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"We fear change!"

Started by Matt Snyder, October 30, 2002, 10:53:15 PM

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Matt Snyder

Quote from: Mike Holmes

I post more now than ever. In fact, I daresay I post at least twice what anyone else does. When told that I should not post "been there, done that" posts, I stopped posting to those threads where that was the case entirely, and that was all I had to say. Now I'm bad for not responding? I have an obligation of some sort to write to everyone who posts?

Yeah, you do post very often, Mike. You're probably the single most frequent poster on the Forge outside of Ron. C'mon. You know you're the exception to the rule, and saying so outloud hardly makes my "mountain" a "molehill." Of course, the issue is neither mountain nor molehill. I do think it's worth discussion, obviously -- I wouldn' t have started this otherwise.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Matt, I wanted to see Dreamspires, and you gave me something else. You knew what I wanted to see. And you're surprised that I am not responding to your new game? Many of the games presented of late are about metaphysics, a subject that I am bored to death of. Am I obligated to respond to these? Sorry, just not interested anymore.

To stress yet again, I regret that my issue with little feedback on Nine Worlds became the catalyst for this thread. Without that non-reaction, would I have started this thread? Probably not. Would my opinion still be much the same. Yes, very much so.

Mike, I hardly think it's a crime to delay Dreamspire a bit. Sorry to have disappointed you. Seriously, man! That's especially true, I think, when one of the as yet unstated goal of Nine Worlds -- a game that will be comparable in scope and publication size to Dust Devils -- is an effort to generate more revenue for the full-scale press version of Dreamspire. So it got pushed back a little. Not too surprising, really. I mean, even if the damn thing was written and laid out, I wouldn't really share with the world until I had the cash to go to print, or at least a format I was sufficiently pleased with. I'm FAR from that point now, I can tell you.

That you aren't interested in Nine Worlds is ok. In one sense, I think several "old schoolers" aren't particularly enamored of that whole metaphysics thang. I know, for example, that Ron has expressed his disinterest in games and media dealing with subjective reality, etc. (Not that the subject is necessarily what's going on in Nine Worlds, but I digress ... )
Matt Snyder

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra


Quote from: Matt SnyderI truly think you're reacting emotionally to an issue I have yet to contend. I have NOT said at any point that I have a problem with new folks coming to the Forge.
Perhaps not intentionally.  Did I say "perhaps?"  I meant certainly not intentionally.  But when a reader sees remarks such as "The Forge got too big for its britches," or "the damn thing's too noisy," that's saying something the poster perhaps didn't exactly intend.  I don't think I was TOO out of line for raising a bit of a stink.

QuoteSo, this isn't a personal attack, and yet you're "VERY" angry and can't politely articulate how pissed you are? That sounds like speaking out of both sides of you mouth to me. Either you're pissed off or you ain't. I've yet to meet a person who gets pissed and magically doesn't take it personal.
What can I say?  I guess I'm just a magical guy.  :)

Okay, let me turn down the smartass.  I assure you that I'm not taking any of the things said here personally.  I'd have to be pretty thin-skinned to do so.  What I was trying to express was the fact that some moderately offensive things were being said here, in a non-productive and/or counterproductive fashion.  I was pissed, but not from a personal standpoint of someone who is being attacked or insulted.  Rather, I was upset by the negative impact that this thread has already had on the Forge.  Seeing the beginning of a thread say something along the lines of "well I don't expect anybody to respond to this because of what this thread is saying" is basically what prompted my rant.  To put it bluntly, it alarmed me.

I'm a bit calculating when it comes to posting, I guess.  And when I see the need to throw a water baloon into the middle of a something, I won't hesitate.  Since my explosion, this thread has been much more positive, IMO.  That was partially my aim.  The other part was to blow off a bit of steam, but I think everyone caught onto that... :)

So, where does that leave us?  Here's some opinions I'll just throw out for consideration:
- I like it here; there is a lot of cool stuff going on, building on an impressive (and impressively useful) archive.
- Even in the short time I've been here, I've noticed an increase in the number of posts, and ALL of what I've read has been informative, articulate, intelligent conversation.  Have I read all of it?  Well, no.  Of course not.  In my view reading the whole shootin' match is decidedly not the point of a public forum.  Skim, and delve when intrigued.  That approach has served me very well here.  And as the Forge grows, adapting that sort of attitude will probably become more and more necessary.

Whether or not this increase in traffic is bad is, as you say, very subjective.  Anyway, Matt, I'm sorry if you felt I was attacking you personally.  I wasn't.  Just lobbing a water baloon.


