This is so important that it's not even funny. The most important thing to remember is to not make rules that you can't follow. Don't cuss out a member for cursing. It just makes you look like a gigantic hypocrite, and no one likes those. Be sure to follow your own rules, it's the only way that your members will respect you.
There are also a lot of people out there (Including myself at one point and time) that don't enjoy having to lay down the rules and standing their ground.
Yes, it does take guts to stand up to members. However, you also should never take pleasure in disciplining your members. Remain calm and cool at all times when confronting members. No one likes a person with a short temper. It only makes you look crazy if you have one.
A lot of people become afraid that if they speak up, then they won't be liked by their members anymore. So they end up turning a blind eye to naughty behavior which will continue to disrupt the roleplay and frustrate you and the other members.
Don't let this happen. Remember: You are the Boss. It's your site, so take control. If you made the rules, then the members should follow them. And if they don't then you have every right to call them on it. They are in the wrong, not you.
-How to Discipline a Naughty Member:
Again, parenting books/blogs will work wonders for this situation. But as I just mentioned before, the important thing is to remain calm and cool. Members will try their best to push your buttons and tick you off. Don't let them. If they do, then they've won and done their job. Don't let them have that kind of power over you. When confronting a member about naughty behavior make sure you have a basic outline in your head of what you want to say to them. Confronting them off of pure emotion is such a wrong thing to do. If you're having a bad day, then don't confront them on that day. You'll only turn that member into a punching bag. Wait till you've calm down and then confront them. If your member has broken a rule, then pull them aside in a PM and let them know what they have done. Always make sure that major confrontations are done in private. It's no one else's business what's going on. If the member decides to be immature and start posting in the Topic Chatter box about how they're being confronted by you. Ignore them in the Topic chatter box, and delete their post. Let them know in another PM that the discussion you're having is meant to be private, and anymore outburst like that will result in deletion of post, and/or a warning bar. Don't tolerate immature behavior.
When confronting a member about naughty behavior, be sure to keep it sweet and simple. No matter how tempting it is to just want to go off on them on how ignorant and childish they're being. Don't give in.
If they were godmoding, cursing, or being rude, point this out in the PM. Let them know it's against the rules, ask them to desist from it, and call it day. Remember to include 'Please', and 'thank you' when confronting them to come off as stern, yet polite.
If they repeat this behavior, then repeat the same calm and cool method that was mentioned above. However, if you choose to take on a more strict method, like adding a warning bar, then just let them know that they have been warned once already in a previous conversation, and due to this reason is why you're giving them a warning bar.
When the conversation is over, be sure to let the member know that you're still cool with them and not holding a grudge. After all, no one likes to be disciplined in the first place. Plus, you don't want to come off as a cold, inhumane robot. Try and place yourself in your member's shoes when confronting them. So, if you wouldn't want to be cussed out, or feel like they're not listening to you, then don't do it your members.
When handling your members in a calm and mature manner, you will save yourself the trouble of getting flamed or spammed or even hacked by the immature members that you had to confront. What you're basically aiming for is washing your hands clean of the situation and pointing out an unarguable flaw that you've seen in the member.
While the member may try to justify their actions with nonsense, ignore it and stick to remaining calm and keeping the PM short and sweet about the real matter at hand. They'll get the hint eventually and either change or have to respectfully leave your site without holding a grudge against you.
-Keeping Age and Lifestyle in Mind:
If your member is under the age of 15, then I would say to be more patient when talking with them. They may not fully understand what you're talking about, and you may find yourself repeating the same thing over and over again. Keep in mind that they're still just a child. And as a child, they're still learning and growing in life, and that this is a perfect opportunity to help them grow and mature. Now, if you find yourself repeating the same dang thang over again to a 20+ person, then you may use a sharper tone and have less patience with them. Why? Because with age should come wisdom and maturity. And if this person is as daft as a door knob, then it means that they are refusing to grow up and would prefer to remain in a child like state of mind. Just ignore these people and kick them off your site. They're nothing but trouble.
