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Character Troubleshooting

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You've made your character, either one from the show, an "SC" (show character), or an "OC" (original character). You've got a description and a back story and a picture/avatar. You've got a name and a reason to be in Ponyville (or Canterlot or wherever you are). Maybe you even have a home already, a job, a funny thing you do (obsessed with jelly, talk in a funny accent, compulsively train for hayburger eating contests). But despite all this, you're having trouble. You think, "How do I start?" or "Why won't anyone talk to me?" or "How can I get involved with that awesome RP (roleplay) I see the Mane 6 doing?" or "I did everything right, why am I bored and lonely?" This page is for you.

Show Character

You just saw an episode of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic on the HUB (or from an official comic book or something else Hasbro put out) and they introduced a new character (or you found an old G1, G2 or G3 pony you're certain is "canon"). You totally want to be that character! You rush off and create a Twitter account under the name "@mlp_<newcharname>" and no one else has done it.

Problem: Someone else has a variant of the name, and they seem to be the "accepted" version. No one is letting you be that character, even though you're sure you were "there" first.

Situation: There's no such thing as an "official" TwitterPony account other than @mlp_Mod. That means people are free to follow/interact with whomever they please. Even an account as followed and accepted as @mlp_Rainbow isn't "officially" our Rainbow Dash. They've just done such a great job for so long, have followed the guidelines and proven themselves a real asset to everyone's RP, being funny and exciting and entertaining, that people are happy to follow her.
Solution: There's only two solutions. 1) You have to be an even BETTER version of that character, more exciting, more entertaining, more in the letter and spirit of the guidelines, funnier, more true to that character and their voice. This simply isn't going to happen with folks who've been around a year or become beloved--sorry. But if a character is new to the show and in its early phases, this is your best bet. 2) Give up and make another character, because it's in the spirit of Friendship and being a good pony to embrace when someone's doing a great job, and leave them to their fun, while you find other ways to be part of the roleplay. It's a big world, there's plenty of new characters coming from the show. 3) There is no third choice, so this is just one last possibility: DM the person doing the role. Maybe they aren't all that into it and would happily turn it over to you. Maybe they want to share. Who knows? Don't be a jerk, don't demand they surrender their name, no one has that right, not even the Mod. But perhaps you can come to an arrangement of some kind. Can't hurt to ask, as long as you do it in the spirit of Friendship.

Problem: There are no other variants of your character, but still no one is "accepting" you or interacting with you.

Situation: Plenty of things may be going wrong. Perhaps you're doing a terrible job, which almost always arises because you're trying to make an established character (the show on HUB established them) into something they're not. Perhaps you're taking for granted that, because the show established them, you can waltz in and every character who interacted with them on the episode must interact with you in TwitterPonies (they don't, and playing it like they must is taking them for granted, no one likes that). For example, we know Twilight Sparkle is about to get a brother in an episode coming up, and of course it only makes sense that our @mlp_Twilight would "have" to interact with such a character--but no one likes being forced, and you might find if you suck at it or are being a jerk about it, you don't get the time of day form anyone. Perhaps this show character is specialized--a Timberwolf or a pony that only shows up every 1000 years. If it makes no sense for them to open a dry-cleaning service in Ponyville, it's hardly a surprise that people are ignoring it.
Solution: You don't want to play this character. Admit it to yourself. You probably grabbed them for any of several reasons: they're funny, would appear to be ideal RolePlaying candidates, are an "easy in" that doesn't require you to set up any reason to interact with major players--any of a dozen reasons why you want the ASPECTS of that character, but don't really have an interest in being the character, it's just not fun for you, or it's a poor fit for you. That's fine! Stop trying to cram your square peg into the round hole of the character, give it up, create an OC that really matches what you want to do, or wait until another character is introduced on the show that fits your wants and needs.

Original Characters

You've created an OC, you've got all you need, but starting out is proving frustrating. Or you've been around a while, but still haven't gotten any traction.

Problem: You don't know how to start! You're all dressed up with no place to go: how do you get to Ponyville? How do you settle in? How do you get people to know your name, to acknowledge you, to follow you, to RP with you?

