First of all, I'd like to say that I don't think any of you are dummies. That's just the name of all those books, so yeah... ;P
Secondly, to learn about the two key elements in roleplaying (plot and character) check out my blog posts here
they'll tell you all that I would. Probably because I wrote them.
Now, down to business. Since I covered the major issues in those other posts, this one just deals with the little things. Like rules for instance. Those things that can be somewhat annoying, but are always necessary. For one thing, they help keep away unruly players. Cause if someone joins up and completely disregards the rules, you can boot them off right away. XD And for another, it just generally keeps the game running smoothly if you have a good set. Things like
Speak in italics when not in character (clears up confusion)
Use proper grammar and correct punctuation (let's people be able to decipher long posts)
Do not play as another person's character (it is incredibly annoying when someone does that)
Stay within whatever bounds set for the game, such as no pulling bazookas out of back pockets (keeps the game within the bounds of reality)
Those are a few rules that help keep an RPG rolling nicely. For specific games there are specific rules, of course, but those are general ones.
Let's talk about the actual game play now, shall we? When you're playing an RPG, you're doing to have fun, right? Course you are, there is no other reason to play. That is the very definition of playing. And so you want the game to be fun to play. So what contributes to a fun RPG? First off, a good, interesting plot. That's always the thing that makes you want to play the game in the first place. Secondly, you have a character that you want to create and play with. Both of those are major contributors, but the fun stuff is when you're actually playing, and to keep it fun, game play has to be real. You have to treat it respectfully. Not like, "Oh this is just some online game thing that I'm playing, I can do whatever I want." No, that makes for an unfun (I'm gonna get a copyright on that word, or whatever you get...) game. It may seem fun for a few posts while you run around doing whatever crazy junk you feel like, but after just a bit, that gets boring. Really boring. You need to care about the game, about the story line that you're playing through. You need to want to play, and you need to devote the necessary time to the game to make it good. Good RPGs aren't made by people who get on for a minute, type out a few sentences, and hit the post button. I'm sorry, but that just isn't the way it works.
When playing the game, you should always remember that quality is always better than quantity. Always. Whenever you post, it should be substantial. Your only real short posts should be when you're engaged in conversation with another player, in which a single line of dialogue is just fine since it is progressing the conversation. You should never post when there is nothing for your character to do. If you do post then, you're just adding a post that gives no depth to the game, adds nothing. A post that may have quite a bit of quantity, but no quality. Even if you're frustrated because your other players aren't getting on, or whatever, don't do that. Scream at them via PMs or however, but don't clog up the game with useless posts.
And that's all I can think of for the moment. If I do think of something else, you can be sure I'll make a post on it. XD
Any questions? About anything concerning roleplaying? I'm writing all these posts because I want to help improve the quality of roleplaying we have on this site. If you want to learn how to roleplay, if you want to be good at it, read them. If you disagree with something I said, argue it. I want these posts to teach you, or expand the knowledge you already have, and that can also be achieved by debating the subject within the comments. So, if you have any questions, comments, or anything, either about this post or either of my other ones on the subject, please post them. I want to help you become a better roleplayer. And who knows, you just might help me out too.