Topic: Proposal: Member Policy 2 Amendment

An idea that came to me today.

Member Policy 2: Canon Characters wrote:

1. Sim Leaders and Game Masters may choose to use canon characters in their sims but are encouraged to do so minimally.
2. Players may not submit canon characters as their own characters to play.
3. At the Sim Leader's discretion, players may include canon characters in their own character's (non-canon) background.

I propose the following alteration of 2 and addition of 2.1 - alterations in italics.

2. Players may not under normal circumstances submit canon characters as their own characters to play.
2.1 Should the sim be an "alternative canon" sim, players are free to submit canon characters if the SL permits.

Before anyone asks, no, I'm not about to propose an alternative universe sim where players play canon characters tongue However, I can't see a particular reason why we should prohibit it. If someone chooses to run, for example, a Doctor Who sim set in another universe, playing the Doctor themselves, that seems perfectly reasonable.

Re: Proposal: Member Policy 2 Amendment

I would be inclined to vote no on this alteration personally, as I have found that in prior situations with something akin to that alteration results in Mary Sue Complexes everywhere, among other issues

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Re: Proposal: Member Policy 2 Amendment

I personally don't see a problem with it. This however also means that such an alternative universe sim is excluded from cross-play with any other sims set in the 'normal' universe.


-Mischa

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Re: Proposal: Member Policy 2 Amendment

I personally dislike the idea for the same reasons as SoapyMac.  Just seeing people using pictures of major canon characters as portraits for their own 'original' character portraits makes me cringe.  Minor ones fine, but major ones utterly ruin immersion and belief in their character as a person for anyone seeing it. 

Kinship with canon characters is usually used for hideous Mary-Suing.  It doesn't have to be, but it usually is.  I don't personally understand why anyone would want to be a canon character anyway, especially a major one; surely the best part of rp is creating your own original character, not your version of what someone else has created? 

SW Accipiter:  Elora  |  SW Invisec:  Karis Durante  |  The Dreamcatchers:  Seren Yates  |  The Longest Journey:  Ciara Stedman

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Re: Proposal: Member Policy 2 Amendment

Maybe what we could do instead is simply add a clause to Member Policy 2: Canon Characters that allows for change on a sim-level and tweaking the House Rules policy as such:

Member Policy 2: Canon characters (January 2011)
1. This policy may be overridden by expressly stating in an individual sim's 'House Rules' that Member Policy 2 is being overridden as per Admin Policy 14: House Rules.
2. Sim Leaders and Game Masters may choose to use canon characters in their sims but are encouraged to do so minimally.
3. Players may not submit canon characters as their own characters to play.

Admin Policy 14: House Rules (December 2012)
Sim 'House Rules' must include the following information:

1. AWOL (Absent WithOut Leave) Policy, noting the number of days a player may go without posting before being considered AWOL, and the procedure for dealing with AWOLs.
2. Content restrictions, i.e. what mature content is allowed within the sim's forum, in character and out of character, and the procedure for dealing with transgressions. (See Member Policy 4: Content in RPs)
3. The sim's location on the following scale:
0 - players can generate NPCs and resolve their actions with no GM intervention.
5 - players can generate minor NPCs and resolve limited minor actions without GM intervention.
10 - players should get GM approval for any NPC and should state their actions and then wait for GM resolution of said actions.
4. Whether players may include canon characters in their own character's (non-canon) background.
5. Whether Member Policy 2: Canon Characters is being acknowledged or if it is being overridden and what the formal ruling on Canon Characters being used in the place of Member Policy 2 such that it is understood who the new ruling impacts, why the change is being implemented, and what the expectation with the new policy is for players, SL's, and GM's.
6. Any other rule distinct to the sim.