Hey all

Though it would seem this thread has already been posted out, I thought I would take the opportunity to vent/whine/complain or just plain "doom and gloom" a bit as well. If it doesn't get read, that would feel familiar as well, or at least the perception of it.

As to the old guard/new guard stuff, I am somewhat Old Guard, or at least should have been. I was around when there was a much more focused community here. But it seems most of them actually got their games done, and in many cases published. Which I didn't. Also, most of these people formed relationships that they pursued in other venues as well. Again, I didn't either. And there is always the nothing but crickets response to posts, which I have felt a number of times, even back in the heyday.  (But that ties into the older issue of the Forges alleged anti-sim/rules heavy/gear head focus, something I have seen being recirculated somewhat, like the comment in the post someone made about BESM, or some such.)

So I guess I certainly empathize with Matt, though for my own pathetique reasons and such. As to the new guard, I feel like the guy who didn't graduate on time, everyone else graduated and I am stuck with the juniors and feeling very much out of place. No familiar faces, no shared history, and everyone excited about what I've already done or should have.

Rob Muadib --  Kwisatz Haderach Of Wild Muse Games --   
"But How Can This Be? For He Is the Kwisatz Haderach!" --Alyia - Dune (The Movie - 1980)


I'm going to avoid the "newbie-bashing" issue and stick to Matt's original concern.

Quote from: Matt SnyderTo me, that forum (and maybe Actual Play) is the single most valuable resource on these forums. And yet, the folks from whom I want to hear are largely absent. The "old guard" just doesn't post as much any more -- myself included. I lurk like crazy there, but many wonderful, creative voices have quieted.
I dunno if I count as "old guard" (I think I'm "second wave" or something), but I've been busy. I covered this in PM recently. I've been sick, I've got a new girlfriend, I have a new Scarred Lands campaign I'm working on, I have stuff to do for a LARP I'm running next month that is due tommorrow, and work has gotten more frenetic as of late.

Expect to see more of me after November, when I plan to get into gear and update both Unsung and Faster, Better, Cheaper, as well as other ideas I may have in mind.

Also, I have been posting somewhat to the Indie Design forum, tho only to those threads that interest me. In many cases, I've been ignored. ;-D
love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT

Matt Snyder

Ron, I really need a clarification on several of the comments you've made in the "We Fear Change!" (a thread title whose irony has apparently eluded several)

First, you said:

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Also, a hell of a lot of discussion is going on behind the scenes about where to go from here, and perhaps, especially as a moderator, you might consider asking me or Clinton about that before assuming it's not happening.

Does that mean to imply that I've committed a political boo-boo by not keeping this discussion private? It certainly seems to be so. Beyond the Moderator forum and your own public postings, I'm privvy to no other "behind the scenes" information.

I do not, for whatever reason (whether it's because I was a relative new comer among the "old guard", or that I'm geographically isolated or whatever), have good private contacts with any of the Forge regulars. Those that I DO have contacts with are those for whom I have performed an extremely cheap and quality graphic design and layout service. Most of those are "can you do this" more than they are "what do you think about this ideas?" or "What are you working on?"

So, that PRECISELY why I'm "complaining" -- because I liked conversing with all these folks who seem to keep their community going privately, but it's one I don't have much access to at all. Neither do many others, especially new folks, who could benefit greatly.

Secondly, you said:

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Just so everyone knows, I make decisions about these things on a very long-term basis. My current thinking is, "What's the Forge to be like, a year from now?" That's a lot different from the "Pissed now! What's changing tomorrow?" expectations that some folks have been known to bring to Site Discussion.

Please tell me that bolded sentence is not a reference to me. Can you say you're not talking about my comments in this thread when posting that in the context of this thread?

You must realize that IF the above comment refers to my post, then the connotation tells me "Ah, silly, young, unwise Matt. You have no way of knowing my greater plan."

Um, yeah. That's true. How the heck would I know unless I got proactive and asked. And yet, that's precisely what I did with this thread. In this thread. I apparently didn't do it right by keeping it behind closed doors ... or something.

Finally, you said:

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Matt, I suggest, just as I did with Paul a while ago, that you take a bit of time for self-reflection. You've been absent from the Forge since GenCon. You show up now, you look left & right for a matter of days, and you have a big reaction - and now that reaction is escalating into an anxiety or dissatisfaction.

Ron, that is just not the case. I was "gone" only because I didn't post. I heralded my so-called return two weeks ago. I remained a intensely frequent lurker during the time of my "absence." I checked out the Forge forums no fewer than three times, if not as many as 20 times in probably every single days since, oh, March. I was not always logged in, in part because I dreaded the "Hey, if you have time to read the Forge, why don't you have time to finish Charnel Gods / Universalis PDF / cartography / whatever."

