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Archive => GNS Model Discussion => Topic started by: Ron Edwards on April 18, 2001, 12:57:00 PM



Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Ron Edwards on April 18, 2001, 12:57:00 PM
Hello,

I usually can understand a person's objections to my point of view. Yet when it comes to G/N/S, I cannot.

Where does the fierce resistance that I see on RPG.net, or among the staff of GO, or anywhere else, actually come from?

No one can possibly claim that all role-players share a single, unified goal. That is manifestly not the case. So anyone using the "No Categories, Man" argument makes no sense to me.

Perhaps the actual model is perceived as flawed; that is, categorizing is OK but these categories are wrong. If so, then I expect to see an alternate set of models proposed. So far, I haven't seen any. (Or very few. SJ's C/E/N gets praise from me because it IS a serious proposal, regardless of my agreement or disagreement.)

Or maybe it's a matter of the model being perfectly defensible, but the whole endeavor of categorizing being evil - "divisive," I believe, is the term employed. And here, I am puzzled - since when were role-players ever "unified," and in what way? What possible harm is created by G/N/S categorizing, and what evidence is there that this happens?

Help me out. What's the big issue at stake here that we seem to have stumbled upon?

Best,
Ron


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Jason L Blair on April 18, 2001, 01:01:00 PM
I think some are just tired of hearing about it and a lot just don't understand it. They've never taken the time to actually read it and comprehend it. Instead, they take their second-hand info and start building soapboxes.



_________________
Jason L Blair
Editor-in-Chief
Key 20 Publishing
http://www.key20.com

[ This Message was edited by: Key20Jason on 2001-04-18 17:01 ]


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: GreatWolf on April 18, 2001, 01:02:00 PM
I'm a little at a loss as well.  To be honest (as I noted in a thread at GO), I think that G/N/S, when properly understood, can actually unite, rather than divide.

Perhaps it is the perception of there being a bias towards one of the three axes.  Perhaps it is a result of individualism.  I really don't quite know.



Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Clinton R. Nixon on April 18, 2001, 02:01:00 PM
I think part of the resistance is the concept of an implied inferiority. So far, the majority of the main proponents of the three-fold model have been roleplayers that prefer narrativism.

(My thoughts on the reason for this: simulationism and gamism came naturally as roleplaying came out of wargames. Narrativism is a more recent style of play, and one that had to be worked at more, as earlier RPGs didn't really support it. Therefore, roleplayers that prefer narrativism have been on the forefront on new game design theory.)

By having the majority of discussion be on developing narrativism, roleplayers that prefer gamism or simulationism might feel that their styles are being left out or considered inferior. While this is in no way true, it perpetuates itself by these roleplayers eschewing the three-fold model.

Of course, a secondary reason is the lack of understanding of the model among many roleplayers, and the use of a malformed, misunderstood model by those roleplayers.

If Robin Laws would ever write a bit about G/N/S, it'd be helpful. So far, he's written a very Simulationist game (Feng Shui), an incredibly gamist game (Rune, and for that matter, Pantheon) and an remarkably narrativist game (Dying Earth, in my opinion.) I can't think of another designer that's hit all three.


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: GreatWolf on April 18, 2001, 02:11:00 PM
Quote

On 2001-04-18 18:01, Clinton R Nixon wrote:
If Robin Laws would ever write a bit about G/N/S, it'd be helpful. So far, he's written a very Simulationist game (Feng Shui), an incredibly gamist game (Rune, and for that matter, Pantheon) and an remarkably narrativist game (Dying Earth, in my opinion.) I can't think of another designer that's hit all three.



Ah.  A goal to aim for.  :smile:



Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Jared A. Sorensen on April 18, 2001, 06:12:00 PM
Geeks HATE being stereotyped or classified.  It's all part of the weird hacker d00d/open source/cyberwank/"I am not a number, I am a free man!" crap.

And bless their souls, they see the G/N/S model as being another brick in the wall, taxonimically-speaking.  "Oooo!  Don't label me!" they cry, all the while using words like geek, goth, otaku and gamergrrl to indentify themselves.  Ironic.


[ This Message was edited by: Jared A. Sorensen on 2001-04-18 23:36 ]


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Ron Edwards on April 19, 2001, 02:02:00 PM
So now my question becomes, is there some way to entice people to check out the appropriate references? Is there some way to state or introduce the ideas involved that will have a less alienating effect?

Granted, the most extreme folks won't be enticed. If someone's ego is threatened because Someone Else had an idea about RPGs that they didn't originate, or if someone is threatened because there's some "group" that he or she doesn't belong to, or anything similar, then forget it.

But let's figure that quite a few folks are interested, or even if their initial reaction is negative, that they'd be quickly convinced via effective argument. How to reach them?

Best,
Ron


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Paul Czege on April 19, 2001, 05:01:00 PM
Y'know, I think a major factor that plays into G/N/S resistance is fear. A gamer invests years of time, thought, and money into the hobby, and bases a great deal of his identity on that. G/N/S has the ability to tell him that he's not who he thinks he is. It reinvents his identity, not just going forward, but historically. He hasn't been doing what he thought he was doing. It reopens old disputes in his head by making him consider that gamers who left his circle weren't idiots, but had a valid alternative perspective. It tells him that he doesn't know how to buy a game; that he's been programmed to make purchasing decisions by criteria that maybe don't serve his interests. Accepting G/N/S is a negative epiphany.

I think a way of making design theory more palatable might not be a discussion of game design, but a discussion of game redesign. Teaching people how to pull apart Vampire and reassemble it so it meets its design goals might be more productive than essentially saying they should throw away Vampire because of how it's flawed. Saying that Game A is better than Game B, which is essentially what we do when we say that the system for Game A doesn't conflict with its design goals the way the system for Game B does, causes people to dig in and get defensive. But there's a long tradition of home modifications and house rules among gamers that could be exploited to teach the ideas of system design without provoking that kind of defensiveness.

Paul Czege

[ This Message was edited by: Paul Czege on 2001-04-19 21:03 ]


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Logan on April 19, 2001, 08:20:00 PM
Hey Ron,

One limitation with the whole 3-fold debate is that you have yet to publish your complete model with all the folds and paradigms in a form that people can use as a reference. The fact of the matter is, John Kim's stuff is older, unchanged, and heavily polarized to his way of thinking. Even "System Does Matter" could use a refresher. It lacks the more advanced and interesting portions of your overall model.

Most people just aren't willing to slog through hundreds of forum posts to get the gist of something that likely should be presented as a single, coherent document.

Best,

Logan


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: JSDiamond on April 22, 2001, 03:05:00 PM
Ron, my way of processing the G/N/S model was as a way to accurately gauge *the game* and not the player. Because the game, -by its design/premise/plot/etc., intentionally (or un-intentionally) determines the style of gameplay.

Jeff Diamond
6-0 Games


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Ian O'Rourke on May 08, 2001, 08:22:00 AM
I tend to agree with Jared, a solid core of role-players tend to be part of the ‘rage against the machine’ crowd. They follow the anti-corporation banner, they support Linux, they like open source code, and anyone making a success of anything is not to be trusted.

As a result, anything like G/N/S that suggests, in a very broad sense, our gaming attitudes only break down into three options is something they rebel against. They will take this stance above sensible debate.

This is why GO is less apposed to the idea than rpg.net. I’m always bewildered at the length the rpg.net crowd will go to be part of this whole hacker, free software, anti-corporation idealism.
_________________
Ian O'Rourke
www.fandomlife.net
The e-zine of SciFi media, and Fandom Culture.

[ This Message was edited by: Ian O'Rourke on 2001-05-08 13:48 ]


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: greyorm on May 08, 2001, 10:27:00 AM
I just wrote a particularly lengthy post on the issue and it was destroyed because it wanted my password (which it didn't ask for)...grrr...
Who do I kill or ask for changes to be made to the submission process to deal with errors like this?
(like putting the document property into a container so when I hit "back" it doesn't clear the form of what was written)

Anyways, to summarize the post (sigh...whimper): the mediocre mind is always resistant to great ideas.

