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Discuss Thread Ratings: Is There a Point?


GuyYouMetOnline
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Okay, so I'm looking at the Adventure Inn, and I notice that, out of all the threads on the first page, there are only three that are not rated M, those three being Forbidden Music, Return to Pepperland, and Inuyasha: Shattered Future. Of the other threads on that page, there are a couple closed threads without ratings, but all the rest are rated M. Sure, some of these should be rated M, but even the Pokemon RPGs are rated M. The [i]Pokemon[/i] RPGs are rated M! Why the hell are the Pokemon RPGs rated M?

Seriously, am I the only one who thinks something's wrong here? Pokemon RPGs should not be rated M, yet they are. So are many others that don't need M ratings. While many should be M (For example, the alternate-history one where Hitler won World War 2), there are many that shouldn't be (like the Pokemon ones).

So, why all the M ratings? It may be because people don't want the constraints non-M RPGs have, but I don't agree with this. I've done PG and PG-13 RPGs, and people didn't shy away from those (they actually did better than my M-rated ones have). I think that virtually all RPGs are rated M because of a belief that people only want M-rated RPGs. I think that the RPG creators are so afraid that potential participants will be turned off by a low rating, so they rate their RPGs M to avoid that.

Any thoughts?
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[size=1]I actually think I agree with you on that point.

Why the [spoiler]HELL[/spoiler] would anyone rate POKEMON M? I mean, MAYBE PG-13 for excessive language and a little violence, but not M. I mean, PG owuld be more appropriate, since it shouldn't REALLY have that much violence. Pokemon is more likely going to be rated E for Everybody, for Christs sake. I think we all should take the DESCRIPTIONS of the ratings into considering and look closer before rating.

I think you made a valid point, Takyua. Props.[/size]
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[Color=DarkBlue]I agree and don't agree with you there Takuya.

The M rating does give the participants the freedom to do what they please, while not insultiung anyone over what they wrote.

At the same time, there are some RPG's that could do without the M-rating. The Pokemon is a good example.

But all and all I think M=Freedom.

There's some Math for ya!

But maybe people don't need that much freedom....

It's all in your opinion.

EDIT: But really, can any of us complain, because don't we all three have at least one thread that's rated M?[/color]
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[size=1]The ratings are entirely up to the discretion of the RPG creator. I have to agree with ^.^, though, and say that most M-rated RPGs are rated that way so that the creator has all their bases covered. It doesn't necessarily mean that a Pokemon RPG is going to be all violence, sex, and gore, but if something like that does occur then at least the rating provides an adequate warning. It may seem silly that an anime that originally was geared towards children has taken on more mature forms, but again, it's because the creator wants it that way. Remember that these RPGs are [i]based[/i] off of Pokemon and therefore are not all going to be 100% family friendly all the time.

It may be true that some threads have the M-rating simply to attract more mature crowds, as well, but in the end I still think that the content of the RPG is more important to most people then what kind of rating is in the title. [/size]
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[SIZE=1]I actually disagree with you whole heatedly on this point, Takuya, sorry about that. There is no reason why a Pokemon RPG shouldn't be rated M. Bare with me here.

Sure, if the creator wants to go with the traditional 'Let's go catch some Pokemon and battle them out.' it should be an E rating, but if they want to use the Pokemon idea and say, throw in some spice, why not let them give it an M rating? I started a Digimon RP and was [I]planning[/I] on it having excessive gore, sexual references and bad language. Why? Because Digimon is enjoyed by older people as well as young and throwing in something else to make it more exciting than the series was fun. And hell, people seemed to really like the idea after all.

Thread ratings don't necessarily go with the subject matter. If someone wanted to do a Powerpuff Girls RPG and had the girls in stilettos and fishnets would it still be okay for younger members to participate? No, it wouldn't be. Ratings are for what the creator has planned to happen the RPG and unless you've specifically asked people why they rated their threads M then I don't think you should be throwing out a statement like this.

I agree with Josh, M is for freedom. I rate most of my threads as M because even though sometimes they come to nothing [I]the possibility is there[/I] and an M rating is simply a warning that people must expect something to happen and not complain when it does.

There, I've said my bit.[/SIZE]
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[font=Trebuchet MS]There's nothing wrong with the rating system itself, but rather RPG creators that decide whether to correctly use the system or not. As long as there's a rating, and one that accurately depicts the trivial subject matter contained inside, or even if it exaggerates what's going on to bump up the rating -- for whatever reason -- then I don't care. It's actually better, in my opinion, to stick an [b]M [/b]rating on a [b]PG [/b]thread if you have any doubts about the direction the thread will go.

