Membership Rules and Regulations
(Return to the River Twine Holt website.)
Any questions about the rules? Contact the Council by emailing "firstname.lastname@example.org". (If you do not receive an acknowledgement of receipt of your email within a day, try emailing a council-member individually, or pinging a thread on the messageboard.)
The following rules and regulations are what all members, upon joining, have agreed to abide by:
- 1 Basic Rules & Regulations
- 2 Joining/Adopting a Character
- 3 Adopting More Than One Character
- 4 Forum Guidelines
- 5 Comment/Website Feedback Guidelines:
- 6 Participation Requirements
- 7 Submission Requirement Types:
- 8 Communications Requirement
- 9 Character Information Sheet Updates
- 10 Rewards System:
- 11 Writing Points:
- 12 Art Points:
- 13 Poetry Points:
- 14 Other Forms of Participation:
- 15 Leaving the Club:
Basic Rules & Regulations
1. There are two types of membership to the River Twine Holt: Player-Members (PMs), who own and operate characters, and Reader-Members (RMs), who do not own characters but who have access to the website and the message boards, and who are encouraged to participate in the creative life of the Holt (RMs are also given a 1-week window to consider adoption of characters who become available NPCs, before they are offered publicly).
--1a). All PMs must support their character through the submission of one piece of art or one or more written submissions (totaling 500 words or more) per annual quarter. PMs who fail to participate for more than two quarters in a row may have their membership revoked. (See Participation Requirements below.)
--1b). All RMs must log into the website on a regular basis to prove their ongoing interest in the club. RMs are required to make at least 1 website comment per quarter in order to retain their RM membership, with a 1-month probation period for inactivity.
2. Your writing & artwork MUST be your own original work! Plagiarism of any form (tracing someone else’s artwork or claiming someone else’s writing for your own) is grounds for immediate cancellation of your membership. While drawing freehand from references is fine, tracing or mechanical copying of other artwork is not allowed (even if it is adapted). Art that is considered too much a copy of another existing artwork will not be posted (this determination will be made by the council, and it will be discussed with the artist). Please see the Submission Guidelines for more information.
2a. We also request that all art & story submissions be directly related to River Twine Holt; we won’t print stories and artwork about characters living with another tribe, or about canon EQ personalities. (NOTE: recycled artwork and stories may be accepted -- consult with the Council of Five -- email@example.com).
3. Get permission from a character's owner before using their character in a story or a piece of artwork. Approval is required for the use of all characters not your own, so be sure that your stories or art are approved by that other member before you submit them to River Twine Holt. Please see Submission Guidelines for what does and does not require approval; if you have any questions, please contact the Council of Five at the address listed above. Note: although Windburn is an NPC, he is considered to be 'owned' by the Council; they handle approvals for him. Any use of Windburn in a story or art should be sent to the Council for approval.
4. General site vs. adult site materials. In general, we have a PG-15 rating for our club, and members younger than 15 aren’t allowed to join. Any adult material must have a warning. Adult situations are fine if done appropriately. Nudity in art is acceptable if labeled. Sexual situations are fine if tastefully done. In short, porn or gore for gore’s own sake will not be tolerated. If you have questions or concerns, consult the Council of Five.
5. All members are required to join under their real identities; it's fine for members to participate under pseudonyms, but the Council needs to know a member's real name. Joining the club under false pretenses is grounds for immediate dismissal. Additionally, sockpuppeting a false membership is also grounds for immediate dismissal from the club.
QUESTIONS? All questions can be directed to either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Joining/Adopting a Character
New members may join River Twine Holt in one of two ways: they may adopt a character and become a Player Member, or they may join as a Reader Member.
Player Members own a character or characters, and they must meet quarterly submission requirements to keep their characters.
Reader Members do not own characters; they are only required to leave 1 comment per quarter on the website. RMs may submit art or fiction to the group, following our usual Submission Guidelines.
Both types of member are given the first chance to consider newly-adoptable characters.