Also be aware of people from troubled households. People who come from an abusive background will drag you into their drama whether it's done consciously or unconsciously.
These people will setup traps on themselves by breaking the rules, having you to go off on them so they can turn around and feel like the victim (Even when they are the ones in the dead wrong). Since they're used to always being the victim (abused), remember that this behavior or state of mind won't change just because they joined your site. Don't play their game. If these people are causing problems, then confront them about the disruptive matter on the site, not their lifestyle. Eventually, they'll either leave, or you'll have to give them the boot from the site. Just remember to be respectful when booting them off or else they'll come back and continue on with their naughty behavior.
-When to Praise Your Members:
If you're always disciplining or fussing at your members, then you'll end up breaking their spirit and killing their mood to want to roleplay. Be sure to praise your members every once in awhile. Let them know that you appreciate them being at your site, or how impressed you are about a post that they made. Giving out genuine praise will boost up your members' self esteem and their interest in wanting to stay at your roleplay.
-Making the Rules:
Okay, now that we've gotten that out of the way. It's time now time to ask what kind of rules do you want on your site. So, I'm going to ask you some questions, and you pick and choose which rules are going to be best for you. Remember the more detailed and clear your rules are, the less chaos you'll have to deal with, and the easier it will be to catch members when they're breaking the rules. Also, keep in mind that you may have to change your rules down the line due to the crowd you may draw in. That's fine. Just be sure not to constantly make rules out of the blue that you're not going to follow, and don't design rules just for members that you're not too fond of. Okay, so here is the list of rules you can add to your site:
- What is Your Site Rated?:
If your site is PG-13 or R, then list the mature content that will be found at your site.
-The Reality About Ratings:
Keep in mind that just because you say that members must be 16+ or 18+ to join your site doesn't mean crap. You're going to get 12-15 year olds flooding on over and lying about their age. Why? Because a lot of them enjoy doing the opposite just because they can. Remember, a lot of these young kids play M rated games and watch R rated movies, and therefore feel grown. If a 13-year-old girl is a huge fan of Sex and City, then she may feel like she can handle the mature content on your site (LIES!). Her attitude may be "Eh, ain't nothing on this site I haven't already seen/heard or read before".
So how do you prevent these young kiddies from joining? You can't. And sadly, you can't always tell their age just by the way they post. I've come across 13-year-olds who I thought was 18, and a 25-year-old who I thought was 12. The only thing that you can do is have any posts with mature content locked away with a password so they can't be viewed by just anyone. Remember, your site shouldn't be responsible for hooking up pedophiles with kids, nor should it be allowed for them to view inappropriate content.
-Rules for Usernames:
-Rules for Staying in Touch:
-Rules for Avatars and Images and Signatures:
-Rules for Cheating:
If you have a dice roller, battle system, or money system on your site. Then list the things that will not be tolerated, such as:
-Rules for Inappropriate Behavior:
-Rules for Romance:
-Rules for Creating Spells/Weapons/Items/Editing Bios:
-Rules for Character Creation:
-Rules for 'One Liners'/Word Count and Posting Style:
-Rules for Advertising:
-Making Sure the Message Got Through:
If you'd like to make sure your members actually read your rules, then you can have a secret message within the rules for them to find. They may then have to PM you this secret message or include it in their character bio. Whatever it may be, make sure this secret message is either near the middle or near the end of the rules. Make sure it's also subtle. Yes it's tricky, but you have to make sure they actually read the rules and didn't just skim through it. If you have a section obviously pointing out the secret word, then the member will find it and then proceed to skip over reading the rest of the rules, and just PM you the secret word or include it in their bio. This will get them into a lot of trouble later on. Be sure to also switch up the secret word often, and try placing it randomly near the middle or bottom of your rules. You could have it set up like this: