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Author Topic: New Horizons  (Read 581 times)

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New Horizons
« on: February 27, 2017, 08:33:36 PM »
Hello, everyone! I wanted to take some time and publically discuss a few things. Let everyone see some of the ideas that are going down onto the table, and put down their own as well. We'll be talking about a couple of major changes to the website and how things work around here. These topics are in varying stages of planning and are at most, concepts for changes. Nothing is guaranteed.

Topics in no particular order:
  • IRC vs. Discord
  • Information Flow & Communication
    • Remnant World History
    • Lexicon
    • Encyclopedia
  • Affiliation & Advertising
  • The flow of time + Recap System
  • Storyline & Freeform RP
  • Changes to Character Approval
  • New Name
  • Staff Roster


Lots of things to talk about! I'll give a brief overview of each one, and then I am looking for comments, concerns, questions, and other related things on any or all of these things. I want to know everyone's thoughts on the matters.


IRC vs. Discord


If you are not familiar with Discord, it is basically a chat program that combines features from IRC, Skype, and Teamspeak. It's a free program(also runs in a browser) that is feature-rich and receives fairly regular updates.

IRC is cumbersome. It has a mildly difficult barrier of entry, and that turns a lot of people away. Additionally, browser-based versions of it are sorely lacking in features. Downloadable versions exist but are often complex to operate and setup, and often request/require payment.

Discord is something that can be easy to manage for users and the server owner. It's always free(Their only paid option is basically a donation, as the features you gain are very minor and non-functional). All the important features are included on both the browser version and the downloadable version.

Also, something to explore is having certain types of threads/events in Discord chat, or something like a collaborative Google Docs file. It would be possibly very nice for threads involving very high amounts of conversation and little action. An example would be, from the original version of our site several years ago, the Initiation Ball thread. It was 28 pages long in less than a day because there were several players all posting 1 line posts because there was nothing to describe. Something like that is very spammy in a forum setting but more manageable in a chatroom. But just a possibility to consider.


Information Flow & Communication


This is one of the most important things on the list. I want to increase the organization and availability of information both for veterans and for newcomers. One large issue I see is that nobody really knows what is and isn't included/allowed in our setting, which is an Alternate Universe of the main show. Most people know that all canon characters do not exist, but not everyone. Nobody is certain if the Maidens exist, or if real magic exists, who the big bad guys are, etc. This can be alleviated with compendiums of knowledge that are up to date. Which brings me to the list of things I want to work on first.

The world history of our AU Remnant. For the most part, things generally line up with the show, up until episode 1, season 1. There was a big war about 80 years ago, for example. However, things already changed. We have renamed this war to the Greyed War(canonically, it is simply the Great War). We renamed it because it was referred to as a war on color, art, expression, and the like. Anyway, what I'm getting at is that things are the same, but also a little different. And this all should be cataloged in a way that is easy to determine.

Moving on, we have a Lexicon, a dictionary of terms that we use regularly on the site. However, it is outdated and also lacking a lot of things. Additionally, an encyclopedia should be made, which would provide significant details on various aspects of the world. Explain the geography of Remnant, including a list of the proper names of all the continents, including our custom content. Currently, our custom content is all disconnected from each other and the canon parts of the world. Something like this would help paint a picture that ties all the various aspects of it together, without having to sift through huge, multi-page posts describing each and every world build in extreme details that you frankly, don't need right now. The goal of this encyclopedia would be to give overviews. Most characters would know at LEAST most of the things in the encyclopedia. They would know the names of the Kingdoms and their general locations, major global landmarks such as the Sunkissed Sands(the desert surrounding Vacuo), where Bergenstahl is, etc.


Affiliation & Advertising

This is the final step of all of this. I want to advertise our site somehow, to help bring in new people. Currently, we get only a small amount of players joining, and because we lack player retention, our numbers never really increase. No planning has really gone into this yet, simply due to a number of things to be done beforehand.



The flow of time + Recap System

This is my big idea, that also ties in heavily with the next idea. We have tried several times over the course of the site to implement some kind of timeline. The creation of a World History page would be the first step to actually seeing this happen. I want time to pass, and a major story to be told as it does. There are lots of ideas for the story. It could be a unique story made up by a select few, which makes them effectively the GM/storytellers, then the players play out their threads as they progress through the story. It could also be the canon story, rewritten partially but in general following the same story arcs. A third option would be some kind of collaborative story where everyone contributes through the threads they make. Much harder, but potentially much more interesting.

