Adding RPG Staff

Adding new RPG staff can be a harrowing experience. Maybe you’ve been burned before by another RPG admin who ripped you off or even stole your game from you. Even if you haven’t, by adding someone else to the game staff, you run the risk of changing your forum roleplaying game’s perspective.

Adding new RPG admins and mods, though, can bring a fresh perspective about how to do things, technical expertise you may not have, and a myriad of other benefits. Consider adding RPG staff if you find the workload of administrating too much or you’re running low on ideas and inspiration.

Numbers of RPG Staff

Definitions
Admin
Administrator. RPG admins have full control over the forum (moving and renaming forums, closing the board, banning users, etc.).
Mod
Moderator. RPG mods generally only have thread powers such as deletion, post editing, etc.

The number of admins and mods you should have for your forum roleplaying game is very, very difficult to get right. Forum Roleplay won’t attempt to tell you exactly how many administrators and moderators you’ll need, so if you’re looking for hard numbers, skip this section.

It’s really tough running an RPG all by yourself — to be successful, you have to come online every day for at least a few hours. If you want to do more than just maintain your forum RPG, you practically have to be online constantly — learning about roleplaying, reading resources, and building new fun for your game. Maintaining and updating this mostly static website is tough enough for one person. Throw a community into the mix, and it becomes nigh impossible.

Conversely, adding ten admins and twenty mods to a game with fifty players may be a mistake. Allowing too many voices can dilute your RPG’s intent or plot. It can also make it difficult to get things done. If you have to wait for all ten of your RPG admins to approve an idea before implementing it, you may wind up waiting a week or more to answer a simple member question!

Structuring RPG Staff

Moderators

Select your mods with as much caution as your admins. They are still able to remove content from your forum — which can be devastating if they delete your forum’s posts. Mods can also act out of turn, misrepresenting themselves as an admin and issuing ban threats. Because they are moderators, the members of your forum are more likely to trust them — even when they’re lying and misrepresenting themselves. Appointing the wrong person to a mod position can have consequences as severe as appointing the wrong admin.

Administrators

Admins have complete access to the roleplaying forum. They have all of the powers of a moderator — and then some. An administrator can ban users, delete forums, add new forums, and make any number of back-end settings. Appoint administrators with extreme caution — make sure you trust your co-administrators.

More often than getting a “bad apple,” though, many RPG admins complain of inactive staff. You appoint someone to be your co-administrator, things are great for a while, and then they disappear. Now what? This depends on your forum roleplay’s staff structure — if they’re equal in rank to yourself, you may not be doing the fair thing by simply removing them. On the other hand, if you’re the head administrator, you can remove them at will. Structure is discussed later, but is important to keep in mind as you create your forum roleplaying game.

Server Administrators

This generally applies to only self-hosted forum roleplays (not those on forum servers such as InvisionFree or ProBoards). You can make someone an administrator of your board, while retaining access to your web server’s cPanel or other administration software. The domain will also usually be in your name — meaning it’s a lot harder for even another administrator to lift your content, delete and close your game, or otherwise act maliciously.

Structures Within Structures

Depending on how much control you want to retain, it may be worthwhile designating yourself as head administrator, with other administrators as your co-admins. You’ll have to define what exactly separates you from your fellow RPG admins — whether that’s final say, control of the domain and web server, etc. Democratic organizations work well, too — so it really depends on how much control you want to retain amongst your co-admins.

You may, if your forum roleplaying game is large enough, wish to designate moderators and administrators with specific duties — an Advertisement and Promotion Administrator, for example, with a team of 5 Advertisement and Promotion Moderators to aid them. Huge games probably need huge teams of staff with exact and specific duties — expecting people to do everything is probably way overwhelming.

Picking New RPG Staff

More important than numbers, pick the right RPG staff. Some things to consider:

Did They Ask?

Forum Roleplay is of the opinion that unsolicited forum roleplaying game staff applications are usually a bad thing. That is, if there isn’t an advertisement for an open staff position, roleplayers shouldn’t ask. This is especially true if the application is simple and short, like “Can I please have a moderator position?”

How Active Are They?

If it’s been days since they last came online to your RPG, move along and don’t consider them. Enough said.

Conversely, too, though — beware of the would-be RPG staff member who is very active, but only works toward their own ends. The best person for staff is the person who is willing to sit down and do the really boring crap nobody else wants to do. Of course everyone wants to make their own roleplay characters and groups super-shiny — but are they willing to engage RPG newbies and help them get adjusted? Are they willing to do archivals of dead roleplay threads, updating IC and OOC forum links, and other seriously mind-numbing stuff? Are they willing to take on big projects that may require a lot of time and a lot of effort?

If the answer is no, look elsewhere. Administrating an RPG is sometimes a mind-numbingly boring duty. It’s a website, and the RPG staff is there to maintain it. An unmaintained website quickly becomes one of the dusty corners of the web.

How Long Have They Been a Member?

Longevity is a good consideration when looking to promote RPG staff. The longer someone has been at your RPG:

  • The better you can judge their character (their actual character, not roleplay character) and how well they deal with stress;
  • The better they understand different aspects of your roleplaying game.

It may not be possible to look for 6+ months membership at your two-month-old forum RPG, but it’s definitely a consideration to think about (if possible).

Note that longevity needn’t necessitate a promotion, though — if someone has been a member at your roleplay for six years and starts expecting a moderator position on the basis of their longevity, that is precisely the type of person not to consider.

Tips for Promoting RPG Staff

  • ASK FIRST. Seriously. Ask the person whether they want to be part of an RPG staff. You may be surprised at the answer. Respect a no, if you get one. Some players just want to roleplay; others are into being staff.
  • Graduate their staff duties. Start them off with access to your game’s Twitter account. See how well they do with updating that. Then, give them moderation powers over a few minor forums (your advertising forum, for example — not your game information forum). Then, give them global mod powers. Then, forum administrator. Then, web server host access. Don’t shove the keys to the kingdom into the new staff person’s hands. This is good for you: if your new RPG staff member turns bad, you suffer little damage. This is good for them: if they work up through the duties, they become proficient at each instead of trying to learn everything at once.
  • Make sure you document the way you want things done. Don’t rely on the person to just pick things up — this can be overwhelming to them and frustrating for you.

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