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Author Topic: Issaries and independence  (Read 3875 times)
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2004, 05:22:11 PM »

Hello,

Whipmasters, whipmasters, whipmasters all! Slay them! Rise up ...

... shhh, Malcolm's listening. Everyone look friendly.

Malcolm, you asked this very thing in Indie or not? back in April. Raven listed several threads for you to reference, and I specifically invited you to contact me for further questions. You didn't do that, so any dialogue which would have determined whether your publishing was "Forge-called-independent" didn't happen. I still have no idea, so any sense that you have of being "rejected by the Forge" is your own doing.

I also defined this independence, as I've done many times. It's based on whether the creator owns the game.

Quote
Ownership is defined as final authority over content, development, and finances. Small groups of people are permitted, in addition to one-person shows.


The full definition may be found in What indie RPGs came out in 2002?:

Quote
1) Creator has full executive control over the property.

2) Creator is the publisher - responsible for printing costs, art costs, etc. (Note that this does not preclude organizing venture capital or startup stocks.)

3) Profits are received and managed by the creator.

Nuance: small teams of creators are possible rather than a single person.

The gray areas concern distinct degrees of work-for-hire (e.g. Robin Laws on Hero Wars).

What is not a grey area: having a company publish your game, meaning paying for printing and other production costs, with the understanding or contract that the creator retains the IP and will share in the profits once the publishing company has recouped its costs. That is what Atlas does with Unknown Armies and what Hogshead did with Nobilis.


That's 100% concrete. It's very clear. It does require some research on my part in many cases.

It's also not very well understood by some of the folks who are active here at the Forge, hence a lot of dust clutters the air sometimes when it gets brought up. And some other folks who do understand it tend to focus on their own re-phrasings, like Ralph and his "vision" stuff. But there's one single authority, who is me, and that's the yardstick I use every time.

And, also to be clear: independence has fuck-all to do with whether I like a game, a company, or a person. I've demonstrated this so many times that it's actually archaic-sounding for someone to drag out the old saw about "whatever Ron likes he calls independent."

Best,
Ron

P.S. Ain't no reason on this earth not to keep yanking your chain about the whipmasters. It's too much fun to see you leaping like a goosed chambermaid. Small of me, I know.
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eyebeams
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Posts: 93


« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2004, 05:59:30 PM »

Quote
Hello,

Whipmasters, whipmasters, whipmasters all! Slay them! Rise up ...

... shhh, Malcolm's listening. Everyone look friendly.

P.S. Ain't no reason on this earth not to keep yanking your chain about the whipmasters. It's too much fun to see you leaping like a goosed chambermaid. Small of me, I know.


Ron, if you have an issue with me, personally, feel free to contact me via PM. Suffice to say that any hostility here is a function of your own inference, not my intent.

Quote
Malcolm, you asked this very thing in Indie or not? back in April. Raven listed several threads for you to reference, and I specifically invited you to contact me for further questions. You didn't do that, so any dialogue which would have determined whether your publishing was "Forge-called-independent" didn't happen. I still have no idea, so any sense that you have of being "rejected by the Forge" is your own doing.


I am not talking about the Forge as a resource for creators. I know where my work stands; stuff about it isn't going to appear in Indie Game Design. I'm more talking about the way non-indie stuff is treated -- and that is indeed topical. It's certainly difficult for me -- who has both indie and non-indie projects in the works -- to have any coherent idea of what your aims with this activism actually are, because the community's critique of the "amisntream" is so broad as to lack any specific points of applicability.

Quote
Ownership is defined as final authority over content, development, and finances. Small groups of people are permitted, in addition to one-person shows.

The full definition may be found in What indie RPGs came out in 2002?:

Quote:
1) Creator has full executive control over the property.

2) Creator is the publisher - responsible for printing costs, art costs, etc. (Note that this does not preclude organizing venture capital or startup stocks.)

3) Profits are received and managed by the creator.

Nuance: small teams of creators are possible rather than a single person.

