Yes, I've read the terms and stuff and no this isn't meant to be takenas hateful or mean or anything like that.This is not going to be me throwing around insults and trying to tear into anyone.
I just want to write this because A: I have been guranteed nothing else to do because of it, and B: I want to walk through it all in my head again.
So join me for a silly story about names.
I doubt anyone around here noticed, aside from those involved due to me just being some nobody newbie, but recently I had decided, in my boredom, to look up a random MLP RP forum to mess around in whenever I had some extra time to kill on something fun and wacky. Now normally I avoid trying to stretch out into other forums due to how tricky it can be getting my particular character accepted due to his talent and love of inventing new machines and gadgets.
I can understand this. Technology in the pony world, though randomly fluctuating at times, has been deemed by most to be relatively low in complexity - the idea of even having simple ovens and refridgerators being banned in some cases despite having seen such things in show canon before - so I try to battle this instant brushing off of my character by making clear that his work remains within the realm of already established steam punk style machinery seen within the show itself. Airships, Flim FLam, that kind of stuff.
However, I never get my hopes up. I went into this forum almost ceretain that the first response I would get would be in regards to my character's affinity for technology. An immediate "Sorry, but the idea of a mechanical bird assistant seems like quite a stretch for what we've seen in the show so far, and therefore we can't accept this character until he has been toned down and such a thing is removed from his app" was surely waiting for me if I popped my head up long enough to drop off my app then bail. But, to my surprise, this wasn't what was noticed first by others on the forum, but instead his name was what they targeted and felt needed work.
"Aroo?" was my first response, this coming way out of left field for me as I'd already been trying to think of a way to plead in vain for my character to slip by with a robo-bird assistant before ultimately giving up and cutting the little guy from the app.
"Dang," was my next one. Turned out someone on the forum already owned a character with the same name. Well, technically their names were different in a small way already, one only actually having the disputed name as a nickname, but that mattered little in the end, this mention just being made to leave out no details and not to claim that I was correct from the get go.
This was a problem. I couldn't change the name, really I couldn't, and it wasn't out of me just being a jerk about it and claiming that I should have the name just because I said I should have it and my word, even if it came from the mouth of someone new, should be treated as law around here. No, it was because the name was important in many ways to the character. It wasn't just because of how it fit him perfectly, but it also called back to his childhood, held a message about how the path set before you in your youth may not always end where those who set it for you intended, even went so far as to actually olay a part in an old event involving him where it delved into who he was on a deeper level than just it being a silly name for a silly pony.
Please stop rolling your eyes. I know I sound like a pretentious jerk waxing on his own idea for a cartoon pony, but that's not what I want you to think. I just want to try and explain why this seemingly simple name change couldn't be done. This character is the oldest one I have, and with age came a cementing of who he was. It wasn't just a name anymore, it was "his" name if that makes any sense. I couldn't change it, because then I would have to change him in terms of his backstory, who he was, how he behaved, etc. It would just feel... wrong to call him anything other than what was his name as that felt like I may as well have just thrown together some new, who cares, forgettable character that wouldn't have been any fun to play or be around, ultimately defeating the point of the forum entirely.
A second response was soon posted to my app with the same message about the name. Now, at the time I wasn't actually very bothered about any of this as I was actually relieved. This was a problem, yes, but I felt it would be much easier to negotiate keeping a name then it would be to possibly have to try and convince a member or two about allowing some fancy gadgets to fly.
I tried to make a joke, pointing out how the name in question was in fact a nickname while his actual name was slightly different, then asked if it would be possible for the two characters to share the name as, after a very quick look, I'd noticed that this particular forum was positively full of members! Over seven thousand registered users, I believe, and that meant that, by my logic, sharing a name wasn't something that would be unheard of or considered impossible. I mean, I've known plenty of people with my name, and besides if you were to gather up seven thousand people into a single room then ask each what their name was I highly doubt you wouldn't get a few repeats here and there.
My request was denied, though I think by someone not actually part of the staff around here? Or not a member of the actual members responsible for characters? I'm still not too sure and could be wrong.