If you wish to join as a Player Member, you should review the Elves or Trolls blurbs pages of living characters, to see which ones may be adoptable. Any marked “Adoptable” may be applied for. Any marked “(Secondary Character)” at the end of the blurb may be available now or in the near future; please inquire to the Council (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please see Participation Requirements, below, for a discussion of what is expected from Player Members. Player Member applicants are expected to answer a set of questions in order to apply for adoption; the questions may be found here. Please see the Join Us! page on the website for more details.
If you wish to join as a Reader Member, you should still review the information on the Join Us! page, and follow the link to answer a few short questions. Reader Members who would like to become Player Members someday are encouraged to let the council know if they have particular preferences; especially if it is for a character who is someone's Secondary Character.
Adopting More Than One Character
Player Members at RTH are allowed to own multiple characters, with some rules and restrictions.
Every Player Member is considered to own a Primary Character, for whom they owe the basic submission requirements. (See below.) The member may also apply to own an additional elf, or additional troll or human, as Secondary Characters.
1. When a character becomes Adoptable, members will see this announced on the forum and in email, and the character will be offered to Reader Members for a period of 1 week, before being made publicly available. During this time, Player Members with a strong interest in the character (in order to switch Primary Characters or as a Secondary Character) are encouraged to let the council know of their interest, or apply. Reader Members are similarly encouraged to speak up as soon as possible if they have interest in the character. The council may exercise its discretion in allowing a Player Member to adopt a character, before the 1 week in-house period is up.
2. Player Members who wish to apply for a Secondary Character should be aware of the increased participation requirements, and should already have an activity level and presence in the group that suggests that they will have no trouble meeting the increased requirements. (First character: 4 submissions per year, 1 per quarter; each additional char: 2 additional submissions per year.) They should also be aware of and comfortable with the potential need to respond to increased approval requests.
To apply for a Secondary Character, please see the list of adoption questions linked from the Join Us! page, and send the council answers for questions 2 through 4. Please let the council know at this time whether you intend to keep the Secondary Character for a limited time, or not.
Player Members may control only one elf as a Secondary Character. They may, if they wish, control more than one troll or human as a Secondary Character (provided they can meet all of the additional submission requirements.)
3. At the time of adoption, a Player Member is expected to designate their characters as “Primary” or “Secondary”. They will do this by notifying the council, and then adding the appropriate designation, such as “(Primary Character”), both as the first line in the CIS History section, and at the end of the character blurb.
The Primary Character’s name (and picture if desired) will be used as the member’s identity on the forum.
The member may choose to switch these designations at any time -- please just inform the council at the same time that the change is made on the CIS; and ask for help if you want to switch it on the forum.
4. If a Player Member with more than one character fails to meet the extra submissions requirements, their Secondary Character(s) will become NPC again. The Player Member would have to wait 1 month before asking to re-adopt that char (and also be able to say that they can meet the requirements again). During that time, the character will be openly adoptable, and may be adopted out to someone else. The Player Member will still retain their other character(s), so long as they continue to meet that level of the submissions requirements.
Members may voluntarily give up a Secondary Character at any time, with no penalty; the character will become Adoptable again. The member may, if they wish, immediately apply for Secondary ownership of another character, if they are still able to meet the additional submission requirements.
5. New members, or Reader Members who would like to become Player Members someday, are encouraged to let the council know if they have particular preferences; especially if it is for a character who is someone's Secondary Character. The council does not promise that an adoption or transfer of ownership will be arranged; but depending on the circumstances, a discussion may take place, or the council may note the interest for the future.
1. Board userids. We ask that members registering on the forum for a Reader Member account use their first name (or a sensible nickname that does not sound like an EQ character name) for a userid; and that punctuation or numbers not be included in the name. Those registering for a Player Member account are asked to use the name of their character for their userid. Not only does this make a member easier to contact, but it also helps the board admins differentiate between legitimate accounts and spam accounts.
