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Author Topic: Fiduciary responsibility?  (Read 8139 times)
Nathan
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« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2001, 12:03:00 PM »

Interesting discussion...

I would also say that maybe we need to define what exactly our test cases our... Are the individuals we looking at anybody who has/does game? Or are we only considering the "junkies" who gamed in high school, still game, and want to game all the time? If they are not gaming with a group, are they still gaming in some manner - a multiplayer crpg, other video games, boardgames?

I would say that my girlfriend for instance who has only begun to game probably would not be a good testcase. On the other hand, a friend of mine, who has been gaming now for close to year, has dived in fullheartedly to the extent that he spend $40 on a new gaming supplement realizing he will broke until the end of the month.

Another longtime gamer friend of mine, I recently discovered, quit college for the third time to get a menial job and counseling for social anxiety disorder. He revolves around gaming - if it is not D&D or Deadlands, it is Ultima Online or some computer game or whatever...

Who are we looking at here? All gamers or just the ones who spend more than.. say 24 hours.. playing/thinking about games in a week?

Nathan
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james_west
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« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2001, 09:08:00 PM »

Hello, all !

My original point was more

AFFECTED VARIABLE = passivity
CAUSAL VARIABLE = stance

rather than

AFFECTED VARIABLE = social skills
CAUSAL VARIABLE = ... whatever it is ...

John Wick - so far as I can tell, your response condenses to, "If you don't believe in free will, everything you do affects your personality, so role-playing games do too. So what." I technically agree with the first clause; the so what is the idea that perhaps personality may be affected differently, positive or negative, depending upon how they're played.

Most everyone else - at this point, my opinion tends towards a 'stochastic resonance' model. People start with minor variations, tend to be attacted to things they're good at and avoid things they're bad at, which reinforces those variations. I think this is a bad thing, for the same reason Heinlein did: specialization is for insects. Ian and Greyorm - so far as I can tell, I am in this sense in agreement with you. Both of you have stories in which having to GM (and thus be director) reduced your levels of passivity, and made you more socially confident.

Jeff - the possible downside is reinforcing passive behavior. I do not personally believe that it destroys social skills, although I do think that it's clear that it creates identity with a subculture which has 'geek' social expectations (i.e., you're considered weird if you don't know who Picard is, rather than, um, who(insert famous sports person's name here)is. This part I don't think is bad, although in some circumstances it could be a disadvantage (one I'm willing to live with, obviously).

Nathan - the more one games, the more the issue is relevant.

On the peripheral issue of social skills, or lack thereof, among gamers, I'm once again going to defend gamers. The reason I was absent for the past few days is because I was at the invitation-only 44th Annual Aspen Pulmonary Conference. This is an exclusive event held on the priciest real-estate in the continental U.S. at which about a hundred high-profile middle-aged M.D.s spend four days at a demented marathon frat party with an unlimited budget (the drug companies are footing the bill). It consists of lots of liquor, people trying to convince each-other to shave their heads or get tattoos, trying to screw anything in a skirt (skirts kindly provided by the pharmaceutical industry), lots of penis-size comparison both literal and figurative ... and if there's time, talk a little medicine. I mention this because I find their behavior appalling, and was more offended by it than just about any social faux pas I've ever seen a gamer make. While I think it's certainly true that gaming attracts introverts, I think that most of the 'social ineptitude' you're seeing is more related to normal differences in social rules in different subcultures than to any absolute standard of social skill. So they're only socially inept when judged by the standards of a different subculture.

(I really felt dirty leaving there. It actually went on another day, but I couldn't take it. I have to say, you guys are -WAY- more intellectually and socially ept than these guys are, in my book ... ).

              - James

P.S: I was going to say something like, "How would you like it if your players started acting like this while you were trying to run a game" but thought better of it.

[ This Message was edited by: james_west on 2001-06-09 02:11 ]

[ This Message was edited by: james_west on 2001-06-10 01:55 ]
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Gordon C. Landis
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« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2001, 11:17:00 PM »

At the risk of adding more anecdotal evidence when what we're looking for is interesting generalizations . . .

I was Vice President of my high school D&D club.  It meant nothing more than my participation in the school newspaper, the fact that a couple of the women were in the Drama club, or that other members played chess, baseball, or the oboe.  Yes, my high school had the same "clique" atmosphere you always hear about, and there was *some* hierarchy, but to tell you the truth, the "in" crowd were so few and so more "in" than the rest of us could ever be (examples - Steve Young, the future 49er QB, Christy Fitchner, who became Miss USA and runner-up Miss World), there wasn't a lot of "geeks are worse than freaks but better than losers" stuff.  And D&D club was a place where a lot of these folks mixed - like I said, Drama club women, proto-technogeek guys, Tolkien-loving, drug-using, Pink Floyd-listening long-hairs . . . all played D&D together.  Generally had fun, too.

