Online role playing, as a writing form, has seriously come into its own in the past decade. I remember hopping online back when everyone was congregating in AOL chatrooms and, unsurprisingly, most of the role playing I saw going on there was either animal role playing or cybering (typing out sexual acts, one of the most noted forms of role playing). These days, we’re a long way away from those chatrooms—role playing can be found anywhere with a text-based posting system and with as much diversity as all 500 or so cable channels. Especially in my life, role playing has taken a huge role in shaping my writing style as well as who I am as a person; I’ve improved in character building, I met my girlfriend and a wide majority of my friends through role playing, and I even offer to help others in building their own characters. I also help run a role playing site, so my co-admin and I experience the good as well as the bad of the community. And let me tell you, when role playing gets bad, it’s really bad.
If one were to ask what the worst part of role playing is, or rather, what’s the worst thing to run into, I’m sure that a solid eight times out of ten, people would mention something about Mary Sues in all their overpowered glory. However, this would be incorrect. First of all, Mary Sues are fantastic and should be protected at all costs. That aside, one of the largest problems to plague the role playing community, at least from a forum-based standpoint, is the manner in which male characters are held in higher respect than female characters.