Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

23
Jul

Starting a New Era: College Life

   Posted by: Kaitlyn

Not many know that I’m actually going to college now. Not much of a surprise but whatever. After two years of trying to find a permanent home to settle down and start college, somehow I got in last year and went to classes online. This year is different. I fought to get In-State Tuition because I feel like this is my home now. I’ve never lived in this part of the county, but Cohutta is amazing on so many levels. Small, quiet, but lots of bugs out in the country. Can’t expect more in the south though. Anyway I am going to classes in 16 days. I’m counting down in my head because I’m excited. My classes are as followed:

  • Calculus and Analytical Geometry I
  • Principles of Programming I
  • English I
  • Fundamentals of Speech
  • American Government

I am a Sophomore and it is hilarious that according to this college, I’ve taken English II before English I. I needed English I for my major. Anyway, that is what I have, and I go to school all weekdays. I begged for five classes, and that was what I wanted. What can I say, I really wanted it. This will bring about some changes to my life though. One thing, never been in a campus classroom before so that will be an exciting change.

Changes for HNZ though? I might not be on for like 24 hours a day. Probably a similar schedule for what I had when I was working a full time job, or a part-time one. All of the pages of Accio! that I do will be closing earlier, which was why it was in the BWU several times. Bringing out a new set of pages so keep a look out on that! But with that in mind, anyone that is not pictured at all, won’t be. Not even the seventh years. I used to spend a good two to three hours looking for pictures and the full name for those that did not post pictures. Not anymore. I just wish that some people would take like a couple minutes out of their lives to post a picture for their student and answer to the PM if there was one. It makes the pages really worth while! It makes them bigger and fuller! But I guess it isn’t that big, which is why there isn’t going to be IC Superlatives for a while. That itself takes sooo long to do. It isn’t worth counting the votes if only 4 OOC people voted.

I might not be able to do lessons for my students anymore, especially my third years. Less to grade I suppose but eh. I liked it. I want to focus on school, but I am going to have fun in the meantime. It might take some time, I’m sure that this will be easy to balance out after a couple of weeks. I am superb at time management. When I want to be that is.

Sigh. I’ll just wrap this up then.
~ Kaitlyn


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Anybody who was part of a conversation in Shouty tonight likely spied a seemingly random outburst on my behalf – raging against something which many probably see as a non-issue.

Excerpts from my glorious rantings included such gems as:

Neville also didn’t fit the Gryffindor image. Lesson: Stop ‘yer cryin’. Sorting hat did it right. Make it work. Develop a character. Dare to have your plans be dynamic.

The point is the sorting hat gets it right. A roleplayer would put Neville in Hufflepuff and say he has his brave moments but is mostly a Hufflepuff.

My point is that roleplayers are dumb. They plan a whole character’s life and have a tantrum if their character’s life is interrupted in its idealistic perfection at all by actually interacting with other characters or responding to situations

and

It defeats the purpose of an interactive RPG if we all define our character’s paths and have them go down them in a straight shot without room for deviation or error.

I’d like to preface the following by stating that it’s not directed at anybody in particular. The conversation in shouty definitely brought it back to mind, but this has been something that has bothered me for some time (as you’ll see in my rant to follow).

My point is a simple one, and I think it ties tightly back in to what Amanda posted nearly a year ago in her post Open Says Me – the fun of roleplaying (to me, at least) is the insane things that just happen. How two people in the real world, with very different lives, writing styles, and ideas, come together in collaboration to create something epic – each controlling a character and writing in half of a story, all the while actively enjoying and reacting to the half that they have no power over. Influencing their own half of the story. Veering off course wildly – perhaps never to return.

Ever since Sorting on HNZ began people have gamed the form. I’m no fool: I know it’s done, and it frustrates me. Not because we suddenly have 1000000 stereotypical Slytherins demanding Slytherin or death to all (though, don’t get me wrong, that’s absolutely dumb) – but because it steals some of the excitement away from the sorting process and the actual roleplay. You, as a roleplayer, have developed a character with certain hopes and dreams you have – but you’re a roleplayer in a text-based, play by post, RPG. You’re not an author of a fanfiction. You, perhaps unfortunately (though, in my view, quite fortunately), have merely 50% of the control. Sometimes less. You can shape your character. You can mould your character. You can put your character in the right place at the right time. You can’t determine their fate in every respect. Because you need to work with other people. When we refuse to do that, or we game the system, we rob not only others of a proper and full experience – but I think we rob ourselves of some of the excitement of roleplaying, as well.