Now, to be fair, you couldn't really know this. But, to suggest I haven't read or kept up to speed is just incorrect. The problem as I see it with that is that it implies I just didn't pay attention and don't know what I'm talking about. That my "assessment" of posts and activities of late is erroneous, and therefore so is my "rant."

For the third friggin' time -- and I realize appearances to the contrary -- this ISN'T about me whining that I didn't get much reply about my new game. It's something I've been noticing since post-GenCon. To suggest otherwise belittles my point. It says, "Ah, he's just whining that we didn't respond to his pet game ideas in 18 hours or less." No, its that I really think the quality of that forum in particular has suffered, and I've heard comments from others with similar opinions, most of which appear right here in the thread in question.

Additionally, I have spent the last 24 hours (hey, in ain't weeks, but it's something) putting my money where my mouth is, even stepping in the "Firearms and Fantasy" thread when it veered severely off topic. I asked, with the precious little authority I had, to keep things related to game design.

Christ, I'm complaining here that I LIKE the Forge, for cryin' out loud. I'm championing the Forge, not deconstructing it. I'm "complaining" that I want -- among other thigns I've already specifically stated -- you and Clinton to enforce the stated rules a bit more strongly, even given that you've requested more help from moderators. I've been completely forthcoming about accepting change. I've repeated my points to those who misunderstood or even got offended for inappropriate reasons in the thread.

Then you come on here and tell me to cool it and take stock. I'm just dumbfounded. What would have happened had I not posted this thread in the first place? I truly belive this thread was a much-needed wake up call for folks on many fronts, and I'm deeply troubled that you replies at least SEEM to dismiss what I consider to be my own valid points. Can you illuminate.

I take a lot of satisfaction in knowing that at least a lot of good could result from this thread, and that it does so in a way that is available for the COMMUNITY to read about.
Matt Snyder

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra


Quote from: Ron Edwards
Look at some of the net gains lately: how much actual play is turning out to be functional and fun? How many really great games have shown up lately, in various stages of development, and demonstrably benefited? (Answer: Lots! If you think otherwise, you're not looking.)

I'm not going to say *anything* about the apparent identity crisis going on here... I've been involved with them before in other groups, and they're boring as heck, and generaly a waste of bandwidth, IMO.

I just want to support Ron's point here: Indie-netgaming is more or less a group of Forge regulars. About 10 of the members are active on the list, and some subset of us meets every Monday night on IRC to play an indie game. A different indie game every week. Ten people is a lot! Every week is a lot! Every single one of the games we play would not exist if it weren't for the Forge. Not all of these games are "old guard" games that have been around, either. Sure, we played the Pool and Shadows, but we also played Univesralis. We played Vampiros and Otherkind practicaly as soon as they hit the net.

Actual play is a natural repercussion of good design. If you see fewer people hashing out design theory and more people playing the games, that's a Good Thing (TM). It means the design theory is approaching completion, and that it really works.

Note: So, maybe the theory will never be complete. But it's a lot more complete than it was, say, a year ago when I first started. And way WAY more complete than it was two years ago in the threads I read to catch up on things.

Ron Edwards

Hi Matt

Here's my deal, or my sensitive spot if you like. I think that anyone who has questions or concerns about "where the Forge is going" would do well to ask me or Clinton. It's really easy. The answer might be, "Um, I dunno," or "What do you want," or it might be "This this and this," depending on the topic. But you will get, no matter what, a behind-the-scenes look at what the plan is. I'm always thinking ahead; during the last "where are we now" blowup, I was renting tables for GenCon; during the one before that, Clinton and I were designing the services like the Resource Library. This information is available for the asking at any time, and if it isn't always satisfying, at least it's better than not knowing.

What gripes me is that people never ask. I get this as a general issue in internet-discourse a lot - "I perceive X ... h'm, or maybe it's X, I dunno ... what'll I do? I'll criticize X really sharply! Then I'll know, based on how he responds." You know, not one person on this Earth has ever asked me, flat-out, what the deal is with specific individuals who dislike me and/or the Forge. If asked, I would have told them. Grr ... anyway, so that's the hot-button that Forge Direction Meltdown posts always kick off for me. My problem, really, not yours.

Except ... you do have access to a forum in which everyone who wields authority at the Forge, in general or in their own forum, can ask or discuss stuff. It's especially well-suited to stuff about "What's the plan for the next six months" or similar; in fact, one of my goals for today was to submit a Moderator thread about that (which has not happened). Of course you didn't "have" to do this. If you wanted to bring it up at the community level, you can. I'm not saying you committed a political boo-boo. I'm saying you didn't use a resource that's available.