Whether that resistance arises from willful ignorance, a desire not to be boxed-into a category, or from the ego.

As well, since most gamers are teenagers -- at a stage in life where they're trying to decide or make who they are -- being told who they are invokes furious wrath from the most vocal and quiet contemplation from the least.  Unfortunately, thusly, you only get to interact with/see the vocal minority.

And for those who aren't teens, the problem is ego.  Rather, a fragile ego, like the game designer who can't deal with anyone dissing their mechanics because they do not understand criticism as anything other than a personal attack.

For these people, dealing with changes in their logic and beliefs is unacceptable.  If they do so, it means they were "wrong", and being "wrong" invites internal criticism -- which the self sees as it's self attacking itself -- simply an invocation of their ongoing inability to deal with criticism.

It is those who aren't open to new ideas or ways of doing things (such folks as the ones who use their air time to denounce 3E as crap, along with such lofty intellectulisms as "WotC is just trying to take all our money!" or making the statement before they have even seen the game), small minded, ignorant-but-nonetheless-opinionated individuals.

They are the annoying people in gaming shops who disparage the products you are looking at to their friends, but loudly enough that you can *clearly hear them ten feet (heck, twenty feet) away, usually followed by an annoying nasal laugh.

Consider this, these are the rednecks of the gaming community.  The guy who invites your 15-year old cousin to go drinking and then tells you how to run your game because you aren't portraying a realistic medieval world.

So, in closing let's turn to a quote by a very wise man: "Donuts, is there anything they can't do?" -- Homer Simpson

Wait, wrong wise man for this situation...
The ancient greek philosophers dealt with small-minded ignorance in response to their theories as well...in fact there is no field or human endeavor I can think of where this sort of behaviour does not occur: egyptology (gods no!), physics (quack! quack!), religion (heathen!  sinner!), biology (*ahem*) and so on and so forth.

"There are in fact two things, science and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance." -- Hippocrates (460 BCE - 377 BCE), 'Law'

So just remember that when all is said and done, a hundred or a thousand years from now no one will recall the names or statements of your ignorant detractors, though they'll still be talking about your ideas.

-Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
http://www.daegmorgan.net/
"Homer, your growing insanity is starting to bother me."

[ This Message was edited by: greyorm on 2001-05-08 15:46 ]


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Ian O'Rourke on May 08, 2001, 10:45:00 AM
Well, that's why I'm a 'write in word' and then paste it in man :smile:


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Ian O'Rourke on May 08, 2001, 01:00:00 PM
Quote

On 2001-04-18 18:01, Clinton R Nixon wrote:
If Robin Laws would ever write a bit about G/N/S, it'd be helpful. So far, he's written a very Simulationist game (Feng Shui), an incredibly gamist game (Rune, and for that matter, Pantheon) and an remarkably narrativist game (Dying Earth, in my opinion.) I can't think of another designer that's hit all three.


Does Fengshui actually fall under the simulationist model? I always assumed a simulationist model meant simulating reality? I realise this could be me just taking a narrow view, but I also realise including Fengshui sort of muddies the water with regard to the simulationist definition.

If Fengshui is included then any game that sets out to model a genre, setting or specific media entity (such as Star Wars or Star Trek) could be classed as simulationist? Possibly not Star Wars D20, but what about Star Wars D6?

I'd say Fengshui was narrativist, surely? Harn would be simulationists.

Ah screw, let's not spend too much time on this shit as it's probably been argued to death somewhere else :smile:


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 08, 2001, 01:44:00 PM
We might want a whole thread on Feng Shui in the G/N/S forum, because this game represents a fabulous transition in Simulationist game design that always trips everyone up.

Best,
Ron


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Blake Hutchins on May 08, 2001, 08:01:00 PM
Maybe the evolution and implicit hierarchy described by the model triggers the point of resistance. Gamist seems to be the equivalent of Neanderthal Man, whereas Narrativist comes across as Homo Sapiens. Certainly most of the GO debate identified Gamist as the "old form," Narrativist as the most recent development, and Simulationist as the schizophrenic sister in the closet who mumbles, "Am I a nitpicky universal recreation or do I mirror a particular genre's mood and style? Am I simulationist or explorationist?"

On a side note, I find the threefold model equally useful when applied to players, because it's as accurate a way of describing player goals as system goals. Strikes me that the possibility of the model accurately identifying player agendas may also trigger resistance, so on that basis I also agree with Jared.

I don't think we can avoid the hierarchy of sophistication that the model brings with it. I know it doesn't say X is better than Y, but it does persistently imply X is more evolved than Y, or that X has loftier, more complex goals than Y. At least, it does in my reading.

Solutions or strategies to detox this beast for the community? Tough question. Maybe begin by acknowledging the ways in which Gamist elements find their way into Narrativist games. For example, I see Dying Earth's and Story Engine's bidding systems as a subgame mechanic (win/lose oriented) that facilitates narrativist play. Likewise, Hero Wars Action Points could be seen as an evolution of DnD's hit points. Acknowledging these components as Gamist-derived elements might help lower some defenses, at least for Gamist gamers.

Thoughts? Am I barking up the wrong basalt sacrificial pillar?

Best,

Blake


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 09, 2001, 06:20:00 AM
Hey Blake,

"it does persistently imply X is more evolved than Y, or that X has loftier, more complex goals than Y. At least, it does in my reading."

However, such a view is absent from my System essay. I'll be the first to say that Gamism and Simulationism are certainly capable of complex goals - the whole notion of winning is a very, very interesting and powerful thing, when looked at carefully. Winning is always about something, and it's not always simple dominance and threat. As for Simulationism, Paul's recent thread about the funny E-thing shows some of its complexity (granted, however, your caricature of it was pretty funny).

"Lofty"? I'm not sure anyone has copped an attitude about how wonderful it is to create a story AT THE EXPENSE of how semi-OK, at best, it is to do anything else. Upon careful examination, I think that perceiving such a thing has been projected onto the discussion by readers.

Then again, that's not wholly right (I said it was careful examination). There is also the defensiveness and focus of a marginalized group to consider. It's demonstrably the case that Narrativism has had a hard time being recognized for what it really is - the worst instance is the co-opting of "storyteller" by White Wolf, thus communicating to all and sundry that Narrativism = World of Darkness, lock stock and barrel. A similar instance is confounding Drama-mechanics for Narrativist-priority, which, with respect, I think is the main error by Kim et al. When struggling to make one's point actually heard at ALL, one's commitment to that point is often perceived as elitism or contempt for all other views.

I should also point out that the term "more evolved" is an abomination. It literally means nothing. "Has more derived features," "has undergone more instances of change," are more meaningful, but neither implies "better" or "improved" in any way ACROSS categories. And besides, I don't think that either Gamist or Simulationist design has stood still as Narrativist design evolved, not in the slightest.

Historically, I can find elements of all three views reaching back to the very beginning of role-playing. What has evolved at different rates (and plateau'd in different ways) is game design, in the context of these existing goals "out there." And game design, in this context, has evolved dramatically, in all three ways.

In that context, yes, Gamism was the priority of most early system design, with Simulationism a very strong second from the very beginning. Simulationism took the #1 spot through the 80s, in my opinion because the tournament-driven D&D culture failed to persist as the driving force in sales. I also think hints and mutters of Narrativism appeared throughout, from the very beginning - see the role-playing essays in early T&T (despite its flagrantly Gamist system) and in TFT (despite its flagrantly Simulationist design); see the disjuncture between Narrativist character disadvantages in Champions, as well as its Simulationist combat mechanics and Gamist point-structure.

Again, though, SINCE THE BEGINNING, design elements for all three priorities have evolved in a kind of jostling, tripping-one-another-up kind of way. If we look at current systems and other aspects of game design, we see a whole spectrum of evolved details within each priority.