Situation: You're totally new and haven't even Tweeted yet, how do you jump in?
Solution: There's no way to run through all the possibilities here. Somehow you're going to have to make yourself part of the world. Don't be afraid to "cheat." In fact, "cheating" is encouraged very strongly! "Cheat" by jumping over the boring stuff. Is your OC a lollipop maker? Throw open the doors of your lollipop shop! No need to talk to @mlp_TheMayor about getting a license, or a landlord to buy a shop, or ask if people want a lollipop store, or get yourself a house to live in--just assume it's all done, we love that. Life is too short to sweat the details.
Solution: Once you've established yourself, don't be shy about @mentioning people WHEN IT MAKES SENSE. That is, if a pony is walking around Ponyville town square and your shop is on the square (probably is), then say, "Hey, @mlp_Applejack, if you can leave your cart for a second, can I interest you in a lollipop?" That's a fair offer. You may have to do that a lot in the beginning, because no one is obliged to accept your offer. DO NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY. It's okay. No one will mind, so long as you've been listening and integrated your offer into the world. If a pony isn't around, don't @mention them. If they're obviously busy, wait until they're done. You're already following a bunch of people (first thing everyone does is follow folks), so keep an eye open. Follow others who are active, even if you don't intend on keeping them in your follow list forever--you'll soon see whom it makes sense to offer a lollipop to.
Solution: Give yourself a life outside of your "hook." Being a lollipop salespony is a "hook," a simple reason for being around. @mlp_Pinkie is a baker. But she doesn't bake all the time! She eats and sleeps and runs around and does silly things, she visits friends and throws parties and does a lot more than knead dough. Make your character real by doing real things, EVEN IF NO ONE IS PAYING ATTENTION, because that's what helps us build the world. The more you contribute to building the world, the more folks will trust you, and with trust comes followers and adventure.
Situation: You're established, people know your "hook," a number of folks are following you, you've got your home and store and hobby and even go around doing normal things like going to the Treebrary to get a book or the Inn to sleep at night, but still, no one is doing anything beyond polite hoof-shakes. Where's the adventure? Why is it so hard to get included?
Solution: Stop trying. The key to roleplay on TwitterPonies is simply being: being a pony. Being a citizen of Equestria. Being a resident of Ponyville. If you're only doing these things because you have to, in order to get what you REALLY want, which is adventure and friends, then you're in bad faith. You're sitting around "playing by the rules," getting more and more bored and annoyed and wondering, "What do I have to do to get what I want out of this RP!?" and worse, when people tell you, you find yourself saying, "But I already do that, every day!" Recognize that you're not in good faith, you're NOT enjoying being a pony, being a citizen of Equestria, being a resident of Ponyville. You're only doing those things as a prerequisite. That will come through in your RP, loud and clear. You'll build no trust--you'll erode what little trust you have--because people will know, innately, "This pony is feeling some huge lack, and they want me to fill it, better not even risk talking to them or they'll glom on to me." This is particularly true with the next situation:
Situation: Those other ponies are doing something fun, I want to join them. They won't let me, or don't seem to want me, or I don't know how to approach them.