Regardless it wasn't going to go through. This person instead gave an example of this naming rule being put into effect, using one of his or her own characters as the example of how a change was needed as well as following up with a suggestion for a name they believed to be similar to what I wanted. Unfortunately, though I appreciate the attempt to help, the suggestion did not hold the same meaning as was evidently believed and I mentioned this in my next post to clarify that I'd listened and subsequently looked into it. What I also mentioned in this response of mine was a couple reasons why I felt a name change would damage the character, then asked if removing his nickname entirely and just keeping his regular name(which was what his nickname was only with both words pushed together) would be enough as with the space between one could, admittedly pretty weakly, argue that their names were already different. I also mentioned the number of members currently registered to the sight and my opinion of how unlikely it would be that nobody would ever run into anyone with a similar name.
I was still trying to be light about it, though looking back at my posts I can see that it could have been very easy for one to misinterpret my being playfully snarky through a mention of how the earlier name suggestion failed to properly fit the character but was accurate in describing myself and the situation as just being annoyed or upset.
Not my intention, but the damage may or may not have been done.
The response was simple, stating that my reasons given for the name could be considered similar to those of the other character continued ending a suggestion for me to contact members of the RPH for assistance and ending with a warning that they would demand the same.
Left with nothing to do, as I at the time wasn't sure who the correct people to contact were - a quick scroll up the page having been all I would have needed to find out had I not distracted myself - I instead became curious about what I'd been told so far about this rule and earlier cases. A friend of mine, off site whom I had been talking to about all of this, told me that she had actually looked up the example that had been provided and urged me to check it for myself. Being curious, I was more than happy to, and found that the name change wasn't actually as complete as I'd been led to believe. From what I saw, the character still shared the same name as another character on the forum, only with the addition of a second word after the first name. What's more is I saw that said character had actually been accepted with this small change less than a week prior to when I showed up. Or, at least that's what I gathered from a glance. I could be mistaken with the app actually having been accepted only a few days prior or even hours, but I digress.
Confused, I wrote another reply addressing this, quoting the member who'd mentioned their character and pointing out how all that was needed for it to be accepted was another name added in. Wondering if this was really all there was to it when it came to side stepping this issue I gave an example of my character's name with the addition of a silly and fake middle name that would not be known to anyone other than himself and his parents, threw in a joke as I was still trying to be fun about it, and then asked if this would suffice.
I also again mentioned the small difference between my characters legitimate name and that of the other character it was similar too. Now, I know you probably think that was stupid - "Why keep mentioning it if it didn't work the first couple times" right? - but at the time I was just wondering why it hadn't been enough to begin with. Technically it was a different name, just as the example they'd given me was also technically a different name albeit it much more clear at a glance, but if all you had to do to keep the name you wanted was to just pretend the character had another name then what was the point?
The first response I got was from the person who'd given the example I was now talking about, though they didn't actually respond to what i'd said so much as just tell me that the guys I should be talking to were mostly at work but would surely assist me when they could.
Fine. I understand that. I let it go for the time being and said I was okay with waiting by giving a cheery "okie doke" coupled with a grinning Pinkie Pie, still trying to keep it as light in tone as I could.
The next post was from one of the SRP people. I knew from their badge thingy, and even now I'm just assuming it meant Senior RolePlayer, but I may be mistaken. They said that as long as the official name was not the same or a variation of one then it would be fine. This was the only message they posted and did not participate in the rest of these shenanigans.
Wonderful! I could just make up some whatever middle name just to differentiate the apps and then ignore it ever existed!
I replied with a declaration that he would have two hopefully humorous middle names that none but he and his parents would know, as well as three joke scenarios as to the order of the names and why he never used them. I updated the name in the app and left it there to be judged.
What followed were a couple messages that were me clarifying a joke I made and having a laugh with one of the members. Light stuff, was friendly enough, no issues.
Next person to post on the app was the second person to have replied to me originally, who started by congratulating me on a job well done which... looking back I'm surprised I hadn't made a snarky comment about that since it looks kind of out of place now, almsot like they were being snarky themselves and taking a jab. I dunno if that was actually what they meant, but that's the impression I'm getting now as I read the post once more. Eh. Anyway, they went on to explain that they were in fact the owner of the character that had the same name as mine which at this point was not actually news to me as I had understandably looked into it myself not long after this had all started.
His or her explanation character only made me wonder why people would be incapable of differentiating the two characters even if they had the names as to me they seemed pretty different from each other. Both were from a farmer background, yes, but one was still a child while the other was an adult, one lived on a farm with her parents while the other lived on their own in a workshop in the middle of a city and one was a trouble maker while the other was an inventor. Beyond the name, and I suppose childhoods, they seeemd pretty different to me, and this only made me wonder why it was believed there could be any confusion at all even if they shared the exact same name, especially since I saw very little chance of them even ever meeting at any point in time unless purposfully arranged.