VERY SKETCHY SUMMARY
- Simulationism: world/physics simulation (e.g. GURPS) with highly-layered mechanics evolving into LARP-style character-experiential (e.g. Purgatory) with very light mechanics
- Gamism: dungeon-crawls splitting into (a) CRPGs, (b) Magic, and (c) this new Drama-driven stuff like Pantheon
- Narrativism: covert interjections of Drama resolution splitting into (a) overt Drama (e.g. The Window, Theatrix) and (b) Fortune-in-the-middle and Director-stance (e.g. Prince Valiant, Zero, Hero Wars)

(Please note that these types of evolutionary change do NOT require the disappearance of the previous form in order for a new form to appear; it is cladogenic, not anagenic. Therefore old-style dungeon crawls are still with us in new games - no judgment implied.)

Regarding bidding mechanics, I see them as resource management rather than competition. We do a lot of bidding in my Hero Wars game, and I'm looking forward to playing The Dying Earth soon ... but I don't see WINNING a bid, in terms of strategy, as the goal of these activities. In fact, in both games, it's kind of fun to lose every so often, if it makes for a really great scene/story. Losing in a Gamist system is like losing for REAL - "damn it!" said with good or bad sportsmanship. Losing in one of the systems we're talking about is just one way the scene can resolve, or begin to be resolved.

Well - I guess this turned out to be one of those Edwards rants/perorations. Hope it was helpful or thought-provoking.

Best,
Ron


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Blake Hutchins on May 09, 2001, 08:25:00 AM
You're preaching to the choir here, so rant away. I still believe the G/N/S model -- or at least the way it has been discussed on GO (I wasn't pointing at your essay, Ron) --implies an evolution from a mechanic-heavy wargaming model to a mechanic-light storytelling one. And since the original question is, "Why the resistance?", I dare speculate that the majority of the gaming community views G/N/S as having a hierarchical architecture. Thus, some folks who are comfortable with Gamist and Simulationist goals react defensively and reject the model entirely. If there was a way to disarm that reaction, we might see more open discussion of the model, discussion that didn't always seem to tread over the same ground of explaining how no one mode or style is superior to the others.

Jared's categorization argument posits a reason folks may turn up their noses at the model. My "perceived hierarchy" offers another take, but both Jared and I seem to be pointing to the perception of elitism as the core issue. The DnD guy who loves his battlemats and miniatures may read the threefold model and think, "Jeez, they're saying my take isn't worried about story or character," when he thinks he's running a cool storyline with lots of character development. If you're a narrativist, you don't worry about being told, "you're not interested in competition or the win-lose result," but if you're a gamist, you may bridle at someone saying, "you're not really focused on story, and your game has a lot of clunky features that get in the way of telling a good story." Now nobody I've read who discusses a narrativist point of view comes off like this to me, but that's not to say it doesn't come off as judgmental to others.

Anyway, I'm rambling, and this isn't nearly as well reasoned as Ron's response. Thoughts?


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: joshua neff on May 09, 2001, 02:44:00 PM
* the worst instance is the co-opting of "storyteller" by White Wolf, thus communicating to all and sundry that Narrativism = World of Darkness *

actually, what gets up my nose regarding white wolf is not that they've led people to believe "storytelling=the world o' darkness" or even "storytelling=pretentious artiness (& therefore no fun)" but "storytelling=ignore the rules for the sake of story"...so, instead of mechanics that facilitate story-creation, we have "here's a host of traditional gamist & simulationist rules...you want to create a story? cool, ignore what we just gave you" & the subsequent interpretation "ah, so narrativists are people who like rules-lite (or rule-less) games"...

& i used to feel that way! i used to long for "freeform", rules-lite rpgs...but only because i'd never thought you could have viable mechanics that supported story-creation...

& you find that all the time, both on rpg.net & GO: the mistaken belief that "narrativism=no rules" ("but, gee, then how do you run the game? won't players just run roughshod over the story the gm carefully constructed?")...


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Jared A. Sorensen on May 09, 2001, 03:07:00 PM
Thinking about this topic reminded me about another resistance: that of RPG's as works of art and RPG designers/authors as artists.

I think the two resistances are related -- people may be hesitant to embrace a concept which (they think) elevates (ahem, er, or simply moves) something they like a lot into some "higher, unreachable plane of existence."  Like, they think that you're saying, "Everything you know is wrong!"  And boy, do geeks hate being wrong.  Does this make sense?

Does anyone have any thoughts on the reticence of many (the majority?) of gamers to view an RPG as a valid form of artistic expression?


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: joshua neff on May 09, 2001, 03:18:00 PM
oh, christ, jared, don't even get me started on the art factor...i have very strong feelings about art & i'm constantly bewildered at people's resistance to being classified as artists--art, to them, is what other people do...

altho i just had a thought--art, i believe, is play...it involves a playful attitude w/ life & the universe...now, in our culture, "play" is the binary opposite of "work", & both have all sorts of concepts associated w/ them: "work" is serious, sober, important, useful, necessary; play is frivolous, trivial, & necessary only as a a break so that people can get back to work...one sign of this is art in school: everybody in elementary school takes art class, but as you get older ("more mature" & "more serious"), art is no longer required (like the more practical classes are: science, math, history), & kids that take lots of art classes (especially those that go on to art colleges) tend to be viewed w/ suspicion & get comments like "oh, you have it easy, you just take art classes--that's not real work"...

so, maybe the reaction against the whole g/n/s thing is a reaction against taking rpgs "too seriously", because after all, it's "only" play, not serious like a job...

(oh, & for the record, i think the idea that "work" & "play" are opposites, & that work is "serious & important" while play is "frivolous" is absolute bullshit...)

[ This Message was edited by: joshua neff on 2001-05-09 19:20 ]


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: greyorm on May 09, 2001, 07:44:00 PM
won't players just run roughshod over the story the gm carefully constructed?"

I hate that...I mean, I hate the whole dependency on the narrator syndrome.  To quote myself in a recent rant in another discussion group:  its time RPGers grew up and stopped playing like a bunch of spoiled children out to break the system and beat the GM, or worse yet, suffer from the "pander to me, oh great Narrator" syndrome.

(Did I just slam gamism?  No.  That part is out-of-context here, though a valid point, and was applied to a specific type of player in the discussion

I despise, to the core of my being, the words from a player, "Oh, I don't know.  It's your plot, I don't want to mess anything up." ::drives steak knife through player's heart in frenzied fit::

As to RPGs as artwork...
I've been calling it the "art of roleplaying" and "the art of game design" for years now...I didn't even know there WAS a controversy over the use of the word art as it related to gaming.  Seemed dead-on obvious to me.

-Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
http://www.daegmorgan.net
"Homer, your growing insanity is starting to bother me."


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 10, 2001, 06:27:00 AM
Josh and Raven,

I'm damaging my neck in all this nodding in agreement.

Make DAMN sure to come to Milwaukee in August, both of you - we'll be sure to role-play all weekend long.

Best,
Ron


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: George Pletz on May 10, 2001, 07:47:00 AM
Quote

On 2001-05-09 19:18, joshua neff wrote:
...so, maybe the reaction against the whole g/n/s thing is a reaction against taking rpgs "too seriously", because after all, it's "only" play, not serious like a job...

(oh, & for the record, i think the idea that "work" & "play" are opposites, & that work is "serious & important" while play is "frivolous" is absolute bullshit...)


I have little to add to this, Joshua. You absolutely nailed it. The fear that analysis will somehow dissolve entertainment is pretty pervasive. And it's no different with most gamers. :roll:

George


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 22, 2001, 11:17:00 AM
Well, I thought I'd de-lurk this new set of fora the way I did GO just a few months ago, rearing up in opposition to G/N/S and Ron's interperetation (ironic that it was Ron himself that gave me the URL to get here, eh?).