2. Be courteous. No flaming, name calling, insults, naggings or otherwise tormenting other members will be tolerated. Any issues that arise on the board need to be handled in a calm, adult manner. Board Moderators will remove/lock threads that contain abusive material. Members who flame / continue flame-wars will be removed from the group.
3. Post in the right board. Please make sure that what you are posting is placed in the right board. Each board is clearly marked. If you are uncertain please contact a board moderator, or a council member for help. If a post is placed in the wrong board, Board Moderators will move the thread into the appropriate board.
4. Members-Only Board Access. The message boards are for members only. Do not share your password for non-members, or post for non-members on the board. Any non-members who wish to post something on the RTH board must contact the Council of Five at email@example.com. Any posts made from/for non-members will be immediately removed, and the member who gave out their password/posted for the non-member will be removed from the group. The exception is when non-members have been welcomed to participate in publicly offered contests, and will be free to participate on the Contests forum on our message board.
4. Message Board concerns? If you are having any issues with other members on the board, or feel that you are being unfairly treated, please contact Council Member Heidi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comment/Website Feedback Guidelines:
1. Be Courteous. Do not post hurtful or mean comments on stories or art. Critiques are fine, but do not simply say 'This Sucks!'. Any comment that is made of this nature will be removed and the member will be removed from the group.
2. Avoid Fluff Posts -- please try not to post 'fluff posts' to the website. These are posts that consist of less then one sentence. For example, "'Wow cool!" counts as a fluff post.
3. Feedback concerns? If you are having any issues comments, or feel that you are being abused or unfairly treated, please contact the Council at email@example.com.
FOR PLAYER-MEMBERS: Player Members are required to support their character/membership with 1 submission per quarter (1 piece of art, at least at sketch level; or 1 story of 500 words or more). Players who have not made a submission by the end of a quarter's second month will receive a reminder and 1-month heads-up. If a Player Member fails to support their character for a quarter, they will be given a warning and put on probation (probation period of one quarter). Making a normal submission during the probationary quarter is all that is required (players don't have to also "make up" the submission for the quarter they missed). But, if a Player Member fails to meet the participation requirements for the probationary quarter as well, they will lose their status, and their character will become an Adoptable Character (and may be adopted by others). Players who lose their character are usually welcome to become Reader Members. Generally, a former Player Member will be asked to wait for 1 quarter before applying again to adopt a character..
(Please also see the Communication Requirements, outlined below.)
Most New Members will join a quarter that is in-progress. Their requirements depend on when in a quarter they join. If they join within the quarter's first month, then they must participate (submit art or writing) by the end of that first quarter. If they join later in the quarter, the partial quarter will not count against them, but they will be expected to submit something by the end of their first full quarter in the group. If a new member does not participate during their first quarter, they will be deactivated and their character will become an Adoptable again. They are usually welcome to remain a Reader Member; they cannot re-apply for a character until another full quarter has passed.
If you are a new member and you ever have a question about your membership status, please contact the Council for clarification (at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Player Members may adopt more than one character. Additional characters require 1 additional submission per half-year (every 6 months). If a Player Member fails to submit at the level required to support the additional character(s), the additional character(s) will become Adoptable Characters (and may be adopted by others). There will be no other penalty to the Player Member. The Player Member may apply to adopt or re-adopt a Secondary Character again after a waiting-period of 1 month, and to do so, must demonstrate that they will be able again to meet the increased submission requirements.
Player Members who are removed due to inactivity may be refused future membership to River Twine Holt on a case-by-case basis. Player Members who lose their membership are usually welcome to become Reader Members, or to rejoin as Reader Members (if there has been a gap in communications). But, Player Members who are removed due to inactivity are required to wait for the next full quarter before submitting any request to adopt a character. (As always, becoming a Reader Member will ensure first crack at Adoptable Characters when they become available.) River Twine Holt works on a three-strikes system, and after defaulting on a third attempt at character ownership, a former member may be refused future adoptions.
(Also see Leaving the Club below.)
