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Am I antisocial if I dislike sound-off threads?

Started by Walt Freitag, April 06, 2005, 03:26:25 PM

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Walt Freitag

What movie did I last see?

What do I read? What book did I last read?

What am I working on? Why does it rock? Which of my game moments are most memorable? What computer games do I play?

What music am I listening to right now? What do I hate? What am I looking forward to? Do I have a wife, pets, and/or kids? Who am I and how long have I been at it?

I thought this was a birthday party, I wasn't expecting a sort of Spanish Inqusisition.

Don't get me wrong. I don't regard the questions as too personal or too intrusive. It's just that I'm not convinced anyone actually cares (and don't see why anyone should care) what book I read last or what my dog's name is. These threads get plenty of posts but there never seems to be anything to actually talk about. Everyone sounds off, occasionally someone says "cool, me too" or some such, and I'm thinking, "will this be on the test?". You're rocking out to Queen, someone else is rocking out to Band-Way-Too-Cool-For-Me-To-Have-Heard-Of-It, and what's the point?

So, I'll make y'all a deal. If you want to talk about your job or your family or your dog, start a thread about it. I'll read it and if I find I have something to say about it (perhaps even an interesting comparison with my own circumstances, if such a comparison appears relevant), I'll post my thoughts. If I want to talk about my dog or my least favorite celebrity or whatever, I'll start a thread on it and anyone who's interested can join in. Either way, we'll then have something to actually discuss. But consider this post my apologetic declining of all your kind invitations, present and future, to sound off in roll calls.

Now, the topic of this thread: does the above sentiment make me an antisocial party pooper? Does anyone else find sound-off threads to be disappointing (not just here but in bulletin boards everywhere), in the sense that if their purpose is to facilitate socializing, they consistently fail to do so?

- Walt
Wandering in the diasporosphere

Shreyas Sampat

I dislike them too. Let's talk with each other, not at each other!


It's like a medieval fool's day or whatever that was called, when you dress a donkey up in robes and crown and the blind-drunk beggar marries it to the village's prettiest pig.

It's good to set time aside to disregard the usual rules. So we aren't talking about anything! We talk about things all the time. And the thing we are doing - rushing into the same space and filling it with noise - is socially bonding. In moderation, once in a while, I think it's good for us.

I like us better today than I did on Sunday, for one.



Oh and I should say: I especially like that there are both kinds of threads here. Real conversations plus making social noise. Like a good party!


Eero Tuovinen

Have to agree with Walt. I skimmed a couple of those threads yesterday, but today I haven't cared. I even answered some out of some kind of social responsibility or something. They're falling on deaf ears as far as I'm concerned. Dull reading, that kind of endless list. While I'm sure that each individual is interesting in his own right, a 30 post list of people certainly isn't.

If Walt hadn't taken the matter up, I probably would have. My take would have been to start a discussion about something I'm interested in, though. Don't know if my motivation would have sufficed, being that I'm not too good at sermoning without provocation.

I'll make you a deal: start a thread with my name on it, and I'll come and tell you in detail about my life, projects, hopes and stuff. Then we can talk about it. Those lists I won't touch anymore right now. I'll come back if I later on need to know the exact marital state of, say, Shreyas (the first name that popped into my mind).

Just my opinion. For all I know people like stuff like this.
Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.

Andy Kitkowski

Totally.  For all the directed discussion I participate in, or the threads/posts I swallow and don't post because I really don't have much to say... its great to be able to say NOTHING!

Plus, it gives me an idea of the kind of people that lurk behind these Forge handles. Ex: I met Vincent at GenCon, talked to him a bit, sold stuff with him side by side all day... though I didn't know until the other day when Ben came over that he had kids. KIDS!  It kinda threw things into a new light.

So yeah, if you pay attention to how others sound off (and I do, or at least the folks I regularly read), you get a better idea of the kind of person they are.

Which, in the end, makes the interaction for the rest of the year more real. You're not as prone to fly off the handle at, to blindly dissmiss, or to poke at people who you've met, or that you understand to be a real person, not just an AI attached to a series of posts.  It makes the whole shebang more... human.
The Story Games Community - It's like RPGNet for small press games and new play styles.

Frank T

What Andy said.

Edit: Well, I wasn't there at GenCon, but the rest. ;-)

Joshua A.C. Newman

Quote from: lumpleyOh and I should say: I especially like that there are both kinds of threads here. Real conversations plus making social noise. Like a good party!

This is what I call "incidental communication" and is what is missing from most forms of digital communication. IM is the first form of digital communication that gets close to the incidental communication one once got at the village well, or shopping, or eating lunch with your extended family. Obviously, IM sucks in comparison.

Eventually, this thread, were it left open, would degenerate into irritating noise, and what value was to be found would be impossible to find under the cacophony of people calling each other Hitler. That doesn't happen, though, when the communication is more than the narrow bandwidth of a BBS.

And that is why I like playing role-playing games.
the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.

Gordon C. Landis

At the first party, someone (Ron, I think) started a sound-off thread that was something like "tell us three things about yourself."  I thought that was pretty cool - it is good to know a bit about folks besides the RPG context, and since you get to pick what you say, it avoided being just a rolecall thing.

But yeah, actual social interaction wins out over lists everyday of the week,

Gordon (under construction)

Walt Freitag

Ah, there's the problem. Some threads are ROLE-call threads, while others are just ROLL-call threads... :-)

Eh, in any event, it appears opinion is divided. Fine with me, it's not like I'd want to ban the roll call threads from the Birthday Forum or anything. And I have no objection to Social Noise, in fact I'm in favor of it (in the b'day forum at least)... just that for me, those exchanges aren't a very good way of going about it. Glad to hear they're working for some.

- W
Wandering in the diasporosphere


So Walt,

Are you married?
Do you have any pets?
What religion are you?

Really sorry I just couldn't resist...


Quote from: Walt Freitag on April 06, 2005, 03:26:25 PMI wasn't expecting a sort of Spanish Inqusisition.

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!
Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio

Ron Edwards


OK I admit it I posted in an old post and started all this confusion.

It's 4 am now in Blighty, apologies to all for the misunderstanding I have caused.

It's time to leave the party as I am confused and I need to go home!

Where's my coat?


I must comment one thing though, seems this year's sound-off threads are exactly the same as last year's! ?
Guy Shalev.

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