Actually, don't get me wrong, I'm a convert myself, but a sort of skeptical one. I believe that there is value to the G/N/S model. However, just like any theory it isn't etched in stone. Dr. Edwards would have to agree I'd think. So while I think that there are a lot of irrational reasons why people object to G/N/S, I believe that there are some serious indivduals out there with some interesting and thoughtful criticisms of G/N/S as a whole. I'd like to get S. John Ross over here. Though somewhat of a curmudgeon on occasion, I respect him as a designer and I've heard him dismiss G/N/S out of hand on occasion. I'm sure he's given it some thought and would like to hear his opinion. I recently heard another interesting criticism of G/N/S on rpg.net (yes, really insigtful; insight is where you find it not just here or on GO).

But what I'm really opposed to is G/N/S becoming a regimented dogma or canon to anyone. Its important to test theories and hypotheses regularly to see if they stand up against scrutiny. Critical thinking would encourage us to constantly question our own suppositions and positions. Only that way will this model improve, evolve, and become something more; a better practical tool. So, I'd welcome any opposition here or elsewhere as an opportunity to help G/N/S grow. To that extent, I'd be careful with that policy about sending all newbies to a pre-prepared set of essays or a FAQ about the nature of G/N/S. While this might be useful to some, it might be insulting to others who might just have a valid point, or at least something that might be helpful down the road. I would suggest encouraging debate over simply dismissing it.

While I'm probably coming off as reationary to an extent here, I want to emphasize that I don't think that most of this is a problem for anyone here. Most of the posts are insightful and even questioning, hardly pedantic. And I'm sure that the regulars will treat the new folks very well. But I thought that a cautionary note might just be called for amongst all of this pro-G/N/S fervor.

Mike Holmes

P.S. I wondered where you had all gone.


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: james_west on May 22, 2001, 11:40:00 AM
Mike -

I guess the conclusion we'd come to here seemed to be that, while it may not be an ideal system, it was still workable enough that if everyone could agree on a set of definitions, it was workable as a jumping off point for more in depth discussion (as opposed to trying to come up with a perfect and mutually agreeable classification system.)

So I don't think anyone's claiming it's the best possible system for classifying motives (well, maybe some people are), but I don't think that's a consensus opinion. The consensus opinion is that, even we aren't perfectly agreed on the relative merits of the system, we all understand it well enough at this point to discuss its implications.

                                       - James


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Logan on May 22, 2001, 11:48:00 AM
If Ross were to arrive, I'd be very interested to hear what he thinks, beyond "This is destructive crap." There is critical thinking, which is good; and there is closed-minded dismissal which is useless. Unfortunately, most of what I've observed in Ross's rhetoric on the topic is the latter.

As far as having a basis document or a faq, I think it's a good idea to have the document as a reference for the current state of the model. Of course, to be effective, it must be kept reasonably up-to-date. The value of the faq is that it gives the newcomer a basis for understanding what the debate is about. In my opinion, there will always be a need for periodic recapping or summing of ideas, just to see where we are and what progress has been made. Otherwise, the bulk of our effort should go toward making the model better, faster, and stronger.

Best,

Logan

[ This Message was edited by: Logan on 2001-05-22 15:55 ]


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 23, 2001, 05:27:00 AM
Good points James, Logan.

Yes, Ross can be abrasive, he's a curmudgeon by nature. He's also undenyably intelligent. Maybe he doesn't have a cogent opinion on the subject; OTOH, maybe he does. I'm betting that he'd add something to the debate if he did come over. I seem to get the feeling that his opinion is that it is destructive because it tends to cannalize thinking on certain subjects instead of leaving things open to different viewpoints. I liked Paul's alternate phylogeny and the attempt to shake up the model as well as your look at the axes, James, because they challenge the model. This kind of debate makes it possible to expand beyond any limitations on thinking that Threefold might impose. I think that Ross fears (in a more or less instinctive fashion) the potential for people to follow cannon blindly. This fear may not be justified, but it can't hurt to keep in mind the potential danger involved.

BTW, I'm also not for changing the model daily just because a new theory comes along; only after serious consideration of the usefulness of a change should it be imposed. Note my use of the word usefulness. This is important. A lot of the arguments about Threefold are semantic, and I fail to see what the practical advantages are to the new system that is being proposed. I understand that a better model might increase understanding, but all additions should increase the practical usefulness of the model. We are building tools here after all. Argue the deep philosopy of some of these points if you wish, but please keep in mind that I and I'd think most others as well are looking to Threefold to make RPGs better.

Ron acts as a pretty good defender of the model for this purpose, though, so I don't worry about it too much. However, if it ever becomes obvious that he is defending Threefold without concern for reason, we can always stage a palace coup and usurp the throne. (You're not going to kick me off the demo team for abusing you Ron, are you? I take it all back!)

As far as the FAQ, I'm all for it, or at least for a Glossary of terms. Yes people need to be able to reference the terms being used here and what they mean in this context. However, what I'm advocating is being careful with new guests and not assuming that if they are ranting against Threefold that they aoutomatically need to be sent to a 101 course on the subject. As I said, this might be insulting to some who might actually have good points to consider. It doesn't hurt to reference the FAQ, but the impresion I got was that these people would then be summarily ignored until they had done their basic reading and returned with their tail between their legs. Well, I don't always see that happening, and assumng they have some salient point, I'd like to see them engaged appropriately.

But as I said, I am not really too worried. The level of discrimination between Trolls and people with valid arguments is pretty high here, and I don't forsee too many problems. I'd hate for such a nifty site to get a reputation as eliteist, though, because there are some good minds out there that would be put off by such a reputation.

Yes, it is good to have defined terms and a structure to debate from. And I think that there are some ideas in Threefold that have power to improve game design and play. We just can't assume that were at the end of the debate; it seems to me that the debate has only just begun in earnest with these definitions.

Mike Holmes


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: joshua neff on May 23, 2001, 05:55:00 AM
i'm not interested in having s. john ross on any g/n/s discussion simply because i have yet to see him offer anything constructive to any discussion even vaguely related to g/n/s...declaring "it's stupid shit" isn't constructive or even a valid alternative viewpoint, it's just juvenile...& it goes back to the whole question of "why the resistance?"--i certainly acknowledge the anti-intellectual strain that runs thru american thought, the fear of "isms"--but i don't really understand it, except as an infantile response to something misunderstood...
to be honest, i have very little patience w/ that kind of kneejerk anti-intellectual response, & i don't think it would contribute anything to this discussion, to be sure...


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: greyorm on May 23, 2001, 08:19:00 AM
I rather agree.
I did some checking for discussion of the model elsewhere and whenever Ross' name appeared in regards to that discussion, it was tied to puerile, foul-mouthed name-calling.
I'm not too interested in having an individual with that kind of attitude hanging around here, regardless of their intellect.

As far as perceived elitism goes, I'm not too worried about it.
"Elitism" appears to have been turned into a dirty word by people afraid of anyone smarter, more knowledgable or simply better in any way than any other group.  I personally believe it stems from the American attitude which demands "we're all equal" and everyone be included in everything.  This attitude is provably misguided, despite what we want to believe as a culture.

How?
Simply, if not being allowed into a discussion as an equal participant with valid points because you haven't studied said topic marks the discussion group as "elitist", then there is something seriously wrong with the critical thinking and logic skills of the ones marking the group as such.
After all, since when does anyone listen to someone who doesn't know anything or very little about a given topic?  Would you listen to a medieval peasant about neurosurgery?  Or a medieval king?  Or even your next-door neighbor (even your smart-as-whip but non-doctorate neighbor)?

The main problem is that both reasonably and highly intelligent individuals (and, of course, not-so-intelligent) seem to believe the mere fact that they are intelligent and can use logical thinking gives them the right to discuss and (worse) to judge the merits of anything, without training in or more than a passing/basic/sound-byte knowledge of the subject.

As cases in point, I'd cite the number of people I know who think that because they took high-school physics, they are qualified to discuss quantum theory or astrophysics or various other physical sciences matters; or the people who talk about evolution and biology who haven't spent more than a semester of college studying the subject and aren't really qualified to "point out the flaws" in anything related to the subject.