Anyway, they went on to say they liked what they read in the app, which I appreciate and am thankful for, but pointed out that the name of the topic was still as I had originally written it and only the name in the app itself had been changed. They told me that if I changed the name in the topic that they would gladly pass it on to whatever the next stage was for hopeful character apps.
Now, the slightly embarassing reason as to why the main title of the app hadn't been changed when I'd plugged in the extra names originally wasn't because I had intended for it to stay that way. I just didn't know how to edit the title as I was used to a different forum set up... And, yes, I do know now that the button to do so was right next to the button for saving an edit to my post. I think. But anyway, I did as I was asked.
Now, this is where I believe I had made a mistake. During this entire exchange back and forth about the name, I had still been talking to friends about it, as could be expected. We joked about the name I had made and how we felt that the way of getting around the rule was kinda silly and all that stuff. Out of it, I decided I would try some and add some satire into the situation by adding not two but many new middle names to the character, which I had found funny on their own. I mean, at this point I was certain I would be accepted as I'd found clear evidence of someone else having gotten through with the same thing, and while I knew they would ask me to shorten the list of names, I doubted it would evolve into an actual issue.
In my next post I pointed out how this felt like jumping through hoops, that it seemeed like they were making me make changes that ultimately would mean nothing as I would simply never acknowledge these supposed middle names my character then had and that there seemed to be no real purpose to any of it, claiming my original name with its space between words could have served the same purpose on its own.
This was a mistake, I feel, because, as I should have predicted and from what I could tell, this was taken as insulting criticism. This was confirmed after the member asking for the edit explained that they had recommended the app for further analysis, as the original person to reply to my post in the beginning expressed how they believed my addition of more middle names to prove my point was mean spirited and a poor first impression to make. Perhaps. Maybe I just view things moe critically than others, but I can see how this was true.
In my reply I explained how I felt that the staff was demanding I rewrite my character that I've had for a long time simply because he happened to have the same nickname as someone else. I went on to explain that I had not meant for my message and the middle names to be viewed as any kind of malicious gesture. It was meant to show what it looked like from my side, that I felt this was becoming more and more unfair, almost to where it felt like a form of passive aggressive bullying. I gave an exaggerated example of how I felt it was being handled, touching on how I believed the fact that I was a new member may have lessened the chances of anyone around here actually caring about my desire to keep the name and just being harsh out of not having reason to worry about me.
I then again went on to explain how the example from earlier in this whole situation was still confusing me as to what the point of it all was seeing how the tagged on middle name wouldn't ever be known or used. I expressed how changing the name would pretty much kill any desire I would have to play the character, leaving a bad taste in my mouth whenever I would try, which would just lead to me not having any reason to bother to begin with. I then tried to clarify that I was up to that point laughing about the situation and still finding it silly that the idea of having the same name as someone else is far from impossible to try and lighten the mood some.
I never heard from that person again, and for what it's worth I apologize if I upset you. You seemed nice and I thank you for trying to help.
Moving on, the next post made was from another member of the SRP. The expected response was given, the name being too long with this person saying that no pony character would have more than three names, which by itself I would say is debateable. Claiming it's rare in real life does not mean its warranted to ignore the very real possiblity as it has indeed happened before. Getting back on track, they told me the name had to be changed, which I was of course fine with. Like I said, I doubted they would let that many middle names get by - likelihood of such a thing set aside - and I was completely fine with shortening the name down to one or two middle names.
What confused me however was what they said next.
They told me that what some people did to differentiate their characters from others and get accepted was to add a name to the middle and end of their current names, which was by this point very well tread ground. I was aware of this, I had mentioned it several times when pointing out how such a thing had indeed been acceptable in the past and I had even agreed to do it earlier in the thread. I didn't know why this needed to be mentioned once again and it bugged me. But that wasn't as bad as what was said next.
They told me that I could, instead of adding a name as I already said I would, keep the name I needed and make it a nickname - which it technically already had been but I didn't feel like arguing that - then just make up an entirely new name for the character, which I also had already explained I couldn't do. They then said that if I did choose the nickname and new name path that no one else would ever need to acknowledge or even know what his real name was as he could just go by his nickname full time.
This was terribly confusing.
