Role-playing is, by definition, putting yourself into a specific role and acting it out. The way role-playing is done changes from the table-top RPG's, to the chat rooms, to the online video games. But a few key ingredients for good role-playing remains the same throughout each kind of RPG's. Good role-playing takes imagination, some logic, and a good knack for looking at things from other perspectives.
I have been role-playing on message boards for a little over a year now. It seems longer than that, but my earliest bio still saved on my computer is dated at October 22nd, 2000. I have only ran two RPGs of my own. The first died after a month or two. The second had a lot more success and strangely has a sequel. I have participated in many RPGs since then and counted around twelve fully-bio'ed characters.
Despite the slightly low creditials, I have learned a lot about role-playing on message boards since my first post. The experience I' have gained both through practice and through other excellent players has been priceless in the realm of role-play. Writing essentials, board etiquette, and critical thinking for my characters' lives and personality have all changed since I first started.
I have also watched the players and the site itself grow with experience over this past year. Rules have changed, and bios have become more complex and detailed. The change that everything has undergone is simply amazing as I reflect back over it.
Even this tutorial has changed as it got rewritten ever so often to be kept up to date. Each time it got longer, more detailed, and more organized. With this tutorial, I hope I have conveyed to you what I have learned through my role-playing experience. This tutorial was created to answer questions you may have had about playing in RPGs and possibly bring into light the issues you did not think of before.