No, the bolded sentence you quoted in your post was not referring to you. It was directed to anyone who has not yet processed that on the Forge, a two-day lag in response to one's post, per person, is probably typical and desirable. I also confess to have been thinking specifically about Christoffer (in the interest of disclosure and aggressive-aggressiveness), in reference to the Glossary, which then prompted my uneasy feeling that he really  had been patient, and thus I had an idea and posted my Glossary thread.

Regarding your activity at the Forge: I get your point. OK, so you didn't really disappear, and I'm judging by appearances, so I withdraw the accusation of "show up and spout off."


Matt Snyder

Quote from: Paganini
Actual play is a natural repercussion of good design. If you see fewer people hashing out design theory and more people playing the games, that's a Good Thing (TM). It means the design theory is approaching completion, and that it really works.

HOLD ON! I gotta make a corrective comment here -- this thread, and the bulk of its replies are in regards to the Indie Game Design forum. Here, you suggest that for many folks, _theory_ is nigh complete, or at least not as worthwhile to discuss as it was. Great. But I'm not talking about the RPG Theory or even GNS Issues forums. This thread is about the Indie Game Design forum. The distinction between _theory_ and _design_ just became blurry, and I think that's dangerous in this thread.

My argument made no claim whatsoever regarding the activity or inactivity of posts and responses as they relate to role-playing theory discussions. I'm talking about the profound nitty-gritty, nuts-and-bolts discussion and virtual creative "workshops" that are less and less frequent in Indie Game Design.

I'm concerned that this subtle blurring in that statement between design and theory misrepresents what I'm trying so say here. One possible implication is that we're "done" with theory which might lead to the incorrect assumption that we're "done" with _design_ of games and their publication. This is, of course, bullocks.

I can't say, Paganini, whether you're right or wrong about diminishing theory discussions leading to more actual play (probably?). That's just not at all what I'm interested in this thread.
Matt Snyder

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra

Matt Snyder

You've made an extremely fair post, Ron. And, it's gone miles farther than any cooling off period on my part might have at easing my, um, unease.

I guess one of the things I'm getting at here is that the community has become somewhat fragmented and closed off, whether by inactivity or by private discussion. I count many of those in the "old guard" as my colleagues, and yet I have no real channel opened to them. So, like my good ol' mother told me, dust yourself off and do it yourself.

Frankly, had I considered asking you "what's up with the Forge of the future?" I'm not sure I would have felt it proper to approach you privately. Now I know otherwise. I may have posted such in Moderators forum, but I felt since it concerned "newbies" particularly, I'd voice it to everyone, rather than keep them out of the loop.

So, expect a private note soon, because this is of sincere interest to me. It probably not today -- good lord where has the day gone?!? It's time to play Riddle of Stee! Woo Hoo!
Matt Snyder

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra

Kester Pelagius

Greetings Ron,

Me thinks you might be a bit over worked.

Quote from: Ron EdwardsYou know, not one person on this Earth has ever asked me, flat-out, what the deal is with specific individuals who dislike me and/or the Forge.

Now why on earth would anyone dislike you?

The Forge is a service, a free one at that, and the recent spurt of new members is plain evidence it is growing.  In fact this very thread is merely a *groan* of those very growing pains.

I'd suggest what you need is a hug but, well, you kow, uhm, being a guy, well, er....

Oh, look, the news!!!

(Kester rushes off into the middle distance.)

Kind Regards.
"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis." -Dante Alighieri


OK Matt, I dig the distinction between theory and design. But I'm not sure I see the problem, exactly. Are you just complaining that the old regulars are less active? I could understand that, but it doesn't seem like a big deal. People come and go. Phases are a fact of life.

But from your posts it doesn't seem like that's all that's botherng you. Are you saying that there aren't very many games being designed in Indie Game Design? In that case, I just don't see it.

We just had Iron Gaming Chef which produced, I think, something like 7 complete games. There's the GGD (Group Game Design) thread which is 6 pages long now. Pale Fire just completed Evil Tales (which we played), I've started this Solo idea. Zak produces a cool game every month or so. There are also a lot of games not directly inhabiting the Indie Game Design forum, but rather are in the forums of their developers. Fang just posted some new Scattershot stuff, for example.

If you're saying that you're not seeing *in depth discussion* of new designs, then you're right. But in that case my point about theory does hold. In depth discussions tend to deal with theory. As the theory nears completion, fewer in depth discussions are required, because relevant points have already been addressed by past discussions. Issues that were problems for past designers have already been covered in great depth. This is why people tend to post links to threads rather than going over the discussions again and again.

I don't see this as a bad thing. For my recent Solo game design thread I searched the forums for back threads and read them. If I'd started more or less at the top with "Is solo gaming an RPG? What solos exist? What makes a solo fun? Can you play a solo narrativist?" etc. I would have been wasting time: those discussions have already taken place. Most likely if I had gone about it in that manner - as opposed to searching the archives - I would have gotten back links to old threads anyway. Rightly so.

If I had an idea about something not covered in those threads, posting about it would likely have generated conversation.

My thread was more of an announcement and "hey, do you think this is cool?" post than anything else. It wasn't a plea for system dissection. It didn't need to be, because the questions I had had already been answered by previous threads. And then some. :)

Kester Pelagius

Greetings Paganini,

How goes your Halloween?

Quote from: PaganiniWe just had Iron Gaming Chef which produced, I think, something like 7 complete games. There's the GGD (Group Game Design) thread which is 6 pages long now. Pale Fire just completed Evil Tales (which we played), I've started this Solo idea. Zak produces a cool game every month or so. There are also a lot of games not directly inhabiting the Indie Game Design forum, but rather are in the forums of their developers. Fang just posted some new Scattershot stuff, for example.

Although I wanted to provide it for Halloween play "Revenge of the Crypt Fiend", a game built around an mechanic idea discussed in the Forums here at The Forge has been all but finished since, oh, two weeks ago?  I just wrote it in a format that doesn't convert well to PDF.

And since I took the time to create images for it, place them within the text (you will learn an appreciation for editors when you try to format your own work) I have become rather obstinate about wanting to find a way to convert it, as is, into something viewable.

Edit: Although I am not sure if I created the images with enough DPI to be properly printable, now that I think about it.  sigh.

But if not for The Forge it probably wouldn't exist.  Also I do believe my initial posting about the mechanics idea moved someone else here to create something for Universalis.  Again, that wouldn't have happened if not for Game Design Forum being here.

I may not personally have a web site up with tons of stuff to view but I can attest to the fact the Game Design forum has been useful, even if it appears that I have nothing to show for it but "Micro Slus" and my first post of miniFRPG based on, and posted to, the thread Pale Fire started about a free rpg for everyone.

And if not for The Forge I'd probably be sitting around watching some terrible censored horror movie on commercial TV while waiting to fill trick or treaters bags full of candy.

Kind Regards.
"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis." -Dante Alighieri


Quote from: Kester Pelagius
How goes your Halloween?

It goes well. Forge now, Tai Chi in an hour, and orchestra playing tomorrow. Life is good.

How about you? Just think, you could be watching A Charlie Brown Halloween! :)

But yeah, that's exactly what I was getting at.


Now, wait a sec...

Quote from: Ron EdwardsYou know, not one person on this Earth has ever asked me, flat-out, what the deal is with specific individuals who dislike me and/or the Forge.
I will now proceed to bap you upside the head with a conversation we had only last week, that and yell I have too!  There, now you can rid yourself of that personal burr over the issue and feel much better about things.

To Rob and Matt, etc.
Problems "fitting in" or developing that "community?"

Look at me, I'm "Old Guard," I suppose you'd say (been here since before it really went live), and yet I'm out here developing relationships with the "newbies" by simply posting in the forums and having interesting discussions.

That's how you do it on a new site...don't let the fact that you've been here for a while deter you from behaving like you're one of the fresh, new crowd and joining in those discussions.
Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio


Quote from: Ron Edwards
What gripes me is that people never ask.

I'm hardly a regular contributor, but I have perused the forge for quite a while, and plan on doing so for the foreseeable.

Recently (last 3-4 months) I've found I haven't been looking at the "detail" as much on the boards – too many posts. It may be that some of the new stuff is not as stimulating as what has gone before. More likely I'm too lazy to go through the multitude of posts. It may even be that a lot of the new comers are coming up to speed with what has been discussed before.

I find myself looking for "names" on the boards – Ron, Clinton, Matt, Jared, Mike, blah, blah. I wanna see what they've got in the pipeline, how they're responding to other posts and what their ideas are – and not just in the context of their own fora.

It's getting harder to find them through the (and I hesitate to use the word) noise. I'm not nodding my head in agreement or shaking it in vehement disagreement as much as I used to.

I'll ask then – or at least suggest - featured articles, columns or one offs might be the way forward, possibly from a newspaper-like front page. Maybe it's too like the old GO. Maybe it requires too much input from the "community elders" and maybe I'm giving Clinton a heart attack as he thinks about the work involved.

It would keep my interest piqued. Dunno what that is worth.....