NOTE: The Council doesn’t want to suspend memberships for lack of activity, and will do what it can to meet the needs of each member, but some consistent communication between an inactive member and the Council is required. If a member requests it, a Leave of Absence from the group can be obtained from the Council, waiving one quarter's participation requirements. A longer LoA may be arranged in special circumstances. But it is the responsibility of the member to contact the Council to request a LoA.
FOR READER-MEMBERS: RMs are expected to leave at least one comment per quarter on stories or artwork on the website. (This is our only way of tracking whether RMs are still interested in following the group.) RMs may also submit artwork or stories, and if they do so, that will count as their quarter's participation. Failure to leave at least one comment will result in the RM being sent a "1 month left" email towards the end of a quarter. If the RM misses a quarter, they will be sent a probationary warning, and they must leave a comment sometime during the next 1 month. If a RM fails to comment during that probation period, they will lose their RM membership access to the club's website & message boards, and will be dropped off of any waiting list for character adoptions they may have been on.
Reader Members who are removed for inactivity are welcome to rejoin again as an RM without delay.
Submission Requirement Types:
Submissions need not feature your own character to count for the participation requirement. Artwork and stories about other characters will earn credit toward support for a member’s own character. (On the flip side, however – approving the use of your character in another member’s story, or approving artwork, does not count toward your own quarterly requirement.)
The minimum requirement for Artwork is 1 submission of at least sketch complexity. Does Not Count: dolls (even on your own base); icons (except with special permission from the council).
The minimum requirement for Writing is 1 story submission of at least 500 words' length. Does Not Count: poetry.
Stories should be submitted to email@example.com; artwork should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. You are required to collect all of the necessary approvals for your art or your stories, prior to submission, and to indicate this when you submit.
Part of RTH's participation rules consist of a communication requirement. Although we are not an RP group with frequent posting needs, we still need character owners to stay in touch, in order to keep up with character-approval requests and questions from writers and artists.
Player Members are expected to remain in consistent communication with the group and with the council. This is especially true regarding responding to other members who contact you to ask questions or for your permission for character-use. Members are expected to respond to others in a timely fashion -- unless they have posted to the AWOL thread on the MB, or notified the Council that they will be out of email contact for a period of time. Please use the AWOL thread in Dreamberry Chatter to let fellow members know when you will be unable to respond for some known period! (Let people know the dates you will be out of touch.)
"Timely" is usually defined as “a few days”, but no longer than a period of 2 weeks. In the case of approval of use of a character, the person asking for approval is expected to make 2 attempts to contact you, by all available means -- email and messageboard notification -- during that time; but at the end of 2 weeks from the date of the first attempt, approval will be considered to have been given by default. (In order to facilitate this, you are expected to keep your Member info on the board updated with the best email address to use for you -- and if you have a change, let the council know so that we can change the automatic-forwarding of your 'email@example.com' address.) We encourage you to turn on private-message notification-by-email from the mb even if you don't have other notifications turned on, so that you will be alerted when you receive them.
PMs are also expected to log in to the messageboard no less than once per month. A lot of important announcements and discussions take place on the mb, and you won't really have the information you need to participate in the group if you don't check in. Further, members often use mb private-messages to try to contact others, in case email is not working for some reason. We will not check up on this on a regular basis, but this may factor into our attempt to determine if you have "disappeared" from the group.
If the SAT is made aware that there has been no response to approval requests for your character for 2 weeks (with no known reason for your absence), the council will begin to try to make contact with you. It is at this time that we will check to see when you last logged into the messageboard. This process may also begin 1 month before the end of a quarter, if we see that you have not submitted anything during that quarter (everyone who hasn't done so is sent a "1 month left" message at that time); only if that is true will we check your mb log-in status.
- If you have logged into the mb within the past month, the council will continue to try to make contact with you by all available means for the next 1 month from the date on which we were alerted to a problem.
- If you have not logged into the mb in over a month, the council will continue to try to make contact with you by all available means for the next 2 weeks; or through the end of the quarter, if we are contacting you about quarterly participation.
