would be at the peak of literature right now. Plus, I feel like most minimums are around 300 words, not 500 (or in the thousands, but then people are searching novella roleplayers...which is ok too?). And I hope we can agree the difference between 200 words and 400 is immense compared to the difference between 400 words and 600.

But the purpose of most requirements is to filter for quality. Rules beyond the most basic writing standards and ground rules for safety are pretty much all for the sake of quality, including length requirements. That being said, any requirement that A. Doesn't improve the quality or B. Isn't meant to be adhered to, is inherently irrelevant and shouldn't be there.
I can't talk about group interest check since I almost never RP in group, but....for me the requirement is not really for quality? Like I'm not saying a one liner or people who only write 100 words are not good writers, they simply don't match my style of writing. Like I'm not saying I don't want people 18 and under to RP with me because they don't know how to write, but usually because I'm self conscious of the age difference.

Currently, I have a RP where I write 500 words+ and a RP where I write 200-400 words. How I write in both of them is completely different. My style changes to adapt to the number of words. So when I ask for a minimum word count, it's because I want people to match this style of writing, not because I expect them to be better writers.
 

Idea

The Pun Tyrant The Gif Hydra
My 400 words might have more content than another's 600 - but I'm the one who's not allowed in?
To quickly reiterate a point I made before- the post requirements are made based on either a general standard, or on the person's own beliefs about what would be the minimum required to actually fit in what they want to see (in general).
I can't speak for everyone of course, but if one of my partners consistently delivered me posts that were shorter but still had that content I'd be perfectly fine with them not meeting the minimum.
The problem is that what usually happens is that in the 200 words you removed are things I really care about and you happen not to. You say that you write more with less but half the time that's just a reclassification of content to "not content".
 

Jet

Uncultured
To quickly reiterate a point I made before- the post requirements are made based on either a general standard, or on the person's own beliefs about what would be the minimum required to actually fit in what they want to see (in general).
I can't speak for everyone of course, but if one of my partners consistently delivered me posts that were shorter but still had that content I'd be perfectly fine with them not meeting the minimum.
The problem is that what usually happens is that in the 200 words you removed are things I really care about and you happen not to. You say that you write more with less but half the time that's just a reclassification of content to "not content".
Feel free to read my last IC post to understand my writing. I explain the same or more than most detailed writers without pontificating to peacock my IQ.

Hella Downweather Hella Downweather (editing in a mention)

We have some common ground, 200 words is a floor I strive not to hit. Even in off the cuff conversation posts its easy to hit 3-4 hundred without dredging content.

& most of my "short writing" talk is about sentence structure and efficiency. I don't write shallow content but I strive for tight sentences without waste. I'm annoyed because for 100 content units I'll do 50 word units. I cover all 100C with my 50W but I'm punished/rejected by post minimums. Meanwhile some pontificating ego stroker that writes like ass will make 200W for the 100C and is just fine - even if I'm a better writer.

T Tove sure I'll dm
 
Last edited:

Tove

Two Thousand Club
Feel free to read my last IC post to understand my writing. I explain the same or more than most detailed writers without pontificating to peacock my IQ.
Link me to your writing please, I am most curious to take a bit of a read.
 

Idea

The Pun Tyrant The Gif Hydra
Feel free to read my last IC post to understand my writing. I explain the same or more than most detailed writers without pontificating to peacock my IQ.
Alright, just had a read. It seemed like a good post to me, albeit given my complete lack of context for it, taking any conclusions is hard - if not kind of pointless. That said, at least from what I've seen, I would be perfectly happy receiving posts like that consistently, even with my current length requirements.

As such, I'll take you on your word about it. Let's say you not only can do exactly what you say you can, but that you also can fulfill exactly what I would want out of my partners. That still leaves two issues:
1. "Can" isn't the point- a partner who wants to give me the things I like, who is interested in that same kind of RP, is. Because even if they can deliver a certain kind of post, them reliably doing so is predicated on them wanting to as well.
2. Let's say that you can and want to give me the posts I want. Cool. But I have no way of knowing that at first (even if you give me a sample, how can I trust that someone went out of their way to give me the most representative thing rather than something to make themselves look good?), and I especially have no way of knowing that for every potential candidate out there who refuses to work with me with my length requirements.
 

