The RP repository is the most beloved of my personal projects. On the surface, it is a social network written from scratch, intended for RP gamers and their characters. In less than two years, the user base has grown to be many thousands strong based on pure word of mouth.
Some of its features include a powerful drag-n-drop profile page builder with many dozens of looks to choose from; a forum, again written entirely from scratch, complete with special tools for moderators and a system of rolling dice for RP gaming right on the forums; An innovative chat-design that takes any forum topic and turns it into a real-time chat, combining the record-keeping benefits of forums with the social excitement of communicating in real time; The ability for users to create groups for their friends to join, with its own customizable pages for world-building information and private forums for their personal game; and a notifications feed that lets you keep tabs on what your friends and their characters are doing.
One of the real strengths of the RP repository – a strength that radiates out into all of my other work – is that it is the ideal testing ground for new technologies, new ideas, and new interfaces. By giving incentives and public recognition to those who give bug reports, I can often know within minutes how a new piece of code or a new layout works on multiple browsers and platforms. I can even study in minute detail the sometimes surprising effects changes to the interface have on people’s abilities to complete desired tasks, even to the point of knowing cultural assumptions about interfaces in different parts of the world. Through constant experimenting, testing, and gathering of feedback, the site is the perfect platform to hone my skills.
But when you look close enough, it’s apparent that the crowning jewel of the site is its community. Even at its size and the large number of active, participating users every day – even with people from literally all over the world, operating with different cultural assumptions – flame wars are unheard of, differences are often talked out and resolved without the intervention of the moderators, new members are welcomed with enthusiasm, and the core user base is fanatically loyal and supportive. Through the Repository, I have learned an enormous amount about promoting and maintaining positive cultures online. It is striking how every last detail of a site and how it is run, right down to the text of the error messages, can have a measurable effect on the way people behave as they use it.
The RP repository is a living site, constantly changing, growing and improving.