My first thought was "Well, then what's the point?" If I could keep the name as a nickname, make up some fake name, and then just use the nickname without having anyone ever acknowledge or even know the actual name, then why not just let me have the name I need and be done with it? What purpose could that possibly serve aside from just pleasing some, as far as I can tell, unwritten rule that would ultimately change nothing in the long run?
My response was curt. I wasn't smiling about this anymore. It felt like everyone trying to resolve this was just throwing out different solutions that danced around the simple fact that I would end up with the name anyway regardless of what silly thing I did on the app.
I told them I already explained why I couldn't change the name. I then said I changed the name and kept one fake middle name to satisfy, further explaining that no one would ever know or use it. I then was bluntly honest about my opinion over the situation by saying it was silly.
The message I wrote carried a frustrated undertone that I hadn't bothered to try and hide or defuse with fun jokes anymore. The truth was that this had gone on for so long and I had grown so tired of it all that I just wanted to get my fake middle name accepted and move on.
The next post was from one of the higher ups around here. They repeated, again, that they wanted different names so as to avoid confusion in active roleplay.
Right away I'm confused, as what the person before this one had told me seemed to not be in line with this kind of thinking at all. How would me making up a name for my app, but then walk around with a nickname that was the only name any other character would know supposed to avoid this same confusion? Not to mention that I had already changed the name to include a middle one to differentiate, which made this a pointless reminder.
They acknowledged this though in their next line, claiming that my having added a fake middle name was not something they were prepared to allow.
So... Why not?
He or she then mentioned how long the forum had been around for which I couldn't have cared less about at the time, but followed up by saying that they had countless people attempt to exploit every loophole you could imagine in the past.
Well, that's nice and all, but the problem is I wasn't just making up a loophole. I had seen what others had done and had decided to do the same, and if they were indeed so thorough about this then one would think they would have prevented these other players from getting their characters accepted as well. The very fact that I saw examples of the same exact thing I was doing getting a green light was an issue with this, and this wasn't even with mentioning that the owner of the other character that shared my characters name had already said that having two middle names would suffice way back on the first page of this whole thing.
They continued with three bullet points.
One clarified that I wasn't being bullied. That's nice, but that was still the impression I was getting, especially with this random decision that I wasn't allowed the middle name I'd added.
The second was how this had nothing to do with changing my character, italicised for some reason, in any way.
Except the name. And all of the things that changing the name would change with it. As I explained. Several times.
The third one started with this person again mentioning how old the forum was, which is wonderful for you but still not helpful, and then said that, if anything, me coming in with my character and his name then adding a fake name was disrespectful to the other player.
First off, I fail to see how that makes sense. Secondly, if that's the case, then where do you draw the line? The example I had kept going to for this, the character that had the same name as another but added a second one so as to get accepted, should have qualified under this same realm of disrespectful gestures, should it not? In the end that person was allowed to keep the name and all they had to do was tag on a second name they hadn't actually originally intended and I'm assuming didn't actually care about.
Also, this directly conflicted with what the previous person had said when claiming I could make up a name then just use a nickname for everything. Wouldn't making up an entirely fake name and then just using the name I wanted anyway also be disrespectful in whatever way this new person believed it would be?
Again, I would like to point out that the owner of the other character had already claimed that my adding two middle names just to seperate the characters more would be enough, so I have a very very hard time understanding how this third bullet point was supposed to make sense if the person who owned the other character had already said it would work that way.
The person then went on to describe a metaphor for the situation that I didn't care for as I felt it did a poor job describing anything, so I wont get into it.
They went on to say that while I may have not agreed with the naming policy, which wasn't true as at that point I actually didn't agree with what I was then ready to call them jerking me around, then explained that the application process was supposed to be a test to see if one is a capable player (without first seeing how they behave in a thread or some form of example post...?) and show one's ability to compromise and what have you.
At this point I was just openly frustrated. It wasn't even all about the name anymore so much as how the people I kept talking to bouncing back and forth between what was and wasn't an acceptable compromise. One person said that adding a middle name is enough. I do it. One person says change the entire namebut use a nickname and keep the real one secret, while another said that having a middle name that was being presented as the obvious fake it was was supposed to be insulting, which to me makes me wonder why the idea of making up an *entire* fake name and using the one you want anyway wasn't insulting.