The idea behind allowing this all to work would be what I am just calling the Recap System. Once a (real life)week, all participants in threads in the Storyline category(more on this later) will submit a "recap" to one person, detailing in a few short sentences, what has happened to their character and/or what happened in their threads. This person would then collect all the recaps, and combine them into a single semi-cohesive story post. This would happen every week and would paint a picture and tie threads together for the first time.

  As an example, say your character's team is sparring in the Beacon Arena. Under the current system, nothing else is happening in the world right now, unless you say it is happening directly in your thread. Now, say in another thread, a bunch of bandits just blew up a chunk the Beacon Arena. With the current system, these instances simply don't happen at the same time. They can't, because neither thread knows about the other. With the recap system, the sparring thread members would see in the latest recap that hey, someone just blew up the arena in this thread. They could then talk to the other thread members, and combine their threads together, or something akin to that. Basically allow for the ideas of others to interact with yours.


Storyline & Freeform RP


Now for this idea to work, the previous idea probably also must work. I am proposing this Storyline category, where all threads in the category are counted in the recap, and affect each other. The section would have stricter rules, such at posting speed(Something like twice a week, but it would be flexible) and requiring more of the character's profile, such as having all students be on a team of 4. All 4 characters would have to be active in the Storyline category. Time would progress slowly over time. At first, the effective time would be Month 1, Year 1. All threads would take place sometime during that month. As the story progresses(either through "Main Story" threads, similar to event/plot threads, or some other concept not yet realized), time would eventually pass to Month 2, Year 1. Once it does, all future threads can only begin in Month 2. However, actively running threads would still be able to be continued and finished. Additionally, at the end of each month(in game month, not like the weekly recap) there would be a super recap post. This post would explain major events in the world, and all future posts would need to take these things into account. If for example, Beacon Academy got exploded in Month 3, and it was Month 4, all threads must take that into account. You can't have a thread where you attend class at Beacon as if everything were normal. Because its exploded.

All that said, it would be unfortunately for Beacon to get exploded because a majority of the threads currently made take place there. As such, the current setup of boards are the "Freeform" boards. Time continues to not flow there, and in general, those threads to not affect the Storyline threads, and vice versa. This would still allow characters to take part in things such as spars at Beacon Academy, or initiation events, or the like. If a character that is participating in Storyline mode decides to join a sparring thread in Freeform, that thread is effectively taking place in the "past" when compared to the current timeframe of Storyline. The biggest reason for this separation is continuity. Doing threads in the past is like time travelling. If an event happens in the past, it could effectively counteract something that happened in a thread in Storyline, 1 month later. This would cause massive story issues. As such, the Freeform board would effectively be out of time, and not affecting of the main story. It may have all still happened, it just can't be easily placed on a timeline.

Changes to Character Approval

One thing we do all the time is to try and solve the issue of character approvals taking a long time. We've tried a whole bunch of times to change the way the system works to "Streamline" it. Frankly, the real issue is that sometimes, people just don't want to review a character. And there's not a very good solution to that.

One possibility is the idea of group approvals. Anyone allowed to approve would have access to a chatroom designed solely for working on approvals. There, you could ask questions of your fellows and collaborate on the review process together. And if you aren't sure how to proceed with a review, you can ask someone to take over/assist you. That kind of thing. Possibilities.


New Name

As you may know, our website address is RWBYFanon.com, and our forums are either called RWBYFanon, or RWBY-RPG. All of this is confusing. We are not affiliated with the website that shares our name, rwbyfanon.wikia.com, and we are not a RolePlaying Game. This has been a point of confusion for a long time, and so I am proposing a rebranding of the site to correct some of these issues. I have no suggestions as of yet, however. We want it to be memorable but not confusing.