LittleBakingBun

Local Weeb
As a disclaimer: I only do 1x1 rps
I have paragraph minimums in my interest checks. I will always have paragraph minimums in my interest checks. Now, obviously I can't speak for everyone but I use them explicitly to weed out people who wouldn't match my writing style.

I'm not overly verbose. I like to include body language, details to reference back to in future posts, plot snippets, and other things that genuinely move things along. I don't think too much about how much I write, I never try and make myself write more than I need to, but even with that I consistently write 3-4 paragraphs per "camera angle" in the RP (for example, if one set of characters is handling plot A they'll get 3-4 paragraphs and the characters handling plot B and C will also get 3-4).

My posts will be shorter for more dialogue heavy scenes, but even then my characters are still doing things - they're traveling, doing dishes, they're looking out for enemies. I don't like threads where two characters just drink coffee and talk unless it's building to something greater.

All of that being said - if I put in that much work into a reply and get only a sentence or two back, that just means our writing styles don't match. And that's totally okay! There's nothing wrong with not meshing with people or their writing styles. It doesn't make anyone involved a bad writer, just a different one. However, I'd rather see that ahead of time before the thread starts than us to do all of the leg work to get something started only for both of us to leave disappointed.

Just like I won't reach out to people asking for 10+ paragraphs or to people who want quick and fast text based chats, I don't want people to reach out to me unless I'm able to offer a good partnership that will keep both of us happy.
 
Good writers describe the same amount in less words.
This.

More is not always more. If you say one thing you focus the readers attention on it. You make it important. If you say ten things, each of them becomes ten times less important.

Following this principle, I have to stop writing now.

-

Ok no, haha.

Lately Ive come to accept that different people look for different things in writing.

Some people just... like to read words. They are good readers. They are content with any kind of content and they have the attention span to process it all.
 

ashwynne

🌧 pluviophile 🌧 art: peritwinkle
Moderator
Supporter
Interesting convo!

As someone who prefers lengthy posts, this is mega fascinating to read 👀

TLDR ahead of time: It's a stylistic choice and, as in any hobby, if you're enjoying what you're doing, you're doing it right. No matter what that looks like.

And now, my detailed 2 cents!
- In any interest checks or group RP's I join, I'm one of those who is looking for ones asking for about 500+ words a post. I don't do this as a filtering measure for quality of writing (plenty of people with long posts go on and on and on without anything to say, as has been discussed) but more for filtering out those who will not be compatible with me long term. People who consistently write less than 500 are going to bore me and I'm not going to be a good partner for them. BUT! I also always ask/give writing samples as well. THAT is how I decide whether styles match and whether we're going to be good partners.

- When it comes to dialogue in long form I'd say it comes down to individual style preference. Some people like their crazy monologues or long inner commentary between each line of dialogue. I don't (but I do long form) so I, personally, will do one of three things:
1. Collaborate outside of the IC. This is the most common. Chat form RP to get the conversation written, cut out my parts, take some of their parts for context, weave it together within the bulk of the post. Double the writing fun.
2. Have multiple characters and so dialogue does not necessitate a short post because there's lots of shit going on.
3. Leave dialogue for the beginning/end of the post, and have action on either side. Most action scenes aren't going to require talking (if they do, it's often one-liners where your character won't be sitting around waiting for an answer). Inserting action also works as an interruption/stopping point to any previous dialogue.

I like inner thought lives. I like having my characters be doing something. And I gravitate to plots where there's always a ton of shit to do. Anything less than 500 words and I would not be able to encapsulate the who, what, when, where, why of the situation to my satisfaction. For dramatic effect there are times where I'll hover at 500 or even go below, but usually they tend to be longer.

Depends on what you're aiming for, though. Personally, I think of my RP's as a collaborative exercise where we're--essentially--writing a book together. So novel style writing and posts is what I happen to prefer. Some people aren't into the reading aspect as much and can't get behind it. Totally fine! If you're having fun then that's what counts.

I think trying to firmly apply labels like "unproductive" to elements of a fun hobby is a bit silly. It's really no different than some people loving Tolstoy's War & Peace while others prefer Batman comics. Both are a type of literature, both are incredibly different stylistically, and one is not better than the other because art (and the enjoyment of art) is subjective. Sure, there are things that are objectively "bad writing" but if you and your partner(s) are enjoying yourselves then it doesn't matter.
 

