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OpenCYOA Rules


Make sure to read these rules carefully before submitting your branch to OpenCYOA.
Note that all moderation happens with the intend to improve the overall quality of OpenCYOA.

1. Character Limit

For your branch to be accepted it, the story has to be at least 500 and not more than 10000 characters long. Each option has to be at least 3 and not more than 150 characters long, if your branch fulfills these criteria the submission button will show up green otherwise it will be red. In the case that it does not fulfill these conditions it will be automatically rejected. You are not able to use html tags. For example: <b>Hello World!</b> will show up like this in the text, but not as Hello World!.
Padded submissions, using extra characters to get past the automatic validation will still be deleted manually.

2. Don't Spam

Do not submit spam to OpenCYOA, the point is to create a fun story and not fill it all up with spam. This refers to both completely filling up your submission with spam or only a part of it, for example to push it past the 500 character limit. Spam refers to key mashing (e.g.: fjafjkldskf7jkfdj), posting copy paste messages (e.g.: Bee Movie Script) or unnecesary word repeats (e.g.: This is a very very very very very very very very unacceptable message).

3. General limitations for what to write

3.1. No extremism or specifically offensive topics!
This one should be common sense and should not need any further explaining.
3.2. No explicit description of sexual activities or media!
Mentioning that certain topics exist in a place where it contributes to the story is okay, anything more explicit beyond that is not. If certain things happen skip to the next day or do something like that.
3.3. Don't use the story for advertising!
This includes for example, Alex randomly joining your Discord server or using your products (material or virtual) or you forcing them into the story in any way.
3.4. References, Memes, etc.
These sorts of references are allowed within OpenCYOA, but they should be kept subtle and their understanding should not be required in order to understand the story. For anything more specific the reader should be aware that something like this might be included in the following story, based on the previous decision. For example Alex could only play "The Stanley Parable" if he makes the active decision to play it with the previous option.
3.5. Avoid ambiguity
This especially refers to the option at the end of your story, their meaning should be obvious and they should not be meant or interpreted ironically.
3.6. Don't push the story to any edge cases!
Don't try to see how far you can push the story for it to just barely stay within the rules. The rules are to give an overall guideline for what is ok and are not recommendations for edge cases.
3.7. Don't submit very low quality branches.
This is slightly vague, but it basically means that you should put at least some effort into what you create. If you have to think about what to write additionally just to get past the 500 character minimum, perhaps consider not submitting anything. Also unless there really is nothing else to say in a situation you probably shouldn't just go for the absolute minimum and instead try to make your story a bit more interesting. If you have an idea and put some effort into it, it really is not that hard to get between 1000 and 2000 characters.

4. Data policy

4.1. Everything you post here will be publicly visible, don't post your own or someone else's private data.
4.2. Besides the information explicitely provided, a hash resulting from a combination of your IP Address and User Agent is stored (not publicly accessible but may likely be used for moderation purposes)

5. Swearing

Swearing is allowed, however it should only be used in appropriate situations and should not be overused. An online conversation between friends might very well contain swear words, they should however not be spammed more than necessary. Also these sort of situations where swearing would be appropriate should not be forced just for the sake of using swear words. Swearing should also not be used in situations, where they don't explicitly make sense.

6. Don't include links in your part of the story.

This especially refers to including links to viruses, screamers, porn etc.
Broken links still count as links, within this rule heptaveegesimal,comSLASHvvovov,html is still a link.

7. Structure of OpenCYOA

Your submission should work with the overall structure of OpenCYOA, this means that:
7.1. No interaction between different branches.
Every time the story splits, the continuations are two independent stories, there cannot be any interaction between them.
7.2. Your story should not represent the end of a branch, therefor Alex can't die.
7.3. Your story should end in two distinctly different options, don't make both options basically the same.

8. Recursion

8.1. Alex can participate in other CYOA's.
However the same rules still apply for any CYOA, Roleplay, etc. Alex might play / participate in (with the exception of rule 7.1), in the case of an ending or the death of the character Alex plays, the story should return to the regular story, with Alex being the main character and having distinctly different decisions again.
8.2. OpenCYOA does not exist within the world OpenCYOA.
This should be self-explanatory, Alex can't access or be aware of OpenCYOA nor could anyone Alex could interact with.

9. Redundancy

Redundancy in OpenCYOA should be kept to a minimum. For example leaving the house a few decisions later should not be the same as leaving the house at the start. While you do not have to read all branches to make sure that there is no similar branch to what you want to do, you should not copy paste a branch that would fit at another point of the story as well. And if you are aware that a similar branch already exists, just try to make yours somewhat different.
In combination with rule 8.1. this also means that if Alex were to play any games that if directly implemented within OpenCYOA would contain a lot of redundancy, they should be done in a way that they don't. You could have Alex decide to stick to a certain playstyle or make a decision within the story and not make it an option if it does not impact the long term story anyways.

10. Be aware of the time

The story began on the 12th of May 2018 and unless and unless the story has gotten to a much later date through events in a branch don't assume major time skips.
10.1. Events that happened between the start of OpenCYOA wouldn't have happened in the world of OpenCYOA. I'm fine with making exceptions to this that aren't intrusive to the story. Alex may still play games, watch movies, or be aware of jokes/memes that happened later.
10.2. The butterfly effect may lead to different events in the story than in real life. This is not a rule, but just an explicit clarification that deviating from reality in such ways is perfectly acceptable.

11. Exceptions

If you believe that your part of the story would strongly benefit from an exception to one of these rules. As an example if you want to have anything based on html tags, like including an image or having a link to a real YouTube video that Alex might watch. Write your story in a way that it stays within these rules first, and then contact me about your idea and also send me the verification code you got after submitting your branch to prove that you have submitted it.

12. No generative AI

Using generative AI (e.g. ChatGPT) is not allowed. Branches suspected of using generative AI may get deleted and this may also lead to other branches you have written getting deleted too.

13. Rules outside the story

While all previous rules were directly about what you can write within OpenCYOA. Here are some recommendations on how not to be a jerk outside of OpenCYOA.
13.1. Don't complain if someone continued your branch, in a different way then you intended.
13.2. Try not to ninja anyone.
As of now the first incoming submission for a branch will be accepted so if person A is writing a branch and person B submits something for the same branch in the meantime, when A finishes and tries to submit their story it will be rejected, since the branch already exists. So what is this rule about? If you know that someone is writing a branch, don't try to submit anything before them (especially not spam) so that their story will be rejected.
13.3. Don't obsessively complain about any moderation!
Don't complain obsessively if your branch got deleted for breaking any of these rules, even if you think it was within these rules, if you actually put effort into it, you should have been able to consider whether or not this an edge case, that could interpreted as breaking one of these rules.

That's it for now

That's it for now, now that you have read these rules you can go back to the story: Start OpenCYOA

These rules might change at any point in time.