The gray areas concern distinct degrees of work-for-hire (e.g. Robin Laws on Hero Wars).

What is not a grey area: having a company publish your game, meaning paying for printing and other production costs, with the understanding or contract that the creator retains the IP and will share in the profits once the publishing company has recouped its costs. That is what Atlas does with Unknown Armies and what Hogshead did with Nobilis.


As a point ot technical clarification, what do you mean by "recouped its costs," exactly?

Plus, how does this apply to state-funded Finnish Indrama?

Quote
It's also not very well understood by some of the folks who are active here at the Forge, hence a lot of dust clutters the air sometimes when it gets brought up. And some other folks who do understand it tend to focus on their own re-phrasings, like Ralph and his "vision" stuff. But there's one single authority, who is me, and that's the yardstick I use every time.

And, also to be clear: independence has fuck-all to do with whether I like a game, a company, or a person. I've demonstrated this so many times that it's actually archaic-sounding for someone to drag out the old saw about "whatever Ron likes he calls independent."


It's reflective of the qualities of the community -- and I can always skip over to the WoD thread to see your use of "coporate" as an invective. The question now, appears to be whether the Forge's critical tools are meant to be used honestly, or whether, frankly, it's in your collective, continued interest to let your perception of how people are making games rule that day and furiously tilt and the result windmills -- or whipmasters, for that matter.

Too bad.
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Malcolm Sheppard
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2004, 06:45:42 PM »

Hello,

"Personal issue," no. Nor do I perceive hostility. Yanking your chain is fun to be sure, but what I'm really mocking is any actual extremity on the part of an independent publisher. "Whipmasters" indeed. What bullshit.

(Californians love to impersonate points of view they disagree with, as a form of satire, often to the confusion of others who, gasp, cannot believe they would say something so awful, etc etc. I run into this miscommunication in the American midwest all the time, so must curb myself frequently.)

What I do perceive from you and other work-for-hire freelancers is conflict of interest. We literally make our money in entirely different ways. The way I and Clinton are empowering, successfully, isn't your way. I see your comments and others as resentment about that, for implied criticism and judgment of the way you've chosen to make this money. As if you were filthy or mercenary or something similar.

This resentment is especially expressed in a way which you claim it isn't: defense over the creative content of the games. You playtested it? Authored part of it? Helped create it? Fine - because you do not own it, nor did you have final authority over anything that I or anyone might be criticizing, then the "attacks" aren't your problem.

So why bother defending it? Defend your work in it, if you'd like. Explain why it's an awesome game, maybe by posting in Actual Play. Compare its features to similar games in RPG Theory. But who cares whether the game undergoes critique and its creative power-structure is called to task for perceived flaws? It's not your authority or input which is under fire.

That's why I think you are posting. I think it's economic conflict of interest, and that you think it's unfair. My response is that yeah, economics are unfair. People take different approaches to making money.

Since I don't think our actual, personal success(es) are threatened by one another, then I'm happy with peaceful co-existence. But those differences in outlook are going to be manifested - sometimes with bile (as in Sean's case), sometimes with open criticism of an approach to creative work on the work (as in mine, in the thread you mention), and sometimes with educated or uneducated comments that any number of people won't like. Any of these are subject to discourse.

Free advice: you won't get anywhere by identifying terms as evidence of values. You'll see whatever values you want to see, when you look at a site as diverse in outlook as this one. Criticism toward White Wolf? It's invective! Ha! Found the values. Must be the real values here - the whole community is in on it!

Yeah, your comments do read that paranoid to me. All I need to do is consider your position - how you make your money - and it all makes sense. You're defending the source of your income. OK, that sort of cuts any chance for discourse out of the picture.

Clarifications ...

You asked what I meant by "recouping cost" in the quoted text. Usually that means that the publishing company pays for printing and many other tasks involved in getting the book actually made as a physical product. Profits from the sales go first to the company, so that they make back their investment. Subsequent profits are split among the company and creators, according to whatever arrangement they've agreed to. Royalties are a common example, but I've seen others.