Staff Roster

I dunno why this is the last one on the list because it will be among the first things happening. I will be restructuring the website staff in order to bring things up to speed with the possible changes that will be taking place. One issue with our staff is that we've all become lazy with many of our duties, and this is to blame for some of the issues of the website. There will be a general chain of command, but the biggest change is that the staff size will likely increase, and all staff members will have a sole responsibility(or more, if they are so inclined and motivated enough. For example, one of our members, Kaliot, is in charge of managing the Teams board and the Team List. That is a singular task that can be easily managed by one person, and shouldn't be overwhelming to the point of being demotivating.

I also want to increase communication between staff members, because very little goes on currently. I want to be able to solve issues such as, for example, if Kaliot got bored doing Team things, we could find someone else to do them instead of him just forcing himself to do what he doesn't want to do.



There! I think that's everything I have so far. I would really appreciate feedback both from staff and any members! Even if you are brand new or have been around for 4 years, I wanna listen! I want to make this place awesome, and I'm motivated to work on it and see it happen! I want to build a better community than the one we already have! So let me know your thoughts and ideas on these topics. I'm open to suggestions, examples of other sites, anything! Feel free to post in this thread, or PM me if you want.

Kirkka Scarlet - Beacon Academy Groundskeeper - Dust and SCF Expert - SCF Tuner
Kaali Charen - First Year at Beacon Academy
Mia Brightspear & Waffle - Beacon Dust Shop Owner, Huntress, Bear Owner, Dust Expert. Also Waffle is a bear.
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Re: New Horizons
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2017, 10:04:51 PM »
I have some time to soare, and sunce you asked so nicely, I'd be ashamed to remain idle.

IvD: A central, all-encompassing Discord chat would be insane, and with just half a dozen regulars, one would quickly find themselves lost. Case in point, the Spare the Database series and related Discord server.

Maybe have several servers? For different subjects? I'm not sure. Even a 'General Discussion' server would rapidly get out of hand...

Maybe one for Characters, one for Worldbuilding, one - or more - for hanging out and one for Plot-related malarkey, wether it be story-focused or non-canon?

Actually, a generic one for plot stuff, with specifics handled via PMs and such. Trying to not clutter the mains and such. For specific, talk-oriented threads, maybe an administrated Google Drive, text only for the sake of space, or in specific micro-servers on Discord. Spammy, yes, but I don't know how else to go about it without accumulating posts too damn fast.

Also IRC as a backup or for those who prefer it, I guess.

IF&C: There are rules and guidelines that,  bother to read them (I'm probably a minority), are well detailed.

As for the story of the AU, it's been... extremely vague as of now, at best. Like, we have three dates, including the Greyed War and the present date.

And yes, I agree that a "WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW" kinda post would be neat, if hard/tedious to compile.

A&A I have no idea for this one. Reddit? The RWBY sub? I genuinely don't know.

FoT+RS: Well, if I remember correctly, Gus had tried to start something akin to this a while back, which took the form of news posts (after checking, Remnant News Network). Some of the threads had even started articulating themselves around it a bit - more precisely, a self-inflicted chronology within a certain group of members. Not as much as you'd like.

However, how long would threads be? What about the underlying plots? How would a month in-RP translate IRL? Things like that are uncertain to me as well, and I can't think of a quick, good way to fix that right now.

If it's a 'story of the few', it'd work alright. The GMs would dictate the flow, and people would get back in line or be skipped, I dunno. If it's the multi-conglomerate story type, which would be far more interesting in my opinion as well, who would cut between contradicting threads? Who would decide how long a given thread goes for before it starts holding the rest back? Example: the Summer Formal Dance thread still isn't over, yet some of the things that have happened are basically already part of unmentioned character histories, like people meeting/starting feuds/hooking up and whatnot. If the thread were to continue, it could change a whole lot of things for other, chronologically following threads which are ongoing. How the heck would people deal with that?

S&FRP: So storyline would be, well, kind of what Rex, Gus, Vox and a few others have been striding for (Rex is ded now though), while freeform would be quite literally a canon, but temporally non-located set of boards - kinda like something between the normal boards and Non-Canon.

And here again, the concept of RP time v. IRL time is hard to nail down. How long would a month be? How would threads that are ongoing at the end of the month work? Would they be considered 'non-temporal canon', or would they still affect the future? I like the idea, but again, the arbitrary time 'limits' leave me confuzzled to heck.

