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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 165 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Help for new arrivals.  (Read 1559 times)
Simon Kamber
Member

Posts: 175


« on: March 14, 2005, 08:26:02 AM »

I started following the forge relatively recently. I've read quite a few of the essays, and I'd like to think that I've done just about everything that a new guy can do to get a handle on this. However, it was not until very recently that I finally figured out what was going on. I've spend somewhere on the wrong side of a month feeling like everything that was happening in here was incoherent, because one moment I thought I had it figured out, and the next moment I realized that I wasn't even close to the "truth". I think that this feeling of utter confusion is what leads people to dismiss the forge as a haven for snobby intellectuals who like to hear themselves talk, because I was indeed getting that feeling after a while.

Also, during my time here, I have come to realize that a lot of problems arise from the fact that every single new person on these boards suffer from the same problems, make the same mistakes and cause the same disruptions as dozens of people before them.

Thus, I suggest that it is time to discuss how to introduce people to the forge in a way that saves both them and the old-timers a lot of hazzle. This could take the form of an essay, a set of guidelines on how to help people in the right direction, or both. Just something to take the edge of all the misconceptions that we see time and again.


In this thread, I'm looking for possible ways to attack this problem. If appropriate, I plan on starting another thread discussing what these common misconceptions are in the first place.

Personally, I think an essay on the basic fallacies and misconceptions, aimed at actually helping people who are suffering from these misconceptions, would be the solution. I wouldn't mind writing such an essay, but it might well be plagued by my own misconceptions because I am, as stated, new to the forge myself.
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Simon Kamber
Bankuei
Guest
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2005, 08:52:05 AM »

Hi xect,

I think there's a couple of things that work really well for pointing out things in a good fashion:

1) Stickies explain how we interact here, plus a little reading of threads provides good examples.

2) Big Model/GNS specifically has a bucket of information, plus a provisional glossary.

What probably sets most people in a tailspin of confusion is being unable to connect what we talk about here to what they do at the table.  Ron, myself, and many other people will always focus and advise people to do actual play, first and foremost.  The theory doesn't exist in a vacuum, but from observation of actual play.

My recommendation is to start by trying to identify a particular "layer" of  the model in play, one at a time.  So for one session you might want to silently note how you, and everyone you play with shift from Stance to Stance in play.  Then next session, take a look at System, and how you actually play vs. what the rules say(or more importantly, what the group thinks they're playing as).  The latter will help you observe Social Contract, which is really where everything stands on.

If you are an "experienced" gamer, or entrenched via mainstream games, Creative Agenda and GNS is the -last- thing you should be looking at after having digested the rest of the theory and connected it through actual observation.  The reason is that "traditional" gaming actually trains you to ignore what is happening at the table... which then makes it impossible to tell what is happening on a GNS level anyway.

Very key to all of this: If you cannot reliably assess for yourself what is happening at the table, then Big Model theory will be impossible to understand.  Therefore, working to assess what is happening at the table, without necessarily having to look to the model will help you immensely.  Once anyone has that, they can come to the theory and find how the things they've observed fit into it(or not).

Chris
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Michael S. Miller
Member

Posts: 846


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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2005, 09:56:09 AM »

Quote from: xect
Personally, I think an essay on the basic fallacies and misconceptions, aimed at actually helping people who are suffering from these misconceptions, would be the solution. I wouldn't mind writing such an essay, but it might well be plagued by my own misconceptions because I am, as stated, new to the forge myself.


Hi, xect, and Welcome to the Forge!

Other users new to the Forge have also said things like "This would be a great thing, and I'd write it, but I can't because I'm new here." For example, Streamlining the Creative Process. I say that you are much better suited to writing this sort of piece precisely because you are new. I haven't had to get acclimated to the Forge in over three years. It was a different place then, and I've forgotten all the wrong turns I made along the way. If this idea moves you, do it. That is what the whole INDEPENDENT thing is about.

BTW, what's your real name? Y'might want to put that in your sig.
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Serial Homicide Unit Hunt down a killer!
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Simon Kamber
Member

Posts: 175


« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2005, 12:24:48 PM »

Quote from: Michael S. Miller
Other users new to the Forge have also said things like "This would be a great thing, and I'd write it, but I can't because I'm new here." For example, Streamlining the Creative Process. I say that you are much better suited to writing this sort of piece precisely because you are new. I haven't had to get acclimated to the Forge in over three years. It was a different place then, and I've forgotten all the wrong turns I made along the way. If this idea moves you, do it. That is what the whole INDEPENDENT thing is about.

That actually makes sense :)

Quote
BTW, what's your real name? Y'might want to put that in your sig.

Yeah, I know. I put it there Sunday, and it seems it got lost in the database loss. Thanks for pointing it out.
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Simon Kamber
M. J. Young
Member

Posts: 2198


WWW
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2005, 11:20:25 PM »

For what it's worth, some time back the e-zine Places to Go, People to Be asked for someone to write a summary of theory as developed here at the Forge. I've written such a summary in three brief articles (about ten thousand words total) the first of which is going to press in a few days according to the editor. That might help dispel confusion in some minds.

The problem with all such articles is that they are by nature static, and theory is by nature fluid. The best that I could do in writing those articles was to include the point that theory is still in development and might change in some not insignificant way even before the text of the article is published. Old timers here all recognize that certain articles are the best place to start in attempting to understand the theory even though there are aspects of those articles that wouldn't be stated that way today. That's due to this inherent process of development.

I have every reason to think that the articles, under the overall title Theory 101, will help outsiders understand the theory here considerably better. Vincent Baker reviewed them and was very encouraging in his comments.

In any event, I'll be sure to point to these as they become available.

--M. J. Young
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Domhnall
Member

Posts: 97


« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2005, 03:49:00 AM »

Every forum out there has "Stickies" that only some few will read.  The expectations of a RPG site are quite different from what exists at the Forge.  It is very intellectual, very academic.  Some love it... the ones who stay love it.  But, commonly forums accept casual expression of opinions instead of "show us your 'A + B = C' please."  I hope to god this doesn't change here, but the environment needs to be made explicit when a person arrives here to avoid this frustration.  

So, I suggest a concise paragraph summarizing the practices and expectations of this forum in the registration page, preferably in a second page in the registration process.  Adding more text to the necessary disclaimers page only means there's more to ignore.  Sure, there's nothing that will guarantee that people will read anything you put in front of them, but this increases the chances.  Merely keeping it in a Sticky topic means that some will eventually read it, assuming that they stick around that long.
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--Daniel
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