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Author Topic: What Is Creative Agenda?  (Read 6681 times)
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2005, 07:03:52 PM »

Hey Nathan,

Quote
Gamism, Narrativism, and Simulationism are three distinct styles of play.

No. "Stop right there," like in the Meat Loaf song.

"Style" is a terrible word and I've never used it for CA-stuff, not even back when I first started writing about it. This is not merely a semantic preference. As long as you keep using "style," you'll be focusing on things which, relative to CA, are trivial.

Style differences are like choosing which motorcycle you like to ride, and maybe whether you prefer to do your repairs yourself or take it to the mechanic. I'm talking about the differences between riding a motorcycle and placing it upside down among bronzed cabbages as a sculpture. The differences among distinct CAs, socially speaking, are so vast that you can barely even say the different groups are even carrying out the same activity.

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Creative Agenda is an abstract term used to randomly reference a member of the set {G,N,S}.

Again, no. For one thing, I have no idea what the term "randomly" is doing in that sentence. But more substantively, you have it backwards. Creative Agenda, as a phenomenon, has been observed to be classified into G, N, or S. If something cropped up tomorrow that really fulfilled the same role that G, N, or S fulfils, in practice, then whammo, we'd have GNSX or whatever. There is nothing sacred about G, N, or S. They are merely Creative Agendas (and perhaps combinations of them too) which have been observed.

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Therefore, a Creative Agenda is a style of play. A style of play is what I - an individual gamer - do during a game to maximize my entertainment. This entails identifying what I enjoy, and taking action to bring it (whatever it happens to be) about.

Um. I suggest that this is way too broad. If my entertainment is maximized by aggravating Bob, as we play, and if I take all manner of actions to do this, this fulfills your criteria, but it is not a Creative Agenda, it's at the Social Contract level outside of Creative Agenda.

You are also a  bit too focused on "me me me" in all of this, as well as focused on any moment of play, even very short ones; you should instead consider (a) how group members reinforce one another's participation in play, and (b) full reward cycles rather than "any action."

You did see the definition I quoted from the Glossary? Is it totally babble to you, or perhaps you need it broken down?

Best,
Ron
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Larry L.
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aka Miskatonic


« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2005, 01:52:36 AM »

Okay, I came up with another metaphor for Creative Agenda today.

You know business meetings? The agenda is the sheet that gets passed out listing the things that are going to get talked about at a given meeting. Or more often, it's just sort of understood what's supposed to get discussed, because whoever's running the meeting gives you a funny look when you get off track. It's the business at hand. It's the common reason you're at the meeting to begin with.

Incoherent play is kinda like if everyone's sitting around, vaguely uncertain why they're here, so somebody gives a presentation on fourth quarter returns... then somebody else gets up and sings "My Funny Valentine"... then everyone takes five minutes to grumble about the cafeteria food. Sure, people are technically meeting, and maybe even enjoying one another's company. But if anything actually gets accomplished, it'll be dumb luck.

(Of course, incoherent, agenda-less meetings occur all the time in business, but that's another subject...)

Hmm. This metaphor is falling apart for me already, since CA is the aesthetic priority, not the content priority. But I think it's illustrative.

Ron, is this at all useful?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2005, 05:09:32 AM »

Hello,

Larry, that's OK, but I am using "agenda" in a different (although normal and common) sense of the word. I'm using it in the way that someone can tell you what his or her motive or plans are, but you cannot be sure of their agenda until you see the person actually do stuff, especially in regard to the other people involved.

Folks, this thread is getting jacked left and right. It was Fred's, and if I'm not mistaken, Fred has reached some satisfaction with it. If anyone else has some CA-definition questions, make new threads.

Also, although it was OK in this instance, I'd prefer specific questions rather than "what is it." For example, I've already received one PM which makes it clear that most people are not understanding the terms "aesthetic priorities" and therefore are blowing past my Glossary definition, filling it with weird replacements like any goals at the table, and so on.

Fred, anything else? I think you and I get much, much further in on-line dialogue when we make sure to state where we agree as we go along, and this thread was very successful for me. If you want to keep it going, that's great - but if not, say so and we'll take new questions to new threads.

Best,
Ron
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Vaxalon
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Posts: 1619


« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2005, 05:17:55 AM »

Actually, no, I haven't.

I've come to the realization that Ron has one understanding of the phrase "Creative Agenda", and other people have different understandings of it.... and not just clueless newbs like me, but veterans of the Forge.

I don't think using the word "agenda" to mean results rather than plans is normal or common.  I agree with Larry, and furthermore I think the word "agenda" is confusing people.  "Creative pattern" maybe?

I'm also confused with the term "incoherent".  What sense is that word used?  I'm sure it isn't used in the sense of the half-mad mumblings of the insane.