So, I guess that just goes to say that as far as the "formative High School years" thing goes, I didn't see any correlation between RPGs and particular personalities.  Now, for some reason in my prolonged and much wandering college years, I only ever met the classic inept and unwashed gamer-types (and I wasn't exactly fully "ept" myself - for various reasons, I found college particularly disorienting).  My current group is more like the old mix, with perhaps just enough of the sterotype to keep it alive, but not with so much of it that I can really say "I see x correlation between gaming and real life behavior".

Sorry that doesn't really help . . .

Gordon C. Landis
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james_west
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« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2001, 08:17:00 AM »

I thought I'd be more specific about what I think the best-case scenario about positive effects of role-playing:

(1) Become comfortable speaking in groups. This is only true if you weren't comfortable doing this before, and you're in a group in which everyone is encouraged to participate. More generally, develops social skills in an unstructured environment.

(2) Encourages creative problem solving. This is only true in a game that's sufficiently sophisticated that it's even possible: I have been in D&D games (not for long ..) in which it was a matter of "open the door, fight the next monster" and doing anything except rolling to hit was considered cheating. I suspect that strict gamism is contrary to this goal, since strict gamism tends to discourage 'outside the box' thinking (it's cheating).

(3) Encourages a pro-active stance towards life. This is only true for games in which the individual has a large responsibility for driving the plot; things only happen if the players make them happen. This seems far more likely to be true in narrativist and authorial stance games than in gamist, simulationist, or actor stance games. Alternatively, this seems to be a universal effect of usually being the GM.

(4) Become verbally quick-witted. This is probably only true in games with strong player directorial power ( SOAP, Baron Munchausen, etc.) (I know it didn't happen for me.)As an addendum (I don't know if this is positive) it can make you a very good liar; this is probably true in any game in which verbal interaction is important at all.

(5) Become morally/ethically sophisticated. This is only true in games complex enough for moral themes to exist. While Sorceror -exists- for this purpose, it can be true in any system or setting. I have to say that as a teenager it had this effect for me very strongly. I was the sort of teenager that Clint Eastwood would delight in shooting, and I largely credit role-playing games with making me more interested in being heroic than villainous.

(6)Encourages multicultural and interpersonal understanding. This is only true in games in which players are encouraged to get into the mindset of people that are culturally different from themselves (traditional D&D uses straight American morality, and members of other cultures are to be killed on sight.)So it's encouraged by immersive role-playing.

That's the list that comes to mind off the top of my head, along with the conditions that foster it. I purposefully leave off 'fostering a competitive attitude' which one might get from gamism, because I personally don't think that it does so nearly as well or in as healthy a fashion as many other competitive pursuits.

             - James
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greyorm
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« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2001, 10:27:00 PM »

Something that I've wanted to mention in response to John Wick's "Anything Affects You" spiel a bit ago.  As true as it is, there's the degree of influence to consider.

That is, if you served five years in prison or took part in a war, even for a month, the influence is likely to affect you on a much longer basis, if not for the rest of your life, as compared to the current influence produced by a cup of coffee you had five years ago.

So, while I recognize the bit of tongue-in-cheek going on, I figured I'd be anal about it as well.  Yes, everything affects you, but not everything affects you to the same degree or for the same length of time; some is temporary, some writes permanent changes in your personality.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
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Ian Freeman
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« Reply #20 on: June 29, 2001, 05:39:00 PM »

To keep going with this, I think we need to define what social incompetence actually means.

I am the GM, I am a debater, I'm a nice guys. But I wouldn't call myself popular, I don't get invited to parties but I can still deal with people. That is, until they describe their glorious beer induced exploits. Joy. I am socially incompetent? I have no idea.

Also, some people are assuming that something has to be a cause or an effect when it can easily be both. Yes, some traits draw people to role-playing (we know that for a fact, everything everyone does is caused by something), and role-playing might diminish or reinforce these or other traits. It is both a cause AND an effect.

Secondly, the human brain is very complicated and the neural connections in each brain differ from one person to another. This means that different people will react differently to the same situations. So, while role-playing for some will turn them into intuitive thinkers, it might make other people depressed and world-weary.

I hate to bring statistics into anything, but when you're talking about the movements of complex social groups just thinking in terms of common sense is not helpful. People are complicated machines and their reactions are extraoridinarily difficult to predict. So... we should see some quite of numbers on this stuff before anyone pronounces sentencing.
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James V. West
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« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2001, 10:10:00 AM »

What a great post.

I'm not really going to say much here, as I just finished reading and I have to chew on it. But I have seen some of these patterns in my own experiences. Those of us in my *original* DnD group (i.e., high school level) who DMed ended up being far more motiviated and concerned with our future. The players who never took up the DM seat seem to be doing nothing beyond working and playing Nintendo.

Interesting.

James V. West (finally, I get to interact on a post with the OTHER James West)
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