Aeshae

The Very Tired Student
Things are getting heated in the length fandom! For me personally, usually I click the back button on posts that say 5+ paragraphs minimum for group roleplays. Some people might think, oh, she's exaggerating, but no I have run into quite a couple of interesting and detailed hook threads with that requirement.
I'm all about writing some length to have substance, but I feel it's a lot like doing the dishes.

Sure I was going to do it anyways, but since you asked me to now I don't want to lol

I enjoy a good 2 paragraph thread though, so long as it's not just fluff with nothing to work with
 

Melpomene

A Lover of Tragedy|@Nikoboiko|
Supporter
I never knew there could be such an intense debate over something that boils down to preference.

Both long and short posts have their benefits, and everyone has their reasoning for liking both. Neither is inherently better than the other. You like what you like.
 

Dov

People Eater
People do like what they like, but is it fair to suggest that people typically prefer reading something with substance, something engaging? Fluff is neither of these.
 

SCSaya06

Observer
As someone who writes long...it depends.

On my end, RPs I've joined do not measure post length in terms of word count but in paragraphs. They're often in the 3-5 range. This works well enough because there are no hard and fast rules on how many words are contained in one paragraph. It works for me as well, since I tend to space a lot in my writing. You could easily have a paragraph containing only one sentence of dialogue and its fine.

Dialogue is its own paragraph. Thought and action are in another.

Disregarding narrative details in favor of having more realistic dialogue is not something I really strive for in writing. Rarely do characters in fiction speak as a person in real life. Dialogue is also meant to drive scenes and generally move the story forward. It is a tool, just as narration is. If fictional dialogue was realistic, we'll have more breaks, more "ohs and ums" and disjointed thought.

And what makes a post long is rarely dialogue. I don't usually RP in settings that just explore characters. There's always something to do whether its some kind of mystery, battle, or adventure.

I think trying to firmly apply labels like "unproductive" to elements of a fun hobby is a bit silly.
Firmly agree.
 

Shoko Kirishima

My Life Is Complete
Personally, trying to role play in paragraphs in really hard, especially when your partner is expecting like, 500 words in one post. It adds a lot of stress to me, and I don't deal well with stress. Like, I started role playing to relieve my stress and escape from the bitch named reality! I don't want to have to worry about making a lengthy post to satisfy my damn partner on top of everything else! Especially when I'm constantly being pulled away from the phone.
I also feel ashamed that I can't type paragraphs as well as others, making me even more anxious.
 

Idea

The Pun Tyrant The Gif Hydra
People do like what they like, but is it fair to suggest that people typically prefer reading something with substance, something engaging? Fluff is neither of these.
It is fair to say that. But it isn't true that what people who do have these length requirements are putting in their posts, or asking others to put in their posts, is fluff.

I also feel ashamed that I can't type paragraphs as well as others, making me even more anxious.
Telling you not to feel that way would be pointless since...well, feelings aren't that simple a matter, but you don't have to type those long paragraphs. There are definitely plenty of people who prefer shorter, simpler, more direct approaches, and that preference is just as fine as that of someone who prefers a wall of text. So while I can't tell you not to be ashamed, I can say that there is no shame in being more comfortable with smaller posts.
 

Dov

People Eater
Of course fluff isn't guaranteed in a long post, but pressure to make long posts certainly causes one to be more prone to inserting fluff.
 

Idea

The Pun Tyrant The Gif Hydra
Of course fluff isn't guaranteed in a long post, but pressure to make long posts certainly causes one to be more prone to inserting fluff.
I would argue pressure to make long posts at the same pace makes one more prone to add fluff. There are plenty of ways to avoid fluff if you know what you're doing, though indeed trying to keep the same pace one would have with shorter posts (narratively or from player perspective) does make one more prone to accidents.

I do aknowledge there is a slight increased tendency for fluff with length requirements regardless of pace, but this is a rather negligible.

People who are doing minimum requirements simply because they feel they should rather than to actually find partners to match their style, or people who don't match that style but regardless go into an RP with said minimum requirements are of course also more prone to such error, but this is because they are trying to insert themselves into a style of roleplay with which they are compatible.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top