Fanfictions are great. Novellas, and literature: can’t get enough of it. But HNZ isn’t for those things. HNZ is for coming together as a community and crafting something brilliant and unique. Bringing our own ideas to the table and compromising with other people to see what new and exciting things will come out of it.

My case-in-point for this argument is a topic I had when HNZ was perhaps the most fun it ever has been for me. It’s a roleplay which, while I cringe to link to it now after so many years, still makes it in every reminiscing sufficiently veteraned members of the site makes. Countless lists of favourite roleplays include this thread. A Brotherhood Sized Bet. If you haven’t read it: do.

That thread, an icon of HNZ’s past and of what is great about roleplaying, happened almost entirely spontaneously. My entering it, unplanned. What happened to my character: grossly unexpected. I had no idea. And I had to react to it as I read the post. No preparation, no planning ahead, no avoiding the topic lest it should change something key about my character, no shutting down the roleplay as soon as I didn’t like where it was heading.

We all have plans and goals for our characters. That’s natural and to be expected. But, as in life, it’s the journey that our characters go on that counts. Fast tracking and pre-planning everything, while ensuring it happens, steals something gravely important about the experience that HNZ offers from you. Something that definitely should never be stolen away. I miss it severely and I don’t want to see others never having experienced it at all.

“Make it work. Develop a character. Dare to have your plans be dynamic.” I think that’s a fair summary of what it is that needs to be done. Developing a character should be an active process, ongoing and changing as roleplays happen and partners in the roleplay throw in unexpected, amazing, surprises – like life offers to us each and every day. Have plans be organic, not static – make the roleplay interesting, not scripted and entirely two dimensional. Boring. When somebody offers you something in a roleplay that didn’t quite fit the master plan, or the sorting hat puts your blood supremacist sadist in Hufflepuff: make it work. It’s an opportunity to have a lot of fun, not a sentence to death and destruction for your character (though that could be fun too, couldn’t it?).

Hoping you’ll soon find your characters entirely out of control, developing whole new lives of their own, and surprising and surpassing even your wildest thoughts and plans for them,

~Nick


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1
Sep

The insult that is stealing

   Posted by: Nicolas

This post was started in March, saved as a draft, then forgotten about. I’m publishing it now for no reason, really.


It can be pretty frustrating, being a content creator on the Internet. (Or, as most of you on HNZ know I don’t create much content anymore, I fear – a content administrator. 😉 )
The problem often is that your stuff gets stolen, taken by other people, and you find out about it somewhere down the line when it’s too late to really react. It’s an unfortunate reality, and for all the safeguards that exist to prevent this, none of them work really perfectly – and none of them work very well when you consider the ZetaBoards forum platform.

That all said, it hasn’t usually been malicious third parties taking things randomly from us. In fact, random third parties more often request permission to use our content and attribute it to us. The real evil seems to come from members of our community.

Countless users of HNZ have decided, after some time, that HNZ might not be just right for them, for whatever reason. So they decide they’ll start their own RPG, but instead of spending time creating their own content (codes, documentation, etc.) they take what HNZ already had in place. This has always been quite confusing to me. HNZ isn’t good enough for them, so they want better and know they can do better – but in the process of doing better than us, they just take what we have and claim it as their own.

Traditionally, I’ve come across communities made by HNZ people with other HNZ people as the regular membership filled with HNZ content. Not just their characters and their RPs (which they’re free to do with as they will, obviously) but also our rules documentation, our forum images, anything that tickled their fancy, and I’m left amazed.

More recently, however, a beast of a different kind has reared its ugly head. HNZ now has a set of useful and dynamic tools that set it apart from similar boards. These tools include the gradebook, the shop system, galleons, etc. etc. etc. These are uncommon codes because they take webhosting and a little bit of coding know-how, two things a lot of people can’t be bothered with. So instead, they try to take HNZ’s.