Appended is a sample template which SLs are encouraged to use (modifying the section on Member Policy 2 as appropriate for Admin Policy 14.5 if it is being overridden):

AWOL Limit: __ day(s)
Content Restriction: This sim places no restriction on content/This sim does not permit ___, ___ or ___. Failure to abide by this will result in ___.
NPC Policy: Players may not create any NPCs/may create minor NPCs/may create NPCs as they wish, and must await GM resolution of all actions/may resolve minor actions as they wish but must await GM resolution of major actions/may resolve actions as they wish. Breach of this policy will result in ___.
Member Policy 2: Member Policy 2 is being upheld/overridden.
Other Sim Specific Item 1: Players must have a chicken on their head at all times. Failure to do so will result in the player in question receiving no pudding.
Other Sim Specific Item 2: There is no death, there is only the Force.

It's significantly weaker legislature but only because it allows the possibility for canon characters to enter into things. However it's worth pointing out that as a player if you don't like sims with the allowance for canon characters because of the potential for Mary-Suing, the changes to the 'House Rules' policy should make it clear to players what is happening within the sim, and at that point if you don't like the use of canon characters, don't join the sim.  wink  At least it'll be clear what the usage of canon characters will be so you can make an informed decision.

On that note, if a sim is highly subject to Mary-Suing, then whomever stays to continue playing must be enjoying themselves and if the sim still manages to thrive then more power to the people playing there. If the Mary-Suing happening is quite detrimental (as per usual), then the sim probably won't last and then we won't have Mary-Suing anyways. I wouldn't participate in a sim where playing canon characters was a thing because I'm against Mary-Suing and can see the potential of it becoming an issue but if the SL keeps a tight lid on the canon-thing, I don't see any reason why a site-wide blanket should be imposed to block everyone.

~Robert

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Re: Proposal: Member Policy 2 Amendment

Fair points Robert.

SW Accipiter:  Elora  |  SW Invisec:  Karis Durante  |  The Dreamcatchers:  Seren Yates  |  The Longest Journey:  Ciara Stedman

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Re: Proposal: Member Policy 2 Amendment

The reason I phrased my proposal as I did is to specifically prevent crossover between RPs with canon characters and ones without. The ones without play together neatly, the ones with...less so. I know of various games where people play the crew of Serenity or the Doctor and companions, and there's a reason said characters are statted in the official systems. But it should be a binary choice - either canon characters are not permitted per Member Policy 2, or they are fully permissible and subject to the usual SL character approval. Of course, an SL can choose to reject someone from their sim on the grounds that they don't feel the player could do the character justice.

Re: Proposal: Member Policy 2 Amendment

Well it's a bit presumptuous for anyone to assume they could. 

SW Accipiter:  Elora  |  SW Invisec:  Karis Durante  |  The Dreamcatchers:  Seren Yates  |  The Longest Journey:  Ciara Stedman

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Re: Proposal: Member Policy 2 Amendment

I dunno. I can think of various roleplayers who could do a decent job. Particularly, I imagine the actors who played the characters could probably improvise them fairly well. Plus, in the case of Doctor Who, they could play a new regeneration.

....I now have Tom Hiddleston's Thor 2 bit from ComicCon in my head, and wishing he'd play Loki in an RPG...

Re: Proposal: Member Policy 2 Amendment

Interesting, Euan.

Re: Proposal: Member Policy 2 Amendment

Well original actors are a different kettle of fish; likewise Doctor Who regens.  I still think playing canon characters is not something to encourage though.   

SW Accipiter:  Elora  |  SW Invisec:  Karis Durante  |  The Dreamcatchers:  Seren Yates  |  The Longest Journey:  Ciara Stedman

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Re: Proposal: Member Policy 2 Amendment

I don't see a way of doing this convincingly. Alternate universe plots perhaps would be one way of doing it. I think Canon characters should have some effect on the world that the players are playing in. But I don't think that even meeting the main characters of a TV show in a sim is a good idea, let alone them being handed over to player. For one thing, we haven't had permission from the actor / actress who plays the character to use their performance.

