Welcome to Orphans!
This document is about some rules and some ideals the sim follows. These are designed to help guide new people and remind existing people how thins are supposed to be done and how we, as a group, are writing an ever-evolving story.
First off, while trite and everyone does say it, “Have fun!” We mean it. If its not fun, stop, let us know so we can try to help you and if it doesn’t work out, no harm, no foul.
Second: “Be Respectful of your peers”. This means to treat them as you want to be treated and be prepared that if you’re being an ass, you’re going to get called on it pretty quickly. You’re not going to be able to get away with writing your character and having them be an ass and never having contact with your fellow writers except through the character because we believe that your character should suffer realistically for his/her/its actions. If they’re an ass, they’ll be treated as one. See also “Fourth” for something else that relates to “respecting your peers”.
Third: “Get involved”. This is not a passive environment and if you’re used to a passive simming environment where you’re looking for someone to tell you what to do, this may not be a good fit for you. We’re all cooperatively creating our world and writing together to make that happen. A solitary writer has minimal impact and someone who’s waiting to be fed information that’s readily available in the support documentation or the written backstory (which we update important events, discoveries, etc in the support documents) is going to go nowhere. Loners are sexy for a minute but they get stale and boring way fast.
Fourth: “Write to evolve, evolve to write”. So many writers engage in circular plots, where they regurgitate the same old materials over and over again for their characters. Every character needs to grow up and evolve as a person and every writer does too. We believe that our characters teach us about ourselves and about others in a very real way, a very safe way. This means that we, as writers, should be paying attention and growing our characters towards goals, growing them, aging them.
Fifth: “Quality over Quantity”. We focus on the quality of the work we put out over the speed at which we put it out there. We believe if you like the sim and the writing, you’ll engage more and write more, as real life allows. We never want anyone to ignore their real life for their sim life and we never want anyone to feel rushed to put out posts that could be crap, rather than a few good longer and put together posts. If your name is on a post, you need to make sure what you put out is something that you’ve done your best with. If there are several of you, pick over it; look at details, flow, language choices and of course, grammar and spelling. Remember all those confusing English words that sound the same (feint, faint) that mean completely different things? Fix it! Also, since most browser have grammar and spell-checkers built in, there's really no excuse.
That said, we’re not interested in people not being involved and just sitting there. See the “What happens if you dick us around” section below…
Sixth: “Check your ego at the door”. If you’re a professional writer, then what the hell are you doing here? This is not the place for grandstanding, for superhero syndrome or for slash/porn fiction and none of us are too good not to be able to learn something from the appropriate feedback of our peers. Your ego should never get in the way when a peer suggests that you could improve something or observes that you seem to be having an issue. Sure, they could be off-base or they could be right. Either way, they’re trying to help develop you. A lot of us are good writers and have good skills and we’ve been writing for a decade or longer together in a variety of simming environments. We might have a clue. You should give us the benefit of the doubt. We certainly will with you until you prove us wrong.
Seventh: “Everybody helps everybody”. This talks backwards to all the prior points but brings something else forward. Everybody on the sim is responsible for helping everybody else. Be it consistency with story elements, a quick reference to an odd question, be it writing quality or something as simple as “Dude, do you spell and grammar check at ALL?” It’s the job of everyone on the sim to help out everyone else and trust that the person receiving the help is going to be receptive. To that end, the people on the sim won’t be assholes when they bring it to you and they expect you not to be an asshole when you hear it.
Eighth: “You are the story”. This last basic guide reinforces that we are all contributing to the ongoing world development. There may be someone who generally moves things in a direction but ANYbody can come up with a cool idea and put it out there. We do this through opening an OOC post and putting everyone’s PC’s in the sim on it and titling it “Story Idea: ------“ with the lines being the title of the story and then in the OOC put the synopsis as you’ve though of it preceded by “OOC-your name:”. People will tag back and help develop the story using the same method of identifying themselves when they reply “OOC-their name:” and then saving it. Once the story is ratified, the admins will slot it and assign a start date for it and load it into the sim engine.
The point is that there is no real “GM” in this sim. The leadership is more diffused, with responsibility being spread to everyone. We’re a cooperative, the majority carries the vote in a discussion or disagreement, no one person is responsible and no one person bears the brunt and weight of that kind of job. Only the sim admins, who’s jobs are to maintain the web presence, the domain, the graphics and documentation have any centralized duties but those are separate and not in any way administrative toward the sim’s membership.
Now to the part about consequences… what happens if you dick us around?
First: If you disappear without a word.
If you don’t post for 14 days and you have no active posts pending that you’re working on and you’ve not asked for a LOA, you’ll get a PM from one of the sim admins to respond back to in 3 days. If you fail to do that you are suspended and have a strike against you. We will message you again at 7 days and wait three days and then one more at and wait three days. At that point 30 days will have passed without activity, you will have not responded and not been on a leave and you will have accrued three strikes. Your account will be locked for thirty days before it’s terminated and your character will be taken out of play, pending your removal.
If you return during the lockdown, the thirty days following the attempts to contact you with no luck, the admins will need an explanation and will decide if it warrants reactivation.
If you were being lame and just not responding, we’ll probably deny reactivation because that’s really disrespectful of your peers. You can reapply with a new character if you wish and your original one will be written out of the story in a suitable fashion that suits us.
If you can explain to the admins satisfaction what happened, they will reactivate you and you can resume, all but one strike cleared. Repeats of this behavior will accumulate permanent strikes and will result in you not being able to come back to the sim with this character.
Second: If you’re a dick to your peers
If you decide to be an ass and the peerage of the sim tries to reason with you and you’re a consistent disruption in the flow and peace of the sim, you’ll be warned. Each warning carries a strike. Three strikes and you’re out. You can only be warned once every ten days so, inside of a month, you can get yourself booted off for being an ass. Strikes for being an ass don’t go away.
And that pretty much covers it.
If all that’s too restrictive for you, consider it an easy letdown. If you think that’s pretty cool and you’re excited, get your ass onto the character creation page and get crackin’!