CtCA:,Hey, I'm all for faster and more cohesive approvals! Don't think I have anything to say of worth about this, though, seeing as I'm no mod and slightly inept :P

NN: Hmmm. The, err, RWBY story group? RWBY AU collective? RWBYFanon Stories?

I can probably come up with dozens of variations, thoguh I'm not sure that'd necessarily be appreciated... :))

SR: More efficient task distribution, hmmm? Maybe, probably a good idea. I'd still allow/permit mods with a given job to be assistants in other jobs - a bit like how Rex, Viv and Time were named assistants for Character Creation a while back. Entirely voluntary, of course.


...I think I'm done.
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Re: New Horizons
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2017, 10:46:38 PM »
FoT+RS: Well, if I remember correctly, Gus had tried to start something akin to this a while back, which took the form of news posts (after checking, Remnant News Network). Some of the threads had even started articulating themselves around it a bit - more precisely, a self-inflicted chronology within a certain group of members. Not as much as you'd like.

However, how long would threads be? What about the underlying plots? How would a month in-RP translate IRL? Things like that are uncertain to me as well, and I can't think of a quick, good way to fix that right now.

If it's a 'story of the few', it'd work alright. The GMs would dictate the flow, and people would get back in line or be skipped, I dunno. If it's the multi-conglomerate story type, which would be far more interesting in my opinion as well, who would cut between contradicting threads? Who would decide how long a given thread goes for before it starts holding the rest back? Example: the Summer Formal Dance thread still isn't over, yet some of the things that have happened are basically already part of unmentioned character histories, like people meeting/starting feuds/hooking up and whatnot. If the thread were to continue, it could change a whole lot of things for other, chronologically following threads which are ongoing. How the heck would people deal with that?

We used to have a timeline/date system but that got scrapped during one of the board overhauls. It was mostly there for players to be consistent with their character timelines, and it would certainly reduce or stop altogether the issues you mentioned so long as people actually use it correctly.

RP time would not correlate to RL time ideally. It would make things far too messy. Technically we have a system for that, or at least we did on the previous site, but it was never even enforced.
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Mao Visorith - First-Year Beacon Student, Team SFF[M]
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Re: New Horizons
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2017, 11:13:43 PM »
A discord server is easy to partition into multiple channels if needed. We currently use a single IRC channel with about 15ish regulars and no issues there. This would be the same, except with multiple channels to split conversations up as needed.

Only one server would be needed for everything you mentioned.

As far as time limits on threads, there wouldn't be any. Time will progress when the story is ready to progress. This would in theory, take into account other threads, as long as the Recap system is being used properly. The Recap system would be able to keep track of the progress of every thread without having to have someone reading EVERY single thread in full context. The only time limit would be that people need to post regularly. I made a flexible, general concept of you must post twice a week in Storyline threads, with the philosophy being that people need to remain active. One requirement of Storyline is that you need to keep your activity up because everyone is depending on you.

As far as staffing goes, I'll be making a thread that is looking for volunteers for multiple staff positions eventually. Still working on that.
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Kaali Charen - First Year at Beacon Academy
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Re: New Horizons
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2017, 11:13:58 PM »
IRC vs Discord
I do definitely think that Discord is a better medium (more easily accessible and easy to navigate for the majority of users compared to IRC)
The idea for creating "live" threads is also an idea definitely worth exploring, especially so for people who feel like they don't want to devote an entire idea to a thread (things like conversations or just in character, character building). Since you can create different chat rooms in Discord if would provide a neat way to get it all set up as different threads. However while Nathan mentioned how messy it might get to have so many servers, it should also be considered (if we do have "live" threads like you suggest) would be the clutter. What happens when a thread ends and people stop responding? Does it sit there and collect space? Do we delete the server and store the story in an archive? Just a thought to consider.

Info and Comms
Pretty much all I've wanted to say about this was covered by nathan and well...you
One thing to add would be that this also makes it easier for people to write a World Build. Knowing exactly what has happened in our history and what is common knowledge would probably open up the gates a little for people with less knowledge to make great world additions.

Adds
Wish I could help here...

