Some users play all the time. Some play once a day. Some play once a week. Some come and go…. the possibilities for player frequency are endless. The same is also true for participation in different ways. Some are great with trades, but dislike tournaments. Some pick up trades, but don’t post them.
I could go on, but I suspect you get the idea – participation comes in a lot of different forms and with greatly varying frequency. You need to take stock of what sorts of participation you have in your fellowship, how often it is, and how many players participate. You also need to determine what your fellowship *can* do as far as participation and what you as archmage would *like to see* for participation.
Any participation expectations that exist should be documented in the fellowship guidelines – it is only fair to let people know what those expectations are if you’re planning to hold anyone to them. When you advertise for new players and/or welcome them in, again, let people know your participation for expectations. Occasionally send out reminders to the whole group if you see slippage in participation in tourneys, visits, etc.
Sometimes players just stop playing, or they just don’t want to contribute in the way that is expected. In those cases, I generally recommend trying to talk to the player two or three times and if they don’t respond or aren’t willing to comply, then let them go. In those cases it is usually pretty easy to tell and to handle.
The harder cases are when you set or increase participation expectations. For example, you have a pretty good player who trades often but only makes visits twice a week. Your fellowship guidelines say four times a week for visits – do you boot that player? I don’t really have an answer for that because there is a lot of context I’d need to make that decision. You should, however, think about it. Is that player an anomaly or are there lots of others doing the same thing? Does that player know the guidelines? Have you reminded him/her of the expectations for participation?
If you have a lot of players who are not participating as expected, I’d suggest you have a hard look at your participation guidelines and/or your recruiting practices, because at least one of them is leading you awry. If you start booting people right and left your fellowship will lose heart; in this case, you may have to clean up your own archmagely act and then slowly lead the fellowship in the direction you want to go.
The most important parts of player participation, in some ways, reside with you as archmage. You need to be 1) make sure people know what the fellowship expects; 2) make sure participation guidelines are consistent with the practices and flavor of the fellowship; and 3) make sure you’re consistent and fair in your application of said guidelines. If you do that, people will usually comply and understand if you need to remove a player.