How would any of this "independence" stuff apply to Finnish Indrama? Good question. Might be out of the box, considering that all of my "independence" stuff was construed in a fully-capitalist context. Or maybe it's just not independent, period. I'd like to know more about the details to decide, or throw it open to discussion among people who know a lot about it, in order to learn more. RPG Theory topic for sure.

Your final question isn't a question. You've made up your mind, it appears, that I've used "corporate" as invective. Ah! Case closed, Ron hates White Wolf, awful terrible corporation that it is. Knew it all along. Found the values.

My final point: I welcome anyone and everyone to write off anything I post here, at this site and any other, as the ravings of a bad person. It strikes me that once so identified, my ravings would then best be ignored. After all, why bother debating with the ravings of a bad person? It won't make you any happier to do it, and the bad person certainly isn't going to change.

Saves us all a lot of trouble that way.

Best,
Ron
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Valamir
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« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2004, 06:55:43 PM »

Quote


So if Ron Edwards rented an studio space, his company wouldn't be "indie" any more? As for numbers of employees, you haave Issaries and Driftwood, both of which have employed multiple people. I'm nto sure how sticking them in an office makes a difference.


No Malcolm.  Theres a level of rising frustration I'm going to try to avoid contributing to here.  You will read back in my post that I said such decisions put indie status in jeopardy.  Not that it immediately disqualifies you.

I also explained why, in some detail.  Its not a question of whether you have or don't have employees (for the record I'm 99% certain Driftwood under Jake Norwood had zero employees, Brian can correct me if i'm wrong, but I believe he was a contributing fan with privileges).

The question is whether you've committed your company to ongoing periodic non discretionary expenditures to the extent that you no longer have the luxury of designing the game how you want and releasing it when and how you want.

As soon as your long term non discretionary expenditures reach a point where you are forced to sacrifice art for profit you cannot be indie.

Now, I will add, this is part of the clutter Ron alludes to.  Its not part of the official Forge definition but rather is IMO a practical extension of it.  The official Forge definition refers to another human being not the creator having control over the hows and whens and whys.  I, however, believe that the knocking sound of the credit collectors also qualifies as another human being not the creator for this purpose.

But that issue is perhaps tangental and should be dropped

Quote

After a certain degree of success you have to make a decision about how to expand. Let's look at TSR:

TSR in the early 70s was as "indie" as they come, but of course, it stopped being that at some point. When would that be? Well, perhaps you are partially correct of you say the answer was when they struck out looking for external capital. See, *that* is a real, honest to goodness dividing line. So would creative staff ultimately being subject to a corporate board in their day to day work.



There is always the possibility of finding a clear dividing line.  The problem is

1) you will almost never have access to all of the inner workings of a company's financial situation to make more than a speculative guess about that anyway, because almost everyone plays these things pretty close to the vest (for reasons I find somewhere between amusing and silly)

2) The dividing line depends on so many individual factors unique to each situation for each company that you can never come up with a simple litmus test to tell.  If that's what you're looking for, get used to disappointment.  It isn't possible except as a theoretical construct.


Quote
These are actual meaningful definitions of "indie." I don't believe levels of profit and where your offices are are as useful. But this -- this is progress:-)


I'm not sure here if your making a joke or are really missing my point, so I'll just say this.  If you actually think my position articulated above was about levels of profit and office locations than you missed the point and need to reread it more carefully.


Quote

How can you tell? If my personal vision is to have an RPG that's full colour with gold-trim pages and artwork by Brom, am I a "sellout" for deciding that I can't afford that and picking something cheaper instead?


What sell out?  Where does this come from?  Did I not go to great lengths to say repeatedly that if that's the business model that works for you great?

Are you reading what I'm writing or are you responding to your own projections?

Let me make it perfectly 100% clear.