Storyline and Freeform
I do like the idea of keeping some threads in kind of a "limbo" while some are put into more organized and slow pace novel type setting. However there is just one thing that might be better than four people. If we limited this new type of storyline threads to 4 people then we would be doing a couple of things. Hunters (probably the most powerful game changers on the forums since they are the "ideal" characters) would be mostly left out since huntsman teams aren't exactly present at this moment. In fact it would probably consist of 90% 1st year teams and 10% everybody else. Not only that, when we restrict entry to 4 people we are opening up the gates to a lot of people who just lose interest in their team/their characters/the site and end up disappearing (most prominent with new users). This would muddy the experience for everyone. However if we kept it to two people (say, the partners that you first see in your initiation) we would not only drop the amount of problems previously mentioned but also only having to keep in touch and manage one other person asides from yourself seems a lot easier then 3.
Of course these are all ideas to bounce around and none of them are inherently bad.

Character Approval
You have no idea how much I would love to have a chat room like that.
The hardest characters to review are not the "mary-sues" or the "edgey sasuke" but the "borderliners"
The characters that toe the line of acceptable and deniable because TECHNICALLY what they propose could work but you would like a second opinion.
This would allow people to get a second opinion or 3rd while cutting down the wait time greatly.

Staff changes:
*sees title*
p-please I-i need this j-job i have 12 children and a wi-
*actually reads post*
oh ok this looks exciting, I wait in anticipation to see what you do here
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Re: New Horizons
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2017, 04:45:06 AM »
I can yell at some of the people in the twitter and tumbler RWBY RP groups but most of what I would otherwise say has been said.

I'd only would emphasis that despite really liking the idea of having, for lack of better words, a main story/progression for the board I don't know if it should be a board wide thing. Rather than being an opt-out thing with freeform idea I'd think about making it an opt-in approach. Pitch it as a long running plot so you know who is interested from the get go and then design 'volume' ends in which new people can join or people involved can leave without disappearing mid story. This also means there is no pressure for the new RPers to jump straight into world defining stuff straight away and can just get a feel how this form of RP and the other RPers work. Yes this will mean that sometimes people will arrive mid 'volume' but the freeform sections might be able to backfill them into previous volumes without much trouble. If lots of people are interested in these macro-plots then they need to be designed in away which promotes side objectives for groups to obtain while others move along the classic story line but also able to adapt when those side objectives go unaccomplished or unexpected changes occur.
No criticism to harsh so hit me with your best shot.

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Re: New Horizons
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2017, 01:01:10 PM »
Limiting the points where people can join/leave is intriguing, but dangerous. There would need to be a solution for people who drop out early, for example. But in general the idea is for it to be an opt-in thing. The freeform would still be a major part of the board(literally half of the RP section), while Storyline would be probably less people. There's one other issue with swapping people in and out, which is continuity. If someone is present for month 1, then heads out/doesn't sign up for month 2, but the story arc continues, it gets odd. That is of course, going to be the nature of the entire idea. I am wanting to have what would effectively be a testing phase, where we have just a couple people working on it so we can see how it goes. Not sure what that all involves as of yet.

Limiting them to 4 people would not be a strict rule. I meant to imply that smaller threads are, in general, easier to maintain and contribute to. A standard team has 4 members in schools, but this would likely hold true for graduate huntsmen as well. Two of my characters very often work together on missions, for example. It would not be a stretch to include two other regular members for a 4 man team. Alternatively, in the land of graduates, teams are not strict. There's a limit of players in a thread, but you don't have to go with a team/set group. It could be a mission board where several people sign up, and the client(whoever issued the mission) would agree to take multiple people, if they feel they need more than one for the mission. That kind of thing. I want there to be a good level of flexibility and don't want to force things on people. If a group of 6 friends always play together and wish to continue, I would be hardpressed to stop them from participating in a thread.
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Kaali Charen - First Year at Beacon Academy
Mia Brightspear & Waffle - Beacon Dust Shop Owner, Huntress, Bear Owner, Dust Expert. Also Waffle is a bear.
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Re: New Horizons
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2017, 09:00:11 AM »
Not really any criticism for this plan but i would like to stick my jand up and say that i want to be involved in the storyline idea the moment it is possible. Also I recommend that of it is created we ensure that the linking of threads isn't overdone.
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psychotic mercenary- Alizarin rust "make me your enemy and they won't be able to identify your corpse"1C6BA0

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1st year nimble tank of team CRSA Sandy Smoke "I've been told I'm a right bastard to fight against. Care to try ya luck?"355e3b[/color]