In terms of fan films, I've found ones like 'Star Trek:New Voyages' to be significantly weaker than ones such as 'Starship: Faragut' or 'Starship: Exeter' which use original crews. The key difference with rp and novels or fan fic is also that the freedom means they can unintentionally mess with things later in the timeline...

I don't know how to explain myself clearly, but I would avoid it myself, and would be one that would leave a sim if it was made clear they intended to allow it - especially if canon and original chars were mixed in the player base. Canon characters always come with a reputation, so a character that is original has a immediate disadvantage in most situations.

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Re: Proposal: Member Policy 2 Amendment

I've played Cannon Characters in other Sims, not on Phoenix Games.  I've played: Helga Hufflepuff, Sirius Black , Molly Weasley and River Song (hello sweetie).

While it is fun to play Cannon characters, the issue then comes in when players disagree with your interpretation of a character - and then they make your life unfun.   Honestly, I think Phoenix Games sets itself apart by not having players play cannon characters.  (And maybe that's just the invisionfree play by post RPGs I have been involved in briefly tended to use cannon characters).

I'm opposed to changing it, until such time someone presents an 'alternate reality' Sim that needs to have Cannon characters I don't see the need to change the rules.

- Amanda

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Re: Proposal: Member Policy 2 Amendment

Amanda Bond wrote:

I'm opposed to changing it, until such time someone presents an 'alternate reality' Sim that needs to have Cannon characters I don't see the need to change the rules.

See, what I'm really arguing here is just this in the opposite order - change it so someone can make such a proposal. Would I play in such a sim? Probably not. Would I want such a sim to interact with other sims in the setting? Not ever. Do I have an issue with people who find such sims fun wishing to play one here on Phoenix? I actively welcome them - Amanda's a lovely person and I'd bet the people she canon RPs with are too, if they wanted to host a game here then why shouldn't they? We're an open and friendly community - why ostracise one group for their RP preferences?

Re: Proposal: Member Policy 2 Amendment

I agree Euan. And I wholeheartedly support this proposal.

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Re: Proposal: Member Policy 2 Amendment

I agree with Euan, too.

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Re: Proposal: Member Policy 2 Amendment

As do I. I think we all agree that we should allow alternate universe sims to be run on these forums. And although that could be done without canon characters, playing as those characters seems to be the most appealing part of it for some. Given that canon characters can act very differently from their original counterparts (some ST DS9 episodes come to mind) I don't see the problem.



-Mischa

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Re: Proposal: Member Policy 2 Amendment

The use of Canon characters is a double-edged sword. I can see this as perfectly fine in a NPC status for Canon characters as I was intending in the Read Or Die game I was going to run a few months ago, although the players, of course, are the stars.

I don't think this does enough to enshrine NPC use of a Canon character and only as a NPC. Also as this stands currently, The Triple First couldn't exist as it does as Romana is being played. Unless Romana is a NPC in this, but a recurring one?

I think the NPC option should be allowed, but a Canon character should never be a PC. I'm not going to vote yes on this as it is not what I think Member Policy #2 should be.

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Re: Proposal: Member Policy 2 Amendment

Hmmmm....

I think currently I'd vote against an amendment along these lines because I'm wary of players playing canon characters in sims I'm in, in case they don't realise the character quite the way I treasure them, and I like MemPol2 as a safeguard against this for our community.

But then my guiding principle when it comes to legislature is I dislike prohibitions and like people to have options. I think it's clear from this thread alone that there are two quite divergent perceptions on how best to handle this: some say no canon characters at all, some say no to banning canon characters. And the only way to accommodate both preferences in one site is to have a policy like Euan's and Robert's amendments, allowing some sims to do it, but I certainly get the impression it's not encouraged.

So yeah, I could live with it if the amendment passed, but I'd vote against it myself.

It would be good if we could get a summary in Elections and Voting forum of the various policy and amendment proposals we have live. We have a few under discussion, I think, and some ready for a vote.