If that is your vision.  And using the corporate model helped you achieve your vision.  And it wound up being a pretty great experience with none of the horror stories people worry about when they "lose control"...then absofrickin' fantastic and I couldn't be more pleased for your success.

But it ain't indie.


Why is that a problem for you?  Why is that even an issue?  What exactly is your agenda for caring?

And don't say its just about getting a clear idea of the definition.  Nobody cares about having a clear idea of a definition is until they want to know how it fits or doesn't fit with their own personal issue.

So what...exactly...is your personal issue.


Quote
You can have people who don't change content to please but who get somebody else to publish it.



True and Irrelevant.  It doesn't matter if the controlling party does 100% everything you could ever want them to.  If you're fortuneate enough to find such a person...wonderful.  I'm highly skeptical about how long a situation like that will last before your benefactor starts making demands of some sort; and I don't find talking about "what if you could find such a person" to be very useful.

But if this is a real person you've really found who's really fronting the money to publish the game and has no intention of saying boo about anything...who has no intention of ever making "suggestions" about how to change your game when sales wind up being alot worse than expected and he's at risk for losing his investment...good for you.  But it ain't indie.


Quote

This is true, but it in no way implies that the creator has to be the publisher, either -- though technically, you now have "corporate publisher, indie creator." This makes sense -- it's the way actual games have been created.


No.  It not only implies the creator has to be the publisher...it requires it.  If you are the person who created the game and someone else gets to make the choices about it (like whether to print a second print run or not.  Or whether to sell direct or only through distribution. Or what price to sell it at, or whether to change the cover) then it isn't indie.

Really Malcolm,  that's the definition.  


You may not like it.  You may not agree with it.

But can I at least hear from you that you understand it?


Quote
You seem to think that all models make the publisher the default creator of the game. They are not. The designer creates the game. The designer is not necessarily the subject of a corporate body. He can make a choice.


No, I seem to think the indie definition of the Forge requires the publisher to be the creator of the game.

'cause that's the definition.


Quote

I am controlling the purse strings. I made the contract with this publisher. They are my client.

As an alternative example, you have government funded games in Northern Europe. In interviews, Ron has said that he welcomes their presence here -- but by your terms, that don't control the purse strings for many of their works, either.



Well, until you come out and actually outline what your actual business practice is, there probably is no point to continueing this discussion.

What are the terms of this contract?  Who decides how many copies to print?  Who decides how many pages the book will be and if it will be full or half size?  Who decides how much art it will have, who the artists will be and how much they're paid?  Who decides whether to print in color or black and white?  Who decides whether it will be sold direct or only through distribution?  Who decides after an extended period of no sales to just mulch the rest of the inventory for the tax writeoff?  If the first run sells out who decides whether to print a second run?  If there was alot of player feedback about how to "make the game better" after the first print run who decides whether to change the game to meet that feedback and make the second print run a "revised" version.  Who decides to offer the game simultaneously as a PDF or not?  If someone is going to sue over copyright infringement for your game who gets to foot the legal bill?

Who makes these decisions Malcolm...you or him?

I can tell you right now that I am indie because for every single one of those questions the answer is me.

For Burning Wheel its Luke Crane.  For My Life with Master its Paul Czege.  For Sorcerer its Ron Edwards.  For Riddle of Steel it was Jake Norwood.  It isn't any longer.  Riddle of Steel is no longer indie which is why they've now moved their forum elsewhere.

For Hero Quest, I don't know, because I'm not privy to the secret information.  But if Ron Edwards feels the answers to the above are Greg Stafford and that makes it indie, then I either accept that or call him a liar.

Its a real simple definition.  If the creator of the game is also the person in charge of the above questions then its indie.  If the creator of the game is not the person in charge of the above questions its not.  It doesn't matter how altruistically inclined that other person is.

So feel free to answer the questions for your self.

It does get more complicated when you have multiple co creators who are also co owners, but Ron feels that with sufficient information provided he can sort that out into indie or not.  If for some reason you feel knowing how he does that is important, why don't you just ask him?