Although I don't exactly agree with inflating a thread's rating to attract a certain audience, There's no real way to prevent that.

Creators will just have to be honest.
[/font]
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[quote name='Delacroix][SIZE=1'] If someone wanted to do a Powerpuff Girls RPG and had the girls in stilettos and fishnets would it still be okay for younger members to participate? No, it wouldn't be.[/SIZE][/quote]

Ahh! My eyes! I'll never sleep again. Seriously.

But in all honesty, why does it matter what people do for RPGs? In a way, I noticed that it seems like you think that RPGs should be limited by the content they center around. Is that something you believe?

Just thought I'd bring that up. It's not too off topic, is it? :animeswea
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Personally, all my RP's have had an M rating, but there has been reasons for this. Each one has blood, fights, language, relationships, etc. It all depends on the persons opinion of what M means. Some people think whorish powerpuff girls are funny, and they deserve to be rated PG or PG-13, just cause its a sort of childish idea, or based off a childish idea. While others would consider it completely inappropriate. This is why it is up to the creator of the RP to rate it fairly. Its safer just to put an M rating even when you don't think they'll be anything to bad in the thread. Better safe then sorry, you wouldn't want to offend anyone just because you gave a lower rating to your RP.
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[COLOR=#503F86]But then, why not just be strict about the levels of violence and language you have in an RPG you've created? If all the RPGs created are going to be M-Rated anyway regardless of their intended content then why bother rating them individually and just rate the forum itself?

Personally, I like my RPGs with as little swearing as possible and while they may get a little graphic in terms of gore content, I always appreciate people's efforts to come up with new and descriptive ways of expressing feelings and action without going over the top.[/COLOR]
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  • 4 weeks later...
[color=#737373]I think the ratings system itself is fine, but people apply it wrongly. I understand that people want to cover their bases by going with an M-rating, but if we are talking about a Pokemon RPG with mild swearing...then M is too much. PG is probably better for that sort of thing.

Also, I think people forget that ratings other than M can have a strong appeal. I think it's easy to fall back on swearing and violence to attract people. Even though many of my RPGs have contained this, if you look at a list of my RPGs, I think you'll find that I've at least attempted to do something interesting each time. These RPGs are never [i]about[/i] the violence and the swearing, those things are just vehicles that help to drive things forward.

So even without using an M-rating, there's plenty of variety to be had. I actually think we kind of need an R-rating for anything that goes beyond M...but I'm a bit worried that everyone would start using that and thus, it would become kind of meaningless. lol[/color]
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I've actually always been silently against the rating system of the Arena. Why? Because it is utterly pointless!

So a thread has M-rating to warn about mature content included? What's it to a kid who seeks mature content anyway? The "M"-tag won't stop him/her to check out the thread anyway, it'll actually help him/her in her search.

And if the ratings are for "sensitive" people who don't want mature content in the games they sign in, I think the system is pointless in that case as well. The very desciption of the content of the game in the first post is enough to tell if the game will include violence/sex etc. - just take the Pokémon-example! I'm sure that a member that creates a Pokémon-RPG has no intentions to make a Pikachu shag a Jigglypuff without clearly stating that!

I've kept all this in me because I know people are far less tolerant on these things elsewhere than us Nordic people, but after seeing myself how the rating system has worked the whole time it has been active leaves me no other option but to try to open people's eyes to the fact that it [I]doesn't work[/I]. I never felt the need for a rating system in the first place, and I wonder who really did?

IMO the whole system was invented to give grown-up people here a clear consciense to create mature games without being blamed to corrupt children. But that's just my opinion...
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[color=#737373]The thing is, people of all ages are visiting OB. Usually I agree that RPG descriptions say enough, but you never know. I think it helps to provide some kind of ratings-at-a-glance, for people who are browsing the forum.

At the very least, it does mean that people know what they're getting into well before they sign-up. And that in itself means that we won't run any risk of people being exposed to things that they don't want.

The biggest problem with the ratings system is the way people apply it, frankly. But there is not a lot we can do about that.[/color]
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But if you think it is only to help people, why is it made mandatory? Have you even had complains from people that have "accidentally" signed in to a RPG that turned out to be morally questionable?

Where are you basing this whole rating-system on? I know this is a bit too late to ask this, but I've tried to understand the reason it was implemented to this board, but I've failed to see a reason why it is necessary at all!

