*waves at Jen*
Hi babe. Personally I think you've pretty much got things covered. I'm never really sure what a co-GM should do, other than help keep things moving, help with ideas as required, etc... I've never really co-gmed a game that really got going, and I've only had a couple of games where I needed a co-GM.
I have a different question, that might be a bit controversial, and I'm not sure whether this is the place to ask it...
Joining Existing Big Groups.
I can't be the only person on E who finds this intimidating? I have tried twice to join an existing big group and neither time did I do much more than submit a character and post some in the OOC thread. (By the way, I wish to apologise to the respective GMs for this. It's not behaviour I approve of, in others or myself!)
The reasons for the intimidation are as follows (in my opinion):
1) There is an existing story that is on-going. Inserting oneself into it can seem rude.
2) There are at least 1000 posts in the IC threads. That's an awful lot to read through in order to figure out exactly what has gone before....
3) There are existing player dynamics and relationships. Again, inserting a new character into those relationships can feel like one is being rude.
4) When there are a lot of threads in the game it can be difficult to know where to begin.
5) Often the sheer volume of posts that enabled the game to achieve big group status can put people off.
Looking at this from an outsider's point of view, joining an existing big group can feel very much like trying to join a clique. NO! Please don't react to that. I'm not saying that big group games are cliquey, although some might well be, I don't know. What I'm saying is what it feels like from the outside looking in.
How can this be overcome?
Well, the first two are probably the easiest. The GMs need to regularly update a summary post somewhere that gives newcomers a brief synopses of what has gone before and what is currently happening. Point 4 could also be covered in this, by including a summary of which threads people are in and what is happening in them. This is probably a lot of work for the GM, I realise, but as the game has already reached big game status, (s)he doesn't have to count posts anymore, and it could be a once-a-week thing.
Point 5 is probably not so much of a problem with an established game: the initial mad rush where fifty players all posted once a day for three weeks has gone, three quarters of them have dropped out and the remaining twelve players have slowed things down to posting once every few days. But if the game is still in that stage where the shiny hasn't worn off yet, there isn't really much can be done. In some ways it's easier to join a game in this stage because the story is still getting going, the characters are still establishing themselves, and there are lots of characters to interact with. It's just the sheer volume of posts that you have to read each day that can be amazingly off-putting.
Point 3. Ah, this is the biggie.
I honestly don't know how this can be solved. I'm going to generalise, and hope people don't mind.... A lot of people here on E are here because we (and I include myself) are shy. For some this stems from having Asperger's Syndrome, ort some other behavioural disorder. Whatever the cause, we have difficulty relating to people, and and for myself at least, I use role-playing as a form of therapy (I'm not saying this is wise, but it seems to help). The point is, that for a lot of people on this web site, going up to a stranger and saying hello is a major trauma. Doing so in a roleplay is less traumatic, but not by much. The greatest fear is that one posts something to introduce one's character and one is ignored.
The only way this can be avoided is, frankly, by the GM having a character in each scene that will respond to the newcomer's post and bring the character into the group, but again this is major work for the GM. Obviously if the new player is known to existing players and/or sets up a scene in the OOC first, this helps, but for a shy person to say "Hey, anyone want to RP with me?" is actually quite hard.
Yes, I know we all do that when we post our request threads, but every time I post one, I always have this dread that someone will actually respond to it and I will then have to run another game... Which is counterbalanced by the equal and opposite dread that no-one will respond. I'm lucky in a way that I have such a vivid imagination, and come up with such a vast array of ideas that there is always one that will appeal to someone out there. But at the same time, I find that when I post a new idea and no-one snaps it up, I always feel disappointed.
That, to say this: Saying "Hi" to an established group of people who are writing together and expecting at least one of them to say "Hi" back and invite you to join them in a sexual scene... that is something I for one find majorly difficult.
The above are my thoughts. I hope I've not offended anyone by expressing them? If I have, I apologise. But I would like to know if people can come up with better ways to make existing big groups more accessible.