Quote

Well no, that isn't "all there is to it," outside of the indie sphere. That's the problem. There are many ways of getting a game out.


Well yes, that is all there is to it.  Here at the Forge, that is all there is to it.  If you are indie by the definition of the Forge you get to have direct support for your efforts.

If you are not indie by the definition of the forge you do not.  That's all there is to it.

If you don't like the Forge's definition you are welcome to go start your own web community for whatever business model you want to support.  If you're just not sure whether your included in the definition or not and whether you can get support here just PM Ron, answer whatever questions he asks and he'll be able to tell you.


Now if you have an actual specific business model that you are actually practicing yourself or know of other who are...that you think it would be worth the effort of designers here to know about and consider for ourselves...

Then quit beating around the bush and just tell us about it.

Spell it out, man.

This arguement by oblique reference gets really tiresome.
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Gordon C. Landis
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« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2004, 09:30:00 PM »

I'll be honest - I can jusify the  . . . testiness on all sides here, but I wish it wasn't happening.  From anyone.  But then I'm told I'm "too nice", sometimes.

It seems to me the core of it is this: surrendering actual publication of your work to another party is a risk.  Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't.  Of course using a layout guy is a risk, using an artist is a risk, hiring Robin Laws is a risk . . OK, maybe that's not a risk.  But hiring someone to write your rules is a risk.

So risk (of bad product, of unfulfilled promise, of financial loss) exists everywhere.  But Ron and Clinton believe that the particular risk of a second-party publisher is unnecessary, and many people (NOT all) would be better off not doing that.  They created the Forge to support that belief.  To evangelize that belief.  People who think they are better off taking that risk don't qualify for full-on "support" at the Forge, though I'm grateful we can hear about, say, Nobilis in Actual Play, or see UA referenced in Theory, and etc.

Malcolm, as a reader/low-key participant in this thread/issue, what I really want to know is does that make sense to you?  I'm fine with you not liking it, but I'm really hoping you understand it boils down to "Ron and Clinton like the idea of a creator controling his own publishing.  They use the site to support that belief."

I also have no problem hearing even more about WHY they like that idea so much, but I think I know a good part of it.

Gordon
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eyebeams
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« Reply #20 on: September 03, 2004, 11:12:07 PM »

It's pretty simple:

1) The Forge exists to support companies that fit Ron's definition. It also exists to criticise RPG design.

2) If the Forge wishes to coherent criticise RPG design, it must comn\e to terms with the way RPGs are designed and produced.

3) Finding out what 2) is is not fulfilled by guesswork or uselessly broad categories.

4) Guesswork and uselessly broad categories are the current analytical tool of choice when it comes to figuring out how people make games, thus:

5) Thanks to 4), not only is it difficult to justify any statements people here make about them, it is difficult to justify why the indie method would actually be desirable, except where it feeds into whatever value you put on the Forge's community.

This isn't about my yearning desire for "indie cred." (As I said, I have two games -- Jianghu and Heartbreaker -- in line for that next year, when I get around to them). It's about how things said here can be made more meaningful for me and, I suspect, for others, by tightening the language used to describe how games are made.

Discuss. Refute in detail. Just leave the thinly veiled ad hominems and jabs at my suspected intent behind. I said what my feelings about game design are when I replied to Clinton.

I have to say that I expected better. Years ago I had a conversation on GO with Ron about game design that ended in disagreement but I was touched by the sane, respectful tone he displayed. That, more than anything else, has kept me coming back here to read and occasionally post.

Naturally, I believe that that level of dialogue is capable of being used here, or I wouldn't have bothered.
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Malcolm Sheppard
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« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2004, 12:09:29 AM »

You know, this is simply not going to be pleasant...

Quote from: eyebeams
In what way is the "whipmasters" comment neutral? I know you probably intended for there to be some irony -- but when it comes to the stance of many members of the community here, it's not ironic at all.