- Making contact, in both cases, means giving you no fewer than 4 alerts by whatever contact information we have for you (PM, different email accounts). We don't need more than a minimal response, in case you are unable to give us more at the time - we don't want you to lose your characters because of Real Life problems, and will make efforts to accommodate and make allowances for members' needs. But in order to do that, we need some indication of your continued interest.
- if you are having Real Life issues, please talk to the council! We are happy in most cases to arrange for a Leave of Absence, waiving the requirements for at least one quarter, and making some provision to deal with character approvals. But we can’t do that if you don’t let us know you need it!
- If we are contacting you with a "the end of the quarter is approaching" reminder, we do expect that you will respond to us, even if you do not think you will be able to get a submission in by the end of the quarter. (In most cases, you will merely go on probation if you miss one quarter; see above under Participation Requirements.)
If you ever think that you are missing communications from someone, let a council member know as soon as possible!
Finally, if a council member is contacting you on group business (either because of the end of the quarter approaching, or for some other reason), we also ask that you respond in a timely manner. The above procedures WILL go into effect if you have failed to respond to a council inquiry, from any council member, even if you have in the meantime been in touch with other members of the group for other reasons. (2 weeks of non-response to a council member will result in our following the procedures above.)
If at the end of that time, we receive no reply from you to any of our alerts, your membership will be deactivated and your character will become NPC.
If you get back in touch with us after that happens, you will be welcome to re-join the group as an RM. But, you must wait for the start of the next quarter to apply to adopt a character (if one is available). We also have a three-strikes rule -- after three such incidents, we regret that we will not adopt a character to you again, although you are welcome to be an RM.
Character Information Sheet Updates
All CISs should be kept current, as characters grow and change as they are played. A mandatory CIS update period is held every June: members have between the 1st and the 30th to log into the website, review their character’s CIS, and update it accordingly. The webbase will automatically track all updates, and the council member who heads up our Character Approval Team will receive automatic notification from the system of all changes to a CIS.
Failure to update the CIS during the mandatory time period will result in the member going on probation for the summer quarter (July-August-September) even if they have fulfilled their participation requirements for the previous quarter. If by September the CIS has not been updated, the member will lose the character. While this may seem harsh, it is the Council's belief that up-to-date CISes are important for immersion and conduct in the club and show an ongoing interest in the character.
The minimum change required to fulfill the mandatory update requirement is the adjustment of the character's age (the addition of a year). Further changes that reflect character growth are of course welcome. Additionally, CISs can be updated throughout the year, as a member feels motivated to do so..
If you have any questions, please contact Joan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Because we believe that our members should be rewarded for contributing to River Twine Holt, the following rewards system is in place for all members:
Three awards will be given each season, in the categories of Art, Fiction, and Member.
Every quarter, the Council of Five will collectively decide which member should receive the Art and Fiction awards, based largely on who has earned the most points in that category during the quarter. The Member Award will go to a member who has actively participated throughout the quarter above and beyond the normal rate of activity. The Member Award is generally based upon the amount of points that a person receives in a quarter, but may also be based on other activity.
The awards will be given out 'seasonally' as follows:
• March 31: Winter Quarter (Jan-Feb-March) • June 30: Spring Quarter (April-May-June) • Sept. 30: Summer Quarter (July-Aug-Sept) • Dec. 31: Autumn Quarter (Oct-Nov-Dec)
Once a member has received an Art, Fiction or Member award during the course of a year, that member cannot receive that same award again during that year.
The club’s administrative team, the Council of Five, keeps track of participation through a points system that works as described below. Points earned each quarter are tallied toward regular quarterly participation awards: (See “Rewards” in section bellow)
Additionally -- beginning in 2008, a new Chief's Choice Award was created. It is given to honor an exceptional effort in fiction, poetry, artwork, or group participation. The Chief's Choice Award may be given out quarterly, but is not a mandatory award -- the Council will give it only in circumstances where the Council believes it very well deserved, but the regular artist, member, or general participation awards (which are largely points-based achievements) are not applicable.
