This is a list I've been working on to further detail the causes for why a Role Play dies, or why people drop from the storylines. This is an ongoing list and will be updated with new opinions and ideas as they are presented. This list is being posted as a means for GMs and other players to understand the various causes for an RP to die, so that they can discover ways of preventing it.
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This isn't meant to be an insult, it just means that the effort required to remain in the RP would outweigh the fun factor of being in it. Role playing is meant to be fun, not a chore. So, if an Advanced RP you joined suddenly has 5 pages in one day filled with posts, it can be a daunting task to read it all, and keep up. In other cases, the required post-length may also be too taxing on the player, and they'll lose interest as well.
2.) Lack of Interaction.
I believe this is actually one of the most important reasons. I've heard people talk about feeling left out of RPs, or feeling as though their character has nothing to do, because no other characters are interacting with their own. Keeping a team together and making sure all players are engaged is incredibly vital to keeping players interested. RPing is interactive, after all, and if we're not interacting...then we're just writing by ourselves.
3.) Change of Interests.
Let's face it, people's interests change. A fantasy RP might have sounded awesome at the time, but now you really just want to get into a futuristic cyberpunk RP. This really can't be helped, it just goes with the whims of the players.
4.) Too Little Time / Real Life Issues.
Unfortunately we can't always control life, and especially not with school, work, and other responsibilities that may keep us tied down. This ties in a bit with my first idea, because really...if you get left behind in an RP, and have to play catch up...it almost always ends up in a person dropping from the RP. It's just not fun reading through tons of posts, and figuring out how you're going to magically re-enter your character and explain why they haven't been around, or haven't been interacting.
5.) Not Motivated / Writer's Block.
Everyone has had days where they've been able to pump out post after post, and then they've had days where they have just stared at the monitor, typed a sentence, deleted it, typed another sentence, deleted that too...and got nothing done. Motivation is really something worth trying to figure out in and of itself, but I know how people feel when they say: "I'm just not feeling it," or "I've got writer's block," etc. You can't help it sometimes.
6.) Too Slow.
Some people lose interest in RPs just because it isn't going fast enough for them. Sometimes speed is necessary to keep people interested and 'in the moment.' When an RP starts feeling stale, people can lose interest in the RP entirely. Unfortunately, this is caused by the players, and sometimes it can be just one player's inactivity that can drag the rest of an RP down...especially if that player was a vital character to the plot.
You know who I'm referring to; the god-modders and power-players. But, this can also just refer to people who just don't...read other people's posts. I've seen players completely ignore posts that had characters interact with them, and have watched them do something entirely contradictory to the other person's post. It can be extremely frustrating when you have a good team of RPers, but one person who just ends up being a thorn in the side of everyone playing. This can also apply to the overly confident RPer who jumps into an Advanced RP with barely Casual-level skills. When a group of skilled RPers are forced into a group with one bad egg, it can spoil the whole thing.
8.) Inactive GM.
GMs have to be active in an RP in order for it to go far. Sure, there are a few exceptions to this rule, but an RP with an absentee GM is never a good recipe for success. Many great RPs die because the GM just vanished, or they suddenly became too busy to check on the RP and insure it was going the way it should. On that note, GMs should always have a vision in their mind for their RP, because giving players too much authority of the storyline can sometimes yield stagnant results as well.
9.) Everyone Wants to be a Star.
One common theme I've found in a lot, but not all RPs, are people who want to be the 'lead' characters of the storyline. Having players that strive to be noticed isn't a bad thing, but when the cast ends up being comprised of laconic bad asses, and people don't get their way, things can turn ugly. RPs need a balance of supporting roles, and leading roles, not a power struggle.
10.) Too Much Activity.
This is something that I think should be given some consideration. On an active forum, it can be quite the daunting task to keep up with RP threads, especially when they get buried so quickly below other threads. Unless everyone participating subscribes to the thread, it can be a bit time consuming just trying to find the proper threads. I think it'd be good practice for everyone to subscribe to all of their RP and RP OOC threads, but I know a lot of people don't.
11.) Can't Everyone Get Along?
Unfortunately, people butt heads, and it can be the quickest way for an RP to drop off the face of the internet. Striving to keep the peace and to promote some friendliness amongst players is definitely recommended, but I've seen cliques and certain friendships end up giving other 'outsider' players a hard time, which can inevitably end up in an outburst from the neglected party. Make everyone feel welcome, you're all interacting in a story together...just because your characters might hate one another doesn't mean the players should.
Sometimes giving players too much freedom can lead to a stagnant story. Not all players are prepared to be the brain stormers, and when it is your turn to post and you have absolutely no clue what you're supposed to do, it's likely that you're not going to be sticking around much longer. GMs should definitely provide some groundwork for their players, or be willing to provide some in the event that players seem unsure of what to do.
13.) High Expectations / Creative Differences.
In certain cases, a player may be hooked on a storyline because of how they envisioned it, but when push comes to shove, the RP just wasn't what they expected it to be. In some cases, this can also be when players have different visions when it comes to how a storyline should be played out. Sometimes players have very high standards when it comes to their role playing partners, and an RP can die quickly as a result. This is more likely to happen in the OnexOne section, but it's still prevalent in group RPs as well.
14.) Too Many RPs.
This is similar to 'too little time,' but deals directly with players who participate in too many RPs, and either become burned out, or feel too pressured to post in all of their RPs.
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Comments, or any new ideas to add? Feel free to post!