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Important Information Regarding V6 Applications; Read this all
Topic Started: Apr 25 2015, 10:05 PM (1,539 Views)
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Hello, handlers! V6 final applications are open. Please be aware of a few things, however:

We are staggering applications. Each handler may have only one character in the queue at a time, and may have a total number of characters equal to half the number of weeks since the start of applications, to a grand total of no more than three characters. To simplify things, the schedule is as follows:

February 1 - February 14: 1 character
February 15 - February 28: 2 characters
February 29 - the launch of V6: 3 characters

Please make sure all characters match the template perfectly. Pay special attention to bolding and line breaks. Also, please review the school information thread.

Please make all changes as requested by staff in critiques. If you disagree with a requested change, you can PM the staffer requesting it to discuss it. Do not post objections in the thread. Do not bump threads before all adjustments are complete. If you cannot come to an agreement with the staffer handling your critique, you may PM any other staffer your issue and staff as a collective will reach a decision. However, please be aware that in most situations we tend to support the decisions of individual staffers and affirm their rulings.

Do not withhold information or lie to staff during the critique process! If you do such things, there will be dire consequences.

The following two posts include advice and clarifications from the V5 critique process, dealing with basic profile creation and the use of quotation marks in profiles. We strongly suggest that you read them.
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Posted May 20 2012
 
So you've just completed your profile. Maybe it's your first, maybe it's your twentieth...but the point is that you're done, and your mouse is hovering over the 'post' button. You start to press down and...

STOP


Before you hit post, you need to check over these six big recurring issues with profiles. Not only will this make your profile get approved faster (since we mods won't have to deny you based on silly reasons like formatting or detail), but it'll make your mod a little happier :) So go ahead and click PREVIEW instead of POST, and take five minutes to make sure everything's all shipshape by asking yourselves the following six questions.

1) IS MY FORMATTING CORRECT? This is a big one. It may seem picky, but your formatting needs to perfectly match our template or it creates a huge hassle for mods later on as we move profiles around and work with the wiki. And if your formatting isn't correct, you'll be asked to fix it before we give you a critique, thus making the process even longer (and often bumping you to the back of the queue if things are busy). It's easy to make formatting mistakes especially if you work in Word or GDocs, so be sure to press PREVIEW before you post your profile and make sure that it matches the template perfectly. Not only will you get a critique right off the bat, but us mods will be much less annoyed about having to kick a profile back on such a silly thing.

2) IS EVERYTHING SPELLED CORRECTLY/GRAMMATICALLY CORRECT? This is another thing which often sends back otherwise excellent profiles. Typos happen all the time, but we do want to see you going through and checking for them. Every word should be spelled correctly (ideally using American English but exceptions will generally be made for alternate spellings such as theater/theatre or color/colour) and sentences should be grammatically correct. If you do not use programs such as Word which automatically check for these problems, you can find spelling and grammar checking websites free online; alternately you could ask a friend or go into chat and ask if anyone (NOT a mod) would be interested in checking over your profile for you.

3) IS IT TONALLY CORRECT? This is a hard one, but also very important. The tone of the profiles should be as impartial as possible, mimicking the writing style of a bored henchman forced to crank out hundreds of detailed profiles for children who are about to die anyway. Quotes, parentheses, profanity, exclamation marks, and other stylistic choices are not acceptable. Feel free to use them as much as you want in your posts, but your profile needs to match the others in tone. A fun way to check is to read your profile aloud and see if you can naturally do the entire thing in a monotone. If you find yourself adding emphasis, your profile may be too stylistic.