For example, I know someone who claims that eagles have 360 degree vision because their eyes are on the sides of their heads, and they are certain of this because they went to school for medicine and it "seems logical."
However, a quick check reveals that eagles are predators and thus are more likely to have forward focused eyes, like all other predators (that I'm aware of).

I also know someone who claimed that the size of a planet determined the color of its sky, and used high-school physics and knowledge about the way light bends through the sky to try and back this up...but a quick check will reveal size has nothing to do with the color of the sky.
One of the same people says that "chaos" is a state of perfect, unchanging similarity (sounds chaotic to me...), because this is supposedly what his astrophysics professor told him.

This is the kind of situation pointing people to a FAQ or similar basic document would help prevent.  Putting us all on more-or-less equal footing in terms of subject knowledge.

I think that's all that is being asked...that anyone who wants to discuss have the decency and foresight to *study the subject first, not just spout off based on sound-byte knowledge.

Now, because the above could be touchy, I hope no one takes this examination as hostile or derogatory towards anyone specifically, but on the chance that someone will, I'm disavowing the existance of any such material in here.
My intention is to make a case and provide supporting proofs, if someone takes offense to the proofs, it shouldn't be because I've been deliberately insulting in their implementation.



Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Poxface on May 23, 2001, 08:46:00 AM
I have been following the g/n/s discussion on and off for quite sometime.  To answer you question “Why all the resistance?”, just go back through this thread and read all of the replies.  I think you will find your answer by examining the implicit attitudes in these posts.

Additionally, it would be helpful in your discussions of the model to place a link in your posts that reference the model in its current state including definitions of current terms.

Finally, one criticism I have of the model is that it seems to preclude the recognition of a player that has multiple game goals.  I believe that any game designed with only one goal will fall flat with me.  In addition, premise should be included in this discussion.  A game without an interesting premise, regardless of how interesting its mechanics may be, is not worth playing.

Respectfully,

Jeff


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: greyorm on May 23, 2001, 09:46:00 AM
Quote

Finally, one criticism I have of the model is that it seems to preclude the recognition of a player that has multiple game goals.  I believe that any game designed with only one goal will fall flat with me.


Greetings,

I'm fairly certain that it is accepted that a good game will or should really have only one goal, even if it mixes other styles in it for different types of resolution.

My own personal experience has shown time and time again (and well before I ever became aware of the three-fold as a means to understand the problem) that the goals conflict with one another and trying to implement two or more at once is the quickest way to a bad game.

As well, I've become less fond of mixed-mechanics games, in that the contrary mechanics may overshadow or rather confuse the intended goal of the game (I have another post somewhere on the boards about this very subject, in regards to the narrative game I played which used gamist resolution, and suffered greatly for it).

From my perspective, the goals might be considered different end-points in a race; if you are running in that race, trying to cross any more than one of the end-points of the race is going to be frustrating.  Which track do you run down?  How do you run in two different places at once, cross two different goal-lines at the same time?
(especially if they are in different directions)

Thus I personally believe and find that trying to make a game meet all three or even two of the "goals" is an exercise in futility and frustration, and I'm a little suspicious of anyone who says they always try to meet more than one goal (not meaning to disparage or insult you), as it says to me they haven't really grasped the three-fold.
However, I'm also open to being proven wrong.  I'd love to hear how you meet more than one goal in a game, and how you make it work!



Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Blake Hutchins on May 23, 2001, 11:06:00 AM
I'll have to agree with Jeff from the perspective that the other thread "All Out Dissection" describes Simulationists as reacting out of fear. That's bound to be a huge turn-off for anyone who classifies themselves as Simulationist. Ron's speculations regarding Simulationism is like saying Narrativists are afraid of competing or intimidated by immersive gaming.

In re-reading that thread, I was struck by how many arguments went like, "Gamists think X and therefore do Y," or "Simulationists are afraid of X and so choose Y." Who here would describe themselves as Simulationist or Gamist? I know we have some, and most of us have passed through those phases at one point or another, but maybe we should be more careful about ascribing feelings and detailed psychology to approaches we no longer share. For example, Ron is typically cautious about making statements about Gamism because he maintains he doesn't get that motivation. That thread highlights a discussion among (primarily) Narrativist players and designers that can easily come off as elitist to non-Narrativists.

Now I happen to know Jeff pretty well; we work in the same building. He's a self-described Simulationist with both Gamist and Narrativist leanings (and I don't believe the model rules out such a profile). He's lurked on the GO discussions off and on, so he's broadly familiar with the model. I find him critically minded but quite positive about new ideas in gaming. It's interesting that he's had such a negative reaction from such a short exposure to the Forge. That to me says a lot about how our discussions affect newcomers.

I have no problem with the Forge slanting toward Narrativism, but without censoring or neutering the robustness of our exchanges, how might we address this?

Best,

Blake



Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: greyorm on May 23, 2001, 12:05:00 PM
I've said it before, I'll say it again, it is quite apparent that my preferred style is simulation.  Looking back at the way I run games and how I've judged whether they were good or poor.

Thus please don't turn this into a "Narrativists are out to convert you to G/N/S!" or "Only narrativists say you can't have more than one goal!" or "Narrativists are snobs!" which is what this is all starting to sound like to me.

I'm a simulationist, and I can hack it, I'm not offended, confused or otherwise about the model, the discussions or anything else here on the Forge.

I see no "attitude" displayed, nor elitism running rampant 'cross the discussion boards.  The whole "attitude" is a mischaracterization of the point of the discussion that has been harped on before (and by me, no less).
The responses here aren't putting down just anyone who disagrees or has questions the model: they are putting down resistance that is based on ignorance and pettiness.

If anyone sees more than that, they're searching.

If anyone has a problem with the ignorant and petty being decried, they're nuts.
Is that harsh?  No.  Why give any credence to those types?  That's just asking for it.  Humility and openess have their places, but not at the expense of rationality.

So, again, you may perceive an attitude or some sort of elitist motivation, but I think a close examination will not bear either perception out.



Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 23, 2001, 12:34:00 PM
The problem IS due to miscomunication. They ARE seeing something that is not there. This doesn't change the fact that this is happening and possibly to people who we might do well to have aboard. Intelligent people make mistakes on occasion. So all I'm advocating is to just be a little careful.

Nobody is suggesting we court idiots. Just be careful not to alienate an intelligent person just because they don't understand the model as well necessary to get that it's not insulting or degrading to them.

Don't read more into this than is there.

Mike Holmes



Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 23, 2001, 12:41:00 PM
I've said it before: the "All-out Dissection" thread presented an idea. I and Paul presented it specifically for purposes of debate. A lot of people treated it very rigorously, and I think we all got somewhere.

That's what the Forge's forum is for - presentation and discussion of ideas. I cannot make you feel bad. An idea cannot make you feel bad. When I, or anyone else, presents an idea for discussion, it needs to be treated in terms of its merits and flaws. It may die a horrible death, but only because it is terminally flawed - not because it "makes" anyone feel bad.

No one "called" Simulationist players anything. No one said "they suck." Does this goal bear the relationship to Gamism that I suggested, or doesn't it? That was the question.

I have spent so much time, and so much bandwidth, defending the "rights" of Gamist and Simulationist play and design, that I have NO idea how anyone can perceive contempt toward those goals in my posts. I'll go further and speak for all the regular posters here in that regard. We have established our credentials as fans of ALL quality role-playing, and of ANY system that serves the interests of its users.

I don't see any reason to hold back on examining any relevant ideas about game theory, design, and play.

Best,
Ron


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Blake Hutchins on May 23, 2001, 01:31:00 PM
Quote:
'Thus please don't turn this into a "Narrativists are out to convert you to G/N/S!" or "Only narrativists say you can't have more than one goal!" or "Narrativists are snobs!" which is what this is all starting to sound like to me.'