I suggest that if an idea that seems however fantastic in thought doesn't work in practice, [I]ditch it[/I]! Not every bright idea is succesfull, not even every tenth. ;)
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[color=#737373]Actually, people have been suggesting some sort of ratings system for a long time. There were a surprising number of people who really weren't explaining what their RPGs would contain, in terms of language and things like that.

For example, people would sign up to a "PG" RPG and swear in it or something. Then Moderators or other staff would have to deal with that.

Basically it's there to keep things clean and organized.

Also, it's a good back up for parents. What members don't see are the messages I occasionally get - questions and concerns about certain things. For that reason, I felt it was necessary to offer ratings.

One thing I don't want to do - and I'm sure you'll agree with this - is censor RPGs. I don't want to provide any censorship on people's creativity. Ratings are a good way to provide a buffer without actually censoring the content. It's the best way to go.[/color]
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[color=#550000][font=tahoma]I'll admit, I was [i]not[/i] for the rating system when it became finalized. Not that I didn't like the whole meaning behind it, it was a life-saver, but I didn't like how it was being forced. I tried to argue, but the more I argued, the more I came to realize how much of an idiot I was for blowing it out of proportion.

I went back and looked at a few of my older/early RPGs, and was appalled at the quality. And, how messy it looked. Some where RPGs that were light-hearted, but you'd have someone post completely random and crude things. It was so frustrating, as the RP creator, to try and keep people in place. With the rating system, you get to control that much easier. It sort of sifts through the trash.

Now, about inforcement. James pretty much covered it, seeing as how he is the site director and pretty much came up with it (thanks to many mods as well). I don't see the point in arguing anymore with it. Members get upset with their RP getting closed, but it's the rules, and they are set for a reason. Once again, I'll admit that I was furious with my first RP back from training got closed. But, all in all, I learned the value of ratings. It makes it easier on members and the mods. I've only seen Arcadia get upset a couple of times over this when one member will continuously post an RP without a rating. It's reasonable to post it the first time, but once you've been warned, and you still continue to post without a rating, then the thread deserves to be closed.

If everyone else has to do it, then why not you? (you is speaking in general)[/color][/font]
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[SIZE=1]Interesting, most interesting.

Personally I think the "[I]M[/I]" rating is being slightly overused, and to say that giving a thread an M rating allows you to take an RPG in whatever direction you want isn't a great thing in my mind. Yes it is down to the thread's creator to give it the rating he/she believes it requires, and if that'd an M rating then fair enough. However simply tagging on an M rating because things might go a bit crazy later is not, to me anyway a truly valid argument.

I'm all for the thread ratings, as it gives a person an idea of what to expect in an RPG, but to see a whole bunch of M rated RPGs might put certain people off. Wonka Inc. for example was an RPG idea that I found interesting, but the bizarre sexual nature of the RPG was something I wasn't capable of writing. Now that isn't the case for every M rated RPG, but if we were to say have an ultra-violent Star Wars RPG, or a Pokemon RPG which a very high level of swearing then certain people who cannot write such material but might have found the idea behind the RPG interesting might be driven away.

I just don?t think people should get carried away using the M rating because it doesn?t necessarily make a thread or an RPG mature, only the writing can determine that. Of course these are just my thoughts on the matter. [/SIZE]
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I was actually going to write a thread about this in a long, humorous rant, but this pretty much covering the point :P As I've said several times on AIM to you, James, people don't use the rating system properly. If you go to the Adventure Square and Inn, you'll notice a good 95% of the RPGs are rated Mature for Violence, Language, and Sex. The thing is, a lot of them don't even portray any of the three or very little of it. That or they just overdo it with gore to make it sound adult.

To tell you the truth, the rating system may have brought about some crappy RPGs because people make RPGs mature so they can do more stuff when some RPGs can do without it. That's my opinion.
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You know, I have to agree the rating system is misused. I am always searching for a good RPG to join, but I am always scared off by the M rating, and the ones I get into (like Secondhand Fiddles and the one about th evil wind) were/are really good. Also, its not as though anyone pays attention to the ratings. Most of this site is thirteen through fifteen year olds and nothing is stopping us from going to M-rated threads. I think things like this should be discussed withen the thread. For instance, Dragon_Warrior always gives detailed instructions on what you can and cannot do. Thats being a responsible RPG maker and if you're not responsible enough to do that, you shouldn't be making RPGs.
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[color=#550000][font=tahoma]Quite so. The fault lays..lies..(it's 2 am, give me a break) within the creator of the RP. I don't see how proper use of the rating system could be inforced. You'd have that "well, it has a rating..so why are you on my case?" thing to deal with when attempting to inforce proper use. There's already a sticky on how to use the rating system, so it would be nice if members (including myself from time to time) would pay a bit more attention to that sticky :animeswea