Solution: And here we are, finally, at the real crux of the problem. Everyone wants to be chosen. Everyone wants to be included. The really attractive part of MLP:FIM is that it's a world where friendship and acceptance and fun and adventure and love and togetherness are darn near mandatory: they're part of the DNA of the whole universe. It's incredibly attractive. It's also a terrible danger, because there's only two kinds of people who join TwitterPoinies: those who want to be ponies and have fun and adventure and love and togetherness, and those who want TO BE ACCEPTED in the fun, in the adventure, in the love and in the togetherness. Let's call these kinds of people X and Y. The X ponies have no trouble, because it doesn't matter what they're doing, they're enjoying being part of this world. They have no agenda other than being ponies. They are delighted (or at least excited by the challenge) of being a TwitterPony. On the other hoof, Y ponies are constantly testing the world and themselves. Every time they're spoken to or followed, it's a validation. Every time they're "blown off" or not able to find their way into a big adventure, it's a condemnation of them, their pony character, their role playing ability, or worse. They decide, "my character needs to change" and they create a new (or dozens of new) characters, some copies of popular chars, some wholly original, always trying to find that perfect combination that will get people to like them. When that doesn't work (and it never does), they start sighing or being sad or hanging around going, "Gee, I guess I'll just sit here," feeding off of any poor soul unfortunate enough to ask "What's wrong?"--subsisting off bad attention because they can't seem to score good attention. It's desperate and unpleasant for everyone. And people can smell a Y character from a mile away, which makes them nervous, and so they reject (or stop trying to help) out of self-preservation, which makes the Y character feel justified in their fears of rejection, and the vicious circle continues until finaly the Y, frustrated and feeling betrayed by the premise of the show and the RP, lashes out, rage-quits, or just leaves. Solution: DON'T BE A Y CHARACTER. If that's too hard, then the solution is to simply leave TwitterPonies until you can come back in good faith. It's the right move, even if it hurts. Don't bash your head against a wall of your own making, find a different environment that can give you what you need.
Solution: Maybe you aren't having this problem, but just don't know how to join in anyway. That's okay, we have Fluttershys in the world, not everyone can be as outgoing as Pinkie. There are a number of solutions for folks who just want to join in something that looks like fun. 1) Ask! That's what DMs are for, or the IRC, or even an IC (in character) "Hey, guys, where are you going? Do you need a hoof?" Yes, it's a risk. Yes, they could say "no." Yes, it puts them in the delicate situation of perhaps finding a way of excluding you without hurting your feelings--okay, they're grownups, they can handle it, and so can you. Sometimes the party is just full. Sometimes there's no room in the group, who's been planning this for weeks. You'll all deal with it. But at least you asked! 2) Start your own. Here's a rule everyone should obey: "Stop Waiting for a Golden Invitation." First of all, they almost never come. Second of all, they probably won't be exaclty what you were hoping for, because hey, it originated with someone else, what are the chances that it's exactly what you wanted? So if you want something yourself, MAKE it yourself. Yes, it's a risk. Yes, you'll have to find others to join you. Yes, they could say "no." Yes, they could have to find a way to turn you down without hurting your feelings--okay, they're grownups, they can handle it, and so can you. Try again with something else later.
Situation: I have tried to make adventures, over and over, I'm a fountain of ideas, but no one likes ANY of them, what the heck!?
Solution: That's right. It happens. When it happens once, okay, that's just life. When it happens a lot, examine your offers (that's what a call to adventure is, an "offer" to join you on something you made up). Are they within the guidelines? Are they in good faith? That is, if your idea involves something very un-pony, not in the show, don't expect many takers. Is it high-power? People are very suspicious of power, rightfully. Is it just ridiculous? No one wants to help you crash the moon into Everfree, or "short out" the Elements of Harmony. And as written above, are you sitting around waiting for people to join your adventure because it makes you feel accepted? That's bad faith--no one wants to "accept you" or "reject you" or anything else but have fun and be a pony. Even if your idea is incredibly reasonable and common and relaxed, if you begin in bad faith, you'll get nothing but silence. People can smell it.