I'm only reacting to the title of the thread and the ostensible purpose behind its discussion. This isn't about slamming narrativists. Hell's bells, I consider myself one! However, purely in the context of asking "why the resistance to the G/N/S model," examining the tone of our rhetoric is surely fair game. I used to be a trial lawyer, and so dealt with the ins and outs of persuasion. If we want other folks to examine the model and they're resistive because we're not doing a good job of explaining it, then we should rephrase our message. If we don't care about whether anyone else accepts or embraces the model, then let's simply move on.

Quote:
'I'm a simulationist, and I can hack it, I'm not offended, confused or otherwise about the model, the discussions or anything else here on the Forge.'

Great. You also know Ron pretty well (I assume from your stuff on and in Sorcerer forums and Soul), and you're surely not a newcomer to the discussion and personalities here. Therefore you may not be the best bellwether for assessing whether the rhetoric here is off-putting to newcomers. No flame intended, but if we're concerned with garnering wider acceptance of the Threefold Model, we do need to think about how our discussion impacts people encountering it for the first time.

Quote:
'I see no "attitude" displayed, nor elitism running rampant 'cross the discussion boards.'

I agree that's not the intent, but you know everyone and you're familiar with the environment and the style of exchange here. Look at it from the point of view of someone dropping in for the first time.

Quote:
'The responses here aren't putting down just anyone who disagrees or has questions the model: they are putting down resistance that is based on ignorance and pettiness.'

Here's where the rubber meets the road. What's "ignorance and pettiness"? By itself those labels sound pretty elitist to me. I haven't seen much here that's petty, and it's easy to categorize someone as ignorant if he hasn't read all the latest stuff or if he misunderstands the model. Again, this thread is in the context of questioning why people resist the threefold model. "Putting down resistance" isn't what I'm about here, and I suspect it's not what anyone else is about. I find the threefold model illuminating and useful. Personally, I don't care if anyone else does, though it's nice to share ideas with like-minded folks. I like the debate that questions and evolves the model, and though I don't want to retread the same ground continually, neither do I want to set up any sacred cows.

Quote:
'If anyone sees more than that, they're searching.'

I respectfully disagree. When is someone's questioning the model NOT based on "ignorance or pettiness"?

Quote:
'If anyone has a problem with the ignorant and petty being decried, they're nuts.
Is that harsh? No. Why give any credence to those types? That's just asking for it. Humility and openess have their places, but not at the expense of rationality.'

A lot of judgment going on here, and that's what seems to lurk under the surface of the discussion here. Again, if someone offers a constructive idea, we should deal with it constructively, even if we disagree vehemently with the content. I'm not suggesting in the least that we avoid or minimize rational debate, but (again) if we're concerned with the "saleability" of the model, then we should attend to the tone of our rhetoric. You can be perfectly rational without turning people off.

Quote:
'So, again, you may perceive an attitude or some sort of elitist motivation, but I think a close examination will not bear either perception out.'

*sigh* Elitism can be in the eye of the beholder, y'know? I don't think anyone here intends to be elitist. I don't think the model is elitist, but I do think the model-as-presented carries the implication that narrativism is the top of the pyramid. Maybe as Ron says, we're leaning toward championing narrativism because doing so has traditionally been an uphill battle. The bottom line is, there has been resistance to the model, and I've seen some pretty dismissive responses to possible explanations.

Anyway, this is not meant to be a flame or an attack in any way on anyone. I've cited to a couple of ideas Ron mentioned in other posts, and if I've misquoted him, I apologize. Let me wrap this up by emphasizing this: if we want the model to be accepted by a larger portion of the roleplaying community, and a significant portion of that community perceives the model as elitist, then yes, we should damn well take a look at how we're transmitting the message.

But if we don't want to garner wide or wider acceptance for the model, then this entire thread is unnecessary. Since I don't care about proselytizing, I'm going back to Theory 201 in hopes of reducing my ignorance.

Best,

Blake



Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Ian O'Rourke on May 23, 2001, 01:40:00 PM
I tend to agree with Ron. I'm not advocating that we disregard any sense of being polite, or using a sensible tone in our discussions - I don't think we've crossed that line yet.

When it comes to worrying about how the discussion might be perceived I tend to come from a different angle. It's a simple one: most people shy a way from serious discussion and instead perceive it as an attack or someone being bully. I'm not saying this has happened here, but it's happened in the past and I think this acts as something else we have to watch out for.

We can't ruin the discussion because some people can't handle the debate (I know this sounds bad, but some people cannot get to grips with the issue of ideas standing up to strong argument).

I've started to think I have a lot of simulationist in me, but I've not been insulted. The whole idea of discussion is to put an idea out there to see how it holds up to argument. At times people feel uncomfortable with this, believing their belief is just right and should win through.

As I say, don't think it's happened here yet, but I just thought I'd put the apposing argument in (with regards to our discussion being offensive).



Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Blake Hutchins on May 23, 2001, 02:26:00 PM
Good point, Ian. I certainly do *not* suggest we should castrate debate to spare people's feelings. Only if we're trying to "sell" the theory should we look at how it's presented. Absent an FAQ or summary explanation of the theory, we're stuck with newcomers trying to piece it all together from wading through copious posts, and they may well perceive some ideas and arguments as elitist and then opt out of reading further. All I'm asking is, do we care about this? If we do, then we should put up an FAQ and summary and maybe a disclaimer that arguments aren't directed at marginalizing anyone's gaming preferences, maybe combined with an "enter at your own risk" warning.

Best,

Blake


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Ian O'Rourke on May 23, 2001, 03:03:00 PM
Quote

On 2001-05-23 18:26, Blake Hutchins wrote:
All I'm asking is, do we care about this? If we do, then we should put up an FAQ and summary and maybe a disclaimer that arguments aren't directed at marginalizing anyone's gaming preferences, maybe combined with an "enter at your own risk" warning.


I think that is a very good point. While we me hammer at each other on these boards, it's probably not the best way for new people to encounter the model?

A FAQ people can be pointed to, which sells the model, without 'dumming it down' would be an excellent resource.

Even if some people think it's not necessary, look at it from a 'covering your arse' point of view, which is sometimes a valid and productive strategy. When the debate gets heated, people can't complain we are not working from the same 'central document'.

I think it's a good idea.


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Logan on May 23, 2001, 03:50:00 PM
A faq would be great, but somebody's got to write it. Unless somebody else wants to or has a better plan, I can do that. I'd want Ron's agreement before doing anything with it, just so we're all on the same page. Then, it'd be very good if we could post it somewhere here on The Forge.

Because of the holiday weekend, it'll be about a week before I have it ready. I figure, we've been without it for this long. One more week shouldn't cause too much trouble.

Best,

Logan


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: greyorm on May 23, 2001, 04:29:00 PM
Quote

Therefore you may not be the best bellwether for assessing whether the rhetoric here is off-putting to newcomers.

I'm also, as Ron once put it, a 'watchdog.'
I'm the first one to see offensive material, usually the first to mention it; and I take it personally no matter who it is directed at.

I honestly can't see how a rational individual who took the time to read through the discussion threads on the "Why all the resistance?" would come to the conclusion that there is an elitist air to them.

The only way I can see anyone doing that is if they skimmed the posts, didn't ponder the material very long and went with their gut reaction.

Thus, considering that I don't see it in this instance, I must turn my problem-seeking radar from the group to the individual making the accusation.
You wouldn't be the first or last person to accuse others of behaving in a certain fashion when they are not because you think they are.

Now, I may be wrong and there may be an attitude of this sort occuring even unintentionally, but I personally doubt it because I don't see it.

You may be interested to note my response to the other thread being discussed, "All-out Dissection", wherein I did see offensiveness due to poor phrasing and brought it up.

(for your reference, I'm speaking in whole about your statements as I percieve them: that the group and all the discussions here overall seem to be displaying this elitism/attitude.)

Quote

Here's where the rubber meets the road. What's "ignorance and pettiness"? By itself those labels sound pretty elitist to me.

Frankly, I'm having trouble seeing this statement as anything but a deliberately infuriating response meant to provoke hostility.

You're telling me calling black "black" or white "white" is wrong and cruel/wrong/bad ("elitist") because I'm saying that not everyone is informed/knowledgeable or interested in honest, mature discussion.

Well, surprise!
They aren't.

Any intelligent individual knows what ignorance and pettiness are and can point it out in another, unless they've lived in a small, dark closet cut off from social contact their entire lives.

So I'm certain you are well aware of what both are and when someone is either, so your asking for defintions and implication that such judgements are elitist is absurd and just looks like a desire to start an argument.

But people who can't deal with reality -- being called ignorant when they are -- without the equivalent of a social security-blanket reassuring them every second that they are OK and accepted are simply not fit to discuss anything with or consider.

It isn't worth the time it takes to deal with them because all discussion with such individuals is ultimately fruitless -- there is no way to deal with disagreements in a constructive manner because anything you might say which is a disagreement or a disection of their stance is an "attack" against them via their beliefs.
You have to constantly ensure that nothing you say could be taken in the slightest way as insulting by them.

In fact, I can't stand people who are so socially retarded by a warped form of politeness that they wouldn't tell anyone they'd just been shot out of fear of upsetting someone.

Now I'm not saying that we should all be a bunch of insult-hurling maniacs, completely without empathy or politeness, but I expect a certain level of maturity in any discussion partner as well: they must be able to deal with normal practical-polite statements without my needing to resort to elaborate methods of soothing a socially crippled, co-dependent ego.

People who fail to educate themselves and go with gut reactions on subjects they know little about are, who shy away from any sort of confrontation, are, in my experience, not to be trusted in discussions because they lack the general maturity necessary for engaging worthwhile conversation.

Do you disagree?

Quote

"Putting down resistance" isn't what I'm about here, and I suspect it's not what anyone else is about.

I think you misunderstand what that was in response to.
It was a response to Jeff's assertion that if one reads through this thread and reads all of the replies one find that the answer to the resistance lies in the attitude of the posts.

My response was that a reading of the posts shows there is no such attitude displayed towards anyone and everyone who might disagree, that the complaints and disparaging "attitudes" were directed towards a particular sub-group: those who know little to nothing about the threefold and choose to judge it anyway (ignorant), and those who have been informed about the threefold and continue to deride it with the same tired deliberately misconstrued arguments (petty).

Saying that I'm implying the Forge is about putting down resistance misses the context entirely.

Quote

I respectfully disagree. When is someone's questioning the model NOT based on "ignorance or pettiness"?

The ability to seperate wheat from chaff is a skill learned at an early age.  One can easily seperate crackpots and loons from honest speakers with little difficulty and knowledge of the subject being spoken about.

For example, I hang out on some science boards occasionally, and there are crackpots aplenty there spouting wild theories, who someone with a basic education in the subject can avoid, but we also get our share of good, honest "alternate science" discussions with people who know their subject and can deal with questions and criticism.

You seem to believe that we're all a bunch of fundie loons ready to jump down the throat of anyone with a question or comment on the model, banging our holy texts and slaying the heathen.  We're not.
There's a difference between honest and dishonest questions and discussion, though.

In fact, such discussions have taken place already...there have been polite, intelligent disections of the model and disagreements with it by intelligent individuals who know what they were talking about.

There's your answer:
When is someone's questioning the model NOT based on "ignorance or pettiness"?
When that person is an informed, thoughtful individual who can deal with criticism in a postive fashion.

Quote

A lot of judgment going on here,

I'm not a Christian, so I have no problems about throwing stones.  I'll make informed judgements and speak my mind on them: reality is as it is.

Quote

Again, if someone offers a constructive idea, we should deal with it constructively, even if we disagree vehemently with the content.

I take serious issue with any inference that this is not already what occurs here.

Quote

*sigh* Elitism can be in the eye of the beholder, y'know?

However, I nor anyone else is responsible for what is in your eye.

This is exactly the reason for my earlier rant on the use of "elitism" as a dirty word.  Such people are generally socially insecure, thinking that because someone disagrees with them, they think they are more superior.

But there's a big difference between being pro-narrative and anti-anything else.  Most folks don't seem to get this, though; in their minds, you're either for or you are against, because our culture styles the world very black&white.

So if someone is going to be "put off by rhetoric", especially when that rhetoric falls without the bounds of polite conversation and exploration of issues (which it does), it isn't our problem.  It's THEIRS, no one controls their perceptions or assumptions except them.

Quote

I don't think anyone here intends to be elitist. I don't think the model is elitist, but I do think the model-as-presented carries the implication that narrativism is the top of the pyramid.

This has been discussed before, and, frankly, is BS.
This is actually what the entire "Why all the resistance?" thread is about.

Anyone reading the model and coming to the conclusion that narrativists are painted therein as "the best thing to be" is putting their own interpretation and insecurities/delusions-of-grandeur onto the model and not reading what is written.

This is simple truth.
_________________
Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
http://www.daegmorgan.net/
"Homer, your growing insanity is starting to bother me."

[ This Message was edited by: greyorm on 2001-05-23 20:35 ]


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Logan on May 24, 2001, 02:43:00 AM
Raven, Blake,

You both make good points. The fact is, this discussion has been going on for a while. A lot of the views presented and the people presenting them are pretty well established, at least within this topic.

It's only natural for people to find the debate and have questions. A faq should answer them. It's perfectly understandable for some people to think this whole discussion is somehow elitist. It is. It's not snobby elitist, but it's elitist from the perspective that we who post here are secure enough, maybe arrogant enough, in our knowledge and view of RPGs to think that we can classify and analyze the way they work. We extend it even further by also looking at the behavior of players and GMs. But you find that certain kind of elitism on any dedicated discussion board. It's expected. The people who are having the discussion talk about what they know and what interests them. If some of the viewpoints are off-base, that's quickly revealed.

A faq should give everyone an equal starting point, but the 3-fold model and the related discussion is never going to have mass-media appeal. As a group, we're a fragment on the fringe of a niche-market hobby. The people who show up here are the people who are interested, we're interested in what the have to say, and the discussion will go the way it goes. What more do people want?

Best,

Logan


Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: greyorm on May 26, 2001, 07:51:00 PM
Logan,

I agree, and have agreed elsewhere (I think) that we should have a FAQ discussing all these issues.  Ron's been discussing all this stuff for quite a while, a sight longer than I have been reading about it, and even much of what is being brought up here is over my head (the terms brought up over in RPG 201 have me at a loss).

Let me restate myself, actually: we shouldn't just have a FAQ, we absolutely NEED a FAQ.



Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Blake Hutchins on May 29, 2001, 02:57:00 PM
Raven:

My apologies for not responding more quickly. I wanted to take some time to think and make sure I'd cooled down before posting an answer. Thanks for your thoughts. I agree an FAQ is essential.

All that said, I do have some bones to pick, and it may make for a long post.

First of all, I wasn’t pointing to the “Why the resistance?” thread, but to the totality of the discussion. Neither was I pointing to anyone in particular, certainly not Ron, who has admitted his biases and perceptual filters up front in very constructive ways.

Second, and this evidently bears repeating, I do NOT accuse anyone here of “elitism.” I am not calling ANYONE elitist. To crib from Ron’s comment in another thread, NO ONE is on trial here. However, the bulk of the discussion on the model has been carried by a community that sings the virtues of narrativism, and I think it's fair to say the discussion has picked up a certain implicit bias in favor of narrativist play. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. All I have said is this: it is possible for readers to *misunderstand* the discussion to portray narrativism as a more creative or mature form of roleplaying. This reaction could therefore lead to their rejection of the model. I don’t agree with that these people do so in some sort of bad faith, or because they're stupid or unreasonable.

Let me explain my thinking.

