Thursday, November 04, 2010

Re: the RP stigma

This hopefully won't come as a shock to anyone, but I'm a total dork. As such, I feel right at home in online fantasy worlds like IMVU, and feel a certain kinship with roleplayers, or RPers if you're just too busy to write the damn word out.

Okay, so there's this poll going around about whether roleplayers deserve to have a subforum of their own on the IMVU forums. This would give them a place to discuss all things RP-related without being bothered by anyone, and without their discussions bothering anyone else.

Click to View the Poll

Regardless of what you think of roleplaying, this isn't rocket science. There are people on the forums who don't want roleplayers discussing their storylines, characters etc. in the Misc section or other parts of the forum where it's not really relevant, and the roleplayers want to have a central place where they can discuss their RP stuff without getting hassled (creating individual groups for this purpose hasn't been cutting it). Adding a subforum for roleplay-related discussion would make everyone happy.

Now, I could leave it at that, but I'll go one further and explain why the harassment these folks are getting is undeserved. If you don't care, feel free to stop reading now. Just go vote on that poll if you have an account, as it would be helping a good cause.

Here's the thing: a lot of people have this twisted perception of what "roleplaying" is. When some people hear the word roleplay, they immediately think of sex. Others may think of LARPers and DnD nerds dressing up as elves and doing creepy things in their parents' basement. The fact is, while those kinds of people might fall under the umbrella of "roleplaying", the term has a much broader definition.

Roleplaying is basically any time where you make up a fictional character (or characters) in a fictional setting and act out that character, typically in writing when we're referring to roleplay on the Internet. It's kind of like writing a fiction novel, but in multiplayer form. And there are all kinds of roleplay. Some people like to act out sexual fantasies with made up characters, while others just enjoy the writing exercise and the communities of people they meet.

The bottom line is, we all enjoyed playing make-believe as kids. Some of us are just under the ridiculous impression that it stops when we grow up. It doesn't. Actors and writers get payed to do it every day. And we do it whenever we watch, read, etc. What are movies, books and tv if not playing make-believe?

The truth is, a lot of people like to use their imagination, to imagine themselves in another person's shoes, in another time and place. This is what roleplaying is. Whether it's elves and orcs, angels and demons, or just plain old humans doing more interesting things than what you're doing right now. RPers are not freaks or sexual deviants or anything (most of them aren't, anyway >_>). For the most part they're just ordinary people who have a taste for the extraordinary.

So, yeah, to sum up, roleplayers are not all freaks. If you think so and treat them as such, you're a dickhead. Let them have their own forum section and quit being so god damn intolerant. "There are two kinds of people in this world I cannot tolerate: people who are intolerant of other people's cultures, and the Dutch."

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