You've said that my problems understanding reward are related to my problems understanding creative agenda.  If the two concepts are so linked, then why doesn't the definition of CA talk about reward at all?
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"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2005, 05:34:47 AM »

Hi Fred,

Boy, you respond fast. I really would appreciate you taking more than a minute to think about a post before replying.

I'll take the points one by one, which is not typically my approach, but in this case they're kind of separate issues.

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I don't think using the word "agenda" to mean results rather than plans is normal or common.  I agree with Larry, and furthermore I think the word "agenda" is confusing people.  "Creative pattern" maybe?

We disagree. It's not up for debate, as in practice, the term works better than anything else that's been proposed. Of course, if anyone wants to come up with their own terms for anything, they can, and post about it on their own website or blog or whatever. I suggest that over time, the most useful terms will become standard either due to connotations or to convention.

Quote
I'm also confused with the term "incoherent".  What sense is that word used?  I'm sure it isn't used in the sense of the half-mad mumblings of the insane.

This Glossary definition seems fully clear and complete to me.

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Play which includes incompatible combinations of Creative Agendas among participants. Incoherent play is considered to contribute to Dysfunctional play, but does not define it. Incoherence may be applied indirectly to game rules. Abashedness represents a minor, correctable form of Incoherence.

Saying "I don't get it" isn't enough; can you ask something specific about the definition that I can break down for you?

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You've said that my problems understanding reward are related to my problems understanding creative agenda.  If the two concepts are so linked, then why doesn't the definition of CA talk about reward at all?

For the same reason that the definition of "dog" does not include the word "heart." If you want to know what dogs are, especially in terms of how they function, then sooner or later we might find ourselves discussing hearts ... and especially when you realize that hearts are a big deal not only for dogs but for all sorts of other creatures, you might ask, hey, how come you didn't explain that heart thing from the beginning? But I hope you can see that describing and defining dogs isn't going to start there.

That's not a joke paragraph. It really is what I mean. Once you understand what a Creative Agenda is, then yes, you'll automatically get very interested in what reward systems are in operation when we talk about actual play. Or vice versa, if you want to examine reward systems in play, sooner or later you'll be interested in why they often end up being about such different things (see my point about motorcycles, above, unless I'm getting my threads mixed up in my head).

When a person posts in Actual Play and describes a dis-unified reward system, as you have done (and I'll be posting to that thread later, so I don't expect you to agree with me on this right now), then it definitely indicates that CA as a concept is going to be murky for that person. This is a long-term project of understanding, if you want to embark on it. If you don't, that's OK too.

Best,
Ron
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Vaxalon
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Posts: 1619


« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2005, 06:10:05 AM »

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"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2005, 06:32:25 AM »

Hiya,

Yeah, we can talk about that in the reward system thread you've started. It's a good and interesting point and will have to call upon some very specific instances of play. I'll see you there.

Best,
Ron
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Larry L.
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« Reply #22 on: July 27, 2005, 06:57:50 AM »

I've come to the realization that Ron has one understanding of the phrase "Creative Agenda", and other people have different understandings of it.... and not just clueless newbs like me, but veterans of the Forge.

I don't think using the word "agenda" to mean results rather than plans is normal or common. I agree with Larry, and furthermore I think the word "agenda" is confusing people. "Creative pattern" maybe?
Hey Fred, please don't imply that I'm on some side of an imaginary argument with Ron. Any lack of parity between my explanation and Ron's definition is due to my own error. Also, I hope you're not under the impression that I'm a "veteran of the Forge" or carry any sort of authority around here.

If this unclear, please take it up with me in PM.

I'll bow out of this thread now, but shall certainly follow along if more relevant discussion is to be had.
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Paganini
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« Reply #23 on: July 27, 2005, 07:22:53 AM »

Hey Larry,

The thing is, Forge veterans do carry authority in the sense that they're responsible for presenting an authoritative version of the theory. Ron, in spite of his 11k+ posts, can't teach this material to every new member of the Forge. Historicaly, that job has naturally fallen to whatever bunch of Forge veterans who felt like doing it. This is one of those threads. So, I'm a little frustrated, because I feel like in this thread Ron is implying something like "This is how it's been all along! You guys have just been explaining it wrong for 4 years!"

"Style" is a terrible word and I've never used it for CA-stuff, not even back when I first started writing about it. This is not merely a semantic preference. As long as you keep using "style," you'll be focusing on things which, relative to CA, are trivial.

OK Ron. I will forthwith abandon the word "style."

However, I'd like to point out that, while I dunno if you personaly ever used it (I'm not obsessive enough to go search the forums and see), "style" is the very word that was used to introduce *me* to GNS. This was... four years ago or so, when (for example) Mike Holmes made it his business to post to the "What Is GNS?" noob threads of the day with things like "Well, first of all they're styles of play. I can't believe no one else has mentioned that, since that's what they are." I don't remember you ever correcting any of us who were calling them styles of play, and I don't ever remember a big news ticker that said "Yo! G, N, and S no longer styles of play, Edwards says!" So, I feel kinda like you're here going "This is how it's always been!" while at the same time you're saying stuff that's completely different from how it's always been.

Quote
Quote
Creative Agenda is an abstract term used to randomly reference a member of the set {G,N,S}.

Again, no. For one thing, I have no idea what the term "randomly" is doing in that sentence.

(Randomly, as in random access memory, or random channel switching on your TV.)

Quote
But more substantively, you have it backwards. Creative Agenda, as a phenomenon, has been observed to be classified into G, N, or S. If something cropped up tomorrow that really fulfilled the same role that G, N, or S fulfils, in practice, then whammo, we'd have GNSX or whatever. There is nothing sacred about G, N, or S. They are merely Creative Agendas (and perhaps combinations of them too) which have been observed.

OK

Quote
Quote
Therefore, a Creative Agenda is a style of play. A style of play is what I - an individual gamer - do during a game to maximize my entertainment. This entails identifying what I enjoy, and taking action to bring it (whatever it happens to be) about.

Um. I suggest that this is way too broad. If my entertainment is maximized by aggravating Bob, as we play, and if I take all manner of actions to do this, this fulfills your criteria, but it is not a Creative Agenda, it's at the Social Contract level outside of Creative Agenda.

You are also a  bit too focused on "me me me" in all of this, as well as focused on any moment of play, even very short ones; you should instead consider (a) how group members reinforce one another's participation in play, and (b) full reward cycles rather than "any action."

You did see the definition I quoted from the Glossary? Is it totally babble to you, or perhaps you need it broken down?

Yeah, of course I saw it. I've read the glossary like... I dunno how many times. The thing is, what I said above may be too broad, but the glossary definition is uselessly vague. It contains, for example, the phrase "any matters of imaginative intrest." I honestly don't see, in fact, how annoying Bob is not a CA by this definition. I mean, annoying Bob is kinda the whole point of SOAP.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #24 on: July 27, 2005, 07:56:13 AM »

Hiya,

Nathan, this thread really oughta be retired now. I'll finish up with some responses to you, but please take further points to further threads.

Point #1: A lot of what you're presenting is basically a complaint. "Someone used a term a while ago." Yeah, OK, they did. A lot of that is legacy from the Threefold, where the term "style" was a big deal. And ... here it is ... no one could tell this was a problem until after it showed itself to be one. I can't help you with this sort of complaint. If you wanted me and everyone else to use the best possible term for you and everyone to learn, from the git-go, then you have unrealistic expectations. Especially when nothing like this has ever been done for the hobby (no, "player types" talk doesn't count.) If you wanted to benefit from being here, then you should have approached it with a more flexible understanding of what was happening. That still goes for today.

Point #2: Nope, I don't buy it about annoying Bob. I think that the concept of aesthetics is straightforward, unless one is hopelessly mired in PoMo babble in which anything is aesthetics and everything is economics and so forth. Now, I'm willing to meet you halfway and say that the Glossary definition doesn't work for some percent of readers. It works a hell of a lot better than anything we had before, which was the sole purpose of the Glossary anyway. But yeah, I'm going to help people who want to talk about it, just as in this thread.

But "I don't get it" isn't going to fly. People have to try to get it, as written, and then ask specific questions. Like, "what's imaginative interest," and so on, like you just did. Those are good questions. Maybe you could have tried asking them a long time ago.

Actually, I have a more general point, which Fred mentioned rather than you, but which I see quite a lot: "But if all these veterans say different things, then how can we even say there's a definition?" (read this with a very aggrieved tone and a triumphant flourish, as if it were a devastating point of debate)

This comment is, frankly, arrant bullshit. There is no degree or certificate of comprehension at the Forge. Much as in medical school, some people "pass" with Cs and Ds. Sure, they're veterans of med school but they aren't any great shakes as doctors. And the Forge doesn't even have a "pass" point. You could participate here for years and still just not get it. I can't wave a magic wand and make that not happen.

Secondly, people who do wield a considerable understanding of the issue are often trying to rephrase it in a way that will help a given person understand. They may use different phrasing, or they may choose to focus on techniques which, for that person, are going to flip a switch in his or her understanding. The public nature of the internet leads onlookers (who are coming at it from a different angle) both to misperceive what the point is, as well as to misperceive that, in this case, the person who's talking and (for instance) me do not disagree about the point being made.

Anyway, this thread's done, so let's move on.

Best,
Ron

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