A newcomer to the Forge has to piece together the model and follow the permutations of what has grown into a huge discussion. This person is automatically at a disadvantage. There are a lot of posts here, and many of the precursor arguments took place at GO. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I followed things at GO for quite some time, so I come to the Forge armed with a sense of the history of the topic. Even so, there’s a good deal to follow here, and I don’t always have the time to keep current. My point? A newcomer may ask questions or form an opinion based on incomplete understanding or a misunderstanding of the model. He or she may even have an knee-jerk reaction based on this misunderstanding. Having a knee-jerk reaction doesn’t automatically make someone a jerk. It doesn't make them ignorant. It doesn't make them petty.

Honestly, I’m surprised at the extent of the defensiveness from some people here, particularly you. Just because the possibility exists for reasonable people to misunderstand and reject the model doesn’t mean anyone here has done anything wrong. It doesn’t detract from the quality of the discussion. It doesn’t put anyone on trial. And it certainly doesn't call for condescending ad hominem attacks cloaked as "rational disagreements."

Why is it so difficult to accept that an implicit bias has crept into the discussion about the model? In matters of science, the biases of the observer or theorist are taken into account. All I've suggested is that a perception of such a bias may be turning people off to the G/N/S model. And I asked whether it was worth trying to find ways to compensate.

It does come down to this (which I’ll repeat yet again): if we care about new blood taking the model on its own terms, let us make available a summary that’s digestible in a manner that eradicates the potential for misunderstanding the purpose of the discussion. I’m not talking about being PC, nor about trying so hard to be inoffensive that we shrink from calling a spade a spade or neuter any part of the discussion.

Now let me suggest something else: you have essentially proved my point with your post.

I approached this constructively, with no intent whatsoever to infuriate anyone or troll for a negative reaction. The limitations of purely written communication without the benefit of paralinguistic cues makes it easy for someone, such as yourself, to misapprehend my message. Your entire response has been predicated on mistaking the perception of bias in the model or the discussion for actual bias on the part of individuals here on the forum.

In the spirit of calling black "black" and white "white," let me move on to a critique of your style of argument, because I think it's pertinent. It's needlessly inflammatory, and not because you're telling hard truths. I'll add my opinion that it very likely contributes to any negative perceptions of this forum.

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I'm the first one to see offensive material, usually the first to mention it; and I take it personally no matter who it is directed at.


You may be too quick to take offense, sir. Are you saying my post was offensive? Not merely wrong, but offensive?

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Thus, considering that I don't see it in this instance, I must turn my problem-seeking radar from the group to the individual making the accusation.


I am flatly uncomfortable with this assertion. You "must" direct the argument away from the other person's argument and turn it to the person? Well, you certainly did that. Having missed the distinction between a perception of "elitism" and the actual existence of such an attitude, you responded in what came across as a dismissive, needlessly condescending manner. You introduced a number of tangential issues and resorted to ad hominem comments and blithe dismissals of points you disagreed with – after quoting out of context or (in my case) completely misunderstanding the point made. It may be a perfectly valid, if demagogic, argumentative style, but for purposes of this forum and preserving the congeniality here, I don't think "turning to the individual making the argument" is constructive.

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However, (neither) I nor anyone else is responsible for what is in your eye.


Y'know, I can only see this comment as intended to provoke an emotional reaction, thereby perhaps derailing a reasoned response. Another ad hominem shot, in other words.

I remind you that you were the one who brought up "ignorant and petty," even boldfacing them so they'd stand out. My "eye of the beholder" comment you referenced above was meant to go to the fact that these are emotionally loaded terms often applied in a derogatory fashion, so I am very, very careful before I direct them at someone. Moreover, they're often subjective conclusions not arrived at via nice, clean, bright-line tests, meaning that although your definitions (thank you for supplying them, BTW) feel objective to you, they're subjectively applied. What you call ignorant, I might call an incomplete understanding. What you call petty, I might call stubborn or merely unconvinced. If you're defending your right to call someone ignorant, fine, but that person may have a legitimate issue. Slamming them may feel good, but it does little to advance your point of view. I'd hate to think someone isn't qualified to comment or ask a question because they haven't sifted through all the hundreds of posts made on the model between here and GO. And I don't think this is what you're suggesting they do, yet when does a person have "enough" knowledge of the model to satisfy you they are not "ignorant"?

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You may be interested to note my response to the other thread being discussed, "All-out Dissection", wherein I did see offensiveness due to poor phrasing and brought it up.


Good deal. I'm curious, though. How do you define "offensiveness"? Offensive to you personally, or more generically what you perceive as offensive to all and sundry?

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Frankly, I'm having trouble seeing this (rubber meets the road) statement as anything but a deliberately infuriating response meant to provoke hostility.


Sorry. It absolutely wasn't meant that way, and it surprises me that it came across like that. Again, my apologies. I'm not interested in pissing people off. It may happen as an unintended consequence of frank discussion, but it's not a goal in any way, shape, or form.

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So I'm certain you are well aware of what both are and when someone is either, so your asking for defintions and implication that such judgements are elitist is absurd and just looks like a desire to start an argument.


Nope. Asking for definitions is the first step toward finding common ground. I do think that such judgments can be motivated by a desire to put someone down. I try not to judge someone in terms of ignorance or pettiness -- or elitism or self-righteousness, for that matter. At least in these forums. I try to abstain from judgment of the person, unless he or she acts like a complete ass. Even then, I prefer to address the reasoning rather than make it personal. Neither do I simply declare my opinions fact and dismiss any requests for support as irrelevant or suspect.

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In fact, I can't stand people who are so socially retarded by a warped form of politeness that they wouldn't tell anyone they'd just been shot out of fear of upsetting someone.


And how is this relevant? Given that I've articulated a suggestion you disagree with, why are we moving into rant territory? While your metaphor made me chuckle, I don't think this is really pertinent. I and others have repeated often enough that we're not in any way seeking to curtail debate.

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People who fail to educate themselves and go with gut reactions on subjects they know little about are, who shy away from any sort of confrontation, are, in my experience, not to be trusted in discussions because they lack the general maturity necessary for engaging worthwhile conversation.

Do you disagree?


Yeah, at least on the sweeping judgment about people "not to be trusted." What about people who make mistakes and/or go off half-cocked? It just seems that you're drawing a lot of lines in the sand here, that's all.

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You seem to believe that we're all a bunch of fundie loons ready to jump down the throat of anyone with a question or comment on the model, banging our holy texts and slaying the heathen.


Good grief, no! Where the hell did you come up with this? I've never suggested anything is religiously motivated, nor that there's some kind of holy writ or cult of personality or whatever going on here. This is way, way, way overstated.

Look... *takes deep breath* ...it may be that I'm completely off-base on the "implicit bias" or "perception of elitism" thing, but I've seen other people here – not fly-by-night ignoramuses by a LONG shot – share this perception. Discussing it and clearing the air can only be a good thing, provided we do so constructively. Do you disagree?

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I have no problems about throwing stones.


I don't shy away from calling things as I see them, either. I respect that quality in others -- to a point. I also respect tact and civility. I'd like to think that if you and I were talking over a couple of beers, we'd be having a great time and could agree to disagree without rancor. I do want you to know that I've visited your site and enjoyed your art. I'm happy to acknowledge that I could certainly have done a better job explaining my points and position here, so I'm certainly open to criticism on that front. For what it's worth, I honestly thought I was being clear enough. Clearly I wasn't (and I'm not pointing fingers here, either, just for the record). So there's a good example of my own flawed perceptions and bias, huh? Communication is imperfect. We should allow for that and ask for clarity before pulling out the flamethrowers. Then, too, the old saying about glass houses comes to mind. I try to be very careful about when I throw stones and what I throw them at.

I'll wrap up this tome by saying I agree wholeheartedly with Clinton. Let none of us post when pissed.

Best,

Blake



















Title: Why all the resistance?
Post by: Clinton R. Nixon on May 29, 2001, 06:42:00 PM
I'm closing this thread, not because I personally agree or disagree with anything said here, but because I do think both sides of the debate have made their point well.