Problem: Cliques.

Situation: You've done the right thing, you've created your character, in good faith and the right way, within the guidelines, and you've even done the smart move of laying low in the beginning, watching, getting a "feel" for the roleplay and its rhythms. And you've noticed there are cliques. Certain characters hang out together, adventure together. And you feel like you either have to hook up with one, create your own, bash into one, or "lone wolf" yourself out, and none of those make you feel good.
Solution: Yep, there are cliques. That's a fact of life. You're not going to abolish them on TwitterPonies, and attempting to do so shows you've got an agenda way beyond "be a pony," and we've already discussed how that's bad faith. So instead, take your cue from the show itself. In MLP:FIM, the "mane 6" are a kind of clique. They tend to adventure together. There are artificial reasons for this (Elements of Harmony) and organic ones (they're all actually friends). Does this inspire jealousy, hatred, fury or worse in Ponyville, in the show? Of course not. Friendship is to be celebrated--celebrate it! If cliques as I'm describing them light your fuse, please leave TwitterPonies, it's not the right place for you. You're just destined for frustration, do yourself a favor and find a different environment.
Solution: Maybe the mere reality of cliques doesn't infuriate you--good. That doesn't mean you have to sit around waiting for a clique to form around you (remember the fallacy of the Golden Invitation, above), or go around inserting yourself into cliques. Remember that a clique is, itself, just a group of friends bound by a shared history. The solution is to BUILD SOME HISTORY, and share it. This can be done artificially ("I'm @mlp_Twilight's brother!"--please leave that to the show if you can) or organically, by living and being in the world of TwitterPonies and enjoying it the whole time. Be patient! It takes time. "Hi, @mlp_Applejack, you sold me an apple yesterday on my very first day, so, are we best friends now, wanna go slay some diamond dogs?!" Impatience hurts you. Better is to make an organic, relaxed offer that comes from being patient and listening. "@mlp_Applejack, I see you here selling turnovers every day, and I bet you'd sell more if you had a little portable oven to keep them warm. Want to borrow mine? It runs on fireflies!" Yes, it's an offer, and risky, but who knows? Take a chance. Then the next day, "How's that oven working for you?" and then, before you know it, you have a history with AJ, and a budding friendship. And you know what that looks like to a new person who just came to town? A clique!! See what I did there?

Problem: Everyone is telling me to change my character.

Situation: You can't go five minutes into your backstory, abilities, etc., without someone offering you "advice" on how to be someone else. "We have enough foals," they say to you, or "I'm tired of going Squee! over every Wonderbolt, and so you really shouldn't be a Wonderbolt," or even, "You're against the guidelines, please change.
Solution: Maybe they're right. Perhaps you're new and don't realize just how many Wonderbolts or Foals or orphans or bakers or whatever have shown up in the years since we began TwitterPonies. Don't take their suggestion as an affront or a rejection, consider they're trying to help.
Solution: To heck with them! You always dreamed of being a Wonderbolt, and by gum, you're going a Wonderbolt and you're going to stay a Wonderbolt. Fine. But you've been warned, that's a well-trod path, and you'll have to be extraordinary. Good, rise to the challenge! Be an AWESOME Wonderbolt. Be one that everyone follows because you're just that amusing, entertaining, "authentically Wonderboltish" or just plain fun to be around. Advice is nice, but don't let someone bully you. On the other hoof, if you've been trying to be a Wonderbolt for weeks and still people are rejecting hard and fast, admit perhaps you're not a very good one. That's life. Take the hint, find something more comfortable, or leave TwitterPonies to find a place where your vision of a Wonderbolt fits.

Problem: I'm bored.

Situation: You're bored.
Solution: Amuse yourself. That's right. No one is going to waltz up to you and amuse you. They're not here to keep you in stitches or include you. They're not paid entertainers, and you're not a paying audience. Do you know what "I'm bored" says to everyone? "I'm boring." Because you're sitting around being bored and not doing anything about it beyond saying how bored you are. The answer, as always, is to revel in being a pony. Fly, pegasus, fly! Clop around town shopping for strawberries. Sit on the edge of the fountain and wrestle with a Rubik's Cube so entertainingly that you are the amusing one, amusing yourself and, in doing so, probably amusing others. And do it with no expectation of reward. If you're "amusing yourself" just long enough to "catch someone's eye" and then expect adventure to follow, you're done working--tough nuts, because that's not how it works. You must constantly be amusing yourself. That's giving. And giving of yourself to others is what Friendship, and TwitterPonies, is all about.

The Formula for Success

The basic formula for success in TwitterPonies: The closer you adhere to the spirit and letter and play your character accounts within the letter and spirit of the following guidelines, the more likely you are to get Followers, avoid Blockers, be Included in conversations and adventures and have fun.

The converse is true also: the further you stray from the formula, the fewer followers you'll get, the less involved you'll be in conversations or adventures, and you might get blocked.

Read More

You've read this far, PLEASE read these pages as well. Yes, all of them. It's the secret to a fun time, and it'll keep TwitterPonies drama-free for all:

The choice is yours. None of these are rules.

That's how TwitterPonies works.

Got questions? Follow and DM the @mlp_Mod account. The Mod follows every character account, and will always respond to any DM as soon as possible.

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