Five Tips on Fitting in At Mark of the Wild
One of the biggest things that's come up on Mark of the Wild in all the times we've been here (and that's actually quite some time) is people complaining about how difficult it can be to 'fit in'. This I completely understand, but I also know that it doesn't have to be this way.

Obviously, there are things that we, as the staff and 'senior' members of Mark of the Wild are doing to combat this - but the real solution for it starts with you. -Yes, you -standing at the back in the funny hat. You.

So, here we go.

Five Tips for Finding Your Plate at Mark of the Wild- By Raowolf

1. Introduce Yourself

All right, sounds like a no-brainer, but seriously. I don't know how many people I've seen complain that no-one ever talks to them, who I've never once encountered actually trying to make friends! come into the c-box, say hello -even if no-one's on at the time you're there, someone will be sure to respond to you when they do get on. Not only does this mean that they now know who you are, it gives you a contact when you do jump into the c-box for a conversation - which is #2. And if you're too scared or nervous of jumping in at the deep end of the c-box, post a topic about yourself, your characters - or the types of characters that you like to play, your hobbies and interest. That way, people know you! We're not mind-readers!
...Well, some of us aren't.

2. Use the cbox

One thing that really gets me is when people say "But everyone seems to ignore me" ... why is that? Because every person who claims to be ignored, also ignores everyone else. Often, the site can almost seem like a school yard or the office canteen - everyone already knows everyone, and divides off into their little social groups, and for someone on their first day, this can be not only confusing, but also off-putting as well. But the way that this differs from a school yard or an office is that All right, okay, another no-brainer - but it's true! And I don't meant that you're standing in the kitchen of the part being 'invisible' - if you don't announce yourself, we don't know you're there because we can't see you standing in the corner. The thing to remember when you're debating about popping into the c-box is that everyone was new once; it was always someone's first day. Mark of the Wild is very old by now, but even absolutely ancient member had one moment when they had to post their first message in the c-box to say "hey". Join in a conversation, get to know everyone, toss some friendly bants about... You can't expect everyone to know you if you don't take the time to know them!

3. Read Other People's Threads

Shall I tell you a little secret? People love having their threads read. It makes them go all warm and fuzzy inside. This is a matter of respect as much as anything: take the time to read other people's threads and their character's bios, and they'll be more keen to thread with you and read yours in the future.

And, what's more, it gives you an instant association with people if both you and they don't have to start from scratch. Quite often, our conversations in the c-box revolve around our characters; if you already know what's going on, not only do you feel more included and able to contribute to the conversation, but people are instantly able to be more friendly with you. I'm going to make an example now which is in itself an example: say we were laughing about Tenesut. If you'd read Tenesut's threads, you'd know who and what and how funny he was; you could join in, laugh, and make Raowolf Tenesut's player feel awesome by complimenting her. If you hadn't, you wouldn't know this, would feel left out, and everything would be awkward if you were all "Ummm.... Who's Tenesut?"

If you didn't know who Tenesut is right now, that's an instant place to start. You wouldn't go to a book club without having read the book, wouldn't interview an artist without listening to their music - so you wouldn't enter a conversation about Tenesut without knowing who he was.

Obviously, you don't have to read every single thread on the site (especially Raowolf's ones, cause they're usually -in most cases - rather large) -b tu this will give you somewhere to start. Plus, they can be really fun to read!

4. Start On A Good Footing

All right, third no-brainer for the day...

Be nice. No one likes an argumentative person, a hypocrite, a party-poop... You get the picture. We can't change who you are, and nor should we have to. -#4 is about a basic level of human niceness. Not everyone is going to get along, that's guaranteed, but you can at least start by being nice to people. If the first time you ever come on is to say "Well, that film is rubbish" when everyone's discussing how much they loved the movie they just say, there's going to be some issues. You can have an opinion, but at the same time you just don't have to be rude about it.

How does this fall in line with role-playing? Easy... say for example you've been plotting with someone for quite some time, and when imagination finally becomes reality, you find out that their post quality is by far... no where near as good as what you expected it to be. Granted, Mark of the Wild is no where near at the level of beginners, but at the same time, we're not going to degrade that person for the poor quality of their posts. We all began somewhere, and if they came here to improve that aspect of themselves, say for example, become a better writer, and they accepted to take the challenge at Mark of the Wild, then by no means are we going to deny them such things, and by no means should you announce in public areas (c-box for example here) about the quality of their posts. If you would like to help them improve, send them a pm and offer suggestions! One-on-One is what we're all about here, and we love to help people improve!.

5. Be An Active Member of the Community

Because that's what Mark of the Wild is: A Community. You gotta' give to get.

You don't have to be in every conversation, take part in every game, vote in every poll, ready ever thread, be in every Club Fang, love every character... but you can at least make an effort. Mark of the Wild gives what Mark of the Wild gets. Let me give you some examples now - easier than explaining:

A member joins. They don't introduce themselves, never talk in the c-box - even when people see that they've joined an say "Hi [member]!" - and never participate. They don't understand parts of the bio form, but rather than ask for assistance or go over the rules, they just leave it half-blank. A few weeks after joining, they post one thread. They speak to no-one about the thread. They organize no plots. They check in first once a day to see if anyone has replied, then once a week, then once a fortnight, then after several months of nothing -post in the forums saying "you ignored me, it sucks here, I'm leaving."

Another member joins. The first thing they do is drop by the c-box and say, "Hey, my name's [name], I just joined - lovely to meet you!" Maybe they're immediately greeted, loved and plotted with; maybe no-one else is on, but a few hours later someone responds and a conversation starts, with more and more introductions. Before jumping straight in with characters, they make a plot page with all of their ideas, as well as jumping into other people's pages to see what's going on. When they do this, they see that there's a really cool wolf plot about to start - now, they can make a wolf and immediately they're up for threads with five different people. In the c-box, they ask if anyone would be interested in another thread with another character. Someone is, so they do that and become bezzie mates. Meanwhile, they read a few other threads, and discover that Tenesut is really funny and pitiful; they send Raowolf Tenesut's player a private message about a new potential plot, and that goes ahead. They're also chatting in the c-box, contributing to discussions about site-wide development, and playing games; people see them all over the place, and already recognize them for when they meet them in the c-box, sometimes that week and sometimes not for a month or more.

Now, out of these two, who is: happier; more active; getting more RP done; making more friends; fitting in better...?

We can help you meet everyone and get involved, but the biggest effort has to come from you.

I understand that it's scary - I really do. But do you know what? It's worth it. Think of it this way: in the c-box, you can't stutter; you can think about everything you say before you press 'enter'; and if all goes to pot you're not going to get beaten up behind the school toilets, you'll just feel a bit daft until you can slink back in and ask to start again.It's understandable to be scared. It's understandable to be so busy that reading other people's threads is hard and you can only post once a week - but do you know what? If you at least make an effort, people don't mind. Because the ones who came and went in time for rehearsals and nothing else weren't the busiest ones, or the shiest. But even though a lot of the members here have lives beyond the site, and are busy, most of which are now working, we still know and love them.

And of course, if you're really really shy/worried/anti-social, you can always PM the terrified girl who crouched in the corner of the room and hid behind her book... until she realized that the only way to make friends was to make friends.

We can't help already having social group - but we'll be happy to have bigger ones. We can't help having inside-jokes - but we'd love to make more of them - We can't help if that there's already defined sets of 'us' - but 'you' can be 'us' as easily as, quite literally, saying 'Hi'.