My next post, which I didn't bother trying to sugar coat at all at this point, started with me saying that I wasn't the one thinking up loopholes. I said that they were the ones coming up with varying ideas on solutions that contradicted each other but all ultimately ended with someone having the name they wanted to begin with. I explained my opinion on the "insulting middle name" and how it made no sense to me. I even mentioned how having the same name could have actually been a good thing as it would have led to fun interactions if ever the characters did in fact meet.
Again, for who knows how many times at that point, I pointed towards the example of the character who had been so recently accepted that had done the exact same thing I had. Up till now, I don't think any of the people in the thread had actually openly acknowledged that example, which to me either means I had missed it, or they had no excuse for it and chose to never respond.
I also pointed out how the thrid bullet point contradicted what previous staff had informed me was a viable avenue for getting past this.
This person's next post started off by saying that I was missing the point entirely. Maybe, but they seemed to be missing ine as well. This wasn't about the name anymore, not really, this was becoming to me more about this inconsistency between the people I thought were supposed to help with this.
They then said that what was considered acceptable for older characters does not put me under the same paradigm.
First off, I was surprised to see someone finally acknowledge that someone had done what I had and gotten away with it. Secondly, "older characters"? So, either this meant that submitting your character less than a week before mine classified you in some old category of the "before times" or he or she had actually meant "older members" and had just flat out said that veterans get special privileges. I remember saying earlier in the thread that it felt like I was being given a hard time because I was new and therefore didn't matter to the people in charge, and this line right here feels like confirmation.
So I can't do it because I'm new(or in this case *barely* newer with my submission)? That is as far away from fair as I can imagine and just makes me think that this is one of those forums where "veteran" members rule. Where they get away with things that someone like me can't just because they signed up earlier and got friendly with the people in charge.
This person said they keep cases exclusive to characters, even though a staff member earlier in the thread had told me what people often did to get around this, one of these suggestions having been what I had already done. Another sign of inconsistenc where one says its unique to each case while another claims people get around it with the same methods often.
At this point the admin basically just told me to change the name or not bother.
After this some random newly registered member decided to get involved. Since they contributed little and were wholy unpleasant, and since I still hold firm to the idea that none of this concerned him or her to begin with, I will leave their messages and my responses out of this.
At this point it just devolved firther. I flat out told them they were going back and forth between what is and isnt acceptable, I changed my name again and told them to explain why my new arrangment(reflective of the accepted character that was only days older than mine) was unacceptable, one of them said that the discussion wasn't about the character but my attitude.
All of this culminated in a, in my opinion, very over dramatic post from the administrator claiming that he or she loathed to think what I might do in the middle of a roleplay despite how they have never seen me in any threads beyond one where I point out how unhelpful and random they were at the time. the thread was then locked.
They also fell back on the usual "its a free service we run and therefore you should never complain ever about anything" line that I've seen very amateur administrators and moderators use before when treating a forum like their plaything by ignoring its members and twisting or deleting the rules regularly to fit their mood.
Am I accusing these people of doing the same?
I'm just tired of people using that line like its a kid's magic shield on a playground
It's criticism, not me trying to take over your forum, stop being so dramatic.
But anyway, what do I think of this in the end?
I think neither side handled it well.
I think I should have made myself keep to my more playful and lighter jokes and messages in the beginning and prevented this from getting to me. I also think that th people whos responsibilty it was to handle this had actually been clear about what was and wasn't okay without contradicting themselves and giving fake advice that only led to me being road blocked by someone who didn't agree with their ideas and had decided on their own rules.
In the end, this was a terrible first impression from me and a really terrible first experience on this forum. Right now I'm debating whether or not it's worth even trying to get the thread unlocked as the admin had invited me to message them about as in the end I'm just the new guy that got into a fight with staff. Despite the message of love and tolerate perpetuated by the show this forum is based off of, I doubt it's reasonable to actually have faith that such an idea would hold up after this. Those who saw the thread probably think I'm an a-hole and sided with the ones in charge, as is to be expected as they are familiar and supposed to represent the laws of this site. And those who didn't read the thread will most likely just assume that nothing I said or tried to say had any weight to it and default to a negative opinion out of heresay and assumptions.
I get that no one want's me here now and that's fine. Personally I feel that if this is what I have to expect from it then it's probably not the place for me anyway, as such a fuss over a name on both sides is, as I said many times in the thread, silly.
Anyway, I'll think about it.
I doubt anyone will read this, possibly for more reasons than one, but I just wanted to go through it in my head again. There it is. The whole story as best as I can describe it from my end. Hope it was an interesting read at the very least.