4) IS IT IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER? To put it simply, all profiles need to read like a linear timeline from birth until present day. That means no mentioning their high-school friendships in the first paragraph and then skipping to this thing that happened when they were toddlers in the next. This might seem like a small or silly thing but you might be amazed at the amount of profiles that need to fix this. It makes things much easier to read and understand for everyone, especially for poor hard-working mods :)

5) DO I HAVE ENOUGH DETAIL? The number-one thing apart from formatting we see profiles getting kicked back on is detail. We really want to get a good sense of your character from the profile, both in personality and in appearance. Your appearance should include details like hair color and length, eye color and shape, facial shape and structure of facial features, height, weight, and body shape, skin tone, and dress style. Essentially, people should be able to picture your character perfectly from their description. Two or three sentences just won't cut it -- think about it this way: you'll never be kicked back for too much description. The biography should be fully fleshed out and run from birth to current day, describing your character's childhood as well as their current life. You should mention interesting or personally significant events throughout their life, and describe their mental and emotional journey from infancy to late teens. This not only helps us as moderators understand your character but it permits other handlers to form relationships with your characters since they understand them so well. Don't worry about saying things you don't want other characters to know -- characters can't use OOC knowledge IC, so if your character has a deep dark secret they've never told anyone please put it in the bio -- other characters will never know it, but mods need to. Your biography should be several paragraphs long. If you're unsure what else to put in, try asking yourself questions. What makes my character do this? Why do they enjoy that? What is their motivation? What things happened when they were kids that affected who they are today? You can also check out some approved profiles to see what kinds of detail they have.

6) DID I DO THE RESEARCH? This is a very important one. SOTF places a lot of value in realism, and that means that things need to be researched and accurate. Medical conditions, mental or physical disabilities, adoption/fostering, financial matters, or even just a character being somehow outside the norm all need to have research behind them. This not only allows you to RP in a more realistic manner, but prevents other handlers being offended by sensitive topics being handled poorly or unrealistically. If you're not sure how to research something, just ask! Our members have lots of expertise behind them and often, if they can't answer a question, can direct you somewhere where you can find the answer. Please be aware that mods can and will ask you to remove elements of your profile that are poorly-researched if they feel you will not treat the subject accurately or tastefully, and do your homework instead. It'll make everyone happier in the long run.

Everything okay? You're sure? Double and triple checked? Excellent! Now go ahead and press POST, and wait for a mod to give you a critique (or an approval, since you were so good at checking). We appreciate it, and you're sure to appreciate it too as you get to play even faster!

Regards,
the mod squad
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Posted January 10 2013
 
A quick note on quotation marks in profiles, and why we don't want to see them:

Quotation marks in profiles are a thing I'm noting in, like, half my denials so I'm saving some time with a general note. Basically, there are very few instances in which quotation marks should be used in a profile.

Quotation marks tend to be used either for quoting characters or for sarcasm/implying something other than what the words say. Neither of these things is good in a profile.

Quoting characters (Jimmy's brothers say he's "the toughest in school".) is a problem because staff do not know if the character speaking is right. It introduces bias into profiles, even if only implicitly in some cases, and that's not a good thing. Also, quotes tend to be somewhat informal, which can make profiles tougher to understand. A big thing behind the formality push is so handlers can get a no-nonsense introduction to your character.

Sarcasm quotes (Jimmy was academically "average") are a problem for another reason. They imply that what is in quotes is somehow inaccurate, but don't then offer an idea of what really is true. The above example, for instance, could mean that Jimmy under-performs and only ever gets Cs (technically average in the school parlance) or that, like most of the kids in his class, he always gets Bs due to grade inflation (average in the accurate sense of the word, but not in the grade sense). Untangling these is a lot of work, since they rely on something being understood that is clear to the handler but not the staffer reading the profile.

Then, of course, there's the fact that ambiguity/unreliable narration has been used to introduce problematic elements into characters retroactively. This basically falls under the lying to staff umbrella and would have bad consequences by V5 standards, but it's an issue we want to avoid the potential for altogether.

So, when are quotes okay? When they're giving nicknames, basically (James "Jimmy" Johnson wanted to go to the University of Washington [colloquially known as "U-Dub"]). There, quotes are needed to be grammatically correct. If it's not that sort of situation, though, please phrase to exclude quotes, as staff will ask you to remove them anyways otherwise.
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