Here we go with yet more stereotyping of this odd beast called "Forge members" -- as subtly as you might try to split that hair later, it simply comes off as "You know people aren't like that at all, they're very diverse, I wish you Forge people would figure that out." Yeah...anyone else note the irony? Thank you. Seriously, you want to talk about "thinly veiled ad hominems"? Anyways, there's more...

Quote
Suffice to say that any hostility here is a function of your own inference, not my intent.

Sorry, Malcolm, I call bullshit...and I also play my "Right Back At You" card, considering your repetitions regarding references to White Wolf as "corporate" is obvious and pure invective, or that "corporate" is touted as a dirty word by "the Forge": Any invective in such a reference is a function of your own inference, not anyone's intent.

Same thing with the whipmasters bit...it's called "humor." You may not appreciate it, it may not be your type of humor, but that's what it is, patently so to someone without an investment in the group being jibed a little. Ron's right, it is quite humorous (if small) to watch you bluster and gasp and work your shorts into a knot about such a very small and completely empty thing. Any deep and abiding insult in the statement is pure inference on your part, and as such, no one's problem except yours.

So, get past yourself and get over the "whipmasters" comment, and your bloodpressure will probably drop ten-fold, because you're taking yourself and the horrors perpetrated by the Forge machine far, far too seriously to currently engage in reasonable discussion.

You want to get pissed off about something worth getting pissed off about? Alright, here:

A young child we know was recently molested by their uncle. The family openly refuses to do anything about it, close relatives who found out about the incident refused to report it and told everyone else not to say anything to anyone. The only two family members who decided to report this uncle to the authorities are now being ostracized and harassed by the family for daring to break the silence.

Note this is neither the first incident covered up by this particular family, nor the first child molested -- one of the family members reporting this incident was a childhood victim of the same cover-up behavior by their family (different offending relative, though) and can't take seeing it done to a younger relative.

If you want the statistics on how often things like this happen (except where no one reports the abuse) well...they're goddamn scary.

There, that's something you can get all worked up about. Work yourself into a raging froth about it.

"Whipmasters"? Yeah...
To put it crudely: pull yon stick from yon ass, because it's becoming a diamond. End of story.

Either take that advice to heart, or really, just leave, because you're going to be an intellectual drag on everyone until you do, no matter how smart or skilled or knowledgable you are, due to this oversensitivity.

This is, of course, the main problem with certain individuals who want their heads patted during discussions; it's always insults and invectives when the other party doesn't agree with/like a particular position or subject the respondent has a personal stake in, because then any (percieved) value judgement is taken as a judgement of the individual rather than a judgement of the issue.

You know, certain people come here, they expect to be taken by the hand, patted on the head, and spoken to with soothing, non-challenging words. Then they aren't, and they have apoplectic fits about the "evil that is the Forge and/or Ron" and how badly they were treated, etc. etc. etc.  Well, grow up, you're adults. As adults, you should be well above behaving like a fist-clenching high school student.

"How dare they say our football team isn't that good!"
"You lost ten games."
"Yeah...but we still work hard! How dare they!"

All these gripes ultimately tend to boil down to is "I can't handle the difference in your point of view! You, therefore, are an evil asshole...and cultists!"

I consider Chris Pramas' childish temper tantrum some months ago to be a prime (if not the definitive) example of this nonsense behavior.

And it all arises from inference.

Note that this "pat my head" behavior is also tied any response I might give to your query to Clinton about the suitability or utility of his use of the circle-jerking analogy. It's an absolutely great analogy that I utterly adore his pulling out (ahem, no pun intended), because it is right straight to the point, and it isn't sugar-coated. It simply is.

Unfortunately, most of the time it seems you are looking to argue, rather than looking to discuss. Consider: I've noticed the disheartening tendency of your text (not only here) to practically shout "they MUST be saying this, they MUST be" then building arguments that attack that MUST, which ends up being nothing more than running around in big circles. Don't agree? Well, 1) I don't expect you to, but 2) it's more obvious from an outside perspective. Why do I say that? Because a great majority of the time, the whole "football team" analogy above is exactly what your responses "look" like when broken down.