Written submissions are counted on a point-per-page basis, with 650 words equaling one page. Poetry is generally counted as .5 pts per poem, with some exceptions (see "Poetry Points" below). Artwork may be worth from .5 point to 2 points in value, depending on the individual effort. See “Art Points” below.
When multiple authors have participated in a collaborative stories, the story itself is worth only as many points as there are pages. Those points will be divided equally among the authors involved, unless the authors jointly indicate otherwise. Authors should indicate upon submission either how many words each contributed, or how the points should be divided.
A single piece of art may take its creator as much time as an author takes to write a story. There is no true way to faithfully rate artwork in our point-per-page system, as each artist varies dramatically in style. The best we can accomplish is the following:
• 1/2 (.5) point = Sketch; coloring of someone else's work; recycled art
• 1 point = Finished/Basic: bust portrait to 2 or fewer figures; b&w or colored; may include props or very simple backgrounds.
• 2 points = = Elaborate: b&w or colored; 2 or more figures, usually showing interaction, and/or very detailed hand-drawn environment or background.
• 3 points = Showcase: could be b&w, though usually colored; either multiple figures (3 or more) or elaborate background/environment, or both. (Visibly like "elaborate", but more-so.) See calendar gallery for examples.
Recycled art policy: River Twine Holt will gladly accept recycled art (art first created by the artist for a purpose other than RTH), but RTH reserves the right of how (or if) to apply it. Recycled art is always counted as .5 participation points, and recycled art cannot be applied toward the quarterly participation requirements. No more than eight pieces/four points of recycled art will be counted per quarter towards our seasonal participation awards.
Poetry is generally considered to be worth .5 point per poem.
However, if a member believes their poem is longer than usual, a personal masterwork, or otherwise demonstrates more effort, they may request more points to reflect the overall effort. Final point distribution is decided by the Story Approval Team.
Other Forms of Participation:
While posting on the messageboard and leaving comments via the website is not a requirement, and does not count for the quarterly support that members owe to the group, steady participation in those areas does factor into the council's consideration of the quarterly Member Award (given to the "most active" member).
(Generally speaking, we prefer that people using the messageboard and comments system not leave "fluff" posts: posts consisting of very short non-substantial comments, such as simply 'wow cool' or 'yeah' or "you rock" or 'just what I was thinking'. Non-fluff posts give some direct feedback regarding the work, something that can be of use to the author or artists. For example, "Wow I really like this, the eyes are great, the hair is beautiful and you've done a wonderful job with the shading." is much more useful to the artist than saying "Wow, I like this."')
Leaving the Club:
If at any time a member wishes to leave River Twine Holt, please contact the Council of Five at email@example.com to discuss your options. It is not possible for the group to hold a character in reserve; characters will immediately be put up for adoption.
Members who leave the club are welcome to remain as Reader Members; but they must request this. It will not be done automatically.
When a member leaves, the control of their character defaults to the River Twine Council. The Council will be happy to help accommodate a departing members wises, within reason. But characters will generally not be automatically killed off, and stories and fic submitted to the club will not generally be removed from the website.
Returning members. Members who wish to return to River Twine Holt are usually welcomed back with open arms. Returning members will be treated the same as any other new member -- they will be welcome to adopt any of the available characters. (Previously-owned characters will not be removed from another member in order to be returned to a returning member.) All artwork and stories previously submitted will be relinked to a returning member. However, returning members are required to rejoin under their original name & identity. Sockpuppeting (operating an email account under false pretenses, or rejoining under false pretenses) will be grounds for immediate expulsion.
In some cases, a returning member may not be allowed to adopt a character -- for example, if they have owned a character 3 times previously already, and lost the character due to inactivity, inability to meet the quarterly requirements, or a decision to leave the group. Such members will usually be welcome to be a part of the group as a RM, and may still submit writing or artwork.
However, there may be other reasons, based on a former member's past relationship with the group, for denial of return-membership (at either the PM or RM level); the Council will determine this on a case-by-case basis.