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Beyond crediblity

Started by Callan S., June 07, 2005, 04:01:30 AM

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Gordon C. Landis


So if I understand you correctly, you're talking about what goes on inside a player's head.  Plus how what one person says influences that, and how what that influenced-player then says will show the influence.  If I'm even remotely on track, I have several conclusions:

1)  This is really, entirely and completely not about credibility at all.  I think I can (and will, if you want me to) reword and amplify on your existing vase example such that it is clear that standardly-understood credibility is fully in operation throughout that example, and that your "between points of contact" focus is independant of (as in, neither conflicts with, disproves, or even threatens) credibility in all ways.  Saying "grant yourself credibility" is probably not a good useage, as Credibility (gack, capitalization - sorry) is entirely an outgrowth of what's openly communicated.  You're pointing at something that happens between those points of contact, and credibility isn't to be seen there, at all.  In credibility, this is the "then something happens" part of the equation.

2)  This is the unspecified, mostly unexamined "then something happens" part of the equation because it's a problematic area.  Talking about what's going on inside someone else's head is very tricky.  Talking about what's going on in your own head is bad enough, but someone else . . . really tough.  That doesn't mean we shouldn't talk about it, but it does mean some extra care is probably a good idea.

3) For example, I'd recommend abandoning the notion that (for RPG purposes) you ever "compel" anything to happen in someone else's mind - thus my use of "influence" at the start of this post.  Given that to my thinking the range of possible responses to the shout of "one plus one" ranges from simply ignoring it, to thinking "eleven" or "equals two" or an endless number of other things . . . "compulsion" seems like entirely the wrong word for what (it seems to me) you're trying to get at.

ASIDE: Credibility tells us that what matters is when someone takes one of those things and offers it up to the rest of us, we have the option of accepting it or not.  That while one person may in fact have provoked (another alternative to compelled) that offering by some earlier communication of their own, the option to accept, reject and/or negotiate the details of that contribution is still fully available to us.  But again, you're talking about BEFORE that - what happens in my head as a result of the shout.  What I think about the vase a result of you saying it was pushed off a balcony, NOT what happens when I make some statement based on that thinking.

4) Another way of saying it, maybe, is that you're interested in what can be done to make players contribute to the game the things that you want them to contribute to the game.  That those contributions will go through the same credibility process as something that they "really" came up with independently is irrelevant to the question of how to provoke particular contributions (or kinds of contributions) that you want to see, as is the fact that to the one doing the provoking (which can be GM->player, player->GM, or player->player, as far as I can tell - maybe even designer->players), the granting of credibility is a forgone conclusion.

Is that even remotely where you were going here?  Because if not, I'm lost as to what it is you're looking at.

ASDIE:  One more thing on credibility itself - I think there's an excellent point hidden in your statement "You didn't get crediblity for your intent."  Credibility can't ever be about intent.  It's always about information, and who is granted what rights regarding it.  Which is why so many credibility problems are actually communication problems, because what was "intended" to be communicated isn't what actually got communicated.

Hoping I'm communicating well,

Gordon (under construction)

Callan S.

Walt's left, but the benefit of others: this gets so close I think it's might help illustrate the area of focus.

Quote from: Walt Freitag
Quote from: Noon
Quote from: WaltGM: The vase falls from the balcony, out of sight.
Player: Do any of us hear it break?

That example, which is very typical in my experience, clearly shows a reluctance on the player's part to draw conclusions until facts are credibly established.
No, it shows the players being compelled to think 'vases make a smashing sound when they hit the ground'

No, your argument only shows you being compelled to think that a player asking 'Do any of us hear it break?' shows the players being compelled to think 'vases make a smashing sound when they hit the ground.'

In other words, what you're calling 'being compelled to think' is what most people usually just call 'thinking.' If you're asking for an explanation of why people think, I can't help you.

Yes and yes. This is just about thinking.

The thread is about splitting the idea of thinking into two types.
For example, say a game has two different rules for handling head shots, and players should decide which they are going to use in play. The first rule uses HP and damage from the bullet depleats HP (depleat enough, dead character). The second rule simply states any headshot that hits is fatal.

Now to illustrate the thought processes of two different players:
A: "Well, lets try out this fatal head shot thing. Might be interesting and we can always use the other one in the next campaign."
B: "Headshots ARE ALWAYS fatal! We use the second rule, of course. No doubt about it! No debate on this one!"

Example A is 'choosing'/experimental thought. Example B is compulsion/conviction thought.

Heya Jay,

In terms of pratical application, I'm thinking type B is far more powerful to execute concrete acceptance. For example, say each player develops a character over many levels (lots of RL time invested). Now if their PC's both get shot in the head, I imagine player A not being particularly satisfied, while player B would accept it completely.

I'm thinking rules design that ask for then revolve around player convictions, will produce far more accepted and thus agenda intense play than where the designer has chosen what the rules revolve around.
Philosopher Gamer

Callan S.