I can't see if there's anything mods can really do about the usage within the RP.[/color][/font]
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[color=#737373]I should reiterate - the ratings are not designed to [i]stop[/i] anyone from entering an RPG. It's not about restrictions. It's about giving people some idea - at a glance - of what the RPG's content will be.

In terms of application, there's no way we can really change that. The only way would be to have someone independently rate threads. But that's obviously out of the question for sheer logistical reasons alone.[/color]
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[quote name='Mad Hatter][color=#550000][font=tahoma]The fault lies within the creator of the RP.[/color'][/font][/quote]

[color=gray][size=1]Things that could be so pretty fail because mankind can't live up to the idea. (I'm such a poet imitator ;P)
The rating system was a nice idea, but seeing as no one seems to be able to control himself, it has no point.

And ofcourse there's also people who are like "Omg, but what if the RPG gets more gory than I thought at first? Lets raise the rating!"
[/color][/size]
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You know, if you people would take our system, and compare it to that of the movie/TV industry, then we get something like this

Us----Movies/TV
E-------E-PG
PG-----PG
PG13--PG13-17
M------R-AO (Adults only)

Now this is just how it stacks up.

Notice, in our little world every body wants to go up in the rating so they can put more into it if the need arises.

They don't understand that there not going to get kicked off if a PG-13 RPG gets a little out of had for a short while. The Ratings are for a general overview of the game, not a "This is as high as it will get at one point"

It's funny, because the Movies are going down. PG13-17 movies contain a lot of stuff nowadays that never was in them when the ratings first came about. As a mater of fact, if you took most GMs and Movie raters, and told them to rate some of our games, the movie raters would say PG13-17 for any thing that didn't contain either insane amounts of blood and gore, or boarder line porn, two things that definitely go in R/AO.
GMs on the other had, are like Oh, some one might get shot, M! Some one might use language, M! Some one might imply they have had or are getting ready to have sex, M!

Seriously, there are more sexual innuendos on the Loony Toons that in most of the games that are rated M for sex.


All in all I thing that GMs don't understand the idea, that its not accually restrictions, but rather, and friendly heads up to people, saying
"Hey, this game is going to have some violence and lanuage that will fall mainly around the PG13 level, most of the time"
and if they do understand the idea, they think M means
"This is going to be a hard core game!"

They just don't understand...thats what it all boils down to
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[quote name='James][color=#737373'] The only way would be to have someone independently rate threads. But that's obviously out of the question for sheer logistical reasons alone.[/color][/quote]

Waot... Im confused. What do you mean by "independently rate threads", and why does that go against logistical reason? Ill do it! (Itd give me something to do)

anyway, I agree wholely with Dragonblood. Just look at the new movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which involves heavy gunfire, explosions, making out, probably lots of death, and a LOT of weapons, and that got PG-13.
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[quote name='ThatOneOddDude']Waot... Im confused. What do you mean by "independently rate threads", and why does that go against logistical reason? Ill do it! (Itd give me something to do)[/quote]

[color=#550000][font=tahoma]Meaning that there could be one (or a few) person[s] that sift through each RP in the Inn, and rate it themselves. Which would be against lagistical reason because it would 1) consume too much time for RPs to be made, and 2) it wouldn't be fair to have someone go through your (once again, "you" is in general) RP and decide what it should be. Some members would appreciate #2 reason, but then you'll get someone who will be upset with that.
[/color][/font]
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[size=1]I'd also like to remind you all that once an RPG has a rating, it's not necessarily set in stone. The creator is attempting to pick an appropriate rating for his or her RPG based on a limited amount of information. Sure, it's his RPG and he has some ideas about where it's going and how it's going to get there, but you can't always accurately predict exactly how much violence or swearing will end up being used. In that case, if an RPG does take a step up in that direction, the creator can always PM Ozy or myself and ask to have the rating changed to reflect that. Or, if the creator predicted a Mature rating and the RPG falls short of that, we can easily change it to PG-13 upon request. It's actually really, incredibly easy for us to do.[/size]
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