As an example from elsewhere, your response and rebuttal in the WOD Impressions thread is a very clear display of this behavior:

"White Wolf projects aren't written to Threefold needs."
Well, no shit, Sherlock. (Really.)

It was an pointless response on your part, devoid of value, and ends up sounding exactly like a person does when they argue "with themself".

It is also quite apparent that your statement is a reaction to the use of Threefold jargon, rather than the context of the situation the jargon is being used to describe. Yet out came the opposition for no reason more than to somehow express opposition; you might deny it, but logically, that's all that's really there. It was absolutely empty of real, discussable value as a response.

I have a very strong feeling that if the words Drift and Incoherence had not been used, the Threefold would have never have been mentioned by you, and the actual point being made would instead have been discussed, as it was later by other posters; a point that was really quite simple, and only made complex by infering context and statements that were not present.

It's the same thing here in this thread.
The definition of indie, as stated both elsewhere and repeated in this thread, is really (actually) simple and really (actually) functional, I promise.
Quit making it complex.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2004, 04:28:09 AM »

Hello,

Well, it's been a night's sleep later.

I guess it's time for us to stop ganging up now. Four responses: mine, Ralph's, Gordon's, Raven's; five, actually, Clinton too. Five very different people, but the net effect is one of ganging up. With any luck, the array can be seen as five different people, not (5 x 1).

Anyway. The real issue, and Malcolm, you did state this nicely just now, is whether discourse at the Forge typically makes use of guesswork and uselessly broad categories when non-independent games are brought into the dialogue.

And he's right about that, people! Yes, in order to address issues of design and publishing in our limited sphere here, it is necessary that such issues be understood for games outside that sphere as well. Otherwise the site is an incestuous hive.

So! Do we rely on guesswork and uselessly broad categories when non-independent games come into the picture?

Well, it depends, now doesn't it? As with any website (especially one dedicated to permitting grass-roots entry), people come in with all kinds of misperceptions and emotional baggagge. It's very hard, for instance, for many to grasp that TSR is not the flagship, numero uno successful game company of all RPG history. Getting past that is part of getting educated about RPG publishing.

And furthermore, a lot of brutal truths have to get spoken too - White Wolf did not have a happy sunny time, financially, in the middle-to-late 1990s. No bankruptcy ... but if all the insider accounts I've garnered are true, it was definitely whispering in the company's ear like the Nemesis in Wraith. The "big four" first games and their fill-the-walls supplement publishing context were not financially sound.

Who can tell the emotional/misperception baggage from the brutal truths? I tell ya, in a single thread, it's not possible. Nor is a little tolerance about the former, in the interest of long-term education, easy to tell from over-stating the latter.

And how about the corrective posts which try to keep such things "right"? When do they turn into kneejerk defensiveness? Unfortunately, within moments, especially when economic interest is involved.

That's the environment we're in. The question is not whether the place is perfect, but rather whether it is better, in terms of guesswork and useless categories, than it might be. I think it is, but so what. The answer is up to the individual participant.

Best,
Ron
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Valamir
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« Reply #23 on: September 04, 2004, 06:31:58 AM »

Malcolm, I'm going to try this one more time and then bow out.

Your last post answered none of the questions I raised for you.  You didn't even do me the courtesy of acknowledging that you understood what I was saying.

So please.  What is your agenda on this thread?  You say its not because you want indie cred yourself, fine...so what is it?

What is that ultimate point you're pursueing here Malcolm, because I have to admit while you started off making what I thought was a valid point you've since buried that point in a lot of bluster and rhetoric.

Specifically, what is the point at which you'll be able to read a post on this thread and say "ahh, yes, that's what I was looking for, thanks".  What aspect of the Forge definition needs to be changed or clarified for you to be satisfied?  That way we can either do it or explain why we won't do it and the conversation can come to a close.
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