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Re: New Horizons
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2017, 01:02:20 PM »
(https://github.com/reactiflux/discord-irc : there for reference)

Worldbuilding:

Streamlining the worldbuilding process would be a big improvement; we have a concise set of Character Creation rules and an approval system, and I think it would be good idea to mirror this in the worldbuilding area. Perhaps a 'Scale' system would be wise; individual small communities or campfire spots that one person plans to use a few times then leave could be written up in a shorter amount of time and left for other people to use if they ever need a convenient locale, for example, requiring less intense scrutiny than a multi-(kingdomanal? national?) organization. The scale could probably go something along these lines:

- Single town / small locale
- City-area not nearing complexity or size of kingdom main cities or small-scale organization
- Large organization, city rivaling larger sizes

Each requiring more commitment and development over time; single towns could be a one-person job and quickly approved it it meets conditions, a city-area could have the person making it go over details with worldbuilding mods or other people for a while until it is agreed on, and larger areas would take at least as much time as it currently does to properly analyse and make sure it fits in both physically and in the spirit of the forum and RWBY's environment itself.


Advertisement: First thing I will say, from personal experience, is it's best not to tell community members to actively promote the forum. It sounds weird, but it usually ends up with people from other forums getting annoyed at ads or members being 'stolen' from them, unless the member is already a part of the community. A few well-placed messages by people already a part of different places wouldn't go amiss, as long as they tell someone what they're doing first, at least. Apart from that, considering the website is the second link when you search up 'RWBY roleplaying', there's not tooooo much that can be done apart from maybe ask some of the larger communities, such as the RWBY reddit or other locales, to put a link somewhere for anyone who'd want to participate.


World History: If this becomes a thing, I'd recommend having people have their own 'diary'-like forum post each for each of their characters, having a spoiler-d copy of their character sheet in there, then the forums they've posted in and a general summary of their character's actions in each, and how their character has built over time, which the mods can reference to if they need any further details. It also helps keep a track of character development and stories over time at a glance, then the larger main thread for all the huge goings-on of the forum. It would require careful fielding by mods; I'd suggest a team of two to three for the world history thread alone, then maybe another to make sure everything goes smoothly in the backstory threads. The key difference should be the backstory threads, unless there's a large change to their character in terms of appearance, weapons etc, wouldn't have to be approved; it's somewhere people can keep up with character notes and then when a larger event happens update their character sheet. Speaking of...


Character Approval: Most of what I'd put here has already been said, but one key thing is character editing. Rather than having to move characters across boards, perhaps keep the approved thread open or have a spot in Discord where people put edits to the characters in a second post they want permission to change along with the original sections (for future reference), then if it's approved they replace the old section with the new, keeping the old section in the 'request' post so it is still there for viewing if need be. This is, in my opinion, a helluva lot easier than moving it from board to board and having to read over the entire character again.


Recap System As put above, it would be one hell of a job. It might be best to have an 'official' date on the forums in terms of roleplaying, then have each thread mark when it's started and completed so that can be used in the world history thread if wanted. It may be best to section it month-by-month, with a 'Main Events' spoiler under each and then a 'Threads taking place during' one under that where all the threads that had taken place and their locations would be listed by Kingdom (and, if wanted, by City or Town). Maybe each in-roleplay month put up a thread where people post their character's activities, then each month the thread is deleted and a new one put for updating events?

Anyways, that's everything I can think of right now. Thanks!
« Last Edit: March 09, 2017, 07:43:56 PM by Glow »
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Re: New Horizons
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2017, 09:41:42 PM »
As much as I really like the idea for storyline and want to be involved a big issue just occurred to me. If threads from the previous month can continue while the next month is playing out we could create continuity errors. My recommended solution to this is to have an off season between months where no new threads can begin and the time is devoted to wrapping up incomplete threads.
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Re: New Horizons
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2017, 05:44:51 AM »
I'd say there's an even larger issue with that; some threads simply take too damn long. Currently, said continuity errors for non-story-centric threads are usually covered by estimating what would've happened or avoiding directly referencing them, which isn't the best but is still better than having to wait up to half a year for an essential thread to finish. People might just be busy some of the time while others want to do more stories.
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