The thing is, with an external host it’s pretty simple to track down who’s accessing your site, and how they’re doing it. I’ve caught four boards now trying to use the like system from HNZ, if not the gradebook and galleons as well. (They’re pretty much useless without approved staff accounts being able to set up galleons, or assign grades, or anything else, but it’s still the thought that counts – and this thought was malicious.)

Additionally, I’ve caught a couple of the same people stealing HNZ’s custom themes for use on their own boards.
Fortunately, being on the support staff makes it easier to prove stolen content is mine and have such communities closed – but it’s an inevitable and unrelenting frustration to see things stolen, and people believing that we’re stupid enough for them to get away with it.


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23
Oct

Open, says me!

   Posted by: Amanda

Open roleplays are magical. Wicked. Wizard. Cool. Sweet. Groovy. Gnarly. The bee’s knees. Whatever word/phrase you want to use, this type of RP is bomb, but unfortunately seems to be endangered on HNZ.

What is an open roleplay, you ask? In short, it’s a roleplay that other RPers are able to join with their characters, where the action happens. It’s a sort of reaction game, where you bounce off the posts of other people in the RP. The thrill of it all is not knowing for sure where the RPs are going to go or what your characters will do or say.

When I first joined HNZ over four years ago, RPs were like this. They were extremely fun, engaging, and you were able to write and get to know all sorts of people. Stepping out of your comfort zone was easy. For the most part, RPs were active and people just kept posting.

There’s a trend on HNZ now of closing RPs. Closed RPs are generally pre-planned and bar other characters from joining. One of the problems with this type of RP is it ignores that all the areas of HNZ’s world, including the school, is a dynamic environment. Things happen. People walk around. There are interruptions. Typically, a closed RP puts the RPers and their characters in a whole world of their own. It’s hard not to feel alienated when practically every RP you see prevents you from participating. I can’t imagine how jarring this is for new members, no matter how much they are welcomed by the community.

Don’t get me wrong and think that I hate closed RPs. I don’t. They’re fine in certain circumstances. However, I don’t feel there’s any excitement in having everything planned to a T and being limited to reacting to only certain characters. I’ll even go so far to say that I usually find participating in a closed RP to be dull. Most closed RPs don’t have the life that an open RP does.

At this point, I’ve got to stop my ragging on closed RPs. I’m writing this blog to explain the benefits of an open RP. So, without further ado, here are some reasons why open RPs are just awesome.

1. They’re inviting.

2. You get to write with and meet new people.

3. You don’t plan things out too much ahead of time.

4. You get to develop your character and their relationships in ways you don’t get with a closed RP. Show us how your character treats the person who interrupts them, not just how well they get along with their BFFs.

5. They’re fun/exciting/engaging. You’re never entirely sure what’s going to happen in the next post.

6. They’re usually active. (No waiting literal months for a response!)

7. They’re more fun to read.

8. There’s a smaller chance of burning out on said RPs.

9. Can I say again how FUN they are?

I will finally have a firstie in Y14 (I haven’t had a student for about two RL years.) This is the pledge I will make to all of you: With that character, I will participate in and create only open RPs. I want to practice what I preach.

Don’t ever be afraid to start or join an open RP. They’re not scary, I promise. An open RP doesn’t have to be ridiculous, either. You can have a great open RP while still using your judgment and abiding by the rules of the site and the universe we RP in.

Hopefully, the open RP will get past its neglect and disuse and return to the site in a blaze of glory. We can do this! Help make HNZ an even more enchanting place to get lost in!

If you’d like to join me in saying that you’ll RP, for the most part, in open RPs because you know how awesome and needed they are – just add the user image to your signature and let others know, help spread the word:

Open RPs
[url=http://blog.hogwartsnewzealand.com/2011/10/open-says-me/][img]http://img.hogwartsnewzealand.com/upload/openRPs.png[/img][/url]

Thanks for reading!

~Amanda

PS: Feel free to leave comments and/or questions. I’m interested to know what other people think about this topic.


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