Ash

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Re: Proposal: Member Policy 2 Amendment

So with this seeming to be a divisive issue, it seems only fitting to put it to proper vote since the existing legislation is heavily on the "no, not ever" side. Accordingly, I formally propose the following amendment to Member Policy 2 (change in bold):

1. Sim Leaders and Game Masters may choose to use canon characters in their sims but are encouraged to do so minimally.
2. Players may not submit canon characters as their own characters to play.
3. Sims are exempt from clause 2 where the sim in question is an alternate-canon sim, and thus explicitly barred from all cross-sim plots. Sim Leaders of such sims may choose to permit such applications, but should they do so are heavily encouraged to think carefully before permitting a player to play such a character, with particular consideration as to whether the player is capable of "doing the character justice".
4. At the Sim Leader's discretion, players may include canon characters in their own character's (non-canon) background.

Do I have a second?

Re: Proposal: Member Policy 2 Amendment

I think if this is the measure, Euan, I would change my vote to Yay from Nay. I second this, Euan.

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Re: Proposal: Member Policy 2 Amendment

I'm in the same boat as Ash, I will vote Nay, but if it does pass I'm not exactly going to pack my bags and leave Phoenix forever tongue

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Re: Proposal: Member Policy 2 Amendment

This isn't a show-stopper for me, either, but I'd like a few more weapons in my arsenal.

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Re: Proposal: Member Policy 2 Amendment

Euan Reid wrote:
Amanda Bond wrote:

I'm opposed to changing it, until such time someone presents an 'alternate reality' Sim that needs to have Cannon characters I don't see the need to change the rules.

See, what I'm really arguing here is just this in the opposite order - change it so someone can make such a proposal. Would I play in such a sim? Probably not. Would I want such a sim to interact with other sims in the setting? Not ever. Do I have an issue with people who find such sims fun wishing to play one here on Phoenix? I actively welcome them - Amanda's a lovely person and I'd bet the people she canon RPs with are too, if they wanted to host a game here then why shouldn't they? We're an open and friendly community - why ostracise one group for their RP preferences?

Flattery gets you everywhere. ;-)

Honestly you're right. The rules do need to be changed in the off chance someone wished to host an alternate reality Sim.  Even if it's not my particular cup of tea at the moment.

I'll second the proposed amendment so it can go to a vote.

- Amanda

Last edited by Amanda Bond (2013-07-31 00:43:50)

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Re: Proposal: Member Policy 2 Amendment

I'm not sure what exactly the camps are now but I'm sticking to my proposed change. Effectively my proposal merely allows for sims to say "this is what we're doing" and that it must be specified in the sim's House Rules thread so that the players and prospective players know how it will work.

This is really a case of "those against the change won't be affected if the change actually occurs".

Perhaps it should be mentioned that in my D'ni sim I actually have roleplayed a canon character only because it was essentially unavoidable that this character would come up given the plot. Specifically: Dr. Watson who is encountered multiple times in D'ni City as he is the life and breath of the D'ni Restoraction Council (DRC). Given our current legislation I was entitled to do that (and if you think about it, the extent of our knowledge of what he's really like is based on text-based conversations and that's it other than we know what his decision in Myst V: End of Ages was which also speaks to his character and his decisions in the DRC though we never witness him making decisions and doing things ever in any source whether written or visual, or in past-tense written text).

Truly my decision to use a canon character as GM was really intended to fit in with an already canon-ized universe (trying to explain how the cavern was open without the presence of the DRC and against their knowledge is an exceptionally tricky thing to start with), it was largely the universe that required that this character come into things and not my desire to bring a canon character in. I'll stop explaining that though - if you really want to know what I did, just check out the D'ni sim for yourself.  wink

So what's the big change? The big change that I proposed is we allow for individual sims to decide for themselves what they want but that by not specifying they default to our current legislation. That's it, just the option to increase or expand upon the usage of canon characters by individual sims. Our sitewide blanket is still in effect just individual sims can make the call if they don't want to be held to that blanket legislature.

~Robert

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