Hiya Gordon,

1) I agree, yes!
2) I agree, yes! It makes the topic tricky to discuss and I should be more careful.
Quote3) For example, I'd recommend abandoning the notion that (for RPG purposes) you ever "compel" anything to happen in someone else's mind - thus my use of "influence" at the start of this post. Given that to my thinking the range of possible responses to the shout of "one plus one" ranges from simply ignoring it, to thinking "eleven" or "equals two" or an endless number of other things . . . "compulsion" seems like entirely the wrong word for what (it seems to me) you're trying to get at.
Abandoning the idea you can 'compel' is okay, but let me tell you why I put it that way and see what you think.

What I think one person can try to do is influence another person, by targeting what that other person has convictions about. I think this was seen in Tony's thread, where its suggested the the 'authority' of SIS facts were brought up. In other words the speaker says "This must be something you value! Be influenced by it!". Of course the other person might not value it at all, and in this case the speaker missed the listeners convictions. That's why I argue against facts having authority, in that thread, because its all about the listeners convictions.

I don't really think the speaker compels the listener to think something. I think ALL you can do is suggest something, and the listener himself compells himself to come to a conclusion.

How about a parralel to hypnotism and how the hypnotist needs a willing volunteer in the first place? But once willing, the hypnotist 'sort of' controls them. Sound about right? What do you think? I'm happy to chuck this example.

Your aside: I agree with you!

4) Yes, that's a great rewording.

Your aside: That's an interesting point you just highlighted and I agree. But I will say, failures in communicating intent can actually be beneficial too. In fact, not just beneficial but a real wonder of roleplay. It's something I really want to talk about, but requires bring up the C word. I think I'd better do it in another thread once this one wraps up. Given how much I've agreed with you and Jay, this thread has pretty much achieved its purpose. So hopefully I'll get to it soon. :)

Thanks for your time on this, its appreciated! :)
Philosopher Gamer


Hullo Callan,

I don't know if it is too late to post to this thread, but as you fired some questions at me specifically I'm hoping that responding to them will not be seen as troublesome to the Forgequette.  (Perhaps I should have sent this via PM?)

Regarding your ideas about Facts and authority all I can do is offer you my thoughts.  I tend to view Facts and the SIS (specifically the Fact Space) as the illustrative equivalent of Chess pieces and the Chessboard respectively.  The pieces don't move themselves, the pieces or their positions on that board have no inherent meaning etc.; it is the players who move or assign meaning to the pieces or assign meaning to their relationships to one another.  The decisions to move and the meanings are all internal processes based upon what is transpiring on the game board (SIS).  This means all the really cool stuff happens inside the heads of the players – by which I mean the perceptual, intellectual and emotional.  Obviously all these things can be communicated in some way, but the communication itself does not carry the actual percepts, thoughts or feels.  Those can only be felt by the receiver after he has heard the words, assigned meaning to those sounds (spoken words) and then finally maybe perceives what the sender had originally intended.

Why all the abstract stuff?  Because the same happens in role-play.  We are communicating shared imaginings about a virtual chessboard that everyone is supposed to be representing internally in the same way by all the players.  This is what the Lumpley Principle attempt to do – make sure everyone has the same virtual chessboard with the same pieces in identical places.  There can also be communications directly between the chess players as well and this can either be social matters (i.e., I have to take a leak) to game matters (hey, let's position the pieces this way and continue the game this way for a while).  The point is that the "fun" part can only be "felt" inside the player's head though it can be expressed.  So, as a game designer you can't directly make someone "feel" a certain way – fun, excitement, tension, etc. FREX.  So whatever "it" is that the players "enjoy" doing you, as a designer, want to lead/encourage through game design the players to create the greatest number of opportunities to "do" those enjoyable "things" and thus hopefully set the conditions for the players to have a much "fun" as possible.  

To me, CA's are roughly equivalent to how one assigns and organizes the meanings of what is happening on this illustrative chessboard.  CA is expressed roughly in how the player's choose to move the pieces and the choice in the suggested rules set tentatively governing what the pieces "represent" (their qualities) and how they can interact.

This is not solution by a long shot, but I hope that putting down here how I think about certain elements of role-play this post may spark some new thoughts in your pursuit.  If you wish, back in February of this year I first articulated the rudiments of this idea in the thread Thoughts on the role of game design – musings.

To your general question on why players respond in certain ways to certain stimuli, such as your example of the GM shouting "1 plus 1," is that humans are creatures that desperately seek and are very talented at constructing structures/patterns of meaning.  Unless someone is coming at this "problem" from angle that is extraordinarily different from our usual patterns of thinking/meaning structure then you are likely to get very common responses.  That is - we aren't likely to go haring off in wild directions thus breaking important thinking patterns/meaning structures without good cause or being in an environment that is conducive to that type of mental processes.  The problem is that such wild careening becomes very difficult to fit into any meaning structures at all – IOW they become meaningless.  I'm not going to go on much more as I am not an expert in this field of thought at all, but I will point you to some of Chris' writings which shed a lot of light on this type of thinking.
    [*]Ritual Discourse in Role-Playing Games[*]Not Lectures on Theory [LONG!][*]On RPGs and Text [LONG][/list:u]I hope this helps.

    The rest of your questions I think will be covered in a thread I am planning soon.
    Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.